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A-State was founded as the First District Agricultural School in Jonesboro in 1909 by the Arkansas Legislature as a regional agricultural training school. Robert W. Glover, a Missionary Baptist pastor who served in both houses of the Arkansas Legislature from Sheridan (1905-1912), introduced in 1909 the resolution calling for the establishment of four state agricultural colleges, including the future ASU.
In 1918, ASU began offering a two-year college program. In 1925, it became First District Agricultural and Mechanical College. A four-year degree program was begun in 1930. A & M College became Arkansas State College in 1933. In 1967, the Arkansas Legislature elevated the college to university status and changed the name to Arkansas State University.
In the fall of 2014, A-State welcomed its most academically prepared freshman class. The result of several years of growing both admission standards and increasing on-campus housing, A-State's incoming first-year first-time student composite ACT was 23.9 with an average high school GPA of 3.47. This was the third consecutive year of improvement for the ACT/GPA freshman classes for Arkansas State. The Arkansas State Honors College has grown 59% since 2009. The university also posted back-to-back high graduate counts in spring 2012 and spring 2013, producing the most graduates in a two-year period in school history. The university contains the largest library in the state of Arkansas, the Dean B. Ellis Library.
View of Arkansas State University Dean B. Ellis Library, Jonesboro, Arkansas
Master's degree graduate programs were initiated in 1955, and ASU began offering its first doctoral degree, in educational leadership, in the fall of 1992. A second doctoral program, in environmental science, was begun in the fall of 1997, and the doctoral program in heritage studies began in the fall of 2001. Newer doctoral programs are in environmental science, molecular biosciences and physical therapy. In the fall of 2016, Arkansas State enrolled the first class of approximately 115 students to its branch of the New York Institute of Technology's medical school. The medical school is located on campus in the historic Wilson Hall.
Today, the institution has more than 90,000 alumni. Programs at the doctorate, specialist's, master's, bachelor's and associate degree levels are available through the various colleges: Agriculture, Engineering & Technology, Business, Education & Behavioral Science, Liberal Arts & Communication, Nursing & Health Professions, Sciences & Mathematics, and Undergraduate Studies.
The ASU System
ASU's Fowler Center is a regional center for The Arts.
The ASU system includes campuses in Jonesboro (Craighead County), which offers degree programs through the doctoral level; Beebe (White County), Mountain Home (Baxter County), and Newport (Jackson County), where associate degree programs are offered; and at Heber Springs, Marked Tree, and Searcy. Arkansas State University-Beebe became part of the ASU System in 1955. It associated with White River Vo-Tech at Newport in 1992; that campus attained stand-alone status and is now Arkansas State University-Newport. The Mountain Home campus officially became ASU-Mountain Home on July 1, 1995. Delta Technical Institute at Marked Tree merged with ASU and became Arkansas State University Technical Center on July 1, 2001. A new campus was built for ASU-Heber Springs, which operates as a sister campus of ASU-Beebe. Foothills Technical Institute at Searcy was merged with ASU-Beebe on July 1, 2003, and is now ASU-Searcy, a technical institute of ASU-Beebe.
ASU offers bachelor's degree programs, master's degree programs and upper level courses through ASU degree centers at ASU-Beebe, ASU-Mountain Home, and three other cities -- Blytheville, Forrest City, and West Memphis--where partnership agreements have been established in cooperation with the local community colleges. ASU also operates an instructional site at nearby Paragould in Greene County.
A-State has grown rapidly over the past 20 years. Current enrollment for the Jonesboro campus stands close to 14,000, and the system has an enrollment of greater than 21,000.
A-State's journalism program reorganized into the College of Media and Communication for fall 2013. The College of Media and Communication is home to three student-led media outlets and a NPR affiliate radio station. The Herald, a weekly student newspaper, was founded in 1921 and has a circulation of 5,000. ASU-TV, a program under the Department of Radio-Television, gives students hands-on experience in the field of television broadcasting. Starting in fall 2013, an Internet-based student radio station, Red Wolf Radio, was added to the student media. Arkansas State is also home to KASU, a 100,000-watt FM station, which is the oldest NPR affiliate west of the Mississippi River.
Centennial Bank Stadium (formerly known as Indian Stadium)
Arkansas State participates as a member of the NCAA Division I Sun Belt Conference. The athletic teams, previously known as the Indians, are now known as the Red Wolves.
In 2012, the Red Wolves football team became Sun Belt Conference champions for a second straight year, finishing the regular season with a 9-3 record, and capped off its successful season with its first bowl game victory since becoming a Division I-A (FBS) program with a 17-13 victory over Kent State in the GoDaddy.com Bowl, as well as earning its first win over a ranked opponent since joining the FBS in 1992.
In 2013, the football team became the Sun Belt Conference champions for a third straight year, finishing with a 7-5 regular season record and won a second consecutive GoDaddy Bowl with a 23-20 victory over then 10-2 Ball State.
Approximately 15% of ASU's undergraduate students are members of one of the 20 Greek organizations located on the campus.