Welcome to Arkansas State University!

Historic Timeline

April 1, 1909

Gov. George Donaghey signs into law Act 100, which established four “public schools of agriculture” and divided the state into four districts, with a school to be located in each district.

September 28, 1909

Gov. Donaghey makes appointments for the First District Agricultural School Board of Trustees:

  • Hon. J. J. Bellamy, Smithville, Lawrence County
  • Dr. O.N. Hammett, Paragould, Greene County
  • W.L. Banks, Smithdale, Cross County
  • J.B. Lewis, Jonesboro, Craighead County
  • Sen. C.E. Bush, Antioch, White County

March 28, 1910

Jonesboro, Arkansas selected to be site of First District Agricultural School over Paragould and Mountain Home. Community leaders and residents pledged $40,000 and 200 acres for the new school.

June 1, 1910

Victor C. Kays appointed principal of the new school.

September 7, 1910

Work starts on the site of the new school.

October 3, 1910

The first day of classes begins for 189 students at the First District Agricultural School, temporarily located in the old Elks Lodge above the T.J. Ellis Jewelry Store at Main Street and Washington Avenue in Jonesboro.

November 12, 1910

The Masonic Order sets the cornerstone to the Administration Building.

May 1913

A class of three boys and two girls are the first graduates of the school.

1915

The Animal Husbandry Endowment Association is formed, and brings the first Holstein cattle to the state of Arkansas.

1917

Aggie receives its first federal grant to fund beef breeding experiments.

September 1, 1918

The school begins work as a junior college.

1919

Construction begins on a YMCA building for campus that will provide apartments for faculty and students. It is constructed almost entirely through student labor.

1924

The Alumni Association is formed.

1925

The school becomes “First District Agricultural and Mechanical College.” The athletic teams become the “gorillas.”

1927

A 74,290 square-foot armory/gymnasium is completed and is the largest gym in the state.

1930

A four-year degree program is initiated.

January 11, 1931

Fire destroys the Administration Building, which houses the school’s records and most of its classroom space. Some records, kept in a cast-iron vault, are charred but readable. Classes resumed the next day in other campus buildings, including the dairy barn.

November 28, 1932

R.E. Lee Wilson Hall is completed and first classes are held.

1933

A&M becomes Arkansas State College through Act 222 of the Arkansas General Assembly.

1936

The Reserve Officers Training Corps program is established.

1937

The Commons Building is built.

1942

The Army Administration School is established, the sixth such unit in the nation and the first in the state.

January 1943

V.C. Kays retires following nearly 33 years of service to the institution. Horace E. Thompson, a graduate of the Class of 1925, succeeds Kays as president.

June 1945

Horace Thompson resigns as president, and V.C. Kays re-fills the position temporarily.

April 1946

Dr. William J. Edens is appointed as Arkansas State’s third president.

1948

The first Greek organizations are chartered on campus—the Alpha Pi Chapter of Sigma Pi Fraternity, the Delta Theta Chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity and the Epsilon Zeta chapter of Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority.

1951

The Student Government Association is formed.

March 21, 1951

President Edens resigns from ASC; Dean J. Walter Turner serves as acting president until a replacement can be found.

April 3, 1951

Dr. Carl R. Reng is named president of Arkansas State College and leads the institution through the next 24 years of growth.

1955

Master’s degree graduate programs are initiated.

1955

Beebe Junior College becomes a branch of Arkansas State College, and the name is changed to known as ASU-Beebe.

1955

Walter Strong and Fred Turner become the first African American students on campus.

1957

The Indian Club is founded to support the institution’s athletic programs. The club starts with 24 members.

May 17, 1957

KASU signed on the air with the words, "Good afternoon everyone. KASU-FM, an educational non-commercial station, now begins broadcast operations on this day, the seventeenth of May, 1957."

1961

Full curriculum extended-day classes are offered, providing classes on Tuesday and Thursday nights.

1961

Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity initiates Elvis Presley as an honorary member.

1961

University Hall is built.

1963

The Dean B. Ellis Library, named after the mathematics professor who taught for more than four decades, is completed. It houses one of the region’s first museums.

