The official naming of the indoor practice field at the University of Arkansas at Monticello in honor of former UAM Chancellor Dr. Jack Lassiter and his wife Judy Lassiter will be held on June 13 at 3 p.m followed by a reception.
The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees at its January meeting unanimously approved a motion by UA Trustee Cliff Gibson, of Monticello, to name the indoor practice field in honor of the Lassiters.
“Well deserved and well earned,” Gibson said.
The request to name the indoor practice facility was made by Chancellor Karla Hughes and the UAM Board of Visitors after the board’s meeting in October, according to a news release from UAM.
“When several people from the community and the Board of Visitors brought up the idea to rename the IPF after Jack and Judy, I couldn’t imagine a more fitting way to recognize their contribution to UAM,” Hughes said. “I have said before that UAM stands on the shoulders of people like the Lassiters who still give their time and talent to making the university the best it can be and support our students in any way they can.”
Speaking on behalf of the UAM Board of Visitors, Chairman Gregg Reep said the board is “thrilled” to honor the Lassiters’ dedication to the university. “They are special people and we wanted to make sure their support was recognized for generations to come,” he said.
Lassiter became UAM’s chancellor in July 2004. During his 10 year tenure, he created and implemented a master plan for the university, which included restoration and landscaping of Weevil Pond, the renovation and modernization of Wells Hall and Sorrells Hall, and a campus-wide heating and cooling system.
Under Lassiter’s leadership, UAM upgraded its athletic facilities, including the construction of the indoor practice facility, as well as an expanded press box and chair-back seating at Convoy Leslie-Cotton Boll Stadium, and renovations to the baseball and softball facilities.
Other major accomplishments of Lassiter’s tenure include the construction of the George H. Clippert Forestry Annex, which added more than 15,000 square feet of classroom, office and laboratory space to the School of Forest Resources, and the renovation of Bankston Hall, converting the one-time all-male residence hall to a coeducational residential facility.
Lassiter also instituted one of the most popular events on campus when he opened the area surrounding Weevil Pond for tailgating before football games and created the Walk of Champions, which has become a cherished pregame ritual.
The Lassiters first came to UAM in 1977, living in an apartment in Horsfall Hall. Lassiter worked as director of the Learning Development Center while completing his doctorate while Judy served as director of Horsfall Hall.
In 1978, Lassiter returned to his home state of Texas where he served two years as dean of college and student services at Wharton County Junior College. He returned to UAM in 1980 as vice chancellor for university relations and student services, beginning a 17-year stay on the Monticello campus. In 1993, he became the institution’s chief academic officer when he was named vice chancellor for academic affairs and student services.
Lassiter left UAM in 1997 to become chancellor of the UA Community College at Batesville before accepting an offer from UA System President B. Alan Sugg in 2001 to become executive vice president of the UA System in Little Rock.
Three years later, Lassiter was named Chancellor of UAM. He retired in December 2014 and remained in Monticello.
“Judy and I are humbled to be recognized by the Trustees, the Board of Visitors and Dr. Hughes,” Lassiter said. “We spent most of our careers at UAM and are so proud to be a small part in the University’s success over the years. The Indoor Practice Facility is near and dear to us because it’s a project that was completed during my tenure as Chancellor. I think it gives us a distinct advantage in recruiting for athletics and it’s a unique building for a college of our size. It was a labor of love, much like our time at UAM.”
The indoor practice facility includes offices for most of UAM’s coaching staff, a student computer lab and study area, a weight training room, meeting rooms and a 40-yard artificial turf field. The building was dedicated in 2010.