Annual Report 2015-2016

Gifts from the Hass, Darr families will fund renovation, expansion of post office building

Plans by officials at Missouri State University-West Plains to renovate and expand the post office building on Garfield Avenue took a major step forward in October 2015, thanks to significant gifts from two families and long-time campus supporters, Mary Hass Sheid, West Plains, and the William R. Hass family, Springfield, and William and Virginia Darr, Springfield. In recognition of the gifts, the facility will be named Hass-Darr Hall.

"This project would not be possible without the significant contributions of Mary Hass Sheid and the William R. Hass family, and Bill and Virginia Darr, all consistent and generous supporters of our campus," said Missouri State-West Plains Chancellor Drew Bennett. "It is difficult for me to express the importance of these gifts or how much they are appreciated. Ms. Sheid, the Hass family and Mr. and Mrs. Darr are true role models who believe in giving back to support community growth through educational opportunity."

Bennett anticipates the total cost of the Hass-Darr Hall project will be $4.5 to $5 million, which will be covered with a combination of bonding, donor and University reserve funds. Once completed, the facility will house the Carol Silvey Student Union, William and Virginia Darr Honors Program, tutoring services, the admissions office and other much needed classroom and administrative office space that will enhance student learning and academic success, Bennett said.

"The financial gifts offered by Ms. Sheid, the Hass family, and Mr. and Mrs. Darr will be used to renovate the current structure and construct an addition that will double the size of the building to provide space for the Carol Silvey Student Union, as well as the Drago College Store and admissions office, both of which will be relocated from their current locations to Hass-Darr Hall," Bennett said. Hass-Darr Hall is the latest in a long line of campus projects and initiatives supported by both of these families over the years. Bennett added.

University officials received the green light for their plans to renovate and expand Hass-Darr Hall in June 2015 when Missouri legislators passed a bonding package and Gov. Jay Nixon signed legislation authorizing approximately $300 million to fund repairs and renovations to public properties around the state. Included in that package was $1.5 million in funding for the post office building, which is being vacated by the U.S. Postal Service so that its operations can be relocated to 212 Washington Ave.

Mary Hass Sheid, William R. Hass, William and Virginia Darr and Chancellor Drew Bennett

John and Christena Silvey Coleman, Carol and Richard Silvey and Chancellor Drew Bennett

Concept rendering of Hass-Darr Hall


Funding campaign for student union exceeds goal

A campaign to raise $250,000 for the Carol Silvey Student Union was very successful with more than $311,000 raised by the end of June 2016. The new student lounge and activity space will be housed in Hass-Darr Hall, the University-owned post office building on Garfield Avenue, once it's renovated and expanded. The monies raised for the student union will go towards the purchase of furnishings and other activity items, including a coffee bar.

Silvey, who retired June 30, 2006, joined the University staff in September 1968 as a history instructor. She remained in the classroom until August 1994 when she was appointed the campus' first director of development. Through her positions on campus, she taught students the importance of their roots, advised students as they collected over 1,000 hours of oral histories from area residents, grew the campus' endowment to more than $1 million, and established the campus' development and advisory board.

University officials said other fundraising opportunities still exist for Hass-Darr Hall. "It's not too late for those wishing to contribute to the Hass-Darr Hall project to do so," according to Director of Development Joe Kammerer. Those interested can call the development office at 417-255-7240 or email

Advanced Manufacturing degrees developed as part of GOCAT effort

Assistant Professor Jim Hart demonstrates the use of some of the advanced technology equipment.Missouri State-West Plains has been working this past year with the South Central Career Center (SCCC) of the West Plains R-7 School District to begin offering advanced manufacturing and technology courses beginning with the fall 2016 semester. The Certificate in Advanced Manufacturing Technology and Associate of Applied Science in Technology with the Advanced Manufacturing Technology option reflects the nature and purpose of the Greater Ozarks Center for Advanced Technology (GOCAT), where these academic programs will eventually be offered. Course offerings will increase when the GOCAT facility opens in January 2017.

