Spotlights

Courtney Oliver
The University of Arkansas — Fort Smith Alumni Association awarded three $1,000 scholarships through the Alumni Legacy Scholarship Endowment this year. Because of a growing endowment, the UAFS Foundation was able to make three awards to students related to previous graduates of the university from any era.
Cathy Mason, ’11, has been creating art since she was 5 years old, and she doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon.    Mason, who graduated from the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith with degrees in psychology and studio art, was in Fort Smith last fall to sign copies of children’s books she illustrated and one she wrote and illustrated. This fall, she will have an art show at the Smith-Pendergraft Campus Center.
Cathy Mason, ’11, has been creating art since she was 5 years old, and she doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon. Mason, who graduated from the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith with degrees in psychology and studio art, was in Fort Smith last fall to sign copies of children’s books she illustrated and one she wrote and illustrated. This fall, she will have an art show at the Smith-Pendergraft Campus Center.
When Jeremy May talks about the impact of his business ClueMasters on Fort Smith, he alludes to a quote by Steve Clark, CEO of Propak Logistics and mentor to May, concerning the city of Fort Smith. “He told me that we often compare ourselves to other cities. And while we may not be able to match them financially, we can certainly meet or exceed their wit and creativity as well as show a greater passion for our city,” May said.
Jesse Core
Core Brewing Company may be headquartered in Springdale, but the company is undoubtedly a Fort Smith business. The qualities that have made its owner, Jesse Core, a successful businessman are the same ones that have defined Fort Smith – tenacity, resiliency, grit and empathy. Just six years old, the company has experienced meteoric growth since its inception in 2010, becoming one of the largest breweries in the state and expanding into regional markets across the southern United States. But Core may have never gotten into brewing had it not been for a professor at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith, which was still Westark Community College when Core attended in 1992. As a freshman, he was frequently tardy or absent from his classes, until his microbiology professor pulled him aside one day to admonish him for repeatedly skipping class. As an incentive to increase his attendance, he explained to Core how he could apply the lessons from the class towards something that was becoming increasingly more important to Core: beer.
Mired in a home with no electricity, running water or indoor plumbing, Lydia Razo had heard her husband say that she was just a workhorse. She felt trapped in the bottom of a dark pit. For the final seven years of her 24-year marriage to an abusive and controlling man, Razo searched for a way out for her and her five children. “He hurt me and my children in many ways, but eventually I decided to leave him,” she said, “It wasn't easy, but he finally left a hole where I managed to slip out and get away.” In 2001 at age 51, Razo discovered it’s not too late. After getting help from a shelter for battered and abused women, Razo started her life in the sun. To support herself, she cleaned houses. “I was gathering aches, then started to get educated in a class about battered and abused women, I realized what happened to me. They told me, ‘You need an education to give you the confidence to be more than an ache gatherer,’” she said. “I had very poor self-esteem, I was constantly beaten down.” A new friend encouraged her that it wasn’t too late, that she could go to school.