Missouri State University - West Plains

History of the Campus


  • July 5, Southwest Missouri State College (SMS) establishes Residence Center in West Plains. The Center opens September 16 with 111 students.


  • North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools (NCA) grants joint accreditation between SMS and Residence Center.


  • Southwest Missouri State University (SMSU) Residence Center receives first state funding ($50,000 for operating expenses).


  • Enrollment quadrupled since campus' inception with 450 students.


  • Name changed to the West Plains Campus of SMSU (SMSU-WP)
  • Coordinating Board of Higher Education (CBHE) authorizes awarding of Associates of Arts Degree in General Studies.


  • The State Board of Nursing and CBHE approve awarding of Associate of Science in Nursing.


  • SMSU-WP Nursing students ranked first in Missouri and fourth in nation by National Council Licensure Examination Summary Profiles.
  • Nursing program accredited by National League of Nursing
  • SMSU-WP celebrates 25th anniversary with enrollment of 700 students.


  • Grizzly Booster Club formed to raise scholarship funds for athletic program including men's basketball and women's basketball. Grizzly Cheer Team also formed.


  • Enrollment tops 1,000 mark with 1,016 students enrolled.


  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degrees established.
  • SMSU-WP Mountain Grove Extended Campus opens serving 60 students.


  • SMSU begins offering bachelor's and master's degrees on the West Plains Campus


  • SMSU-WP opens China branch at Liaoning Teachers University (LTU) in Dalian.
  • SMSU-WP offers first online courses.
  • Enrollment tops 1,500 mark with 1,525 students. In addition, 193 students were enrolled SMSU bachelor's and master's degree programs.


  • After the Grizzly Volleyball team's several appearances in the NJCAA Division I National Volleyball Tournament, the SMSU-WP Grizzly Booster Club are awarded the three-year bid to host the tournament.
  • SMSU-WP's first study abroad program established with three students spending the fall semester at the SMSU-WP's LTU campus in Dalian, China.


  • With system name change from Southwest Missouri State University to Missouri State University campus changes to Missouri State University-West Plains (MSU-WP).


  • Beginning in fall 2007, the course schedule was restructured to offer most classes on Monday/Wednesday and Tuesday/Thursday. This new format, along with the many online and distance learning opportunities available, gave many students the opportunity to take a full load of courses while only coming to campus two days a week.


  • The Corps of Opportunity Program was implemented in summer 2008 when six students were selected and started work in campus positions in June. The program combines scholarships and work opportunities on campus for qualified students with substantial unmet financial need.


  • Enrollment tops the 2,000 mark with 2,162 students.


  • Missouri State University-West Plains established its first endowed professorship in June 2011 with more than $250,000 being raised to create the Donna Jones Endowed Professorship of Nursing. The professorship was named in honor of Jones, who has spent 23 years teaching in the nursing program.
  • More than 300 students were candidates for graduation from Missouri State-West Plains during the May 14 commencement ceremony. This is the largest graduating class in Missouri State-West Plains history.


  • Missouri State University-West Plains’ students received the largest gift in the campus’ history – a $4 million gift that endowed and expanded the Corps of Opportunity Program and two athletics scholarships. The gift to the Missouri State University Foundation was from the Lorene Thompson Brooks estate. In recognition, the Corps of Opportunity Program was renamed the Ed and Lorene Thompson Brooks Corps of Opportunity Program. It is the largest scholarship gift in the Foundation’s history and was announced at a press conference on Feb. 23.
  • Missouri State University-West Plains established its second endowed professorship in May 2012 with more than $250,000 being raised to create the William and Virginia Darr Endowed Honors Professorship. The announcement fulfilled a promise made in 2008 when members of the Philanthropic Women for Education organization pledged an annual gift for five years toward the professorship while university officials sought to fully endow the position.

Additional Campus Highlights

Why Missouri State-
West Plains

Everything a future student needs to know about Missouri State-West Plains.

Admissions Guide

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