MSU Foundation tops $18 million third year in a row

FountainsThe Missouri State University Foundation raised a total of $18,010,206 in gifts during Fiscal Year 2016, which ended June 30. This was the third year running where the Foundation received in excess of $18 million.

“The generous support we receive from our alumni and friends astounds me,” said Missouri State President Clifton M. Smart III. “As we plan for how Missouri State can make a greater impact in the community and nation, this private support is more crucial to us than ever before.”

The funding, noted Brent Dunn, executive director of the Missouri State University Foundation, helps grow programs, purchase equipment, build and renovate facilities, meet student needs through scholarships and provide faculty support.

These gifts were given by 21,570 donors – an increase of 502 donors compared to the previous fiscal year.

On top of these gifts, the Foundation also received $1.2 million in planned gifts.

Endowed Scholarship Appreciation Dinner 2016

Rachael Davis

Rachael Davis

The annual Endowed Scholarship Appreciation Dinner brings together donors, scholarship recipients, and University staff.  This event recognizes our outstanding endowed scholarship recipients and the donors that have funded those awards.  Bringing the donors back to campus, especially the last few years, allows us to show the physical growth and changes that have happened here at Missouri State University.  Events like this one are sometimes our donors only opportunity to put a face and name to our student population and connect with them.

At this year’s dinner, we heard an update from scholarship recipient Rachael Davis.  She received two Foundation scholarships, the Grace Gardener Endowed Scholarship for Study Abroad and the V. A. Dobyns Scholarship Award for the 2015-2016 academic year.  Rachael had recently returned from studying abroad. During her time abroad, we spoke to her on Skype to see how it was going.

On the night of the scholarship dinner, Rachael was in traditional Korean dress.  She shared her experiences with President Smart on stage and explained the impact the trip had on her academic and future career.  Graduating in December with her degree in Criminology and Cybersecurity and a Korean minor, Rachael hopes to pursue a career in criminal justice.  The privately funded scholarships that Rachael received allowed her to follow her dream of traveling abroad to Korea.

Rachael’s story played out in a Skype video and on stage for the other attendees to see, but it also happened time and time again around the room. Each table had a mix of students and donors. The students talked about what their scholarship did for them. Donors talked about their love for the University and gave advice to students about the future. Both students and their donors have a story to tell about how private giving has impacted their lives. At this event, they get the opportunity to share it with one another.

Top 5 Reasons to Attend the MarooNation Ball Springfield

MarooNation Ball

  1. Because “all-inclusive” means all the fun. Tickets and sponsorships include a three course meal, open bar and dancing all night.
  2. Swag on Swag. All guests will receive one of a kind MarooNation Ball items to commemorate the night when you had the most fun of your life.
  3. We’re raising the dough so they can go – to Missouri State that is. All sponsorship and ticket sale proceeds go towards scholarship support for Missouri State students in need.
  4. The Patrick Lentz Band, all the way from KC, really is all that. The award winning and top party band in KC, so good you’ll forget where your seat is!
  5. Because your dancing shoes and your dancing moves deserve a night out. (And it’s for a good cause!) Awkward, yet enthusiastic dancing is appreciated and encouraged. Dance first, think later. Always.

Dance, don’t walk, all the way to secure your spot. It’ll be bright lights, big city, bigger party, all night long. It’s everything you didn’t know a Missouri State party could be.

Buy your tickets online.

Event details

Saturday, June 25, 2016
The Old Glass Place
Cocktail Reception at 7:00 p.m. Dinner at 8:00 p.m. and followed by dancing. The dress is black-tie optional, the fun is not.

Greg Onstot Outstanding Achievement Award

Greg Onstot

Greg Onstot

Nominations are now being accepted for the ninth annual Greg Onstot Outstanding Achievement Award.  The recipient of the 2016 Onstot Award will be presented at the Missouri State Alumni Association Awards Dinner on Friday, June 10.  The recipient will receive a plaque and a cash award of $1,200.

Complete the Greg Onstot Outstanding Achievement Award online nomination form. The nomination deadline is 5:00 p.m., Friday, May 13, 2016. 

Any full-time faculty or staff member may be nominated for the award by colleagues, students, alumni, donors, or the community.  Letters of recommendation and supporting materials are encouraged and may be emailed to the Missouri State Foundation or delivered to the Meyer Alumni Center, Suite 505, 300 S. Jefferson Ave., Springfield, Missouri.

