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During his interim presidency at Southeast Missouri State University from 1995-1996, Dr. Bill Atchley instituted a lasting policy designed to bring students together.
Atchley served as president at Clemson University in South Carolina from 1979-1985. He also served as president at the University of the Pacific from 1987-1995.
After retiring from the University of the Pacific June 30, 1995, Atchley was ready to rest. However, after much convincing from the Board of Regents and even a phone call from Gov. Mel Carnahan, Atchley agreed to serve as Southeast's interim president on the condition that he not be considered a candidate for president.
One of Atchley's goals as interim president at Southeast was to bring the faculty and administration closer together. That is why he started his "traveling office." On various days throughout the year Atchley would set up "office" at different places around the campus, such as in the University Center.
Atchley also started common hour during his presidency. The plan was to make one hour a week free for everyone so that the students could get together and meet people from different backgrounds.
Atchley was born and raised in Cape Girardeau. He attended Southeast Missouri State University, then transferred to the University of Missouri-Rolla, where he received his bachelor of science and master's of science degrees in civil engineering. He received his doctorate of civil engineering at Texas A&M University.
Atchley served in several administrative positions, including three years as department chair and associate dean of the School of Engineering from 1970-1975 at the University of Missouri-Rolla. He also led a campaign titled "Challenge to Greatness," which raised $89 million for Clemson University's centennial celebration in 1989.
Atchley retired to South Carolina. He died February 18, 2000.
This information is excerpted from the article "Past and Present Presidents" appearing in The Southeast Missourian on April 4, 1999.