Nearly 400 students will be awarded degrees during the winter commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, in the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.

The university’s 71st graduating class includes 383 undergraduate students who will receive 480 degrees, and 14 students receiving master’s degrees. The graduating class also includes 15 international students from eight countries.

Dr. David Pyle, principal of Carl Junction High School, will serve as the keynote speaker.

Pyle earned his bachelor of science degree in education from Missouri Southern in 1997, and also holds master of science and specialist degrees in educational leadership. Recently, he successfully defended his doctoral dissertation at Southwest Baptist University.

He taught science for eight years at Golden City High School, Neosho High School and Carl Junction, and also spent seven summers teaching in the Crowder College Upward Bound program. After serving as assistant principal of Carl Junction High School for five years, he was promoted to principal in 2010.

In 2016, the Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals (MoASSP) named him as High School Principal of the Year. He was selected for the honor from more than 600 high-school principals around the state based on his impact in the areas of collaborative leadership, curriculum, instruction, assessment and personalization of the learning environment.

The ceremonies will be streamed live at KGCS-TV will provide live coverage of the ceremony, which will also be rebroadcast at 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16. 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.