Documentaries focus on Southern’s heritage

Dr. G.K. Renners book, In Pursuit of Excellence, will serve as the basis for the documentary on the history of Missouri Southern.

Special to The Chart

Dr. G.K. Renner’s book, In Pursuit of Excellence, will serve as the basis for the documentary on the history of Missouri Southern.

Campus history will take to video as three documentaries about Missouri Southern are in the works.

The first of the three documentaries concerns the entire history of the University from its beginnings as Joplin Junior College.

Lee Pound, alumni director, said this documentary will parallel Dr. G.K. Renner’s book In Pursuit of Excellence: Missouri Southern State College. Renner’s book was published in 1993 and covers Southern’s history from 1937 to 1992.

“The documentary has been drafted by Brad Belk (executive director of the Joplin Museum Complex). He will be working with Charlie Nodler, (Southern archivist), and we’ll putting together a documentary to cover the history of Missouri Southern from Joplin Junior College at its original location,” Pound said.

She said the documentary will be a way both Belk and Nodler can give back to the University. Belk is a member of the Alumni Association’s Board of Directors, and Nodler is a lifetime Alumni Association member.

“It’s going to cover the whole gamut from the very beginning of the institution as a two-year college to the impressive direction it is in today,” Belk said. “The book is wonderful, but it’s also sometimes nice to see something where one can visualize and look at things and sit down and learn something.”

Along with Renner’s book and Southern archival pieces, Pound said cooperation for the project will come from public information, the President’s office, KGCS-LP archival footage and from the campus community.

Belk also said some pieces from the Joplin Museum will be used.

“We’re asking anyone who would have information of significant milestones in their area of study to give us the information so that we can make sure we haven’t missed anything that would be considered of significant importance in the documentary,” Pound said.

She said any information and photos of significant events are especially needed from 1992 to 2006.

“There’s so many things that have happened,” Pound said. “We just want to make sure that we don’t leave any one out. This is a piece that’s for the Missouri Southern family.”

The second documentary will cover the Mission Hills Mansion from the time the Wallower family purchased it from the Buchanan family until it was turned over to Missouri Southern as grounds for a new campus.

Pound said Jacqueline Potter approached her about doing this piece a while ago to have it available for the campus.

“Jacqueline’s family was the Wallower family,” Pound said. “So she spent many significant times as a youngster in the Mission Hills Mansion. She has family photos of interesting things that happened during the time that the Wallowers lived in the Mansion.”

She said some of those photos include could be found in Renner’s book, but also some other photos. She mentioned some photo show when some of the soldiers from Camp Crowder would come up and spend the afternoon around by the pool.

“It’s just right now the time is perfect with the restoration process, it’s just all one nice piece to put together,” Pound said.

The third documentary will feature Southern’s larger donors and other people who will play important parts in restoring the Mansion.

“That will probably be the third one that will be finished, just because we will be working on it throughout the entire process of restoration,” Pound said. “You can never recognize your donors enough.”

She said it will likely be the longest documentary because many people are anticipated to have to become involved in the restoration. Also, it will include some of the work done the Mansion as the restoration continues.

She said the goal is to have these videos available in the Mansion for Freshman Orientation or other classes once the Mansion is completed and the Alumni offices are on the second floor.

“We’ll give them a tour of the home, and then show them these short historical pieces,” Pound said. “So that it will help them understand what the campus was, what it is and what it means to them to further connection for life with the Alumni Association.”

“I see it being extremely valuable for recruitment of students and getting them better knowledge of what the University’s all about,” Belk said.

Pound said any information, photos or anything else that will help with the documentary can be sent to the alumni office or e-mailed to her at [email protected] as soon as possible. All items are needed for footage and will be returned.