Selection Criteria

The criteria for selection will include, but not be limited to, the following:  work ethic, attitude, and significant achievements during the year.  Examples of exceptional achievements might include:  having a lead role in securing a major gift, initiating or having a lead role in a new project, finding a new donor through new and/or persistent data mining, having a lead role in a major successful event, increasing the contact with alumni and donors of a particular unit, completing extraordinary travel to meet alumni and donors, receiving consistent and significant positive feedback from donors as a result of work completed, etc.


The selection committee shall consist of two members of the Missouri State University Foundation Board of Trustees, two members of the Missouri State University Alumni Association Board of Directors, a member of the R.E.A.L. Bears (Recruiting Emerging Alumni Leaders) student association, and the Vice President for University Advancement.


This award is named for Greg Onstot, who served Missouri State University for 25 years and retired in 2007 as Vice President for University Advancement.  He demonstrated a great work ethic and worked tirelessly in making Missouri State University a better place.  This annual award allows Missouri State to recognize a faculty or staff member who has made significant contributions to its development and alumni relations programs.  Previous award recipients are Dr. Anson Elliott, Julie Ebersold, Jerry Hoover, Dr. Don Aripoli, Jon Leamy, the Theatre & Dance Department, Dr. David Meinert and Dr. George Connor.

Feel free to call 417-836-6666 if you have any questions.

MSU Foundation Announces Ben Crenshaw Event in Springfield

Golfing legend coming to Springfield for MSU fundraiser at Bass Pro April 17

Ben Crenshaw

Ben Crenshaw, two-time Master’s champion, World Golf Hall of Famer and winner of the prestigious Payne Stewart Award.

The Missouri State University Foundation is proud to present an opportunity for Bears supporters and golf fans to meet golfing legend Ben Crenshaw on Sunday, April 17 as part of a unique fundraiser at America’s Wildlife Museum and Aquarium at Bass Pro Shops in Springfield.

A two-time Master’s champion, World Golf Hall of Famer and winner of the prestigious Payne Stewart Award, Crenshaw will share stories of his prestigious career as one of the sport’s top ambassadors and enjoy dinner with the MSU family at the event. Participants may also embark on self-guided tours of Johnny Morris’ breathtaking new facility, starting at 5 p.m. All attendees will enjoy a pre-dinner reception at 6 p.m. with other Missouri State University supporters, followed by the dinner event which kicks off at 7 p.m.

Reserved tables and individual tickets are available by calling (417) 836-4143. Packages are as follows:

* Individual tickets $125
* Reserved table (for 10) $1,250
* VIP individual ticket $250
* VIP reserved table (for 10) $2,250

VIP attendees will attend a private, pre-dinner reception with Crenshaw, starting at 6 p.m., which includes a souvenir photo taken with the golfing legend.

Individuals interested in playing the annual MSU Pro-Am at the Top of the Rock course earlier that day may call (417) 836-4523 to reserve a spot. MSU Pro-Am participants will receive a VIP-Access reserved table to the Sunday evening event with Crenshaw, in addition to VIP access to the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf at Big Cedar Lodge in the Branson area.

Proceeds from the events will benefit the Missouri State University men’s and women’s golf programs.

Public Affairs Conference keynote features Jillian Michaels

Presentation free, open to public; sponsorship opportunities available to meet Michaels

Jillian Michaels

Jillian Michaels

Strength trainer and life coach Jillian Michaels is the keynote speaker for Missouri State University’s Public Affairs Conference. Her presentation, which will be held at 7:30 p.m. April 5 in JQH Arena, is sponsored by the Missouri State University Foundation with presenting sponsor Arvest.

“Once again we are pleased to provide a nationally known speaker to be a part of the Public Affairs Conference and have the event free and open to the public and university community,” said Brent Dunn, executive director of the Missouri State University Foundation. “Jillian Michaels has dedicated much of her life to helping people meet their health goals. We’re thrilled to hear her thoughts and advice on maintaining a healthy lifestyle.”

About Jillian Michaels

Jillian Michaels is a bestselling author, Daytime Emmy nominated television personality, entrepreneur and a leading health and wellness expert. She is a New York Times bestselling author of numerous books. Some of her most recent titles include:

“Master Your Metabolism”
“Unlimited: How to Build an Exceptional Life”
“Slim for Life: My Insider Secrets to Simple, Fast and Lasting Weight Loss”

Michaels has been a fitness expert and wellness coach for more than 20 years. In addition, she owned and operated a sports medicine facility, where she worked as a physical therapy aid under the rehabilitation physicians, physical therapists and chiropractors. Her passion for fitness training originates from 17 years of martial arts practice in Muay Thai and Akarui-Do, in which she holds a black belt.

