Missouri Southern State University Announces Transformational Gift for Lions Forward Campaign

(Joplin, MO) – Today, Missouri Southern State University (MSSU) recognized Bill and Tracy Gibson for their generous and transformational gift to the Lions Forward Campaign.

Their $1 million donation will support the Lions Forward Campaign and the university’s new master’s in data analytics program.

“The Lions Forward Campaign provides opportunity for our alumni and friends to invest in the future of Missouri Southern,” said Dr. Dean Van Galen, president of Missouri Southern State University. “The truly exciting outcome of the campaign is the transformational impact that gifts will have on the university’s future, our students, and the community.”

Bill and Tracey Gipson are MSSU graduates and longtime university supporters who want to help provide resources for student success at MSSU.

“Southern provided an education that opened doors to our futures,” said Bill Gibson. “This campaign shows what we already know. That Missouri Southern is transforming the future of our students, graduating educated global leaders that will invigorate the industry and grow our communities.”

In 2018 the Gipson’s helped the university launch an undergraduate degree program in Healthcare Administration and established the Gipson Center for Healthcare Leadership. Since then, the Healthcare Administration program has become one of the fastest-growing programs at MSSU. “When I visit with Bill and Tracy about the impact of their previous gift, they speak most often about the joy of meeting and hearing the stories of the students in that program. They understand that at the end of the day, it is truly all about providing transformational experiences for students,” said Dr. Van Galen.

This new gift to the Lions Forward Campaign will have the same transformational impact on the university.

“Data analytics is the fastest growing graduate field in the world,” said Dr. Lisa Toms, vice president for academic affairs. “The gift from Mr. and Mrs. Gipson will allow the program to be launched with the resources needed to be successful.”

“This moment launches us on a path towards forever elevating the education Missouri Southern students receive at this institution,” said Dr. Brad Hodson, executive vice president of Missouri Southern State University. “Generations of MSSU students who will benefit from the generosity of Bill and Tracy and other donors like them will never forget this day.”

Bill Gipson, an ’85 MSSU graduate in business, is retired president/CEO of Empire District Electric Company in Joplin, serving more than 30 years with the company. As a member and past chair of the MSSU Board of Governors, Governor Gipson has provided wise leadership and counsel through a period of transition and change at MSSU. Tracy, a ’79 graduate of dental hygiene and business, is retired from The United Way of Southwest Missouri where she served as the Donor Relations Associate. Through gifts to the Missouri Southern Foundation, the Gipsons have supported many causes at MSSU over the years such as student scholarships, and Lion Athletics.  In 2002, the Gipsons were recognized as the university’s Outstanding Alumni.


University Relations & Marketing
Missouri Southern State University

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