LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A long-time university president in Arkansas is moving his leadership from Arkansas education to a national CEO.

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities announced on Tuesday that Arkansas State University System President Chuck Welch will become its new president and chief executive officer.

ASU System Board of Trustees member Christy Clark said the board will meet on Wednesday to discuss a successor.

Welch was named the second president of the ASU System in November 2010 and officially began the position in April 2011. He will leave as the longest-tenured higher education president or chancellor in Arkansas, according to the university.

“We are deeply saddened about Dr. Welch’s resignation as president of the ASU System, but we are excited for him and his family and the opportunity they have been given,” Clark said. “Dr. Welch has provided the ASU System with exemplary leadership and has strengthened us in his tenure.”

Welch will be returning to AASCU as he served as chair of the board of directors from 2019-2021.

“It’s obviously a bittersweet career move for me,” Welch said. “I love the ASU System and the team we’ve put together, and I’m proud of our accomplishments. But this is a terrific opportunity with an organization I believe in, and I’m excited to promote the likes of AASCU member institutions like Arkansas State University and Henderson State University with this national higher education platform.”

Welch said that the organization tells the story of public higher education and serves the fastest growing higher education demographics- students of color, first-generation students, adult learners and transfer students.

“America’s regional public colleges and universities are on the front lines of transforming public higher education, driving civic engagement and contributing to thriving local communities,” he said. “It’s an honor to join AASCU at a time when regional comprehensive universities are poised to make a critical impact.

The Jonesboro native played a large part in several major expansions during his time with ASU including three campus mergers, the opening of New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State, an ASU campus in Mexico, the expansion of the ASU System Office and more.

Outside of ASU, Welch has served several other colleges, universities around the state.

  • Co-chair of the executive council of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education
  • President of Henderson State University
  • Chancellor of the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope
  • Vice chancellor for academic affairs at ASU-Beebe
  • Dean of university studies at University of Arkansas Pulaski Technical College.
  • Instructor of education and political science at three different colleges in Arkansas

In addition to his leadership on campus, Welch also has served or currently serves on several boards and has received other state honors.

  • Past president of the Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges
  • Served as chairman of the board of the Arkansas Association of Public Universities
  • Vice chair of the American Academic Leadership Institute Board of Directors
  • Serves on the Board of Directors of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems
  • Executive sponsor of AASCU’s New Presidents Academy and Emerging Leaders Program
  • Serves on Board of Directors for Goodwill Industries of Arkansas
  • Inducted into the Arkansas Boys State Hall of Fame
  • Former board member for the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches

Dr. Welch will begin serving as CEO in January 2024 and relocate to Washington, D. C.