News Article

ASU System Trustees Honor Windgate Foundation for Largest Gift in A-State History


LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas State University System Board of Trustees today voted to accept a $25 million challenge gift from the Windgate Foundation – the largest donation to Arkansas State University in history – for a new facility that will be designated the Windgate Hall of Art and Innovation and the accompanying Art and Innovation District.

The naming resolution was approved during the board regular meeting Friday morning, and the historic gift was announced by Chancellor Kelly Damphousse on the A-State campus later in the day. The gift designates $20 million for construction and $5 million for a building maintenance endowment. With this recent gift to A-State, Windgate becomes the largest single benefactor in the 112-year history of the university with a total just under $40 million over the past several years. Additional information is available here.

“We are very grateful for the generosity and vision of the Windgate Foundation,” System President Chuck Welch said. “Windgate’s support has been transformative not only for A-State and Henderson State, but for all of higher education and the arts throughout Arkansas.

In his report to the board, Welch said ASU System institutions are collaborating to implement a growing number of shared services. The system’s Accelerate ASU efficiency study conducted by Huron Consulting Group in 2018 outlined multiple opportunities to increase revenues, cut costs and improve efficiencies.

“We immediately addressed areas such as institutional research for data-informed decisions and added system management for IT functions that resulted in substantial savings through shared software contracts, personnel and equipment,” Welch said. “Soon we will have all of our institutions on the same software platform for areas such as financial management, budgeting and enrollment services. Our next focus will be streamlining additional human resources and payroll functions.”

System chancellors have embraced the collaboration and benefits, Welch said, and will continue to identify additional areas. Campuses are also using data to review the viability, success rates and costs of academic programs as recommended in the Huron study.

“Seeing the Accelerate ASU initiative from 2018 move into action has been very exciting,” Board Chair Price Gardner of Little Rock said.

Damphousse outlined efforts of A-State to improve access to bachelor’s degrees for community college students, as well as positive outcomes from new scholarships and a new test-optional admissions policy approved by the board earlier this year. He said overall admissions for next fall are up 8 percent, while minority admissions are up 25 percent and admissions of Black students are up 40 percent.

ASU Three Rivers Chancellor Steve Rook said the new Saline County Career Technical Campus has 450 high school students from six school districts this fall, and some have already begun the credentialing process for some trades. He also noted the opening of the campus resulted in ASU Three Rivers having the highest increase in enrollment head count of any higher education institution in Arkansas this fall.

Welch noted the appointment of Damphousse to the NCAA Board of Governors, which is the primary governing body of the organization. He also recognized Jo Lunbeck, assistant vice president for administration, on her pending retirement after more than 23 years of service to the ASU System. New Henderson Chancellor Chuck Ambrose and newly appointed trustee Jerry Morgan of Jonesboro were welcomed to their first board meeting.

The board elected the following officers for 2022: Christy Clark of Little Rock, chair; Price Gardner, vice chair; and Niel Crowson of Jonesboro, secretary.

In other business, the Board of Trustees approved:

  • Various accreditation documents for Arkansas State University Museum missions and strategy.
  • Construction of the $1 million, 7,000-square-foot FedEx Aviation Mezzanine finish-out capital project at ASU Mid-South to accommodate growth in related academic programs.
  • ASU-Mountain Home to name the newly created walking and biking trail the “James D. and Sally E. Moore Recreational Trail” in recognition of a $500,000 gift.
  • ASU Three Rivers to offer a Technical Certificate and Certificate of Proficiency in Teaching.
  • A-State to modify its lease agreement with NEA Sports Club to add additional areas of alcohol service for club members. The areas include limited concourse locations at Centennial Bank Stadium, athletics events at First National Bank Arena, and limited areas at Tomlinson Stadium.
  • Henderson State to enter into an agreement with Sodexo Management Inc. to sell and serve alcoholic beverages in certain event locations on campus.
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