Walton alumnus elected to JBU board of directors – The Threefold Advocate
Ericka Carrasco’s legacy to her alma mater, John Brown University, didn’t end in 2011, the year she graduated in International Business and Marketing.
Originally from Comayagua, Honduras, Carrasco completed his bachelor’s degree at JBU as a Walton Fellow. A decade later, she was elected to the board of directors of the institution representing the Walton International Scholarship and the Walton Family Foundation.
She received the good news in 2019 when she visited the institution for the celebration of the centenary of the reunion. “I specifically went to JBU to participate in certain activities with the business department and the stock market,” she recalls. “Before that, [JBU] President Chip Pollard called me and told me that I had been appointed a director. I told him I would pray about it first, and after some time talking to God, I emailed him back expressing my interest.
After a rigorous process, the board nominated the nominees and voted for Carrasco as Walton’s new director in early 2020. Due to the pandemic and the country’s border closures, Carrasco did not been able to attend directors’ meetings in person before the end of September 2021 during the reunion weekend. .
The duties of a trustee are anything but easy. As an administrator, one of the main goals is to advance the mission, tradition, values and reputation of the college. As the representative of the Walton Fellowship, Carrasco’s role is to ensure that Walton Fellows thrive in college and contribute to campus with their gifts and talents.
“Being a director means being someone who is willing to invest the time to attend annual meetings; there are also retreats that the council holds throughout the year, ”Carrasco said. “You have to be committed and passionate about higher education. You have to have a heart to help others.
According to Carrasco, applicants should reflect God in their daily lives, be an example of integrity and stay in touch with their community. “I graduated from JBU in 2011, but I never broke away from the institution,” she said. “I have been involved in the recruitment process for the Walton Fellowship in Honduras, and I am always up to date with what is going on at JBU.”
While Carrasco is not the first Walton scholar to join the board, she is the first Walton alumnus to be elected a trustee. The need for a Walton representative emerged after Don Walker, then chairman of Arvest Bank in Arkansas and Oklahoma, proposed that the Walton scholarship be represented in honor of hundreds of Walton scholars graduates of the institution since the start of the program in 1985..
“The Walton scholarship brings so much to the lives of students and to the institution itself,” Carrasco explained. “[Having a Walton trustee] gives us a seat at the table and is part of such an important aspect of university governance.
After productive face-to-face meetings for the first time, Carrasco described the board as a space to make very important decisions. There are many short and long term goals that can come to mind when working to make university a better place for the student body. However, Carrasco’s main goal for now is to understand what all higher education entails. “It’s one thing to see education as a student, but when you look at it from a financial and academic perspective, it’s a different thing,” Carrasco said. “It’s much more complex than you might imagine.”
In addition to learning about the ins and outs of higher education, Carrasco intends to use her experience as a Walton student to enhance the experiences of students in the program. But as Carrasco strives to make an impact on the lives of JBU students in parts of Central America and Mexico, she said her life is impacted both professionally and spiritually as well.
“I have grown a lot since my role as administrator, especially because of the meeting environment,” she said. “At first I felt intimidated because all the other members have years of experience and successful businesses. But I was shocked at how very down to earth and humble all the members are.
As Carrasco’s journey as a trustee has only just begun, her goal of making JBU a more welcoming place for Walton scholars is a promise she intends to keep.