ST. JOSEPH, MO -- (Marketwired) -- 11/12/13 -- Missouri Western State University dedicated an interactive memorial to one of the most important journalists of the 20th century and St. Joseph's most famous native son, Walter Cronkite. Visitors can learn about the legendary CBS anchorman's personal life and interests as well as the historic events he covered in the interactive Walter Cronkite Memorial, a 5,000 square-foot display in the atrium of Leah Spratt Hall on the Missouri Western campus. The memorial was dedicated on what would have been Cronkite's 97th birthday.
"He loved his birthday; he loved birthday parties; he loved getting presents," said Cronkite's daughter, Kathy, of her famous father during the dedication ceremony attended by nearly 500 people. "This is the best birthday party he could ever have."
"The Walter Cronkite Memorial is one of the most rewarding projects I have had the honor of being involved in during my presidency," said Dr. Robert Vartabedian, Missouri Western's president. "This icon of American history is one of St. Joseph's greatest native sons. Now, there will finally be a memorial fitting of his legacy in his hometown."
Cronkite was born in St. Joseph on Nov. 4, 1916. He went on to anchor the "CBS Evening News" from 1962 to 1981 and was consistently named "The Most Trusted Man in America" in public opinion polls. He first rose to fame as a UPI correspondent during World War II, and went on to bring news of major events to generations of Americans, including the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., the Civil Rights movement, the moon landing, Vietnam, Watergate and the Iran hostage crisis. Speaking at the memorial dedication, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said Cronkite's integrity, intellect and ability to connect with people reflected his roots in the Show-Me State.
"Here in Missouri, we have a great hope and optimism for the future, while staying grounded in the realities of our time," Nixon said. "We're warm, but inherently skeptical. It's a distinctive combination that's too often missing these days in the media, and certainly among elected officials throughout our great country. No one personified these Missouri traits better than Walter Cronkite."
The centerpiece of the memorial is a display of historical photographs designed by art faculty members David Harris and Eric Fuson. The display is approximately 9 feet wide by 21 feet tall containing 39 images of world and national events covered during Cronkite's years as the CBS Evening News anchor.
At a video kiosk in front of the historic photograph display, visitors can watch coverage of each of the 39 historic events from CBS as well as in many cases Cronkite's personal reflections on those events after his retirement.
"Never has anybody done any kind of tribute, memorial, article, anything around my father that has brought the family in and allowed us to have a voice and be a partner in something that is so personal," Kathy Cronkite said. "And it is reflected in this exhibit that isn't just about him as a journalist, but captures the spirit of him as a man."
The memorial was made possible by a gift from the Bradley family of St. Joseph, owners of the St. Joseph News-Press and other media properties around the country. The permanent memorial is free and open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. For more information, visit www.waltercronkitememorial.org or call 816-271-4100.
Documents and/or Photos available for this release:
The Walter Cronkite Memorial was dedicated at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Mo., on Monday, November 4, 2013. Cronkite was born in St. Joseph on Nov. 4, 1916. Special guests at the dedication included Kathy Cronkite, Walter's daughter; and Missouri Governor Jay Nixon.
Two interactive video kiosks in the Walter Cronkite Memorial at Missouri Western State University allow visitors to watch the legendary newsman reminisce about his life and the historical events he covered.
Robert Vartabedian, president of Missouri Western State University, addresses a crowd of nearly 400 at the dedication of the Walter Cronkite Memorial in St. Joseph, Mo., on Monday, November 4, 2013. The memorial is located in Leah Spratt Hall on Missouri Western's campus.
Missouri Governor Jeremiah Nixon addresses a crowd of nearly 400 at the dedication of the Walter Cronkite Memorial at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Mo., on Monday, November 4, 2013.
The memorial was dedicated on Monday, Nov. 4. It is located in Leah Spratt Hall on Missouri Western's campus.
Kathy Cronkite addresses nearly 400 people at the dedication of the Walter Cronkite Memorial at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Mo., on Monday, Nov. 4, 2013.
To view supporting documents and/or photos, go to www.enr-corp.com/pressroom and enter Release ID: 363785
Assistant PR/Marketing Director
Missouri Western State University
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