For more information, contact
Sue Owens, Executive Director

November 16, 2012

For Release to Statewide Media
For Immediate Release

Economics Arkansas Celebrated 50th Anniversary with Senator David Pryor at Gov. Mansion

LITTLE ROCK—Nine Arkansas leaders from industry, education, banking and business were honored for their lifetime service on the Economics Arkansas board of directors during a recent cocktail reception. The gala was part of Economics Arkansas’s 50th Anniversary celebration, held at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion on Nov. 8. Economics Arkansas is a non-profit educational organization that trains educators to teach economics without the “eeek” factor to Arkansas students K-12.

Former U.S. Senator David Pryor served as keynote speaker. He recalled his long-time acquaintance and collaboration with Bessie B. Moore, who co-founded Economics Arkansas in 1962, then known as the Arkansas Council on Economic Education. Moore was legendary for her passion for public libraries and schools and managed to convince Pryor, as a first-time Congressman in the mid-1960s, to break with tradition and request permission to make a speech to the House of Representatives. She wanted him to support an amendment she had prepared to add to the appropriations bill of $10 million for public libraries. Pryor described how implored the then-Speaker of the House to let him have the floor because if he didn’t, “Bessie was going to have my hide.” He added that he was allowed to make the speech and the amendment passed.

Pryor then recognized the EA Lifetime Board Members with these words: “What a privilege it was to have known Bessie B. Moore, and what a privilege it is to be here with you who have made that particular choice to help our state and our country in furthering the education of our young people all across Arkansas.”

The following individuals were acknowledged for lifetime service on the EA board of directors:
• Jim Wooten, 33 years, president, Winslow Holding, LLC, Beebe
• Jim Walton, 29 years, chairman and CEO, ARVEST Bank Group, Bentonville,
• William B. Fisher, 28 years, general manager and CEO, Paragould Light, Water & Cable, Paragould
• Dr. Jim Rollins, 28 years, superintendent, Springdale School District, Springdale
• Rogers Ford, 26 years, superintendent (retired), South Mississippi County School District, Joiner
• Dr. Benny Gooden, 25 years, superintendent, Fort Smith School District, Fort Smith
• Bob Watson, 25 years, superintendent, El Dorado School District, El Dorado
• Mike Wilson (posthumous), 29 years, former owner of R.R. Lee Wilson Company, Wilson
• Leonard Dunn (posthumous), 27 years, former banker in Pine Bluff, Hot Springs and Little Rock

Almost 200 guests attended the reception, which was sponsored by Ray Hobbs, and his wife, State Representative Debra Hobbs of Rogers. Ray Hobbs currently serves as vice-chair for the Economics Arkansas board of directors and is president & CEO of Daisy Outdoor Products. Musical entertainment was provided by “Lark in the Morning.”

Economics Arkansas (through the Arkansas Council on Economic Education) is a private, non-profit, non-partisan, educational organization founded in 1962 by Dr. Bessie B. Moore to promote economic literacy in Arkansas. Its mission is to promote economic literacy and the economic-way of thinking to PreK-12 students in Arkansas by empowering educators to teach the fourth “r,” real life economics. Real life economics teaches students:

• To invest in their human capital, opening opportunities to the American Dream.
• Decision-making skills and the costs associated with each decision.
• Financial skills to better manage their resources in the future.
• About the global market and their future roles as producers and consumers.


NOTICE: Photos for publication available upon request. Please email or call 501-683-3104 or 501-682-4349.

  • ADA logo 200 x 56
  • Walton Family Foundation 200 x 86
  • Donate apple
  • ABA logo 200 x 86
  • Murphy Foundation 200 x
  • Windgate 200 x 56
  • Donate Apple
  • State Farm logo
    State Farm logo