Affinity Magazine, Winter 2021-22

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Winter 2021-22


a f f i n i t y

From a 22-year career in the U.S. Army to three decades of experience in higher education, Dr. David Russell’s credentials speak for themselves as CC’s 18th president.


Former student choral group Children of God celebrates 50-year reunion with legacy gift Cougar couple marks engagement with inscribed brick

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FEATURES On the Cover: Columbia College’s 18th president, Dr. David Russell, stands in Atkins-Holman Student Commons. Photograph by L.G. Patterson

a f f i n i t y Winter 2021-22 Editor, Production & Design Carolyn Preul Staff Writers Kevin Fletcher Andy Oldenburg Staff Photographer Abigail Wade

Members of the first cohort of Black students to attend CC in the early 1970s return to campus for a joyous reunion.

24 | MADE FOR THIS MOMENT A 50-year career of service to his country and higher education has prepared Dr. David Russell for his newest assignment.

32 | CONNECTIONS A veteran alumnus garners a national award, and a 2021 graduate launches career to help businesses find their look.

Affinity magazine is published by the Columbia College Division of Advancement in accordance with the college’s vision to be a highly innovative institution of higher education, dedicated to excellence in both its traditional and nontraditional programs nationwide. © 2022, all rights reserved. Read this issue and browse the Affinity archive at


Please send correspondence to: Editor, Affinity magazine 1001 Rogers St., Columbia, MO 65216 Alumni Relations: (573) 875-2586 Development: (573) 875-7563 Strategic Communications: (573) 875-7283

Learn how to find purpose in criticism; St. Louis alumnus promoted to deputy fire chief.

8 | Inside the Gate DE&I initiatives bolster many voices of CC community; alumna forms scholarship in support of fellow military spouses.

36 | My CCAA

42 | Class Notes Alumni share personal and professional updates; In Memoriam remembers those who have passed.

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Contributors Keiyana Austin ’21 Debra Carnahan ’82 Drew Grzella ’01 Dr. Sandra Hamar Leslie Kennon ’00 Missy Montgomery ’06 David Morrison Ann Muder L.G. Patterson Daniel Plain Cindy Fotti Potter ’05 Kaci Smart ’09


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Editorial Review Board Sam Fleury Alejandra Gudiño Beth McWilliams Suzanne Rothwell Dr. David Russell Dr. Piyusha Singh












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Making Our Mark » Higher education is cyclical in nature, especially so here at

Vice Chair Helen Dale Coe Simons ’65 Treasurer Carol J. Winkler ’93 Secretary Genie Rogers Member at Large Matt Williams CCAA Advisory Board Representative Joshua Muder ’99 Faculty Representatives Ken Akers, Ph.D. Mark Price, Ph.D. Trustees Lynne Stuver Baker ’64 Helen Jane Blackman, M.D. ’64 Lt. Gen. Richard C. Harding Byron Hill Mitchell R. Humphreys, M.D. June Viner Hurdle ’83 William (Bill) J. Johnston ’82 Bill Leeper ’04 Col. Mike Randerson Jolene Marra Schulz ’61 Gary A. Tatlow

MISSION: Columbia College improves lives by providing quality education to both traditional and nontraditional students, helping them achieve their true potential. VALUES: We believe all students deserve access to affordable quality education. We believe higher learning should be individualized, innovative and flexible. We believe a liberal arts core curriculum produces globally engaged citizens who are creative, curious and ethical. We believe people of all beliefs and backgrounds should engage in civil discourse and discovery.

That said, we never miss an opportunity to reflect on the spectacular successes of our alumni. In this edition of Affinity, we’ll introduce you to several members of our community who have been making their mark in the world. Lee and I had the great pleasure of meeting a talented group of African American alumni from the 1970s who returned to campus during Homecoming Week. It was a treat to hear them share their gift of gospel music during a special event in Dorsey Gym. I was also honored to accept a gift from them on the college’s behalf that morning for nearly $9,000 to support the next generation of African American students at CC. You can read more about the Children of God choral group on Page 18. Several of these successful graduates have agreed to advise me on ways to attract more legacy students to our programs. You will find other heartwarming stories of success and inspiration in these pages. Through the support of the college’s TRIO Student Success Services, both Jared Reichel ’16 and Kalia White ’21 found encouragement in their academic pursuits that led to their life’s paths. The editorial staff, led by our new director of Alumni Relations, Carolyn Preul, wasn’t planning on one story as they prepared to finish this issue. One of our most cherished alums, retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Charles E. McGee ’78, passed away on January 16 at the age of 102. His was a full life well lived, and we are sad, yet proud, to share our remembrance of him on Page 6. It speaks to the spirit of a true American hero. (You can also read more about Carolyn’s appointment on Page 38.) These individuals are but a few of the numerous examples of accomplished alumni we have here at CC. With the help of our new director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Alejandra Gudiño, who began her duties on January 10, we will be looking to broaden horizons for students of all backgrounds, through a diverse college community that is known for civil discourse and discovery. As always, we thank you for being part of the Columbia College family, and we hope you enjoy this latest issue of Affinity. We are CC!

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Chair Rev. Dr. Brad Stagg

5 Dr. David Russell, President


Columbia College Board of Trustees 2021-22

Columbia College, where our eight- and 16-week sessions follow one another in quick succession. There’s always something going on, whether at main campus in Columbia or at any of our 39 Columbia College Global locations in 15 states. Throw in our extensive online presence and, well, you begin to get the picture.


BRIG. GEN. CHARLES E. MCGEE ’78 | 1919-2022

REMEMBERING AN AMERICAN HERO » One of Columbia College’s

greatest alumni and a true national treasure, retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Charles E. McGee, passed away peacefully at his home in Maryland on January 16 at the age of 102. He lived a life of dedicated service to the U.S. Air Force, the Boy Scouts and the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity among many other organizations. We are proud to call him one of our own. Gen. McGee’s service to his country began long before joining the Army Air Corps in 1942. He grew up as a Boy Scout and earned the rank of Eagle Scout. Once enlisted, he was sent to the training program at Tuskegee Army Airfield to join the first African American military aviators who would become the famed Tuskegee Airmen.

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He became a command pilot with over 6,000 total flight hours. At the time of his retirement, McGee held the Air Force’s records for most combat missions (409) and combat hours (1,151) flown. He flew fighter aircraft combat tours during World War II as well as the Korean and Vietnam Wars.



He went on to command the 44th Fighter Bomber Squadron in the Philippines from 1951-53, the 7230th Support Squadron in Italy from 1961-63, and the 16th Training Squadron from 1967-68. McGee’s last post was as commander of the now-defunct Richards-Gebaur Air


McGee’s commitment to education lives on in the Brig. Gen. Charles E. McGee Scholarship, which he established in 2009 to help qualified veteran students achieve their education goals. Each year, the award recognizes the efforts of veteran students who embody the spirit and courage of Gen. McGee in his or her service and pursuit of education. Memorial gifts may be made at

Reserve Base in Kansas City. The assignment made him the first Black commander of a stateside Air Force Wing. By the time of his retirement from the Air Force in 1973, McGee had earned numerous awards for his service and valor, including the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with two clusters, Bronze Star, Air Medal with 25 clusters, Army Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with cluster, Presidential Unit Citation, Korean Presidential Unit Citation, the Hellenic Republic WWII Commemorative Medal, the French Legion of Honor, and several campaign and service ribbons.

