Breakfast Brings Tech, Community Together

Arkansas Tech University President Dr. Robin E. Bowen provided community members with an update on current and forthcoming projects at the institution during a breakfast hosted by the Russellville Area Chamber of Commerce at Chambers Cafeteria West Dining Room on Friday morning.

The meal was the final event in the week-long Paint the Town Green and Gold celebration that was planned and implemented by the ATU Connection Committee of the Russellville Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Efforts such as Paint the Town Green and Gold move us toward the goal of evolving from a town with a university to become a university town,” said Bowen. “This is a vision that is shared by Arkansas Tech University, the City of Russellville, the Russellville Area Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Russellville and the many individuals, organizations and businesses that have stepped forward to make this community an attractive place for people to live while they attend college and afterwards.”

Bowen spoke about the economic impact that Arkansas Tech has on the counties in its immediate service area, noting that figure exceeds $200 million on an annual basis.

“Arkansas Tech is doing its part to ensure that the impact continues to grow by developing innovative academic programs that lead to in-demand careers,” said Bowen. “This fall, new undergraduate degrees in game and interactive media design, environmental science, computer science education, chemistry education, physics education and electrical engineering biomedical option are making their debut.”

Those in attendance received a summary of the recently-completed Arkansas Tech strategic plan, which is posted in its entirety at

“I believe the strategic plan captures the spirit of what and where Arkansas Tech University aspires to be in the next five years,” said Bowen.

Bruce Sikes, chancellor of Arkansas Tech-Ozark Campus, also spoke at the Friday morning breakfast. His remarks included information about the programs that are offered throughout the Arkansas River Valley under the auspices of the Ozark campus, including at Morton Hall and Arkansas Tech Career Center in Russellville.

Sikes also commented on the positive changes that Arkansas Tech-Ozark Campus has experienced since becoming part of Arkansas Tech University in 2003. He told the audience that enrollment at Arkansas Tech-Ozark Campus has increased from 300 students at the time it became part of the institution to approximately 2,000 students in fall 2016.

“Over the last 13 years, not only have we seen significant growth in our student population…we have also seen growth in our academic offerings,” said Sikes. “We have become an educational choice for students who are seeking a relevant, two-year education environment. The idea of stackable degrees is very important in our strategy of providing access to higher education for Arkansans. It’s a privilege to be a part of this university. We are committed to serving your industries, your communities and your people.”

Other Paint the Town Green and Gold events included a catfish fry sponsored by Old Post Bar-B-Que and Blue Willow Catering on Tuesday, a downtown pep rally sponsored by Arvest Bank on Wednesday and the football season-opening 46-0 victory recorded by the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys over Southern Nazarene University on Thursday night.

More than 30 Russellville businesses participated in a storefront decorating contest as part of Paint the Town Green and Gold. The East Main Street branch of First State Bank won the top prize in the competition and will hold possession of a traveling trophy for the next year.

“As we begin the adventure of a new academic year, it is heartening to know that Arkansas Tech University has the support of so many community partners,” said Bowen. “Let’s work together to paint Russellville green and gold year round.”