A series of recognitions and proclamations honoring outgoing president Dr. Alan Marble were made Thursday during the Board of Governors meeting at Missouri Southern State University.

Bill Gipson, chair of the board, said the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent closure of campus put a wrinkle in activities that had been planned to honor Marble, who will retire as the university’s fifth president on June 30.

“We intended to have several events on campus and in the community that recognized Dr. Marble for his service,” he said.

Gipson read into the record an announcement on behalf of the board to create the Dr. Alan Marble presidential scholarship.

Joplin’s new mayor, Ryan Stanley, was also in attendance to recognize Marble for his efforts to foster and nurture the relationship between MSSU and city.

“On behalf of the City Council, I want to thank you for your tireless effort, distinguished tenure and lasting legacy,” Stanley said.

In a video message, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt noted the challenges that faced MSSU due to the global pandemic and the difficult decisions that followed.

“But there was nobody better prepared to make those decisions than Dr. Alan Marble,” Blunt said. “We’ve worked together for many years. On behalf of the students and families of Southwest Missouri, I want to thank you. You’re going to be sorely missed.”

Marble was also presented with proclamations on behalf of the Missouri State Sen. Bill White, and by State Rep. Ben Baker from the Missouri House of Representatives. He was also recognized in a proclamation from the Missouri Southern Student Senate, and presented with a flag that has flown over the U.S. Capitol by the office of U.S. Rep. Billy Long.

“Thank you to everyone associated with this university … from the Board of Governors to the President’s Cabinet, University Council, the faculty, staff and students,” said Marble. “It’s been the privilege of a lifetime and Lori and I are very grateful.”

In other business:

·         Rob Yust, vice president for business affairs, offered a brief construction update. Construction is continuing on schedule for Lion Village, the latest addition to campus housing. The $20-million project – funded by the sale of bonds – is expected to be completed by next summer. Work has also commenced on a trail that will connect campus with the Northpark Mall area and should be completed by mid-September, he said.

·         Due to changes caused by the pandemic, a total of 37 students recently received grants toward their summer school tuition from the university’s Project Stay program. Darren Fullerton, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management, said funds that were not spent on budgeted items were able to be allocated into awards totaling $24,309.

·         The board also elected officers for the coming year. Alison Hershewe, the board’s vice chair, was elected to serve as the board’s chair. Anita Oplotnik was elected vice-chair. Laura Boyd was reappointed to serve as board secretary, while Linda Eis was reappointed as treasurer.