Dr. Vartabedian’s Vision
The Walter Cronkite Memorial was the vision of Dr. Robert Vartabedian, President of Missouri Western State University, to create a fitting memorial to St. Joseph’s beloved native son and one of the most important and trusted voices in our country’s history. Dr. Vartabedian’s vision was captured by Missouri Western art faculty members Eric Fuson and David Harris, who designed the unique artistic display illustrating Cronkite’s distinguished career with CBS television.
This memorial was made possible with funding from the David and Shirley Bradley Endowment. Much like Walter Cronkite, the Bradley family has left a journalistic legacy by bringing the important news of the day to the general public. We are grateful for their many contributions to the St. Joseph community and to Missouri Western State University.
Walter Cronkite Memorial TV Display
The photographic display, approximately 9 feet wide by 21 feet tall, is the centerpiece of the Walter Cronkite Memorial. Cronkite served as anchor of the CBS Evening News from 1962-1981, and the display contains 39 images of world and national news events covered during that time.
Kiosk: Walter Cronkite Memorial TV Display
A kiosk with touch-panel controls and a video display system is dedicated to the news reports depicted in the Historical Photograph Display. The videos detail the events that Cronkite covered as anchor of the CBS Evening News.
The large timeline chronicles Cronkite’s life from his birth November 4, 1916, to his death July 17, 2009. The timeline not only includes photos and information from his life as a news reporter and anchor, but encompasses his personal life as well.
When significant events occurred while he was anchor, television viewers across the country tuned into CBS Evening News for Cronkite’s coverage. He became known as “the most trusted man in America.”
WWII Waco Combat Glider
The glider that hangs near the front entrance of Spratt Hall Atrium, approximately 14 feet from wingtip to wingtip and 10 feet from nose to tail, is a replica of a glider that Cronkite used during his coverage of the 101st Airborne’s Operation Market Garden in Holland during World War II.
A display case houses items owned by and related Walter Cronkite. The items currently on display reflect aspects of his life as a journalist from WWII to after his retirement from CBS.
Betsy Maxwell Cronkite Tribute
The photographic display tells the story of Mary Elizabeth “Betsy” Cronkite, Walter’s wife of nearly 65 years, and mother of his three children, Nancy, Kate and Chip.
The memorial houses caricatures drawn by well known artist Al Hirschfeld. These caricatures were commissioned by CBS for advertising in the 1960s.
Walter Cronkite’s Life
The kiosk features a touch screen television that plays autobiographical video of Cronkite talking about his childhood, family, interests and career.
A large mural of images of NASA’s exploration of space. Cronkite was fascinated by space and space travel, and was the "go to" anchor for CBS's coverage of the space program.
Chamber of Commerce Plaque
In front of the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce, Cronkite expressed his views about what he perceived as an attack on freedom of speech in 1969.
Missouri Colleges and Universities
The memorial includes a display that lists Missouri’s colleges and universities. It was formerly housed in the state capitol, and Cronkite lent his voice detailing the importance of Missouri higher education.