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Former Southeast Missouri State University President Walter Winfield Parker is best remembered for increasing the number of campus buildings by 43 percent and tripling student enrollment during his 23 years of service.
Parker, the university's ninth president, led the way from Sept. 1, 1933, until he retired due to illness in the later months of 1956. During his administration, Parker was responsible for the construction of the new Kent Library, Cheney Hall, Myers Hall, the Memorial Building, and the (Parker) Physical Education Building.
Parker was born Jan. 17, 1889, in Howard County, Ark. He received a bachelor's degree from Hedrix College in Conway, Ark., in 1912. He went on to obtain a master's degree from Columbia University, N.Y., in 1915. After graduation, Parker taught English.
In 1928, he was appointed president of Northwestern State Teachers College in Alva. His experience and diversity is what led to his hiring at Southeast. He lived with his wife in a home in Cape Girardeau until his death April 9, 1957.
Parker's other accomplishments include: Pushing to raise the school's academic standing until it ranked in the top three percent in all the colleges in the nation; heading community service groups such as the Missouri State Teachers Association, the Southeast Missouri Boy Scout Council, and the county Red Cross; and establishing two scholarship systems.
This information is excerpted from the article "Past and Present Presidents" appearing in The Southeast Missourian on April 4, 1999.