ADHE Director Maria Markham Visits Philander Smith College


Little Rock, Ark. (August 21, 2017) ---  As the world’s attention was focused on the solar eclipse, Director of the  Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE) Maria Markham paid a visit to Philander Smith College today as a part of her plan to visit all of the state’s colleges and universities.

Dr. Roderick Smothers, PSC President, shared the College’s history and mission with Markham while expressing his excitement about the College’s new vision for the future. He also expressed his continued eagerness to partner with ADHE and other state agencies to solve some of Arkansas’ challenges around education, health care, community engagement and the economy. 

The wide-ranging conversation also covered topics related to remediation, college affordability and efforts designed to address the teaching shortage in Arkansas. After which, Dr. Smothers led Markham on a tour of the campus in which she was able to meet and engage with several members of the Philander Smith faculty and student body. 

PSC President Reponds to Local Violence

A city in crisis
We can heal our community

(As published by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on July 6, 2017)

The city of Little Rock has risen from deep segregation and racial conflict to become a progressive state capital with a rich culture and diversity across the various layers of society. In my 2.5 years here, I have come to know those at the helm of city leadership as men and women who are willing to work toward harmony through serious evaluation and courageous conversations regarding the city's shortcomings.

No doubt, Little Rock has made progress; but, as it happens, progress can come with its share of setbacks. We are experiencing a serious period of regression today as we watch with dismay what appears to be a cycle of violent activities, ranging from chilling homicides and gang violence to drug abuse and other felonious acts.

Most recently, alleged gang-related violence erupted at the Power Ultra Lounge in downtown Little Rock, with reports that as many as 28 people were injured, and the cause and/or target is still unknown. The incident hit close to home. A young female Philander Smith College student was celebrating her birthday at the lounge, joined by several sorority sisters and friends. Fortunately, they all escaped without injury, but we recognize that the outcome could have been drastically different.

While we promote a zero-tolerance policy with respect to violence in the Philander Smith community, it is unrealistic to think that when our students step outside our campus that they will not encounter some level of risk. These circumstances and other prevailing social challenges have caused Philander Smith to rethink how we execute our justice-based mission. Just as Philander Smith College was a refuge for those strategizing to overthrow desegregation in Little Rock in the 1950s, the college must continue to be fertile ground for bravery in the face of modern-day crises.

Simply put, Philander Smith wants to do something about not only the proliferation of violence in our city, but also the prevalence of injustice in our society.


The 129th Commencement of Philander Smith College

Little Rock, Ark. (May 8, 2017) ---  Philander Smith College awarded nearly 110 degrees during its 129th Commencement Ceremony at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock on Saturday, May 6.

The 2017 Commencement speaker was Roland S. Martin, a nationally-recognized journalist, author and political commentator. Martin is host of a one-hour weekday morning news show, News One Now which airs on the TV One network. The long-time CNN contributor and nationally syndicated columnist, named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists in 2013, had a thought-provoking theme for his address: “Don’t just be present, but have a presence.” The Houston, Texas-native challenged the Class of 2017 to not just go through life showing up, but to make a difference.

Philander Smith also presented honorary degrees to three distinguished individuals: automobile scion Major General (Retired) Harold Gwatney; Rush Harding III, CEO of Crews & Associates and First Security Finance; and Bishop Felton May (posthumously), well-respected United Methodist Church leader and former dean of the PSC Kendall Science and Health Mission Center, who passed away in February 2017 at the age of 81. Both Gwatney and Harding are former members of the PSC Board of Trustees.   

Additionally, PSC President Dr. Roderick L. Smothers, Sr., presented the Ozell Sutton Medal of Justice to two outstanding advocates for social justice: Former United States Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders, a 1952 Philander Smith alumna whose medical career has been dedicated to closing gaps in healthcare disparities; and Commencement speaker Roland S. Martin, who has used the media as a platform to push for justice and equality for marginalized communities. Since its inception in 2009, the Sutton medal has been given to outstanding individuals whose actions have helped to create a more just society.    

