Gov. Mike Beebe has appointed Rev. Phil Hathcock — a minister of the United Methodist Church and longtime AETN volunteer — to fill William D. Downs Jr.’s post in the Arkansas Educational Television Network Commission, who is retiring after 16 years of service.

Downs, of Arkadelphia, has retired after 16 years of service as an at-large representative of the AETN Commission.

"Being a member of the AETN family has been one of the richest and most satisfying experiences of my professional life," Downs said. "I have enjoyed working with my fellow commissioners and with the highly trained and imaginative AETN staff. I am grateful for the opportunity to have served in this position and sincerely look forward to observing the future successes of both the commission and AETN as a whole. I cannot believe how swiftly these 16 years have passed. I continue to feel pride in the mission of AETN and know the best is yet to be," he said.

Downs was first appointed to the commission on March 26, 1998. During his 16 years of service to the commission, Downs was elected to three consecutive terms as chairman of the AETN Commission, from 2002 through 2008, in addition to serving in a variety of other roles.

"Dr. Downs is a personal mentor to me and an inspiration to our entire staff," AETN Executive Director Allen Weatherly said. "His tenure as an AETN Commission representative and chairman greatly benefitted our network and the state of Arkansas."

Hathcock’s term will expire March 26, 2022.

"Our public television network makes an invaluable contribution to the quality of life in Arkansas," Hathcock said. "The lives of Arkansans of every age are enriched by AETN. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to see the talent and commitment of the people at AETN. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with them now as a member of the AETN Commission," he said.

A native of Fayetteville, Hathcock holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and speech from the University of Arkansas and a master’s of divinity from Duke University. He is a minister and retired district superintendent of the United Methodist Church.

Hathcock has served as an AETN volunteer for more than 20 years. He has been a member of the AETN Foundation Board of Directors since 2001 and, during much of that period, has acted as the board’s chairman.

"Philip Hathcock has been an invaluable asset to AETN serving as both an AETN Foundation Board member and volunteer for more than two decades," Weatherly said. "His continued support and guidance in this important capacity will greatly aid in our mission to enhance and empower all Arkansas through lifelong learning opportunities."

George "Skip" Holland has also been chosen to serve as the District 4 representative for the AETN Commission for a second consecutive term.

"I am honored and pleased that Governor Beebe has given me the privilege to continue service on this prestigious commission," Holland said. "It is truly a most rewarding experience to be associated with the talented and dedicated management and staff of the AETN family."

Holland, a financial advisor for Edward Jones Investments of Hot Springs, was first appointed to the commission in May 2012 by Gov. Mike Beebe. Holland was reappointed by the governor this year; his current term will expire March 23, 2022.

"Skip Holland has been a tremendous addition to the commission throughout his past two years of service," Weatherly said. "I am confident that his leadership will continue to benefit the network and help further its mission to educate, enrich and inspire."