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Hamer Receives Hendrix Odyssey Medal


CONWAY, Ark. (October 26, 2017) – Hendrix College awarded its 2017 Odyssey Medal to Mark Hamer, a 1988 alumnus, on Wednesday, October 25, during a special ceremony in the Great Hall of the Clinton Presidential Center.

Hamer, who serves as Director of International Business Development for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC), was honored for his achievements in the area of global awareness, one of the six categories of engaged learning incorporated into Hendrix College’s Odyssey Program.

Hamer leads AEDC’s efforts recruiting international companies to establish manufacturing and logistics facilities in the state, and oversees offices in Shanghai, Berlin, and Tokyo. Since 2016, a number of prominent Chinese companies have chosen Arkansas as a manufacturing location, including Shandong Sun Paper, which at $1.3 billion is the largest international economic development investment in Arkansas. Hamer also assisted Vinh Long Joint Stock Co., Ltd., in becoming the first Vietnam-based manufacturer to set up a manufacturing facility in the United States. In addition to his work at AEDC, Hamer serves on the board of the Confucius Institute at the University of Central Arkansas.

In his remarks at the ceremony, Hamer shared that like many of his classmates, he has had an adventurous and rewarding career thanks to the critical thinking skills he learned and challenging tasks he faced in his education at Hendrix. “I believe it is a quintessential example of a liberal arts education, of forging my own unique path and following my interests,” he said. His interest in other cultures led to a desire to explore and learn, and ultimately to his ability to connect Arkansas to other parts of the world. 

“In receiving the Odyssey Medal, my hope is that other Hendrix students will be inspired to be internationally minded and pursue international careers,” Hamer said. “Luckily, I have been part of a team that has brought companies from overseas to Arkansas, which will make it even more possible to have an international career and be able to live in Arkansas.”

Hamer is on campus today to speak to a class studying Global Business, join faculty members for coffee and conversation, have lunch with German majors and students interested in Japan and China, foster the student/alumni connection through the Office of Career Services, and meet with the men’s and women’s soccer teams.

The Odyssey Medal is presented to alumni whose life achievements exemplify the ideals of the Hendrix Odyssey program. Medalists are selected by the Hendrix Board of Trustees for their accomplishments in one of the six Odyssey categories: artistic creativity, global awareness, professional and leadership development, service to the world, research, or special projects.

Established in 2004, the Odyssey program requires all Hendrix College students to complete three Odyssey experiences or projects during their undergraduate careers, in three of the six Odyssey categories. The program ensures that students look beyond the classroom to experience educational opportunities in the liberal arts and sciences.

Above: Mark Hamer '88, center, with Board of Trustees member Jan Nelson Hundley '80 and President William M. Tsutsui. Photo by Maddison Stewart.

About Hendrix College

A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit