It’s a long road from Pullman, Washington, to Arkansas.
Dr. Clea Hupp’s journey to the position of History Department chair for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock was somewhat shorter.
After the previous department chair, Dr. John Kirk, stepped down to become the director of theUALR Institute on Race and Ethnicity, members of the History Department chose Hupp to be his successor.
The opportunity wasn’t unexpected, but the timing was.
“I think it’s something that I certainly planned on doing eventually,” said Hupp, an associate professor of history, who previously served as the university’s coordinator of Middle Eastern studies.
Hupp, originally from Washington state, arrived on the UALR campus in 2006. She speaks Arabic and French and is an expert in Middle Eastern history, an interest she developed after taking related courses as an undergraduate student.
“I just found the area fascinating,” Hupp said. “The Middle East has such a rich cultural heritage that there’s no end to what you can learn about it.
“There’s so much diversity.”
Hupp’s talents also are diverse.
Currently teaching world civilization and pre-modern Middle East courses at UALR, she recently won a best performance award in “Dancing with our Stars,” a benefit for the Children’s Tumor Foundation of Arkansas.
She was new to ballroom dancing but is experienced in ballet, having performed in numerous productions, including the “Nutcracker.” Hupp also serves on the board of directors for Ballet Arkansas.
A passion for fine arts runs in the family: Hupp’s husband, Bob, is the producing artistic director of the Arkansas Repertory Theatre. Together, they have five adult children.
Hupp said she’s looking forward to serving in her new role at UALR — an opportunity she called “exciting and challenging.”