Area businessman Mike Ennis received an honorary Associate of Applied Science degree Saturday, May 21, from Missouri State University-West Plains (MSU-WP).
The honorary degree was presented during the university’s annual commencement ceremony by MSU-WP Chancellor Dennis Lancaster at the West Plains Civic Center.
This is the 11th year an honorary degree has been bestowed by the university. It is designed to recognize extraordinary individuals who have given a substantial part of their lives to serving others and/or who have distinguished themselves, university officials said.
It also is designed to establish a public association between MSU-WP and such exceptional men and women, thereby providing testimony to the values and quality of two-year institutions, officials added.
“There are those people that you inherently trust are on your side, and Mike Ennis is one of those people,” Lancaster said. “Mike’s interest in Missouri State-West Plains goes back many, many years, as he has worked closely with campus leadership to bring workforce development opportunities to our south-central region. He understands the relationships and initiatives needed to create the economic opportunities for his employees at Eminence Manufacturing, for his friends and neighbors in Shannon County, as well as the citizens we serve throughout the region through our programs at Missouri State-West Plains.”
More about Ennis
A graduate of the College of the Ozarks in Branson, Ennis started his precision machine shop, Eminence Manufacturing Inc. (EMI), in 2000 to create parts for the aerospace industry in the U.S. and Canada. The company supplies helicopter parts primarily to the Department of Defense through The Boeing Corporation, Sikorsky and other suppliers. It also exports some military components to Israel and Canada.
Ennis started the company with two employees; it now employs 17, including military veterans, showing its strong commitment to the military.
Ennis understands the importance of an institute of higher learning for the residents of south-central Missouri. Throughout his business career, he has been a partner of MSU-WP, serving on advisory boards and promoting higher education for youth and adults.
His advocacy of hands-on training through the manufacturing trades has led to letters of support for the university’s technology programs and grant requests. He also works closely with area high school students, introducing them to the trades and providing hands-on training, and he has donated equipment, time and talent to promote the machining trade.
Ennis has given his time to this region in other capacities, including raising funds for a number of community service projects and serving on numerous advisory boards, including the South Central Workforce Investment Board, Ozarks Small Business Incubator and Eminence Chamber of Commerce. He also sponsors and participates in an annual golf tournament for underprivileged youth in St. Louis and area Little League teams.
By awarding Ennis an honorary degree, university officials said they are recognizing Ennis’ achievements, remarkable endeavors and his position as a role model to MSU-WP students.