CHICAGO, IL – HBCU Campaign Fund’s (HCF) Founder, President & CEO, Demetrius Johnson Jr., will return to his alma mater to serve as a Student Recruitment Specialist in the good faith of assisting the team in increasing enrollment at the institution. His tenure began on April 16th. He is excited to provide his passionate and student-centered enthusiasm to the team. This will be in addition to Johnson continuing his duties as the Founder, President & CEO at the HBCU Campaign Fund where he has served for eight years. He does not accept a current salary for his position at HCF.

Demetrius Johnson Jr., Founder, President & CEO at HBCU Campaign Fund.

Johnson has a total of three years of higher education experience, most recently serving as a Financial Aid Counselor at Mississippi Valley State University. Prior to that, he served as Admissions Communications Specialist at Lincoln University of Missouri from 2017 until 2019. Since 2015, he has served as the Founder, President & CEO of the HBCU Campaign Fund, an advocacy non-profit educational organization that supports the significance and raises funds for scholarships and services at HBCUs and MSIs.

“It is such an honor to return back home to my alma mater to continue my service from once that I had provided as a student with this amazing opportunity. I look forward to working alongside those who align with the same vision in reaching the ultimate goal in making a better future for our Dear Mother as an HBCU,” said Johnson. “I care deeply about my alma mater, I BLEED black and gold, and those who know me personally know that I truly do. I am eager to accept this task and ambitiously willing to prepare students for success. Vice Chancellor Dr. Braque Talley has a vision and It’s UAPB to the TOP!”

Described as a highly visionary and passionate leader at heart, Johnson is a strong advocate for HBCUs. His vision for HCF is to lead the organization forward as an essential tool for supporting students and higher education. His ultimate goal is to ensure that HBCUs remain the relevant institutions that they were created to be, by us.

“I really enjoy working and servicing the students with the neccessary essentials that they’re needing to be successful in their collegiate studies. I am a strong believer of customer service and being user friendly, which is the key to a successful staff to student relationship. Also, it plays a huge part in retention,” Johnson added.

Johnson has received numerous awards and recognitions since his presidency at HCF. He was named among the 2016 HBCU Top 30, Under 30 by HBCU Buzz. Also, he served on a number of committees and groups.

Johnson earned his Bachelor’s of Science degree in Computer Science from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (2016). In 2016, he was selected to attend a four-week study abroad program at the University of Toulouse-Jean Jaures in Toulouse, France. He is currently working on his Master’s degree.

###

About the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB)
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is a public comprehensive HBCU 1890 Land-Grant Institution. The University embraces its land-grant mission of providing cutting edge research, teaching, outreach, and service programs that respond to the social and economic needs of the state and region. Its mission is to promote and sustain excellent academic programs that integrate quality instruction, research, and student learning experiences responsive to the needs of a racially, culturally, and economically diverse student population. Ultimately, the University is dedicated to providing access and opportunity to academically deserving students and producing graduates who are equipped to excel through their contributions and leadership in a 21st century national and global community. For more information, visit www.uapb.edu.

About the HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF)
The HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) is a nonprofit advocacy educational organization that is mission to support the significance and raises funds for scholarships, initiative programming, and for private and public HBCUs and MSIs. HCF remains today as a strong advocate for students and higher education. For more information, visit www.hbcucampaignfund.org.

PINE BLUFF, AR – The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) was recently awarded financial support from the Association of Public Land-Grant Universities (APLU), to support participation in the largest-ever institutional collaborative effort to collect and share data geared at finding solutions for college access and help generate more graduates from underrepresented minority, low-income, and first generation backgrounds. Dr. Braque Talley, Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management and Student Success at UAPB, has a passion for student success and retention and the grant will support his efforts to improve local and national education opportunities.

Dr. Braque Talley, Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management and Student Success at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

“Getting students enrolled in college is no longer enough,said Dr. Talley. “We don’t just want students to attend UAPB. We want them to graduate from here as well. The success of our students is a priority for our Chancellor.”

Dr. Talley is using the funds to help review best practices that help with student successes and share the successful initiatives that impact institutional equity. As a participant, Dr. Talley will share his data with other public universities working together to increase college access, eliminate the achievement gap, and award hundreds of thousands more degrees by 2025.

“By collecting, reporting, and analyzing data from students of all backgrounds across the country, it will help to foster more informed decisions about how to improve opportunities and support the current gaps in student success,” said Dr. Talley.

