Forest Institute Honors the Life of Don Wessel

Don WesselMembers of the Forest community would like to recognize the meaningful contributions and visionary leadership of long-standing board Chairperson and friend Dr. Don Wessel. During his nine years of faithful service, Don remained steadfast in guiding the organization as it transformed from a small, single-purpose degree program into a thriving graduate school with multiple locations and degree programs.

"Don lead our organization with wisdom, personal courage and a deep commitment to the education and training of our doctoral students," according to Forest President Dr. Mark Skrade.  "He thoroughly enjoyed interacting with students and never missed a graduation or school activity.”


Hallmarks of Don’s leadership included construction of a 58 acre academic campus in southwest Springfield in 1997, and the subsequent renovation and expansion of the Robert J Murney Clinic on south Campbell.

"Don understood the significant impact having an affordable mental health clinic, the Murney Clinic, makes in the lives of thousands of people in Springfield and across the southwest Missouri region each year," said Dr. Skrade.  "It was very important to him that we help those among us who are hurting.”

In recognition of his passion for helping others, Don was awarded the Doctor of Humane Letters in Clinical Psychology by Forest Institute in 1997, an honor of which he was very proud.


Today we celebrate Don Wessel for his unwavering dedication to serving others. He fostered a spirit of stewardship from the top down which has carried forward with our alumni across the nation as they advance the mission of the school – to serve the underserved. 

Below are several pictures showing Wessel participating in events like graduation and the opening of the academic building.

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