LITTLE ROCK (Oct. 9, 2020) – University of Arkansas System President Dr. Donald R. Bobbitt today announced the formation of an advisory committee to assist in the search for the next chancellor of the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana (UACCHT).

Former Chancellor Chris Thomason stepped down from the role on July 6 to begin his new position as Vice President of Development and Planning for the UA System, while Laura Clark, Vice Chancellor for Academic at UACCHT, was named as interim chancellor. Thomason is leading the search for the UA System President’s Office and will coordinate the recommendation of a short list of final candidates cultivated by the committee for Bobbitt to consider before taking his pick to the Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas for final approval.

“Thanks to the strong interim leadership in place and the smooth transition that has occurred since Chris Thomason joined the system administration team, a rushed time frame is not going to dictate the outcome of this search,” Bobbitt said. “We will carefully and strategically be able to execute a search to find the right fit for the job, which is critical to that campus’s success. I want to thank in advance the very strong members of this search committee for their time and effort to ensure a successful search process and a bright future for the institution and the communities and region it serves.”

John Hollis, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness at UACCHT and a 25-year employee of the campus, will serve as chair of the search committee, which also includes key members of the campus community and local education leaders, mayors of both cities, business leaders, alumni and the current chair of the UA System Board of Trustees.  

Thomason will guide the committee with the help of two UACCHT staff members, Marla M. Matthews, Executive Assistant, and Casey Curtis, Communications Coordinator.

“This institution has made immeasurable progress over the last decade and has a lot of momentum heading in all of the right directions that we obviously want to keep going,” Hollis said. “The chancellor position at UACCHT is critical not only for the success of our campus but for the entire region. The integral role the institution plays within this puzzle is a piece we need to correctly fit with the right leader. I know I speak for all of the search committee members in saying that we are excited and ready to embark on this process.”

The Search Committee Includes:



John Goodson, UA Board of Trustees Chair

UA Board of Trustees Representative 

Freddie Smith

UACCHT Board of Visitors Chair

Dennis Ramsey

UACCHT Foundation Chair

John Hollis

UACCHT Dean of Institutional Effectiveness, faculty 

Mark Wilcox

UACCHT Faculty Senate Immediate Past President, Curriculum Committee Chair

Christopher Smith

UACCHT Dean of Students

Mikki Curtis

UACCHT Dean of Secondary Programs

Melanie Dillard

UACCHT Distance Delivery, faculty

Marcos Santiago

UACCHT Telecommunications Specialist 

Honorable Steve Montgomery

Mayor/City of Hope

Honorable Allen Brown

Mayor/City of Texarkana

Dr. LaDell Douglas, M.D.

Vice Chair HCEDC & HW&L Commission 

Jennifer Harland

Chairperson Elect/Texarkana Chamber

Kathryn Dickinson

Hope Public School District Board 

Frank Coleman

Texarkana Arkansas School District Board

Non-Voting Leadership and Staff: 

Chris Thomason, UA System VP Planning & Development

UA System Search Lead

Marla M. Matthews, UACCHT Executive Assistant

Assistant to the Lead

Casey Curtis, UACCHT Communications Coordinator

Communication Coordinator for Search