UACCM Dedicates Tree to Beloved Colleague

two photos, the first of a woman, and the second of a tree
Sommers served the college for 21 years, most recently as coordinator of student records.

Members of the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton dedicated a tree and plaque on campus to Sheila Sommers, a longtime staff member who passed away last fall.

The tree, provided by the Arkansas Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (ArkACRO), is placed below Sommer’s former office window at the University Center. Sommers was a 21-year employee at the college and most recently served as the coordinator of student records at the Registrar’s Office.

“Sheila Sommers spent over 20 years in the UACCM Registrar’s Office and was always active with ArkACRAO,” said Linda Holland, UACCM registrar. “I’m so happy they chose to honor her in this way, and it was only fitting the tree be placed in the courtyard below the office where she loved gazing out on the spring and fall foliage.”

A morning ceremony, coinciding with the one-year anniversary of Sommers’ death, included a dedication of the tree with a plaque. Her former colleagues wrote messages on plastic leaves to fill the young tree’s branches. Attendees included members of the Sommers family and UACCM staff and faculty, some of whom worked with her throughout her entire 21 years of service at the college.

“A testament to the impact Sheila made in the lives of so many is evidenced by this beautiful red bud tree dedication, a memorial gift presented to Sheila’s family who was gracious enough to share with UACCM allowing us to plant it on campus to serve as a lasting memory of Sheila,” said Lisa Willenberg, UACCM chancellor.

Sommers, a UACCM alumnus as well as a former employee, earned both her Associate of Arts and Associate of Applied Science degrees from UACCM prior to completing her bachelor and master’s degrees at UA-Fayetteville. Her co-workers knew her for her fun-loving, adventurous spirit, her grit and determination, and her commitment and service to thousands of students throughout the years.

“Sheila Sommers was a dedicated and very involved member of ArkACRAO,” said Brandi Tripp, an ArkACRO member and associate registrar at Arkansas Tech University who also attended the ceremony. “Our members wanted to recognize her years of service to our organization by dedicating a tree on the UACCM campus.”

“The tree and plaque will serve a reminder of all of the lives she touched,” Holland said.

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