Carol of Lights Dec. 1

Henderson State University will present the annual Carol of Lights program on Monday, Dec. 1. The sidewalks of the south lawn will be lined with hundreds of luminaries, creating a beautiful seasonal scene.

The festivities will begin at 6 p.m. on the south lawn in front of Arkansas Hall and will feature music by the children from Davis-Baker Preschool, the Angelic Voices of Christ, Henderson Chamber Chorale, and other groups. Dr. David Thomson will recite The Night Before Christmas, and an appearance by Santa Claus is anticipated. A reception will follow the program.

The event is free and open to the public.

Choir, opera to perform holiday concerts Dec. 4-6

Henderson State University’s Concert Choir and Opera Workshop will present a holiday concert on three consecutive nights in December.

The Concert Choir will perform works by J.S. Bach, Maurice Durufle, William Byrd and John Rutter. The evening will end with a performance of Amahl and the Night Visitors, a one-act opera by Gian-Carlo Menotti in which a poor, young disabled child and his mother are visited by the Magi Kings on their way to see the Christ child.

The performances on Dec. 4, 5, and 6 all begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Arkansas Hall Studio Theatre. Tickets are $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, and free for students with photo ID. For more information, contact

Voice students place first

Two music students from Henderson State University earned first place honors at the National Association of Teachers of Singing Regional Auditions held earlier this month at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Matthew Walker of Hot Springs won first place in the Senior Men’s category and Aaron Gilmer of Marion placed first in Lower Division Musical Theater. Gilmer also earned fifth place in the Sophomore Men’s category. Kendall Gibson of Cabot, Tanner Oglesby of Benton, and Casey Williams of Malvern all advanced to the semifinal round in their categories.

“This was Henderson’s best showing at the regional NATS competition in many years,” said Dr. Laura Storm, professor of music at HSU. “They did an excellent job competing against students from universities in Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas.”

Continue reading

Theatre presents ‘Impossible Marriage’

Henderson State University Theatre will present seven performances of Impossible Marriage by Beth Henley on Nov. 13, 14, 15, 17, 20, 21, and 22. All performances start at 7:30 p.m. A reception will follow the opening night presentation.

For more information or reservations, call 230-5291 or e-mail

Continue reading

Exhibit features circus items

An exhibit featuring a mix of circus history, art, design and craft is on display at Henderson State University’s Russell Fine Arts Gallery through Jan. 7. Step Right Up! Behind the Scenes of the Circus Big Top, 1890-1965 explores a history fraught with intrigue and majesty.

About 60 pieces of circus history are featured in the exhibition, including full-color posters, costume regalia, historic photographs, billboards, oversized graphics, and histories from past performers.

The gallery is open free to the public from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

HSU receives ‘Military Friendly’ designation

Henderson State University has been designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media Inc., a veteran-owned business founded in 2001. Less than 100 colleges and universities received the prestigious designation.

These schools have demonstrated a commitment to supporting student veterans on campus and in their careers. They will be featured in this year’s December issue of GI Jobs.

The 2014 list of Military Friendly Schools® was compiled through extensive research and a free, data-driven survey of more than 10,000 VA-approved schools nationwide. Each year, schools taking the survey are held to a higher standard than the previous year via improved methodology, criteria and weightings developed with the assistance of an Academic Advisory Board (AAB) consisting of educators from schools across the country.

Distinguished Alumni honored

© Henderson State University

From left: Charles Gibbs, Bridgette Shannon, Emma Watts, Lonnie Watts Jr., and Henderson President Glen Jones. VIEW MORE PHOTOS FROM BANQUET

Henderson State University honored four new Distinguished Alumni at a banquet Oct. 24 in the Garrison Center Grand Ballroom. The event was part of homecoming week at Henderson.

This year’s honorees are: Emma Williams Watts, who recently retired as an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith; Lonnie Watts Jr., a retired professor of sociology at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith; Charles Gibbs, president of CRG Investment Corp.; and Bridgette Blackman Shannon, an accomplished chemist.

