“This is kind of surreal, frankly.”

Taking the stage for his final Welcome Back address to Missouri Southern’s faculty and staff on Friday, Jan. 10, Dr. Alan Marble noted how his nearly seven years here have come full circle.

“My first address to this group was right here in Corley Auditorium as Interim President,” he said.

The gathering was an opportunity for all employees to hear from administrators and receive an update on campus priorities and programs at the start of the Spring 2020 semester. Highlights from the meeting included:

  • An update on the renovation work in Taylor Performing Arts Center. Rob Yust, Vice President for Business Affairs, said work should be completed by the fall. “The worst-case scenario is that this time next year we’ll be back in there,” he said.
  • A review of legislative priorities for 2020 from Dr. Brad Hodson, Executive Vice President. They include having $1.8 million for STEM initiatives moved to MSSU’s core funding, acquiring the Joplin Regional Center and funding needed to make the downtown campus a reality.
  • Stats from our competitiveness in the MIAA from Jared Bruggeman, Director of Athletics. In the last year, MSSU has had 10 MIAA student-athletes of the week and two national athletes of the week, while men’s cross country secured their second consecutive MIAA championship. The Athletics Department also tallied 5,500 hours of community engagement.
  • Work on Lion Village, the newest addition to the residence halls, is underway. A combination of traditional and suite-style rooms, the 305-person construction is set to open for occupancy in Fall 2021, said Darren Fullerton, Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management.
  • The search process for the next President of Missouri Southern is moving forward, said Fullerton. The search committee hopes to recommend a search firm to the Board of Governors this week.
  • Information regarding the University’s strategic plan goals from Dr. Paula Carson, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. She also previewed “On the Move”, a new concurrent enrollment initiative, and new accreditations which are in the works for the theater, music, health care and business departments.

Taking the stage again, Dr. Marble shared the talking points he had used for his first meeting as Interim President. “The ‘magical concepts’ of empowering all campus employees and servant leadership remain as important today as they were then”, he said.

“I want to thank you for welcoming me and my family into the Lion family,” he said. “Words fail when I try to tell how much I appreciate you all.”