From military service to the state capitol and even overseeing higher ed statewide – a Joplin man is being honored for his time as a public servant.

Missouri Southern is honoring Senator Gary Nodler. He’s receiving one of the top honors on campus.

“He’s worked tirelessly for Missouri Southern for many, many years in several different roles,” says Alan Marble, MSSU President.

He’s impacted MSSU in many ways, even including the status and name of the school.

“Renaming Missouri Southern State College to Missouri Southern State University was a bill he sponsored and pushed really hard to get passed,” says Marble.

And now Gary Nodler is the latest recipient of the Webster Medallion, honoring elected officials who have made a significant contribution to the public good and demonstrate political leadership.

“The Southern bill was thought to be impossible to pass. And that first success made it much easier to pass legislation after that,” says Gary Nodler.

The Southern graduate was a regional administrator in the Small Business Administration and spent 8 years in the State Senate. But even before that he was a political aide without much thought for the future.

“I was in it for the fun of it, I enjoyed the color and lights and the parties and that sort of thing and meeting people. I really hadn’t thought about a career because I knew my draft lottery number was and I was likely to be drafted into the army, which I was,” says Nodler.

And he’s still in a position to impact MSSU – recently appointed to the State Coordinating Board for Higher Education. He’s just the second to receive the Webster Medallion from the university, following Senator Ron Richard in 2016.