Former MSU President, Dr. Marshall Gordon, Dies At 81

May 22, 2019

Former MSU President Dr. Marshall Gordon
Credit Missouri State University

Former Missouri State University President Dr. Marshall Gordon has died.  Gordon, who served as president at what was then Southwest Missouri State University from 1983-1992, died May 17 at the age of 81.

During his time at the university, enrollment exceeded 20,000 for the first time.

Current MSU President Clif Smart said Gordon “had an aspirational vision for the university.”  According to Smart, Gordon was the first president to seek a name change to Missouri State University.

Also during Gordon’s tenure, the honors program was re-established.  Academic restructuring established six colleges housing 37 departments, a graduate program in defense and strategic studies was added, and an aggressive capital expansion program led to several new facilities on campus. Those included Glass Hall, the Professional Building, Kentwood Hall, Plaster Sports Complex, the Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts, Hammons House and Hutchens House.

The university purchased Central High School in West Plains to accommodate the growth of that campus. And the SMSU Foundation purchased the Centerre Bank Building in downtown Springfield to establish what is now the Kenneth E. Meyer Alumni Center.

During his tenure, athletics moved to the Missouri Valley Conference and both the Bears and Lady Bears competed in NCAA Division I post-season tournaments. The baseball Bears made their first appearance in the Division I tournament.

Memorial services will be held at 1 p.m., May 24 at Gorman-Scharpf Funeral Home.

According to the obituary, in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to:

  • Missouri State University Foundation, 300 South Jefferson Suite 100, Springfield, MO 65806.
  • Ozarks Technical Community College Foundation, 1001 East Chestnut Expressway, Springfield, MO 65802
  • Hospice Compassus, 1465 East Primrose, Springfield, MO 65804.
  • The Murray State University Foundation for the Marshall and Anette Gordon Chemistry Research Fund, c/o Office of Development, 200 Heritage Hall, Murray, KY 42071.