ATU Delegation to Attend Midwest Clinic

Fifty-two music students at Arkansas Tech University are investing a portion of their winter break in attending the Midwest Clinic International Band and Orchestra Conference at McCormick Place in Chicago, Ill.

As part of the trip, 16 ATU students will perform in chamber ensembles beginning at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 21.

“This is a first time attending the Midwest Clinic for every one of these students, and I know they’ll have an amazing professional development experience,” said Dr. Daniel A. Belongia, associate professor of music and director of bands at ATU.

Arkansas Tech students scheduled to be part of the performance ensembles in Chicago are:

Flute Quartet

  • Sierra Klutts
  • Miranda Kraus
  • Meeka Smith
  • Ger Vang

Clarinet Quartet

  • Jessica Garrett
  • Shelby Horne
  • Anna Shelton
  • Piper Turner

Woodwind Quintet

  • Ger Vang, Flute
  • Hannah Cochran, Oboe
  • Kaela Thompson, Clarinet
  • Anna Bloodworth, Bassoon
  • Garrett Napier, Horn

Tuba/Euphonium Quartet

  • Michael Bays, Euphonium
  • Corey Nolan, Euphonium
  • Michael Barker, Tuba
  • Katie Rodriguez, Tuba

Learn more about the ATU Department of Music.

Atterberry Named ATU Head Football Coach

Bo Atterberry, 43, was introduced by Arkansas Tech University Director of Athletics Steve Mullins as the 17th head football coach in ATU history on Monday, Dec. 17.

A 1998 graduate of Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Atterberry was head coach at his alma mater from 2014-18. He led the Savage Storm to a five-year record of 33-23 and five consecutive winning seasons.

He was previously head coach at Texas A&M University-Kingsville from 2007-12. He led the Javelinas to two NCAA Division II Playoffs appearances and arrives in Russellville with a career record of 74-47 in 11 seasons as a head coach.

Mullins expressed appreciation to search committee members Abby Davis, senior woman administrator and head tennis coach; Mike Golden, director of strength and conditioning; Dr. Robin Lasey, associate professor of chemistry and faculty athletic representative; Rick Thone, member of the 1971 NAIA national runner-up Wonder Boys and former member of the ATU Board of Trustees; and Brett “Duke” Waldon, associate director of athletics and head athletic trainer.

Atterberry opened his remarks at Monday’s press conference by introducing his wife, April, and their daughter, Jax.

“We’re incredibly humbled and blessed to have this opportunity,” said Atterberry. “The list is extremely long of people who have helped us get into this position. I’m grateful for all of the guidance that I have gotten over the course of my career. I would like to give a special thanks to Southeastern Oklahoma State, my alma mater. It’s a special place with special people, and I definitely wouldn’t be here without them. As I was leaving, (SOSU) President Sean Burrage said ‘man, you’re going to have the opportunity to work with a great leader and one cool lady.’ Dr. (Robin E.) Bowen, I’m very thankful for your time. Your leadership was evident immediately and continued to permeate the process. I’m thankful and excited to be a part of your team. That team is extremely strong. It was championship caliber from the start of this, beginning with Coach Mullins, Dr. Lasey and the search committee. All the coaching staff I came into contact with was incredible.”

Atterberry inherits a Wonder Boys football program that has won 18 conference championships (1931, 1935, 1939, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1954, 1958, 1960, 1961, 1964, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1994 and 1999) and made five postseason national playoffs appearances (1971, 1994, 1999, 2004 and 2009).

“Everyone I came in contact with was very gracious, and you could tell they had a lot of pride and passion for this place,” said Atterberry. “That was the most exciting part, and we definitely want to be a part of that. What a beautiful community, of course, and a beautiful campus. I can’t wait to start recruiting to this campus. It will be very special. We want to put a product on that field that everyone can be proud of, not only on the field though, but in the community. That’s very important to us. Have a never settle mindset, and be able to fight on. It’s about former players, former students, this entire community, this campus community and getting all the teams together. We can’t be stopped. It will be great. I think we can take the roof off of it.”

ATU Graduates Reflect Upon Achievements

For some, the anticipation of commencement ceremonies at Arkansas Tech University on Saturday, Dec. 15, was overwhelming.

“The nerves…I couldn’t sleep last night,” said Jarred Thommen, who was the first graduate in line at Tucker Coliseum for the 10 a.m. ceremony. “I was up until 2 a.m. I only got a few hours sleep, but around 7 a.m. I figured I might as well get ready and get here. I had all these things in my mind…I was really excited.”

Thommen’s degree was one of approximately 1,170 academic credentials received by ATU graduates during ceremonies closing the fall 2018 semester.

He originally intended to be a nuclear physics major, but he switched along the way and received his Bachelor of Science degree in geology on Saturday morning.

“I’ve learned so much that it’s hard to even count all the different ways that Tech has affected me,” said Thommen, who was among approximately 250 ATU graduates wearing first generation graduate stoles atop their graduation robes on Saturday. “The curriculum is strong and the professors in geology are very thorough, helpful and generous with their time. If I ever had any questions, they would be right there to help me and guide me through it.”

