Robin Hayes, Director of Admissions at Arkansas State University-Beebe, retired last November, leaving a legacy of service spanning several decades.
Hayes arrived at ASU-Beebe in the fall of 1999 as a student recruiter for the Admissions Office. However, she was already quite familiar with the college. In addition to being a 1976 alumna, Hayes remarked that she was on campus in the late 1960’s to watch basketball games, attend theater productions, and participate in various other events. “In 1967, I attended many theater performances at ASU-Beebe to watch my older brother on stage,” said Hayes.
Her parents were J.M. and Jeanne Crisco of McRae. “When I was two years old, we moved to Dodge City, Kansas and then to McRae when I was five years old,” said Hayes. She met her husband John P. Hayes while in high school. “And the rest is history,” laughed Hayes. “We married and had our family - twins Jenny and David, and later Scott. We were grateful to be able to raise our family in Beebe and stay active in our community.”
In high school, Hayes’ passion for sports led her to attend college at ASU-Beebe. “I played basketball from 7th grade to 12th grade at McRae. Jeannie Lindsey, who was the women’s basketball coach at ASU-Beebe, came to McRae to watch me play basketball and encouraged me to go to college.”
Hayes attended ASU-Beebe from 1974 to 1976. After ASU-Beebe, she attended the University of Central Arkansas, receiving a bachelor’s degree, and later a master’s degree in health education and science.
After Hayes completed her master’s degree, she coordinated one of the first AmeriCorp programs in the state. AmeriCorps is a national service learning program that places individuals in areas to work on projects that improve the communities that are served. Hayes worked with students whose college costs were paid in exchange for their two-year work commitment with AmeriCorp. Hayes said, “Some of the projects completed during those years included working at the Heifer International Global Village, reviving community ballparks and starting school reading programs in three counties.”
Hayes returned to ASU-Beebe in the mid-90s as an adjunct instructor teaching night classes in Concepts of Fitness and Principles of Health for her former mentor Jeannie Lindsey. “ASU-Beebe had a strong night program – there were about 30 students consistently enrolled in my night classes,” said Hayes.
“I then heard about a job opening in the Admissions Office, so I applied and got the job” said Hayes. “I almost didn’t get the job though,” said Hayes. “The Registrar, James Washburn, who hired me told me later he didn’t think I would be a good fit for the position, but hired me anyway. After I had success in several school visits and recruitment efforts, he admitted I was the right person for the job,” said Hayes. “This made me happy and gave me the boost I needed to help students enroll and start their path.” Hayes said Washburn became a major influence, mentor and friend, which is a relationship that continues today.
Hayes has seen a lot of change over the past 20 years. After Washburn retired, the offices of Registrar and Admissions were separated. Hayes then was named Director of Admissions and oversaw the move into the remodeled Admissions Building, formerly the Math and Science Annex. “We had room to grow and serve students, as the Admissions Building has served as a great welcome center for prospective students, parents, and other visitors to the campus,” said Hayes.
“I had the opportunity to see a lot of this history unfold over the years. I was on campus as a student when ASU-Beebe broke ground at the Owen Center, which opened in 1975,” Hayes reminisced. “I also remember when the Student Center was in the Ruth Couch Building and the snack bar was at the back. Now we have the beautiful McKay Student Center, which has served students, employees and the community since 2001.”
When not planning high school previews or college fairs, putting together viewbooks and recruiting materials, or visiting with prospective students and their families, Hayes has been involved in community and professional organizations over the years. She served as state president from 2008 to 2009 for the Arkansas Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (ArkACRAO). She was also active in the Arkansas Student Affairs Association and served as president of the Arkansas College Personnel Association (ArCPA) from 2010 to 2011.
Hayes has also been active in the community as a member of the Beebe Junior Civic League for many years, which started the Angel Tree program in Beebe. Hayes has served as a volunteer with Beebe Public Schools and she and her husband are 40-year members of the Beebe First United Methodist Church.
“I think ASU-Beebe’s unique history, central campus locations, a wide range of course offerings and the full college experience has really set us apart,” continued Hayes. “It’s time to retire, though, and spend more time enjoying family and personal interests. This is also an opportunity for others to grow and take more of a leadership role in guiding the college in its continuous growth.”
Hayes certainly leaves a great legacy as she has welcomed numerous students to attend ASU-Beebe over the years. Even as she was preparing to retire in mid-November, she and her husband John P. Hayes announced the creation of several scholarships as a continuous benefit to students in the fine arts and the social sciences areas.