FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 22, 2011
CONTACT: Lee Elliff Pound
JOPLIN, MO (SNS) - Former Joplin Mayor Larry Hickey will receive the "Lion Hearted" Award from the Alumni Association at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin.
Mr. Hickey 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.
Mr. Hickey grew up in Coffeyville, Kan., and graduated from the University of Kansas. His time at K.U. was interrupted by World War II.
During the war, he served as an officer in the United States Navy, taking part in the Battle of Okinawa. He was assigned to participate in the planned invasion of Japan. However, the invasion never took place as a result of the Japanese surrender.
Hickey left the Navy in 1946 and started working just one week after his discharge for Phillips Petroleum in Bartlesville, Okla. He moved to Joplin in the mid 1950’s a distributor for Phillips and quickly became involved in his new town.
In 1974, became the Anheuser-Busch distributor for the area as owner of the Larry Hickey Distributing company. He also served as a City Council member and Mayor of Joplin.
Over the years Mr. Hickey and his late wife, Virginia, became strong supporters of the community and of Missouri Southern.
Mr. Hickey took a German class at Southern while serving on the Board of FAG Bearing. Through that he met Hal Bodon, the German-born language professor who also served as the men’s soccer coach. That relationship turned into Larry sponsoring a trip for the soccer team.
Hickey has supported many different aspects of Missouri Southern over the years in many ways. Some were financial and others were through his time and support. He has donated to scholarships and to the creation of the Ralph L. Gray Alumni Center.
Hickey had a baseball tournament named after him at one point because of his strong support of the baseball program.
From 2003 to 2006, Mr. Hickey served as honorary chair of Missouri Southern’s Building a University for the 21st Century capital campaign that raised more than $10 million for the institution.
He supported the Missouri Southern International Piano Competition through donations and by hosting a golf tournament and evening event to support this cultural event.
Today, Mr. Hickey sits on the Baseball Advisory Board of Missouri Southern State University and maintains an active interest in the city of Joplin, the Museum Complex and Missouri Southern State University.