JOPLIN, Mo – On Friday, Missouri Southern State University recognized supporters Dr. Bob and Dot Willcoxon for a generous and transformational gift to the Lions Forward Campaign.
Their $1 million gift will support the Lions Forward Campaign through the university’s new Health Science Innovation Center and provide new learning opportunities for future Lions.
“Bob and Dot Willcoxon’s extraordinary gift will support excellence and innovation in the health sciences at MSSU,” said MSSU President, Dr. Dean Van Galen. “It is inspiring to think about the impact this gift will have on our students and our entire campus. We are very grateful.”
Their gift to the Missouri Southern Foundation will support three important initiatives including the construction of the Health Science Innovation Center and the launch of a signature event for the region: the Willcoxon Innovation in Health Sciences Summit.
The third and final initiative funded by their gift will be focused on students and faculty. The Willcoxon Scholars Program will support a cohort of Missouri Southern students, and their faculty mentors, in conducting basic, applied or translational research in health science and related fields.
The Willcoxons are long-standing supporters of MSSU. On campus, they have already left a legacy through gifts like the Willcoxon Health Center, located inside the Billingsly Student Center.
This new gift will significantly impact MSSU students’ lives.
“We have always felt the need to get involved in our Joplin community,” the Willcoxons said. “It takes all of us, working together to do something great. We are blessed to have the opportunity to partner with others within our city to help Missouri Southern State University move forward into this new and exciting chapter of its educational mission. Missouri Southern students, the university, and the city of Joplin will benefit greatly through the impact of the Lions Forward campaign.”
Their support for Joplin extends beyond the university.
Dot is involved in local non-profits, including Lafayette House and the Joplin Public Library.
She is currently a member of the Missouri Southern Foundation Board of Directors.
Bob is a member of the Missouri State Medical Association and the Southwest Missouri Chapter of the American College of Surgeons. In the past, he has served on the boards of St. John’s Hospital, Freeman Health Care, Joplin Chamber of Commerce, as well as Friends of Wildcat Glades. He currently serves on the board of the Community Clinic and volunteers weekly at St. Peter’s Outreach House.
“Bob and Dot Willcoxon have a long history as philanthropic leaders in the region, said MSSU Executive Vice President, Dr. Brad Hodson. “This latest gift will not only impact future generations of MSSU students but will inspire others to create similar legacies.”