UCA Archives unveils Anne Jansen collection

The professional papers of former KTHV CH-11 news anchor Anne Jansen have been added to the UCA Archives. Her collection was unveiled during a reception in the Mirror Room of McAlister Hall on Monday, Oct. 26.

Jansen spent more than 25 years as a reporter and news anchor for the Little Rock television station before retiring in 2008. Archivist Jimmy Bryant said while most people have never been to an archive, the purpose is to preserve civilization. “If researchers want to know what made news in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, they will see the Anne Jansen papers at the UCA Archives,” he said.

Jansen’s collection includes interviews with well-known Arkansans including Keith Jackson, Win Rockefeller and the late Will Counts, her work during the elections of former President Bill Clinton, as well as videos and photos taken throughout her career. Reviewing the materials before she donated them, gave Jansen the opportunity to “dust off the memories.” Some of those memories included participating in telethons for United Cerebral Palsy, reporting on Bill Clinton as he became president and was later re-elected and covering the case of mass murderer Ronald Gene Simmons, who selected her to conduct one-on-one interviews before his execution in 1990.

Jansen said she was pleased that Bryant had asked her to donate her papers to the UCA Archives, but reminded the audience that the collection is not about her. “It’s about the subjects I covered. I always thought of myself as a historian as well as a journalist,” Jansen said. “I am thrilled someone saw value in my papers.”

Jansen’s papers will be added to a collection that includes the papers of prominent Arkansans including former Gov. Ben Laney, eye surgeon Dr. Hampton Roy, children’s television actress Betty Fowler, folk songwriter Jimmy Driftwood, and fellow KTHV anchor Craig O’Neill.


An Artist’s Perspective

By Emily Gassman

What most see as garbage or chaos, Gene Hatfield ’47 sees as art.  Drive down Donaghey and about a block from campus you’ll find Hatfield’s house. His yard is a tangled maze of twisted metal, furniture and car parts. Hatfield has displayed his sculptures in his yard for 47 years. 

When he moved into the house in 1962, Hatfield was just learning how to weld and his yard seemed like the perfect place to exhibit his recently mastered skill. His sculptures are made from materials – he affectionately calls them castoffs – he finds discarded along streets and at the city dump. 

“People throw away such good things that I plan to do stuff with,” said the retired UCA art professor. Some of the castoffs he has collected include machine parts, hubcaps, swimming pool slides and grills.

Taking random objects and turning them into works of art has grabbed people’s attention not only locally but also nationally. Some of his sculptures are featured in the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Save Outdoor Sculpture program.  “A man from Little Rock who was in charge of the outdoor sculpture preservation came and took photos to send to the Smithsonian,” Hatfield said.  “The sculpture he took photos of has now been destroyed, it was vandalized.”

Saving objects from a doomed life in a landfill isn’t all Hatfield does. He also loves to paint. Influenced by Monet’s ability to capture landscape with perfect lighting and fast dot’s, Hatfield’s landscape scenes capture the perfect lighting at St. Ives in England, the ocean along the French coast, the Rockies, the desert, and even the Old Mill in North Little Rock. 

When teaching art at UCA, he made his students memorize page 18 in their textbook. “It said, ‘Design is the use of line, shape, value, texture and color to create unity’,” he recalled, insisting he still follows those basic rules when creating a piece. “Artists put together parts into ‘oneness’ that speaks to people or causes an emotional reaction. Artists are people that are more in touch with the spiritual world than others, we look at the world in a different way.”

Even though he sees the world differently, he doesn’t think he was born an artist. “We aren’t born artists, but we’re born with tendencies that lead us with encouragement,” he said. 

Hatfield’s encouragement came from his father, Lester Hatfield, who was a local architect and who left his tools lying around for his son to find. “My dad always had chisels and hammers lying around,” he said.  And that sparked an interest in Hatfield as he began carving cedar wood sculptures. Before the cedar wood sculptures began, Hatfield said he would cut comics out of the paper and paste them together in funny ways. “I don’t pretend to be a childhood protégée,” he said.  But there were signs that pointed to his future in art.

Still, when Hatfield entered Arkansas State Teacher’s College (now UCA) in 1942, he majored in English with an emphasis on speech – not art. He was attracted to this particular major because of his interest in theatre. Hatfield completed a Shakespeare tour performing “Romeo and Juliet” and “Macbeth” around the U.S. in 1947. The next year, art professor Marie Schichtl,   recommended he become a college professor. Schichtl presented the idea to then-president Nolen Irby, who said Hatfield could teach once he earned his master’s degree. So off he went to Greeley, Colo. to pursue a master’s degree in art.