And for the fourth year, the PSC National National Alumni Association awarded its Senior of the Year designation. Aleah B. Randolph, of St. Louis, Mo., was the 2017 recipient. Randolph graduated Summa Cum Laude with a bachelor of arts in psychology.

Founded in 1877, Philander Smith College is proudly celebrating 140 years of providing educational excellence as a historically black, private college affiliated with the United Methodist Church.

Noted Political Commentator and Author Roland Martin to keynote Philander Smith College’s 2017 Commencement

 Philander Smith College will hold exercises for its 129th Commencement Ceremony that will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 6 at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock.

Nationally acclaimed journalist and political commentator Roland Martin will be the keynote speaker. A  commentator for TV One, Martin also hosts the network’s one-hour weekday morning news show, News One Now. The long-time CNN contributor and nationally syndicated columnist has received numerous accolades and awards, including being named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists in 2013 for his extensive focus on voter suppression and other issues of concern to African Americans during the 2012 election. The Houston, Texas, native is also an author, business owner and publisher. A life-long advocate for racial equality and social justice, Martin’s journalism career has seen him interview multiple U.S. presidents, top athletes and entertainers, as well as international business executives.


The 129th Commencement will be followed by a community-wide Seafood Boil and BBQ held on the PSC campus in honor of the institutions’ 140th Anniversary. Free and open to the public, the Mardi Gras- themed event will feature a traditional seafood boil menu of shrimp, sausage, crab legs, corn, crawfish and potatoes, to go along with a full menu of barbecue delights.  


Philander Smith President to participate in meetings with Trump Administration and Members of Congress

Little Rock, Ark. (February 27, 2017)  – Dr. Roderick L. Smothers, Sr., President of Philander Smith College, is part of a contingent of UNCF-member institutions presidents who will meet today with the Administration of President Donald J. Trump for a Listening Session coordinated by the UNCF Office of Public Policy and Governmental Affairs in partnership with the White House and key Congressional officials.

Since taking office, The White House has said the new administration is particularly interested in hearing from UNCF presidents on how it can better partner with the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), as well as how HBCUs can help to revitalize their surrounding communities.

Additionally, the black college and university leaders will participate in an “HBCU Fly-In” on Tuesday, Feb. 28, coinciding with President Trump’s scheduled State of the Union Address. The bipartisan event will be hosted by Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) and Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC), and will also include Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) and Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC). The daylong meeting is expected to include discussions about opportunity, strengthening relationships, the importance of HBCUs, as well as a luncheon and tour of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

“As a UNCF-member president, I am grateful for this opportunity to have an audience with President Trump’s Administration. These are critical times for many of our HBCUs. The foremost goal for these meetings is to impress upon the Trump Administration and Congressional leaders the value and contributions of HBCUs to the nation,” said PSC President Roderick L. Smothers, Sr. “This year, Philander Smith College is celebrating its 140th Anniversary. Because our institution has such a vital role in the landscape of higher education, we felt it necessary to be a part of these conversations seeking meaningful federal support of HBCUs.”

Thirty-seven historically black colleges and universities belong to the UNCF network of member institutions. Philander Smith College is the only UNCF-member institution in Arkansas.  


Celebrating its 140th Anniversary, Philander Smith College – founded in 1877 – is a small, privately supported, historically Black, four-year liberal arts institution related to the Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church. The College's mission is to graduate academically accomplished students, grounded as advocates for social justice, determined to change the world for the better. Philander Smith College, the only United Negro College Fund (UNCF) member institution in Arkansas, strives to provide a quality education for all regardless of race, religion, sex, national origin or ethnic background. For more information, visit

Two Philander Scholars Named Lina McCord Summer Interns

PSC Sophomore, Mr. Russell Williams of Opelusas, LA and PSC Junionr,  Ms. Tiaara Anderson of Chicago, IL are named Lina H. McCord Summer Interns for 2017. 

