For Release:
January 11, 2010

Contact: Kathy Love — 573.522.1463

St. Louis — Commissioner of Higher Education Robert B. Stein received the 2010 Distinguished Leader in Higher Educator Award from the Martin Luther King Jr. State Celebration Commission Jan. 9.

Stein, who is retiring this year after a 40-year career in higher education, was lauded for his commitment to bringing diverse interests together to propel improvements in higher education.

"Dr. Stein has always been a great supporter over the years of the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. State Celebration Kick-off Program. He attends every year," said Dr. Henry Givens Jr., president of Harris-Stowe State University and chairman of the Dr. MLK Commission. "In the realm of higher education, he is a true champion. He is most deserving of such recognition and the entire commission agreed that he was worthy of being honored with the Distinguished Higher Education Award this year. The recognition was an expression of appreciation for Dr. Stein's strong support of higher education in general, and Harris-Stowe in particular."

The Martin Luther King Distinguished Leader in Higher Educator Award, said Stein, "reinforces the idea that only by working together for the good of the whole can we surmount the challenges that face higher education today. We must follow the example of Dr. King by speaking out against injustice. As we ?race to the top,' we must ensure opportunities for all, not just the few. The Distinguished Leader in Higher Educator Award is a great honor and deeply appreciated."

During his tenure as commissioner, Stein took steps to address campus violence, smooth credit transfer, establish competencies for general education, promote early childhood education, and reach out to international students and under-served populations. He is often called upon to resolve conflicts and work with affected parties to reach collaborative solutions.

Stein attributes his world view to his background in social psychology. "I continually look for alternative options to overcome obstacles," Stein said.

Stein serves on the boards of 13 statewide organizations involved in educational, economic and social issues. Beyond his professional career, he has worked actively through the years to address social issues by staffing a child abuse hotline, and serving as a consultant to the Jefferson City Hospice, YMCA and the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center.

The next Commissioner of Higher Education is expected to be named in April. Stein's advice for him or her? Build a strong staff, keep channels of communication open, don't micromanage, have passion and be humble.