Dr. Trey Berry, president of Southern Arkansas University, announced that Dr. Robin Sronce, dean of the David F. Rankin College of Business, has been named as the first recipient of the Peoples Bank Endowed Dean’s Chair. Sronce became dean July 5, 2017, coming to SAU from Drury University in Springfield, Mo., where she served as dean of the Breech School of Business and as associate professor of management.

According to a press release, Berry said this is the first endowed dean’s chair at a public university south of Little Rock.

“I am honored to be the inaugural holder of the Peoples Bank Endowed Dean’s Chair at the Rankin College of Business,” Sronce stated. “Support from the business community is important for a successful, thriving business college, and we appreciate Peoples Bank’s commitment to business education.  Funding from this chair will be used to broaden our ability to engage with the community and region.”

Through the Peoples Bank Endowed Dean’s Chair, the bank generously partnered with the University to fund an endowment which will provide annual resources to accomplish the vision of the College, along with allowing faculty the opportunity to go beyond the basics to offer our students a first-rate education that SAU has become known for.

Berry said SAU’s ability to provide students with the finest education available “rests with the quality of our faculty. Endowed Chairs are crucial for recruiting and retaining the highest-quality faculty and administration, and essential if we are going to continue to excel as an institution.”

He explained the Peoples Bank Endowed Dean’s Chair “provides a permanent source of annual resources to propel research, pursue collaboration and help a dean realize his or her vision.”

“Peoples Bank is excited to be a part of the growth of SAU and the College of Business in particular,” said Jonathan Baird, chief financial officer of Peoples Bank of Magnolia. “Peoples Bank employs 20 graduates and currently enrolled students, so we know firsthand the opportunities a good education can bring. SAU is a vibrant part of our community and we recognize the value SAU brings both in terms of human capital and quality of life. We look forward to our continued partnership with SAU.”

Under Dr. Sronce’s leadership, the Rankin College of Business will focus on the strategic initiatives of professional preparation for students, enhanced curriculum and technology that aligns with today’s industry standards, sustainability, marketing of the College’s programs, recruitment and retention, and engagement with external constituents.