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ASU launches Centennial Celebration with re-enactment ceremony

Jan. 14, 2009 -- Arkansas State University's year-long Centennial celebration got underway with a ceremonial re-enactment signing of Act 100 of 1909 in the Rotunda of the State Capitol Wednesday morning in Little Rock.

Four state universities created by Act 100 launched their centennial celebrations with the joint public re-eArkansas Governor Mike Beebe speaks of the importance of Arkansas' four centennial universities.nactment and re-signing of their founding legislation.  The four schools, Arkansas State University-Jonesboro, Arkansas Tech University, Southern Arkansas University, and the University of Arkansas at Monticello, have become comprehensive universities with missions in teaching, research, and service. The celebration ceremony included greetings from the leaders of the four schools, as well as remarks and a ceremonial re-signing of Act 100 by Governor Mike Beebe. 

"We are here today to acknowledge the past," said Gov. Beebe. "The next 100 years will show that all four institutions will greatly expand and exceed the grandest expectations of all of the people in this room. I am proud of all four schools and the roles they will play in the future to shape Arkansas."

He closed by wishing a "Happy Birthday" to all four universities.

The event got underway with members of ASU's theatre department in period costume portraying members of the 1909 37th General Assembly—Members of the ASU Theatre pose in character, with chair and professor of Theatre Bob Simpson (far right) as Rep. J. J. Bellamy of Lawrence County.House Speaker Rep. J.J. Bellamy of Lawrence County, Rep. J.L. Brown of Independence County, Rep. Oscar Winn of Pulaski County, Rep. E. D. Smothers of Baxter County, and Sen. Robert W. Glover of Grant County. The group dramatized actual remarks from the Legislative record.

The performances drew applause from the standing room only crowd as each student thespian vocalized remarks in the dialect of the period. Bob Simpson, chair and professor of theatre in ASU’s Department of Theatre, served as Speaker Rep. J. J. Bellamy Jared Weston portrayed Representative
J. L. Brown of Independence County, Donnie Walters portrayed Representative Oscar Winn of Pulaski County, James Kaut portrayed Representative E. D. Smothers of Baxter County, and Rob Spencer portrayed Senator Robert W. Glover of Grant County.

ASU Chancellor Dr. Robert L. Potts, SAU President Dr. David F. Rankin, ATU President Dr. Robert C. Brown, and UAM Chancellor Dr. H. Jack Lassiter display their ceremonial copies of Act 100, signed by Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe. Photo courtesy of Kirk Jordan, Arkansas Governor's Office.

Following remarks by institutional leaders from three schools, ASU Chancellor Dr. Robert Potts noted that Gov. Beebe is a graduate of Arkansas State.

"We are proud to be honoring four wonderful universities that continue to serve this state so well," said Dr. Potts. "The visionary leadership of the Legislature in 1909 is something to remember. We appreciate the foresight of the General Assembly to have this vision for these four institutions.”

Dr. Potts noted that ASU has grown into a major university with nearly 170 academic fields of study and an enrollment of over 11,000 students at the Jonesboro campus. Since 1909, over 63,000 degrees have been awarded to graduates of Arkansas State.

"On behalf of Arkansas State University, I would like to say thank you to the Legislature and all of those who help and support us as we embrace our past and imagine our future over the next 100 years."



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