Joplin, MO – The 67th graduating class of Missouri Southern State University will be honored during winter commencement ceremonies set for 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, in the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.

A total of 347 students will receive 431 undergraduate degrees. Ten students will also receive graduate degrees.

Dr. Conrad Gubera, a professor of sociology and international studies who has taught at Missouri Southern since the campus opened in 1967, will serve as the keynote speaker.

A graduate of Pierce City High School, he studied at Joplin Junior College before completing his bachelor’s degree at Pittsburg State University in 1962. After teaching history and English at Mount Vernon High School and history and sociology at Joplin High School from 1963-65, he obtained his master’s degree in sociology at PSU.

Gubera helped create the general education framework and the BA/BS undergraduate sociology degrees for Missouri Southern while serving on the Faculty Senate and a plethora of college committees. During the 1970s, he completed a Ph.D. in sociology from Oklahoma State University.

Over the course of nearly five decades, he has taught a variety of courses, including Introduction to Sociology, Social Problems, Introduction to International Studies, The Arab World, Sociology of Aging, the Sociology of Death and Dying, Comparative Cultures, Social Theory and Introduction to Egyptology, just to name a few. He was the recipient of the Outstanding Teacher Award in 1996 and the Outstanding International Teacher Award a decade later.

A fellow with the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations since 1987 and the East-West Center since 1998, he has visited more than 30 countries, earned three Fulbright Awards, awards from the Japan Foundation and the Niagara Foundation, as well as the government of Saudi Arabia. He has also received five grants from Missouri Southern’s Institute of International Studies, through which he escorted five different student groups to Mexico, Belize, Honduras and Guatemala, where they studied ancient Mayan culture.

On campus, he has served on the Faculty Senate, as a member of the International Studies Supervisory Committee, the faculty sponsor for the Model Arab League and the Sociology Club, a presenter for a variety of international programs as part of Missouri Southern’s themed semesters, and led a variety of study-abroad groups.

Dr. Gubera’s four children have all attended Missouri Southern, three of whom hold undergraduate degrees from the university. His daughter, Kristin, is an adjunct instructor in the Kinesiology Department. With his oldest son, Christopher, he co-produced the award-winning 2012 documentary, “Joplin, Missouri: A Tornado Story.”