Jenna Fischer, arguably Truman State University’s most famous alumna thanks to her work as Pam in the “The Office,” returned to campus last Thursday and Friday. Her appearance in the Holman Family Distinguished Speaker Series sold out within 24 hours of its announcement, and the Public Relations Office then moved the event to Pershing Arena to nearly double the amount of available tickets. Director of Development Charles Hunsaker said Fischer is by far the most popular speaker the series has ever hosted.
We, The Index Editorial Board, are happy to see Truman students excited about something for once, especially someone who’s a part of Truman’s history. Students might make fun of our “Harvard of the Midwest” nickname, but Fischer is evidence of Truman producing graduates who go on to do great things.
That being said, we, The Index Editorial Board, think students should appreciate more alumni than just the one we see when binge-watching a Netflix series. Fischer’s accomplishments are impressive, but she is not the only alum to make a name for herself. Glenn Jacobs, better known by his wrestling ring name Kane, graduated from Northeast Missouri State University in 1991 and is now mayor of Knox County, Tennessee. Alphonso Jackson served as the United States Housing and Urban Development Secretary for most of President George W. Bush’s second term, and he graduated from NMSU in 1968. Hung Hsiu-chu earned her master’s degree in education from NMSU in 1991, and she later served as the vice president of China’s unicameral legislature from 2012-2016. These are just a few of Truman’s notable alumni.
Even if not every Truman alum is famous, there are still plenty who donate to Truman or otherwise support the University. Alumna Sandra K. Giachino Reavey’s estate donated $1 million to the University earlier this year after several years of dedicating her money and time to Truman and the Northeast Missouri region. Alumnus Charles Holman donated nearly $2.9 million in 2008 to establish three endowment funds for Truman, one of which brought Fischer to campus. Numerous Truman State University Foundation scholarships are established by alumni, whether by individuals, couples or entire graduated classes. Fischer can now join this class of alumni as well with her recent donation to the Theatre Department.
Truman’s Student Alumni Association tries to bring light to all these alumni on Tag Day. One day every fall, the SAA puts purple tags on hundreds of items on campus that would not be there without the support of donors, including our alumni. Next semester, we can all take this opportunity to appreciate more of Truman’s alumni, even if they don’t make the news.