The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

September 24, 2013

MSSU to open center for law, politics

Missouri Southern State University is preparing to launch a center that will provide continuing education for legal professionals and students.

Officials plan to open the James R. Spradling Center for Law & Politics in January in Webster Hall. They hope it will connect students, practitioners and the community to the theory and practice of politics, said JoAnna Derfelt, the center’s director and an assistant professor of political science at MSSU.

“We are really excited for this opportunity for our students and our professional partners,” she said in a statement. “This will help us develop our civic connections and will provide a much-needed resource to the professional legal community.”

The center will help run MSSU’s mock-trial program, programming for Constitution Day, the legislative intern program, Law Day activities and campus workshops. It will also sponsor a program allowing attorneys to become “fellows” of the center.

The center will be dedicated in memory of James R. Spradling, a longtime Carthage attorney. Appointed by then-Gov. Kit Bond, he served from 1973 to 1976 as director of the Missouri Department of Revenue.

Spradling also served as a Carthage municipal judge and in several civic posts, including president of the Carthage YMCA and the city’s park board. He also taught as an adjunct professor at MSSU.

Members of the advisory board are Jake Heisten, field representative for U.S. Rep. Billy Long; Dean Dankelson, Jasper County prosecutor; state Rep. Charlie Davis; Michael Gayoso, Crawford County, Kan., attorney; Doug Gatewood, former Kansas state representative and current adviser for Four State Orthopaedic Services; and alumna Anna Sanderson.


Information about the James R. Spradling Center for Law & Politics is available at 625-3081 or

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Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said Tuesday that a tax cut approved by the Legislature could have a “cataclysmic” effect on state revenues to the tune of $4.8 billion. House Majority Leader John Diehl calls that “absurd.” Who do you believe?

A. Nixon
B. Diehl
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