Stroup, Kala Mays

Kala Mays
Stroup, PhD
Year Inducted: 
Kala Mays Stroup
  • First VP of Academic Affairs in Board of Regents System in Kansas
  • First woman President for Kentucky System of higher education
  • First woman President of SE Missouri State University
  • First woman President of the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference
  • One of the first women Presidents on the NCAA Presidents Commission
  • Commissioner of Higher Education in Missouri, serving on the Governor's Cabinet until 2002
  • Former President of American Humanics
  • Former President of Murray State University in Kentucky and Southeast Missouri State University
  • Dean of Women at the University of Kansas
  • Recipient of the Alumni Honor Citation from the KU Division of Speech and Drama

Dr. Kala Stroup holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in speech and drama with Phi Beta Kappa honors, a Master of Science degree in educational psychology, and a Doctorate of Philosophy degree in speech communication from the University of Kansas. While at the University of Kansas she was a member of Mortar Board and was a Watkins Scholar. Though she majored in speech and drama, but she found her home on a stage larger than any theatre. As a national leader in higher education, she became a mentor and model for countless young women, starting at KU, where she spent eighteen years as a teacher and adviser, including serving as the first Dean of Women to follow Dr. Emily Taylor. Dr. Stroup had large shoes to fill when she became Dean of Women and she did so with grace and boundless enthusiasm.

Dr. Stroup has had a distinguished career in higher education for over four decades. She served as chief academic officer at Emporia State University, then spent twelve years as a university president at Murray State University in Kentucky and Southeast Missouri State University. In 1995, she expanded her role in Missouri as commissioner of higher education, serving on the Governor's Cabinet until 2002. She then went on to become the president of American Humanics, which prepares future leaders of universities and nonprofit groups. Dr. Stroup previously served as a fellow with the American Council on Education (ACE). She has held many positions as a board member in organizations devoted to higher education such as the American Association for Higher Education (AAHE), Association of Governing Boards (AGB) Center for Public Higher Education Trusteeship and Governance Council, Service Members Opportunity Colleges Board (chair), and the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Presidents Commission. She has been on the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Board of Directors, the Secretary’s Advisory Committee for the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare

Dr. Stroup’s leadership has been demonstrated in several national organizations. She served on and National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America and chaired the National Small Business Development Centers Advisory Board. Currently Dr. Stroup is a board member for Freedom’s Frontier, an organization that details the Border War between Kansas and Missouri from both sides in efforts to increase awareness about the Civil War’s real first frontier.

Dr. Stroup’s dedication to her alma mater is truly inspiring. She served on the board of the Alumni Association from 1985 to 1990 and on the Emily Taylor Women’s Resource Center Advisory Board from 1974 to 1983. In 2004 Dr. Stroup returned to the Advisory Board and continues to serve on the board to this day. She also serves on the board for Women Philanthropists for KU. Dr. Stroup currently teaches courses on the non-profit sector here at the University of Kansas as well as other courses within the Honors program.

Dr. Stroup has received awards and recognition from many organizations over the years for her work in higher education as well as the non-profit sector. She received the Alumni Honor Citation from the Division of Speech and Drama hear at the University of Kansas, two honorary degrees, and many professional as well as civic awards. At Southeast Missouri State University there is a fountain named in her honor.

Honors & Achievements: 
  • 2012 Mortar Board Outstanding Educator Award
  • KU Distinguished Service Citation
  • Seven honorary degrees
  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Mortar Board
  • Ohio Valley Conference Hall of Fame
  • ACE Fellow
  • Who's Who in America
  • Who's Who in the World
  • Phi Kappa Phi
  • Points of Night Award

"Strong, effective leaders have the creative capacity to be visionary and the talent and competencies to turn these ideas into actions that generate measurable results" -- Dr. Kala Mays Stroup

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