Venita McCellon-Allen is president and chief operating officer of Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO), serving approximately 527,000 customers in Louisiana, Arkansas, East Texas and in the Panhandle area of North Texas. She has authority for distribution operations and a wide range of customer and regulatory relationships. In addition, the position of president and chief operating officer for AEP Texas reports to her.
McCellon-Allen is a member of the Strategic Planning Committee of the Southwest Power Pool. She also is a charter member of Arkansas Women in Power, a non-profit organization that represents the collaborative efforts of Arkansas energy professionals who share a commitment to recruiting, promoting and maintaining women in the natural gas, electric and other energy sectors through networking and mentoring. She is also a member of Executive Women in Energy, an association that provides and fosters career and leadership development for women in the energy industry.
McCellon-Allen earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Texas A&M University. She is also a graduate of the University of Chicago’s Executive Development Program and the Young Managers Program at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.
In 2007, with preparation for construction of the John W. Turk Power Plant in Hempstead County underway, SWEPCO made an historic donation to the UACCH Foundation. The million dollar donation was instrumental in the establishment of the Associate of Applied Science in Power Plant Technology program at UACCH and provided scholarships for PPT students. This program has educated over 250 students in Power Plant Technology and has prepared many for employment at the John W. Turk Power Plant. Over half of the Turk employees are graduates of the College.
In addition to the funds SWEPCO has allocated to provide scholarships for the AAS in Power Plant Technology, funds have also been generously donated to provide scholarships for non-traditional students in other areas of study.
Dr. Donald R. Bobbitt
University of Arkansas System President Dr. Donald R. Bobbitt began his term as president on November 1, 2011. Previously, he served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of Texas at Arlington from 2008-11.
After earning a doctorate in chemistry from Iowa State University in 1985, Bobbitt became an assistant professor in the department of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. Among his many honors are the University of Arkansas Alumni Association Award in Teaching and the Fulbright College Master Teacher Award.
For five years, he was a recipient of the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation Teacher-Scholar Fellowship, from 1988-93. He has received more than $13.8 million in funded support from national corporations and organizations — including the R.W. Johnson Pharmaceutical Research Institute, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
He is also the author or co-author of 56 refereed publications and has on several occasions been an invited speaker at meetings of the American Chemical Association. In 2003, he was named Dean of the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas.
Dr. Bobbitt has been a key leader as U of A Hope-Texarkana has continued to expand campuses and programs to meet the growing needs of the communities it serves. An advocate in Little Rock and across the state for the role that the system’s two-year colleges play in economic development and workforce training, Dr. Bobbitt has championed many causes for U of A Hope-Texarkana.
Visitor Larry Dowd of Texarkana has served on the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope Board of Visitors since September 20, 1996. He was previously an active member of the Red River Vocational Technical College Board of Trustees, beginning November 4, 1991.He was first associated with the school in 1989 to develop training programs for industry.
In 1991 when the State converted the Vo-Tech school to a Technical College he was appointed to the Red River Technical College Board of Trustees, serving as vice chair. In 1996, the University of Arkansas invited the college to become one of the first two-year colleges in their system. He was appointed to the Board of Visitors for UACCH at that time and has served on various boards for UACCH. Soon after that he was appointed to the UACCH Foundation Board of Directors. He has also served two terms on the Arkansas Building Authority.
Mr. Dowd is a life-long resident of Texarkana, Arkansas, and a Veteran of the Viet Nam War. He is the former Chairman of the Miller County Election Commission, which he served for eighteen years.
A graduate of East Texas State University – Texarkana, he is retired from Cooper Tire Company in Texarkana after 34 years, during which he served as Quality Manager and on the plant staff.
He has served as a coach and referee for the Optimist Boys and Girls Club, has served the Boy Scouts, and the Texarkana soccer leagues.
He is married to the former Peggy Maloy and they have three daughters and seven grandchildren.
John Goodson of Texarkana, a law partner at Keil & Goodson, P.A., serves on the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees. He earned his bachelor’s degree in 1987 and law degree in 1989 from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.
Visitor Jerry Pruden of Hope has served on the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope Board of Visitors since September 20, 1996, and currently serves as the board chair. Before that, he served on the Red River Technical College Board.
A 1971 honor graduate of Hope High School, he is also a 1975 graduate of Hendrix College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Math, and received his Masters Degree in Accounting from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 1978. He retired at the close of 2013 from his career as a certified public accountant. He currently serves as chairman of both the Hope Water & Light Commission and the Hempstead County Library Board of Commissioners. He has also served as Treasurer of the Hope Kiwanis Club for 15 years, served for more than 10 years on the Hope Housing Authority Board of Commissioners and over six years on the United Way Board of Directors. He also served a three-year term on the Southwest Arkansas Arts Council Board of Directors and currently serves as one of three representatives of Hempstead County on the Southwest Arkansas Water District Board. He is active in the First United Methodist Church of Hope, where he currently serves as chairman of the Board of Trustees and teaches Sunday School.
Jerry and his wife Twyla are the parents of two sons, Jim and Isaac. In addition to his service on the UACCH Board of Visitors and the UACCH Foundation Board, Jerry and Twyla have funded an endowment in memory of their son Jim and another in general support of the college.
