MARYVILLE, Mo. — Family man. Mentor. Compassionate. Kind. Hardworking. Committed. Bearcat.

Just a few of the words those who know Dr. Pat Harr used to describe him in a framed word cloud presented at Thursday's Northwest Missouri State University Board of Regents meeting.

University president John Jasinski gave the word cloud to Harr commemorating his service, first as the longtime team doctor for Bearcat athletics, and as a member of the Board of Regents since 2013 — a role he is stepping down from.

“Just a remarkable individual who has always been accepting and embracing of everyone, and I just really admire your steadfast leadership and service to Northwest,” Clarence Green, chief of university police and vice president of culture, told Harr. “And in law enforcement, we always offer a challenge coin to our friends and like to give you a challenge. And the challenge we give to you is just to continue to seek to understand. Thank you for everything that you've done, and that you'll continue to do for Northwest.”

Board members and those in the audience took turns telling of their personal interactions with Harr, some funny, some touching — most a mix of both — all extolling the individual impact Harr had on each of them through his leadership, compassion and mentorship.

“Dr. Harr has basically helped raise me, not just as a head athletic trainer, but as a child,” said Kelly Quinlan, head athletic trainer at Northwest. “My mom was his nurse for a lot of years, and he took such good care of not only my mom, but my family, and has just been a tremendous person for my life.

“What's so great about all this is that I get to stand up and say something in front of people and say how important he is to me, but also to Northwest athletics and just Northwest Missouri State.”

Harr's daughter, holding his granddaughter, Claire, thanked everyone for their tributes to her father.

“I just want to say quickly on behalf of the Harr family, as a proud daughter — and (with) a proud granddaughter — that we're trying to teach Claire about sharing, the importance of sharing,” she said. “And it's really hard to share your dad. And I can't imagine sharing him with anyone else but you all.

“You are all part of the Harr family, because that's how my dad embodies leadership: he brings people in, he lifts them up. And so in the spirit of Clarence's challenge, I hope that you all will continue that spirit of leadership, of lifting each other up, of sharing and building a family — because that's what really makes a legacy.”

The board also presented Harr with a plaque and planted a new tree in the arboretum in his honor.

“Nightmare scenario” avoided

Two months ago, the Board of Regents found itself in uncharted waters: because of a fluke of the calendar that ended up with Regent Marilou Joyner as chair and no vice chair, Regent Jason Klindt had proposed a last-minute change to the bylaws for an immediate election to select a new vice chair when the vice chair position is vacant — or as Klindt called it multiple times, “the nightmare scenario.”

However, any change in bylaws could not be made until it had been voted on three times — meaning the change could not take place until September. In order to start the process, all but Joyner voted in favor during the June meeting.

At the meeting on Thursday, the board had apparently come to a compromise. Although university general counsel Hayley Hanson, a Northwest grad and partner at Husch Blackwell in Kansas City, indicated in June that the vice chair could be appointed by Joyner during the August meeting, the board decided to take a vote instead to fill the seat. Each regent wrote a nomination on a folded scrap of paper, and, after some confusion about the procedure, eventually they unanimously elected Roxanna Swaney to the post.

In a separate decision, the board created a committee to study the bylaws for any similarly vague areas and recommend improvements. The bylaw concerning appointment of officers, including the vice chair, was referred to that committee for study and will not be voted on by the board until that review process has been completed.

Other notes

  • New regent Debbie Roach attended her first meeting. Roach is from Grant City, where she has served as mayor for over a decade. She also is the postmaster of Sheridan, and officer-in-charge at the Grant City post office.
  • The board approved deals with imageQUEST for document and multifunction device (like fax machines, scanners, printers, etc.) services, MOREnet for backup internet services and SafeColleges for electronic training and compliance software, respectively.
  • The board also re-upped a partnership with the Northwest Regional Professional Development Center.

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