More than the Learning of Books:
UAPB Philosophy gives alumnus lifelong appreciation
Tisha D. Arnold | Public Information
Jimmy Hammock grew up with an appreciation for hard work and integrity, but he had no idea his ethic would alter the course of his life and take him on an international journey. Starting as a Business Administration major, he ended up as the International President of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated.
Born and raised in Fordyce, Arkansas Hammock received a full academic scholarship his senior year in high school. He could only use it at an Arkansas institution — he chose UAPB, known then as Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College (AM&N).
A first generation college student, Hammock reflected on his memories of AM&N. “One of the things I learned as a first semester freshman was the Philosophy of Education of this Institution,” says Hammock. “It didn’t mean anything to me until later in life.” In his perspective, your philosophy speaks volumes about who you are.
He referred to excerpts of the Philosophy that spoke volumes to him:
“The end of education is to know God his laws and the purpose of his universe and to reconcile one’s life with those laws. The purpose of a good college is not the mere teaching of books alone…”
Black, Gold and Blue all over
Hammock joined the Beta Theta Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated fall 1970 in the beginning of his sophomore year. Prior to coming to AM&N, he had no clue about greek organizations; however, he said it was his education at AM&N and the leadership skills he learned from Phi Beta Sigma that helped him in the Business industry.
“The world in time has changed but there is no substitute for preparation and hard work,” says Hammock. “This institution offers all of the good things that allow anyone to be successful. If you get those two you will be okay in life, you can compete.”
Graduating from AM&N in 1973, Hammock enjoyed a 29 year tenure at ArvinMeritor, Incorporated while continuing his involvement in Phi Beta Sigma. He started in the fraternity as local chapter president and progressed through to State Director, Vice Regional Director, Regional Director, International Treasurer, First Vice President and then the office of International President since 2009.
“It was never my goal to become [International] President,” says Hammock. “The thing I had in mind was to do the job I have the best I can.”
Consistently elected to a position by others, Hammock developed a reputation for his leadership skills and work ethic. “There was a group of brothers that came to me to run for Treasurer because [the fraternity] was going through difficult times,” Hammock reflects. “We went from a weak financial organization to a strong one. When I look back to trace how I got to where I am, I have to come back to UAPB.”
His position as International President has afforded him the opportunity to travel worldwide to places such as Europe, New York, Africa and talk with all types of affluent people. Hammock recalled his most memorable discussion with Congressmen John Lewis — a scheduled 20 minute meeting that lasted for 3 hours, he quips.
In reflection of his life to this point, Hammock went back to his days at AM&N and the first thing he remembered was the institution’s Philosophy of Education:
“The end of education is to know God and the laws and purposes of His universe, and to reconcile one’s life with these laws. The first aim of a good college is not to teach books, but the meaning and purpose of life. Hard study and the learning of books are only a means to this end. We develop power and courage and determination and we go out to achieve Trust, Wisdom, and Justice. If we do not come to this, the cost of schooling is wasted.”
President, Branch Normal College (1922-1928)
John Brown Watson
First President, AM&N College (1928-1942)