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About the Series

The University of Central Missouri and Whiteman Air Force Base jointly announce a new lecture series that reflects both organization's shared values of service and leadership.

The premier event in the newly established Servant Leadership Lecture Series is the Ike Skelton Lecture. "The Servant Leadership Lecture Series is symbolic of the strong relationship between UCM and Whiteman Air Force Base that has continued to grow under the leadership of base commander, Brig. Gen. Thomas Bussiere," said UCM President Charles Ambrose. "With a change in command at the 509th Bomb Wing, this initiative is a tremendous opportunity to honor General Bussiere's legacy while also paying tribute to a great Missourian, Congressman Ike Skelton, whose works exemplified the meaning of servant leadership."

Skelton, a Democrat from Lexington, passed away in 2013, having served as Missouri's 4th District Congressman from 1977 to 2011, including leadership as the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Ambrose said although a number of different speakers may be invited to UCM annually under the Servant Leadership Lecture Series, the Skelton Lecture is a special opportunity within the series to bring noteworthy guests to campus. UCM and WAFB will cooperate at least once a year to invite outstanding politicians, military figures, educators, business leaders, and journalists to present the Skelton Lecture. These speakers will focus on the servant leadership spirit displayed by Congressman Skelton during his life and the shared leadership and service missions of WAFB and UCM.

"I am thrilled to welcome General Richard Myers as the inaugural speaker for the Skelton Lecture," Bussiere said. "Ike Skelton was a distinguished patriot whose innumerable contributions to our nation's security are showcased every day at Whiteman Air Force Base, and I can think of no better way to honor his legacy than to continue his example of servant leadership, of which this lecture is just the beginning."

Ambrose noted that the Servant Leadership Series initiative is part of the growing Whiteman Advantage program. This is a joint effort between UCM and WAFB that has led to new education opportunities, including UCM aviation courses being taught on base; collaborative measures to help reduce high-risk drinking among airmen and college students; a military tuition package, which reduces the cost of an education for military personnel and their families; a new Command Pass for athletic events that benefits active duty military members; and the establishment of the Military and Veterans Success Center at UCM.

Bussiere, who has been instrumental in helping to maintain and build upon these initiatives, will soon become deputy director of command, control and nuclear operations, J3 on the Joint Staff at the Pentagon. His relationship with national military leaders contributed to General Myers's visit to campus.