SPECIAL REPORT: Jones, Powell take flight

By The Arkadelphian
From staff reports


ARKADELPHIA — With the help of a world renowned billionaire, two former Henderson State University administrators were launched into orbit early Friday morning with no intentions of returning them to earth.

Droves of Clark County residents poured into Dexter B. Florence Memorial Field well before dawn Friday to observe as former Henderson president Glendell Jones took the steering wheel of a Falcon 9 rocket lent to Henderson’s aviation program for a test flight. Serving as Jones’ co-captain was Brett Powell, who served under Jones as chief financial officer.

Former Henderson State administrators Glendell Jones, left, and Brett Powell pose moments before liftoff in a SpaceX Falcon 9 craft Friday morning. The Arkadelphian photo/Harry N. Baulding

Together, the pair were an unstoppable force as progressive leaders for Henderson until their untimely departure in 2019. Twelve hours prior to launch, Jones and Powell were escorted separately to Arkadelphia from their respective universities currently pleasured with calling them their own: Georgetown University and Baylor University. Efforts to get them to return to Arkadelphia for the sake of Friday’s launch were not without incident.

Reportedly in the process of attempts to rename Georgetown after his own namesake, Jones — who had for years worked his way up to senior advisor to the president — was strategically lured from the throngs of that school’s board of trustees, each of whom were seen sipping from red cups of Kool-Aid during a meeting for which Jones prepared snacks and beverages.

“This [flight] is a proprietary strategy, but I just can’t go into detail about it. You’ll just have to trust me on this.”

— Brett Powell, associate vice president at Baylor University

Powell, meanwhile, was pried from the doors of an enormous white church-like facility minutes away from the Waco-based college, reportedly trying to convince several people inside that his actions weren’t damnable. 

Before stepping aboard the craft, Jones bade farewell to fellow Reddies as they cheered. “If I learned one thing at Henderson, it was how to defy certain laws … I mean, like gravity,” he said, waving, his arms outstretched and two fingers on each hand making the V sign.

Powell, who until today had been employed as an associate vice president at Baylor University, echoed Jones’ sentiment, adding that the risk would be worth taking as an ends to a means. “Today, basically, at Henderson and Baylor, the big money is made by taking risks,” he said. Calling his trip to space a “proprietary strategy” that he couldn’t discuss in detail, Powell called any of his naysayers part of “one big Ponzi scheme.”

Several in the crowd were among those naysayers. Spanish professor Dr. Senora Bonita gave extra credit to any of her students who attended the launch. “¡Los burros sabe más que tú!” she cried repeatedly, encouraging her students to repeat and providing them with even more bonus points to translate their chant. 

The entirety of Sodexo’s 200-man fleet of lawn maintenance professionals were recognized and given a standing ovation for the mowing and precise landscaping of the 5-acre surface of the launchpad. Meanwhile, students from Proctor Hall were awarded a polite applause for preparing breakfast for the entire community — another thankful gesture was made to the School of Business for their presentation to Jones and Powell on how to properly balance a checkbook. A class of Gen-Ed history students were assigned to compose an essay regarding Friday’s events, but that assignment was soon deemed useless and instead given to a class at Arkansas State University-Three Rivers.

Even Henderson’s renowned science program showed up en masse, with engineering students providing sketches of how they projected a premature launch. “The math simply doesn’t add up,” explained Dr. Ray D. Ayshun, a physics professor who runs the chemistry lab during his furlough day. “This ship’s not gonna sail right.” A consulting firm at the event quickly hushed Ayshun and his team of student physicists, assuring them their science program would probably make more sense if taught “across the ravine.”

SpaceX founder Elon Musk was unable to attend, but assured the Henderson community via livestream, which was projected onto a large paper film provided by Henderson’s multimedia learning center, that his minute investment of nearly $8 million was the “next big thing” in helping launch the astrological careers of terrestrial shysters.

In a Thor-like ceremonial act, ASU System President Dr. Charles Welch wielded a splitting maul to strike the Falcon 9 rocket’s primer, firing the launch that flung Jones and Powell into orbit. The liftoff was felt far and wide, and it is expected to take months for the smoke to settle. Welch promptly handed the ax to Chancellor Chuck Ambrose, then piloted a Henderson aircraft back to Jonesboro.

A private donor was quick to fund the resurfacing of the 50-acre crater left at the 5-acre launch site.

UPDATE: As predicted by the engineering students, the vessel came to a rest three hours after launch, landing on the front courtyard of Putin’s Palace. Russia President Vladimir Putin thanked Musk for “the new toy” but said the two individuals inside were “useless” to his management of an empire. They instead “happily volunteered” their service in Ukraine and were sent to the front lines.

3 replies »