Politics Professor Emeritus Honored with Odyssey Endowment

CONWAY, Ark. (July 7, 2021) – Friends and alumni set up a foundation in honor of Hendrix College’s retired Politics Professor Dr. Jay Barth ’87, founded.

The Dr. Jay Barth Odyssey Endowment supports students in engaging learning experiences that highlight public service and community values, and helps students live the public service and community values ​​that Dr. Barth proudly presented every day during his career at Hendrix.

“In addition to his reputation for excellence in the classroom and passion for teaching, Jay is synonymous with committed citizenship and committed learning at Hendrix,” said President Ellis Arnold. “I am delighted that his legacy is being honored and we are grateful to the donors who made this possible.”

Barth, who joined Hendrix’s Department of Politics in 1994 after completing his doctorate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, retired in 2020 as ME and Ima Graves Peace Professor of Politics. He is currently Little Rock’s first chief education officer, coordinating the city’s work in support of education from birth to higher education in Little Rock.

At Hendrix, Barth advocated programs that promote interdisciplinarity and committed learning. He led the working group that designed the Odyssey program, which he led for three years, and worked with the faculty team that developed and implemented The Engaged Citizen course for the first semester.

Former Barth student Peter Butler ’17, an interdisciplinary politics, economics, and philosophy student from Naperville, Illinois, was one of the main organizers of the effort to create the Barth Odyssey Endowment.

“Jay recognized my passion for politics and guided me as I began to really find where I wanted to go in life to contribute to the common good,” said Butler, who currently works for Minnesota Management and Budget. “He set an example of what it means to be a committed citizen. Whether it was knocking on doors for political campaigns, discussing elections after class, or working on a political report, I would not have been in these positions without Jay’s selfless support for his students and every citizen of Arkansas. ”

The college received gifts from 127 donors to help set up the foundation. To contribute to endowment funds and grants, visit www.hendrix.edu/giving/endowment.

“It is a testament to Jay’s tireless work as a teacher, scholar, and mentor who donated so many people to a fund in his honor,” said Nigel Halliday ’16, a politics major from Gibsonia, Pennsylvania. Halliday now lives as a lawyer in North Bergen, New Jersey and is one of the fund’s co-organizers. “I am delighted that the fund will help develop Jay’s legacy at Hendrix by supporting students involved in public service.”

Further highlights for Dr. Jay Barth

  • 2007 Arkansas Professor of the Year from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education
  • 2014 Diane Blair Award from the Southern Political Science Association for Excellence in Politics and Government
  • 2018 Distinguished Scholar Award from the Arkansas Political Science Association
  • 2019 Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of State Boards of Education
  • Member of the Arkansas State Board of Education from 2012 to 2019, chairing that body for two years
  • Five-time recipient of the Hendrix Senior Faculty Recognition Award, which recognizes a faculty member who has demonstrated “excellent teaching and concern for the welfare of Hendrix students.”
  • Chairman of the Boards of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, National Association of State Boards of Education, Just Communities of Arkansas, ACLU of Arkansas, Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund, Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Pulaski County, and was a member of the Board of the National ACLU
  • Currently vice chairman of the Downtown Little Rock Community Development Corporation and a member of the boards of directors of the ACLU of Arkansas and Planned Parenthood Great Plains

About Hendrix College

Consistently recognized as one of the country’s premier humanities institutions, Hendrix College, a private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation and value have made Hendrix an integral part of numerous college guides, lists and rankings. Hendrix was founded in 1876 and has been a member of the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit www.hendrix.edu.

[Photo by Rett Peek]

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