Gen. McGee’s honors continued to accumulate well past his retirement. Former President George W. Bush presented him with the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007, and in 2011, he was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame.

He later served as director of the downtown Wheeler Airport in Kansas City. It was there that he chose to return to college. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Columbia College-Kansas City in 1978.

Two days earlier, Gen. McGee was part of the ceremonial coin toss prior to Super Bowl LIV in Miami, alongside three fellow 100-year old World War II veterans. McGee then witnessed his second-home Kansas City Chiefs win the Lombardi Trophy over the San Francisco 49ers. Gen. McGee’s long-standing commitment to the Boy Scouts was also recognized in

2020 as the National Capital Area Council of the organization created a special-edition council shoulder patch in his honor. Finally, this past June, the general aviation terminal at Wheeler Airport, where he’d previously served as its director, was named in his honor. In addition to honoring his military service, the Federal Aviation Administration honored McGee by naming three sequential navigation waypoints – Tuskegee, Airman, and McGee – around Kansas City International Airport so that McGee’s name would be spoken by pilots for years to come. –KF

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In the fall of 2019, the college announced that the Ousley Family Veterans Service Center would move to a new home in 2020 to enhance the student experience for its military and veteran community. That facility, located at 904 N. Eighth Street, is now known as the Brig. Gen. Charles E. McGee ’78 House.

That December, McGee was given an honorary promotion from colonel to brigadier general. Former President Trump pinned his stars in the Oval Office on February 4, 2020, and he was a special guest at the State of the Union address later that evening.

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In December 2014, Columbia College honored McGee by conferring a Doctor of Humane Letters degree. It was the first time in nearly 30 years that the college awarded an honorary degree, given to an extraordinary individual who demonstrates the values the college champions in its mission and goals.

Top left, Lt. McGee next to his airplane in 1944, nicknamed “Kitten” in honor of his wife. Left, he celebrates his 7,000th mission flown in 1951.


OVERCOMING THE ODDS » For Michael Vogt, the set tuition cost at Columbia College has provided his family a clear path to budget for his academic pursuits while working full-time as an officer for the Springfield, Missouri, Police Department. Vogt is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Criminal Justice online through the college’s location in Springfield. And as the 2021 recipient of the Hulett Family Criminal Justice Graduate Study Scholarship, Vogt has received an extra vote of confidence. “I was very surprised to receive this scholarship,” he says. “It came at a time that it was very needed. We were in the heat of the pandemic and it was a stressful time. We have a tight budget and the scholarship was a huge blessing that I didn’t expect to receive.” Vogt’s journey through life has been challenging to say the least,

enduring physical abuse as a child and living in-and-out of foster care. Vogt continued to fight adversity through high school, living between different friends’ houses while earning his diploma. His drive to live a successful life never wavered though, as he later attended College of the Ozarks and met his future wife, Kinsey. In college, Michael met the Vogt family and quickly became a part of their family. The Vogts would ultimately adopt Michael and his fortunes in life continue to trek upward. “I was on the grind and trying to claw my way out of poverty. I needed the generosity of others to help lift me up,” he says. Following his marriage to Kinsey, Michael turned his attention towards a professional career. He successfully completed police academy training, and at the recommendation of one

PARTNERS IN SUCCESS » Columbia College continues to bolster its efforts to secure new partnerships

These initiatives are designed to help the business’ employees secure a degree or increase their marketability for top jobs. More than 500 individuals registered for classes as a result of these partnerships during the last academic year.


CC has partnerships with more than 1,600 organizations around the country. Is your employer on this list? Visit to learn more about this great opportunity or contact Assistant Director of Partnerships Kelsey Anderson at for more information. –SF


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with companies around the country, offering their employees a discounted rate on tuition and other benefits. As an example, the college was recently accepted into the Federal Academic Alliance and is one of only 23 institutions that shares its program information with 2.1 million federal employees and provides them a 15% discount on tuition.

Michael and Kinsey Vogt

of his lieutenants, enrolled in the master’s program at CC. In September, the Vogts attended the 2021 President’s Society Dinner, where Michael was invited to share his story. President’s Society members have each contributed lifetime gifts of $10,000 or more to the college. Their philanthropy sustains the legacy of the college, its students, the community and society. A total of 17 families and organizations were inducted into the President’s Society this year, as well as 13 members who have upgraded through higher levels of giving for 2021. –AO

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» Dr. Mohamed Aturban, assistant professor of Computer and Mathematical Sciences, received an award for best research paper at the 2021 International Conference on Theory and Practice of Digital Libraries for his work titled “Where did the web archive go?”

» Dr. Clayton Clark, instructor of


» Dr. Brad Lookingbill joined the Columbia College

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faculty in 1996 and is the third professor in the college’s history to earn a distinguished professor distinction – its highest for faculty. He is a widely published author and editor, with his seventh book in the process of publication and dozens of articles and presentations completed throughout his tenure with the college. Lookingbill is a “fan favorite” among the college community.



"Dr. Lookingbill is simply inspirational on a number of fronts," says Dr. David Karr, chair of the Criminal Justice, History, Philosophy, and Political Science Department. "He is always thoughtful about teaching and the curriculum, and is utterly dedicated to our students. His record of service to the college and community is remarkable, and his scholarship amazes. He really is the embodiment of the teacher-scholar model the college advocates for its faculty.” Lookingbill was honored in 2009 by the American Historical Association with their highest award for teaching: the Eugene Asher Award. –SH

Nursing, successfully defended his dissertation titled “A Narrative Analysis of Spiritual Coping in Individuals with Terminal Heart Failure.” In addition to full-time teaching, Clark is a clinical ethics consultant at University Hospital for the University of Missouri Healthcare system.

» Dr. Faye Fairchild, assistant professor of Nursing, has been invited to sit on the editorial board of the Journal of Clinical and Medical Images Case Reports.

» Dr. Sarah Lirley, assistant professor of History, will publish a study of coroner’s inquests in late-19thcentury Missouri that follows an “arc of death.” The book examines six verdicts – deaths from natural causes, alcoholism, abortion, homicide, suicide and accidents – reported in St. Louis, Missouri, from 1875 to 1885.

» Dr. David Stoddard, director of the Columbia College location in Salt Lake City, completed his doctorate in Education. His areas of study included academic innovation, stackable credentials, academic capitalism and executive education programs.

EMPLOYEES PRESENT LEADERSHIP GIFT TO UNITED WAY » Columbia College main campus staff and faculty joined together in support of the community they call home. With a growing need for assistance amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual initiative raises funds to support 29 local nonprofit organizations that are partners with the Heart of Missouri United Way. Volunteer efforts began in September with the United Way’s Day of Caring. In just one hour, 25 employee volunteers assembled 200 care kits that that included personal hygiene items, such as shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, combs and wipes. Partner agencies distributed the kits individually to adult and teen clients. “Living United means linking arms to share solutions to challenges that impact our community,” says Missy Montgomery, senior director of Philanthropy and a member of the Heart of Missouri United Way Board of Directors. “It is about heads, hands and hearts working together to mobilize access to resources in the areas of education, health and create financial stability.” On Nov. 3, 2021, more than 100 guests attended the college’s fundraiser kickoff, where “walking tacos” have become synonymous with philanthropy. Participants

enjoyed a build-your-own taco bar while making gifts to the campaign through online payroll deduction, purchasing Jeans Day stickers and entering to win Cougar-themed prize baskets and priority parking spots on campus. Montgomery welcomed attendees and introduced special guests Andrew Grabau and Lathon Ferguson from the Heart of Missouri United Way, college president Dr. David Russell and former Mizzou Athletics Director Mike Alden, who served as this year’s campaign co-chair with his wife, Rockie. While food and games are fun, the heart of the campaign remains true to its roots – helping those in need. Columbia College has contributed more than $221,000 to the United Way over the last 20 years. And this year, the college presented another leadership-level gift totaling $10,816.29. “It is inspiring to see how this event has brought members of our Columbia College campus community together,” Russell says. “One of our values is that ‘we believe a liberal arts core curriculum produces globally engaged citizens who are creative, curious and ethical.’ We are united in carrying out our mission of improving lives through education and supporting our neighbors in need.” –CP

Pictured from left to right: Lathon Ferguson, chief development officer for the Heart of Missouri United Way; Mike Alden, campaign chair; Dr. David Russell, Columbia College president; Missy Montgomery, senior director of Philanthropy at Columbia College; and Andrew Grabau, President/CEO for the Heart of Missouri United Way

$150 could sponsor a child’s literacy kit for a full year.

