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Spirit of Giving: UA Little Rock Surpasses Campus Campaign Goal

The 2023 Campus Campaign Steering Committee and Ambassadors meet in the Bailey Alumni Center. Photo by Ahmed Elkhattabi.
The 2023 Campus Campaign Steering Committee and Ambassadors meet in the Bailey Alumni Center. Photo by Ahmed Elkhattabi.

UA Little Rock employees demonstrated their generosity during 2023 by donating more than $156,000 to the university. Faculty and staff achieved a momentous victory in the 2023 Campus Campaign, surpassing the campaign goal of 30 percent participation.

This resounding success not only showcases the collective spirit that defines the university but also highlights the enduring commitment of its community to invest in the institution’s mission and future.

“This accomplishment is a testament to the dedication and generosity of our campus community,” said Dr. Aresh Assadi, director of Counseling Services and chair of the Campus Campaign. “Reaching this participation level is not only a numerical success but also speaks to the sense of unity and commitment among our employees. I believe that boosting internal participation is crucial as it positively impacts our external fundraising efforts, creating a strong foundation for the university’s growth and development.”

Reaching this goal speaks to the shared belief in the transformative power of education and the collective impact of small acts of giving. Altogether, nearly 350 university employees donated to UA Little Rock during 2023.

“The spirited engagement of our dedicated faculty and staff in the Campus Campaign goes beyond monetary contributions,” said Christian O’Neal, vice chancellor for university advancement. “This wholehearted internal support significantly fortifies our university’s standing as we approach external donors for major gifts. It communicates a compelling message – that those intimately connected to the university are wholeheartedly committed to its mission. This collective investment not only enhances our credibility but also amplifies our appeal when seeking external funds. I want to extend my sincere gratitude to the staff, faculty, and administrators who played instrumental roles in organizing this year’s campaign. With the capable assistance of Laterika Tooks and Kristi Smith, it became a total team effort. Witnessing such collaboration makes me immensely proud to be a Trojan.”

The university owes a special thanks to the dedicated employees who helped lead the Campus Campaign effort across campus. Campus Campaign Steering Committee members included Assadi, Mark Baillie, Shelia Brooks, Sikia Brown, Jessie Burchfield, Anthony Buttrum, Katrina Christopher, Reed Claiborne, Shannon Collier-Tenison, andre cummings, Joe Felan, Tyler Harrison, Carrie Phillips, Derek Slagle, Judy Staley, Joanne Matson, Brandy Dixon, and Emily Bell.

Campus Campaign Ambassadors included Katie Helms, Dawn Johnson, Sadie Lea, Monica Meadows, Leisa Myles, Vanessa Whitman, Angela Willis, April Chatham-Capenter, Mercades Parker, Bobbie Handcock, Salina Ables, Reteisha Byrd, Morgan Leyenberger, Mohammad Goodarzi, Keith Harris, Mary French, Rachel Mercado, Belinda Nix, Cynthia Dedner, Al Baker, Jennifer Lampkin, Anne Turner, Grace Zafasi, and Mary Tillman.

“The dedication of our Steering Committee and Campus Ambassadors was evident throughout the campus, and I had the opportunity to observe the effort they invested behind the scenes,” said Laterika Tooks, director of annual giving at UA Little Rock. “I feel fortunate to collaborate with numerous faculty and staff members who are enthusiastic about their roles and committed to the development and achievement of this university.”

A total of 18 campus departments achieved 100 percent giving in 2023, which is 50 percent more than 2022.

Those departments include Alumni and Development, Applied Communication, the Bursar’s Office, the Chancellor’s Office, Concurrent Enrollment, Counseling Services, Disability Resource Center, Financial Aid and Scholarships, Financial Services, Institute of Chief Data Officers, Mail Services, Marketing and Communications, Office of Military Student Success, Sequoyah National Research Center, Study Abroad, Student Retention Initiatives, Testing and Student Life Research, and the Trojan Transition and Assistance Center.

Bobbie Handcock, a web content specialist who served as a campus ambassador, said that she likes to donate to causes like the Trojan Food Pantry or to help buy caps and gowns for graduating students.

“I work at UA Little Rock, and I’m also a graduate student,” Handcock said. “I’ve been able to see things from a student’s perspective and talk with my classmates about challenges that they may face. I know how important it is to have support – both financially and academically. The Campus Campaign generates funds to help students succeed and reach their goals.”

As a campus campaign ambassador, Handcock explained how a gift to the university is an investment in future leaders, innovators, and professionals.

“By donating, you can help provide scholarships, financial aid, and resources to students who might not otherwise have the means to pursue a college education,” Handcock said. “By contributing, you can help feed someone who is hungry or clothe someone who needs business attire for a job interview. I shared ways that they could support the campaign, including purchasing a legacy brick, giving to an area that means the most to them or giving a gift-in-kind such as to the Trojan Career Closet. I encouraged them to remember that it doesn’t matter what you give, as long as you give.”

The gifts are a part of the Centennial Campaign, UA Little Rock’s fundraising campaign to raise $250 million in celebration of the university’s 100-year anniversary in 2027. The Campus Campaign was part of a cumulative fundraising year that netted more than $22 million for UA Little Rock. Visit to learn more about the Centennial Campaign.