The next time the governing board of Missouri State meets, there will be two new faces.
Gov. Mike Parson appointed Travis Freeman, of Chesterfield, and Melissa Gourley, of Mountain Grove, to the MSU Board of Governors. They will serve until Jan. 1, 2029.
Their first meeting is Sept. 20 over Zoom. One of their first tasks will be to help assemble a search committee to select the university’s 12th president.
“They are great appointments. I know both of them,” said MSU President Clif Smart in an interview with the News-Leader.
This week, Smart announced plans to retire at the end of the academic year.
“Both are graduates of the university, both are active in the university and both have successful careers,” Smart said. “They’ll both be great board members. I am grateful to the governor.”
Freeman replaces Amy Counts and Gourley replaces Carol Silvey.
“(Counts and Silvey) both chaired our board. They were both completely committed to the university, always showed up, always pushed us to be better but at the same time both supportive of me, never had a personal agenda,” said Smart, in the interview. “I will miss both of them and I know they will stay connected and engaged with the university because they have been their whole lives.”
Freeman, a certified financial planner and partner with Moneta in St. Louis, has a bachelor’s degree in finance and a minor in economics from Missouri State.
He is the past president of the Financial Planning Association of St. Louis, and a current board member with College Bound, The Fulton School and the Moneta Charitable Foundation.
Freeman previously served as a trustee for the Missouri State Foundation and set up the Travis & Marina Freeman Family Endowed Scholarship for first-generation students at MSU.
Smart said Freeman is a fairly young alum but has already been generous with his time and made “significant” gifts to the university.
Gourley is a veterinarian at Whetstone Veterinary Service, which she used to own, in Mountain Grove, and she has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Missouri State and a doctor of veterinary medicine degree from the University of Missouri–Columbia College of Veterinary Medicine.
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She is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Missouri Veterinary Medical Association. She has served as a member of the Missouri State University’s West Plains Development Board and the Federal Appropriations Committee for Mountain Grove High School.
“Her in-laws, Bob and Marlese Gourley, gave the lead gift on the Gourley Student Success Center in Glass Hall. Her father was David Dollar, who was a 30-year communications professor at Missouri State,” Smart said in an interview. “She started at Missouri State in kindergarten when she went to Greenwood so her whole life has been connected to Missouri State. She is still very much engaged.”