Arkansas Governor’s Declaration of Pine Bluff as “Capital for a Day” Brings Spotlight to New Grant, Additional Land-Grant Funding

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On Wednesday, Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders celebrated with University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) leadership additional funding the university will receive for the Department of Nursing and the School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences (SAFHS). Through the Arkansas Linking Industry to Grow Nurses (ALIGN) grant, UAPB is one of nineteen 2- and 4-year colleges to benefit from the grant and will receive $1,004,000 to increase and strengthen its faculty. And UAPB’s land-grant match passed by the state legislature totaled $5.8 million, a $2 million increase over the previous budget.

“I’m very proud that my first budget as governor is prioritizing and investing in UAPB, Arkansas’s only land grant HBCU,” Governor Sanders said. “Together, these extra funds will help us fulfill [Founder] Joseph Corbin’s vision from so long ago, providing a high quality education to Arkansans with a special focus on our state’s black community.”

Sanders also touted the $20 million ALIGN grant from the state’s Office of Skills Development, saying “These funds will build up UAPB’s nursing program to address Arkansas’s nursing shortage and help put more graduates on the path to a good stable career.”

“This gift will allow the Department of Nursing to flourish, retain a faculty, recruit faculty, and provide professional development for our faculty members while supporting and nurses here in southeast Arkansas,” Dr. Brenda Jacobs, Nursing Department chair, said. “We will grow great nurses who will become a part of the health care workforce. It will take the entire village to assist us in becoming all that we can be. What a great day to stand on this campus and receive funding for the nursing department.”

Nursing students join Governor Sanders, Chancellor Alexander, Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Andrea Stewart (3rd from right), Dr. Jacobs (4th from right) and a CHI St. Vincent Representative (fourth from left) at the Wednesday press conference.
“The governor’s support… is transformative for this particular campus,” said Dr. Donald R. Bobbitt, University of Arkansas System president. “The campus is able to budget the monies for the service it provides and to do so at the beginning of the year and then carry out the land-grant mission, which it serves in this community and also in the state.”

“I would like to just take this time to certainly thank Governor Sanders for your efforts… and that shows her leadership and how she’s gonna continue to advance this state and advance the residents of Arkansas,” Dr. Bruce McGowan, SAFHS’ interim dean and director said. “Our main goal… is to certainly, enhance our research and extension efforts for the Arkansas Delta region of the state, the underserved farming community and the producers of the state.”

“Thank you, governor, for the funding that you are bringing and directing to our university,” Chancellor Alexander said. “It’s important for the university’s advancement. It’s important for the students, the faculty, and the staff and the programs of our university that we can take this university, that as you mentioned, started in 1873, for the benefit of those who didn’t have… equal access to higher education. Thank you for your remembrance of that, and thank you for honoring that on today with these contributions.”