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The Future of Henderson State with Incoming Chancellor Trey Berry

3 min read

Berry, who grew up in Arkadelphia, has been president of Southern Arkansas University since 2015. Before then, he was a history professor, dean and provost at several Arkansas universities. He was named Henderson’s chancellor in November. His wife, Katherine Simms Berry, is also from Arkadelphia and is a professor of education.

Berry received his bachelor’s degree in history from Ouachita Baptist University and a master’s and doctorate from the University of Mississippi in Oxford.

What does it mean for you to return to Henderson State University?

Arkadelphia has always been home for Katherine and me. We have deep family legacies and treasured friendships at Henderson and in Arkadelphia. We believe that this is a calling for us to return to this place where we not only grew up, but also where we both started our professional paths.

What will some of your first priorities be in Arkadelphia?

We will concentrate quickly on several areas. These include growing enrollment by making our recruitment processes more personal. I believe the chancellor’s office should be an extension of all our enrollment services. We will begin immediately to engage Henderson’s faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends to strengthen the HSU community and the affinity for the university. We will work with our faculty and administrators to continue to strengthen our academic programs and to look for opportunities to develop unique programs to attract and nurture our students. An increased emphasis on fundraising and reaching out to our alumni has to be at the heart of what we are committed to for a strengthening Henderson. And we definitely will continue to work daily to build a stronger fiscal university through collaborative and conservative budgeting and by closely monitoring our daily financial practices.

Have the financial problems at Henderson been fully cleared up?

Henderson is indeed on the right path financially. Our challenge and goal in these first few years is to work collectively with the good people at Henderson and throughout the state to continue that path of increased fiscal stability. That will happen through collaborative and conservative budgeting and by continuing to grow our enrollment and fundraising efforts.

What do you see as the mission of state colleges like SAU and Henderson?

The paramount mission of our state universities is to provide a strong and affordable path for success within a state that has one of the lowest college-going rates in the nation. We need all of our universities and colleges to be vibrant, supported beacons of hope and opportunity for our young people. Universities like Henderson, where a large portion of our student body are first generation college students, are not only changing the lives of individuals, but of entire families. There is not a better mission for an educational institution.

What were your favorite accomplishments at Southern Arkansas, and what will you miss there?

Without a doubt, the thing we were most blessed with at SAU was working with such a caring and dedicated team of people. We were honored to work with these wonderful professionals, and we will always consider them family. We are most excited by what we have already experienced at Henderson in meeting so many of these same types of caring and dedicated individuals. We are looking forward to building together a stronger “Reddie Family.”

What do you see as special about Henderson State, beyond the fact that it’s where you grew up?

Henderson is a campus filled with truly caring faculty, staff and students. If a student in our state is looking for a place where they can be nurtured and be a part of a community with a vibrant campus life and school spirit, that is Henderson State University. There are numerous strong academic programs that are continuing to attract students from across the country, including aviation, engineering, music, teacher education, pre-health natural sciences, nursing, computer science and business, just to name a few. We are committed to student success and to enabling our students to grow academically and professionally. We celebrate the fact that so many of our students are first generation college students. That continues to be a unique mission of HSU.

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