The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith announced today that it will rename its Family Enterprise Center to honor the late Jim Walcott, whose legacy has profoundly impacted the River Valley.
The decision follows the approval of a resolution by the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees on Friday, Sept. 15, and a presentation by Chancellor Terisa Riley expressing gratitude for Walcott’s contributions. The resolution officially designates the family enterprise center as the “Jim Walcott Family Enterprise Center.”
Walcott, who passed away May 7, 2023, was an ardent supporter of the River Valley and continuing education. He played a critical role in the UAFS Mentor Connections program and the Family Enterprise Center, and his philosophy, “where our work is, there let our joy be,” inspired many young professionals throughout the years.
UAFS Chancellor Terisa Riley praised the overwhelming backing for the naming opportunity, citing contributions of $400,000 from First National Bank of Fort Smith and $100,000 from Citizens Bank and Trust, along with a $500,000 public match challenge they initiated.
Riley said, “Our community is widely invested in this change, and Mr. Walcott’s family, the faculty and staff of UAFS, and our regional partners have expressed overwhelming support for bestowing this honor upon the Walcott family.
Sam Sicard, President and CEO of First National Bank of Fort Smith remarked on Walcott’s impact on the region, stating in a letter to the board, “It seems fitting that the Family Enterprise Center, an institution with a mission so closely aligned with Jim’s values, should bear his name. This move not only honors a man who dedicated his life to the betterment of our community but also serves as a reminder to current and future generations of the potential they possess to better their community and the world.”
The renaming reflects the university’s commitment to preserving the legacy of a remarkable leader and mentor and the importance of sustainable gifts from community partners to make that possible.
“Our hope is that this gesture will spur further advancements and investments in education, community development, and the nurturing of family-owned businesses that are the backbone of our local economy,” closed Sicard.
The Jim Walcott Family Enterprise Center, run through the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith’s Center for Economic Development, addresses the unique needs of the state’s family-owned businesses. The center’s primary goal is to foster learning across generations, bridging gaps between family and non-family professional managers and engaging family members not directly involved in the enterprise. The center’s membership offers access to practical educational programs and resources, and it provides its members with a community of fellow family business owners who can share their expertise, challenges, and experiences in confidence.
About First National Bank of Fort Smith
First National Bank of Fort Smith is a financial institution that has served the community of Fort Smith for over 150 years. With 34 locations and 39 ATMs and ITMs in the River Valley, Northwest Arkansas, and Eastern Oklahoma, First National Bank continues to serve and expand to other regions. As a subsidiary of First Bank Corporation, they offer an array of services including banking, trust, and investments throughout the communities they serve. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender. For more information visit www.fnbfs.com.
About Citizens Bank & Trust Company
Citizens Bank & Trust Company has been committed to serving the communities of Crawford County since 1886. We provide financial services from 7 locations in Van Buren, Alma, Mountainburg, and Cedarville. Citizens is committed to the financial success of our customers by providing banking, trust services, and investments through a customer focused effort. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender. Visit our website at www.cbankandtrust.com.