Don and Joyce Piveral, shown here, have pledged a gift to the Northwest Foundation totaling at least $33,000 to establish the Piveral Wake Mitchell Scholarship.

MARYVILLE, Mo. — Northwest Missouri State University alumni Don and Joyce Piveral want to pay it forward to the students who will benefit others through education.

The Piverals recently pledged a gift to the Northwest Foundation totaling at least $33,000 to establish the Piveral Wake Mitchell Scholarship, which represents the legacy and impact Northwest has had on the family. According to a university news release, the scholarship pays tribute to both sides of the family, including Joyce Piveral’s mother Hazel Eileen Mitchell Wake.

“I’ve always focused on teacher development and how we can make sure students are getting a good education because I do feel that’s the way out of the situation some students are in,” Joyce Piveral said. 

Through their gift, a $1,000 scholarship will be available to students maintaining at least a 2.75 GPA and pursuing a degree in the School of Education. A selection committee will determine the number of scholarships awarded annually with academic achievement and financial need as leading criteria.

“I got a good start here, and other students need a good start,” Joyce Piveral said. “If we help others get a good education and they don’t have any extensive debt, it helps us all.”

Don Piveral added, “Even if they go to some other job besides teaching, it opens doors. And Northwest is just plain great.”

The family’s legacy at Northwest began with Joyce Piveral’s grandmother, Verta Ball Mitchell, who attended what was then known as the Fifth District Normal School in 1910 to become a teacher.

Don and Joyce Piveral reconnected after Don returned to Northwest from the Vietnam War and finished his teaching degree at the institution in 1978.

Joyce Piveral retired from Northwest in 2016 as dean of the College of Education and Human Services and previously served as director of teacher education at the university. 

A native Missourian, Joyce Piveral completed her undergraduate degree in vocational home economics at Northwest in 1970. She also holds master’s and educational specialist’s degrees in educational leadership from Northwest and an Ed.D. in educational leadership from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Joyce Piveral has been educating future teachers for more than 50 years. She said the thought of making a difference for students, teachers and leaders motivated her dedication to the field.

“Seeing my students receive their diploma always felt like a success for me, too,” she said. “The students were always inspirational and uplifting even when challenges were ahead.”

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