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Four Arkansas universities to celebrate centennial, signing of Legislative Act 100 Jan. 14, 2009

Dec. 19, 2008 -- Four state universities created by Act 100 of 1909 will launch their centennial celebrations on Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009, with a joint public re-enactment and re-signing of their founding legislation.  The ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. in the Rotunda of the State Capitol.

The four schools are Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, and the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

A joint statement issued by the presidents/chancellors of the four schools noted, “Though we have followed different paths in our development over the past 100 years, we have remained united in our central mission of providing educational opportunities for the people of this state and this region. Education remains the key to Arkansas’s future, and we are committed to an ever-expanding role over our second century.”

The celebration ceremony will include greetings from the leaders of the four schools, as well as remarks and a ceremonial re-signing of Act 100 by Governor Mike Beebe.  Special guests will be members of the Arkansas General Assembly.  All alumni and friends of the four schools, as well as supporters of higher education, are invited to attend to launch the schools into their second century.

Act 100 provided for four agricultural schools, one in each district of the state, with each to be known as the State Agricultural School for its respective district.  These schools were to teach agriculture, horticulture, and the art of textile making.  In 1925, the schools underwent the first of a series of name changes to reflect their growing college curricula.  The school at Russellville became Arkansas Polytechnic College, while the other three became Agricultural and Mechanical Colleges.

Today the four schools have become comprehensive universities with missions in teaching, research, and service.  Arkansas State College became Arkansas State University in 1967.  Arkansas A & M College in Monticello became the University of Arkansas at Monticello in 1971.  Arkansas Polytechnic College became Arkansas Tech University and Southern State College became Southern Arkansas University in 1976.  Since their founding in 1909, approximately 132,650 students have graduated from the four schools, with degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

For more information on the individual schools, see contacts below:

Sara E. McNeil, director, University Communications, Arkansas State University  Telephone: (870) 972-3633;

Sam Strasner, director, University Communications, Arkansas Tech University
Telephone: (479) 968-6045;

Rebecca Bell, university editor, Southern Arkansas University
Telephone: (870) 253-5011;

James L. Brewer, director, Media Services, University of Arkansas-Monticello
Telephone:  (870) 460-1074;   



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