A longtime supporter of classical music in the Four State Area and a business that devotes time and resources to bettering the community were honored with the Spirit of Philanthropy awards during the 30th annual Missouri Southern Foundation Lantern Society Dinner on Oct. 28.

The event is held each year to recognize the individuals and organizations whose contributions have helped to improve educational opportunities for students at Missouri Southern State University.

Speakers included JoAnn Graffam, executive director of the Missouri Southern Foundation; Mike Pence, president of the foundation; and Dr. Alan Marble, president of the university. Ashlyn Haynes, a sophomore biology major and recipient of the Guy and Kathryn and Thomas Jackson Memorial Scholarship, also delivered remarks.

Steve Koelkebeck (left), president of SMB, and Cynthia Schwab, founder of Pro Musica, were honored during the annual Lantern Society Dinner.

Steve Koelkebeck (left), president of SMB, and Cynthia Schwab, founder of Pro Musica, were honored during the annual Lantern Society Dinner.

The Spirit of Philanthropy award recipients were also announced – Cynthia Schwab and Southwest Missouri Bank.

Cynthia Schwab

A Manhattan native, Schwab has a long history in the community and with Missouri Southern.

In 1981, she founded Pro Musica to foster an interest and appreciation for classical music in the region. The first season featured one concert. Thirty-three years later, the organization presents a variety of professional chamber music ensembles as well as symphony orchestra performances and the annual Joplin Pops concert.

From 1990-95, Schwab served on what was then Missouri Southern’s Board of Regents. She has been a patron of education, donating to the school for more than 25 years, and is a member of the Lantern Society and the Legacy Club.

She has also made contributions to organizations such as the Joplin Community Clinic, the Joplin Family YMCA and Spiva Center for the Arts. She has been honored with the Missouri Arts Award by the Missouri Arts Council, the Missouri Citizens for the Arts Advocacy Award by the Missouri Citizens for the Arts, and was the inaugural recipient of the Arts Legacy Award by the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce.

Southwest Missouri Bank

SMB opened its first branch in 1979 and is the largest locally owned community bank in Southwest Missouri.

The list of organizations that SMB supports in the region includes Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Joplin Humane Society, Joplin Little Theatre, the Kiwanis Club, Lafayette House, Relay for Life, Ronald McDonald House of the Four States, Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center and local Rotary clubs and hospitals.

Employees of SMB have donated their time and energy to projects such as painting a four square court on the Lafayette House playground, working concessions at Webb City football games and participating in events such as the Joplin Memorial Run and Bowl for Kids’ Sake.

Their support of Missouri Southern over the years has included contributions to the Lionbackers, women’s soccer, scholarships and assisting with major projects such as replacing the tur at Fred G. Hughes Stadium. Last year, SMB committed to sponsoring the SMB Outfield Viewing deck at the new baseball stadium under construction in the Robert W. Plaster Sports Complex.