Winter commencement is set for 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, in the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center at Missouri Southern State University.

The 73rd graduating class includes 411 students receiving 452 undergraduate degrees and 58 associate degrees, as well as 31 students receiving graduate degrees. The winter graduates include 28 international students from 14 countries.

Jeff Taylor, a 2006 graduate of Missouri Southern, will be the keynote speaker.

Taylor was an honors student and earned a degree in business administration and management. A pitcher and first baseman for the Lions for three seasons, he was a two-time MIAA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll selection and was drafted by the Washington Nationals in 2005, playing for two seasons.

He went on to earn his master of science in health administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He served as administrator for Mid-America Surgery Institute, and later as chief operating officer for Belton Regional Medical Center.

In 2016, he was appointed as chief operating officer of Menorah Medical Center, a full-service, acute-care hospital in ER serving the communities of Overland Park and Leawood, Kan. The hospital has more than 600 physicians and 800 staff members, and focuses on some of the Kansas City area’s most advanced treatment options.

He also serves as a member of the advisory board for MSSU’s new Gipson Center for Healthcare Leadership.

KGCS-TV will provide live coverage of the ceremony, which will also be rebroadcast at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15. The station is available on local cable systems. To purchase a DVD copy of the ceremony, visit For more information, contact Judy Stiles at 417-625-9777.