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UAPB commemorates its 150th anniversary by highlighting its goals, memories, and significant events



Pine Bluff, Arkansas – This week marked the official start of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff’s 150th anniversary. Vice-Chancellor of Student Affairs Elbert Bennett stated that there was much to consider when considering the university’s legacy, beginning with its lengthy history.

Bennett referred to Childress Hall on the UAPB campus as a hidden gem. Many students, tourists, and alumni may be found in the museum housed within this building, which features photos of famous people including Jackie Robinson of Major League Baseball, iconic artist and songwriter Ray Charles, civil rights pioneer Mary McLeod Bethune, and famed boxer Muhammad Ali, among many others.

None of those people, in Bennett’s opinion, were UAPB alumni. But he said that one man, who attended the Arkansas Agricultural Mechanical and Normal School and graduated in 1948, had a significant impact on the medical industry. Dr. Samuel Kountz, an Arkansas native, was the graduate, according to Bennett.

“He perfected the kidney transplant for persons who are not twins. He performed more than 500 kidney transplant surgeries both nationally as well as internationally.” Bennett said.

Bennett claimed that the future of the transplant pioneer was on the verge of collapse. Initially, entrance to Kountz College was denied. Bennett claimed that Kountz wrote to the school’s former president, Lawerance Davis Sr., demonstrating his steadfast desire to enroll as a student. Bennett stated that Kountz was admitted into AM&N following a meeting with Davis. Bennett thinks that giving students opportunities should be the university’s motto.

“That’s something that this institution has always valued is giving individuals, especially those who have been rejected in other places where UAPB has found a way to open its door,” he said.

Bennett claims that there are more obscure details regarding UAPB, like the bell tower’s past, that many Arkansans might not be aware of. According to him, the school has continued to hold events in the area where the bell tower once stood.

“Chancellor chats at the bell tower, we have our memorial services at the bell tower,” Bennett said.

Bennett claims that the bell tower is a time-honored emblem of harmony and cohesion.

“It’s the place that some of the alum that will come here and say I met my girlfriend or I met my wife at the bell tower,” he said.

Bennett thinks that, under the correct circumstances, UAPB grads in the future can achieve the same kind of historical success as Dr. Kountz.

Bennett also mentioned another important event that happened at UAPB: in 1958, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave the state’s only speech.





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