Blackwood Honors Parents With Memorial Endowed Chair at Northark
Posted Date: 3/27/23

For Mel Blackwood, choosing to support Northark holds a personal meaning while also honoring an historical legacy that will support faculty improvements far into the future. Mel’s father, Leon Blackwood, was hired by founding President Dr. Bill Baker as the Registrar when North Arkansas College (Northark) first opened its doors in 1974. His mother, Margarette Blackwood, was the Harrison Junior High librarian.

The education and personal growth of young people were priorities for Leon and Margarette as they dedicated their lives ensuring students had an opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills they would need to be successful in the future.

Therefore, in recognition of his father and mother, Mel and his family recently provided resources to create the Leon and Margarette Blackwood Endowed Chair in Instruction.

“I’ve decided to create this endowed chair in memory of my parents to honor them and recognize the investment they made in the educational system. This gift will hopefully help provide quality educational opportunities for individuals who want to invest in themselves in pursuing a college education.”

Mel Blackwood grew up in Harrison and has many fond memories of Northark during its formative years. One in particular was when the college was located at Eagle Heights. Mel and his dad traveled to an Army Surplus store in San Antonio, Texas, to secure and bring back the first tables, desks, and chairs that were used by Northark in a large U-Haul.

“We are so grateful for this special memorial in honor of Mr. & Mrs. Blackwood,” said Dr. Rodney Arnold, executive director of the Northark Foundation. “Endowed chair funds last in perpetuity. A portion of each year’s earnings are earmarked for faculty projects and the remainder of the earnings are reinvested so that the fund balance and the annual disbursements grow over time.”

For more information about making gifts in memory of loved ones or about the College Endowed Chair program, visit the North Arkansas College Foundation website at

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