The Tyson Foods Foundation and the Tyson family donated $500,000 to the University of Arkansas system to support its online university program, eVersity.
The online program allows students to complete course work via the web and will be marketed to many former students who are still several credits shy of an undergraduate degree.
UA System President Don Bobbitt, Ph.D., has pushed for the project despite resistance from faculty.
“When I first learned of Dr. Bobbitt’s plan for eVersity as a member of the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees, I was convinced that this will be a game changer and a huge contributor to the future of higher education in our state,” said John Tyson, Tyson Foods chairman of the board. “We must have a way to reach the more than 300,000 Arkansans who have a year or two of college and had to drop out for one reason or another, but want to pursue a degree so they can improve their quality of life.”
Tyson said another factor in his decision to help financially support the program was to help Tyson Foods employees.
“Many of these people work for Tyson Foods, or some other company in our state, and a college degree will enable them to move from an hourly production job into a supervisory position and eventually management,” Tyson said. “eVersity will be a blessing to these individuals and to the economy of Arkansas.”
Initial degree programs through eVersity include health care management, information technology, criminal justice, business and general studies with multiple degree options available within each field.
Applications for eVersity’s degree programs will be available this summer with the first classes beginning in the fall of 2015.