The Crowder College Board of Trustees is now accepting applications for candidates interested in filling the position of longtime board member James Tatum.

Tatum, a founder of Crowder College and the original president of the Crowder Board of Trustees, served for more than 50 years, with 45 years as board president and the last five as a member of the board.

He will retire from his position at the end of the year.

However, Tatum's term is not set to expire until April 2017.

The candidate selected to fill Tatum's position will serve until the next board election, set for April 2015, at which time that trustee would be expected to run for the remaining two years of the term.

In a Monday news release, the board asked that the applicants "demonstrate a love for Crowder College and dedication to principles of leadership, based on service, caring and ethical practice, and be able to collaborate with other board members in furthering the mission, vision and values of the institution."

Board members are elected to represent sub-districts, though the new trustee is expected to represent the interests of the college to the entire Crowder College service region.

Tatum currently represents Crowder College Sub-District One, which is made up of all of McDonald County and the Stella Precinct in Newton County.

The successful candidate must be at least 21 years of age, a citizen of the United States, and must be a registered voter within sub-district one.

Letters of interest should be submitted to Secretary to the Board Martha Nimmo, at Crowder College, 601 Laclede, Neosho, Mo.64850.

The deadline to apply is Nov. 1

Board members will screen the letters of interest, and interviews may follow.

Tatum, who was described by board president Andy Wood as the "heart, soul and body" of Crowder College, submitted his resignation to the board in their Aug. 22 board meeting.

Tatum stressed that his departure is not indicative of any issues with the college or board.

"In my viewpoint we've got an outstanding interim president," Tatum said following the Aug. 22 meeting. "The board is harmonious, things are good. It's just time to move on. We need to get a person to continue honoring the culture that's been established."