Around Campus

Senator Boozman Meets With WBU Trustees

The Board of Trustees at Williams Baptist University welcomed U.S. Senator John Boozman to their regularly scheduled meeting on Friday, Dec. 4. The Arkansas senator joined the trustees for lunch and heard an update on recent developments at WBU in general and on the Williams Works program in particular. The Senator also shared news from Washington with those gathered.


“We were honored to have Sen. Boozman back on the Williams campus and to hear firsthand about important issues facing our nation and our region,” said Dr. Stan Norman, president of WBU. “We were also grateful to have the opportunity to share with him the exciting things happening at WBU, especially about the new initiatives we recently launched as part of our Williams Works initiative.”


About half of the board attended the socially-distanced meeting in person, while other board members took part virtually.


“It is great to be on a campus when you can talk all about the important things that need to be discussed, but also a campus where you can share your faith and that is really at the center of everything and thanks for the great job everyone here is doing,” Boozman said. “I’ve enjoyed hearing about the Williams Works program and I think it is a great thing for students and we look forward to seeing it grow in the future.”


The board also welcomed several new trustees at the meeting. Trey Stafford of Jonesboro and Dr. Ben Rainwater of Little Rock are starting their first terms as WBU trustees, while Dr. Heather Moore (‘03) of Cabot and Clint Emfinger of Searcy are returning to the board after serving previously.

WBU Honors Employees

Williams Baptist University honored nine of its employees for 100 years of combined service to the school and its Christ-centered education.

Dr. Bob Magee was recognized for his 35 years of service to the university. Magee currently serves as chair of the Department of Fine Arts, professor of music and director of choral activities, as well as director of the Williams Singers. He also spent 13 years in the mission field before beginning work at WBU.

Honored for 15 years of service was Dr. Walter Norvell, who is an associate professor of Christian ministries.
John Mayberry (‘10), Pamela Meridith (‘08) and James Parsons were all honored for 10 years of service at WBU. Mayberry has served in a number of roles at WBU and is now the head women’s basketball coach of the Lady Eagles. Meridith serves as the director of the library and has been a member of the State Library Board since January. Parsons is a member of the WBU Physical Plant staff.

Honored for five years of service were Amber Grady (‘03), Janna Himschoot, Dr. Chris Polachic and Max Rose (‘74). Grady serves as the Dean of Students, while Himschoot is an assistant professor of business. Polachic is an assistant professor of natural sciences with an emphasis in physics. Rose serves as the gift account coordinator and as office manager for the Offices of Institutional Advancement and Public Relations.
The employees were honored at the WBU employee service luncheon on Dec. 10.

Hair Joins English Faculty

Williams Baptist University welcomed Dr. Christopher Hair to English faculty at the start of the 2020 fall semester. Hair, who has more than 20 years of experience in higher education, serves as professor of English, chair of the English Department, and chair of the Division of Arts and Sciences.

“Dr. Hair is a great addition to our already outstanding English faculty. He is an accomplished scholar in the study of literature, and he excels in classroom instruction. He has an abiding Christian faith which he integrates seamlessly into his teaching. We are blessed to have his talents and his leadership on our faculty,” said Dr. Stan Norman, president of Williams.

Hair earned his Ph.D. at the University of Kentucky, where he specialized in British renaissance literature, with a special focus on the 17th century, especially Milton. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from Baylor University.

Hair and his wife, Amanda, have four children: Ethan, age 19, Becca, 17, Sarah, 12, and Lilli, 9.

WBU Students Manage Hotel Rhea

WBU recently signed a lease agreement with Snapp Family, LLC, to operate The Hotel Rhea.

Hotel Rhea is on Main Street in Walnut Ridge and dates back to 1904. The hotel covered most of a city block at the time it was built. A fire in 1914 destroyed all but the current remnant of the structure. The Rhea is now a boutique hotel, with four large suites which were renovated to match the history of the facility.

Jackie Snapp (‘95), who has managed the hotel since her family acquired it, came up with the idea to have WBU students run the facility after reading about the Williams Works initiative. Jackie is a WBU graduate with a bachelor’s degree in business, and she recalls the impact Williams had during a difficult period of her life.

“Williams was the best decision I made. It gave me the education I needed, but most importantly it gave me the self-confidence I lacked,” she said.