A Razorback fan from an early age, Randy Gillespie knew that his college years would be spent at the University of Arkansas. Although it has been 35 years since graduation, his passion and excitement for the U of A has never extinguished, and it shows through his involvement with the Houston Chapter.
“I was president of the Houston Chapter for more than 10 years,” Gillespie admits. His involvement with the chapter began when he moved to Houston and expressed an interest in meeting fellow Razorback fans. In an area like Houston, he notes that many people attending school at the U of A. Believing that Senior Walk is one of the U of A’s greatest traditions, he remarks at how many people ask, “Have you seen your name?”
Gravitating toward others who share a similar interest and passion, he received a phone call from board member, John Parsley. “He told me they were starting this golf tournament and he wanted me involved in the project,” he said.
Joining the Arkansas Alumni Association, he became a member of the Houston Chapter board and immediately began work on the chapter’s largest scholarship fundraising effort, the Red and White Classic Golf Tournament. Admitting that he is no golfer, Gillespie’s responsibilities lie with “everything not related to golf,” saying, “I help get the invitations designed and laid out, recruit golf teams, coordinate the catering, order the awards and promotional gifts. I also get items for the silent auction.”
Having spent 20 years working to raise money for the chapter scholarship, Gillespie recognizes the importance of engaging young alumni in not only the golf tournament, but within the chapter as well.
Filled with a pride for the University of Arkansas, his days spent in college were devoted to school work and extracurricular activities. “I always wanted to be in the Band. I played trumpet, so I participated in Marching Band, Concert Band and Jazz Band. In fact, I was in the very first pep band that played for the basketball team under Eddie Sutton,” he said. A member and president of Kappa Psi, he also served as vice president of Pomfret Residence Hall.
Maintaining that passion for his alma mater, he urges young alumni in the Houston area to come back and be involved. However, he understands the difficulty that young people face when it comes to getting involved in such a large city. “Houston’s size is the problem. It’s hard to have a cohesive meeting spot,” he admits.
Looking to the future, Gillespie, along with other members of the Houston Chapter board, hope to find new ways to communicate with recent graduates. “I’ve spoken at the ‘Head to the Hill’ event and I always say, ‘Have a great college experience. Take advantage of as many things on campus and don’t forget to get involved with the Houston Chapter after you graduate.’”