14th Annual Taste of Little Rock

February 6-12, 2017

Warren and Cindy Simpson presenting sponsors

By Jay Edwards

Warren Simpson didn’t have to think long and hard before answering the call to be the presenting sponsor, along with his wife Cindy, of this year’s Taste of Little Rock, presented annually by the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

The 14th year of the UALR alumni fundraising event will honor the Dr. Ted Bailey Family for their decades of support to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.”

“Dr. Ted Bailey is my second dad,” Simpson says. “I grew up two houses away from the family.

The Bailey’s raised five children there, and Simpson claims to be the sixth. “Almost everywhere they went, they took me along,” he says. “I was always included.”

“And It was Dr. Bailey who really got me involved with UALR,” said Simpson, who now sits on the board of visitors for the university.

The Bailey family has long invested in the university as a way to give back to and help grow the community. Dr. Bailey is one of the university’s earliest supporters, having founded the Society of Philanthropy, a precursor to the current Chancellor’s Circle.

“The first time I ever went out of the country with the family was to Acapulco, right after Christmas,” Simpson remembers. That was in 1971, Simpson’s freshman year at Catholic High School.

Another trip was to the Virgin Islands, to St. Croix, where Virginia Bailey, now deceased, had an uncle.

“Then in 1987, when we were all adults, they took me to Austria with them. Dr. Bailey has just been a great mentor to me. He is a great man.”

Besides John, the Bailey’s have four other children, Mary Maude Shafer, Ted Bailey III, Virginia Jo McCray and Madeline Henry.

“When Madeline was born they let me carry her out of the hospital,” Simpson says. “They are such a kind and giving family.”

“When Warren and I got together,” Cindy Simpson says, “Dr. Bailey made me feel like such a part of the family. I feel as close to him as Warren does.”

“I have been with him in a lot of different situations,” Simpson says. “I’ve never heard him raise his voice. He is so kind and so humble.”

“On the Austria trip, we had a minor car wreck. Some guy came around a curb and just ran into us. We were on our way up to see Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest, outside of Salzburg. This guy just hit us. But Dr. Bailey was like, no problem. He stayed very calm through it all.”

“He is just a dear, dear man,” Cindy added.

“And he has always been about giving,” Simpson added. “Cindy and I are proud and pleased to be sponsors for this well-deserved honor he and his family are receiving from the university.”

Set for 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 27, at the Jack Stephens Center, Taste of Little Rock raises funds for student scholarships while introducing guests to some of the best food in the city from the finest restaurants in Little Rock.

Individual tickets are on sale for $75. Group tables that accommodate up to 10 are available but filling up fast. Proceeds support UALR Alumni Association scholarships.

To order tickets, contact the UALR Alumni office at 501-683-7208, email alumni@ualr.edu, or visit the website. 

  • Warren and Cindy Simpson
    Warren and Cindy Simpson