U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt addresses the Missouri House Feb. 23. (Photo by Tim Bommel/Missouri House Communications)

Retiring U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt is the top choice to receive Missouri State University’s 2022 Bronze Bear award. The honor is given to people and families who exhibit “extraordinary achievement and/or outstanding support” at the university. 

In advocating for Blunt to receive the award during Friday’s MSU Board of Governors meeting, Clif Smart, university president, said Blunt has pushed for federal funding and nationwide recognition for the university throughout his term in the U.S. Senate.

“He has frankly brought more money to our institution than anyone else in history,” Smart said. 

Smart pointed to three recent efforts by Blunt that led to national exposure and major funding for MSU programs. 

Blunt advocated for MSU’s Chorale group to perform at the 2017 presidential inauguration of Donald Trump. Smart said the performance led numerous doors to open for the university choir. 

Smart said the Roy Blunt Jordan Valley Innovation Center would not exist if not for its namesake securing millions in funding to develop the center, where MSU faculty and students work with corporate partners to develop new technologies. An overhaul of Temple Hall would also not be possible with $56 million in federal funding directed MSU’s way this fall thanks to Blunt’s efforts, Smart said. 

Smart said Blunt isn’t done yet. In his final months in office, he is working to identify more funding for projects, and Smart said Blunt has told him he would advocate on the university’s behalf after his term ends if a budget isn’t passed before he’s gone. 

The Smart and the MSU administrative council approved the honor. The board will have final approval.

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