Lisa Lee, senior vice president of creative and content production
Academy of Country Music
Lisa Lee, senior vice president of creative and content production for the Academy of Country Music, has gone from a small-town Arkansas girl to hobnobbing with the biggest names in country music.
A Cabot native, spent her time as a University of Arkansas student writing a music column and features for The Arkansas Traveler and the Razorback yearbook. She also worked with University Programs and served as Associated Student Government secretary. “I had such a great time with so many opportunities,” Lee said. “My years in Fayetteville were awesome. I had so many amazing professors. Bob Douglas was my hero.”
After graduating with an English and journalism degree, she returned home to write for the Cabot Star Herald before obtaining her master’s degree in broadcast journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Chicago.
Following graduate school, she worked for an NBC affiliate in Texarkana and freelanced for the national network before moving to Nashville, Tennessee, in 1995 to work as an on-air reporter for CMT, CMT.com, country.com and the former TNN. She moved to Los Angeles in 2004 with her husband Phillip BSBA’93 and their children as the Hollywood correspondent and West Coast news bureau chief for the weekly show “CMT Insider,” covering music, movies and television.
Lee drew on her experience as a TV journalist and producer to help establish and grow an in-house creative and video production department for the Academy of Country Music in 2007, saying she never dreamed she would work for the organization. She is the Academy’s lead staff producer and oversees all video production as well as the design, creation and editing of ACM logos, digital and printed materials. Lee also serves as a liaison with CBS creative departments and CBS.com for promos and creative surrounding the annual ACM Awards. Additionally, Lee manages fan voting for Entertainer of the Year and New Artist of the Year, working closely with partners CMT.com and CBS.com. In 2014, Lee added the role as producer of the live ACM Honors event, staged annually at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.
She recently authored the book This Is Country: A Backstage Pass to the Academy of Country Music Awards, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the awards.
“Music can mean so much to someone,” Lee said. “To be a little part of that is amazing.”
Miller Williams, Poet
University of Arkansas professor emeritus, former director of the U of A Program in Creative Writing, founder of the program in translation, and co-founder and first director of the University of Arkansas Press
Miller Williams, internationally known poet, University of Arkansas professor emeritus, former director of the U of A Program in Creative Writing, founder of the program in translation, and co-founder and first director of the University of Arkansas Press, died Jan. 1 at the age of 84.
Williams wrote 37 books of poetry, fiction, criticism and translations. His work was highly regarded by his literary peers around the world, but his public fame came as the result of friendship and family. He first came to the nation’s attention in 1997, when President Bill Clinton asked him to write and read a poem, “Of History and Hope,” for Clinton’s second inauguration. Clinton and Williams taught together at the University of Arkansas, and Williams worked in Clinton’s first political campaign.
Williams was born in Hoxie, graduated with a degree in biology from what is now Arkansas State University, and earned a master’s degree in zoology from the University of Arkansas. He wrote poetry while teaching science, first in high school and later on the college level. He left teaching for a series of jobs while he continued to write, and later joined the English department at Louisiana State University. While teaching at Loyola University, he founded the New Orleans Review. He also taught as a visiting professor at the University of Chile and the University of Mexico, where he began translating the works of South American poets.
Williams came to the University of Arkansas in 1970, as a member of the Department of English in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. He joined the graduate program in creative writing and later launched the program in translation. In 1980 he joined with Rainer Schulte and Lesley Wilson in establishing the American Literary Translators Association. In 1980 Williams co-founded the University of Arkansas Press with history professor Willard Gatewood. Williams became its first director.
Williams’ many honors include the Henry Bellman Award, the Amy Lowell Traveling Poetry Fellowship, a Fulbright professorship at the National University of Mexico, the Prix de Rome for Literature, the John William Corrington Award for Literary Excellence, the National Arts Award, and the Lifetime Achievement Award in Writing, given by the Porter Prize Foundation. He received the Citation of Distinguished Alumni in 1980 from the Arkansas Alumni Association.
Williams is survived by his wife, Jordan BA’76 MED’84, and three children, Lucinda, Robert and Karyn.