Act 18 of 2021 Finalizes Henderson State University Membership in Arkansas State University System
LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Asa Hutchinson today signed Act 18 of the 93rd General Assembly of Arkansas, which officially makes Henderson State University in Arkadelphia the seventh institution of the Arkansas State University System.
Act 18 of 2021 also expands the ASU System Board of Trustees from five members to seven. The additional members will be appointed by the governor.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson signs Act 18 of 2021 as Arkansas State University System President Chuck Welch looks on.
The transition was previously approved by the Henderson Board of Trustees on Nov. 21, 2019, the ASU System Board of Trustees on Dec. 6, 2019, and the Higher Learning Commission on Nov. 5. Henderson, founded in 1890, will remain a separately accredited institution and becomes the second four-year institution in the ASU System.
“With the hard work of educators over the past year and a half and the counsel and support of the 93rd General Assembly, we have realized the aspiration of Arkansans who saw a way to strengthen both Henderson State and the ASU System," Gov. Hutchinson said. "This merger adds Henderson’s 130-year legacy to the history and traditions of the other members of the system that further strengthens the ASU System.”
“While we have previously welcomed Henderson as a member of the ASU System family and worked closely with the institution for a year and a half, we’re thrilled for this partnership to be finalized,” said Dr. Chuck Welch, president of the ASU System. “It’s been a long process, and we appreciate the rapid action of the General Assembly and Governor Hutchinson to bring it to a close. We’re grateful to have interim Chancellor Jim Borsig in place to lead Henderson through this transition and couldn’t be happier about this partner in the ASU System’s ongoing expansion.
“The growth of the ASU System has already delivered significant efficiencies, financial savings and services to our member institutions, and the addition of Henderson will further enhance these initiatives,” Welch added. “Our recent additions of information technology and strategic research expertise at the system level bring even more benefit as our institutions work together on challenges and opportunities in higher education.”
Henderson is the third higher education institution to join the system in five years. Mid-South Community College in West Memphis became Arkansas State University Mid-South in July 2015, and College of the Ouachitas in Malvern became Arkansas State University Three Rivers in January 2020.
“We are excited to officially become a member of the Arkansas State University System,” Borsig said. “Henderson State has worked with the ASU System for more than a year on the transition plan, and we are happy to finally have all approvals in place. I would like to thank Dr. Welch and his amazing team for their support and expertise as we worked together toward this goal. We look forward to continuing Henderson’s rich traditions and mission of service to students as a member of the ASU System.”
Founded as a private institution, Henderson today offers more than 65 undergraduate and graduate programs. It became a public institution in 1929 and is the second oldest university in Arkansas under state control. Henderson, which competes in NCAA Division II sports, would become the third ASU System institution with an intercollegiate athletics program. Arkansas State University has an NCAA FBS Division I program, and ASU Mid-South competes in NJCAA Division II men’s and women’s basketball.
With the addition of Henderson, the Little Rock-based ASU System now serves 37,465 students annually on campuses in Arkansas and Queretaro, Mexico, and globally online with a total operating budget of $348 million. The ASU System also includes Arkansas State University, a four-year Carnegie R2 Doctoral research institution in Jonesboro with degree centers at ASU-Beebe, ASU-Mountain Home and ASU Mid-South in West Memphis. Arkansas State University Campus Queretaro opened in September 2017. The system's two-year college institutions include ASU-Beebe, with additional campuses in Heber Springs and Searcy and an instructional site at Little Rock Air Force Base; ASU-Newport, with additional campuses in Jonesboro and Marked Tree; ASU-Mountain Home; ASU Mid-South in West Memphis; and ASU Three Rivers in Malvern.