Williams, the first Chancellor of Arkansas State University-Newport, has served in the position since 2001 and recently announced that he would retire Aug. 31.
The resolution designated Williams as Chancellor Emeritus “in recognition of his countless contributions and in deep gratitude for his legacy of wise and generous counsel and untiring efforts on behalf of the university, its students, faculty, staff and friends.”
“The title of Chancellor Emeritus is typically reserved for only those administrators who have had a lengthy and transformative term leading a higher education institution,” said Dr. Charles L. Welch, Arkansas State University System President. “Considering that, it seems that the title may have been created for someone just like Dr. Larry Williams. What Larry has been able to accomplish at ASU-Newport is nothing short of miraculous, and he is certainly deserving of all positive recognition he receives. Everyone in the ASU System is so appreciative of the tremendous impact Larry and Amy (Blackburn, spouse) have had on the campus, our students, and the communities we serve. He leaves a lasting legacy at ASU that will be felt for many years to come. This recognition was an easy decision, and is just one small way we can thank Larry Williams for his exceptional tenure.”
Under Williams’ leadership, enrollment has climbed from 500 students in 2001 to a record 2,160 this spring. Major capital projects during the past 12 years have included the $3 million Business and Transportation Technology Center and $3.2 million Student Community Center in Newport; the $1.5 million Collision Repair Technology Center and a $2.6 million renovation in Marked Tree; and a $1.4 million expansion, a $2 million Nursing and Allied Health Center, and the $2.5 million Hospitality Services Education Building, made possible by a $1 million gift from the Wallace Fowler family, all in Jonesboro. The Newport campus has also acquired 54 acres of property to accommodate expansions.
ASU-Newport received 10-year accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission, a commission of the North Central Accreditation in 2006, and the college assumed responsibility for the ASU Technical Centers at Marked Tree and Jonesboro in 2007.
The state’s only High Voltage Lineman Technology program was created on the Newport campus in 2004 in partnership with Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas. The program expanded in 2009 and again in 2010.