As many of you already know, I recently accepted the position of Director of Marketing at Arkansas State University-Newport, and in the three weeks since, time has passed in a blur.

I have some big shoes to fill, replacing Pat Calhoun, who sat at this desk for many years and did a great job.  She has already been a big help to me on numerous occasions during this transition period.  Luckily for me, the position has been restructured somewhat, giving me some responsibilities that she did not have, while passing some of her old duties along to other departments. Great things are happening at all three campuses.  Classes began Monday and students filled the hallways in Newport, Jonesboro and Marked Tree once again.  Online courses are offered as well, giving students a vast array of courses to choose from in many different fields.  Students who plan to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree may earn their Associate’s Degree at any one of the three campuses, or online – with more personalized attention and at a substantial savings over traditional four-year colleges.  With concurrent enrollment offered through both of Jackson County’s public schools, as well as schools in Craighead, Poinsett, Clay and Woodruff counties, it is possible for high school students to receive their Associate’s Degree before graduating from high school.  That is an amazing opportunity for our local youth.  Approximately 20 Technical Certificates are offered as well.  Courses ranging from Practical Nursing, which is offered on all three campuses, to High Voltage Lineman Technology, to Cosmetology to Industrial Maintenance provide opportunities for careers that are in demand, in a short period of time. One of the challenges I will tackle immediately will be to increase the awareness of ASUN’s social media sites.  Look for more information and about what is going on at ASU-Newport on our Facebook page at, along with photos highlighting achievements and events at all three campuses.  Find us on Twitter for quick information about what is going on at ASUN by following @ASUNewport.  Additionally, ASU-Newport students who follow us on Twitter and retweet a special promotional tweet from August 20 before Friday, Aug. 24 at noon will be entered into a random drawing for a $50 gift certificate from the ASU-Newport Bookstore.   ASUN’s YouTube presence will also increase significantly, with new videos to be added in the near future. The 2012-13 Patron Series and Concert-Lecture series will feature an exciting lineup as well, and ASUN staff members, along with members of the community were treated to a preview of the caliber of entertainment the Concert-Lecture series will offer when Toby Dewayne Daughtery spoke Aug. 15 in the Student/Community Center.  Daughtery was born and raised in Dixie Addition, a small community in North Little Rock.  Daughtery, a former drug dealer, enrolled at Pulaski Technical College four months after finishing a prison sentence that lasted almost three years.  Daughtery graduated with honors in the Spring of 2009, then accepted the Shelby Breedlove Scholarship and began classes at UALR.  Standing in front of his audience at ASU-Newport, Daughtery received his diploma from UALR, which had come in the mail earlier that morning.  He overcame his past to become a speaker, writer, poet, artist and a promoter of positive change, and was fascinating to those of us fortunate enough to hear his story. On a personal note, I look forward to sharing with you all of the exciting and positive things that go on at ASU-Newport in the coming weeks, months, and hopefully years.  As an alumnus of ASU-Newport who went on to earn his Bachelor’s Degree from ASU-Jonesboro, I know firsthand the value of this institution to Jackson County and the surrounding area.  For the last six years, I had a wonderful time crisscrossing the country with ASU’s athletic teams, traveling from Seattle to Miami, from New York to San Francisco and all points in between.  But I am ready to settle down and spend more time with friends and family – including my fiancée, Katey Buckley, who I met while working at ASU Athletics and recently became engaged to.  Working at ASU Athletics was a fun and exciting ride, but it’s good to be home.