The Lina H. McCord program welcomes eight students from United Methodist-related historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) to serve as its 2017 summer interns. The summer intern program, sponsored by the Black College Fund (BCF), a ministry of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM), follows a model of communication and interaction that is a hallmark of the United Methodist Church’s earliest traditions. The new interns were selected in the fall and traveled to Nashville, Tennessee for an orientation program in January 2017.

 The five-day orientation included guest speakers and training designed to sharpen and enhance the students’ communications skills, help them build networking and leadership skills and strive for personal and corporate excellence. As part of their training, the students toured Meharry Medical College (a BCF school), along with local United Methodist agencies and offices, including the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, Africa University Development Office, Discipleship Ministries, the General Commission on United Methodist Men, the General Commission on Finance and Administration, the United Methodist Publishing House and United Methodist Communications.

 Throughout the year, the students travel across United Methodist jurisdictions and annual conferences representing BCF and GBHEM. After successfully completing one year as an intern, students have the opportunity to become ambassadors, a permanent designation, which allows continued travel and representation of the program. Two current ambassadors, Jessica Love, graduate of Rust College, and Markus McKinney, senior at Rust College, attended orientation to help with training and serve as mentors for the newly selected interns.

 “Lina H. McCord interns and ambassadors are critical to helping annual conferences and congregations in The United Methodist Church see where their money is going," said Dr. Cynthia Bond Hopson, assistant general secretary, Black College Fund and Ethnic Concerns, Division of Higher Education at GBHEM. "Historically black colleges and universities are still relevant and important in the life of the church. This program gives these students skills and an opportunity to share their success stories with United Methodists who have generously supported the Black College Fund. The McCord ambassadors are our best and brightest scholars and they beautifully represent the other 16,000 students who attend these 11 schools each year."

 The ambassadors are named for the fund's longtime executive director, the late Lina H. McCord, and must be recommended by their chaplain and college or university’s president to participate.

 2017 Lina H. McCord Summer Interns:

·         Russell R. Williams III, Philander Smith College

·         Rochelle Givens, Bennett College

·         Tiaara A. Anderson, Philander Smith College

·         Brittani Levine, Claflin University

·         Ryan Hardin, Paine College

·         Raymal McCowan, Huston-Tillotson University

·         Christian Menzi, Rust College

·         Taylor Willis, Claflin University

 The Black College Fund, established by the 1972 United Methodist General Conference, provides support for operations, programs and capital improvements at the denomination's 11 HBCUs. The fund allows the institutions to keep their tuition and cost low. The United Methodist Church supports more HBCUs than any other religious organization.

 “Because United Methodists faithfully and generously give to the Black College Fund, generations of students are able to dream, do and lead,” continues Dr. Cynthia Bond Hopson. “Lina H. McCord interns and ambassadors are a shining example of the amazing work our institutions do every day.”

 To learn more about the Black College Fund and all United Methodist-related colleges and universities, visit


About GBHEM: As the leadership development agency of The United Methodist Church, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s mission is to lead and connect the educational and ministerial life of church. Every elder, deacon and licensed local pastor benefits from our training and candidacy programs. Many young adults find help in clarifying their vocation and God’s call on their lives through our leadership and discernment programs. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook: @GBHEM.



Philander Smith College Announces New Director of Alumni Relations

Welcome Brenda Hatton-Ficklin!

Pine Bluff Native is New Director of Alumni Relations

Following a rigorous national search, Brenda Hatton-Ficklin of Little Rock has been selected to serve as Director of Alumni Relations at Philander Smith College.


A graduate of Dollarway High School in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Hatton-Ficklin earned an undergraduate degree in business from the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) and holds a Master's Degree in Business Administration/Leadership from Webster University.

