Annual Report

Exterior view of the South entrance of Lybyer Enhanced Technology Center
Missouri State-West Plains

Annual Report


Donors, University Officials Break Ground on Hass-Darr Hall

Concept rendering of Hass-Darr Hall
Groundbreaking ceremony for Hass-Darr Hall
With the shovels, from left, are Missouri State University President Clif Smart; Judge William T. Hass; Ashley Jeanne Casad, daughter of Mary Hass Sheid; Mary Hass Sheid (behind Ashley Casad); Jeanne Hass; Missouri State-West Plains Chancellor Drew Bennett; William and Virginia Darr; Missy Hass Myers and Judge William R. Hass.

Approximately 100 community members, faculty, staff and students were on hand for the March 31 groundbreaking ceremony for Hass-Darr Hall. With a turn of the shovel, Mary Hass Sheid and members of the extended Hass family, William and Virginia Darr of Springfield, and officials with Missouri State University-West Plains "officially" broke ground on the $4.1 million construction/renovation project at the site of the former West Plains Post Office on Garfield Avenue. Calling it "a dream 20 years in the making," Missouri State-West Plains Chancellor Drew Bennett said the facility will house the "dreams and ambitions" of the campus' students. When completed in early 2018, the facility will provide a home for the Carol Silvey Student Union, the Drago College Store, William and Virginia Darr Honors Program, Veterans Center, admissions welcome center, tutoring services and other much needed classroom and administrative office space that will enhance student learning and academic success. It is being financed with $1.5 million in state bonding funds; over $1.5 million in donations, including significant gifts from Mary Hass Sheid of West Plains, Judge William R. and Jeanne Hass of Springfield and formerly of Thayer, Judge William T. Hass of Thayer, and Tim and Missy Hass Myers of Bentonville, Arkansas, and the Darrs; and campus reserves.

Best Student Award winners from the 2017 Commencement Ceremony
Student Ambassadors who graduated at the 2017 Commencement Ceremony

Major Milestones Reached at 2017 Commencement Ceremony

A total of 257 students graduated from Missouri State University-West Plains during commencement ceremonies May 20 at the West Plains Civic Center. With this group of graduates, Missouri State-West Plains has conferred degrees upon more than 5,000 students overall and more than 1,000 nursing students.

Board of Governors Eighth District Representative Carol Silvey and graduates
Some of the 2017 graduates

Overcoming Obstacles, the Greater Ozarks Center for Advanced Technology (GOCAT) Facility Opens in Fall 2017

Despite damages caused by extensive flooding April 29, the GOCAT training programs in West Plains started on schedule for the 2017 fall semester.

Greater Ozarks Center for Advanced Technology (GOCAT) ribbon-cutting ceremony.

After months of renovations to the former city scales building on Howell Avenue, a large contingent of community leaders and government representatives officially opened the center April 21 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The center, which is designed to provide training for key technological skills in demand by manufacturers, was damaged by the flood eight days later. Floodwaters rose to 26 inches throughout the facility, resulting in extensive equipment and material damage.

"Although the flood waters definitely slowed our momentum, we at Missouri State University-West Plains, as well as our partners at the South Central Career Center (SCCC) and the City of West Plains, were committed to having our workforce development programs at the GOCAT up and running by the time the fall semester arrived in August," said Dr. Dennis Lancaster, dean of academic affairs at Missouri State-West Plains. "The partnership's ongoing focus is on preparing our residents for the workplace, working with our industry partners and meeting their customized training needs, and through the determination and hard work of many, we had everything in place to do just that by the beginning of the fall semester."

Assistant Professor Jim Hart assisting students

The 16,000 square-foot-facility is located at 125 N. Howell Ave. Students of the center will be able to earn an Associate of Applied Science in Technology degree with options in either Alternative Energy or Advanced Manufacturing. Certificate programs in those two study areas also will be offered, along with customized training programs to area businesses and industries.

Representatives from the City of West Plains, Missouri State University-West Plains and the West Plains School District were among those on hand April 21 for the official ribbon cutting of the new Greater Ozarks Center for Advanced Technology.

