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A-State Alumnus Niel Crowson Appointed to ASU Board of Trustees


LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Asa Hutchinson has appointed Niel Crowson of Jonesboro, a 1975 graduate of Arkansas State University who was recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus in 2012, to a five-year term on the ASU Board of Trustees.

Crowson, 62, succeeds Dan Pierce of Jonesboro, who served five years on the board, most recently as chair. His appointment expires in January 2020.

“Arkansas State’s mission is to educate leaders, to enhance intellectual growth and to enrich the lives around them,” Hutchinson said. “Not only does Niel embody that mission, but he understands the important role ASU serves in the Northeast Arkansas community, as well as the rest of the state. His love and respect for this great university is evident, and I look forward to working with him, as well as the rest of the Board of Trustees.”

ASU System President Chuck Welch said Crowson is a longtime supporter of the university who will be a valuable addition to the board.

“Mr. Crowson’s success in business and experience in leadership of large organizations will serve him well on our board,” Welch said. “He has all the qualities you hope for from your alumni, from educational and professional success to an ongoing relationship with the university. We’re proud to have another A-State alumnus contributing to the growth and success of the ASU System.”

“I appreciate the opportunity to serve the ASU System,” said Crowson, whose wife, Pam Shuemake Crowson, is also an A-State alumnus. “Arkansas State and our community colleges serve our state well, and I’m excited about the pending addition of Mid-South Community College as we expand our role in workforce development. A-State provided me an educational foundation that prepared me for a life I could not imagine as a student. I will always be grateful and look forward to serving with the other trustees.”

Crowson earned a bachelor's degree in agriculture from Arkansas State in 1975. From college, he went to work with Anheuser Busch and was director of rice operations until 1989, when he joined E. C. Barton & Company, one of Arkansas’ largest privately owned businesses.  He currently serves as president and CEO and has since 1993.  Under his leadership, the company has expanded both its sales and profit centers, operating more than 108 locations in 16 states.

His community activities include service as a board member and executive committee member of St. Bernard’s Healthcare and chairman and executive committee member of Jonesboro Economic Development Corporation. He serves on the Northeast Arkansas Industrial Development Commission and is a board member for the Arkansas Economic Development Foundation. He is a Pillars Member of the Jonesboro United Way and a member of the Arkansas Good Roads Association.

His past service includes membership and former chairmanship of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. He has served as chairman of the Do It Best Corporation, president of the Jonesboro Industrial Development Corporation, president of the Jonesboro Jaycees, and vice chair of the Northeast Arkansas Regional Solid Waste Disposal Authority. He served in the Arkansas National Guard from 1970 through 1976.

In service to his alma mater, he has served as a member of the ASU Foundation.  He is a current member, as well as former chair, of the A-State Chancellor's Cabinet. He and his wife are 1924 Sustaining Life Members of the ASU Alumni Association, and in 2012 he was honored as a university Distinguished Alumnus by the Alumni Association.

In 2002, he was selected as the Outstanding Business Executive of the Year by the A-State College of Business. He was also named the Outstanding Young Arkansan by the Arkansas Jaycees. His skill as an innovator in business was also recognized when he was named the Arkansas Economic Developer’s Volunteer of the Year for the First Congressional District in 2002 and went on to receive the state award that same year.

The ASU System serves more than 22,000 students throughout Arkansas and includes Arkansas State University, a four-year research institution in Jonesboro; ASU-Beebe, with additional campuses in Heber Springs and Searcy; ASU-Newport, with additional campuses in Jonesboro and Marked Tree; ASU-Mountain Home; and instructional sites in Paragould and at the Little Rock Air Force Base. Pending approval of the Higher Learning Commission, Mid-South Community College in West Memphis will join the system with its nearly 2,000 students as Arkansas State University Mid-South.

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Niel Crowson
Niel Crowson, Member
ASU Board of Trustees