Michaels, who was a trainer, wellness expert and life coach on The Biggest Loser for 10 years, makes regular TV appearances, has an active online community and has numerous apps, books, DVDs and videos related to meeting and maintaining health and fitness goals.

About Michael’s appearances

The 7:30 p.m. keynote presentation by Michaels is free and open to the public, and no ticket is required.

The Missouri State Foundation will offer sponsorship opportunities to attend a VIP dinner and reception. A private dinner will take place at 5:30 p.m. for $300 per person, it includes a signed book, the opportunity for a personal visit and photo with Michaels, as well as entrance into the VIP meet and greet reception, along with VIP reserved seating at the keynote. For those interested in only the VIP meet and greet reception, it will take place at 6:30 p.m. for $150 per person and includes a photo with Michaels, hors d’oeuvres and refreshments, as well as reserved seating at the keynote. Register online or contact the Foundation at (417) 836-4143 for more information.

Public Affairs Conference

The 2016 Public Affairs Conference theme is Building Health Communities: Body, Mind and Spirit. The conference is April 5-8 in the Plaster Student Union and will explore what it means to build healthy communities from a holistic perspective. The full conference schedule will be posted online by Dec. 9.

For more information about the public affairs conference, contact Mary Ann Wood, director of public affairs support, at (417) 836-5073 or

Gift from Robert Gourley family funds expansion of Glass Hall

Glass Hall

Additional space for business students will be named Robert Gourley Student Success Center

SPRINGFIELD — The College of Business at Missouri State University will soon have a 37,000 square foot addition thanks in part to a significant gift from the Robert Gourley family. This gift was announced at the groundbreaking ceremony today (Oct. 15) for the Robert Gourley Student Success Center at David D. Glass Hall.

“Students within the College of Business at Missouri State will be amazed at the transformation planned for Glass Hall,” said Missouri State University President Clifton M. Smart III said. “This gift, along with so many others, allows us to give our business students a place to sharpen their skills, collaborate on projects and become prepared for successful careers.”

Gifts for Glass Hall exceed $5 million

The Missouri State University Foundation announced gifts and pledges totaling more than $5.4 million for the building and another significant gift from David D. Glass.

“We are so pleased with the numbers of alumni and friends that have made major gifts to this project,” said Brent Dunn, vice president for university advancement and executive director of the Missouri State Foundation. “Our fundraising will continue and we anticipate more people will make investments in this important project.”

The addition of the Robert Gourley Student Success Center and renovation of Glass Hall will allow the College of Business to better serve its current student community while also providing space for growth and unique educational opportunities. The state-of-the-art teaching facilities will prepare students for global careers in business, as well as provide space for business, community and alumni events.

Other significant donors

Other donors to the project include:

•    O’Reilly Auto Parts
•    American National Insurance
•    BKD, LLP and BKD Wealth Advisors, LLC
•    Central Bank of the Ozarks
•    Marlin Network
•    James K. and Patricia A. Jones
•    Jack and Stacey Thurman
•    Jeffrey E. and Lisa Allen (and the Allen Family)
•    Kevin and Marla Elliott
•    Brian and Kim Hammons
•    Dwain and Donna Hammons
•    William D. and Heather Perry
•    Scott and Jennifer Huff
•    Richard and Teresa Ollis and family
•    Gifts in honor of Dr. Vincel Bixler
•    Jon and Jo Baker
•    Scott and Allison Salmon
•    James H. (Jim) Wilson
•    Nancy and Randy Allen
•    Richard L. Bullock and family
•    Dr. Stephanie and Gary Bryant
•    Dr. Steve and Jane Parker
•    James and Robin Robeson
•    Bradley Thomas
•    John E. and Lori K. Wanamaker

Addition, renovation include many new features

Features within the new Student Success Center and renovated spaces of Glass Hall include:
•    A state-of-the art finance and trading lab, simulating the New York Stock Exchange trading floor
•    Entrepreneurship and sales labs
•    Dedicated career placement and business advisement centers
•    Corporate interview rooms
•    A corporate recruiter touch-down space
•    An advertising agency lab, which will function as a working advertising agency
•    A production studio
•    Collaboration and team meeting spaces
•    A full-service café

The renovations to Glass Hall are expected to be completed by fall 2017.

