Mary Sheid receives RCCA Trustee of the Year Award
WEST PLAINS, Mo. – In recognition of her service to and support of Missouri State University-West Plains, former Missouri State University Board of Governors member Mary Sheid has been given the Trustee of the Year Award from the Rural Community College Alliance (RCCA).
The award announcement was made at the RCCA’s annual conference Sept. 25-27 in Dubuque, Iowa. Missouri State-West Plains Chancellor Drew Bennett accepted the award on Sheid’s behalf.
“Mary Sheid has been an outstanding supporter of Missouri State University-West Plains and the rural area that we serve,” Bennett said. “This prestigious recognition by a national organization is well deserved, and we are extremely proud she was chosen.”
“I cannot thank the Missouri State University-West Plains administration, faculty and staff enough for all of their support these past 10 years,” Sheid said. “I feel very blessed to live in the area where I grew up and returned after college to work, raise my daughter and create a life. The students and community members all mean so much to me, and it is important for me to work to continue to make our area better. Missouri State University has given me numerous opportunities to learn, grow and give back. I feel the university system is vital to our area and region because it gives the individuals in our area the opportunity to grow and develop so that, as a region, we not only strive, but continue to really thrive.”
In his nomination of Sheid for the award, Bennett praised her as “someone who truly represents the spirit of Missouri State University-West Plains.” During her time on the university’s board of governors, from 2002 through 2011, Missouri State-West Plains saw a 24.5 percent increase in population and a total of $5.9 million in donations.
Also during her tenure, the campus celebrated its 40th anniversary; established the Shannon Hall educational facility for Missouri State-West Plains’ Mountain Grove campus; furthered the development of the educational program at its Dalian, China, campus; installed and dedicated the grizzly statue between Looney Hall and the Garnett Library and the Smith-London Centennial Bell Tower just west of the Lybyer Technology Center; opened a newly-renovated allied health building with a state-of-the-art simulation laboratory and a specially-equipped classroom made possible with a generous donation from Sheid and her staff at Physical Therapy Specialists Clinic; and built a new student recreation center that also serves as a shelter for the campus and community during inclement weather.
In addition, Missouri State-West Plains was selected as one of the top 120 two-year colleges in the nation by the Aspen Institute Community College Excellence Program during Sheid’s service to the university. The designation placed Missouri State-West Plains among the top 10 percent of the nation’s two-year schools.
Other campus accomplishments during Sheid’s tenure include a 10-year accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission; establishment of the William and Virginia Darr Honors Program, the Corps of Opportunity Scholarship Endowment, the Wendell Bailey Endowment for Entrepreneurship, and the Donna Jones Endowed Professorship of Nursing; recognition by The Chronicle of Higher Education as a “Great College to Work For;” and the receipt of several substantial grants, including funds from the federal Title III, College Access Challenge and TRiO programs.
“Not only is she passionate about Missouri State University-West Plains, she channels that passion into active, continuous and significant support,” Bennett said in the nomination, pointing out her membership in the Grizzly Booster Club, her generous financial and volunteer support of the campus, and her unfailing advocacy of Missouri State-West Plains. “Regardless of the measure – consistency, time, dollars, number of projects or results – Mary Sheid shines as an example of support. Her efforts during her tenure as a board member have helped build our campus, impacting countless students, faculty and staff,” Bennett said.
Sheid also has led her peers and fellow community members in support of Missouri State-West Plains, serving as a charter member of the Philanthropic Women for Education group, whose members show their passion for education through donations to the university. She also has been a key supporter of and contributor to the annual fund, having hosted the first annual fund social event at her home, and she has sponsored numerous Grizzly Volleyball and Basketball tournaments and games throughout the programs’ histories. In addition, she has established many scholarships in honor of family and friends and assisted with the establishment of several others.
Although no longer on the board, Sheid continues to work tirelessly to promote higher education in the region by currently serving as a liaison to the Missouri State-West Plains Development Board, as a trustee on the Missouri State University Foundation Board, and as president of the Southern Ozarks Alliance for Rural Development (SOAR) Board.
“As a Missouri State University board member, Mary was a very visible presence on the Missouri State-West Plains campus and consistently went above and beyond what was expected of her,” Bennett said in the nomination. “She freely gave her time and her energy toward improving the campus and the university, and has left a mark for years to come.”
The RCCA is a network and advocacy group that helps build the capacity of member community colleges to improve the educational and economic prospects for rural America, according to its website. The alliance seeks to reduce rural isolation and share effective solutions to problems facing distressed rural communities. Bennett is an RCCA board member.
Filed Under: Awards