Friends and employees of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture honored outgoing Cooperative Extension Service director Rick Cartwright on June 26 with a $40,000 scholarship endowment created and named in honor of Cartwright and his wife, Lynette.

The Rick and Lynette Cartwright Scholarship Endowment will be managed by the Arkansas 4-H Foundation. Proceeds from the endowment will fund future college scholarships for members of 4-H, the youth development program managed by the Cooperative Extension Service.

Cartwright grew up on a farm in Stone County where he was a member of 4-H. He joined the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture in 1992, earning international recognition as a rice pathologist and serving in various leadership posts before being named interim director of extension in 2016 and director in 2017. His last day on the job was June 30.

“Dr. Cartwright leaves behind a long legacy of extension work,” said Martha Ray Sartor, associate vice president for family and consumer sciences and 4-H youth development. “Research and education have been his life’s work. We could not think of a more fitting way to honor him than to provide educational opportunities for others.”

Cartwright announced his plans to retire last year (see: For the past few months, his colleagues and friends have quietly raised money for the scholarship endowment, keeping it a secret until his June 26 retirement celebration, said John Thomas, development officer for the Arkansas 4-H Foundation.

Plans for an on-site farewell at extension’s Little Rock State Office were replaced by a virtual send-off, during which staff presented Cartwright with an oversized check for $40,000.

“I’m stunned,” Cartwright said, “and I know this will help students.”

The Arkansas 4-H Foundation is continuing to raise money for the Rick and Lynette Cartwright Scholarship Endowment, with the goal of reaching $50,000. In the past two years, the Arkansas 4-H Foundation has awarded more than $115,000 in college scholarships, benefitting 91 youth.

Gifts to the endowment can be made online at, or sent to Arkansas 4-H Foundation Cartwright Fund, 1 Four H Way, Little Rock, AR 72223.

To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact a local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit Follow the agency on Twitter at @UAEX_edu.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without discrimination.