Emphasizing the importance of improving and transforming healthcare at both the regional and national levels, officials at Missouri Southern State University announced the establishment of the Gipson Center for Healthcare Leadership during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Nov. 15.

Located in the Julio S. Le.n Health Sciences Building, the center will help meet the growing demand for graduates with the education and skills to enter into healthcare business, management and leadership roles.

The “backbone” of the center will be a new degree program – the Bachelor’s of Science in Healthcare Administration. The center will be focused on more than just undergraduate education, however.

“We’ll also provide certificate programs for people who are already in the workforce who wish to broaden their knowledge and skill set,” said Dr. Richard Schooler, dean of the School of Health Sciences.

Plans for the center also include hosting a health service fair for highschool and middle-school students, as well as an annual healthcare leadership symposium.

In making the announcement, university officials recognized the support of Bill and Tracy Gipson, who made a $1 million gift to help launch the center.

“This proposal was a home run for us,” says Bill Gipson. “There’s no other program like it in the region. We fell in love with the idea and are proud to be a part of it.”

The initiative was also supported by a six-figure gift from Schooler and his wife, Cheryl.

Melinda Brown was recently announced as director of the center. Work will begin soon to transform space in the Health Sciences Building into classrooms, faculty and staff offices, a conference room, and a student lounge and resource center.