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Jana Rucker Named Harding University VP (Movers & Shakers)

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Jana Rucker, a Florida marketing executive, will become Harding University’s vice president for communication, a newly created position in the president’s cabinet.

Rucker, who will assume the post Aug. 1, will succeed David Crouch, director of public relations, who retired at the end of March after 46 years at the Searcy institution.

“Jana Rucker brings to this position wonderful skill sets in communications that have been developed at some of the most cutting-edge technology companies in the world,” Harding President Bruce McLarty said in announcing the appointment. “She has extensive experience in public relations, marketing, branding and administration.”

Rucker is currently the senior director of global brand and marketing for Satcom Direct, a global communications provider based in Melbourne, Florida. Satcom Direct provides communications services and technology to business and general aviation, military, government, emergency response and media organizations. She also has held senior leadership positions in marketing in the insurance industry with companies such as Willis North America and Crump Group Inc. and spent several years in marketing leadership at Sprint and AT&T.

Rucker is a 1988 graduate of Oklahoma Christian University with a degree in marketing. She also attended the executive leadership school at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.

Abhijit Bhattacharyya has been named interim vice provost and dean of the Graduate School at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock effective July 1. He will replace Paula Casey, who announced her retirement after serving in the position since 2013. Bhattacharyya joined UALR in 2002 as an associate professor and is now associate dean of the UALR Donaghey College of Engineering & Information Technology.

Dr. Sheldon Riklon, one of the two Marshallese physicians who were trained in the United States, is joining the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences effective Aug. 1. He will serve as an associate professor in the College of Medicine’s Department of Family & Preventive Medicine and as the inaugural holder of a Distinguished Professorship for Health Disparities.

Riklon is coming from the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where he is an assistant professor and the family medicine clerkship director in the Department of Family Medicine & Community Health. He received both his bachelor’s degree in biology and his doctor of medicine from the University of Hawaii.

C.J. Sentell has joined the Office of Development at Hendrix College in Conway as leadership gifts officer. The 2003 Hendrix alumnus previously served as central Arkansas regional manager for Financing Ozarks Rural Growth & Economy and as curriculum coordinator and instructor for Brightwater: A Center for the Study of Food.

See more of this week’s Movers & Shakers, and submit your own announcement at ArkansasBusiness.com/Movers.

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