79th Fall Commencement Ceremony at MSSU

JOPLIN, Mo. — Hard work pays off for a new group of Missouri Southern State University graduates.

MSSU held its 79th Fall Commencement Ceremony at the Leggett and Platt Athletic Center.

269 graduates, representing 349 degree programs walked across the main stage to get their college diplomas.

The commencement speaker was Susan McCoy, the Senior Vice President of Investor Relations.

The presentation of the graduating class followed her speech.

The MSSU board of governors had the honor of handing each graduate their college diploma.

“Around finals time, everyone is a little stressed, I mean, you get stressed, you can’t hang out with your friends as much, you can’t do the things you want to do, but it gets stressful in work and everything like that, but as soon as you walk across that stage, I feel like all that stress is gone,” said Brayden Wilson, MSSU Fall Graduate.

“It’s honestly really sad to be leaving Southern, with all my professors and friends, but I am really excited,” said Madison McKee, MSSU Fall Graduate.

When the commencement ceremony wrapped up, the new grads gathered with friends and family for a photo “op” at one of several decorated backdrops.

MSSU first annual "Holiday Happenings Celebration"

JOPLIN, Mo. — The holidays are happening on the campus of Missouri Southern. Specifically, the first annual “Holiday Happenings Celebration” kicked off this afternoon with a maker’s market craft fair.

The event is free and open to both students and community members. Hundreds of creative handmade items were for sale inside the Billingsly Student Center as part of a larger campus-wide celebration.

“We’ve got honey here. We’ve got vendors that have glassware here. We have jewelry here. All of it’s handmade. Some of it is upcycled as well,” said Ryan Orcutt, Director of Global Leaders and Student Engagement.

“Well, I have stained glass. I have some tree ornaments and some other nature scenes that I’ve made,” said Marc Daczewitz, Vendor.

Carriage rides, a tree lighting ceremony, Christmas karaoke, and the movie “A Christmas Story” will round out the “Holiday Happenings” celebration this evening.

MSSU Alum Brandon Williams signs with Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Earlier this week rumors ESPN insiders tweeted Brandon Williams would sign to the Chiefs.

And Wednesday, November 30, 2022 it came true, Williams released images on IG showing he was in Kansas City signing with Big Red.

Williams is an MSSU alumni. Drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in 2013 where he played nine years. He is a St. Louis native.

He and his family have been living in NW Arkansas. Williams has been training at nearby D1 Training in Rogers, Ark.

Most media outlets are saying he has signed to the practice squad. However sources close to Williams tell us watch for him to get game time soon.

Follow KOAM Sports on KOAM News Now for the latest on the Chiefs.

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Four State Beekeeper's Conference held at MSSU

JOPLIN, Mo. — Dozens of people gathered on Missouri Southern’s campus for the Four State Beekeeper’s Conference today.

Due to the pandemic, this was only the second time the conference was held. The attendance doubled this year.

Attendees traveled from eight different states to share information about beekeeping.

The goal was to educate about bees and share different bee-keeping methods.

“Our goal for this event was to provide an opportunity for beekeepers of all skill levels to come together, build community with one another, and learn from professional beekeepers,” said Lisa Sewell, Joplin Beekeepers Association.

“So the drought this summer was really hard on the bees. In general, it was so hot and dry that it just stresses out their populations and it’s just like humans. If you’re stressed out, you’re more likely to get sick, you’re more likely to be tired fatigue, whatever it might be. And so in the case of our bees, we saw there’s been an increase in their susceptibility to different pests and parasites. Simply because they have a lack of food and it’s really a stressful condition for them,” said Katie Kilmer, MSSU Professor.

If you’re interested in attending next year’s conference it will be the first weekend of November on the MSSU campus. You can find their Facebook group, here.

MSSU nursing students save lives in VR lab

JOPLIN, Mo. — Nursing students on a local campus now have new digital options to learn how to save lives.

“I’m very excited because I am a very hands-on learner,” said Mariah Stahl, MSSU Nursing Student.

Missouri Southern nursing student Mariah Stahl sees big opportunities for learning in the new virtual reality simulation lab.

“Very in-clinical without being in clinicals. It’s the safety of knowing I can’t hurt my patient while I’m learning this skill but I’m still learning how to react and what’s important in that moment,” she said.

Missouri Southern State University hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its newest option for training nurses. The V.R. Simulation Lab offers more than 200 medical scenarios for student training.

“It ranges from newborn to critical care, OB. I mean, there’s, there’s a lot. And we probably won’t be able to use all of them because you know our students have such little time here in the program. But we’re trying to get them to use as much as possible,” said Caleb Lewis, MSSU.

Students suit up with V.R. goggles and hand controls. That means they are not only immersed in a virtual hospital room but get haptic feedback when taking a pulse or checking other vital signs.

“There’s possibilities that we probably still don’t understand yet. But, you know, our students now require digital technology and their education. That’s how they learn. It’s more conducive to learning rather than lecture even though lecture is important as well. But, you know, VR gives us the capability to do a lot more, you know, whether we’re in this building or off campus, you know, we can still use it,” said Lewis.

An anonymous donation to MSSU paid for the V.R. lab, with the goal of using technology to improve student learning.

