It look's like you don't have Adobe Flash Player installed. Get it now.
In 1995, then Southwest Missouri State University President John Keiser led the effort in getting legislative approval for the university's statewide mission in public affairs. Now, Missouri State University President Emeritus Keiser has returned to campus to take part in the second annual Public Affairs Conference. Mike Smith has the story:
John Keiser grew up with coal miners and teachers. Born on March 12, 1936, in Mt. Olive, a town of 1,200 persons in south central Illinois with the only union-owned cemetery in the United States, he witnessed the high point and decline of lives and an economy dependent on bituminous coal. His mother, stepmother (after his mother's death), and his mother-in-law were teachers who began their careers directly after high school graduation. Dr. Keiser claims to have had his grammar corrected more than any person in American history.
He received a B.S. in Education from Eastern Illinois University with a major in social science and a minor in French in 1958 and an M.A. (1960) and a Ph.D. in history (1964) from Northwestern University.
Keiser began his teaching career at Westminster College in 1963 and served as a member of the History Departments at Eastern Illinois University, Sangamon State University, Boise State University and Southwest Missouri State University. In 1971 he became vice president for Academic Affairs at Sangamon State University and acting president in 1978. He served as president of Boise State University from 1978-91.
He was named of Citizen of the Year in Boise, Idaho, in 1991 and was a candidate for mayor of Boise when he accepted the presidency of Southwest Missouri State University (now Missouri State University) on July 1, 1993.
During his 11 years at SMSU, he initiated the planning and the legislative and gubernatorial approval of the statewide mandate in public affairs education. The institution was one of five public universities, including the U.S. Naval Academy, that received the Templeton Award for Character Building Institutions as a result. In 1998 Keiser was awarded the Medal of Honor by the National Daughters of the American Revolution for this and other public affairs contributions.
Keiser and his wife, Nancy, have been married 90 years, or 45 apiece as he points out. They have three grown sons, each of whom, like their father, is an Eagle Scout.
"The university, with its statewide mission in public affairs, is continually seeking ways to be a resource for engaged citizens, people who want to better understand important public issues and make a difference," said Dr. John Strong, assistant to the provost for public affairs. "That's exactly what the Public Affairs Conference is designed to provide, only in a condensed form. In a brief span of time, attendees will have the chance to dialogue with school teachers from Ecuador, leaders in genetic engineering, former ambassadors to the Middle East and film editors from California. It's just exciting to be a part of!"
Panel discussion will feature topics like "How Much Does a Big Mac Really Cost?" "Columbus was Wrong," "Did Pandora Study Genetic Engineering?" "The Explosion of Boomers" and "The Year My Life Changed." A free exchange of ideas and questions from the audience are encouraged.
For the complete list of schedules, biographical information and session topics for the conference, visit www.publicaffairs.missouristate.edu/conference
Free parking will be available for the event in lots 13, 27 and 29 at the National Avenue and Monroe Street intersection.