Arkansas State University (also known as ASU, ASTATE or "stAte") is a public university and is the flagship campus of the Arkansas State University System, the state's second largest college system and fourth largest university by enrollment. It is located atop on Crowley's Ridge at Jonesboro, Arkansas, USA. The university will mark its centennial year in 2009.
ASU was founded in Jonesboro in 1909 by the Arkansas Legislature as a regional agricultural training school. It began offering a two-year college program in 1918, then became First District Agricultural and Mechanical College in 1925. A four-year degree program was begun in 1930, then A & M College became Arkansas State College in 1933. The Arkansas Legislature elevated the college to university status and changed the name to "Arkansas State University" in 1967.
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. The doctoral program in the biomedical sciences kicked off in fall 2006.
Today, the institution has more than 55,000 alumni. Programs at the specialist's, master's, bachelor's and associate's degree levels are available through the various colleges: Agriculture, Business, Communications, Education, Engineering, Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Nursing and Health Professions, Sciences and Mathematics, and University College.
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 has 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 is being 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.
ASU has grown rapidly over the past 20 years. Current enrollment for the Jonesboro campus stands at about 12,000, and the system has an enrollment of greater than 17,000.
Approximately 15% of ASU's students are members of one of the 21 Greek organizations located on the campus. Most other student organizations, including the Student Government Association, the Student Activities Board, and the Student Orientation Staff, are led by and comprised of mainly Greek students. Many in these groups are dedicated to academics, partying, and community service. The organizations also devote thousands of man-hours and dollars to local charities each year.