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Russell Harrington, Jr. To Speak At 2014 Spring A-State Commencement Ceremonies


JONESBORO, Ark. — Russell D. Harrington, Jr., longtime president and chief executive officer of Baptist Health, will address the spring 2014 graduating class during Arkansas State University’s commencement ceremonies, Saturday, May 17.

Chancellor Tim Hudson will confer academic degrees to 1,974 students from Arkansas State’s 10 academic colleges. The two ceremonies, one at 10 a.m. and other at 2:30 p.m., will be held in the Convocation Center, 217 Olympic Drive.

The morning ceremony includes the College of Agriculture and Technology, College of Business, College of Engineering, College of Nursing and Health Professions, and the College of Sciences and Mathematics. The 2:30 p.m. ceremony features the College of Education and Behavioral Science, College of Fine Arts, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Media and Communication, and University College.

“We are proud to invite such a distinguished alumnus to speak to our graduates,” Chancellor Tim Hudson said. “Russ Harrington’s career exemplifies the best of Arkansas State. His achievements in guiding one of the largest health care systems in the region serve as inspiration to us all.”

Following the commencement ceremony, a reception for graduates and their families will be held on the north mezzanine. Punch and cookies will be served. Commencement can be viewed online by clicking on the following link: AState.edu/livestream.

Harrington served in health care needs and as president and chief executive officer of Baptist Health for 40 years before recently announcing his retirement, effective in July. He is expected to continue serving in the role of president emeritus and senior advisor. Baptist Health is composed of eight hospitals, one of which is a long-term acute care hospital.

He earned a bachelor of science in education degree from Arkansas State in 1966 and was honored as a distinguished alumnus in 1987. Prior to becoming president and CEO of Baptist Health in 1984, Harrington was an administrator of Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock and associate executive director for Baptist Health. He also served as executive director of Baptist Memorial Hospital in Kansas City and assistant administrator of Little Rock’s Baptist Health Medical Center.

A Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE), he has served on numerous committees and health care boards, including the Arkansas Hospital Association (past board member and board chairman), a board member of Pulaski County United Way, past board member of the Little Rock Rotary Club, a member of the board for the Arkansas Institute for Performance Excellence and past chairman of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce. He currently serves as a member of the Executive Committee.

Named Arkansas’ Philanthropic Person in 2000 for his work with the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Harrington is an honorary colonel in the Arkansas State Police. He recently received the 2014 Board of Trustees Award from the American Hospital Association, and has been named the 2012 Citizen of the Year by the March of Dimes, selected in 2012 by AY magazine as one of the 12 Most Powerful Men in Arkansas in the medical category, and the 2012 Business of Art Honoree by the Pulaski Technical College Foundation.

Additionally, Harrington was named the 2006 Top Manager of the Year by the Sales and Marketing Executives Association, received the 2004 Worthen-Cornett Award by the Arkansas affiliate of the American Heart Association and the Arkansan of the Year in 2002 by the Easter Seals organization.

He and his wife, Donna, have two children (Stephanie and Brooks) and two grandsons (Cole and Patrick).

Russ Harrington
Russ Harrington