PINE BLUFF, AR – Dr. Lawrence A. Davis Jr., chancellor emeritus of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and the son of longtime president of the preceding Arkansas AM&N College, has died. He was 85.

The University announced his passing on Sunday, eight days after he attended the University’s annual homecoming festivities.

Davis Jr. grew up living on AM&N campus, where he attended primary and secondary school before graduating from Merrill High School in the Pine Bluff School District in 1954.

His father, L.A. “Prexy” Davis Sr., was president of AM&N College from 1943 until 1972, when the college merged with the University of Arkansas System and became the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. At the age of 28, he became the youngest college presidents in the United States. Davis Sr., retired after becoming the first chancellor of the University.

Davis Jr. taught mathematics and physics at Mississippi Valley State University and NASA before returning to UAPB to become a professor. He became chancellor of UAPB in 1991, and remained in the role until his retirement in May 2012. Serving the institution for 21 years, making him one of the longest-serving chancellors of any Arkansas university. Davis told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in 2011, “It really in my blood, it’s who I am, this is my home…”

Dr. Lawrence A. Davis Jr., the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Chancellor Emeritus passed away Oct. 15th at the age of 85.

During his tenure, Davis made UAPB athletics one of his many platforms with the institution, and made many strides in the advancement and promotion of various athletic programs the university operates. A new football stadium and adjoining field house was contracted and completed, as well as the baseball complex and the UAPB soccer field. Davis led the university through a period of academic growth and spearheaded the program throughout the university. He also led the renovation and construction of on-campus housing.

In 2012, Dr. Davis was induced into the SWAC Hall of Fame, and in 2018, he was inducted into the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame.

“What a trailblazer and pioneer of the HBCU space we have lost, indeed. Dr. Davis’s legacy has been inspirational and has impacted many lives throughout his career. If you know me, you know that I admire Davis’ legacy tremendously. Both Davis Sr. and Jr. were well-respected leaders, and I truly appreciate their contributions to our Dear Mother,” said Demetrius Johnson Jr., Founder, President & CEO at HBCU Campaign Fund. “Relatively, Dr. Davis and I have both served at Mississippi Valley State and UAPB. So Dr. Davis’s higher ed career footsteps are very special in heart to me. The gifts of Dr. Davis will forever be a long-standing treasure of UAPB, and we will always cherish his warmhearted spirit. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Davis family, friends, and UAPB community during this time of sorrow.”

In 2021, HCF announced the creation of the Dr. Lawrence A. Davis Jr. Trailblazers of Higher Education Award among The Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders. This honor recognizes a current or retiring chancellor or president that serves an HBCU or MSI that upholds decade-long value and contributions to the field of higher education. Former Hampton University President Dr. William R. Harvey, AAMU President Dr. Andrew Hugine Jr., and Dr. Davis were the first honorees to receive such honor.


Pearle Reed Asst Sec DA port passport

We are saddened in learning about the passing of University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) alumnus Pearlie S. Reed, who died on Friday, April 8, 2016. He was 67.

A native of Heth, Arkansas, Reed graduated from UAPB in 1970. He earned a master’s degree in  public administration in finance from American University in Washington, D.C. and completed special studies at several other institutions including the USDA Graduate School and the John Hopkins University Center for Alternative Disputes and Resolutions.

Reed was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2009 for the position of Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Washington, D.C., where he served until 2012.

There, Reed was responsible for all management functions of the USDA, including budget, financial management, human resources, contracting, procurement, information technology, security and strategic planning. In his role, he coordinated with members of Congress, the White House, the Office of Management and Budget, land-grants and other universities, and other federal, state and local organization, as well as the public.

Reed began his career at USDA as a student trainee with the Soil Conservation Service in Walnut Ridge, Ark. in 1968.

He worked in four states and headquarters during his career with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Having served as state conservationist for Maryland and California, he was responsible for leading comprehensive soil, water and resource conservation and development programs in those states.

After working as associate chief of the NRCS for several years, Reed was appointed chief in 1998 and served in that position until 2002.

A leader on civil rights issues, Reed was appointed head of the USDA Civil Rights Action Team by former USDA secretary Dan Glickman. The team issued a report that made recommendations on improving civil rights both inside and outside of USDA. President Bill Clinton issued an order that all 92 recommendations of the team be implemented.

Over the course of his career, Reed received numerous awards and honors including the Distinguished Presidential Rank Award for demonstrating strength, integrity, industry and a relentless commitment to excellence in public service. He also received the George Washington Carver Public Service Hall of Fame Award and the USDA Silver Plow Award.

In 1991, Reed was instrumental in helping the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) acquire the Pearlie S. Reed-Robert L. Cole Small Farm Outreach Wetland Water Management Center in Lonoke, Ark. He currently served as a private consultant, specializing in agriculture, conservation, economic development and management.

According to the Pine Bluff Commercial, Reed had began a new post as an agricultural advisor with UAPB in the School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to:
Pearlie S. Reed Scholarship Fund
C/O University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Alumni Scholarship Endowment Fund
Office of Alumni Affairs
1200 North University Drive, Mail Slot 4929
Pine Bluff, Arkansas 71601

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Alumni Scholarship Endowment Fund was established to provide scholarships to deserving students attending the University. The Endowment Fund carries a 501©(3) status.