Winter commencement Dec. 19

graduation_cap_and_diplomaWinter commencement exercises will be held at Henderson State University Friday, Dec. 19, with more than 220 undergraduate and graduate students receiving their degrees.

The ceremony for School of Business and Teachers College, Henderson, will begin at 3 p.m. in the Wells Center gymnasium, followed at 6 p.m. by the ceremony for the Ellis College of Arts and Sciences.

Faculty charges will be presented by: Dr. TaLisha Givan, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction, and director of Teacher Education Admission/CE; and Dr. Shaun Popp, assistant director of bands and assistant professor of music. Student responses will be given by Tyler Shaw and Eric Gomance.

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Henderson student places third at national media competition

Chris Ingram, a senior mass media communication major from Little Rock, placed third recently in a national competition for college media students. Ingram received the award in the category of Best Radio Promo/PSA.

The category is judged based on the best audio production for radio station promotional pieces. Ingram serves as station manager for Henderson State University’s radio station, KSWH 102.5 FM.

The award was presented at the College Media Association Conference in Philadelphia, a national competition among Division I and II universities and community colleges.

KSWH and HTV (Henderson Television) compete in categories such as Best Entertainment, Newscasts, Sports Programming, Promo and Web Video, according to Paul Glover, associate professor of communication/theatre arts and radio/TV advisor. “The students get to see what other schools are doing and we continue to innovate and create each semester,” Glover said.

Henderson mass media students have access to many of the same broadcast facilities as larger schools. “When our students win awards, it shows that they are competing at a high academic, technical and creative level,” Glover said. “I’m always proud of the work they do and I know they will get hired based on their demo reels, which often contain some of this award-winning work.”

Research grant: Hardee to help lead asphalt study

Dr. John Hardee

Dr. John Hardee

The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department has awarded $213,208 for a two-year collaborative project to research the performance of asphalts modified with polyphosphoric acid. Dr. John Hardee, professor of chemistry and dean of the Ellis College of Arts and Sciences at Henderson State University, is one of three researchers leading the study.

Hardee will be working with Dr. Ashraf Elsayed, associate professor of civil engineering at Arkansas State University, and Dr. Andrew Braham, assistant professor of civil engineering at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville.

“State highway and transportation departments have realized for years that it is very good business to use modified asphalt in new road projects,” Hardee said. “It simply saves a lot of money on the medium and long term because the roads are less likely to experience rutting and cracking. By far, the most common way of modifying bitumen in modern road construction is to add a polymer such as styrene-butadiene-styrene to asphalt.”

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Faculty ensembles to perform Dec. 11

music_notesHenderson State University’s Faculty Woodwind Quartet and Brass Quintet will perform at the Honeycomb Restaurant in Arkadelphia Dec. 11 at 5 p.m.

The Woodwind Quartet consists of Jennifer Amox, flute; Shannon Clardy, oboe; Steve Becraft, clarinet; and Maralyn Sommer, bassoon. They will perform music by Eugene Bozza and Jean Francaix, two prolific French composers who had an affinity for wind compositions.

The Brass Quintet includes: Jim Buckner and Richard Bailey, trumpet; Amy Laursen, French horn; Jamie Lipton, euphonium; and Todd Cranson, tuba. They will play music by Eric Ewazen, a popular composer in the world of brass music, and an arrangement of one of the most famous and recognizable tangos of all time by Gerardo Matos Rodriguez. The performance will close with music of the holidays.

STEM Center receives $6,200 grant

The Arkansas Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Coalition Board has awarded Henderson State University’s STEM Center a $6,200 equipment grant. The funds will be used to provide Chromebook laptop computers and other technologies to Blevins Elementary School and Centerpoint Intermediate School.

The grant is part of the “Connecting Science with Technology” project, said Betty Ramsey, director of the HSU STEM Center. Ramsey and STEM science specialist Greg Wertenberger will train teachers at the schools how to use the technologies in their science classes.

Henderson’s STEM Center promotes science, technology, engineering and mathematics education to P-16 teachers by providing research and standards-based professional development, curriculum alignment assistance, and assessment support for mathematics and science teachers.

Band concert at HSU Dec. 7

Henderson State University’s Symphony Band and Wind Ensemble will present a concert Sunday, Dec. 7, at 3 p.m. in the Arkansas Hall Auditorium. The program will include music by a variety of composers, including Gillingham, Goldman, Grainger, and Schuman.

The Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Carrie Pawelski, is comprised of the university’s finest wind and percussion musicians, and performs traditional and contemporary wind repertoire of the highest quality in a smaller ensemble setting.

The Symphony Band, directed by Dr. Shaun Popp, includes student musicians from across campus who have demonstrated an outstanding level of musicianship and commitment to musical excellence. The Symphony Band features works for larger wind band.

The concert is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Pawelski at

Choreography Showcase Dec. 4

Henderson State University’s choreography class and the HSU Dance Company will present the annual Fall Choreography Showcase on Dec. 4. Dance students will present original works in progress, showcasing contemporary styles.

Many of the pieces will be selected by a panel for inclusion in the Dance Company’s spring concert. The audience is invited to offer feedback and ask questions.

The showcase will include the presentation of With a Little Help, a new piece set by guest choreographer Mayte Natalio. A new work in progress by Jennifer Maddox, artist in residence at Henderson, will also be presented. In Root Comforts, “the audience can witness through the Dance Company’s improvisational movement invention how dance artists can work together in the moment,” Maddox said.

The event, which will be held in the Arkansas Hall Dance Studio at 4:30 p.m., is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Jennifer Maddox at or call (870) 230-5168.

Henderson ranks second in affordable online master’s programs

Affordable Colleges Online (AC Online) has named Henderson State University as one of the nation’s top universities to offer online master’s programs. decorative image Henderson scored second, behind Western New Mexico State University, in the annual ranking, which focuses on affordability and student success upon graduation among public colleges and universities offering online graduate programs. The ranking requires that public universities offer at least five online graduate programs and scores schools based on the following metrics:

  • Count of online master’s degrees available
  • Graduate tuition and fees
  • Academic and career counseling services
  • Job placement for graduates
  • AC Online Peer-Based Value – defined by AC Online as the metric that compares the cost of a program to the cost of other programs with the same (or a similar) qualitative score. It also compares the qualitative score of the program to the score of other programs with the same (or a similar cost).

Henderson offers online graduate programs in Technology Leadership and Educational Leadership for the District Level Leader. Five other Educational Leadership graduate programs are offered:

Business professors publish in new academic journal

Henderson School of Business professors Victor Claar and Lonnie Jackson recently published, “Are Servant Editors Born or Made?” in the first edition of the new academic journal, Servant Leadership: Theory and Practice (SLTP).

“Our faculty teach our students to be ethical future business leaders who are also caring servants,” said School of Business Dean Brenda Ponsford. “The work of Dr. Claar, Mr. Jackson and others shows that our professors not only teach but make valuable contributions to the academic literature in our area.”

The journal’s mission is to advance servant leadership, both as a field of academic study and as a management practice, by publishing quality empirical and theoretical work in the field as well as practitioner-centered work concerning the practical application of servant leadership principles.

Teachers College grad named Arkansas Teacher of the Year

Henderson grad Ouida Newton, who serves as a math teacher at Poyen High School, is the 2015 Arkansas Teacher of the Year, the state Department of Education announced Friday.

“Newton has a strong teaching history and outstanding accomplishments, making her a deserving teacher for this recognition,” state Education Commissioner Tony Wood said.

Newton has a bachelor’s degree in education from Henderson State University at Arkadelphia and a master’s degree in library and informational science from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. During her 34-year career, she has taught Algebra I and II, sixth-grade science, pre-algebra, geometry, pre-calculus, calculus, trigonometry, transition-to-college math, physics, and Algebra A and B.

Newton also has served as a library media specialist, math coach, curriculum supervisor, class sponsor, senior Beta Club sponsor and Teachers of Tomorrow supervisor. She previously taught in the Searcy School District and the Pulaski County Special School District.

In addition to teaching math to grades seven through 12 at Poyen High School, Newton teaches algebra, trigonometry and introduction to computers at the College of the Ouachitas in Malvern.

Last year, Newton was named the Arkansas Rural Education Teacher of the Year and Arkansas Middle Level Math Teacher of the Year.

She received a $1,000 award from the Walton Family Foundation when she was named one of 15 regional finalists for Teacher of the Year. The foundation presented her with an additional $14,000 award in a ceremony Friday.

Also, SMART Technologies of Canada gave Newton the 2015 Teaching Excellence Award, which comes with technology products for the classroom and training.

State law allows the Arkansas Teacher of the Year to take a year of paid administrative leave for professional development and to serve as a non-voting member of the state Board of Education.

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.”

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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

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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.