The University of Arkansas at Little Rock honored the distinguished individuals who have joined the esteemed ranks of the Heritage Society, a group united by their unwavering commitment to shaping the future of education at UA Little Rock.
The UA Little Rock Heritage Society recognizes those with a profound legacy of support who have designated a planned gift to the university in their estate plans. The new members were honored during the Heritage Society Annual Reception held Aug. 17 in the Windgate Center of Art and Design.
The new members include Bryan Day, double alumnus, adjunct professor, and executive director of the Little Rock Port Authority; Jeanette Hamilton, a double alumna, attorney, and pianist; Dr. Norman L. Hodges Jr., retired director of the Arkansas State Claims Commission and former board president of the Friends of Public Radio; and Dr. Paula Wyatt Morris, a double alumna, former chemistry professor at UA Little Rock, and retired professor of pediatrics at UAMS and chief of pediatric rheumatology at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
Planned gifts are an important investment in the future of UA Little Rock, which is in the middle of its Centennial Campaign, the university’s largest fundraising campaign to date with a goal of raising $250 million by UA Little Rock’s 100-year anniversary in 2027.
“Your gifts help make UA Little Rock an educational destination of choice,” Chancellor Christina Drale said. “Whether it’s the benefit of scholarships, program excellence, unique academic opportunities, or another benefit of attending UA Little Rock – students realize the difference we offer. Planned gifts are crucial in helping us plan for our future. Your support has never been more important, as we set the course for our next 100 years.”
During fiscal year 2023, UA Little Rock raised nearly $2 million through pledged or realized planned gifts. Since July 1, more than $1.2 million has been pledged or realized in planned gifts.
“We thank our new Heritage Society members for your investment in our future, our students, and our community,” said Christian O’Neal, vice chancellor for university advancement. “Endowed scholarships strengthen recruitment and retention, as students weigh their options for a quality education without incurring enormous debt. Gifts toward our programs enhance or create opportunities for students. And endowed professorships or chairs help us recruit and retain exceptional faculty which, in turn, benefits our students – and recruitment.”
The new Heritage Society members and their gifts include:
Bryan Day – Day earned his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and his master’s in Public Administration from UA Little Rock. He begins his fifth year of service as an adjunct professor in the master’s of public administration program this fall. After making previous gifts to the university, Day has continued his generosity by designating an estate gift to create an endowed scholarship in his name for the benefit of students in the MPA program.
Jeanette Hamilton – An alumna of UA Little Rock’s music program and the Bowen School of Law, Hamilton is a skilled pianist who continually displays her love of music and support for higher education. After one of her recent concerts in the Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall, she designated an estate gift to create an endowed scholarship in her name for music students. Additionally, she plans to donate her immaculate Steinway piano to the university’s music program.
Dr. Norman L. Hodges, Jr. – Love of public radio runs deep in the Hodges Family. Hodges is a former president of the Friends of Public Radio and helped plan the 20th anniversary celebration for the launch of the KUAR/KLRE public radio stations. His late brother, Madison Hodges, served as the first general manager of public radio when the station was part of the Little Rock School District. The station later became KUAR, which is now part of UA Little Rock Public Radio. Hodges’s planned gift will establish an endowed scholarship in his and his brother’s name to fund radio internships for mass communication and applied communication students at UA Little Rock.
Dr. Paula Wyatt Morris – Before entering medical school, Morris served as a chemistry professor at UA Little Rock. She retired as a professor of pediatrics at UAMS and chief of pediatric rheumatology at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Morris has designated an estate gift to create an endowed professorship in her own name in the Department of Chemistry. Morris’ mother, Pauline Graves Wyatt, was also a graduate of UA Little Rock in the School of Education. In honor of her mother, Wyatt has made a designated gift to name a classroom in the School of Education after her mother as well as create an endowed scholarship for education students in her name.
Through their visionary foresight and profound generosity, these new Heritage Society members have chosen to leave an indelible mark, ensuring the flame of knowledge continues to burn brightly for generations to come at UA Little Rock.
If you are interested in making a planned gift to UA Little Rock and learning more about the Heritage Society, contact Ginger Daril, director of development for planned giving and university initiatives, at firstname.lastname@example.org.