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Education news and issues in the Ozarks.

Botanist, volunteer, and Navy SEAL honored in the Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame

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

Tickets are now on sale for the second annual Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame, where three individuals will be honored in April.

One is known for his inventions and work in the field of botany, one uses her pre-teen passions to fuel an innovative volunteer movement, and one uses lessons learned in Navy SEAL training to assist injured veterans. What George Washington Carver, Simone Bernstein, and Eric Greitens have in common, however, is unmistakable and lasting contributions on a local and national scope. 

That’s according to Mary Ann Wood, director of public affairs at Missouri State University. During the thorough selection process, Missouri citizens, past and present, are chosen after nominations by the public.

“I enjoy looking at all the nominations, because we get such a broad spectrum of people…from local public school teachers to past presidents,” Wood says.  

The candidates are then evaluated and narrowed down to three by a selection committee made up of Missouri State faculty, staff, and community members.

“We’re really hearing a lot more people talk about the event this year, so we’re excited about that,” Wood says.

She also explains that all recipients will be well represented; accepting the awards will be an official from the George Washington Carver National Monument, joined by Simone Bernstein and Eric Greitens.

Wood says it is exciting to see the different ways each individual embodies Missouri State’s pillars of public affairs; ethical leadership, cultural competence, and community engagement.

“It’s really fun to see how different people are living out that public affairs mission. That’s really what we’ve found is the whole idea of the award.”

The Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame reception will begin at 6 p.m., and the induction ceremony at 7 p.m. on April 17 at the White River Conference Center. The event is open to the public, but tickets are required. Additional details can be found here.