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Springfield, MO

MSU chooses Bentley, Kleinsmith for honorary doctorates

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Missouri State University's Board of Governors approved honorary doctorates for two local education leaders at its Dec. 14 meeting. Roseann Bentley and Stephen Kleinsmith were nominated by the faculty senate and President Clif Smart as the 22nd and 23rd recipients of MSU's honorary doctorates, according to a university news release.

Bentley and Kleinsmith are scheduled to receive doctor of public affairs during the May 2018 MSU commencement ceremonies.

During her two terms in the Missouri Senate, Bentley served as chairwoman of the Children's Services Commission and sponsored a bill that allocated $30 million for early childhood education, the release said.

She served on the Springfield R-12 School Board, the Missouri Board of Education and the National Association of State Boards of Education. She also was recognized for helping found Parents as Teachers, an international nonprofit that promotes optimal early development, learning and health of young children.

Kleinsmith is serving his 18th year as superintendent of Nixa Public Schools, and he's retiring after this school year.

On a state level, he has advocated for education through the Principals/Site Administrators National Committee and as legislative co-chair for the Association of School Administrators, the release said.

Missouri Association of School Administrators' named Kleinsmith the 2017 Superintendent of the Year. Kleinsmith was also an inaugural member of Springfield Business Journal's Men of the Year in 2011. He is scheduled to appear at SBJ's March live interview as part of 12 People You Need to Know in 2018 series.

MSU began awarding honorary degrees in 2003, to recognize extraordinary achievements by distinguished citizens in hope of encouraging others, the release said.

Previous recipients include Bentley's husband John Bentley and her sister Jan Horton, as well as Shawn Askinosie, Harold Bengsch, Sister Lorraine Biebel, Pattie Penny and Sara Lampe.

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