In light of Southern Arkansas University again being the fastest growing university in Arkansas, the SAU Board of Trustees approved policies to lay the groundwork for the University’s upcoming capital campaign.

SAU’s most rigorous fundraising effort to date, the “Love and Loyalty Campaign,” is on track to launch in early 2017. At the quarterly meeting of the Board, held at SAU Tech on Nov. 9, the group approved a Memorandum of Understanding and a Gift Acceptance Policy related to clarifying operations for the University, the Department of Development and the SAU Foundation.

Roger Giles, SAU vice president for administration and general counsel, commended the work of the transition committee and explained that the Memorandum of Understanding policy is being updated from one approved in 2000. He said it outlines how the Development and Foundation offices will work together to complete the goals of the campaign. A Memorandum of Understanding for efforts coordinated between SAU and the Alumni Association will be presented at a future Board meeting.

Josh Kee, vice president of development, echoed Giles’ complements of the committee and explained that the Gift Acceptance Policy had not been updated since 1983. The SAU Foundation’s current policy was utilized, and it was explained that such a policy is considered best practice by the IRS and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

Other items discussed at the meeting include the following:

  • Dr. Trey Berry, SAU president, outlined the record-setting fall enrollment that totaled 4,771, an increase of around 15-percent over last fall’s record. Students living on campus was up 10-percent, and retention of the 2015 freshmen class tied the University’s highest mark at 66.7-percent. A big draw for students and parents is SAU’s affordability, for which SAU has earned state and national accolades. SAU Tech’s also posted an increase in their freshmen class enrollment and had overflow with on-campus living.
  • Berry shared SAU’s new academic programs, including Cybersecurity (BS and MS), Music Theatre, Welding Engineering Technology (the only such program in the south), and Social Entrepreneurship. Plans are in the works to establish two new programs for fall of 2017 – Interactive Media (mix of business and art) and a accelerated five-year program to earn both a bachelor’s and master’s in computer science.
  • SAU is the only university in Arkansas to have an exchange program established with a university in Cuba. Dr. Ed Kardas will be taking his fourth trip to Cuba this month and will be joined by Steven Ochs and a Game Design student. Ochs and his art student will help complete an outdoor art project at the University of Artemisa.
  • SAU’s recent athletic facility improvements include cost cutting LED lights at the football stadium, which can illuminate a complete game for less than $10, according to Berry. Other improvements include new football turf, a new athletic training facility, remodeled restrooms at the W.T. Watson Gym, and an interactive touchscreen database at the gym.
  • Work has begun on the new Alumni Center, formerly the Welcome Center, and the project could be complete as early as May, 2017.
  • Dr. David Lanoue, SAU provost and vice president for academic affairs, presented two degree name changes for the major and minor of Biological Sciences to Biology, as well as the SAU Minority Recruitment and Retention Report. David McLeane presented SAU Tech’s Minority Recruitment and Retention Report.
  • SAU and SAU Tech both had financial audits with no findings, and information was presented by Shawana Reed and Gaye Manning, respectively.