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Wayne Banks – Betty J. Lewis Unsung Hero for April

Wayne Banks is April's Betty J. Lewis Unsung Hero!

African American man behind desk

Wayne Banks is a native of Chicago Illinois, but moved to Arkansas as a teenager. He is a 1978 graduate of Nashville Senior High School. After high school he took several years trying to figure out what direction he wanted his future to take, eventually he moved his family back to his hometown of Chicago and resided there for 7 years. During his stay there, he completed the requirements for an associate degree in Computer Technology from Kennedy-King College and a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Chicago State University.

He moved to the Camden area in 1993. He applied for and was hired as a part-time data entry specialist by Southern Arkansas University Tech in 1995. The rest is history, Banks worked in the registrar’s office for almost 27 years in several positions, including the position of registrar. He was SAU Tech’s registrar for over 21 years. Wayne is an advocate for continuous learning and education in general, he received 3 associate degrees from SAU Tech and was a summa cum laude honor graduate. He was a Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society (PTK) member and served as their president for 3 years. He later enrolled at SAU where he received his B.A. and M.B.A. degrees.

While employed at Tech, Banks always stayed abreast of the latest Higher Ed. policies and procedures. This in turn helped the community, SAU Tech, the registrar’s office, and himself. He was an active member of the associations related to the Student Services division including state, Arkansas Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (ArkACRAO); region, Southern Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (SACRAO); and national, American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) associations.

He had the opportunity to serve in several leadership positions with these associations. He was elected President of the Arkansas Association (ArkACRAO) and also served 3 other terms on their executive committee. With the regional association, SACRAO, Banks was a member of their executive committee for three terms. In addition, he served as Chair of both the AACRAO and SACRAO Nomination and Election committees in 2016-17. This was the first and still the only time a member has been nominated and elected Chair of the N&E committee of both associations at the same time. While retired from SAU Tech in 2021, he still has been an active participant in the state, regional, and national associations and Higher Ed. in general. He currently serves as a member of 2 professional activities committees ((PAC) and the black caucus with AACRAO and 2 standing committees with SACRAO. He received Honorary Membership and Distinguished Service awards from SACRAO and ArkACRAO in 2021 and 2022 and was presented with the Emerging Leader Award by AACRAO in 2017. Wayne feels that his continuous involvement and support of these associations have allowed him to give back and share some valuable nuggets from the wealth of knowledge and information he has received over the years.

Banks tried his best to be a knowledgeable and well-rounded employee. During his employment with Tech, He received the Professional Staff Excellence Award twice, the Outstanding Alumni Award, the SAU Tech Chancellors Award, Administrative Excellent Award (NISOD), and the AATYC Outstanding Staff Member Award. He is a Camden Leadership Area graduate. Wayne served in the Army National Guard for 10 years reaching the military rank of Staff Sergeant (SSG). He is a member of Hickory Ridge Missionary Baptist Church in Camden where Dr. Shadrach Porchia is his Pastor. At Hickory Ridge, Banks serves as usher president and trustee. Banks has a passion for ushering, he previously was a member of the Ouachita District Association and Good Will Ushers unions and current is an active member of the City-Wide Ushers union.

Wayne and his wife Barbara have been married for over 42 years and have raised 2 sons together. In early September of 2023, Wayne answered the call to duty when because of staff shortages in Student Services, he left the retirement life and went back to work at SAU Tech as Registrar’s Office Consultant. He filled this position for over 6 months, helping with multiple tasks and duties; including the completion of ADHE state reporting files, creating and updating semester class schedules, giving assistance in the implementation of Tech’s new SIS system, and taking part and aiding in their major data cleanup project. As Banks has said often, "The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." - Nelson Mandela

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