Russellville Mayor Richard Harris met with Arkansas Tech University President Dr. Robin E. Bowen and the ATU executive council on Wednesday, Jan. 23, to discuss ways in which the city and the university can work together for the common good.
"Tech is a big player in the Russellville community," said Harris. "The previous administration had a good relationship (with Tech), and I intend to continue that relationship and maybe even make it better as we go forward. I'm a true believer in Tech. One of my daughters (Kelley) just graduated from Tech recently and is attending medical school, and I have another daughter (Lexi) who is attending Tech now. What I'd like to do is continue the partnership and provide opportunities in our community for the students so they can feel like a part of the community when they come here. We have venues that can keep them entertained when they are not not studying or in class. I'd like for them to become such a part of the community that they want to stick around after they graduate. That would be my desire as mayor, to work and foster that kind of relationship."
Arkansas Tech University is the third-largest institution of higher learning in the state with a fall 2018 headcount of 12,101 students, the largest enrollment in the 109-year history of the institution. ATU ranks No. 1 in the state and among the top 10.5 percent of colleges and universities in the nation on the CollegeNET Social Mobility Index, which measures how much students' economic position improves from the time they enter higher education through their early career.
"The fates of the university and the community are inextricably tied," said Bowen. "At Arkansas Tech University, we seek to provide educational opportunities that will facilitate economic prosperity and optimal quality of life for the residents of our community, our region and our state. We look forward to collaborating with Mayor Harris on our shared objectives and doing our part to ensure that Russellville continues to thrive and pursue its potential as a great college town."