Lion Pride: Recognizing our successes, planning for our future

In terms of the Fall 2017 semester, we are now – as the saying goes – in the thick of it. We’re a month into classes, Fall Break isn’t far away, and finals and the holidays won’t be far behind. (Only 14 weeks until Christmas, for those keeping track.)

I’ve heard countless success stories from across our campus these past few weeks. Stories of what our students are accomplishing both inside and outside the classroom, as well as your own achievements. I couldn’t be more proud, and I hope you are, as well.

We had the chance last Friday to thank the donors who helped make the critical renovations to Reynolds Hall possible. And, it was a smashing success, thanks to some flowers and liquid nitrogen provided by Dr. James Donelson.

I’m also proud to say that Missouri Southern has been recognized for our Great Game of Education efforts. During the recent Gathering of the Games Conference in Dallas, Texas, we were awarded the 2017 Pioneer Award – which goes to a company or organization that is the first in their field to implement and practice the open-book methodology. This recognition was made possible by all of your efforts, and it’s been wonderful to see these guiding principles successfully utilized by our campus.

The Development Office thanked Reynolds Hall donors.


We’ve reached an important juncture here at Missouri Southern. With our previous Strategic Plan having been successfully fulfilled, it’s time to move forward by re-examining our mission, vision and values. One of the insights gained by the team that attended the Gathering of Games Conference is the need to identify an organization’s specific “noble cause.” Re-examining our mission, vision, and values should help us zero in on our noble cause.

The key word in that last sentence is the word “our.”

It’s our mission that we want to identify and spell out for the future of Missouri Southern. It’s our collective vision and our values as an institution that will show us the way forward.

That means your contribution to this process – your thoughts, your feelings and your voices – are critical to our success.

Our GGOE Committee received the Great Game’s Pioneer Award.

This week and next, we will host a series of Stakeholder Engagement Sessions for you to offer input into this vital work. The sessions will be offered in two phases, so please plan to attend one Phase 1 session and one Phase 2 session.

Tuesday, Sept. 19 (Phase 1):  1 – 2:45 p.m.; or 3 – 4:45 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 21 (Phase 1):  8:30 – 10 a.m.; or 10:15 – 11:45 a.m.
Monday, Sept. 25 (Phase 2):  8:30 – 10 a.m.; or 10:15 – 11:45 a.m.
Thursday, Sept. 28 (Phase 2):  1 – 2:45 p.m.; or 3 – 4:45 p.m.

Each of the sessions will take place in the quiet room on the fourth floor of Spiva Library, overlooking the Oval. This location will provide an intimate setting for all of us to sit down and talk. We want to hear what you think when you consider Missouri Southern’s mission, vision and values. We will take the information gathered in these sessions back to the Board of Governors to compare and contrast with the thoughts and ideas they compiled at their annual retreat earlier this summer. With broad campus and community input, they should be able to come up with a concise and descriptive Mission Statement that will be embraced by all.

As I said, we are in the thick of things at the moment. If you can’t attend the sessions, please make time to share your thoughts with us online. You can do so by going here.

Again, I can’t stress enough the crucial role all of you will play during this process. I thank you in advance for your time and your invaluable input.


Missouri Southern will host Third Thursday from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 21. We hope you’ll join us in downtown Joplin because this event is always such an awesome display of what makes Missouri Southern great.

Dozens of our academic departments, programs and student organizations will have booths, there will be performances by our talented music students, our athletes will be on hand to greet fans and – if you’re not enticed already – live cooking demonstrations by Jay Jung, owner of Jin’s Korean Grill in Springfield. There will also be an impressive historical replica of our original Mansion Walls as a nod to our 50th anniversary on this campus. (Stay tuned for more about our 50th Anniversary Campus Rededication Ceremony, set for Oct. 27.)

It’s a chance for the community at large to become better acquainted with us and to get a taste of what makes Missouri Southern so special. I hope to see you there.

As always, your service and contributions to this university and the region are critical in making our students successful, our economy vibrant, and our community culturally enriched and civically engaged. Please know that your efforts are recognized and appreciated.

It’s always a great day to be a Lion.