Serving as scholarship chair of the Houston Chapter, Jim Short volunteers his time looking for qualified students who are eager to attend the University of Arkansas. As an alumnus of the U of A, Short understands the benefits of attending the public institution and continues to reiterate to Houston-area students, the advantages of becoming a Razorback.
Growing up in Harrison, AR, Short attended the University of Arkansas with the intentions of going into science or business. Discovering an interest in math concepts, he decided to pursue a degree in accounting. Little did he know at the time that accounting would not be his life’s calling.
However, during his four years on campus, he took advantage of the many opportunities to get involved. “I was the treasurer of my fraternity [Sigma Chi], I was chairman of the allocations committee with Student Senate, and I was vice president of the Student Union where I helped plan activities such as concerts and the Distinguished Lecture Series,” he remembered. Through his involvement, Short admits it helped him to grow personally by “establishing that I could organize volunteer groups and take on leadership roles.”
Graduating in 1977, his desire to pursue accounting was no longer of interest. Instead, he views accounting as “looking backward,” whereas he wanted to “plan for the future.” Currently, Short works as a senior vice president for Balfour Beatty Campus Solutions, LLC in Houston. “It’s not your normal job,” he reiterates. “My group focuses on investments to assist educational institutions receive the infrastructure needed.”
Admitting that Houston was “never on my radar,” he made the move knowing only one person in the area. Wanting to find others who graduated from the U of A, he located the Arkansas Alumni Association’s Houston Chapter. “Archie Ryan helped to put me on the board,” he said. Becoming a member of the chapter, he found it befitting to support the Association by becoming a life member as well.
Claiming membership within the chapter since 1978-79, he serves as the scholarship chair, saying, “Ryan suggested that we start a scholarship, so we came up with an ad hoc committee to figure out how to administer and fund it.” Through the birth of the Red and White Classic Golf Tournament, the chapter scholarship has risen to $10,000.
“The student must attend all four years,” Short emphasizes. “The purpose is to entice top quality Houston-area students to attend the U of A.” Looking toward the future, Short hopes to see a larger pool of applicants.
A proponent of the U of A and its ability to provide students with a valuable and solid education, he admits that by being a part of the Houston Chapter, it has allowed him to host send-off parties for freshmen classes at his home, telling them about the excitement that lies ahead at the U of A. “In August, we host a student send-off and there are about 15-20 students who bring their parents. It gives the students a chance to meet various people, as well as fellow students. It’s a very rewarding experience for me,” he said.
When offering advice to graduates, Short has no qualms saying, “They need to give back in some way, and if they’re looking for something to do, the Houston Chapter is a great place to be involved.”