2017 Pioneer Spirit Gala

2017 Pioneer Spirit Gala

2017 Pioneer Spirit Gala

On Saturday, September 9 the Nine Network hosted the Pioneer Spirit gala with the theme of “Celebrating our Past. Inspiring our Future.” Joining the celebration, which also paid tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, was acclaimed documentary filmmaker Ken Burns.
Burns served as the keynote speaker at the event and discussed his latest work, the documentary series The Vietnam War, as well as the role public broadcasting plays in American civic life.
The gala was both a look back at the history of the Nine Network and an imagining of its place in the future of the St. Louis region. From early 1950s when the idea for an educational television station was being envisioned for the first time, to the Nine Network’s present focus on fostering community engagement through local programming, guests moved through an immersive retelling of the station’s storied past and were invited to imagine its future.
Gala co-chairs included Nine Network board members Maxine Clark, CEO of the Clark-Fox Family Foundation and founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop, community volunteer Kim Olson and Pat Sly, former executive vice president of Emerson, as well as Jack Galmiche, president and CEO of the Nine Network.  

Gala Photos

Public Broadcasting Act

The Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 established the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Charged with facilitating a broadcast environment that would educate and inspire an informed citizenry, the new organization would pay special attention to children and other underserved audiences and remain free from commercial influence. 

Upon signing the act, President Lyndon Johnson acknowledged the progress made since the first telegraph line was installed between Washington and Baltimore in 1844. So, too, do we at the Nine Network acknowledge the spirit of possibility ignited by the signing of this act 50 years ago and hope it continues for many years to come.

Keynote Speaker


Ken Burns Ken Burns has been making documentary films for almost 40 years. Since the Academy Award-nominated Brooklyn Bridge in 1981, Burns has gone on to direct and produce some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made. A December 2002 poll conducted by Real Screen Magazine listed The Civil War as second only to Robert Flaherty’s Nanook of the North as the “most influential documentary of all time,” and named Ken Burns and Robert Flaherty as the “most influential documentary makers” of all time. In March 2009, David Zurawik of The Baltimore Sun said, “… Burns is not only the greatest documentarian of the day, but also the most influential filmmaker period. That includes feature filmmakers like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. I say that because Burns not only turned millions of persons onto history with his films, he showed us a new way of looking at our collective past and ourselves.” The late historian Stephen Ambrose said of his films, “More Americans get their history from Ken Burns than any other source.”

Burns’ films have been honored with dozens of major awards, including 15 Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards and two Oscar nominations; and in September 2008, at the News and Documentary Emmy Awards, he was honored by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Gala Committee

