Janette Epes’ fondness for the University of Arkansas began at a young age as her parents, both Arkansas Alumni, raised her to love and enjoy the University as much as they did. Growing up in Fayetteville, she remembers riding and exploring every inch of campus on her bike, dressing in Razorback Red for the many sporting events that her family always attended, and sitting on the hill outside the stadium gate with friends to “call those hogs.” It was then that she knew one day she would walk the halls of Old Main just as her parents had done.
“While going to school, I never thought about what it would mean to be an alumnus,” Epes said. She completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Education in 1968. Then, she began her Masters of Education – completed in 1973 – after receiving a National Science Foundation grant. This sparked such a love for educating others that she taught for 36 years until her retirement, which hasn’t stopped her from getting back in the classroom as a substitute.
Upon graduation, she just felt compelled to join the Arkansas Alumni Association as a Life Member. Her reason for such a commitment to the University was because “it was just the thing to do.” She was so glad she made that decision because, moving out of state, she still had a connection to her Alma Mater that was so much a part of her life. Through the Arkansas magazine, keeping her informed of the accomplishments and activities happening on campus, she found out about opportunities to volunteer and travel with alumni & friends on the Rhine River Cruise.
It was through volunteering that she realized her passion for raising money for scholarships. Epes desires to give students the opportunity to stay in school without having to work many hours or take out large student loans to pay for their university expenses. One of her most fond memories in raising money for students’ scholarships was when she helped organize the Hogs in Bloom Garden show, where they raised $14,000 to begin a scholarship program for juniors and seniors from Benton and Washington counties.
As a result of her great work in serving others, Epes was recognized in 2006 by the Alumni Association with the Morris Fair Heart Award. This award is given to the alum who exhibits great leadership in serving others and making the University of Arkansas campus a better place. Epes continues to inspire fellow alumni who work alongside her in the Northwest Arkansas chapter and extends an invitation to all to join her in serving fellow alumni, students, faculty and staff at the University of Arkansas.