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MSU board honors donors, Springfield mayor

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The Missouri State University Board of Governors voted to honor donors and Springfield's mayor with the Bronze Bear and Government Excellence awards, respectively.

Bronze Bear
The 2020 Bronze Bear award is slated to go to Robert and Marlese Gourley for donations to the university, according to a news release. The MSU board voted to honor the Gourleys at its Oct. 16 meeting.

The Gourleys in 2015 contributed an undisclosed naming-level donation to fund the Robert Gourley Student Success Center at Glass Hall, the home of the MSU College of Business. The center was part of more than $30 million in expansion and renovation projects at the building, according to past reporting.

“Our College of Business is one of the largest in the Midwest. It offers a top-accredited education and has extensive connections to the business community and corporate world,” MSU President Clif Smart said in the release “Thanks to Robert and Marlese Gourley, our facilities now reflect that.”

A 1960 business organization and management graduate at MSU, Robert Gourley went on to own several businesses, including a beverage distributorship, photo-developing company and a startup bank in Kansas City. Marlese Gourley, a retired educator, is an alumna of the University of Missouri, according to the release.

Government Excellence
The MSU board also voted Friday to honor Ken McClure, a former executive at the university before taking on the mayorship.

McClure was tapped to receive MSU's Government Excellence Award that recognizes support for the college, according to a separate news release.

“Mayor McClure has demonstrated extraordinary achievement through his career as a public servant,” Smart said in the release. “He has provided unwavering support for Missouri State University. And since March, he has provided an unprecedented level of leadership to protect our community and slow the spread of COVID-19.”

MSU officials pointed to McClure's support of its IDEA Commons expansion downtown, as well as the city’s Grant Avenue Parkway Project.

Prior to being elected as mayor in 2017, McClure retired in 2015 as MSU's vice president for administrative services, according to past reporting. He also previously worked as associate general manager for City Utilities and chief of staff for Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt.

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