University of Arkansas at Little Rock business and finance students can now look forward to an additional scholarship to help them complete their dream of finishing a college education, thanks to a generous gift from a community-minded Little Rock couple.
Henry “Hank” Kelley Jr. and his wife Stephanie have donated $37,000 to the A.P. Vibhakar Endowed Scholarship, named in honor of Dr. Ashvin Vibhakar, UA Little Rock’s long-time Joe. T. Ford Chair of Finance.
“I am touched and honored to have this scholarship endowed in my name,” Vibhakar said. “I am thankful to Hank and Stephanie, who I consider to be my close friends and family, for their gift. Hank was one of my MBA students in the 1980s, and having a past student honor me this way gives me the sense that I have a made a difference in the community.”
Chancellor Emeritus Joel Anderson created the scholarship in 2009 with a $5,000 gift, and the Kelleys’ donation brings the scholarship’s endowment to $50,000. Now that the endowment has reached that level, the scholarship will be awarded annually to a UA Little Rock minority student majoring in international business or finance.
Hank Kelley and Vibhakar are both members of the Rotary Club of Little Rock. Kelley, incoming president of Rotary 99, said his new responsibility led him to understand how important higher education is to the future of Little Rock.
“The scholarship that Stephanie and I funded is a recognition of Ashvin Vibhakar’s service to his students and UA Little Rock,” Hank Kelley said. “We share membership in Rotary 99 of Little Rock with many other members of the UA Little Rock community, and Stephanie and I know Little Rock’s trajectory is directly tied to having a student-focused research university in our city. We know no better way to express our appreciation to Ashvin and Diane as friends than to help fund this important scholarship in his name.”
Chancellor Andrew Rogerson, also a Rotarian, said the university is indebted to Hank Kelley and other donors like him in central Arkansas who understand the importance of helping UA Little Rock thrive.
“Hank and Stephanie are pillars of the community who have given their hearts and souls to Little Rock,” Rogerson said. “Their latest gift to support business scholarships is yet another investment in the future of this university that will help us cultivate future leaders in central Arkansas.”
Stephanie Kelley works as a Pilates instructor, coach, and mentor in the community. She is a graduate of Mount St. Mary Academy and the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, where she and Hank met. The couple has four children and nine grandchildren.
Hank and Stephanie Kelley (photo above right) have endowed a scholarship in honor of Dr. Ashvin Vibhakar (photo above left), chair of finance at UA Little Rock.