UA Little Rock Alumna Mauri Douglass welcomes guests to Taste of Little Rock in support of student scholarships and will be recognized with the President’s Award this spring.
By Barrett Gay | Photography by Sara Reeves | Hair by Debi LaCour with Classic Cutters | Makeup by Jane White with Jane White Cosmetics | Shot on location at Copper Grill
As an undergraduate and graduate student and now as a proud alumna, Mauri Douglass considers herself fortunate to be part of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock community, and the feeling is mutual. For her years of service to the university, she will be recognized with the UA Little Rock Alumni Association Presidents Award this spring.
Mauri earned a B.S.E. in Education and an M. Ed. in Elementary Education at UA Little Rock and later became certified in Gifted Education. She followed the path of several family members and her career lasted more than thirty years, 25 of which were spent as a Gifted & Talented resource teacher. “I loved my job teaching kids, it was just great,” she recalls. “The first year, I remember saying to my husband, ‘I can’t believe they’re paying me to do this!’”
Mauri was introduced to Gifted & Talented Education through her children’s experience – all three participated in the program. It’s specifically designed for students with high potential in creativity, intelligence and task commitment who dedicate a few hours a week in specialized classes with curriculum that complements and builds upon their regular coursework.
Throughout her collegiate experience, Mauri was involved with Student Senate, the Gamma Zeta chapter of Chi Omega and the College Panhellenic Council. Through these extracurricular activities, she says, “I made some of my best friends for life.” A cherished memory was when a Chi Omega pledge sister petitioned the national sorority council for Mauri’s daughter Keri to be initiated as a Chi Omega, since she wasn’t a member in college. “As she’s my only daughter, I’m quite happy about that.” She also treasured her time working with Chi Omega’s national philanthropy, Make-A-Wish, and as community service advisor witnessed three wishes granted.
After graduation, the university recruited Mauri and she remained involved with student activities. She served as a rush advisor for nearly 12 years and five years as a recruitment advisor. Currently, she is the alumnae liaison for the chapter to the Little Rock Chi Omega Alumnae Club and the Gamma Zeta Alumnae. In 2014, as chairman of the Gamma Zeta Chapter’s 50th anniversary, she and her partners Martha Stephenson and Becky Blass organized the Gamma Zeta Alumni Scholarship and the Chi Omega Courtyard – gifts to the university on behalf of the chapter.
Mauri notes that students inspire her service. As a teacher, she finds great joy in helping them pursue an affordable, quality higher education. The university is committed to providing an accessible, relevant experience and offers scholarships that ease the financial burden through the UA Little Rock Alumni Association’s signature fundraiser, Taste of Little Rock. As chairman, Mauri invites guests to enjoy food + drinks from 40 of the Capital City’s top restaurants; 100 percent of proceeds support student scholarships. Last year, the event generated more than $111,000.
This year’s honorees are Alfred Williams and Elaine Eubank who, much like Mauri, are active alumni. “Alfred and Elaine have a number of endowed scholarships at the university that they have personally funded through the years. Their connection to their alma mater is strong, and we are proud to honor them this year,” says Associate Vice Chancellor for Alumni & Development Andrea Angel.
For her decades of dedication and advocacy, Mauri is also the 2018 recipient of the UA Little Rock Alumni Association Presidents’ Award and will be formally celebrated at the Distinguished Alumni Awards Ceremony in May. “I am honored to receive this award from such a great organization. Knowing that many students – and ultimately, our entire community – will be helped by Taste of Little Rock is very gratifying.”