Evening on the Plaza

Evening on the Plaza


Evening on the Plaza tickets are $50 each or a table of six for $250 and can be purchased online at http://secure.qgiv.com/for/eveningontheplaza

or by calling Micki Somers at (870) 391-3242. Please RSVP by April 8, 2024.

Bonnie Baker - 2024 Pioneer Impact Award

Bonnie Baker

Bonnie Baker, wife of the late Bill Baker, the founding president of North Arkansas College will receive the 2024 Pioneer Impact award presented by the bg真人游戏注册 Foundation. This award was established in 2018 to recognize individuals for their service to bg真人游戏注册 and the community.

She will be honored during the Foundation’s annual Evening on the Plaza dinner on Thursday, April 18, 2024, at 6:30 p.m. in the Signature Bank Community Room. The dinner will be preceded by a reception at 6:00 p.m. in the atrium. The special event celebrates the 50th Anniversary of North Arkansas College which was founded in 1974. 

Upon receiving the news of her selection, Bonnie shared “I was shocked, humbled and greatly appreciative. The love of our time with the new college and the whole first family of employees came flooding back to me. The community college concept was new and exciting because it answered a need in our area.”

As the college celebrates its 50th Anniversary, Bonnie is overjoyed to have been a part of it. “NACC means the world to me. I got to be a part of my husband’s greatest joy and accomplishment beyond his family. It was so fulfilling to be by his side. Being supportive of him in any way I could was what I enjoyed.”

Bonnie noted how Congressman Hammerschmidt and other leaders in the community worked tirelessly to pass the tax that allowed NACC to be established. As bg真人游戏注册 grew, it eventually seeded two other colleges: NACC classes were held in a church in Mountain Home which became Arkansas State University Mountain Home. A store front in Rogers became Northwest Arkansas Community College, the largest two-year college in the state. “I have always been very proud of that accomplishment,” Bonnie says.

Dr. Baker had a knack for making friends wherever he went because of his love of his fellow man. Bonnie said his personal mantra was “Work hard. Love everybody. Be happy.” His last words in church when he was able to come was “Love everybody and make sure they know it.” 

Bonnie has her own talents. She is a wonderful host and cook who complimented Bill’s outgoing personality. She treats everyone like a family member. For many years, Bonnie hosted a Christmas reception for the community. In the early years it was at her home in Harrison, AR. When the JPH Conference Center was built, the reception moved there. Bonnie started baking cookies, candy and breads three months in advance to prepare for the popular event. She recalled with a laugh; “I got a big kick when my sister, Kattie, made peanut brittle every year. It was very thin, crispy and crunchy and it came together quickly. It took about ¼ of the time it took make to make my goodies. Everybody loved her peanut brittle! The next year as guests arrived, they were on the lookout for a particular treat. Bonnie thought to herself “I spent all these months making cookies, candy and bread - and some people came in the door asking, “Where’s that peanut brittle?”  

Dr. Baker retired in 2000. For Bonnie, the highlight of Bill’s retirement party was a performance of The Snooze Brothers, a parody on The Blues Brothers, an 80’s musical action-comedy film. The Snooze Brothers consisted of two former Vice Presidents who later served as Interim Presidents, Dr. Jim Stockton and Don Sugg. “It just stood out from everything else. I would give anything to see that again! 

Bonnie now enjoys her family and friends and is very happy to see how bg真人游戏注册 has grown with all the new campus additions, sports and clubs, and academic programs that allow students to obtain an education close to home. 

Bill and Bonnie have three children: Billy Bert Baker, II, Yosef, and Julia Baker Howry (Randy). She enjoys four grandchildren: Emily Baker, William Bert Baker III (Kellie), Baker Howry, Daniel Howry and two great grandchildren: Bryce & Beckett Howry.

Cathy Brandt - 2024 Ozarks Ambassador

Cathy Brandt

Cathy Brandt will receive the 2024 Ozark Ambassador award presented by the bg真人游戏注册 Foundation. She will be honored during the Foundation’s annual Evening on the Plaza dinner on Thursday, April 18, 2024, at 6:30 p.m. in the Signature Bank Community Room. The dinner will be preceded by a reception at 6:00 p.m. in the atrium. The special event celebrates the 50th Anniversary of North Arkansas College which was founded in 1974. 

Established in 1990, the Ozarks Ambassador Award is presented annually to someone who has represented northern Arkansas with distinction nationwide in one or more of the following fields: agriculture, finance, medicine, education, the arts, politics, law, business, social services, the ministry, or industry. 

Cathy was surprised when she attended the selection committee meeting. “When the selection committee met in late October to discuss and choose the nominees for the Ozark Ambassador and Pioneer Impact Award the members of the committee Charles Adair, Ken Reeves and Dan Bowers, Dr. Rick Massengale ambushed me that the recipient had already been chosen for the Ozark Ambassador Award and it was me. I tried to decline but there was no saying no to those guys.”

