Bob Fisher, former president of Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, has been named interim chancellor of Henderson State University in Arkadelphia.
The move takes effect Sept. 15. Fisher follows Chuck Ambrose, who is resigning after two years leading the school. Ambrose guided the university through financial exigency, overseeing deep cuts to staffing and restructuring its academic program.
Fisher spent 21 years as president of Belmont, a private Christian university, before retiring in 2021. He’s a Henderson State alumnus and former dean of its School of Business.
In a statement, ASU System President Chuck Welch said Fisher agreed to serve only in an interim capacity and will not be a candidate in the upcoming chancellor search. The system is looking to hire a permanent replacement by Jan. 1.
“Dr. Fisher is a perfect fit for this time of transition, and I’m extremely grateful that he agreed to serve his alma mater in this temporary capacity,” Welch said. “He’s an example of a Henderson graduate who has truly excelled throughout his career in higher education and in service to his communities. His longstanding connections to and familiarity with Henderson and Arkadelphia are exactly what we need at this time. I know the entire Reddie community will embrace his return to the campus.”
During Fisher’s time leading Belmont, enrollment grew from 2,927 to 8,800 and revenue increased from $42 million to $378 million. The campus invested $1 billion in new construction with less than $58 million in debt, and its endowment grew from a low of $28 million in 2002 to $348 million in 2021.
Belmont also launched colleges of law, medicine, pharmacy and architecture, and the school acquired O’More College of Art and Design and Watkins College of Art.
Prior to joining Belmont, Fisher spent four years as vice president for academic affairs at Arkansas State University, where he led faculty and deans to develop the university’s first doctor of philosophy program. He was business dean at Henderson for 10 years after spending 12 years on the business faculty at the University of Central Arkansas.
“”I could not be more excited to be able to reconnect with Henderson in a leadership role,” Fisher said. “Looking back, I can see that my four years at Henderson was one of the greatest gifts that I have ever received. … What an amazing privilege it is to be able to return at this pivotal time and give my best effort to create that same transformational experience for Henderson students and to help prepare the way for Henderson’s next leader.”
Fisher is a past chair of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation, and Pencil Foundation and Alignment Nashville.
He is also a past chair of the Clark County Industrial Council and past board member of Southern Bancorp Community Partners.
Fisher holds a bachelor’s in business administration in management and economics from Henderson State, a master’s of business administration from the University of Memphis, and a doctorate in philosophy in management and economics from the University of Arkansas.