A decade into his tenure as chancellor at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Dr. Laurence Alexander has a lot to be thankful for. The Pine Bluff higher education institution celebrates its sesquicentennial this year and it has been a banner year for fundraising.
“This is a great time for our university. We are celebrating 150 years, the sesquicentennial, as you said, we’ve been around since 1873. We were the second university that was established in Arkansas. First was University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. Two years later we were established as Branch Normal and then evolved into Arkansas A&M College in 1927. And then in 1973 joined the University of Arkansas System as the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff,” Alexander said on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics.
Ten years ago when Alexander first came to UAPB, fundraising was less than $1 million a year. This year, fundraising topped $10 million. The chancellor said there will be a variety of uses for the money raised.
“We will honor the will and the desire of the donors. Some of those funds will be used for scholarships for students. Some of the funding will go into programming in our various colleges and departments of the university. Some of it will actually go into some of the facilities that we’re improving and building on our campus,” he said. “I’m glad to say that our endowment in the last 10 years has increased 200%.”
UAPB recently added two new undergraduate degrees to its curriculum. Alexander noted that the new engineering and cybersecurity are two areas of growing demand in the Arkansas workforce.
“These programs prepare our students for actual jobs that are out there in the marketplace. So what we’re doing is we’re starting an engineering program that’s going to be in a couple of different areas. One is construction management, the other is in industrial manufacturing,” he said.
“We’ve had a program for over the last 25, 30 years in industrial technology management and applied engineering. And those students have gone on to get very good managerial positions as applied engineers. We’re taking that up then to the next step. And we’re preparing students for industrial and for construction management jobs that are here and that are coming on the horizon,” Alexander added.
You can watch his full interview in the video below.