The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff will recognize the late Civil Rights leader, Wiley Branton, among other honorees at the Chancellor’s Scholarship Gala Saturday, April 27, at the Pine Bluff Country Club.
The black tie affair begins at 6 p.m. with a reception and art auction followed by dinner, entertainment and the program at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $200 each and still available. Proceeds will be used to help meet the financial needs of students attending UAPB, according to a news release.
The host will be UAPB alumnus Calvin Booker Sr., corporate vice president of public affairs for the Southern Group of Waste Management Inc. at Atlanta, Ga.
Honorees are Bunia Baxter, Marty Casteel and Dr. Christy Walker, Dr. Torrance Walker as well as the late Wiley Austin Branton.
Wiley Branton — Born in Pine Bluff in 1923, Branton graduated from Arkansas Agriculture, Mechanical and Normal College (now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff) and the University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville. Branton established a law practice at Pine Bluff and was thrust into national prominence as chief counsel for the black plaintiffs in the Little Rock School Desegregation Case, which led to the 1957 crisis at Little Rock Central High School, according to the release.
Branton served as dean of Howard University School of Law and was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 1998, according to the release.
“We’re excited to honor such a distinguished person,” UAPB Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander said. “Mr. Branton exemplifies our institution’s mission to provide access and opportunity to students. He spent his career doing just that — breaking down barriers so future generations can thrive. UAPB gave him a solid footing to change the world. UAPB is excited to recognize the achievements of all our honorees.”
Honorees previously announced include:
Bunia Baxter — Baxter retired from the Dollarway School District in 1987 after serving 40 years in education. She along with members of the UAPB class of 1948 have donated more than $100,000 to UAPB.
Marty Casteel — Casteel is chairman and chief executive officer of Simmons Bank. In 2013, he was appointed to lead the $16.5 billion-assets of Simmons Bank of Pine Bluff.
Christy Walker, M.D. — Walker is an aesthetic surgeon, OB-GYN, gynecologist, practicing medicine at Plano, Texas, according to https://health.usnews.com. She started her private practice in Pine Bluff in 2006.
Torrance Walker, M.D. — Walker is an orthopedic surgeon, practicing medicine at Fort Worth, Texas, according to https://health.usnews.com. He opened his private practice in Pine Bluff in 2007.
The gala is presented by: Waste Management; Dr. Freddie Hartfield, Ph.D.; Simmons Bank; Calvin and Janetta Booker; UAPB Chancellor Laurence B. and Mrs. Veronica Alexander; and the UAPB Executive Cabinet, according to the news release.
The gala has more than 20 community sponsors. Diamond Sponsors are the UAPB Deans & Directors. Platinum Sponsors are Jefferson Regional Medical Center, and Drs. Torrance and Christy Walker. Gold Sponsors are McKissic & Associates, Southeast Arkansas College, and Dr. Jewell Walker. Silver Sponsors include Aramark; Arkansas Blue Cross & Blue Shield; Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation; Baldwin & Shell Construction; Nelson Architectural Group; Relyance Bank; The Design Group; and Thomas Groceries and Gifts Store. Bronze Sponsors are East Harding Construction, Dr. Martha Flowers, and Pettus Office Products.
Tickets to the event are $200 each and can be purchased by calling 870-575-8701. Details: https://www.uapb.edu/giving/chancellors_scholarship_gala.aspx .