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Philanthropist Bobby Allison is Missouri State University’s 2016 recipient of the Bronze Bear Award.
Philanthropist Bobby Allison is Missouri State University’s 2016 recipient of the Bronze Bear Award.

MSU picks Bobby Allison for Bronze Bear Award

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Philanthropist Bobby Allison was selected by the school’s board of governors to receive its annual Bronze Bear Award.

The award is scheduled be presented during a Dec. 16 commencement ceremony at JQH Arena. It honors those who have exhibited outstanding achievement or support for the school. Created in 1998, the Bronze Bear Award is patterned after the 14-foot statue version in front of MSU's Plaster Student Union, according to a news release.

Allison is the 18th recipient.

“His gifts and contributions to the university have enhanced our profile and provided our students with tremendous on-campus recreation opportunities,” MSU President Clif Smart said in the release.

Allison, a 30-year sales manager at Springfield animal feed distributor Custom Protein Corp., is known at MSU for donations funding recreational facilities improvements. The naming-level donations - which include his mother’s name - resulted in the Betty and Bobby Allison South Stadium for men’s and women’s soccer and women’s track and field; the Betty and Bobby Allison North Stadium for field hockey; and the Betty and Bobby Allison Sand Volleyball Complex.

He also donated money to support construction of the Bill R. Foster and Family Recreation Center, leading to the creation of the Betty and Bobby Allison Recreation Fields for multipurpose athletic activities, according to the release.

MSU Foundation Executive Director Brent Dunn declined to disclose Allison’s total donation amount to the school but noted he’s contributed significant gifts during the past five years. The September 2014 Springfield Business Journal article, “Allison leaving his mark,” reported the philanthropist has donated at least $1.5 million to the university.

Last year’s Bronze Bear recipient was Norm Shealy, a Darr School of Agriculture contributor who donated his 250-acre farm in Fair Grove to the university.

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