The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


August 21, 2013

Our View: A potent reminder

Powerful. Larger than life. Such phrases leap to mind when first seeing the bronze lion statue unveiled Monday outside Billingsly Student Center on the campus of Missouri Southern State University.

Ten feet tall and 12 feet long, it is a fitting symbol, and not just because the lion is the mascot for the university. It speaks to the benefit of a university education — empowering, life-enlarging.

The statue, which was designed by Brian Hanlon of Hanlon Sculpture Studio in Toms River, N.J., is surrounded by a 5,400-square-foot plaza that features a graduated wall, ground pavers, new seating and new lighting.

“It’s absolutely magnificent,” MSSU senior Brittany Lampe said moments after seeing the statue for the first time. “It’s everything I envisioned it would be.”

The project is a gift to the university on its 75th anniversary from the student senate and from alumni Bill and Tracy Gipson.

Missouri Southern is, to use a phrase of interim president Alan Marble, in the “sweet spot.”

At a time when too many universities have lost control of costs and made themselves unaffordable, Southern has managed to offer a top-flight education at a reasonable price.

It’s everything we envisioned it could be.

And more.

Thanks for the potent reminder of what Southern means to this community.

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