September 27, 2017 Edition

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The new 'U' in Arkansas

John Bland

Most all would agree that Williams Baptist College is one of our greatest assets in Lawrence County. The news last Wednesday that Williams Baptist College will be known, beginning July 1, 2018, as Williams Baptist University was met with unanimous favor.

Williams was founded in 1941 as Southern Baptist College. It operated as a junior college until 1984, when it moved to four-year status. Its name was changed to Williams Baptist College, in honor of founder Dr. H.E. Williams, on the college's 50th anniversary in 1991.

The name change to university will more accurately reflect the academic variety and offerings at Williams, including more than 25 bachelor's degree majors and the launching of its first graduate degree, a Master of Arts in Teaching, last spring.

See our "Welcome to Williams" special section in this week's edition.


Last week was a good week for Lawrence County, with the Williams Baptist University announcement and two days earlier, the official signing of long-term lease agreements between Arkansas State University and the cities of Imboden and Walnut Ridge. The lease agreement is for land to be used to build multi-million dollar facilities for disaster preparedness training.

The Walnut Ridge Airport location will be used in training for such incidents as tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, agricultural emergencies and community/urban emergencies. At Imboden, training will be conducted for such incidents as water rescue, wilderness search and rescue, utility emergencies and tactical training.

"This is the perfect example of working together as a region," said Walnut Ridge Mayor Charles Snapp.


Lawrence County also worked together to provide a truckload of relief supplies for the victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas.

The effort was a collaboration by #Communitystrong, a group that first organized to assist victims of local flooding in the spring, and Jennifer Richey of Lynn, who started Operation Relief.

It speaks especially well of Lawrence County people for reaching out to help those beyond our borders in their time of need.

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