University of Central Arkansas
UCA seal (adopted 2012)
MottoFront and Center
Established1907, as Arkansas State Normal School
TypePublic University
EndowmentUS $45.3 million (2011)[1]
Students13,863 (Fall 2011) [2]
Undergraduates12,302 (Fall 2011) [2]
Postgraduates1,561 (Fall 2011) [2]
LocationConway, Arkansas, USA
35°04′37″N 92°27′25″W / 35.077, -92.457</td></tr>
CampusCo-educational; residential</td></tr>
Colorspurple and gray
NicknameBears & Sugar Bears [1]</td></tr>
AffiliationsSouthland Conference</td></tr></td></tr>
UCA Logo</td></tr>


The University of Central Arkansas is a state-run institution located in the city of Conway, the seat of Faulkner County, north of Little Rock and is the fourth largest university by enrollment in the U.S. state of Arkansas, and the third largest college system in the state. The school is most respected for its programs in Education, Occupational Therapy, and Physical Therapy. It is also the home of the UCA Honors College as well as four Residential Colleges.

History and missionEdit


The Arkansas State Legislature created the Arkansas State Normal School, now known as the University of Central Arkansas, in 1907. The purpose of The Arkansas State Normal School was to properly train students to become professional teachers and rid Arkansas of haphazard schoolteachers. Classes began in 1908 with nine academic departments, one building on Script error, 107 students and seven faculty members. Two faculty members taught in two departments and President Doyne taught pedagogy and Latin.

In 1925, Arkansas State Normal School became Arkansas State Teachers College. The name change more accurately reflected the primary focus of instruction and mission of the institution.


By 1967, the mission of Arkansas State Teachers College had changed. Though teacher training was still an important part of the school's mission, other fields began to expand in liberal arts studies and in the emerging field of health care. To recognize the institution's existing academic diversity another name change was in order. In January 1967, Arkansas State Teachers College became the State College of Arkansas.

President Silas Snow, who championed the name change in 1967, organized State College of Arkansas along university lines in preparation for still yet another name change. State College of Arkansas grew rapidly and offered an ever-widening range of degree programs. By January 1975, Snow’s efforts were realized as the State Department of Higher Education recommended State College of Arkansas be known as The University of Central Arkansas, or UCA.


As of Fall 2010, UCA has an enrollment of 11,444 students, a decrease of 2.9% over that of Fall 2009. UCA saw its highest enrollment in Fall 2008 with 12,974 students, an increase of 2.8 percent over its enrollment one year earlier, which was 12,619.

In the September 19, 2007 edition of The Echo (campus newspaper), the fall 2007 enrollment was listed at 12,619. [2] In fall 2006, 12,330 students were enrolled at UCA. [3] UCA's enrollment has increased by over 28% in the past five years and 14% over the past four years. In fall 2002, UCA had an enrollment of approximately 8,500. [4]



UCA Colors - The colors for UCA were decided the first year and according to an article in the November 24th, 1908 edition of the Log Cabin Democrat, were said to be purple and silver. President Doyne assigned the task of developing school colors to W.O. Wilson and Ida Waldran in 1908. Wilson was wearing a gray sweater and Waldran was wearing a purple scarf. They chose the colors based upon the color of the clothing they were wearing that day. Both Wilson and Waldran thought that purple and gray complemented each other. Today the official colors for all UCA sports teams are purple and gray.

UCA Mascot - It wasn't until 1920 that the UCA athletic teams had a mascot. According to Dr. Ted Worley, author of A History of The Arkansas State Teachers College, the UCA teams from 1908-1919 were referred to by many names, including: Tutors, Teachers, Pedagogues, Pea-Pickers, and Normalites. In 1920 the Bears became the mascot for the teams. However, it wasn’t until April 7, 1921 that the teams were called the "Bears" in print. Dr. Worley also quoted sources as saying the Bear was an appropriate symbol for the school because Arkansas’ nickname was the "Bear State". The women's teams were known as the Bearettes for several years. The name of Sugar Bear came later. Victor E. Bear came about in 1999 and Victoria E. Bear came soon after. Bruce D. Bear became the newest addition to the UCA family in 2006

Main Hall – is the oldest building on campus. This building was completed in 1919 and was built by George Donaghey, the man for whom Donaghey Avenue is named and a former governor of the State of Arkansas. After the building was built it served a dual role as the administration building and as a classroom building. It continued to serve as the administration building until the 1960s. On February 11 of 2011, the building was named to the National Register of Historic Places.

