Chloe Deaton named Whitbeck Award winner

A Donaghey Scholar who taught women in Nicaragua how to support themselves by making metal jewelry and selling their creations online is the recipient of the 2016 Edward L. Whitbeck Memorial Award.

Chloe Deaton, 23, of Little Rock, has maintained a perfect 4.0 grade point average while double majoring in Spanish and fine arts with an emphasis in metals at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

The Whitbeck Memorial Award is the single greatest distinction the university annually bestows on a graduating student. Deaton will receive the award during a luncheon beginning at 11:30 a.m. Friday, May 13, at the Clinton Presidential Center Great Hall in Little Rock.

Elaine Eubank, who will receive the UALR Distinguished Alumni Award, and Paul Nolte, who will receive the UALR Presidents Award also will be honored during the event.

Deaton’s final project for the Donaghey Scholars program included leading a metal jewelry making class for Nicaraguan women participating in Nueva Imagen, a program teaching new life skills to women previously trapped in prostitution.

Before she left, Deaton raised more than $1,700 for tools and supplies during a two-week period via social media. When she returned home, she created a business plan to help participants sell their products online.

“That opportunity was the most complete I have ever felt,” Deaton said. “I cannot fully express the joy that is found in seeing these marginalized women transform into confident, hammer-wielding craftspeople. I believe that work like this project embodies the idea of citizenship.

“Utilizing the skills we have all acquired at UALR to make a positive impact is perhaps the best way to give back and fulfill our duties as privileged citizens of the world.”

As someone who is not afraid to take on new challenges, Deaton also created a stop-motion animated film entirely on her own for her final fine arts major project.

“J.C. Hopper Custom Menswear” is about a cricket tailor who helps out the bullying dung beetle mayor, who has ripped his pants at an inopportune moment.

“It has an underlying message of class and equality,” she said. “The mayor does something bad to the cricket, and the cricket still does something nice when the mayor needs help.”

The film was accepted into seven film festivals and won several awards, including Best Student Film at the Indie Film Festival in Switzerland, Best College Film at the Austin Student Film Festival, and the Presidential Award at the North Carolina Film Awards.

Coming from a family that believes strongly in giving back, Deaton has always been active in her community. She volunteered as a facilitator at World Services for the Blind, a fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a translator for Community of Grace Health Center, and a tutor at Franklin Elementary School.

After doctors diagnosed Type 1 diabetes in Deaton when she was a child, her parents helped found a local chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in Little Rock, where Deaton still volunteers as an ambassador.

Most people would not realize just how accomplished Deaton is because she “has the potential to fly under people’s radar,” said Simon Hawkins, interim director of the Donaghey Scholars Program.

“She is friendly and personable, but her demeanor is quite modest,” Hawkins said. “Sometimes getting her to list accomplishments is like pulling teeth, but her work is impressive in its complexity, detail, thoughtfulness, and commitment to others.”

Deaton has worked in leadership positions in several UALR organizations. She restarted UALR’s Spanish Club and has served as president for the past three years. She also served as personnel chair of Chi Omega Fraternity and was a founding member of Delta Epsilon Iota Academic Honor Society.

She is also a member of Golden Key International Honor Society, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and Sigma Delta Pi.

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.

Deaton is currently keeping busy by working as a cake decorator at Natalie Madison’s Artisan Cakes and as a radiology assistant at Radiology Associates, P.A.

After graduation, Deaton is getting married May 21 to her fiancé, Mr. Kaley Crum. This summer, she plans to finish her second stop-motion animated film about two Florida retirees playing on the beach and the humorous situations that arise.

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