(LITTLE ROCK) May 24, 2017 – The inaugural University of Arkansas System President’s Medal for Service today was given to Charles E. Scharlau, former chairman and CEO of Southwestern Energy and past chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas.
The medal is a discretionary award given by the UA System president and his cabinet to recognize individuals who have demonstrated a distinguished and sustained commitment to helping the UA System carry out its mission to the state through their time, knowledge and philanthropy. Recipients are recognized for their exceptional service and support for multiple units of the UA System.
“Charles Scharlau and his late wife, Clydene, have been generous benefactors and have dedicated countless hours of volunteer service to many causes at institutions and organizations across the UA System,” said Dr. Donald R. Bobbitt, president of the UA System. “While Charles was
an outstanding chair and member of the Board of Trustees, his service to the system extends well beyond his time as a board member to numerous other activities at UA-Fayetteville, UAMS and beyond. The President’s Medal was established to be given in those rare instances where a person has made an exceptional, system-wide impact, and I can think of no one more deserving to receive this first medal than Charles Scharlau.”
In addition to serving on the UA Board from 1997 to 2007, Scharlau has served on the Board of Directors of the University of Arkansas Foundation, Inc., and the Razorback Foundation, along with numerous advisory boards at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). He is past president of
the Arkansas Alumni Association and his many university honors include being named Outstanding Alumnus from the School of Law and receiving the Citation for Distinguished Alumni.
“I have a firm belief in the mission to better the lives of all Arkansans,” Scharlau said. “The best way I know to do that is through an educated workforce and promoting a healthier society, both of which can be accomplished through the many diverse units of the University of Arkansas System. It’s a privilege to be a part of this effort and an honor to be recognized by Dr. Bobbitt and the Board of Trustees.”
Scharlau’s philanthropic efforts have extended across multiple UA System campuses and departments, including the establishment of the $5 million endowed chair in Presidential Leadership at the UA System to support the Office of the President in its role in managing and operating a large, complex university system. Scharlau’s generosity also led to the establishment of several other endowments, including for academic chairs in Hematological Malignancies Research and Cancer Research at UAMS, and for a professorship in the chemistry department, and for acquisitions in the School of Law and University Libraries at UA-Fayetteville.
“On behalf of the UA Board of Trustees, I want to thank Charles Scharlau for his outstanding service for so many years to the UA System,” said Ben Hyneman, chairman of the Board of Trustees. “Charles’ generosity with his time and resources is only matched by the class and humility with which he has carried himself throughout his life. The entire Board is grateful to him for his many contributions, most importantly his role in setting the standard for how to make a significant impact both during and after time spent in service as a Trustee.”
A 2017 inductee into the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame, Scharlau worked 47 years for Southwestern Energy, serving as chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the company and its subsidiaries, Arkansas Western Gas Co., SEECO, Southwestern Energy Production Company and Southwestern Energy Services Co. before his retirement in 1998. He has been the director of several business corporations, including Arvest Bank, Fayetteville; First Arkansas Bankstock Corp., Little Rock; and C.H. Heist Corp., Florida. He is a former member of the State Economic Expansion Commission, past chairman of the state’s energy commission and served two terms as president of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce.
A native of Mountain Home and longtime resident of Fayetteville, Scharlau graduated from UA-Fayetteville with his law degree in 1951. Three of Scharlau’s five children have also earned six degrees from UA-Fayetteville.
As a trustee, Scharlau was a member of the Athletic Committee and served as chairman of both Fiscal Affairs and Audit Committees for three and four years, respectively. Upon his retirement from the board, he was recognized for his financial insight and efforts to increase accountability and efficiency at the university.
About the University of Arkansas System
The University of Arkansas System is a comprehensive, publicly-supported higher education institution composed of 20 unique campuses, divisions and administrative units that share the singular goal of serving Arkansas residents and others by developing and sharing knowledge to impact an ever-changing world. Serving more than 70,000 students and awarding more than 80,000 degrees and certificates in the last five years, the UA System further promotes an atmosphere of excellence that honors the heritage and diversity of our state and nation. It provides students, researchers and professionals with tools to promote responsible stewardship of human, natural and financial resources in Arkansas and around the globe, and with workforce-relevant knowledge to enhance economic development efforts that improve the overall quality of life and societal well-being.
The 20 institutions and units that comprise the University of Arkansas System include seven two-year institutions: Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas (PCCUA), the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville (UACCB), the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton (UACCM), the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope (UACCH) and Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas (CCCUA), University of Arkansas Pulaski Technical College (UAPTC) and the University of Arkansas Community College at Rich Mountain (UACCRM); five four-year institutions: the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville (UAF), the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith (UAFS), the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) and the University of Arkansas at Monticello (UAM); the state’s major academic medical center, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS); a statewide Division of Agriculture; a presidential graduate school, the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service; a residential high school, the Arkansas School for Math, Sciences and the Arts (ASMSA), a fully-online university, the University of Arkansas System eVersity; as well as several units critical to the economic and cultural fabric of the state, including the Arkansas Archeological Survey (AAS), the Criminal Justice Institute (CJI) and the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute (WRI).