Roots are important to Dr. Joel Tupper, who graduated from Missouri Southern with a bachelor’s in biology in 1983.

During his time prepping for medical school at the university, he played football for the Lions as an offensive lineman. He was a two-time first-time all-MIAA pick, and an all-American and academic all-American in 1982.

An orthopedic surgeon, Tupper went on to medical school and practiced in the Oklahoma City area. But staying connected to his alma mater has remained a priority.

“Missouri Southern is a big part of me,” says Tupper. “I try to come back for games and to visit…it’s a great place to come and reconnect.”

He is one of the many generous alumni and supporters who made the recent renovations to Reynolds Hall possible through their financial support.

When he was approached about giving toward the project, Tupper says he was shown several photos that were immediately familiar to him.

“I said, ‘Oh, that’s Reynolds Hall from back when I was there,” he says. “But I was told, ‘No, these were taken last week…that’s why we’re here, because we’d like to update the facilities.’

“I was fortunate enough to have the means to donate to the project.”

The Geology Prep room on the third floor of Reynolds Hall has been dedicated to his father, Jan C. Tupper, one of the original Lionbackers.

“Dad was a huge influence in my life, and we lost him this summer,” he says. “He was a geologist, and I thought it would be nice to put his name on the lab.”