UALR Alumni Association Receives $800,000 Scholarship Endowment

Merrily Purnell Parker knew that she wanted her money to be put to a good purpose after she passed away so she decided to create a bequest naming UALR as the beneficiary of her estate. Her good planning and generous spirit resulted in a legacy gift of $800,000–the largest ever made to the UALR Alumni Association.

The funds will be used to establish the Owen W. Parker Sr. and Merrily Parker Endowed Scholarship and provide for any education-related expenses. The renewable scholarship will be awarded at the end of each spring semester for use in the next academic year. Preference will be given to music or philosophy majors. Owen W. Parker Sr. attended Little Rock Junior College, the predecessor institution to UALR.

The funding fulfills a key mission of the UALR Alumni Association, a division of the Office of Alumni and Development, according to Vice Chancellor for Alumni and Development Bob Denman.

Denman said that the gift, as well as other gifts made to the UALR Alumni Association and The Fund for UALR , enables more students to enroll while also reducing or even eliminating the need for student loans.

“We have an increasing number of UALR friends and benefactors who have made the investment of a lifetime through bequests, gift annuities, and other plans,” Denman said.

“An endowed scholarship of this kind is a gift that creates a permanent legacy for UALR students. Endowed gifts are placed in a permanent fund and a portion of the income earned from the fund provides scholarship assistance to students, both on a need and merit basis.”

In 2006, the Alumni Association launched an initiative to garner increased support from alumni to assist UALR students.

According to Associate Vice Chancellor of Alumni and Development Christian O’Neal, the importance of the initiative, to raise money for need-based scholarships, especially for undergraduates, cannot be overstated.

“Through their participation in annual and planned giving, UALR alumni inspire hope for generations of students, just as the Parkers have done,” O’Neal said.

Students interested in learning more about the newly established award are encouraged to call the UALR Alumni Association at 501.683.7208.

For more information on establishing an endowed scholarship through estate planning, contact Director of Planned Giving Mary C. Boaz at or 501.569.8738.

Posted in: Alumni, Donor Relations, Donor Spotlights, Major Gifts, Scholarships

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