UAPB Receives First Endowed Professorship from Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Top Quote The Nursing Department Chair at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff was the institution's inaugural beneficiary of its first endowed professorship from Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield. End Quote
  • Pine Bluff, AR (1888PressRelease) August 29, 2015 - The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) today received a $250,000 grant to create the Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield Endowed Nursing Professorship in Rural Health. The professorship will be used to attract and retain top faculty in health education.

    "We are grateful to Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield for recognizing our university's role in producing qualified nurses for the state of Arkansas," said Dr. Laurence B. Alexander, Chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

    "UAPB understands the critical need to prepare the best and brightest minds to serve those Arkansans who may not have access to quality healthcare. Through this endowment, our Department of Nursing faculty will ensure our students are trained to provide the best possible care," said Dr. Alexander.

    "Arkansas Blue Cross is committed to helping Arkansans have access to quality healthcare where and when they need it. And with a large percentage of our towns having populations of less than 2,500 residents who face challenges of limited access to medical care, low income, transportation and education, we know that having skilled, knowledgeable health professionals is critical to the care of these residents, said Mark White, President and Chief Executive Officer of Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

    Diann Williams, Chair of the Department of Nursing will be the first to receive an endowed professorship at UAPB. Williams, who is a registered nurse, obtained a Master's of Science in Nursing from St. Louis University and a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. She served as interim executive director of the Arkansas State Board of Nursing in 1995 and was the previous vice president for assessment and nursing and allied health at Southeast Arkansas College.

    "There is no person more fitting for this first endowed professorship award than someone of Mrs. Williams' stature and accomplishment. She has a stellar background and has earned the respect of the rural nursing community," said Dr. Alexander.

    UAPB received initial approval status for its Pre-Licensure (Generic) Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN) program from the Arkansas State Board of Nursing in July. Students admitted to the pre-licensure program and who successfully complete all required coursework and program requirements will be eligible to apply to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Students who pass the NCLEX-RN will be licensed to practice as a registered nurse.

    This endowment and the addition of the BSN are only two of the many academic enhancements UAPB has made within the last year. Others include the opening of the STEM Building and Conference Center, a new Fitness Center, expansion of the Summer Learning Institute and Opportunities for New Students (LIONS) Program, as well as the enhanced reimaging and marketing activity.

    For more information about the newly established endowed professorship, the nursing program or for media inquiries, please call Stephanie Jackson at 501.492.4900 or email stephanie ( @ ) designgroupmarketing dot com dot

    About the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
    The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) is an 1890 Land-Grant HBCU with a diverse student population, competitive degree offerings and stellar faculty. For more than 140 years, UAPB has worked to create an environment that inculcates learning, growth and productivity while affording a basic need to its students - a chance to advance. UAPB offers Certificate and Associates degree programs, more than thirty Undergraduate programs, Master's degree programs and a Doctorate program in Aquaculture/Fisheries. Students are active in more than 100 organizations, an internationally renowned Vesper Choir, Marching Band, Concert Bands, Wind Symphony, nationally recognized debate team, award-winning theater department and accomplished athletic program. UAPB has an extended campus in North Little Rock and offers courses in Gould and Marianna as well as online courses. With the addition of the Arkansas Research and Education Optical Network (ARE-ON), students can engage in information exchange with others anywhere in the world.

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