“It was the best decision I ever made,” Hatfield said.  “It allowed me to take the job Schichtl offered, and I spent my entire career at UCA where I had freedom to do all of the crazy art things I did.”

Hatfield taught at the university for 37 years in the art department as well as in the speech department doing stage design. “I took a scene craft class in Colorado, and came back and taught stage craft [at UCA],” he said.  “I was responsible for stage designs and sets for productions.”

Hatfield, who retired in 1985, donates some of his art to the university, sells the pieces from his yard, and sells additional pieces of his art in an antique store downtown. 

The 83-year-old has no signs of slowing down either. “I can’t even count the number of paintings I’ve done, and that’s after giving UCA about 200,” he said.  “Sometimes I still do five or six pieces a day.”

Along with still cranking out pieces of art daily, Hatfield is also working on an autobiography and producing paintings and sculptures for the set of a local film group.

First lady takes pride in her role

For Barbara Meadors, being the first lady of the university is her full time job. “I’m not the typical first lady,” she explained. “More and more have outside careers. First ladies are going to be a lost breed.”

The Virginia-raised mother of two grown sons takes pride in her job. She is active in community and campus affairs and enjoys working to bring the two together. While living in Pennsylvania, she helped establish an arts festival for the entire community and hosted it at the Penn State Altoona campus.

With a background in interior design, Mrs. Meadors has a strong interest in restoration and preservation, and since their recent move into the UCA President’s home, she has been looking at ways to restore the home while also making it more user-friendly for entertaining.

She also sees the campus with an objective eye and is keenly aware of how a university campus should present itself. Her experiences at other university campuses over the last 28 years helped her see things that most wouldn’t. “As a mother of two recent college graduates, I see things through a parent’s eye, so if I find a residence hall that I wouldn’t want my kids living in, I don’t want other kids living there either. If I see gum on the sidewalk in front of a residence hall, I’ll clean it up,” she said.

Mrs. Meadors has an understanding of the internal workings of a campus, which is why she is often involved in activities including alumni and campus fundraising events. She also likes to make sure the community is aware of the expertise university professors can offer. “University campuses are a great resource of experts in a variety of fields,” she said.

A Growing Interest

From the perfect storm of a downturned American economy and climbing grocery bills, a renewed interest in gardening has blossomed. Anthropology Professor Dr. Brian Campbell is nurturing this growing trend through his own research interests, which include building a bank of heirloom seeds at UCA and sharing a portion of them with individuals throughout the state.

Campbell is an ecological anthropologist. He studies how humans think about and utilize the plants and animals they live around. His focus is on traditional farming communities: people who produce food to feed their own families. In order to continue their gardens year after year, people have two options: save the seeds from each year’s bounty to produce a crop the following year, or buy new seeds. Saving seeds is becoming a lost art. “It’s very time consuming to save seeds,” Campbell said. “And as the world has become fast-paced and removed [from such traditions], people in our society save fewer seeds.”

Seeds that have been saved within a family and passed down from one generation to the next are called heirloom seeds. These seeds are open-pollinated, meaning they are not crossed with other varieties of the same fruits and vegetables. Plants grown from open-pollinated seeds will produce seedlings that will be very similar to the parent plant. The best-producing, open-pollinated seeds are saved for future crops and passed down through the family generations, becoming heirloom seeds.

Many gardeners in the U.S. will purchase packets of seeds or seedlings from a hardware or general store. Most of these seeds are not heirlooms. Rather they are hybrids, crosses between two distantly related members of the same species, selected for certain characteristics.  While a hybrid will produce very well under ideal conditions, their seed will not “grow true” to the parent plant.  Therefore, new seeds must be purchased each year. The development of hybrid seeds and their replacement of open-pollinated varieties in farmer/gardener’s fields over the last 75 to 80 years has resulted in a significant decline in open-pollinated seeds. As farmers adopted hybrid seeds, they became dependent on hybrids for future crops.  But hybrids require open-pollinated seeds for their creation.  Without access to open-pollinated seeds, hybrids will lack the genetics that provide the useful characteristics such as drought tolerance and pest and disease resistance.  Losing open-pollinated seeds makes our industrial food system even more tenuous. 

Campbell saw firsthand the devastation that can occur from the loss of heirloom seeds when he was an graduate student at the University of Georgia. “I conducted research in northern Ecuador, and you can see how modern agriculture had caused them to abandon their traditional processes, and in some cases these people were duped,” he said.

