Remembering Dr. Stanley Botner: Truman School Alumni & Faculty Reminisce About Beloved Mentor

Jordan Yount
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Dr. Stanely Botner

Dr. Stanley Botner

Dr. Stanley Botner Memorial Scholarship

Stanley Botner, BA ’47 political science, MA ’60 business, PhD ’63 business, was a beloved professor, author, and mentor whose personal generosity made it possible for many students to stay in school. He was responsible for developing the public administration program that eventually evolved into the MU Truman School of Public Affairs; a program which prepares students to work in public service. Botner also created the Master of Public Administration program for state government employees in Jefferson City, allowing them to take evening courses at various locations in the capital city.

A Professor’s Generosity

In recognition of his many contributions to the MPA program and its students, alumni and friends of the Truman School established a scholarship in Botner’s name.

Former student Steve Krause, MPA ’82, retired after 30 years with McDonnell-Douglas and Boeing and was a staff member in the Missouri House of Representatives in the 1970s when the evening MPA program started.

“I was able to pursue my master’s degree because Stan conceived of this program and designed it for people like me working in state government who were in my circumstances—young, poor, and willing to go to night school,” Krause says. “In that way, Stan was a visionary, but more than that, he had a heart for students. Some people are just teachers at heart, and he was that type of guy.”

Botner’s nephew, Ken Butler, an adjunct professor in the Truman School, says his uncle excelled at Columbia’s Hickman High School and at MU, where he enrolled in ROTC as World War II was raging. While stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, Botner met Dixie Lowry, and they married in 1945. The couple briefly lived in the Philippines until the war concluded and then moved to Columbia, Missouri, where his family had a farm north of town. The dean of the University of Missouri College of Business, William Bradshaw, secured an appointment for Botner as a legislative assistant for Sen. James Kem of Missouri. After living in Washington, D.C., for a couple of years, the Botners returned to Columbia and Stan completed his doctorate in public administration.

Facilitating Careers

Former Columbia City Manager Bill Watkins, BS ’74 public administration, MS ’76 business, was an undergraduate and a graduate student in Professor Botner’s public administration courses. He says Botner believed the purpose of the MPA program was to provide trained and competent entry-level professionals into local, state, and federal government. Watkins says Botner convinced him to pursue his master’s degree.

“In order to make that happen, he gave me a half-time teaching assistant position that covered my books and some tuition,” Watkins says. “He was able to stretch the resources the university provided to his department, and he helped a lot of people. And he was always accessible—he always had time for his students.”

Butler, who has 45 years of public-sector service in Washington, D.C., and founded a lobbying/advocacy firm in 1987, calls Botner his “distant uncle role model.”

“I got into government mainly because of the example that Uncle Stan set for me,” he says, a sentiment expressed by many of Botner’s former students.