University president shares life outside Southern

Alan Marble takes over as fifth official University president after serving as interim president for academic year 2014

Liz Spencer/The Chart

Alan Marble takes over as fifth official University president after serving as interim president for academic year 2014

Brad Stout, Editor-in-Chief

Southern alum Alan Marble returned to campus this fall as the University’s latest president, with a mission of making Southern a better place for students.

Even though he represents the dignfied public face of Missouri Southern, with his collection of green and gold neckties, the private Marble is known as a prankster and a family man with a great sense of humor.


Marble first arrived on Southern’s campus in the late 1970s. As a student, he faced many of the same, timeless problems that college students nationwide still face today. One of the most prominent in his case, though, was picking a major.

“I dabbled around in several different areas,” said Marble, “but I hung on to sociology … and then psychology, which was a little more interesting to me.”

In addition to psychology and sociology, Marble also pursued interests in business and even music for brief periods of time.

“I love music,” says Marble. “I play guitar some … I rarely miss concerts here [on campus] because I just love it.”


After graduating from Southern with a Bachelor’s in psychology and a minor in sociology, Marble pursued a Master’s in psychology at Pittsburg State University. While working on his Master’s, he took a job with the Missouri Division of Youth Services, where he worked with court committed juveniles between the ages of 14 and 18. There, he says, he became dissatisfied with the work due to the number of kids who would repeatedly cycle through the program.

“I just found that very frustrating because when we had the young men in the program, some did very well, but then they went back to certain environments … and it was just a treadmill,” says Marble. “I didn’t feel I was making much headway.”

After the experience with the Division of Youth Services, Marble breifly partnered up with a friend from high school and formed Dobbs, Marble and Company — a business that dealt with vocational rehab for individuals who had received injuries in car wrecks or on the job — before selling his share of the business to pursue law school. However, Marble’s father began suffering from multiple sclerosis and he decided to hold off on law school in order to stay closer to home.

“It didn’t affect his mind, but his legs didn’t work,” says Marble. “Seeing him in a wheelchair … it was just hard for me to deal with.”

It was then that Marble applied for a job at Crowder College. With his background in testing and placement of people into new jobs which he had done with vocational rehab, Marble got the job as the continuing education director at Crowder.

“I really only planned to stay a year or two till I got things figured out with my dad’s situation,” says Marble. “27 years later, I retired from there.”

Family Man

It was at Crowder that Marble met his wife Lori, when she came in to interview for the college’s public relations position. According to Lori Marble, Alan Marble is the romantic in their relationship, as well as the practical joker.

“Alan doesn’t particularly like to shop for groceries. He’s fine waiting in the car,” says Lori Marble. “He’s fine waiting in the car because he always moves it and then sits waiting and watching for me to come out.

“Seriously, I’m 49 years old and I fall for it every time. I’m standing there in the parking lot – sure of where the car should be and he’s crying he’s laughing so hard. By the time I figure it out, I’m doubled-over laughing as well. People just look at us – convinced we’re not right.”

Alan Marble is also a caring father. When Lori Marble gave birth to their twin sons, Dexter and Logan, Alan Marble was at her side “pushing” with her. In fact, he was “pushing” so hard, he clenched his jaw until he broke a tooth, says Lori Marble.

“Even with his crazy schedule, I can count on one hand the number of times Alan has missed any performance or athletic event of the twins, or their older sister Jessica,” says Lori Marble. “That alone is incredibly memorable for all of us.”