She was overwhelmed and did not feel worthy of the award. However, those who have relied on her leadership for years were steadfast in recognizing her many contributions locally, across the state and even to other countries. She has been president of Arkansas State Chapter of Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O) and then served on the P.E.O. International Foundation Board for 6 years. She has also served on the Arkansas Baptist Foundation and Executive Board of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. She traveled with church and Baptist state mission teams to Germany, Bali, Brazil, Canada with hand chime choirs and taught hand chimes to children and adults on those trips. Her local community service includes serving on the Harrison School Board for 20 years where upon her retirement she worked with Dr. Charles Adair to establish the Harrison Public School Foundation. Cathy says, “I take pride in that organization and what it’s done to provide money for grants for teachers for projects to benefit the school district.”

Cathy received a Presidential Citation from bg真人游戏注册 in 2006 and the Pioneer Impact Award in 2019. She was selected as a Woman of Distinction in 2011 and went on to lead the Women of Distinction Alumna in support of scholarships at bg真人游戏注册. 

She taught Accounting and Economics at bg真人游戏注册 as an adjunct faculty member for 24 years, retiring in 2006. “I loved my time in the classroom and my association with the faculty and staff and with the students during my years in the classroom,” she said. “It is rewarding to see the students that I had and how so many of them have become leaders in business and our community.”

Cathy’s mother, Wanda Coffman was on the Foundation board. After her death in 1988, Cathy was asked to serve. She has now been on the Foundation Board for 36 years and has served in all the offices, as chairman of the Evening on the Plaza event, chairman of the Investment committee and other board committees. “I was honored to be asked to serve as Chairman of the Ozark Ambassador Committee following the death of the original committee members, John Paul Hammerschmidt, Dr. Bill Baker, J. E. Dunlap, Richard Hudson and Frank Lee Coffman, Jr.” Following the death of John Paul Hammerschmidt, John Arthur Hammerschmidt asked her to serve on the JPH Lecture Series Committee. She has served three times on the Presidential Selection committee for the college president. 

Cathy and her husband, Larry have been an important part of the growth and advancement of the college. They support an endowed scholarship to give financial support to a non-traditional student and helped with funding for the Pioneer Villas residence hall. Her work with Boone County Economic Development Corporation allowed for a $700,000K donation for the college’s Center for Robotics and Manufacturing currently under construction.

Cathy and Larry have two sons. Dr. Jason Brandt and wife, Jana of Jonesboro and Jeff Brandt and wife, Wendi of Harrison. They enjoy five grandchildren: Will Brandt, Samantha Brandt Favre, Grace, Ella and J Henry Brandt.

2024 Distinguished Alumna - Donna Boehm

Donna Boehm

North Arkansas Regional Medical Center (NARMC) Chief of Nursing Donna Boehm will receive the 2024 North Arkansas College Distinguished Alumna award presented by the bg真人游戏注册 Foundation. She will be honored during the Foundation’s annual Evening on the Plaza dinner on Thursday, April 18, 2024, at 6:30 p.m. in the Signature Bank Community Room. The dinner will be preceded by a reception at 6:00 p.m. in the atrium. The special event celebrates the 50th Anniversary of North Arkansas College which was founded in 1974. 

“Being selected for the bg真人游戏注册 Distinguished Alumna award gives me a sense of pride and accomplishment,” Donna said. “It signifies recognition for my contributions and achievements, as well as validation for the efforts put into my development and growth.”

Donna is thankful bg真人游戏注册 was an option for getting an education. She graduated from bg真人游戏注册 in 1995 with an Associate Degree in Nursing and has been employed at NARMC since 1992. “Attending bg真人游戏注册 afforded me several advantages such as being cost effective and having family and friend’s support. Attending college in my hometown allowed me to stay connected to my community, attend my children’s sporting events, and I was able to work in my community hospital while I was getting my degree. The smaller classes and the one-on-one support were invaluable. Going back to school in your 30’s and having a family is challenging.  bg真人游戏注册 was there to provide support in those challenging times.”

Once she was working, she found clinical and communication skills were crucial for providing quality care to patients and ensuring their well-being. “bg真人游戏注册 provided me with those skills and gave me a solid foundation that was essential for my success,” she said. 

In 2017 she received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro and is currently in a Master’s in Nursing Administration program at Arkansas State University.

Donna is a highly competent Registered Nurse with 30 years of experience in orthopedics, pediatrics, urology, and medical-surgical including three years of ICU experience. She supervises over 250 nurses and utilizes a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach to drive quality of care and performance excellence to achieve operational and clinical success. She has also provided nursing services during multiple mission trips to Mexico over the course of five years and serves as a Volunteer Board Member of the Office of Emergency Medicine. 

“My current role is multifaceted,” Donna commented. “I have always had a passion for patient care and leadership development. Interacting with patients and their families, witnessing their recovery, and seeing them thrive in the community after a hospital stay is rewarding and highlights the impact of the care NARMC provides. Focusing on advancing nurses into leadership roles and implementing processes that prioritize safe patient care and staff well-being contributes to the overall success and effectiveness of our healthcare team and organization.” 

Donna has three children: Tyler, Morgan, Jason and one grandson Brayden. In her free time, she enjoys boating, traveling, concerts and plays, and going to football and basketball games. 

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