Jim Anderson, the president of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, is a believer in the power of Missouri State to change the community.
Anderson says the school has helped revitalize Springfield’s downtown area, created high-paying jobs in the region and bolstered the area’s cultural offerings.
Missouri State is “a huge economic engine,” he says; direct spending by the University puts millions of dollars into the economy, and the school’s more than 20,000 students also contribute enormously.
But just as important to Anderson is the way Missouri State advances the region and state’s quality of life through offering cultural, recreational and intellectual opportunities. “There aren’t too many markets our size that have the cultural opportunities we have, and Missouri State is a big part of that — for example, Hammons Hall is a world-class performing arts center. Springfield has a symphony, theaters, an opera company, a ballet and a regional arts council. Some of this might exist without Missouri State, but I would be willing to bet there’s a cause-and-effect relationship between those groups and the presence of the University.”
Anderson is a 1971 graduate of the University. “There’s no question in my mind, any success I have experienced is linked to my education from Missouri State. We owe it to others to give them the same opportunities we were afforded.”