2018 Mizzou Hall of Fame welcomes three new alumni

One of the inductions was conducted posthumously.

Three MU alumni have been inducted into the 2018 Mizzou Hall of Fame. The inductees were honored at the third-annual Hall of Fame Luncheon as a part of the university’s 107th Homecoming celebration.

This year’s inductees are Debbye Turner Bell, Sam Walton and William Trogdon. Collectively, they have amassed eight degrees from MU, from the ‘40s and into the 2000s.

Bell attended MU from 1988 to 1991 to pursue her love of animals through the MU College of Veterinary Medicine. Her studies were put on hold, however, to follow a different kind of passion: the Miss America Pageant.

"I did take a year off [from veterinary school] to be Miss America,” Bell said. “But when that was over, I came right back to finish what I'd started."

Winning Miss America allowed Bell scholarship support to finish her degree and she graduated with a veterinary medicine doctoral degree in 1991. Since her graduation, Bell has gone on to be a self-described veterinarian, journalist, minister, motivational speaker, wife and mother.

Walton, who passed away in April of 1992, was inducted posthumously. He graduated from MU in 1940 with a bachelor’s degree in economics and opened the first Walmart store in 1962. By 1991, Walmart had expanded internationally into Mexico, with over a thousand stores and a supercenter on the way and had become the largest retailer in the U.S.

"[My MU education] has been most beneficial to me in my approach to business and whatever success I have enjoyed,” Walton said, according to the Mizzou Alumni Association.

Shortly before his passing, Walton was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by then-President George H. W. Bush in 1992.

Trogdon, who writes under the pen name William Least Heat-Moon, came to MU in 1957 on academic probation due to low grades in high school. His extremely high entrance exam score, however, allowed him into honors courses, where he quickly redeemed himself. He holds bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in English and a bachelor’s degree in photojournalism from MU, as well as an honorary degree.

He later became a New York Times best-selling author for his book “Blue Highways” and has written both nonfiction books and a novel. Additionally, his book “Writing Blue Highways” was published by the University of Missouri Press in 2014.

"Never mind that Mark Twain had stood on the steps of Jesse Hall,” Trogdon said. “History was at The Shack. We may not have learned history there, but we surely felt it."

Edited by Morgan Smith | mosmith@themaneater.com

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