Longtime director retires after 25 years

Steve Earney - Vice President for Information Services

Steve Earney – Vice President for Information Services

Nate Billings

After 25 years of working with Missouri Southern, one faculty member said it is time to change directions.

Steve Earney, assistant vice president for information services, is retiring from Southern to take a similar position at Northwest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville.

Earney said the move was to be closer to his grandchildren.

“I’ve been here 25 years, and obviously I wouldn’t have stayed if it hadn’t been enjoyable and fulfilling for me,” he said.

Earney said he had been contemplating retirement after meeting the 80-year-out system in Missouri. This means if an employee’s age and years of work at a particular institution add up to 80, he or she is eligible for retirement benefits.

“It was definitely tough,” Earney said. “I’ve been weighing whether or not to stay during the two years of the implementation of the Banner software.”

He said he regrets not being able to see the administrative software put into effect, but he said he would rather retire at the beginning of the work instead of during the middle.

However, Earney said he has seen many things come and go through Southern during his tenure.

“We’ve come a long way,” he said. “It’s been satisfying.”

Earney said he has met several influential people in his life and gives credit to those he has worked with.

“I want to credit to Terri Agee, John Tiede, dean Maupin, Dr. Julio León and Floyd Belk,” he said.

Tiede, director of major gifts and planned giving with the Southern Foundation, worked with Earney for 15 years.

“I worked rather closely with him,” Tiede said. “He was always technologically competent.”

Tiede said was happy with Earney’s decision to be with his family and said he will miss his work.

“He was one who if you have him a job to accomplish, he would get it done and on time,” Tiede said. “He was always good at watching his budget.”

He said Earney worked with him on several projects during Tiede’s term as vice president for business affairs.

“You always hate to see key people leave,” Tiede said. “He’s been a big asset to the University.”

Earney will continue working through the end of the semester, but he will come back every Friday in January to help search for or train his replacement.

“The IS staff is the best I’ve ever had here,” he said. “The overall strength of our staff is the best I’ve seen. And, I’m not just saying that to have them see it.”

Several of Earney’s colleagues say they will miss him, but are happy if he is.

Hartford Tunnell, associate professor of CIS, has known Earney for 20 years.

“We’ve hunted together – quail, turkey, some deer and fished,” Tunnell said. “We love to get out in the outdoors.”

Tunnell said the retirement did not come as a surprise to him, but he said he knew others were shocked to find out.

“He’s one of the most experienced you’ll find in academic administrative computer systems,” he said.

“He’s also a good friend and very personable. He’ll do anything for you. He’s just like that.”

But, some friendships still carry their rivalries.

“The only thing bad I can say about him is he’s a Razerback,” Tunnell said.