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A monthly conversation with Missouri State University President Clif Smart.

HOF Inductees Leading Example in Public Affairs Mission

Missouri State University
The Citizen Scholar Statue in front of Strong Hall, home of the College of Humanities and Public Affairs/Credit: MSU

The Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame is a vehicle in which to showcase the lives of those dedicated to public affairs, says Missouri State University President Clif Smart.

The inaugural induction ceremony, held last week, coincided with the conclusion of MSU’s annual Public Affairs Conference.

“With the Public Affairs Conference brining in people from all over the county to talk about significant public affairs issues, we thought that ending the conference with a Public Affairs Hall of Fame would be the right thing to do. It would be interesting to people in our state, and it would help us advance the public affairs agenda which the legislature has given the university.”

First-year inductees include President Harry S. Truman, Former U.S. Senator John Danforth, and Dr. Donald Suggs, each of whom Smart says “represent one of the pillars of public affairs.”

“With President Truman and leading through and out of WWII and the rebuilding of Europe, that was the focus on cultural competence there. With Senator Danforth, just an incredible leader so we though exemplified ethical leadership and Donald Suggs is the renaissance man of the last 50 years involved in everything in his community of St. Louis, and so community engagement fit there.”

Smart notes while none of the inductees had a direct connection to Missouri State University; they each had a significant impact on the State of Missouri, which is the emphasis behind the Public Affairs Hall of Fame.

Smart hopes that citizens learn from the inductees that they can all make a significant contribution to the community. He uses the example of Clifton Truman Daniels, President Truman’s grandson, who was in attendance during last Friday’s ceremony. As an author, Clifton Daniel has told the stories of the survivors of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Daniel has made his own way based on the legacy of his grandfather, Smart says.

“And I think that’s there for all of us. I think there are things we can take from people who have truly lived lives of public engagement and try to model ourselves after them. We all need heroes, we all need examples, and it was a great night of encouragement I thought.”

Nominations can now be made for the 2015 Public Affairs Hall of Fame.