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UACCM Celebrates Fifty Years With Community Party

Under sunny skies, a crowd of approximately 1000 people was on hand Thursday, October 13, to help the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton kick off its 50th-year anniversary commemorative events.  The college invited the community to attend the picnic-style dinner and concert by the musical duo Trout Fishing in America.

Attendees, who included current students, alumni, retirees, elected officials, and the public, were treated to a BBQ and chicken dinner, playing tribute to the same menu served almost 50 years ago at the institution’s original dedication ceremony. UACCM’s dining facility, The Plaza, under the supervision of Food Services/Hospitality Director Kristi Strain, prepared 125 whole chickens and 219 lbs. of pulled pork, along with baked beans and cole slaw, to serve to the multitude. The event was tailored for families, and the children in attendance enjoyed a variety of games and activities, including a fun-photo booth, face-painting, games of checkers and Twister, and free cotton candy and shaved ice machines.

The UACCM Concert Choir under the direction of Shannah Cummings performed several numbers, giving the crowd a preview of their upcoming October 20 concert. A video tribute chronicling the school’s past fifty years was played, after which the four-time, Grammy-nominated band Trout Fishing in America took the stage.

UACCM Chancellor Dr. Larry Davis addressed the crowd to thank them for attending and for supporting the college throughout the years. Davis reflected on the past, recognizing the initial contribution of land from Marlin and Marvine Hawkins that lead to Morrilton being selected as the site for the state’s second vocational-technical school. Two of the Hawkins’ children and their families, John Robert Hawkins and Kaye Hawkins Anderson, were presented plaques of appreciation.

From the Hawkins’ donation of 21 acres of land in 1961 to the 19 buildings on 80 acres of land today, UACCM has experienced tremendous growth in both enrollment and facilities.   From an initial enrollment of 278 students and 13 programs in 1963 to the current almost 2500 credit students exploring 43 plans of study, UACCM has continued extraordinary growth. The surge in enrollment has created the need for larger technical program facilities, and UACCM unveiled plans for a new Applied Technology Center to house automotive service technology, automotive collision repair, welding, and air conditioning, heating, and refrigeration technology. The building, which will also include a one-stop workforce center, will be funded through a capital campaign.

This year marks three major milestones for the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton:  fifty years as an institution; 20 years as a two-year college; and 10 years as a member of the University of Arkansas System. UACCM will continue commemorative events for a two-year period to observe 50 years from the time it was established in 1961 to 50 years from the time construction was completed and classes began in 1963. The college will host a number of free events for the community, including concerts, musical performances, and guest speakers.

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