Five individuals were honored at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff’s Chancellor’s Benefit on Saturday night at the Pine Bluff Convention Center, including the late father of former Jefferson County Judge Henry “Hank” Wilkins IV.
The Chancellor’s Benefit, formerly known as the Benefit for the Arts, is now an all-inclusive event that uses its profits to help meet the financial needs of students, no matter the area of study, attending the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
Sponsored by Waste Management and hosted by pastor, author and television personality Matt Mosler, the event included live music and dance performances.
“For the past 30 years, the institution has recognized outstanding individuals who have made a significant contribution to advancing positive change at UAPB, in Pine Bluff/Jefferson County and surrounding communities, in the state of Arkansas and in the nation,” according to a news release. “Their contributions may have been philanthropic, civic, social, and political.”
The 2018 honorees were presented awards by UAPB Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander and Miss 88th University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Salonica Hunter.
Henry “Hank” Wilkins III was honored posthumously for his legacy of dedication, courage, and commitment as an educator, a civic leader, and as a state representative that are documented in the annals and records of the State of Arkansas, Jefferson County, and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. His family was present to accept the honor on his behalf.
Wilkins III was the only African-American member of the 1969-70 Arkansas Constitutional Convention, and later in 1972, he was elected to the Arkansas General Assembly. He was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1968, 1972, 1984, and 1988. He was a leader in the State Democratic Party of Arkansas, and he was the founder of the Arkansas Democratic Black Caucus.
“We want to thank you for honoring the many accomplishments of my dad,” said Wilkins IV. “Everywhere I go, people always tell me that my dad taught them.”
Joel Anderson, former Chancellor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, was honored for his role in establishing an Institute on Race and Ethnicity and making diversity a defining mark of his administration, and providing an “information clearinghouse,” collecting research, statistics, and historical materials related to race relations in the state. Upon his retirement, the University Of Arkansas Board Of Trustees named the Institute on Race and Ethnicity in his honor.
Calvin and Janetta Booker were honored for advancing their alma mater with zeal, perseverance, and wholehearted commitment; long and impressive direct and indirect participation in both leadership and supportive postures with the Atlanta Alumni Chapter, the National Alumni Association, and the UAPB Foundation Fund Board. They were also honored for continually providing a positive element of change for thousands of students who have and who will attend UAPB, and giving tirelessly of their time and energy to promote UAPB, including financial generosity in making leadership gifts and challenging others to follow their stellar example.
Calvin and Janetta have both served in the capacity of President and Vice President of the UAPB Metropolitan Atlanta Alumni Chapter for varying years. Calvin has also served as the president of the UAPB National Alumni Association and in September 2014, he was honored by the National Black College Hall of Fame Foundation with the National Alumni President of the Year Award.
L. J. Randle was honored for his unwavering support to the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and its athletic program, as well as his selfless investment in the community through construction activities that improved the quality of life for Pine Bluff citizenry. He founded L.J. Randle Construction Company with his wife of 47 years, Gloria Warren Randle. They have built and financed over 200 homes, many of which could not have been afforded by homeowners under traditional circumstances. 43 churches in Pine Bluff and surrounding areas have been financed by them.
As Randle accepted his award, he encouraged others to give back to their Alma Mater. “Wouldn’t it be nice if the school would never have to want or hurt for anything because we all are supporting it?” Randle rhetorically asked.