Endowment opens door for softball naming rights


Over $57,000 has been raised for the Pat Lipira Softball Endowment, which aims to honor Vice President of Academic Affairs Pat Lipira by naming Missouri Southern’s softball complex after her. Prior to her current position, Lipira served as Southern’s head softball coach from 1982-2000, earning a 632-275 record.

Anyone who dedicates decades of their life to students wants to leave a legacy. One educator/coach/mentor is doing just that.

Dr. Pat Lipira was the softball coach for Missouri Southern from 1982-2000. During that time, she stacked up an impressive 632-275 record.

She also led the Lions to six NCAA Regional appearances, four MIAA championships and the NCAA National Championship in 1992.

Many will remember Lipira for her softball years, but she gave back to students in academia as well. In 2000, Lipira took over as the head of the kinesiology department. In 2012, she became vice president of academic affairs.

“Dr. Lipira has left a long-lasting legacy on the MSSU campus,” said Maryann Mitts, assistant professor of kinesiology at Southern. “Very few professionals can own such diverse contributions during a career, and, in addition, do so at one institution.”

Because of Lipira’s contributions, the Pat Lipira Softball Endowment has begun. Earlier this month, donors from the Missouri Southern Foundation received word about this new campaign. So far, over $57,000 has been raised for naming rights of the softball complex for it to eventually bear Lipira’s name.

Sallie Beard, retired athletics director for Southern, also serves on the fundraising committee for this campaign.

“There are too many very fond memories of Dr. Lipira to single out one,” Beard said. “We worked together for nearly 30 years … the stories are overwhelmingly positive and happy.”

Our experiences together range from athletics to academics and center largely around Pat’s commitment to a quality higher education experience,” Beard added.

Proceeds of the donations will go to name the new softball complex, the softball locker room at the athletics field house and will help endow a scholarship in Lipira’s name.

The Missouri Southern Foundation plans to have the campaign completed by June 1.

“The dedication has been scheduled for spring 2016,” Mitts said. “The exact date and time are to be determined, however, it will coincide with a home softball game.”

At press time, details regarding the scholarships were not available. However, the criteria will be announced at a later date.