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2024 Boone County History Makers Gala

October 5 @ 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm


2024 Boone County Hall of Fame: Perlman, Central Bank, Roland & Ruth Wiggins Selected

COLUMBIA, April 29, 2024 – The Boone County Historical Society’s (BCHS) Endowment Trustees selected three new enshrinees for the Boone County Hall of Fame. They are Columbia dance educator, Halcyone Perlman, Central Bank of Boone County, and the late Dr. Roland and Ruth (Doby) Wiggins. These three esteemed honorees will be added to the elite Boone County Hall of Fame, which currently boasts 79 members. The 2024 enshrinement ceremony, known as the History Makers Gala, will be held October 5, in the Event Center at the Country Club of Missouri in Columbia.

Each year one living recipient, one posthumous honoree and one business or organization are selected for enshrinement based on their lasting contributions in Boone County and beyond.

Halcyone Ewalt Perlman is the 2024 living recipient. Perlman was raised in the Columbia ballet studio founded by her parents in 1933. At age 14, she became interested in ballet and went on to study with a number of leading ballet instructors of that time. Among her strongest influences were Victoria Cassan of the Anna Pavlova Company, Alexandra Danilova of the Marinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Igor Schwezoff of St. Petersburg and New York, and Joan Hewson in London. Perlman has performed in the Starlight Theatre in Kansas City and has also pursued studies in modern dance, tap, Spanish, character and Dalcroze Eurhytmics. An avid cellist, she also has an extensive background in music, having played for several years in the Stephens College Burrall Orchestra.

Perlman has choreographed for the Missouri University’s Opera Workshop, Stephens College, and the Columbia Civic Orchestra. One of her ballets, On The Green, was chosen for a gala performance of the Midwest Regional Ballet Festival in 1968. In the late ‘70s, she served for two years on the Dance Advisory Panel of the Missouri Arts Council. In 1966. Traveling with England’s Society for Cultural Relations with the USSR, she visited classes and performances of the school and theatre of the Marinsky Ballet in St. Petersburg, at that time known as the Kirov Ballet of Leningrad, as well as the Bolshoi School and Theatre in Moscow.

The 88-year-old Perlman is a legendary educator in Columbia, having taught and choreographed classical ballet for 57 years. In 1967, with the death of her mother, Perlman took over the dance studio and embarked on a career of teaching and choreography that continues today. In 2011, Perlman moved the studio, the Perlman-Stoy School of Dance, to its current location in the Village of Cherry Hill.

Early in her many years of outstanding service to her craft and to the community, Perlman established the Mid-Missouri Dance Theatre in order to showcase the talents of her students. Performances were presented for many years at the Rhynsburger Theatre, the Columbia Civic Orchestra, the MU Schools of Music and Theatre, Stephens College, and the Missouri Symphony Society.

In 2016, Perlman was presented the Missouri Arts Council’s Missouri Arts award in the area of Arts Education. The award is the single most prestigious in arts education in the state.

Thousands of students have come to Perlman’s studio from all over the United States, and many have gone on to perform in professional ballets and on Broadway. The lasting positive impact that she has had on so many young people is extraordinary. Former students remember her for her generosity, amazing creativity and her inspiration.

Central Bank of Boone County, a division of The Central Trust Bank, has been selected for the business recognition this year. The bank is steeped in the history and tradition of the early Midwest. The bank began in 1857, the first to be established in this part of the state of Missouri. Moss Prewitt, a merchant in Columbia, and R.B. Price, Sr., his son-in-law, established the firm of Prewitt and Price, and became the Columbia branch of Exchange Bank of St. Louis, which six years later became a nationally charted bank named, The First National Bank of Columbia – the first national bank organized in Columbia and the third west of the Mississippi River.

Many changes have occurred over the years, including joining Central Bancompany, a Jefferson City-based holding company in 1974, which allowed Central Bank of Boone County to expand its services and facilities while continuing the community-based banking on which it had been founded.

In 2007, Central Bank of Boone County celebrated its 150th Birthday with the Roots ‘N Blues ‘N BBQ Festival in Downtown Columbia which drew 70,000 people and generated more than $7 million in economic impact to the bank’s hometown.

In 2015, the bank changed its name to Central Bank of Boone County and let go of its national charter to better reflect its relationship to the other 12 affiliate banks of Central Bancompany located throughout Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma and Kansas. In 2021, all separate bank charters were combined into one Central Bank. More than anything, Central Bank of Boone County is an integral part of its mid-Missouri community. Reflecting the commitment of its founders, the bank continues to provide the very best in financial services to all its customers, as well as support for dozens of Boone County’s nonprofits and youth groups.

The late Dr. Roland and Mrs. Ruth Wiggins will receive posthumous recognition as a married couple.  “Distinguished, gentle, scholarly and a medical re­searcher, attribute to the exhilarating personality” of Roland Wiggins (1905-1988), which enabled him to run a prominent local physician’s practice still remem­bered fondly today.

Ruth Doby Wiggins (1905-1999) spent a total of 49 years making an impact in local schools. Ruth taught more than English. She was soft-spoken but firm and was loved for teaching life skills every day.

Ruth Doby graduated from Howard University in 1928 with her bachelor’s degree in education. She be­gan teaching in Rocheport, and then moved on to a position at her alma mater, Douglass High School. While at Douglass, she first met Roland in 1929. He taught physics, chemistry and French, while also successfully coaching several sports. Roland earned bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and biological sci­ences, and his master’s in education before getting his medical degree. He was also inducted into the Armed Services in 1942.

In the early 1950s, there were not a lot of opportunities for a Black man to study medicine in the United States, so Roland sought his training abroad. He found great success and recognition in Europe, studying as a Fulbright Scholar at the Paris School of Medicine, where he would go on to become a professor. This time apart also cemented the couple’s deep connection, and so after 22 years of friendship and courtship, they married in Paris on September 21, 1951.

Roland and Ruth had opportunities to work overseas, but both were determined to work on race relations in Missouri and so stayed in Columbia. Upon his return to the States, Roland opened a medical practice in their home. Yet, Roland still helped hospitals from Massachusetts General to Boone Hospital in his specialty, cardiology. Dr. Wiggins would eventually open a medical practice on Providence Road near the corner of Walnut Street.

The Wiggins also aided the community in many ways. Ruth moved to Hickman High School when the Co­lumbia Public Schools integrated, and she was some local students’ first Black teacher. Roland was the member­ship chair of the NAACP’s Columbia chapter and a member of the Boone County Medical Society, the Missouri State Medical Association, the American Medical Association and the World Medical Association.

The Wiggins had no children and yet still they left a tremendous legacy in Boone County.

Some of the information is sourced from and attributed to Central Bank of Boone County, the Perlman-Stoy School of Dance, and the Dr. Roland & Ruth Wiggins Collection at the Boone County Historical Society.


October 5
5:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Country Club of Missouri
1300 Woodrail Ave.
Columbia, MO 65203 United States
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