GOCAT is a partnership between the University, SCCC and the City of West Plains to bring advanced technological training to area residents. Thanks to a $225,000 Delta Regional Authority grant, and additional funding from the city, the former city scales building on Howell Avenue is being converted into an advanced manufacturing training center where area residents can develop the skills and knowledge needed to fill the technologically advanced manufacturing positions of the 21st century. An additional $300,000 in state funding is being used for equipment improvements and updates. For more information about GOCAT and its programs, call 417-255-7784 or go to


Annual Fund provides needed technology for the CGP Program

Michael Scheidt demonstrates the Perception Neuron Motion Capture SystemThe Computer Graphics and Programming (CGP) Department at Missouri State University-West Plains acquired an exciting new tool this year to enhance the student learning experience, the Perception Neuron Motion Capture System. CGP Instructor Tera Smith, who requested the equipment, said the system, which is used to give computer-generated objects for games and video production movement, was selected for its ease of use, cost and portability.

The Perception Neuron Motion Capture System comes with 32 sensors that can be placed anywhere on the body, as well as sensor capable straps and gloves to capture the smaller finger motions. The system cost a total of $1,239, half of which was paid for with dedicated CGP funds and half from Missouri State-West Plains' Annual Fund.

"We're really thankful for the Annual Fund committee and its donors for helping us with the purchase of the suit," Smith said. "Something like this, even though it's one of the lowest costing mo-cap suits out there, can be a big hit for one department to cover the cost, especially for one as tech-heavy as ours. We couldn't have done it without their help, and we can't thank them enough."

For more information about the Annual Fund and methods for giving to the University, contact the development office at 417-255-7240 or visit the office's website at

Other Campus Highlights

  • For more than 10 years, students at Missouri State-West Plains scored above the national average in all categories of the Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency (CAAP) examination. Graduates have scored at or above the national average in all five subject areas for 20 consecutive years.
  • Missouri State-West Plains will receive $1.1 million over the next five years in renewed funding from the federal TRiO Program to continue providing comprehensive academic support services to low income, first generation and disabled college students in an effort to increase their postsecondary educational success.
  • Seven students from the Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) business club at Missouri State University-West Plains placed in competitions at the state FBLA/PBL conference. Students receiving recognition were Shannon Hughes and Darian Williams, West Plains; Derek McGinnis, Pottersville; Jim Listopad and Weston Mitchell, Cabool; Adam Burgess, Koshkonong; and Edward Schultz, Mammoth Spring, Arkansas. Medals were awarded to first through fifth place winners. The Missouri State-West Plains contingent brought home nine medals total. Two of those students, McGinnis and Williams, went on to place in competitions at the PBL national convention. McGinnis placed first in Impromptu Speaking and Public Speaking, and Williams placed sixth in the nation in Accounting Principles.
  • The 2015 Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) indicates Missouri State-West Plains scored higher than the national average in all five of the categories measured (active and collaborative learning, student effort, academic challenge, student-faculty interaction, and support for learners).
  • The Adult Education and Literacy department received a $7,500 monetary bonus from the Missouri Department of Higher Education for excellent performance.
  • The Missouri Department of Conservation awarded a Tree Resource Improvement and Maintenance (TRIM) grant of $10,000 to Missouri State-West Plains.

Chancellor Bennett, Dr. Phillip Howerton and Missouri Associate Commissioner of Higher Education Rusty Monhollon

Chancellor Bennett and Nadia Pshonyak 2015 Grizzly Volleyball Team

Sydney McBride and Dean Dennis Lancaster


Awards and Recognition

  • Dr. Phillip Howerton, professor of English, Governor's Award for Excellence in Education
  • Dana Racer, senior academic records specialist, Staff Excellence in University Service
  • Nadia Pshonyak, Missouri State-West Plains graduate, Missouri State University Board of Governors' Citizen Scholar Award
  • 2015 Grizzly Volleyball team, NJCAA All-Academic Team honors
  • Sydney McBride, 2016 All-Missouri Two-Year College Academic Team, first team