MAGNOLIA, Ark. —Jeanette “Jeanie” Bismark has been named the new executive director of the Southern Arkansas University Foundation and the director of development for the University.
Bismark, who has called Magnolia home since 1961, brings to the position an understanding of customer service from co-owning two businesses with her husband Paul, as well as a working knowledge of education, and the challenges of the field, from working as an English teacher in Columbia County schools.
“As a former school teacher I am interested in education and the University because of my connection with it over the years,” Bismark said. “I also see this position as an opportunity to make a contribution the University. Plus, my husband said I took the job because I can’t resist a challenge.”
Bismark’s ties with SAU run deep and began with spending a couple of weeks each summer with her aunt Floy Childs, and her uncle Orval Childs, who was director of the agriculture department for three decades, and whose name students associate with the Childs Agriculture Building.
Bismark said her immediate goal in her new position is to help grow the Foundation by recruiting people who have an interest in education. One of the often overlooked responsibilities of the University is to impact economic growth, she said.
“Education is important for its own sake, but it is also important that a student’s education makes them more productive in the economy,” Bismark said.
In the long term, she is looking forward to helping bring the “Blue and Gold vision” to life. Dedicated fundraising is one way to support this vision of a quality comprehensive University.
Bismark has a bachelor of arts in English with honors from SAU and a master of arts in English from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.
She is a former member of the SAU Foundation Board of Governors, was chairman of the Columbia County Sesquicentennial Celebration, Magnolia-Columbia Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year, 2002 and past president of the Magnolia Junior Charity League.
She and her husband Paul co-owned the Treasure Chest and Olive’s Sporting Goods, both in Magnolia, with her husband Paul. They have one son, Carl, who lives in McNeil, Ark., with his wife Brandy and their two children, Marley, 4, and Will, 1.
Bismark replaces Art Horne who was the executive director of development for the SAU Foundation in Magnolia from 2002-2007. Horne has joined the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Office of Development and Alumni Affairs as executive director of development for UAMS colleges.