The Henderson State University Board of Trustees voted Thursday to join the Arkansas State University System and develop a merger agreement.
The move is subject to approval of the ASU Board of Trustees and the Higher Learning Commission, as well as action by the Arkansas General Assembly.
ASU System President Chuck Welch said the target for finalizing the transition would be no later than Jan. 1, 2021.
The Henderson board also voted in favor of the university retaining its name and mascot, and decided to seek outside legal counsel to finalize a merger agreement.
Welch said in a news release, “We know system affiliation wasn’t an easy decision and pledge to do everything we can to honor Henderson’s rich tradition and mission of service to students. I’m confident that affiliation with the ASU System would strengthen Henderson, our institutions and all of higher education in Arkansas.”
“I’m really pleased that Henderson State University will maintain its name, unique traditions and history as we serve the next generation of Reddies,” said Elaine Kneebone, acting president and general counsel of Henderson. “We look forward to working with the ASU System on the merger agreement.”
The university had already signed a memorandum of understanding for the ASU System to provide it with various operations support services.
In addition, Welch was president of Henderson from July 2008 to April 2011, immediately prior to being named to his current post.
Post-merger, Henderson would be one of two four-year institutions in the ASU System, the third institution to join it in four years and one of three institutions in the system to have an intercollegiate athletics program.