Pine Bluff Students to Benefit From Parker Advance Arkansas Scholarship

Gwen and Doug Parker
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Gwen and Doug Parker

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – University of Arkansas alumna Gwen Adkinson Parker and her husband, Doug, are investing in students from Pine Bluff High School who want to earn a college degree.

The couple is contributing $50,000 to create the Gwen and Doug Parker Advance Arkansas Endowed Scholarship, and their gift was counted in Campaign Arkansas, the university's capital campaign that raised $1.449 billion to advance academic opportunity at the U of A.

The Parkers are residents of Dallas, but Gwen feels a special affinity for Pine Bluff, where she graduated high school. 

"I loved my experience there," she said. "It brings back many happy and joyful memories."

After high school, Parker earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from the College of Education and Health Professions at the university, where she was also a Kappa Kappa Gamma. She taught middle school in Siloam Springs for a year and then moved to Dallas to become a flight attendant with American Airlines. There, she met her husband, Doug, who also worked for the airline.

"I never considered going anywhere else," Parker says of the university. "I loved the school spirit, and like Pine Bluff, my experience in Fayetteville was also wonderful. I loved living there and attending the U of A. It will always be very close to my heart."

Her experiences in both Pine Bluff and Fayetteville provided inspiration for the couple's gift. She says it was important to their family that their scholarship benefit students who have financial need.

"Sometimes kids with average grades get lost, so need-based scholarships are very important," Parker said. "Education is the great equalizer and not everyone has the opportunity to pursue it. If our scholarship can help someone who can't otherwise afford to get a college degree, then that's the best investment we can make."

The Gwen and Doug Parker Advance Arkansas Endowed Scholarship will support students from Pine Bluff High School who exhibit financial need, records of academic success and a strong desire to complete their degree at the U of A. Preference will be given to incoming first-year students.

"Gwen's passion for helping others, especially students from Pine Bluff, was evident from the moment I met her," said Katy Nelson-Ginder, associate vice chancellor of development. "She loved her time at the university and feels compelled to help students from Pine Bluff have similar experiences. She is enthusiastic about helping students, and that enthusiasm is contagious. Gwen and Doug value education and understand the importance of it. They see how college degrees transform lives - not only for students but for their families and communities."

The Parkers are life members of the Arkansas Alumni Association, as well as members of the Chancellor's Society.

About Campaign Arkansas: Campaign Arkansas is the recently concluded capital campaign for the University of Arkansas that raised a record $1.449 billion to support the university's academic mission and other key priorities, including 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 3% of colleges and 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.

Contacts

Jennifer Holland, director of development communications
University Relations
479-575-7346, jholland@uark.edu

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