The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff will mark its 143rd Founder’s Celebration April 18-24. With the theme, “Time to Transition: Celebrating the Past, Present and Future,” the schedule of events celebrates the diversity present at UAPB and honors the traditions that have been around for decades.
Founder’s Celebration is a tradition that has been going on for over 60 years, blending academics, social activities, and history in an effort to communicate not only the history of the University, but also the importance of remembering how history built the school into what it is today. The formal celebration of Founder’s Day can be dated back to 1943, during the administration of Dr. Lawrence A. Davis, Sr. The original chairman of the celebration, Butler T. Henderson, was head of the department of business and economics. In charge of a celebration that originally lasted a full week, Henderson made sure the activities during this time were varied and culturally rich, all while showing the growth that Arkansas AM&N had achieved.
The celebration will begin with the UAPB Awards Show on Monday, April 18 at 6:00 p.m. in the J.M. Ross auditorium of the Hathaway-Howard Fine Arts building. Admission is $3 for general public, $2 for faculty and staff, and free to UAPB students with a valid ID.
A Culture Fest will be held Tuesday, April 19 at 6:00 p.m. in the Adair-Greenhouse auditorium. Sponsored by human sciences professor Dr. Janette Wheat and her Families Across Cultures class, the free, public event will feature food and culture from various ethnic groups present at UAPB.
Festivities continue on Wednesday, April 20 with the 23rd Annual Mary E. Benjamin Conference on Educational Access from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Kenneth L. Johnson HPER complex. Registration is $75 person for participants and presenters and $40 for students. Registration forms can be found online at www.uapb.edu/edaccess. Concurrently, an art sale will be held in the Hathaway-Howard Fine Arts lobby from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. featuring works from UAPB faculty and students. The day will conclude with a free concert at 7:00 p.m. by the UAPB Jazz Ensemble in the J.M. Ross auditorium of the Hathaway-Howard Fine Arts building.
The Founder’s and Honors Award Assembly and Convocation will take place Thursday, April 21 at 10:00 a.m. in the Kenneth L. Johnson HPER complex. Later that evening, Miss UAPB Brianna Allen will host “Finding the King/Queen in You,” a panel that will feature men and women from the campus and community to discuss self-empowerment. The event will take place at 6:00 p.m. in the L.A. Davis, Sr. Student Union Lounge.
On Friday, April 22, the UAPB/AM&N Alumni Association will host an Alumni Senior Mixer from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Sylvester Early auditorium of Henderson-Young Hall. The event serves as an opportunity for graduating seniors to network, meet, and greet alumni and chapter leaders. There will be food and door prizes. For more information, please contact the National Alumni Office at 870-536-2309. The day will conclude with a Strut and Stroll at 7:30 p.m. in the Kenneth L. Johnson HPER complex.
On Saturday, April 23, early risers can participate in a Walk-a-thon sponsored by the National Alumni Association at Lake Saracen Landing. Proceeds from the race will provide scholarships for students attending the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. On-site race registration will take place at 8:30 a.m. with the walk/run starting at 9:00 a.m. Participants may run as individuals or organize as a team. Registration is $25 per person (18 and older non-student), $10 for college students, and $7 for high school students (student ID required). All prepaid registrations include a t-shirt. T-shirts for onsite registrations are not guaranteed. For more information or to register, please contact the National Alumni Office at 870-536-2309. In the afternoon, the Black and Gold game will be held at 1:00 p.m. at Golden Lion Stadium. The day will conclude with an International Pageant at 7:00 p.m. in the J.M. Ross auditorium of the Hathaway-Howard Fine Arts building. Sponsored by the Alpha Rho Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the event is free and open to the public.
On Sunday, April 24, the 143rd Founder’s Celebration will conclude with the Annual Sunrise Service at 6:30 a.m. in the Cross-Phipps Auditorium of Caldwell Hall and Alumni Breakfast immediately after in the STEM Academy and Conference Center.
For more information, call 870-575-8375 or 870-575-7142.
(Special thanks to the UAPB University Museum and Cultural Center for historical information contributed to this article.)