Entergy Arkansas recently awarded $20,000 to the University of Arkansas Foundation Inc. The grant will help fund this year’s Learning Institute and Opportunities for New Students (LIONS) program at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

“Education is the heart of our vibrant communities,” said Chan Tucker, senior customer service manager for Entergy Arkansas Inc. “We are proud to invest in programs in the communities where we live and work.”

According to a news release, the LIONS program significantly contributes to UAPB’s enrollment, student academic success, and persistence to graduation.

“The program provides support to students transitioning from high school into college through a five-week residential summer academic and co-curricular enrichment program. The goal is to reduce the level of remediation in English and math by providing support for students new to the college experience,” according to the release.

Solonica Hunter, a native of Monticello, participated in the LIONS program the summer before her freshman year at UAPB.

“She credits the program with her success transitioning from high school to college and making her successful in her years at UAPB,” according to the release.

Hunter graduated in May with a Bachelor of Arts degree in mass communications. She begins her graduate work in the fall at the University of Florida at Gainesville.

“The people who went through the LIONS program were less ‘shocked’ about college life,” Hunter said. “It helped me build a study system to manage my time. We were all prepared to do well by making early connections with our peers and our academic and residential advisors. We were ready to be mentored by the time fall classes started.”

Entergy’s philanthropic efforts support programs to boost education, expand environmental programs, promote cultural activities and help create poverty solutions, according to the release.

“The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) mission promotes academic excellence through programs by integrating quality instruction, research, and student learning that is responsive to the needs of a racially, culturally, and economically diverse population. The University provides access to educational opportunity and produces students who graduate and excel in careers and leadership in the 21st century,” according to the release.

Entergy provides electricity to approximately 700,000 customers in 63 counties in Arkansas.