UACES Facebook National 4-H Hall of Fame inducts UA Little Rock chancellor emeritus
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National 4-H Hall of Fame inducts UA Little Rock chancellor emeritus

Oct. 21, 2022

By the U of A System Division of Agriculture

 Fast Facts:

  • Anderson third Arkansan inducted into Hall of Fame
  • Career spanned 45 years
  • Anderson helped found Institute on Race and Ethnicity, later renamed for him

(780 words)

LITTLE ROCK — Joel Anderson’s journey from growing up in Swifton, Arkansas, to being chancellor emeritus of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock has had a running theme: his appreciation for and support of Arkansas 4-H.

A LIFETIME OF WORK — Joel Anderson was recently inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame, becoming the third Arkansans to be honored for a lifetime of 4-H involvement. Anderson was one of the 16 members inducted Oct. 7 in a ceremony at the Kellogg Conference Hotel at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. (Division of Agriculture image.)

Anderson was recently inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame, becoming the fourth Arkansans to be honored for a lifetime of 4-H involvement. Anderson was one of the 16 members inducted Oct. 7 in a ceremony at the Kellogg Conference Hotel at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.

Anderson greeted the news of his induction with surprise and humility.

“After being notified that I was chosen, I thought they will probably call tomorrow and say they made a mistake!” Anderson said. “The news really sent me back down memory lane, reliving so many great experiences I had as a 4-H’er. It’s been an honor to help make similar experiences possible for today’s 4-H'ers.” 

The National Hall of Fame honors 4-H volunteers, extension professionals and staff employees, donors and others who have made a significant impact on the 4-H program or 4-H members through their contributions of time, energy or financial resources. Land grant colleges and universities may nominate just one candidate per year for consideration.

Three Arkansans have preceded Anderson in their induction into the National Hall of Fame. C.A. Vines, after whom the Arkansas 4-H Center was named, was inducted in 2002; Darlene Millard, former county extension agent and 4-H youth development director, was inducted in 2020; and Mike Klumpp, the first director of the C.A. Vines Arkansas 4-H Center, was inducted in 2021.

Angie Freel, Arkansas 4-H associate department head for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said Anderson’s contributions to the 4-H institution could not be overstated.

"Dr. Anderson's service to Arkansas 4-H has been extraordinary, and I was honored to witness him being inducted in the 4-H Hall of Fame in Washington, D.C. recently,” Freel said. “His 4-H story is rich with history and gratitude for the opportunities afforded to him through the 4-H program and Dr. Anderson has truly paid it forward through his work on the 4-H Foundation Board and his continued support of the Arkansas Governor's Award program."

Now retired, Anderson and his wife, Ann, helped to create and continue to provide financial support for the Arkansas 4-H Governor’s Award. The scholarship recognizes Arkansas 4-H members who have fulfilled an extensive list of 4-H accomplishments, and are interviewed before a board of judges. Each finalist receives a $1,000 scholarship, and the winner receives an additional $3,000 scholarship. All finalists are treated to a luncheon with the governor and first lady at the Governor’s Mansion.

Early Beginnings

Anderson joined 4-H as a young man, cultivating projects in pigs and corn. He credits his involvement in 4-H for many opportunities to learn and grow that he might not have had otherwise. Anderson was elected as 4-H state president in 1959 and attended the 4-H Congress in Chicago. That year he was also present at the dedication of the National 4-H Conference Center on June 16, 1959, when President Dwight Eisenhower presided over the opening ceremony.

At the 1960 4-H National Congress he was selected to be the emcee for the final banquet. He said he remembers that experience vividly, even today, and that it was one of many moments that 4-H exposed him to the world outside of Swifton.


Anderson was a board member of the Arkansas 4-H Foundation for more than a decade, part of that time as board president.

Anderson became UALR chancellor in 2003, bringing with him more than 30 years of university and community service. His 45-year career ended with his retirement from the university in June 2016. He had previously served UA Little Rock as provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and as founding dean of the Graduate School.

Among the numerous highlights of Anderson’s service as chancellor are the recent partnership with eStem to build a new high school on the university’s campus; the expansion of doctoral programs; completion of a $103 million comprehensive campaign; and the creation of the George W. Donaghey Emerging Analytics Center.

He also created the Chancellor’s Committee on Race and Ethnicity in 2006. Out of the committee’s work, the Institute on Race and Ethnicity was created in 2011 to work with Arkansas communities to end racial and ethnic injustice. In 2016, the institute was renamed after Anderson to honor his “pivotal role in pursuing racial and ethnic justice in Arkansas.” That same year the Arkansas Historical Association honored the institute for its work. The institute received the Diamond Award for the Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail in recognition of excellence in public history engagement.

To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @AR_Extension. To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: Follow on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture, visit Follow us on Twitter at @AgInArk. 


About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system. 

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.  

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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Media Contact:
Ryan McGeeney