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$5 could provide an hour of outof-school programming.

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Every dollar raised has a lasting impact on the community.



A MEANINGFUL MISSION What happens when we ask ourselves, “Why am I doing this work?”

» I’ve had the privilege to work in some amazing jobs over my 30-year career, but some of them held more meaning for me than others. As a rule, I try to open my mind and ears to take in information from individuals in all walks of life, so I was curious if my experience is unique.

Being in education and learning from our emerging leaders, I think the demands for a more blended work experience are becoming persistent. Today’s students are very consistent in one theme: They want to do work that is meaningful.

What if we all became very intentional in making our workplaces and spaces more welcoming and supportive? We could make it our personal mission to lead with empathy, not only with our co-workers, but Now, our future with our supervisors, Bezoses and customers or clients. Winfreys will Really, for anyone we insist on more have an interaction with, we could purposefully than simply try to make it a better making money to gauge if they day for them.

When I talk with prospective business leaders, they almost all express some need or desire to use their work to the greater good of the world. If a startup is proposed, students will always include social purpose — if not embedded into the actual business idea, then as a goal outside of the core purpose. They may want to build better tools or services to improve health, use discarded materials in new ways or redirect profits into areas for which they have a concern. No longer is capitalism in its purest form an acceptable pursuit.

If we each decide that our work will be our mission field, we can come up with hundreds of ways to create meaningful work for ourselves, and possibly satisfy the latent needs of our co-workers too. Imagine the culture shift! And our Gen Y and Z colleagues should be much happier. The result: more satisfied individuals on stronger work teams and more retention. The Deloitte survey says we better get on it:

There is research that supports what I’m finding in the classroom. A 2016 Fidelity Investments study of millennials reports about six out of 10 would opt for an “improved quality of work life”, which includes “purposeful work” over high pay. In fact, respondents said this was worth $7,600 per year to them. More recent studies of Gen Y and Z indicate that businesses have some work to do to convince them that they are contributing to the greater good.

“Many among these groups, though, are tired of waiting. They want a better planet, a fairer system, a kinder humanity — and they’re ready to help make that happen, with small steps today giving way to giant steps as more millennials and Gen Zs assume positions of influence throughout society.” –BB

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What I’ve found is some people take jobs just to pay for their lives outside of the work hours, and they really don’t expect much fulfillment from their eight-hour stint. Others will only take a job that has meaning for them, and if they don’t make as much money as someone else in industry then so be it.



This leads me to an idea that possibly we all could benefit from: We each should reframe our work as our mission. Businesses certainly have a mandate for corporate social responsibility, but as individuals we should also accept a responsibility to making our work time meaningful.

In The Deloitte Global 2021 Millennial and Gen Z Survey it is reported that, “like millennials, fewer than half of Gen Zs see business as a force for good in society. Still, the underlying data suggests that negative feelings toward business may be turning a corner.”

are living a successful life.

Becky Bocklage serves as director of the Fishman Center for Entrepreneurship in the Columbia College Robert W. Plaster School of Business. CC Biz Buzz is a monthly column that features insightful commentary from business faculty. Read more at

LIVING THE DREAM » The Columbia College Diversity,

Equity and Inclusion Committee created the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Awards in 2020 to celebrate staff, faculty and CC community members who reflect Dr. King’s ideals of equity, faith, nonviolence, education, love, leadership, selflessness and hope. In January 2022, a pair of awards – one for a member of the Columbia College community and one for a student, faculty, or staff organization – were given to honor those who make our communities a better place through service and volunteerism.

the new Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She will serve the main campus in Columbia, Missouri, and 39 CC Global locations in 15 states across the country. An Argentinian native, Gudiño completed her undergraduate studies in Archaeology and Anthropology in Mexico City. She also has master’s degrees in Business Administration and Museum & Conservation. Gudiño has more than 25 years of experience working in higher education, with a focus on community outreach participatory research initiatives. She previously directed projects under University of Missouri Outreach and Extension as the Statewide Cultural Inclusion and Diversity Coordinator, as an Extension Specialist in the area of Human Environmental Science, and later as the campus-wide Inclusive Education Coordinator for the Division of Inclusion, Diversity & Equity for the university. With a reputation as a collaborative leader with the vision to advance equity and inclusion initiatives, Gudiño will oversee the work of the college’s DE&I Committee in its mission to promote and foster a college community where everyone is welcome. “I am extremely proud to join the Columbia College family and be part of the presentation of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Service Awards,” Gudiño says. “This is one of the many initiatives the DE&I Committee has put in place over the last several years, and I am excited to join them to continue to improve our community.”

Organization Award Winner: Children of God Alumni Cohort This group of pioneering students attended CC in the 1970s, during the transition from Christian College to Columbia College when the school, city and nation were emerging from the civil rights era. United in song and faith, they have established the African American Legacy Award of Excellence. Read more on Page 18.

Individual Award Winner: Andy Upham Andy Upham is an advisor in the college’s TRIO Student Support Services office, which helps first-generation and low-income students and students with disabilities earn their degrees in the college’s Day Program. As a volunteer with CC’s Impact Club, he encourages students to be leaders and to help them recognize the inequities within their community. He has been a long-time Boy Scout leader and supporter of the Salvation Army annual bell-ringing and gift shop efforts. –KF

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» Columbia College recently welcomed Alejandra Gudiño as

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Lifting Up Voices

For this year’s awards, the committee recognized the life and service of Brig. Gen. Charles E. McGee ’78, who passed January 16 at the age of 102. Read more about his amazing journey on Page 6.


Alumna goes from beneficiary to benefactor » Tessie LaRose Ballard ’93 began her college education at Southern University, near her hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana, where she met then-Army Maj. Gen. Joe Ballard. Tessie’s path to education was anything but straight; in fact, her family did not make attending college a priority. But marrying into and building a military life as a mother and spouse created another route to earning a degree, and now she’s paying it forward. Joe Ballard’s duties assigned him to many posts over the years, including as commanding general of the Engineer Center at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. As a longtime military spouse, Tessie was aware of the benefits awarded to soldiers, including access to base education centers, and in the case of Fort Leonard Wood, Columbia College. Tessie recalls having an after-dinner talk one evening with her husband. “I said to Joe, ‘I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.’ And without hesitation he replied,

‘Nothing until you get your degree.’ The next day I went to the education center,” she says, spoke with an advisor and became a student. “I went home and that evening I told Joe that I was writing a check for ‘X’ amount of dollars. He looked at me and asked why, and I told him it was for classes at Columbia College. Not another word was spoken except his congratulations and continued encouragement to keep going,” Ballard says. Making the decision to return to college was complicated. Every time her family transferred military installations, she found that credits were not always counted at the new institution where she transferred. Yet Columbia College evaluated her credits in real-time and provided her with a path. The advisor and former location director, Dr. David L. King, outlined the courses needed to complete her degree. Because Tessie qualified for a special fund at Columbia College

Tessie LaRose Ballard ’93

for spouses of active-duty service members that reduced the initial costs, she was able to graduate in December of 1993 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Columbia College-Fort Leonard Wood. Tessie was the first person in her family to complete a college degree. At the commencement ceremony, the address was given by her husband, Lt. Gen. Joe Ballard.


