Background: On April 7, 2017 the Wentworth Military Academy (WMA) Board of Trustees voted to close the Academy based on declining enrollment, an aging campus, and a lack of financial support for continued operations. Wentworth is the oldest military academy west of the Mississippi River, steeped in 137 years of excellence. This abrupt announcement, effective May 31, 2017, left the “Old Boy” Alumni uncertain about the future of the historically significant memorabilia that transformed the otherwise brick and mortar campus into hallowed ground, memorializing the tremendous sacrifices and accomplishments of the many Old Boy “greats.” This small academy nestled near the banks of the Missouri River in Lexington, MO has produced countless military leaders such as General Hoge, General Welsh, and two Medal of Honor Recipients; business leaders such as James “Bud” Walton, and Eddie Chiles; arts and media greats such as Robert Altman and Marlin Perkins; sports pioneers such as George Rody and Ben Jones; and public servants such as former Ambassador Charles H. Price II and U.S. Congressman Ike Skelton who served 34 years in public office and as chairman of the House Armed Service Committee. Their legacies have left an indelible mark on each respective field of expertise.
Problem: Considering the campus is now in the control of a disinterested third party who may view these items as debt-settling pieces of brass, steel, wood, and glass, we are at risk of permanently losing countless artifacts to an ad hoc auction in the near future just as Kemper Military Academy experienced in 2002. For this reason, we need your help to secure our rich history for future generations.
Task: Obtain and secure the historically significant WMA memorabilia as a collective body of loyal “Old Boys” and members of the WMA Alumni Association.
Purpose: Permanently honor the physical artifacts that link us to our storied 137 years of excellence, promote to future generations the timeless values first immortalized by our founder Steven G. Wentworth summarized as “Achieve the Honorable”, and serve as a rally-point for future Old Boy Musters.
Method: Through memberships, donations, and sponsorships to the WMA Alumni Association, the Wentworth Museum Initiative will achieve the aforementioned purpose in three phases: (1) acquire the artifacts by out-right purchase if necessary, (2) secure the artifacts under the exclusive ownership and control of the WMA Alumni Association, (3) memorialize the artifacts at a location that best achieves our purpose (permanently honor, promote to future generations, and serve as a rally-point for future Old Boy Musters). The three phases of our method are being achieved concurrently through the empowerment of five committees: Artifacts, Fundraising, Building, Technology, Local Response Force, all synchronizing efforts and intermediate objectives to achieve our stated purpose.
Summary: We are quickly assimilating a band of motivated WMA “lifers”, “one year wonders”, sponsors, faculty and friends — OLD BOYS — laser focused on acquiring, securing, and memorializing the Steven G. Wentworth legacy which began with a handful of young men 137 years ago. To become a WMA Alumni Association member or make a not for profit donation, please visit our websites at wmaalumni.org or wmamuseum.org
Thanks for your support!
“Achieve the Honorable”
George J. Hittner
– WMA Classes of 1992, 1995 and 1997
– WMA Museum Chairman
– Vice President – WMA Alumni Association