Mary Ellen Harbin-Kemp and Heath Bowman, associate director of regional programs for the Arkansas Alumni Association

Mary Ellen Harbin-Kemp and Heath Bowman, associate director of regional programs for the Arkansas Alumni Association

Mary Ellen Harbin-Kemp

Russellville, Arkansas

Ed.D  1983

I chose the University actually because my cousin was on the faculty at U of A.  I had just completed my master’s degree in counseling from University of Central Arkansas and he suggested I come to U of A and get a doctorate in counseling. I asked, “Why?”  and he responded, “Why not?”  That was in the winter of 1979 and by summer, I was accepted and enrolled into the doctoral program and had an assistantship.


My fondest memory is having an office on the front side of Old Main, on the second floor, overlooking the sidewalk.  I worked at the counseling center and at that time it was housed in Old Main. The sidewalk is my favorite tradition.


The most influential figure for me was, Dr. Arleen Lewis, who was the chair of my committee.  She taught me a “calming trick” that was most useful in some of those meetings.  I still use it. And she managed my committee well.


I worked as a high school counselor for 28 years and am now retired.  The students were the thing I liked most about my job.  I also liked sitting down with the students and their parents to talk about college.  Although I couldn’t actually push for U of A, my office was filled with Razorback items. Kelly Knight, my daughter, had joined the Dallas Chapter and she dragged me to a meeting.  I really liked the people on the board and the things they were doing.  Joining was easy.


I can now encourage attending the University of Arkansas.  I truly enjoy the high school college nights.   I also still like interacting with the parents, so I am looking forward to working with the University’s Parent and Family Programs folks and their projects.


The University of Arkansas is a good place to get an education at whatever level.  It is a good value. It is located in a lovely area of the country/state.   It has the support of the entire community of Fayetteville as well as the state.   It is growing and improving almost yearly and I am pleased to support it.


To a future U of A Alumni —I say join, support and give back.

My favorite Razorback possession is the degree—the actual piece of paper.

My favorite Dallas AAA events are the college nights.


When I was working on my degree at U of A, I would speak of the other two universities in Arkansas that I attended by their initials and I would call U of A, THE UNIVERSITY.  Arleen was from Utah and would laugh and point that out when I did it.  She didn’t get it. She wasn’t from Arkansas; she was merely working at THE UNIVERSITY.