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Dr. Russell JonesDr. Russell Jones was elected the 13th president of Arkansas Tech University by the ATU Board of Trustees during a meeting at Chambers Cafeteria West Dining Room on Thursday, June 20, 2024.

Jones, who is from Marianna, is the first native Arkansan elected president at Arkansas Tech since Dr. Kenneth Kersh was hired in 1973. His appointment as president is effective July 1, 2024.

“It’s humbling, and I’m honored at the same time,” said Jones when asked about his election as ATU president. “The trust that the Board of Trustees placed in me in this important position at this particular time in the university’s history…I’m very humbled by it, but I’ll tell you what was even more honoring to me than that. The board recently completed a survey of the faculty and employees, and the majority of them supported me and thought I was the right person for the job. It means so much when your peers and the people you work with every day say that. It’s an emotional day. ATU has so much to offer. We just have to get the word out. We’re a place that once you come here, you will love the people.”

Jones had served as interim president at Arkansas Tech since Aug. 17, 2023. In that capacity, he stabilized the academic leadership of the institution by hiring an executive vice president for academic affairs and provost and identifying permanent leadership for four ATU colleges that were operating under interim deans. 

He also worked with a committee of student leaders to determine the final square footage and features of the forthcoming Ferguson Student Union, which will be constructed in the center of campus and serve as the new focal point for campus life at ATU. 

Enrollment and retention at Arkansas Tech both increased during the 2023-24 academic year. ATU enrolled 9,487 students in fall 2023 for its first increase in fall enrollment since 2018. On the Russellville campus, first-semester retention was 86.8 percent (highest since 2018) and fall-to-fall retention was 70.5 percent (highest since 2017). On the Ozark campus, first semester retention increased from 71.8 percent to 76.9 percent and fall-to-fall retention increased from 54.7 percent to 56.1 percent.

Under Jones’ leadership, ATU addressed deferred maintenance issues by committing to $15.5 million in enhancements to university facilities and equipment. Tomlinson Hall and the Administration Building were razed to save approximately $7 million in renovation costs so those funds could be utilized to improve spaces that more directly influence the student experience.

ATU completed the final stages of its “Together, We Can” comprehensive campaign during Jones’ 10 months as interim president. The campaign raised $55 million in support of scholarships, student success programs, innovation initiatives and the construction of the Ferguson Student Union.

Jones also led the development and implementation of new scholarship tiers that will continue to provide financial assistance to qualified students while simultaneously allowing the institution to stay within its scholarship budget. 

“Dr. Jones has a really good business background, he has a great personality and he’s a pretty smart fellow,” said Len Cotton of Dardanelle, ATU Board of Trustees chairman, moments after announcing Jones’ election as president. “We’ve made great strides during the 10 months he has been interim president. We look forward to working with you and we congratulate you on becoming the 13th president of Arkansas Tech University.”

Jones joined ATU in July 2020 as dean of the College of Business, which has since been renamed the ATU College of Business and Economic Development. Jones’ faculty rank is professor of accounting.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering technology and a Master of Science degree in information systems from Arkansas State University. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Texas at Arlington with a dual major in accounting and information systems.

Jones came to ATU from Arkansas State, where he served as the Kathy White Endowed Professor of Management Information Systems (2006-2020). His previous roles at ASU included chair of accounting and information technology (2015-2018), Master of Business Administration director (2009-2012), associate professor of decision sciences (1995-2005) and assistant professor of computer information systems (1989-1995).

He also has served as a visiting professor at the University of Caen in France and the University of Otago in New Zealand.

Arkansas Tech University is a teaching institution that focuses on student success. We strive to create a culture of fairness, honesty and professionalism in which we celebrate our diversity. By living in and contributing to this environment, Arkansas Tech students bring about positive, transformational change in the world.

Presidents of Arkansas Tech University 
A.K. Short, 1910-1911 
George A. Cole, 1911-1916 
Charles E. Scott, 1916 
Charles G. Lueker, 1916-1918 
Hugh Critz, 1918-1923 
D.G. Armstrong, 1925-1926 
James R. Grant, 1926-1931 
Joseph W. Hull, 1932-1967 
George L.B. Pratt, 1967-1972 
Kenneth Kersh, 1973-1993 
Robert C. Brown, 1993-2014 
Robin E. Bowen, 2014-23
Russell Jones, 2024-Present