Simpson Gift Inspired by Faculty, Friendships in Anthropology

Alumna Kay Simpson
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Alumna Kay Simpson

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – University of Arkansas alumna Kay Simpson of Henrico, Virginia, calls her recent estate gift to the University of Arkansas “the ultimate payback.” Her contribution will support the Department of Anthropology in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences and counts toward Campaign Arkansas, the university’s $1.25 billion capital campaign focused on advancing academic opportunity.

Simpson grew up in Batesville and was attracted to the field of archaeology as a child. She recalls loving history and being a voracious reader. She chose to attend the University of Arkansas because of its undergraduate and graduate programs in anthropology.

As a student, she found a family in the Department of Anthropology, as she pursued studies in the field she loved most.

“Growing up in a small town, I wanted to see a bigger world,” she said. “I immediately loved the Department of Anthropology. It was a fun department. Everyone knew each other, and the faculty were like friends. They gave me a great foundation for my profession. This open-door, caring department set the bar for my graduate school experience and my career.”

Simpson graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1973 with a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology. She then earned two graduate degrees from the University of Arizona.

Simpson describes herself as “mostly retired” from Cultural Resource Analysts Inc., a cultural resource consulting firm that includes a team of archaeologists, architectural historians and historic preservation specialists. Over the course of her career, she spent more than 40 years conducting or managing archaeological projects in the United States and internationally.

“When I started thinking about retirement, I realized I needed an estate plan,” she said. “I wanted to give back in a way that would help others, particularly in education, because I wanted to help the people who helped me. It’s the ultimate payback.”

Jeannine Durdik, Fulbright College’s associate dean of natural sciences, said Simpson is an impressive alumna, and her gift is very meaningful to the college and department.

“We are grateful to Kay Simpson not only for her generosity and support of our Department of Anthropology, but also because she’s an outstanding example of what our graduates can accomplish and an inspiration for our students,” Durdik said.

The value of Simpson’s planned gift will be determined once her estate is settled. She hopes her contribution will provide financial support for student scholarships, internships and conference travel, as well as conference support for faculty members.

“As an undergraduate student, I had the opportunity to attend a national conference in New Orleans with some of my faculty members,” she said. “It’s important that faculty and students have these opportunities for conferences and networking.”

Simpson is a life member of the Arkansas Alumni Association and is counted as a Thoroughred for her 29 years of consecutive giving to the University of Arkansas.

About Campaign Arkansas: Campaign Arkansas is the ongoing capital campaign for the University of Arkansas to raise private gift support for the university’s academic mission and other key priorities. The campaign’s goal is to raise $1.25 billion to support academic and need-based scholarships, technology enhancements, new and renovated facilities, undergraduate, graduate and faculty research, study abroad opportunities and other innovative programs. The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in a wide spectrum of disciplines as it works to fulfill its public land-grant mission to serve Arkansas and beyond as a partner, resource and catalyst.

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.


Jennifer Holland, director of development communications
University Relations


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