UALR social work and public radio get boost with Hamlin donations

Endowment set for professorship

The Donaghey Student Center and Student Services Center at UA Little Rock.

The latest significant gift to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock during its Centennial Campaign will create a ninth endowed professorship at the university.

Nancy J. Hamlin, a retired social worker from Little Rock, made a planned gift of $250,000 to create the Nancy J. Hamlin Endowed Professorship in Social Work in the College of Business, Health, and Human Services, according to Angie Faller, UALR news director. The endowed professorship will help the university recruit highly qualified professors to work as full-time faculty in social work and supplement university support for outstanding social work faculty.

"The School of Social Work gave me the start I needed," Hamlin said in a news release from the university. "This is my opportunity to pay it forward and give back what they gave me."

Hamlin credited her husband, John Althoff, for the idea of creating an endowed professorship as a way of giving back.

"There were some very fine teachers when I attended the university," she added. "My family has always believed in education, and you need good teachers to do that."

Hamlin, who graduated from UALR with bachelor's degrees in psychology and sociology, "learned a lot about everything" in social work and was able to step into the role of social worker upon graduation, she explained in the news release. She spent 35 years as a social worker, with more than three decades in the mental health sector.

"Nancy is a talented social worker," and it's "an honor to be the recipient of this generous gift," Laura Danforth, co-director of the School of Social Work, said in the UALR release. "She is the epitome of a UA Little Rock graduate, and we are so grateful for her service and continued contributions to the field of social work."

"The school can truly say, with conviction, that her investment in our department and our students will be a lasting one, and is beyond appreciated by all of us," Danforth added. "Her gift will guarantee that we will be able to recruit and retain a talented social work academic and practitioner who will benefit our students for years to come."

Last month, UALR announced its eighth endowed professorship -- the W.D. Bowles Endowed Professorship in Music in the School of Literary and Performing Arts -- courtesy of a $250,000 donation from Elizabeth Bowles in honor of her father, Walter "Dixon" Bowles, a musician, educator, and entrepreneur. UALR's Centennial Campaign, which celebrates the university's 100-year anniversary in 2027, is the largest fundraising effort in university history.

Endowed professorships are a critical piece of the Centennial Campaign, Christian O'Neal, vice chancellor for university advancement, said last fall. "We've brought in 65 new endowments since the start of the silent phase, and those will only improve as the university grows older."

As of Feb. 1, UALR has raised more than $167 million -- the goal is to raise $250 million by 2027 -- as part of the Centennial Campaign, and 148 new endowments have been created, according to UALR.

In addition to endowing a professorship, Hamlin is making a second donation, a $125,000 planned gift to the UALR Public Radio Operating Endowment, according to Faller. Hamlin began listening to UALR Public Radio in the 1970s and wants to support the power of public radio, which helps communities across Arkansas.

"As the years went on, I started listening to more public radio," which she enjoys and wants to continue, Hamlin explained in the UALR news release. "Probably the biggest impetus for my gift was learning that Joan Kroc (widow of McDonald's Corp. founder Ray Kroc) left money to NPR. I remember thinking, 'what a kind and thoughtful gift that is,' and I wanted to follow in her footsteps."

UALR Public Radio is "deeply grateful for her support and commitment to ensuring that our community has access to high-quality local journalism and cultural content for years to come," said Jonathan Seaborn, general manager KUAR/KLRE, UALR Public Radio. Her "gift will play a significant role in strengthening our ability to serve Little Rock and the surrounding area, and we are honored to be the recipient of her kindness and generosity."

"I would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to Nancy Hamlin for her generous planned gift of $125,000 to our operating endowment," Seaborn added. "Thank you, Nancy, for your incredible gift and for being such an important part of our community."