Banks Named "Outstanding Alumnus" at Missouri Southern

September 22, 2011  
Lee Elliff Pound
betsy banksJOPLIN, MO (SNS) - Betsy Banks, a 1991 graduate of Missouri Southern State University, has been tabbed for the 2011 Outstanding Alumni Award at MSSU.  

She will be honored during the Homecoming Friday night reception on Sept. 30 and at Saturday’s Lion Pride Brunch, scheduled for Saturday, Oct 1.  

Tickets are still available for both events and can be obtained by calling 417.625.9355.  

Her achievement will be recognized at the Missouri Southern Homecoming football game on Saturday, Oct. 1  

When a woman at a dog park in Arizona told Michael Banks that her daughter had five dogs, Mike wasn't impressed. He replied that his daughter had over 350,000. He was exaggerating. Only about half of the 350,000 animals under his daughter's wing are dogs. The rest are cats, gerbils, horses, snakes, ferrets and all kinds of other homeless pets.  

Betsy Banks received her bachelor's degree in biology from Southern, and then worked as a park ranger at Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in Alaska and as a field scientist for the Army Corps of Engineers in South Carolina.  
She received her M.S. in forest ecology, specializing in groundwater hydrology, at Clemson University and then worked as an urban forester for the State of New Jersey and as an agriculture extension agent at Rutgers.  

But in 1996 the direction of her life changed. On the way to dinner, an idea was born. It was to harness the power of the still-young Web to make a difference for homeless pets. Within a month, launched with pets from 13 shelters listed on it. It was revolutionary for homeless pets: It gave them a voice heard around the world. Visitors to the site could search for pets to adopt from the comfort of their own homes  

Today, over 13,500 shelters and rescue groups post their pets on the site, and Petfinder has been responsible for finding homes for over 17 million pets. Since Petfinder began, the number of adoptable pets being euthanized has dropped from over 16 million to an estimated 4 million.  

Today the site welcomes five million unique visitors each month and facilitates over two million adoptions annually. It's the #1 most viewed site on the Web in the Pets and Animals category. Petfinder also reaches out to the animal welfare community with its groundbreaking

Adoption Options one-day workshops that tour the country, featuring prominent professionals in the field.  

In 2006, media giant Discovery Communications acquired in what Ad Age magazine called one of the "best (and sweetest) acquisitions of the year." Betsy continues to serve Petfinder, focusing on strategy, partnerships and public relations.  

She also serves on the boards of the Foundation, which has given more than $10 million dollars in grants to animal welfare groups, the Alliance for Contraception in Cats and Dogs, and Asparity Decision Solutions, a leading provider of health care and employee benefits decision support and data solutions.

In 2010, she was named by Woman's Day magazine as one of fifty "Women Who Are Changing the World."  

Betsy lives in Chapel Hill, N.C. with her family, which includes her husband, Ed Powers, two children, two dogs, a cat, two guinea pigs, two elderly horses, three cows, a flock of chickens, a sheep, two goats and a box turtle.