University of Central Arkansas Distinguished Alumni Award

By Kim Meyer-Webb | Photography by Jamison Mosley | Shot on Location at UCA Windgate Center for Fine & Performing Arts

  As Nan Snow reflects on the “aha! moments” that shaped her perspective and fierce determination, it’s with gratitude for all the opportunities she might have otherwise missed. “We all face challenges in life,” she explains. “We must look for ways to navigate around obstacles to find a greater purpose that makes a difference.” 

   Nan joined the feminist movement in the 1960s and remains an ardent advocate for equality. She’s proven highly effective and instrumental in improving the social and political conditions for women. In addition, Nan’s devotion for the Natural State and her alma mater the University of Central Arkansas is unwavering. For these accomplishments and more, Nan will be honored with the UCA Distinguished Alumni Award later this month at Laurels & Stripes. 

   Nan was born at the southern edge of the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression. Her family moved from Oklahoma to Washington and back to Arkansas, where she graduated from high school in Harrison and attended Arkansas State Teachers College – now UCA. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism with work experience at the high school newspaper as well as The Echo at ASTC and was writing press releases for the college. “At the time, most young women became teachers. It was expected, but I knew I wanted to be a journalist – having had two grandfathers who owned small-town Arkansas newspapers.” Nan remembers a simply dumbfounding explanation when she applied at the venerable Arkansas Gazette as a city-beat reporter in 1959. “The editor told me that women were not allowed in the city room.”

   This moment, coupled with an encounter in high school when she was told intramural basketball “wasn’t ladylike,” fueled Nan’s ambitions to pursue a career in public service and advocacy. She recognized equality as a human right and became an ardent ambassador for women. “I wanted to find a way to make a meaningful contribution and help women get better jobs.” She attended graduate school at Southern Methodist University and joined the federal service. “My work with the government and Governor’s Commission gave me unique opportunities to attend feminist conferences where I was fortunate to hear some of the leading feminist voices of the time.” During this tenure, Nan met Dorothy Stuck and forged a revolutionary partnership. “Dorothy was a pioneer; she fought for civil rights in East Arkansas – that was very brave at the time. And we both helped with Title IX.” Nan recalls it was sweet justice after being denied the chance to participate at Harrison High School. “We traveled the region conducting seminars for women employees; telling them exactly how to get jobs they deserved.” 

   The dynamic duo established a consulting firm Stuck & Snow Resultants. “We couldn’t resist the lure of combining those catchy names, Nan adds. “Dorothy dubbed us resultants because we wanted to be the consultants who got results for clients.” They also created an informal circle of influential women including Hillary Rodham Clinton and Joycelyn Elders. “During the 1980s, we would gather at our office to discuss ideas and experiences.” She remembers a group that shared similar professional obstacles, ambitions and solutions. “We did what women throughout history have done… finding ways to get work done.”

   Among all the accolades, Nan admits ROBERTA: A Most Remarkable Fulbright  is a project that remains dear to her heart. She remembers its purpose: to reach and inspire more women. “Dorothy and I believed the accomplishments of Arkansas women had been largely omitted from the state’s history. Roberta was not only the mother of Senator J. William Fulbright – she was a newspaper publisher and influential voice in state politics. We wanted to document those accomplishments.” Nan notes this kind of prestige appears throughout history.

   Laurels & Stripes will celebrate the legacy of Nan Snow as a beacon for current students and young alumni. UCA Vice President for Advancement Dr. Mary Bane Lackie reflects, “When I first met Nan, I knew she was a lovely, special person; but the more I got to know her, I learned what a change-maker she is and what a difference she has made for women in Arkansas.” Nan served as the inaugural chair of the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame, president of the Arkansas Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure and is a breast cancer survivor. Her continued dedication to UCA and the welfare of women is unwavering. “Her life reflects the four pillars of our 

   UCA Now Capital Campaign: success, culture, wellness and excellence. She is more than worthy of the Distinguished Alumni Award.“

   Each of the pillars represents a fundamental University of Central Arkansas value with a vision for the future. Nan remains optimistic as she reflects on the progress made. “I entered the world of work at a time when it was extremely difficult for women to obtain professional positions, but since this was soon followed by the feminist movement, I credit it with opening doors. I hope other citizens can see what a difference they can make when fervent about a cause.”

Inviting Arkansas

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