Former FEMA Director Speaks at ATU

It was little more than two decades ago that James Lee Witt and Kay Goss, two Arkansans in leadership positions for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), collaborated with then Arkansas Tech University faculty member Dr. Mary Ann Rollans to develop a new bachelor’s degree at ATU.

On Tuesday, Oct. 16, that trio of visionaries returned to Arkansas Tech to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first ATU Bachelor of Science in emergency administration and management graduates and speak at the 2018 James Lee Witt Emergency Management and Homeland Security Conference.

“When we first talked to Mary Ann about developing this program, we wanted to professionalize emergency management,” said Witt, who served as FEMA director under President Bill Clinton from 1993-2001. “ATU took this on, and Mary Ann took this on. I’m amazed at how much it has grown.”

Since becoming the third institution of higher learning in the U.S. to offer a degree program in emergency management, Arkansas Tech has conferred 828 bachelor’s degrees and 231 master’s degrees in the field for a total of 1,059 emergency management degrees. In 2005, ATU became the first institution of higher learning to have its degree programs accredited by The Council for Accreditation of Emergency Management Education.

“As time has passed and our curriculum has grown more diverse, the idea of innovation has remained a constant at Arkansas Tech,” said Dr. Robin E. Bowen, ATU president. “It was never more true than two decades ago when a group of leaders — Dr. Mary Ann Rollans, James Lee Witt and Kay Goss, among them — stepped forward with a bold idea. They believed that Arkansas Tech University was positioned to be at the forefront of emergency management education. They believed that Arkansas Tech could develop and implement academic programs that would create a standard for emergency management professionals in Arkansas and beyond. It turns out they were 100 percent correct.

“Now, as we celebrate 20 years of emergency management graduates from Arkansas Tech, our university has conferred more than 1,050 degrees upon professionals who have gone forth and reshaped the field of emergency management,” continued Bowen. “Lessons in preparedness and mitigation that were learned in the classroom at Arkansas Tech are saving property, and more importantly, saving lives.”

Tuesday’s conference at Chambers Cafeteria West Dining Room was attended by a mix of current ATU emergency management students, members of the ATU emergency management faculty and working professionals from the field of emergency management, many of whom are Arkansas Tech graduates.

Witt offered the students and professionals in attendance with one central theme to consider.

“It’s not about politics, it’s about people,” said Witt. “I would not have had these experiences without Bill Clinton. It’s about relationships. Everything we do in this field is built upon relationships and the connections that you make. It’s about helping people and communities and how they respond to and recover from disasters.”

Visit to learn more about ATU degree programs in the field.

Photographed (from left-to-right): Dr. Sandy Smith, head of the ATU Department of Emergency Management; Kay Goss, former associate director of FEMA; Dr. Mary Ann Rollans, a member of the ATU faculty from 1980-2015; James Lee Witt, former director of FEMA; and Dr. Judy Cezeaux, dean of the ATU College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. 

ATU Announces 2018 Homecoming Court

Five candidates for the title of Arkansas Tech University Homecoming queen 2018 have been selected to the Homecoming court.

The members of the 2018 Arkansas Tech Homecoming court are (photographed, from left-to-right): junior Ana Barroso of Springdale, senior Tina Christiansen of Van Buren, senior Blair Miller of Woodlawn, senior Brooklyn Woodworth of Harrison and senior Sydney Stone of Clarksville.

ATU students will vote to select the Homecoming queen during online voting at theLINK. Votes may be cast from midnight on Tuesday, Oct. 16, through 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 18.

Arkansas Tech will announce its 2018 Homecoming queen during a 1:30 p.m. pre-game ceremony at Thone Stadium at Buerkle Field on Saturday, Oct. 20. Kickoff for the Homecoming football game between Arkansas Tech and Southwestern Oklahoma State University is scheduled for 2 p.m.

Barroso is an elementary education major and a member of the Hispanic Student Organization. She is a peer mentor and a member of the International Student Organization.

Christiansen serves as drum major for the ATU Marching Band, Arkansas’ Band of Distinction. She is majoring in music education. She has worked on campus as head female band camp counselor.

Miller is a rehabilitation science major. She is active in V College Ministries, Zeta Tau Alpha, Student Government Association, Presidential Leadership Cabinet, Delta Sigma Omicron, Because We Can and the Golden Girls dance team.

Stone holds membership in Phi Mu, Because We Can and Rise Up. She is majoring in psychology, sociology and criminal justice.

Woodworth is majoring in biomedical biology. She is involved with Zeta Tau Alpha, Presidential Leadership Cabinet and the Pre-Med Biology Club. She has worked on campus as a resident assistant and resident director.

Follow complete coverage of ATU Homecoming 2018.

New Scholarship Honors ATU’s Holeyfield

Kelby Harness is the inaugural recipient of the Dr. Annette M. Holeyfield Physical Education Scholarship at Arkansas Tech University.

A 2016 graduate of Green Forest High School, Harness is a junior health and physical education major from Alpena.

The scholarship was created by Holeyfield’s friends and colleagues in honor of her work on behalf of ATU students.

Holeyfield joined the Arkansas Tech faculty as a part-time visiting instructor in the Department of Health and Physical Education in 1985.

She attained the rank of full-time instructor in 1990, assistant professor in 1992, associate professor in 1998 and professor in 2004. She was granted tenure in 1996, and she served as department head from 1998-2015.

Holeyfield, 2004 ATU Faculty Award of Excellence winner in the service category, completed her career by working as director of the College of Education Partnership Office from 2015 until her retirement in May 2017.

A 1976 graduate of Arkansas Tech with a Bachelor of Science degree, Holeyfield added a Master of Education degree from ATU in 1977 and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 1997.

Holeyfield received the first Arkansas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (ArkAHPERD) Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014 and the ATU Board of Trustees granted her the title professor emeritus of health and physical education in 2018.

Learn more about scholarships for ATU students.

Homecoming 2018: Complete Coverage

Arkansas Tech University Homecoming 2018 provides students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends with an opportunity to celebrate ATU and its traditions Oct. 15-20.

Learn about student events.

Learn about events for alumni and friends.

Homecoming videos and photos will be posted here as the week unfolds.


ATU’s Rivera Selected for NASPA Program

Arkansas Tech University graduate student Daniel Rivera has been chosen to participate in the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Graduate Associate Program.

Rivera is a 2018 ATU graduate from San Diego, Venezuela. As an undergraduate, he was active in ATU Student Government Association and he was selected to receive the Richard Cohoon Endowed Field Camp Scholarship. He also worked to welcome new ATU students to campus as a summer ambassador and an orientation leader.

According to NASPA, the Graduate Associate Program seeks to provide enhanced leadership opportunities for graduate students who are interested in careers in student affairs. Participating students increase awareness and involvement within NASPA by providing updated information about programs, events and resources to their fellow graduate students and other individuals interested in learning more about NASPA.

Graduate Associate Program members also have the opportunity to apply for internships at the 2019 NASPA Annual Conference in Los Angeles, Calif.

Applicants for the program must be incoming or current graduate students pursuing a master’s degree in student affairs, higher education, counseling or a related field.