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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

July 11, 2014

Northwest Alumni Association to honor 8 for success, service

Eight distinguished members of the Northwest Missouri State University family will be honored during the Alumni Awards Banquet this fall.

The annual event, sponsored by the Northwest Alumni Association, begins at 6 p.m., Friday, Sept. 19, with a social in the J.W. Jones Student Union Ballroom, followed by a dinner at 6:45 p.m. and the awards presentation at 8 p.m.

“The annual Alumni Awards Banquet is a time for the Northwest community to come together to recognize and celebrate outstanding achievements and accomplishments of our cherished alumni and faculty,” said Bob Machovsky, director of alumni relations and annual giving.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or contact the Northwest Alumni Association at 660.562.1248 or

Tickets cost $30 per person or $200 for a table of eight. Reservations will be accepted until Friday, Sept. 5, on a first-come, first-served basis.

In addition to honoring the recipients of its six traditional awards – Distinguished Alumni Award, Distinguished Faculty Award, Faculty Emeritus Award, Turret Service Award, Honorary Alumni Award and the Young Alumni Award – the Alumni Association will present the inaugural Public Service Award in recognition of outstanding service-minded alumnus or friend.

The honorees for 2014 are listed below.


Brig. Gen. Christopher Hughes: Distinguished Alumni Award

Col. Christopher Hughes Brig. Gen. Christopher Hughes graduated from Northwest in 1983. He was commissioned to the U.S. Army through Northwest’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program. He serves as a special assistant to the deputy commanding general of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division. Hughes has received many awards and recognitions throughout his time with the Army including the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit and a Bronze Star Medal, among others. Hughes lives in Leavenworth, Kan.

Dr. Ben Blackford: Distinguished Faculty Award

Dr. Ben Blackford Dr. Ben Blackford graduated from Northwest with his bachelor’s degree in 1999 and his master’s degree in 2001. He is an assistant professor in the Department of Business, where he demonstrates all the qualities of a devoted teacher who cares about student learning.  Blackford has played an important role in several initiatives at Northwest including creating the Northwest New Venture Pitch business plan competition, representing the department and University for Green and White Days, Distinguished Scholar Days, Exploring Majors, Career Day and the Finals Week breakfast. He received the Melvin D. and Valorie G. Booth College of Business and Professional Studies Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research in 2010, the Melvin D. and Valorie G. Booth College of Business and Professional Studies Dean’s Award for Teaching in 2013  and most recently received the 2014 Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs International Teaching Excellence Award. He lives in Maryville.

Dr. Betty Bush: Faculty Emeritus Award

Dr. Betty Bush Dr. Betty Bush was a professor of curriculum and instruction for 17 years at Northwest. Throughout her time at Northwest, Bush received numerous honors, from being the distinguished lecturer at the 1990 Professional Achievements/Awards and Recognition Banquet to receiving the College of Education and Human Services Lifetime Achievement Award for Service to Northwest in 2007. Bush has continued to support Northwest through service, time and funding to ensure the University is a better place to be and to learn. She lives in West Des Moines, Iowa.

Dr. Robert “Bob” Bush: Faculty Emeritus Award

Dr. Robert “Bob” Bush Dr. Robert Bush graduated from Northwest in 1957. He has provided the University with more than 31 years of service in various roles and has helped create numerous programs and services in the community. Not only has Bush contributed in service to the campus, but he has also been a member of the Alumni Association. Some examples of his contributions include helping with alumni trips and social gatherings as well as helping with several fundraising events. He lives in West Des Moines, Iowa.

Ken Scribner: Turret Service Award

Ken Scribner Ken Scribner graduated from Northwest in 1987 and has become an active contributor to Northwest and its Department of Mathematics, Computer Science and Information Systems. He participated in the department’s fall visit day, Career Services’ Mock Interview Day and sponsors many Northwest student trips to Cerner for the computer science and information systems student organization. Scribner has played an instrumental part in helping Northwest students gain the knowledge they need and provide helpful advice to fully prepare students for careers after graduation. Scribner is the vice president of Cerner Corporation and lives in Kansas City.

Steve Bratt: Honorary Alumni Award

Steve Bratt Steve Bratt is vice president and plant manager at Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corporation in Maryville. Bratt’s leadership and management abilities have helped Kawasaki in financially supporting multiple areas at Northwest including its study abroad program, a proposed agriculture learning center, the Visiting Writers Series, Promoting Reasoning and Inquiry in Science and Math, and the Northwest Fund, in addition to covering half of tuition for Kawasaki employees. Bratt lives in Maryville.

Brad Elliott: Young Alumni Award

Brad Elliott Brad Elliott graduated from Northwest in 2004. He is the co-owner of Podium Ink, a design and marketing firm. While at Northwest, Elliott participated on the men’s cross country team as well as the men’s track and field team. He also interned for Northwest’s Office of University Relations. In addition to owning his own business and working with high profile clients such as Sherwin Williams and Blake Shelton, he volunteers and coaches track at Mount Ayr (Iowa) Community School. He lives in Mount Ayr, Iowa.

Mike Thomson: Public Service Award

Mike Thomson Mike Thomson has provided leadership for all in the northwest Missouri region during many years of public service, first as a classroom teacher and coach in public school systems, then as a faculty and staff member at Northwest. For the last eight years, Thomson dedicated his career to representing the region in the Missouri House of Representatives. He has given his experience and time to strengthening support for upgrading and financing the state’s education system. Mike earned degrees from Northwest in 1968 and 1971, and he resides in Maryville.

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