Friday, August 31, 2007
Nodler as college president rumors rock Missouri Southern
Word has spread across the Missouri Southern State University campus that the leading candidate for the vacant college president job is Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, former chairman of the Senate Education Committee and current Appropriations Committee chairman.
Nodler, of course, was the driving force behind the bill which resulted in MSSU receiving university status.
He also was the man who put Neosho attorney Dwight Douglas, the current president of the MSSU Board of Governors, on the board in 2003. Douglas is heading the search committee which will choose the successor to longtime President Julio Leon, who was forced to resign earlier this month.
Campus sources indicate that some quality candidates do not plan to submit their names because the word has spread that the fix is in. Of course, the same kind of stories circulated earlier this year about Kit Bond and Kenny Hulshof and the University of Missouri position and did not pan out.
Nodler received a bachelor of arts degree from Missouri Southern and was named the university's outstanding alumnus in 2003. During his tenure on the Senate Education Committee, he has been instrumental in landing a considerable amount of money for university projects.
While no one denies Nodler has delivered the goods for his alma mater, the concern is his lack of an academic background. Longtime Southwest Missouri political observers will also remember that Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt made a short pit stop as president at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar prior to being elected to the House, a position Blunt first won by defeating Nodler in the GOP primary.
(Photos from Missouri Senate and Missouri Southern State University websites- Nodler and Dwight Douglas, as Nodler nominates Douglas for the MSSU Board of Governors; Nodler, Dwight Douglas, and Julio Leon)