Graduate Program

College Student Affairs

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion

Fall 2020

Thesis Director

Richard L. Roberts

Thesis Committee Member

Dianne Timm

Thesis Committee Member

Jon K. Coleman


Mission statements are thought to be documents that hold the core purposes of an organization. While several studies have examined the various aspects of higher education mission statements, few have explored how the themes within mission statements are transferred to those the institutions is serves, it’s students. This qualitative studied used semi-structured interviews with graduating senior students at a mid-sized, Midwest institution to examine whether or not the missional themes were evident in and valuable to the students’ experience. The result of the study found that the missional themes were in general present and valuable in the students’ experience. The research also revealed that the value of themes and what the students’ discussed as valuable about their experiences were largely connected to their individual development in alignment with Chickering and Reisser’s 1993 student development theory. This study concluded with a discussion regarding the core importance of student development in the university experience and how this must be considered in the mission and future of higher education.