Arkansas Tech, UCA recognized at pageant

Carol Rolf Originally Published July 28, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated July 26, 2013 at 4:05 p.m.
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HOT SPRINGS — Arkansas Tech University and the University of Central Arkansas received special recognition at the Miss Arkansas Scholarship Pageant that concluded July 20 at Summit Arena in Hot Springs.

The Arkansas Tech University Scholarship Pageant was named Best College Pageant and Overall Pageant of the Year.

Susan Setzler, executive director of the Miss University of Central Arkansas Scholarship Pageant, was named Executive Director of the Year.

Arkansas Tech University

James Collins, professor of horticulture and executive director of the Miss Arkansas Tech University Scholarship Pageant, accepted the awards from the Miss Arkansas Executive Directors Association during the final night of competition.

“It’s a great honor,” Collins said of the awards. “We received the Best College Pageant Award first and then the overall award. I was very surprised at the overall award. That’s a pretty cool thing.”

Collins, who is in his 30th year of teaching at Arkansas Tech, said he has been executive director of the Arkansas Tech pageant for 13 years. “But I volunteered for several years before that,” he said, noting that the local pageant “is one of the oldest in the state.”

Collins said he attributes the honor to two factors: the number of contestants in the Arkansas Tech pageant and the amount of scholarships awarded by the school.

“We had 21 entries in this year’s Miss Arkansas Tech pageant, and we awarded $19,000 in scholarships and gifts,”

Collins said. “I am very proud of that.

“There were 45 pageants in the state this year, and to think that Arkansas Tech won the top award was pretty cool. The Miss America system is about scholarship. I am happy that our university supports the pageant, and our community supports the pageant through advertising revenue so we can offer educational opportunities to our contestants. I hope we will have even more scholarship funds to award next year.”

University of

Central Arkansas

Susan Setzler said that although she was honored by the award as Best Executive Director of the Year, “It belongs to our board of directors.

“It takes a group of people to conduct the Miss UCA Scholarship Pageant, not just one person,” she said.

Members of this year’s board include Milicent McDonald, Mary Tate, Jennifer Overton, Kacee Sims, Monica Pinkett, Natalie Smithhart, Sarah Barton, Leslyn Graves, Larry Burns and Lindsey Osborne. All are University of Central Arkansas alumni.

Setzler said the board members attend each night of the pageant to support Miss UCA.

“By being vocal, we really want them to know we support them,” Setzler said. “It’s like a football game with all of our cheering and banner waving.

“I tell our contestants, ‘I want you to be Miss Arkansas, but if that doesn’t happen, I want being Miss UCA to be the most important thing you have accomplished so far in your life. I want you to do your personal best.’

“I’m like the coach, and often the mother. I want our contestants to do the best they can. I want them to know whether their name is called or not, they have done their personal best.”

Setzler has been executive director of the Miss UCA pageant for 17 years. She is employed by the Conway School District as a speech pathologist at Jim Stone Elementary School. In the past, she has supervised in the speech pathology clinic at UCA. She has a total of 29 years of service in education.

She said her family — her husband, Jess, and adult children, Lisa, Chase and Clay — are very supportive “of this part of my life. It’s what I do, not what I am. It’s just part of me being Susan.”

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