Eugene Fair, a native of
Harrison County, MO, began his post-secondary education at Avalon
College, Trenton, MO, but transferred to the First District Normal
School, Kirksville, after one year. He received a Bachelor of
Scientific Didactics in 1901, taught in Missouri and Illinois public
schools a couple of years, then enrolled at the University of
Missouri for a Bachelor of Arts. He returned to the Normal in
1905 as Assistant Professor of History, taking a leve of absence to
complete his Master of Arts at the University of Missouri in 1909.
Upon completing his Masters degree,
Eugene was promoted to Professor of American History and when
political science and history became separate departments in 1916,
he was named Professor of Political Science and Head of the
department. He took another leave a few years later to return
to graduate school and earned a PhD from Columbia University in
1923. Two years later, on September 1, 1925, he took over as
6th President of the school, but this time known as Northeast
Missouri State Teachers College.
Fair was politically active most
of his adult life and in 1920 ran for the Missouri House of Representatives on
the Republican ticket. He won the election and served as Adair County
Representative to the 51st General Assembly while continuing his position at the
college. His other activities outside the classroom included leadership
roles in the Missouri State Teachers Association and the American Association of
Teachers Colleges; he served terms as president of both organizations. He
also wrote three textbooks, Outlines of Oriental History (1908),
Government and Politics of Missouri (1922) and Public Administration in
The son of Joel J and
Sarah Jane (Brown) Fair, Clarence Eugene Fair was born October 18,
1877 near Gilman City, MO. He met Alta Mona Lorenz, a fellow
Normal student from Kirksville, while in school there and the couple
married August 19, 1903. They had three children, Elizabeth
June, Robert Eugene and Sarah Eleanor, all of whom graduated from
Northeast. President Fair was speaking before a session of the
first national convention of Alpha Phi Sigma honor society in St
Louis on August 12, 1937, when he suffered a stroke mid-speech.
He died in a St Louis hospital the following day, August 13, and was
returned home for burial at Kirksville's Maple Hills Cemetery.
A student apartment
complex built in 1958 was named Fair Apartments in his honor and his
is among the oil portraits hanging in the Presidents Gallery.