Two UCA alumnae were inducted into the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame at the inaugural event Aug. 27. The inaugural inductees include one organization, four historical figures and seven contemporary figures, including Hillary Clinton and Daisy Bates.
The Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame (AWHOF) was formed in 2014 as a partnership between the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce and the Arkansas Business Publishing Group. A board of directors now oversees it.
According to a press release by the AWHOF, the organization’s goal is to “honor, in perpetuity, women whose contributions have influenced the direction of Arkansas in their community or the state.”
Terry Hartwick, progenitor of the project and North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce CEO, said, “I want it to be a lasting tribute to the impact [of]women who have worked for the betterment of our state.”
The two UCA alumnae honored at the inaugural event were Johnelle Hunt, wife of J. B. Hunt, and Mary Good, the dean emeritus of the College of Engineering and Information Technology (E.I.T.) at UALR.
Johnelle Hunt, born in Heber Springs, attended UCA in the late 1940s. Johnelle helped her husband start the J. B. Hunt Company (at the time a rice hull packaging company) in 1962 in Stuttgart. She worked part-time at the company, but as it grew, she began working full time on correspondence, finances and bookkeeping. Johnelle and J. B. co-founded J. B. Hunt Transport in 1969; today it is one of the largest transportation logistics providers in the country. Johnelle held titles at the company including credit manager, corporate secretary and a position on the Board of Directors, from which she retired in 2008.
Johnelle’s accomplishments do not end at J. B. Hunt. She currently holds a seat on the Harvey and Bernice Jones Eye Institution Advisory Board, is the founding chairman of the United Way Alexis de Tocqueville Society for Washington County and is a founding executive board member of the Ozark affiliate of Susan G. Komen. Among her other former titles include campaign treasurer for the University of Arkansas’ Leadership Team entitled “Campaign for the 21st Century” and co-chair of the University’s Campaign Arkansas Steering Committee.
The Hunts were chosen as the Arkansas Easter Seal Arkansans of the Year in 1990. Among many awards, Johnelle received the Worthen Professional Women of Distinction Award in 1992, was included in “The Top 100 Women” list in Arkansas from 1994-1998 and has been inducted into the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame alongside her husband.
Far from settling into retirement, Johnelle continues to take an active role in her company, Hunt Ventures, which recently developed a 700-acre project in Rogers known as Pinnacle Hills, which includes retail and restaurant spaces and offices. She continues to oversee many companies started by her late husband, and even constructed a cemetery in Northwest Arkansas called Pinnacle Memorial Gardens, as well as Hunt Chapel.
The second UCA alumna inducted into the AWHOF, was Mary Good. She received her undergraduate degree in chemistry from UCA before earning her doctoral degree in organic chemistry at age 24 from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, according to her page on the UALR website. Good has also received 21 honorary degrees.
After earning her doctorate, Good taught and researched at Louisiana State University and the University of New Orleans for 25 years. She received the highest professional rank at Louisiana State University: Boyd professor.
Her second career was that of industrial research management. She served as Allied Signal’s Engineered Materials Research Center president, UOP Research Center director and the Signal Research Center president.
Good went on to become a member of Allied Signal’s Management Committee, and later, the senior vice president for technology.
Good was appointed in 1980 to the National Science Board by President Jimmy Carter, and again in 1986 by President Reagan. She was chairman of the board from 1988-1991. In 1991, she was appointed by President George H. W. Bush to the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology (PCAST). Under President Bill Clinton, Good served as Under Secretary for Technology for the U. S. Department of Commerce’s Technology Administration for four years. In addition to this post, she also chaired the National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on Technological Innovation and served on the NSTC Committee on National Security.
Good currently serves as a special adviser to the Chancellor for Economic Development at UALR. The College of Engineering and Information Technology, which Good founded, has grown from around 300 students at its founding in 1999 to over 1,100 students, as of 2012. Nationally recognized programs include system engineering, information quality and nanotechnology. Good also serves on the boards of the Saint Vincent Health System and Delta Bank and Trust.
UCA President Tom Courtway said both alumnae were worthy recipients of the honor.
“From the UCA community, we congratulate the inaugural class of the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame, and are especially pleased that Mary Good and Johnelle Hunt are two of the inductees. Both are Distinguished Alumni of the University of Central Arkansas,” UCA President Tom Courtway said. “We thank both of them for their work in education, business and in many charitable endeavors. They are very worthy recipients of this honor and have been leaders in their respective fields for many years. We congratulate them, and we also appreciate and acknowledge the work of the president of the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame board, Nan Snow, an alumna of this institution.”
The public submits nominations for the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame. Contemporary and historical figures are accepted, as well as organizations. Nominees must be a current or former Arkansas resident, have positively impacted women and girls in the state, and have improved the nation, the world or their field through their contributions. Fields include, but are not limited to, the arts, athletics, business, education, government, health and science. A “diverse group” of Arkansas citizens are chosen as a selection committee.
The inaugural AWHOF event took place Aug. 27 at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock. Over 600 people attended, including Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who spoke briefly, and First Lady Susan Hutchinson, an ex-officio member of the AWHOF board.
“The most notable, of course, were the inductees, and we kept the spotlight on them,” AWHOF President Nan Snow said.
Hillary Clinton, who was one of the inaugural inductees, was not present for the ceremony, but provided a pre-recorded acceptance video that was played at the ceremony.
Snow said planning is the works for next year’s selection process and celebratory event.
More information about the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame, including nominations, inductees and events, can be found at arwomenshalloffame.com.
This article originally appeared in the Sept. 9, 2015 print edition of The Echo.
image via www.uca.edu