An Enduring Passion for Higher Education
| by Carol Best firstname.lastname@example.org
Larry McIntire was just out of college, working as a junior high teacher and coach in Palco, Kansas, when he came home from work and announced to his wife, Donna, that he wanted to be a doctor. She was less than enthusiastic when her husband shared this news.
“I’d been observing the team doctor and I thought, ‘I can do that,’” Larry says. Soon the idea became a goal and Donna got on board too. Four years later the couple and their two young children moved to Kirksville, Missouri, where Donna found a teaching position and Larry started school at AT Still University of Health Sciences.
Many scholarships, even some they didn’t apply for, helped the couple pay for tuition. Donna says that “a bunch of miracles” convinced her that this was God’s plan for their lives and so the second career of Larry McIntire, DO, began.
Risk, faith and an enduring passion for education have been markers on the journey to Larry’s thriving 26-year medical practice and the couple’s reputation as community and philanthropic leaders.
After Larry completed his residency in Denver, the couple set up his first practice in Portland, Maine, where they stayed for five years before returning to Kirksville so Larry could teach at the medical school. A fellowship in neurotology and skull base surgery took them to St. Louis 12 years later. Then in 1992, the McIntires established their Joplin, Missouri, practice, the Freeman Ear, Nose and Throat Center, which now has four doctors, including their son Kent, a head and neck surgeon.
“I’ve had three different lives in the practice of medicine,” Larry says. “And they have all been really good.”
Along the way, the couple has supported higher education in every community in which they have lived, as well as at MNU. Whether through teaching, serving in administrative roles or contributing financially, several universities and colleges have benefited from their vision.
Their support of MNU began when Larry served on the board of trustees under the university’s first president, Dr. R. Curtis Smith. In fact, Larry has served off and on through the years for every president in the university’s history. Donna has maintained a supportive role visiting the university with him and participating in everything from meetings with other board spouses to philanthropic events such as the Autumn Auction and President’s Honors.
Former MNU President Dr. Richard Spindle recalls many years of working alongside the McIntires.
“Larry is a great dreamer who doggedly pursues his dreams and refuses to give up,” Spindle says. “If you were to make a list of the great friends and supporters of MidAmerica’s first 50 years, Larry and Donna McIntire would surely be near the top of that list.”
Although he completed his term as chairman of the board in November, Larry’s service to MNU hasn’t ended. He continues to serve as a university trustee and MNU Foundation board member and supports the university’s initiatives through generous gifts. Together, the couple say they would encourage others to support MNU financially because it is a “worthwhile gift” to an institution where top-quality faculty care for their students. In addition to receiving a quality education, the McIntires are grateful that both of their children, who are also medical doctors, met their spouses at MNU. According to Larry, the “trickle-down effect” has also led three of their six grandchildren to MNU.
MNU President David Spittal has worked with Larry the past six years. Under Larry’s leadership as chair of MNU’s Board of Trustees, the university has expanded programs, achieved prestigious program accreditations and embarked on a $60-million capital campaign for academic programs, capital projects and university support. Today more than half of that goal has already been raised.
“I’m very grateful for the leadership Dr. and Mrs. McIntire have given to MNU,” Spittal says. “Not only have they given selflessly, but they both bring an understanding of higher education that is invaluable to the work they do for MNU. The Lifetime Achievement award is very fitting for this couple.”
Last year Larry was honored with 2017 Citizen of the Year Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, in part for his efforts to bring a new school of medicine to their city. Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences College of Osteopathic Medicine (KCU-COM) opened the Farber-McIntire Campus in Joplin in 2017.
"Small town America needs doctors,” he says. “The best way to get them is to train them here.”
Serving as President of the Joplin Regional Medical School Alliance, a group he helped assemble, Larry and other civic and business leaders helped raise $38 million for the medical school. Their efforts to coordinate local organizations led to Mercy Health System’s donation of their former hospital building and land to KCU-COM. Wherever they land, Larry and Donna seek to make a positive impact.
“It’s just part of what we do—to put our efforts behind a good organization,” Larry says.
They are both humbled to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. “We have great admiration for the board, administration, the students and parents and those adults who come back to school on their own,” he says.
“We are proud of MNU and we feel honored.”
- 2018 MNU Lifetime Achievement Award
- 2017 Citizen of the Year Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce
- 2017 Joplin Regional Business Journal – Salute to Health Care Lifetime Achievement Award
- 2016 Missouri Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons Physician of the Year
- 2010 Lion-Hearted Award from Missouri Southern State University Alumni Association
PROFESSIONAL & CIVIC SERVICE
- MNU Foundation Board Member
- MNU Board of Trustees, multiple terms between 1984 to present, chair 2009-2017
- Board of Directors of Freeman Health Systems
- President of the Joplin Regional Medical School Alliance
- Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs KCU-COM
- General Board Member Church of the Nazarene
- President of American Osteopathic College of Otolaryngology, 2002
- Former Board Member Eastern Nazarene College