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Lynita Cooksey Gets Hometown Salute for Great Retirement


JONESBORO – At a campus reception in her honor, retiring Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Lynita Cooksey reflected on the good times and good people at Arkansas State University following tributes from Chancellor Kelly Damphousse and Associate Vice Chancellor Jill Simons.

Damphousse recounted the many professional roles the Jonesboro native has filled at A-State and commended the professionalism she has contributed to A-State's continuing success, and her caring ways that benefitted thousands of students during her 26 years as a faculty member, department chair, administrator, vice chancellor and provost.

"I don't know anyone on this campus who cares more about this university or the future of the university, or who cares more about each of you and the people you represent," he told the faculty and staff assembled in the Grand Hall of Fowler Center.

Jill Simons, who has worked with Cooksey for many years, spoke on behalf of the many academic staff members for whom Cooksey has had oversight and noted she was always concerned about students.

"Lynita has done so much for our students on a personal level," she said, emphasizing Cooksey's commitment to first-year students.  "I think she's impacted everyone in this room. . . " in one way or another.  After she invited those who have benefitted from their association with Cooksey to stand, virtually everyone in the hall did so.

Paula Bradberry, now retired from directing the First-Year Experience program and other duties at A-State, joined Simons to announce the Lynita Cooksey Book Stipend Scholarship.  Numerous campus groups and individuals have already donated, and other gifts are still coming in.  Additional donations may be directed to the Arkansas State University Foundation.

"In honor of Dr. Lynita Cooksey for her unwavering support of student success and the champion behind A-State's First-Year Experience Program, the Dr. Lynita Cooksey First-Year Experience Book Scholarship has been funded in the amount of $2,500 and growing," Bradberry announced. 

"A number of your colleagues and friends have chosen to honor you for your years of service and your contributions to A-State through a donation to the Lynita Cooksey FYE Scholarship," Simons added.  "This is for a first-year student who embodies what the FYE program is about through scholarship and engagement."  The recipient will receive a book stipend next fall.

"Thank you so much for the contributions that many of you have made toward this scholarship fund," Cooksey responded, emphasizing her belief in the importance of assisting young people.  "This will make a difference in the lives of students in the years to come."

Noting how Arkansas State has played an important role in her life, she explained she was born in Jonesboro and experienced numerous campus traditions and opportunities as a youth, and " . . . attending A-State was part of my DNA."

"I was very blessed to have many caring A-State faculty and staff, some of whom are here today.  There are folks that really were caring and made my experience at A-State a life-changing experience.  I wanted to do the same for other students."

She said she can only hope that in the last 26 years she, too, has made a difference in the lives of students and also the university.

"I consider it both a privilege and an honor to have served in so many capacities at Arkansas State.  My greatest privilege, however, has been to work with the students, the faculty and the staff of the A-State family," Cooksey continued.  "Together we have seen amazing growth of the campus both academically and physically.  We've created visions, goals and aspirations that more often than not have become tangible realities.  These successes are a testimony to each and every one of you here today.

"As I look back on my time here at A-State I see a time well-spent, a time with few regrets, and a time I will hold forever in my heart.  Thank you for the many fond memories I will take with me for the opportunities that were offered to me and for the wonderful friendships forged over the many years we have spent together . . . what I will miss most is my A-State family."

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