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» Tessie Ballard enjoyed the role of military



mother and spouse, yet she found that other spouses rarely asked questions about the educational programs available to them. Perhaps they were unaware of the opportunities, or didn’t feel they could complete a degree. It is her hope that a scholarship will continue to inspire military spouses to pursue their degree at Columbia College and benefit from the program as she has. The Tessie LaRose Ballard ’93 Scholarship is one of five new scholarships that will be awarded to Columbia College students during Military Recognition Day in May. –KF



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The Esports program continues to sit atop the national stage, but this year it will be in more than just League of Legends as the Cougars have expanded into three new titles in Rocket League, Rainbow 6 Siege and Valorant. Led by Director of Esports Aaron Shockley and new League of Legends Coach J McCutcheon, the Esports program this fall won three league titles, two tournament championships and is ranked nationally in Rocket League.




1 WEEK $75,863 RAISED 176 GIFTS

The Men’s & Women’s Basketball Locker Room renovations, completed in 2020, provide students with a first-class space to prepare for competition.


BOWLING The Cougar women’s bowling team continues to grow in success and size. Now in its fifth year, new head coach Damon Helgevold is taking the program to new heights and enjoying every minute of it!

MEN’S SOCCER With another banner year in the books, the men’s soccer team appeared in its third straight NAIA National Semifinal this fall. Led by Head Coach John Klein, the Cougars finished the season with a record of 15-3-3.

WOMEN’S SOCCER Women’s soccer finished their 2021 campaign as American Midwest Conference regular season and tournament champions for the seventh straight year. Since its inception in 2012, the women’s soccer team has a 99-7-1 conference record.

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As a former assistant for the men’s and women’s golf programs, Michelle Butler ’19 took on a new role this year as interim head coach for the programs and hasn’t missed a beat. Playing a tough fall schedule, the Cougars showed they will be a force to reckon with as they seek out a conference title.

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Children of God members come together for a 50-year reunion and give back to the place that helped lay the foundation for their success. BY DAVID MORRISON PHOTOS BY KEVIN FLETCHER & COLUMBIA COLLEGE ARCHIVES

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Peggy Bland-Seltzer ’73 performs with the Children of God chorale group in singing Oh, Happy Day, accompanied by Angela Montgomery 19 Timmons ’74 on the piano.

Watch the full presentation at


On a Thursday night in October, more than a dozen African American alumni of Columbia College gathered in a hotel lobby near campus to reminisce. Many of them were part of the first cohorts of Black students to attend the school in the early 1970s. Some hadn’t seen each other in person in nearly 50 years but, as they shared hugs, laughs and stories, the intervening decades just seemed to melt away.

“We’ve all grown, and none of us have changed,” says Terry Lane ’73, who attended the reunion with his wife, Carol Allen Lane ’75. “I can still talk to them just like I talked to them at Columbia College, and they have more to add and more to say. We’re all accomplished people, and we share one thing: whatever we accomplished all started from our relationship with Columbia College.”

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Friends traveled from all over the country – as far away as New York and California, as close as Jefferson City – to gather in Columbia for Homecoming weekend Oct. 15-16, 2021, the first time many had been on campus since their college days.

It was a unique opportunity to come together and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the “Children of God,” a gospel choir started by 13 African American students at Columbia College in the fall of 1971. Over the next few years, the group made a name for itself performing at area churches, eventually expanding in membership to more than 30 and singing for audiences as far away as Chicago. But Children of God was about more than performing. For some of the first African American students at Columbia College, it served as an invaluable social support system, a network of students who could rely on each other for their emotional, mental, academic and moral needs. At a turbulent time in the nation’s history, during a

period of transition at Columbia College, they were there for each other. And they continue to be. “We were brought together unexpectedly for a purpose. We were brought together by the grace of God,” says Bill Seibert ’09, who started at Columbia College in the ’70s and came back to finish his degree four decades later. “I don’t think any of us have forgotten that or take that for granted. We put that in the forefront that we are meant to be together. There is a purpose for us to be together.” Finding Each Other Ellen Miller-Mapp ’75 felt a dizzying mix of emotions when she first set foot on Columbia College’s campus as a freshman in 1971. She was nearly 500 miles from her home in Cincinnati, Ohio. She was excited to begin her studies in


20 Terry Lane ’73 served as the first African American president of the college's student government. Today, junior Zyeon Oatts leads the charge.

fashion and illustration in a smallcollege environment, but she was in a part of the country she knew next to nothing about and entering a situation in which she did not expect to see many – if any – faces that looked like hers. She would soon find out that she wasn’t alone. “There were 13 (Black students) on campus, all of us coming on campus just terrified, not knowing what to expect and thinking we were the only one. Imagine that,” Miller says. “During registration, we kind of got glimpses of each other and thought, ‘Good, I’m not the only one.’” Nationally, tensions simmered – and sometimes boiled over – concerning the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movement. Locally, Columbia College had recently welcomed its first male students to campus, changed its name from Christian College in 1970 and was in the midst of its first concerted effort to recruit African American students to the school under the leadership of President W. Merle Hill. At the time, Miller and her fellow students didn’t necessarily want to be trailblazers. They just wanted to get a good education. “The emphasis was not on the fact that we were integrating the school,” says Angela Montgomery Timmons ’74. “The emphasis for all of us was to do well, get a good GPA, get on the Dean’s List. We did not think of it in terms of establishing or making history.” Nervous and overwhelmed on that first day in 1971, Miller stopped in at Dulany Hall for some lunch. The first thing she noticed were the white linen cloths on the tables.

. . . s e i r o m e M

Formed in the 1970s, the Children of God performed gospel music on campus and in local churches. Members returned to Columbia College for a 50th reunion and presentation on October 15, 2021.

The second thing she noticed was the grand piano, and Timmons perched on its bench. “That was her safe zone,” Miller says. “There she was, playing the piano in all that craziness, with everybody buzzing around, playing gospel music like I knew from church. And it felt like home.” Miller set down her plate and walked over to introduce herself to Timmons. Soon, a handful of other Black students joined, singing gospel music to Timmons’ accompaniment and getting to know each other. “We weren’t Children of God then, but we were literally children of God needing each other,” Miller says. “As more came in, the familiarity of what felt like home made the day and the experience feel so much better. We got to know each other just a little bit, and that got us started.”

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Making an Impact In its first official performance, Children of God served as backing vocalists for member Peggy BlandSeltzer ’73 as she recited poetry at a talent show.



