Campus Community Members,

As you know, our university has endured challenging days over the past week with the resignation of Chancellor Tim Hudson. The findings of audits conducted by the ASU System Internal Audit division were definitely concerning and unfortunate. However, I am pleased that our audit process worked exactly as it was designed, and I am committed to fully addressing each finding and establishing measures to prevent against future similar occurrences.

The message I wish to convey to you and to our entire campus community is that we will emerge from these challenges stronger than ever. Our university is in a very solid position and poised to rise to heights never before seen in our 107-year history. Just in the past five years, we have experienced many significant accomplishments including:

  • Most academically talented freshman classes in university history
  • Highest student retention rates in university history
  • Largest numbers of graduating students in university history
  • Largest honors class in university history
  • Largest band in university history
  • Three of the four best private giving years in university history
  • Best alumni private giving rate in university history
  • Creation of a public-private partnership with the NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine and renovation of historic Wilson Hall to establish a medical school at A-State
  • Highest Greek life participation rate in university history
  • 33 of the top 100 private gifts and gift commitments in university history
  • Unprecedented success in intercollegiate athletics
  • Establishment of partnerships to create an A-State campus in Mexico and construct a hotel and convention center on campus
  • Completion of multiple capital construction projects:
    • Humanities Building
    • Multiple student residential facilities and learning communities
    • Five sorority houses
    • Johnny Allison Tower at Centennial Bank Stadium

These accomplishments are possible because of the outstanding faculty and staff we have leading our world-class student body. These accomplishments are also possible because of assistance from our dedicated alumni and supporters. This commitment to service and excellence from so many allows us to think outside the box and dream of a university that will transform our communities and the lives of our students.

I am committed to conducting our university operations in an ethical and transparent manner. I will work tirelessly to restore any lost trust as a result of recent revelations. I will implement additional mechanisms to improve communications between the campus and the system. I will also conduct additional reviews of campus operations to ensure that we are aware of any potential misconduct. While we do not believe any university funds are missing, I can certainly understand the concern which arises from questionable actions. To that end, I am committed to communicating extensively with all of our campus constituencies in an effort to ease those concerns.

Regarding how we move forward, I am developing a plan for the leadership of our university. As you probably know, I appointed Provost Lynita Cooksey to serve temporarily as acting chancellor while I develop a long-term interim strategy. My current plan is to retain an individual, possibly a retired president or chancellor, to lead our university for the remainder of this academic year. I will be seeking someone who has a reputation of high integrity and strong interpersonal communications skills. It is my hope that this individual will be able to serve as a healer and assist in addressing all campus issues to clear the way for our next permanent chancellor. Of course the selection of a permanent chancellor will be made with the assistance of a representative group of faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members.

I will be meeting directly with campus constituency groups in the coming weeks to discuss all of these issues with you in greater detail. I will provide detailed information about the issues raised in the audits, as well as other concerns I have heard in recent days. Additionally, I will provide ample time for you to ask questions about the recent findings, and steps being taken to address the issues raised, and to voice further concerns you may have. There has been a significant amount of misinformation floating about, and I want to ensure that everyone knows the facts and feels comfortable about the situation.

In closing, please know that our university has never been stronger and our future has never been brighter. I will be spending considerably more time on campus in the coming months communicating with our constituencies and reminding all of the many good things happening at our university. As the old saying goes, tough times never last, but tough people do. Arkansas State University has the toughest people in the business, and it should be clear to all that we are always rising!

I look forward to seeing you soon. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me directly with any questions, concerns, or input you may have.


Dr. Charles L. Welch
Arkansas State University System
501 Woodlane, Suite 600
Little Rock, AR 72201