Graceland and the City of Lamoni mourned the passing of a longtime supporter of the community this fall. The Honorable Leonard L. Boswell ’55 passed away Aug. 17 at the age of 84 in a Des Moines, Iowa, hospital. Boswell’s drive, commitment, passion, devotion and beaming smile will be missed.
Boswell dedicated his life to the betterment of his country, its people and communities. Of his many accomplishments, Boswell most loved being a farmer, operating the multi-generational family farm in Davis City for decades, and was a devoted advocate to agriculture and the agricultural business program at Graceland.
Born Jan. 10, 1934, in Harrison County, Missouri, to Melvin and Margaret Boswell, he was raised on a farm and later graduated in 1955 with an Associate of Arts in Rural Life, followed in 1969 with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Graceland
Boswell committed his life to three things: his wife of 62 years, Dody; his love of farming and support of the farming community; and his country — he served 20 years in the United States Army and 16 years as a U.S. Congressman.
Education was of special concern for Boswell. He supported increasing Pell Grants to the level they are today, more than double the level they were when he was first elected to Congress, providing students with the means they need to continue their education and strive for a better future.
For 24 years, Boswell served the Graceland community as a member of the Board of Trustees. During Graceland’s December 2017 commencement ceremony at the Community of Christ Auditorium in Independence, Missouri, his alma mater bestowed upon him an honorary doctorate for his dedication to the university. He was recognized again at the April 2018 commencement ceremony held in Closson Center on the Lamoni, Iowa, campus.
Funeral services were held Saturday, Aug. 25, at Graceland’s Shaw Center followed by a procession to Rose Hill Cemetery with a graveside service. He was laid to rest with full military honors.
The Boswells aligned their generosity with their values for education and agriculture. From annual donations to the Bruch Family Scholarship Fund for Agricultural Business students to the World Food Prize, Boswell’s motivating advocacy for agricultural business was only surpassed by his zeal for Graceland University.
An exciting change is coming to the Graceland University Lamoni campus. As the university continues to emphasize the idea of a student-centered environment, it is appropriate that the Memorial Student Center (MSC), a building that is so much a part of every student’s life, should receive major renovations that will greatly impact students and their Graceland experience.
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