First awarded in 1972 to honor outstanding graduates, the Distinguished Alumni Award is the highest honor Henderson bestows on it graduates. Honorees have made outstanding achievements and contributions in their career, community, education, politics, social service, and humanities. Each year, the Henderson Alumni Association Board of Directors selects these distinguished alumni to represent the university.

Emma Watts
Emma Watts received her degree in business administration from Henderson in 1975, followed by her master’s degree in education in 1978 and a master’s degree in business administration in 1991, both from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville. She also received certification in secondary and adult education in 1978.

Watts taught in the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith’s Department of Business for 21 years, and in the College of Applied Science and Technology for 10 years. She received the Whirlpool Master Teachers Award in 1998 and was advisor of the Black Student Association.

She has participated in many community organizations and projects, and received several honors and awards.

Watts is married to Lonnie Lee Watts, and they have five children and eight grandchildren.

Lonnie Watts Jr.
Lonnie Watts earned his degree in sociology from Henderson State in 1975, and received his master’s degree in sociology in 1978 and master’s in business administration in 1992, both from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville.

Watts taught at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith for 25 years, serving in several positions before retiring in 2013. He was chair of the Department of Sociology, Psychology and Anthropology from 2002-2006.

Watts has served on a variety of boards and committees and has been active in several civic and professional organizations.

He is married to Emma Watts. They have five children and eight grandchildren.

Charles Gibbs
Charles Gibbs is a 1960 graduate of Henderson State with a degree in psychology and participated in the ROTC program.

After working for the American Red Cross until 1964, Gibbs joined Southwestern Bell Telephone. In 1979, he went to work for A.G. Edwards & Sons and began a career in the securities industry. He later worked for Paine Webber, Investment Management & Research, Spelman & Co., and Expert Witness (Securities) Various Law Firms. In 1980, he became president of CRG Investment Group, a position he still holds.

Gibbs has received numerous sales awards, and has been involved with several community service and civic organizations.

Bridgette Shannon
Shannon earned her degree in chemistry from Henderson State in 2002, and received her master’s and doctorate degrees in chemistry from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville. She was the first African-American female to receive a Ph.D. in chemistry at UA.

Shannon has worked at the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences (UAMS), University of Arkansas-Fayetteville Department of Chemistry, L’Oreal USA Manufacturing, and Corning Inc.

She was featured in Fast Company and Essence magazines and received the Little Rock Mayor and Board of Director’s Award, both in 2011. Shannon was a World Technology Awards Corporate Finalist in 2012.

Shannon is married to Dr. Simon Shannon and they have two children.


Henderson Halloween Oct. 31

© Henderson State UniversityIt’s almost time for Henderson State’s annual Halloween event as the university prepares to host hundreds of trick-or-treaters Oct. 31. Henderson Halloween will be held outdoors on the South Lawn in front of Arkansas Hall from 5:30-7 p.m. Numerous campus groups and organizations will be set up throughout the area handing out a variety of tasty treats.

The community is invited to attend. Sponsored by Henderson student activities and organizations, Henderson Halloween provides a safe atmosphere for trick-or-treating.

HSU Family Day Nov. 1

Henderson State University will host Family Day Saturday, Nov. 1, offering a variety of fun activities leading up to the Reddies football game at 3 p.m.

Festivities will begin at 7:30 a.m. with registration for the Rib Cook-off at Wells Gym. The first HSU Vietnam Memorial Scholarship will be awarded at 10 a.m. on the Quad as part of Military Appreciation Day. A reception will follow at 10:45. Family Trivia will be held at 11 a.m. in the Grand Ballroom.

Registration for the Salsa Cook-off is at 11 a.m. at Wells Gym. At 11:30 a.m., an assortment of attractions will open at Wells Gym including: inflatables, face tattoos, rock wall, snow cones, cotton candy, and tacos. Lunch will be available from noon-2 p.m.

