For Bill and Sharri Jones, giving back is simply their way of expanding opportunities in a community where they have deep roots. As owners of Sissy's Log Cabin, their support for Pine Bluff remains at the core of all that they do.
According to the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Vice Chancellor and Athletic Director Chris Peterson, the couple closed the year with a $100,000 donation to show their support for UAPB athletics. Peterson comments that the gift reflects an ongoing commitment by the Pine Bluff business leaders to the university.
"Bill and Sharri are just tremendous friends of UAPB and have a heart for helping others," said Peterson.
"While I was certainly pleased with the call that they would be making the gift -- I wasn't surprised. It's just what they do."
As one of the university's top donors, the couple has contributed more than $400,000 to UAPB.
"We've been tremendously blessed," said Bill Jones. "We understand the impact that UAPB has on this community. Our hope is that others will join us in helping to grow support for the university."
UAPB sports has experienced broad-based support over the past several years, including contributions from corporations and alumni that have significantly enhanced operations.
A signature $2 million gift from Simmons Bank in 2017 led to the refurbishing of the UAPB football stadium and donations to the Baseball program helped to enhance the Torii Hunter Baseball Complex.
A 1988 UAPB graduate, Sharri Jones, links her support of the university back to her personal experience as a student on the campus.
"UAPB took care of me," said Sharri Jones. "As a student, I was able to mature and became part of a larger campus family."
According to UAPB Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement George Cotton, Sr., the couple's generosity sets a wonderful pattern for giving back.
"Bill and Sharri are true citizen-philanthropists," said Cotton. "Their passion for making a difference helps to grow the university and frankly strengthens the entire community."
UAPB Chancellor Laurence Alexander sees the support of Bill and Sharri Jones as the logical next step in growing the university and the region.
"UAPB is extremely grateful and honored at the support and confidence provided by Bill and Sharri Jones," said Alexander.
"Their generosity will make a critical difference as we prepare students to take their place in a highly competitive and rapidly changing society."
The $100,000 gift will support the UAPB Golden Lion Fund, which serves to strengthen resources for the UAPB Athletics program.
Sissy's Log Cabin is also owned by Sissy Jones.