Barbara Yarnell knows a thing or two about University of Arkansas at Little Rock connections.
She graduated in the mid-1950s from Little Rock Junior College — what eventually would become UALR — and years later returned to visit the campus.
She wasn’t prepared for how much the university had grown.
“I think the first time I came out here after so many years of not being here, I was just in awe,” said Yarnell, now a North Little Rock resident.
Yarnell’s ties to the university go beyond her years as a student: An aunt, Dorothy Yarnell, was the junior college’s first English professor. To honor her aunt’s memory, Yarnell became a member of the Heritage Society by including UALR in her planned giving. Others who made a similar commitment recently gathered for one of the organization’s first “coffee with the chancellor” events in recent years.
“You’re a special group of people, and we felt you deserved a special event,” Jan Davis, UALR director of planned giving, told Heritage Society members on Sept. 16. “We know that when you make a decision to include UALR in your estate planning, that’s a big deal.”
People can become a member of the Heritage Society by naming UALR in a will or trust, by designating the university as a life insurance or retirement plan beneficiary, or by creating some other type of planned gift.
The society, formed in the 1990s, has had about 170 members who together contributed about $7 million to enrich the lives of future students and help the community. Approximately $14 million more is planned, Davis said.
Dr. Joel E. Anderson spoke at the Heritage Society event — perhaps for the last time as chancellor — after announcing recently that he will retire in the summer of 2016.
In introducing the chancellor, Davis said, “He’s done some great things, and he will be truly missed.”
Anderson answered questions from society members that ranged from UALR’s recently announced partnership with the eStem Public Charter Schools to its enrollment growth, to the rebranding of its sports programs with an emphasis on the Little Rock connection.
He also spoke about the Heritage Society, of which he happens to be a member. Anderson called the organization a positive force for the university, the city, and the state.
“All people who are part of the Heritage Society are really precious to us,” Anderson said. “A really big thank you to you.”
University staff members want to see the ranks of the Heritage Society grow. Each gift is appreciated regardless of size, said Davis, who encourages people to let the university know when they include UALR in their planned giving.
For more information about how to become a member of the Heritage Society, contact Jan Davis at 501-569-8738 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Peggy Mitchell-Ferris at 501-683-7063 or email@example.com.