There is a new Vice President in the Finance and Administration department here at Henderson State University as of December 1st of 2019. Rita D. Fleming comes to us from the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture in Little Rock, where she was the division chief financial officer. Ms. Fleming’s background as a non-traditional student is one with which many Henderson students can identify. Perhaps her example can be a legacy from which Henderson students can take as inspiration. This reporter had the opportunity to interview Fleming over the weekend to find out a few more details about the newest addition to the Henderson Family.
Since Ms. Fleming has worked in some capacity with the department of higher education, University of Central Arkansas, and University of Arkansas at Little Rock in the financial departments ever since 1989 I asked her what led her to begin working in the college system? She explained that a “good friend” had advised her to go back to school to get her accounting degree while she was “between jobs.”
She said, “When I went to UALR to talk to the chair of the accounting department, I also went by HR and applied for a payroll position that was open. I was hired and began my career in Higher Ed while getting my degree in accounting.”
She went on to say, “The great thing about UALR at that time was the opportunity it gave (and still does) to non-traditional working students to get a degree.”
Fleming reflected on her time as a student at UALR, recalling memories of joint projects with fellow students and the “stress relieving laughter” they shared during study sessions. She acknowledges the opportunity UALR presents to non-traditional students as she was able to commute to school while working in the accounting department, but admits that “there wasn’t a lot of bonding among students” in the commuter school environment.
Perhaps the non-traditional Henderson student population can relate to Ms. Fleming’s experience.
Ms. Fleming was a good sport to take on this interview on short notice, even with her hectic schedule. She is a welcome addition to the HSU Finance and Administration team and an excellent example of a successful career path for students to gain encouragement and motivation.
An informative article regarding Fleming’s educational background is on the HSU website blog under the title, “Henderson hires Fleming as VP of finance and administration,” Published October 22nd, 2019.