Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. 99¢ for 4 weeks.

Remembering Hammons' contributions to higher education in Springfield

Colleges and UniversitiesMissouri State UniversityCleveland ClinicMorehead State University

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- You can't walk very far on the Missouri State University campus without running into a building named after John Q. Hammons.

“Mr. Hammons was critically important to the university, he was our largest benefactor in history. There are about six or seven buildings in his name,” said Clif Smart, president of Missouri State University.

It's estimated he has donated more than $100 million to the university alone, some of which has gone towards buildings like JQH Arena, Hammons Student Center, and the Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts, which was named after his wife.

“He really believed in the university,” said Smart. “He put his money where his mouth was so to speak and wanted us to be bigger and better and a national university and he was willing to invest in the university.”

“The efforts that he gave year after year which really made a difference in how a lot of these kids are growing up,” said Coach Bill Rowe, a former director of MSU Athletics.

Coach Rowe was a close friend of Hammons.

“I've known him 50 years and watched him go through some defeats in business but also watched some of the great successes that he has had, which many of them include Missouri State University and Athletics particularly,” said Rowe.

Rowe says although Hammons and his wife had no kids, in many ways they are like family to people and students in the community who have benefited from his contributions.

“I think he is going to be remembered as a contributed but mainly a giver of his time, efforts, his forsites, and financial contributions that the rest of us all get to enjoy for years and years to come,” said Rowe.

Mr.Hammons has many personal ties to the university. He was a 19-39 graduate of Southwest Missouri Teachers college, and helped shape what we now know as MSU.

Those wishing to make a memorial contribution in honor of Mr. Hammons are being asked to direct that gift to either the Cleveland Clinic Foundation or the Missouri State University Foundation.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun