My Missouri Lecture: A Conversation with Peter Herschend

12:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Center for Missouri Studies

605 Elm St., Columbia

Registration is coming soon for the SHSMO annual meeting luncheon and My Missouri speaker featuring Peter Herschend, co-founder and co-owner of Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation. The Herschend family business started in Southwest Missouri with a hole in the ground called Marvel Cave. To give visitors more to do, Peter and brother Jack built an old Ozarks Village named Silver Dollar City. TripAdvisor and USA TODAY call it the number one theme park in America. Today, Herschend Enterprises is the nation's largest family-owned entertainment company.

Herschend is well known for his efforts to support education. He has served three terms on the Missouri State Board of Education since 1991 and led the board as president for two terms. In 2011, the Missouri Chamber of Commerce honored Herschend with its Education Supporter of the Year award. 

As an avid cyclist, Herschend participated in the local Bike MS Tour for 23 years, raising more than $1.5 million for the National MS Society. In 2010, he was named to the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame for his cycling efforts. 

Herschend is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, earning a degree in business administration. He received an honorary doctorate in business administration from Southwest Baptist University. He and his wife, JoDee, were married 52 years before her passing in 2018. They enjoyed their five children and 15 grandchildren. Today, Peter is married to Jan (Urbec) Herschend.