Skip To Top Navigation Skip To Content Skip To Footer

Missouri Southern Names Health Science Building in Senator Blunt’s Honor

Published: January 19, 2024 | Categories: Press Release
 Missouri Southern Names Health Science Building in Senator Blunt’s Honor

Missouri Southern State University’s Board of Governors unanimously approved a request to name its soon-to-be-constructed Health Science Innovation Center in honor of Former U.S. Senator Roy Blunt.

Ground is expected to be broken on the new facility this spring. Blunt, a native of southwest Missouri who represented Missouri in the U.S. Senate from 2011 until last year, had a distinguished career of public service and strongly supported higher education throughout that career, including spearheading $2 million of federal support for the new center that incorporated a $2 million state match – essentially a $4 million provision for the new building that will impact thousands of students in the state and region.

The request to name the building in honor of Blunt was made by Mr. Rudy Farber, a local bank executive who wrote a letter to the University in September advocating for the Blunt naming. Farber also spoke at the Board of Governor meeting Friday in support of the recommendation.

In his letter, Farber cited Blunt’s contribution to many southwest Missouri initiatives – including his active support for placing the Newtonia Battlefield Complex into the National Park Service and his support for the George Washington Carver Colored School Project in Neosho – along with his overall commitment to education throughout his career. Blunt started his professional career as a teacher, served as the President of Southwest Baptist University, and helped secure a federal grant to establish the Kansas City University School of Dental medicine in Joplin, Farber wrote.

“It should also be remembered the assistance with federal funding he provided after the terrible tornado in 2011,” Farber said in his letter.

Missouri Southern President Dean Van Galen said Senator Blunt is a natural choice to be honored not just because of his public service, but the way he served his constituents and his commitment to building strong education programs.

“Throughout his career and even today, Senator Blunt has always had education and the state of Missouri at the forefront of his priorities,” Van Galen said. “Thousands of Missourians benefitted from his leadership in education, and that commitment and legacy will live on through the creation of this new Health Science Innovation Center.”

Blunt expressed appreciation for the honor and support for the facility.

“I’m honored by the decision of the MSSU Board of Governors to add my name to the new Health Science Innovation Center,” Blunt said. “Health care is in the beginning stages of dramatic change. Key to that is the shifting balance between treatment and prevention and keeping people healthier longer.

“This facility will make a difference in ways that will keep MSSU and its graduates at the forefront of that revolutionary change,” Blunt added.

The building will complete what is commonly referred to as the Oval in the epicenter of Missouri Southern’s campus, serving not only as an innovative center of learning but also as the university’s front door, welcoming a new generation of students and families to the campus.

The heart of the center will be a simulated hospital with rooms and equipment that incorporate the latest in innovative healthcare and hospital technology – the same equipment and scenarios students will encounter in the hospital of the future. It will have facilities that mirror real-life acute care, labor and delivery, emergency care, and examination rooms, and provide the latest immersive learning opportunities for undergraduate students preparing for future careers in the health and life science fields. The building will also have a radiological technology lab, an expanded cadaver lab, and research space that can be used in collaboration with other educational partners.

In other business, the Board of Governors:

  • Honored Bill Gipson, one of their former colleagues on the Board of Governors who retired in December. Gipson served nearly 10 years on the Board and made a tremendous impact not only through his time, but through several charitable gifts. Most recently, Gipson and his wife Tracy contributed $1 million to the Missouri Southern Foundation’s Lions Forward campaign to launch the master’s degree program in data analytics. The new Center for Data Analytics being developed in Plaster Hall will be named in their honor, it was announced Friday.
  • Approved faculty sabbaticals for Dr. Rebecca Shriver (history) and Dr. Christine Bentley (art history) for the next academic year.
  • Welcomed Maddox Studdard, a business administration major from Carl Junction, who was recently appointed to the Board by Gov. Mike Parson as the student representative. Studdard will be a non-voting member but will provide a student perspective to the Board.