Missouri Western State University Notable Alumni

Last Updated on August 28, 2023

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Missouri Western State University is a public university in Saint Joseph, Missouri. As of 2019, the school enrolled 5,413 students.

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 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.[4]

The establishment of a four-year school was a central campaign issue in the 1964 Democratic gubernatorial primary, when Warren Hearnes of the Bootheel challenged Hilary A. Bush of Kansas City. Hearnes promised to transform the school into a four-year institution despite the presence of another state university (then Northwest Missouri State College, now Northwest Missouri State University) 40 miles (64 km) to the north in Maryville.

Hearnes narrowly won the primary and then won general election. A year later, the college became Missouri Western Junior College, and was transferred from the St. Joseph School District to the Missouri Western Junior College District, comprising 11 school districts in five counties. The college was granted four-year status as Missouri Western College in 1969 during Hearnes’ second term. The Missouri Western Junior College district funded the first two years, with the state funding the final two years.[5][6]

Years later, Missouri Western named its library after Hearnes; school officials said Missouri Western would have never become a four-year college without him.[7]

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.[8]

The school became Missouri Western State College in 1973, and became fully supported by the state in 1977. It was granted university status in 2005, and began offering graduate degrees in 2007.[9]

In 1988 Shalia Aery, commissioner of higher education under Governor John Ashcroft recommended Northwest should close and leave Missouri Western as the surviving school.[10] That plan was ultimately dropped.

Legislation in 2005 changed the institution’s name to Missouri Western State University.[11] 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.[12] 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.[13]

In 2010, the Stephen L. Craig School of Business was accredited by AACSB International.[14]

As of April 2020, the school will be phasing out or radically revising nearly 100 of its degree offerings. These changes are a response to years of “downward student enrollment trends, strained state funding resources, rising costs, deferred maintenance needs, long-term debt [and] now the economic impact of covid-19”.[15][16]

The university’s most visible corporate affiliation is with Hillyard, Inc., a cleaning supplies company.[citation needed] 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 university hosts the Hillyard Tip Off Basketball Classic tournament.

Notable alumni

Roger Allen III, professional football player in the National Football League (NFL)
David Bass, professional football player in the NFL
Charles Bruffy, Grammy Award-winning artistic director of the Kansas City Chorale and chorus director of the Kansas City Symphony
Richard Durst, Baldwin-Wallace University president emeritus
Brice Garnett, PGA Tour golfer
Esther George, president of Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City
Elijah Haahr, Missouri state representative
Michael Hill, professional football player in the NFL[29]
Christel Marquardt, judge on the Kansas Court of Appeals
Paul Rhoads, football coach
Gijon Robinson, professional football player in the NFL
Rob Schaaf, Missouri state senator
Greg Zuerlein, professional football player in the NFL, Placekicker for the Dallas Cowboys
Jonathan Owens, professional football player in the NFL, Safety for the Houston Texans

missouri western state university tuition

In State Missouri Resident Sticker Price


Books and Supplies$1,000
Other Fees$1,825
Room and Board$9,125
Other Expenses Budget$2,665
Out of State Resident Sticker Price


Books and Supplies$1,000
Other Fees$1,825
Room and Board$9,125
Other Expenses Budget$2,665

Residents of Missouri pay an annual total price of $21,015 to attend Missouri Western State University on a full time basis. This fee is comprised of $6,400 for tuition, $9,125 room and board, $1,000 for books and supplies and $1,825 for other fees.

Out of state residents are charged a total cost of $26,925 which is 28.1% higher than Missouri residents. The tuition charge is $12,310 while room and board is $9,125, books and supplies are $1,000 and other fees come in at $1,825.All price data is sourced from the 2019/2020 U.S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics survey.

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Net Price

Net price is indicative of what it actually costs to attend Missouri Western State University when typical grants and scholarships are considered. The net price varies by family income and financial need.

Average Net Price 2018/2019


Family IncomeNet Price Paid
$0 to $30,000$8,762
$30,001 to $48,000$9,096
$48,001 to $75,000$11,336
$75,001 to $110,000$14,235

The average reported annual net price for Missouri Western State University for students receiving grants or scholarship aid was $10,383 in 2018/2019. Net price includes tuition and required fees, books and supplies, and average cost for room and board and other expenses

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