After record setting snow fall that resulted in the university being closed six days within a two week time frame and a minus 18 degree temperature (another record), we are back at it in Fayetteville. Professors have had to revise courses, deliver material electronically and adjust schedules. And, we have come to discover which personnel are really essential for a residential university to operate. Oh yes, there were several sledding paths created by “cabin bound” students.
On Wednesday, alumni took part in the second Razorback Day at the Capitol. Descending on Little Rock, members of the Legislative Advocacy Network (LAN) learned about issues critical to higher education and the University of Arkansas in particular and were able to talk with legislators. Advocacy is a way alumni and friends can contribute to the university. If you are interested in joining the network, e-mail Richard Hudson, vice chancellor for government and community relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Funding has become a regular issue for higher education. It is part of the good news, bad news about Arkansas. The state is one of only four nationally that can boast of having a balanced budget. We are required to do so by the state constitution. The bad news is that when the budget is limited in revenue, spending is limited, too. Priorities take hold. Gov. Mike Beebe, an alumnus, indicated that K-12 and prisons are at the top taking nearly 65% of the budget. Higher education and human services must scramble with other priorities for funding and, generally will be the areas cut when revenue slides. The only alternative for revenue for universities is a tuition increase, something no one wants.
Funding programs is also an issue for the alumni association. Membership dues, auxiliary revenue from magazine advertising, credit and debit card partnerships, sponsorships and investment dividends help fund association activity. There are so many needs to advance the association to be a cutting edge organization, but not enough funding. Many alumni are willing to contribute beyond memberships, so we have established a Fund For Excellence. We hope it can help us expand our offerings and services.
Next weekend, 38 alumni will take part in the annual Alumni Scholarship Review Session. In what has been described as “the most rewarding experience ever,” these participants will review more than 450 scholarship applications and help determine the recipients of our variety of scholarships including the Endowed Scholarship, the Razorback License Plate Scholarship (known as the Roads Scholarships) funded by the 17,000 Hog license plate registrations, chapter scholarships from 30 alumni chapter areas, membership scholarships and several named scholarships provided by individual alumni contributions. Since the implementation of the Alumni Scholarship Program 20 years ago, nearly $2.5 million has been provided to fund 1,862 scholarships for the university by the alumni association. If you want to take part in next year’s selections, contact Robin January in our office at email@example.com.
Finally, the office has been filling in for four colleagues who have left to run other associations or moved to another college town. Help is on the way, but we want to thank you for your patience as we work shorthanded.
Photo credit John Baltz, Senior Assistant Director of Communications, Office of Admissions