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
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.
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 www.hendrix.edu.