SouthArk Foundation touts stellar year

South Arkansas Community College had a stellar year in 2012, highlighted by a sizable donation from a Fort Smith accountant, plans for Heritage Plaza underway and the development of a performing and media arts program, according to the Foundation’s annual report.

Much of SouthArk’s goings-on complement economic development efforts undertaken by the City of El Dorado, said President Barbara Jones and Foundation President Terry Norman. Among those, SouthArk will build onto continued process technology education efforts with the completion of a state-of-the-art industrial training center and further development of Heritage Plaza to touch on El Dorado Festivals & Events’ efforts to transform downtown into a theater district.

Thus far into fundraising efforts, the Foundation has raised more than $250,000 in funding for Heritage Plaza, Norman said. Among donations from First Financial Bank ($60,000), El Dorado Chemical ($30,000) BancorpSouth ($15,000), Simmons First Bank ($15,000) and Deltic Timber ($15,000), money for the project has also emanated from the South Arkansas Outdoor Expo and An Evening With the Stars. Other corporate donations have included $10,000 and $5,000, respectively, from Georgia-Pacific Crossett Paper Operations and Tetra Technologies for the process technology program.

Outstanding Alumni of the Year, presented at An Evening With the Stars, include Union County Sheriff Mike McGough and Great Lakes Solutions Public Relations Manager Patty Cardin.

Other highlights of the year include a quarter-of-a-million dollar donation by Norris Cunningham Taylor Jr., a Fort Smith accountant with no ties to the area who left more than $11 million in donations to institutions across the state. Planning for use of the donation hasn’t been specified.

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