Marlers to be Named ‘Friend of the University’

by News Bureau on Thursday, Feb. 09, 2012

Lawrence and Donna Marler

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Feb. 9, 2012 – Lawrence and Donna Marler of Ste. Genevieve, Mo., will receive the 2012 Friend of the University Award later this month from the Southeast Missouri University Foundation.

Kenneth W. Dobbins, president of Southeast Missouri State University, will present the award at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 24 in connection with a President’s Council reception in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall at Southeast’s River Campus.

The Friend of the University award, which recognizes those who support and who are closely associated with the mission, purposes, plans and programs of the University, is the highest honor bestowed by the Southeast Missouri University Foundation. When the Foundation Board established the award, it also established the criteria for the Friend of the University. The Friend of the University must have the respect of the community and the University, and must have acted to confirm their interest and involvement with the University.

“Southeast is so appreciative of the support, dedication and the gifts that Larry and Donna Marler have given to their alma mater,” Dobbins said. “They truly have been outstanding friends of the University, not only in their financial support, but also with their presence at many of our campus events and activities. Their support of Southeast has given many students the opportunity to pursue their academic dreams. And their generous spirits have not only benefited Southeast, but I know they’ve also been generous with their time and talents to the community of Ste. Genevieve.”

Mr. Marler, a native of Normandy, Mo., is retired as president of Marler Business Systems in St. Louis County. He is a 1957 Southeast graduate with a Bachelor of Science with majors in earth science and marketing. He currently serves on the Southeast Missouri University Foundation Board of Directors and is a former member of the National Alumni Council and Tau Kappa Epsilon. Mr. Marler is an Eagle Scout, has served on the Eagle Scout Board of Review since 1968 and has dedicated his life to serving in a number of volunteer and leadership positions with the Boy Scouts of America.

Mrs. Marler, a Ste. Genevieve, Mo., native, is a graduate of Fontebonne College. She studied for two years at Southeast before embarking on a teaching career that spanned 24 years.

Mr. and Mrs. Marler are founding members of the Southeast Missouri University Foundation Copper Dome Society, and they are President’s Council members at the Fellow level. They are also Horizon Club members.

The Marlers have endowed two scholarships for Southeast students. The Lawrence and Donna Marler Endowed Scholarship is open to historic preservation majors with a 2.5 grade point average, with preference given to high school graduates from Ste. Genevieve, Ste. Genevieve County, Wayne County, Perry County, St. Francois County, the southeast Missouri region and the state of Missouri.

The Marlers also have endowed the Marler Tourism Scholarship. It is awarded to applicants who demonstrate high academic achievement, have a 3.0 grade point average and show potential leadership in the profession. Preference is given to students who reside or resided in Ste. Genevieve County, students who live in the University’s primary service region and Missouri residents outside the primary University service region.

In March 2001, the Marlers’ involvement in rehabbing old homes in the former French settlement of Ste. Genevieve led them to fund the Larry and Donna Marler Endowed Chair in Historic Preservation, the first ever endowed chair at Southeast. The mission of the Marler Chair in Historic Preservation is “to expand community development in small communities in the University’s primary service area through the protection of significant historic buildings and landscapes, by raising awareness of community heritage and through the promotion of this heritage.”

“My wife and I are both the first generation high school and college graduates. That’s why (Southeast Missouri State University) is so important to us,” Mr. Marler said. “If I hadn’t had the encouragement of my parents, it (a college education) would have never happened. I look at it as though it’s time to give back.

“It’s an honor” to receive the Friend of the University Award, Mr. Marler said. “And we’re not finished yet.”