Seibert remembers being a Children of God fan before he officially joined the choir. He came to Columbia College from Rolla on a partial drama scholarship in 1972 and would hang around and listen to them rehearse. One day, as they met in Dulany Hall, they asked if he could sing. “I said, ‘a little bit,’” Seibert says. “They had this song that repeated itself,

and all of us who weren’t in the choir had a verse where we sang. They said, ‘Oh yeah, we want you.’ It just kind of pulled you in. They were such a fun and loving group. Even before even being in the choir, I wanted to be around them and hear them.” Children of God would perform on campus and as the guest choir at area churches. Timmons served as the group’s first director, with Leon Kendrick ’77 following her. Soon, the group became so in demand that it had to start keeping organized performance calendars to track where they all needed to be each Sunday. Seibert remembers one time, in particular, when Channel 17 asked the group to perform on the air. “My family in Rolla got to watch me sing. I had a solo,” Seibert says. “That tells you how well-known the group was. The whole time I was with

the choir, I don’t think I missed a performance. I really looked forward to doing it. They were a lot of fun, and it was a lot to be proud of.” And, while the group was making its mark through gospel music, its members were also leaving an impact on campus. Miller was the school’s first senior class president. Terry Lane served as the first African American president of the student body. While Lane didn’t perform with the group, he was very close with its members. “They were an inspiration,” Lane says. “They impacted, in such a subtle way, all of us. They were the core of our African American experience group. Being the first African American student body president was something I was absolutely aware of, but I didn’t put value on it or understand the impact of it until long after I was gone. It doesn’t hit you, for example, until you go back

Coming Together For the first time in nearly 50 years, Children of God gathered for a gospel performance. This one took place in Dorsey Gym on Oct. 15, 2021, and consisted of three songs, including its signature piece, “Oh Happy Day.” After, the members took part in a question-and-answer session about their experiences as some of the first African American students at Columbia College. The reunion was more than a year in the making, from the time the group members first started reconnecting on Zoom through zeroing in on homecoming weekend for the event and planning it with the help of former Director of Alumni Development Keith McIver and other Columbia College Advancement staff members. “The vibe and energy in that room was palpable,” Timmons says. “It was an amazing weekend for all of us. We all came away knowing that it was just what we ordered. The entire weekend, we were all floating.” “This is a very special group. I’ve never been involved with anything like this, where we can come back together, have a lot of fun but also be serious when the time comes. This is our legacy. We have not forgotten where we come from.”

The Children of God reunion was a weekend to celebrate the vision of President Hill to help bring these students together — the lifelong connections they made during the time on campus and the successes each of them reached after Columbia College. Now, the Children of God want to help future generations of Columbia College students. Members have contributed to a scholarship fund called the African American Legacy Award of Excellence. The fund is for rising sophomore, junior or senior African American full-time Day Campus students at Columbia College who demonstrate a financial need. During the reunion performance, the Children of God presented a check for nearly $9,000 to establish the award. “What better way for a student to know that they can be successful than to know that we were there and we were successful?” Miller says. “There is nothing better than to be able to reach back and help a person in much the same way that we were guided and supported when we were there. We wanted to be that support that helps a student through the little things that come up. They can drive you crazy enough that you can give up. Well, we don’t want them to give up. We want them to stay and get their degrees, and we want them to know it’s coming from us.” Each year, the award will be given in honor of at least one living Children of God classmate and in memory of at least one member who has passed away. The initial award is in memory of H. Keith Holliday ’74 and in honor of Angela Montgomery Timmons ’74 (inset with Miller), who helped get the group started by giving her classmates a sense of home in the middle of Dulany Hall on that day in 1971. “Words cannot convey what this group means to me,” Timmons says. “That foundation laid the way and launched us into our careers. All in all, if we were to define success, it would start here.” In addition to the scholarship fund, Miller says she and her classmates plan to stay involved with Columbia College, working with President Dr. David Russell and administration on diversity initiatives. Through these efforts, the Children of God hope to see their legacy live on. To learn more or make a gift, visit

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“We’re going to keep in touch now and keep up with each other. We’re slowly starting to make plans for another reunion,” Seibert says. “We definitely can’t wait 50 years. Maybe not even five. We’re talking about maybe two years to try to get back together again, enjoy each other’s company and do something.

Leaving a Legacy

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for your 50th anniversary and realize what that really said.”

made for this moment ... » NINE YEARS AGO, DAVID RUSSELL AND LEE TERRY WERE EACH CONTENT WITH LIVING their lives as independent widower and widow. He had a successful career in higher-education administration; she was CEO of the Columbia Board of Realtors and on the board of True North, a nonprofit agency that serves survivors of domestic violence. Yet longtime Columbia realtor Betty Tice was insistent that her mutual friends get together for a date. David flat-out turned down Betty’s invitation for the three of them to have dinner twice before finally agreeing to the quasi-blind date.

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To start the conversation – at booth No. 11 at Sophia’s on Columbia’s South side – David shared that he’d just watched the movie “300 Spartans.” Lee asked if it was the new release, or the 1962 version with Richard Egan. When David shared that it was the classic, Lee replied that it was her favorite battle in the history of democracy.



Several books, movies and military stories later, Betty got bored, decided she’d done her part, and left. Lee and David stayed, spending 2½ hours talking, drinking nothing but water, and being anything but bored. It was the beginning of a wonderful love story that indirectly brought Columbia College its new president and first lady. BY KEVIN FLETCHER / PORTRAITS BY L.G. PATTERSON

Winter 2021-22 Dr. David and Lee Russell



The Russells take a quick break from Student Move-In activities to get a photo with Scooter the Cougar.

checking all the boxes Dr. Russell remembers first becoming significantly aware of Columbia College when then-University of Missouri Provost Dr. Gerald Brouder was named president of CC. “I stood up and took notice when he moved from the big state U to a small independent college,” Russell says. During the next few years Russell enjoyed a good working relationship with Brouder during his tenure as state commissioner of higher education.

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While he was president, Brouder was a member of the council of presidents that provided the state commissioner with valuable advice and feedback. Because of that, Brouder was asked by the state’s independent colleges to be their representative in Jefferson City. “He always did a terrific job, of course,” Russell says. “I admired his demeanor and the way he was always prepared and knew what he was talking about.”



The Rev. Dr. Brad Stagg has served as senior minister pastor of First Christian Church in Columbia since 2012, and because of the church’s covenantal relationship with Columbia College, joined the Board of Trustees later that year. As he became more familiar with the college, he recalls the president giving him a simple, yet profound piece of advice for being

In September, Dr. David Russell provided the State of the College address to staff and faculty.

a good trustee: “Your job is to ask questions,” Brouder said. The first time Stagg met David Russell was at the latter’s first board meeting in 2016. His first impression was that the former Army officer and higher-education administrator was insightful. “He asked questions that many of us in the room should have been asking, but he did so in a humble way,” Stagg says. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that David Russell checks all of the boxes the board seeks in its leader:  He has vast and significant higher-education experience. He brings 30 years of service to higher education, including time as the chief of staff for nine presidents at the fourcampus University of Missouri System. As commissioner of higher education for the State of Missouri for six years, Russell was a member of the governor’s cabinet and oversaw a statewide system that served more than 400,000 college students among both public and independent institutions. His doctoral degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia is in educational leadership and policy analysis.

The Russells welcomed back the Cougar men’s soccer team from the NAIA National Tournament after reaching the semi-finals of the event. The photo went viral on social media and was one of the college’s top performing posts in 2021.

