Nelson Mandela, the African statesman and anti-apartheid icon, once said that education was the most powerful weapon one could use to change to the world.
It is a philosophy that could serve as the model of giving for one anonymous UALR benefactor who recently donated nearly $50,000 in scholarship funding to the university. The funds will be evenly split between the C.H. Richter Memorial Scholarship in the College of Business and the Richard B. Dixon Endowed Scholarship in the College of Arts and Humanities, and Social Sciences.
The Richter scholarship is awarded annually to a deserving and qualified student majoring in real estate, insurance, or mortgage banking, while the Dixon scholarship is awarded annually to history majors who demonstrate academic achievement and have a positive attitude toward learning. The student must have completed 54 credit hours, the last 15 at UALR, and have a minimum 3.0 GPA.
“These scholarships do make a huge difference for our students,” said Laura Wentz, UALR Director of Compliance and Donor Relations. “Every year, we hear this theme over and over from our scholarship recipients and alumni who go on to do great things with the education they were able to receive as a direct result of private scholarship funding.”
Robin Loucks, UALR alumna and distant relative of the anonymous donor, said family members share a profound awareness of the impact of education on society in general, and the community in particular. For this reason, it makes sense the donation would benefit scholarships at UALR.
“What we know, and too often forget, is that education is an investment in our future,” said Loucks. “Education literally can transform a region. Study after study supports this idea.”
Loucks may be a familiar name to some. In 1957, she was a student at Little Rock Central High School when Terrence Roberts and eight other African-American students matriculated there. Loucks shared her algebra textbook with Roberts and offered encouragement throughout the year. She was spat on, harassed, and sent threatening notes on almost a daily basis for her one act of kindness.
During one of the anniversaries of the integration, Oprah Winfrey flew Loucks out to her studios and reunited her with Roberts. Even though she describes it as “one of the worst years of my life,” Loucks said she would do it again in an instant. If anything, her regret is that she didn’t do more.
And, for the anonymous donor who is funding the Richter and Dixon scholarships, the only regret UALR development officers have is that they cannot publicly thank the person enough for his or her own act of kindness.