Robert "Bunny" Adcock, 53, of Conway has joined the University of Central Arkansas Board of Trustees, replacing embattled Trustee Scott Roussel who resigned under pressure earlier this month.
"The university has a very, very bright future, and I want to play a part in that," Adcock said, noting that he is particularly interested in budget issues at the university.
UCA has seen tough times, Adcock acknowledged, but he sees growth in the future. "There are a lot of great things going on," he said.
Gov. Mike Beebe announced Adcock’s appointment to the board on Wednesday. Adcock’s term expires in 2014, a UCA spokesman said.
Beebe spokesman Matt DeCample said the governor is impressed by Adcock, who is a co-founder of Centennial Bank, the third largest bank in Arkansas. Adcock currently serves as vice chairman of the bank’s board.
"He’s already somebody who is held in high esteem at UCA and the UCA faculty," DeCample said.
Faculty Senate President Kevin Browne said he couldn’t speak for all of UCA’s faculty, but that he welcomes the opportunity to work with Adcock.
He has long had a soft spot for UCA, said Adcock, who lives 100 yards from the university. "It’s my passion," he said.
In 1974, Adcock served on a committee to help UCA gain university status. Between 1999 and 2003, Adcock served as the UCA golf coach for only $1 a year. He said he actually spent money being coach and volunteering his time. He started the school’s first women’s golf program in 2000.
Three years later, Adcock served as vice president of advancement and president of the UCA Foundation for about eight months. Although he wouldn’t say how much, Adcock said he has donated to UCA for renovations and scholarships. He also founded the UCA Purple Circle Board, sat on the Responsible UCA Committee that looks at cutting costs at the university and was on the Dean’s Advisory Committee to the business school, he said.
UCA President Tom Courtway said the school appreciates Beebe’s decision to appoint Adcock.
"Each time Mr. Adcock has been asked to serve UCA, he has performed exceptional service," Courtway said. "He has served this university in many capacities over the years, including being the golf coach and serving two times on an interim basis, the most recent being vice president for finance in 2008-09. He is currently on the board of the University of Central Arkansas Foundation Inc."
Adcock served as vice president of finance for UCA at a time when the university was struggling financially. Two past presidents made poor decisions that affected the entire university, Adcock said.
In 2008, then-President Lu Hardin resigned amid scandal. He was convicted last year of money laundering. Last year, then-President Allen Meadors resigned after failing to fully disclose "grant" money to UCA was tied the university agreeing to a seven-year contract with Aramark, a food vender. Roussel presented the money as having no strings attached at the time. The Arkansas State Police is investigating a possible mishandling of the proposal.
When Roussel did not recuse himself during a recent vote to approve a new contract with Aramark, the Faculty Senate adopted a resolution asking for his resignation. Roussel resigned May 6.
Adcock said he asked the governor’s office to consider him for a trustee position several months ago. He said he did not know Roussel planned to resign.