A total of 761 students will be awarded 935 degrees during 2019 Spring Commencement ceremonies set for Saturday, May 11, in the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center at Missouri Southern.

The 72nd graduating class includes 39 international students from 21 countries. The ceremony will also include the awarding of 52 master’s degrees.

Graduates from the Schools of Business and Education will attend the 9:30 a.m. ceremony. The ceremony for the Schools of Arts & Sciences and Health Sciences will be at 1 p.m.

This year’s ceremonies will mark the 50th anniversary of the first Missouri Southern class to graduate with four-year degrees.

In 1967, the former Joplin Junior College made the move from downtown to the new campus built on the Mission Hills estate. The June 1, 1969, commencement ceremony marked the first students to receive bachelor’s degrees.

The first student to walk across the stage was Barbara Bevins (then Blackford) – who will be on hand to serve as a keynote speaker for this year’s graduating class.

She was among the two-year junior college students who made the transition to the new campus. After graduation, she served in the United States Air Force for more than 20 years, retiring as a lieutenant colonel and taught for many years as a JROTC instructor in Midland, Texas, where she still resides with her husband. She was the recipient of Missouri Southern’s Outstanding Alumni award in 1991.

Also speaking will be Dr. Conrad Gubera, who was present for the 1969 ceremony as well.

Gubera has taught at Missouri Southern since the new campus was established in 1967. He helped create the framework for the sociology degree program and has taught a variety of courses. He was the recipient of the Outstanding Teacher Award in 1996 and the Outstanding International Teacher Award a decade later.

During the morning ceremony, Missouri Southern will recognize the Golden Graduates present – those who graduated 50 years ago or more.

The ceremonies will be streamed live at www.mssu.edu. KGCS-TV will also provide live coverage. The ceremony for the Schools of Business and Education will be rebroadcast at 7 p.m. Sunday, May 12; while the Schools of Arts & Sciences and Health Sciences will be shown at 7 p.m. Monday, May 13. 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.