Campbell interviewed indigenous peoples in the region known as Kichwa, who had been encouraged to use hybrid potato varieties, which produced well with the chemical fertilizers provided for free the first year. Many Kichwa adopted the “High Yielding” hybrid potatoes and replaced heirloom varieties in their fields.  But the Kichwa who adopted were soon trapped in a never-ending cycle of buying fertilizers and seeds to produce crops year after year. Previously self-sufficient, they were forced to peddle their produce in order to buy the necessary supplies to grow the next crop; and in order to sell their crop, they needed the fertilizers and hybrid seeds to produce more crops.  They were now stuck on the “technological treadmill” of modern agriculture.

“This demonstrated, to me, the importance of food varieties and making sure we don’t lose them,” Campbell said. “You could see how upset these people were that their heirloom seeds were no longer available to pass on.”  Dr. Campbell’s research focused on the documentation and rediscovery of local heirloom varieties that had been lost by some families. “I would try to find and acquire seeds to distribute to people who needed them and I documented what was lost,” he said.

“In the United States, we don’t know how to save seeds and don’t know why it’s important,” Campbell said. His goal is to educate individuals and bring awareness about the importance of saving heirloom seeds. He hopes to show people that while saving seeds is time consuming, it’s not that difficult. “We also want to let people know about the seed bank,” he said. “We are using this bank to conserve the different varieties of fruits and vegetables because down the road we may need them.”

Seeds donated to the seed bank are divvied up – some go into a reserve box to be saved and another portion goes into the surplus box to be shared and planted. In a converted office space in Irby Hall, seeds of various shapes and sizes are organized and stored in envelopes, freezer bags, and mason jars. Seeds saved for the reserve are stored in a pharmacy-grade lab freezer that was donated by the College Square Retirement Community.

Campbell is growing some of the surplus seeds in various community gardens around town. In the spring, he and some student volunteers planted a small garden at UCA’s Child Study Center, a university-operated pre-school that serves as a practice site for early childhood education majors. “There’s the concern with youth not being familiar with the concept of gardening and where food comes from,” Campbell said. At the Child Study Center, Campbell and his crew planted several hardy plants that the children would be familiar with including tomatoes, sunflowers and pole beans”

They also planted heirloom seeds at the Dee Brown Memorial Garden on campus behind the Physical Therapy Center, at the McGhee Center community garden and at the Grace United Methodist Church garden. “We’re trying to grow out these heirloom seeds once every couple of years,” he explained. “We make sure that only one variety of each fruit or vegetable is planted in each garden. If two varieties of beans or watermelon or okra are planted near each other, then because of open pollination they will potentially cross.”

Campbell has found help in some of his anthropology students. Those expressing an interest in ecological anthropology assist him by working in the gardens, tracking down and collecting heirloom seeds and interviewing individuals who donate heirloom seeds to the seed bank. “We have a family in Newton County, Ark., that has been a source of a lot of seeds,” Campbell explained. “Many of the seeds [in the Ozarks] are named for family members or neighboring families who pass down the seeds. There is a variety locals call Alfred Drury corn, for example, which we have learned is a type of Tennessee Red Cob corn that their ancestors brought with them when they homesteaded the region.”

Campbell not only saves and grows plants using heirloom seeds from the seed bank, but also shares them through the seed swaps he has organized as part of his Conserving Arkansas’ Agricultural Heritage project. Two and a half years ago, he partnered with the Ozark Folk Center State Park in Mountain View to host the first Ozark Seed Swap. Farmers and gardeners with a legacy of heirloom seeds were invited to bring their seeds and stories to swap with other seed savers. Individuals without seeds, but with a desire to begin growing plants with heirloom seeds, were also invited to participate. Last spring, Campbell hosted a second Ozark Seed Swap and an inaugural Seed Swap at the Faulkner County Library.

In addition to facilitating the swap of seeds among local residents and distributing numerous varieties, Campbell collects seeds from each swap to add to the seed bank. “The seed swaps help ensure that these open-pollinated versions are grown out and distributed,” he said. “It also offers more support for these varieties that could be lost. When people trade seeds, we encourage them to also trade emails and phone numbers so they can share their knowledge about the seeds, like when to harvest or how to cook or use something.”

Campbell recalls his mother asking him how to string the heirloom green beans he provided her from the collection. “The beans we eat typically have the strings removed already, so that was something she hadn’t encountered before,” he explained. Like many in his parent’s generation, they traded the farm for urban life when they grew up.

Today, Campbell and others like him are leading a relearning process that will help people return to their agrarian roots and begin to understand and appreciate those tiny little miracles we call seeds.