She brings to the position a broad business and administrative background from experiences culled from the nonprofit, telecommunications and education sectors. For more than a decade, she was employed as the Events Director at Little Rock's St. Mark Baptist Church, where she is still an active member.

Hatton-Ficklin is a dedicated volunteer for a variety of organizations and causes, including the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Consortium Board, Timmons Arts Foundation Board, Junior League of Little Rock, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Coalition of Black Meeting Planners, Women's Foundation of Arkansas, University of Central Arkansas Black Alumni Association Charter member, and is a founder and charter member of the Jack & Jill Provisional Group.
She is the proud mother of two sons, one of whom, Quintin, is an HBCU graduate and the other, Caleb, is currently attending an HBCU.
"We excitedly welcome Ms. Hatton-Ficklin to Philander Smith College," remarked Sericia Cole, Acting Vice President for Institutional Advancement. "She brings with her valuable experiences in special events, various aspects of church ministry, sales and marketing, in addition to a strong reputation as a go-getter and producer. Our thanks to the Director of Alumni Relations Search Committee, which was comprised of active PSC alumni, for its hard work and dedication to the selection process."  

Ms. Hatton-Ficklin begins work on February 1, 2017 in the Office of Institutional Advancement at Kelly Hall.

Philander Smith College hosts "Panther Village" Grand Opening

Temporary residential community helps college address need for overflow student housing

Little Rock, Ark. (January 27, 2017) – Philander Smith College today hosted an open house and tour of its new temporary student housing community, Panther Village @ South Campus.


“Panther Village” was created for PSC scholars who were displaced from on campus residential housing at the start of the Fall 2016 Semester due to increased student enrollment. Panther Village, which is only two blocks away from the PSC main campus, was in answer to the College’s emergent needs for overflow housing, allowing for the relocation of as many as 60 students who had been placed at the LaQuinta Inn and Suites hotel in downtown Little Rock.

Located in the 1600 Block of Chester Street in the Dunbar School Neighborhood Historic District, Panther Village houses six temporary modular housing units in secured, gated area with 24-hour security personnel and on-site PSC professional staff. The modern-styled, prefabricated modular homes offer comfortable student living in a community whose aesthetic is reflective of the quality and dignity of the historic neighborhood in which it sits.

Enrollment for Philander Smith College spiked at the start of the Fall 2016 Semester with a 30 percent increase. Such rapid growth caused the institution to address needs for overflow housing that would provide residential security for scholars in a safe, controlled environment that is structured toward student learning and engagement.

“Our long-range plans already included increasing the capacity of our on-campus housing, but this Fall we had to quickly devise alternate, short-term plans to accommodate our accelerated growth,” said Philander Smith College President Roderick L. Smothers. “Panther Village helps us to continue to provide our scholars with a comfortable, safe and secure student-learning environment that is conducive to their success. Additionally, we are pleased that this new housing addition allows us to have even greater community presence within Little Rock’s Dunbar School Neighborhood Historic District.”


Philander Smith College Names New Athletic Director

Little Rock, Ark. (January 11, 2017) –  Philander Smith College has named Nathan Cochran to the post of Athletic Director.  Cochran, who started work on Jan. 3, oversees the institution’s sports programs which currently include, Men’s and Women’s basketball, Women’s volleyball, and Men’s and Women’s track and field.

A native of Boulder, Colo., Cochran comes to Philander Smith from Paine College in Augusta, Ga., where he was the Assistant Athletic Director for Compliance and Sports Information Director. Prior to entering athletics administration, he spent  fourteen years in collegiate coaching, including stints as the Head Men’s and Women’s Track and Field/Cross Country Coach at Paine; Assistant Football Coach/Offensive Coordinator in Paine’s inaugural NCAA Division II football season; and two years as the Head Football Coach at Lincoln University in Missouri. Additionally, he is a USA Track and Field (USATF) Level 1 certified coach specializing in sprints and jumps.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to serve Philander Smith College, bringing my passion for sports and commitment to educating student-athletes,” says Cochran. “As I work to enhance and expand our athletic programs, my foremost concern is to ensure that Philander Smith athletes are successful not only in competition, but also as scholars and well-rounded individuals.”

