Mel Sansom, vice president of finance and CFO for Harding University, was recognized as the 2018 Arkansas Business Chief Financial Officer of the Year for Education. He was honored at a special luncheon held at Embassy Suites in Little Rock Wednesday, Nov. 7.
The awards are part of an annual event produced by Arkansas Business that honors lifetime achievements and chief financial officers in several categories. Winners are selected by an independent panel of judges.
According to Mitch Bettis, president of Arkansas Business Publishing Group and publisher of Arkansas Business, a chief financial officer is a historian and fortune teller responsible for recording what has happened and for predicting what will happen with a company’s financial performance. “The honorees here represent the perfect combination of intelligence, judgment, loyalty, integrity, high energy, balanced ego and impressive ability to see around corners.”
University President Dr. Bruce McLarty cites similar reasons for nominating Sansom.
“Dr. Sansom has wider-ranging responsibilities at Harding than just about anyone realizes,” said Dr. McLarty. “He oversees our finances, our physical resources department, our relationship with our food services and custodial provider and our human resources department. It is so important to me to have someone in this role whose word and work I can trust completely. I am thankful for Dr. Sansom’s excellent service and for his deep commitment to Harding University.”
Sansom joined the Harding team as CFO in 2002. During his tenure he has made significant improvements in planning construction, communication and funding projects. Over the last four years Sansom’s work has helped decrease University debt by approximately $20 million.
“It is such an honor,” Sansom said. “I am very blessed to be working in higher education and especially at Harding on a beautiful campus with wonderful people all around me and excitement on campus every day. Our finance team at Harding, along with all the other members of our division in finance and operational areas, are a joy to work with and do an amazing job in this very special place. They make it all happen, and I am very grateful.”
Sansom holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from Harding and a doctorate in higher education administration from University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Other finalists in that category were Paul Cherry of Central Baptist College in Conway and Don Swanson of Pulaski Academy in Little Rock.
“I am thankful to God who blesses us with all good things, including this special honor and the entire experience,” Sansom said.