CAPE GIRARDEAU, Missouri, March 3, 2015 – The Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents Feb. 28 named the science lab at Southeast Missouri State University-Kennett for former Southeast Board of Regents President Doyle L. Privett of Kennett, Missouri.
The action came during a closed session meeting of the Board.
Privett, chairman of the Advisory Council of Southeast Missouri State University-Kennett and chief financial officer of Kennett National Bank, was elected President of the Board of Regents in December 2012. He served in that capacity until Feb. 28 when his successor, Jay Knudtson of Cape Girardeau, was elected. Privett’s six-year term on the Board of Regents has expired, but he will continue to serve on the Board until Gov. Jay Nixon names a replacement.
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 Nixon to serve a six-year term.
“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 lead 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.”
Dobbins underscored Privett’s steadfast commitment to ensuring residents in the Bootheel region are provided access to a quality, affordable education.
“During his tenure on the Board of Regents, Southeast has seen significant growth in each of its regional campuses in Kennett, Malden, and Sikeston, Missouri. In fact, without Doyle as a chairperson, our Kennett Regional Campus would not have been established,” Dobbins said.
“I am very grateful to the Board and to President Dobbins for recognizing me with this honor,” Privett said. “The Kennett campus means a lot to me and I am proud every day when I drive by and see what the citizens of Kennett have made possible for anyone in our community that wishes to continue their education.”
Southeast Missouri State University – Kennett was dedicated June 30, 2000, and serves the southern Bootheel of Missouri and Clay, Green and Mississippi Counties in northeast Arkansas. The City of Kennett purchased the facility, a former grocery store, 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 through fundraising efforts, and he has served for a number of years as the chairman of its Advisory Council.
The Doyle L. Privett Science Lab opened at the Kennett campus in fall 2004. Located on the east side of the building, the lab serves students enrolled in biology, microbiology, anatomy I and II, physical science and chemistry courses. The 1,212-square-foot lab – which includes both a laboratory area and prep room — was completed thanks to a Delta Regional Authority grant and private donations made during fund-raising efforts in 2002 and 2003.
“The Science Lab was a very important addition to the Kennett campus. The goal of offering complete bachelor’s degrees on the Kennett campus would not have been possible if it weren’t for the addition of a state-of-the-art science lab,” said Marsha Blanchard, director of Southeast Missouri State University-Kennett. “Some bachelor’s degrees, such as elementary and middle school education, and agribusiness, require students to take biology, chemistry and physical science courses that have a lab requirement. The science lab is one of the most scheduled and used rooms on campus due to the number of lab science courses offered every semester.”
Blanchard said she is pleased to have Privett’s name associated with the science lab.
“Doyle has been actively involved in Southeast Missouri State University – Kennett since the concept was simply an idea. Through the years, he has been involved on a regular basis offering leadership and support to the Kennett campus. Doyle’s consistent contributions have definitely made an impact on the lives of many who have had the opportunity to earn a University degree at the Kennett campus.”
Dobbins said the University has seen both significant challenges and accomplishments during 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. Among those accomplishments are record-breaking enrollments, construction of Robert A. Dempster Hall, the River Campus, Vandiver, Merick and LaFerla residence halls and the dedication of the Kenneth & Jeanine Dobbins River Campus Center this year. The Kent Library Information Commons, 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 time 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 were also accomplished.
“Privett’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.”
Privett has provided an enhanced vision of the University working with various campus and regional constituent groups to develop past and current strategic plans, thereby ensuring the institution continues to serve as a valuable asset to the region.
Privett received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in accounting from Southeast in 1973, and is a certified public accountant who currently serves as chief financial officer for Kennett National Bank. Privett 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 a member of the Ameren/UE Community Development Board, 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.
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 a 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 a member of the Admissions team at Southeast Missouri State University.