University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff students, graduates and faculty members celebrated their institution Friday as part of a homecoming week assembly. UAPB Chancellor Laurence Alexander welcomed community members, alumni and students inside the Kenneth L. Johnson Sr. Health Physical Education Recreation Complex and thanked them for attending the assembly. He recognized former UAPB chancellors Lawrence Davis Jr., Carolyn Blakely and Calvin Johnson.


“They stand ready and willing to help and I do call on them from time to time,” Alexander said. “I salute today all our classes who are represented and especially those who are celebrating anniversaries.”


Alexander said UAPB has developed strategic plan priorities. They are growing enrollment, optimizing efficiency, lifting facilities, diversifying revenue streams, enhancing reputation, and nationalizing visibility.


The assembly featured the Vesper Choir singing Gospel songs. The audience included UAPB graduates from classes in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and 2010s.


Miss University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Salonica Hunter gave similar greetings. A native of Monticello, Hunter is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in business marketing.


Linda Okiror, UAPB vice chancellor for enrollment management and student success, gave a list of 10 reasons to enroll at UAPB. She said the university has a talented Vesper Choir; has opened new dorms; is a military-friendly school; offers one of the 15 most affordable bachelor’s degrees in accounting and economics; is a science/technology/engineering/mathematics jobs college; has reached historically high retention rates of 72 percent for freshmen and 78 percent overall; is nationally accredited in art, design, business administration and social work; has been awarded a 10-year accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission; has a nursing department that received a five-year accreditation; and that it boasts power in the Pride.


“There are so many reasons to belong to the Pride,” Okiror said.


Alexander thanked people for giving money to UAPB football scholarships that met a campaign goal of $320,000.


“People are calling us requesting to play us,” Alexander said. “Nobody wants to play you without scholarships.”


Alexander thanked Gov. Asa Hutchinson for granting $844,000 in state matching funds in 2017. He thanked his cabinet employees for forwarding an expansion of programs and construction of new buildings. He highlighted the recent opening of a solar park as the culmination of a $19.3 million energy performance contract through the Arkansas Energy Performance Contracting Program.


“Folks, we have a lot of work to do at the university,” Alexander said.


Alexander finished his remarks by thanking UAPB stake-holders for allowing him to be the chancellor and thanked each person who helped to produce a promotional recruitment video.