The Nine Network Honored McDonnell Family With Pioneer Spirit Award

Posted by Dale Fisher on

Annual Pioneer Spirit Awards Event on Saturday, September 26 Also Welcomed

Downton Abbey Executive Producer Rebecca Eaton as Keynote Speaker

St. Louis, MO - October 1, 2015 - The Nine Network of Public Media hosted keynote speaker Rebecca Eaton, executive producer of Downton Abbey and all Masterpiece programming on PBS, at its annual Pioneer Spirit Award event held Saturday, September 26 at the Nine Network in Grand Center. The Nine Network recognized members of the McDonnell family with the Pioneer Spirit Award for their leadership and philanthropic contributions to the St. Louis region. In particular, McDonnell family members were recognized for their support of programs for young people that foster learning and character-building, including the Nine Network’s American Graduate initiative.

The Pioneer Spirit event  included a presentation by Dr. Jason Purnell, an assistant professor in the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University, who spoke about the positive impact that Nine Network and PBS early childhood educational programming had on him and is having on his children.  Other speakers included American Graduate Champion Charles Bean, dropout recruiter for St. Louis Public Schools and Malik Avery, a high school dropout who, with Bean’s support, graduated and became an American Graduate Champion himself by helping other students.

The event culminated in the outdoor Public Media Commons next to the Nine Network. There, on two adjacent two-story screens, attendees watched a moving video featuring former President Lyndon Johnson signing the 1967 Public Broadcasting Act. The video was followed by an appearance from Curious George, who mingled with the guests and posed for photos.


About the Nine Network of Public Media

The Nine Network of Public Media is a multifaceted organization creating a network of individuals and organizations empowered by public media to strengthen civic life. One of the nation’s most watched public television stations, Nine offers the people of the St. Louis region multiple ways to explore the world and become engaged in civic life, including four distinct broadcast channels (Nine PBS, Nine World, Nine Create and Nine Kids), the Nine Center for Public Engagement, and the Public Media Commons. The Nine Network’s rich legacy of serving the community was launched in 1954 and continues through our mission of bringing St. Louis together as we connect our region to the world and the world to St. Louis.

For More Information Contact:

Matt Huelskamp
Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer
(314) 512-9117