EDITORIAL: Making history, celebrating history

Mar. 18—Sunday is our day to look back and recognize the good news of late, and to look ahead at the good things coming.

The truth is, the community is making history, as well as celebrating it.

On the good news of late front: Missouri Southern State University recently received another Lions Forward gift of $1 million for the new Health Sciences Innovation Building. This gift came from Dr. Robert Willcoxon and his wife, Dot Willcoxon.

Part of the gift will go to create an annual Willcoxon Innovation in Health Sciences Summit to bring nationally recognized leaders in the health care profession to Joplin. The first could be held as early as this fall.

Dot Willcoxon told the Globe: "I hope this will bring more emphasis on Joplin being a very great community for all kinds of health care. Whether you're interested in being a medical doctor, whether you want to be a dentist, whatever health care you are interested in, you can come here to the university and progress to those other schools."

This is the second such gift this year. Bill Gipson and his wife Tracy made a $1 million Lions Forward donation in January.

Speaking of Lions Forward, congratulations to the women's basketball team. The Lions won 29 games this year, including their first MIAA Tournament championship since 1996. The Lions also advanced to the Central Region Tournament championship for the first time since 1994, but unfortunately lost a heartbreaker in the fourth quarter.

Still, it was a spectacular run, and we're sure they're going to be back next year. By the way, Lacy Stokes, a sophomore guard, was named an All-American for the second year by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association. She is only the fourth player in Lions history to earn All-American honors in back-to-back seasons. She averaged 17.3 points, 5.2 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game. Congratulations to Lacy Stokes.

Looking ahead

There was plenty of other good news last week, but let's look ahead at two great things coming this week.

First, spring arrives in the Ozarks on Monday.

Also coming this week, Joplin's 150th birthday celebration kicks off, with events through the spring.

Up first, Galen Irwin will present the life of Charles "Gabby" Street. Charles Evard "Gabby" Street was a catcher and manager with a 30-year career in Major League baseball and long ties to Joplin. The event is slated for 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Joplin History & Mineral Museum, 504 S. Schifferdecker Ave. Admission is free and refreshments will be offered at 6 p.m., sponsored by the Joplin Historical Society and SMB.

Historian Brad Belk will give a presentation on Thomas Hart Benton at 2:30 p.m. on the day of Joplin's 150th birthday, Thursday, March 23, at City Hall.

Watch the paper and joplinglobe.com for a special history tab on Wednesday, and details about upcoming events.