Learning about volunteer opportunities at MSSU

JOPLIN, Mo. — Missouri Southern students got to learn more about the many volunteer opportunities in and around Joplin, and they can thank a fellow student.

This “Service Fair” was the idea of Elizabeth Martin a Sophomore biology pre-med major from Aurora. Martin did it as an “Honors Program” service project.

A number of nonprofits were part of it, including “Jasper County Casa”, “Ronald McDonald House”, “Joplin Humane Society”, “Lafayette House”, and “Spiva Center for the Arts.”

“Volunteer work really does benefit the person that’s doing the work much less than the organization. I think that people don’t necessarily realize what benefits they’ll get from volunteer work before they actually do it. Like all these different organizations, if students get to volunteer with them, there’s plenty of benefits that they never foresaw that would happen,” said Elizabeth Martin, MSSU Student.

This was all part of what’s shaping up to be a busy week on campus.

A “Veterans Day” ceremony will take place on Friday morning on the oval at 10:50 a.m.

Saturday’s football game against Washburn is the “Military and First Responders Appreciation Game.”

Dress-a-Lion at MSSU was a tie-dyed success

JOPLIN, Mo. — It’s one of the most popular events at Missouri Southern State University.

But this semester’s version of “Stuff-a-Lion” had a different name; “Dress-a-Lion”. A way to move students through the line faster.

Hosted by the university’s “Campus Activities Board”, students only had to show their student ID before getting a lion.

It’s set up similarly to a “Build-a-Bear Workshop.” This year’s theme is tie-dyed lions.

“I think it’s awesome. I mean, it’s super cool how they do them and, I don’t know, they’re just super cool to have. I’m friends with some of the people who are from a different country, and they are all about Roary the Lion and everything,” said Josie Banes, MSSU Student.

“You know I’m sayin’, it gets cold at night, so I need me a little, need me a little cuddly teddy bear at night, you know I’m sayin’, but I think it’s really cool, I think it’s fun, you know I’m sayin’, I’m really glad they did this for us, you know, I really appreciate it,” said Calvin Clark, MSSU Student.

This is something the university gives students the chance to do every semester.

Robert Warden honored at MSSU

JOPLIN, Mo. — A former Missouri State Representative was honored today at Missouri Southern.

Missouri Southern State University gave the 2022 Richard M. Webster Medallion to Robert Warden, also known as Bob Warden.

“He was in the Missouri House of Representatives and moving Missouri Southern forward. He leaves a legacy here and it was just wonderful to be able to honor his service,” said Dr. Dean Van Galen, President, MSSU.

The university recognizes a former or current legislator every year, who has provided outstanding service to higher education in the state of Missouri.

Warden played a huge role in pushing for a house bill that helped transition MSSU from a junior college, to the four year university that it is today, and he never gave up on advocating for the university to legislators.

“The original bill was vetoed. And he stayed, that was in 1963, and so he stayed with it,” said T. Mark Elliott, Serves on the Board of Governors, MSSU.

“We are now a four year anniversary, serving students from the region and beyond, so our university was elevated through that process. And I think it helped us aspire to be bigger and greater and have more impact. So, all of that traces back to Bob Warden and others who had that vision to see what Missouri Southern could and should be,” said Dr. Dean Van Galen, President, MSSU.

Warden served as a state representative, Jasper County Prosecutor, and Jasper County Circuit Judge, all while keeping a focus on the state’s role in providing higher education.

“Look what the campus looks like today and if it hadn’t been for Bob Warden, we wouldn’t be seeing the things that we see on campus today and how it’s developed. And students that have come and gone through, um, the University now, can look back and thank Robert Warden for his part in this and it took a lot of tenacity on his part,” said Elliott.

Chinese "papercutting" exhibit makes debut at MSSU Spiva Art Gallery

JOPLIN, Mo. — A paintbrush isn’t the only way to create art. A new exhibit in the Spiva Art Gallery at Missouri Southern is proof of that.

It’s influenced by the Chinese technique of “papercutting” — and is the work of Artist Tammy Harrington, a Professor of Art at the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, Arkansas. She uses an X-Acto knife to cut out all the negative areas and attach them on top of the portrait to give the work a three-dimensional appearance. The technique gives her the chance to represent her identity as a Chinese-American.

Her work will be on display on campus through November 3rd.

Green and gold down Main Street, celebrating the MSSU Homecoming Parade

JOPLIN, Mo. — Missouri Southern rolled its Homecoming parade through downtown Joplin this morning.

The parade kicked off the last day of Homecoming week and represents a joint effort between the community and MSSU.

This year floats were decorated with a “Video Game” theme and floats were judged to determine a winner.

Many floats and vehicles however were still sporting the MSSU colors and pride down Main Street Joplin.

This particular MSSU Homecoming marked a special event in the university’s history.

“Theres several homecomings and they’ve all been good this is a special one because it’s the fifty year reunion for this championship football team and we’re, we’re excited to have the alumni and, and community apart of it,” said Jim Frazier, former Athletic Director & Football Coach, MSSU.

The parade lasted about half an hour and included local high school bands, businesses, and Missouri Southern groups.