VP candidates visit campus

Lakin Adams


Missouri Southern announced two candidates for the Vice President for University Development and Executive Director of the University Foundation in a press release on Nov. 2. 

Morgan R. Clevenger and JoAnn Graffam, Interim Vice President for development, are the two candidates for the position.

Members of the search committee include President Speck, who is serving as chair; Jared Bruggeman, Southern Athletics Director; Dr. Sherry Buchanan, chair of the Board of Governors; Rayma Bekebrock Davis, President of the Missouri Southern Foundation board; Dr. Tia Strait, Dean of the School of Technology; and Rob Yust, Vice President for business affairs. 

Open interviews were held this week on campus, allowing the campus community to have a forum to ask questions or express concerns. 

The interviews were scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday this past week in Corley Auditorium. 

Graffam is a graduate of Southern and served as director of campaigns and major gifts at Lee Academy in Lee, Maine before coming to Southern as the news bureau manager. 

Graffam worked as the development officer-major gifts at Southern since 2010 before acting as interim vice president. 

“I think I bring an interesting perspective to the table because I am a graduate of Southern and I did go away for awhile,” she said. 

“I have the knowledge of the people and an external perspective.” 

Graffam hopes to blend some traditions and add a fresh perspective, strengthening those ties between Southern and the community.  Strengthening those ties she said would be “very beneficial.” 

 “Missouri Southern and the community are very important for each other. You have a variety of people and how you can get them to work and support each other,” Graffam said. 

Clevenger is currently working to complete his Doctor of Education degree at the University of Missouri-Columbia.  

In 2002 he was named Outstanding Fundraising Individual in Virginia where he served as Regional Vice President for Students in Free Enterprise.  

“The University is very nice,” he said. “[It’s about] trying to find a right match. Missouri Southern is one of them.” 

Clevenger has the background and experience to get the job done, but says he still has a lot to learn about the environment. 

“It takes a village to make it work well. I want to hear from the students,” Clevenger said. 

Staying mission oriented is the most important thing for Clevenger realizing that it is a “team activity.”

“More important to have a goal and then get the resources to get that done,” he said.