This year (2012-13) is a year of transition for the Donaghey Scholars Program. At the end of this past summer, Program Administrator Eileen Turan left to pursue a PhD in Art History at the University of Louisville and to marry Dr. Steve Yanoviak (Steve had been teaching Science and Society). Our new Program Administrator, Dr. Jessica Scott, is described later in this newsletter. Associate Director Dr. Marcia Smith will retire on June 30. Dr. Smith bids farewell later in this newsletter. My last day will also be June 30. Soon a national search for my successor will be launched.
I have mixed feelings about my retirement. It is probably time for me to move on—I am certainly old enough. But I shall miss the Scholars very much. As many of you have heard me say, I have the best job at UALR. My twenty-four years as Director of the Donaghey Scholars Program have been the fulfillment of my professional life. The recruitment and mentoring of such talented and appealing people as you has given me enormous satisfaction. As I get ready to leave, I leave a Program that is mature in every way. Both the curriculum and the students are unrivaled. The UALR administration fully supports us. And we are blessed with the extraordinarily generous financial support of the Donaghey Foundation. The Donaghey Scholars Program is arguably the best honors program in Arkansas and one of the best anywhere.
The climax of this year of transition will be our Silver Jubilee on the evening of the June 1. We are calling it a Silver Jubilee because this year marks both twenty-five years of Program graduates and twenty-five years of Donaghey Foundation support. The Jubilee will be a reunion and a celebration. You will be hearing more about this event in coming months. But mark your calendars; we hope all our alumni will attend.
For the past several years I have contributed a little more that 1% of my salary to the Donaghey Scholars Program Director’s Discretionary Fund. I want to see that fund continue and, hopefully, increase. Thus the Jubilee will also be a fund raiser. To that end I issue the following challenge. My wife and I shall establish a charitable gift annuity as an endowment for the Donaghey Scholars Program in an amount up to $50,000. How much that gift totals will depend on your contributions. Our gift will be staggered in rising amounts: our first $10,000 must be matched dollar for dollar by your contributions, our second $10,000 has to be matched two to one, our third $10,000 has to be matched three to one, our fourth $10,000 has to be matched four to one, and our last $10,000 has to be matched five to one. That is, for our gift to total $50,000, the matching contributions from Program alumni and friends will have to total $150,000. That may sound like a lot, but I would suggest that $150,000 is considerably less than 1% of your combined incomes. We have never until now systematically asked you to give anything back to the Program that gave all of you so much. Isn’t it time for us to ask and for you to respond? Consider yourselves challenged!