The University of Central Arkansas Board of Trustees this evening chose Dr. Houston D. Davis, interim president of Kennesaw (Ga.) State University, as its next president to succeed Tom Courtway, who’s stepping down to return to teaching.
The board reconvened at 7 p.m. after a meeting earlier in the day and the decision was announced shortly before 8 p.m. The university release said of Davis, the 11th president of the 109-year-old university:
Davis joins UCA from Kennesaw State University where he served as interim president. Davis brings many years of experience to UCA, after serving as the executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer at the University System of Georgia, vice chancellor for academic affairs at Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, project director and principal investigator for the National Educational Needs Project, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs at the Tennessee Board of Regents and associate vice president for academic affairs and assistant professor at Austin Peay State University.
Davis received his Doctor of Philosophy in education and human development at Vanderbilt University and his Master of Education in educational administration at Tennessee State University. Davis earned his Bachelor of Science in political science at the University of Memphis.
“I appreciate the trust President Tom Courtway and the board has placed in me. It is an honor and a privilege to serve as president of this great university with its proud past and even brighter future,” Davis said. “My wife, Jenny, my family and I look forward to the new year and becoming a part of the Conway and UCA communities.”
A starting date is still to be determined, though the starting date of the contract is Feb. 1. His annual pay will be $307,330 from state funds and $40,000 from the UCA Foundation, for a total of $347,330. He’ll also get a vehicle allowance of $750 a month
Four finalists were interviewed after a preliminary search process and they all visited the campus. The others were Dr. Len Frey, vice chancellor for finance and administration at Arkansas State University; Dr. Nagi Naganathan of the University of Toledo, and Dr. Darrell F. Parker of Western Carolina University.
UPDATE: I’ve gotten a copy of the new president’s employment contract. Note that he and family will be living in the official president’s residence at UCA, a place of some contention over several presidencies.
Indeed, the contact requires the president to live the house “due to the substantial benefits that accrue to the Board and the University by virtue of his/her doing so.” The Board agrees to provide a housekeeper, ground maintenance, utilities, upkeep and “furnishings as may be mutually agreed upon.” The president agrees to make public areas available for scheduled events and “expenses related to these activities shall be paid from an appropriate fund.”
Courtway moved out of the house last year because he said he wanted more privacy off-campus and because he said it would free use of the house for more campus events. Former President Allen Meadors lived in a university guest house for a time during renovations to the president’s house. Those renovations became hotly controversial, and figured in Meadors’ departure, because a supplier of campus food services made a major contribution to the cost of the renovations.