Bears of Distinction Awards

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

Award recipients are selected annually and honored for their exceptional professional accomplishments, civic achievements, volunteer impact and more, all of which brings great honor to Missouri State. The 2020 class of the Bears of Distinction received their awards in 2020, but due to COVID-19, the public celebration was delayed until 2021.

2020-21 recipients

The 2020-21 class of the Bears of Distinction include:

  • Lifetime Achievement, Gregory L. Curl,’70
  • Outstanding Alumnus, David D. Sater, ’69
  • Outstanding Young Alumna, Tingting Qin, ’12
  • Excellence in Public Affairs, Dottie M. Lofstrom, ’81
  • Award of Appreciation, Jerry W. Hoover
  • Volunteer Group of the Year, MSU Choral Gala Committee (Morgan DeClue, Anna Davis, ’16, Paula Martin, Delyla Uebel, Susan LaBarr, ’05 & ’07, Paige Stevens)
  • Bears of Excellence, All front-line health care workers


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.