Appendix C: History, Accreditation and Professional Organizations


  • 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.


  • Missouri State-West Plains was ranked sixth in the nation in the "Best Community Colleges" category of the 2013 Washington Monthly College Rankings.
    Editors at Washington Monthly based their rankings for community colleges on two sources – The Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) and the U.S. Department of Education measures of student retention and completion.
  • The William and Virginia Darr Honors Program surpassed the 100-student, single-year enrollment mark for the first time in its 15-year history during the fall semester. More than 470 students have enrolled in the program since its inception. Approximately 90 percent of the program's graduates have transferred to four- year institutions and graduated with a bachelor's degree.


  • With just over a month to spare, members of the Missouri State University-West Plains community met their goal of giving 50,000 hours of service to area communities as part of the Operation 50K initiative. The year-long community service initiative began following 2013 commencement ceremonies as a way to honor the campus' 50th anniversary. Students, faculty, staff, alumni and others with ties to the University were asked to log their volunteer hours online until 2014 commencement on May 17 with hopes of reaching the 50,000-hour goal by that time. Instead, the goal was surpassed just over a month before the deadline, and University officials were able to announce at the May 17 commencement ceremony that a total of 56,531 hours had been contributed.
  • Missouri State-West Plains was recognized as "Business of the Year" at the Greater West Plains Area Chamber of Commerce's annual banquet for the impact that our college has had on this region.


  • A bonding package worth approximately $300 million signed by Gov. Jay Nixon in June will fund repairs and renovations to public properties around the state. The legislation included about $1.7 million in renovations for Missouri State-West Plains. Approximately $1.5 million in funding will go toward renovating the building currently occupied by the U.S. Postal Service in West Plains. The building's anticipated use will expand classroom, tutoring and office space for the campus. The project is expected to start in January 2017 and take about one year to complete. An additional $220,000 will be used to upgrade and improve life safety equipment in the Garnett Library, Putnam Student Center and M.O. Looney Hall. The work will begin in summer 2016.
  • Beginning fall 2015, students at Missouri State -West Plains were able to complete all of the credit hours required for the Associate of Arts in General Studies degree completely online. The University received approval last fall from its accrediting agency, the Higher Learning Commission in Chicago, Illinois, to offer the degree online.
  • Officials at Missouri State University-West Plains announced in May they have raised the minimum $250,000 needed in donations and pledges to endow the University's third professorship, the Endowed Professorship of Business. The professorship provides the money needed to support the salary of the chair of the division of business, applied technology and public service. The professorship was awarded at the beginning of the 2015 fall semester, with Missouri State-West Plains funding the interest for the professorship for the first five years while pledges are being met and the professorship reaches its full endowment level.


  • A total of 257 students graduated from Missouri State-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.
  • The official ribbon cutting of the new Greater Ozarks Center for Advanced Technology (GOCAT) in West Plains was held April 21. The renovated 16,000-square-foot facility is a partnership between the university, South Central Career Center (SCCC) of the West Plains R-7 School District and the City of West Plains. Thanks to a $225,000 Delta Regional Authority grant and additional funding from the city, the former city scales building on Howell Avenue was converted into an advanced manufacturing training center. Its purpose is to bring advanced technological training to area residents, who will have access to traditional education as well as key technological skills that are in demand by manufacturers. Including grants and contributions to the estimated value of the facility, GOCAT is a $2.5 million investment for the community. Associate degrees and certificates focusing on immediate entry into the workforce will be offered.


  • Missouri State-West Plains celebrates the 25th anniversary of Grizzly Athletics at its Jan. 20 Homecoming game.

Additional Campus Highlights


  • American Association for Affirmative Action
  • American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO)
  • American Association of Community Colleges (AACC)
  • American College Personnel Association (ACPA)
  • American Student Government Association (ASGA)
  • Association of International Educators (NAFSA)
  • Association of Veterans Education Certifying Officials (AVECO)
  • College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA)
  • Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE)
  • Council of North Central Two-Year Colleges (CNCTYC)
  • Educause
  • Mid-States Association of College Stores (MSACS)
  • Midwest Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (MASFAA)
  • Missouri Association of College Admissions Counselors (MOACAC)
  • Missouri Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (MACRAO)
  • Missouri Association of Financial Aid Personnel (MASFAP)
  • Missouri Postsecondary Agriculture Students Organization (MPAS)
  • Missouri Campus Compact (MOCC)
  • Missouri League for Nursing (MLN)
  • Missouri Organization for Associate Degree Nursing (MOADN)
  • Missouri Postsecondary Agriculture Students Organization (MPAS)
  • National Association of College Stores (NACS)
  • National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)
  • National Association of Developmental Education (NADE)
  • National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA)
  • National Council for Marketing and Public Relations (NCMPR)
  • National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA)
  • National League for Nursing (NLN)
  • National Organization for Associate Degree Nursing (NOADN)
  • National Postsecondary Agriculture Students Organization (NPAS)
  • National Student Clearinghouse
  • North Central Association (NCA)
  • Rural Community College Association (RCCA)
  • Service members Opportunity Colleges
  • Southwest Missouri Nursing Education Consortium

* Provisional accreditation