Each year, the Missouri State University Alumni Association honors a group of distinguished alumni, former faculty and staff and volunteers in an awards ceremony recognizing their exceptional achievements.
Their leadership roles and impact on their communities are among the hallmarks of these alumni and friends from around the globe.
The 2023 Bears of Distinction Dinner and Awards Ceremony will take place at 6 p.m., April 21 in the Christopher S. Bond Learning Center, located at the William H. Darr Agricultural Center in Springfield.
The event is open to the public. Tickets are $40 per person or $320 for a table of eight. Attendees can RSVP online or by calling 417-836-5654.
The 2023 Bears of Distinction award recipients are:
Lifetime Achievement: Roy Blunt, ’72
Blunt, a longtime politician who retired in January 2023, won three elections to county office, seven elections to represent the 7th District in Congress and four statewide elections. He served Missourians as Secretary of State and in the U.S. Senate.
Outstanding Alumna: Anna Marie Presutti, ’86
Presutti is the first female vice president and general manager of Hotel Nikko San Francisco, a Japanese company that operates 79 properties worldwide.
Outstanding Young Alumna: Kimberly Sutter, ’12
Sutter oversees operations of completion and stimulation laboratories for Core Laboratories; she has been granted multiple patents.
Excellence in Public Affairs: Sara (Thomas) Lampe, ’71
Lampe spent 35 years in gifted and higher education, before retiring and serving in the Missouri legislature where she cast the deciding vote in Missouri State’s 2005 name change.
Award of Appreciation: David, ’74, and Sandra Byrd
Faculty emeritus David helped shepherd the name change to the School of Accountancy. Sandra was recognized as the first Public Affairs professor at Missouri State in 2008.
Volunteer Group of the Year: Friends of the Garnett Library
Friends of Garnett Library advocates for library needs on the Missouri State University-West Plains campus. The group has secured funds to purchase over $450,000 worth of materials in the past 30 years.
Bears of Excellence Award: Garrett Hawkins, ’02
Hawkins is president of the Missouri Farm Bureau and a fifth-generation farmer who lives on and operates his family’s beef cattle production farm.
Bears of Excellence Award: Angel (Smith) Magasano, ’92
Magasano is founder and CEO of Little Black Book: Women in Business, an organization of over 450 women business owners spanning 10 chapters in the greater St. Louis region.
Bears of Excellence Award: Aaren (Williamson) Muex, ’02
Muex is president of Divine Events, a full-service event planning, design and coordination company. She is a founding member of the Alumni Association’s Black Alumni Council.
Bears of Excellence Award: Richard Ollis, ’89
Ollis is CEO and chairman of Ollis/Akers/Arney insurance agency. He serves on the College of Business Executive Advisory Board and on the Foundation Board of Trustees.
Bears of Excellence Award: Melissa (Mantlo) Randol, ’91
Randol is the executive director of the Missouri School Boards’ Association.
Nominate a recipient for 2024
The Alumni Association invites members of the campus community to nominate worthy MSU graduates or retired faculty and staff members to be Bears of Distinction. Submit a nomination online.