David Welky stood at a podium in the Darragh Center at the Main Library Campus in Little Rock on a recent October evening and accepted one of Arkansas’ most prestigious literary awards — The Booker Worthen Literary Prize — for his book on the 1937 flood. Dozens of people dressed in casual business attire snatched up his hardcover books. Several lined up to get Welky’s signature and grill him on how to research historical nonfiction.
“I’m just a guy who really, really, really likes history — that’s about it,” Welky said later. “Sometimes what I do resonates with other people.”
Welky, an associate professor, is among at least 100 faculty members and students at the University of Central Arkansas to receive awards, recognition or commissions in the past year. Many also received valuable grants in fiscal 2012, UCA records show.
As the university tries to rebrand itself and recruit new students, the award-winning faculty are playing a vital role in beefing up UCA’s reputation after years of controversy, officials said.