Lion welcome warms heart


Paula Carson, new provost/vice president for academic affairs, speaks with new co-workers at the residence hall ribbon cutting on Aug. 13, 2015.

As a newcomer to Joplin and the MSSU campus, I was delighted to be asked to write an article on my first impressions after seven weeks on the job and in Missouri. And in response, two thoughts immediately emerged.

The first is that despite my short time here, the place already feels like our new home.

The Lion family and the Joplin community have been so welcoming and hospitable that my family and I feel like old-timers here already.

And second, while it has been noted that “almost everyone will make a good first impression, but only a few will make a good lasting impression” (Sonya Parker), a good lasting impression has already formed in our minds and hearts.

There are specific elements of the campus and community of Southern that have most positively impacted us.

There is a pervasive spirit of hope and optimism, augmented with a sense of resilience and aspiration.

This makes MSSU an exciting and easy place to learn and work.

And most basically, at work and everywhere else in Joplin—on the roads, in the grocery and in my neighborhood, at my children’s schools, at restaurants and convenience stores and gas stations—people are just plain nice.

We find a generosity of spirit, a gentle patience and a strong desire to help that I believe is atypical and probably under-recognized by those native to the area.

It is our wish to enhance these wonderful things, and to live up to the expectations of all those who had confidence in our ability to enrich and advance our University.