Joplin, MO (SNS) – More than 600 students will be awarded degrees during spring commencement ceremonies to be held Saturday, May 9, in the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center at Missouri Southern State University.

The 64th graduating class will be divided into two ceremonies and will include 643 students receiving 805 undergraduate degrees and 6 students receiving graduate degrees.

The commencement ceremony for students from the School of Business, School of Education and those receiving a general studies degree will be held at 9:30 a.m. The ceremony for the School of Arts and Sciences and School of Health Sciences will be at noon.

Jeff Kilbane, president of JMK Sculpture Inc. in Los Angeles, Calif., will serve as commencement speaker.

Kilbane began sculpting while working at Walt Disney Imagineering, where he worked for 11 years as a Principle Show Artisan. For the last 18 years, he has sculpted various projects for the entertainment industry as JMK Sculpture.

He graduated from Joplin Memorial High School in 1980, and then attended Missouri Southern. He graduated in 1985 with his bachelor’s degree in art. He has completed portraits for the 112 members of the Missouri Southern Athletics Hall of Fame, which can be viewed hanging in the halls of the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006.

The ceremonies will be streamed live for viewers around the world at They also will be aired live on KGCS-TV, which can be found over the air on channel 22. The station is also available on local cable systems, including Cable One, Mediacom and Suddenlink. The first ceremony will be rebroadcast at 8 p.m. Monday, May 11, and the second at 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 12.

DVDs of the ceremonies will be available to purchase. For more information, contact Judy Stiles at 417-625-9777 or visit

The MSSU Bookstore will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 9. Graduates and their families are invited to stop by the store in Billingsly Student Center to shop for apparel and memorabilia.