UA gala aims for billion; Facebook leaks some attendees | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, September 17, 2016

UA gala aims for billion; Facebook leaks some attendees

Posted By on Sat, Sep 17, 2016 at 7:42 AM

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click to enlarge EMCEE: UA grad T. J. Holmes did the honors.
  • EMCEE: UA grad T. J. Holmes did the honors.
The secretive University of Arkansas gala last night in Fayetteville to supercharge the campus   fund-raising campaign included promotion of a billion-dollar goal.

Recognize anyone in the top photo?

You'll recall that the public wasn't invited; that the university refused to release a guest list and that it has otherwise been evasive, occasionally churlish, about questions posed in the runup and execution of the $450,000 dinner, at which university employees made up a good third of the guests.

Nonetheless, some photos hit Facebook, including a shot of what appears to be a program listing of some of the big shots who were invited or honored, prominent among them former Chancellor David Gearhart, whose experiences with fund-raising have been well chronicled. Walmart CEO Doug McMillon was reportedly on hand, among others shielded from scrutiny by UA for supposed  "competitive" purposes.  Walmart and the Waltons might be solicited for money for a university in which they already hold a controlling stake? Top-secret stuff, that. (PS: A friend sent me several photos he'd spotted on Facebook. The individual Facebook page contributors didn't "leak" them to me. I meant only to suggest that Facebook allowed the leakage. And, finally, today I learned they came from Denise Firmin Garner and she said she was happy to share the photos of the event.)

I've also learned that photo of names was taken from a re-creation of the UA Senior Walk, with important people inscribed.

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click to enlarge FACES IN THE  FAYETTEVILLE CROWD: Mary  E;lizabeth Whipple Eldridge and Conner Eldridge. No sign yet of Sen. John Boowman, Eldridge's opponent in November.
  • FACES IN THE FAYETTEVILLE CROWD: Mary E;lizabeth Whipple Eldridge and Conner Eldridge. No sign yet of Sen. John Boowman, Eldridge's opponent in November.

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