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Foundation News & Events

William P. Stiritz

WILLIAM P. STIRITZ poses for the cameras after cutting the ribbon opening the Bradley Student Center, named after his grandparents, Dr. William and Cora Bradley, on the South Campus of North Arkansas College.

Stiritz Opens Bradley Student Center

Harrison Daily Times

Students at North Arkansas College probably think of the Bradley Student Center as a comfortable place to relax between classes, a convenient place to grab a snack and a place to spend mom-and-dad’s money at the bookstore.

For William P. Stiritz, the Bradley Center is “Granny and Granddad.”

And for Granny and Granddad, it would have been all about the students.

Stiritz was the guest speaker on Thursday, Aug. 26, when Northark formally dedicated the Bradley Student Center, a 13,103 square-foot, $1.3 million renovation that college officials have said will provide a “one-stop-shop” for student services.

Stiritz and his wife, Dr. Susan Stiritz, donated $500,000 to the North Arkansas College Foundation for the facility that was named for his grandparents, William “Doc” and Cora Bradley.  

“Granny and Granddad made a difference in many lives,” Stiritz said. “That’s the connection.”

Stiritz, who before he retired, was the chairman of the board, president and CEO of Ralston-Purina, was raised by his grandparents. Doc Bradley was a young country doctor who served the people of Newton County for several decades before moving to Harrison in 1943. Stiritz described his Granny as a “rock.”

To the audience of students, faculty, board of trustees members, community officials and family members, Stiritz described the effect the community has had on his life.

“I think about Harrison a lot,” Stiritz said. “It stayed with me. It’s stayed a part of my subconscious.”

Susan Stiritz is an educator, and her husband said the couple has traveled to many schools and universities around the country. He said North Arkansas College and its students took a back seat to no one.

“This is competitive,” he said. “Some think because of your background, you can’t be competitive.”

The Bradley Student Center was a project of the North Arkansas College’s Academic Quality Improvement Program.  Northark's vice-president of learning, Dr. Gwen Gresham, said the ultimate accolade for the Bradley Student Center came from a student who, upon returning to campus and seeing the facility, exclaimed, “Wow! They did everything we asked for.”

Also in the audience were state Sen. Johnny Key and state Rep. Roy Ragland. North Arkansas College president Dr. Jeff Olson lauded them for their efforts in obtaining funding for the center. Key was able to obtain $404,000, while Ragland got $275,000.

Stiritz talked about those, like his grandparents, who came before and made things better for those who followed. He hoped the Bradley Student Center and North Arkansas College would help today’s students prepare for their future.

“We stand on the shoulders of others,” Stiritz said.


Film on Bradley family touches audience

A film about the life of Dr. William and Cora Bradley was screened during the New Student Convocation and Bradley Student Center Grand Opening.  "Those That Came Before: The Legacy of W. A. and Cora Bradley" was produced by Hans Stiritz, who is a great-grandson of the Bradleys.  Stiritz has been involved with film and video production for over twenty years, producing music scores, as well as shooting, editing and directing film projects. His production company is Evening Films (www.eveningfilms.com ).

Commenting on his film, which was very well received by the guests a the ceremony, Stiritz noted, "A lot of folks came together to help make this film happen: thanks to Roz Slavik and Fred Hudson at the Boone County Heritage Museum, Rhonda Teter at the Bradley House Museum in Jasper, and Max D. Standley (for his wonderful artwork).  And a special thanks to my father and my uncle, John Stiritz and Bill Stiritz, for offering their memories, insight, and wisdom for this film, and for passing on to me an appreciation for the wonderful heritage we share in our Ozark family history."

Stiritz lives with his family in Russellville.

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William P. Stiritz and Dr. Stockton holding a plaque during the grand opening of the Bradley Student Center.

WILLIAM P. STIRITZ (LEFT) receives a plaque from Dr. Jim Stockton, vice president of institutional advancement at North Arkansas College, during the Grand Opening of the Bradley Student Center at North Arkansas College.  Stiritz and his wife, Dr. Susan E. Stiritz (shown in the background), donated $500,000 to the North Arkansas College Foundation for the project, which honors Dr. William and Cora Bradley, grandparents of William P. Stiritz.

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2010-2011 AFD Chairs

Trustees, Foundation Board Members Chair Fund Drive


Bill Lovell and Wayne Thompson from the North Arkansas College Board of Trustees, and J.D. Erwin and Jerry Jackson from the North Arkansas College Foundation Board, are serving as chairs of the 2010-2011 North Arkansas College Foundation Annual Fund Drive.