Grizzly Lofts residence facility

Board Approves Management Agreement for Grizzly Lofts

Officials at Missouri State University-West Plains began managing the Shoe Factory Lofts, 665 Missouri Ave., in West Plains on Jan. 1, 2017, according to terms of a facilities management agreement that was approved in August 2016 by members of the Missouri State University Board of Governors. With the agreement, the name of the facility changed to Grizzly Lofts.

Transferring management of the Grizzly Lofts to Missouri State-West Plains provided the University with the capacity to increase the number of students living on campus. Since its opening in August 1994, the 60-person Grizzly House, the University's first residential facility, has been at full capacity with a waiting list. Finding adequate housing for students wishing to enjoy a complete collegiate experience has been a long-held goal of University officials. The addition of Grizzly Lofts gives students two excellent housing options from which to choose.

Other Campus Highlights

  • Postsecondary Agriculture Student (PAS) Organization
    Nineteen students from the Agriculture Department at Missouri State University-West Plains placed in competitions at the 2016 Missouri Postsecondary Agriculture Student (PAS) Organization's annual conference and competition Nov. 9-11 in West Plains. Hosted by the University's Agriculture Department, the conference brought together 156 students and advisers from seven community colleges in Missouri to learn about the agriculture industry and compete in 54 different contests that focused on activities designed to give students experience in career planning, employment application preparation and writing resumés and letters of application.
  • Several students in the Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) student business organization
    Several students in the Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) student business organization placed in competitions as part of state and national PBL conferences. In October 2016, five students – Darian Williams, West Plains; Jim Listopad and Weston Mitchell, both of Cabool; Edward Schultz, Mammoth Spring, Ark., and Derek McGinnis, Pottersville, – were among the top three finishers in competitions held during the 2016 PBL Show-Me Leadership Conference at Silver Dollar City in Branson. In June 2017, Dillon Cordel, West Plains, as well as McGinnis, Williams, Listopad and Mitchell were among the top 10 winners in competitions at the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA)/PBL National Leadership Conference June 24-27 in Anaheim, California.
  • For more than 10 years, students at Missouri State University-West Plains have scored above the national average in all categories of the Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency (CAAP) examination, University officials announced. Results of the 2016 test, which is administered nationwide to graduates of two-year degree programs, show Missouri State-West Plains students scored above the national mean score in all five categories of the examination.
  • Members of the 2016 volleyball team
    The 2016 Grizzly Volleyball team at Missouri State University-West Plains received academic honors from the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA). The Grizzlies were among 21 teams from two-year schools across the nation to receive the 2016-17 AVCA Team Academic Award for posting a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.30 or higher on a 4.0 scale for all players. The Grizzlies' 3.82 average was high enough to earn the team Honor Roll distinction from AVCA officials.
  • Officials with the Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC), hosted by Missouri State University-West Plains, released the center's annual report for 2015-2016 in November, and statistics showed staff served a total of 127 local entrepreneurs from October 2015 through September 2016. The assistance provided by SBTDC staff led to the start-up of 13 new businesses, the creation of 56 new jobs, the investment of $1.1 million in the area, and increased sales totaling $2.3 million in the community, according to the report. The West Plains SBTDC serves entrepreneurs in Douglas, Howell, Oregon, Ozark, Shannon, Texas and Wright counties.

Awards and Recognition

  • Victoria "Tori" York with Chancellor Bennett and Communications Professor Dr. Gary Phillips
    Victoria "Tori" York, Missouri State-West Plains graduate, Missouri State University Board of Governors' Citizen Scholar Award
  • James J. (Jim) Hart, assistant professor of computer information, Governor's Award for Excellence in Education
  • Blair Cook and Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Dennis Lancaster
    Blair Cook, 2017 All-Missouri Two-Year College Academic Team, first team
  • Barbara Caton, assistant professor of nursing, Faculty Excellence in Community Service Award
  • Jennifer Walker, financial aid coordinator, Staff Excellence in University Service