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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

July 25, 2015

Missouri Academy to celebrate 15 years of offering STEM education

The Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics and Computing at Northwest Missouri State University will commemorate its 15th anniversary July 31 through Aug. 2 with a weekend of social activities and speakers reflecting on the institution’s history and future.

Events include a cookout Friday night at the Raymond J. Courter College Park Pavilion. On Saturday, the Missouri Academy hosts a brunch featuring remarks by alumni, faculty and former staff members, and a banquet that night features the Missouri Academy’s founding dean, Dr. Russ Pinizzotto as well as a tree-planting ceremony and a reception at the Centennial Garden. Sunday morning’s schedule includes a presentation titled, “State of the Present and Future of the Missouri Academy.”

For a complete schedule of events, visit

Launched on the Northwest campus in 2000, the Missouri Academy is a two-year accelerated, early-entrance-to-college residential program for academically-talented students who have career aspirations in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Students attend classes with traditional University students, and professors hold the same expectations for the academy students. Students who complete the program receive an associate of science degree and a high school diploma, simultaneously.

“Much of what we envisioned in the very beginning has exceeded what we thought would happen in terms of the success of our students and the impact on Northwest Missouri State University,” Missouri Academy Dean Dr. Cleo Samudzi said. “I am quite happy and pleased.”

The Missouri Academy was born during the early 1990s out of former Northwest President Dr. Dean Hubbard’s vision of an academic program designed to challenge and stimulate the best and brightest students of Missouri. Its planners envisioned a school where motivated high school juniors and seniors could receive advanced preparation for futures in STEM fields – the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Between 1990 and 1995, Hubbard garnered support for the Missouri Academy from the Commissioner of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), the Commissioner of the Missouri Department of Higher Education and members of the Missouri legislature. State funding helped Northwest establish the Missouri Academy, and it opened its doors in August 2000 to 41 bright high school juniors from Missouri.

“This innovative idea, the Academy, was a collaborative effort among several state agencies and universities and the k-12 systems,” Dr. Kala Stroup, who was commissioner of the Coordinating Board for Higher Education when the Missouri Academy opened, said while addressing its graduating class last spring. “I am so proud of this Academy, and I am so grateful that people here at Northwest, and particularly your dean, have carried on to fulfill this vision.”

The Missouri Academy celebrated its first graduating class, the Pathfinders, in the spring of 2002, and it has since helped nearly 700 students earn their high school diplomas and associate of science degrees. Graduates have gone on to complete their bachelor’s degrees and further their education at an array of institutions throughout the country including Duke, Harvard, Stanford and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

For more information about the Missouri Academy, visit

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468