Class of 2012
More detailed profiles of the three inductees may be viewed in the October issue of 417 Magazine or online.
Kickapoo High School, Class of 1975
Charles Armstrong has spent the past 33 years playing a central role in space exploration projects directed from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. He contributed his expertise to the Space Shuttle, Shuttle-Mir, International Space Station, Assured Crew Return Vehicle and Orbital Space Plane, as well as the Orion Program.
Always fascinated with math and science, he began taking classes at Southwest Missouri State University while still in high school. He served as president of the science and math clubs during his senior year at KHS, where he was inspired by geometry teacher Bill O’Neal and science instructors J.W. Mount, Horner Askins and Jose Flores.
After graduating from SMSU in 1979 with bachelor’s degrees in math and physics, he immediately began working as a NASA intern. Today Armstrong acts as a liaison between universities and NASA in Houston, while working on the integration of Project Orion, an operation expected to launch humans farther into space than ever before. Among his awards and honors are a NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal and a Silver Snoopy, which recognizes outstanding individual performance.
Betty Cole Dukert
Springfield Senior High School, Class of 1945
CBetty Cole Dukert got her start in journalism at Springfield Senior High School as a member of the Quill and Scroll club. When the new frontier of television broadcasting emerged, she became a female pioneer in the television news industry, spending 41 years working as producer of NBC’s Meet the Press.
Although Dukert’s family moved between Missouri and Oklahoma several times during her adolescence, she considers Springfield her hometown. She attended Rountree Elementary School and Jarrett Junior High School, and graduated from Springfield Senior High School, now known as Central High School.
At age 13, she knew that she wanted to pursue a career in journalism so she set her sights on obtaining the education and experience required to be successful. Dukert attended Lindenwood University and Drury University prior to completing her journalism degree at the University of Missouri.
After working for KICK radio in Springfield, Dukert made her way to Washington, D.C., where she worked as a secretary for an NBC executive who later helped her make the transition into television. She spent the bulk of her professional life working on Meet The Press until she retired in 1998.
A Trustee Emeritus at Drury University, Dukert returns to Springfield at least once a year. She is the recipient of such awards as the Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism from the University of Missouri, the First Amendment Service Award of the National Radio and Television News Directors’ Foundation and the Distinguished Alumna Award and an Honorary Doctorate from Drury University.
Dr. Stewart Fulbright
Lincoln High School, Class of 1937 (posthumous award)
Tuskegee Airman, Dean of North Carolina Central University’s School of Business, and French teacher are all titles that describe the late Dr. Stewart Fulbright’s professional accomplishments. It was his commitment to education, however, that defined him as a person.
Born and raised in Springfield, Fulbright enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1943 and trained in Tuskegee, Ala. The African-American pilots trained there, overcame segregation and adversity, and played crucial roles during World War II. Fulbright was among the Tuskegee Airmen present in 2007 in Washington, D.C., when they were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.
Among his other accomplishments, Fulbright was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson to the advisory committee for the Commodity Credit Corporation and was named professor emeritus by North Carolina Central University.
Always committed to education and learning, Fulbright earned three academic degrees: a BA in French from Lincoln University, an MBA from University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in business administration from Ohio State. He spent the majority of his professional career as a member of the faculty and later, the first dean of the School of Business at NCCU, retiring in 1982.
Fulbright passed away January 1, 2012, at the age of 92. His son, Edward, of Durham, N.C., will accept the award on his father’s behalf.
Class of 2011
More information on the below individuals can be found in the October 2011 issue of 417 Magazine.
Mrs. Ginger Robinson, BSN, RN
Glendale High School class of 1976
Ginger Robinson’s love of culture and learning began during her time at Glendale High School. She became intrigued with the story of the retired warship U.S.S. Hope providing health care to those in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. Twenty years later, Robinson, along with her husband, would be doing the same thing. Read more »
Mr. Doug Pitt
Kickapoo High School class of 1985
Doug Pitt spent 12 years in the Springfield Public Schools system before completing his formal education at Southwest Missouri State University. Pitt began ServiceWorld Computer Center which has won many awards including being the 1999 Springfield Chamber of Commerce W. Curtis Strube Small Business of the Year and the Springfield Business Journal Philanthropic Business of the Year in 2010. Pitt was a nominee for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Person of the Year in 2002.
Read more »
Dr. John “Bucky” Buckner
Parkview High School class of 1979
John “Bucky” Buckner began attending Springfield Public Schools in the fourth grade. Prior to his graduation from Parkview High School, he participated in debate, choir, track, Key Club and student council. He credits SPS with helping to shape him into the person he is today.
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Class of 2010
Inaugural Class Members
The district and 417 Magazine, the presenting sponsor, were honored to induct three individuals of exemplary character at the October 28, 2010 awards luncheon. The inductees were announced in the October 2010 issue of 417 Magazine.
General John Ashcroft, Hillcrest High School, Class of 1960
Ashcroft achieved national prominence when he served as U.S. Attorney General under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005. He also served as Missouri’s U.S. Senator from 1995 to 2001 and was the state’s 50th governor from 1985 to 1993. He attended Yale University then received a juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago School of Law. He briefly taught business law and worked in administration at Southwest Missouri State University.
Rabbi Walter Jacob, Springfield High School, Class of 1947
A retired rabbi, Jacob comes from a family that produced 15 generations of rabbis. He currently holds many leadership positions within the Jewish community. He is the senior scholar at Rodef Shalom congregation, president of Abraham Geiger College in Berlin, president of the Institute for Progressive Jewish Law and Ethics, and a rabbi emeritus. He helps edit and write the annual book for the Institute for Progressive Jewish Law and Ethics and has published 39 books. He is a graduate of Drury College (now Drury University).
Mr. Larry D. Young, Hillcrest High School, Class of 1972
After working 30 years for Pepsi, Young retired in 2004 only to later accept the job of president and chief executive officer for Dr Pepper Snapple Group. In 2008, he was inducted into the Beverage World Soft Drink Hall of Fame. This year DPS received the Beverage Forum Company of the Year award. Young is the chairman of the American Beverage Association. He began his career in the soft drink industry by driving a route truck.
More detailed profiles of the three inductees may be viewed in the October 2010 issue of 417 Magazine or online at http://www.417mag.com/417-Magazine/October-2010/SPS-Hall-of-Fame/.