Don Walsworth recognized with honorary degree during Trulaske commencement ceremony

Dean Balaji Rajagopalan and Don Walsworth

Balaji Rajagopalan, dean of the Trulaske College of Business right, congratulates longtime Mizzou supporter and successful businessman Don Walsworth, right, who received an honorary doctorate May 12 during the college's commencement ceremony.  

Don Walsworth understands the power of giving back. 

He has dedicated his life to serving Missourians, and his impact has been felt in fields spanning business, entrepreneurship, manufacturing, politics, health care, athletics, philanthropy, community outreach, public service and more. 

Today, Walsworth, chief executive officer of Walsworth in Marceline, Missouri – a printing company ranked among the top five domestic providers of magazines, catalogs, books and yearbooks – was awarded an honorary doctorate during the Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business commencement ceremony. A 1957 graduate of the University of Missouri, Walsworth said the road to to success hasn't always been easy and that most of the graduates will face bumps in their journey, both personally and professionally.  

"I certainly did," he said. 

Don Walsworth
Don Walsworth

Walsworth said it has been his ability to embrace failure, offer second chances and say “thank you” that has allowed him to experience success while remaining humble. He also learned the importance of admitting mistakes while still a student at Mizzou. 

“The important takeaway for me is one that applies in business and in life: Take responsibility for your mistake, fix it and move on,” Walworth said. “But I also learned that there are amazing people everywhere, especially in the Mizzou family, who will support you, pick you up and perhaps guide you back onto the right path.”

In a letter recommending Walworth as an honorary degree recipient, Jeffrey Vogel, a member of the Trulaske Accountancy Advisory Board and CFO for Walsworth, wrote that his employer of more than 20 years has always been a strong advocate for his workers and lives by the motto: “People make the difference.” 


After studying printing management at Carnegie Mellon University, Walsworth began his career at his family’s printing company, Walsworth Inc., in his hometown. Ten years later, he became the company’s president. Today, the company is among the 35 largest domestic printing companies. 

Walsworth’s business acumen and entrepreneurial mindset has earned him numerous accolades over the course of his career. In 1975, the Small Business Administration named him Small Businessman of the Year for the Missouri-Kansas region, and in 1982, he was elected president of the National Yearbook Manufacturer’s Association. In 2004, Walsworth received the prestigious business honor of Missouri/Kansas Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year for Manufacturing. 


Walsworth has long been a generous donor to organizations and causes that are important to him. But his single largest philanthropic benefactor has been Mizzou. Over the years, he has supported the Trulaske College of Business, where he was a founding member and former chair of the Herbert J. Davenport Society. He is a past chair of the Trulaske Dean’s Advisory Board and in 2014, delivered the commencement speech to the college’s graduating class, which included his grandson, Alexander Wood, BS BA ’14.

Don Walsworth
From left, Mun Choi, president of the University of Missouri, Rajagopalan, Walsworth and Robin Wenneker, chair of the Board of Curators, celebrate after the Trulaske College of Business commencement ceremony. 

Walsworth and his wife, Audrey Walsworth, BJ ’56, a recognized world traveler, have endowed programs for Trulaske College of Business students interested in exploring developing countries, such as Ethiopia or Papua New Guinea, where living conditions are much different than the U.S. Audrey Walsworth is believed to be among the first women in the world to have traveled to every country in the world. 

He is an active member of the Mizzou Alumni Association and earned the Distinguished Service Award in 1989 — the highest honor granted to an individual by MU. He also has served as a director of the University Medical School Outreach Program, which is responsible for helping place physicians in many rural communities throughout Missouri. In 2003, he was appointed to the University of Missouri System Board of Curators. 

A longtime supporter of Mizzou Athletics, Walsworth has served as chairman of the Champions for Life campaign for Mizzou Athletics, which, to date, has raised more than $120 million. Recently, he and his family made a gift to Mizzou Athletics to create a first-class facility for the men’s and women’s golf teams.

Walsworth has also left his mark in civic life and public service with community outreach efforts in Marceline and throughout the state. In 2007, he was awarded the prestigious Missourian Award, which is bestowed upon Missourians who have made outstanding contributions to their state in civics, business, arts or politics. 


Walsworth hopes the graduates remembers that none of them arrived to where they are today without the support of others. His sense of gratitude is the reason he continues to support Mizzou with time and resources. 

“It's important to say thank you now while it counts,” he said “Not only is this the right thing to do, but in business, it’s all about building relationships and being genuine. A sincere thank you goes a long way – it will help you be successful.”

Walworth said he is proud of what he has accomplished.

“I’ve worked hard and had some lucky breaks, but I think you can make much of your own good fortune, too, if you remember to embrace failure, offer second chances and say thank you as you make your way in the world."