Markell Advance Arkansas Scholarship to Benefit Sevier County Students

Marilyn and Rick Markell are supporting students from De Queen and Sevier County with a new Advance Arkansas scholarship.
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Marilyn and Rick Markell are supporting students from De Queen and Sevier County with a new Advance Arkansas scholarship.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – University of Arkansas alumni Rick and Marilyn Kays Markell of Hot Springs Village are assisting graduates from De Queen High School and Sevier County with the cost of their education at the U of A, thanks to a $100,000 scholarship gift. The Markell Family Advance Arkansas Endowed Scholarship will promote student success and counts as part of Campaign Arkansas, the $1.25 billion capital campaign that focuses on advancing academic opportunity at the university.

Rick Markell graduated from a small class at De Queen High School – 54 students – and was one of six who chose to attend the University of Arkansas at the time. He met Marilyn Kays, who was from Crossett, the night before school started, and the couple stayed together throughout college. Rick Markell graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the Sam M. Walton College of Business, and Marilyn Markell earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from the College of Education and Health Professions.

The Markells lived in both Hot Springs and Pine Bluff before moving to Madison, Mississippi, where Rick Markell became president of Hood Packaging Corporation, which has plants in the United States and Canada and produces plastic film and bags, woven polypropylene bags, coated and laminated materials and paper packaging. The Markells are now retired and split their time between Mississippi and Hot Springs Village. Their two sons, Richard Jr. and Jason, also earned degrees from the U of A.

Having both graduated from small high schools in Arkansas, the Markells felt compelled to support fellow Arkansans who desired to complete their baccalaureate degrees at the U of A.

“I received a great education in De Queen and wanted to support kids from my old school,” said Rick Markell. “I hope this scholarship is able to help someone else from my hometown.”

The Markell Family Advance Arkansas Endowed Scholarship will support new, returning and transfer students from Arkansas who exhibit financial need, records of academic success and a strong desire to complete their degree at the university. Preference will be given to students who are graduates of De Queen High School or other high schools in Sevier County and who are pursuing a degree in the Sam M. Walton College of Business; however all majors are acceptable. One student will benefit annually, and the university will contribute matching funds to double the impact of the award.

“This generous Advance Arkansas scholarship gift from Rick and Marilyn Markell will enable students from De Queen High School and Sevier County to benefit from a Walton College education who might not otherwise have the chance to do so,” said Matt Waller, Walton College dean and holder of the Sam Walton Leadership Chair. “Thanks to the Markells, more students from southwest Arkansas will enjoy the success made possible by a University of Arkansas education.”

The Markells are Life Members of the Arkansas Alumni Association and are counted as Thoroughreds for their 30 years of consecutive giving to the U of A.

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 fewer than 2.7 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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