Smith Elected ATU Board of Trustees Chairman

Jim Smith
Jim Smith

Jim Smith of Fayetteville was elected by his fellow trustees to serve as chairman of the Arkansas Tech University Board of Trustees for the 2023 calendar year on Thursday, Jan. 19.

Smith was appointed to a five-year term on the ATU Board of Trustees by Gov. Asa Hutchinson in January 2019.

A native of Russellville, Smith is a 1991 honor graduate of Arkansas Tech with a degree in accounting. He was selected by the faculty as the top student in the ATU School of Business in 1991 and was a member of the 1988 Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference champion Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys baseball team.

Smith earned a Juris Doctor from the University of Arkansas School of Law and a Master of Law degree in taxation from the New York University School of Law. He began his career working in corporate and tax law at Friday Eldredge & Clark for almost two decades before co-founding Smith Hurst in northwest Arkansas in 2011.

Arkansas Business has named Smith as one of the Arkansas 250 most influential people in business and Best Lawyers in America has recognized him since 2007.

Smith’s community service has included work on behalf of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, the Fayetteville Community Foundation, the Arkansas Rice Depot, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Northwest Arkansas, the Northwest Arkansas Museum Foundation and the Northwest Arkansas Symphony.

A past president of the ATU Alumni Association, Smith was the first person inducted into the Arkansas Tech Hall of Distinction under the Outstanding Young Alumnus category when he received that honor in 2001.

Other Arkansas Tech Board of Trustees officers for 2023 are Len Cotton of Dardanelle, vice chairman, and Bill Clary of Conway, secretary. They are joined on the board by Michael Lamoureux of Russellville.

The fifth member of the ATU Board of Trustees for 2023 will be appointed by Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders. That appointee will succeed Stephanie Duffield of Russellville, who was board chairman in 2022.

In other business on Thursday, the ATU Board of Trustees approved:

*letters of notification from the ATU College of Business and Economic Development concerning the establishment of a Certificate of Proficiency in casino and gaming industry, a Technical Certificate in casino and gaming industry and Graduate Certificates in business administration, business data analytics and digital marketing at ATU;

*a letter of notification from the ATU College of Arts and Humanities concerning the deletion of ATU’s Master of Science degree in psychology;

*an easement to the City of Russellville for the ATU property located on Red Hill Lane that grants full easement rights for the purpose of installing, constructing, operating, inspecting, maintaining, repairing and/or removing a drainage system, sidewalk, road widening and for the use of said sidewalk;

*the terms and conditions of a voluntary employee retirement incentive that will be offered to eligible ATU faculty and staff;

*updated bylaws for the ATU Athletics Hall of Fame;

*and adoption of an annual resolution authorizing expense reimbursement for board members per Act 1211 of 1995.

In personnel matters, trustees approved hiring the following full-time employees:

*Ashley Bryant, director of grants and donor relations, effective Jan. 3, 2023; Bryan Cook, residence life area coordinator, effective Jan. 6, 2023; Jessica Crabaugh, assistant dean for residence life, effective Jan. 6, 2023; Denise Cundari, administrative specialist III, effective Jan. 3, 2023; Dr. Shella Evans-Atlas, visiting instructor of management and entrepreneur in residence, for the spring 2023 semester; Rylie Gachot, assistant director of campus life, effective Jan. 7, 2023; Hailey Kendrick, Student Support Services advisor, effective Jan. 3, 2023; Chelsea Martin, academic and career advisor, effective Jan. 3, 2023; Samantha Meeks, coordinator of graduate recruitment, effective Jan. 4, 2023; Charles Metz, visiting instructor of agriculture, for the spring 2023 semester; Eric Rector, director of library, effective Jan. 3, 2023; Rebekah Redman, workforce education faculty of occupational therapy assistant at ATU-Ozark, effective Jan. 3, 2023; Abbygayle Riff, residence life area coordinator, effective Jan. 6, 2023; Yushia Thao, career counselor, effective Jan. 3, 2023; Carlin Truong, visiting director of choral activities and instructor of music, for the spring 2023 semester; and Janet Woods, director of grants and sponsored programs pre-award, effective Jan. 12, 2023.

Trustees approved changes in assignment for the following ATU employees:

*Angela Black, from interim director of library to associate librarian, effective Jan. 3, 2023; Dr. Lynnette Gilbert, from interim department head and assistant professor of art to assistant professor of art, effective Jan. 1, 2023; Kasten Searles, from visiting instructor of art to department head and associate professor of art, effective Jan. 1, 2023; and Daniel Smith, from training specialist and business consultant for the ATU regional office of the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center to chief fiscal officer for ATU-Ozark Campus, effective Jan. 3, 2023.

The board accepted the resignation of Dr. James Peck, assistant professor of art history, effective Dec. 10, 2022, and Rosendo Trapala, administrative specialist for campus life, effective Oct. 31, 2022.

Dr. Deborah Wilson, professor of English, was granted retirement effective May 3, 2023. Wilson has served on the ATU faculty since 1992.