October 17, 2012
Drury alumna and emeritus trustee, Betty Cole Dukert will be inducted into the Springfield Public Schools’ Hall of Fame on Thursday, Oct. 18 at 11:30 a.m. at the White River Convention Center.
Dukert got her start in journalism at Springfield Senior High School as a member of the Quill and Scroll club. When the new frontier of television broadcasting emerged, she became a female pioneer in the television news industry, spending 41 years working as executive producer of NBC’s Meet the Press.
Although Dukert’s family moved between Missouri and Oklahoma several times during her adolescence, she considers Springfield her hometown. She attended Rountree Elementary School and Jarrett Junior High School, and graduated from Springfield Senior High School, now known as Central High School.
At age 13, she knew that she wanted to pursue a career in journalism so she set her sights on obtaining the education and experience required to be successful. Dukert attended Lindenwood University and Drury University prior to completing her journalism degree at the University of Missouri.
After working for KICK radio in Springfield, Dukert made her way to Washington, D.C., where she worked as a secretary for an NBC executive who later helped her make the transition into television. She spent the bulk of her professional life working on Meet The Press until she retired in 1998.
A Trustee Emeritus at Drury University, Dukert returns to Springfield at least once a year. She is the recipient of such awards as the Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism from the University of Missouri, the First Amendment Service Award of the National Radio and Television News Directors’ Foundation and the Distinguished Alumna Award and an Honorary Doctorate from Drury University.
Story excerpted from the Springfield Public Schools’ newsletter.