A new coloring book allows children of all ages to get to know Roary Lion and become familiar with Missouri Southern State University.

The 16-page coloring book was originally requested by the Admissions Department to give away to elementary students who visit the university campus throughout the school year. The demand for the books have far exceeded expectations, said Brett Lyerla, assistant director of University Relations & Marketing, which designed the books.

"Coloring with Roary"

“Coloring with Roary”

“We initially ordered 2,500 copies of the coloring book,” said Lyerla. “But we’ve had so many requests from alumni, the Athletics Department, the School of Education and the Nursing Department that we’ve already ordered an additional 2,500 copies.”

“Coloring with Roary” follows a youthful version of the university’s mascot from kindergarten through high school and then on to Missouri Southern, where he discovers a variety of career opportunities. It was designed by Kahlief Steele, who graduated from the university in May with a BFA in graphic design and a minor in marketing.

“I started on it in February, and I researched different looks for Roary – from more ‘Disney’ in appearance to how the mascot actually looks,” said Steele, who now works as a graphic designer for Little Bird Marketing in Joplin. “The whole idea was to capture Roary and kids growing up, graduating from high school and experiencing Missouri Southern and some of the things we have on campus.”

Copies of “Coloring with Roary” will be available for free during Third Thursday on Sept. 17 in downtown Joplin, which will be sponsored by Missouri Southern. The book and a set of crayons can also be purchased for $1 at the University Relations & Marketing office.