Stan and Debbie Crader, Ken and Jeanine Dobbins Named 2015 ‘Friends of the University’


CAPE GIRARDEAU, Missouri, Feb. 20, 2015 – Stan and Debbie Crader of Jackson, Mo., president of Crader Distributing Company and a registered nurse respectively, and Ken and Jeanine  Dobbins will receive the 2015 Friends of the University Award later this month from the Southeast Missouri University Foundation.

The awards will be presented at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 27 in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall at the River Campus.

“Stan and Debbie Crader are true friends of Southeast Missouri State University. Both have given this University their time, talents and treasures, and our faculty, staff and students have benefited because of them,” said President Dobbins. “Because of Stan’s efforts as co-chair, the Southeast Missouri University Foundation’s ‘Honoring Tradition, Inspiring Success’ comprehensive campaign, with its focus on financially supporting students, has reached a record level in the most ambitious fund-raising campaign in University history. To date, $46,347,134 has been raised in support of scholarships, programs and renovations to benefit students,” he said.

“Stan and Debbie also have supported a lecture series in the Department of History that has explored Patrick Henry’s leadership, Al-Qaida and Islam, George Washington’s faith and early Christianity. Because of the Craders, our students have had the opportunity to hear renowned lecturers on Western Civilization and American values. This is a great example of how an endowed program serves hundreds of students in their experiential learning,” said Bill Holland, vice president of University Advancement and executive director of the Southeast Missouri University Foundation.

Doyle Privett of Kennett, Missouri, president of the University’s Board of Regents and a Foundation Board member, said, “Dr. and Mrs. Dobbins have demonstrated their profound and heartfelt commitment to the students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends of Southeast Missouri State University since they arrived in Cape Girardeau in 1991. They have led this University not only by their example and their passion for everyone associated with this institution, but also with their selfless generosity in supporting its mission. Ken and Jeanine have repeatedly shown their true love for and devotion to Southeast, both in their words and their deeds, will be felt for decades to come.”

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.

Craders-1 photo

Debbie and Stan Crader

Stan and Debbie Crader

Stan and Debbie Crader live in Jackson, Missouri, where they have a passion for helping people help themselves and encouraging others to do the same.

Mr. Crader is president of Crader Distributing Company in Marble Hill, Missouri, the exclusive distributor for STIHL Outdoor Power Equipment for Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and southern Illinois. Along with the company’s sister organization, Blue Mountain Equipment in McKinney, Texas, which services Texas and Oklahoma, Crader Distributing Company provides quality STIHL outdoor power equipment to more than 1,300 Outdoor Power Equipment dealers throughout the Midwest.

The family roots of Crader Distributing span four generations beginning with Buford Crader, Stan’s grandfather, who began the company with two partners in 1944. The family-owned business today employs 90 and continues its long history of providing superior customer service.

Mr. Crader is a pilot, author and photographer. Most of his flying is business related, but he enjoys discussing his low level flight of the Lewis and Clark trail, and crossing the Atlantic in a Cessna. An accomplished author, Mr. Crader’s first book, “The Bridge,” spent several days on the best seller list for Christian fiction at both Barnes and Noble and Amazon.   His articles about flying have been published in flying magazines and local newspapers. He has also won a Bronze Quill award from the International Association of Business Communications for articles written for his company’s quarterly newsletter. His photographs have been featured in a number of local galleries.

Mrs. Crader is mother to the couple’s three sons, a registered nurse and a housewife. Most of her professional career was spent working for a group of local surgeons. Mrs. Crader was a leader for Bible Study Fellowship for 10 years and continues to devote much of her spare time to her community and to Christian initiatives.

Having sent two of their sons to Southeast, the Craders became involved with the University in several areas. Mr. Crader is serving as co-chair of the Southeast Missouri University Foundation’s “Honoring Tradition, Inspiring Success” capital campaign, and he is past chair of the University Foundation Board. Mr. and Mrs. Crader both work with the Department of History in an effort to bring speakers to the University who address current issues.

The Crader Family Endowment for American Values, within the Southeast Missouri University Foundation, is dedicated to education, research and public engagement in the historical traditions of the United States of America and Western civilization. The endowment’s objectives are to increase knowledge and appreciation of the political, religious and economic heritage of this nation and the West, and the values of individual liberty, constitutional principles and civic virtue that are at the foundation of this society. The endowment is named in honor of the Crader family: Stan and Debbie, and Stan’s late father, Don, and Saundra Crader of Marble Hill, Mo.

