The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

March 21, 2013

Founding Crowder board member reflects on its 50 years

By Roger McKinney

NEOSHO, Mo. — Crowder College on Tuesday, April 2, will celebrate the 50th anniversary of passage of the ballot issue that formed the community college district of Newton and McDonald counties.

On that ballot also was a slate of candidates for the new college’s board of trustees. James Tatum, then 37, was the top vote-getter. Still on the board after 50 years, Tatum was instrumental in establishing the college and has had a hand in every major decision through its history so far.

Tatum, now 87, said the proposal for Crowder College came at the right time in the nation’s history.

“In the early 60s, they were being established almost one a week in the U.S.,” he said of the rate of community college openings. “Here this national trend was evolving.”