'Portraits of Progress' Chronicle Prominent Figures in U of A's History

As part of the University of Arkansas' commemoration of its 150th anniversary, the university has launched Portraits of Progress, a website featuring vignettes of trailblazers and other important figures who have helped make the university a more diverse and inclusive institution.

The site chronicles a diverse swath of figures, from historical pioneers and figures such as James Corbin, the African American education leader in Arkansas who signed the contract for construction of Old Main to contemporary figures with more portraits to be added throughout the sesquicentennial year and beyond. The portraits will also be featured on a regular basis in the Arkansas News email and on the U of A's 150th anniversary website.

"Through the Portraits of Progress website, we wanted to tell the story of our university by featuring the people who made our university a more diverse, equitable and inclusive place, while also being honest about the hardships they faced along the way," said Yvette Murphy-Erby, vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion and co-chair of the sesquicentennial inclusion working group, which helped develop the site. "We want our sesquicentennial celebrations to be as inclusive as possible, and will continue adding portraits throughout the year that represent the diversity of our campus population."

Logo for 150th anniversaryThe site was created in collaboration with diversity officers and communicators across the university and other sesquicentennial working groups and is divided into five thematic categories:

  • Historic Firsts
  • Female Pioneers
  • Breaking Racial Barriers
  • Overcoming Adversity
  • Leading Change

Portraits will be featured on the site at different times in alignment with diversity-related events, such as Black History Month.

Additionally, these stories will be incorporated into the Portraits of Progress: A Silas Hunt Legacy Awards Celebration planned for fall 2021. The event will feature depictions of portraits in unique and engaging ways. Event details will be announced later this year.


John Post, director of academic communications
University Relations
479-575-4449, johnpost@uark.edu


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