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A $1 million gift for the establishment of the Debra and David Humphreys Excellence Award was announced during a press conference Tuesday, Jan. 10, at Missouri Southern State University.

The Humphreys are known for their support for education in the region. David Humphreys has served as the Chief Executive Officer and President of Joplin-based TAMKO Building Products since 1994, a company which his grandfather started in 1944. He and his wife, Debra, played an integral role in the establishment of Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School, an independent, private school established in Joplin in 1993. Debra serves as the chair of the school’s Board of Trustees.

The Debra and David Humphreys Excellence Award will be given to Missouri Southern students over the next 10 years. The annual recipients of the award – or Humphreys Scholars – will be graduates of high schools within 50 miles of Missouri Southern and majoring in biological and physical sciences, mathematics, education, accounting, finance, engineering technology or computer science. Students in the “Yours to Lose” advanced medical school program will also be eligible for the award.

The funds awarded will cover at least 50 percent of their tuition for that school year.

Preference will be given to students who demonstrate financial need, and the scholarship will be renewable for up to eight semesters, as long as the recipient maintains at least a 3.5 GPA.

“Missouri Southern State University serves a vital role making a college education available and affordable in our community,” reads a statement from the Humphreys. “In addition, many graduates have gone on to live and work here. We hope that our scholarship gift will help offset the financial burden of tuition and enable more students from Joplin and surrounding areas to obtain their college degree from MSSU.”

Missouri Southern President Alan Marble expressed his gratitude to the Humphreys.

“This gift is yet another example of the Humphreys’ commitment to furthering the educational opportunities of area students,” Marble said. “We are honored to receive this on behalf of the students who will benefit so greatly from it in the coming years, and we thank Debra and David for their generosity and recognition of the importance of higher education.”

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