Joel Anderson recognized for outstanding civic work

Chancellor Joel E. Anderson addresses the Heritage Society during a 2015 gathering

University of Arkansas at Little Rock Chancellor Emeritus Joel Anderson recently was saluted for his outstanding civic work in the Little Rock community.

Anderson was awarded the William F. Rector Memorial Award for Distinguished Civic Achievement during a Dec. 16, 2016, luncheon at the Robinson Center.

Fifty for the Future, a civic organization of Pulaski County business leaders, has given the award since 1976 in honor of William Rector, a community leader in Little Rock for more than 25 years.

Anderson was surprised to receive the award: He wasn’t even aware he was in the running for the prestigious award. However, Anderson was honored to be recognized by Fifty for the Future, an organization that includes many of the city’s “business movers and shakers.”

“I believe the award reflects, at least in part, a recognition by the business community of the university’s significant contributions to the progress of the city and the region,” Anderson said.

The award comes with a $2,500 contribution to a charity of the winner’s choosing, which Anderson donated to the UALR Alumni Association Scholarship Fund.

Legacy of community involvement

Anderson became UALR chancellor in 2003, bringing with him more than 30 years of university and community service. Anderson’s 45-year career at the university ended with his retirement in June 2016. He had previously served UALR as provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and as founding dean of the Graduate School.

During Anderson’s tenure as chancellor, the campus completed several major building projects including the Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology, the Donaldson Student Services Center, the Nanotechnology Center, the Coleman Sports Complex, the Jack Stephens Center, the University Plaza shopping center purchase, the Coleman Creek Greenway Project, and three residence halls.

Among the numerous highlights of Anderson’s service as chancellor are the recent partnership with eStem to build a new high school on the university’s campus; the expansion of doctoral programs; completion of a $103 million comprehensive campaign, and the creation of the George W. Donaghey Emerging Analytics Center.

He has served on 10 boards, including the Arkansas Symphony and United Way. He chaired the boards of the Arkansas 4-H Foundation and the Arkansas Science and Technology Authority. He also served as president of the Rotary Club of Little Rock.

He earned degrees in political science from Harding University, American University, and the University of Michigan and completed the Harvard one-month Institute for Educational Management.

Anderson, a native of Swifton, and his wife, Ann, a native of Huntsville, have three sons and five grandchildren. They will be seen at Trojan basketball games, and are active members of the Pleasant Valley Church of Christ.

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