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Hendrix College President Ellis Arnold to retire in 2023

by Jaime Adame | May 17, 2022 at 12:05 p.m.
FILE — Ellis Arnold is shown in this file photo. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Staci Vandagriff)

Ellis Arnold, president of Hendrix College, will retire in June of next year, the school announced Tuesday.

Arnold, 65, has been the first alumnus to lead the liberal arts college since Marshall T. Steel did so from 1958-69, taking over on the last day of 2019.

The college announced that a national presidential search will begin at the start of the upcoming academic year. Arnold replaced William "Bill" Tsutsui, who served as president of the Conway campus from 2013-19.

Tsutsui's departure was announced by the college as a retirement, but last year he was named president of Ottawa University, which has campuses in Kansas and Arizona.

Arnold led Hendrix College during the early months of the pandemic.

Colleges and universities throughout Arkansas switched to online classes when the coronavirus first emerged.

When public universities in Arkansas began fall 2020 with a mix of in-person and online classes, Hendrix College opted to stay fully online. The college resumed in-person classes with hybrid options in spring 2020.

“The Hendrix community is deeply grateful to Ellis for his service to the college and the progress achieved during his tenure as president,” Jo Ann Biggs, chair of the Hendrix College Board of Trustees, said in a statement.

Biggs described Arnold as having a "tireless optimism" and "deep love for the enduring reputation and traditions" of the school, which this past fall enrolled 1,120 students.

Arnold earned a law degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock after completing his bachelor's degree at Hendrix.

In 1990, he returned to Hendrix to serve as vice president for development and college relations, starting a career in education that would include time as president of Lambuth University in Tennessee.

Arnold also served as president and head of school for Pulaski Academy, a private school in Little Rock, before returning to Hendrix College in 2008 as a senior vice president. Before being named president in 2019, Arnold had twice served as acting leader of the campus.

In a statement, Arnold said he was "honored for the opportunity to have played a role in advancing the college."

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