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His Legacy Includes a Planned Gift for Generations to Come

Charles Stewart

“Not only was I making a living, I was making a life, and I connect the dots directly to my time at the university.”
—Charles Stewart

Two years into Charles Stewart’s pursuit of a college degree came a turning point that influenced his professional career for the next 40 years. At the time, Stewart was a full-time college student who was working part time at Blass Department Store. A newlywed, he knew it was time to work full time and finish his classes at night.

On the day of his interview at Little Rock’s Teletype Corporation for a position as a machine operator, Stewart didn’t have time to change out of his business suit, so he was looking exceptionally professional. His interview and resume reflected the accounting classes he had taken at then-Little Rock University (LRU), which caught the eye of the hiring manager.

“After my interview, the human resources manager asked if I would be interested in a job in accounting, to which I said yes,” Stewart said with a smile. “That was a big career step for me after working part time as a sales clerk. The fact that I had college accounting hours was the direct link to me getting that job, and the experience I got on the job at the Teletype Corporation led to me getting a job in banking only three years later.”

After four years of night school, Stewart earned his degree and continued to secure positions of increasing responsibility, becoming the first African American executive in the banking industry in Arkansas. He also served as interim CEO of Heifer International; is a founding board member of Little Rock Preparatory Academy and the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame; founded his own real estate development company; and has served on boards at the state, regional, and national levels.

“Even though I worked in the financial services industry the majority of my career, the courses I took at UALR equipped me to serve in many capacities that took me around the world into different cultures,” Stewart said. “My understanding of cultural relativity helped shape my desire and enjoyment of philanthropy. Not only was I making a living, I was making a life, and I connect the dots directly to my time at the university.”

Stewart has designated a planned gift to the university through his trust that will create an endowment in his name in support of general scholarships for students. He points out the effects of the so-called Great Resignation and the opportunities that await people who will complete their degree requirements and step into a rewarding career.

“With many people changing jobs and re-evaluating what’s important to them, it leaves a lot of opportunity for young people to help meet the needs of the economy, and education is a critical part of that,” Stewart said. “The world is becoming more complex, so the need for a solid education is even more critical. Anything we can do to alleviate that debt, help students get their education, and go to work will benefit everyone.”

You, too, can create a legacy by designating a planned gift to support the future of UA Little Rock. Contact Ginger Daril at 501-916-6437 or to learn more.