World War II Marker - UCA's World War II Memorial was dedicated in October 2003. The memorial contains the names and branch of service of forty-six UCA alumni who were killed during World War II. The memorial is a permanent reminder of those UCA alumni who gave their lives fighting for their country.

Senior Legacy Walk Brick Campaign -The Senior Walk is located in the courtyard in front of the Student Center. Each year, graduates will have the opportunity to purchase bricks as part of their class year. For $100, graduates can purchase a brick that will be inscribed with his/her name or the name of a graduate that a purchaser want to honor.

UCA presidentsEdit

  • Preston 1900-1907
  • John James Doyne 1908-1917
  • Burr Walter Torreyson 1917-1930
  • Heber L. McAlister 1930-1941
  • Nolen M. Irby 1941-1953
  • Silas D. Snow 1953-1975
  • Jefferson D. Farris 1975-1986
  • Winfred L. Thompson 1988-2001
  • Lu Hardin 2002-2008
  • Allen Meadors 2009–2011
  • Tom Courtway 2011-[1][2]

After President Thompson resigned the presidency he was replaced on an interim basis on December 21, 2001 by Dr. John Smith, vice-president of financial services. Smith served in this capacity until September 22, 2002. Hardin took the reins at UCA on September 23, 2002. He has a Bachelor of Arts with high honors from Arkansas Tech University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Arkansas Law School. Hardin served as an Arkansas State Senator for 14 years and was chairman of the Senate Education Committee and also served on the Joint Budget Committee and Legislative Council. He chaired the Arkansas Advisory Council for Vocational Education and served 12 years as a Professor of Legal Studies at Arkansas Tech University. In addition, he was a trial attorney for 10 years. Prior to becoming UCA’s eighth president, Hardin was Director of the Department of Higher Education for six years.[3] President Lu Hardin announced his resignation at the August 28, 2008 Board of Trustees meeting, following controversy over a $300,000 bonus that had been voted him by the board.[4] He would later plead guilty to wire fraud and money laundering charges.[5] Tom Courtway, UCA Vice President and General Counsel, was then named Interim President. On June 19, 2009, the new UCA President, Dr. Allen Meadors, was presented to the Board of Trustees. The event took place in Wingo Hall. Dr. Meadors is a UCA Alumnus who received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.



The University has 6 distinct colleges offering over 80 majors.[5] These colleges are: The College of Business, the College of Education, the College of Fine Arts and Communications, the College of Health and Behavioral Sciences, the College of Liberal Arts, and the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

The university is famous for its innovative Honors College, which has received national recognition for its excellence. Small classes, distinguished faculty, TAG and URGE grants for students, high ACT and SAT scores, and outstanding medical and graduate school admission rates are hallmarks of the College. The Carnegie Foundation said the UCA Honors College was "One of the most widely imitated programs in the country," and former U.S. Secretary of Education Terrell Bell described the Honors College as being "An Ivy League education at a bargain basement price."[6]

In 2006, U.S. News & World Report ranked UCA 61st in the South in academic excellence. This marks the first year that UCA has been ranked. UCA was the only public Arkansas university in that category. [7]

In the 2009 Edition of U.S. News & World Report America's Best Colleges, UCA was ranked 54th in Master's Universities South. [8] UCA was also ranked 23rd in the Top Public Schools in Master's Universities South. [9]

In January 2010 UCA launched a daily source of news and information. The website is created, designed, and run completely by mass communication students. The student created website is named "The Fountain," after the historic landmark located at the university's campus. [10]


The University of Central Arkansas in Conway, AR, comprises six colleges. In addition to the programs offered at the colleges, it has a study abroad program. Students may, for example, study Literature in Italy and UK, healthcare in China or Sociology in Africa. Credits earned at several foreign universities may be credited towards a degree at UCA. UCA is also recognized as distinct by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education for being one of the nation's 20 Asian Studies Development Program's Regional Centers for Asian Studies, a joint program of the federally-funded East West Center and University of Hawaii at Manoa.

File:Irby Court Yard.JPG

College of Fine Arts and Communication The College of Fine Arts and Communication offers five fields of study for a degree. Available disciplines include music, public relations, communications, art and writing. Many of the college's degrees enable graduates to work or teach in their chosen profession. The college offers both bachelor and graduate programs.

