From Left: President Charles McGeorge, Cadet Public Affairs Officer Francisco Fletes, Gov. Jay Nixon, and Sen. John Danforth
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon and Senator John Danforth were the 2015 and 2016 recipients, respectively, of the Governor Charles Henry Hardin Medal for Conspicuous Public Service to the State of Missouri and the Nation. On Wednesday, August 30, both men graciously accepted their awards from President Charles A. McGeorge in St. Louis. General David Petraeus was the 2017 recipient.
“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, faculty, staff and cadets of MMA, it was my pleasure to recognize two such distinguished men that have provided so much leadership and selfless service to the people of Missouri,” McGeorge said. “I believe their service exemplifies what the Hardin Medal represents and the values we at MMA are trying to instill in our young men as they assume future roles of leadership.”
A life-long Missourian, Jay Nixon served as the attorney general of Missouri from 1993-2009, before being elected as the state’s 55th Governor from 2009-2017. John Danforth was born in St. Louis, MO, and has served his state honorably his entire life. Danforth was elected to the position of attorney general of Missouri from 1969 – 1976, and served in the United States Senate from 1976 – 1995. In 2004, Danforth became the 24th United States Ambassador to the United Nations.
The Governor Charles Henry Hardin Award is named after Missouri’s 21st governor, who was MMA’s first major financial backer. In 1889, former governor Hardin and a group of townspeople assembled in Mexico, Missouri, to listen to a presentation by A. F. Fleet. Fleet, a Civil War veteran and acting president of the University of Missouri, shared his idea of an all-boy military academy. He believed that the growing Mexico community and the state of Missouri would benefit from the addition of a military academy focused on producing well-educated leaders of character for both the state and the nation. The citizens of Mexico agreed, and on November 22, 1889, Hardin pledged the largest gift toward its inception. The award was established to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the founding of the academy.