The colorful triptych along the back wall adds a welcome splash of color to the room – a tree adorned with colorful bulbs separated into three framed panels.

Along the walls are prints with lions, lanterns and quotes applicable to what students will learn during time spent in the room. The lighting is warm, the Wi-Fi has been upgraded, and the new tables, chairs and carpeting make one feel right at home.

And home is what Room 318 of the Plaster School of Business has been for Dr. Beverly Block, a management professor who joined the Missouri Southern faculty in 1984.

“It’s the room I’ve been in for most of my time here, and it hadn’t changed,” says Block. “It’s my last year of phased retirement and I wanted to do something for Missouri Southern. I thought, ‘Why not do it now and let me enjoy it for a year before my departure?’”

Her generous gift to the university led to the newly named Block Interpersonal Development Room. The design is meant to emphasize some of the important skills she hopes students will develop.

“I started thinking about the artwork and how we could portray some of the important things students need to know,” she says. “Accounting and marketing, those are hard skills. But employers are saying soft skills will help students get jobs.”

Those soft skills are represented by a lantern design that incorporates words such as “adaptability,” “critical thinking,” “creativity” and “organization.”

“I wanted to be sure to include a lion since it’s our mascot and the lantern as our academic symbol,” says Block, adding that friends helped with the printing and lettering. “I found some quotes that went along with what we’re trying to say and used as much color as possible.”

The room was showcased during the recent MOSO Monday event at the Plaster School of Business. The event, hosted by the Alumni Association, allowed alumni and other visitors to mingle and learn more about developments at the school.

“It’s a state-of-the-art classroom is designed to foster student learning and the development of the professional skills of our students,” says Dr. Jeffrey Zimmerman, dean of the School of Business.

Those attending MOSO Monday also heard about the new Robert W. Corley Endowed Professorship in Marketing.

“There is nothing more important to the education of our students than the quality of the faculty we are able to recruit and retain,” says Zimmerman. “The market for terminally qualified faculty is very competitive and, at times, it has been challenging to find and hire the right person for our business school.

“The Robert W. Corley Endowed Professorship in Marketing will give us the ability to recruit and retain the highly qualified and committed faculty that we need and that our students deserve.”