CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., May 5, 2015 – Doyle L. Privett of Kennett, Missouri, a member of the Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents for 16 years, former president of the Board, and chief financial officer of Kennett National Bank, will receive an honorary Doctor of Business degree from Southeast Missouri State University during spring commencement exercises planned for 2 p.m. May 16 in the Show Me Center.
An honorary degree is one of the most prestigious awards presented by Southeast Missouri State University and has only been given to seven individuals in the University’s history. It is awarded for distinguished achievement, accomplishment or service that is recognized by peers in the field and by a broader spectrum of society.
Privett was first appointed to the Board of Regents in December 1994 by Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan to fulfill an unexpired term. He was reappointed to the Board in 1997 and served until January 2004. Five years later, in April 2009, Privett was again appointed to the Board by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to serve a six-year term. He served as president of the Board from 2013 to 2015.
During his tenure as Board president, Privett dedicated his time and effort to enhance University facilities, expand the University’s academic programs and accomplishments, and improve the campus environment through strategic administrative policies.
“Doyle’s contributions to Southeast Missouri State University during his tenure have been exemplary,” said Kenneth W. Dobbins, president of Southeast Missouri State University. “He has led with distinction during tremendous growth in the University while dealing with difficult budget challenges. He has had a significant impact on the University not only with his leadership as president of the Board of Regents, but also with his dedication to the students, faculty and staff of the University and the southeast Missouri region.”
Privett’s more than 16-year tenure as a member of the Board of Regents and his two and a half years as president of the Board have seen significant challenges and accomplishments for Southeast Missouri State University. Among those accomplishments are record-breaking enrollments; construction of the River Campus, Vandiver, Merick, and the Donald G. and Gloria King LaFerla Residence Halls; and the dedication of the Kenneth & Jeanine Dobbins River Campus Center this year. The Kent Library Information Commons, the David M. Barton Agriculture Research Center, the Autism Center for Diagnosis and Treatment, and the Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship all opened during Privett’s service on the Board. In addition, renovations have been completed on the Scully Building (with the addition of Subway and Starbucks), Magill Hall, and the Power Plant conversion. The renovation of the 108-year-old landmark Academic Hall, with the addition of a mezzanine area to showcase the architecture of the dome, was completed in Fall 2013. The expansion of Southeast’s regional campuses, online learning, and a variety of new academic programs and partnerships also were accomplished during his tenure.
“Doyle’s leadership was instrumental in all of these major initiatives and many others,” Dobbins said. “For almost two decades, 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.”
Dobbins said Privett has provided an enhanced vision of the University, working with various campus and regional constituent groups to develop past and current strategic plans, thus ensuring Southeast continues to serve as a valuable asset to the region. Dobbins commended Privett for his commitment to ensuring residents in the Bootheel region are provided access to a quality, affordable education, noting that Southeast has seen significant growth at each of its regional campuses in Kennett, Malden and Sikeston, Missouri, during Privett’s service to the University.
Privett was instrumental in establishing and opening the Kennett Regional Campus, which serves the southern Bootheel of Missouri and Clay, Green and Mississippi counties in northeast Arkansas. The Kennett Area Higher Education Center was dedicated June 30, 2000, at 1230 First Street in Kennett, the site of a former Kroger supermarket building. The City of Kennett purchased the facility valued at $750,000 and donated it to the Southeast Missouri University Foundation. The City of Kennett then invested $450,000 in renovating the building for educational purposes.
Privett has been instrumental in the continued growth of Southeast’s Kennett campus, and he has served for several years as the chairman of the Advisory Council for the Kennett Regional Campus. In February of this year, the Southeast Board of Regents named the science lab at Southeast Missouri State University-Kennett for Privett, and the lab was dedicated May 5.
He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center, the Kennett Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the board of directors of Kennett National Bank. He currently serves as president of the Kennett Industrial Development Authority, and is the recipient of the Daily Dunklin Democrat 2004 Community Service Award.
Privett received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in accounting from Southeast in 1973. He is a member of the Missouri Society of CPAs and served on the group’s board of directors. He also served as president of the Southeast Chapter of CPAs.
He is past president of the Kennett Chamber of Commerce and the Kennett Jaycees and has served on the boards of the Dunklin County Chapter of the American Cancer Society, Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center and the Boy Scouts of America District Council. Privett also has served as an elder, church treasurer and junior high youth group leader with Kennett Presbyterian Church.
He has been married to his wife, Bonnie, since 1974. They are the parents of Brian and Brooke, who are both Southeast graduates, and they have one grandson. Their son Brian, who is a 2003 graduate of Southeast with a double major in biology and chemistry, is an ophthalmologist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and their daughter Brooke received an undergraduate degree in music and one of her two graduate degrees from Southeast. Brooke was the first, and also the longest-serving Rowdy the Redhawk mascot in Rowdy’s short history. Today, Brooke is employed in International Student Services at Southeast Missouri State University.
Privett is the ninth to receive an honorary degree at Southeast Missouri State University. Previous recipients of honorary degrees at Southeast are:
Spring, 1996: The late Rush Limbaugh, Sr. (presented posthumously) – Doctor of Laws
Spring, 1999: The late U.S. Sen. Paul Simon – Doctor of Laws
Fall, 2000: The late Clark Terry – Doctor of Letters
Fall, 2001: Sheryl Crow – Doctor of Letters
Spring, 2005: Donald Dickerson – Doctor of Laws
Fall, 2006: Gen. James T. Conway – Doctor of Laws
Spring, 2007: Dr. Jerry Caulder – Doctor of Science
Spring, 2013: Brad Bedell – Doctor of Laws