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University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


Retired Gen. Richard Myers to Deliver First Ike Skelton Lecture

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Jan. 9, 2014) – With the first presentation featuring retired General Richard B. Myers, 15th chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, 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.

Myers will present the first Ike Skelton Lecture at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22 in Hendricks Hall, the premier event in the newly established Servant Leadership Lecture Series. Limited, free tickets will be available noon to 3 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Jan. 13, 15, and 17; noon to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21; and 8 to 10 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22 at the UCM ticket office, Administration Building 100, or by calling 660-543-8888. 

Gen. Ricard Myers
Gen. Richard Myers

“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 planned in the near future 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 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 has contributed to General Myers’s visit to campus.

A Kansas City native, Myers served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from Oct. 1, 2001 to Sept. 30, 2005, after previously serving for 19 months as vice chairman. As chairman, he was the highest-ranking military officer in the nation, serving as the principal military adviser to the U.S. President, the Secretary of Defense and the National Security Council.  He oversaw the U.S. strategy on the war on terrorism, including U.S. efforts in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the military relief efforts following the Pacific tsunami in 2004 and Hurricanes Rita and Katrina in 2005.

A highly decorated military officer and a seasoned fighter pilot who logged more than 600 combat hours during the Vietnam Conflict, Myers spent 40 years in the U.S. Air Force. His career includes numerous operational command and leadership positions such as Commander of the U.S. Space Command, North American Aerospace Defense Command, Pacific Air Forces; U.S. Forces Japan, and two fighter wings.

Myers’ vast military honors include Distinguished Service Medals from the Army, Navy, and Coast Guard; Air Force Grey Eagle; Air Medal with 18 gold leaf clusters; Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster; Legion of Merit; Defense Distinguished Service medal with three oak leaf clusters; Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, and many more.

His education includes a mechanical engineering degree from Kansas State University and Master of Business Administration degree from Auburn University. Myers also attended the Air Command and Staff College, Army War College, and the Program for Senior Executives in National and International Security at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Ticket holders may park 7-10 a.m. in Lot 24, the visitor’s lot on the north side of the Administration Building, or in Lot 3, the parking area on the north side of South Street, directly across from the visitor’s lot. They can also park at the Multipurpose Building lot, where a shuttle will be available to transport them to the Administration Building. Faculty and staff who usually park in Lots 3 and 24 will also have access to the Multipurpose Building lot and shuttle service 7-10 a.m.