A woman who has spent nearly four decades working in the public health sector and with nonprofit organizations recently received the 2016 University of Arkansas at Little Rock Distinguished Alumni Award.
Elaine Eubank, president and CEO of Easter Seals Arkansas, received the UALR Alumni Association’s highest honor during a May 13 luncheon at the Clinton Presidential Center.
“The Distinguished Alumni Award is recognized as a way to really point out exceptional achievement for former students of the university,” said Christian O’Neal, UALR vice chancellor for advancement. “Elaine Eubank has achieved extraordinary distinction in her career and made extraordinary contributions to Little Rock, to the university, and to the citizens of the state.”
Eubank was the first person in her family to attend college, an opportunity she attributes to the hard work of her dedicated parents.
“Thank you to UALR for this wonderful honor,” Eubank said. “I was the first in my family to have the opportunity to attend college, and that makes this more meaningful to me. The education that I received at UALR opened doors that made it possible for me to follow my heart in the career choices that I made, and that’s been a wonderful gift.”
Eubank said she appreciates the many resources UALR has provided that have aided her work.
“For 40 years, UALR has been a resource and a source of lifelong learning for me,” she said. “I’ve had so many special friends, faculty members, consultants, board members, and mentors from UALR over the years, and that also makes this very special to me. It’s no wonder that UALR is such an important partner to so many nonprofits in central Arkansas. I’m so grateful for the difference UALR has made in my life.”
The award is also special to Eubank because she gets to join the ranks of family members who received some of UALR’s highest honors. Her husband, Alfred Williams, is a 2013 recipient of the UALR Presidents Award, and his father, E. Grainger Williams, is a 1957 recipient of the UALR Distinguished Alumni Award.
Becoming an advocate for those without a voice
After graduating from UALR with a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 1975, Eubank served as the director of women’s health at the Arkansas Department of Health, where she supervised the operation of 10 public health programs with an annual budget of $25 million that served approximately 80,000 patients.
She next served as assistant director of the Arkansas Division of Aging and Adult Services, where she oversaw 10 statewide programs operated by more than 50 nonprofit agencies.
One of her favorite aspects of her work is being an advocate for underserved populations in Arkansas.
“In Arkansas, it is amazing what one person can accomplish if they go to the Capitol and lobby,” Eubank said. “I am a fighter and love being an advocate for people who don’t have a voice.”
Finding her place in nonprofit work
In 1992, Eubank moved to the nonprofit sector to become the president of CareLink, which provides resources for older people and their families in central Arkansas. Beginning with a staff of 400 employees and an annual budget of $4.5 million, Eubank helped the agency grow to almost 800 employees with an annual budget of $17 million.
After 22 years at CareLink, Eubank became the president and CEO of Easter Seals Arkansas, a nonprofit organization that aids more than 20,000 Arkansans with disabilities per year.
Easter Seals provides life-changing services that help children and adults with disabilities reach their full potential. For children, services include two developmental preschools, outpatient therapy, a children’s rehabilitation center, and in-home services. Services for adults include a wellness center, job training, four apartment complexes, and in-home services.
Arkansas Business named her one of the Top 100 Women in Arkansas in 1995, and she is a former board member of the Rotary Club of Little Rock. She is a member of Second Presbyterian Church and the UALR Alumni Association.
Eubank and her husband have been married for more than 30 years and have two children and three grandchildren. She enjoys reading, gardening, and watersports, especially stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking with her dogs Winston and Daisy.
In the upper right photo, the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient, Elaine Eubank, and her husband, Alfred Williams, are pictured at the Distinguished Alumni Luncheon. Photos by Lonnie Timmons III.