The 19th annual Bronze Bear award and the Governmental Excellence Award were both presented Dec. 16.
In recognition of his long-standing involvement with Missouri State and significant support of the university, Bobby Allison received the 2016 Bronze Bear Award.
The Bronze Bear is the highest nonacademic award from Missouri State. It honors those who have exhibited extraordinary achievement and/or outstanding support for Missouri State.
Allison made a significant gift in 2013 that supported improvements to student recreational facilities and intercollegiate athletics programs.
Allison also contributed funds to support construction of the Bill R. Foster and Family Recreation Center, a portion of which was endowed to help support intramural programs at Missouri State. As a result, two sand volleyball courts, two multipurpose turf fields and an open area for other activities are called the Betty and Bobby Allison Recreation Fields.
He also supported playground equipment at the Child Development Center.
Dr. Michael Nietzel has been awarded the second-ever Governmental Excellence Award from MSU.
Nietzel served as the president of Missouri State University from 2005-10. He was president during the name change that dropped “southwest” from the institution’s name.
As president, Nietzel oversaw more than $150 million in capital projects, started the provost model of administration, formed partnerships with other educational entities and encouraged exploration of public affairs.
But his legacy may be the IDEA Commons, Missouri State’s urban research park that blends university programs, residential, retail, commercial and entertainment facilities.
Starting in 2010, he served as senior policy advisor to former Gov. Jay Nixon. He has been engaged in selecting members of Missouri State’s Board of Governors, and been involved in Nixon’s budget development and higher education policy decisions.
“Dr. Nietzel has supported Missouri State in his role as senior policy advisor to Gov. Jay Nixon,” said Missouri State President Clif Smart. “He played a critical role in Missouri State receiving record funding this year and for the state’s investment in capital projects like the Davis-Harrington Welcome Center and Glass, Ellis and Hill halls. The support of public servants like Dr. Nietzel is essential to Missouri State’s continued growth and development.”