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Economic Development Administration University Center Names New Director


JONESBORO – Jarrett Free has been named as the new director of the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) University Center at the Arkansas State University Delta Center for Economic Development. 

The EDA-supported University Center (UC) program is specifically designed to marshal the resources located within colleges and universities to support regional economic development strategies in regions of chronic and acute economic distress. The EDA UC makes the resources of universities available to the economic development community.  Institutions of higher education have extensive resources, including specialized research, outreach, technology transfer, and commercialization capabilities, as well as recognized faculty expertise and sophisticated laboratories.

EDA awarded the A-State Delta Center for Economic Development $564,240 over five years to support university-community collaboration in the following 12 counties:  Clay, Craighead, Crittenden, Cross, Greene, Jackson, Lawrence, Mississippi, Poinsett, Randolph, Sharp and St. Francis.  

Free previously worked as the financial aid coordinator and associate director for A-State’s online services department. Prior to coming to A-State, he worked at Mississippi State University and the University of the Incarnate Word as scholarship/financial aid adviser. Free earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Delta State University and his Master of Public Administration degree from A-State.

“After working at other institutions of higher education,” commented Free. “I’ve realized that it takes more than just knowledge to help others. It takes relationships built on trust.”

Andrea Allen, executive director of the Delta Center, noted, “As a native of the Mississippi Delta, Jarrett fully understands the challenges and opportunities in the delta region. This understanding coupled with his knowledge of university resources sets Jarrett apart and will ensure the success of the program.”

Jarrett Free
Jarrett Free, Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) University Center director.