Missouri Southern alumni, current students and local legislators were among those on hand for the dedication of the Southern Lantern Society’s recently completed donor wall on Thursday, July 31.

Located outside of Connor Ballroom in Billingsly Student Center, the wall serves as a living history of donors to the university. It will be updated each year to reflect the current donations amounts from members of the Lantern and Legacy societies.

The new donor wall in BSC was dedicated on July 31.

The new donor wall in BSC was dedicated on July 31.

The Lantern Society portion of the wall honors individuals and organizations for the cumulative amount they have donated over the years. The Legacy Society notes those who have made a planned gift to the university.

It also includes a TV screen mounted in the top center of the wall which will show videos about the donors as well as the scholarships and funds that are supported.

The wall replaces a former tribute to donors along a stairwell in the student center, said JoAnn Graffam, vice president of development and executive director of the Missouri Southern Foundation.

The new wall came about after “much planning and preparation and many hours of installation … it was a labor of love,” she said.

The custom tile wall was designed by Images in Tile, a Joplin-based company that is the leading manufacturer of tile murals using ceramic, porcelain, stone and glass tile.

“Thank you for allowing us to be a part of this,” said Sam Sturgis, president and director of sales and marketing for Images in Tile, which installed the tile wall. A 2006 graduate of Southern, he said he was happy for the chance to give back to the university.

“I’ve worked on projects around the world, but Joplin has always been my home,” Sturgis said.

In his remarks during the dedication ceremony, Foundation President Mike Pence thanked those whose names were on the wall as well as those to come in the future.

“From the very bottom of our collective hearts, thank you, thank you, thank you,” he said. “This university could not be run without you.”