College History

Arkansas State University Three Rivers (ASUTR) is a comprehensive, public, two-year institution of higher education in Malvern, Arkansas, providing accessible, high-value associate degrees and certificates in a quality academic environment that is focused on both student success and the economic development needs of the communities it serves. The College offers more than 50 programs of study in academic, career and technical disciplines to approximately 3,500 credit, non-credit, adult education (three sites—Hot Spring, Clark and Grant Counties) and workforce students,  while serving the culturally and economically diverse populations in the five-county service area of Hot Spring, Saline, Clark, Grant and Dallas Counties.

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About

Accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, ASU Three Rivers offers some of the region’s best professional and technical programs. Through its divisions of Applied Science Technology; Arts and Sciences; and Health Sciences, the College offers certification in a number of academic, law enforcement, medical, and vocational fields. ASU Three Rivers grants Associate of Applied Science, Associate of Arts, and Associate of Business degrees in nursing, computer information systems, engineering and manufacturing technology (mechatronics), general technology, criminal justice, general education, accounting, office administration, management, and early childhood education. The College’s general education courses prepare students for a bachelor’s degree which is a great way to stretch scholarship dollars, family funds, and financial aid assistance.

 

The College began as Ouachita Vocational Technical School (OVTS) as authorized by the State Board of Education in July 1969 to serve the vocational training needs of a five-county area surrounding Malvern and Hot Spring County.  In 1985, OVTS was designated as a high school vocational center as the state attempted to make vocational education accessible to all Arkansas high school students.  In 1988, the Arkansas Business Council Foundation recommended transferring postsecondary vocational programs from the State Board of Education to the State Board of Higher Education, expansion of general education programs in vo-tech schools, technical workforce training, and converting existing vo-tech schools into colleges along with support and funding. 

 

The 1991 Arkansas Legislature responded to the recommendations with Act 1244, Two-Year Postsecondary Education Reorganization Act of 1991.  OVTS was not in the original legislation; but, at the urging of local business leaders and educators, Senator George Hopkins introduced separate legislation to redesignate OVTS as Ouachita Technical College.  The legislation (Act 617 of 1991) was signed into law prior to Act 1244, making Ouachita Technical College Arkansas’ first technical college.  The College received initial accreditation in 1996 and has continuing accreditation with The Higher Learning Commission. 

The Board of Trustees approved a name change in 2010 to communicate the College’s broad mission of higher education and service.  In July 2011, the name of the College was officially changed to College of the Ouachitas.  In February 2019, the college signed a merger agreement with Arkansas State University System, and announced a new name for the institution in September 2019. On January 1, 2020, College of the Ouachitas became Arkansas State University Three Rivers. 

The Three Rivers in our name have significant meaning for us. They represent rivers located in our service area – the Saline, Ouachita and Caddo Rivers.  The middle river in the logo, which is the longest, is representative of the Ouachita River, as it has been a part of the college’s rich history for more than half a century.

About ASU Three Rivers