From Dempster Hall to Division I athletics, Dr. Kala Stroup left a lasting impression on Southeast Missouri State University during her five-year reign as president.
Stroup was university president from July 1990 until Sept. 1995. She was selected president from a group of 124 applicants on March 2, after a nine-month search to replace Dr. Bill Stacy.
Stroup is a native of Kansas and has a bachelor of arts degree in speech and drama. She earned a master's of science and a doctorate in speech communication and human relations from the University of Kansas.
Stroup came to Southeast from Murray State University in Kentucky, where she was president from 1983-1989. Prior to that, she was vice president for academic affairs at Emporia State University in Emporia, Kan.
Stroup came to Southeast with a mission. She believed that a university must have a clear idea of where it is going to attract and retain students.
Some of the most recognizable changes made under Stroup were the additions of three new fraternities: Sigma Nu, Phi Delta Theta, and Lambda Chi Alpha; and one new sorority, Gamma Phi Beta.
Southeast athletics moved from NCAA Division II to Division I and were invited to join the Ohio Valley Conference.
Stroup also approved the $11 million Towers residence hall renovation program that was completed in 1995.
The design, funding, and construction for Robert A. Dempster Hall, home to the Donald L. Harrison College of Business, began while she was president, and was opened in 1996, one year after she resigned.
Stroup incurred many firsts during her presidency. She was the first female president, and employed the first two African-American deans in the history of the institution. Stroup also oversaw the university's first-ever capital fund-raising campaign, which produced $28.5 million in gifts and pledges.
Stroup announced her resignation after she was selected as the new commissioner of the Coordinating Board for Higher Education in June 1995.
The fountain outside Kent Library was Stroup's parting gift. She donated more that $35,000 for its placement on campus.
Stroup resigned as commissioner of the Coordinating Board of Higher Education in 2002 to assume the presidency of American Humanics in Kansas City.
This information is excerpted from the article "Past and Present Presidents" appearing in The Southeast Missourian on April 4, 1999.