MAGNOLIA – Governor Mike Beebe has announced the appointment of two Magnolians to the Southern Arkansas University Board of Trustees. Ken Sibley has been appointed to a five year term and replaces Dr. D. Bud Dickson, outgoing chairman of the Board. Otis A. “Buddy” Franks, Jr., has been appointed to fill the remaining two years of a term vacated by Dr. Jack Harrington who resigned in December due to health concerns.
“It’s going to be a real pleasure to serve with two graduates who have such a love for SAU,” said SAU President Dr. David Rankin. “I look forward to working with them as we address both the challenges and opportunities that face higher education.”
A life-long resident of Magnolia, Franks is a 1954 graduate of SAU. After receiving a degree in business, he spent 14 years at the First National Bank of Magnolia before becoming a commissioned agent with Mobile Oil Company. His career in oil and gas distribution spanned more than four decades. “I’m local,” he said. “If I have any education, I received it in Magnolia.”
Franks said he hopes the University will continue to grow and reach more local residents. “Education will afford a lot of people an opportunity to make a better living,” he said. “I hope they understand what kind of opportunities they have with a four-year university.”
Also a native of Magnolia, Sibley is a 1968 graduate of SAU. He began working at a local radio station part-time in 1962 and became a full-time broadcaster after receiving a degree in speech and psychology. Times have changed since his days as a student, but for the better, he said. “We’ve become more student-friendly.”
Sibley said he is looking forward to what the future holds for SAU and its students. “We’re there to provide them the best quality education possible,” he said. “I don’t think you get a better education anywhere than you do at Southern Arkansas University. I think we have some of the best faculty members, and with the new Science Center and recruiting from that perspective, we will be even better.”
Franks and Sibley join three others as members of the SAU Board of Trustees: Nathan Evers of El Dorado, Edgar Lee of Chidester, and Ronald Ribble of Hot Springs.