Missouri State University
Political Science Blog

Bears of Distinction Part III: Steven McDonald

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The Alumni Award for Excellence in Public Affairs recognizes graduates who have exceptional achievements in their professional endeavors, while demonstrating outstanding commitment to the ideals of public service.

This recipient of this year’s Award of Excellence in Public Affairs is Steven F. McDonald, a 1966 Political Science alumni. Steve spent four decades focused on peace building, conflict resolution, democracy and governance in Africa, Northern Ireland, Timor Leste and Brazil. He worked with South Africans, including Nelson Mandela, to bring about the change from Apartheid to majority rule in 1994.

At the award ceremony, Steve fondly recalled the influence of the late Frank Dinka who “opened the eyes of this country-born and wide-eyed youth to world politics and possibilities.”

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Bears of Distinction Part II: Lincoln Hough

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The Outstanding Young Alumni Award recognizes graduates 35 years of age or younger who have demonstrated extraordinary achievement in their personal and professional endeavors and have brought honor to Missouri State University.

This year’s Outstanding Young Alumnus is Lincoln Hough. A Political Science major who graduated in 2005, Lincoln is a three-term Missouri representative. In 2011, he was named a Distinguished Legislator by the Missouri Community Colleges Association for his work advocating for community colleges across the state.

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Bears of Distinction Part I: Lee Gannaway

The Political Science department had a pretty good night at the first annual Bears of Distinction Alumni Awards Ceremony on Friday, June 10th. Honored to be present with the award winners and special guests; including former honorees, Denny Pilant and Adam Crumbliss.


Starting off the night, Lee Gannaway, was honored with a Bears of Excellence Award. From the Class of 1963, Gannaway is a retired attorney. He served as Mayor of Springfield from 1995-2001 and helped lead the revitalization of downtown by securing more than $50 million in private investments during a three-year period. He is credited with the development of Jordan Valley Park, the Exhibition Center, Hammons Field and the renovation of the Landers Theater, Gillioz Theater, Discovery Center and more.

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Dr. Gabriel Ondetti Wins Best Article Award


Dr. Gabriel Ondetti’s article, “The Roots of Brazil’s Heavy Taxation,” published last year in the Journal of Latin American Studies Journal of Latin American Studies was chosen as the best article of 2015 by the Political Economy Section of the Latin American Studies Association.

From the award committee: “Gabriel Ondetti’s comparative historical article argues that the reason for Brazil’s uniquely large tax burden – by Latin American standards – since the mid-twentieth century stems from the class basis of state-led growth and the political preferences for democracy. While economic and political elites in Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay feared that a strong state could address the calls for wealth redistribution by non-elites and began scaling the state back during the bureaucratic authoritarian dictatorships, in Brazil both economic elites and non-elites favored a strong developmental state after the Second World War that fueled industrialization and economic growth during the BA period and after the return of democracy. Countering a long list of potential alternative explanations, Ondetti’s article makes a compelling argument that complements theories of taxation Latin America by shifting the focus away from resource endowments.”

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Dr. Ashley Leinweber Recognized by Board of Governors

Dr. Ashley Leinweber has been selected as one of three faculty recipients to receive this year’s Board of Governors’ Faculty Excellence in Public Affairs award.

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With Dr. Leinweber’s vision and leadership, the Model UN organization has become the embodiment of the cultural competence pillar of the Public Affairs mission. The Model UN students have become more fully engaged in world affairs by sponsoring events such as the UN at 70 Celebration and the World Hunger panel. These events, and other sponsored by the group, offer the Model UN students a look at real world solutions to real world cultural, environmental, and economic development issues.

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Dr. Leinweber’s commitment to Public Affairs extends beyond campus with her pro bono efforts in asylum cases from the Democratic Republic of Congo. With the asylum cases, she takes the Public Affairs mission to a much larger stage. By her own admission, not all asylum seekers deserve asylum. But for those who do, Dr. Leinweber’s research and testimony is essential in the protection of human rights; both for those seeking asylum and for all of us. Like her very public statements regarding conflict minerals, Dr. Leinweber’s work in asylum cases exemplifies the highest standards of ethical leadership.

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Department Launches New Certificate and Minor in Fire Administration


The Political Science department at Missouri State University is pleased to announce the creation of a new certificate program and minor in Fire Administration which were approved recently by the Coordinating Board for Higher Education.

Increase your knowledge and skills as a fire service manager, leader, and administrator with a MSU Certificate in Fire Administration. This online pro-gram allows you to complete your course work without coming to campus. With this undergraduate certificate program you will learn the important concepts and skills required to successfully perform administrative and managerial roles in emergency service organizations. The program consists of three required courses and one elective course. All of the courses are at the undergraduate level and may be applied to the minor in Fire Administration.


This program was developed in conjunction with the US Fire Administration’s Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education project. It is not intended for novice firefighters and presumes that the students will have sufficient experience as a senior firefighter or junior company officer equivalent to at least 3 years of experience


To get permission to enroll in these online courses, all students must apply to Missouri State University. Potential students seeking more information about the certificate or minor coursework should contact Dr. David Johnson (417-836-6956).

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