MONTICELLO, Ark.— The University of Arkansas at Monticello (UAM) held its fall commencement exercises on Friday, December 9, in the Steelman Field House. Dr. Peggy Doss, chancellor of UAM, recognized graduates completing academic credentials ranging from master’s degrees to technical certificates during the ceremony.
Scott Jones, campus minister for the Missionary Baptist Student Fellowship, provided the invocation, and Scott Bearden, assistant professor of music, sang the national anthem and alma mater.
C.C. “Cliff” Gibson, III, of Monticello, spoke during the ceremony, providing greetings on behalf of the University of Arkansas System Board of Trustees, where Gibson serves as chairman.
Dr. Doss congratulated the graduates and their families and friends, stating, “We share your joy and pride over the achievements of these hardworking students—our newest University of Arkansas at Monticello graduates.” She also made special acknowledgments of graduates who were first-generation students, parents, active in campus organizations or members of the armed forces.
During the ceremony, Dr. Doss presented Sarah Beth and Thomas V. Maxwell with the Chancellor’s Legacy Award. The award is a newly established recognition that honors individuals who have demonstrated a long-standing, faithful record of service and support to UAM and the advancement of the university. Thomas Maxwell attended Warren High School and graduated from UAM in 1971 after majoring in business and minoring in marketing and political science. Sarah Beth (Burchfield) Maxwell is from Crossett and graduated from UAM in 1973 with a Bachelor of Science in elementary education and had a long career as a teacher in the Monticello School District. Thomas is the chairman and chief executive officer of Maxwell Hardwood Flooring, which is one of the largest employers in Drew County. In 1999, he was named the Arkansas Small Business Person of the Year and his company was selected by Arkansas Business Magazine as the Business of the Year. Today, Maxwell Hardwood Flooring is among the top five manufacturers of unfinished solid and engineered hardwood flooring in the country. The Maxwells have been generous supporters of UAM, including funding multiple UAM Foundation endowments. Their names are included on the UAM Centennial Clock Tower for their contribution to a campaign that raised one million dollars for the UAM Foundation Fund, and Thomas previously served on the UAM Board of Visitors. The couple resides in Monticello.
A photo album for the commencement ceremony is available on UAM’s Facebook page here.