“Dr. Talley’s dedication to student individual success is evident,” said George Cotton, Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement at UAPB. “Since day one, he has been driven to finding solutions to help student succeed, generate retention for the university, and help young people find their place in the world.” Even amid history’s worst pandemic, Dr. Talley was relentless in finding ways to stay engaged with local youth and help students find success. He and his team are credited for helping UAPB reach the largest enrollment increase in nearly a decade and increase the retention rate the one of the highest in the university’s history, according to reports.

“We are proud of our participation in this new initiative focused on data-driven research to determine solutions for student outcomes,” said Dr. Laurence B. Alexander, UAPB Chancellor. “UAPB is committed to being more student-focused and more responsive to change with the goal of increasing student success and the removal of impediments to student retention, progression, and timely graduation.”

Other institutions selected for the nationwide initiative are Clemson University; Illinois State University; Ohio University; Middle Tennessee State University; Montana State University; New Mexico State University; University of New Orleans; New Jersey Institute of Technology; Rutgers University-Newark; University of South Alabama; Texas Tech University; Tuskegee University; Virginia Commonwealth University; Western Michigan University; and University of Wyoming.

Dr. Talley proudly serves on the Board of Directors of the HBCU Campaign Fund.

###

About the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is a public comprehensive HBCU 1890 Land-Grant Institution. The University embraces its land-grant mission of providing cutting edge research, teaching, outreach, and service programs that respond to the social and economic needs of the state and region. Its mission is to promote and sustain excellent academic programs that integrate quality instruction, research, and student learning experiences responsive to the needs of a racially, culturally, and economically diverse student population. Ultimately, the University is dedicated to providing access and opportunity to academically deserving students and producing graduates who are equipped to excel through their contributions and leadership in a 21st century national and global community. For more information, visit www.uapb.edu.

PINE BLUFF, AR – The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) Marching Band (M4; Marching Musical Machine of the Mid-South), was awarded the $5,000 grand prize for their performance of one of Aretha Franklin’s greatest hits, “Freeway of Love.”

“I consider this award to reflect the hard work of our students and talented staff that have brought this to fruition,” said John Graham, Band Director for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. “We are honored to celebrate the life and legacy of Aretha Franklin. She inspired people to respect and love one another.”

Marking Aretha Franklin’s birthday, National Geographic’s GENIUS: ARETHA and Watch The Bands, an online platform that focuses on preserving and promoting the marching band and dance culture of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) which is owned by Watch The Yard, announced that UAPB’s Marching Band had been named the winner of ‘All Hail The Queen: HBCU Band Tribute.’

The announcement also comes on the heels of all eight episodes GENIUS: ARETHA now being available on Hulu on March 25.

The Marching Musical Machine of the Mid-South (M4) is under the direction of Mr. John Graham and Assistant Directors, Mr. Darryl Evans and Mr. Harold Fooster. M4 performs all home football games and travels to almost all games away from campus. The marching band has made appearances at the Gateway Classic, Professional football games, national television, and countless “Battle of the Bands” competition. Each year M4 hosts it “Band Day”, where several high school bands from throughout the country get the opportunity to attend a Golden Lion football game, play as a mass band, and perform their half-time shows for each other. The Marching Musical Machine of the Mid-South performed in the 2008 inaugural parade of President Barack Obama.

For more information about how you can be part of UAPB’s M4, click here.

Watch the ‘All Hall the Queen: HBCU Band Tribute’ video below.

###

About the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is a public comprehensive HBCU 1890 Land-Grant Institution. The University embraces its land-grant mission of providing cutting edge research, teaching, outreach, and service programs that respond to the social and economic needs of the state and region. Its mission is to promote and sustain excellent academic programs that integrate quality instruction, research, and student learning experiences responsive to the needs of a racially, culturally, and economically diverse student population. Ultimately, the University is dedicated to providing access and opportunity to academically deserving students and producing graduates who are equipped to excel through their contributions and leadership in a 21st century national and global community. For more information, visit www.uapb.edu.

Smokie Norful

(PINE BLUFF, AR) – GRAMMY-award winning singer and pastor, Class of 1995 graduate Smokie Norful will deliver the commencement address to the fall 2020 graduating class at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff during a virtual commencement to be held on Friday, December 18, 2020, at 6 p.m. CST via YouTube.

