Move over, Roary the mascot. There’s a new Lion on campus.
Officials at Missouri Southern State University on Monday unveiled the new Lion Icon statue and plaza just outside Billingsly Student Center.
“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 bronze lion statue, designed by Brian Hanlon of Hanlon Sculpture Studio in Toms River, N.J., stands 10 feet tall and is 12 feet in length. It’s surrounded by a 5,400-square-foot plaza that features a graduated wall, ground pavers, and new seating and lighting. The plaza was designed by RDG Planning and Design of Des Moines, Iowa, and built by R.E. Smith Construction Co. of Joplin.
The project was funded by the student senate and alumni Bill and Tracy Gipson.
Noah Triplett, president of the student senate, called the project “one of our babies” and thanked students for their involvement.
“You embody the spirit of MSSU, and without you, this wouldn’t have been thought of,” he said during remarks preceding the unveiling.
Interim President Alan Marble said the statue enhances the campus and will help create memories and traditions for current and new students.
“The Lion Icon will be an enduring legacy in this great university that just turned 75 years old,” he said.
Michael LaFerla, an orthodontist in Joplin and a 1989 MSSU graduate, said he expects the statue and plaza to become a “central focus” of the campus.
“I think we have a beautiful campus, but this will be one more thing to make it stand out,” said LaFerla, who served on the committee behind the planning and execution of the project.
Anthony Price, a junior criminal justice major from Wentzville, was one of several individuals who hung around after the unveiling to pose for a picture in front of the statue.
“I think it will bring some life to the campus,” he said.
The unveiling was part of a back-to-school picnic on the campus oval for students, faculty and staff to mark the first day of the fall semester. Activities included lunch, music, a rock-climbing wall and a surf scene photo shoot.
One of the hundreds of students taking advantage of the free lunch was Aaron Neher, a freshman music education major from Pierce City who had just moved into his residence hall on Sunday. With two classes already under his belt by lunchtime, Neher said he is looking forward to becoming more self-reliant as he adjusts to college life.
“I’m excited to be able to do everything myself and not have to rely on anybody,” he said.
Angela Triplett, a freshman from Carl Junction, had already been to three classes by the time she stopped at the picnic for lunch.
“They’re really good,” she said of her courses. “In the first class, I knew one person, and I knew one person in the second class, but I didn’t know anybody in the third class, so I’ve made new friends.”
Triplett said she looks forward to experiencing life as a college student.
“It’s way different than high school or anything I’ve ever been in,” she said.
Emily Haut, a senior biology major from Joplin, said she appreciated the festivities that MSSU planned for students to welcome them back to classes.
“I think it’s good to show students that you care about them and boost their morale on the first day of school,” she said.
Haut said the best part of the upcoming school year is her course schedule.
“I have a lot of really tough but exciting classes this year,” she said. “My classes are more specialized to what my degree is in.”
Back to school
MONDAY ALSO MARKED the start of classes for students at Pittsburg (Kan.) State University, Crowder College campuses, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College in Miami, Lamar public schools and Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School in Joplin.
Move over, Roary the mascot. There’s a new Lion on campus.
- Top Stories
SLIDE SHOW: Snow almost over, but cold heads lower
When the snow stopped falling Friday afternoon, road-clearing crews across the Joplin area started getting an upper hand on the weather. But that could be short lived. More flurries and light freezing drizzle are forecast for tonight through Sunday morning.
Boeing deal takes flight; most area lawmakers support incentive deal for new Boeing plant
Southwest Missouri legislators almost unanimously endorsed an economic incentive package this week that is aimed at luring Boeing Co. to the state to build its 777X commercial jetliner. The bill passed the House by a vote of 127-20 on Friday, and follows Senate approval on Wednesday.
Cold places more demand on area homeless shelters
Local shelters expected increased demand on Friday, with overnight temperatures expected near zero and the lingering snow. Overnight temperatures in the teens are forecast for the rest of the weekend.
Second plea deal struck in Joplin murder case
A second defendant has accepted a plea offer in the Jacob Wages murder case, agreeing to testify against the suspected shooter, Daniel Hartman, in exchange for a lighter sentence.
3 To Get Ready
Three things coming your way in Saturday’s Joplin Globe.
UPDATED CANCELLATIONS: Joplin Schools, MSSU added to list of cancellations for Friday, Dec. 6
With a cold front forecast to the Four State Area that is accompanied by freezing rain, snow and sleet and temperatures in the single digits, several cities have rescheduled Christmas parades and are canceling or postponing community events.
Irving pupils dazzled by room sizes, colors in new school building
Ask 9-year-old Logan Foglesong what he likes about the new Irving Elementary School, and he’ll tell you he loves its size. “You might need a GPS for it,” he said. “It has so much stuff. I love the classrooms, and it’s just so big.”
Nelson Mandela, 20th century colossus, dies at 95
Nelson Mandela, who became one of the world’s most beloved statesmen and a colossus of the 20th century when he emerged from 27 years in prison to negotiate an end to white minority rule in South Africa, has died. He was 95.
St. Mary’s church, school awarded $300,000 grant from foundation
St. Mary’s Catholic Church and its elementary school, which were destroyed in the 2011 tornado, have received a $300,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Southwest Missouri.
Winter storm pushes Gov. Nixon to activate emergency operations center
Gov. Jay Nixon today activated the State Emergency Operations Center for 24-hour a day operations in response to a winter storm system that threatens to bring freezing rain, sleet, snow and ice to much of Missouri.
- More Top Stories Headlines
- SLIDE SHOW: Snow almost over, but cold heads lower