Mizzou Alumni Association recognizes Chris Chinn, Caleb Jones and Tony Luetkemeyer with Geyer Awards

Chris Chinn, Caleb Jones and Tony Luetkemeyer

Jan. 11, 2024
Contact: Deidra Ashley, ashleyde@missouri.edu

The Mizzou Alumni Association (MAA) is proud to announce the recipients of the 2024 Henry S. Geyer Award.

Chris Chinn, director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture; Caleb Jones (B.S. '02, J.D. '07), executive vice president and CEO of the Missouri Electric Cooperatives; and Senator Tony Luetkemeyer (B.A. '06, J.D. '09) will be recognized at a ceremony held at the Missouri Governor's Mansion in February. Each year, the MAA presents the Geyer Awards to those who exemplify the dedication and spirit of Henry S. Geyer, a state representative from St. Louis. Geyer believed education was the key to progress and prosperity in Missouri and introduced a bill to establish the University of Missouri in 1839.

Chris Chinn

Chinn was named director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture in January 2017. She has held leadership positions in agriculture on the local, state and national level for more than 15 years, working to move the state’s agriculture industry forward through legislative advocacy, social media outreach and publicly speaking on her own lived experience as a fifth-generation farmer. 

As the director of agriculture, Chinn has worked closely with Missouri Governor Mike Parson and fellow cabinet members to advance the Governor's development and infrastructure priorities, which include expanding job opportunities in agriculture and repairing roadways, bridges and buildings. Her advocacy has included significant support for the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, where she is a member of the dean’s advisory council. She resides on her family’s farm in Shelby County with her husband, Kevin, and her two children, Rachelle and Conner.

"Chris is an inspiration to the next generation of leaders, a dedicated public servant and valued by her peers in agriculture and state government," said 2023 Geyer Award recipient Pat Thomas (B.S. '97). "She was an early advocate for this industry and brought a commonsense form of conversation to the message that needed to be told."

Caleb Jones

Jones is the executive vice president and CEO of the Missouri Electric Cooperatives. A former presidential appointee, congressional staffer and deputy chief of staff to a governor, Jones spent three terms representing the 50th District as a Missouri State Representative. 

In his time in the legislature, Jones was instrumental in securing core funding increases for the university, in addition to garnering funding and support for projects including the new MU School of Medicine and Sinclair School of Nursing buildings, the rehabilitation and expansion of Lafferre Hall, the Missouri Kidney Program, the Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes, Missouri Area Health Education Centers, the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopment, the School of Medicine’s Springfield residency program and more. As CEO of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, he has continued to elevate the university through partnerships with their Mizzou Youth Experience, MU Extension and creating a special Missouri Electric Cooperatives ticket portal for Mizzou Sporting events.  Jones has also continued to support the University of Missouri System through features in Rural Missouri, their award-winning membership magazine. He lives in Boone County with his wife, Lindsey (B.S. ’10), and their two children, Maxwell and Charleston. 

"Under Caleb's leadership, Missouri Electric Cooperatives creates value and connection with its membership and Mizzou," said Chair of the Board of Curators of the University of Missouri Robin Wenneker, B.S. B.A. '91. "Both our university and higher education as a whole have been lastingly impacted by Caleb's advocacy and service."

Tony Luetkemeyer

Senator Luetkemeyer has represented Missouri’s 34th District since 2019. He is chairman of the Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, vice-chairman of the Appropriations Committee, and was reelected to a second term in November 2022. 

He began his advocacy and public service to MU while still on campus, serving as the student representative to the Board of Curators and president of the Missouri Students Association. In office, he has been a vocal advocate of both the UM System and the Columbia campus; his leadership has been key to building support for the NextGen MURR initiative, which seeks to build a new, larger research reactor on campus. Once online, this facility would expand critical cancer-fighting research and medical isotope production at MU, benefiting patients both in Missouri and around the world. He and his wife, Lucinda, live in Parkville, Missouri and enjoy spending time outdoors with their dog, Truman.

"It was my privilege to serve with Tony when he was a student Curator," said Curator Emeritus Judith Haggard, B.S.N. '67. "He showed great maturity and leadership, and was able to share the student perspective with us on many issues. It's no surprise to me that he has continued to show that leadership in the Senate."

Past Geyer Award recipients

Subscribe to

Show Me Mizzou

Stay up-to-date with the latest news by subscribing to the Show Me Mizzou newsletter.