 Between his time at his other careers, and through discussions with faculty during his interim presidency, he demonstrated that he

trusting the process When the college’s previous president announced his departure from the college in November 2020, Russell, as sitting chair of the Board of Trustees, was named acting president, in accordance with board bylaws designed to provide continuity of leadership. While Russell was getting accustomed to the day-to-day workings of the college, the board’s immediate focus was on selecting someone to serve on a more-intermediate basis as interim president. “I thought I would do the job for about a month,” Russell says. As Stagg remembers, the board didn’t spend a long time discussing options. “We were thinking, this man’s been the commissioner of higher education for the entire state, the chief of staff for the UM System. He can do the interim job,” he says.

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 Whether it is speaking with members of the Chamber of Commerce, REDI, Mizzou or any other entity, he is well-known and respected in Columbia. “He’s able to interface on so many different levels,” Stagg says.

understands faculty. From handing out water bottles to new students and their families during move-in day in August to greeting the men’s soccer team’s bus upon their return from the NAIA National Semifinals in Alabama, David and Lee have ingratiated themselves to the college community.

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 For a college that has half of its locations sited on military installations, his military background is a tremendous asset. Russell retired as a lieutenant colonel from the Army in 1991, after holding command and staff positions in infantry, personnel management and public affairs. His service included two combat tours in the Republic of South Vietnam, as well as tours in Germany and at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. His personal military decorations include the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge. His final post was at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, which is the college’s longest-standing military location. It was also coincidentally the site of his first commencement address as the college’s permanent president in October.

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“I love the idea of planned chaos, challenging everything that we do, testing to see if it’s really right or if it needs to be changed.” – Dr. David Russell



For both Russell and the board, one of the appealing facets of the decision to appoint him as interim president was the agreement that he would not be a candidate for the permanent position. That way, he could focus on running the college, and the board could focus on the process of selecting a permanent replacement. And with the board chair role now officially empty, Vice Chair Stagg became acting chair of the board, as well as the one initially tasked with leading the presidential search. The plan was relatively straightforward, if not necessarily easy: deliberate as a board about the qualities needed in a new leader, engage various entities within and outside the college

for their feedback and solicit a search firm to assist in vetting and recruiting potential candidates – a process expected to take anywhere from 12 to 18 months. As a matter of course, Russell, Stagg and Dale Coe Simons ’65 – who was elected vice chair following Russell’s appointment – began meeting via Zoom each Monday. “Those chats just built so much trust and a collegial atmosphere; David is so good at creating a collegial partnership,” Stagg says. Stagg tasked fellow trustee June Viner Hurdle ’83 with chairing the search committee, and as the calendar slowly moved to mid-summer, one of the first items of business for that group was to hire a search firm to assist with the process. Yet just before that happened, the process hit a fortuitous bump, which Stagg vividly recalls happening as he was sitting in the breakfast area of a motel in Muskogee, Oklahoma, while he and his family were on vacation. “Some of

There were some logistical challenges – she had already planned, and paid for, specific vacations, and those were non-negotiable – yet those were just details. “The idea behind the 18 months was that when you’re retired, you want your spouse with you,” Lee recalls. Ultimately, she came to a different conclusion. “When you’re retired, you’re supposed to do what you love in retirement. And he loves (serving as president). So how could you not say yes to doing what you love?” That revelation triggered action on Stagg’s original problem. For the sake of the search process, Interim President Russell now also became Candidate Russell. From that point forward, conversations between board members and Russell exclusively involved operational issues for the college. In an effort to maintain objectivity during the search, the weekly Zoom sessions among Russell, Stagg and Simons nearly ceased from June through August. During that time, Stagg went into high gear to visit with every possible constituency at the college, covering both ends of Tenth Street – First Christian Church is just three blocks south of Rogers Gate – and via Zoom. From faculty representatives on the Board of Trustees to the entire Faculty Association, from the college’s


As the daughter of a U.S. Air Force officer, Lee Russell self-identifies as a “military brat,” moving not only over every part of the United States, but also to the Middle East, Japan and several islands in the Pacific. She married Jay Terry, a Vietnam War veteran who was a Top Gun for the Air Force. His numerous assignments meant more moves for accompanied and unaccompanied duty tours. After his retirement, they moved to Columbia in 1987. Jay passed away in 2002 from the effects of being exposed to Agent Orange during his service in Vietnam. Lee’s experiences taught her how challenging military life can be for families. The frequent moves can uproot children from their schools, put a strain on friendships and disrupt efforts by spouses to complete their degrees and establish their own careers. “I wanted to do something to help struggling spouses who needed financial support in order to finish their degrees, get a good job and start a career,” she says. The result is the Lee Terry Russell Military Spouse Scholarship, which will be awarded annually to a Columbia College student who is married to a member of the military community, either currently serving or a veteran. “We must not forget those who quietly serve their country in support of our military,” she says. “They, too, sacrifice much, and they are deserving of our support. I hope this scholarship and perhaps others like it will give them more options.” To make a gift in support of the Lee Terry Russell Military Spouse Scholarship, please visit

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First, Stagg knew he and the board had a duty to the college to honor the search process. Second, he was under the impression that Russell’s time with the college had a defined end. As Lee Russell made clear to Stagg at the outset, “You can have him for 18 months, not 19,” he laughs in recollection. For that part of the conundrum, he reached out directly to the source. To be clear, the first call was to Lee.

paying it forward

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the trustees called me after that vote,” Stagg says, “and they asked me, ‘Before we sign on the dotted line (with the search firm), should we consider if we already have the person?’” Stagg loved the idea personally, yet he had two problems. He remained circumspect.

continuing tradition


administrative Management Council to the Staff Association Advisory Council, from the CCAA to the provost and dean of students, from the college’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee to the Robert W. Plaster School of Business Advisory Board, Stagg held no fewer than 15 meetings spanning the spectrum of the college community. Other college leaders also canvassed various community leaders on Stagg’s behalf. The feedback from those listening sessions was overwhelmingly positive that David Russell was the perfect person for the job. On Friday, September 24, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously: Effective October 1, 2021, he would become Columbia College’s 18th president.

moving forward So now that Russell has emerged from several firsts in his time in office – holding a State of the College address to staff and faculty; hosting Veterans Week, Holiday Lighting and Alumni receptions; not to mention several commencement ceremonies – what is on the docket in the near term?

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Item No. 1 is adopting a new strategic plan that, while ultimately for the Board of Trustees, will function annually as a rolling five-year roadmap for the college. “I love the idea of planned chaos,” Russell says, “challenging everything that we do, testing to see if it’s really right or if it needs to be changed.”



A second focus is revitalizing enrollment management systems and updating the process of attracting prospective students through the college’s doors, particularly in Columbia College Global.

Top: Lee and David Russell enjoy their first dance at the President’s Society Gala in September; Middle: The couple enjoys a beautiful night on Bass Commons for the college’s Holiday Lighting ceremony in December; Bottom: The Russells visited with guests at the CCAA Holiday Party, including Darrell and Carol Winkler ‘93 and CC Campus Safety Officer Jeff Hickam, who filled in for Santa Claus.

Russell also expressed the need to review and strengthen the college’s customer-service processes for students expressing an interest in CC. “I’d love to get to the point where we have no competition in that area, that we’re the best there is,” he says. “And if we are, we’re going to have success.”

