Four members of the Lion family with deep ties to the university passed away this spring. We’d like to take a moment to remember the far-reaching impact they had on Missouri Southern, our students and the community.

RUTH KOLPIN RUBISON passed away on April 27 at the age of 96.

A longtime Carthage resident, she was considered a pioneer in radio, television and cable television – and was hugely instrumental in the broadcast program at MSSU.

In 2008, KGCS moved to channel 22 and began broadcasting a digital signal, which allowed it to reach more than 167,000 households in Southwest Missouri, Southeast Kansas and Northeast Oklahoma. The changes were made possible by a generous donation from the Ruth I. Kolpin Foundation. As a result, the KGCS studios were named in her honor.


RICHARD MASSA, a founder and longtime head of the Department of Communication at Missouri Southern, died Sunday, March 17, following a lengthy illness.

Massa joined the MSSU faculty in 1972 as an associate professor of journalism and advisor to The Chart, the student newspaper. From 1979-80, he served as interim head of the Department of Language and Literature and then as acting head of the Department of English.

He helped create the Department of Communications in 1980, and served as head of the department for 19 years. During his tenure, the campus radio station KXMS was founded as well as television station KGCS. He was also instrumental in the creation of the university’s Institute of International Studies, serving as its first director until his retirement in 1999.


DR. JOHN CRAGIN, the former head of the Computer Information Systems Department at Missouri Southern, died March 25 at the age of 94.

A graduate of Joplin High School, he served in World War II and later entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, graduating in 1950. After retiring from the Army, he returned to Joplin and accepted a position teaching physics and mathematics at Missouri Southern.

Following his retirement in 1989 after 22 years at MSSU, Cragin remained committed to the institution’s success. In addition to establishing three endowments, he and his wife, Joy, supported the expansion of Spiva Library, the expansion of the Ralph L. Gray Alumni Center and the university’s international mission.

DR. GLENN DOLENCE, a former longtime Vice President of Student Affairs at Missouri Southern, passed away on May 24.

During his 27 years at Missouri Southern, he served as dean of men, athletic director, dean of students and served as vice president for student services until his retirement in 1996. He is survived by his wife, Myrna, who he met at Southern where she was dean of women. She later became a counselor and founded the Student Success Center.

Examples of Dolence’s leadership are still a part of MSSU. These include the establishment of the Golden Crest Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa – a national leadership honor society – and the Student Leadership awards and Leader of the Year award, which are named in his honor.