Student Success Stories:
Student Success Story – Rosemary Driscoll
Rosemary Driscoll is carrying on a family tradition at Missouri State University-West Plains. The freshman from Brandsville is one of five siblings who have all attended the campus at one point or another in their pursuit of a higher education.
The youngest child of Steve and Cathy Driscoll, who own St. Michael's Nursery, Rosemary decided to follow in her four older brothers' footsteps and begin her collegiate career here. "All of us had the A+ Program, and it was close to home," she explained. "It was a good starting point because we knew we could go here and move on with a good educational foundation."
The tradition began in the fall of 2001 when oldest brother Jim enrolled. He spent a year at Missouri State-West Plains before transferring to Missouri University of Science and Technology (then known as the University of Missouri-Rolla) to complete a degree in civil engineering. He currently works as a civil engineer in the St. Louis area.
Next came Joe, the third brother, who completed his Associate of Arts in General Studies degree in spring 2007 before transferring to Missouri State in Springfield and eventually completing a master's degree in business administration. Joe is now a vice president at UMB Bank in Springfield.
John, the second brother, attended Missouri State-West Plains from fall 2011 through summer 2012 then transferred to Missouri State in Springfield to complete a degree in cultural and regional geography. He now serves in the U.S. Army and is in training for explosives ordnance disposal.
Youngest brother Mike attended the campus from fall of 2014 through spring of 2016 then followed his older brother, John, into the Army. He is now with the infantry at Fort Stewart, Georgia.
Even their father, Steve, who already had a bachelor's degree in finance from St. Mary's University in San Antonio, Texas, took some classes at Missouri State-West Plains in fall 2001. Later, he decided to enroll in the Associate of Arts in Respiratory Care program and completed the degree in 2010.
Originally, Rosemary had planned to buck this tradition following her graduation from Koshkonong High School in May 2016 and attend a four-year college that boasted a strong theater program. She had applied for and thought she had received several scholarships that would have made the choice possible financially, but one of the scholarships fell through, which would have forced her to take out student loans beginning with her freshman year, she explained.
"Missouri State-West Plains was the smarter choice for me, financially," she said. "I didn't want to go into debt right off the bat. My brothers all had good experiences here, so they all encouraged me to come here. So, I don't think it was a bad choice to stay at home."
As former students at the campus, Rosemary's brothers all had advice to share. "Mike and Joe were both Student Ambassadors, and they suggested I get involved in that," she said. Both brothers also were members of the Grizzly Cheer Team, "but I never got into that," she added.
She did sign up for the William and Virginia Darr Honors Program, just like her brother Joe, and she was selected as a Student Ambassador.
"I was really sad at first, when I wasn't able to go to a four-year school right off the bat, but I decided that I would make the best of it, and it's been really great so far. I don't regret my decision at all. I love it here!," she said.
Rosemary said she might continue in her brothers' footsteps after leaving Missouri State-West Plains. She's considering transferring to the Springfield campus to complete a degree in English or writing with a minor in theater.
But while she's here, she will continue taking the advice of her brothers and make the most of the opportunities available at Missouri State-West Plains. "There are so many options here – the China Study Away Program, the Darr Honors Program, the Ambassadors. There's always stuff to be involved in," she said. "You get out of college what you put into it, so you have to make the most of your experience here. It won't last long."
Although she's the last of the five to enroll at Missouri State-West Plains, the Driscoll tradition may not end with her. She has nine nieces and nephews who may just follow in her footsteps one day. "I'll always tell them they can live with grandma and grandpa and go to college here!," she said with a smile.