MOUNTAIN VIEW — When Kay Hinkle graduated in 1970 from the State College of Arkansas, now the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, the enrollment was about 4,000, and the population of Conway was about 15,000.
Today, UCA has an enrollment of approximately 11,500, and Conway’s population is nearing 60,000.
“That just blows my mind,” Hinkle said with a laugh. “Things have changed a lot.
“Mountain View has been my home for 44 years, and Jim (her husband) was born and raised here,” said Hinkle, who is 65. “But if we needed to move, we would move to Conway. We really like it.”
Hinkle was recently elected chairwoman of the UCA Board of Trustees, a position she also held in 2007. She has been a member of the board for 10 years, and her current term will expire in 2018.
During her first term as board chairwoman, UCA reached an enrollment of 12,600, established the Master of Science degree in instructional technology and dedicated the newly constructed student health center.
Hinkle said that during this past year, UCA’s enrollment was approximately 11,500.
“We can grow to 13,500 without any additional infrastructure and without adding a lot of faculty and staff,” she said.
She said UCA is expected to complete an expansion of the Health, Physical Education and Recreation Center this fall and plans to break ground on the first phase of a Greek Village project this spring.
“We also hope to renovate the Lewis Science Center,” she said.
Hinkle said current plans for the Greek Village include the construction of five sorority houses and a common area.
“This is going to be so important to this campus,” she said. “It will not only be good for the Greeks, but it will entice people to look at UCA and perhaps come here as students. We have been buying pieces of land as they become available. It is vital that we get this land, as we are close to being landlocked.”
Hinkle said that among the biggest changes she has seen at UCA since she was a student is “the population, for one thing. Also, the students are more involved; they want to know what’s going on with the administration and the board of trustees. They want to be involved.”
Hinkle said her goals for the coming four years include seeing continued financial stability and increases in student enrollment and retention.
“Bad things have happened to us, but you have to take the bad with the good,” she said. “It’s time to move forward. Board members are now more open, and we’re asking more questions. It’s a fine line between micromanaging and being involved. We don’t want to micromanage; we just want to know what’s going on.”
Born in Malvern, Hinkle is the daughter of the late Dewey and Marcille Stiles of Malvern. Hinkle has one living brother, Gary Stiles of Hot Springs.
Hinkle graduated from Malvern High School in 1966 and headed off to college in Conway.
“That was the first time I had ever been away from home,” she said.
While at college, Hinkle met her husband, Jim, who is a native of Mountain View. She graduated in 1970 with a Bachelor of Science in business, which, at that time, she said, meant “shorthand and typewriting.”
She and Jim married in July 1970.
“He attended four years of college but did not graduate,” she said. “After I graduated, we moved to Mountain View, and he went to work in the family business.” The family business included owning the independent Bank of Mountain View and the independent Mountain View Telephone Co.
Hinkle said she tried to get a job with the Mountain View School District, but it already had a business teacher.
“So I went to work at the telephone company,” she said. “I also taught school for a couple of years, filling in as a substitute. Then I started an antique, gift and needlework shop called The Country Corner. I did that for 12 years.”
In addition to serving on the UCA Board of Trustees, Hinkle has been active in the Mountain View community. She is a charter member and past president of the Stone County Scholarship Foundation, which gives scholarships to needy students. She served on the Mountain View School Board for 11 years.
Hinkle also serves on the Committee of One Hundred for the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, which is celebrating its 40th year. The committee is composed of one woman from each of Arkansas’ 75 counties, plus 25 at-large members.
“I’ve been a member for a long time,” Hinkle said. “It keeps me busy.
“The Ozark Folk Center is such a unique place,” she said. “The Committee of One Hundred raises funds for it. One of the things we are most proud of is the Music Roots Program, which is sponsored by the Committee of One Hundred, along with the Mountain View Bluegrass Association, the Mountain View School District and the Ozark Folk Center.
“It gives students in the fourth grade and up [in the Mountain View School District] a chance to learn to play a musical instrument. The program has been so successful, and some of the students have gone on to musical careers. The students play concerts around the state.”
Hinkle said the Music Roots Program, which aims to preserve Ozark mountain music, will sponsor a family bluegrass concert at 6:30 p.m. May 5 at the Ozark Folk Center.
Hinkle said the Committee of One Hundred will also sponsor a fundraiser April 12 at the Governor’s Mansion in Little Rock. More information will be made available at a later date.
The Hinkles were honored as the Stone County Distinguished Citizens for 2010. Jim serves as chairman of the board for Centennial Bank, formerly the Bank of Mountain View, and is a member of the Home Banc Shares Holding Co. Board of Directors in Conway.
“Jim and I both like to give back to the community,” Kay said. “My parents and Jim’s parents told us to always remember to give back. We really try to do that.”
The Hinkles have two daughters.
Daughter Lea Ann Finn, 41, and her husband, Al, live in Mountain View. Lea Ann is mother to Hannah, 11, and Maddie, 5, and stepmother to David Finn, 14.
Daughter Katie Henry, 32, and her husband, Shane, live in Conway with their son, Cooper, 3. They are expecting a daughter, whom the couple have named Anna Kate.
The Hinkles are active members of Flatwoods Baptist Church.
“Jim is on the financial committee, and I have been on several committees,” Kay said.
Kay and Jim enjoy traveling, although they have had to curtail their trips this past year because of Jim’s health problems.
“We both love the mountains of Colorado and taking our family to Florida in the summer. We also have a place in Branson (Mo.),” she said. “Our bucket list includes seeing Hawaii soon.”