In connection with the endowment and further underscoring their commitment to history, the Craders established the Stan and Debbie Crader Endowed Scholarship in History through the University Foundation. The scholarship is awarded to a Southeast student interested in working with public outreach projects associated with the Crader Endowment for American Values. Preference is given to students majoring or minoring in history or enrolled in the graduate program in the Department of History.

Stan and Debbie Crader have a second home in Colorado where they enjoy hiking, talking about characters for new books and photographing the beautiful landscape.

Dobbins Ken and Jeanine

Mrs. Jeanine Larson Dobbins and Southeast President Kenneth W. Dobbins

Ken and Jeanine Dobbins

President Kenneth W. Dobbins and his wife, Jeanine Larson Dobbins, have been part of the fabric of Southeast Missouri State University for more than two decades. Jeanine Larson Dobbins has served as First Lady and University ambassador of Southeast since her husband, Dr. Kenneth W. Dobbins, became the 17th president in 1999.

From 1991 until her retirement in 2010, Mrs. Dobbins was instrumental in bringing innovative, research-based approaches to teaching reading to Missouri students.  She is the founder and director emeritus of the Missouri Early Literacy Intervention Program (MSELIP), and she worked tirelessly to ensure that Missouri children received a firm foundation in reading.  Under her leadership, MSELIP educated more than 700 teachers and assisted more than 275,000 Missouri elementary students with reading difficulties.  Mrs. Dobbins planned, coordinated, helped to conduct, analyzed and presented longitudinal research to the administrations of four Missouri governors and the corresponding General Assemblies, resulting in state grants in excess of $5.7 million.

She has been recognized with numerous awards and honors from the community, the university, and the Reading Recovery® Council of North America.

Before moving to Missouri, Mrs. Dobbins worked as a reading teacher and reading consultant in the Kent, Ohio, Public Schools, and as an adjunct graduate faculty member for The Ohio State University; as a reading consultant in Newport News, Virginia; a faculty member in the DOD adult high school center in the Philippines; and an elementary teacher in Cumberland County, North Carolina.

Dr. Kenneth W. Dobbins, became the 17th president of Southeast Missouri State University July 1, 1999, after serving as the University’s Executive Vice President and Vice President of Finance and Administration. He previously held several positions in higher education administration at Kent State University in Ohio.

During his tenure as President, Southeast’s enrollment has increased significantly from approximately 7,900 students in 1994 to 12,087 in fall 2014, marking the 20th straight year of enrollment growth and the 14th year of record-breaking enrollment.

During Dr. Dobbins’ presidency, more than $400 million in capital construction and building improvement projects have enhanced the University. The Seabaugh Polytechnic Building and the River Campus were constructed. The Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship was opened, followed by the dedication of the David M. Barton Agriculture Research Center and the University’s Autism Center for Diagnosis and Treatment. Southeast has opened several modern residence halls, including Vandiver Hall, Merick Hall and LaFerla Hall.  More than $90 million in capital renovation projects were completed in 2013, including the renovation of the historic Academic Hall, and the remodeling of and upgrades to the Magill science complex. Additionally, the University opened the Kenneth & Jeanine Dobbins River Campus Center, a new academic and residence hall center at the River Campus, which the University’s Board of Regents has named for President and Mrs. Dobbins.

Dr. Dobbins has served as president of the Missouri Council on Public Higher Education (COPHE).  He was appointed by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon as a commissioner for the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC); served as president of the Ohio Valley Conference; and member of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) Board of Directors, including service as Secretary-Treasurer and Chair. For the past ten years, he has served as one of five faculty members for AASCU New Presidents’ Academy, where he has taught more than 200 new college and university presidents and chancellors. He chairs the Finance Committee of the American Academic Leadership Institute and also serves on the St. Louis Regional Chamber Board of Directors, is a member of the Hawthorne Foundation and vice president for membership on the executive board of the Greater St. Louis Council, Boy Scouts of America. He also serves on the National Council, Boy Scouts of America and was awarded the Silver Beaver Award, the highest honor a council bestows on a Boy Scout volunteer.

He was awarded the 2001 Distinguished Alumni Award from Old Dominion University, and  the Alumni Leadership Award for the College of Education, Health and Human Services Annual Hall of Fame Awards from Kent State University. Dr. and Mrs. Dobbins have a son, Paul Larson Dobbins, and a daughter-in-law, Stacey Borage Dobbins, both Southeast graduates, and two grandsons, Lincoln Kenneth and Brady Larson.