Scanlon leaves behind legacy

Institutional News

 President James Scanlon said life is full of questions or mysteries that one is drawn to find a solution for.  After seven years of service at Western, Scanlon plans to retire to the east coast with the intent to write his own multiple mystery novels.

Starting June 30, Scanlon plans to move to North Carolina where he can be close to the beach every day. 
Scanlon began his career at Brown University in 1966. 

He taught at the University of Illinois and Southeast Missouri University. Having a Ph.D. in English, and by being an aficionado of Shakespeare, Scanlon has decided to write mystery novels upon retire­ment. Scanlon said Shakespeare’s plays show the meaning of life played out and he finds it fascinating that centuries after Shakespeare’s time, we still can’t figure it all out.

“When you confront mysteries, sometimes you can ultimately find the answers or solutions and sometimes you can’t,” Scanlon said.

Since Scanlon’s tenure began in February 2001, there have been many positive changes to Western.  Though Scanlon can not take credit for it alone, he believes the greatest accomplishment of his term was when Western became a university in 2005.

“Any accomplishment at Western is accomplished by we, not I,” Scanlon said.

Becoming a university topped Scanlon’s list of memorable accomplishments, but he said the greatest accomplishments are those of the students.  Scanlon said it is the success of the students while they are obtaining their degrees and what they do after they have them that have been the greatest accomplishment of his time.

“I am very proud of what happens here at Western,” Scanlon said.  “And we do it, I don’t do it.”
Dan Nicoson, vice president for University Advancement said, “I hope Scanlon has the opportunity to do exactly the things he intended to do during in his retirement.”

Nicoson has worked with Scanlon since he joined Western in 2004 but has had over 30 years experience working with upper administration.

“I’ve enjoyed working with [Scanlon] more than any other president in my career,” Nicoson said. “I have never met a man more committed to the achievement of quality at the institution or personally to ethics.”
Scanlon says he has no regrets as he approaches retirement but feels there is one goal that was left unaccompanied. 

“We have worked very hard over the past seven years to deal with the question of equitable funding for Western, and there is a wide difference in funding per student provided by the state of Missouri to the universities in Missouri,” Scanlon said. “We have worked to try to right that disparity.”

Scanlon said though they have chipped away at the problem and have lessened the disparity by about $2 million, there is still work to be done to have total equality.

“As they say, ‘justice delayed is justice denied,’ so justice is still denied,” Scanlon said. “But there has been progress.”

Western’s Provost Joseph Bragin said Scanlon has been a good leader in this institution.

“He had led the university into fulfilling its duties to its students, staff and the community it serves,” Bragin said.

Scanlon’s going away thoughts for the campus are for students, faculty and staff to “believe, truly believe this is an exceptional university.”  He said that when students see the accomplishments of others, that those accomplishments should be motivation for themselves.

“Students should believe in themselves that they can do that, or things similar to that,” Scanlon said.
In 1985 Scanlon became the Dean of the College Arts and Sciences and professor of English at Clarion University in Penn.  In 1993 Scanlon was named provost at Youngstown, Ohio.

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