WEST PLAINS, Mo. -- Missouri State University's West Plains campus celebrated its 50th anniversary Monday.
The school was originally called the West Plains Residence Center and was located on the West Plains High School campus. The total enrollment for the first semester was a little more than 100 students.
The current multi-building campus has an average enrollment of 2,100.
Monday's celebration included a ceremony, lunch, and giveaways. More than 700 community leaders and residents took part, despite the rainy weather. Activities had to be moved inside the Student Recreation Center.
Governor Jay Nixon, who was the featured speaker, said the school provides excellent opportunities for local students.
"This school is leading the way…to make sure that education is the best economic choice for area residents," he said. "It's a beacon of higher education for a wide swath of south-central Missouri. It will continue to be a campus of opportunity, and it will continue to rise to meet the challenges of the next 50 years."