Senator Tom Cotton Recognizes Arkansan of the Week: Marvin Williams from Conway

Washington, D.C.— Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) this week recognized Marvin Williams as “Arkansan of the Week” for his work as the UCAN Coordinator and Academic Advisor at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway.


You can find the full text of Senator Cotton’s recognition on the Senate Floor below. A video of Senator Cotton’s remarks can be viewed here.

I would like to recognize Marvin Williams as this week’s “Arkansan of the Week,” for his work as the UCAN Coordinator and Academic Advisor at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway.

UCAN stands for “Unlocking College Academics Now,” a program at UCA aimed at helping students facing their first academic suspension improve their grade point average and continue their education. Students who participate in UCAN are permitted to stay in school during their first suspension, rather than withdrawing for the semester. As program coordinator, Marvin works with students to help identify their academic weaknesses and find ways to accommodate them. Under Marvin’s leadership, the program has helped 347 students obtain their college degrees. Without UCAN, it’s possible many of those students would have taken their semester suspension and not returned to complete their degree.

The impact Marvin has on student’s lives cannot be overstated. One of his colleagues wrote that Marvin “meets with students on a daily basis to encourage them to take control of their lives and their education, so they can improve their future. On a regular basis he experiences the difficulties of life as students bring him their circumstances, and he walks with them when they have no one else to turn to. Along with that, when they need correction, he does it with empathy, and leads them back to the path they need to be on.”

But Marvin’s compassion does not end with his work in the classroom. Marvin was also instrumental in establishing the Bear Essentials Food Pantry, the UCA on-campus food bank. The food pantry idea was born out of a meeting Marvin had with a student two years ago who had very little to eat. He provided the student with a list of nearby pantries, but she lacked the transportation needed to visit the off-campus locations.  Marvin responded by taking the student to the cafeteria and paying for her meal, and then springing into action. He recruited a few other UCA employees to help him and the group successfully opened a food bank on UCA’s campus.

In conclusion, I’d like to quote again Marvin’s colleague who concluded his nomination with these words: “I don’t think I can accurately describe the work that Marvin has done. I’m sure in the past he’s received recognition, awards, and the like. However, I believe that this week, this month, maybe even this year he is the type of Arkansan that we should aspire to be in our communities.”

I am pleased to recognize Marvin Williams as this week’s Arkansan of the Week and to join all Arkansans in thanking him for his positive impact on those around him.


The “Arkansan of the Week” initiative is designed to honor Arkansans who have gone above and beyond in their commitment to their communities, and to the state.

Senator Cotton will honor each “Arkansan of the Week” with a speech on the Senate Floor.  

If you know someone who has made an impact on their local community or Arkansas as a whole, Senator Cotton would like to recognize them! To nominate someone for “Arkansan of the Week,” send an email to with the following: 

  • Name of Nominee
  • Detailed description of why they should be recognized as “Arkansan of the Week”
  • Contact Info
  • Photos if Available