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Hendrix College to Celebrate Commencement May 16

CONWAY, Ark. (March 10, 2020) — Hendrix College will posthumously award the honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters to Jack Singleton ’63 at the 136th Hendrix College Commencement, which will take place Saturday, May 16, at 9 a.m. in the Wellness and Athletics Center Event Gym. 

Dr. Jay Barth ’87, professor emeritus of politics, will deliver the Commencement Address.

Overflow seating will be available in the Recreation Gym, where the ceremony will be telecast. The Class of 2020 will also process and recess through the Recreation Gym.

Immediately following commencement, there will be a faculty reception for graduates in the Young-Wise Memorial Stadium Plaza (or in the Recreation Gym in the event of rain).

For more information, visit

About Jack Singleton

Jack Singleton graduated from Little Rock Central High School in 1957. His sadness over the division and anger of the community surrounding integrating the school inspired his life-long passion for justice. He graduated from Hendrix College and earned a Master of Divinity degree from Perkins School of Theology at SMU.

Singleton was known for his involvement in justice ministries. While attending Perkins School of Theology at SMU, he became involved in the Civil Rights movement, marching in Selma with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and hosting King on a visit to the SMU campus. Later in his life, he would be instrumental in starting Arkansas’ first Habitat for Humanity affiliate, and would also serve on the Board of Our House Shelter.

He worked for eight years as a staff member of Keep America Beautiful, focusing on environmental issues and receiving two awards for his work: the KAB Innovation Award for the Litter Free Zone Program for schools, and the 2009 Arkansas Outstanding Environmental Educator. Singleton visited the Monarch butterfly overwintering colonies in Mexico and helped many central Arkansas schools create butterfly habitats on their campuses.

His most recent involvement as a Hendrix College alumnus was participating in the annual Dean’s Civil Rights Trip, a student experience funded by the Hendrix Odyssey Program. The group, led by Dean of Students Jim Wiltgen and Chaplain J.J. Whitney ’96, made stops in Birmingham, Montgomery, Marion, and Selma, Ala., Jackson, Miss., and Memphis, Tenn., to visit museums, memorials, and historic sites. Having Singleton, a foot soldier of the Civil Rights movement, recount his participation in the Selma Ministers’ March, gave students a valuable first-hand account of the events of March 9, 1965 — 55 years ago this week. Jack Singleton died July 27, 2019.

Through his service to the College and to humanity, and his efforts in working for justice, Jack Singleton inspired fellow members of the Hendrix community, modeling what it means to live a life of accomplishment, integrity, service, and joy.

About Jay Barth

A native of central Arkansas, Barth graduated from Hendrix in 1987, and went on to earn a master’s degree and a doctorate in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He returned to teach at Hendrix in 1994, and after 26 years as a faculty member retired in December 2019 as the M.E. and Ima Graves Peace Professor of Politics and Director of the Arkansas Policy Program at Hendrix College. From 2012 to 2019, Barth was a member of the Arkansas State Board of Education, which he chaired for two years. 

His academic work includes research on the politics of the South, state government and politics, LGBTQ politics, political communication (particularly radio advertising), and the achievement gap in Arkansas. He is the co-author (with the late Diane D. Blair) of the second edition of Arkansas Politics and Government: Do the People Rule? (University of Nebraska Press, 2005).

Barth was named 2007 Arkansas Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), the 2014 winner of the Southern Political Science Association’s Diane Blair Award for Outstanding Achievement in Politics and Government, and received the 2018 Distinguished Scholar Award from the Arkansas Political Science Association. In 2000-01, he received the Steiger Congressional Fellowship from the American Political Science Association and served on the staff of the late U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone (MN) working on education and civil rights policy.

He has been a contributor to Talk Business & Politics through the organization’s polling partnership with the College, and a columnist for the Arkansas Times.

Barth’s community involvement has included serving on the Central Arkansas Water Board of Commissioners, and chairing the boards of a number of organizations, including Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, Just Communities of Arkansas, the ACLU of Arkansas, the Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Pulaski County, and the National Association of State Boards of Education. In December 2019, he was appointed as the first chief education officer (CEdO) for the City of Little Rock.

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