Norful is best known for his 2002 album I Need You Now and his 2004 release, Nothing Without You, which won a GRAMMY for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album in 2005.

Norful, a minister who is also the son of an African Methodist Episcopal Church minister, was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas but grew up in Muskogee, Oklahoma, deeply involved in his father’s church. He graduated from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff as a history major and spent four years teaching high school. In 1998 he felt “called” to the ministry, and pursued a Masters of Divinity degree at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. Upon graduation and ordination, he took a position as assistant pastor at a church in Chicago. He participated in an album release by the Thompson Community Choir, a well-known gospel group, and contributed a song as well as solo vocals. He was then offered the opportunity to make a solo album for EMI Gospel, I Need You Now. The album was a slow starter but eventually went gold, spending two years in the upper reaches of the Billboard Gospel Charts.

He was nominated for and won a GRAMMY in 2005 for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album. He is also signed to EMI-CMG Publishing and his own Norful Music Publishing as a songwriter. He performed on June 6, 2005, for President George W. Bush in a concert honoring Black Music Month. Norful is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., and pastors the Victory Cathedral Worship Center in Chicago and Bolingbrook, IL.

###

About the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is a public comprehensive HBCU 1890 Land-Grant Institution. The University embraces its land-grant mission of providing cutting edge research, teaching, outreach, and service programs that respond to the social and economic needs of the state and region. Its mission is to promote and sustain excellent academic programs that integrate quality instruction, research, and student learning experiences responsive to the needs of a racially, culturally, and economically diverse student population. Ultimately, the University is dedicated to providing access and opportunity to academically deserving students and producing graduates who are equipped to excel through their contributions and leadership in a 21st century national and global community. For more information, visit www.uapb.edu.

Danelle Whiteside

CLARKSVILLE, TN – The Austin Peay State University (APSU) Board of Trustees announced the appointment of Dannelle Whiteside as interim president, effective Aug. 10, in a called meeting. On June 18, Sam Houston State University named Dr. Alisa White, APSU’s current president, as the only finalist in its presidential search. If confirmed by the Texas State University System Board of Regents, White will assume her new role at Sam Houston in early August.

“Several outstanding candidates were considered for the interim presidency and Dannelle was the board’s consensus pick,” said Mike O’Malley, chair of the APSU Board of Trustees. “Dannelle background and experience makes her an excellent choice for this critical time in the University’s history.”

Whiteside has served APSU as Vice President for Legal Affairs, General Counsel and Secretary to the Board since 2017. Prior to coming to Austin Peay, Whiteside served as General Attorney for the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, General Counsel for the Tennessee Board of Education and District Policy Advisor for Metro Nashville Public Schools.

Whiteside received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, with honors and received her bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, graduating Summa Cum Laude.

###

About Austin Peay State University


Austin Peay State University is a comprehensive university committed to raising the educational attainment of the citizenry, developing programs and services that address regional needs, and providing collaborative opportunities that connect university expertise with private and public resources. For more information, visit www.apsu.edu.

PINE BLUFF, AR – Operations become particularly challenging when officials at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) were faced with the task of moving employees and students off-campus and transitioning all course to online delivery. The Windgate Foundation provided a $200,000 COVID-19 grant that made the transition slightly less challenging.

While the University worked to realign existing resources to address the crisis, it was obvious that additional funding was needed, according to George Cotton, Sr., Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement. The Windgate grant will allow UAPB to manage operational costs directly related to COVID-19.

“The generosity of the Windgate Foundation is greatly appreciated,” said Cotton. “This type of support is incredibly important because of its ability to meet an urgent need at a time when discretionary resources are limited.”

“College campuses nationwide are faced with the challenge of responding quickly to a pandemic,” said Laurence B. Alexander, Chancellor of UAPB. “We are thankful to the Windgate Foundation and their willingness to assist with response during this difficult time.”

The grant provides direct funds in hiring additional security for the campus during the limited closure, increased sanitization of campus facilities, purchase of software upgrades for online course delivery, and assists with emergency aid to students.

“Windgate is grateful to be able to provide support to the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff as they face the difficult challenges and decisions that must be made to ensure appropriate and safe environments are in place for their students and staff,” said Ashley Moore, Grants Administrator for the Windgate Foundation.

###

About The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is a public comprehensive HBCU 1890 Land-Grant Institution. The University embraces its land-grant mission of providing cutting edge research, teaching, outreach, and service programs that respond to the social and economic needs of the state and region. For more information, visit www.uapb.edu.

About The Windgate Foundation

The Windgate Foundation is a private grant-making foundation established in 1993 and has awarded more than $855 million in grants. For more information, visit www.windgatefounation.org.

PINE BLUFF, AR – The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) Office of Recruitment to host its annual Lion Fever Day on Friday, April 3, 2020, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Lion Fever Day is designed to allow high school seniors and juniors an opportunity to see various parts of UAPB’s campus and experience speaking with college advisors personally in an effort to gain details about his or her desired area of major. Activities will include a college fair, campus tour, a chance to hear the university marching band and view performances from select Greek organizations.

Interest students or school groups that would like to participate must RVSP. There is a fee, it is $15 per person and $10 per person in groups of 10 or more.

To RVSP and for more information about Lion Fever Day, contact UAPB’s Office of Recruitment at 870.575.7177.

Dr. Laurence B. Alexander, UAPB Chancellor and Theresa M. Beiner, Dean of the UALR Bowen School of Law sign a MOU to create 4+3 pipeline for aspiring law students. Photo by Richard Redus.

PINE BLUFF, AR – The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) William H. Bowen School of Law announced on Dec. 3, 2019, a joint-effort to create a 4+3 pipeline program.

“Both schools have been working for serveral years to get this program in place,” said Theresa M. Beiner, Bowen’s dean. “Many of Bowen’s graduates are also UAPB alumni. This program honors their paths to law school and paves the way for a long-term relationship with UAPB and its students.”

This new partnership recognizes UAPB commitment to preparing students who aspire to law school and provides guaranteed acceptance to Bowen for UAPB graduates who meet specific criteria.

“Bowen consistency attracts quality applicants,” said Matthew Kerns, Assistant Dean of Admissions. “With competition to enter the law school increasing, these programs reinforce our commitment to UAPB students and the citizens of Arkansas and ensure that highly motivated graduates have spots at the law school.”

The signing took place on UAPB’s campus and was attended by several students who took time away from their studies to learn more about the program and to meet Dean Beiner and Dean Kerns.

“This is going to be something great for our students to aspire to,” said Henry Books, IV, Instructor and Program Coordinator for the Political Science program at UAPB. “We already have students who are interested in the Bowen School of Law.”

UAPB graduates qualify for the 4+3 program if they earned a minimum cumulative UGPA of 3.4; scored a 154 or above on the LSAT; and have no character and fitness issues that would disqualify them from being admitted to the bar.

Prospective students can apply to the law school through lsac.org. Students must apply to Bowen and satisfactorily complete all admissions requirements.

“The 4+3 pipline program between UAPB and the Bowen School of Law will allow current UAPB students pursuing a bachelor’s of science degree in political science to seamlessly pursue a law degree,” said Dr. Robert Z. Carr, Jr., Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs at UAPB. “The beauty of this program is that it will set reasonable admissions requirements that students understand from day one. This is great for our students, UAPB, the Bowen School of Law and the state of Arkansas.”

In addition to this program and other scholarship opportunities, Bowen offers a 25 percent tuition scholarship to accepted students who earned a bachelor’s degree from an Arkansas historically Black college or university.

Bowen prepares students for a variety of careers, including roles as attorneys, judges or other public service leadership positions.

This is Bowen’s fifth pipeline program. They also have agreements with UA Little Rock, Philander Smith College, and Pulaski Technical College.

###

About the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) is a public comprehensive HBCU, 1890 Land-Grant institution. The University embraces its land-grant mission of providing cutting edge research, teaching, outreach, and service programs that respond to social and economic needs of the state and region. For more information, visit www.uapb.edu.

PINE BLUFF, AR – The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) has expanded its degree offerings to include its first engineering degree, Agricultural Engineering, and a Hospitality and Tourism Management degree program. The Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved the programs at its meeting on May 24 after both previously received the approval of the University of Arkansas System Board of Trustees. Classes will begin this fall.

“It’s fitting that our first engineering degree would be in Agriculture as the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is an 1890-land grant institution,” said Dr. Robert Z. Carr, Jr., Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs.

“Agriculture and tourism are the state’s top industries, generating $16 billion and nearly $6 billion annually, respectively. Our goal at UAPB is to offer programs that empower students to positively impact their communities, the state, and society at large,” said Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander.