1964

The Carl R. Reng Center is completed. The new student union provides a focal point for activities and incorporates game rooms, the Woodlands cafeteria and the Wigwam snack bar, as well as a barber shop, bowling alley, book-store and various meeting spaces.

1964

Jerry Rook is named to the All-America team in basketball.

1965

Kays Hall is built to house Arkansas State’s female students

1965

The Administration Building is built west of Wilson Hall.

January 1, 1966

V.C. Kays dies.

January 17, 1967

The Arkansas General Assembly votes to grant Arkansas State College university status, and the name of the institution becomes Arkansas State University on July 1.

1967

The Fine Arts Center is completed. Faculty refer to it as the “Taj Mahal.”

1967

ASU-TV begins broadcasting.

1968

The Laboratory Sciences Center is opened for classroom and laboratory work.

1968

The Football Indians are Southland Conference Champions.

1969

ASU’s nursing program is instituted. The program is housed first in the Radio-TV Building.

1970

Lt. Col. Frederick Turner, ROTC instructor and ASU alum, becomes the first African-American instructor in military science, and Dr. C. Calvin Smith becomes the first African-American classroom instructor on the ASU campus.

1972

Freshmen are no longer required to wear beanies on campus.

1972

The 50th anniversary of the college newspaper, The Herald, is celebrated.

1972

ASU track star Thomas Hill wins the bronze medal in hurdles at the Munich Olympics.

1974

The College of Education is fully accredited.

September 28, 1974

Indian Stadium opens for the 1974 season.

1974

Women's basketball is introduced to ASU.

1975

Ross Pritchard becomes president of ASU following the retirement of Carl R. Reng.

1975

Football team goes undefeated.

1975

The nursing program is moved to State Hall (Commons Building) after a $1 million renovation.

1977

The Arkansas State University Foundation, Inc. is established to receive, solicit, accept, hold and administer private gifts in support of educational programs associated with Arkansas State University.

1978

Carl Whillock is appointed to lead ASU as president.

January 1980

Carl Whillock resigns the presidency. Eugene W. Smith serves as interim president.

1980

ASU has its first network-televised football game on ABC.

1980

Ray Thornton becomes president of ASU and serves until 1984.

1982

The building that is home to the College of Communications and College of Education is opened.

February 15, 1984

Dr. Eugene W. Smith, a 1952 ASC alum, becomes the eighth president of ASU.

1984

ASU athletes bring home medals from the Los Angeles Olympics. Al Joyner is the gold medal winner in the triple jump, while Earl Bell brings home bronze in the pole vault.

1984

ASU celebrates its 75th anniversary.

1986

Roger Carlisle, a member of the ASU art faculty, designs the Arkansas Sesquicentennial stamp issued by the United States Postal Service.

1987

The ASU Convocation Center opens. Spring Commencement is the first event held in the new Convocation Center, with Governor Bill Clinton as guest speaker.

1990

Jonesboro resident and Arkansas State University Alumnus Debbye Turner becomes Miss America.

July 1, 1992

Arkansas State University begins its first capital campaign.

1992

Eugene W. Smith retires as ASU’s president.

1992

White River Vo-Tech becomes a part of ASU-Beebe; it later attains stand-alone status and becomes ASU-Newport.

1992

ASU Football moves to Division I-A level.

1992

ASU grants its first doctoral degree in educational leadership to Jane Jamison of Jonesboro.

July 13, 1992

John Mangieri becomes the newest president of Arkansas State University.

1993

ASU baseball is played on George Kell Field in the new J.A. “Ike” Tomlinson Stadium.

1993

New athletic logo replaces “Runnin’ Joe.”

April 1994

Dr. Robert Hoskins is appointed interim president of Arkansas State.

July 1994

Dr. Mossie Richmond is appointed as acting president following the sudden illness of Dr. Robert Hoskins, who died days later.

September 1, 1994

Dr. Eugene W. Smith returns as interim president of Arkansas State University while a nationwide search for a new president is conducted.

