Dr. Mark Finney Scully of Cape Girardeau, president emeritus of Southeast Missouri State University, died May 25, 2002, in Cape Girardeau.
Scully was a distinguished administrator and educator. Scully, who was chosen to succeed Walter W. Parker, served as president of then Southeast Missouri State College from 1956 until 1972 and continued from 1972 until 1975 after the institution was renamed Southeast Missouri State University. His presidency was the most transitional period in the institution’s history, with tremendous growth in faculty, buildings and student enrollment. He was the first Southeast alumnus to serve as president.
He was born Jan. 30, 1910, in Charleston, Mo., son of Mark Cornelius Scully and Bessie Finney Scully. He and Pearl Golden were married June 23, 1938, in Oakland, Md. She died Oct. 12, 1998.
He graduated from Charleston High School in 1928 and passed the teaching certification exam. He taught at Norfolk School from 1928 to 1929 and Bird’s Mill School in Mississippi County from 1929 to 1935 while a student at Southeast Missouri State Normal School in Cape Girardeau.
In his career, Scully served as an elementary teacher, secondary teacher, college professor, junior college director, metropolitan public school administrator and a school system superintendent. He served at Jackson, Mo., as a teacher from 1936 to 1937 and as a principal from 1938 to 1942. He served as a high school principal at West Frankfort, Ill., from 1945 to 1947. He also taught at Georgia Teacher’s College in Statesboro, Ga., in 1937 and 1938. He served as superintendent of schools in Festus, Mo., from 1942 to 1945, in Paducah, Ky., from 1947 to 1954, and in Dearborn, Mich., from 1954 to 1956.
Scully received a bachelor of science degree in education and history from Southeast Missouri Normal School. He received a master of arts degree in history in 1936 from George Peabody College in Nashville, Tenn., and received a doctoral degree in education from Columbia University in New York in 1951.
Scully became president of then Southeast Missouri State College in 1956, and initiated a significant expansion in campus facilities and enrollment. In 1958, there were just 11 buildings on the campus. By 1973, there had been added three residence halls -- Dearmont, Towers and Greek - and five academic buildings, including Magill Hall, Parker Hall, Grauel Language Arts Building, Brandt Music Hall and Scully Building. Also by 1973, the library had been expanded, and there was a new student union - the University Center. The Scully Building - the education-psychology building, was completed in 1971 and named in his honor by the Board of Regents.
In addition to the physical expansion of the campus, Scully also is credited with a significant expansion of programs at the institution. He was instrumental in creating the graduate program, a degree program to train nurses for the region, a law enforcement/criminal justice program, a Regional Crime Laboratory and the Academic Advising Center. He also brought the ROTC program to the campus, expanded the University Farm, instituted a rigid class attendance policy, implemented a general education requirement, basic to all degree programs, and developed summer Band Camp. He increased support for the athletic program, expanded visibility of the Golden Eagles Marching Band and implemented a program to bring distinguished speakers to the campus.
Throughout his tenure, Scully believed that the Teachers College should be affordable for all students from the district. The outcome of this philosophy was demonstrated during his presidency and remained his greatest point of pride. Enrollment grew from 1,500 to 8,000 students. To accommodate these additional 6,500 students, physical expansion of the campus began, and Scully assisted in gaining funds for these new buildings. He also supported the creation of the Southeast Missouri State College Development Corp. This organization, not officially associated with the college, assisted the school in acquiring land for future growth.
Other needs of the college also were recognized by Scully. This led to a reorganization of the college into departments and the creation of a Faculty Senate as the voice of the faculty. Scully also promoted the need for an athletic field house and athletic fields at Bertling and Sprigg streets. He also recognized the need for the college to branch out into its service region, and moved the University into the computer age with the quiet establishment of a computer center.
In addition, Scully was in favor of omitting ‘College’ from the school’s name and replacing it with ‘University.’ It was believed that this name change would attract better instructors, provide greater appeal to prospective students and enhance graduates’ job opportunities. Missouri Gov. Warren E. Hearnes approved the name change on April 21, 1972, and on Aug. 24, 1972, the name Southeast Missouri State University was officially approved by the Board.
During his time at Southeast, Scully served not only as a regional educational leader, but also at the state and national level. He was elected secretary-treasurer of the Association of State Colleges and Universities and became the first president of a state college to sit on the Missouri Commission on Higher Education. In 1969, Gov. Warren E. Hearnes appointed Scully to the Commission, an advisory board to the state colleges, the University of Missouri and Lincoln University.
In 1966, on the 10th anniversary of Scully’s appointment as president of the school, the Board presented him with a sterling silver medallion. This medallion was to be worn with the academic robe and be passed on to presidents who would succeed him. Scully would remain president for seven additional years, until June 30, 1975.
Scully has served his community and church well. He was a life-long member and an elder of the Presbyterian Church and served for many years on the Southeast Missouri Executive Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Scully was a member of the Cape Girardeau Rotary Club and the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce.
He had two sons, Robert Andrew Scully and John Mark Scully. He was preceded in death by his son John Mark Scully in 1995, his mother in 1917 and his father in 1952.
Scully is survived by his son, Robert Andrew Scully of St. Joseph, Mo., two grandchildren: Tracy Scully Goding of San Antonio, Texas, and Heather Scully of Kansas City, and one great-grandchild: Audrey Goding.