New Arkansas State University Trustee looks forward to growing the system

by George Jared (gjared@talkbusiness.net) 337 views 

Arkansas State University alumnus Christy Clark fought and won a battle with breast cancer 10 years ago, and now she hopes to bring that kind of resolve to the ASU Board of Trustees.

The 1992 college graduate has been appointed to the board by Gov. Asa Hutchinson. Clark told Talk Business & Politics she looks forward to the challenges of growing the institution and serving its students and faculty.

“I am honored to have been appointed by Gov. Hutchinson to be on the Board of Trustees. It seems fitting to be able to serve the university that provided me with an excellent education and fulfilling college experience,” she said. “My goal is to be a part of making decisions to further the growth and education opportunities at ASU.”

Clark will replace outgoing member Ron Rhodes. Her appointment expires in January 2023. ASU System President Chuck Welch said Clark will bring a broad background in business and community service leadership to the board.

“Christy has deep roots in our state and clearly understands the importance of the ASU System institutions in the Delta and throughout Arkansas,” Welch said. “She and her husband are very successful business owners who understand the importance of a skilled and educated workforce. Christy is also a very active community volunteer who has spent many years serving our state. We’re proud to have another A-State alumna contributing to the growth and success of the ASU System.”

One issue the ASU system will have to deal with in the coming years is tuition increases. Hutchinson has asked state schools to freeze tuition for the 2018-19 school year. Welch has stated he supports the governor, and the system will study the issue. Clark said she supports Welch on this issue.

“We respect, understand and share the governor’s concerns about keeping in-state tuition affordable. One of the top ASU system strategic planning goals is to use the CPI as the guide for tuition requests from our campuses … we will certainly enter budget planning this spring with every intention of answering this challenge from Gov. Hutchinson,” Welch said.

Arkansas State University System Trustee Christy Clark

Welch said the ASU system has been engaged in a comprehensive study to identify ways to increase revenue, reduce expenses and reallocate resources.  The primary purpose of the study is to reduce reliance on student tuition. Additionally, the system continue to pursue new revenue streams through public-private partnerships and innovation activities, he said.

Clark is controller of Clark Contractors in Little Rock. She earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and is an inactive certified public accountant. She is a founding member of the A-State Women’s Business Leadership Center, a 1924 Sustaining Life Member of the ASU Alumni Association and a member of Chi Omega.

ASU strengths as a system include a growing student base, a newly appointed chancellor with the hire of Dr. Kelly Damphousse in 2017, and an excellent reputation for providing high quality higher education, she said. When asked what the main problems facing higher education, Clark said it would be premature to list any until she spends time with Welch and other school officials and learns what those issues first hand.

Clark said she grew up in the region, went to college here and she understands the dynamics unique to the area.

“I grew up in northeast Arkansas in a farming family, which is similar to many of our students. I am also a mom to three teenage boys, an employee, a cancer survivor and a community volunteer. Each of these experiences has impacted my life significantly and will help me in contributing to the Board of Trustees,” she said.

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