Southeast Missouri’s Three Rivers College will present former House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, with its 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award Friday afternoon in Poplar Bluff.

Then-House Speaker Todd Richardson presides over the chamber on June 11, 2018 in Jefferson City (file photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)

College leaders say Richardson made many contributions to the school and region that will benefit students and constituents for many years to come.

Mr. Richardson attended the school and also taught there as an adjunct instructor. Richardson, who served in the Missouri House for eight years from 2011 to 2018, says it’s a big honor.

“Three Rivers College has had a tremendous impact in my hometown of Poplar Bluff, but also across southeast Missouri,” Richardson says.

Richardson says Three Rivers is one of the leading institutions that help with workforce development in southeast Missouri.

Then-Speaker Richardson, State Sen. Doug Libla, R-Poplar Bluff, and a bipartisan group of lawmakers were instrumental in securing legislative funding for the Three Rivers campus’ Crisp Technology Center expansion.

“As we look at where the economy is today, particularly here in southeast Missouri, the need for those job skills is really prescient today,” says Richardson.

Richardson tells Missourinet the Crisp Technology Center is one of the primary facilities that help with workforce training in southeast Missouri. He also says Three Rivers College is a driving force for the local economy.

Richardson says he enjoyed taking Three Rivers students to the House floor in Jefferson City during session.

“To be able to show off our state government in a really tangible way for the students that would come to Jeff City was always a highlight for me every single session,” Richardson says.

Governor Mike Parson (R) appointed Mr. Richardson as the state’s new MO HealthNet Director in October. Richardson, who was term-limited in the House, resigned his seat in the Legislature to take the new position.

Three River College is a public, two-year institution and has about 3,000 students. Its website says Three Rivers “inspires, prepares and empowers students to succeed through open access to high-quality learning opportunities that meet the needs of the communities we serve.”

The college was founded in 1966 and originally opened in storefront facilities in downtown Poplar Bluff with 138 students. Three Rivers now has an 80-acre campus in Poplar Bluff, and full-service locations in Cape Girardeau, Dexter, Kennett and Sikeston.

Three Rivers Development Director Michelle Reynolds tells Missourinet that about 100 people are expected to attend Friday’s reception, which begins at 4:30 at the school’s Tinnin Fine Arts Center.

Reynolds says the reception is open to the public, adding that they plan to Facebook Live the presentation from their college Facebook page.

Click here to listen to the full interview between Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth and former House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, which was recorded on March 22, 2019: