Reynolds Annex opens as renovation work begins

As the Spring 2016 semester began, students who ordinarily would have had classes on the third floor of Reynolds Hall found a new home in the Reynolds Annex building, located on the southwest side of campus.

The annex will serve as a transitional space during the Reynolds renovation project.

Last year, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced funding that will allow for the renovation of the second oldest building on campus, which houses the biology, environmental health, physical science and mathematics programs. House Bill 19 will provide $5.2 million for the project, while House Bill 17 contains an additional $1.5 million, which will be matched by private contributions from alumni and other sources.

“Right now, the third floor of Reynolds is empty,” said Rob Yust, vice president for business affairs. “The contractor will be in there over the course of the spring semester to do light demo work. After the spring semester and prior to the start of summer classes, they’ll be doing heavy demo.

“Hopefully by this time next year, we’ll be able to utilize the third floor and then empty the first floor for the same sort of process.”

While that work continues, students and faculty are being housed in the new annex. The 15 mobile units that make up the building were delivered to campus after being purchased from the State Emergency Management Agency, said Bob Harrington, director of the Physical Plant at Missouri Southern. They had previously been used by Joplin High School following the May 22, 2011, tornado.

The annex was completed over Christmas break with the delivery of cabinets, tables, lab equipment and supplies for Reynolds Hall.

Yust said Missouri Southern is already looking beyond the renovations in Reynolds Hall when it comes to uses for the annex.

“Once work in Reynolds is complete and everybody is out of the annex into their permanent home, it can be used for other purposes,” he said. “We’ll always need transition areas for classes and to make room for further expansion.”

Reynolds Annex

Archive Spring 2016

Oplotnik joins Board of Governors

Anita Oplotnik joins the Board of Govenors

Anita Oplotnik joins the Board of Govenors

In January, Anita Y. Oplotnik was appointed to the Board of Governors by Gov. Jay Nixon.

Oplotnik is a branch manager in Springfield for the financial advisor firm of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, and has been with the firm since 2005. Prior to that, she was with Bank of America in Springfield from 1989 to 2005. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from Missouri Southern and her MBA in finance from Missouri State University.

Her term will end Aug. 30, 2021.

Archive Spring 2016

Show-Me Gold celebrates first commissioned officer

Josh Turner is set to graduate as the first commissioned officer through MSSU’s Show-Me Gold program.

Missouri Southern’s Show-Me Gold officer training program has graduated its first commissioned officer.

Josh Turner, a general studies major from Carthage, graduated this May as a second lieutenant in the Missouri Army National Guard, which partners with Show-Me Gold for the program.

Now in its third year, the program consists of classroom instruction, physical training and leadership laboratories. In addition to taking regular classes at the university, officer candidates take military-science courses and fulfill other requirements through the National Guard.

Last year, Turner graduated from Officer Candidate School, which included a stint at Fort Meade, S.D., and several weeks at Camp Rapid in Rapid City. A graduation ceremony was held at the foot of Mount Rushmore.

“Josh’s commissioning is a milestone for the program,” said Capt. Chase Phillips, professor of military science and coordinator of the Show-Me Gold program. “It’s an achievement that represents years of hard work.”

Phillips said Turner will soon have others following in his footsteps. Four more officer candidates are expected to be commissioned over the summer, with another 12 next year.



Archive Spring 2016

Teacher Education program first to meet new standards

Missouri’s Southern’s Teacher Education Department is the first program in the Show-Me state to meet newer, tougher standards for re-accreditation by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

A CAEP team started its review of the program at MSSU last fall by making an on-site visit to MSSU.  The reviewers visited with stakeholders in the teacher preparation program – area school administrators, teachers, graduates, current students and campus personnel.

This visit was a joint accreditation review by CAEP and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). The program also received full approval from DESE to continue to offer certification programs.

Dr. Deborah Brown, dean of the School of Education, says being the first in the state to meet these vigorous, more robust standards “is a big deal, and we are very proud of all those involved with making this a great program. It takes a team effort to prepare the best possible teacher for the students in the classrooms of the region.”


CAEP Education Press Conference Summer 2016

Archive Spring 2016

Softball complex dedicated to Pat Lipira

A ribbon cutting and dedication for the Pat Lipira Softball Complex was held on April 3.

Lipira was the Missouri Southern softball coach from 1982-2000. She compiled a record of 632-275 during this period, guiding the Lions to six NCAA Regional appearances, four MIAA Championships and the NCAA National Championship in 1992. She was a five-time MIAA Coach of the Year, two-time Regional Coach of the Year and National Coach of the Year in 1992.

Nineteen years after beginning her coaching duties, she stepped down to take on the duties of head of the Department of Kinesiology, and later accepted the post of interim vice president for academic affairs. She retired in 2015.

“This is an honor that’s a long time coming for an individual who has meant so much to this university,” said Jared Bruggeman, director of athletics.

Pat Lipira Ribbon Cutting

Archive Spring 2016

Coach Corn inducted into Hall of Fame

Former Missouri Southern men’s basketball coach and current Director of Development for Athletics Robert Corn was recently inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.

