Financially Healthy UCA Is First Priority, New President Says

by Jan Cottingham  on Friday, Jun. 19, 2009 3:45 pm  

Allen C. Meadors, in his first public statements since his selection as president of the University of Central Arkansas, said Friday that making the university financially healthy would be his first priority.

CONWAY -- Allen C. Meadors, in his first public statements since the announcement of his selection as president of the University of Central Arkansas, said Friday that making the university financially healthy would be his first priority.

Meadors, 62, was answering reporters' questions after being introduced by Rush Harding, chairman of the UCA board of trustees. Meadors, chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, also said in response to questions that he wanted to raise faculty salaries, bringing them up to the 80th percentile of those around the nation.

Meadors also noted that several executive positions at UCA were open and that they, too, would be among the first items on his agenda, determining who would fill them or whether they even needed to be filled.

"We're going to put these students first," Meadors, a 1969 graduate of UCA, said in his opening remarks. He added that he wanted to ensure that UCA graduates would be "good citizens ... comfortable in a global society."

"Hopefully, for the next 10 years, we're going to bring this university to a point where everybody is proud" of UCA, Meadors said.

"You're not always going to agree with what I do," he said, and "we will make mistakes," but he added that every decision would be based on "honesty."

Present with Meadors was his wife, Barbara.

Meadors replaces Lu Hardin, who resigned in August after controversy erupted over his taking a secret bonus. That revelation led to others, among them that Hardin had approved student scholarships with no criteria.

Meadors spoke after an introduction by Harding in the board of trustees room in Wingo Hall on the university campus. About 100 people filled the room, to the point of standing room only.

Harding began by saying, "I hope the past is behind us." He added, "I would personally like to apologize for the pain, the embarrassment that you've had to suffer these last 10 months," prompting applause by several people in the room.

Harding noted that the UCA faculty had told the presidential search committee that they wanted someone with executive experience, someone who had been a faculty member and someone with an earned doctorate. Meadors possesses all those qualities, Harding said.

"I welcome you to a new era at UCA," he said. "I welcome you to strong transparent leadership from this man here, Dr. Allen Meadors." That resulted in a standing ovation.

The UCA' board voted 5-2 earlier this week to hire Meadors, who plans to assume his duties the week of July 6.

Meadors' three-year contract calls for the school to pay him a salary of $238,000. Of that total, $212,390 will come from state funds, and $25,610 will be paid from private funds through the UCA Foundation.

Another $12,000 will be supplemented from the UCA Foundation to cover the cost of renting a UCA-owned home for the president's parents, essentially raising Meadors' salary to $250,000.

Meadors is a native of Van Buren.

Asked by reporters after his formal remarks whether he would have sought the UCA post if he hadn't been recruited by the search committee, Meadors said he wasn't sure, adding that he and his family had been happy at UNC-Pembroke. Meadors noted, however, that he and his parents were happy to be returning to Arkansas.

 

 

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