Sunday, April 27, 2008


4/25/08 Today, John McCain will continue his "It's Time for Action Tour" by traveling to Little Rock, Arkansas. Little Rock, Arkansas:

In Arkansas, John McCain will visit Arkansas Baptist College where he will address a class of college students. College President Dr. Fitzgerald (Fitz) Hill and Mr. Donald Northcross, Director of Our Kids, a mentoring program that partners with schools and the Little Rock Police Department to mentor disadvantaged young males in the community, will join John McCain.

Arkansas Baptist College, founded in 1884, is the only black Baptist higher education institution west of the Mississippi River. The college is committed "to the development of graduates who are exceptionally educated, spiritually and culturally aware, and able to meet the demands of our rapidly advancing society." This is a four-year college offering degrees in business administration, human services, criminal justice, public administration and religious studies.

Although Dr. Hill never saw himself in his current job, he's provided strong leadership for Arkansas Baptist College. In April 2008, Dr. Hill outlined a clear vision for his school: "I want this school to lead the way to tackle the black-on-black violence in this city by creating educational opportunities for the underserved population. I want this school to be able to restore the spirituality of this community. I want this school to lead the way in serving the less fortunate." Dr. Hill brings a wealth of experience to the job. He has preserved in the face of extraordinary challenges. When his father died, Dr. Hill gave up a college football scholarship just months into his freshman year to care for his mother who suffered an aneurysm rupture and was left unable to speak. He enrolled at Ouachita Baptist University and joined the ROTC program. While engaged in his graduate studies at the University of Arkansas , Dr. Hill was deployed to the Persian Gulf, and for his service, was awarded the Bronze Star and Army Commendation Medal. He left the Army reserve when his tour ended and returned to school at the University of Arkansas where he earned his Doctorate of Education.

Located in inner-city Little Rock, Dr. Hill is working to make Arkansas Baptist College "the engine that revitalizes and restores the surrounding dilapidated community." He has implemented a five-year plan to revitalize the college by building new dormitories and acquiring several old building around the campus to either tear down or renovate. In 2005, there were only 59 students enrolled at Arkansas Baptist, today there are over 600. He has created academic outreach programs, a new music department, and a football program.

Part of the Arkansas Baptist College community is the Our Kids (OK) program. Partnering with the Little Rock Police Department, Our Kids mentors young males in the Little Rock community in grades 6-12. Mentors comes from across the Little Rock community, including the Police Department and Arkansas Baptist College. Program participants must maintain a 2.5 grade-point average and every Saturday, OK plans and organizes presentations, social events, and sporting events. This week, they are moving their regular Saturday discussion to Friday, giving the students will have an opportunity to talk with John McCain.

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