Rod E. Surber became Director of Resource Development and Community Engagement at United Way of Southwest Missouri and Southeast Kansas in July 2017.
Surber previously served 26 years in various positions at
Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, MO., including Director of
University Relations & Marketing, 1999-2012; News Bureau Director 1991-1999;
Director of Web Content 2012-2013; Director of Account Development, 2013-2016;
and Director of Conferences and Meetings, 2016-2017. He retired from MSSU in
2017 before joining United Way.
He earned the status as Accredited in Public
Relations (APR) in the spring of
1999 through the Public Relations Society of America. Select this link to view curriculum vitae (pdf).
He earned a Master of Science in Administrative Studies (emphasis in Communication) degree from Missouri State University in 2004. He completed his graduate work with a perfect 4.0 GPA. He is a 1981 graduate of Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism and Mass Communications and secondary education teaching certification. While an undergraduate student at Iowa State, he was president of the campus chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and led the chapter to a national "Outstanding Campus Chapter Award". He also earned an award for editorial writing from the Illinois Press Association while managing editor of the Rochelle (IL) News-Leader.
Prior to entering public relations in higher education, Mr.
Surber was managing editor of two community newspapers, one in Chariton, Iowa,
for seven years, and the second in Rochelle, Illinois, for three and a half
At Missouri Southern he became Webmaster and produced the University's first Gopher and World-Wide Web pages. In collaboration with faculty and staff, he developed many Web sites for the University. He conducted workshops for faculty and staff and conducted consulting for businesses. He was involved with the District VI Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and is a member of the International Section of the PRSA. He has studied German, French and Spanish at Missouri Southern and is a member of Phi Sigma Iota International Modern Language Honor Society. He conducted an independent study project for a German course that was titled "German influence in Namibia." He has traveled to Europe (France, Germany and Great Britain) and to Canada and Mexico.
He is a founding member of the Southwest Missouri Public
Relations Society of America chapter and was President in 2007.
He also served as President of the Joplin Area Advertising Federation, and has been a member of the Lions Club in communities where he has lived. He also was a member of the Joplin Kiwanis Club. For about eight years he was a Certified Missouri State High School Activities Association basketball official. He has served as Secretary/Treasurer for the Webb City, Oronogo and Carterville Center Creek 201 Board since 1993. He has served as a member of the Board of Deacons at Frisco Church in Webb City, Mo., and is involved in other civic organizations. He and his wife, Rae, are the parents of two children, Austin and Ashley, and six grandchildren, Brenyn, Gavin, Braxton, Raegan Surber, and Madison and Barrett Landon.