UA Little Rock Celebrates Centennial Campaign Start at BBQ @ Bailey

The UA Little Rock Dance Team dances with Coach Darrell Walker at BBQ at Bailey.

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock community had many reasons to celebrate during the annual BBQ @ Bailey event on Oct. 14. The annual university picnic brought together employees, students, alumni, and community supporters to enjoy food, fun, and camaraderie.

Chancellor Christina Drale announced the start of the Centennial Campaign, a new capital campaign that celebrates the university’s 100-year anniversary in 2027. The campaign has a goal of raising $250 million by 2027, making the campaign the largest fundraising effort in university history.

“BBQ at Bailey is even more special this year,” Drale said. “Money raised in this campaign will benefit the campus community through student scholarships, program excellence, and the living and learning environments. The next five years will be busy and really exciting. Our hope is that you will contribute to the Centennial Campaign in your own way to make a difference for students who are here today and those who will be here in the future. Help us make the next 100 years as great as the first century at UA Little Rock.”

BBQ @ Bailey followed the Centennial Campaign Gala on Oct. 13. Centennial Campaign Co-chairs Alfred Williams and Jerry Damerow, who emceed the gala, were happy to spread support for the campaign to UA Little Rock supporters at both events.

“This is just as important for the staff and faculty of this university to engage with the community as it is for the community to engage with the staff and faculty and students, and last night was the perfect example of everyone working together,” Williams said. “We got to follow up and keep going with this great event.”

“Last night was an opportunity for all of us to engage with donors and potential donors, and today is a good chance to engage with students,” Damerow added. “That’s what it’s all about – the students. Today is a special day and the frosting on the cake from a wonderful event last night.”

The start of the Centennial Campaign included a $6.75 million gift that benefits the School of Engineering and Engineering Technology in memory of the late Dr. Yupo Chan, who was the founding chair of the Department of Systems Engineering. The donors, Susan Chan and Alex Johnson, were honored during the gala event at the Fine Arts Building.

“I think the donors felt very honored and appreciated and are glad to be part of a new beginning for the engineering school,” said Dr. Lawrence Whitman, dean of the Donaghey College of STEM. “This is a great start to support students for the next 100 years of our university. The donors wanted to be a part of the beginning of many more gifts to the university.”

Chancellor Christina Drale announces the start of the Centennial Campaign during BBQ @ Bailey. Photo by Ben Krain.
Chancellor Christina Drale happily announces the start of the Centennial Campaign during BBQ @ Bailey. Photo by Ben Krain.

Paige Henry, a soccer player, was one of the dozens of student-athletes who volunteered their time to help set up and serve food during BBQ @ Bailey. Guests enjoyed lunch catered by Whole Hog Café, dessert from Community Bakery, and music by Klassik Entertainment.

“This is a wonderful event with great energy, good food, and a lot of fun,” Henry said. “I enjoy volunteering to help out the university community.”

Loris Fullerton, a 1974 graduate and Alumni Association Board member, recalled her fondness for attending BBQ @ Bailey and connecting with old friends.

“I think this is a very cool way to get the students and alumni involved,” she said. “I don’t know a school that works harder than UA Little Rock. It’s like a great hometown family to me, and BBQ @ Bailey is the place to be seen.”

Dr. Amar Kanekar, professor and graduate program coordinator for the Health Education and Health Promotion program, enjoyed returning to the event after not attending for several years.

“I think this is a great tradition to get to meet other people and learn about what is happening on campus,” Kanekar said. “I couldn’t be here last year because of the pandemic, but I am glad to be back. It’s a great opportunity to be out in the sun, and the food is great.”

Director of Athletics George Lee enjoys some great barbecue from Whole Hog Cafe during BBQ @ Bailey on Oct. 14 at the Bailey Alumni and Friends Center. Photo by Ben Krain.
Director of Athletics George Lee enjoys some great barbecue from Whole Hog Cafe during BBQ @ Bailey on Oct. 14 at the Bailey Alumni and Friends Center. Photo by Ben Krain.

Staff Senate President Ross Bradley and Past President Rosalie Shahan were hosting one of several booths representing UA Little Rock campus organizations during the picnic.

“It’s great seeing students, faculty, staff, and members of the community at this annual event and to hear about the Centennial Campaign on campus,” Bradley said. “BBQ at Bailey is also a great way for campus organizations to promote their individual initiatives. We are here promoting the annual Staff Senate Helping Hands Food Drive, which helps provide food baskets to employees around the holidays in December.”

People can help UA Little Rock by joining the Alumni Association, contributing to annual fundraisers, making a donation, or putting the university in their estate plans. More information on the Centennial Campaign is available at

Dr. Danyell Crutchfield Cummings, president of the UA Little Rock Alumni Board of Directors, invited people to join the UA Little Rock Alumni Association, which annually offers around $100,000 in student scholarships, in addition to helping people create connections.

“This is one of my favorite events on the campus every year. It was the best opportunity to get together, eat, and enjoy some good weather,” she said. “We are alumni, current students, and supporters of our university and our students. Many of you may have benefitted from scholarships at this university. I know I did. Your membership dues will directly benefit general scholarships to help students graduate without debt.”

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