Four-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Joe Montana will give the keynote address on Sept. 26 at the 2023 Missouri State University Public Affairs Conference. (Courtesy CAA Speakers via Missouri State University)

Missouri State University’s 20th Public Affairs Conference will be headlined by a four-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback. 

Joe Montana will kick off the three-day conference on Sept. 26 with a free keynote speech that is open to the public. Montana, a 2000 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee following a storied career spent predominantly as quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, last appeared at a Springfield event in 2015, when he headlined the Springfield News-Leader’s Best of Southwest Missouri Preps event.

In Missouri, football fans celebrate Montana for his two seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Montana is now the managing director of a San Francisco-based early-stage investment fund group, where he and his team compete with other angel investors for stakes in startup enterprises. The 2023 Public Affairs Conference is centered around an examination of a changing landscape. The theme is, “Navigating the Now: tradition, innovation and wisdom in a world of change.” 

Over the course of the conference, speakers and panelists will examine how to move forward at the accelerating speed of global change “without losing the best parts of what came before,” according to the conference website.

Several topics and questions centered around the forward-thinking theme will be addressed, including:

  • How do ideas of success, failure, and determination differ across cultures? What can be learned from culturally conscious conversations about effort? 
  • How do healthy people balance contentment with aspiration? 
  • How can social institutions nurture and reward individual “resilience” and “grit” without misinterpreting systemic problems? 
  • When may quitting, pivoting, or falling back be the best steps forward? 
  • What challenges at the forefront of numerous disciplines demand innovative responses? What ethical questions must accompany these innovations?

And at the start of it will be Montana. His keynote speech will take place at at 7 p.m. Sept. 26 at Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts.

“Widely considered one of the best NFL quarterbacks of all time, Joe will inspire us to lead with excellence and integrity,” Brent Dunn, Missouri State University Foundation executive director, said in a news release. 

The MSU Foundation, with support from KY3, is sponsoring the event. A VIP reception will be held with Montana at 5:30 p.m. the day of his talk. Tickets for the VIP event are $150 per person and can be purchased online or by calling 417-836-4143. The ticket includes a photo opportunity with Montana, beverages and hors d’oeuvres at the reception and reserved seating for the event.

Cory Matteson

Cory Matteson moved to Springfield in 2022 to join the team of Daily Citizen journalists and staff eager to launch a local news nonprofit. He returned to the Show-Me State nearly two decades after graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Prior to arriving in Springfield, he worked as a reporter at the Lincoln Journal Star and Casper Star-Tribune. More by Cory Matteson