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President of military academy visits Stephens Children's School
December 11, 2014
Long before his successful career in the corporate world and current position as president of the Missouri Military Academy in Mexico, Tony McGeorge was a Stephens student.
Well, sort of. McGeorge and his twin sister, Nancy, attended a nursery school on the Stephens campus in the early 1950s. He doesn’t remember much about it—he was 3—but he does remember his mother talking about the wonderful foundational education the school provided before the family relocated to the East Coast.
“My mother used to talk about Stephens and how wonderful it was,” he said. “She loved the fact that it was a women’s college and she loved the people—the students and teachers.”
So when McGeorge returned to Missouri in 2012, he wanted a chance to revisit where it all began.
On Wednesday, he and a small delegation from the military academy had the opportunity to tour the current Stephens College Children’s School facilities before McGeorge read a book to preschoolers.
Prior to coming back to Missouri, McGeorge enjoyed a successful career at Johnson & Johnson, where he was a national spokesperson during the Tylenol poisoning crisis that became a Harvard Business School case study. Tylenol famously pulled all of its products during that period despite financial risks. The company—and McGeorge—were adamant about doing the right thing for customers. Those are values learned at an early age, he stressed.
“It all starts at this level,” McGeorge said at the preschool. “This is where the seeds are planted.”
The preschoolers at Wednesday’s reading weren’t necessarily interested in McGeorge’s roots—they were more interested in letting him know how Santa gets into their chimney-less houses. But he definitely made an impact, reading from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” in his distinguishable East Coast dialect.
“Let’s see how this thing plays out,” he said at one point in the story, quieting the kiddos who wanted to chime in.
A grandfather of four, McGeorge easily won over his crowd. Several children rushed to give him hugs before he left.
“The most special part was the kids’ reactions,” he said afterwards. “I’m a grandfather, and I tell you, that just melted my heart.”
This isn’t the first time the Missouri Military Academy, under McGeorge’s leadership, has partnered with Stephens. The all-women’s campus last year hosted the all-male academy and its guest, Shabana Basij-Rasikh, as part of a special program. McGeorge said he hopes to find more ways to connect in the future.