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April 5, 2010
Dr. Russell V. Thompson will be recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Field of Education, and Dr. James C. Redd will be recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Service to Northwest Missouri State University.
"It is our great pleasure as a college to honor these two stellar alumni who exemplify the finest traditions of leadership - traditions that we would aspire to for all our graduates," Dr. Max Ruhl, dean of the College of Education and Human Services, said. "Both Jim and Russ have labored long and effectively in their local communities throughout long careers to mold the lives of young people, and their influence has stretched across our state and nation. Absent either of these individuals, Missouri education would be diminished. They are a credit to their profession and certainly a credit to Northwest Missouri State University."
The program will begin at 1 p.m. Sunday, April 11 in the J.W. Jones Student Union Ballroom. In addition to the lifetime achievement awards, nearly 100 students will be recognized as scholarship recipients.
Dr. Russell V. Thompson, graduated from Northwest in 1956 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry. He launched his teaching career in 1957 at David H. Hickman High School in Columbia and became principal at the school in 1963. He later served as director of secondary education and assistant superintendent for Columbia Public Schools. Additionally, Thompson earned his master's of education from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1960 and his doctorate of education from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1968.
In 1976, he became superintendent of Columbia Public Schools and served the district until 1994 when he was appointed to the Missouri Board of Education. Thompson's 18 years as superintendent was the longest tenure of any in the school district's history. During that time, he led the school district to its selection by the National Governor's Conference as one of 16 model school districts.
His long list of distinctions and honors includes an invitation as one of six American educators to have lunch at the White House with President Ronald Reagan and two commendations by the Missouri State Senate for Outstanding Achievement. He also was named National Education Administrator of the Year by the National Association of Educational Office Professionals.
Throughout his career, Thompson has held memberships and officer roles in many local, state and national professional education associations, in addition to frequent speaking engagements. Thompson also has been active with Kiwanis International, the Boone County Historical Society, Columbia United Way, Children's Hospital and UMC Hospital and Clinics, the Boy Scouts of America and the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, among others.
Dr. James C. Redd is a 1966 graduate of Northwest, having earned his degree in secondary education, physical education and social sciences while excelling as captain of the Bearcat football team for three years. Redd earned his master's in 1967 from the University of Colorado-Boulder, and his doctorate of education in health, physical education and recreation from Oklahoma State University in 1986.
At Northwest, Redd was a physical education instructor, assistant football coach and eventually head football coach from 1976 to 1982, guiding his team to the 1979 MIAA conference championship and winning Coach of the Year honors. During his tenure as Northwest's director of athletics from 1994 to 2001, Bearcat teams won 30 MIAA conference championships, in addition to back-to-back NCAA Division II football championships in 1998 and 1999.
After his retirement from Northwest in 2001, Redd was tapped to serve as director of athletics and physical education chair at William Jewell College in Liberty, a position he held for seven years. In 2009, he was named principal at Archbishop O'Hara High School in Kansas City.
He was a member of the Maryville R-II School Board for 12 years, serving as president for two years. He also volunteered for Pony League Baseball, American Youth Soccer, Amateur Athletic Union Basketball and the Special Olympics. He was inducted into Northwest's M-Club Hall of Fame in 2002, and he was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
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