A group of distinguished alumni, in three different categories, highlighted the 2017 AM&N/UAPB National Alumni Association Hall of Fame and the AM&N/UAPB Letter “A” Club Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremonies during the Annual Alumni Banquet on Oct. 13 at the Pine Bluff Convention Center Ballroom as a part of the university’s homecoming activities.
Jackey Cason (community service), Sharri Jones (business/industry), Eva McGee (education), Wilhelmina Epps Lewellen (government/law), Johnnie Brown-Swift (science/technology) and Dr. Herbert C. Harris (medicine/medical) were inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame.
Leon Randolph and Andrew Johnson, Jr. (both lifetime achievement/ posthumous) were recognized by the alumni association as Lifetime Achievement inductees. Track and Field All-Americans Curley Roberts, Walter Smith, Maurice Myton, three-year football lettermen Connie Hathorn and Elton Taylor comprised the Letter “A” Club Sports Hall of Fame.
Since retiring from the Chicago Public Schools as dean of students, Cason is now considered one of the nation’s leading advocates for minority education. A 1965 alumnus, he received the President’s Volunteer Service Award given by President Barack Obama last January. Cason has worked on the National Alumni Association Board of Directors and served in various capacities with the Chicago alumni chapter. He is also a platinum life member of the alumni association.
Jones, who graduated in 1988 with an elementary education degree, is actively involved with the Pine Bluff family business, “Sissy’s Log Cabin.” Along with many civic duties, she serves as executive secretary and events coordinator of the company and is also silver life member of the alumni association.
McGee served UAPB for 45 years in several positions before retiring in 2008 as associate vice chancellor for institutional planning and professor emeritus in the School of Business and Management. A 1963 graduate who earned a bachelor’s degree in business education, McGee is the only UAPB faculty member and first African American to serve as the president of the Arkansas Business Education Association. A native of Texarkana, Arkansas, she is also a life member of the alumni association.
Lewellen, a 1959 alumnus who earned a degree in education, retired as an elementary teacher in the Little Rock School District after 28 years in 1995. Shortly after retiring, she acted on her interest in politics and successfully won three terms as the State Representative for District 34.
Lewellen is also a life member of the alumni association. Brown-Swift, a native of Cotton Plant in northeast Arkansas, is a 1959 graduate who earned in bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a minor in mathematics.
Brown-Swift, a professional in the field of chemistry and biotechnology, served in the Patent and Trademark Office of the Department of Commerce in Washington, DC, where she patented inventions in Intellectual Property are awarded.
In recognition of Brown-Swift’s outstanding career, upon her retirement, she was granted a Certificate of Registration from the United States of America, the United States Patent and Trademark Office as a patent agent. She is gold life member of the alumni association. Harris, a 1949 alumnus who majored in biology, earned his D.D.S. degree from Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry in Nashville, Tennessee.
He practiced dentistry in Chicago for more than 30 years before retiring. While in Chicago, he was one of the founders of the Daniel Hale Williams Health Foundation and Health Center that provided comprehensive health care to the under-served communities in Chicago.
A major contributor to the UAPB Alumni Scholarship Endowment Fund, he is a life member of the alumni association. The late Randolph, a 194
9 graduate, was a long-time educator and administrator in the Brinkley School District. He became the first African American principal of Brinkley High School, a position he held until his retirement in 1992.
The main campus building at Brinkley High was named the A.L. Randolph building to honor his dedicated service to the school and community.
Randolph was a silver lifetime member of the alumni association, served on the UAPB Board of Visitors, the National Alumni Association Board of Directors and aided the UAPB Foundation Board.
The late Johnson, a 1968 alumnus who was a native of Gould and graduated with the highest honors from C.P. Coleman High School (now Watson Chapel High School), earned a degree in chemistry and a minor in mathematics.
He spent the majority of his professional work career as a junior engineer in Interconnections Process Development for IBM, where he developed nickel and gold metal plating processes for connectors used in some of IBM’s faster computers.
Roberts, a native of Pine Bluff who also was a running back for the Golden Lions’ football team in the mid- 1960s, excelled in track and field throughout his collegiate years. Roberts’ track career included being a member of the 400-meter relay team that was touted as having the nation’s fourth fastest time in 1966.
Roberts is retired and living in Newport News, Virginia. Smith and Myton, arguably two of the most prolific 400-meter sprinters in Golden Lion history, clocked impressive times in the event. They are two of only six UAPB quartermilers to run sub-46 second timings in the 400-meter dash.
The track duo recorded identical 45.9 readings in the event while earning National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics All-American honors four seasons between 1967 and 1971.
As a freshman in 1967, Smith was part of the Lions’ 4X400- meter relay unit that established a national record with a 3:05.5 timing at the NAIA National Track and Field Outdoor Championships in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Smith is retired and living in Louisville, Kentucky, while Myton is retired and residing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Despite not operating out of a pass-oriented offense in 1972, Hathorn put together some impressive numbers in his only season as a starting quarterback.
He finished his senior year by completing 113 of 190 passes for 1,098 yards and 17 touchdowns in only eight games as the Lions compiled a 4-3-1 record. He produced a 59.5 pass completion percentage rate which ranks as the second best amongst quarterbacks in school’s history for a single season.
Hathorn, who earned a Ph.D. from Iowa State University in 1989, is currently superintendent of the Watson Chapel School District. Taylor, who transferred from Wiley (Texas) College in 1969, was a two-sport athlete for the Lions, starring in football and baseball.
Known as a key special team’s player for most of his collegiate years, he was a dominating defensive back during his senior season in 1972 while receiving honorable mention All-American recognition by the Pittsburgh Courier newspaper.