'The Right Fit'

Michael PierceMichael Pierce was considering going to Fayetteville for college or even to Utah, where he and his family had lived for a year when he was a junior in high school. But he ultimately chose UAFS, graduating in 2005 with a degree in business administration before going on to law school in Fayetteville. After that, he returned to Fort Smith, where he went to work in the Sebastian County Prosecutor’s Office, a position he held for three years before making the move recently to private practice with the Gean, Gean & Gean firm.


So why did Pierce ultimately decide on UAFS? Well, it was a combination of the University’s student-centered atmosphere and a Foundation scholarship he was offered. “The scholarship made a big difference,” he says. “It was tremendous. But I also couldn’t have asked for a better education. The professors were helpful in everything you did, and you were never in a lecture hall with 300 other students. It was just the right fit for me.”


It’s a perfect example of one of the most valuable things UAFS does for the Greater Fort Smith community—keeping more and more of our best and brightest young people right here for college. As UAFS’s reputation as a premier regional university continues to grow—and as the Foundation, thanks to generous donors, continues to offer more and more attractive scholarships—an increasing number of top local students like Pierce are staying in Fort Smith, rather than heading up the hill or down the road and, in many cases, never returning. In fact, over the last two academic years, the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded by UAFS has increased by roughly 50 percent—a clear indication of the University’s positive impact on the community.