Biographer entertains students at lecture

Philip Martin

The 10th-annual Jeans Lecture in History was held April 1.

The speaker for the event was Alonzo Hamby, winner of the Herbert Hoover Book Award and the Harry S. Truman Book Award for his biography of Harry Truman titled Man of the People: A Life of Harry S. Truman.

Hamby is also the distinguished professor of history at Ohio University. The speech was titled “Harry Truman: Missourian and National Leader.” The speech was about Truman’s early career in politics.

Hamby has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants, among them are two National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships; Harry S. Truman Library Institute Senior Fellowship; Fellow, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; and the Ohio Academy of History Distinguished Service Award. In the upcoming year, he will be Sackler Professor of American History at the University of Leiden.

Hamby has taught at Ohio University since 1965 and was named Distinguished Professor in 1996.

Students attending the event were able to learn something about Truman they had not known before.

“I didn’t know that Truman’s wife’s name was Bess and that he was for the flag,” said Bryndi Reynolds, freshman nursing major. “I did not know that.”

David Armstrong, junior secondary education major, said he learned a lot about Truman and his life.

“I didn’t know anything about Harry Truman when I came in,” Armstrong said. “I would like to read [Hamby’s] book now for sure.”

Reynolds said she enjoyed the speaker, although she went to the event for extra credit.

“I thought he was very entertaining and very passionate about what he studied,” she said.

Reynolds said it was a good idea to have Hamby for the lecture.

“A lot more people showed up, than I thought there would be,” she said. “He was a very enlightening fellow.”

Armstrong said he had gone to some of the Jeans Lectures in the past and has enjoyed all of them.

The Jeans Lecture in History is named in honor of Dr. Virgil and Virginia Jeans, longtime residents of Joplin.

Dr. Jeans was a well-known physician in the community. Both he and his wife followed the progress of Missouri Southern with great interest.

Following their deaths, contributions were made to the Southern Foundation.With that support, the lectures are made possible.