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March 6, 2024

Inauguration of Tatum set for April 19 in Bearcat Arena

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Northwest Missouri State University will celebrate the inauguration of its 11th president during an afternoon ceremony on Friday, April 19.

Northwest’s Board of Regents selected Dr. Lance Tatum to lead the University last year, and he began his tenure at the University on June 1, 2023.

The inauguration ceremony will begin at 1:30 p.m. in Bearcat Arena; doors to Lamkin Activity Center will open at noon. A reception with refreshments will follow the ceremony in the lobby of Lamkin Activity Center.

The event is open to the public and free to attend. All on-ground classes beginning after noon on April 19 on Northwest's Maryville campus are canceled to encourage students to attend the inauguration ceremony.

“Dr. Tatum’s tenure marks the beginning of a new legacy at Northwest – a legacy built on the foundation of courage, vision and determination,” Roxanna Swaney, the chair of the University’s Board of Regents, said. “As we embark on this journey together, let us remember that every great legacy starts with a single step. Together, let us take that step forward, guided by our shared commitment to excellence, innovation and the pursuit of knowledge.”

Inauguration ceremonies are a long-standing tradition at institutions of higher education to celebrate the installation of presidents. The event provides colleges and universities with an opportunity to reaffirm historic commitments, introduce their community to the new president and raise awareness of the university’s mission.

In addition to the ceremonial installation of Tatum as the University’s president, the inauguration will feature music performed by the Northwest Wind Symphony and the Tower Choir and greetings provided by representatives of various Northwest organizations.

Dr. Jack Hawkins Jr., the chancellor of Troy University in Troy, Alabama, and a valued mentor to Tatum, will provide the event’s keynote address. Hawkins has served as Troy’s chancellor since 1989 and is the longest-serving chief executive officer of a public university in the United States.

For more information about the inauguration ceremony, as well as history and traditions related to the event, visit

Dr. Lance Tatum (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Dr. Lance Tatum (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

About Dr. Lance Tatum

Before he arrived at Northwest, Tatum had served as senior vice chancellor for academic affairs and chief academic officer at Troy University since January 2019 while holding the rank of professor in its Sorrell College of Business—School of Hospitality, Sport and Tourism Management.

Tatum joined Troy University as a faculty member in 1998 and went on to serve as vice chancellor for its campus in Montgomery, Alabama; vice chancellor for its Global Campus; dean of the College of Education; and chairperson of the Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion as well as a Faculty Athletics Representative. Throughout his career, he held faculty positions in sport and fitness management at Troy University, and he began his academic career as an assistant professor of physical education at Gordon College in Barnesville, Georgia.

He earned a Ph.D. in sport management at Florida State University. He has a Master of Science in Education degree in foundations of education and a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education, both from Troy University.

Tatum and his wife, Jill, have two children, Thad and Zoe, who attend Auburn University in Alabama.

About Northwest Missouri State University

With an enrollment of about 10,000 students, Northwest is a coeducational, primarily residential four-year university that offers a broad range of undergraduate and selected graduate programs on its Maryville campus as well as its Northwest-Kansas City location and through Northwest Online.

Founded in 1905 and ranked by U.S. News and World Report among the top public regional universities in the Midwest, Northwest boasts a high retention rate and a graduation rate in the 95th percentile among its peers. Additionally, results of the 2021 Ruffalo Noel Levitz Student Satisfaction Inventory show Northwest students are more satisfied than students at national peers, and 80 percent of Northwest students report they would repeat their University experience, compared to 77 percent of students surveyed nationally at their respective institutions.

Furthermore, 97 percent of Northwest bachelor’s degree earners and 99 percent of master’s degree earners secure employment or continue their education within six months of graduation, according to the most recent data

Northwest places a high emphasis on profession-based learning to help graduates get a jumpstart on their careers. Students have opportunities to build their résumés with experiences on campus in nearly every area of study, including the Horace Mann Laboratory SchoolNational Public Radio affiliate KXCV, the R.T. Wright FarmMozingo Outdoor Education Recreation Area or Knacktive, a student-driven integrated digital marketing communications agency. In conjunction with its emergency and disaster management program, Northwest organizes and hosts Missouri Hope, an annual mass casualty training exercise that attracts first responders and emergency workers from throughout the nation and provides hands-on training in preparation for a natural disaster.

The University’s vibrant and diverse learning community also offers more than 150 student organizations, and textbooks and a laptop are included in tuition, which is among the lowest in the nation, saving students an estimated $6,800 over four years. Northwest offers 1,200 student employment positions, allowing students to build professional skills through its internationally benchmarked student employment program. 

For more information about Northwest, visit


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215