Maxine Clark, Ann Covington, Hal Donaldson, Langston Hughes and Judith Rowland will be inducted into the Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame April 7.
The five inductees were chosen as citizens with a connection to the state of Missouri who serve as examples of global citizens by defining the essence of public affairs, and who have acted consistently for the benefit of others. Up to six recipients will be honored annually, with each induction class including up to one legacy award, which is being awarded to Hughes this year.
“These honorees are exemplary examples of individuals who use their skills and abilities to effect positive change on people from around the world,” said Missouri State President Clifton M. Smart III. “They exemplify the characteristics of ethical leadership, community engagement and cultural competence. The state of Missouri, our nation and the world are better because of these individuals.”
Attend the induction ceremony
The induction ceremony will be held at the White River Conference Center in Springfield. The black-tie optional dinner event will take place from 6-8:30 p.m. April 7. Tickets are $40 and tables are $750.
Maxine Clark is one of the true innovators in the retail industry. In 1997, she founded Build-A-Bear Workshop®, a teddy-bear themed retail-entertainment experience. Today there are more than 400 Build-A-Bear Workshop stores internationally.
In June 2013, Clark stepped down from her chief executive bear role to apply her entrepreneurial skills to her passion for improving K-12 public education and to invest in and mentor women and minority entrepreneurs. Her first product, Blueprint4SummerSTL, is a free and easy-to-use mobile app designed to help families navigate the best summer activities for their children. Clark is also a managing partner of Prosper Women’s Capital, a St. Louis-based fund created to invest in women-owned businesses in the St. Louis area.
Clark has been named one of “The 25 Most Influential People in Retailing” by Chain Store Age and Wonder Women of Toys by Playthings magazine and Women in Toys. In 2006, she became an inductee into the Junior Achievement National Business Hall of Fame. In 2006, she published her first book “The Bear Necessities of Business: Building a Company with Heart.”
Clark is a graduate of the University of Georgia, and holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Saint Louis University and a Doctor of Humane Letters in Education from the University of Missouri St. Louis.
Ann K. Covington
Ann K. Covington has had several firsts in her 40 years in the field of law. She was named as the first female judge on the Missouri Court of Appeals in 1987, the first female judge on the Missouri Supreme Court in 1989, and the first female chief justice in 1993. The American Bar Association recognized her as one of the Women Trailblazers in the Law.
Covington began her law practice in 1977 as an assistant attorney general for the state of Missouri. She served in that role for two years, before moving into private practice. In 1987 Covington was appointed to the Missouri Court of Appeals and in 1989 she was appointed to the Missouri Supreme Court. She served on the Supreme Court for 12 years, including two years as chief justice from 1993-95. Covington was a partner at Bryan Cave, LLP, from 2001 until her retirement from law in 2010.
Covington has also been active in higher education. She served on the University of Missouri Board of Curators from 2013-15 and has served for many years as a member of the Truman Scholarship and Mark Twain Fellowship committees at MU and mentored many law students.
Covington has a bachelor’s degree from Duke University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Missouri School of Law.
Hal Donaldson is president of Convoy of Hope, a faith-based, nonprofit organization that leads humanitarian initiatives across the United States and around the world.
Through Convoy of Hope, people in need have been provided with much-needed supplies and resources like warm meals, groceries, medical and dental screenings, job opportunities, and business training. Nearly $700 million (wholesale) worth of food and supplies have been distributed to more than 80 million people across the globe. Charity Navigator, America’s largest and most-utilized independent evaluator of charities, has awarded Convoy of Hope the prestigious 4-star rating for 13 consecutive years.
Donaldson is a recipient of the National Distinguished Service in Social Welfare Award and is an award-winning journalist and speaker. He has authored more than 30 books, including “Midnight in the City,” which chronicles his journey to eight American cities. Donaldson traveled with the police on the midnight shift and walked the streets interviewing drug addicts, gang members, prostitutes, runaways and the homeless. His latest book, “Your Next 24 Hours,” will be released in February.
Donaldson has a bachelor’s in journalism from San Jose State University and a bachelor’s in biblical studies from Bethany University.
Langston Hughes was born in Joplin on Feb. 1, 1902, when rigid racial restrictions dominated Missouri. Although he did not live there for long, he was always proud of his connection to the state, and his link to Missouri ran deep into history. His rich career should be seen as his calculated response to the challenges of this history, but by the time of his death he clearly had made peace with the state.
Elected a trustee of the Missouri Society of New York in 1963, he was proud to be part of a great literary tradition that includes Mark Twain, T.S. Eliot and Hughes’s good friend the poet Marianne Moore.
Beginning in 1915, Hughes embarked upon a remarkably prolific career as a writer of poetry, fiction, drama, libretto, journalism, screenplays and more. His success made him the first African American to make his living solely as a writer. Until his death in 1967, Langston Hughes was arguably the premier poet of the black American experience, the most versatile of black writers, and one of the finest authors in American literature.
Widespread academic attention to him began, fittingly, at a conference in 1983 organized in Joplin at Missouri Southern University, when Joplin reclaimed and celebrated him as a favorite son.
Judith Rowland is the U.S. policy and advocacy manager for Global Citizen, where she speaks on behalf of Global Citizens around the world who are taking action to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges.
Over the last five years, more than 8 million registered Global Citizens have contacted world leaders and elected officials to secure major policy commitments on issues including gender equality, health, education, food and hunger, water and sanitation, and climate change, set to affect the lives of more than 1 billion people.
In her role, Rowland helped secure more than 100 co-sponsors on the 2014 Water for the World Act and played a key part in seeing the bill pass through both chambers and be signed into law by former President Barack Obama.
Rowland also worked in close partnership with the White House on the launch of former First Lady Michelle Obama’s #62MillionGirls campaign. Additionally, Rowland was instrumental in securing the passage of the Global Food Security Act, which was signed into law by Obama in July 2016.
Rowland’s advocacy work has taken her to more than 80 countries and she has lived in Ghana, China, England and Puerto Rico. She holds an undergraduate degree in political science from Missouri State University and a graduate degree in development studies from the London School of Economics.
Previous inductees into the Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame include Mark Arnoldy, Simone Bernstein, Henry Bloch, George Washington Carver, John C. “Jack” Danforth, Patsy Danner Jimmie Edwards, Eric Greitens, Dr. Donald M. Suggs, Harry S. Truman and Laura Ingalls Wilder.