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The Commencement ceremony for Three Rivers College will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, May 15, at the Black River Coliseum.  

“Commencement is our college’s most important event of the year,” said Three Rivers President Dr. Wesley Payne. “We are proud this year that the Commencement speaker is successful Three Rivers alumnus Larry DeWitt.” 

Larry DeWitt of Sikeston is the inventor of a permeable weed barrier fabric that changed the professional landscaping industry and developed into a $40 million company. 

DeWitt graduated from Three Rivers in 1971, then went on to graduate from Southeast Missouri State University in 1973. It was at Southeast that he says he met one of the loves of his life – Horticulture. He remains in love with this career today.  

After earning degrees in horticulture and landscape design, DeWitt started his own landscaping business in Sikeston. In 1977, he was looking for a material to stop weeds and increase plant growth without chemicals. Unsatisfied with the black plastic that at the time was a landscaper’s only option, DeWitt decided to create something better. The result was DeWitt’s Weed Barrier™, a woven polypropylene product that is now used in more than 70 percent of the commercial landscaping done in the United States.  

Today the DeWitt Company has annual sales of about $40 million and produces more than 800 products at a state-of-the-art, 300,000 square-foot manufacturing facility in Sikeston.  

Performing special music for Commencement will be the Three Rivers College Choir, directed by Music Instructor Cindy White. Made up of students who are part of a music class, the choir this spring has performed at the Gospel Choir Celebration and at the Spring Music Department Concert.  

“We at Three Rivers realize the importance of Commencement to our graduates and their families,” Payne said. “All employees are involved in preparing for and participating in the ceremony to ensure our graduates are properly recognized.” 

The event is free and the public is encouraged to attend. 

Three Rivers College is committed to contributing to the quality of life in Southeast Missouri with quality, affordable higher education opportunities and community services that support and encourage the economic, civic, and cultural vitality of the region. For more information about college and workforce programs and upcoming events, visit 

Main Campus
2080 Three Rivers Blvd., Poplar Bluff, MO 63901
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Summer Office Hours (June and July): Monday – Thursday,
7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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