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Doug Pitt, top left, and Bill Darr, top right, are MSU Public Affairs Hall of Fame inductees along with Bill Clay Sr., bottom left, Emily Geraghty, center, and Maya Angelou, bottom right.
Photos provided by Missouri State University
Doug Pitt, top left, and Bill Darr, top right, are MSU Public Affairs Hall of Fame inductees along with Bill Clay Sr., bottom left, Emily Geraghty, center, and Maya Angelou, bottom right.

Darr, Pitt to be honored at MSU with the late Maya Angelou

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Springfield businessmen Bill Darr and Doug Pitt are slated to be inducted into Missouri State University’s Public Affairs Hall of Fame with the late Maya Angelou and others.

During an April 12 Hall of Fame ceremony, Darr, Pitt, Angelou, Bill Clay Sr. and Emily Geraghty are scheduled to join 20 others who have been inducted. MSU’s Public Affairs Hall of Fame honors citizens globally who have worked in their lives and careers to help others, according to a news release. Inductees are not required to be MSU alumni, but they must have a connection to Missouri, according to the university's website.

Darr, the namesake of MSU’s William H. Darr College of Agriculture, is the founder of American Dehydrated Foods and International Dehydrated Foods. Officials with ADF and IDF recently announced the companies, as well as their IsoNova brand brand, would be sold to Germany-based Symrise AG for $900 million. Darr, who founded pet food ingredient providers ADF and IDF in 1978, also organized the Darr Family Foundation that’s awarded $2.7 million in grants to local groups serving at-risk children.

The owner of Pitt Technology Group LLC and Pitt Development Group LLC, Pitt also founded Springfield-based nonprofit Care to Learn in 2007. Since then, the nonprofit has met more than 900,000 health, hygiene and food needs. It serves some 98,000 students at 33 school districts across the state, according to the release.

Angelou is being honored posthumously for her work as a civil rights activist, author, poet and historian, among other roles. Angelou, who died in 2014 at age 86, worked for Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, wrote and performed an original poem for President Bill Clinton’s 1993 inauguration and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama. She was born in 1928 in St. Louis.

Inductee Clay is a retired member of Congress, serving 1969-2001 as the first African-American legislator from Missouri in the U.S. House of Representatives. He previously was a civil rights activist and labor union representative in St. Louis, according to the release.

Geraghty is a multimedia journalist and producer, having worked at MTV, where she had a fashion blog that that gained an audience of 72,000 visitors per month. She’s behind the popular YouTube series, “Women Sizes 0 to 28 in the Same Outfit,” and upcoming projects include a short documentary for NBC on stroke survivors that she filmed in St. Louis.

Previous Hall of Fame inductees include President Harry S. Truman, former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and author Laura Ingalls Wilder. The ceremony is slated to be held at the White River Conference Center, according to the release.

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