Rick Stripling Moves into New Roles with A-State
JONESBORO – Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Dr. Rick Stripling announced his decision to accept a new set of academic and administrative challenges for Arkansas State University today.
The long-time administrator who played a vital role in the transformation of the campus landscape of A-State over the past decade will focus on growing graduate program for college student personnel, and assisting with development of residential life at A-State’s Campus Queretaro.
“For generations of students, Rick Stripling is synonymous with Arkansas State, and I am pleased that ‘Dr. Rick’ -- as our staff and students call him -- will continue to be a part of our university,” Chancellor Kelly Damphousse said. “He has been a valuable resource for me during my first year as chancellor, and I look forward to his continued input on two very important programs.”
Dr. Stripling has served as an Associate Professor in the College of Education and Behavioral Science since 2011. He will now expand his role as the program director for the college student personnel services master’s program.
Started in 2013, the Master of Science degree program in College Student Personnel Services is one of Arkansas State’s 100-percent online programs. Stripling has served as the program’s Jonesboro coordinator since the beginning as well as a professor for courses. In the past two years, enrollment in the program has increased to almost 100 students.
“This is an academic area where I have a considerable passion, and through the recent growth of the enrollment, a degree that is becoming increasingly more sought after by professionals who want to advance their knowledge and their careers in higher education,” Stripling said. “This decision gives me the time to invest more into continued growth for CSPS, and to bring my almost 40 years of higher education administration experience into the classroom.”
Working from the Jonesboro campus, Stripling will serve as the director for special projects for the A-State partnership, and coordinate for student life activities with Campus Queretaro. He will provide direct supervision of the campus programs for A-State’s students at the Mexico campus while based in Jonesboro.
“As the population of students at Campus Queretaro increases, it is becoming increasingly important that ASUCQ has someone with Rick’s experience in place to ensure that our students in Mexico are receiving a truly American university experience,” Damphousse said.
Arkansas State opened Campus Queretaro in fall 2017 as the first university in Mexico with a traditional American-style residential campus. Stripling will devote half of his time toward the refinement of the student programs for the students living on the $100 million campus located outside of Queretaro. In his role, he will work more directly with lead investor Ricardo Gonzales's team, which maintains and pays for the day-to-day operations.
“I am appreciative of Dr. Damphousse’s support and his willingness to consider my request to spend more time working on these two projects,” Stripling said. “Both are areas where I want to see continued growth and improvement, and to do them justice, I need the flexibility to devote my full-time to them.”
Stripling joined Arkansas State in 1979 as a counselor after the completion of his undergraduate degree from University of Tampa. He went on to earn his master’s in rehabilitation counseling as well as a specialist degree in college student personnel services from Arkansas State. After additional graduate work at University of Memphis, Stripling earned his Ph.D. in student personnel in higher education from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
Working his way up through the Student Affairs division at Arkansas State, Stripling was dean of students, assistant or associate vice president, associate vice president and then vice president, later changed to vice chancellor. Overseeing 16 departments and more than 160 employees in the Division of Student Affairs, Stripling’s area touches a wide range of student life including financial aid, scholarships, counseling, dining services, student health, residence life, the student union, student leadership and university police.
While alumni ranging from Wilson Award recipients to a long list of former Student Government Association leaders were influenced by his guidance, Stripling’s enduring legacy for Arkansas State is his work implementing the plans to transform the Jonesboro campus into the living-learning community it is today.
“I will never forget when (former President) Les Wyatt said to me, ‘Rick, we are going to give this campus back to the students’,” Stripling said. “And, we have.”
At the start of the transformation, Aggie and Caraway roads ran through the heart of the campus. The major thoroughfares cut the living spaces from the classroom areas and isolated the Reng Student Center from the rest of campus. Beginning with the expansion and renovation into the Reng Student Union, Stripling was a lead construction administrator of the project that more than doubled the available space and created a one-stop corridor of student service offices.
Over his time in Student Affairs, Stripling oversaw the development of 18 construction projects for the division with a value of $200 million and over one million square feet added to the campus.
Along with Reng Student Union, the creation of the Red W.O.L.F. Health and Wellness Center and the establishment of a larger Student Health Center were key projects. His most recent will be the completion of the public-private partnership with Centennial Bank for the A-State Welcome Center.
In the area of student housing, Stripling guided the transformation of on-campus living from the 1950s era trailer park for non-traditional and married students into two phases of modern apartment style housing with the Village Apartments. A-State imploded two 1960s era concrete dormitory towers to replace them with the first of a series of living-learning communities.
Today, the complex includes subject area-based housing for Honors students, ROTC, and STEM students. The work extended into the creation of Sorority Row, a series of five houses for on-campus sororities.
Stripling also played a key role in the creation of Unity Park as a space for African American fraternities and sororities, and the expansion and enhancement of the new Unity Park in its current location among the Living-Learning Community area. One of the most recent projects, The Circle, improves the graduate and young faculty housing area from individual small bungalows into a modern living community, whose dedication and names salute the first four African American faculty and administrators who broke the color line for Arkansas State in the 1970s.
In 2013, he was selected to become one of the lead administrators working with the Campus Queretaro project, shuttling between Jonesboro and the construction site as a key liaison with the Gonzalez group.
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