(Springfield) – The two finalists for the 11th president at Missouri State University were announced on Monday – Dr. Randy J. Dunn, president of Murray State University in Kentucky, and current interim MSU president Clif Smart.
The on-campus interviews are scheduled for October 7-11, with visits to the West Plains campus scheduled for October 9 from 1:45-2:45 PM in Kellett Hall for Dr. Dunn, and October 11 from 2:45-3:45 PM in Kellett Hall for Mr. Smart.
The multi-day visits will include interviews with the Board of Governors, as well as individual sessions with faculty, staff, students and the community.
The two finalists were presented to Gordon Elliott, chair of the Board of Governors, by Joe Turner on behalf of the search committee. Elliott says that there was a strong and diverse selection of applicants, and that these two were the strongest finalists in the group.
The goal is to name a new president by November 1.
The Board announced on March 8 that it would go forward with a search after the departure of Dr. James Cofer as the 10th president of the college system.
The application letters, complete resumes, and on-campus interview itineraries of the two finalists are available on the presidential search web site at: www.missouristate.edu/presidentialsearch.
Dr. Randy J. Dunn was selected to be Murray State University’s 11th president in May of 2006 and his official duties began at the university on Dec. 1, 2006.
Prior to coming to Murray State, Dunn served as the state superintendent of education for the Illinois State Board of Education. Before that, he held the rank of professor in the department of educational administration and higher education at Southern Illinois University (SIU)-Carbondale. Dunn started at SIU as an associate professor in 1995, and was named department chair in 2000, before leaving to take the state superintendency. He began his academic career as an assistant professor in the department of leadership at The University of Memphis for two years before taking his faculty post at Southern Illinois.
His early career in Illinois education included teaching, service as a principal at two school districts in north central Illinois, and the post of district superintendent for two Illinois school systems.
Dunn received his doctorate in educational administration from the University of Illinois in 1991. He graduated from Illinois State University with a master’s in administration and foundations in 1983, and the B.S. in education in 1980.
During his time in higher education, Dunn has served on a number of committees, councils and task forces, including those for the American and Illinois Associations of School Administrators, SACS, the North Central Association, Learning Point Associates, the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the Illinois Association of School Boards, and other groups. He has consulted on education issues nationally and has served as the principal investigator or co-PI on numerous grants totaling nearly $650,000. His scholarly writing includes published articles on a range of education management issues in professional journals, as well as book chapters, book reviews and monographs. Additionally, he has evaluated a number of manuscripts for publication in journals and books and grant proposals for funding agencies.
Dunn is married to Dr. Ronda Baker Dunn and they are the parents of four adult children.
Source: Murray State University web site http://www.murraystate.edu/HeaderMenu/Administration/PresidentsOffice/AboutThePresident.aspx
On June 27, 2011, Clifton M. “Clif” Smart III was named interim president of the university. Smart had been general counsel at Missouri State since Dec. 1, 2007.
Over the past 3½ years at Missouri State, Smart provided legal counsel to the Board, president, faculty, staff and administrators. He also has been involved in many campus-wide initiatives, including leading the university response to the state auditor’s report on Missouri State; serving on the JQH Arena Task Force; developing a comprehensive on-line policy library for the university; and chairing or serving on a variety of searches: vice president for diversity and inclusion, chief financial officer (twice), director of admissions, director of human resources and men’s basketball coach.
Smart joined The Strong Law Firm in 1992. He has been a shareholder in the firm since 1995 and vice president since 1998. Over the past 15 years, his practice consisted primarily of representing individuals and entities in catastrophic injury, medical malpractice and commercial cases.
Smart was selected to the panel of three applicants submitted to the governor for the vacant Missouri Supreme Court positions in 2002 and 2004. In February 2009, he was elected for a five-year term as one of the two lawyer members of the 31st Circuit Judicial Commission.
Smart was listed in Best Lawyers in America for 2007-08 in the fields of product liability, personal injury and professional negligence.
Prior to joining The Strong Law Firm, Smart worked for two years with the firm of Wright, Lindsey & Jennings in Little Rock, Ark. From 1986-90, he was with the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. in Ft. Knox, Ky.
Smart graduated from Fayetteville High School in 1979 where he was valedictorian. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Tulane University in 1983, graduating Summa Cum Laude.
In 1986, he graduated with his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law, receiving the second highest GPA (3.95) in school history. While in law school, he received the Leflar Scholarship, was an Oxford Scholar and was on the Law Review.
Smart and his wife, Gail, have two sons: Murray, who graduated in 2012 from Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, and Jim, a sophomore at Hamilton College in New York.