Maj. Gen. Stephen L. Danner, adjutant general of the Missouri National Guard, signs a memorandum of agreement with Missouri Southern State University President Dr. Bruce Speck regarding Show-Me Gold, the Missouri Army National Guard's Officer Leadership Program, in Joplin, Missouri, October 18, 2012. The partnership between the Guard and university allows students an opportunity to obtain professional training and to become commissioned officers in the Missouri Guard. (Ann Keyes/Missouri National Guard)
By Ann Keyes
JOPLIN, Mo. - With the signing of a memorandum of agreement, the Missouri National Guard and Missouri Southern State University are partnering for Show-Me Gold, an officer training program designed to instruct and guide new officer recruits.
"Missouri Southern State University and the Missouri National Guard share a rich tradition of being and providing leaders for our state and nation," said Maj. Gen. Stephen L. Danner, adjutant general of the Missouri Guard. "This new program will muster the full resources of both institutions to mold a new generation of leaders."
Beginning at MSSU in the fall of 2013, the program provides an opportunity for Missouri residents to obtain professional training and development to become commissioned officers and serve in the Missouri Army National Guard.
The program is a good fit for MSSU, said university president Dr. Bruce Speck, who signed the agreement with Danner in Billingsley Student Center on the Joplin campus.
Student participants in the program must satisfy admissions standards of both Missouri Southern State University and the Missouri Army National Guard. Students will enroll in MSSU's regular academic programs, but also will take credit-bearing leadership courses offered through the Missouri Guard and fulfill other additional requirements.
"Some four-credit hour Show-Me Gold leadership courses will be open to all MSSU students, regardless of whether they participate in the officer training program. These courses will do a great job for developing student leadership," said Spence.
If enlisting, upon completion of the four-year program, Guardsmen will graduate and commission as second lieutenants and begin their assignments at their first unit. While in the program, Citizen-Soldiers cannot be deployed, and report to the program's instructors and recruiters as opposed to a unit in another part of the state.
The Missouri National Guard is providing a full-time instructor to the university's military science department. Capt. Amanda Self, who previously deployed to Iraq as an enlisted Soldier, starts work immediately.
"This is a great opportunity for myself, for the university and for the Guard," said Self of the prospect of educating quality officers. "The campus is extremely welcoming. I'm really excited."
Guardsmen interested in attending MSSU and joining the program will be able to take advantage of several funding and scholarship options depending on their military status. Options will vary from being able to take advantage of Federal Tuition Assistance, State Tuition Assistance, and/or Montgomery GI Bill.
Both Missouri National Guard and MSSU representatives are looking forward to the continuing partnership.
"The Show-Me Gold Program shows the faith the Missouri Army National Guard has in both the leadership and the academic programs of MSSU," said Vice President for Student Affairs, Darren Fullerton. "We appreciate Maj. Gen. Danner and the Missouri Army National Guard for bringing this program to our campus and are excited about the opportunities that this will provide for the citizens of Missouri."
"Working with our partners at MSSU, the state of Missouri is setting a new standard for producing trained, educated, and outstanding Citizen-Soldiers," said Danner.
For more information about the Missouri National Guard, please visit www.moguard.com and our social media sites: www.facebook.com/Missouri.National.Guard; www.twitter.com/Missouri_NG; www.youtube.com/MoNationalGuard; www.myspace.com/missouri_ng; www.flickr.com/photos/missouriguard; www.moguard.com/blog; www.pinterest.com/monationalguard/