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Year in Review: Top 10 Stories of 2022

Brittney Harding
Brittney Harding will be graduating in Spring 2022 with a nursing degree. Photo by Ben Krain.

2022 has proven to be a memorable year for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. We’ve seen exciting new campaigns, programs, and grants – from the launch of the largest fundraising campaign and the receipt of the largest National Science Foundation grant in university history as well as the start of a statewide cybersecurity learning partnership and joining the Ohio Valley Conference.

What have proven to be the most read stories of the year that have captured the attention of the UA Little Rock community?

Rounding out the Top 10 was one of the most memorable stories of the year. Who could forget as Little Rock Head Wrestling Coach Neil Erisman heroically helped save the life of a choking girl while he was on the way to church in Maumelle?

Singer/songwriter Johnny Cash has captured the hearts and minds of the Arkansas people, and so did this tale of UA Little Rock alumnus Kevin Kresse’s efforts to immortalize the Arkansas icon through a sculpture that will be placed in the U.S Capitol Building later this year.

The inspiring stories of the university’s graduating students have taken a number of spots in the Top 10 list. Coming in at #8 is the story of Ruby Trotter, a May 2022 graduate who double majored in chemistry and Spanish and planned a future as a doctor. This Donaghey Scholar was especially active at UA Little Rock and won several awards for her nanotechnology research and service to the community.

The news that UA Little Rock was selected as the first university in Arkansas to serve as an Amazon Career Choice Partner was immensely popular on campus, becoming the seventh top story of 2022! The partnership helps Amazon employees achieve career success by providing them with access to comprehensive college programs.

At #6, the story of senior Alyssa Fawbush went viral as the Little Rock community watched her achieve her childhood dream of competing on “Wheel of Fortune” on Thanksgiving!

Moving into the top half of our list, the announcement of four new team members in the Office of Alumni and Development – Catie Ross, Tommy Goucher, Stephanie Purifoy, and Laterika Tooks – was the top five story of 2022!

The Fall 2022 semester was met with excitement as UA Little Rock saw an unprecedented 29 percent growth for first-time freshmen, while transfer students were up 8 percent and graduate students, 5 percent. This news mades the #4 story of the year.

The most popular stories of 2022 proved to be tales of graduating students starting the next chapter of their lives. Coming in at #3 is the story of Justin Williams, a former police officer and state trooper who is well on his way to completing his goal of becoming a criminal justice professor.

Who could forget the heartwarming tale of Cassandra Dean, a mother of six, who graduated in May 2022 with her fourth degree from UA Little Rock. She started her sociology degree during the pandemic in 2020, when all six of her children were also taking online classes at home.

Last but not least, the top story of 2022 is of Brittney Harding, a nursing graduate who dreamed of becoming a nurse ever since she was a little girl who watched her mother become a nurse.