CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., June 24, 2005 ᾰ Southeast Missouri State University was honored with a regional Innovator award as part of the “Rising Together: Summit on the Rural South” conference held in Point Clear, Alabama on June 12-14, 2005. Alabama Gov. Bob Riley presented Kenneth W. Dobbins, president of Southeast Missouri State University, with an Innovator award at the opening session of the conference. Each year Southern Growth Policies Board, a regional public policy think tank, recognizes innovative programs in the South that are improving the quality of life in the region with the Innovator Awards. The focus of the 2005 Innovator Awards was on rural development. Southeast Missouri State University was recognized for its area higher education centers, which provide access to postsecondary education for rural residents along the southeast corridor of Missouri. Four area higher education centers – in Kennett, Malden, Sikeston and Perryville, Mo. — are located along the 130-mile corridor.