Henderson State University President Glen Jones announced he will resign as president, effective immediately. Jones has served as university president since 2012.
“While serving as president of my alma mater has been one of the great blessings of my life, I believe the time has come for a new vision for our beloved institution,” Jones said. “I am proud of the many things we have been able to accomplish together during my tenure at HSU and am grateful for the efforts of our campus community in providing an outstanding educational experience for our students.”
Jones, a 1992 graduate of Henderson State, plans to return to campus as a professor in August 2020.
“Under Glen’s leadership, Henderson has attracted more incoming freshmen and graduate students at a time when competition for a shrinking pool of students is on the rise,” Johnny Hudson, Board chairman, said. “New academic programs, increased fundraising and enhanced student life on campus that began during his tenure will benefit Reddies both now and in the future. I am grateful for his service and wish him well as he returns to the classroom.”
Elaine Kneebone, General Counsel for Henderson State University, will serve as acting president until an interim search is completed. Kneebone is a 1997 graduate of Henderson State University with a bachelor of arts degree in history.
Kneebone studied law at the University of Canterbury as a Rotary Foundation Academic Year Ambassadorial Scholar in 1998 and completed her Juris Doctorate at the University of Arkansas School of Law in 2001.
The Board of Trustees also approved a contract for Arkansas State University to provide financial, internal audit, information technology, institutional research, and legal support services.
Jones will be on sabbatical through the end of the fiscal year.
Highlights of Jones’ presidency include:
- Increased freshman enrollment to a record of 855 first-time freshmen enrolled for the 2018 fall semester. Additionally, academic preparedness of the freshman class has continued to improve. Last fall, freshmen recorded the highest high school grade point average at 3.36, while the second highest was in 2017 with 3.27. ACT scores of admitted students continue to be equal to or higher than state and national averages.
- Expanded online education options, which contributed to record graduate school enrollment. Since 2012, graduate school enrollment has increased by 65 percent to a high of 559 last fall. Online graduate programs have developed in educational leadership, nursing and business. Additionally, approvals for the university’s first doctoral programs in educational leadership and nursing are nearing completion.
- Growth in enrollment led to increased housing needs, which resulted in the construction of expanded, modern residential housing including Reddie Villas and University Place. The number of students living on campus increased by 23 percent since 2012.
- Established a satellite campus in downtown Hot Springs in 2014 at the Landmark Building to bring four-year degree options to the Hot Springs community. The regional partnerships fostered in healthcare and tourism have resulted in financial support for our academic programs and greater internship and employment opportunities for our students.
- Invested in athletics—including the addition of junior varsity teams, a pom squad and competitive cheerleading, which resulted in a 56 percent growth in the number of student athletes. These students recorded 10 straight semesters of improved grade point averages, including five consecutive semesters with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. The spring 2019 departmental GPA of 3.07 is the highest in school history for Reddie Athletics. Playoff appearances include eight GAC championships, 14 NCAA team appearances, an NCAA regional championship in baseball, a Top-10 finish in women’s golf at the national championships, and Henderson’s first-ever NCAA football playoff victory.
- Completed a $3 million renovation to the exterior and interior of the Old Caddo Center funded by a grant from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council to preserve the facility and provide a permanent home for the largest collection of Caddo Indian Artifacts.
- Doubled the amount of annual contributions raised via the Henderson State University Foundation from $1.1 million to a near two-decade high $2.2 million. Increased the overall number of donors and reached a record high of 1,043 alumni donors. More than doubled the fair market value of the endowment from $7.7 million to $16.6 million.