College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics This college offers eight fields of study in physical and natural sciences as well as six pre-professional programs. Undergraduate programs include those in biology, chemistry, computer science, environmental science, general science, mathematics, physics, and secondary science education. Pre-professional programs include pre-dentistry, pre-optometry, pre-medicine, pre-engineering, pre-pharmacy, and pre-veterinary science. The college offers both bachelor and master's degrees. [11]

College of Business Business students attending the University of Central Arkansas can pursue an associate, graduate, bachelor or MBA degree through this college. Major fields of study include accounting, economics, finance, information systems, management, and marketing.

College of Health and Behavioral Sciences This college offers bachelor and graduate degrees in health, education, psychology, counseling, military science, nursing, therapy and speech pathology. ROTC students at the University of Central Arkansas attend this college for training as a commissioned officer. Courses are also available in fitness and exercise.

College of Liberal Arts There are seven fields of study available at the College of Liberal Arts. The college offers graduate and bachelor degrees. Available fields of study include religious studies, philosophy, foreign language, political science, sociology, geography, and history. The College also supports the inter-disciplinary Asian studies, gender studies, Latin American studies, and Southern and Arkansas studies minor programs.

College of Education The College of Education offers University of Central Arkansas students Ph.D., bachelor and master's degree programs. These programs provide the skills required to work in teaching, educational administration and curriculum development.

Residential collegesEdit


There are currently four residential colleges at UCA, Hughes Hall (1997), State Residential College (1999), Short/Denney (2006), and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S.T.E.M.) (2010). Bear Hall opened in the fall of 2012. This is a new dorm that will hold the E.P.I.C. program (Entrepreneurship, Public Scholarship, Innovation, and Community Engagement) on the fourth floor for upper class students.

Residential colleges are co-educational learning communities in which students and their professors interact closely with one another. By living in the same residence hall as a faculty member, and taking classes with other college members, residential college students form academic connections which enrich the entire educational experience.

Any student admitted to UCA is eligible to apply for admission to the Residential Colleges. The program is open to students in all majors and programs. Students generally enter a residential learning community the first semester of their freshman year.

The UCA Residential College Program is a community of learners that was implemented in 1997 to educate the whole student. To do this, the program provides each student with opportunities to develop her or his academic, professional, and societal lives.

Academically, the RC college program expects their graduates to: know themselves as discerning thinkers who are able to evaluate and interpret complex information from a variety of sources, have a strong commitment to making learning a lifelong process, express themselves thoughtfully and with meaning in a variety of contexts


Professionally, the Residential College program expects their: work well in teams, including those of varied composition; building consensus and working with dissension; utilize learned technological skills in ways which further and enhance their careers; act creatively, ethically, and with initiative.

Socially, the Residential College program expects their: demonstrate a sense of commitment to local and global concerns; contribute their time, talents, and efforts in service to the community; recognize themselves as part of a diverse and ever-changing world.

Because "the end depends upon the beginning," the UCA Residential College Program dedicates its faculty and resources to making the transitions from high school to college and college-to-career both meaningful and successful. By offering a space for conversations about things that matter, we build the communities and connections so essential to our education and our society.

Drama and theater artsEdit

The University of Central Arkansas is Arkansas's premiere dramatic school. The program promotes active student involvement in all areas of production including acting, stage management, scenery, costumes, lights, sound, props, and management. The theater program participates annually in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival and has walked away with numerous awards. UCA also holds the annual Arkansas High School Audition Day which is a chance for any High School senior interested in majoring in theater to audition before most of the theater programs in the state of Arkansas. Also, UCA Theatre is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre. This accreditation assures students and parents that the UCA Theatre program meets professional standards of quality in theater education and training as set forth by the Association.

UCA Public AppearancesEdit

UCA Public Appearances is a division of the University’s College of Fine Arts & Communication. Its primary responsibilities are to manage the Donald W. Reynolds Performance Hall—a 1,200-seat, state-of-the-art theater—and to develop and present performing arts programming in the hall.

The Reynolds Performance Hall opened on September 15, 2000, with a sold-out concert by the late Ray Charles. Since then, the theater has hosted numerous celebrities, including Loretta Lynn, Rhonda Vincent, Seth Meyers, Gavin DeGraw, the Temptations, Gladys Knight, Ronan Tynan, The Golden Dragon Acrobats, Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons, mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, local composer David William Allison, and many national and international touring companies.

