Henderson to honor Duke, Jones as distinguished alumni

Henderson State University will honor a professional golfer and a recently-retired vice president as distinguished alumni Oct. 28 during homecoming. Ken Duke and Bobby Jones were selected for their outstanding achievements and contributions and will be recognized at the Distinguished Alumni Banquet.

The banquet starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Garrison Center Grand Ballroom. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased by calling 870-230-5401 or emailing hankinp@hsu.edu.

Ken Duke

Since becoming a professional golfer, Duke had a dream of giving back to Henderson and the Reddie golf program. His vision was to build a state-of-the-art golf facility, and that dream recently became a reality.

Construction of the Ken Duke Golf Center was completed this summer and a grand opening ceremony will take place Sept. 17.

Twelve years ago, Duke and his family helped organize “A Day with the Duke” golf tournament to raise money for various charities in Arkansas and Florida, including funds to benefit those with spinal problems.

While in seventh grade, Duke was diagnosed with Scoliosis, an abnormal curving of the spine. Following surgery, he endured a lengthy rehabilitation.

Duke now serves as a spokesman for Scoliosis Research Society and visits with scoliosis patients in hospitals. He also helped establish the Ken Duke Endowed Chair in Scoliosis at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Duke played golf at Henderson from 1988-92. He was a four-time All-AIC selection and AIC Player of the Year. During this time, the Reddie golf team won four AIC titles, four District 17 championships, and appeared in the NAIA National Tournament each year.

After earning NAIA All-American honors in 1992, Duke turned professional in 1994. He recorded the best season of his professional career in 2008 with four top-10 finishes and his first trip to the PGA Tour Championship.

In 2013, Duke won his first PGA Tour event at the 2013 Travelers Championship. He was honored by the Golf Writers Association of America in 2014 with the Ben Hogan Award for remaining active in golf despite a physical handicap or serious illness. That same year, he was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame.

Duke has also been inducted into the Arkansas Golf Hall of Fame and the Reddie Hall of Honor at Henderson.

Bobby Jones

Jones became controller for Henderson in 1989 and was appointed vice president for finance and administration in 1999. He holds a B.S.B.A. degree in accounting and an M.B.A., both from Henderson.

Jones also served as interim president at Henderson from April 2011 to June 2012.  He later served as interim director of athletics.

A Certified Public Accountant, Jones was a Distinguished Military Graduate from Henderson’s ROTC department, and a four-year letterman on the Reddie football team where he earned All-AIC honors in 1970.

After serving in Vietnam until 1973, Jones returned to Arkadelphia and worked for a local CPA firm and two financial institutions before joining Henderson. He retired from the United States Army Reserves in 1997 having attained the rank of colonel.

Jones has been inducted into the School of Business Hall of Fame at Henderson and the HSU Academy.