Until very recently, Lee served on the City of Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission and continues to be actively involved as past president of the Board of Directors for True North.

we’re all CC “I want to create an attitude on the part of all people associated with the college that says, ‘I am personally responsible for promoting Columbia College, reaching out and bringing in bright, driven students to study here,’” Russell says. “That means enlisting alumni and friends to recruit great students like never before.” As part of getting to know various constituencies during his time as interim president, Russell marveled at the CCAA Advisory Council. “I was so impressed with that group. They were all leaning forward in their seats, asking what they could do to help.” Together with college leadership, the Russells began conceptualizing a place – for now, “Ivy Place” is the working name for it – that can serve as a welcoming point for visitors to the main campus in Columbia. Visitors include alumni who graduated from the earlier days of Christian College, those who are seeing campus for the first time after studying online or at a nationwide


Three decades in mid-Missouri have given David Russell long-term perspective about Columbia College, even if he hadn’t been directly involved with the college. “The longer I have lived here, the more that I have become aware of how darn many successful people in the region are graduates of CC.”

location, as well as new students coming in the door who are just beginning their experience with Columbia College. “I appointed a working group of alumni and others to work with an architectural firm to envision what that place might become,” he says. He also stressed the importance of professional development for staff and formally recognized the role of faculty. “I don’t think faculty get enough credit for what they do, and I want to create an atmosphere that causes faculty to want to come here to teach, and also makes them want to stay here because they can’t imagine a better place to work.” It has become clear that Russell can’t imagine a better place, either, and he’s relishing his new role.

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For her part, Lee has jumped headfirst into her role as first lady. An alumna and avid Auburn Tigers fan, she has seen the success of AU’s mascot, Aubie, and has played an active part in increasing Scooter the Cougar’s visibility around Columbia College and the nation.

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He also stressed that the college must work on its efforts to serve underrepresented populations. In the fall of 2021, the college established an Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and hired its new director, Alejandra Gudiño, in January 2022. Read more about Gudiño on Page 13.


High Achiever Veteran alumnus garners national award BY ANDY OLDENBURG


for first-generation, low-income, underrepresented, disabled students and veterans.

Inspired by his professors, Reichel became more active on campus and vowed to make a long-lasting impact on the college. He joined the SSS program and served as president of the organization before completing his bachelor’s degree in General Studies in 2016.

Columbia College opened the TRIO SSS center for the Day Program in 2000 and has successfully renewed the competitive grant through the Department of Education five times. Additionally in 2021, The U.S. Department of Education approved the college’s application for a TRIO Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) program grant for $1.16 million over the next five years. While TRIO SSS benefits current students studying in the Day Program, the EOC is designed to increase college access among working adults throughout the Central Missouri region.

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Jared Reichel’s journey with Columbia College began in 2010, when he returned to mid-Missouri following a five-year tenure with the U.S. Army. With his ambitions of achieving academic success at an all-time high, he met with Tina McNeil, a former advisor in the Columbia College TRIO Student Support Services (SSS), and knew he found his higher education destination.



Reichel continues to garner recognition by his peers. In April 2021, he was one of three recipients of the Educational Opportunity Association (EOA) TRIO Achiever Award by the chapter comprising Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska. The award recognizes members for outstanding civic, community and professional contributions. The EOA is a nonprofit association of TRIO, College Access and Success professionals. They represent the stakeholders of TRIO programs throughout the Midwest that provide educational opportunities

In November, Reichel traveled to Indianapolis for a TRIO Achievers’ Luncheon at the annual EOA conference. At the event, he was named a 2021 EOA TRIO Achiever, becoming the first Columbia College graduate to receive the national award. “It was an extremely humbling experience,” Reichel says. “My fellow TRIO Achiever awardees were professors and doctors, and as I sat on stage waiting to accept my award and listening to the two educators, I found myself asking, ‘Why and how am I here with everyone else?’ As I reflected, I

know it’s because of the motivation and encouragement I received from Columbia College and specifically the staff of the Columbia House.” Columbia College TRIO SSS Advisor Kim Coke continues to corresponded with Reichel, who serves as a Realty Advocate Manager at Veterans United Realty in Columbia. He recently joined the Columbia College Alumni Association Advisory Council − a group he also served as a student − and provided the alumni charge to graduates at the commencement ceremonies in December. Over a decade following his first encounter with the college, Reichel remains a strong figure across the local community. “Jared has been a vocal supporter of all things Veterans United, Columbia College and TRiO Student Support Services,” Coke says. “The TRIO program is designed to help individuals realize their potential and provide support, encouraging them to attain their educational goals. Jared is an incredible model of the success that can be achieved through support and determination. He benefited from participation in our program and we now benefit from his contributions to our community. He continues to inspire our current TRIO students through his example.”

“The message I would give to current and prospective students is to drive on and trust the people Columbia College surrounds you with.” − Jared Reichel ’16

There is no doubt the success Reichel has experienced will be a source of inspiration for current and prospective members of the college’s SSS program. “If not for the SSS program, I wouldn’t have graduated with honors or pushed myself to be so active on campus and my community,” Reichel says. “They supported me in ways that no one ever has before, and it has given me the confidence to become the best at everything I do. Stay the course, trust the process, and believe in the TRIO SSS staff at the Columbia House. They will take you to limits you never knew you had!”


» “I love using my creativity to help people, especially when they’re wanting to start or grow their business.”

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− Kalia White ’21



A Natural Fit Young alumna helps businesses find their look

After earning her associate degree in graphic communications at St. Louis Community College, she decided to make the move to Columbia, Missouri, to attend Columbia College. There, she continued her education with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design. “I wanted something further from home in St. Louis,” she says. “Moving there was the biggest decision I had made up to that point.” While at CC, White visited the Student Success office regularly to learn how she could explore resources on campus. She often met with Rachel Smith ‘17, director of Student Success and project director of the TRIO Educational Opportunity Center. “One of my favorite memories of Kalia, I was telling her that I can’t draw and am not artistic,” Smith says. “She stopped me, and said, ‘No, art is literally everywhere! It’s in our clothes and food and the way we arrange things. It’s just so integrated in our world.’ That completely changed the way I think about and appreciate art.”

knows first-hand how much of a challenge it can be to start a business, since he started his several years ago. “I was so excited to get a chance to work with her,” Brandon says. “I wanted to provide any encouragement I could.” The two alumni met by Zoom to discuss the logo and what was needed. The logo was for the Camp Cedar Crest near Santa Fe, Missouri. A group of 60 churches jointly own the 100-acre property to host camps and other events. White met with Brandon to learn more about the organization and audience. She talked with him about the board’s ideas for the logo and the types of logos they liked from other organizations. “It’s not just about having a pretty picture for the logo,” she says. “You want it to reflect what their goals are and what they’re passionate about.”

Brandon Smith ’12 hired Kalia White ’21 to create a logo for Camp Cedar Crest.

They often talked about White’s work and her future plans. Before White graduated, she mentioned that she had started a logo design business. It just happened that Smith’s husband, Brandon Smith ’12, president of the board of directors for Cedar Crest Baptist Camp, needed a logo. “I told him, ‘I have the perfect person,’” she says. “I was able to connect the two of them, so she could help him with the logo.” Brandon, owner of B’s Lock & Key LLC, jumped at the chance to work with a fellow graduate. He says he

After meeting several times and discussing different drafts, the final logo was finished. “She did a great job in listening to what we wanted and finding a way to achieve it,” Brandon says. “We’re so happy with how it turned out.”

The work experience helped move White into the next stage of her career. Today, she continues to develop her freelance design business, Abstract Naturally. In October, she moved to the Los Angeles area, where she helps businesses with their logos. “I love being able to work with such a variety of people,” White says. “If I could talk to my past self, I’d say, ‘you’re going to be a part of a great career.’ College was just the beginning, the roots to a life that will just get bigger and flourish.”

