ALUMNI HONORED DURING SPIRIT WEEK 2020
While traditional Homecoming activities were not observed this year, the Missouri Southern Alumni Association celebrated with Spirit Week 2020 – an opportunity to recognize several outstanding members of the Lion family.
“This is our way of enjoying Missouri Southern pride in a safe and distanced manner,” says Lee Elliff Pound, director of alumni and constituent relations. “Next year, when we are able to return to normal, we will recognize our 2020 award recipients alongside the 2021 honorees.”
2020 DISTINGUISHED ALUM: ANDY THOMAS, ‘80
Thomas began his professional art career in the fall of 1991, creating unique oil paintings that tell a story from his Maze Creek studio in Carthage, Mo.
His action-filled, Western art can be found in magazines, books and National Park Service brochures.
Thomas has two series of paintings featuring the U.S. presidents – Republicans and Democrats. He adds to them as the presidents change. A copy of his latest version is currently hanging in the White House.
2020 OUTSTANDING ALUM: NOPPADOL PAOTHONG, ‘02
Paothong is an award-winning nature/conservation photographer who has been focused on
documenting rare and endangered species. For more than a decade, he has worked primarily on capturing images of the grassland grouse and their fragile habitat.
He is a staff wildlife photographer with the Missouri Department of Conservation, contributing images and stories to publications such as Missouri Conservationist, Xplor and others. His awards include Missouri Photojournalist of the Year in 1999 and the Mark of Excellence from the Society of Professional Journalism.
In 2018, he was accepted as an associate fellow in the International League of Conservation Photographers.
2020 OUTSTANDING FAMILY: THE WEAVERS
David and Laura Weaver are both 1989 graduates of Missouri Southern and their family has become strong supporters of the university over the years.
David is in charge of MSSU’s Koinonia Christian Campus Ministry, and has also owned Weaver Photography in Joplin for more than 20 years. Laura received her doctorate in education from Saint Louis University in 2005 and is the special services director for the Diamond R-IV School District.
They have been married for 35 years and have four children: Brandon, ’12; Michael, ’14; Rachel, ’16; and Joshua, an eighth-grader.