This year’s Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is at 6 p.m. on April 12 at the White River Conference Room. I am very excited about this year’s class of inductees: Maya Angelou, William Clay Sr., William Darr, Emily Geraghty and Doug Pitt.
Maya Angelou was an author, poet, historian, songwriter, playwright, dancer, stage and screen producer, director, performer, singer and civil rights activist.
Angelou worked for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. She wrote and performed an original poem at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton. And President Barack Obama presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Angelou is best known for her autobiographies and poetry. Her poem, “Yet Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘fore I Diiie,” was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1972. She died in 2014.
William Clay Sr.
William (Bill) Clay Sr. is a retired member of Congress.
The first African-American representative from Missouri, he served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1969-2001. His tenure was longer than any other former African-American member of the House. Clay started as a civil rights activist and labor union representative in St. Louis and promoted bills that helped minorities and U.S. workers.
William (Bill) H. Darr is a successful agribusiness entrepreneur. He founded American Dehydrated Foods, Inc. (ADF) in 1978. Today, his companies, along with ADF, also include International Dehydrated Foods, Inc., Food Ingredients Technology Company and IsoNova Technologies.
Darr has been called a humanitarian, philanthropist, child advocate and higher education champion, among others. He and his wife, Virginia, have created many scholarships to help students pursue higher education. In 2002, they established the Darr Family Foundation. To date, it has awarded more than $2.7 million in grant funding to local organizations serving at-risk children.
Emily Geraghty is an accomplished multimedia journalist and producer. During her years of developing video content and mini-documentaries, Geraghty has developed a unique creative voice producing videos that focus on identity issues for women and LGBTQ people.
She created and directs the size-inclusive sensation, “Women Sizes 0 to 28 in the Same Outfit.” She was also awarded a Webby Award for her mini-documentary “Pretty Big Movement Destroys Dancer Stereotypes” from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.
Doug Pitt is a businessman, investor and philanthropist. In 2007, he founded Care to Learn, a Springfield-based nonprofit that provides immediate funding to meet children’s emergent needs. Those health, hygiene and food items reduce barriers to help every student be successful in school.
To date, the organization has met over 900,000 of those needs for Missouri students, and serves more than 98,000 students from 33 school districts in Missouri.
Join us at the ceremony
Tickets for this year’s induction ceremony are $40. I encourage all members of the university community to purchase tickets online and attend this event.
Additionally, if you have suggestions for future inductees into the Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame, please submit a nomination online.
Thanks for all you do for Missouri State!
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