“(Missouri Southern) is a beacon of what a university can be, not only educating the leaders of tomorrow, but a vital piece of the fabric of the Joplin community.” – Former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon

This weekend marks the 10th anniversary of the EF-5 tornado that tore through the heart of Joplin, claiming 161 lives and leaving a trail of devastation in its wake.

It’s a time to remember those who were lost, the acts of kindness and generosity that poured in from around the nation, the rebuilding efforts and a community spirit that was bent but far from broken.

Missouri Southern State University was proud to play a vital role for the city in the aftermath of the storm – putting campus resources into play that had never before been considered.

Below, we’re taking a look back at the support the university was able to offer, hearing from those who on the scene in the hours, days and weeks after the tornado. We also pay tribute to José Alvarez, an assistant professor of Spanish who had taught at MSSU for three years before losing his life.

We also speak with former staff members of Crossroads Magazine, who look back at putting together an issue focused on the tornado – a tough task considering some of those same staff members had been personally impacted.