Arkansas Women's Hall of Fame Inducts Inaugural Class

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The new Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame honored its inaugural members during a ceremony held Aug. 27 at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock. Most of the women inducted have ties to the University of Arkansas.

The hall recognizes the significant contributions of women and their impact on the state. It was established in 2014 from a partnership between the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce and Arkansas Business Publishing Group of Little Rock.

Twelve inductees were honored, including: Alice Walton, Betty Bumpers, Daisy Bates, Dr. Edith Irby Jones, Hattie Caraway, Hester Davis, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Johnelle Hunt, Mary Ann Ritter Arnold, Mary Good, Roberta W. Fulbright, and the Women’s Emergency Committee.

“It should come as no surprise that so many in such a distinguished group of women would have strong connections to, and be supporters of, the University of Arkansas,” said Dan Ferritor, interim chancellor. “We salute with pride the inaugural members of the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame for their impact on the state of Arkansas – and the University of Arkansas.”

Alice Walton, founder and chair of the board of directors of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, has been instrumental in the advancement of economic growth and transportation improvements for the state. She played an influential role in the Walton Family Foundation, one of the nation’s greatest philanthropic organizations. The foundation has made transformational contributions to the University of Arkansas. Walton has served on the Board of Advisors for the Sam M. Walton Graduate School of Business and established the Alice L. Walton Chair in Finance. In 2012, Walton received an honorary Doctor of Arts and Humane Letters from the University of Arkansas.

Betty Bumpers, former first lady of Arkansas and wife of former U.S. Sen. Dale Bumpers, is known for her role as a leader in the efforts to improve childhood immunization programs and as founder of the Peace Links organization that mobilized global women leaders to promote peaceful conflict resolution. Bumpers currently serves on the advisory board for the National Peace Foundation. In 1995, the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees named the College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences after Dale Bumpers, honoring his legacy and values as governor of Arkansas and United States senator. The college holds an annual lecture event, named the Dale and Betty Bumpers Distinguished Lecture Program.

Daisy Bates was a pioneer in the civil rights movement. She served as the president of the Arkansas chapter of the National Association for Advancement of Colored People and operated the Arkansas State Press, a weekly African American newspaper. Bates is known for her crucial role in the desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock in 1957. In 1984, the University of Arkansas awarded Bates an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

Dr. Edith Irby Jones was the first African American to attend and graduate from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. She was elected as the first female president of the National Medical Association. Among her many accolades, Jones is a recipient of the Silas Hunt Legacy Award and was named a distinguished alumna of the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.

Hattie Wyatt Caraway of Jonesboro was the first woman elected to the United States Senate. Following her first appointed term in office, she sought and won election on her own, garnering 92 percent of the statewide vote. Her time in the Senate concluded by 1944 when she lost the Democratic primary to J. William Fulbright, then a freshman representative and former University of Arkansas president.

Hester Davis was Arkansas’ first state archeologist and an effective leader and advocate for historic preservation and cultural resources management legislation. In 1959, she accepted a position with the University of Arkansas Museum, where she served as preparator and assistant director. For 10 years, she was an instructor of public archaeology at the University of Arkansas. Upon her retirement, Davis created the Hester A. Davis Internship in Public Archaeology.

Hillary Clinton has served as an ambassador in education, health care and childhood welfare. She is the former first lady of Arkansas, first lady of the United States, the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from New York, and most recently served as U.S. Secretary of State. Clinton taught law at the university and founded the University of Arkansas School of Law Legal Clinic.

Johnelle Hunt is a leader in the business world and co-founder of J.B. Hunt Transport Service. She was the first woman to be inducted into the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame in 2001 when she and her husband were honored. Hunt served on the Campaign for the Twenty-First Century Steering Committee, is a founding member of the university’s Women’s Giving Circle, and serves on the executive committee for the Campaign Arkansas Steering Committee. In 2009, she received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Arkansas.

Mary Ann Ritter Arnold served on the National Cotton Council, Agriculture Council of Arkansas, and on the board of directors for the Arkansas Rice Council and the U.S. Rice Council. She also served on advisory committees for Arkansas State University and as member of the ASU Foundation Board. Ritter is the former president of agribusiness firm E. Ritter & Company and the first woman mayor of Marked Tree.

Mary Good is the founding dean of the College of Engineering and Information Technology at the University of Arkansas Little Rock. She has served as Under Secretary for Technology for the U.S. Department of Commerce and on the National Science Board under both the Carter and Reagan administrations. Good completed her graduate studies in the Fulbright College.

Roberta W. Fulbright was an influential figure in Arkansas during her lifetime. She was a successful business owner, advocate of equality for women, and publisher of the Northwest Arkansas Times who championed the University of Arkansas. Fulbright fought for change of corrupt political systems and promoted civic causes. She was the mother of J. William Fulbright, who served as University of Arkansas president from 1939-1941.The Northwest Quad Dining Hall on campus was renamed the Roberta Fulbright Dining Hall at the Northwest Quad in her honor.

The Women's Emergency Committee was formed in response to the closing of four public high schools in Little Rock by Governor Orval Faubus to prevent desegregation of the schools. Led by Adolphine Fletcher Terry, the committee played a major role in the successful efforts to reopen the schools and advocated the importance of public education.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.



Rachel Moore, administrative support supervisor
University Relations


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