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National Park College names Dr. Wade Derden new President

Dr. Wade Derden

Hot Springs, Arkansas – The National Park College (NPC) Board of Trustees named Dr. Wade Derden as the fifth president of NPC. The unanimous vote was made Thursday evening following an executive session. Dr. Derden will begin July 1, 2024.  

The Board selected Dr. Derden following an extensive nationwide search process and broad support from the campus community. A Board appointed search committee carefully reviewed applications from over 60 experienced applicants. The College also hosted campus visits and open forums that sought input from students, faculty and staff, and community members.

Board chair, Joyce Craft said, “The Board is pleased to announce that we have hired Dr. Wade Derden to serve as NPC’s fifth president. His distinct knowledge of community colleges, specifically NPC, his trusted leadership, and deep compassion for student success are all reasons he stood out among an incredibly strong pool of candidates. Dr. Derden has a clear vision for carrying the legacy of NPC forward. I am personally moved by his strength of character and commitment to this community. I appreciate the Board’s careful consideration and dedication to this process.” 

Dr. Derden is a sixth-generation Arkansan and has more than 20 years of experience in higher education. He received his Ph.D. in Public Policy from the University of Arkansas (UA), a Master of Arts from the UA, and a Bachelor of Arts in History from Hendrix College.  

Dr. Derden served as the president of the Arkansas Community College’s Board of Directors and as a peer reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission. He also collaborated with college leaders from across the state and University of Arkansas faculty to develop a graduate program in the College of Education and Health Professionals for community college leadership. Governor Hutchinson appointed Dr. Derden to the University of Arkansas’s Criminal Justice Institute Board of Advisors.  Dr. Derden is married to Angie Macri, an Arkansas Arts Council Fellow for Poetry. Together they have raised their four children in Hot Springs to be active in the community and to enjoy the nature and history of Arkansas.

Current NPC President, Dr. John Hogan added, “I could not be more pleased by the Board’s decision to select Dr. Wade Derden. Having worked closely with him this past decade, I am wholly confident that NPC will continue its intense focus on meeting the needs of our students. I know Wade to be a person of high character, ambition, vision, and passionate about student success. Dr. Derden is a preeminent leader in higher education. He will add to the cultural recipe and continue to build the College with forward momentum. He has earned the position and I know the best is ahead for National Park College.” 

After accepting the position, Dr. Derden expressed his excitement for the opportunity and reiterated his commitment to students. “I am thankful to the Board of Trustees for allowing me the opportunity to serve the campus that I love as the next president of National Park College. Our mission is focused on learning and student success. I look forward to leading this talented group of faculty and staff as we work together for the future of our students and our community.” 

View Dr. Derden’s full bio and resume.   

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National Park College was established in 1973 and is located in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The College enrolls over 7,000 credit and noncredit students per year. NPC is a comprehensive two-year institution offering associate degrees and certificates as well as continuing education, community services and workforce training. 

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