Arkansas Business Power List 2016: Education

Arkansas Business Power List 2016: Education

Bret Bielema, 46

Head Football Coach
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Razorback football fans suffered through the firing of Bobby Petrino in 2012 and that fall’s miserable season under interim head coach John L. Smith only to have their hopes revived with the hiring of Bret Bielema, the winning young coach of the Wisconsin Badgers. Bielema’s Razorbacks went 3-9 in his first season, but things have improved since then: 7-6 in 2014, 8-5 in 2015 and back-to-back bowl wins (Texas and Liberty). A native of Prophetstown, Illinois, Bielema earned a degree in marketing in 1992 at the University of Iowa, where he was a four-year letterman and later spent nine years as an assistant coach.

Donald R. Bobbitt, 59

University of Arkansas System, Little Rock
Donald Bobbitt returned to Arkansas in the fall of 2011 as president of the University of Arkansas System. He earned a doctorate in chemistry from Iowa State University in 1985, then worked as an assistant professor in the department of chemistry and biochemistry at the UA in Fayetteville and was later dean of its J. William Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences. He had been provost and vice president of academic affairs at the University of Texas at Arlington for three years when he was chosen to succeed B. Allen Sugg as system president. Under his leadership, the UA System has added a new institution, the online-only eVersity.

Tim Hudson, 61

Arkansas State University, Jonesboro
As ASU has branched into a full-blown educational system, the top position on the Jonesboro campus is that of chancellor rather than president. On May 1, 2012, Tim Hudson became ASU-Jonesboro’s second chancellor, and his tenure has been marked by big initiatives: an American-style university campus in Mexico, a College of Osteopathic Medicine to be operated on the ASU campus by the New York Institute of Technology and a hotel and convention center planned in conjunction with the O’Reilly Embassy Suites group from Missouri. Hudson came to ASU from the Texas Tech University System, where he was a vice chancellor. From 2004-10, he was president of the University of Houston-Victoria. He spent two decades as a professor and administrator at the University of Southern Mississippi, where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. His Ph.D. is from Clark University at Worcester, Massachusetts. 

Evelyn Jorgenson, 64

Northwest Arkansas Community College, Bentonville
Evelyn Jorgenson became Northwest Arkansas Community College’s third president in mid-2013 after 26 years at Moberly Area Community College in Missouri, including 18 years as its president. Although enrollment at NWACC has slumped along with that of most community colleges, it overtook Pulaski Technical College in North Little Rock as the largest two-year school in the state with 7,709 students enrolled in the fall of 2015. Jorgenson earned an associate degree from State Fair Community College in Sedalia, Missouri, before earning a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Columbia College of Missouri and master’s and doctoral degrees in higher and adult education from the University of Missouri.

Johnny Key, 47

Arkansas Education Department
It’s been a year this week since the Arkansas Board of Education approved former state Sen. Johnny Key as commissioner of the Arkansas Department of Education. Key was previously associate vice president for university relations at the University of Arkansas System. Key began his career in public service in 1997 when he was elected to the Baxter County Quorum Court. He served three terms in the state House of Representatives, followed by a term in the state Senate. While in the Senate, Key was chairman of a number of committees, including the Senate Education Committee. Key graduated from Gurdon High School and received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 1991.

Jeff Long, 56

Athletic Director
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
After a few months as an adviser to then-Chancellor John A. White, Ohio native Jeff Long succeeded the legendary Frank Broyles as athletic director of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in January 2008. He solidified his status with an emotional performance in April 2012 in which he announced the firing of Bobby Petrino, the man he had handpicked as head coach of the Razorbacks football team. Long earned a degree in economics in 1982 from Ohio Wesleyan, where he lettered in football and baseball, and a master’s in education at Miami University of Ohio in 1983. He was athletic director for the University of Pittsburgh prior to joining the UA.

Brett Powell, 48

Arkansas Department of Higher Education
Brett Powell was vice president for administrative services at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia from 2006 to January 2015, when he joined Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s cabinet as director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. Powell holds a bachelor of business administration degree in accounting from the University of Louisiana at Monroe and a Master of Business Administration and a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Powell is a certified public accountant and was an associate vice chancellor for finance at UALR and director of financial services at the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service before joining OBU.

Joseph Steinmetz, 61

University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Joseph Steinmetz became the sixth chancellor of the University of Arkansas’ flagship campus in January, so he hasn’t had time to leave many marks. In interviews, he has said he thinks the out-of-state enrollment at UA (51 percent) does not need to get any higher. Steinmetz is a Michigan native who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Central Michigan University and his doctorate at Ohio University. He has worked at Indiana University, the University of Kansas and Ohio State University, where he was executive vice president and provost when the UA board of trustees selected him to be the permanent replacement for G. David Gearhart.

Charles Welch, 42

Arkansas State University System, Little Rock
Chuck Welch, a native of Jonesboro, was the first member of his family to attend college, but the college life definitely agreed with him. He was chancellor of the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope, president of Henderson State University of Arkadelphia and then president of the Arkansas State University System by the time he was 38. He was president of the student body as an undergraduate at the University of Arkansas and earned a master’s degree from George Washington University in Washington and a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

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