Dave Lenox is the vice president of leadership development and education for Special Olympic International in Washington DC, and the foundations for his success began at Missouri State University.
Lenox, originally from the Springfield area, chose Missouri State because of its affordability and closeness to home. “At Missouri State I learned to trust my instincts, and to never assume I knew the answer before I knew all the facts. I learned that it is OK to approach each student as an individual and each situation as unique,” Lenox said. “When I applied that approach to Special Olympics athletes, programs and events, I discovered a new reality that includes people with intellectual disabilities (ID) as my peers and partners in improving our communities.”
In his role with the Special Olympics, Lennox oversees the athlete leadership programs, family programming, youth outreach (young people aged 12-25 who do not have ID ), young athletes program (people aged 2-7 with ID), and also provides leadership and program development support to Special Olympics programs in 194 countries around the world.
His favorite thing about his work? “I love listening to our athletes and learning from them. I design ways for us to involve our athletes in every aspect of program delivery, and I learn new things about them, what is important to them, and why. I love being surprised and impressed by our athletes,” he said.
When asked about his fondest memories from Missouri State, Lenox said that the following two things immediately came to mind. “The first is the feeling that I was at the beginning of a new career that was full of promise, but my fondest memory was finding a parking space in the lot at National and Grand!”