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"I guess that's one of my claims to fame - I was 27 at the time and was named director of an agency and was part of his cabinet," Pitchford said.
But it was in 1999, when he joined the University of Central Arkansas at Conway as director of governmental relations, that the Mountain Home native discovered what he ultimately wanted to do with his life.
UCA President Lu Hardin "will not lose any sleep tonight … but my long-term goal would be to be a college or university president," he said.
He is taking courses in higher education at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and hopes to complete his doctorate in 2006.
For now, his job is to sell UCA, especially to state legislators who provide much of its funding.
"I feel like with higher ed we're not like some industry lobbyist. Our product is education, and it's an easy sell," he said.
And UCA, where Pitchford received his B.A. in public administration, is an especially easy sell.
"I had such a great experience at UCA, and going out and selling UCA is very easy for me," he said.