Arkansas Tech University alumnus Charlie Ball was recognized by the Kiwanis Club of North Little Rock for 65 years of perfect attendance at club meetings during the organization’s 2014 awards luncheon on Sept. 25.
Ball (photographed) has been an active member of Kiwanis since 1949. Every week for six-and-a-half decades, he has either attended his home club’s meeting or made up the absence by attending another Kiwanis Club, a Key Club meeting, a board meeting or other official functions of the club.
A native of Batesville, Ball first enrolled at Arkansas Tech in 1941. World War II intervened before he could graduate. He returned to Arkansas Tech after serving as a fighter pilot in the war and later studied at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and Arkansas College (now known as Lyon College), but he never earned his college degree.
Ball spent two decades running a dry cleaning business with his father, Cecil, before transitioning to a second career as a real estate broker and insurance agent.
In 2011, Ball saw a television advertisement for the Arkansas Tech University Accelerated Degree Program, which offers individuals with 60 or more transferable credit hours an opportunity to complete a bachelor’s degree within 18 months.
He made note of the telephone number in the ad and called to see what he would need to do to complete his degree.
Ball was connected with the Arkansas Tech College of Professional Studies. Upon reviewing his transcripts, it was discovered that Ball had already accumulated enough hours to graduate with the Bachelor of Professional Studies degree in public relations.
When he walked during spring commencement ceremonies in 2012 at the age of 89, Ball became the oldest graduate in Arkansas Tech history. His received a standing ovation as he received his degree, and his story was told nationwide on a variety of television networks.