November 10, 2015

With special guests in attendance that included Leslie Moonves, the president and CEO of CBS Corporation, and U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, Missouri Western State University formally opened a third phase of the Walter Cronkite Memorial during a dedication ceremony Nov. 9. The evening also included the premiere of a new live multimedia presentation, “Harry & Walter: Missouri’s Native Sons.”

The memorial is “extraordinary,” Moonves said, and an appropriate reminder of the important role journalism plays.

“This is a time where we need new journalists, we need more truth-telling, we need more people like Walter Cronkite at my company, at all the media companies,” Moonves said. “I loved hearing the story of him coming back to St. Joseph to talk about his reaction to (attacks on the press by then-Vice President) Spiro Agnew, and Walter defended the truth, he defended justice, he defended the right of the American people to know the truth and to discuss the truth, and everybody knew he was right.”

Cronkite earned the title “The Most Trusted Man in America” while anchoring the CBS Evening News from 1962 to 1981. Phase III of the Walter Cronkite Memorial includes a replica of the newsroom from which Cronkite broadcast the news as it appeared in the late 1960s to early 1970s. Combining replicas as well as actual artifacts, the newsroom gives visitors the opportunity to sit behind a news desk like Cronkite’s and have their photo taken.

In September, the Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin notified Missouri Western that they are donating the desk from Cronkite’s CBS office to the Walter Cronkite Memorial. The Center, directed by Dr. Don Carleton, is home to the personal and professional papers of Cronkite. The office desk will be placed in a display case in the Memorial. Dr. Carleton, whose oral history “Conversations with Cronkite” was based on his interviews with the journalist, also attended the dedication ceremony.

“Harry & Walter: Missouri’s Native Sons” is a 25-minute live multimedia performance offering a glimpse into the personal and professional lives of two of Missouri’s most influential native sons, President Harry S. Truman and Walter Cronkite, and how their lives intersected. The production features two professional actors from Kansas City: Ken Remmert plays Truman, and Jim Korinke plays Cronkite. Korinke also plays the legendary newsman in the show “Cronkite,” which has been performed in the Kemper Recital Hall next to the Memorial since last summer.

A public showing of “Harry & Walter: Missouri’s Native Sons,” was held Monday, Nov. 16, in the Kemper Recital Hall.

The Walter Cronkite Memorial was dedicated on Nov. 4, 2013, as a fitting tribute to the St. Joseph native who anchored the CBS Evening News from 1962 to 1981. The memorial has attracted nearly 5,000 visitors from 41 states and five foreign countries. The 5,000 square-foot memorial in the atrium of Spratt Hall includes images, videos and memorabilia of Cronkite’s life and the many events he covered as a journalist. It is 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.

Missouri Western State University is a comprehensive regional university providing a blend of traditional liberal arts and professional degree programs. The university offers student-centered, high quality instruction that focuses on experience-based learning, community service, and state-of-the-art technology. Missouri Western is located in St. Joseph, Mo., and is committed to the educational, economic, cultural and social development of the region it serves. Visit Texas at Austin for donating the desk from Cronkite’s CBS office to the Walter Cronkite Memorial. The office desk will be placed in a display case in the Memorial.