Thompson is a past North Arkansas College board chair, and the other three fund drive leaders are Northark graduates.  Lovell graduated in 1974 from the former Twin Lakes Vocational Technical School (now the North Campus), and was the 1999 recipient of the college’s Distinguished Alumnus Award.  Erwin and Jackson received special honorary degrees in 2010 in recognition of their service to the college and the community.

A long-time member of the North Arkansas College Foundation Board, which he led twice as president, Erwin is retired after a highly successful business career.  He headed sales and marketing at Mass Merchandisers for 26 years, and was president of the company for eight years.

Jackson moved to the area 30 years ago with Mass Merchandisers. He is a real estate agent with Jerry Jackson Realty, and joined the foundation board in 2004 by replacing long-time board member Richard Hudson.  He is presently serving as the board’s vice president.

 Lovell retired in 2004 after a 32-year career with Wal-Mart that included assignments as a store manager, district manager, and operations vice president, covering Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.  He owns Main Street Merchandise Outlet in Harrison.

Thompson has owned and operated Ferguson’s Country Store and Restaurant near Gilbert since 1990.  Previously, he was president of The Entertainment and Leisure Corporation (TELCOR) which owned theme parks in Arkansas, Mississippi and Michigan, including Dogpatch USA.

The 2010-2011 Annual Fund Drive runs from July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011.  Last year’s campaign generated $557,075 in gifts from 384 donors.  Over the past 23 years, the Foundation has received about $8.5 million from over 1,600 donors for a variety of Northark projects, including scholarships, endowed chairs for faculty development, the John Paul Hammerschmidt Lecture Series, computer labs, facilities (including the L.E. “Gene” Durand Center and Bradley Student Center), and programs.

For more information about the North Arkansas College Foundation, contact Dr. Rodney Arnold at (870) 391-3229 or Micki Somers at (870) 391-3242, or visit the Foundation online at www.northarkfoundation.org.


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Durand Center Answers Dreams, Meets Community Needs

Sometimes dreams really do come true. That’s the lesson of the L.E. “Gene” Durand Center at North Arkansas College’s Center Campus.

Dedicated on Oct. 24, 2008 in front of a crowd estimated at 400 people, the 22,000-square-foot multipurpose facility was designed to meet a variety of long-standing local needs. The Durand Center has the capacity to host a banquet for more than 400 guests or a lecture-type meeting for nearly twice that number while simultaneously hosting separate events in six other meeting rooms for over 175 additional participants.

Read the full story or go to the Durand Center Web Site
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Northark Receives $500,000 from Durand Family

After describing his late father’s love for Harrison and desire to give back to the community, Dr. Doug Durand presented North Arkansas College Foundation with a check for $500,000, the largest gift in the college’s history, during a ceremony March 6, 2007, attended by collegeNORTHARK President Dr. Jeff Olson and Dr. Douglas E. Durand are shown with a $500,000 check Durand presented to the North Arkansas College Foundation from the estate of his father, L.E. Gene Durand. The gift will help fund the L.E. Gene Durand Conference Center at Northark's Center Campus and the Gene and Betty Durand Endowed Chair in Instruction. The two men are posed in front of a drawing of the proposed new entrance for the Center Campus and the Durand Center. The gift is the largest in the history of North Arkansas College. trustees, officials, and foundation board members.

The presentation from Durand to Northark President Jeff Olson was made at the site of the future L.E. “Gene” Durand Conference Center in the lobby of the former Regions Bank in Harrison.  Most of the gift, $450,000, will be used for renovation costs for the Durand Center.  The remaining $50,000 will establish the Gene and Betty Durand Endowed Chair at North Arkansas College.

In his remarks, Olson quoted the late Gene Durand as saying, “I've had an interest in education all of my life.  I served on the planning committee for North Arkansas College and have always wanted to support it in any way I could."

Olson thanked the Durand family and told the gathering, “It was obvious to anyone who was around him for very long that Gene Durand was very proud of both of his children.”  The Northark president noted Doug Durand’s career in higher education.  Doug Durand is Emeritus Dean and Professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where the “Douglas E. Durand Award for Research Excellence” was named in his honor.

During his distinguished career as a businessman and civic leader in Harrison, L.E. “Gene” Durand served as president and board chairman of Security Bank, the original bank to occupy the space that will bear his name.

North Arkansas College purchased the Regions Plaza property for $1.2 million.  Included in the 65,000-square-foot facility located on one square block near downtown Harrison is the Regions Bank building, a five-story office tower, and a parking lot.  The college also purchased a second parking lot across the street as part of its deal with Regions Bank.  Several college and college related offices have already moved into the towers section of the Center Campus, the former Regions Plaza property.

