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UA Little Rock Gets $25M Donation, Its Biggest Ever

2 min read

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has received the largest single gift in the institution’s 93-year history — a $25 million donation from an anonymous person to support the university’s strategic enrollment management plan and provide scholarships for students in need.

The donation was announced Thursday at the May meeting of the UA’s board of trustees.

“We have watched the rapid transformation of the institution under [Chancellor Christina S. Drale] and her team’s leadership,” the donor said in a statement released by the university. “The purposeful, strategic approach to solidifying UA Little Rock’s unique and crucial role in the Arkansas educational system gives donors like me the confidence to invest.”

UA Little Rock said $15 million of the donation will be used to establish new need-based scholarships for undergraduate students over the next five years. The remaining $10 million is designated for a Student Success Endowment Fund that will expand and permanently support the university’s student retention and success initiatives.

The gift comes at a difficult time for universities, which are reaping less from the state, which has seen significant decreases in tax collections during economic restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Drale confirmed a list of 13 layoffs of faculty members this week after they were first reported by Arkansas Times.

An academic retrenchment plan is in place, seeking to save $2.5 million a year, and the University is streamlining from five distinct colleges to three, a move expected to save an additional $1 million.

Drale said the university is focused on student success. “We have many students and prospective students who have considerable potential. With this amazing gift, we will be able not only to help more students get here, but to help them stay on the path to graduation and a rewarding career. I thank the donor for their support of our mission and their confidence in our ability to fulfill it. This is truly a transformational gift.”

The university said it will make announcements soon with details on how students can pursue scholarships and services.

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