More than 30 recipients of the Debra and David Humphreys Excellence Award at Missouri Southern State University were recognized during a special reception on Nov. 29 at the TAMKO Executive Center, 211 Main St.

Established by the Humphreys in 2017 with a $1 million gift, the scholarship will be awarded annually over a 10-year period. The recipients – known as Humphreys Scholars – are graduates of high schools within 50 miles of Missouri Southern and majoring in one of the following areas: Biological and physical sciences, mathematics, education, accounting, finance, engineering technology or computer science.

To be eligible, students must meet one of the following criteria:

  • At least a 3.7 high school or collegiate GPA (on a 4.0 scale)
  • A 28 or above composite ACT score or a combined critical reading and mathematics score of 1300
  • Graduate in the top 10 percent of their high-school class

The annual scholarship is renewable for up to eight semesters, so long as the recipient maintains a 3.5 GPA. The current average collegiate GPA for the 2018 recipients is 3.84.

The Humphreys are known for their support for education in the region.

David Humphreys has served as the Chief Executive Officer and President of Joplin-based TAMKO Building Products since 1994, a company which his grandfather started in 1944. He and his wife, Debra, played an integral role in the 1993 establishment of Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School, an independent, private school established in Joplin. Debra serves as the chair of the school’s Board of Trustees.

Debra Humphreys said the award was established as way to make the dream of a college degree more affordable for students in the community.

“Our family has been a longtime supporter of public and private schools in the area because we believe education is the key to a strong and vibrant community – our community,” she said. “We view this gift as an investment in the future of the Joplin community that our family has called home for 75 years, and with more local students able to obtain degrees from a local university, our hope is that some of those Humphreys Scholars will then share their expertise and gifts within our community.”

Dr. Alan Marble, president of the university, said the Humphreys’ reputation for generosity and thoughtfulness has been well-earned.

“David and Debra’s faithful support of Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School, the restoration of some of Joplin’s most cherished and historic homes, and their very generous scholarship program at Missouri Southern serve as examples of their benevolence,” said Marble. “On behalf of MSSU and each Humphreys Scholar, allow me to express our deepest appreciation and heartfelt gratitude to this wonderful couple.”

The 2018 Humphreys Scholars are listed below.




Jesse Brumit

Carl Junction

Austin Gripka

Allyson Marlett


Caitlin Brock


Eliza Tidball


Allyson Armstrong

Cayley Conrad

Melody Cunningham

Cade Hensley

Emily Hoover

James Nguyen

Joshua Painter

Kennedy Tool

Alen Viray


Valerie Boswell

Alec Fehring

Adam Haddock

Andre Parrett


Garrett Dunn

Rocky Comfort

Jordan McGonigal


Rachael Polen


Willow Jones


Natasha Rowe

Webb City

Alexia Andro

Chelsey Curran

Emily Dagnan

Matthew Gruenberg

Natalee Lown




Layne Karhoff




Taylor Pryor


Wade Yancy