ADHE Director Maria Markham to speak at commencement

Thu Apr 20, 2017 at 02:49 PM

Maria MarkhamArkansas Department of Higher Education Director Maria Markham will give the commencement address and Delila Gonzalez, class of 2017, will be the student speaker at the commencement ceremonies, which begin at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 6, in Pioneer Pavilion on Northark’s south campus.

Graduates will receive eight admission tickets. If more tickets are needed, individuals are encouraged to contact the Registrar at (870) 391-3241 to be placed on a waiting list. 

Director Maria Markham began service to the Arkansas Department of Higher Education in August 2016, but her history with higher education in Arkansas spans over a decade. She has worked in almost every facet of higher education at both a community college and a university; from a work study student, grant director, full-time faculty, adjunct, division chair, chief academic officer, and now, an agency leader.

Markham’s primary responsibility is oversight of staff whose jobs are to carry out the policy directives of the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board (AHECB) and to develop funding recommendations for the state’s 11 public universities and 22 public two-year colleges as well as several other post-secondary entities. In addition, the agency is responsible for distributing approximately $150 million annually from state revenues and lottery funds intended to ease the financial burden of students seeking an education beyond high school.

In addition to her work at ADHE, Markham also is a member of the Governor’s Cabinet, and serves on several other state boards and task forces.

Dr. Markham is a double alumnae of Henderson State University where she received a BBA in Marketing and an MBA.  She later received her Ph.D. in Business with a specialization in Organizational Leadership from North Central University. Dr. Markham was recently named as one of Arkansas’s 40 Under 40 most Intriguing Business and Political Leaders.

Maria is the mother of five children, Charlie (9), Alyssa (9), Ava (5), Kate (5), and Benjamin (2) and the wife of Jeff Haigwood.  Their family lives in Little Rock.

The student welcome will be provided by Delila Gonzalez, daughter of Julio and Maria Gonzalez of Everton. The first of her family to graduate college, Delila’s ultimate goal is to earn a master’s degree. She will be attending College of the Ozarks.  Delila will receive an Associate of Science in Business degree.

Retired Director of the Business Office Dale Garner has been selected to receive the Northark Board of Trustees award in recognition of his dedication to the College and to recognize his significant contributions to the community.

Dale began working at Twin Lakes Vocational Technical School in 1973, and his career spanned 36 years before he retired in 2009.

Dale was named a 2016 John Paul Hammerschmidt Man of Distinction.  He has led and participated in many trips to provide disaster relief.  He volunteers in numerous local organizations and is a Deacon at First Baptist Church. 

The Board of Trustees has created a Partnership Award that will recognize PACE Industries, Inc. for its commitment to the College. PACE has established an annual 20K scholarship program that pays tuition for students entering the fields of Industrial Electronics or Manufacturing and offers summer internship opportunities. PACE recently donated a die cast machine valued at $150,000 and is currently helping Northark construct a die cast training cell on the North campus.

Dr. Randy Esters will present the President’s Citation award to Jim Sprott. Jim is a former chair of the Northark board of trustees and was chair of the search committee that hired Dr. Jeff Olson, Northark’s second President. He currently serves as a member of the Northark Foundation Board of Directors and has been instrumental in helping to secure several major gifts, including funding for the Donna S. Barber Room in the Durand Center, Clara Benson Memorial Nursing Scholarships, and a $2 million planned gift to the North Arkansas College Foundation, the largest donation in Northark’s history. 

The Daniel Sprott Room in the L.E. “Gene” Durand Center is named in honor of Jim’s son Daniel. A host of people, dubbed “Daniel’s Air Force” donated funds to name the breakout room in Daniel’s honor. Mr. Sprott has served as Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, Monroe County in 1974, followed by a position as Municipal Judge in Brinkley, AR for 11 years (1975-86). In 1990, Mr. Sprott was the Special Chief Justice to the Arkansas Supreme Court. Jim is a long-term supporter of the College, community and an advocate for the value of education to change lives.

Jim is a currently a partner at the law firm of Sprott, Golden & Bardwell in Harrison.

The college will award 500 degrees, certificates, or certificates of proficiency to 399 graduates this year. Sixty students are graduating with honors, and 41 are graduating with high honors.

Of the 500 degrees, certificates, and certificates of proficiency to be awarded, 182 were completed during the fall semester of 2016, 18 are scheduled for completion this summer, and 300 will be awarded this spring. The 399 graduates will receive 217 associate degrees, 89 technical certificates and 194 certificates of proficiency.

Whitney Deterts the daughter of Dean and Rita Deterts of Bergman, Arkansas, will offer the invocation. Nathan Kirkpatrick of Harrison will give the benediction. Nathan is the son of Heath and Renae Kirkpatrick.  Whitney and Nathan will both receive an Associates of Arts Degree.

Grand Marshals will be Northark instructors Valerie Martin, Department Chair Math, Science, and Agriculture and Faculty Senate Chair and Tim Coone, English Instructor and 2016-17 Outstanding Faculty Member.

Commencement awards will be presented by Jane Adair, chair of the Board of Trustees and Dr. Randy Esters, president of North Arkansas College. Degrees and certificates will be awarded by Northark Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Donna Wood.

North Arkansas College is committed to providing an educational and work environment for its students, faculty, and staff that is free from sexual discrimination including sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual violence. No form of sexual discrimination will be tolerated. See the full North Arkansas College Title IX Policy and Procedures for the specific definitions of sexual harassment and sexual violence, including examples of such conduct.