May 2, 2023
Photos by Casey Buckman
The Jesse Hall Notable Alumni Wall was dedicated in May 2006. In 2017, the Jefferson Club Board of Trustees refreshed the criteria for consideration and gave the recognition a new name — the Jefferson Club Golden Quill Alumni Excellence Award. The board recognizes outstanding alumni with this distinction each year based on nominations from the University of Missouri family.
Meet this year’s honorees:
- Robert K. Dixon is senior advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Energy. He is a co-founder and lead author of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Dixon served with distinction in academia, government, international institutions and the private sector, including executive director, International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy, senior investment banker at The World Bank Group, and counselor to four U.S. presidents in senior White House posts.
Dixon graduated with a Bachelor of Science in 1977, Master of Science in 1979 and Doctor of Philosophy in 1982, all from the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR). He received a Faculty Alumni Award from the Mizzou Alumni Association in 2007 and served as CAFNR executive-in-residence in 2005.
- Natasha Kaiser-Brown is the associate head coach for the Mizzou track and field team, overseeing sprints, hurdles and relays. After a highly decorated career as a Mizzou student athlete, she became the first woman to represent Mizzou at the Olympics in 1992 and again in 1996, winning a silver medal in the 4x400 relay at the 1992 games. In 1993, her gold medal 4x400 relay set a World Championship record, which still stands. During Kaiser-Brown’s history-making career on Mizzou’s track and field and cross-country teams, she earned six NCAA All-American honors, five Big Eight conference championships, Big Eight Female Athlete of the Year honors, and set a national collegiate record in the 400 meters.
Kaiser-Brown earned her bachelor’s degree in Art History and Archaeology from the College of Arts and Science in 1990. She is a member of the Mizzou Athletics Hall of Fame, Varsity M Club, Mizzou Alumni Association and Mizzou Black Alumni Network, as well as a Tiger Scholarship Fund donor. She received the Mizzou Black Alumni Network’s Trailblazer Award in 2018.
- Jonathan B. Murray is a television and documentary producer and co-founder of reality television company Bunim/Murray Productions. A pioneer in the reality television genre, Murray was the co-creator of MTV’s “The Real World,” “Road Rules” and “The Challenge,” among others, and has been behind many of television’s most popular reality programs, including “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” and “Project Runway.” Murray has four Emmy Awards, including one for the documentary, “Autism: The Musical,” and another for the series “Born This Way” about young adults with Down Syndrome. Murray currently serves in an executive consultant role where he develops new series and documentary projects.
Murray earned a bachelor’s degree from the Missouri School of Journalism in 1977. His passion for documentary filmmaking inspired his gift to create the Jonathan B. Murray Center for Documentary Journalism at MU, which began operations in 2015.
- David C. Novak is co-founder and CEO of David Novak Leadership, a digital leadership development platform, and the co-founder and former chairman and CEO of Yum! Brands, Inc., one of the world’s largest restaurant companies, with more than 45,000 restaurants around the world. Yum! Brands includes KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell. Novak has written several best-selling books on leadership and self-coaching and supports the development of future leaders through organizations including David Novak Leadership, his family’s Lift-a-Life Foundation, Lead4Change, and Global Game Changers.
Novak graduated with a bachelor’s degree in advertising from the Missouri School of Journalism in 1974. His interest in leadership led to his gift to establish the Novak Leadership Institute at MU in 2017, creating the world’s first center for communication and marketing-based leadership excellence.