Glendell Jones Jr.

By Wayne Bryan Published August 26, 2012 at 3:08 a.m.
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— Henderson State University opened its new school year with a new president, Glendell Jones Jr.

He told the HSU Board of Trustees that hired him, and has told others since returning to Arkadelphia, that he is a good example of the type of graduate the university can produce - not because of his success, but because of how he was treated while at school, and the experience changed him.

In Blytheville, the young Jones was recruited by Henderson to join the Reddie football team.

“I remember we were sitting in my mom’s living room,” Jones said, seated behind his desk in the university president’s office. “She asked, ‘Will you take care of him?’ And coach Ralph ‘Sporty’ Carpenter looked at my mom and, in his gruff voice, said, ‘Yes.’”

However, before Jones could establish himself as an offensive tackle, he was injured, tearing every muscle, ligament and the socket in his knee.

“The coach did take care of me,” Jones said. “While I was hospitalized, he checked on me every single day.”

Jones said Carpenter kept him at HSU.

“One day I was on the phone with Mom, and I said I wanted to come home. I said I felt like I was about to die,” he said. “The coach took the phone and said, ‘Mrs. Jones, he can die here just as well.’

“If I had left, I am pretty sure I would have never gotten back to college.”

Jones still believes that being a student at Henderson can bring out the best in someone.

“The coaches and teachers push and push, but not in a bad way,” Jones said. “They push until you are achieving things you didn’t know you had it in you to do.”

Jones said his return to the Henderson campus and Arkadelphia has been a humbling experience.

“I am going to try to give back to the school what it gave to me. The faculty members gave me confidence, and my life is richer for what I learned in class and what I learned of life out of class,” he said.

Since the day he was first announced as the university’s 17th president on March 6, Jones has said the 123-year-old Henderson State is a special place.

“It is filled with committed people who are also very good at teaching their classes,” he said. “It is a special institution in a unique place to live like Arkadelphia, and an even larger community to support it.”

Jones said Hot Springs is also part of the home of the university.

“We have more than 2,500 alumni in Garland County, and having Hot Springs close by helps us to recruit. Between the two cities, we can offer the small-town life and about every amenity,” he said.

Jones has returned to southern Arkansas for a third time.

He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Henderson in 1992. He then earned a law degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law in 1995, then a Master of Laws degree in taxation from the University of Florida College of Law in 1996.

Jones returned to Henderson the first time as an assistant professor of accounting. He was later an assistant professor of business law at Arkansas State and an estate-planning and business-planning consultant.

He joined higher-education administration when he was asked to serve as senior associate vice chancellor for academic affairs and research, executive assistant to the chancellor and associate professor of accounting.

Before joining Henderson again this year, Jones served as interim executive vice chancellor and provost at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, starting in 2010. There he was responsible for leadership of all academic, research and diversity programs.

Jones is a member of the governing board of St. Bernard’s Healthcare in Jonesboro. He also serves on the governing board of Southern Bancorp in Arkadelphia and was appointed by Gov. Mike Beebe to the Arkansas Science and Technology Authority.

Jones is president of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education and is a member of the research committee of the Arkansas Research Alliance. He also is on the board of directors for City Youth Ministries Inc.

Jones is a minister and said he and his family are searching for a church and have gotten what he called “quite a bit” of invitations.

“Right now we are still getting settled, but the kids are happy here,” he said. “We wanted a place that my wife, Sharon, and Camilla, 11, and Cameron, 7, could enjoy.

I’m looking forward to some fly fishing, but I haven’t gotten there yet. But the kids and I enjoy walking around the area.” While Jones said the university is part of the governor’s effort to double the number of college graduates coming from the state’s colleges and universities, he said standards and student centered campus life will continue.

Henderson is a liberal arts school, Jones said, and students can study the STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, but they will also learn to communicate and think well and be ready to take on the problems of their communities and the nation as well-rounded, educated people.

“We are not a degree mill, and we will not create degrees for the sake of graduating people,” he said.

“We will educate people to service. We are a liberal arts school that will create leaders for our community, the state and the world.”

Jones said he will talk to all of HSU’s students at a convocation next semester and that he will tell them they have picked the right school.

“We will teach and support them and expose students to science, math, the arts and all that is known in the world,” Jones said, “but we can’t teach how to try. If the students bring that, they will succeed, and we will challenge them to be leaders.”

He said the school will be looking for the intangibles of desire and determination in students, not just test scores.

“Coming in, some students might not be considered the best and the brightest,” Jones said, “but we have seen that Henderson has some of the finest students anywhere.”

Jones has promised that ever y decision he makes from the president’s office will be based upon how it will help the students be successful at Henderson.

When Jones was first presented to the university and the community as the new president, William G.

Wright, HSU Board of Trustees chairman, said the board had hired the right man for the job.

“Henderson’s motto is that we are the ‘School With a Heart.’ Glendell Jones came to Henderson as a student athlete with a promise from his coach to his mother that he would be looked after if she allowed him to come,” Wright said. “Now, Glendell, in the same way, desires to give back to another generation of students by promising their parents that their students will be well taken care of and given a great education at Henderson.”

Staff writer Wayne Bryan can be reached at (501) 244-4460 or wbryan@arkansasonline.com.

Tri-Lakes Edition Writer Wayne Bryan can be reached at 501-244-4460 or wbryan@arkansasonline.com.

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