I hope this finds you doing well and that your year is off to a great start.
We are delighted to welcome several new people to the UALR family. Michael Schwartz has accepted appointment as the new dean of the William H. Bowen School of Law. Also, Dr. Dean R. Kahler, Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management, has already begun working to set strategic enrollment goals and plans for the university.
Our new Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Dr. Zulma R. Toro, began her work on January 7 and we are excited about her plans to enhance our academic offerings and initiatives. The university will host receptions for Dean Schwartz, Dr. Kahler, and Dr. Toro later in the semester, and I hope you will attend and help welcome them to the UALR and to Little Rock. I would like to thank Dr. Sandra L. Robertson for serving as Interim Provost from July 1, 2011 to January 6, 2013, and for all of her efforts to enhance the academic operations of our campus.
The first half of the academic year ended with commencement exercises and a record number of graduates. We also had the privilege of awarding an honorary degree at the morning ceremony to Arkansas civil rights activist Gertrude Jackson, who was recognized with letters from President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, and Senator Mark Pryor.
So far, 2013 has already been an exciting and busy year, with sudden wintry weather and important local and national events. For example, we witnessed an historic presidential inauguration with President Obama, being sworn in for a second term.
On campus, Trojan Basketball is underway and both the men and women’s teams are doing well this season and there are many exciting events planned for this semester, including this week’s Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration, Black History Month in February, and Women’s History Month in March.
The 89th Arkansas General Assembly is now in session and our state representatives and senators are working to determine the best uses of our state resources and making policy changes to best serve Arkansans. We are proud to have two UALR Bowen School of Law alumni leading the 89th General Assembly, Rep. Davy Carter, as speaker of the House of Representatives and Sen. Michael Lamoureux as President Pro Tempore of the Senate.
There are several issues that could greatly affect higher education including performance funding, college readiness, immigration, guns on campus, and a host of others. I hope you will stay involved in the discussions by encouraging our legislators to support higher education and UALR.
I greatly appreciate all that you do to help UALR meet the needs of our students and the State of Arkansas.
Joel E. Anderson