Gift to UA Little Rock September Fund will help children of Arkansas first responders

Dr. Julien Mirivel, dean of the College of Social Sciences and Communication (right), Christian O'Neal, vice chancellor of university advancement (middle), and Jake Goheen (right) sign papers signifying a $19,000 donation to the September Fund Endowed Scholarship Fund. Photo by Benjamin Krain.

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has received a $19,000 donation to help children of first responders in Arkansas afford a college education while carrying on the memory of first responders who tragically lost their lives on 9/11. 

The donation will benefit the September Fund Endowed Scholarship in the UA Little Rock College of Social Sciences and Communication and will provide assistance for any education-related expenses for the children of Arkansas first responders, including law enforcement officers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians.

“This donation is a wonderful gift that will benefit many students over the years. It will double the endowment and provide stability for the scholarship,” said Dr. Julien Mirivel, interim dean of the College of Social Sciences and Communication. “This is also a special scholarship that helps the children of our first responders who sacrificed so much for others. It matches the college’s mission to make a difference in the lives of our students.”

The September Fund emerged in 2003 after Jake Goheen, an attorney and graduate of the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law, answered a call from his favorite talk radio show, “The Corey and Jay Show” (now “The Corey and Patrick Show”), in 2002.

“Corey and Jay put out a call for attorneys to help them start a project honoring first responders of 9/11,” said Goheen, head of the September Fund Board. “A while later, I realized no one called in. Not a lot of attorneys listen to alternative rock stations. That’s the first and only time I’ve called in to a radio talk show. We formed a wonderful board and had a great 15-year run.”

Goheen joined forces with John Beck, a local law enforcement officer, and his wife, Laura Beck, who previously worked at UA Little Rock. In addition to helping with the law enforcement and educational portions of the scholarship, the Becks sold barbecue sauce and salsa to help fund the scholarship as well as created an annual chili cook-off event.

“The September Fund has been a lot of fun, and we’ve had some faithful friends that have stayed with us over the years,” John Beck said. “This effort came from the heart. I remember exactly where I was on 9/11. A lot of good people gave up their lives that day. It’s our duty to never forget them.”

Others who were instrumental in helping the September Fund over the years include board members Corey Deitz, Patrick Beam, and Matt Cruz, on-air talent at 100.3. In the past, others have given countless hours of their time and donated their skills and money to the cause. Matt Brumley, an emergency medical technician and director of MEDTRAN Ambulance Service of Saline Memorial Hospital, helped spread the word in the early years, as well as the Saline County Sheriff’s Department and accountants Michael Glenn and Michael Storey.

UA Little Rock honors friends of the College of Social Sciences and Communication during a baksetball game at the Jack Stephens Center. Those pictured (L to R) include: Chasse Conque, Dr. Julien Mirivel, Jake Goheen Ashley Gore, Tom Bailey, Miguel Lopez Summer Khairi,  Nancy Rowen, Trey Day Rowan and son, and Mike Blain. Photo by Benjamin Krain.
UA Little Rock honors friends of the College of Social Sciences and Communication during a basketball game at the Jack Stephens Center. Those pictured (L to R) include: Chasse Conque, Dr. Julien Mirivel, Jake Goheen Ashley Gore, Tom Bailey, Miguel Lopez, Summer Khairi, Nancy Rowen, Tre’ Day Rowan and son, and Mike Blain. Photo by Benjamin Krain.

Now that the scholarship is housed at UA Little Rock, they hope the scholarship will carry on forever.

“At this point, the kids that are getting the scholarship do not remember 9/11. We don’t want there to ever be another 9/11, but we don’t want people to forget what happened that day,” Goheen said. “We want this to be a permanent fund that lives on forever to honor the first responders who are out there dealing with fires, accidents, medical emergencies, and tragedies. The first responders are still on the ground every day, and their children still need an education.”

Preference will be given to students majoring in a department or school in the College of Social Sciences and Communication. These include applied communication, criminal justice, psychology, rhetoric and writing, mass communication, public affairs, and sociology and anthropology. Academic accomplishments and financial need will be strongly considered.

“Many of us remember life before 9/11, but the students who receive this scholarship will have no concept of that previous life,” said Christian O’Neal, vice chancellor of university advancement. “We had so many local heroes that participated in the heroic efforts of that day, and this scholarship keeps the memory of their sacrifices alive.”

In the upper right photo, Dr. Julien Mirivel, interim dean of the College of Social Sciences and Communication (right), Christian O’Neal, vice chancellor of university advancement (middle), and Jake Goheen (right) sign papers signifying a $19,000 donation to the September Fund Endowed Scholarship Fund. Photo by Benjamin Krain. 

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