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UA Little Rock Vice Chancellor Steve McClellan passes away

Steve McClellan, 64, of Little Rock, vice chancellor for finance and administration at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, passed away Saturday, Dec. 5, after a heart attack.

“Having worked closely with Steve these last fifteen months, I know that he shared my optimism for a bright future at UA Little Rock,” said Chancellor Christina Drale. “He was dedicated to helping us find ways to build a better budget and to make other institutional improvements wherever possible. He loved university life and was keenly interested in the activities of our faculty, staff, and students.”

McClellan has been a part of the Trojan community since 2007 when he was hired as associate vice chancellor for finance, a position he held until 2013. He returned to UA Little Rock in March 2016 after a three-year post as vice president for finance and administration and chief financial officer at his alma mater, Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi.

As vice chancellor for finance and administration, McClellan took leadership of the university’s budget and financial services. In addition, he oversaw the departments of facilities management, public safety, information technology, printing services, and until recently, human resources. 

“Steve was also a very conscientious supervisor,” Chancellor Drale said. “He took great care to assess the needs of his areas and to build camaraderie among his units. He always showed genuine concern for his employees.”

McClellan earned both his bachelor’s degree in accounting and MBA from Delta State University. Prior to UA Little Rock, McClellan served nearly 25 years at Northwest Mississippi Community College, holding various accounting, business, and leadership roles, including 13 years as vice president for fiscal affairs. He was dedicated to helping students achieve the dream of obtaining a college education.

“I like to feel that I am making a difference in the educational opportunities that are offered to students,” McClellan said when he became vice chancellor at UA Little Rock in 2016. “I do like to think I am making a difference in the opportunities that people have to enhance their education and better themselves.”

Layde Ann and Steve McClellan ride the Tour de Rock to raise money for CARTI in honor of Steve's brother, Bruce.
Layde Ann and Steve McClellan ride the Tour de Rock to raise money for CARTI in honor of Steve’s brother, Bruce.

McClellan was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed cycling, hunting, fishing, and canoeing. His adventures included skydiving with his daughter, Annie, and traveling the Mississippi River from Memphis to New Orleans in a one-man kayak. For several years, he sponsored a cycling team of UA Little Rock students, employees, and alumni to ride the Tour de Rock, a cycling fundraiser that supports CARTI’s continued fight against cancer, in honor of his brother, Bruce, who has lung cancer. 

McClellan was a member of the National Association of College and University Business Officers and the Southern Association of College and University Business Officers, serving as the vice chair of the Comprehensive College Committee. The Community Colleges Business Officers organization, representing the states of Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and Louisiana, previously selected McClellan as the “Most Outstanding Business Officer” from this region.

“While his sense of humor and smile were contagious, it was Steve McClellan’s heart that made him so very beloved. He loved his Lord, and he loved his church,” his obituary said. “His compassion for his family, friends, students, co-workers knew no bounds. He loved giving, and he gave of his time, talent and treasures to help others. He was a man of integrity, honesty, decency, and, above all, kindness. The world was a better place because of Steve McClellan, and even without his physical presence, his legacy will live forever in the hearts of all who knew and loved him.”

McClellan is survived by his wife, Ladye Ann, and two children, Annie and Steve McCellan Jr. He was preceded in death by his parents, Albert Polk McClellan and Gloria Jean Guerieri McClellan, and nephew, Matt Gregory.

A family mass in celebration of McClellan’s life will be held Tuesday, Dec. 8, at Our Lady of Victories Catholic Church, in Cleveland, Mississippi.

In lieu of flowers, the family wishes donations to be made to Our Lady of Victories Catholic Church (215 Bishop Road, Cleveland, MS 38732) or Miracle League of Arkansas (P.O. Box 7372 Little Rock, AR 72217).

His obituary can be found online.