A Donaghey Scholar who has studied the writings of Buddha with equal intensity as he put toward understanding biochemical reactions is the recipient of the 2013 Edward L. Whitbeck Memorial Award.
The Whitbeck Memorial Award is the single greatest distinction which the university can bestow on a graduating student.
Not only is UALR senior Hamza Arshad of Little Rock interested in becoming a physician, but he also wants to become a medical ethicist. Arshad is the only UALR student accepted to UAMS who will graduate with two non-science degrees, philosophy and interdisciplinary studies, this May.
Faculty regard Arshad as someone who possesses that rarest of traits–an insatiable hunger for knowledge that manifests itself not only broadly but deeply as well.
Arshad said he wanted to become a Donaghey Scholar because the program would “cover my college expenses, give me a stipend, and pay for a study abroad opportunity. I entered the [program] as a hard sciences guy with full intentions of graduating with a degree in biology or chemistry. But the scholars program opened my eyes to the world of humanities and allowed me to find my second love: philosophy and ethics. The Donaghey Scholars Program created the environment where my writing skills flourished and helped me arrive at where I am today.”
Among his many academic achievements, Arshad, a 3.9 GPA student, interned for the Neuroscience Summer Program at the University of Alabama in Birmingham and was recently recognized as an Outstanding Delegate at the Bilateral Model Arab League Conference in Houston.
He is a member of several honor societies, including Sigma Iota Rho, Alpha Episilon Delta, and Golden Key. In addition, Arshad is a charter member of the Rotaracts, a Rotary-sponsored service organization for young people age 18 to 30.
His volunteer activities include serving as a patient care advocate at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Arkansas Children’s Hospital, as well as camp counselor at Camp Aldersgate.
The UALR Faculty Senate Honors and Awards Committee makes the annual selection of the outstanding senior based on the criteria of citizenship, scholarship, and leadership. Frank L. and Beverly Whitbeck established the award in memory of their son, Edward Lynn Whitbeck, who was a senior at Little Rock University, the predecessor of UALR, at the time of his death in 1965.
Each scholar receives a personalized plaque and a monetary award and will lead the graduating students during the academic processional at spring graduation.