African-American alumni and former students who have attended the University of Arkansas at Monticello will be gathering in Monticello to celebrate Homecoming 2013 on Thursday through Sunday, Oct. 24-27.
In its 14th year of coordinating activities during the UAM Homecoming weekend, the African-American Alumni Association will officially kick off its weekend with a breakfast and reception at 9:00 a.m. Saturday in the John F. Gibson Center’s Capital Room. The cost of the breakfast is $20 per person and may be paid at the door. Autry, in 1986, was UAM’s first underclassman to earn first team football NAIA All-America honors for the Boll Weevils. He was a three-year starter for UAM teams that went 19-9 from 1985-1987. He was the Arkansas Democrat’s AIC Defensive Player of the Year in 1986 and a first team All-AIC selection. As an undersized noseguard, he was said to be “unblockable.” He was an active member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. He is owner of Omega 3 Customized Art Works in Dallas.
Belcher earned an Associates of Arts Degree in 1999 and a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in 2000, both from UAM. He was a member of the Black Student Leadership Council and the UAM Marching and Concert Bands. He was very active in Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. He is an ordained Baptist minister and is currently employed by the Arkansas Department of Correction.
Green was one of the first African-American athletes to play baseball at UAM. He played from 1972-1974. In 1972 he earned Honorable Mention All AIC as an outfielder. He was also a member of the UAM Marching Band and Kappa Kappa Psi Fraternity, Inc. A family man, Green worked at Burlington for 25 years and at Georgia Pacific for 15 years.
Jackson graduated from UAM in 2000 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Early Childhood Education. As a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Jackson was known as one who captivated audiences with his vocal gift/delivery of song. He was a member of the UAM Concert Choir, Unity and numerous other groups. Jackson has released music and songs that have been played on radio stations in Arkansas, KZRB of New Boston, TX and other stations. He is an ordained minister at the Horizon Church and Its Ministries of Fordyce. He is an educator in the Fordyce Elementary School.
Jones graduated from UAM in 1978 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Health, Physical Education and Recreation. He was a four-year letterman for the Boll Weevil basketball team and a member of the Lettermen’s Club. In the fall of 1979, he was hired into the Fordyce School District. He started as a coach and teacher in the Junior High, transitioned into the high school as the first African-American head coach. He has been named “Coach of the Year” eight times during his coaching career. He is the winningest basketball coach in Fordyce history.
Rashad was a very active member in Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. while she attended UAM. She majored in psychology and was one of the first African-American students to become a cheerleader. She is owner of De De Designs & Photography and co-owner of Safwan’s Barbecue, both located in Warren. She is currently employed by the Southeast Arkansas Human Development Center in Warren.
Saxton was a defensive tackle with the Weevil football team in 1982. Unique to this group, Saxton was a star performer with the Arkansas Razorbacks as a defensive end from 1976-78. He graduated from UAM in 1982. He has served for four years as pastor of the Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church of Biscoe, AR. He has been employed with Kimberly Clark of Maumelle for the past 18 years.
Spencer is a native of Crossett, currently residing in Little Rock. She graduated from UAM in 2002 with a degree in social work. She graduated from the accredited Social Work program at UAM to help pave the way for future social workers. She is a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. Spencer has a heart-felt passion for children who have been neglected or abused, thus leading to her role as an adoption specialist with the Arkansas Department of Human Services.
Webb graduated from UAM in 2009 with a bachelor of social work degree. While in college, she was nominated for the homecoming court and Who’s Who Among America’s College Students. She also became an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. In her church, she is very active and only recently helped to start a praise group called “Unspoken,” which is a group of boys and girls, ages 7-12, that has learned to praise God through movements and motions.
Recipients of the Classie Jones-Green Scholarship, the Shay Gillespie Phi Beta Sigma Scholarship and the Al Peer/Kappa Alpha Psi Alumni Scholarship will also be announced during this event. An update will be given on the Barbara Blanks-Gathen Centennial Clock Project sponsored by the African-American Alumni Association.
On Sunday morning, Oct. 27 at 11:30 a.m., Saxton will deliver the special alumni message at the Mount Tabor Missionary Baptist Church in Wilmar, where Rev. Shay Gillespie is pastor. The public is invited to attend these services in honor of alumni and former students of UAM.
“We are always excited about our Alumni Elite inductees, said planning committee co-chairman Classie Jones-Green. This is our 13th year to present this honor and we will now have a total of 149 members. The recipients of the award are alumni and former students who have helped to blaze paths for future students. They are very deserving of their honors and UAM can be proud of their efforts.”
Prior to breakfast, there will be a special meet-and-greet period. Special music and entertainment will be provided by the Mount Tabor Inspirational Choir/Ensemble.
“We have spent numerous hours preparing for the return of our alumni and former students,” said Gillespie, co-chairman. “I’d like to say that with the help of Ms. Alicia Smith, also a UAM graduate, we were able to get more things done in regard to planned activities and events. She has been instrumental in our endeavors. We are all proud that UAM has played a valuable role in our lives. We join the University in inviting everyone to return to UAM and to the Monticello area.”