by Max Brantley
UALR NEWS RELEASE
UALR Chancellor Joel E. Anderson unveiled Thursday the first-ever comprehensive campaign for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, a $75 million fundraising effort to help Arkansas become a stronger state through more educated citizens.
‘It’s time for UALR,” Anderson told the crowd of about 450 attending the kickoff gala held Thursday evening in the Jack Stephens Center. “Business leaders are discovering UALR’s ability to become a partner in solving complex problems and by providing a highly skilled and professional workforce that will help Arkansas compete in a global market.”
Haskell Dickinson, president and CEO of McGeorge Construction and chair of the It’s Time for UALR campaign, said the success of UALR and the
Little Rock region are intrinsically linked.
“Name a great city, and you’ll discover a great university located there,” Dickinson said. “Metropolitan universities are no ivory towers. They respond to the needs of their community by finding new ways of using resources and research to tackle environmental, health, business, and civic challenges.”
Anderson acknowledged the philanthropists whose investments over the years in the institution have paid off for all of
Arkansas – former Arkansas Governors George Donaghey and Winthrop Rockefeller, Little Rock businessmen Raymond Rebsamen and Ted and Virginia Bailey, and others.
Among the evening’s presenters were present-day benefactors, including Debbie Walker of the Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation and Warren Stephens of Stephens Inc. Dickinson, a 1970 graduate of UALR and a member of the Board of Visitors, is a long-time supporter of the University. His family’s foundation, the Trinity Foundation, was instrumental in starting UALR’s engineering college.
One of Little Rock ’s favorite sons and three-time National Basketball Association world champion, Derek Fisher, spoke about why he wanted to invest in his alma mater. Fisher, who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers and is president of the NBA Players Association, was the major contributor for the practice court named in his honor in the Jack Stephens Center .
Fisher talked about the character of the major cities he visits as an NBA player.
“I come from a great city, and Little Rock has a great university at its core,” he said. “Those leadership skills the Chancellor mentioned that he says the other NBA players recognize? I learned those skills right here in Little Rock at UALR.”
Dickinson said the campaign has already raised $50,805,956 in the preliminary phase of the campaign. He invited gala attendees, most of them community and business leaders, to support the campaign.
“We in Arkansas for too long have stood passively by, lamenting slow progress in our state,”
Dickinson said. “It’s time to make a difference in the intellectual, cultural, and economic life that UALR creates and nurtures. It’s time to boost a great institution in a great city that advances economic growth in all of
“It’s time for UALR.”