Bears of Distinction

The Missouri State University Alumni Association proudly presents awards of special recognition to distinguished alumni and former faculty and staff. Award recipients are selected annually and honored for their exceptional achievements.

2022 recipients

Learn more about our 2022 Bears of Distinction:

Highlighting achievements

To highlight the achievements that bring honor to the university, the Missouri State University Alumni Association presents several awards each year at the Bears of Distinction Dinner and Awards Ceremony. Honorees are selected by a committee of the MSU Alumni Association.

Guidelines for submitting an award nomination

  1. Review the list of awards below and select the one that best describes your nominee. Be prepared to enter a brief explanation of why you believe this nominee should be considered for the selected award.
  2. Check past award recipients to be certain your nominee has not already received the award for which they are being nominated.
  3. Before you begin, be sure to have the nominee's contact information, web links to supporting documentation (like LinkedIn, personal or professional websites, articles, etc), or other documents that can be uploaded to help us understand this nominee better.
  4. The deadline to submit a nomination is Dec. 1 to be considered for the following year’s class of awardees. Any nominees who are not selected for an award can be nominated again two more times.
  5. Awardees must be able to attend the Bears of Distinction event to be recognized. Those who are not available may choose to defer their recognition for one year.


The Lifetime Achievement Award is the most prestigious award given by the Missouri State University Alumni Association. It recognizes those graduates who bring the highest distinction to themselves, their community and to Missouri State University. Candidates must exemplify the qualities of irreproachable character and outstanding citizenship. Having these qualities, the selection committee will consider those whose participation has resulted in a “change for the better” in significant situations, institutions, movements or fields of endeavor and whose achievements bring the greatest honor to Missouri State University.

The Outstanding Alumni Award recognizes recipients who have typified the Missouri State University tradition of excellence for extraordinary professional distinction and/or exemplary volunteer service to society. They bring credit to the university by their personal accomplishment, professional achievement, or humanitarian service. Consideration may also be given to candidates who have maintained their campus ties as alumni.

The Outstanding Young Alumni Award recognizes graduates 35 years of age or younger who have gained early and exceptional professional or civic achievement, reflecting honor on Missouri State University. The criteria for this award are weighted toward professional achievement and civic activities. Consideration will also be given to candidates who were active campus participants as students, as well as those who have maintained their campus ties as alumni.

The Alumni Award for Excellence in Public Affairs recognizes graduates who have exceptional achievements in their professional endeavors, while demonstrating outstanding commitment to the ideals of public service.

The Bear of Excellence Award recognizes up to six alumni each year who are making a difference in big and small ways, through their commitment to community and the pursuit of excellence. They are uniquely accomplished alumni from diverse academic, professional and personal backgrounds.

The Volunteer of the Year Award honors alumni who have made an extraordinary effort to advance the reach and impact of Missouri State University. This award celebrates individuals or groups who have demonstrated exceptional dedication, leadership or service to the Missouri State community.

The Award of Appreciation honors retired faculty and staff members for achievement in their professional or academic field and loyalty to the University. Nominees are not required to be graduates of Missouri State University.