CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Dec. 19, 2006 — The Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents Friday elected Donald “Brad” Bedell of Sikeston, Mo., as its new president and chose Albert M. Spradling III of Cape Girardeau as vice president. Both elections are effective Jan. 1, 2007. The new president succeeds John Tlapek, whose term on the Board of Regents expires Dec. 31. Tlapek was appointed to an unexpired term on the Board by Gov. Mel Carnahan in May 1998 and subsequently appointed to a full six-year term by Gov. Bob Holden. He will continue to serve as a member of the Board until his replacement is named by Gov. Matt Blunt and confirmed by the Missouri Senate.
“After almost nine years on the Board, and with the expiration of my current six-year term fast approaching, I chose not to seek reappointment to the Board of Regents,” Tlapek said. “I am humbled to have been part of such a dynamic and impactful institution, but now it is time to move on to pursue other endeavors.
“It has been a labor of love for me,” Tlapek said. “At each commencement, the students are asked to stand if they are the first in their families to graduate from college. I am always moved by the number of students who stand up. That to me epitomizes why we are here – to offer accessible, affordable education to our region.”
University President Kenneth W. Dobbins praised Tlapek’s service as president of the Board since December 2004 and as a Regent since 1998.
“His eight-year tenure as a Regent has seen significant challenges and significant accomplishments for our University,” Dobbins said. “Among those accomplishments are construction of the River Campus, planning for a new University research village on I-55, construction of a new residence hall, and the development of regional campuses in Kennett, Malden, Perryville and Sikeston, to name just a few. John’s leadership was instrumental in all of these major initiatives and many others. For almost a decade, he has spent countless hours in service to our students, faculty and staff, and the region, and the University community has benefited greatly from his dedication.”
As president of the Board, Tlapek followed in the footsteps of his father, Pat Tlapek of Cape Girardeau, who held the same position in 1990-1991.
Bedell, who is currently serving as vice president of the Board, also spoke highly of Tlapek’s service. “The members of the Board know how supportive John has been to the University, and how determined he has been to make certain Southeast continues offering academic programs of quality while remaining the most affordable of Missouri’s comprehensive regional universities.
“We thank John for his work, and we look forward to continuing the initiatives that have been so important to him over the past eight years – initiatives aimed at making Southeast the university of first choice for students, faculty and staff, and employers,” Bedell said.
Bedell is president of Maverick Consulting Group, a company he founded, which provides general business and financial consulting to various corporations.
He holds a bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in management and a juris doctorate, both from the University of Mississippi. He served as vice magistrate of the Phi Delta Phi legal fraternity and he is a member of both the Lamar Order with the University of Mississippi School of Law and the Business Order with the University of Mississippi School of Business. He was named the 2002 Outstanding Young Alumni of the Year, an award given to one individual each year who has made significant contributions to their career and community.
He has been a member of the Southeast Missouri University Foundation Board and, in 1998, established the Don C. Bedell Excellence Award through the Foundation to assist business majors at Southeast Missouri State University. Bedell established the scholarship to honor his father. He is a member of the Top 20 Club for Southeast Men’s Basketball and a member of the University Foundation President’s Council.
Bedell is president of the Missouri Health Care Association. He served two previous terms as the association’s president and was its 2000-2001 Member of the Year. He also has served as a board member for the American Health Care Association where he currently serves as a regional PAC chair. Additionally, he has served as a member of the board of directors for the YMCA of Southeast Missouri. He belongs to the St. Louis Chapter of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO), an international organization of corporate presidents who try to become better presidents by learning from each other. Bedell serves as Missouri Chairman for All Children Matter and is on the board of directors of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Athletic League.
The new vice president of the Board, Al Spradling, was appointed by Gov. Matt Blunt in January 2005 to a six-year term expiring Jan. 1, 2011. Spradling is a partner with Spradling & Spradling, Attorneys at Law, in Cape Girardeau. He is the former mayor of Cape Girardeau, having served from April 1994 to April 2002. He was a Cape Girardeau City Councilman from April 1988 to April 1994.
Spradling was a founding member of the University’s Copper Dome Society, is a member of the Foundation’s President’s Council, and a member of the Boosters, having served as president from 1993 to 1995. He is a trustee of the Southeast Missouri Hospital Association. He is a member of the Southeast Missouri Hospital College of Nursing & Health Sciences Board, the Missouri Bar Association, the Cape County Bar Association and the Illinois State Bar Association. He is a member of the American Legion Post 63, the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce, LaCroix United Methodist Church and the Lions Club of Cape Girardeau. He also is a member of the board of the Greater Cape Girardeau Benevolent Corp.
Spradling began his career as an assistant state bank examiner with the State of Missouri Division of Finance. Spradling, who is a U.S. Army veteran, holds a law degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a bachelor of science in business administration degree with a major in accounting from Southeast Missouri State University.