The American Association of State Colleges and Universities announced Tuesday (Nov. 14) that Arkansas State University System President Chuck Welch will become its new president and chief executive officer effective Jan. 15, 2024.
Welch was named the second president of the ASU System in November 2010 and officially began the position in April 2011. He will leave as the longest-tenured higher education president or chancellor in Arkansas.
ASU System Board of Trustees member Christy Clark of Little Rock said the ASU System Board of Trustees will meet Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. via Zoom to discuss plans to identify Welch’s successor.
“We are deeply saddened about Dr. Welch’s resignation as president of the ASU System, but we are excited for him and his family and the opportunity they have been given,” said board member Christy Clark. “Dr. Welch has provided the ASU System with exemplary leadership and has strengthened us in his tenure. Under his leadership, the system has grown from four to seven member institutions plus a campus in Mexico. He has appointed each sitting chancellor and helped us improve and maintain our financial stability. In short, we are better today than when Dr. Welch became president, and we are grateful for his exceptional service and dedication to the campuses we serve.”
Welch, who will relocate to Washington, D.C., is no stranger to AASCU. He served as chair of its board of directors from 2019-2021, including being elected to a second term during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s obviously a bittersweet career move for me,” Welch said. “I love the ASU System and the team we’ve put together, and I’m proud of our accomplishments. But this is a terrific opportunity with an organization I believe in, and I’m excited to promote the likes of AASCU member institutions like Arkansas State University and Henderson State University with this national higher education platform.
“America’s regional public colleges and universities are on the front lines of transforming public higher education, driving civic engagement and contributing to thriving local communities,” he said. “It’s an honor to join AASCU at a time when regional comprehensive universities are poised to make a critical impact. They serve our country’s fastest-growing demographics – from students of color and first-generation students to adult learners and transfer students – and create pathways to social and economic mobility. I look forward to working collaboratively with the board, the AASCU staff and our dedicated members to continue the vital work of telling the story of public higher education and moving our sector forward.”