Speech to the Conway Rotary Club

By President J. Timothy Cloyd
Jan. 31, 2001

Note: These speeches have been digitized from print documents. During this process, formatting and other errors sometimes occur. I am correcting mistakes as I see them, but be aware that these speeches may still contain unintentional errors. I also give special thanks to Helen Plotkin for her help editing and researching these speeches.

Good afternoon.

I am pleased to be speaking to members of the oldest civic club in Conway.

Your club has a reputation for the strength of its membership and its community involvement.

I am a past member of the Little Rock Rotary Club 99 and

I believe strongly in Rotary’s credo “Service Above Self.”

Since your club was founded in 1921, many Hendrix faculty/staff /alumni and trustees have been members and leaders.

One of my predecessors, the late Dr. Matt Ellis, president of Hendrix in the ’50s, was a long-time member and club leader, serving as District Governor in 1955.

I understand that Hendrix alumnus Ted Smith, Class of ’72, who will serve as your next president, is the longest legacy in your club, since his grandfather was a charter member.

Ted and Laurie are also my next door neighbors!

Three Hendrix staff members and nine Hendrix alumni are current members, and several Hendrix faculty and staff members are in the Morning club also.

Hendrix believes in community service and leadership. We support our faculty and staff who serve on boards and in organizations. I recently was named to the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce Board and look forward to working with your club member, Nancy Elphingstone, at the chamber.

It is good to recall our history together. This year Hendrix is celebrating the 125th anniversary of its founding in Altus.

Since the College moved here in 1890, Hendrix has been part of the Conway community. From the very beginning, Conway has been there for Hendrix.

We don’t think about it much today, but Hendrix had some hard times in its early years. The people and institutions of Conway (like Conway Corporation) were always there to help and we continue to appreciate your support.

It’s obvious that this community values education. I know you recently had a program on the 50-year history of Central Baptist College… and we are meeting today on the campus of the University of Central Arkansas. With three colleges in town, Conway’s commitment to higher education is obvious.

I am fortunate to be the president of a strong institution located in a city that supports its mission.

I’d like to tell you a little about what’s been happening at Hendrix lately.

We just completed the most successful campaign in our history – raising more than $53 million to completely replace our outdated science facilities, to build new housing, and to increase our endowment. We dedicated the $11 million dollar Donald W. Reynolds Center, the second of two new science buildings, during my first week as president – not a bad way to start out!

If you’ve been to campus recently you’ve probably noticed that we have a new fountain

(yes, we’re brave, but it has special chemicals in it that don’t allow soap suds to lather)

Later this spring, a building for the Hendrix-Murphy Programs in Language and Literature will be completed.

When the fence around the Murphy House comes down, construction in the heart of the campus will be completed.

However, I want to tell you about another exciting project. In a few weeks, construction should begin on a new art facility.

I find two things about this project particularly exciting.

First – we’ve received a $3 million gift to pay for the construction. We are raising $1.5 million in matching funds to endow the art program – and I will be glad to talk to anyone who wants to chip in after this meeting – but it is very nice to start construction with money in hand to pay for the building. The art complex will include three buildings, providing studio, classroom, office and exhibit space for our expanded art department.

Second the building will be on Front Street between the entrance to the campus and downtown.

We hope that this building will become part of a renewal of downtown Conway that reaches down Front Street and links the campus to the town center.

Hendrix is working with the Conway Downtown Partnership on ideas to develop this corridor and I am excited about how an emphasis on developing this section of downtown can benefit both the city and the campus.

A member of this Club – Ann Turney – represents Hendrix on the Partnership’s board.

Construction is just one part of what’s new at Hendrix. We have created two new lectures series.

In October, a visit from U.S. Secretary of Commerce Don Evans was the first event sponsored by the Hendrix Center for Entrepreneurial Studies.

We also launched the W. C. Buthman Endowed Visiting Scholars and Lectureship Series with a lecture by a noted scholar in international relations and an advisor to the United Nations.

We just learned that Hendrix has received almost $2 million from the Lilly Foundation to fund a five-year program called “Faith, Vocation and Integrity: A Call to Wholeness” that encourages students, faculty and staff to consider the relationship between their faith and the professions they choose and to examine their sense of calling to their life’s work.

While all this other activity has been going on, the Hendrix faculty has been involved in completely rewriting the College’s curriculum in preparation for switching to a semester calendar in the fall of 2002.

As our liberal arts mission dictates, our emphasis continues to be on providing a broad and balanced undergraduate education – one that develops the whole person and leads to a full flourishing of human potential.

For 125 years, that commitment has not wavered – whatever the state of our buildings, whatever the number of our faculty, whatever the condition of the world.

Today, the condition of the world is precarious. Today, more than ever, we need institutions like Hendrix. Liberal arts colleges are charged with teaching students in a manner that helps to maintain civility and a civil society. The type of education we offer helps to transform students in ways that lead to the full flourishing of human potential.

We help transmit to the next generation the values that uphold civil society. Our students learn about Western culture – and they also learn about other cultures and how those who think, believe and look different from them also affect the world and are affected by it.

They learn how to hone the critical thinking skills that will help them make the right choices tomorrow – when they are in leadership positions. They learn that there are better and worse ways to order one’s life. They learn that they have a role to play in a civil society – that we have a responsibility to each other to be involved in the world.

In the future, institutions like Hendrix will have an even more critical role to play.

Many people have asked about the vision for Hendrix.

I am interested in seeing Hendrix continuing to strengthen its academic program and its outside the classroom programs. One the academic side our focus will be on:

• Faith, Values, and how we live our lives
• Citizenship in a Global Society – on the frontier of a new world
• The study of artistic and cultural expression – enhance our emphasis on the visual and performing arts
• examine the impact of the globalization of global markets and the development of new markets and new products.
• Teaching students how to live lives of balance, service, and citizenship.

We help our students achieve a balance in their academic lives.

We require that – no matter their major – our students have classes in each area of the College.

But we also encourage students to develop a balance between the mind, the body, and the spirit.

Our academic programs, our connection with the United Methodist Church and our commitment to spiritual development are strong.

Our athletic and wellness facilities need attention. Our Student Center – where student organizations are housed and out-of-class activities centered – needs attention.

So, we’ll be working to develop a new athletics/wellness complex and to renovate and enlarge our Student Center. Both of these new facilities relate to balance.

Two of your members: Cliff Garrison and Danny Powell will lead the effort to raise the funds to build a new athletics and wellness center.

Thank you for the opportunity to talk with you today about Hendrix. It’s an incredible place, with a rich history, and I am honored to be the College’s 10th president.

I invite you to visit campus … we offer a variety of free events throughout the year that are open to the public. For example, Lucinda Williams was on campus this fall, and about 1,000 people filled Staples Auditorium on Monday night for a free performance of the Pilobolus Dancers

Our campus is a source of great pride to us and we hope to you. You’re always welcome to come to events or to just stroll through the grounds. Marty Sikes visits often for his portraits, and we’re happy to have him come on campus for that.

I also want to invite you to attend the inauguration ceremony on May 17. We’ll have a good time, and – among other things – you can hear me talk more about our plans for the future of Hendrix.
And now, I’ll be glad to take your questions.

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