September 02, 2021

Garver aids creation of A-State CoECS Alumni Academy


In mid-July, a new alumni association was formed at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro: the College of Engineering and Computer Sciences (CoECS) Alumni Academy. Among the charter members are four with direct connections to Garver: Aviation Electrical Leader Eric Farmer, Facilities Design Project Manager Bryan Melton, Senior Aviation Project Manager Adam Roberson, and Garver’s former CAO, Bert Parker. Parker helped conceive the idea to launch the academy several years ago, and then asked the other Garver charter members to help found this endeavor.


A-State has a long legacy of engineering education – one which has long been intertwined with Garver. Going back to 1987 when it received its ABET accreditation, the school’s engineering program has since developed to include separate programs, ranging from Civil Engineering to Computer Science, which merged with the department in 2018. In that time, there have been several notable graduates who have passed from the halls of A-State to work at Garver.


In effect, the reason that the Academy was formed is to bring these alumni even closer together. As the Academy’s bylaws note, it’s intended to provide a platform both to celebrate the members’ accomplishments, and to provide role models for current students and junior alumni. In that way, as Farmer notes, the Academy’s mission isn’t so different from that of Garver’s. After all, the Academy’s goal of celebrating its members’ accomplishments parallels Garver’s strategic plan, which includes best employee experience through their career goals and opportunities.


What’s more, it also places an emphasis on encouraging STEM education early on in a student’s career.

“The A-State CoECS mission includes creating new career opportunities for engineers and we need to start early on this,” Farmer said. “The GarverGives programs at the high school level can help lead more students into engineering, which we know in Arkansas and in the nation, more engineers are needed to fill those careers.”

The inaugural 30-member class was inducted during a banquet at A-state’s Cooper Alumni Center in July. Both Parker and Melton were elected to serve on the Academy’s Executive Committee, and both Parker and Farmer were elected to serve on the Academy’s Board of Directors.

The Academy will hold an annual meeting and formal induction ceremony for its members. In addition, the Academy will work to support the college and students with their knowledge, experience, and time and hopes to provide financial support for future scholarships and growing the college to provide a superior engineering and computer science education.

The charter members, officials, by-laws, and photographs of the inaugural event can be seen online at Alumni Academy.