Name: Taler & Anna (Cantrell) Sutherland
Hometown: Taler, Alton, MO; Anna, Conway, MO
Currently Reside: Walnut Grove, MO
Occupation: Co-owners of Monroe House Boutique
All Degrees Received: Taler – Associate of Arts in General Studies, Missouri State-West Plains, Bachelor of Science in General Business, MSU-Springfield. Anna – Associate of Science in Nursing and Associate of Arts in General Studies, Missouri State-West Plains.
“We will always hold a special place in our hearts for Missouri State University-West Plains.”
Attending Missouri State University-West Plains was a life-changing experience for Taler Sutherland and Anna Cantrell Sutherland. Not only did they obtain the education they needed to pursue their chosen careers, they also found a life partner in each other.
“It’s where we met and got our start, and we are so thankful for that,” the duo said. “We gained skills and knowledge that we are most certainly putting to good use. We both always felt like we mattered to everyone, even the faculty and staff.”
As an Alton resident, being close to home drew Taler to the university. For Anna, it was the small-town feel and the ability to use her A+ scholarship.
“I loved that Missouri State-West Plains had a small-town feel, but also had all the amenities of a large campus, like living on campus and the athletics and student events,” Anna said. “Being able to get my nursing degree with my A+ scholarship was also a huge draw.”
They were blessed to have some amazing instructors.
The smaller campus gave Taler and Anna the chance to really experience college life. “Because of the thriving student life on campus, we got a chance to meet and interact with people and make lasting friendships,” they said. “We were also blessed to have some amazing instructors.”
“I can’t say enough good things about the nursing program,” Anna added. “It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, but everyone worked so hard to help me study and be successful that saying ‘Thank You’ will never be enough to repay them.”
“We were able to graduate debt free, which was huge for us.”
Thanks to Missouri’s A+ Program, Taler and Anna were able to graduate from Missouri State-West Plains in 2014 without any outstanding debts or loans, which made the next step in their educational and professional journey much easier.
“When we graduated, we moved to Springfield, and I began working as an RN,” Anna said. “That allowed Taler to focus on finishing his BS in General Business. He could focus on his education while I worked to support us. We didn’t have the financial stress that most students our age had.”
It also made it easier for them to pursue their ultimate dream – owning their own business.
“We always talked and dreamed about working together and owning our own business, and we finally have that. We opened Monroe House four years ago, and it has been our baby,” they said.
“We have grown the company online, then in November 2019, we opened our brick and mortar location. It’s something we are so proud of and something we can do as a family. We even get to bring our daughter to work with us every day.”
Tinley Grace joined the family in September 2019, just in time to help “mommy and daddy” open their physical store location.
“When you first go to college, you have no idea of the real impact it will make.”
Taler and Anna credit Missouri State-West Plains with giving them many of the tools they needed to be successful in realizing their ultimate dream.
“When you first go to college, you have no idea of the real impact it will make, but later, when you begin to use those life skills you learned along the way, that’s when it hits you. We left Missouri State-West Plains equipped with the knowledge and skills to go forth into the world and start on our own,” they said.
“I knew that the nursing program had properly prepared me when I began my career as a nurse,” Anna added. “There are so many people who come into the store, and I think they just need someone to hear them out. In nursing school, we learned therapeutic communication, and I feel like I use that frequently.
“I want people to come to the store and know that it’s a safe place to talk and be heard,” Anna said. “Who would have thought that owning a clothing store could be that place for people?”
“Jump into campus life head first!”
Taler and Anna hope current and future Grizzlies will take advantage of all of the opportunities available to them at Missouri State-West Plains, especially the extra-curricular activities.
“Go to athletic events, live in the dorm, be in student organizations! The more you get involved and become a part of the campus community, the more you will get out of it. Your time at Missouri State-West Plains goes so fast that you have to make the most of it, but it’s a wonderful time! And…you never know who you might meet!”