Significant Grant Establishes Naming of MBU’s College of Business & Entrepreneurship, Supports Construction of New Academic Building - Missouri Baptist University

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Significant Grant Establishes Naming of MBU’s College of Business & Entrepreneurship, Supports Construction of New Academic Building

The Robert W. Plaster Foundation has bestowed a substantial seven figure gift to Missouri Baptist University for the naming of MBU’s College of Business & Entrepreneurship. The funds will support construction of a new academic building, which will house the Robert W. Plaster College of Business and Entrepreneurship as well as being home to MBU’s School of Nursing. The new building, which is an addition to MBU’s current Administration Building, will include new classrooms and an Applied Innovation Lab for MBU business students. 

Dr. Karen Kannenberg, dean of the College of Business and Entrepreneurship, spoke about the value this generous gift brings to the College. “The Plaster Foundation grant provides an enhanced and consolidated learning environment for our students and faculty. The faculty and I are excited about the potential for collaboration, innovation and community building in this new inspirational space.”

“We believe Robert W. Plaster would be quite pleased for his foundation to name the School of Business and Entrepreneurship at Missouri Baptist University, a beacon of light guiding students as they prepare for their lives in faith, family and work,” said Jason Hannasch, executive director for the Plaster Foundation. “We applaud all other supporters of this project at Missouri Baptist University, which will provide world-class facilities for faculty and students to study business and free enterprise. And of course, we cannot wait to see what Missouri Baptist University students accomplish,” said Hannasch.

In 1983, the Robert W. Plaster Foundation was established to help academic institutions provide affordable college education to students who may not have the ability to afford it otherwise. Robert W. Plaster grew up in southwest Missouri during the Great Depression. After his father died, Plaster worked hard as a boy to help support his family. He was not able to afford college, so instead he went to work. Plaster believed in God, his country, and the value of hard work, living by the philosophy of “Can’t Never Could.”

“Mr. Plaster was an innovative entrepreneur with Midwestern roots who had a major impact in the world of business,” said MBU President Dr. Keith L. Ross. “The very generous gift from the Plaster Foundation enables us to not only enhance our campus through a new building project for the College of Business & Entrepreneurship, but also allows MBU to make a profound impact on the world of business as we train students from a Christian worldview,” Ross said.

During his long and successful career, Plaster founded over 500 individual corporations in a wide variety of industries. This includes the Empire Gas Corporation in 1963, which was sold over thirty years later as one of the largest retail propane distributors in the nation. Attributing to his success, Plaster often said, “The difference between mediocrity and success is an hour a day.”