Ned Ray Purtle
Visitor Ned Ray Purtle, a lifetime resident of southwest Arkansas, has served on the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope Board of Visitors since November 2, 2001. He currently serves as Trustee Emeritus for the University of Arkansas System Board, and as Chairman of the University of Arkansas at Hope-Texarkana Foundation Board.A 1956 graduate of Oklahoma State University in Animal Science, he owns and operates Ned Purtle and Son Ranches in Hope and was the principal owner and Chairman of the Board of Arkansas State Bank in Clarksville, Arkansas, 1988-1997, as well as owner and Chairman of the Board of Automatic Solutions, Inc., in Knoxville, Arkansas, 1996-2000. He has been a member of the Board of Governors of the Arkansas State Fair since 1957, and Chairman since 1997. He has served on the Board of Directors of Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation and Mutual Insurance Company; the Board of Directors of Heartland Community Bank in Camden, Arkansas; and the Board of Directors of Citizen’s National Bank and Summit Bank in Hope.Mr. Purtle has served as president of the Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association and locally as president of the Hempstead County Farm Bureau, Hempstead County Cattlemen’s Association, Hempstead County Fair, and the Third District Livestock Show. He has been a board member of the National Cattlemen’s Association, the American Hereford Association, the National Beef Board and the Arkansas Beef Council and has judged beef cattle at various state and national competitions.He has been named Progressive Farmer Man of the Year in Agriculture, 1997, and received the Friend of Animal Science Award from the U of A, 1998. Other recognitions include Animal Science Graduate of Distinction from Oklahoma State University, 2000; Special Recognition Award from the U of A Department of Agriculture, 2001; Honorary Arkansas Farmer Degree from Future Farmers of America, 2001; induction into the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame, 2001; and U of A Chancellor’s Society, 2004.He and his wife Carolyn have two sons, Michael and Steven, and two granddaughters, Ashton and Makayla. They are active in the First United Methodist Church of Hope.Foundation Chairman Purtle has invested much of his time, energy and effort into the continued success of the College and the UAHT Foundation. Additionally, he and Carolyn have generously endowed scholarships that are awarded to nine students per semester, enabling a great number of students to successfully complete healthcare programs of study and to work locally, enhancing quality of life for the entire community.
Bonnie A. Routon
Visitor Bonnie Routon has served on the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope Board of Visitors since September 20, 1996. She currently serves as secretary of the UAHT Foundation Board of Trustees.
Mrs. Routon has served on the UACCH Board since its inception and hopes never to retire. “We are so very proud of UACCH,” she said. She is a retired Hope High School teacher, having taught Creative Writing, English, American History, Psychology, Sociology, and Economics. Her Henderson State Teachers College degree is in English and Social Studies.
She and her late husband, Bill Routon, are the parents of three sons and one daughter. Mrs. Routon endowed a scholarship through the UAHT Foundation in memory of her husband in 2006.
Her prior and current community service and memberships include the local hospital board, Rose Hill Cemetery Association, First United Methodist Church, Junior Auxiliary and many other civic activities.
Bonnie’s legacy on the campus will be remembered for generations as students, families and friends gather at the Anthony-Routon Amphitheater on the front lawn of the Hope Campus. Mrs. Routon was the major contributor of funds to the Foundation for construction of the Amphitheater pavilion.
Ground was broken July 1, 1965, for Red River Vocational Technical School in Hope, with J. W. Rowe as the inaugural director. He served in that capacity until his retirement on December 31, 1987. Mr. Rowe graduated from Emerson High School in 1944, worked in the oil fields around Magnolia and then went into the Navy. Upon leaving the Navy in 1946, he majored in Business Administration in college and realized he wanted to teach. “I found out quickly that the student was the most important part of education,” he said. Of the Red River Vocational Technical School, he said, “The new school was not a Hope school, but was a Southwest Arkansas school, and it’s been that way from the beginning.” Both of Mr. Rowe’s statements have guided the vision and mission of the University of Arkansas at Hope-Texarkana to the present time.He and his late wife, Janis, had three daughters and a son. Mr. Rowe has endowed two scholarships through the UAHT Foundation — one in memory of Janis and one in memory of his daughter Mona. He and his wife, Velvin, reside in Waldo, Arkansas.
Visitor Freddie L. Smith of Fulton has served on the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope Board of Visitors since September 20, 1996.
He is the Pastor of Canaan Baptist Church and has an Associate of Arts Degree from Southern Baptist Junior College. He also has Bachelor of Arts and Master’s Degrees from Ouachita Baptist University. He has been recognized as Certified Dean by the National Baptist Convention Sunday School Publishers Board.
Freddie retired in October 2014 from Arkansas Rehabilitation Services as District Manager, after having served the State for 37 years in the rehabilitation field. He is a past president of the Kiwanis Club of Hope and a past president of the Hope Baseball Association.
He and his wife, Linda, are the parents of two grown children.
Dr. B. Alan Sugg
Dr. B. Alan Sugg became president of the University of Arkansas System in 1990 and served until his retirement in 2011. He had previously served as president of the University of Texas A & M, Corpus Christi.
He was educated at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree and participating in ROTC, receiving a Regular Army Commission. He went on to earn a Master of Arts Degree in Higher Education Administration at the U of A and then a Ph.D. in the same field at the University of Oklahoma.
Under Dr. Sugg’s leadership, the U of A System expanded to include the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, five community colleges – including UACCH, the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, the Criminal Justice Institute, the Clinton School of Public Service and the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts.