One works for a mouse, two represent Arkansas, and one made a name for himself in the New York City publishing world. All will be honored as distinguished alumni by the Office of Alumni Relations at Southern Arkansas University, Magnolia, during Homecoming 2005 activities.
Fernando Barbosa, Joyce Elliott, Jodie Mahony, and James Jarnagin will be recognized at the Distinguished Alumni Dinner to be held at 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 7, in Grand Hall of the Donald W. Reynolds Campus and Community Center. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased from the SAU Office of Alumni Relations. For more information call 870-235-4079.
Fernando BarbosaWhile many feel the world of business is a rat race, Barbosa will never bite the hand of the mouse who feeds him. Especially when that mouse just happens to be named Mickey.
Everyday, Barbosa goes to work at one of the most widely known establishments in the world as senior vice president and managing director of Walt Disney Television International.
He will be recognized as the Distinguished Young Alumni.
Barbosa received his B.B.A. from Southern Arkansas University in 1992 while also playing for the Mulerider tennis team and kicking for the Mulerider football team.
“My education at SAU gave me discipline,” said Barbosa. “It gave me what I need to fight in the real world – simplicity, purity, and humility. That is what a small institution gives you – a gift for life.”
Barbosa was recruited from Mexico to play tennis for SAU. At that time, the men’s tennis team was ranked in the top 10 in the nation in NAIA. He was named All-District and Academic All-America in 1991-92. He was also a member of the International Student Association and Alpha Chi. During his freshman year, he was a place kicker on the Muleriders football team.
Some of his favorite memories of the University include his daily tennis training sessions and the tournaments. He also fondly remembers his teammates and life in the residence halls.
“It was a very simple and healthy life in southern Arkansas,” he said. “There were no worries, just academics and sports.”
Barbosa’s favorite professors were Harry Kolb, Dr. Scott Boaz, Dr. David Rankin, and Dr. Donald Haefner.
“Dr. Haefner was my mentor at SAU,” said Barbosa. “He was like a father for all international students. He is a great man and great human being.”
In his current job as senior vice president, Barbosa heads all the television business of the Walt Disney Company for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Joyce ElliotPublic service has always been a way of life for Joyce Elliott, first as a teacher and now as a representative in the Arkansas legislature. Elliott credits much of her success to SAU.
“It is difficult to overstate how well my education at SAU prepared me for my life’s endeavors,” said Elliott, who now lives in Little Rock. “Specifically, I was incredibly fortunate to have demanding and challenging instructors and course work.”
She will be recognized as a Distinguished Alumni during Homecoming 2005.
Elliott earned her undergraduate degree in English and speech from SAU in 1973. She received her master’s degree in English from Ouachita Baptist University in 1981.
For 31 years, she taught high school juniors and seniors. In addition to working in the Arkansas school system, she has taught in Texas, Florida, and Minnesota. Elliott retired from teaching in June 2004, and she now works for the College Board as Director of Advanced Placement Field Initiatives, which will focus on expanding access to AP to students currently underrepresented in AP classes: African American, Latino, rural, and low-income students.
Elliott is now serving her third term in the House, District 33, which is composed of a part of Little Rock. During her tenure in the legislature, she has served on the committees on the judiciary; aging, youth, and families; Education, where she chaired the subcommittee on Higher Education; state agencies; and budget. She is currently chair of the Education Committee and serves on the Committee on Insurance and Commerce.
“Education at SAU furthered my seemingly unquenchable appetite to connect to the rest of the world,” said Elliott. “As a result of graduating from SAU, I have unhesitatingly taken advantage of opportunities to travel and get to know many people in many parts of the world. This small university in southern rural Arkansas became the door to the whole world for me, a poor, black country girl who just wanted to be educated at a time when many were not so keen on the idea.”
Jodie MahonyFamily man, lawyer, advocate – Arkansas State Representative Jodie Mahony will be honored for those achievements and more as one of two recipients of the Distinguished Alumni award.
Mahony graduated from El Dorado High School and furthered his education at Washington and Lee, the University of Arkansas, SAU, and the University of Arkansas School of Law. He served in the military in the U.S. Marine Corps in active duty and the reserves.
“I enjoyed going to school at SAU,” said Mahony, who majored in history and minored in sociology. “The University got me on the right track.”
Mahony was first elected to the Arkansas Legislature in 1970 as a state representative. After 23 years in the House, he moved to the Senate until a constitutional amendment limiting legislative terms forced him to switch back to the House, where he is serving his last term.
He has received accolades through the years for his work in advancing South Arkansas Community College; securing funding for the Southern Arkansas. Developmental Center for Children and Families; helping the South Arkansas Arboretum achieve state park status; writing legislation for the development of water treatment facilities on the Ouachita River; and many other projects.
Mahony said he was most influenced at SAU by the work of two professors.
“Dr. Robert Walz (history) and Dr. George Fay (sociology) were both really good professors,” he said. “They inspired me to do greater work.”
The Mahony Law Firm is 109 years old and is the oldest continuous practicing firm in Arkansas.
He and his wife, Bettie Anne Humphreys, have two sons.
From the small student newspaper at Stamps High School to some of the most widely-read magazines in the world, James Jarnigan’s career in journalism has literally taken him around the world.
Jarnagin, who received his A.A. from SAU in 1944, is being honored with the Distinguished Golden Rider Award.
“I had a wonderful two years at A & M before I was drafted during World War II,” said Jarnagin, whose brother, Lawrence also attended SAU. “I still keep in touch with some of the friends I made there.”
He came to Magnolia A & M in January 1943 because it was close to home and he didn’t know when he would be drafted.
Jarnagin went on to earn his B.A. from Harvard University and his master’s degree from Columbia University in New York.
“I always wanted to live in New York City,” he said. “I wanted to be a part of the publishing world and New York was the place to be.”
Jarnagin oversaw three monthly magazines for the New York Times Magazine Group. Those magazines were Family Circle, Golf, and Tennis. After his retirement, Jarnagin spent 13 years working part time with Ladies Home Journal.
While Jarnagin speaks of his profession with great fondness, he also carries wonderful memories of his time at Magnolia A & M.
“I loved Magnolia,” he said. “I loved the town and the square was so beautiful.”