David* and Mary Steward
David and Thelma Steward
 Kim Olson* • Pat Sly*
Maxine Clark* • Jack Galmiche
Don Aven*
Ms. Kathy Barney*
Marie-Helene Bernard
Marion and Van Black
Terry and Susan Block
Mr. Charles Brennan and Ms. Elizabeth Stohr
Cynthia J. Brinkley*
Mr. and Mrs. Spencer* B. Burke
Mr. and Mrs. Daniel* A. Burkhardt
Mr. and Mrs. Steve Burkhardt
Barry T. Cervantes
Mr. and Mrs. David* P. Conner
Dr. William H. Danforth
Ms. Marianna Deal*
Mr. and Mrs. Michael* A. DeHaven
David Diener and Ann Wells
Barbara Eagleton
Gerald and Ida H. Early
Hope Edison
Rita W. Eiseman
Harriet Felman
John and Alison Ferring
Pepe* and Terry Finn
Gretta Forrester
Mr. Robert Fox
Sam and Marilyn Fox
Mr. and Mrs. Steven* N. Frank
Rosemary Galmiche
Thomas F. George and Barbara Harbach
Mr. Tim Goodson*
Karin M. Hagaman
Judy and Harvey* Harris
Juanita H. Hinshaw*
Jean Maritz Hobler
Janet Holloway*
Molly Hyland
Mr. Dennis Jacknewitz
Mrs. Henry O. Johnston
Ashley* and John Kemper
Mr. and Mrs. Ted* Koplar
 Ken and Leslie Kotiza
Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth* S. Kranzberg
Brendan Lind*
Mark Lindgren*
Mr. Dennis Lower* and Ms. Sharon Swanson
Mr. and Mrs. Jeffrey* M. McDonnell
Waller McGuire
Al and Marsha Mitchell
Jean-Paul and Isabelle Montupet
Lisa and Jay Nouss
Emily Rauh Pulitzer
Andrew Rehfeld
Ms. Eddie Rosenheim
Vince and Lois Schoemehl
Jack Schreiber*
Hugh Scott, III*
Michael and Susan Scully
Mr. and Mrs. Thad* Simons
Chad* and Amelia Stiening
Ms. Susan Stith
Mary Strauss
Dr. Elizabeth (Beth) J. Stroble
Dr. Donald M. Suggs*
Mr. and Mrs. Craig Toder
Gregory and Susan Vatterott
Tom and Carol Voss
Sara Wade*
Mr. and Mrs. George H. Walker III
Steve and Emily Walton
Dan and Ellen Watt
Mr. Henry Webber and Dr. Christine Jacobs
Josephine and Richard Weil
John Weiss and Jane Roodman Weiss
Randy and Gail Weller
Jim Wild
Milton* and Nina Smiley Wilkins
Donna Wilkinson
Ray and Roma Wittcoff
Nancy Ylvisaker and Wes Jones

*Nine Network Board Member

The Vietnam War Community Impact Report

The Nine Network is able to achieve community impact through the power of public media. The scale of Nine’s reach across the region is a distinctively unique asset. We are a trusted convener and storyteller around issues affecting our region. The result of our work raises awareness, increases understanding, and moves our community to action. View the report.

Thank You to our Community of Sponsors

Title Sponsor
Express Scripts

Major Sponsors
Centene Charitable Foundation
Steward Family Foundation/The Lion Forge, LLC

Supporting Sponsors
American Airlines
Bank of America
The Boeing Company
Brentwood Travel
Dan and Connie Burkhardt
Butler’s Pantry
Clark-Fox Family Foundation
UMB Bank
Wells Fargo Advisors

Patron Sponsors
Dr. William H. Danforth
Edward Jones
Greater St. Louis Honor Flight
Mr. and Mrs. Ted Koplar
The Millstone Foundation
Kim and Bruce Olson
PALM Health
Patrick and Peggy Sly

Table Sponsors
Ms. Kathy Barney
Mr. Charles Brennan and Ms. Elizabeth Stohr
Mr. and Mrs. Spencer Burke
Commerce Bank
Barbara Eagleton
Rita W. Eiseman
Pepe and Terry Finn
Sam and Marilyn Fox
Jennifer and Tom Hillman
Ken and Leslie Kotiza
Jean-Paul and Isabelle Montupet
Mr. and Mrs. Thad Simons
St. Louis Public Library
Mr. and Mrs. Craig Toder
Washington University
Webster University
Milton and Nina Smiley Wilkins

Igniting the Spirit of Possibility Capacity Building Campaign

Our first gala benefited our capacity building campaign – only the second campaign in our 60+ year history. Having raised nearly $35 million toward our goal of $50 million, community support will help us to fully realize Nine’s mission and vision for the St. Louis region.

Igniting the Spirit of Possibility

To learn more about the Igniting the Spirit of Possiblity campaign, or to make a contribution, please contact us at (314) 512-9190 or amagee@ketc.org.

Pioneer Spirit Awardees

Ray Wittcoff

Arthur Baer

Dana Brown

Ken and Nancy Kranzberg

McDonnell Family Foundation
(James S. McDonnell
Family Foundation)

Emily Rauh Pulitzer

David II and Mary Steward
David and Thelma Steward