From staff reports
For 75 years from Joplin Junior College to Missouri Southern State College and now Missouri Southern State University, the school mascot has been a lion.
However, the lion has had many looks through the years — seven, to be exact.
The first logo appeared in 1943, seven years after the junior college was founded.
“We think the first four lions were drawn by students,” said Ron Mitchell, dean of students at MSSU who has been researching the logo as part of the 75th anniversary of MSSU.
None of the early lions reflect the ferocity associated with the king of the beasts, but that changed in 1971.
That 1971 lion was the first official school logo, Mitchell said, and it saw more widespread use on posters, advertisements, calendars and other materials.
That logo lasted until 1987 and the ’87 Lion was used for 20 years and is still a part of the university seal.
The current logo was used starting in 2007.
“The 2007 lion was designed at the request of the athletic department,” Mitchell said.
Since joining the MIAA in 1989, Missouri Southern was the only lion in the conference until this year when Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo., joined the league.