ASMSA endowment honors former Hot Springs mayor

8 months ago

An endowment that will provide support to an Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts faculty member each year has been established in honor of a former Hot Springs mayor.

The Helen Selig Promise Kept Endowment is named for Helen Selig, who served as mayor of Hot Springs from 1994-2000 during the early years of the school. Selig was a prominent leader of a community group that lobbied for the state to choose Hot Springs as the school’s home in 1992. She has supported the school throughout its existence.

Selig’s husband, John, and other members of her family made a $20,000 gift to ASMSA to establish the endowment in her honor. It was the single largest gift to establish an endowment in the school’s history. The gift was matched by one of the family members’ employer to initially establish the endowment with $40,000 total.

The endowment will provide an annual grant each fall to an ASMSA faculty member. The grant must be used to have an impact on a classroom, research project or department. The awardee will be selected by a committee comprised of members of the ASMSA administration.

The Arkansas General Assembly established ASMSA in 1991 without a home site picked for the school. A site selection committee received more than 50 applications from cities and towns across Arkansas hoping to serve as the host for the new school. Hot Springs was one of seven finalists before ultimately being chosen as the host city in fall 1992.

Hot Springs supporters adopted the slogan “Clear As A Bell,” signifying that Hot Springs was the obvious choice to host ASMSA. In cooperation with the City of Hot Springs and the Garland County community, a plan to house the school in the recently vacated St. Joseph Hospital was made. Among those leading the charge was Selig.

In September 1994, a year after the school opened and during Selig’s first term as mayor, a dedication ceremony was held on campus to recognize the efforts of the city and citizens to ensure promises made during the site selection search were kept. Selig presented a bronze school bell to ASMSA as a symbol of the community’s efforts to keep the promises made to get the school placed in Hot Springs. The bell now stands in front of the Student Center.

“Hot Springs is proud to have been selected for the honor of being the home of this fine school,” Selig said that day. “Hot Springs is proud that we have kept our promise to you and the people of Arkansas that we would give you the best possible facility for the Arkansas School for Mathematics and Sciences.

“Hot Springs is proud of what this school will do for the students who attend and for the communities from which they come. We are proud, on this day, to present to you and the people of Arkansas this outstanding facility to be used for our children, for our state, for the future.”

Selig and her family have continued their support for the school throughout its existence. Her granddaughter Lacy Selig graduated from ASMSA in 2008. Family members wanted to recognize Selig’s decades of support with a special gift.

“The Selig family is pleased to establish a permanent endowment in recognition of Helen’s efforts to bring ASMSA to Hot Springs,” said her husband, John. “This gift will allow her vision and enthusiasm for the school to be memorialized over time and provide financial support to help fund special projects.”

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