Cochran holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics education from South Carolina State University – where he played football and ran track – and a master’s degree in management from Webster University.  

Philander Smith, Hendrix Present “Faith in Black and White” Series on Church & Race

Arkansas United Methodist colleges collaborate on public programs on race, ethnicity, and religion.

Little Rock, Ark. (December 14, 2016) – Hendrix College and Philander Smith College will co-host “Faith in Black and White: The Church and Race in ‘Colorblind’ America,” a public speaker series to explore the systems of racial injustice in contemporary American culture and the role of the Church in creating a more racially just society.

All events in the series are free and open to the public.

Speakers will explore the ways that churches have both supported and struggled against systems of racial injustice and will try to point a way forward for the Church in the effort to bring about a more racially just society. The series will bring together an interracial audience of Hendrix and Philander Smith students, as well as pastors and church members from central Arkansas congregations.

The Hon. Wendell Griffen of Little Rock, Circuit Judge of the Fifth Division, Sixth Judicial District and pastor of New Millennium Baptist Church, will kick off the series with “The Fierce Urgency of Prophetic Citizenship,” a public lecture on Monday, Jan. 16, at 7 p.m., at Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church on the Philander Smith College campus. Griffen is a U.S. Army veteran and a University of Arkansas School of Law graduate. He was the first person of color to become an associate and later a partner in a major Arkansas law firm (Wright, Lindsey, and Jennings in Little Rock). He served as Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission chairman, Arkansas Court of Appeals judge, and University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law Visiting Professor before being elected to his current post. 

Rev. Dr. F. Willis Johnson, senior minister of Wellspring Church in Ferguson, Missouri, will speak on Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m., in Mills A in the Mills Social Sciences Center at Hendrix College. Johnson gained national attention for his leadership in his community’s response to the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed African American teenager. He has been featured numerous times on NPR, and his work has appeared in Time Magazine and The Christian Century, among many others. His most recent book is Holding up Your Corner: Talking about Race in Your Community.

Temple University professor Dr. Nyasha Junior will present “The Bible in Black and White” on Tuesday, March 14, at 7 p.m., in the Kendall Nugent building at Philander Smith College. Her work focuses on the intersections of race, gender, and religion, in particular through her Womanist approach to biblical interpretation. Junior is most recently the author of An Introduction to Womanist Biblical Interpretation and is currently working on a volume on the afterlives of Hagar for Oxford University Press.

Dr. Emilie Townes, Dean and Carpenter Professor of Womanist Ethics and Society at the Vanderbilt University Divinity School, will present “(In)Justice” on Wednesday, April 5, at 7 p.m., in Mills A in the Mills Social Sciences Center at Hendrix.            An American Baptist clergywoman, Dr. Townes is one of the world’s foremost scholars of Womanist ethics. She is the first African American to serve as Dean of the Vanderbilt University Divinity School and is the author of the groundbreaking work Womanist Ethics and the Cultural Production of Evil. She holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from the University of Chicago Divinity School and a Ph.D. in Religion in Society and Personality from Northwestern University. 

The speaker series is underwritten by the Margaret Berry Hutton Odyssey Professorship at Hendrix College, which is currently held by psychology professor Dr. Leslie Zorwick and religious studies professor Dr. Robert Williamson, director of the Hendrix Miller Center for Vocation, Ethics, and Calling.

For more information, contact Dr. Williamson at or 501-505-1559 or Rev. Ronnie Miller-Yow, Dean of Religious Life and Campus Culture and Chaplain at Philander Smith College, at or 501-370-5344.



