U of A's New Leader Seeks More Arkansas Students

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - David Gearhart will become chancellor of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville tomorrow.  In an interview with The Associated Press, Gearhart says one of his top priorities is to convince families statewide to send their children off to college.

Gearhart has a ripe market as only West Virginia has a lower percentage of college graduates than Arkansas.  However, he inherits a campus trying to grow enrollment to 22,500 while facing a space crunch, lower-than-hoped-for state financing and tough economic times.

And he has a tough act to follow.  White Chancellor John White was often the focus amid tumult in the athletic department, he attracted big money from the Walton family, led a $1 billion fundraiser and committed Arkansas to goals laid out by the university's 2010 Commission.

At the time of his appointment this spring, Gearhart was Arkansas' vice chancellor for university advancement after holding similar posts at Westminster College, his alma mater; Hendrix College and Penn State.  The 56-year-old also served as Arkansas' development director in the 1980s.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)