Governor Appoints Cherisse Jones-Branch and Kathy White Loyd to Women’s Taskforce

JONESBORO – Two members of academic leadership of Arkansas State University were named today by Governor Asa Hutchinson to serve on his Women’s Taskforce.  Graduate Dean Cherisse Jones-Branch and Executive Director of the Women’s Leadership Center Kathy White Loyd were among the 14 individuals appointed.

The Arkansas Commission on the Status of Women in Arkansas was tasked with the study of four major issues within the state and reporting back to the Governor by December. Hutchinson announced the commission’s charge at his weekly media briefing from the State Capitol.

“I am very proud of both Kathy and Cherisse, and I have been so grateful for their leadership as dean for their respective colleges,” Chancellor Kelly Damphousse said.  “I am confident they will provide an important voice while serving on this vital commission.”

Appointed as the dean of the A-State Graduate School in 2020, Jones-Branch holds the James and Wanda Lee Vaughn Endowed Professorship of History.  A nationally renowned scholar, she was named the 2017-18 University Educator of the Year by the Arkansas Council for the Social Studies.  Among her recent scholarly works, she was the co-editor of “Arkansas Women: Their Lives and Times,” which is considered one of the seminal works of women’s history for the state.  

Jones-Branch joined the A-State History Department faculty in 2003, and was promoted to associate professor in 2009.  She was the assistant chair of the department from 2009 to 2014, and received numerous university awards including the outstanding faculty service, the faculty research award, and the Vaughn endowed position. Her most recent book, “Better Living By Their Own Bootstraps: Black Women’s Activism in Rural Arkansas, 1914-1965,” is now available from the University of Arkansas Press. She also is a 2021-2022 American Council on Education —  Lumina Fellow.

Receiving her Ph.D. in history from Ohio State University in 2003, she earned her bachelor’s at the College of Charleston in 1994, then her master’s at the University of Charleston in 1997.  A Persian Gulf War veteran, Jones-Branch served in the U.S. Army in Saudi Arabia and Iraq as a member of the North Charleston, South Carolina-based 941st Transportation Company.

A three-time alumna of A-State, Loyd has a diverse background as a business executive, educator and entrepreneur, recognized for contributions in the fields of information technology and economic development.  The founding director of the Women’s Leadership Center at A-State, Loyd remains a member of the Neil Griffin College of Business faculty and served as interim dean for the Griffin College.

During her corporate career, she has been a highly sought-after board of directors member, serving on major American boards such as Mattel, Inc. During her career, she has served as a corporate officer and chief information officer for several Fortune 500 companies. Dr. Loyd retired from Cardinal Health (CAH: $90 billion healthcare and distribution company) as executive vice president e-commerce and chief information officer. Prior to her business career, she was an associate professor of information technology at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro for 10 years.

She received her bachelor’s and master’s in business education from A-State before earning her third degree with an MBA. She completed her Ed.D. at the University of Memphis.

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