JOPLIN, Mo. — A former Missouri State Representative was honored today at Missouri Southern.
Missouri Southern State University gave the 2022 Richard M. Webster Medallion to Robert Warden, also known as Bob Warden.
“He was in the Missouri House of Representatives and moving Missouri Southern forward. He leaves a legacy here and it was just wonderful to be able to honor his service,” said Dr. Dean Van Galen, President, MSSU.
The university recognizes a former or current legislator every year, who has provided outstanding service to higher education in the state of Missouri.
Warden played a huge role in pushing for a house bill that helped transition MSSU from a junior college, to the four year university that it is today, and he never gave up on advocating for the university to legislators.
“The original bill was vetoed. And he stayed, that was in 1963, and so he stayed with it,” said T. Mark Elliott, Serves on the Board of Governors, MSSU.
“We are now a four year anniversary, serving students from the region and beyond, so our university was elevated through that process. And I think it helped us aspire to be bigger and greater and have more impact. So, all of that traces back to Bob Warden and others who had that vision to see what Missouri Southern could and should be,” said Dr. Dean Van Galen, President, MSSU.
Warden served as a state representative, Jasper County Prosecutor, and Jasper County Circuit Judge, all while keeping a focus on the state’s role in providing higher education.
“Look what the campus looks like today and if it hadn’t been for Bob Warden, we wouldn’t be seeing the things that we see on campus today and how it’s developed. And students that have come and gone through, um, the University now, can look back and thank Robert Warden for his part in this and it took a lot of tenacity on his part,” said Elliott.