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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

June 28, 2013

Alumnus to assist history, social science majors through scholarship

Mitchell Akers, a 1987 Northwest Missouri State University alumnus, will give a deferred estate gift to endow a fund for the purpose of assisting social science education and history majors studying at the University.

Akers’ six-figure gift will establish the Mitchell Akers Scholarship Fund for an undergraduate student maintaining full-time enrollment. Eligible students must have a grade-point average of at least 3.25 and meet the eligibility requirements to receive financial assistance. Preference will be given to first-generation college students in social science education and history majors but may be expanded to include all education majors.

Reflecting on his own experience at Northwest, Akers said it would have been impossible for him to obtain the quality education he received without receiving financial assistance. He recognizes the need for financial assistance is greater today as costs rise and new generations seek to attend college.

Akers, who now resides in Kansas City, Mo., stands as a proponent for providing access to higher education as a gateway to new opportunities. 

“It served as the foundation to everything else that followed,” Akers said. “My success in my chosen career of public service is a direct result of the education I received at Northwest. In terms of self-development, that experience was the most interesting and gratifying time of my life. The scholarship fund is a way to provide or, at least, help future generations to obtain the same opportunities to develop their strengths and use them to reach their aspirations. Education is the one equalizer that opens the door to all the other possibilities.”

Akers graduated in the top 25 percent of his Anita, Iowa, high school class in 1983 and chose to attend Northwest on a recommendation from his high school guidance counselor, who noted the University’s strong business program.

The youngest of five siblings, Akers was the only one to attend college. He did so by securing Pell Grants, Regents scholarships and Guaranteed Student Loans. He also participated in the work-study program, which helped him gain experience in the offices of accounting, payroll and Textbook Services.

Akers graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in history and a minor in political science.

“It was one of the best unplanned decisions I ever made,” Akers said. “The quality of education I received was invaluable thanks to the professors and their ability to motivate and encourage learning. The class sizes provided the instructors with the opportunity to have a give-and-take dialogue with the students, which fostered engaged learning. This approach generated true interest in learning that led to a deeper understanding of the material. My skills involving reasoning, problem-solving and communication were developed through the education provided at Northwest.”

In 1990, with the assistance of Northwest Career Services and the Outstanding Scholars Program, Akers was hired as a contract specialist intern with the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). He progressed through the ranks and now serves as a branch chief and supervisory contract specialist. His responsibilities include directing, awarding and administering architect-engineer and construction contracts in the St. Louis metro area and the state of Iowa. Along the way, he has received numerous accolades, including Federal Energy and Water Management Awards and the GSA Environmental Award.

“Northwest, especially our students, is so fortunate to have successful alumni who recognize the impact the University has played on their lives and careers,” said Teresa Gustafson, director of strategic donor development at Northwest. “The quality education and many opportunities that Mitch took advantage of at Northwest helped him build the foundation for a successful career. We are grateful he has chosen to give back to Northwest and assist future students.”

For more information about giving to Northwest, contact the Office of University Advancement at 660.562.1248 or

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468