About Philander Smith College

Founded in 1877, Philander Smith College is a small, privately supported, historically Black, four-year liberal arts institution related to the Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church. The College's mission is to graduate academically accomplished students, grounded as advocates for social justice, determined to change the world for the better. Philander Smith College, the only United Negro College Fund member institution in Arkansas, strives to provide a quality education for all regardless of race, religion, sex, national origin or ethnic background. For more information, visit

About Hendrix College

Hendrix College is a private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas. Founded in 1876 and affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884, Hendrix is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think about Colleges and is nationally recognized in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings for academic quality, community, innovation, and value. For more information, visit

Philander Smith College Enrollment Increases by Nearly 30 Percent

Philander Smith College has welcomed a freshman class of over 300 students, the largest freshman class the Little Rock, Ark.─based institution has seen in five years.

The increase in new students has driven the College’s student population up nearly 30 percent, for a total enrollment topping 760. This increase follows consecutive years of stagnant and declining growth that saw enrollment dip as low as 500 students in 2014. “This is a thrilling time for our campus community, as this enrollment surge is evidence of the forward progress being made at our institution,” says Philander Smith College President Dr. Roderick L. Smothers, Sr.

While many factors contributed to the boost in incoming freshmen, a majority of the credit is given to the College’s admissions and enrollment management team for its strategies to expose a broader range of prospective students to the Philander Smith experience. One of those tactics included utilizing current students in recruitment efforts. “The students are our product; they are the outcome of the promise we offer. What better way to earn the trust of prospective students than to allow them to hear from a Philander Smith College student who is walking the very path that a prospect wants to follow,” says President Smothers.

With the College’s accelerated enrollment increase, however, came a challenge: a housing shortage.  With on-campus residential facilities at full-capacity housing 400 students, the College had to place nearly 80 in a nearby downtown hotel until it could determine more preferable arrangements. Last week, President Smothers announced that the College will utilize land it owns a couple blocks from the campus to create a $1.2 million housing annex as a two-year, temporary housing solution. The new housing community – “Panther Village” – will feature six modern-style, pre-fabricated modular homes situated on the adjacent site that will be enclosed by a gate and offer around-the-clock security, as well as on-site staffing by Philander housing professionals.

Students are expected to transition from the hotel into Panther Village in about a month. The College has already relocated about twenty of the displaced students, who are all upperclassmen, into an apartment community in which the College is leasing units as another means to help alleviate its housing challenges.    

“Our long-range plans already included increasing the capacity of our on-campus housing,” President Smothers explains, “but when we welcomed 100 more students than were budgeted for this fall, we had to quickly devise alternate, short-term plans to accommodate our accelerated growth. It’s a situation that we definitely consider to be a blessing, given where our enrollment figures have been over the last few years.”  Shortly after Dr. Smothers became president in Spring 2015, the College went through a right-sizing that eliminated some faculty and staff positions and caused cuts to certain programs and services.

Regardless of the challenges the College has faced since the start of the 2016 Fall Semester, President Smothers and his administrative team are grateful to be moving forward and have embraced the large freshman class with open arms.

 “We are excited to welcome the Class of 2020, with all of the energy and promise they bring to our campus,” Smothers says. “All the same, we are committed to our students, and our primary concern has been to cause the least disruption to their educational experiences as possible,” Smothers says, adding, “and providing comfortable, safe and secure housing is essential to their success.”

At a time when the relevancy and need for HBCU’s are continuously questioned, the growth and forward movement at Philander Smith College offer a convincing rebuttal.

Philander Smith College Student Named 2016-2017 All Star By The White House

The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) has announced its 2016 class of HBCU All-Stars. Russell Roosevelt Williams III, a sophomore at Philander Smith College, is among the 73 students chosen for this prestigious honor.

Williams, a political science major from Opelousus, Lousiana, is among the 2016 All-Star cohort comprised of undergraduate, graduate, and professionals students who were selected in recognition of their accomplishments in academics, leadership and civic engagement.

