SAU BHOF

The David F. Rankin College of Business at Southern Arkansas University has announced the 2020 Hall of Fame Class honoring three inductees who exhibit outstanding professional achievement, remarkable peer leadership, and exceptional support for the Rankin College of Business.

The second Hall of Fame class includes Dr. David Rankin, president-emeritus of SAU; Ron LeMay, managing director and co-founder of OpenAir Equity Partners and CEO of Main Street Data; and business honoree Murphy Oil Corporation.

According to Dr. Robin Sronce, dean of the Rankin College of Business, the Hall of Fame “recognizes and memorializes remarkable business leaders and organizations for professional success, community service and dedication to SAU and the College of Business.”

“We are appreciative of the impact this year’s inductees have made on our university and the students in the College of Business,” said Dr. Sronce. “We are excited to be able to honor them through their induction into our Hall of Fame.”

Dr. Rankin earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas, an MBA from Louisiana Tech University, and a PhD in Finance from the University of Mississippi. He also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.

He retired as president of SAU on June 30, 2015, and was named President Emeritus.

He served SAU for 46 years, the last 13 as president. He also served as the dean of the College of Business and professor of finance and economics.

His ambitious “Blue and Gold Vision,” SAU’s first capital campaign, raised more than $100 million for numerous campus projects. With the addition of the Governor Ben and Lucile Laney farm and the 400-acre Ted Monroe farm the university more than doubled in size to a total of 1,892 acres.

Rankin facilitated growth for SAU’s quality academic programs, adding many cutting-edge programs to SAU’s comprehensive list of degrees.

He served as the Economic Advisor to Arkansas Governors and as chairman of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors. He is a George Washington Honor Medal recipient from the Freedoms Foundation for Excellence in Economic Education.

He served as chair of then-Governor Mike Huckabee’s Summit on Economic Development in 1998, as chair of the Golden Triangle Economic Development Council, and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Arkansas Council of Economic Education. Rankin has also served on the NCAA Division II National Presidents’ Council and the NCAA Long-Range Planning Task Force.

He is the author of “What Every American Needs to Know About Economics” released in 2018.

LeMay is a successful corporate executive, serial entrepreneur and early stage investor with more than 50 years of experience.

OpenAir Equity Partners specializes in broadband communications and the “Internet of Things” associated with related data science investments. Its portfolio companies focus on connected car, home, aircraft and agricultural machinery businesses to access and shape data into solutions that revolutionize business processes, companies and industries.

Previously, LeMay served as president-COO of Sprint. As the first employee and CEO of Sprint PCS, LeMay guided the company from start-up to $10 billion in annual revenue and grew the company to 35,000 employees in four years. On retiring from Sprint in 2003, LeMay served as CEO of Japan Telecom, where he orchestrated the company’s turn-around and successful sale to SoftBank, producing the highest internal rate of return of any multi-billion-dollar private equity exit.

In addition, he is a co-founder of GoGo Inflight Internet Services, the leading global broadband in-flight Internet service. LeMay co-founded Hyla Mobile, the company that invented the wireless device trade-in program for carriers, which is now the global leader in that space. He is co-founder of Conexion Connect, an operator of fiber to the home networks in rural America. LeMay has served on eight public company boards and numerous private company boards over the past 20 years.

Headquartered in Houston, Murphy Oil Corporation is an independent exploration and production company with a balanced portfolio of global offshore and onshore assets. Murphy produces oil and natural gas in the United States and Canada and conducts exploration activities worldwide. Murphy has deep roots in south Arkansas and had its corporate headquarters in El Dorado until earlier this year when it consolidated all of its worldwide offices to Houston. Murphy has supported SAU for many years through different initiatives including the Murphy Lecture Series. The company has employed many SAU graduates through the years.

The Rankin College of Business will host this year’s inductees in the Leadership Challenge Speaker Series at 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22 via Zoom. The induction ceremony for the second Hall of Fame class will be delayed until 2021, due to COVID.

These distinguished honorees will join the inaugural inductees from 2019, which includes the late Louis Blanchard, Dr. Ron J. Ponder, and Peoples Bank.

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