Thommen pointed to geology faculty members Dr. Jason Patton, Dr. Michael Davis and Dr. Jacob Grosskopf as the most influential mentors during his studies at ATU.

Originally from Salisbury, Conn., Thommen said his first choice is to remain in Arkansas to begin his career, possibly with the state government or an environmental consulting agency.

“It’s surreal that it’s even come to this point,” said Thommen when asked about receiving his degree. “It’s been three long years. This is the fulfillment of a dream that I set out for myself. I wanted to become a scientist, and I did it. It means more to me than anything. It’s a testament to my perseverance through everything.”

Anna Holt also knows about perseverance. A family illness and a subsequent desire to remain close to home were among the reasons she chose Arkansas Tech. The support network she found on campus helped her persist to earn a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree.

“(ATU) grew on me,” said Holt, who resides in Conway. “I made a lot of friends here. It just fit. All of the professors have been there for me, even in hard times. I think that’s what kept me here, going to school and striving to finish. I wanted to finish what I started no matter how hard the struggle was.”

Holt described mechanical engineering faculty members Dr. John Krohn and Dr. Ehsan Hosseini as being “understanding and patient” in helping her achieve her academic goals. She has accepted a job as an engineer for Plastic Ingenuity Inc.

“It’s a big relief,” said Holt of commencement day. “It has been such a long road, and I think for me it’s more than just the degree. It’s a big milestone in my life, and it’s something that I was able to reach. It’s a confidence thing for me and proving to myself that I could do it.”

Margaret Whitfield hopes the Bachelor of Science degree in hospitality administration that she received from ATU on Saturday provides other non-traditional students with confidence.

“I’m setting the example that it’s never too late to go back and get an education,” said Whitfield. “I’ve made great friends, I’ve had great teachers and I’ve enjoyed the entire experience. Today means that I complete a goal that I set, and it sets me up for a better rest of my life.”

Whitfield began college in 2003. After shepherding her children to their teenage years, she enrolled at Arkansas Tech and met hospitality administration faculty member Susan West.

“She is awesome,” said Whitfield when asked about West. “She’s crazy and she’s great. We love her. It’s her personality and the way she teaches. It’s everything.”

Whitfield has a career goal of working in hotel management.

Karmen Stephens’ career path will begin as a supervisor in training for Tyson Foods at its Dardanelle facility. She earned that opportunity by completing the ATU Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture business with an emphasis in animal science.

“I made it,” said Stephens. “It’s been a long four years and a stressful four years, but I’m thankful for every obstacle and challenge that I was faced with because I was able to overcome them and get to graduation.”

Stephens, who is from Little Rock, was one of seven fall 2018 ATU graduates who completed the steps necessary to earn the Tradition Keeper designation from the ATU Alumni Association.

As a result, she, Angela Barraza, Bailey Harris, Jaelyn Herrera, Ty Reasnor, Hannah Simmons and Esther White wore special green cords during their commencement ceremonies.

Nate Robertson chose an even more personal accessory for his graduation regalia.

A product of Paris, Robertson received his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree on Saturday morning while displaying a message atop his cap that shared the philosophy that propelled him to commencement day. It read: you only fail when you stop trying.

“The secret to getting through college is not being the smartest person,” said Robertson, “it’s seeing how many times you can get knocked down and keep going.”

Fall ’18 Tradition Keeper Graduates Named

Seven Arkansas Tech University graduates were recognized with the Tradition Keeper designation during fall 2018 commencement ceremonies at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville.

Angela Barraza, Bailey Harris, Jaelyn Herrera, Ty Reasnor, Hannah Simmons, Karmen Stephens and Esther White wore special green cords at commencement ceremonies and earned the distinction of Tradition Keeper on their official Arkansas Tech transcripts.

The Tradition Keeper program recognizes students who demonstrate extraordinary campus involvement while completing their degrees at Arkansas Tech.

Tradition Keeper activities include having a photo made with campus ambassador Jerry the Bulldog, attending athletics events, participating in a campus blood drive, attending a career fair and many others.

Documentation of each tradition upheld is made through the “Arkansas Tech Traditions” app, which is available for download at the App Store and Google Play.

Learn more about the Tradition Keeper program.

Photographed (from left-to-right): Esther White, Hannah Simmons, Bailey Harris, Ty Reasnor, Jaelyn Herrera and Angela Barraza. Not photographed is Karmen Stephens. 

ATU to Introduce New Football Coach Monday

Arkansas Tech University Director of Athletics Steve Mullins has called a press conference to be held on Monday, Dec. 17, to announce the hiring of the school’s next head football coach.

The press conference will begin at 11:30 a.m. in the tour room located in Brown Hall, 105 West O Street in Russellville.

The press conference will be streamed live on Arkansas Tech’s athletics Instagram page (@atuathletics).

The event will include remarks from Mullins as well as the new head coach. A public meet-and-greet will be held in Brown Hall immediately afterward.

This news release provided by the ATU Office of Athletic Communications.