“During the course of one academic school year, the 73 All-Stars will distinguish themselves as exemplars of the talent that HBCUs cultivate and as noble ambassadors of their respective institutions,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. “The Initiative is looking forward to working with this third class of All-Stars and is confident this opportunity will allow the Initiative to meaningfully connect with HBCU students and advance academic excellence at their schools.” 

Selected from a pool of more than 300 students from 24 states, the District of Columbia, Ghana, Nigeria, and the Virgin Islands, Williams is the only Arkansas student selected for this year’s class. “I am beyond humbled at the opportunity this presents for me to represent my institution in my community as well as at the nation’s capital,” says Williams. Projected to graduate in 2019, Williams is already on a fast track to success and has proven his drive and leadership skills on the Philander campus and in the community serving as the Student Government Vice-President for 2016-2017 and was selected to participate in the Summer Institute for Emerging Managers and Leaders hosted by the University of California at Riverside in August. His aspirations include serving as a lawyer and a public servant within local and state government.

As an All-Star, he will serve as an ambassador by providing outreach opportunities and communicating with his constituents about the value of education and the initiative using social media, relationship building, community-based organizations and sessions with industry professionals. The honor also includes the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. to represent Philander Smith College at the annual White House HBCU National Conference in the fall.

PSC Awarded $851,000 Grant to Fund WISE P3 Program

Philander Smith Collegehas beenawarded  a  $851, 271Regional  Workforce ImplementationG rant from the Arkansas Department of Higher Educationto fund the WorkforceInnovation Strategic and Economic PublicPrivate Partnerships Program (WISE P3). Th is initiative is the College ’s responsetothe urban issue of underemployment inArkansas and addressesskills gap s  by providing training and education aligned to industry needs. 

The Workforce Innovation Strategic and Economic Public Private Partnerships (WISE P3) Program aligns wit h ArkansasGovernorAsaHutchinson’scommitment to addressing the workforce education needs of the state in an effort to helpposition  Arkansas as anaggressive competitor in the 21 st  century economy.  Incorrelation with the State’s long-term strategy, WISE P3 will offer a mix of portable certifications and two-year and four-year technical and applied degrees in the areas of computer coding, STEM, healthcare, advance manufacturing, and finance to address the key areas of need in this state’s workforce.

“Philander Smith College has long been a pipeline for talent in the state of Arkansas,” saidPSC PresidentRoderickL.  Smothers, Sr. “This key initiative will allow us to further supportGovernor Hutchinson’s visionfor Arkansas asa powerful engine for economic growth and innovation. Through the WISE P3 Program  we will forge partnerships to bridge the gap between academics and business enterprise. Additionally, we will be strengthenedtoenhance  our academic offering s throughshort-term career and technical training to help address employment gaps on a moreimmediateand strategicbasis.” 

The Regional Workforce Grant Program seeks to create a statewide, comprehensive structure enabling students in Arkansas universities, community colleges, and secondary centers to participate in career and technical education programs. Philander Smith College was 1 of 21 colleges and universities a cross the state that were awarded funds. In October 2015 , t he institution   alsoreceived a Regional Workforce Planning Grantfrom the State of Arkansas in the amount of $83,400 .


President Smothers Covers August 2016 Issue of Inviting Arkansas

As the community and state continue to acknowledge the FORWARD movement at Philander Smith College, we want to congratulate President Smothers on earning the August 2016 cover and feature story of Inviting Arkansas. This month's featured article not only highlights the 2nd Annual President's Gala, but also provides insight on the motivation behind Dr. Smothers' tireless work on behalf of Philander Smith College.

Visit too read the full digital issue.

Philander Smith College Awarded $599,000 Grant

Philander Smith College has received a grant of $599,519 to establish the Philander Forward Theological Institute. It is part of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s High School Youth Theology Institutes initiative, which seeks to encourage young people to explore theological traditions, ask questions about the moral dimensions of contemporary issues and examine how their faith calls them to lives of service.

