Kansas City Native Receives Prestigious Kit Bond Citizen Leadership Award

Gary Forsee recognized by state and local leaders for his commitment to economic prosperity in Missouri

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Hawthorn Foundation continues recognizing outstanding Missourians making a positive impact on the state. During its annual Kit Bond Award event, the organization announced Gary Forsee as the recipient of the 2024 Kit Bond Citizen Leadership Award. Governor Parson was joined by state and local leaders to honor Forsee.

“Our state is home to some of the most dedicated, talented, and passionate people you could ever meet, and it’s an honor to recognize Gary Forsee for his contributions that have made our state even better,” said Governor Mike Parson. “Gary’s unwavering commitment to Missouri is truly admirable, and we’re sincerely grateful for his remarkable impact over the years.” 

Forsee is a Kansas City native. He has lived in various Missouri communities, including St. Joseph, Moberly, Joplin, Springfield, Rolla, Columbia, Hannibal, Charleston, Cape Girardeau, and St. Louis. Forsee had a successful 35-year career in telecommunications that included time as Chairman and CEO of Sprint. He also served as President of the University of Missouri System.

He has served on numerous public and not-for-profit boards, including the Kansas City Police Foundation. Additionally, he has received the Henry Bloch Award for Community Relations, the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award, and was recognized as the Kappa Sigma Fraternity International Man of the Year.  

“Receiving this recognition from the Hawthorn Foundation is such an honor and so very humbling,” said Gary Forsee. “To be associated with Senator Kit Bond, as well as the past recipients of this honor, is very special. To my family, friends, and all the great supporters and colleagues I’ve worked with over the years, thank you so very much! I’m a Missourian through and through and have always been proud of that and will continue to be one of its greatest advocates!”

“Gary truly embodies the spirit of Missouri – folks who dive in, sleeves rolled up, to make our state the amazing place it is,” said Becky Willard, Executive Director of the Hawthorn Foundation. “This award spotlights those who are shaping Missouri’s future, and we’re proud to add Gary to the list of recipients.”

The Kit Bond Citizen Leadership Award was established in 2018 to honor a regional or statewide leader who exemplifies the Hawthorn Foundation’s mission to promote the economic prosperity of all Missourians. The award bears the name of the Hawthorn Foundation’s Founder, former Senator Kit Bond, and pays tribute to the exemplary contributions Senator Bond made to our state. The honorees are selected by the Hawthorn Foundation Executive Committee.

About Hawthorn Foundation

Hawthorn Foundation is a highly diverse group of statewide leaders dedicated to the economic prosperity of all Missourians. Since 1982, the Hawthorn Foundation has supported trade missions to assist with the promotion of Missouri globally. The organization works diligently toward development, growth, and prosperity for the state of Missouri through partnerships with the Missouri Department of Economic Development, Missouri Partnership, and local and regional economic and workforce development organizations.