Recognize the phrase “Center of Learning”? It's the catchphrase for the University of Central Arkansas that was part of former President Lu Hardin's university marketing.
Hardin is gone and now the “Center of Learning” is heading for the exit, too. A faculty member tipped us that employees had been instructed to remove the phrase from their school-related websites. UCA spokesman Jeff Pitchford confirms this and says, “We expect to move in a different and new direction.”
You'll see the slogan around for a time as ads expire (such as on the big billboard on Interstate 30 at the Arkansas River). A new slogan, if there be one, will be the work of a new advertising/marketing firm. A bidding process for that work is underway. The school hopes to have a contract for the Board of Trustees to review by its November meeting.
Speaking of Lu Hardin: We had some sport a few years back when political consultant Bill Vickery served briefly on U.S. Senate campaigns of Democrats Sandy McMath and Lu Hardin before finally joining up with the 1996 winner, Republican Tim Hutchinson. Now a consultant has already tied Vickery's record before filing has begun for the 2010 U.S. Senate race against Sen. Blanche Lincoln.
Keep your eye on Stefani Buhajla of Fayetteville. Republican candidate Conrad Reynolds announced recently that Buhajla had joined his paid campaign staff as Northwest Arkansas field director. She'd earlier worked as an adviser to Republican candidate Tom Cox and as a volunteer for Republican candidate Curtis Coleman. At least four other Repubs may make the race.
A Reynolds release quoted the consultant: “We need leaders who are not afraid to challenge the status quo,” Buhajla said. We'll check the quo on her campaign status later for further developments.
New in neighborhood
After considering a number of proposals, the Arkansas Studies Institute has picked a tenant to fill the commercial space it owns at 405 President Clinton Ave., on the ground floor of what was once the Geyer and Adams Building. Sanjeev and Rashmi Jin, the owners of River Market Grocery across the street, will open a gift shop that specializes in Arkansas-made products and also serves ice cream and coffee.
David Strickland, head of the Central Arkansas Library's Butler Center, said the institute accepted the Jins' proposal because it most closely matched the mission of the Arkansas Studies Institute.
Strickland says the Jins hope to open between Thanksgiving and Christmas.