Opening Ceremony Welcomes Participants in 40th AGS

Dr. Robin E. Bowen addresses the audience at the AGS Opening Ceremony

Gifted and talented rising high school seniors from every region of Arkansas convened at Arkansas Tech University’s John E. Tucker Coliseum in Russellville on Sunday, July 7, to begin the 40th Arkansas Governor’s School.

The four-week learning experience will provide approximately 370 students with exceptional talent in the fields of visual arts, choral music, instrumental music, drama, English/language arts, mathematics, natural science, social science or cybersecurity an opportunity to grow academically and personally.

“Arkansas Governor’s School will be unforgettable for many reasons, not the least of which will be your classroom experiences,” said Dr. Robin E. Bowen, ATU president. “This is a special program free from the normal pressure of grades. Here, you will be taught how to think, not what to think. As a result, you will complete AGS better equipped to evaluate information and prepared to succeed during your senior year of high school and beyond.

“Be very intentional about how you invest this time,” continued Bowen. “Life only accelerates as you get older and gain more responsibilities. It will likely be your retirement years, if even then, before you have another chance to take a four-week block of time completely free and open to learn, grow and improve. Make very good use of these four weeks. Arkansas Governor’s School is foundational in developing as a student and as a person. Make your foundation strong and ready to support the future of your dreams.”

Students in the 40th Arkansas Governor’s School will have opportunities to participate in several cultural activities, including visits to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum. The AGS students will also view a performance by Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre and learn from five impact speakers, including Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

“Your admission to Governor’s School affirms that you are among the best and brightest in Arkansas,” said Hutchinson in a pre-recorded message played for AGS participants during the opening session. “The mission of Governor’s School is to develop your gifts and talents so that you can use them for the benefit of your community. Governor’s School can change your life for the better, just as it has for so many before you.”

Founded in 1979 by Gov. Bill Clinton, Arkansas Governor’s School serves selected students from around the state during the summer before their senior year in high school. The 2019 Arkansas Governor’s School will conclude Aug. 3.

Dr. Robin Lasey and Dr. Jeff Woods from the ATU faculty are AGS co-directors. The AGS faculty that includes individuals who teach at Arkansas Tech University, Henderson State University, Oklahoma State University, the University of the Ozarks, Bryant High School, Conway High School, Eureka Springs High School, the Fort Smith School District, Liberty Bell Middle School (Tenn.) and Russellville High School.

ATU was selected by the Arkansas Board of Education on Sept. 13, 2018, to serve as the host for Arkansas Governor’s School from 2019 through 2021.

The Arkansas Department of Education Gifted and Talented Programs administrator supervises Arkansas Governor’s School with assistance from an advisory council appointed by the governor.

“The AGS students in this coliseum are among our state’s most precious resources,” said Bowen. “You are the future of Arkansas, our nation and beyond. Our job over the next four weeks is to help prepare you for the rapidly approaching day when you will be leading Arkansas and our nation in exciting new directions…directions that none of us can yet imagine. Learn how to think, have fun and be proud. You are the Arkansas Governor’s School Class of 2019.”

Learn more about Arkansas Governor’s School at