Earth Day will be recognized at Missouri Southern State University with a tree planting that will honor the life of a longtime MSSU employee who passed away earlier this year.

SuAn Richardson worked full-time as one of the University’s main switchboard operators from 1972 to 1999 and on a part-time basis from 1999 to the time of her death in February.

Hers was one of the friendly voices answering the telephone with “Thank you for calling Missouri Southern.”

In December 2012, she was recognized at MSSU’s Employee Appreciation Brunch for her 40 years of service.

“We think this is a fitting tribute to one of our most dedicated employees,” said Missouri Southern State University President Bruce W. Speck. “Each year, when the dogwoods are in bloom, we will be reminded of SuAn.”

Dr. Speck and MSSU Registrar Cheryl Dobson will speak at the gathering. Richardson’s family will participate in the ceremony.

The Missouri Southern IT Department, for which Richardson worked, has ordered a pink dogwood to fill the spot. Pinewood Nursery will assist in planting the tree in a grassy area behind the Kuhn Hall Annex.

A plaque will be included, dedicating the tree in her