Ouachita’s second annual Stepping Up for Ouachita luncheon was held Nov. 10 in honor of Margaret Wright, professor emerita of accounting, and benefiting scholarships for outstanding women students at Ouachita.
“When I hear people speak of Margaret Wright,” said President Rex Horne, “they talk about Margaret and her life and the impact that she continues to have upon students, upon lives, upon this institution.
“I often wish there was a more concrete way of saying thank you to those who have so helped and inspired those of us here at Ouachita,” Horne continued. “Today we will give a couple of gifts to Margaret to say thank you, but as we give them we’re reminded that we’re the ones to really say thank you because of the gifts that she has given to all of us in her service to Ouachita across many years.”
Wright was presented with a one-of-a-kind ceramic bowl painted by 2005 Ouachita alum Beth (Woolley) Carlisle, owner of Firefly Studio in Little Rock.
“To be recognized by my alma mater as well as my former employer in such a beautiful way is indeed very special, and I thank you so much,” Wright responded. “Former students … what a thrill to see you. … I hope you know that you are truly, truly the reward of being a teacher, and I love each one of you very much and thank you for being here.”
Wright, a faculty member at Ouachita for more than three decades, served as chair of the Department of Accounting, chair of the Division of Business and Economics and director of corporate and foundation programs and was instrumental in helping establish the Frank D. Hickingbotham School of Business. She and her husband, Charles Wright, former dean of Ouachita’s School of Fine Arts, moved to Little Rock upon their retirement in 2004.
The event, sponsored by Southern Bancorp, was held on campus as part of Ouachita’s 125th anniversary celebration and featured a FASHIONating History Vintage Style Show, courtesy of Little Rock philanthropist Grace Steuri. Terri King, a 1983 Ouachita alum and mother of a current Ouachita student, served as chairperson for the Stepping Up advisory committee, and Keisha Pittman, OBU development officer, served as staff coordinator.
“An event like Stepping Up for Ouachita is not possible without the generous donations of our sponsors,” Pittman said.
Additionally, Pittman noted that the advisory committee “not only committed their personal resources to making sure Stepping Up was successful, but they committee their time and creativity over the last year … to make sure that this is a premier event.”
The partnerships forged among Ouachita women to make Stepping Up for Ouachita happen are only the beginning of the event’s lasting effects, Pittman said.
“Stepping Up for Ouachita is about living a legacy,” she said, “a legacy that started from the beginning by educating women and continuously making sure that they had every academic advantage afforded them. Ouachita has always been committed to educating women students, and Stepping Up for Ouachita is an opportunity to financially invest in them as we carry that legacy forward.
“It is also a challenge to our students,” Pittman continued, “ to live worthy of the calling they have received and to invest their personal time to honor the financial commitments of those who make their Ouachita experience possible.”
“I’ve read in recent years that when you refer to Ouachita, you always refer to students as difference makers,” Wright emphasized. “I want to say thanks to each person in this room today for being a difference maker. With your purchase of a ticket to this beautiful luncheon today, you’ve made an investment in the lives of many young women and you will forever be a difference maker in their lives.
“What a beautiful thing you are doing, and thank you so much for giving me this special, special memory. I will treasure it for all of my life.”
By Brooke Zimny