May 11, 1994

The Judd Hill Foundation makes a $1 million gift to the Arkansas State University Foundation to endow the Judd Hill Chair in Environmental Biology. It is the first million-dollar gift to the university’s foundation.

April 24, 1995

The Sturgis Trust, operating in memory of Roy and Christine Sturgis, makes a $1 million gift to the ASU Foundation to fund scholarships to Arkansas State University’s brightest students.

April 3, 1995

U.S. President and Arkansas native William Jefferson Clinton dedicates the eight-story bell tower that highlights the expansion of the Dean B. Ellis Library and integrates it with the ASU Museum.

July 1, 1995

James Leslie Wyatt becomes the tenth president of Arkansas State University.

July 1, 1995

ASU establishes a campus at Mountain Home, Arkansas, to be known as ASU-Mountain Home.

June 30, 1996

ASU’s first-ever capital campaign ends successfully after five years with charitable gifts made to the ASU Foundation totaling more than $21 million.

1997

KASU celebrates 40 years of public radio service to the university and the region.

August 1997

Arkansas State begins offering a doctoral degree in Environmental Science.

1998

Jonesboro residents Wallace and Jama Fowler presents a $5 million gift to the university toward the construction of a performing arts center. At the time, it is the largest gift in the history of the ASU Foundation.

Fall 1998

A class of 80 students begins degree work at what quickly becomes ASU-Heber Springs, a satellite campus of ASU-Beebe.

March 12, 1999

The men’s basketball team appears in the NCAA Tournament for the first time.

July 4, 1999

The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center opens in Piggott, Arkansas as the university's first off-campus heritage site.

November 2000

The Equine Center, home of Garry Meadows Arena, opens at the northeastern corner of the campus.

2000

Collegiate Park, a new concept in upperclassman student housing, is completed.

2000

ASU Men’s Rugby Club receives national recognition, winning the National Championship Division II, Plate Division.

January 2001

Fowler Center, named for Wallace and Jama Fowler, opens as the region's new home for civic, arts and community activity.

August 2001

A third doctoral degree, in Heritage Studies, is offered. The first class has 14 students.

September 13, 2002

ASU alumna Kathy Brittain White makes a $2 million gift to the ASU Foundation to establish the Horizon Institute of Technology.

November 14, 2002

ASU President Dr. Les Wyatt announced a $2.8 million gift to the ASU Foundation from the estate of ASU alumnus James L. Thompson.

July 1, 2001

Delta Technical Institute at Marked Tree merges with Arkansas State University and becomes the ASU Technical Center.

Spring 2003

First nurse anesthesia program in the State of Arkansas is established at Arkansas State University.

July 1, 2003

Foothills Technical Institute merges with ASU-Beebe to become ASU-Searcy, a technical institute of ASU-Beebe.

September 2003

Darrell and Charlotte Pugh Cooper of Clarkston, Michigan make a gift of more than $2 million toward the construction a new alumni center on the ASU campus.

March 24, 2004

The $18 million Student Union opens on the ASU campus. Students began working toward the new building in 1997, when the Student Government Association voted to assess students a $10 per credit hour fee to pay for the facility.

April 22, 2004

The Judd Hill Foundation makes a second gift to the Arkansas State University Foundation to endow the Judd Hill Chair in Agricultural Biotechnology.

September 18, 2004

A public celebration is held to mark the opening of the Arkansas Biosciences Institute. The ABI was created as the major research component of the Tobacco Settlement Proceeds Act of 2000, which was approved in the general election by 64 percent of Arkansas voters.

September 10, 2005

The Judd Hill Foundation makes its third $1 million charitable gift to the Arkansas State University Foundation to construct Judd Hill Center, home of the ASU Foundation.

October 2006

Dr. Robert L. Potts is selected as the first chancellor of Arkansas State University-Jonesboro. Dr. Les Wyatt becomes first president of the Arkansas State University System.

October 2006

The Southern Tenant Farmers Museum opens in Tyronza, Arkansas as the university's second off-campus heritage site.

June 2007

The largest gift in ASU history--$14.5 million--is made to the ASU Foundation from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation for the construction of the Reynolds Center for Health Sciences.