Carr added that the Agricultural Engineering degree will offer three areas of emphasis: power and machinery; agricultural production systems; and soil and water systems:

  • The Power and Machinery track will challenge students’ creative minds to develop and improve the next generation of agricultural equipment. Upon completion, students may pursue careers in fields associated with hydraulic engineering.
  • The Agricultural Production Systems track will focus on aspects of animal and plant production, including structural development and analysis and environmental control and air quality issues associated with housed animals and plants. This track will prepare students for careers in agricultural chemistry, large irrigation systems work and management, soil fertility treatment, biological pest control, and agricultural commodities.
  • The Soil and Water Systems track will emphasize the design and evaluation of conservation systems. Students will learn how to mitigate and improve the environmental impacts of production and agriculture. Upon graduation, students will have the knowledge to become water resource specialists, wastewater engineers, environmental engineers, and soil and water conversations.

University officials believe that the response to the new degree programs will be robust, as potential students have expressed desires to study engineering at UAPB. Carr said, individuals in this career path typically enjoy median earnings of more than $111,000 annually.

The Hospitality and Tourism Management course of study will include classes that are key to the hospitality industry and tourism market, including management of restaurants and hotels and the marketing of both. Students will be prepared to thrive as general and sales managers and in entry-level positions.

“The timing of the Hospitality Management and Tourism degree program is ideal as it opens the door for possible partnerships with the new casino resort coming to Pine Bluff,” said Dr. Carr. Individuals who are interested in the hospitality and tourism field should expert to work to involve hours beyond the typically 8-to-5 day, and Carr said the university will structure the classes likewise.

“We will receive $500,000 per year over the next 5 years for agriculture-related scholarships. We hope to use these funds to expand scholarship opportunities to include students majoring in our two new degree programs,” he added.

University officials said graduates of the Hospitality and Tourism Management program can expect to earn between $40,000 and $50,000 annually.

###

About the University of Arkansas of Pine Bluff

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) is an 1890 Land-Grant HBCU with a diverse student population, competitive degree offerings, and stellar faculty. For more than 140 years, UAPB has worked to create an environment that inculcates learning, growth and productivity while affording a basic need to its students – a chance to advance. UAPB offers Certificate and Associate degree programs, more than thirty undergraduate programs, Master’s degree programs and a Doctorate program in Aquaculture/Fisheries. Students are active in more than 100 organizations, an internationally renowned Vesper Choir, Marching Band, Concert Bands, Wind Symphony, nationally recognized debate team, award-winning theater department, and accomplished athletic programs. For more information, visit www.uapb.edu.

The newly renovated H.O. Clemmons Arena at the University of Arkansas – Pine Bluff, Pine Bluff, Arkansas

PINE BLUFF, AR – The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff will begin a big day of events with the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the renovated H.O. Clemmons Arena Saturday, January 5 at 3 p.m.

The ceremony will be held at the main entrance of the arena prior to the Arkansas-Pine Bluff women’s and men’s basketball teams hosting Mississippi Valley State in a basketball doubleheader starting at 5 p.m.

UAPB Chancellor Dr. Laurence B. Alexander and UAPB Athletic Director Melvin Hines will be in attendance, along with Golden Lion basketball coaches Nathaniel Kilbert and George Ivory.

Among the renovations to the arena are:

  • Newly installed bleachers to the UAPB black and gold colors with the Golden Lions logo;
  • A new court with an updated UAPB logo emblazed at center court; gold coloring inside the three-point arc; new UAPB logos on each baseline;
  • New basketball goals featuring the UAPB logo on each basket support.

“We are excited about these improvement to H.O. Clemmons Arena,” said Dr Laurence B. Alexander, UAPB Chancellor. “I believe this ceremony to open the year will serve as a catalyst to what will be an outstanding 2019 for the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff, both athletically and academically.”

“Golden Lion Athletics is grateful for the support provided by Chancellor Alexander, President Bobbitt, and the Board of Trustees,” said Melvin Hines, Director or Athletics. “These renovations improve the student-athlete experience, as our basketball and volleyball teams have new playing accommodations in which they can be proud of. It also enhances the fan experience with new and improved seating to help make the H.O Clemmons Arena one of the toughest venues for visiting teams in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.”

Gates open for entry to the arena following the ceremony prior to tipoff of the women’s game at 5 p.m., with the men’s game to follow in the conference opener for both teams.