Two PSC Alums slated for induction into the 2016 Women's Hall of Fame

The Arkansas Women's Hall of Fame has announced its second class of inductees and two Philander alumni are among the illustrious group. Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn M. Elders, '52, and former Little Rock Mayor Lottie Shackleford, '79, are two of the nine to be honored on August 25, 2016. 


Joycelyn Elders, the first person in the state of Arkansas to become board certified in pediatric endocrinology, was the fifteenth Surgeon General of the United States, and the first African American and only the second woman to head the U.S. Public Health Service. A longtime and outspoken advocate of public health, Elders was appointed Surgeon General by former President (and Arkansas native) Bill Clinton in 1993.


Lottie H. Shackelford has made history throughout her impressive 40 plus years in local, state and national politics.  In 1987, she became the first woman to be elected Mayor of Little Rock, Arkansas.  Six years later, President Bill Clinton appointed her to the Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), making her the first African American woman to serve on that Board. She also has the distinction of having the longest tenure as Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), having served for 20 years and is currently Vice Chair Emeritus and Chair of the DNC Women’s Caucus.

PSC Named June School of the Month

Nationally Recognized Tom Joyner Foundation to help raise funds for Philander Smith College


Little Rock, Ark. (May 10, 2016)---The Tom Joyner Foundation has named Philander Smith College as its June 2016 “School of the Month.” As one of only 12 Historically Black Colleges and Universities selected for the designation each year, Philander Smith will partner with the Tom Joyner Foundation to raise scholarship dollars throughout the entire month.

Established by top ranked and nationally syndicated “Fly Jock” radio personality Tom Joyner, The Tom  Joyner Foundation was created to directly support HBCUs. Founded in 1998, the Foundation has raised more than $60 million to help keep students enrolled in black colleges. It has assisted more than 14,000 students and worked with more than 100 HBCUs.  

As part of the “School of the Month” program, the Foundation will leverage national sponsorships, partnerships, celebrity relationships, and the syndicated radio program The Tom Joyner Morning Show, which reaches nearly eight million listeners each week, to raise money for Philander Smith College throughout the e\month of June. All funds raised during the month will directly benefit students in the form of scholarships and aid.

In addition to fundraising support, the Tom Joyner Foundation will also award five scholarships to Philander students throughout the month. The Hercules Scholarship, named in honor of Joyner’s deceased father, will be awarded to male students who have made significant academic accomplishments and contributions in their community.

Radio show listeners, alumni, community partnersh and the general public are invited to donate to this fundraising effort. Donations can be made through the Tom Joyner Foundation website at Mobile giving is also available by texting PSC1877 to 80888.

Philander Smith Awarded CPI Grant from UNCF

Little Rock, Ark. (April 27, 2016) --- Philander Smith College has been awarded $50,000 as a grant recipient of the new Career Pathways Initiative established by the UNCF (United Negro College Fund). The college is one of 30 four-year historically black colleges and universities or predominately black institutions to receive an award through this highly-competitive grant process.

Lilly Endowment Inc. committed $50 million last October to launch the UNCF Career Pathways Initiative in an effort to improve the job placement outcomes of graduates from HBCUs and PBIs. Institutions will employ various strategies to achieve this goal, including aligning curricula with local and national workforce needs, developing intentional career pathway options for students across their collegiate experience, and strengthening their career service operations

“Philander Smith College is grateful to UNCF for receiving this critical funding that will allow us to better focus on preparing our scholars for life after graduation,” says College President, Dr. Roderick L. Smothers. “Our charge as an institution of higher education is to not only help our students achieve their degrees, but to also equip our graduates with the necessary knowledge, insights and skills to secure meaningful job placements and to become immediate contributors to the workplace.” 

This six-month planning grant is a one-time award that will assist Philander Smith College in researching, preparing, and developing programs to help better equip students to overcome challenges often faced by new degree recipients in obtaining relevant post-graduate employment.