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Henderson State University

Brief Description:

Henderson State University Founding Celebrations

Henderson State University was formed in 1890 to provide educational opportunities to Arkansas residents. The university has a unique past, it is the only institution in Arkansas that has been controlled by both church and state, and it is the only state-supported university to bear the name of an individual. Henderson State University is the second oldest state college in Arkansas.


Mission Statement:

Henderson State 125 Years logoLocated in the heart of southwest Arkansas, Henderson State University is a public institution serving as a vital educational and cultural center for the local community, region and state. 
Founded as a private institution in 1890, Henderson has a strong liberal arts heritage that is the base of over 75 undergraduate and graduate programs, earning the university its status as Arkansas’s public liberal arts university. Henderson offers a quality education guided by a faculty and staff who are committed to excellence and dedicated to serving a diverse student body.

The university encourages scholarly and creative activities in a caring, personal atmosphere that reflects the university’s motto for over a century: “The School with a Heart." Influenced by its distinctive history, the mission of Henderson State University is to provide a learning environment that prepares students for a lifetime of intellectual and personal growth in a global society. The Henderson experience bridges students’ academic aspirations to career success by integrating professional studies and the liberal arts.


President's Quote:

Glen Jones"For 125 years, our university has transformed the lives of generations of young people who dared to believe that their lives, and the lives of their families, could be better if they attained a higher-education degree. Along with the best and the brightest from across the region, our long history has also centered on those students less familiar with and sometimes less prepared for a college education. Most were from blue-collar families, and many were the first in their entire family to pursue a higher education degree. They were primarily from small towns in Arkansas and east Texas, with a small number from other states and countries around the world. Yet, they came. They came because they knew Henderson would provide them with an opportunity not dependent on their socio-economic status, gender, race, or their family’s educational pedigree. They came to a place that recognized their immediate needs while embracing their long-term potential. They came to a place that believed in them, encouraged and supported them, developed them into educated citizens, and sent them forward to be leaders across our country and in their communities and homes. I was one of those students.

As I reflect on Henderson’s impact on my life over the past 26 years, I realize just how blessed I am to be a Reddie. As a young boy growing up in Blytheville, Arkansas, I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I would ever attend, let alone graduate from, a university. Henderson afforded me that opportunity, and I will be forever grateful to the university and the many faculty and staff members who contributed to my success as a student. As we celebrate the 125th anniversary of Henderson State University, let’s remain forever mindful that the Heart of Henderson lies in our enduring commitment to provide an opportunity for young people, and the young at heart, who desire to become educated members of our society. Seeing students transform before our eyes during their journey on our campus is truly remarkable. It is what makes us uniquely Henderson. Our students may sometimes arrive as unpolished jewels, but they are ours and we will teach them. This is our legacy, and we are extremely proud of it. On behalf of Reddies everywhere, I salute Henderson State University for 125 years of transforming the lives of the many students we have been so blessed to serve. You will forever stay in our hearts."  — President Glen Jones


Major Accomplishments:


Fun Facts:

  • Feb. 3, 1914, the night of the Great Fire, gave birth to the Reddie Spirit. Many believe this led to a fitting nickname for ‪Henderson State University—“The School with a Heart.”
  • Named after Captain Charles Christopher Henderson, Henderson State remains Arkansas’ only public university named for an individual.
  • Founded as a Methodist school, Henderson State became a public university in 1929, and is the only Arkansas state university that has been controlled by both Church and State.


Notable Alumni:

  • Arkansas Gov. Sid McMath
  • Lawrence Hamilton
  • Bobby Bones (Bobby Ezell)
  • Hosea Sanders, Chicago news anchor
  • Four-star Gen. Jimmy Ross



Current students:


  • Kellee Edmonds
    Vice President of Communications and Public Relations
    (202) 478-4662