SEARK College Holds Business After Hours Event to Announce New Student Success Initiatives
Southeast Arkansas College hosted a Business After Hours event on Thursday, September 13 at the Pine Bluff Country Club. Attendees included college faculty, staff, and administrators, as well as several business partners, government officials, and community members.
The event was held to announce SEARK College’s newest student success initiatives, which include a capital fundraising campaign intended to provide updated learning facilities, student scholarships, and many other student resources. One such initiative is the building of contemporary classrooms and learning labs equipped with innovative technology to best prepare students for their future careers. SEARK College Board of Trustees member Paul Bennett and Rosalind Mouser, chair of the SEARK College Foundation, each provided opening remarks and warm welcomes to the guests.
SEARK College president Steven Bloomberg spoke about the college’s continued commitment to student success. “When looking at a project or idea for our college, I’ve always encouraged faculty and staff to ask the question ‘why not’ instead of saying ‘why’,” Bloomberg commented. Bloomberg shared the story of a student who, despite a lifetime of struggles, had successfully completed the GED program through SEARK’s Adult Basic Education program and was now attending SEARK to earn a college degree. Bloomberg stated that this student’s story—one of many such stories—was “an example of the ‘why’: why we need to continue growing new initiatives for student success and why we need to ensure students have the resources they need to achieve that success.”
Bloomberg also introduced SEARK College’s first Director of Development, Ms. Barbara Dunn. As the founding director of the newly formed Department of Development, Ms. Dunn will lead SEARK’s new “friend-raising and fundraising” initiatives, as well as serve as a liaison to business and community members who wish to become part of the SEARK student success legacy. Sharing her vision and mission, Dunn stated her continued commitment to moving the college and community “onward and upward.” Dunn expressed her reasons for choosing to serve as Director of Development: “I am excited to share our compelling vision throughout our market area, to capitalize on the endless opportunities we have to help students, and to continue to work with the great people in Pine Bluff and its surrounding areas.” A long-time resident of Pine Bluff, Dunn has been employed at SEARK College in various leadership roles since 1999. She has also served on several boards and committees throughout Jefferson County and the state of Arkansas, including the Arkansas Community College Leadership Institute, Arkansas International Educators, and Pine Bluff School District Task Force, as well as many others.
Dunn also announced a special event to be held on March 2, 2019. The SEARK College 60th Anniversary Masquerade Gala will celebrate six decades of service to its students and community members. The event will also mark the college’s official launch of its fundraising campaign. More details regarding this first-time event are forthcoming. Dunn stated she will be reaching out to business and community members to discuss how to “establish or grow a partnership that will help move our students and community forward to a better future.” For more information regarding the Department of Development or opportunities to support SEARK’s student success initiatives, please contact Barbara Dunn at 870-543-5957.