Speaker chosen for commencement ceremony

Lakin Adams


Tod R. Massa has been announced as the speaker for Decembers commencement ceremony to be held in the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.  

Massa holds a bachelor of arts degree in studio art from Missouri Southern along with a Masters degree in Public Administration from Southern Illinois University. 

“Very often, graduates of MSSU who have gone on to make significant accomplishments, have been chosen as graduation speakers,” Stephen Smith, news bureau manager, said. “That would be true of Tod Massa.”  

 Massa is currently the director of Policy Research and Data Warehousing for the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. 

Along side this responsibility  he is also overseeing the development of Commonwealth’s postsecondary education data system and frequently serves on the federal technical review panels for the U.S. Department of Education.  

Along with completing doctoral work in public policy analyst at Saint Louis University, he has also received the Association for Institutional Research’s “Oustanding Service Award” for his service to the association in 2000.

“He’s been very successful in his career and we’re proud to call him an alumnus,” JoAnn Graffam, vice president for advancement and executive director of development, said. 

Massa is the son of former communications department head and director of the Institute of International Studies, Richard W. Massa ,who retired several years ago.

The selection of the speaker is a collaborative effort between University President Dr. Bruce Speck and Chair of the Board of Governors Dr. Sherry Buchanan. The speakers are not required to be Southern alumn.

 Massa is very involved in the improvement of higher education and is working on a mechanism that will allow data about the real costs and outcomes of academic programs to be used when selecting an institution of higher education to attend or direct funding by policy makers. 

This tool will be available for students and various universities.

 The Lumina Foundation in partnership with the American Institutes of Research and the state of Indiana has helped provide funding for this program.

 The Lumina Foundation is a private, independent foundation dedicated to exclusively increasing students access to and success in postsecondary education.

Along with having multiple works published, Massa conducts workshops, serves on panel discussions on the national and statewide levels and participates in forums that focus on the status and future of higher education held by the American Enterprise Institute and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He is also an invited participant and adviser for a number of the Gates Foundation initiatives.

“Tod Massa is quite accomplished with his work,” Smith said. 

This will be Southern’s 57th commencement and will be at 10 a.m. on December 17.