The University of Arkansas at Fort Smith has appointed Carey Tucker as the new vice chancellor for finance and administration. He was hired following a national search, and is the vice president for finance and administration at South Arkansas Community College.
The position will serve as the institution’s chief financial officer and is responsible for oversight of the university’s outsourced services, supervision of bond performance and the Budget, Finance & Business Services, Human Resources, Plant Operations, IT Services and University Police departments on the UAFS campus.
In his role at South Arkansas Community College, he manages budgets, financial statements, accounting, financial planning, legislative requests, human resources, procurement, physical plant, contract review, real estate transactions, safety, security, information technology, and property and property and vehicle insurance programs. He also provided executive management of auxiliary operations for the El Dorado Conference Center, the college bookstore, vending operations and the South Arkansas Arboretum State Park.
“My wife and I are really excited about coming to UAFS and joining the Fort Smith community,” said Tucker.
Tucker, 60, retired as a colonel from the U.S. Air Force after 30 years before beginning his career in higher education in 2015. His last role with the military was as the deputy director for logistics, installations and mission support for the Air Force Global Strike Command. During his Air Force career, he managed multimillion-dollar budgets and developed policies to manage more than $4 billion in inventory and led numerous multi-functional organizations including two commands, noted the UAFS news release.
Tucker said he considers working in higher education to be an extension of the service he performed in the Air Force, noting that in the military, he was tasked with ensuring the health, safety, and welfare of troops under his command and at UAFS, he also will focus on the health, safety, and welfare of students and employees.
“As a deeply respected, incredibly knowledgeable individual, I know Carey Tucker will thrive at UAFS,” said Dr. Terisa Riley, UAFS chancellor. “I am confident his creativity, strategic vision, and deep understanding of higher education, finance, and the laws and processes of the state of Arkansas will lead to his success in all areas of the Division of Finance and Administration.”
Riley also noted Tucker’s innovative and decisive leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as particularly impressive.
“This post-pandemic period will be an interesting time for our nation and particularly higher education,” Tucker said. “The pandemic taught us the need to be flexible, imaginative, and technologically driven to provide continuous education for our students under austere situations.”
Tucker is an active member of numerous state, regional and national organizations and a board member-at-large for the Arkansas Association of College and University Business Officers and was selected as the 2020 Arkansas Phi Beta Lambda Outstanding Business Person of the Year.
He is set to begin his position at UAFS July 6 with an annual salary of $170,000.
Kathy McDermott, who served as interim vice chancellor for finance and administration through The Registry, an agency specializing in interim executive placements, will conclude her full-time work at UAFS July 19. She will continue in a part-time role to consult with Tucker through the end of her one-year contract in September.
Tucker and his wife, Gretchen, have three sons and nine grandchildren.