The Friend of the University award is SEMO’s highest honor bestowed on those who support the University through the Southeast Missouri University Foundation. It recognizes those who are closely associated with the mission, purposes, plans, and programs of the University. David Blakemore’s selection honors his continuing support and generosity to Southeast Missouri State.


“David is an alumnus of SEMO who continually works to make us better,” said SEMO President Dr. Carlos Vargas. “He serves on the Harrison College of Business and Computing Advisory Committee to ensure our curriculum aligns with contemporary industry standards and best practices. He lends his thought leadership to the University, particularly through the Blakemore Family Business Initiative which he established with SEMO in 2021.”

The Blakemore Family Business Initiative is an endowment that provides business students opportunities including research and resources focusing on family business ownership, growth, and succession planning. The Blakemore Initiative funds a series of speakers by industry experts. Students may also receive support through experiential learning opportunities, access to conferences, and collaborations with entrepreneurial programs.

Blakemore is president of Blakemore Cotton and Grain, his family’s business. Blakemore began working for his father when he was in the fourth grade. They worked together for over 45 years.

Blakemore graduated from SEMO with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 2010 and a Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in finance in 2015. He currently serves on the Southeast Missouri University Foundation Board of Directors. He has served the ginning industry in several capacities, including a term as president of the National Cotton Ginners Association, during which time he also served as an executive committee member of the National Cotton Council (NCC).

Blakemore serves as chair of the NCC Cotton Flow Committee, which sets policy for the raw cotton supply chain throughout the United States and enhances the industry’s ability to deliver U.S. cotton globally.

In 2018, Blakemore was elected president of the Missouri Cotton Growers Organization and was reappointed to the same organization by Gov. Mike Parson. The Missouri Cotton Growers  Organization is the quasi-governmental entity responsible for Boll Weevil eradication in Missouri. This organization is instrumental in reducing pesticide use and aiding Missouri cotton growers’ sustainability and profitability efforts. He has served nationally and internationally on the Boards of Directors for Ducks Unlimited, Inc., Ducks Unlimited Canada, and Ducks Unlimited de Mexico.

Blakemore and his wife, Carolyn, have established scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students at SEMO.

“Being selected as Friend of the University is an unexpected honor,” said Blakemore. “Cape has always been a second home to me, and SEMO is a great part of that. I loved my instructors. I got so much from all of them, and I use my education in some form every day. Supporting Southeast is the least I could do for other students starting their college and career journeys.”

Past Friends of the University

  • 1983 *Rush H. Limbaugh, Sr.
  • 1984 *Robert A. Dempster
  • 1985 *Honorable Marvin Proffer
  • 1986 *Rosemary Berkel Crisp
  • 1987 *Margaret Woods Allen
  • 1988 *Louis Daniel Brodsky
  • 1989 *Honorable John Dennis
  • 1990 *Anne Bradshaw
  • 1991 *Martin Hecht
  • 1992 *Delmar A. Cobble
  • 1993 *Donald L. Harrison
  • 1994 Judith R. Wilferth
  • 1995 *John W. Glenn
  • 1996 *Aleen Vogel Wehking
  • 1997 *Otto and *Della Seabaugh
  • 1998 *B.W. Harrison
  • 1999 *Guy and Claudine Pinckley
  • 2000 *Earl and Margie Holland
  • 2002 *George Schriever
  • 2003 Donald C. Bedell
  • 2004 Gary and Wendy Rust
  • 2005 Harry L. Crisp II
  • 2006 Kohlfeld Family
  • 2007 *Donald L. Dickerson
  • 2009 *David M. Barton and *Mrs. June Barton
    • Bob and Marcy Shuck
  • 2010 Douglas and Heather Greene
  • 2011 *Harryette Campbell
  • 2012 *Lawrence and Donna Marler
  • 2013 *Leonard R. and Ludeane F. Ruzicka
  • 2014 Harry and *Frances “Fran” Rediger
  • 2015 Stan and Debbie Crader
    • Kenneth and *Jeanine Larson Dobbins
  • 2016 Charles Stamp, Jr.
  • 2017 Lewis and Carolyn Bock
  • 2018 Dr. C. R. Talbert, Jr. and *Bettie
    • McHaney Talbert
  • 2019 James W. Riley, Jr.
  • 2020 Donald and Gloria LaFerla
  • 2021 Dwain and Susan Hahs
  • 2022 Dr. Linda Lattin Burns
  • 2023 Hermena and Harold Holigan


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