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Sesquicentennial Moments: President Bill Stacy

Bill Stacy, Twelfth President (1980 - 1989) of Southeast Missouri State University
Special Collections & Archives, Southeast Missouri State University
Southeast Missouri State Univers
Bill Stacy, Twelfth President (1980 - 1989) of Southeast Missouri State University

Inaugurated on October 5, 1980, Bill Stacy left a lasting legacy as Southeast's 12th president, fostering the creation of two notable academic programs and a breadth of university facilities, notably the Show Me Center in 1987. A graduate of Southeast himself, Stacy’s nine-year tenure guided the university through the “times of excess,” when the quality of American education was called into question.

Receiving an undergraduate degree in speech and physical education from Southeast in 1960, Stacy would go on to receive a doctorate in speech communication from Southern Illinois University in 1968 and return to Southeast as a professor and dean of Graduate Studies from 1976 – 1979. After being elected as interim president in 1979, he was appointed president the next year in 1980.

Under Stacy, the University saw the addition of several campus buildings including B.F. Johnson Hall of Mathematics and Computer Science in 1982, Rhodes Hall in 1983, and the $18 million dollar Show Me Center in 1987, which provided a venue for a wide variety of concerts, sporting events, and politicians.

The University also saw the establishment of the General Education program under Stacy’s leadership, under the auspices of “understanding and expanding the human experience” as well as the Honors Program in 1984, designed to “challenge exceptional students in an accelerated academic environment.” The development of these programs would have lasting effects on generations of Southeast students, providing them with opportunities to expand their academic pursuits.

Joel P. Rhodes is a Professor in the History Department of Southeast Missouri State University. Raised in Kansas, he earned a B.S. in Education from the University of Kansas before earning his M.A. and Ph.D. in History from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.