Speck fills presidential position

There were 41 applications, 15 search committee members and two finalists. On Jan. 18 it all resulted in one new president for Missouri Southern State University – Dr. Bruce W. Speck.

Douglas, chairman of the Board and chair of the search committee, was joined for the announcement by local politicians, Rep. Ed Emery (R-Lamar), Rep. Marilyn Ruestman, (R-Joplin) and state Sen. Gary Nodler (R-Joplin). Surrounded by the Board of Governors and members of the presidential search committee, Dwight Douglas identified Speck as the Board’s choice for the job.

“We’re here to announce today the new president of Missouri Southern State University, who will be starting on or before March 1 in his new position,” Douglas said.

Douglas described the process of narrowing the applicant pool and stressed the unanimity of the decision. Applications were due Nov. 1 and before Christmas selection committee members had decided on the finalists. Douglas asked them to re-examine the applicants for any additions.

“The search committee unanimously agreed that we had identified the two best candidates and that we did not want to add anyone else to the list,” Douglas said.

The Board of Governors met with Speck for three hours on Wednesday evening. Members of the faculty were polled on his visit that day and results delivered just minutes before the Board entered closed session.

“He comes with the unanimous support of the search committee,” Douglas said. “He comes with the unanimous support of the Board of Governors … he comes with the support of the faculty. Now we ask that the community support him.”

Speck, who has spent the last three days on Southern’s campus, accepted the offer and is eager to get on the job.

“It’s a great honor and a deep privilege to be the president of any institution,” Speck said. “But that there is an added luster to being president of Missouri Southern. It’s a wonderful school.”

Speck acknowledged Southern’s past and present leadership and called on Dr. Terri Agee, acting president, and Dr. John Messick, dean of arts and sciences, as part of his leadership team. Agee will assume the role of senior vice president when Speck arrives in March. Messick will serve as vice president of academic affairs, taking over for Dr. Richard McCallum, the current vice president of academic affairs, after the Higher Learning Commission visit.

“I’m looking forward as soon as possible to coming here,” Speck said. “The only regret I have is that I’ve got to go home and prepare to come back.