WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. – Faculty, staff, students and alumni filled the University Center at Mid-South Community College (MSCC) to welcome the newest addition to their campus. One of them was Nettie Parr, a current student at MSCC who planned to go to another institution to study fisheries until she saw the display for the Aquaculture/Fisheries program at UAPB.
As part of their access to education model, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) became the newest institution to open a recruitment office at the two- year college’s University Center, giving the university a physical presence among a host of other colleges that are there that include Arkansas State University, Arkansas Tech University, Bethel University, University of Arkansas, and University of Central Arkansas.
When the center was developed, it was based on the fact that there is an unbelievable amount of human potential in the Delta that often doesn’t have the opportunity to leave the region to connect to higher education according to MSCC President Dr. Glenn Fenter.
“The intent was to bring the opportunity to our campus and not expect our students to always have the financial resources to leave and explore,” said Dr. Fenter. “Over the past years, we’ve been able to prove the efficacy of that model – we have teachers in classrooms [among other professions] that would not have been there had it not been for this kind of partnership.”
Dr. Fenter expressed at the event his desire to partner with UAPB because of its heritage, legacy and stature in the State of Arkansas.
“You only have to look around the state and the list of graduates from UAPB to understand how important that institution has been to all in Arkansas,” said Fenter. “For us to be able to develop a partnership with UAPB …I can’t imagine one more powerful and appropriate than what we have begun with [this institution]. They understand who we are, the needs of our people and the needs of our students.”
UAPB Chancellor Dr. Laurence B. Alexander echoed Dr. Fenter’s sentiments and looks forward to the opportunities the partnership offers to both institutions in helping each to achieve the goal of affording a high-class education.
“This signifies a day of broadened horizons between two institutions that allows a place of connection,” said Dr. Alexander. “In the true spirit of collaboration, this alliance serves as a testament that UAPB is on its way to achieving the gold standard.”
Chancellor remarked that he desired to partner with schools that wanted to collaborate and tie their students in to the things that are available at UAPB.
“This college is well poised given its location, history and leadership by Dr. Fenter to get [MSCC] students into institutions like UAPB where they can be successful.”
Originally established as a vocational-technical school, Mid-South Community College became a comprehensive community college in 1992. To help fund the conversion, MSCC asked Crittenden County voters to pass a property millage issue, and the citizens overwhelmingly approved the ballot measure in February 1993.
The college has enjoyed phenomenal enrollment growth since beginning the fall 1993 semester with 139 students. With a fall 2009 on-campus headcount of over 2,100, MSCC officially became the largest two-year institution in the Arkansas Delta. Major physical plant additions include the $12 million Donald W. Reynolds Center for Educational Excellence, the $7 million University Center, and the $6.5 million Workforce Technology Center.