The Greek Stroll/Step starts at 1 p.m., followed by the Reddie Walk at 1:30 p.m. Rib/salsa winners will be announced at 2 p.m. And kick-off for the Henderson-UAM football game is at 3 p.m.

The community is invited.

Jenkins crowned homecoming queen

© Henderson State UniversityJessica Jenkins, a senior business management major from Little Rock, was crowned Henderson State University 2014 Homecoming Queen during a pre-game ceremony Oct. 25. Sarah Williams, a senior from Conroe, Texas, was named first runner-up, and Kaitlin Stubbs, a senior from Sheridan, was second runner-up.

The student body selected Jenkins from among 33 candidates. She was crowned by Henderson President Glen Jones and 2013 Queen Claire Howard.

Reddie for Henderson Day Nov. 6

Centurium AcademicHundreds of high school students will get a taste of college life when they visit the Henderson State University campus Nov. 6.

“Reddie for Henderson Day” gives seniors an opportunity to meet current students, tour the campus, visit with academic departments and receive information on admissions, financial aid, housing opportunities and non-academic organizations.

All high school seniors are invited to participate in this special campus preview day. Registration and check-in will be from 9-9:45 a.m. in front of Arkansas Hall. Parking is available at Wells Athletic Center. Shuttles will take students and their guests to the main campus. Various academic and social sessions will help both parents and students learn more about Henderson.

To register, go to and click on the “Reddie for Henderson Day” button, or visit Send email to or call 870-230-5028 or 1-800-228-7333 for more information. Students can register through Oct. 31.

Homecoming court candidates announced

2014 homecoming courtHomecoming activities at Henderson State University begin Oct. 22 when the student body begins voting for the 2014 homecoming queen. Thirty-three students are nominated for the homecoming court.

The 10 finalists will be announced Oct. 23 during the annual homecoming bonfire. The court will be introduced and the queen crowned during football pre-game festivities on Oct. 25 when the Reddies host the Harding Bison.

The 2014 homecoming court candidates are:

Continue reading

Henderson set to celebrate homecoming

DSC_5509Henderson State University wants its alumni to “Come on Home” for an exciting week of homecoming activities beginning Oct. 22 when voting starts for the Top 10 Homecoming Queen candidates.

“This promises to be an exciting homecoming that I hope everyone can attend,” said Paul Hankins, interim alumni coordinator. “Our Reddie football team is undefeated and will face a highly ranked Harding team in a Great American Conference showdown.”

From reunions, banquets and a theater production, to sporting events, tailgating and the Greek step show, Homecoming 2014 will offer something for everyone. “Our theme, ‘Come on Home,’ is so appropriate for the events,” Hankins said.

Continue reading

HSU Theatre to present ‘Clybourne Park’ starting Oct. 9

HSU TheatreHenderson State University Theatre will present seven performances of Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris on Oct. 9, 10, 11, 13, 23, 24 and 25. All performances start at 7:30 p.m.  Talkback sessions with various members of the theatre company will follow the performances on Oct. 9,13, and 23.

Jokes fly and hidden agendas unfold as two vastly different generations of characters tip-toe the delicate dance of social politics, pitting race against real estate in the same North Chicago house. That house in Clybourne Park is the very one that the Younger family was set to move into at the end of A Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry’s celebrated drama from 1959.

Continue reading

Open house at Garrison Center

© Henderson State University

Henderson State marked the official completion of the Garrison Center renovation project Oct. 2 with a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house. Visitors were treated to a variety of food and snacks in the new Grand Ballroom (formerly the Day Gym). The improvements brought Chick-Fil-A and Starbucks to the campus, along with a fresh new look for the Reddie Bookstore. The hallways on both levels of the two-story facility were modernized with new flooring and paint, and the Day Gym was transformed into a modern conference center. Significant improvements were also made to the Lecture Hall. State senators Bruce Maloch and Larry Teague were instrumental in helping Henderson secure $1.7 million in General Improvement funds from the State of Arkansas for the project.