White Oak Station Scholarship Gift

Shown with a $10,000 check to the North Arkansas College Foundation from this year’s White Oak Station Golf Tournament for Charity event are (from left) Northark President Dr. Jeff Olson, Stephen Lair and Steve Turner of Petromark, and Dr. Jim Stockton of Northark.  Over the past nine years, the White Oak Station (from left) Northark President Dr. Jeff Olson, Stephen Lair and Steve Turner of Petromark, and Dr. Jim Stockton of Northark. Golf Tournament for Charity has generated $88,500 in donations to the North Arkansas College Foundation for White Oak Station Scholarships.  In addition to the annual gifts to the North Arkansas College Foundation, Petromark and White Oak Golf Charities supply $500 scholarships to 23 seniors each year in towns where White Oak Station is part of the business community.  Many of those students also attend Northark.











  OZARKS AMOzark Embassador AwardBASSADOR AWARD – Forrest L. Wood (shown on the right with his wife, Nina), founder of Ranger Boats in Flippin and namesake of the FLW fishing tour, received the Ozarks Ambassador Award Friday night during the North Arkansas College Foundation’s annual Evening on the Plaza Dinner.  Also pictured (from left) are North Arkansas College President Dr. Jeff Olson, who hosted the dinner, and former U.S. Rep. John Paul Hammerschmidt, who introduced the honoree.

JOHN O. CAMPBELL (cJohn O. Campbell Single Parent Scholarshipenter) of Harrison has established the John O. Campbell Single Parent Scholarship at North Arkansas College with a gift to the North Arkansas College Foundation.  A member of the college’s original board of trustees, Campbell is shown above with two of his sons, Kirk (left) and Craig, who own and operate Campbell Insurance Agency in Harrison.



Future Northark Students Benefit From Ed Warabow Gift

When Ed Warabow graduated from high school, he had two choices.  “I didn’tEd Warabow Scholarship Fund have enough money to go to college, so I had to choose between a dead-end job or the military,” he remembers.

Forty-six years later, when Ed and his wife Dolores sat down to plan their estate, he recalled that lost opportunity.

Ed says he assumed everything would go to ensure the care of Dolores’ 53-year-old brother, Bill, who is mentally handicapped and lives with the couple.  Married more than 40 years, the Warabows have no children.

“But, Dolores said, ‘No, Bill doesn’t need that much.  I’ll leave my half to Bill.  Why don’t you do what you want with your half?’” Warabow recalls.

Last Monday, Ed signed an agreement with North Arkansas College and the North Arkansas College Foundation establishing the Ed Warabow Scholarship Fund.  Upon his and his wife’s deaths, his half of the proceeds of The Warabow Family Trust will endow scholarships for Northark students majoring in computer science, business, history, or related fields.

 “A gift like this changes people’s lives,” says Dr. Jeff Olson, president of North Arkansas College.  “We are so grateful to Ed for thinking of Northark first when he made this decision.  I admire him.”

Ed, who had a long and successful career in business working for several large companies after a stint in the Air Force, says the fact that Harrison has a college was one of the reasons he and Dolores decided to retire here.

“That was one of the criteria for any place we retired,” he recalls.  “It had to have a college.”

The first class Warabow took at Northark was carpentry.  “My whole career I worked with my mind,” he points out.  “I’ve always wanted to work with my hands.”

Ed co-founded the Woodworkers Club in Harrison and also used his new carpentry skills at home.  “We bought a fixer-upper and a lot of what I’ve done around the house, I learned in carpentry class,” he notes.

Next, Ed decided to go after that college degree he couldn’t pursue as a young man.  “I have a passion for learning,” he explains.  “I’ve always wanted to keep learning.” Warabow graduated from North Arkansas College with an associate of arts degree in December of 1994.

Recently, Ed enrolled in the John Brown University Advance Program, which is taught at North Arkansas College, but put his quest for a bachelor’s degree on hold to help care for Dolores, who has a serious illness.

Knowing that Bill, who will be moving soon to live with another family member, will be provided for in Dolores’ half of the estate, Ed says “it makes me feel wonderful” to know that his assets will benefit Northark students some day.

This semester Ed is taking New Testament Survey taught by Ray Edwards and auditing a desktop publishing class taught by Sherry Bishop at Northark.  He credits “the good experience I’ve had with the college” as the reason for leaving his half of the trust to the North Arkansas College Foundation.

“I remember as a kid not having the resources to go to college,” Ed says.  “It feels good to give young people like that the opportunity I didn’t have.”