2012 Distinguished Alumni Recognized
Brig. Gen. Arnold M. Gordon-Bray, Dale Carder, Immanuel Barshi, Glenn Chambers
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Glenn Chambers, Distinguished Alumni Award
Glenn Chambers tells a story about the time he sawed a corner off the family's smokehouse door, just so he could take photographs of cardinals and chickadees with his Brownie camera. Although his father may have been a bit upset initially, after he saw what his 10-year-old son accomplished, his reaction was more of a congratulatory one. His son had discovered a passion for capturing images of wildlife, which stuck with him the rest of his life.
Chambers is a native Missourian who graduated from UCM in 1958 with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and chemistry. He also earned a Master of Arts degree in wildlife management from the University of Missouri in 1960. In addition to the UCM Distinguished Alumni Award, he was presented the honorary degree, Doctor of Science, by UCM in 2001 in recognition of his professional achievements that have made him an inspiration to others.
Most of Chambers' career was spent with the Missouri Department of Conservation. He has traveled the globe, and his dedication to conservation has included serving as a wildlife artist, biologist, filmmaker, photographer and fundraiser. Chambers' lifetime of achievements includes four television Emmy Awards, Conservationist of the Year, and his most recent achievement, his live river otter program. With his "Paddlefoot Production," Chambers' passion for this unique program has taken him across state roads in excess of 800,000 miles over 12 years to educate youth about the re-introduction of river otters to Missouri. He also continues to pursue his favorite photographic subjects, prairie and arid land grouse, and advocates for their survival through habitat preservation. As a skilled cinematographer, Chambers specialized in documenting an animal's journey from birth through life. He and his family even raised some of the wildlife featured in his work. A renowned nature artist, he worked for Ducks Unlimited, and in 1984 his painting was selected as the official duck stamp for the state of Missouri.
During his long career with the Missouri Department of Conservation, Chambers' work with river otters has gained him national acclaim.
As a scholarship student who came to UCM from Lee's Summit High School, Chambers started college as an industrial arts major. But his acquaintance with Oscar "Oz" Hawksley and Laura Nahm, professors of biology, changed that. After his first two years, he changed his major to biology.
"Dr. Hawksley soon became my mentor on campus," Chambers said. "He gravitated to the students who were interested in wildlife, and we gravitated to him. It became a great relationship early on, and it still is today. Dr. Nahm was a great instructor. She was great with smart students. I wasn't that smart, but she wanted to make you smart. Nobody ever failed with Dr. Nahm. She made sure of that."
When advising students interested in conservation, his advice is to "stay on the cutting edge. There will be things you'll have to make happen. Take advantage of those opportunities. I never thought, when I graduated from college that I would be a cinematographer, but when I was offered the opportunity, I took it."