A dedicated former public servant. An Eastern Orthodox Church priest. A community leader and founder of a nonprofit news outlet. A retired U.S. Army three-star general. A trailblazing entrepreneur.
The Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame 2023 inductees are: John Ashcroft, Father Moses Berry, Tom Carlson, Lt. Gen. Karen Dyson and Rachel Mack Robinson.
These five inductees were selected as citizens with a connection to the state of Missouri who serve as examples of global citizens. They define the essence of public affairs and have acted consistently for the benefit of others.
Up to six recipients are honored annually.
“This year’s honorees are true examples of people who positively impact their community and society at large,” said Missouri State University President Clif Smart. “Their commitment to make our state, nation and the world better is admirable.”
Attend the induction ceremony
Ashcroft, Berry, Carlson, Dyson and Robinson will be inducted into the Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame Sept. 8.
The induction ceremony begins at 6 p.m. at The Old Glass Place in Springfield. Tickets for the black-tie optional dinner event are $50 and can be purchased online.
About the inductees
A lawyer, politician and professor, Ashcroft has dedicated his life to public service for over four decades. He served as Missouri auditor (1973-74), Missouri assistant attorney general (1974-76) and attorney general (1976-85), Missouri governor (1985-93), U.S. senator (1995-2001) and U.S. attorney general (2001-05). When announcing his decision to nominate Ashcroft to serve as U.S. attorney general in December 2000, President George W. Bush called him a “man of great integrity, a man of great judgment and a man who knows the law.”
Father Moses Berry
Berry is a priest of the Eastern Orthodox Church in America practicing in Missouri. He is a direct descendent of slaves and an illegitimate descendent of Nathaniel Boone, the son of the legendary American hero Daniel Boone. He spent much of his life on a spiritual quest. It led him to found the Ozarks Afro-American Heritage Museum on his family’s legacy farm in Ash Grove. Berry lectures locally and nationally on African American history and on issues in African American spirituality and Orthodox Christian mission.
Carlson is the current publisher and financial backer of the Queen City’s nonprofit newspaper, the Springfield Daily Citizen. He has a heart for community, serving in local government for more than two decades as a city councilman and two-time Springfield mayor. He spent his career as a lawyer and in housing development. Carlson also served on a litany of local nonprofit boards and organizations.
Lt. Gen. Karen Dyson
Dyson dedicated her career to the U.S. Army. She was the first female finance officer to achieve the rank of three-star general. Dyson has served as director on the boards of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, as well as on the board of the Defense Commissary Agency. She retired in 2017 as military deputy to assistant secretary of the Army for financial management and comptroller. She was inducted into the ROTC Hall of Fame in 2021.
Rachel Mack Robinson
Robinson is the founder and president of DotCom Therapy (DCT), the leading pediatric teletherapy provider partnering with employers and schools across the United States. She started the company after discovering a lack of access to quality therapy services. By using technology, DCT now provides mental health, speech and occupational teletherapy to thousands of children. Prioritizing empathy and compassion in leadership, Robinson is trailblazing the future of teletherapy and female entrepreneurs across the nation.
This year’s inductees will join 31 others who have made positive impacts on the state of Missouri and beyond.