Henderson State University is moving forward with its plans to join the Arkansas State University System.
Today (Oct. 24), the university’s board of trustees voted to join the ASU System and move forward with a merger. However, the board is opting to retain the university’s current name and mascot. They are reportedly planning to retain outside legal counsel during the merger process.
“I’m really pleased that Henderson State University will maintain its name, unique traditions and history as we serve the next generation of Reddies,” Elaine Kneebone, Henderson’s acting president and general counsel, said in a statement. “We look forward to working with the ASU System on the merger agreement.”
Before the merger can be finalized, it must be approved by the Arkansas State University System Board of Trustees, the Higher Learning Commission and the Arkansas General Assembly.
According to ASU System President Chuck Welch, the two universities are looking to complete the transition within by the end of 2020. He says the target date is Jan. 1, 2021.
This announcement comes on the heels of a memorandum of understanding signed in July that enabled A-State to provide “support services” for Henderson University.
“We are enthusiastic about the decision of the Henderson State board to join the ASU System family,” Welch said. “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.”
If approved, Henderson will become the third institution of higher learning to join the ASU System in the past four years. West Memphis’ Mid-South Community College joined the system in 2015, and Malvern’s College of the Ouachitas is set to become Arkansas State University Three Rivers on Jan. 1, 2020.