As a single mom in the late 1970s, Rebecca Ward, former president of the UALR's Alumni Association Board of Directors, was the quintessential non-traditional college student.
Perhaps that is a contributing factor to her persistence in finding ways to ease the financial burden of college for students from all walks of life.
"I am convinced education is the way out for so many people," Ward said. "If you want to go to college and get a degree, we are going to do what we can to see you get one."
Ward pursued her Masters of Social Work at UALR after realizing she wanted to be in a "helping profession." As she put it: "Social work seemed to me to be most direct way to make an impact."
Nearly 35 years following her graduation, Ward is still making an impact on the UALR community and beyond.
Ward and her fellow board members helped to oversee hundreds of scholarships for potential and current UALR students, but her first foray into fundraising stemmed from her desire to establish an endowed fund for Social Work students at UALR after realizing none existed.
Ward's touch proved golden. That first fundraiser raised nearly $1,700. Today the endowed fund sits at $100,000.
Ward joined the UALR Alumni Association Board and became active in additional fundraisers, including this year's "Taste of Little Rock," which features the work of local chefs from dozens of area restaurants.
Through planned giving to UALR, Ward has also provided for future funding from her own estate. She said UALR enabled her successful private practice and she "wanted to give something back."
It boils down to making a difference.
"What greater goal is there in life, outside of family life?" she said.