Lifting education higher

Meet the 2023 Geyer Award winners.

Geyer award winners holding awards
U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (right) and Pat Thomas, a longtime political staffer, hold their 2023 Henry S. Geyer Award trophies. Each year, the Mizzou Alumni Association honors one elected official and one citizen who exemplify the dedication and spirit of Geyer, a state representative from St. Louis.

Published on Show Me Mizzou April 27, 2023

U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer and Pat Thomas, a longtime political staffer, have received the Mizzou Alumni Association’s 2023 Henry S. Geyer Award.

Each year, MAA presents the Geyer Award to one elected official and one citizen who exemplify the dedication and spirit of Henry S. Geyer, a state representative from St. Louis. Geyer, who believed education was the key to progress and prosperity in Missouri, authored the Geyer Act of 1839, which established the University of Missouri.

“We are proud to recognize two individuals who value MU’s contributions to the state of Missouri,” says Jeff Vogel, BS Acc, ’90, president of the Mizzou Alumni Association board of directors. “Congressman Luetkemeyer and Pat Thomas have been staunch supporters of higher education throughout their careers and have helped move Missouri and Mizzou to new heights in education.”

Luetkemeyer has represented Missouri’s 9th and 3rd congressional districts since 2009 and has long supported MU, both on Capitol Hill and as a member of Missouri’s legislature. His most recent funding request allocates $20 million to begin the preliminary work necessary for NextGen MURR, a proposed 20-megawatt research reactor that will produce critical medical radioisotopes used to drive research, education and drug discoveries.

Thomas, a 1997 graduate of the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, has been engaged in Missouri politics for years, serving as chief of staff for two Missouri senators and treasurer of the Republican Party of Missouri. She has mentored countless staff members and interns at the Capitol, including MU students and alumni.

“Pat has been labeled by the Missouri Times as the 35th Senator; a high compliment that she brushes aside.,” wrote Robin Wenneker, BS BA ’91, vice chair of the University of Missouri board of curators, in her nomination for Thomas. “Her pride rests in our government working well.  Pat is quick to find ways for our university to benefit from the process; she has a deep appreciation for the value of higher education and specifically the land-grant mission of the University of Missouri.”

Of the recipients, University of Missouri President Mun Choi says: “Like Representative Geyer, our Geyer Award recipients understand that public education is the key to progress and prosperity.
Together, we continue his vision as a vital partner in research, learning, engagement and economic
development for Missouri. I am proud and thankful to honor two more recipients of this prestigious award.” 

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