Almost four decades ago, when solar power, wind energy, and alternative, renewable energy had yet to gain widespread support or use, Crowder College held their first alternative energy classes. In 1978, harnessing the wind, using the sun, or finding any alternative or renewable energy methods was more dream than reality. But that was then and this is now.

Almost four decades ago, when solar power, wind energy, and alternative, renewable energy had yet to gain widespread support or use, Crowder College held their first alternative energy classes. In 1978, harnessing the wind, using the sun, or finding any alternative or renewable energy methods was more dream than reality. But that was then and this is now.
On Monday evening, Crowder College provided the setting for Celebrate MARET, one of many events planned over the coming months to celebrate the ongoing and growing alternative energy programs on the campus. Missouri Alternative And Renewal Energy Technology Center (MARET) is celebrating a trio of accomplishments. In addition, the first member of the new Alternative Energy Hall of Fame at Crowder College, Art Boyt, was honored with his induction,
College President Dr. Jennifer Methvin opened the program. "It is my great pleasure to serve as president of Crowder College," she said. "As most of you know, Crowder is a wonderful place. 2017-2018 is a very special year at Crowder. This year marks three milestones."
Crowder is celebrating 40 years of alternative energy, 25 years of the MARET designation and 5 years since the MARET Center opened in 2012. Earlier this year, the structure was renamed the Roy Blunt MARET Center to honor Senator Roy Blunt, whose assistance and support made it possible.
"Crowder was educating people about energy," Methvin noted in her introduction, "before alternative energy was cool."
Dr. Melissa Oates, MARET Center Director, presented a 20-minute long recap of Crowder's alternative energy history and highlight the major events along the way. "As MARET Center Director, I have been impressed with the milestones, the accomplishments and the accolades," Oates said. Crowder's long association with alternative and renewable energy began in 1978, when Dave Boyt taught a solar class and one of his students was his brother, Art.
Art Boyt, a long-time former Crowder College instructor for almost three decades, was honored as the first inductee into the newly established Alternative Energy Hall of Fame. Boyt resigned from his position on campus in 2008 to focus on his own renewable and solar energy consulting business.
During Boyt's years with Crowder, he is responsible for establishing the first solar energy curriculum. He also was one of the team members of the Trans-Atlantic Solar Auto Racer (TSAR) vehicle, which was the first solar-powered vehicle to travel coast to coast across the United States. TSAR did that, in 45 days, in 1984. He also participated in the 1987 World Solar Challenge in Australia, a race that included 25 teams from eight countries.Boyt was involved in the creation of two award-winning solar houses and worked on the installation of wind turbine on campus.
Oates introduced Boyt. "Tonight we are inducting Art Boyt as the pioneer member of our hall of fame," Oates said. "He graduated from Neosho High School in 1969, from Crowder College with an Associate degree in science and math in 1971, with a Bachelor's degree from Southwest Missouri State University in 1973, and earned a Master's degree in 1977. As the founder of the alternative energy program at Crowder, he has been of every project through 2010. He's the driving force behind the solar house program.
Joel Lamson, a Crowder alternative energy graduate and former student who is now a solar instructor at the MARET Center, introduced Boyt. "Art Boyt never asked a student to do anything he wasn't willing to do himself," Lamson said. "It's (the alternative energy program) not just Art - it's the culture of Crowder that made this possible. Humility and advice are two things he's known for. It's changed my life for the better. I've been here nine years His shoes are very hard to fill and I don't think I have filled 10%."
Lamson presented Boyt with a plaque to commemorate Boyt's induction into the hall of fame. "I began to understand something about myself and this history," Boyt said. "It's personal. I took a solar class from my kid brother, Dan."
From that beginning, Boyt recalled the many projects he was involved with at Crowder including the first TSAR car. Boyt, along with Chris Kalmbach (idea man and team leader), Dan Eberle, Steve Tipton, Greg Brockman and Doug Smith, were the original team members for that cross-country trip,
"Dan Eberle was the heart and soul of the project," Boyt said. As the program evolved, so did the solar powered vehicles. "You can trace from TSAR to Star 1," Boyt told the audience. He described his vision and ideas for the vehicle and how something entirely different was done. "It was innovative, profound, original and never done before," he said. "So we went to the Leonardo DaVinchi of the Crowder faculty and my father came up with a second approach."
"One of the threads in my life has always been my father," Boyt added. He shared memories of the first solar house designs and praised the current MARET Center facility. The predecessor had been housed in an former World War II era building on the eastern edge of campus. "I think they built these new buildings and closed the road just to hide it," Boyt quipped.
Boyt offered thanks to two individuals. "I would like to publicly thank Andy Wood for his support. When I needed him, he was always there. I also want to recognize Rudy Farber. He never took credit for things he did in the background but we felt your help and we knew you were there. Thank you."
In closing, Boyt said, "If we have a journey that brought us here tonight, then this (event) is to continue the journey and to carry on. I have had the privilege and honor to explore this bit of history. Thank you for the journey. I was part of an incredibly good group and I look forward to what's coming next."
Following Celebrate MARET, those attending were invited to enjoy refreshments and conversation. Tours of the Roy Blunt MARET Center on campus were also provided.