Chambers, Harris, Nanyonga Earn ATU’s Highest Honor

ATU Hall of Distinction Inductees 2020
Photographed (from left-to-right): John Ed Chambers III, Benny Harris and Dr. Rose Clarke Nanyonga

John Ed Chambers III of Danville, Benny Harris of Russellville and Dr. Rose Clarke Nanyonga of Kampala, Uganda, will be inducted into the Arkansas Tech University Hall of Distinction in 2020.

Chambers will be inducted under the Distinguished Service category, while Harris and Nanyonga will be inducted under the Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna category.

The ceremony formally adding them to the ATU Hall of Distinction will take place on Friday, April 17, as part of the ATU Foundations and Futures scholarship dinner at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville.

Call (479) 968-0400 for more information about tickets to Foundations and Futures.

John Ed Chambers III

Chambers, chairman and chief executive officer of Chambers Bank, served on the Arkansas Tech Board of Trustees from 1994-99 and 2007-17.

His leadership contributed to the planning and construction of such ATU facilities as Ross Pendergraft Library and Technology Center, Doc Bryan Student Services Center, Baswell Techionery, Baswell Residence Hall, M Street Residence Hall, Rothwell Hall, Brown Hall, the Student Services and Conference Center in Ozark and the Health Sciences and Wellness Building at ATU-Ozark Campus.

The Chambers family provided leadership for Arkansas Tech over a span of more than nine decades.

Chambers’ grandfather — Judge John Ed Chambers — served on the Arkansas Tech Board of Trustees from 1925-37, 1939-53 and 1955-63. His father — John Ed Chambers II — was an Arkansas Tech trustee from 1965-67 and 1987-88.

Chambers Cafeteria at Arkansas Tech is named in honor of all three generations of the family and their support of the university. The facility was renovated in summer 2013 and re-dedicated during a ceremony in April 2014.

Benny Harris

Harris earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration with a minor in economics from Arkansas Tech in 1969.

A member of the Arkansas Army National Guard from 1969-75, Harris began his career as an Arkansas Department of Human Services manager located in Mountain View with oversight of a 10-county region.

He embarked upon a 40-year banking career in 1974 when he became branch manager for Batesville Saving and Loan in Mountain View. He took positions of increased responsibility and moved first to Batesville and then to Pine Bluff before settling in Russellville in 1992.

Five years later, Harris, Roy Reaves and others were part of the group that founded First Arkansas Valley Bank by merging First Bank of Arkansas and the Bank of Atkins. Harris served as president of the new bank and was part of two more mergers before retiring from Liberty Bank of Arkansas in 2014.

Harris has been active in such non-profit organizations as Downtown Rotary, Salvation Army, Main Street Russellville, Arkansas Children’s Hospital Circle of Friends, Russellville Chamber of Commerce Red Coats Committee, the Arkansas Tech University Foundation Board of Directors and the ATU College of Business Advisory Council. He served two terms as president of the Russellville Area Chamber of Commerce and two ATU scholarships are named in his honor.

Dr. Rose Clarke Nanyonga

A 2002 graduate of ATU with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, Nanyonga went on to earn her Master of Science in Nursing degree from Baylor University and her Doctor of Philosophy degree in nursing from Yale University.

Today, she serves as vice chancellor for Clarke International University in Uganda. Nanyonga is also a senior faculty member at Clarke International. She teaches courses in health policy and planning as well as advanced strategic management.

Nanyonga is an advocate for children’s rights and providing leadership opportunities to health care providers. She serves on boards for Clarke Group, Narrow Road International Aid, The Nursing Now Campaign, Uganda Steering Committee, REMI East Africa and The Sinza Project.

Stanford University has named Nanyonga a leadership fellow in its Women Leaders in Global Health initiative, while the Yale University School of Nursing has bestowed its Distinguished Alumna award upon her.

Hall of Distinction Background

Established in 1964, the Arkansas Tech Hall of Distinction recognizes the accomplishments of Arkansas Tech alumni and friends in five categories: Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna, Distinguished Alumni Service, Outstanding Young Alumnus/Alumna, Distinction in Intercollegiate Athletics and Distinguished Service (non-alumnus).

Nominations for the Arkansas Tech Hall of Distinction may be made by any graduate of Arkansas Tech, any current or former member of the faculty or administration of Tech, any currently enrolled full-time student at Tech or any member of the Hall of Distinction. Nominations may not be made by a family member of the nominee. The nomination deadline is Oct. 1 of each year.

No incumbent member of the Arkansas Tech Board of Trustees, faculty, staff or administration is eligible for nomination for any category of the Hall of Distinction.

For more information about nominating an individual for the Arkansas Tech Hall of Distinction, visit, call (479) 968-0242 or send e-mail to