Taste of Little Rock to honor ‘Tre’ Day’

UALR alumnus to get his props

Travis “Tre’ Day” Rowan is the assistant program director and afternoon drive-time host at radio station KIPR-FM, 92.3, better known as “Power 92.”
(Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Eric E. Harrison)
Travis “Tre’ Day” Rowan is the assistant program director and afternoon drive-time host at radio station KIPR-FM, 92.3, better known as “Power 92.” (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Eric E. Harrison)

Travis "Tre' Day" Rowan's record of philanthropy and support for his alma mater, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and its students goes back decades.

He graduated from UALR in 2000 (with a 4.0 GPA) in the first class to earn bachelor's degrees in mass communication (previously the department was known as Radio, TV and Film).

It started with the benefit bowling tournaments he organized while still a student to sponsor scholarships for other mass communications students. His unwavering support has continued with the annual Labor Day weekend "TreDay.com Charity Classic," which includes a tennis tournament, a celebrity party and a silent auction.

He is a two-time recipient of the university's Meritorious Service Award, a lifetime member of the Alumni Association and serves on the School of Mass Communication Board of Directors.

He has donated equipment for two new audio production studios at the university, is a guest speaker to mass communication classes every semester, hosts campus tours with international delegations, produces commercials, speaks with high school students about the benefits of attending UALR and does live broadcasts with the university's TRIO programs.

Rowan, now the afternoon drive-time host on radio station KIPR-FM, 92.3, better known as "Power 92," says he's driven to help others fund their college education because it's a way of giving back to an institution that helped him when he was in need.

"I want to give back because somebody gave to me," he explains.

Rowan, who spent much of his youth in Minot, N.D., while his father worked at a nearby Air Force base, ended up completing high school at North Pulaski after his dad moved to Jacksonville to take a job with the city's parks and recreation department. Although his grades weren't initially good enough to qualify, he attended UALR on a Chancellor's Leadership Scholarship with the promise -- which he fulfilled -- that he'd bring his GPA up to at least 3.5.

"I started treating school like a job," he says. "And the money I saved up to go to school, I put into scholarships.

"I wanted to help kids who were like me: They have the drive, they have the smarts, they have the ambition, but they don't have the money."

And his program has had what he calls "a phenomenal success -- a 100% graduation rate over 25 years, even during covid."

The Alumni Association is honoring Rowan at this year's Taste of Little Rock fundraiser, 6-8 p.m. April 2 at the university's Jack Stephens Center. The event raises more than $100,000 annually for the UALR Scholarship Fund while serving up food from some of the area's top restaurants. (This year's partial list, so far, includes Trio's, Chicken Salad Chick, Tacos Godoy, Fazoli's, Taj Mahal indian Cuisine, Terri-Lynn's BBQ, Mockingbird Cafe, Sullivan's Steakhouse, LePops, SAP'S Creole Cuisine, Delicious Temptations and Smackey's BBQ.)

"Time and again, Tre' Day has unselfishly utilized his time and talents to support student scholarships, professional development and equipment at UA Little Rock," says Kristi Smith, the university's associate vice chancellor for alumni and development. "We are so happy to honor Tre' Day as the 2024 Taste of Little Rock honoree, a shining example of the profound impact one person can have."

Rowan recalls Smith called him up recently and asked if he could join her and other members of the Alumni Association for lunch.

"I thought they were going to ask me for money," he says.

When they asked him if he would agree to be this year's Taste of Little Rock honoree, "I was shocked. I went to the first one and have been to several since. And I love food. So when they told me part of my duties as honoree was to pick some of the food, I said 'yes' right away."

Rowan's radio career began when he started working at Power 92 as an intern in 1996 while he was still in high school.

And, he says, "Broadway Joe [program director Joe Booker], who took a chance on a young white kid to be on urban radio here in Little Rock, always encouraged me to keep my studies first while working for Power 92. So I greatly appreciate him for that and the opportunity to literally have a voice in the community."

He started out on the 2-6 a.m. shift, while also interning at UALR's two radio stations, KUAR-FM, 89.1 (news and information), and KLRE-FM, 90.5 (classical music).

He worked his way up from music and production assistant for KIPR and KOKY-FM, 102.1, through mid-day on-air stints, to assistant program director at Power 92 and host of Arkansas' No. 1-rated afternoon-drive show, which he calls "Take It to the House." He is also the creator and host of a podcast, "Through My Two Blue."

He got his on-air handle, "Tre' Day," as the result of a basketball game he played for his Minot high school in which he shot an astounding number of three-pointers (or "treys") and the local newspaper lauded his "trey day."

Always big into sports, he has over the years won bowling trophies and, "when my body told me I could no longer do what my head thought I could do," he switched from basketball to tennis, which he teaches mornings at the Little Rock Athletic Club. And he hasn't missed a UALR home basketball game in 20 years.

"I've surpassed what I thought I could do when I started out," he says. "I didn't know it'd become my life's work.

"It's not about the destination -- it's about the journey to get there. That's what I enjoy the most."

Taste of Little Rock tickets are $75, $35 for UALR faculty and staff, alumni association lifetime members and those who have graduated within the last five years. Call (501) 916-6438 or email alumni@ualr.edu.

  photo  Travis “Tre’ Day” Rowan has been a big supporter of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, starting when he was a student in the 1990s and continuing with a scholarship program he endows for the university’s mass communications students. The university’s Alumni Association is honoring him at this year’s Taste of Little Rock fundraiser April 2. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Eric E. Harrison)


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