September 2007

The Lakeport Plantation opens in Lake Village, Arkansas as the university's third off-campus heritage site.

October 12, 2007

Beck PRIDE Center (Personal Rehabilitation, Individual Development and Education) established to assist injured military personnel who have served in defense of the United States.

November 3, 2007

Groundbreaking for the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Health Sciences.

November 16, 2007

Arkansas State University - Heber Springs campus opens and will serve as a center of ASU-Beebe.

February 28, 2008

The athletic nickname and mascot, 'Indians' and the Indian Family, are officially retired during a halftime ceremony at the men's basketball game between ASU and Louisiana-Monroe.

March 13, 2008

Red Wolves becomes the "new face" of ASU & ASU athletics. A roll-out ceremony takes place at the Student Union to unveil the new mascot & imagery for the Red Wolves.

April 4, 2008

Groundbreaking for the Student Recreation and Wellness Center.

May 25, 2008

Implosion of Twin Towers, a landmark men's residence hall for more than 40 years.

May 27, 2008

Groundbreaking for new campus facilities including the Honors College Residence Hall, a Student Apartment Complex, and the Delta Center for Economic Development.

June 23, 2008

Alumni Association launches brick campaign for former students and friends to leave legacy on the terrace of the New Cooper Alumni Center.

August, 2008

Master of Social Work Program begins.

September 11, 2008

Arkansas State University - Jonesboro reaches a record enrollment of 11,551.

September 11, 2008

Grossology (the impolite science of the human body), opens at the ASU Museum as a three-month Arkansas Discovery Network exhibition and brings in 15,404 visitors.

September 20, 2008

Cooper Alumni Center hosts first event during Homecoming.

September 20, 2008

Groundbreaking for the Liberal Arts Building.

October 28, 2008

Arkansas Small Business Development Center implements Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (ASBTDC).

January 14, 2009

Four Arkansas universities created by Act 100 of 1909 launched their centennial celebrations today with a joint public re-enactment and re-signing of their founding legislation at the Rotunda of the State Capitol. The four schools included Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, and the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

February 4, 2009

Ellen Strong, ASU's first female African-American graduate (1964), dies.

February 10, 2009

School Psychology track for degree program receives national approval by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).

February 26, 2009

University College, Learning Support Services (LSS), announces creation of new department, two new programs, the Learning Support Center (LSC) and Structured Learning Assistance (SLA).

April 1, 2009

Arkansas State University begins celebrating its 100-year anniversary during 2009-2010. The Founder's Day Re-dedication of the Arch began April 1, 2009, with the commemoration of the university's founding, and will conclude October 3, 2010, marking the Centennial of the first day of classes.

April 17, 2009

ASU receives more than $1.75 million from U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration. The EDA grant goes toward completion of the Arkansas State Biosciences Institute Commercial Innovation Center (ABI-COM) business incubator and is part of the grant funding to assist the economic recovery effort in Arkansas following severe storms, flooding and tornados that occurred in 2008, for regional economic development.

May 11, 2009

Arkansas State University-Jonesboro announces a new English as a Second Language (ESL) Licensure Endorsement program. ASU-Jonesboro is the only university in the region to offer such a program.

May 29, 2009

The newly renovated Chickasaw Student Services Center is dedicated as the Eugene W. Smith Hall in honor of president emeritus, Dr. Eugene Smith.

September 25, 2009

The Donald W. Reynolds Center for Health Sciences is dedicated at a special ceremony as part of the ASU Centennial Weekend public events.

October 15, 2009

Dedication of the Delta Center For Economic Development (DCED) facility.

October 28, 2009

Mike Medlock, chair of the ASU Board of Trustees, dies. Mr. Medlock received his first appointment in February 2000 and was re-appointed in March 2005.

December 20, 2009

Former administrator, faculty member Dr. Don Wright dies. Dec. 20. Dr. Wright joined the faculty in 1970 in the Department of Educational Administration and served as the vice president of academic affairs until his retirement in 1997.

December 24, 2009

Professor Emeritus, Dr. C. Calvin Smith, the first African-American faculty member at Arkansas State University, dies.