The Arkansas State University System, based in Little Rock, serves almost 35,000 students annually on campuses in Arkansas and Queretaro, Mexico, and globally online.
The ASU System includes Arkansas State University, a four-year Carnegie R2 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 (formerly College of the Ouachitas) in Malvern. Henderson State University in Arkadelphia became the system's second four-year institution member on Feb. 1 under Act 18 of 2021.
Dr. Robin Myers serves as interim president of the ASU System at its administrative offices in Little Rock. The chancellors are Dr. Todd Shields at Arkansas State, Dr. Jennifer Methvin at ASU-Beebe, Dr. Johnny Moore at ASU-Newport; Dr. Bentley Wallace at ASU-Mountain Home, Dr. Debra West at ASU Mid-South; Dr. Steve Rook at ASU Three Rivers; and Dr. Trey Berry at Henderson State. A seven-member Board of Trustees appointed by the governor governs the system.
The ASU System provides a wide range of degree and certificate programs, serves as a leading voice on state higher education issues, and supports significant programs for the state and region, including economic development initiatives, the Arkansas Biosciences Institute, and Arkansas heritage sites.
The mission of the ASU System is to contribute to the educational, cultural, and economic advancement of Arkansas by providing quality general undergraduate education and specialized programs leading to certificate, associate, baccalaureate, masters, professional, and doctoral degrees; by encouraging the pursuit of research, scholarly inquiry, and creative activity; and by bringing these intellectual resources together to develop the economy of the state and the education of its citizens throughout their lives.
Dr. Les Wyatt was designated President Emeritus of the ASU System in 2010 after serving as the first system president from 2006-2010, and Dr. Chuck Welch was designated President Emeritus in 2024 after serving as its second president from 2011-2024.
Arkansas State University System History Timeline
- 1909 – An agriculture high school founded on April 1 by Act 100 of the 37th Arkansas General Assembly establishes what will become Arkansas State University.
- 1925 – Arkansas General Assembly changes school name to First District Agricultural and Mechanical College.
- 1927 – Act 282 of the Arkansas General Assembly establishes the Junior Agricultural School of Central Arkansas in Beebe, with first classes held in October 1929.
- 1932 – First District Agricultural and Mechanical College awards first four-year degrees.
- 1933 – First District Agricultural and Mechanical College becomes Arkansas State College.
- 1955 – Arkansas State College offers graduate programs at the master’s level.
- 1955 – Junior Agricultural College of Central Arkansas in Beebe joins Arkansas State College System and becomes Arkansas State College – Beebe Branch (now Arkansas State University-Beebe).
- 1965 – Arkansas State College – Beebe Branch begins teaching classes at Little Rock Air Force Base in Jacksonville.
- 1967 – Following a decade of lobbying efforts, the Arkansas General Assembly agrees on Jan. 17 to change the name of Arkansas State College to Arkansas State University effective July 1.
- 1985 – Arkansas State Technical Institute at ASU-Beebe created by Act 496 of Arkansas General Assembly.
- 1991 – White River Vocational Technical School in Newport, founded in 1976, merges with ASU-Beebe.
- 1992 – Arkansas State University initiates its first doctoral program in educational leadership.
- 1995 – President William Jefferson Clinton becomes first sitting president to visit Arkansas State University in Jonesboro for dedication of newly expanded Dean B. Ellis Library.
- 1995 – Arkansas State University-Mountain Home is established on July 1.
- 1999 – Arkansas General Assembly approves two-year college creation in Heber Springs. Originally ASU-Heber Springs, it later became ASU-Beebe Heber Springs campus.
- 2000 – Arkansas State University-Newport concludes oversight by ASU-Beebe and becomes separate institution in ASU System.
- 2000 – ASU-Mountain Home relocates to new campus with three academic buildings.
- 2001 – Arkansas State University collaborates with four state institutions to conduct research designed to improve the health of Arkansans and creates Arkansas Biosciences Institute.
