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Northwest Missouri State University


Alumni Spotlight

Chuck Veatch, left, reminisces with Dr. Lonelle Rathje, Northwest's vice president of external relations, and a family friend, Jared Welch, at the Michael L. Faust Center for Alumni and Friends during a celebration of his work at the University and an unveiling of the Veatch Executive Suite. (Photos by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Chuck Veatch, left, reminisces with Dr. Lonelle Rathje, Northwest's vice president of external relations, and a family friend, Jared Welch, at the Michael L. Faust Center for Alumni and Friends during a celebration of his work at the University and an unveiling of the Veatch Executive Suite. (Photos by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

June 14, 2018

Alumni, friends gather to honor former VP of advancement

Chuck Veatch listens to friends and former colleagues recall his impacts on Northwest during a celebration of his work at the Faust Center for Alumni and Friends.

Chuck Veatch listens to friends and former colleagues recall his impacts on Northwest during a celebration of his work at the Faust Center for Alumni and Friends.

Former employees and alumni of Northwest gather in what is now known as the Veatch Executive Suite inside the Faust Center for Alumni and Friends.

Former employees and alumni of Northwest gather in what is now known as the Veatch Executive Suite inside the Faust Center for Alumni and Friends.

Northwest Missouri State University’s Office of University Advancement celebrated the impacts of Chuck Veatch on June 8 as his friends, family and former colleagues filled the first floor of the Michael L. Faust Center for Alumni and Friends.

The surprise recognition for Veatch, Northwest’s first vice president for institutional advancement, also included the unveiling of a new name for the alumni center’s first floor executive office and reception area, which is now known as the Veatch Executive Suite.

“There are no words to adequately express my gratitude,” said Veatch, who served Northwest in various roles between 1970 and his retirement in 2000. “It’s just overwhelming to be able to share this with so many lifelong friends and in a place that was always somewhat magical for me. Standing in this home with so many memories, so many colleagues and friends, so many challenges and accomplishments we shared together, it is impossible to fully express the emotion.”

Shortly after the completion of an addition and the renaming of the Faust Center last fall, Rob Bolin and Craig Kelley, both 1983 graduates and past presidents of the Northwest Foundation, along with Steve Sturm, a 1978 graduate and past finance committee chairman for the Foundation, approached University Advancement staff with a desire to spearhead a volunteer-led recognition of Veatch that would assist the Foundation with funding restorations throughout the 92-year-old structure, which a group of alumni purchased in 1980 from the Townsend family.

Family, friends, former administrators, colleagues and Foundation directors with whom Veatch served responded to the appeal. On the afternoon of June 8, Sturm – along with Northwest alumni and former colleagues Joe Hederman, Doug McCrary and Jim Goff – ushered Veatch to the Faust Center with the ruse that they were visiting for a brief look at updates to the structure and his former office space.  

“One of the underlying things that Chuck had an ability to see in people was their commitment to whatever they did,” Sturm said during remarks to the gathering. “When you look at the people that are important to him to this day, they are people that say what they’re going to do and do what they say they’re going to do. I think it’s an incredible gift to be able to find those kinds of people and to identify them and build around them.”

Veatch was 90 days outside of leaving Vietnam when he arrived at Northwest in 1970 to pursue his Master of Business Administration degree. He had been drafted in 1968 to serve with the U.S. Army and completed a tour in Vietnam, for which he received the Bronze Star and was granted an early release through a program that allows military members to return to school. He already had his bachelor’s degree in business and economics from Sioux Falls College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where he met and married his wife, Pam. He completed his MBA at Northwest in 1971, and Pam began her career as a teacher at West Nodaway High School in Burlington – a journey they shared that spanned 30 years.

Veatch started work at Northwest as a graduate assistant and worked in the University’s residence halls before building the strong admissions, fundraising and alumni relations teams Northwest boasts today.

He was appointed director of admissions in 1976 and launched an aggressive student recruitment program. Veatch hired Sturm, Goff, Hederman and McCrary, and they began the student recruitment program known today as Northwest’s Student Ambassador program.

Veatch worked closely with Dr. Robert Foster, Northwest’s president until 1977, and then was named assistant to Foster’s successor, Dr. B.D. Owens, in 1980 as Northwest was ushering in a new era of university advancement. In 1984, Dr. Dean Hubbard became Northwest’s president, and Veatch was named assistant vice president of marketing and development. The next year, Veatch became vice president for institutional advancement in 1985 and oversaw the merger of the Alumni Loyalty Fund – a 501(c)(3) organization formed under Veatch’s direction a few years earlier – and the Northwest Educational Foundation to establish the Northwest Foundation Inc.

“Each time those fellows came up with an idea,” Don Beeson, a 1959 graduate and former Foundation Board president, said of Veatch’s work with the three Northwest presidents, “it was to Chuck that they went to get the idea into concrete form and do something about it.”

Veatch played roles in gathering support for projects at Northwest that included nearly everything from academic programs to paving parking lots. He helped build support for the purchase of the former Townsend home that is now the Faust Center and its restoration to serve as a hub for alumni and development activities. He also was involved in the launch of Northwest’s electronic campus in 1987 as well as the development of the Joyce and Harvey White International Plaza, which was completed in 1998.

With the start of the development program and the formulation of a comprehensive, structured fundraising effort, Veatch initially focused on a narrow set of programs that included an annual fund with a telethon conducted in the basement of alumni center, the establishment of an annual giving leadership group and some limited deferred and planned giving programs. With Rollie Stadlman, whom Veatch hired as director of alumni affairs, the programs began to evolve.

The year of 1994 signaled a turning point in the advancement program. Veatch hired Jim Moore as director of development and Mike Johnson, who recently retired as Northwest’s vice president of university advancement, to serve as director of alumni relations. In 1998, Veatch hired Lonelle Rathje, who succeeded Johnson last month, to manage Northwest’s annual giving program.

“Chuck is a really special guy,” Rathje said. “His ability to analyze the complexities of public higher education, philanthropy and life in general enhanced my personal and professional development. He treated everyone, regardless of status, with authentic kindness, interest and support. Like a true mentor, we never lost touch and ultimately developed a lifelong friendship. Chuck exemplifies what it means to be a Bearcat.”

Veatch now resides in Arizona with his wife, Stephanie, and near his son, Chip; Pam passed away in 2005. Veatch continues to support the Northwest Foundation and says he takes the most pride not in his own accomplishments at the University but the relationships that were forged over three decades and continue today.

“What I take the greatest pride in is the success of all of those people that I was blessed to work with and, beyond that, the fact that that continued for a lifetime,” Veatch said. “That’s the difference. For me it’s not just the people and just the work experience. It’s the fact that we experienced our lives together.”

The Veatch Executive Suite naming was funded by private gifts, and alumni and friends may still participate in honoring Veatch. The names of donors making gifts through Dec. 31 will be reflected on a donor plaque in the suite. Gifts may be made by contacting the Office of University Advancement at 660.562.1248 or visiting www.nwmissouri.edu/GiveOnline.


For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468