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Missouri State University Alum, John Goodman, Serves As Chair Of Major Campaign

Michele Skalicky

Missouri State University announced a $250 million campaign Saturday, the school's largest to date, and that actor, John Goodman, who graduated from the school in 1975, would serve as chair.

Goodman appeared at an event Saturday night, "It's On!" at the Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts.  He took part in a skit and then sat down to chat with MSU President Clif Smart.

Before the event, Goodman took turns talking to the media, including KSMU.

He explains why he decided to get involved in Onward, Upward.

"I got so much out of Southwest Missouri State and the area and my friends and people that went here, and it makes me proud to kind of give back," he said.  "It's selfish.  It makes me feel good."

Goodman started his college years at Maramec Community College in St. Louis, but he transferred to then SMSU (now MSU) where he had friends who played football.  He thought he could walk onto the team, but his grades, he said, weren't good enough.  

"By the next semester, right before I was ready to flunk out, I started dabbling in theater here," he said.

Goodman's time at SMS allowed his brain to expand, he said, and thus began "a growing curiosity about life.  Finding something I just adored with a passion and let that spark me.  It was addicting."

He said he's not sure if he would have found acting if he hadn't discovered his love for it at SMSU.

Goodman has made a donation to help fund a permanent structure for Tent Theatre on the site it's always been held, and he's excited about the project.

"I like it because it's a multi-purpose space and a community space," he said.  "The idea reminds me of Washington Square in the Village in New York.  You have artists running around, but you'd be able to see visual arts, performing arts, listen to music.  It's a great place for chamber stuff, and I'd prefer to see acoustic music done there--string bands, anything, but things pertaining to the region.  The reason why we are in Springfield, Missouri."

Goodman said he would like to come back and work with MSU theater students.  "I'd probably just give them bad habits," he said.