A retired professor and his wife surprised some University of Central Arkansas sociology students by announcing the initiation of the Gordon and Faye Shepherd fund.

“The purpose of this fund will be to encourage and support student research in the [sociology] department,” Gordon Shepherd said, presenting a $1,000 check.

Gordon, who retired from UCA after nearly four decades, said his wife Faye, who oversees many interns from UCA's sociology department as chief of staff for Judge Troy Braswell’s Circuit Court, deserves the credit for starting the fund.

"She has been pestering me for years to actually do something like this,” he told students, drawing a laugh. “We hope to sustain this fund in the years ahead by making annual donations."

Sociology Chair Edward Powers told the students they were in good company with "the intern queen" Faye and "beloved teacher" Gordon.

“He taught here almost 40 years,” Powers said. “He served on nearly every committee possible in the college and in the department.

"He is a renowned scholar. He’s published multiple books and articles on sociology of religion, social movements, even some deviance.

“She corrals the whole juvenile court. She has tons of experience in juvenile probation, also with state bureaucracy. She’s the former director of Arkansas Tobacco Settlement Commission.”

To which Faye joked: “I decided I preferred delinquents to legislators."

Powers said the fund was one of many gifts or services the Shepherds have given over the years.

“He was a beloved teacher, a great teacher," said of Gordon, noting he was recognized at graduation with a new title, Distinguished Faculty Emeritus. “That’s the highest possible honor that a faculty member could ever hope to achieve.

“They’ve served the state and community so many years, and this university, especially this department. They want to continue serving students, especially those interested in research."