Corn coached the Missouri Southern men’s basketball program for 25 seasons, compiling a 413305 record before retiring in March 2014. His 413 wins are the most in school history. He also has the third-most wins among coaches in the history of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association. He has led the Lions to 16 consecutive trips to the MIAA Tournament, 21 overall, and in 2014 earned his fourth MIAA Coach of the Year award. That award followed his ninth 20-win season.

Overall, Corn guided five teams to the NCAA Division II Tournament. One of his best seasons was 1999-2000, when the Lions reached the national semifinals and finished 30-3. That team cut down the nets three times inside the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center – after the MIAA regular-season championship, the MIAA Tournament championship and the NCAA Division II South Central Regional Tournament title.

Corn joins Pat Lipira, Rod Smith, Tom Rutledge and Warren Turner as former Missouri Southern athletes or coaches in the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Missouri Southern Hall of Fame in 2000.

Archive Spring 2016

Track and field athletes earn All-American honors

The Missouri Southern men’s and women’s track and field teams recently sent 10 individuals to the 2016 NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships in Pittsburg, Kan.

Six of those student athletes came away with All-American performances, while Jayce Thomas earned All-American honors in multiple events.

Thomas finished fourth in the heptathlon to earn All-American honors, while also placing eighth in the high jump to be named All-American. During the season, Thomas was the MIAA Indoor Track and Field Championships High Point Winner, while scoring an MSSU school record of 5,615 points in the event. That point total is the fourth-highest ever in Division II history.

Sophomore Kennan Harrison was an All-American as well; the Carthage native finished seventh in the triple jump.

On the women’s side, the Lions had two All-Americans in the pole vault, including the national runner-up Melanie Bower. Bower placed second in the event, while freshman Emily Presley was eighth.

Kaylee Morgan had an impressive day in the long jump as she earned All-American honors and set a new school record in the process. Morgan leaped to a mark of 20-02.25 to place third overall. She is the only women in MSSU Track and Field history to jump beyond 20 feet in the long jump.

Emily Harris earned her second-straight All-American honor in the mile as the junior finished seventh in the finals of the event. She is the school record holder in the women’s mile.

In other news, women’s head coach Patty Vavra, an MSSU alum and Athletics Hall of Fame member, announced her retirement after 22 years in the position. She will continue to teach in the Kinesiology Department, while Bryan Schiding, the men’s coach, will take the reins of both programs next season.

Archive Spring 2016

Missouri Southern partners with KCU for ‘Yours to Lose’

A historic partnership between Missouri Southern State University and the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (KCU) was formalized during a recent signing ceremony.

The “Yours to Lose – Advanced Medical School Acceptance Program” will allow up to 25 Missouri Southern students to be admitted into KCU’s new medical school at the same time as their acceptance to MSSU.

KCU will open a new medical school in August 2017, and will enroll 150 students in the inaugural class. It will be located in Mercy Hospital Joplin’s former component hospital at 2817 St. Johns Blvd.

Dr. Paula Carson, Missouri Southern’s provost/vice president for academic affairs, said the exclusive partnership will allow Missouri Southern to focus on helping students develop the work ethic and critical-thinking skills needed to be better medical students and, ultimately, better physicians.

“This partnership is allowing us to come up with innovative curricular ideas to ensure our students are in the best possible position to succeed,” said Carson.

“We can start preparing them for what medical school will be like. We’ll have a rigorous curriculum and non-traditional scheduling of courses that will better resemble the calendar and schedule of medical education. We can also focus some of our courses on specific skills students will need in this unique profession – such as developing a communication class with an emphasis on non-verbal communication and ‘bedside manner.’”

A number of high schools from Missouri – as well as several in Kansas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma – have been tabbed as “Yours to Lose” partner schools.

With work underway to prepare Mercy Hospital Joplin’s former component hospital to house the new medical school, efforts are in full swing at Missouri Southern to meet the needs of students entering medical and science-related fields.

 Learn more about the program:

Archive Spring 2016

Nurse for a Day

Twenty-eight students from area high schools took part in the Nursing Department’s first “Nurse for a Day” session Friday, March 18, in the León Health Science Building.

The event’s goal was to help students contemplating nursing careers get a closer look at the field. The students participated in four nursing rotations, hearing high-fidelity heart and lung sounds, taking vital signs, monitoring blood pressures and doing simulated blood draws.
Nurse for a Day

Archive Spring 2016

Aircraft fly in for Health & Safety Expo

A fly-in by emergency aircraft and a unique obstacle course were among the highlights of the annual Health & Safety Expo, held on campus on April 15 and organized by the EMT/Paramedic Department.

The morning began with a session for EMS students that taught them how to coordinate a landing zone for the aircraft. By completing the Student Observation and Ridealong (SOAR) program, students were eligible to ride in the aircraft of observers.

New this year was the Biohazard Games – an obstacle course coordinated by EMS students. Teams had to “rescue” a mannequin, which they then had to transport through a series of obstacles designed by the dental hygiene, nursing and respiratory therapy programs, as well as the Show-Me Gold officer training program. Winning teams received a traveling trophy.

Representatives from area fire and ambulance programs, law enforcement and the military were among the 40 vendors available to meet with students and the community.
Health and Safety Expo Spring 2016

Archive Spring 2016