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Mizzou Alumni Association Honors Whitlock, Gross and Shields with Geyer Awards

April 16, 2007

Story Contact:  Katherine Kostiuk, 573-882-3346,

COLUMBIA, Mo. — The University of Missouri-Columbia and the Mizzou Alumni Association awarded the 2007 Henry S. Geyer Awards to Sens. Chuck Gross and Charlie Shields, and R. Barnes Whitlock, a public accountant from Springfield, Mo.

The Mizzou Alumni Association's Legislative Information Network Committee annually presents the Geyer Awards to two state-elected officials and one citizen who exemplify the dedication and spirit of Henry S. Geyer, a former state representative. Geyer believed that education was the key to progress and prosperity in Missouri and introduced a bill to establish the University of Missouri in 1839.

"The Geyer Award is our way of thanking these individuals for their service to MU and higher education in the state of Missouri," said Todd McCubbin, executive director of the Mizzou Alumni Association and associate vice chancellor for alumni relations. "Sen. Gross, Sen. Shields and Barney are dedicated to the cause of higher education. We want them to know that now, more than ever, their support is critical, and we appreciate all they've done."

Gross graduated from St. Charles High School in St. Charles, Mo., in 1976 and from MU in 1981 with a bachelor's degree in public administration. A year later, he earned his master's degree in public administration from MU's School of Public Affairs. He was first elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in November 1992 and represented a St. Charles district. While serving for eight years in the House, Gross emerged as a leader in the Republican Party and served on key committees such as budget, appropriations and utilities regulation. In 2000, he was elected to the Missouri Senate, where he continues to serve today. He chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee and, in this capacity, plays a central role in decisions regarding funding for higher education and other areas of the state budget. He also has been active on other committees, including Gubernatorial Appointments and the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. Gross' community involvement includes being a board member of Youth-in-Need, Child Assessment Center, the Foundry Art Centre and the Lewis and Clark Center. While at Mizzou, he was a member of the professional fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi, and he currently serves on the alumni Advisory Board for the Harry S. Truman School of Public Affairs. He is married to Leslie Ann (Goralczyk) Gross and has two daughters, Megan and Madelynn.

Shields earned his bachelor's degree in marketing and a master's degree in business administration from MU. In December 1987, he was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Mid-Buchanan R-V Board of Education. In April 1988, he won an election to fill the remaining one-year term and in April 1989 was elected by a large margin to a full three-year term on the board. He was elected vice president of the board in 1988 and president in 1990. He was re-elected in 1992 and continued to serve the board until 2004. Shields was elected to the Missouri House in 1990 and became very active with education issues, serving on the elementary and secondary, as well as higher education, committees.

In 1996, he was elected Minority Whip and, in this position, was able to provide even greater leadership to education issues. In 2002, Shields was elected to the Missouri Senate and named chair of the Joint Committee on Education. He continues to serve on this committee and also serves in the key position of Majority Floor Leader. He is currently sponsoring legislation to create a new Smart Start higher education scholarship and promoting legislation that would provide capital improvements and a simplified need-based scholarship. Shields serves on the United Way Applications Committee, is a member and past president of the East Side Lions Club and is an associate member of the Missouri National Guard Association. He and his wife, Brenda, met at Mizzou, where both were involved with Marching Mizzou. They now reside in rural Buchanan County and have two sons, Brandt and Bryce.

Whitlock has a bachelor's degree in business administration from MU and more than 40 years of experience in public accounting, with an emphasis on family business planning and estate and tax planning. He is a founding partner and served as managing partner for Whitlock, Selim & Keehn, LLP (WSK) in Springfield, Mo., in the 1980s. He also has served as chair for the Mizzou Legislative Network for the past seven years and been actively involved in the Greater Ozarks Chapter. He has been a member of the Mizzou Alumni Association Governing Board and International Board since 2001. He also is a past member of the Development Council, a current member of the Jefferson Club and a board member of the Mizzou Flagship Council. Whitlock's professional and civic activities include membership in the American Institute of CPAs and the Missouri Society of CPAs, where he served as president of the Southwest Chapter. He has held leadership positions and is on the board of directors for the Hickory Hills Country Club, the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, United Way, YMCA and the Smith-Glynn-Callaway Medical Foundation. He is married to Jackie Whitlock, a 1962 graduate of MU, and has three children, all graduates of MU: Cary Cummings, Chris Barnes Whitlock and Greg R. Whitlock.