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MSU-WP Alumni, Friends Picnic is May 2; all invited


Officials with the Missouri State University-West Plains office of advancement and the MSU Foundation invite alumni, friends and community members to the annual Alumni & Friends Picnic May 2 in the exhibit hall at the West Plains Civic Center, 110 St. Louis St.

The informal event will begin at 5 p.m. with a drop-in social hour to celebrate MSU System President Clif Smart, who is retiring June 30.

“The picnic will be our opportunity here in West Plains to recognize, honor and thank President Smart, not only for his many years of service to the university as president, but also for his great attention to, interest in and respect for the West Plains campus and for our mission in serving this region,” said MSU-WP Chancellor Dennis Lancaster. “His assistance and guidance have been invaluable, so I hope our many friends and alumni will join me in celebrating Clif’s service and in wishing him well in this next stage of his life.”

Musical entertainment for the picnic will be provided by the West Plains High School Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Rocky Long.

Although the event is free, RSVPs are encouraged by April 25, officials said.

Award presentations

Following the social hour for Smart, university officials will present four awards: the Outstanding Young Alum Award, Distinguished Alumni Award, Distinguished Faculty/Staff Award and a Bear of Excellence Award.

The inaugural Outstanding Young Alum Award celebrates outstanding professional accomplishments and service to the campus while a student. Lacey (Hall) Carter (Class of 2010) will be the recipient of this award.

“We are extremely excited to honor some very special people at this event! Lacey was involved in many different organizations and activities as a student on our campus, including as Student Government Association president. She currently holds the title of chief nursing officer at Ozarks Healthcare,” said Rachel Peterson, director of development and annual giving.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented to former students of MSU-WP in recognition of extraordinary achievement in personal and professional endeavors. This year’s recipient is Grizzly Basketball alumnus Scott Roberts (Class of 1996).

“This is the 30th year of Grizzly Athletics so what better time than to recognize a former Grizzly athlete! Scott Roberts played for the Grizzly Basketball team from 1994-1996 and played professional basketball in the late 1990s and early 2000s,” Peterson said. “He currently serves as the vice president of development for the Oklahoma State University Foundation having spent more than 20 years connecting with donors and alumni.”

Emeritus staff member Donna Bassham will receive the Distinguished Faculty/Staff Award, which recognizes extraordinary service among former employees of MSU-WP.

“Donna was instrumental in assisting thousands of students obtain financial aid during their higher education experience. Those who had the honor to work with her speak highly of her work ethic and commitment,” Lancaster said.

The Bears of Distinction Bear of Excellence Award is awarded by the Missouri State Alumni Association in Springfield and recognizes an individual making a difference through their commitment to the community and pursuit of excellence. Longtime West Plains businessman and university supporter Jerry Hall (Class of 1962) will receive this award.

“Everyone who knows Jerry Hall knows of his passion for the work being done in West Plains,” said Brent Dunn, executive director of the MSU Foundation and vice president of university advancement. “A former member of the Missouri State University Board of Regents, Jerry remains committed to advancing higher education opportunities for students in the area.”

Event attendees also are invited to drop by and view the MSU-WP Academic Symposium student submissions in the West Plains Civic Center Mezzanine from 4 to 5 p.m. The symposium is designed to celebrate the academic endeavors of students by shining a spotlight on their evidence-based research projects. Students from different degree programs and disciplines will display posters of their work, and several will give presentations outlining their discoveries.

For more information about the event or to RSVP, call 417-255-7240, email WPAdvancement@MissouriState.edu or visit Alumni.MissouriState.edu/Picnic24.