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Missouri Southern State University is pleased to welcome our sixth president, Dr. Dean Van Galen.

His unanimous selection by the Board of Governors follows an eight-month national search.

Van Galen brings to Missouri Southern a proven track record of academic and leadership experience, particularly in the areas of fundraising and governmental relations, and a commitment to the notion at MSSU students must be given the opportunity to explore the knowledge and acquire the skills relevant to a complex and changing world.


Dr. Dean Van Galen selected as Missouri Southern State University’s sixth president

The Board of Governors at Missouri Southern State University has unanimously voted to elect Dr. Dean Van Galen to serve as the university’s sixth president.

“The board believes Dr. Van Galen demonstrates exactly the experience, education and background we were seeking to lead Southern,” said Bill Gipson, board chairman.

Van Galen will begin his tenure on July 1.

The selection follows an eight-month national search led by a 14-member search committee comprised of board members, faculty, staff, community representatives, alumni and students, and managed by EFL Associates, an executive search and recruitment firm based in Kansas City. Nearly 70 applications were submitted for the position, culminating in the three campus town hall sessions held May 6-8.

“I want to thank the members of the Presidential Search Advisory Committee for the thoughtful consideration, energy and time they put into this effort,” said Alison Hershewe, vice chair of the Board of Governors and chair of the Presidential Search Advisory Committee.

“The diverse points of view each of them brought made all the difference during the search process. The committee members were excellent representatives of both Missouri Southern and our community. The Board is immensely grateful to each of them for sharing their insight, generous help, and service.”


[Read more on MOSO Minute]

Dr. Dean Van Galen was selected by the Board of Governors and introduced as the sixth president of Missouri Southern State University on May 19, 2020, following a national search. He will assume the office of president on July 1.

Prior to coming to MSSU, Van Galen served as chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls for 11 years. Milestones during his tenure as chancellor included successful completion of the Pathway to Distinction strategic plan, which resulted in the launch of high-demand distinctive academic programs, increased high-impact practices for students including undergraduate research and study abroad, successful completion of the university’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign, and over $60 million in state investment in new academic facilities. He has served on numerous civic and higher education leadership boards, including as a trustee of the WiSys Technology Foundation, which supports innovation and technology transfer for the University of Wisconsin’s 11 comprehensive campuses.

A Wisconsin native and a 1982 alumnus of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, both Van Galen and his wife, Mary, like many MSSU students, are first-generation college students. Van Galen earned a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry at Kansas State University and conducted post-doctoral chemistry research at the University of California at Berkeley.

[Read more about Dr. Dean Van Galen]

Education Summary

  • Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from Kansas State University (1986)
  • Bachelors in Chemistry (major) & Mathematics (minor) from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (1982)

Recent Employment Summary

  • Chancellor – University of Wisconsin-River Falls (2009 to Present)
  • Vice President for University Advancement – University of West Florida (2007 to 2009)
  • Vice President for Development – University of West Florida (2003 to 2007)
  • Vice President for University Advancement and Executive Secretary of the Truman State University Foundation – Truman State University (2001 to 2003)
  • Chief Advancement Officer and Executive Secretary of the Truman State University Foundation – Truman State University (1996 to 2001)

Candidate’s response to, “What interests you most about this position?”

Since the early chapter of my career in Missouri at Truman State University, I have been intrigued by Missouri Southern State University’s unique mission, including its distinctive theme of international education. Missouri Southern is a university of great promise, located in a dynamic region of Missouri, which resonates with my values as an educator and leader. Given my academic and leadership experience, particularly in the areas of fundraising and governmental relations, I believe there may be an excellent fit between MSSU’s leadership priorities and my talents and passions.

[See full curriculum vitae]

2:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 19
North End Zone Facility, Missouri Southern State University
YouTube live stream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ezyWnC86ew&feature=youtu.be&t=605 

Or tune into KGCS-TV – Broadcast channel 21
Cable systems: Sparklight, Suddenlink and Mediacom
Live – 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 19
Recorded and replay – 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 19