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MSU to unveil campaign total at event with John Goodman, musical acts

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Missouri State University is bringing actor and alumnus John Goodman back to town to unveil the results of its $250 million Onward Upward campaign announced three years ago.

Brent Dunn, vice president for university advancement and executive director of the MSU Foundation, declined to provide the total ahead of the Oct. 29 event. He said via email that officials are "still counting until next Friday at noon."

Goodman, the capital campaign's chair who visited Springfield to help the university announce Onward Upward in 2019, will serve as the host of the event next week.

The event at Great Southern Bank Arena also will include a live performance by singer and songwriter Tori Kelly, who lent her voice talents to the movies "Sing" and "Sing 2," as well as a warm-up performance by the band KC FLO from Kansas City and performances by the MSU Grand Chorus, Pride Band and color guard, according to a news release.

“We’re incredibly thankful to our supporters for providing our students with the opportunity to thrive without financial hardship,” Dunn said in the release.

When Onward Upward was unveiled in October 2019, the project already had raised more than $150 million, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.

Dunn has provided campaign updates intermittently since, most recently telling SBJ the total was $219 million in April 2021.

Goodman, who has contributed to the campaign, as well, spoke to SBJ in 2019 before the Onward Upward announcement.

“I owe Missouri State – not that I can feel compelled particularly to give anything back, but it gives me great pleasure to do so,” he said at the time. “My life started here.”

Bearing his name, the John Goodman Amphitheatre and Judith Enyeart Reynolds Arts Park is set for an open house on Oct. 23, according to a separate news release.

Carson-Mitchell Inc. served as general contractor for the $6.4 million, 7,700-square-foot project designed by St. Louis-based Patterhn Ives LLC, according to past reporting. MSU's Tent Theatre is gaining a permanent structure to house its annual series through the project.

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