UA Little Rock Holiday Wish List Campaign

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By Kim Meyer-Webb | Photography by Sarah Oden | Shot on location at the UA Little Rock Windgate Center of Art + Design

   There are more reasons this season to support the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. The Holiday Wish List Campaign reflects its pragmatic approach towards a relevant education that translates into meaningful professional opportunities and enriches the community.

   Many UA Little Rock departments comprise this holiday campaign. An alumni representative for each department understands the impact and measurable results of the specific, emergent needs outlined in the wish list. Alumna Laura Raborn is an ardent ambassador for the institution and recognizes that a great metropolitan university is critical to the infrastructure of a vibrant city. “It is so important for our city to have a thriving university. The success of the school equals the success of our community.” She believes that we can all engage in support of the institution and its students.

   The UA Little Rock curriculum is as diverse as the students – providing a variety of educational opportunities: experiential community, classroom and online learning. Laura was introduced to the remarkable programs of UA Little Rock after completing her undergraduate studies. “I decided to take a couple of baccalaureate art classes at UA Little Rock; I learned more than I expected. Professors Eric Mantle and Jean Sizemore were impressive,” Laura remembers. “Almost 20 years later, when I applied to graduate school, I immediately thought of UA Little Rock because of my earlier experience.”Coincidentally, Eric Mantle became her trusted advisor. Laura notes that despite art careers that span beyond  the university, “The attention that professors devote to students has an enormous impact on individual advancement which extends beyond the classroom and into the careers of artists well past the date of graduation.”

    Laura’s professional responsibilities, coupled with her children’s activities, dictated the necessity for a flexible schedule. “It took five years, but I was committed to the work and the assignments. My professors were understanding and supportive.” She also appreciates the university’s integrated approach to education. “Thanks to my art history classes with Jane Brown and Floyd Martin, I was able to develop my art within a much broader context – beyond  the essential studio classes that  are required.”

   Now, Laura is an acclaimed artist and art teacher. Her paintings can be found throughout the state including the CARTI collection, Arkansas Children’s Hospital and Women Make Arkansas: Conversations with 50 Creatives – published by Et Alia Press. She remains steadfast in the belief that UA Little Rock provides strong, qualified alumni that are engaged in civic and business leadership throughout the Capital City. “Offering educational opportunities to all community members elevates us all. If there are holes to fill or areas to improve, let’s do it! That’s what is so appealing about the Holiday Wish List Campaign – it’s very direct and specific. The result of a donation is transparent and immediate, and… it clearly benefits the students. It’s brilliant.”

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