- 2001 – Delta Technical Institute, which originated as Delta Vocational Technical School in Marked Tree and Jonesboro in 1967, merges with Arkansas State University and becomes ASU Technical Center.
- 2003 – Foothills Technical Institute in Searcy, established as Foothills Vocation Technical School in 1965, merges with ASU-Beebe.
- 2006 – Board of Trustees creates an Arkansas State University System administrative structure separate from Arkansas State University to facilitate future growth and enhanced services to the system institutions, including A-State in Jonesboro, ASU-Beebe, ASU-Mountain Home, and ASU-Newport. Dr. Leslie Wyatt becomes first system president, Dr. Robert Potts becomes first chancellor at Arkansas State, and each institution is led by its own chancellor.
- 2008 – ASU-Newport assumes operational oversight of ASU Technical Center in Jonesboro and Marked Tree.
- 2010 – Dr. Wyatt resigns and is named President Emeritus of ASU System. Dr. Robert L. Potts becomes interim president of ASU System.
- 2011 – Dr. Charles L. Welch becomes second president of the ASU System, and the Board of Trustees votes to relocate the ASU System Office from Jonesboro to Little Rock to increase the system’s statewide visibility and presence in the state capital.
- 2014 – ASU System Office moves into sixth floor of historic Winthrop Rockefeller Building (previously the 501 Building and National Old Line Building) in Little Rock.
- 2015 – Mid-South Community College in West Memphis, created in 1992 after originally being established as a vocational-technical school, becomes a member of the ASU System and changes its name to Arkansas State University Mid-South.
- 2016 – New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine opens the state’s second medical school in renovated, historic Wilson Hall on the Arkansas State University campus.
- 2017 – Arkansas State University Campus Queretaro in Mexico opens in $100 million facility privately funded by businessman Ricardo Gonzalez.
- 2017 – ASU System initiates Accelerate ASU efficiency study to explore ways to institutions to grow revenue, reduce costs, and reallocate resources to strategic initiatives.
- 2019 – College of the Ouachitas in Malvern, originally established in 1969 as Ouachita Vocational Technical School, votes to become a member of the ASU System. The college changes its name to Arkansas State University Three Rivers and joins the System effective Jan. 1, 2020.
- 2019 – American Association of State Colleges and Universities Board of Directors elects ASU System President Charles L. Welch as Chair.
2019 – ASU System Board of Trustees approves management agreement, merger agreement, and transition plan with Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, founded as a private institution in 1890, to become a member in January 2021 pending Higher Learning Commission approval. Henderson will become the ASU System’s second four-year university member.
2020 – Ground-breaking ceremony held for $40 Million, 134,000-square-foot Saline County Career and Technical Campus of ASU Three Rivers in Benton (opened in August 2021).
2021 – The 93rd General Assembly of Arkansas passes and Gov. Asa Hutchinson signs Act 18 of 2021 to make Henderson State the seventh institution of the ASU System and to expand the ASU System Board of Trustees from five members to seven.
2021 – Windgate Foundation donates $25 million to Arkansas State University – the largest gift in university history – for development of the Windgate Hall of Art and Innovation.
2023 – ASU System Board of Trustees approves plan for Arkansas State University to develop the state's first College of Veterinary Medicine.
2023 –Dr. Welch resigns to become president and CEO of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities in Washington, D.C., and is named President Emeritus of ASU System. Dr. Robin Myers, Chancellor Emeritus of ASU-Mountain Home, becomes interim president of ASU System.
For complete histories of ASU System institutions, visit:
Arkansas State University – http://www.astate.edu/info/about-asu/history/
ASU-Mountain Home – https://asumh.edu/pages/main/347/history
ASU-Newport – https://www.asun.edu/history
ASU Mid-South – https://www.asumidsouth.edu/institutional-profile/
ASU Three Rivers – http://asutr.edu/about_us
Henderson State University – https://www.hsu.edu/pages/about/history/