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MSSU History

Campus aerial shot

A History of Missouri Southern State University


Work begins on the Reynolds Hall renovation project, which will create new classrooms and laboratory space in the second oldest building on campus. Reynolds houses the biology, environmental health, physical science and mathematics programs.


The “Yours to Lose – Advanced Medical School Acceptance Program” is announced. The program will allow up to 25 Missouri Southern students to be admitted into Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences new medical school set to open in Joplin in 2017.

2014 - 2015

Five major projects- totaling more than $30 million – helped to reshape Missouri Southern’s landscape.  The progress is unprecedented since the mid-1960s. The projects include: Warren Turner Field baseball stadium; End Zone Facility; Residence Halls (called "The Quads" because most rooms have four apartments); FEMA shelter; and renovation of Reynolds Hall.


Dr. Alan D. Marble is appointed president after serving as interim.


The University begins a year-long celebration of its 75th anniversary.


The newly-renovated Mission Hills Mansion opens as the Ralph L. Gray Alumni Center along with the state-of-the-art Health Science building.


The George S. Beimdiek Recreation Center and Willcoxon Student Health Center officially opened.


Dr. Bruce W. Speck is named president.


After serving 25 years as only the third President of Missouri Southern State University, Julio S. León announced his retirement. Dr. Terri Agee is appointed interim president.


The first group of students receives their master's degrees


On July 12, Governor Bob Holden signed a bill on the Missouri Southern campus that elevated the status of the institution from College to University.  The legislazion officially became effective on Aug. 28, 2003.


A September 11 memorial service and dedication of a memorial "Flag of Freedom" plaza was held at Missouri Southern.


Governor Mel Carnahan signed legislation that authorized Missouri Southern State College to establish international education as a distinctive theme of its mission. 


Richard M. Webster Communications and Social Science Building is opened.


The Board of Regents approved a recommendation to pursue an international approach to undergraduate education. 


Dr. Julio León becomes president. 


Dr. Floyd Belk serves as interim President until Dr. Donald C. Darnton assumes the presidency in 1979.


The college is renamed Missouri Southern State College.


The college awarded first baccalaureate degrees to 198 students.


The new 320-acre campus is opened under the direction of the first appointed president, Dr. Leon C. Billingsly.


Legislation is passed creating the four year institution known as Missouri Southern College.


The college adopts the official name of "Jasper County Junior College" under the direction of the Junior College District of Jasper County governed by a Board of Trustees.


Joplin Junior College is established under the supervision of the Extension Division of the University of Missouri and held in the Joplin High School Joplin and H.E. Blaine is named first Dean.