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Honoring Leaders Who Changed the World at Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame

Looking at courtyard reception before 2016 event

In childhood, parents and educators teach conformity  – to give boundaries, to define rules of society, to strengthen the moral and ethical compass, and to broaden an individual’s understanding of the world. With this foundation, you begin to find your uniqueness and build upon special skills that set you apart from others – skills that make you a leader.

Mary Ann Wood, director of public affairs support, and Stephanie Smith, senior director of donor relations and special events, talk about the Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame and this year’s honorees.


"The Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame was established four years ago. The purpose is to recognize people who have a connection to the State of Missouri and our public affairs mission. Our public affairs mission at Missouri State University is based on three pillars which are ethical leadership, cultural competence and community engagement. The inductees this year include Maxine Clark who is the founder of the Build a Bear Workshop, Ms. Ann Covington who is a retired Missouri Supreme Court judge. Hal Donaldson is the President of Convoy of Hope. Langston Hughes is a world-renowned author, and Judith Roland who is the US Policy and Advocacy Manager for a program called Global Citizen," said Wood.

Statue for those inducted into Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame
Statue for those inducted into Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame

Nicki Donnelson: Smith points out that the selection committee considers each nomination carefully, studying the impact each individual has made.

"As the Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame Selection Committee meets we really look for people who serve as examples of global citizens. The honorees are recognized for making an influence on the lives of individuals. They're honored and recognized for their contributions not only to the State of Missouri but to the nation. Missouri State University is lucky to host this event because we have a public affairs mission, and it fits very well with the university, but it's a statewide award, looking at people who have not just made an impact on Missouri State University but the State of Missouri as a whole. It's not restricted to politics, humanities or social sciences, but it recognizes that public affairs is found in all areas, and that it requires a critical thinking and finding how those people are impacting the nation and the world at large," said Smith.

Nicki Donnelson: This group of highly esteemed individuals will join the 11 who have previously been inducted. These individuals have left their mark as leaders of industry, philanthropy, innovation, creativity, activism, education and even one who was a leader of our nation.

Smith added, "Some of our past inductees that really define the essence of public affairs and act consistently for the benefit of others would be back in 2014 we inducted Senator John Danforth, Donald Suggs out of St. Louis and our Legacy Award was President Harry S. Truman. In 2015 we inducted Simone Bernstein. George Washington Carver was our Legacy Award, and we inducted the current Governor, Eric Greitens. In 2016 we inducted Mark Arnoldi, Henry Block from H&R Block, former Congresswoman Pat Danner, Judge Jimmy Edwards and our Legacy Award was the very famous author, Laura Engels Wilder."

Nicki Donnelson: Tickets and table sponsorships are still available for this black tie optional event.

"The Public Affairs Hall of Fame induction ceremony and banquet is on Friday, April 7th. It's at the White River Conference Center which is inside the John A. and Genny Morris Conservation Center at Bass Pro. We have a reception prior to the dinner," said Smith. "Then we have the dinner and the program. It's always a fun time. It's a great group of people. Individual tickets are on sale for $40 apiece, and then table sponsorships are still available. If people want to call the foundation, they can purchase those sponsorships and call 417-836-4143. We can take care of all that for them."

Nicki Donnelson: For more information on the individuals being recognized this year or to learn more about the event, visit For tickets or sponsorship opportunities, call the Missouri State University Foundation at 417-836-4143.