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Mizzou Alumni Association Honors Kingery, Koukola with Geyer Awards

February 9th, 2010

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COLUMBIA, Mo. – The University of Missouri and the Mizzou Alumni Association awarded the 2009 Henry S. Geyer Awards to Rep. Gayle Kingery and Christine Koukola, assistant to the chancellor for university affairs at the University of Missouri.

The Mizzou Alumni Association’s Legislative Information Network annually presents the award to state-elected officials and citizens who have made a positive impact on higher education and MU. The award is named for former representative Henry S. Geyer of St. Louis, who wrote the Geyer Act of 1839, which established the university.

“As we review the recipients of the Geyer Award over the years, one characteristic stands out: courage,” MU Chancellor Brady Deaton said during the ceremony, which was held at the Governor’s Mansion. “Chris Koukola and Gayle Kingery have displayed the courage of their convictions.  They have carried the black and gold flag proudly because they love Mizzou and know that its future is linked to the future of our state and the well being of all Missourians.”

Kingery was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in November 2002 and has served on several education-focused committees. He has chaired the House Higher Education Committee for the past five years and frequently sponsors both wide-ranging higher education legislation and legislation specifically benefiting MU, including a bill to establish a large animal veterinary medicine loan program for MU students. Additionally, Kingery serves on the Midwest Higher Education Compact organization. Kingery received his bachelor’s degree in science from Southeast Missouri State and his master’s degree in physical education from MU. Kingery has more than 30 years of teaching and administrative experience and served in the United States Air Force from 1961 to 1965, with a yearlong tour in Vietnam. Kingery, a Missouri native, and his wife, Bette Joline, currently reside in Poplar Bluff. They have five children.  

Koukola received her bachelor’s degree from DePauw University, where she studied political science. After working for the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse, Koukola joined the University of Missouri where she has led public relations efforts for more than 24 years during the tenure of five chancellors. As chief public affairs officer for the University of Missouri, Koukola oversees the MU News Bureau, Publications and Alumni Communications, University Events, Marketing Communications, Web Communications, and Visitor Relations.  She directed communications for the successful For All We Call Mizzou billion dollar campaign.  Over the years, Koukola has sustained her commitment to elevating the prestige of the university through creative promotion of its mission to the university’s various publics. Koukola and her husband, Peter, have been married for 36 years.

“The Governor’s Mansion offered the perfect setting to honor Rep. Gayle Kingery and Ms. Chris Koukola,” said Jim Gwinner, 2009 chair of the Mizzou Legislative Network Committee that chose the award recipients. “These two individuals embody the spirit of the University of Missouri and its commitment to providing a world class public higher education.”