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Journagan Family’s support recognized with Bronze Bear

Award will be presented at Dec. 14 commencement ceremony
Friday, October 26, 2012

In recognition of their long-standing involvement with and support of Missouri State University, the Journagan Family will receive the 2012 Bronze Bear Award. The Journagans will be the 14th recipients of the award, which is presented to those who have exhibited “extraordinary achievement and/or outstanding support” for Missouri State.

The Missouri State University Board of Governors voted today (Oct. 26) to award the Bronze Bear to the Journagans, which will be presented at the Dec. 14 commencement ceremony at JQH Arena. The Bronze Bear Award includes a framed resolution and a 45-pound, 18-inch Bronze Bear in an upright position mounted on a base. Established in 1998, the Bronze Bear Award was designed by former Missouri State art professor Dr. Jim Hill. A 14-foot statue version of the Bronze Bear mounted on a 3-foot concrete base is located just north of Missouri State’s Plaster Student Union.

The Journagan Family has been involved with Missouri State for more than 20 years and has supported the university through gifts to the William H. Darr Agriculture Center, Robert W. Plaster Sports Complex, intercollegiate athletics, KSMU and Ozarks Public Television.

“I can’t think of anyone more deserving of the Bronze Bear Award than the Journagan Family,” said Missouri State President Clifton M.  Smart III. “They have a long history of involvement with Missouri State, and their most recent commitment of the family ranch has elevated our agriculture program to among the elite few in the country. It will be a special pleasure for me to present the Bronze Bear to the Journagan Family in December.”

In 2010, The Journagan Family donated their 3,000+ acre ranch in Douglas County, which includes as many as 1,000 head of cattle (mostly award-winning Hereford), equipment and other ranch facilities to Missouri State University

Journagan Construction Company has been recognized by the Missouri Department of Transportation as one of the best highway contractors in the state of Missouri. Leo and Jean Journagan have two children, Allen and Jill, and the family owns and operates Leo Journagan Construction.

Prior Bronze Bear recipients include:

  • 1998 – John Q. Hammons, international developer and philanthropist
  • 1999 – David D. Glass, former president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., of Bentonville, Ark., and owner of the Kansas City Royals baseball team
  • 2000 – Dr. Duane G. Meyer, president emeritus of Missouri State
  • 2003 – Virginia and William H. “Bill” Darr, founder and owner of American Dehydrated Foods and related companies, and Springfield philanthropists
  • 2004 – Jane and Ken Meyer, owners of Meyer Communications, Inc., and Springfield philanthropists
  • 2005 – Dr. John H. Keiser, president emeritus of Missouri State
  • 2006 – Thomas G. Strong, nationally-known attorney
  • 2007 – The McQueary Family, former owners of a wholesale drug company
  • 2008 – The Turner Family, Great Southern Bank
  • 2009 – The Pinegar Family, Pinegar Chevrolet
  • 2009 – Dr. Michael T. Nietzel, former president of Missouri State
  • 2010 – James P. Ferguson, president of the Heart of America Beverage Company
  • 2011 – Robert W. Plaster Foundation and the Plaster Family, developers and philanthropists

Recipients of the Bronze Bear are recommended by the university president and administrative council and supported by the executive committees of the Faculty Senate, Staff Senate and Student Government Association, prior to going before the Board of Governors for approval.

About Missouri State University
Missouri State University is a public, comprehensive metropolitan system with a statewide mission in public affairs, whose purpose is to develop educated persons. The University’s identity is distinguished by its public affairs mission, which entails a campus-wide commitment to foster expertise and responsibility in ethical leadership, cultural competence and community engagement.

About the Darr School of Agriculture

The William H. Darr School of Agriculture integrates excellence in teaching, service and research into each of the nine undergraduate and three graduate programs. Within the school, there are four units: general agriculture; agribusiness, agricultural education and communications; animal science; and environmental plant science and natural resources. Each program has unique research facilities that allow for hands-on research.  

Media Contact

  • Clifton M. Smart III
  • (417) 836-8500


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