What’s Up – SGA President Cody Wilson

Name: Cody Rutledge Wilson

Classification: Senior

Hometown: Cabot, AR

Major: English, Economics

Minor: Spanish, Interdisciplinary Studies

College Activities: Student Gov., Sigma Phi Epsilon, Honors College, IDEAL Freshman Leadership, SOS for two years

Why did you choose to attend UCA?
I had seen [Rhodes Scholar] Rhet [Martin] in the commercials with Lu and I knew that at least the UCA Honors College could provide me with the same opportunities I could get at larger, private schools. I’d have to say it was my Honors College interview that sealed the deal. To a high school senior, Dr. Bowman was completely impressive.

What has been your favorite class?
Dr. Norb Schedler taught the “Everything you ever wanted to know about religion but were afraid to ask” course. I was lucky enough to take it in one of its final offerings. The class truly afforded me perspective and understanding in my Sophomore year. I’d say no other single class has had as great an effect on my life.

Which teacher has made the greatest impact on you?
Either Dr. Norb Schedler or Dr. Raymond Frontain. It’s not an easy choice. Dr. Frontain’s English Literature and Milton classes brought me to at least in part understand the birth of humanism and the development of the modern man, but Dr. Schedler has complemented that education with just as much insight.

What could we find you doing on the UCA campus, when you’re not in class?
You’ll find me darting around campus, often like a madman. I’ll always have meetings to go to our meals to pick up, and during the school year I’ll never get back to my apartment before nightfall. This kind of life necessitates living on or very near campus. But I really couldn’t have it any other way.

If you met someone who had never heard of UCA, what would you tell them about the university?
I’d tell them about the unique academic and leadership opportunities that the school offers. Our greek life and student organizations offer a student culture unlike those at larger universities. Everything is more accessible. More doors are open to you here.

What do you want to do with your life after college?
In some way I’d like to stay connected to the university scene. It’s a place of growth, life, and learning. To be cut off from it totally would be a shame. For now I’m studying with diligence to attend a prestigious law program, and so I think my life after college will continue to revolve around public service. But I will stay connected to the university.

Catching Up – Leigh (Sutton) Gillett

Name: Leigh Sutton Gillett                          

Currently resides in: Missoula, Montana (but expect to be back in Dallas, Texas soon)

Hometown: Fort Smith, Arkansas

Class Year:  December, 1991

Major: Political Science

Current or Former Profession: Lawyer

Did you end up doing what you thought you would do after college?
Exactly!  I knew I was law school bound, hence the political science degree! And I knew I wanted to be a transactional lawyer, rather than a litigator (no offense to any litigators out there)!  I practiced corporate/securities law with a large firm in Dallas, Texas for several years and am now working part-time as in-house counsel for a top tier venture capital firm in Dallas, Texas (although I’m living in Missoula, Montana at the moment). 

College Activities/Honors:  Cheerleader; Honors College; Alpha Tau; Pike Little Sis; Phi Delta Phi

What is your fondest memory of your college days?
Hard to choose a fondest…so many fond memories of cheering at games and hanging out with Alpha Taus, Pikes and other friends. I also enjoyed my political science classes and of course all my Honors College courses, especially my thesis with Dr. Norb Schedler!

What was the campus like when you were in school?
Smaller than it is now, but very vibrant and friendly…and close to Stoby’s!!!   

Favorite class/professor?
All my Honors College courses, with the stand outs being religions of the world and my thesis, “A Comparison of American and British Judicial Systems” with Norb.

What’s Up – Emily Gassman

Name: Emily Gassman 
Classification: Senior
Hometown: Malvern, Ark.
Major: Print Journalism/Sociology
Minor: None
College Activities: Student Orientation Staff, Chi Alpha Campus Ministries, Scroll Editor

Why did you choose to attend UCA?
I choose UCA because it offered me an excellent scholarship and I came to visit my senior year of high school and absolutely fell in love with the campus and the people here.

What has been your favorite class?
My favorite class by far has been Dr. Amy’s Non-Profit Development class. She taught us everything we need to know on how to start our own non-profit and I feel like I learned the most in that class.

Which teacher has made the greatest impact on you?
Doug George. He believes in our generation to make a difference in the way we do things, he is hilarious and he truly wants to see his students succeed. 

What could we find you doing on the UCA campus, when you’re not in class? 
You can definitely find me at Harding Centennial Plaza at the fountain on a pretty day, or in the student center hanging out with friends.

If you met someone who had never heard of UCA, what would you tell them about the university?  I would tell them that UCA is not just another university, it is a home and you become part of a family and as cheesy as that sounds, I think it’s true.

What do you want to do with your life after college?  I want to work for a non-profit organization, specifically one that works with Africa or start my own non-profit.