College of Education and Health Professions to Honor Alumni Carnine, Rumrill

May 1, 2011

Leslie Carnine, left, and Phillip Rumrill
Leslie Carnine, left, and Phillip Rumrill

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas will honor two of its alumni at commencement exercises May 14 at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.

Leslie Carnine, former Little Rock school superintendent and now a member of the Arkansas Legislature, and Phillip Rumrill, director of the Center for Disability Studies at Kent State University in Ohio, were chosen as the first recipients of the newly established alumni awards. The college created two awards, one for an individual with exceptional professional and personal achievement and extraordinary distinction in the education professions, and one for an individual with exceptional professional and personal achievement and extraordinary distinction in the health and human service professions.

Tom Smith, dean of the College of Education and Health Professions, and the Alumni Awards Committee of the Dean's Advisory Council made the selections.

"The college is extremely pleased to announce the winners of these new alumni awards," Smith said. "We are proud of our alumni who are leading efforts throughout the nation to improve the fields of education, health and human services, and Les Carnine and Phillip Rumrill are excellent representatives of our alumni. We look forward to recognizing them for their accomplishments during our commencement ceremony."

Carnine served as superintendent of schools in Little Rock, Texarkana and Wichita Falls, Texas. He earned a doctorate in educational administration from the University of Arkansas in 1969, and he has also been a college professor, teacher, counselor, principal and bank officer. He has been named Arkansas Administrator of the Year; Exemplary Superintendent from Harvard, Columbia and University of Texas; Danforth Fellow; and has delivered the David Dinkins Lecture at Columbia University. Carnine served two years as the president of the Urban Superintendents of America and served as the first executive in residence for the College of Education and Health Professions. A member of the Arkansas Legislature, he serves on the Education Committee of the House of Representatives and has been appointed to the Special Select committees of Educational Adequacy, Higher Education, K-12 Education and Desegregation Oversight. He is House chairman of the Retirement and Social Security Committee. A resident of Rogers, Carnine and his wife, Linda, have two children.

"Educational leaders around the state have great respect for Dr. Carnine," said Tom Kimbrell, Arkansas commissioner of education. "His last assignment before retirement was superintendent in Little Rock, one of the most complex, difficult and highly political school districts in the state. Dr. Carnine recognized his role as educational leader but approached the assignment like a 'foot soldier' in the campaign for change. Since his retirement, Les Carnine has worked to advance leadership opportunities for those still in the field."

Phillip Rumrill, a certified rehabilitation counselor, is a professor and coordinator of the rehabilitation counseling program and director of the Center for Disability Studies at Kent State University in Ohio. Since completing his doctorate in rehabilitation education and research at the University of Arkansas in 1993, he has written extensively on topics such as issues facing students with disabilities in higher education, workplace discrimination, federal disability policy, multiple sclerosis and other chronic illnesses, and research methodology. Rumrill has experience in substance-abuse counseling, academic advising and accommodation planning with postsecondary students with disabilities, vocational guidance and career counseling with a variety of disability populations, and vocational expert services in civil litigation. He is a frequent presenter at national and international conferences in the fields of rehabilitation, education and health care, and he has received numerous honors and recognition from national and international organizations for his work. He lives in Munroe Falls, Ohio, with his wife, Amy, and their six children.

"Dr. Rumrill has established a distinguished career in the field of rehabilitation since his graduation from the doctoral program in rehabilitation in the College of Education and Health Professions," said Richard T. Roessler, University Professor emeritus of rehabilitation education and research. "As director of the Center for Disability Studies at Kent State, he has created one of the country's most active institutes focusing on the study of services for people with disabilities. In his own right, he is a prolific researcher, writer and presenter in the field of rehabilitation who has brought considerable visibility to both the University of Arkansas and Kent State University."

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