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South Arkansas Community College president starts with busy first day

Posted on February 4, 2020

Dr. Bentley Wallace

‘New South Arkansas Community College President Dr. Bentley Wallace started his tenure at the college yesterday, marking the first day of his contracted-three year term by meeting with the various department heads at the college.

“It’s been hectic but really positive,” Wallace said. “I’ve been getting around to meet lots of people … I’m very excited, we have lots of great stuff going on here at the college – its just a matter of finding enough hours in the day to take care of everything that needs to get taken care of.”

Wallace, formerly the Dean of the School of Technical and Professional Studies at the University of Arkansas – Pulaski Tech, moved to El Dorado from North Little Rock with his family over the weekend. He was selected for the President’s position in January and his predecessor, Dr. Barbara Jones, finished her last day at the college Friday.

Wallace said his move went well, and he and his family are settled into the McWilliams House on the SouthArk West Campus while they look at homes in the area.

“Everything went great. We moved down on Saturday, got settled,” he said. “We took it easy on Sunday – watched the game and got ready to get started.” Wallace’s contract with SouthArk dictates that his appointment to the position will last three years, terminating on Jan. 31, 2023, but the appointment will be available for renewal at any time prior to that. His performance is to be reviewed annually, as will his salary, which is currently set at $180,000 per year, or $15,000 per month, similar to Jones’s.

SouthArk’s Board of Trustees is able, at any time, to terminate his contract with 30 days notice; Wallace may terminate his end of the agreement with 90 days notice. His contract was approved by the state legislature, as is required by state code.

Wallace said that this week, he will continue meeting with staff and faculty, as well as some of the college’s industrial partners and the South-Ark Foundation team.

“I’m looking forward to the First Thursday Main Street event Thursday afternoon and the first basketball game of the SouthArk Stars that I’ll be able to attend will be this Thursday night, so lots of exciting stuff going on,” he added.

He is scheduled to deliver the keynote address at the El Dorado-Union County Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Outlook Luncheon next Wednesday. He said he intends to speak about the role of higher education and technical education in local economies.

“It’s really exciting to be the keynote for that,” he said. “We’re going to talk about the impact the college has on the community and vice versa. It’ll be a great opportunity to meet lots of people in the community and be part of that conversation around the impact of education on economic development.”

Keep an eye out for the News-Times’ upcoming issue of Live Union County, which will include a profile on Dr. Wallace. The magazine will insert in copies of the News-Times on Feb. 27.

Caitlan Butler can be reached at 870-862-6611 or