On September 14, the late Mr. Louis Blanchard, Dr. Ron J. Ponder, and Peoples Bank were inducted into the Hall of Fame, which recognizes and memorializes remarkable business leaders and organizations for professional success, community service, and dedication to Southern Arkansas University and the Rankin College of Business.
To view photos of the induction ceremony click here.
“Our inaugural class really represents what we were striving for with the creation of the Hall of Fame,” says Robin Sronce, dean of the Rankin College of Business. “There are so many exceptional people and organizations with ties to the RCB that give back in so many incredible ways. We’re excited to recognize them in this way.”
Louis Blanchard started as a professor of accounting in 1956. At that time, SAU was known as Southern State College. He was later named professor emeritus and also earned the Lifetime Achievement Award in Accounting. He retired in 1998 after teaching for 42 years. After retirement he remained active in the University, serving on the SAU Board of Trustees, the SAU Foundation Board of Governors, and the Mulerider Club Advisory board. The business building, Blanchard Hall, is named after him.
Ponder graduated from SAU in 1965 with his BBA in Industrial Management. He subsequently earned his MBA from Louisiana Tech and Ph.D. from Mississippi State University. During his career, he served as a senior information technology executive in several Fortune 100 companies across a variety of industries. He held senior leadership positions at Federal Express, Sprint, AT&T, and WellPoint. In 2006 he founded an Information Technology consulting firm that specializes in managing large-scale business and government technology program implementations, information technology group transformations, and providing leadership on troubled projects.
Peoples Bank is a locally owned community bank founded in 1910. The bank and its owners maintain a strong commitment to the Magnolia community and Southern Arkansas University. In addition to employing several SAU graduates and interns, Peoples Bank also provides support for SAU and the Rankin College of Business in a variety of ways including projects that help students in the form of scholarships for tuition and travel and faculty through a professorship and most recently the University’s first Endowed Dean’s Chair.
Sronce believes recognizing these outstanding inductees will inspire students, faculty, and the business community. Plans are underway for a permanent display honoring Hall of Fame members in Blanchard Hall.
Nominations for future Hall of Fame inductees are open and will be accepted on a rolling basis. Nominations will be considered for the next available class and will be held for five years.
Forms can be submitted online, or hard copy nominations may be mailed to: Robin Sronce, Dean, Rankin College of Business, Southern Arkansas University, 100 E. University MSC 9410, Magnolia, AR 71753.