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UA Notebook

by Jaime Adame | January 17, 2021 at 3:04 a.m.

Facilities official

Johnson to retire

FAYETTEVILLE -- Mike Johnson, the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville's associate vice chancellor for facilities, will retire March 15 after 17 years of overseeing major campus construction projects.

Chancellor Joe Steinmetz, in a statement, praised Johnson's "steady hand building our campus during an unprecedented time of growth."

Along with supervising more than $550 million in construction, Johnson also led efforts related to the preservation of UA's Senior Walk, energy savings, campus recycling and beautification, Steinmetz said.

Johnson, 73, joined UA in 2004 after 34 years in the U.S. Navy, where he retired as a two-star officer with the rank of rear admiral (upper half). In the Navy, he served as chief of civil engineers, as well as commander of naval facilities engineering.

In 2010, Johnson was named to the National Academy of Engineering and is a member of UA's civil engineering faculty.

At UA, "his leadership has supported the growth, safety and beauty of our campus while preserving its historic elements and places," Ann Bordelon, vice chancellor for finance and administration, said in a statement.

Scott Turley, who joined UA in 1993, will take over as interim associate vice chancellor for facilities.

Virtual events set

to mark King day

FAYETTEVILLE -- A virtual gathering is set for Monday rather than the typical in-person freedom march held in honor of the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. on the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville campus.

A virtual freedom march followed by a virtual vigil are among events Monday put together by the Northwest Arkansas MLK Council in partnership with the university, which is considered the executive producer for the events.

The vigil is being held at noon Monday on the website for the UA Associated Student Government, It is also sponsored by UA's Black Students Association. The event will include readings and testimonies related to the work of King, as well as remarks by Anthony DiNicola, an inclusion liaison for the university.

Complete information about community MLK events that started Saturday can be found at

Sculpture to go in

near Gearhart Hall

FAYETTEVILLE -- A new spherical sculpture 12-feet in diameter will be installed in the Gearhart Hall courtyard at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville with help from the former chancellor for whom the building is named.

David and Jane Gearhart are providing $50,000 for site preparation, construction and installation of a steel sculpture based on a design concept by Edmund Harriss, a UA clinical assistant professor of mathematics.

Harriss created what's known as the Curvahedra puzzle system, which allows users to link flat pieces so they can form a spherical shape. Carl Smith, an associate professor of landscape architecture, and a group of UA honors students are also credited with helping on the design of what will be a large-scale Curvahedra sculpture.

Emily Baker, a UA assistant professor of architecture, solved how to construct it with help from Harriss, according to UA. \

The final design includes an internal spine needed to brace a sculpture of the size planned.

"Jane and I are delighted to support this initiative and to have followed it through its development. The sculpture is beautiful, but it also embodies sophisticated ideas about geometry and space," David Gearhart, UA's chancellor from 2009-15, said in a statement.

No date has been announced for the sculpture's installation, but it is expected to be complete before the end of the spring semester, according to UA.


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