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Missouri Western State University

Missouri Western State University is a public, co-educational university located in Saint Joseph, Missouri, United States. As of September 2016, the school enrolls 5,145 undergraduate students and 243 graduate students.

Missouri Western State University
Missouri Western State University seal.svg
Motto Everything is Possible
Type Public
Established 1915 (1915)
President Robert A. Vartabedian
Provost Jeanne Daffron
Students 5,388 (Fall 2016)[1]
Undergraduates 5,145 (September 2016)[1]
Postgraduates 243 (September 2016)[1]
Location Saint Joseph, Missouri, U.S.
39°45′29″N 94°47′08″W / 39.7581°N 94.7856°W / 39.7581; -94.7856Coordinates: 39°45′29″N 94°47′08″W / 39.7581°N 94.7856°W / 39.7581; -94.7856
Campus Urban, 744 acres (301.1 ha)
Colors Black and Gold[2]
Nickname Griffons
Sporting affiliations
Mascot Max the Griffon
Missouri Western logo.svg



Missouri Western State University was founded in 1915 as a two-year institution called St. Joseph Junior College and held courses in the original location of Central High School (St. Joseph, Missouri) at 13th and Patee. In 1933 when Central High School moved to its current location the junior college relocated to the Robidoux Polytechnic High School building at 10th Street between Edmond and Charles. In 1917 it adopted the Griffon as its mascot.[3]

The establishment of a four-year school was a central campaign issue in the 1964 Missouri Governor's race. Warren Hearnes from southeast Missouri who was challenging Hilary A. Bush who was from western Missouri for governor. Hearnes promised to transform the school into a four-year school despite the presence of another state university (Northwest Missouri State University) 40 miles (64 km) to the north in Maryville, Missouri.

Hearnes narrowly won the primary and then won general election. The college became a four-year school in 1969 during Hearnes second term.[4]

School officials, saying the four-college would never have occurred without Hearnes, named the school's library for him.[5]

Shortly after the conversion, the school acquired the farm of St. Joseph State Hospital #2, on the east side of Interstate 29, for its campus on the east edge of St. Joseph. The original plan had called for it to be built across from the hospital, just west of Bishop LeBlond High School and closer to downtown St. Joseph.[6]

In 1988 Shalia Aery, commissioner of higher education under Governor John Ashcroft recommended Northwest should close and leave Missouri Western as the surviving school.[7] That plan was ultimately dropped.

Legislation in 2005 changed the institution's name to Missouri Western State University.[8] That legislation designated Missouri Western as Missouri's Applied Learning Institution and allowed it to grant master's degrees. The university hooded its first 12 master's degree recipients in May 2009.[9] In its first six years offering graduate degrees, graduate enrollment at Western has grown by 100% or more each year. As of 2016, Western offers 18 master's degrees and six graduate certificates.[10]

In 2010, the Stephen L. Craig School of Business was accredited by AACSB International.[11]

The school's most visible corporate affiliation is with Hillyard, Inc., a cleaning supplies company. The school's Spratt Memorial Stadium is named for Elliot "Bub" Spratt, an executive at the company. Leah Spratt Hall is named for a sister of Elliot. The school hosts the Hillyard Tip Off Basketball Classic tournament.


  • M. O. Looney (1969–1983)
  • Janet Gorman Murphy (1983–2000)
  • James Scanlon (2001–2008)
  • Robert Vartabedian (2008–present)

Campus buildingsEdit

Missouri Western grounds from across Interstate 29 in 2007 prior to construction of the Kansas City Chiefs training camp (to the right of the MWSU sign)
Campus clock

The main buildings of Missouri Western State University are all dedicated to someone who is an important part in MWSU's history.[12]

Building name Function
Agenstein Hall Math and Science Departments
Baker Family Fitness Center Student Fitness Center
Beshears Hall Housing
Blum Union Bookstore, Dining (Aramark), Center for Multiculture Education, Center for Student Engagement, Health Center, Campus Police
Commons Building Housing
Eder Hall Admissions, Department of English and Modern Languages,[13] Financial Aid, Student Affairs
Fulkerson Center Conference rooms
Griffon Hall Housing
Griffon Indoor Sports Complex Athletic training facility, coaches' offices
Hearnes Center Library, Center for Academic Support, Information Technology Services, Instructional Media Center
Juda Hall Housing
Leaverton Hall Housing
Logan Hall Housing
Looney Complex Athletics Department, (HPER)–Health, Physical Education, and Recreation Services
Missouri Department of Conservation Missouri Department of Conservation, Biology department
Murphy Hall Communication and Journalism; Education; Nursing and Allied Health; Psychology
Popplewell Hall Administrative building, Stephen L. Craig School of Business, College of Professional Studies; Department of History, Philosophy, and Geography, Department of Economics, Political Science, & Sociology.
Potter Hall Art and Music Departments
Remington Hall Math and Science Departments
Scanlon Hall Housing
Spratt Hall Advancement offices, Alumni Relations, Foundation, Public Relations, Walter Cronkite Memorial
Vaselakos Hall Housing
Wilson Hall Criminal Justice, Legal Studies, Social Work, Engineering Technology, Military Science, and Law Enforcement Academy


Men's sports Women's sports
Baseball Basketball
Basketball Cross country
Football Golf
Golf Soccer
Track and field Softball
Track and field
† – Track and field includes both indoor and outdoor.

Missouri Western is the home of the Griffons. MWSU competes in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association and is in NCAA Division II. Its highest attended football games are in the Missouri Western–Northwest Missouri State football rivalry. Beginning in the fall of 2017, Missouri Western will add six new sports offering a total of 16 sports.[14]

Kansas City Chiefs training campEdit

Kansas City Chiefs training camp.

The school has been the summer training camp for the Kansas City Chiefs since 2010. The $15.7 million facility was paid for by $10 million from the Chiefs (from state tax credits) and $1.2 million from student fees at Missouri Western, with the rest coming from the City of St. Joseph, Buchanan County and private donations.[15] It was designed by St. Joseph architect firm Ellison-Auxier Architects, Inc., which designed the school's Spratt Hall and clock tower.[16]

A climate-controlled, 120-yard NFL regulation grass indoor field, with a locker room, weight room, training room, classrooms and office space was completed in the summer of 2010.[17] This facility is referred to as the "Griffon Indoor Sports Complex."

Notable alumniEdit


External linksEdit