Missouri Southern introduces Van Galen as next president

Dean Van Galen will be the 6th president in MSSU history.

Missouri Southern introduced Dean Van Galen as its next president on Tuesday afternoon.

Van Galen follows Alan Marble as the 6th president in Missouri Southern history.

His first official day as president will be July 1st.

“The most important thing is to learn,” Van Galen says, “Learn about the university itself and its people. Then to engage in the Joplin and regional community.”

Van Galen comes to Southern from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, but he’s no stranger to southwest Missouri.

“I’ve known about Missouri Southern for over two decades.”

He spent 16 years early in his career at Truman University in Kirksville Missouri, and has a good idea of what MSSU is about.

“It was clear that Dr. Van Galen had done his research on the university,” says Bill Gipson, Chairman of the MSSU Board of Governors, “You could tell he had studied our strategic plan inside and out. He was able to quote it almost chapter and verse during the town hall.”

Van Galen says there are many reasons why Missouri Southern was an attractive prospect, including their “distinctive theme of international education.”

“I think international education is a great way to enrich experiences on the campus,” Van Galen adds, “There are a lot of parts to that. Certainly sending students abroad, those are life-changing experiences to have them learn about a different place and a different culture.It’s also about welcoming international students to the campus. They enrich the campus, they provide different perspectives. I think it’s really a unique and important part of Missouri Southern.”

He still has more than a month until his first day, but Van Galen is excited to get started and put the focus on the students at Missouri Southern.

“In the end, we’re here for the students,” Van Galen finishes, “I love interacting with the students. When I make decision I always try to think about what is the impact on the university’s students. That’s our reason in the end.”