Great Grads: Don Richardson ’74
Don Richardson’s ties to UALR go back to the Vietnam War. He previously attended the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville on a football scholarship before being drafted to serve in the war. Richardson said UALR is important to him because this is where he enrolled after his tour of duty. Following completion of a B.S. in environmental health in 1974, he moved to Seattle to attend the University of Washington and earned a M.S. in environmental health in 1976.
Richardson’s career began serving as executive director of the Arkansas Federation of Water and Air Users, which is now known as the Arkansas Environmental Federation. Moving to Clinton in 1979, he started a business doing conservation and environmental consulting and served as the city’s mayor from 1987-1990. Following the public service position, he became executive vice president of the Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts. Richardson was then appointed by President Clinton’s administration to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. He later returned to Clinton to continue conservation and environmental consulting and for the past two years has primarily spent his time on the Arkansas Climate Awareness Project with a team of five he assembled to raise awareness of global warming and its effects on Arkansas. He continues to travel to D.C. often to work with national environmental groups.
“I owe a lot to UALR for the great education I received. That’s why I got involved with the Alumni Association,” Richardson said of his service on the board that began in 1996. Since he returned from Washington D.C. in 2001, he served two terms on the UALR Alumni Board of Directors. The University was in the middle of building the Bailey Center when Richardson returned to Arkansas. “The Bailey Center is a great asset to the University and to the Alumni Association. It has helped to bring focus to the Alumni Association,” he remarked. Richardson, whose term ends this year, said he feels good about the progress made with the association over the last six years. “I’m proud of our University. It’s the best in the state, and I want to do what I can (to support it),” he added.
Richardson and his wife Sherrin have been married 32 years. She is a counselor at Clinton Junior High.