UAPB Athletics Unveils New Student-Athlete Academic Center

UAPB Athletics Unveils New Student-Athlete Academic Center
Center features new computer lab, tutorial lab, offices and meeting space for the staff
Pine Bluff, Ark. –The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff athletic department has a great reason to celebrate, the grand opening of the Student-Athlete Academic Center at the J. Thomas May Fieldhouse.

For the first time in the history of athletics at “UAPB”, the student-athletes have a learning center and a staff on hand to assist the student-athletes in their studies. Kimberly Evans, who serves as the Director of Student-Athlete Academic Services, leads the SAASC staff.

“The opening of the Student-Athlete Academic Center was phenomenal! It has been a much-anticipated event; and to have our NCAA partners on campus today to share in the opening, made it an even greater occasion,” said Ms. Evans.

Evans also stated, “We were excited about the grand opening of the student-athlete academic center.  It was a big deal.   As our student population grows, so does the needs of our student-athletes.  The center will be an area for our students to study as well as visit with their athletic academic advisors and have access to computers and technology as well as additional access to academic tutors.  None of this would be possible without the assistance of the NCAA AASP grant.”

Student-athletes, representing every sport, were present and given an opportunity to speak candidly with the NCAA representatives as a part of the day festivities. There were a few seniors present during a round-table with the NCAA staff; however, they were just as excited about the changes as the underclassmen.

“The event was an important, momentous and historic day in the life of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff,” said Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander.  This is the day; in which, we open our academic center for the athletic department and it is a great day and a great occasion because it punctuates; that is, it puts an exclamation point on the importance that we place on academics at our university.  We have an athletics program, we believe, is on the rise and will be second to none and we want that rise in athletics to equal and rival our rise in academics.
Today was a day of smiles and celebration for the “Golden Lions’ Family” and it shall be remembered for years to come. The student-athletes were able to see that the department and NCAA are deeply invested in their education and future success. We can have and we want to prove to the world that we can have success both athletically and academically.  So, on this great occasion, we would like to thank everyone for coming and for sharing this moment with us. Special thanks to the NCAA for being present for this great occasion and it makes it all the more special for us and this would not have been possible without a significant grant from the National Collegiate Athletic Association.  As many of you know, about a couple of years ago, we received an AASP grant: Accelerating Academic Success Program grant for $900,000.  We thank everyone who played a significant role in making that happen.

Melvin Hines II (Athletic Director) said, “Today was a historic moment and huge for the athletic department to have an academic center right here on campus to where our students can concentrate on their academic deficient which, “is major.”  Right now our student-athletes have been all over campus from the football complex to the basketball arena and the library, now they got a dedicated place where they can meet with their academic advisors. The center, which has a new computer lab, tutorial lab, offices and meeting space for the staff and will be considered as a “one-stop shop” for their academics’ endeavors, and a great resource tool for our student-athletes.

Hines II finished with, “I’m proud of my staff and the members of the Oversight Committee for supporting the vision as well as the collaborative effort being done to bring about change to improve academic support services for our athletes.