February 16, 2018
Like many other crop management conference attendees, there are times you have to get up and stretch your legs. Meandering through the hallways, you look at architecture, photos and names on office doors.
However, if you walk down the corridor at Missouri Western State University, you run into a two-story sculpture of a rocket blasting off into space. It is the centerpiece for a memorial to the man who covered NASA space exploration for decades: the great CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite.
But there is so much more to this memorial, which resembles more of a museum, on the campus of Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Mo. Photos, memorabilia, news footage and even a complete mock newsroom fill two partial floors of Spratt Hall.
Cronkite was born in the northwest Missouri town of St. Joseph in 1916. However, he spent most of his childhood in Kansas City. The first floor includes a pictorial timeline tracing Cronkite’s life, including photos and information about his personal life, news highlights and milestones.
Like you were there
The focal point is the Saturn V sculpture titled “We Came in Peace,” by artist-in-residence Eric Fuson. It was dedicated in 2016. The sculpture was designed to give visitors a feeling of a rocket launch, as though you were there. The replica of white smoke filling the air, as the steam evaporating for a rocket taking off, extends to the second floor and beyond. According to the artist, the sculpture shows what Cronkite shared with his viewers, stating it gave them the experience of being at the launch.
The second floor holds mementos of Cronkite’s time in the news business. From a display case of Emmys to photographs with sitting U.S. presidents, the exhibit allows visitors a glimpse of his passion for reporting current events.
One can’t help but leave this memorial and truly understand Cronkite’s tag line, “And that’s the way it is.”
So, take the time to explore on those conference or meeting breaks. You never know what will crop up.
The slideshow above offers a glimpse of the Walter Cronkite Memorial. To visit it in person, head over to the campus of Missouri State Western University in St. Joseph.
Here is a map of Missouri Western State University showing the location of the Walter Cronkite Memorial.
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