Dr. Marta Loyd’s path to executive director of the University of Arkansas Winthrop Rockefeller Institute mimics the winding road she takes to work every day atop Petit Jean Mountain where she works daily to enhance and expand WRI’s slate of workshops, seminars, public lectures, conferences and special events through its educational institute and conference center.
Beginning as a dental hygienist, a profession that proved less fulfilling than she’d hoped, the Fort Smith native immersed herself in helping start a dental hygiene school at what was then Westark Community College, now the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith. That experience inspired her to complete a Master of Education degree in higher education leadership and later a Doctor of Education degree in educational leadership and policy analysis.
Catching the eye of various mentors who recognized her potential, she began work in college advancement. Over a 17-year career, she would generate gifts and pledges of $57 million over 12 years for UAFS and also lead and grow the UAFS Foundation Inc., from $20 million in assets to an endowment of more than $60 million and assets exceeding $75 million. She took over leadership of WRI in 2014.
The University of Arkansas System founded the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute in 2005 with a grant from the Winthrop Rockefeller Charitable Trust. The group’s programs address a range of subject matter from rural health care and workforce development to reimagining communities through grassroots activism.