Evonne Hair, a student program coordinator for the Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education, will always remember 2020 as a milestone in her life.
Last December, she graduated from UA Little Rock with a bachelor’s degree in applied communication after taking college classes for 16 years.
“It was a milestone for me to complete my bachelor’s degree,” Hair said. “I’m the second out of six kids to graduate. I couldn’t celebrate my graduation last year because of COVID but I’m celebrating now.”
Having started her college education at UA Little Rock in 2004, Hair said she had exhausted financial aid options and had been paying for her education while working full-time at the university for years.
Hair is one of five UA Little Rock staff members who received the Staff Senate Scholarship in 2020, and the money helped pay for her final semester of college at UA Little Rock. However, it was one final act of kindness that got her over the home stretch.
“UA Little Rock has been a great help during this time,” Hair said. “Dr. April Chatham-Carpenter and Steve McClellan, God rest his soul, gave me the last $1,500 I needed to finish. That’s the reason I was able to get my degree.”
The UA Little Rock Staff Senate celebrated the achievements of Hair and other staff members during a Staff Senate Award Recognition event on April 30. The event recognized staff members who won Staff Achievement Awards, received scholarships, completed an educational achievement, and were celebrating work anniversaries and retirement in 2020 and 2021.
Mary Tillman, administrative support manager for MidSouth, said UA Little Rock’s atmosphere has been an inspiration during her career.
“There is nothing like the atmosphere of what happens when you are surrounded by all these educational opportunities,” Tillman said. “That is what has kept me here for 15 years.”
Joan Reed, higher education institute program coordinator for the School of Nursing, is celebrating her 20th anniversary at UA Little Rock.
“Time flies when you are having fun,” Reed said. “There have been a lot of changes at UA Little Rock over the past two decades. UA Little Rock has a lot to offer. What has really helped me is participating in the fitness classes we offer.”
Tina Medlock, director of communications at William H. Bowen School of Law as well as this year’s recipient of the Staff Achievement Award for Personal Growth, has enjoyed learning new skills and building camaraderie with her colleagues at the law school.
“I have so much fun working with people at Bowen and getting to learn new things that it doesn’t even feel like work,” Medlock said.
The event, along with the Staff Celebration Week activities, were hosted by the Staff Senate Awards Committee that includes Jenn McDannold, Shannon Gwinn, Samantha Wiley, Cody Henslee, Rosalie Shahan, Cadence Baize, Jordan Breckenridge, Serifatu Walton, and Anissa Sonia-Williams.
Visit the Staff Senate website to view a program listing all of the UA Little Rock staff members celebrating milestones and achievements during 2021.
Evonne Hair is pictured in the upper right photo. All photos taken by Ben Krain.