The third annual Pride & Purpose Day – set for Saturday, Feb. 15 – will recognize two individuals for their outstanding contributions to Missouri Southern State University.

This year’s honorees are Derrick Good, ’97, recipient of the Spirit of Service Award; and Debbie Thompson, recipient of the Lion-Hearted Award.

“We are so pleased to recognize Derrick and Debbie,” said Lee Elliff Pound, director of alumni and constituent relations at Missouri Southern. “These two individuals represent the quality of MSSU alumni and friends that we have, sharing their time, talent and treasure to benefit our students, faculty, staff and alums.”

They will be honored during an 11:30 a.m. luncheon hosted by the Missouri Southern Alumni Association. Cost to attend the luncheon is $15. To make a reservation, visit and click the “Events” tab, or call 417-659-5466.

They will also be recognized at the men’s home basketball game vs. Missouri Western State University at 3:30 p.m. in the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.

Derrick Good

The Spirit of Service Award recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to their community through their time, actions, talent and dedication.

Good received his associate of science in Computer Information Systems from Missouri Southern in 1996, followed by an associate of science in law enforcement and a bachelor’s in criminal justice the following year. He obtained his juris doctorate and master’s in business administration from Saint Louis University in 2001.

He joined the Thurman Law Firm in Hillsboro, Mo., as a legal assistant in 2000 and has been a partner at the firm since 2006.

He has built a well-respected reputation for community involvement. “No matter what the situation or need, Derrick has always been willing to answer the call and do what is best for the county, region and state,” reads one of the nomination letters received by Missouri Southern’s Alumni Association.

Good has served as president of the Jefferson County Port Authority since 2016, and has served since 2005 as a member of the board of directors for Sunnyhill Inc., which provides residential support, recreation and educational opportunities for children and adults with developmental disabilities.  He helped to secure numerous grants and donations in which to build two bunkhouses and acquire a 20-bed, residential care facility in Festus, Missouri.

He co-chaired the Jefferson County Charter Commission, and is president of the Jefferson County Republicans. In 2019, he was named secretary of the Missouri Republican Party. He’s the chair of Amy’s Wish and Hoofprints on My Heart and has worked with the United Way, Special Olympics and other philanthropic organizations.

Good has also been honored for his volunteer efforts in Jefferson County over the last 20 years. He was recently recognized by the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys and the Missouri Trial Lawyers Care Organizations with their Volunteer Service award.  In 2006, he was named Catholic LegalAssistance Ministries’ Volunteer of the Year by the Arch Dioceseof St. Louis. He is active politically, having served as thePresident of the Jefferson County Republicans.

He and his wife, Wendi, live in Cedar Hill, Mo., with their daughters, Alaina and Parker.

Debbie Thompson

The Lion-Hearted Award recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to Missouri Southern through service, financial support and other efforts.

A former MSSU faculty member who worked as a dental hygienist for more than 30 years, Thompson’s heart for giving has made an impact on her profession, students and others throughout the area.

She graduated from UMKC with her bachelor’s in dental hygiene in 1981, and worked with her late husband – Dr. Pat Thompson, a 1976 grad of MSSU – as lead dental hygienist/office manager. She established a satellite practice, Cassville Dental Care, in 1999, working to improve access to dental care for rural areas in Southwest Missouri.

Six years ago, she established the Debbie Thompson Spirit of Dental Hygiene Scholarships at MSSU. Each fall, two dental hygiene students – a first-year and a second-year – receive the $2,500 scholarship. Over her lifetime, she hopes to help 60 to 70 students in the program. She also serves on MSSU’s dental hygiene advisory board.

Thompson is also known for her generosity to students involved in the athletics program at the university. Her support for the department has included serving as a member of the department’s steering committee and the board for the annual SouthernFest fundraiser, which she chaired in 2018. She has purchased new jerseys for the basketball team, team rings for the baseball team and fed the university’s student-athletes.

Thompson has also underwritten the press box at the Lions’ baseball stadium, as well as a suite from which to view the games. She gave the press box as a gift in memory of Pat, who announced games for the baseball team.

She serves the Joplin community as a pillar of philanthropy in a variety of capacities, including funding for Connect2Culture, Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex, Women with a Mission, Joplin Little Theatre and Friends of St. Avips, just to name a few. She is also a Founder’s level member of the Missouri Southern Foundation’s Lantern Society.

Thompson’s infectious spirit and presence can be witnessed at all MSSU football, basketball and baseball games.

The Joplin resident has three children: son Mike and his wife, Kristi, of Edmond Okla.; daughter Leigh, who preceded Dr. Thompson in death; and son Brad and his wife, Kim, of Joplin; as well as grandsons Alex and Oliver, of Edmond.

Thompson is a person who “gives simply out of the goodness of her heart,” according to a letter nominating her for the recognition. “She truly is one of the most generous and thoughtful people you will ever encounter.”