A four-person full-time staff, two part-time staff, and numerous student workers are employed by Public Appearances.

UCA Public Appearances manages UCA Ticket Central, which provides ticketing services for all non-athletic ticketed events on the campus. UCA Ticket Central serves Public Appearances, UCA Theatre, the Conway Symphony Orchestra, the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, Student Activities events, and events sponsored by organizations within and outside the University.

UCA Public Appearances is supported by State funds, funds generated by the UCA Performing Arts fees, grants, ticket sales, and donations.


Script error The university's athletic teams are known as the Bears for men's teams and Sugar Bears for women's teams. Central Arkansas participates in NCAA at the Division I (Football Championship Subdivision football) level as a member of the Southland Conference. The university fields 14 varsity sports involving over 400 student-athletes. The athletic program includes seven men's sports: baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, and track and field; and eight women's sports: basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field, and volleyball.[1]

Greek lifeEdit

Approximately 10% of UCA's students are members of one of the 21 Greek organizations hosted by the campus. Greek life was established in 1915. The organizations also devote thousands of hours and dollars to local charities each year.

List of Greek Organizations at UCA


Panhellenic CouncilEdit

National Pan-Hellenic CouncilEdit

Independent Greek CouncilEdit

Registered student organizationsEdit

The University is home to more than 200 registered student organizations, with more forming every year.

Notable other RSO's include The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (N.A.A.C.P), Young Democrats, College Libertarians, College Republicans, Sigma Alpha Lambda Honors Society, Student Council for Exceptional Children, PRISM, Business and Information Technology (BIT), Computer Science Club, Model UN, Campus Dialogue, Pre-Med Society, Pre-Pharmacy Club, RUSH Collegiate Ministries and a myriad of other religious organizations.

Also, there are minority-focused organizations such as Griot Society, Minority Mentorship, Students for the Propagation of Black Culture (SPBC), S.U.A.A.W., Black Men United (BMU)

Student Government AssociationEdit

The Student Government Association, SGA, represents the student body at all times and in all circumstances, in areas such as: allocating and administrating student activity funds; advising the administration in regard to student-related policies; cooperating with faculty in determining student obligations and honors; considering all student petitions to SGA; planning and supervising all SGA elections; and approving charters or cancellations of RSOs.

The SGA was created to represent student interests on campus and push for initiatives that are beneficial for the student body. They are there to make sure that students are the number one priority in every decision made at UCA. The Slogan of SGA is: Students First!

The SGA is composed of total of forty senators divided into: "The Executive Board" consisting of an Executive President, Executive Vice-President, Vice-President of Operations, Vice-President of Finance. SGA representation from each class shall be as follows: President, Vice-President, Five (5) Representatives. Additional Members: Five (5) Senators at Large, Three (3) Graduate Senators.

The full Senate meets every Monday at 5 pm in Student Center 215 and all students are invited to attend. This is the time when all the classes and committees come together, under the direction of the Executive Board, to report on goals and projects that are being carried out by the body. Any student can be appointed to a committee.

Notable alumniEdit


A May 2009 state Audit found several irregularities in UCA's financing including payouts to President Lu Hardin of nearly $1,000,000 after his controversial resignation. The audit division also reported that UCA and its primary advertising agency at that time "appear to have converted public funds to private funds" to pay head football coach Clint Conque more than $30,000 above his state salary cap. It is alleged that Conque accepted the funds in exchange for appearing in several UCA promotional videos. However, the money used to pay Conque was the same amount that was paid to the advertising agency to create the promos. These findings were turned over to Prosecuting Attorney Marcus Vaden. Currently, UCA is undergoing investigation by the FBI, allegedly for the past audit findings. [12]

2008 campus shootingEdit

Script error

On Sunday, October 26, 2008, a shooting took place on the UCA campus shortly after 9:00pm CDT, outside of the Arkansas Hall dormitory. Two students – Ryan Henderson, 18, and Chavares Block, 19 – were fatally shot. A third person, 19-year-old Martrevis Norman, a non-student visiting the campus, was shot in the leg and was treated at the nearby Conway Regional Medical Center.[1]

Four suspects were charged in the shooting: Kawin Brockton, 19, Kelsey Perry, 19, Mario Tony, 20, and Brandon Wade, 20.[2]


External linksEdit

Template:Colleges and universities in Arkansas

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