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Distinguished Alumni to be honored at Homecoming, Oct. 13


The Arkansas State University Alumni Association will honor three outstanding individuals in its 29th year of recognizing distinguished alumni. The Distinguished Alumni presentation ceremony will be held at halftime of the Homecoming football game on Saturday, Oct. 13.

Since 1984, the ASU Alumni Association’s board of directors annually selects Distinguished Alumni award recipients from nominations submitted by the public. Selection of nominees is based on community service, professional achievement and service to ASU.

This year’s honorees are: Niel Crowson and Beverly Nix of Jonesboro, and Howard Slinkard of Rogers.

Niel Crowson

Niel Crowson of Jonesboro, a native of Rector, earned a bachelor's degree in agriculture from Arkansas State University in 1975. Crowson is currently president and CEO of E. C. Barton and Co., one of Jonesboro's oldest companies. Under his leadership, the company has expanded both its sales and profit centers, currently operating more than 125 locations in 16 states.

His community activities include service as a board member of St. Bernard’s Healthcare and his membership on their Executive Committee. He is also chair of the Jonesboro Economic Development Corporation and a member of its Executive Committee. Crowson 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 is a member of the Arkansas Good Roads Association.

In service to his alma mater, he has served as a member of the Arkansas State University Foundation.  He is a current member as well as former chair of the ASU Chancellor's Cabinet. He and his wife Pam Shuemake Crowson, a 1978 ASU graduate, are 1924 Sustaining Life Members of the ASU Alumni Association.

His past service includes membership on the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, where he also served as chairman. He has served as chair 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 2002, he was selected as the Outstanding Business Executive of the Year by the Arkansas State University College of Business. He was also named the Outstanding Young Arkansan by the Arkansas Jaycees. His skill as an innovator in business was recognized when he was named the Arkansas Economic Developers' Volunteer of the Year for the First Congressional District in 2002 and went on to win the state award that same year. 

Beverly Nix

Beverly Nix of Jonesboro has been Chief Executive Officer of St. Bernards Healthcare Associated Regional Providers (SHARP) Inc., a physician hospital organization, since 1993.  SHARP is now one of the largest physician hospital organizations in the state of Arkansas.

A graduate of Highland High School, her hometown is Ash Flat. She earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting at Arkansas State University in 1987, and also holds a master of science in healthcare administration.

In 2007, she and her siblings made a donation in honor of their parents to ASU’s College of Agriculture and Technology. This resulted in the Bill and Alice Nix Petting Zoo at ASU, which has attracted more than 20,000 visitors. She and the Nix family volunteer at the Petting Zoo as a way of carrying on a legacy of service.

Nix is a member of the ASU Alumni Association as well as the Arkansas State University Research and Development Institute Board of Directors. She has been inducted into the ASU Legacy Society, was an inaugural member of the ASU Chancellor’s Cabinet, and served on the ASU System Presidential Search Committee. 

She is the immediate past board chair of the Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce, and served on the Jonesboro Economic Development Commission, currently serving on Jonesboro Vision 2030, Auditorium Commission, Jonesboro Unlimited, and the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission. She is past board chair of the St. Bernards Women’s Advisory Council and served as vice chair of the Jonesboro Church Health Center. She was past board chair for American Red Cross-Disaster and currently serves on the advisory board for the American Red Cross-Blood Services for Arkansas. She is the first Arkansan and non-physician to serve on a committee for the mutual insurance company LAMMICO.

She was named Jonesboro Business Woman of the Year for both 1991 and 2002, and the state winner of the 'Women Mean Business' Award from Arkansas Business and Professional Women in 2009. She was named one of '10 Most Powerful Women in Arkansas' by AY Magazine in 2012. 

Howard Slinkard

Howard Slinkard of Rogers is a senior member of the Slinkard Law Firm in Rogers. After graduating from Trumann High School, he received a bachelor's degree from Arkansas State University in 1969 in Arts and Sciences with a political science major. He also earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

He and his wife Karen Thompson Slinkard, who also graduated from ASU in 1969, are 1924 Sustaining Life Members of the ASU Alumni Association. He has been a member of the Arkansas State University Board of Trustees from 2007 to the present. Previously serving as chair, he has been reappointed through January 2017. In continuing support to ASU, he is a member of the Red Wolf Club as well as the Northwest Arkansas Red Wolf Club which he helped organize. He is a donor to ASU's Political Science department, and helped organize the ASU Golf Tournament in Northwest Arkansas to benefit university athletics.

Professionally, he is a member of the Arkansas Bar Association and the Benton County Bar Association. He is a Fellow of the Arkansas Institute of Politics as well as an Arkansas Bar Fellow, and has served on various Bar Association committees. He is a member of Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly and is noted for having performed pro bono legal services for those in need. He serves on the board of directors for First Western Bank.

In service to his community, he served two terms on the Northwest Arkansas Community College board of trustees, was president of the Rogers Lions Club, chaired the Benton County Cancer Society, served on the Rogers Parks and Recreation Commission and Benton County Habitat for Humanity, helped organize the Rogers PeeWee Basketball Program, and volunteered for the chain crew at Rogers High School football games for 30 years. 

For more information about the Distinguished Alumni program at Arkansas State University, contact ASU Alumni Relations at 870-972-2586.

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