Tuesday, February 16, 2016

TOP STORY >> ASU-Beebe chief follows visionary

Leader staff writer

Arkansas State University-Beebe is under new leadership.

Karla Fisher became university chancellor in January. She succeeded Eugene McKay, who retired after 21 years as chancellor and nearly 50 years of service at ASU-Beebe.

Fisher said McKay “laid down the wonderful foundation at this institution. Anywhere we go, it is because he got us there first.”

She had served as vice president of academics at Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kan., since 2010 and as interim president at Butler for seven months in 2013.

Fisher’s salary as ASU-Beebe chancellor is $183,000.

She said Beebe reminds of her Enid, Okla., where she grew up, and the small towns in Kansas where she worked.

“ASU-Beebe is remarkably like the college in Kansas where I came from, four campuses about the same distances apart,” Fisher said.

ASU-Beebe has campuses at Heber Springs, Little Rock Air Force Base and Searcy. ASU-Beebe had 5,870 students enrolled last fall.

She said ASU-Beebe is a smaller school with a thousand fewer students than Butler Community College. It is the only two-year college in the state with dormitories. ASU-Beebe has 411 employees on all four campuses.

“I was attracted to come here because I feel I have the skill set built there that can help here. We have some interesting challenges. Across the state, we are seeing declining enrollment at most schools.