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Plaster Foundation jump-starts MSSU athletics campaign

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The Robert W. Plaster Foundation has donated two seven-figure gifts to the Missouri Southern Foundation, the fundraising arm of Joplin-based Missouri Southern State University. The gifts mark the largest contribution made to the foundation to date.

As part of the deal, exact financial terms are to be kept private, said Rod Surber, MSSU director of university relations and marketing.

The donations will be used to help fund construction of a baseball field, renovation of Fred G. Hughes Stadium and construction of a multipurpose athletic facility adjacent to the football field, according to a news release.

"Efforts to secure a lead gift for these projects have been ongoing for years," MSSU President Bruce Speck said in the release. "We are deeply appreciative of (the Plaster Foundation's) generosity.

"They have made it possible for us to plan and execute fundraising campaigns for these major projects."

Plaster was an accounting student at Joplin Junior College, which later became MSSU, in the 1950s. Buildings carrying his name can be found at Missouri State University, Southwest Baptist University, College of the Ozarks and Crowder College, the release said.

In recognition of the Plaster Foundation gifts, the MSSU Board of Governors approved a resolution to name the southeast corner of the MSSU campus, which encompasses many of the university's athletic facilities, the Robert W. Plaster Sports Complex.

The football stadium, Fred G. Hughes Stadium, will become known as the Robert W. Plaster Stadium if additional funding is secured for a major renovation. The football stadium was named after Hughes in 1978 in commemoration of his role in the creation of the university and his service on the original board of trustees and regents, the release said.

“Names on facilities sometimes need to change when the facility has reached the end of its useful life,” Mark Parsons, executive director of the Missouri Southern Foundation, said in the release, noting that the school's stadium strategic plan committee, created in 2005, dictates the stadium has reached that point. "We know public funding will not be used for a stadium renovation, so private funding must be sought."

The school is considering naming an entrance plaza to the stadium after Hughes if the stadium is renamed after Plaster, the release said.[[In-content Ad]]


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