Veolia announces scholarship fund for local seniors

Submitted information | For The Arkadelphian

GUM SPRINGS — Veolia North America President and CEO Fred Van Heems drew a standing ovation last week when he announced that the company was creating a special scholarship fund for graduating high school seniors in Arkadelphia.

Front row, from left, are Britt Scheer, VNA Gum Springs vice president of facility affairs; Dr. Ben Sells, President of Ouachita Baptist University; Andrew Vining, Gurdon School District superintendent; Misty Woolf, Gurdon High School principal; Jayver Luque, VNA Gum Springs Project Manager. Second Row, from left, are Dr. Timothy Knight, Dean of the School of Natural Sciences (Biology) at Ouachita Baptist University; Dr. Martin Campbell, professor of chemistry at Henderson State University; Dr. TaLisha Givan, chief learning officer and vice chancellor for academic affairs at Henderson State University; Callie Hunley, Arkadelphia High School principal; and Nikki Thomas, Arkadelphia High School superintendent. | Submitted photo

Van Heems spoke Oct. 12 before a crowd of more than 150 people gathered outside VNA’s Gum Springs project to celebrate the beginning of construction of a new state-of-the-art hazardous waste treatment facility, which is set to be complete by 2024 and will double the size of Veolia’s workforce at the plant.

As a further sign of Veolia’s commitment to the local community, Van Heems announced that a $5,000 annual scholarship was established for local high school seniors planning to pursue majors in science, math and engineering. The enthusiastic audience, which included many leaders of local public schools and universities, rose to their feet to show their appreciation.

“I am pleased to see representatives from the local schools joining us today, and look forward to talking more about how we can support the crucial work that you do,” Van Heems said, adding that the annual scholarship will be split each year between one female student and one male student.

The scholarship is part of Veolia’s effort to encourage qualified candidates in the community to pursue careers at the Gum Springs site, which relies on the dedication, skill and know-how of its employees in order to succeed.

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