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Actor, Alumnus Goodman Receives Honorary Doctorate, Reflects on College Days

John Goodman after being awarded honorary doctorate
John Goodman after being awarded an honorary doctorate degree from MSU. Photo Credit-Shane Franklin

Students at Missouri State University begin classes Monday morning. As in years past, the arrival of the freshmen class is celebrated with the New Student Convocation ceremony. This year, it included a special award for a popular figure with University ties. KSMU’s Shane Franklin has the story.

 [Nat Sound: Students cheering and celebrating outside the New Student Convocation]

Students celebrated Sunday outside the JQH Arena where actor John Goodman received an honorary doctorate degree from Missouri State University.

For Goodman, being able to come and speak at the convocation was a way for him to say thank you for the opportunities provided to him while going to school in Springfield. He even had a bit of advice to share with students of theatre, who may look to follow in his path.

 “Read, read, read, read, read. Read everything. You can’t work unless you know the world, and outside of living in the world the best way to learn about the world is to read about it,” said Goodman.

During a news conference following Sunday’s ceremony, Goodman spoke fondly of memories during his college years.

“The nights in Springfield, in the summer. It’s unmatched anywhere else on earth. It’s just Heaven,” said Goodman.

For the Hollywood actor, a lot of those nights were spent honing his skills in Tent Theatre.

“They have the opportunity to play different roles every night, in front of a willing audience, because they have built up a great audience base here. People like Tent, and they’ve come to expect good shows,” said Goodman. 

Goodman said it’s great to come back and drive around the city, noting all the new development downtown. He added that there’s so many cool restaurants and bars down there, it’s like he’s been able to rediscover Springfield.

For KSMU News, I’m Shane Franklin.