Joplin, MO (SNS) – The 65th graduating class of Missouri Southern State University will be honored during winter commencement ceremonies set for 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12, in the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.

The graduating class will include 342 students receiving 423 degrees, and an additional 11 students receiving graduate degrees. The graduation list includes 12 students from nine foreign countries.

Kelli Hopkins, associate executive director of Board Services for the Missouri School Boards Association, will serve as graduation speaker.

Hopkins received her bachelor’s degree in education from Missouri Southern in 1982. She went on to receive a graduate degree in secondary educational administration in 1994, followed by a juris doctorate in 2001 from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

A former teacher and junior high administrator, Hopkins served as director of education policy for the Missouri School Boards Association from 2005-08 and as staff attorney for the association from 2001-05.

The MSSU Bookstore will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Billingsly Student Center. Graduates and their families are invited to shop for apparel and memorabilia before or after the ceremony.

Bookstore purchases also may be made at a Spirit Store located near the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center entrance during commencement for customer convenience.

KGCS-TV will provide live coverage of the ceremony; the station is available on local cable systems, including Cable One, Mediacom and Suddenlink. DVD copies will be available for purchase.  For more information, contact Judy Stiles at 417-625-9777.