About Bob Gourley

Mr. Gourley was born in Detroit, Michigan, but grew up in Mountain Grove, Missouri. He graduated from the business organization and management program at Missouri State University in 1960 while working full-time to pay for his tuition.

“Practical experience and solid instruction in the disciplines of business at Missouri State made me ready for the business world,” said Mr. Gourley. “I feel it is important to give back to your community, those in need and those who helped me along the way.”

After graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Army as a Second Lt. Infantry Officer, worked in sales and started an entrepreneurial venture. He later moved into ownership of several different businesses, including a beverage distributorship, photo-developing, and camera stores and a startup bank in Kansas City.

In 2010, he published a book about creating, launching and growing an enterprise, “Make Money for Bob: The Bottom Line on Entrepreneurship.”


O’Reilly Clinical Health Sciences Center Dedicated

O'Reilly Clinical Health Sciences Center dedication

Missouri State University dedicated the O’Reilly Clinical Health Sciences Center at 1:30 p.m. today.

The O’Reilly Clinical Health Sciences Center is located at the corner of Cherry Street and Holland Avenue. This facility includes a multi-disciplinary health clinic, skills laboratories, offices, classrooms and group study spaces for the occupational therapy, physician assistant studies, nursing and nurse anesthesia programs. The building design is intended to provide a strong first impression for prospective College of Health and Human Services students and faculty and to encourage multi-disciplinary interaction.

The O’Reilly family (Charlie and Mary Beth O’Reilly, Larry O’Reilly, David O’Reilly, Rosalie Wooten and the Charles H. (Chub) O’Reilly Trust) are long-time supporters of Missouri State University and have provided significant philanthropic support to many areas in southwest Missouri.

Read more about the O’Reilly Clinical Health Sciences Center.

Sam Hamra gift to benefit MSU music students

Sam and June Hamra with President Clif Smart

Sam and June Hamra with President Clif Smart

Sam Hamra, chairman of Hamra Enterprises, has given a significant gift to the Missouri State University Foundation for the purchase of a Steinway grand piano.

The piano will be placed in the recital/lecture room at Ellis Hall, which will soon undergo renovation. The room will be named for his wife, June Hamra, who was a member of the Board of Regents from 1979-85 and is actively involved in the arts community.

“We are so pleased to be able to support the great things happening in the music program at Missouri State,” Hamra said. “June and I hope this gift will help music students achieve the goals they desire in life.”

Every music student who performs a junior degree recital or takes part in a master class will be accompanied by this instrument. MSU music students’ lesson fees have already purchased ten Steinway-way built Boston upright pianos and one Boston seven-foot grand. As the music department continues to replace its piano inventory, both students and faculty will have access to the best quality instruments in achieving their maximum technical and artistic priorities.

“The Missouri State University music department is so excited to receive this wonderful gift from Sam and June Hamra,” said Dr. Julie Combs, head of the music department. “With this gift, we will have the ability to purchase our first new Steinway Grand piano as we move closer to attaining All-Steinway status as a school. Mr. Hamra’s generosity will provide the industry standard in grand pianos for not just our piano majors to perform on, but also will help recruit the very best music and musical theatre students.”

“Our music faculty and students have performed successfully for many years,” said Dr. Gloria Galanes, dean of the College of Arts and Letters. “This gift helps us provide them with the outstanding tools that will match their talents and enhance their already outstanding performances.”

The Founders Club Medallion Reception

Kim and Patrick Harrington are presented the Founders Medallion by President Clif Smart

Kim and Patrick Harrington are presented the Founders Medallion by President Clif Smart

On June 27, 2015 the annual Medallion Reception honored 54 total new medallion recipients, current medallion holders, and new members of the Founders Club!  The evening recognized our new and returning donors and honored their commitment and loyalty to Missouri State University.  A cocktail reception, in the theme of hot air balloons, was held in the grand lobby of Juanita K. Hammons Hall celebrating the occasion.

This year there were 24 Bronze medallions, six Silver medallions, 11 Presidents medallions, three Sterling medallions, three Platinum medallions, and seven Founders medallions.  To see all levels and the complete list of medallion recipients click here.

President Clif Smart, was in attendance and spoke to the importance of giving and the difference our medallion recipients make on Missouri State students and the campus community as a whole.  These gifts and the level of support the University receives from The Founders Club continues to take Missouri State to the next level.  Current and future Bears will accomplish bigger and bolder achievements because of your private support.