The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff will unveil a bust in honor and in memory of the late Pearlie S. Reed, a UAPB graduate and former official with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


The free, public event will take place at 6 p.m. Friday, July 21, at the Leedell Moorehead-Graham Gallery of the Hathaway-Howard Fine Arts Building.


The ceremony will be held during the 28th annual National Alumni Summer Conference hosted by the Pine Bluff/Jefferson County UAPB/AM&N Alumni Chapter July 20-22 at Pine Bluff.


Reed was born at Heth in St. Francis County June 14, 1948. Education was one of many important cornerstones of his life. He graduated from UAPB with a degree in animal husbandry and from American University in Washington, D.C., with a Masters of Public Administration degree, according to a news release.


Reed went on to hold several positions within the Natural Resources Conservation Service and USDA. He was appointed the assistant secretary for administration of the USDA by President Barack Obama.


“Reed was a major advocate for Civil Rights within and outside of USDA,” according to the release. “It was the true hallmark of his career. He used his platform in public service to serve others and champion the underdog, and he believed and stood for fairness for all. Because of this and the outstanding contributions he made to the federal government during his career, Reed was awarded several accolades and honors, such as The Distinguished Presidential Rank Award for strength, integrity, industry and a relentless commitment to excellence in public service; The George Washington Carver Public Service Hall of Fame Award; The USDA Silver Plow Award; an Inductee in the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame; and the Excellence in Conservation Award.”


Reed and his wife, Lesia Reed, split their time between Marion, Arkansas, and Baltimore, Maryland. He has two daughters, Cheryl Yvette Reed and Teresa Reed, both of Raleigh, North Carolina. He also has two grandchildren and a great-grandchild.


“Reed was a wise man with a sharp wit and a great sense of humor. The state of Arkansas, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and the National Organization of Professional Black NRCS Employees (NOPBNRCSE) were beloved to him,” according to the release.


Reed died April 8, 2016.


“His memory will be honored and forever live on as a bust of his likeness is placed in one of the places he treasured most, on the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff campus,” Kalven Trice, president of the NOPBNRCSE, said in the release.