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Northwest Missouri State University


Dr. B.D. Owens became Northwest's president in 1977. Dr. Owens laid-out the groundwork and commissioned the designs for future expansion of the Northwest campus, which included the construction of the Mary Linn Performing Arts Center (now the Ron Houston Center of Performing Arts). Due to his reorganization of the university, including combining departments, Dr. Owens helped Northwest become more efficient and fiscally sound.Dr. Owens tours the Administration Building with Governor Joe Teasdale two days after the fire that nearly destroyed the historic facility in 1979.  Dr. Owens ably led Northwest through one of its worst disasters with enthusiasm and determination.  Under his leadership, the Administration Building was quickly restored to its former glory.  The university library was named in his honor when he retired in 1984.

Dr. B.D. Owens, 1977-1984

Dr. Bob D. Owens, who earned a bachelor's degree at Northwest in 1959, returned to lead the University after serving as president of the University of Tampa. Over the next seven years, Dr. Owens succeeded in strengthening the academic program, boosting enrollment and improving the institution's fiscal outlook.

An avid environmentalist, he also took the first steps toward developing an alternative fuels program, which, over the past 20 years, has saved the University millions of dollars in energy costs.

The signal moment of Owens' tenure was the devastating 1979 Administration Building fire. Rather than restore the gutted north wing of the structure, Dr. Owens embarked on a campaign to build anew, which resulted in state funding for a new library (now the B.D. Owens Library) and the Performing Arts Center.