Dr. Mary B. Gunter, chief of staff at Arkansas Tech University, was inducted into the Fort Osage High School (Mo.) Hall of Honor during a ceremony on Dec. 13, 2019.
Ryan Shartz, athletics director at Fort Osage High School, presented Gunter with her plaque.
“My journey came full circle tonight as I remembered the power and influence of teachers, a counselor and principal who changed my life,” said Gunter. “I found at Arkansas Tech those very same individuals who care about students and change their life daily. Joining me tonight was my high school physical education teacher, Sandra Millstead, who was instrumental in my choice of Arkansas for college. For her and many others, I am forever grateful.”
A first generation high school and college graduate, Gunter took office as chief of staff in the Office of the President at Arkansas Tech University on May 1, 2018. She holds membership on the ATU executive council, drives continuous pursuit of goals outlined in the university strategic plan and assists Arkansas Tech University President Dr. Robin E. Bowen in building and strengthening partnerships designed to facilitate student success.
Gunter has been at the forefront of education growth and improvement for more than four decades. She invested 22 years of her life as a teacher, principal, assistant superintendent and educational co-op director. Gunter also served as director of the Arkansas Governor’s Partnership for Children and Families for two years.
In 1998, she joined the faculty at Arkansas Tech University and began developing a graduate level curriculum in educational leadership. Her efforts yielded the creation of the ATU Center for Leadership and Learning, an institute dedicated to producing innovative problem solvers at all levels of K-12 school leadership.
Gunter took on new leadership roles of her own, adding the title of dean of the ATU Graduate College in 2009 and dean of the ATU College of Education in 2015.
Along the way, the evolution of the ATU Center for Leadership and Learning led to the development and implementation of the first doctoral degree in Arkansas Tech history. Gunter is the visionary behind the ATU Doctor of Education degree in school leadership, a program that produced Arkansas Tech’s first doctoral graduates in spring 2017.
Gunter has shared her expertise in the realm of leadership beyond the K-12 community. She was a member of the project development team and now serves as the director of Leadership Tech, a program designed to build leadership capacity and serve as professional development for faculty and staff at Arkansas Tech University. Leadership Tech Cohort 1 and Cohort 2 have completed the program. The third and fourth cohorts of the program are active.
In 2018, Gunter collaborated with the ATU Division of Student Affairs and the ATU College of Education to develop a new leadership minor, an 18-hour course of study that equips Arkansas Tech graduates with knowledge and experiences so they may be better prepared to become leaders in both their professional careers and communities.
In addition, she lends her expertise in the realm of leadership to the Mary B. Gunter Emerging Leaders Living Learning Community, an ATU Department of Residence Life initiative designed to bring together students from a variety of academic disciplines to learn about leadership and how to practically apply it in the real world.
As a means of recognizing Gunter’s contributions to leadership at ATU, an endowed scholarship for women in leadership is being created in her name through the ATU Foundation.
Individuals interested in contributing to the scholarship are invited to call the ATU Division of Advancement at (479) 968-0400 for more information.