Carpenter Named State’s Top Country Artist

Arkansas Tech University alumnus Lance Carpenter is the 2019 Arkansas Country Music Awards country artist of the year.

He received the honor during an awards ceremony on Monday, June 3.

“It is truly an honor to be able to represent country music in Arkansas along with all the other nominees and winners,” wrote Carpenter on his Facebook page. “Thank you to everyone who voted for me and to so many who have already reached out I really appreciate it. I especially want to thank my band who I shared the stage with. Couldn’t do this without y’all and all my family who were in attendance.”

Originally from Ozark, Carpenter graduated from Arkansas Tech in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science degree in emergency administration management. He was a member of the 1999 Wonder Boys football team that won the Gulf South Conference championship and made the institution’s first appearance in the NCAA Division II Playoffs.

In addition to his success in the classroom and on the football field, Carpenter picked up a skill that would be important to his future while a student at Arkansas Tech. He taught himself how to play guitar.

Carpenter’s musical aspirations led him to move to Nashville, Tenn., in 2011. He landed a publishing contract within 18 months of arriving in town and released his self-titled debut album in 2013.

He co-wrote “Love Me Like You Mean It,” which was recorded by Kelsea Ballerini in 2015 and became the first debut song by a female artist to go to No. 1 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart since 2006.

Carpenter signed with Toby Keith’s Show Dog Nashville label in 2017. His debut single on Show Dog, “Anyone Else,” has earned more than 1 million streaming plays online and a place on the regular video rotation on CMT.

He returned home to Arkansas Tech to perform a concert during Homecoming 2018.

Learn more about Lance Carpenter.

Four Alumni Added to ATU Hall of Distinction

Arkansas Tech University bestowed its highest honor upon four individuals during spring 2019 commencement ceremonies.

Truman Hill of Russellville, Major Gen. Gary W. Johnston of Fort Belvoir, Va., George C. Mitchell III of Denton, Texas, and Lt. Col. William J. Sidebottom of Springfield, Va., were inducted into the ATU Hall of Distinction at John E. Tucker Coliseum in Russellville on Saturday, May 11.

Hill was inducted under the Distinguished Alumni Service category, while Johnston, Mitchell and Sidebottom entered the Hall of Distinction under the Distinguished Alumnus category.

Click on the links below to read more about each of the 2019 ATU Hall of Distinction honorees:

2019 Spring Graduation : Hall of Distinction Luncheon | 5/11/19

Breakfast During Finals Tradition Continues

Representatives from the Arkansas Tech University Alumni Association will fan out across the ATU campus in Russellville to serve students, faculty and staff during the spring 2019 edition of Breakfast During Finals.

The twice-per-year program is an outreach that provides alumni and friends of the university with an opportunity to show their support for the campus community during the week of final examinations.

Muffins, fruit and coffee are among the items scheduled to be served during Breakfast During Finals for spring 2019.

Below is a listing of which facilities will be distribution points on which days:

Thursday, May 2
Corley Hall
Dean Hall
McEver Hall
Rothwell Hall
Witherspoon Hall

Friday, May 3
Corley Hall
Dean Hall
McEver Hall
Rothwell Hall
Witherspoon Hall

Monday, May 6
Brown Hall
Corley Hall
Dean Hall
McEver Hall
Rothwell Hall
Witherspoon Hall

Tuesday, May 7
Witherspoon Hall

Learn more about the ATU Alumni Association.

New Scholarship Honors Former Brass Teacher

Six Arkansas Tech University Department of Music alumni expressed their appreciation to one of their mentors by raising $57,000 and creating the Robert M. Bright Endowed Scholarship through the ATU Foundation.

The announcement of the new scholarship was made during a weekend of ATU music alumni events April 26-28 in Russellville.

ATU alumni Andy Anders, Herb Lunday, Dick Niven, Win Prather, Tom Reynolds and Howard Ritchie organized the fund-raising effort. They did so in honor of Bright’s efforts in establishing the Arkansas Tech Brass Choir and impacting the lives of students during his time on the Tech faculty from 1963-69.

Anders, who studied under Bright and then succeeded him as the brass instructor at Arkansas Tech, served on the Tech faculty for four decades and retired as head of the ATU Department of Music. He recalled that several out-of-state trips to perform during the 1960s created the institution’s regional and national reputation for musical excellence.

“That was a magic time, because that was the time when Arkansas Tech established itself musically,” said Anders. “It took the vision of some unique individuals, and for us those four were Gene Witherspoon, Loren Bartlett, Robert Bright and Jim Jones, who replaced Bartlett. Those four people affected us personally. They got us to believe in ourselves. What they really instilled in us was a lifelong mantra to be the very best we can be in all things. They were tremendous role models as teachers, scholars, performers and people.”

In all, Bright has taught for more than 60 years. Now 84, he continues to teach music lessons and was in attendance for the announcement of the scholarship in his honor.

His son, Dr. Jeff Bright, is in his first year as the head of the ATU Department of Music.

The Robert M. Bright Endowed Scholarship will be available to ATU brass players in the band program. Applicants must be freshmen or upperclassmen, enrolled full-time, majoring in music education, have a minimum grade point average of 2.75 and provide two letters of recommendation, including one from their current band director.

David Hall, a trumpet player from Cabot, has been selected as the initial recipient of the scholarship.

Visit to learn more about the ATU Department of Music.

SWE Performance Scheduled for April 28

The 2018-19 performance schedule for the Arkansas Tech University Department of Music will conclude on Sunday, April 28, with a concert by the ATU Symphonic Wind Ensemble.

The performance will begin at 2:30 p.m. in Witherspoon Auditorium, 407 West Q Street in Russellville. Admission will be free and open to the public.

Pieces on the program for Arkansas Tech’s premier wind ensemble include “Always Coming Home” by Stephen Taylor, “Folk Songs for Soprano and Band” by Bernard Gilmore, “Lincolnshire Posy” by Percy Grainger and “Symphony No. 8” by David Maslanka.

Vocalist Holly Ruth Gale, ATU associate professor of music, will lend her talents to the performance of “Folk Songs for Soprano and Band.”

Dr. Daniel A. Belongia, associate professor of music and director of bands, leads the ATU Symphonic Wind Ensemble.

The April 28 concert will coincide with the spring 2019 ATU band alumni reunion.

A band composed of ATU alumni will perform under guest conductors Travis Beard, Hal Cooper and Michael Hancock.

Learn more about the reunion.