Former SEMO president dead at 92

Sunday, May 26, 2002

Special to the Southeast Missourian

Dr. Mark Finney Scully, president emeritus of Southeast Missouri State University, died Saturday. He was 92.

Scully served as president of Southeast Missouri State College from 1956 to 1972 and as the first president of the renamed Southeast Missouri State University from 1972 until he retired in 1975.

The first Southeast alumnus to serve as president, Scully's tenure is considered the most transitional period of the institution's history.

Kenneth W. Dobbins, the school's current president, described Scully as a legend, a visionary educator who took a good, small teachers college and built a comprehensive regional university.

"I have known Dr. Scully for the past 11 years, and I have cherished his friendship and his advice," Dobbins said. "It is fair to say that without him, Southeast Missouri State University would not be the place it is today."

A Southeast Missouri native, Scully was born in 1910 in Charleston, Mo., and graduated from Charleston High School in 1928. He taught in Mississippi County from 1929 to 1935 while a student at Southeast Missouri State Normal School.

He received a bachelor of science degree in education at Southeast, a master's degree in history from George Peabody College in Nashville and his doctorate degree from Columbia University in New York.

Scully taught in Jackson and served as principal there from 1938 to 1942. During his career, Scully served as an elementary teacher, secondary teacher, college professor, junior college director, metropolitan school administrator and a school superintendent.

As president of Southeast, Scully initiated a significant expansion in campus facilities in enrollment. In 1958, there were 11 buildings on campus. By 1973, three residence halls and five academic buildings were added. Enrollment grew from 1,500 to 8,000 students.

In addition, the library was expanded and the University Center was built. The Scully Building -- the education-psychology building -- was completed in 1971 and named in his honor.

In addition to the physical expansion of the campus, Scully is credited with creating the graduate program at the university and a degree program to train nurses.

He helped initiate the school's criminal justice program and the Southeast Regional Crime Laboratory. As the university expanded, Scully reorganized the college into departments and helped create the Faculty Senate.

He was the first president of a state college to sit on the Missouri Commission on Higher Education. Also active in the local community, Scully served for many years on the Southeast Missouri Executive Council of the Boy Scouts of America; was a member of the Rotary Club and the Chamber of Commerce.

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