Hanner, Mitchell, Owen join ACU board

Posted March 06, 2015

Abilene Christian University has added three new members to its Board of Trustees: Jana (Gilpatrick ’81) Hanner of Baird; Elise (Smith ’83) Mitchell of Nashville, Tenn.; and Randy Owen (’81) of Castle Rock, Colo.

Dr. Barry Packer, chairman of the board, said the new members will officially start their term of service in May.

“We look forward to welcoming Jana, Elise and Randy,” Packer said. “All three display a love and passion for ACU and bring with them great capacity to provide visionary leadership as we collectively lead the university in a governance role.”

Hanner is comptroller at Hanner Chevrolet GMC Inc. in Baird, about 20 miles east of Abilene.  A native of Lewistown, Mont., she met and married her husband, Mark (’80), while an accounting student at ACU.

She has served on the University Council, President’s Venture Council, Lettermen’s Club and as president of Wildcat Parents. She also has served on a number of community boards, including Abilene Christian Schools, American Heart Association and Christian Homes and Family Services, including a term as chairman. She held a leadership role in the Transforming Community building campaign for Southern Hills Church of Christ in Abilene.

The Hanners have three children and five grandchildren.

Mitchell is founder and CEO of Mitchell Communications Group and CEO of the international Dentsu Inc. public relations network. She was named the 2013 Agency PR Professional of the Year by PR Week.

Mitchell Communications Group, headquartered in Fayetteville, Ark., was the 2012 Holmes Report Small Agency of the Year, the 2011 PR Week Small Agency of the Year, the 2011 Inc. 500/5000 Fastest Growing Company, and one of the Women Presidents’ Organization’s 50 Fastest Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies in North America.

Her company’s portfolio of clients includes a “who’s who” of iconic global brands including Walmart, Sam’s Club, Procter & Gamble, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Tyson Foods, J.B. Hunt Transport Inc., Southwestern Energy and others.  

Mitchell received a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from Abilene

Christian University and a master’s degree in public relations from the University of Memphis.  She was honored as ACU’s Outstanding Alumnus of the Year for 2015.

She and her husband, Raye, have two children.

Owen is COO/CFO of Envision Healthcare, a publicly traded national healthcare company based in the Denver, Colo., area.  Envision owns the largest national ambulance service, American Medical Response, and one of the nation’s largest physician staffing businesses, EmCare.

Owen grew up in Abilene and graduated from ACU with a BBA in accounting. He went into public accounting and has worked in the healthcare industry with a number of companies since the mid-1980s.

Owen’s parents were missionaries in Brazil, and he has served in various missions areas including the Littleton Missions Committee. He is a trustee at Great Cities Missions in Dallas and is also involved in various other community boards.

He and his wife, Dara, have two children.  

ACU’s Board of Trustees is the governing body for the university, and trustees are elected at the board’s February meeting each year. They are eligible to serve up to five three-year terms. Trustees are asked to contribute to various committees in which their leadership, expertise and influence are best utilized to set policy, guide the institution’s long-term direction and ensure it fulfills its mission to educate students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world.


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