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Art can be found anywhere you look. That is what inspired Kalia White ’21 to choose graphic design as her career path.

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Debra Carnahan ’82 is an attorney and principal of Carnahan Global Consulting with her husband, former Congressman Russ Carnahan. She is a regular panelist on the PBS award-winning program “To The Contrary with Bonnie Erbe” and a prominent public speaker. Debra is a retired judge and former assistant U.S. attorney and state prosecutor. Debra received the CCAA Distinguished Alumni Award in 2005. She resides in St. Louis with her with husband and their two sons, Austin and Andrew.

Greetings to all my fellow CC Alumni, As we began a new calendar year perhaps you reflected on 2021, said goodbye to some good memories and maybe some not so good ones. I know I did. However, when it came to thinking about CC and the past year, I had a lot of experiences and memories that made me smile and look forward to the future. Homecoming this year was truly a lot of fun with almost all activities outside and a great band! I couldn’t help myself and had to get up and do some dancing in the sunshine-filled day. I attended the Children of God reunion presentation along with my fellow CCAA Advisory Council members. Their stories as the first group of Black students on campus and the friendships they formed moved me to tears, and then we were all on our feet clapping and cheering to their inspirational songs and voices! One particular name was mentioned many times throughout their stories and that was in reference to the support and influence of Professor Polly Batterson. I echo those sentiments! You will find their story on Page 18.

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Do you know of an alumnus who you would like to nominate for an Alumni Award? We are currently accepting nominations and will present the 2022 recipients in June. This is a very special event that occurs every year, and I am truly amazed by my fellow alumni. Learn more at my.ccis. edu/awards. We have much to be proud of in our alma mater. Giving Day is coming up on March 16, and I ask you to make this your year to give back. You can make a gift online at Our school and our students depend on our support to help our students receive an affordable, top-quality education. I welcome your thoughts and appreciation your service, however you can give, as we improve the CC experience for years to come. My best to you and yours,


36 Debra Carnahan ’82 |

Columbia College Alumni Association Advisory Council: 2021-22


CHAIR Debra Carnahan ’82 Day Program ALUMNI REPRESENTATIVE TO THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES Joshua Muder ’99 Day Program ALUMNI ADVISORS Rebecca Brietzke ’13 Evening Program Allen Butler ’07 Lake County Mike Campbell ’08 Day Program Jonathan Dudley ’10 Day Program Stacey Goodale ’93 Day Program Bill Johnston ’82 Day Program Whitney Jones ’16 ’20 St. Louis & Online Program Jeannie M. Lahman ’18 Online Program Nikki McGruder ’00 Day Program Joe Nicchetta ’79 Day Program Jared Reichel ’16 Day Program Courtney Steelman ’11 Day Program Corbin Umstattd ’12 Day & Online Programs Liz Weise ’11 Day & Evening Programs EX-OFFICIO MEMBERS Lynne Stuver Baker ’64 Christian College Advisor Emerita and Chair of Advancement Committee, Board of Trustees Suzanne Rothwell Vice President for Advancement Carolyn Preul Director of Alumni Relations Keiyana Austin ’21 Administrative Assistant, Alumni Relations & Strategic Communications



Finding Purpose in Criticism » In my years of training, clients have learned how to communicate

I encourage you to use information provided through the lens of others to improve who you are! to repurpose criticism and create valuable goals aligning with who you want to become. Here are three viewpoints to consider:


Actively engage in constructive feedback. Take the initiative to learn how feedback is communicated within your organization. You do not have to wait for a performance evaluation and can solicit input throughout the year. Revaluate your goals based on feedback, if necessary. Consider completing a 360-degree assessment. This could be an excellent opportunity to learn more about your strengths and weaknesses. If an evaluation process does not currently exist, propose a plan to your organization’s leaders.


Acknowledgment is not agreement. Feedback can be spontaneous, verbal or survey-driven. Remember that all feedback is not designed the same, nor does it all promote positivity — and this is okay! If you disagree, it can merely be a difference of opinion. Focus on the information that can contribute to your becoming a better individual or team player, as well as those points that align with your organization’s mission, visions or core objectives.


Repurpose the criticism. Take time for self-reflection, but avoid being overly critical of yourself. For example, if several individuals share similar points of view, you may focus on how improving the specific behavior(s) can benefit the situation. Consider how this feedback can help you create or re-establish goals designed to promote a healthier environment for the workplace and your home life. –TO

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I admit the term “constructive” is an understatement, often leaving my clients perplexed and unsure how to use or digest the information. It is possible to find purpose in criticism, even if it lacks a constructive overtone. There can be some vulnerability, however, if they keep an open mind, it can provide value or possibly create a positive experience during the process.

Tangalayer Oates ’04 is the chief executive officer and principal instructor at Transcending Borders Corporation, a human resources and organizational management consulting and training company based in Georgia. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Columbia College’s location in St. Louis and a Master of Business Administration from Trident University International.

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constructive feedback, yet many are unaware of how to accept such criticism. These comments can feel gut-wrenching on the receiving end, whether it is unsolicited, uncensored, lacking knowledge or understanding! I suggest my clients view criticism as a lifelong process that can become “constructive and purpose-filled,” if they actively choose to repurpose this information!


Carolyn Preul with her husband, Tyler ’04, daughter, Audrey, and son, Dylan, in Park City, Utah. “I keep a Scootergraph in my suitcase − it goes with us everywhere!”


» Carolyn Preul brings a passion for alumni engagement

through storytelling to the Columbia College Alumni Association. As the new director of Alumni Relations, she will continue to serve as the Editor of Affinity magazine, while also serving as the liaison to the CCAA Advisory Council. Preul has been part of the CC team for more than seven years, specializing in graphic design and marketing for the departments of Alumni Relations, Development and Strategic Communications. We recently turned the interview table, asking her to share her personal background history at the college and offer a look ahead to the future of CC Alumni Relations.

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Tell the Columbia College community a little about yourself. I was raised in the suburbs of Dallas and despite the introverted nature of my youth, I chose the University of Missouri for college. I fell in love with Columbia and a few years later, my husband, Tyler. We have two children and make the most of family time. We enjoy camping in our favorite Missouri State Parks or taking vacations that often center around swimming pools.



What is your professional background? When did you first get introduced to higher education? I studied journalism and magazine design in college and did exactly that for the first 10 years of my career. I started as a graphic designer and worked my way up to creative director of Columbia’s

city magazine, Inside Columbia. In 2012, my employer partnered with Columbia College to produce Affinity. Even though my husband is a 2004 graduate of the Columbia College Evening Program, I didn’t realize how expansive the college was until taking on that project. When the opportunity arose to originally join Columbia College, what attracted you to the available job and the college community as a whole? I had the unique opportunity to get to know the college from an insider perspective. I produced features on Dr. Gerald T. Brouder’s presidency, the 50th anniversary of the CCAA and so many vibrant activities. You could feel the energy through these stories. Alumni were rightfully proud of their alma mater, and I wanted to be a part of it!

Even before your promotion to your current role, you have had years of experience within the Alumni Relations department. What did it mean for you personally to be named director? When I first joined Alumni Relations, I traveled around Missouri and to Colorado, Illinois and Utah to host regional alumni events. With our CC Global footprint, it was extremely helpful to visit nationwide locations and meet alumni in their communities. Did you know we have an educational center in Honolulu? That trip is still on my bucket list. I have worked closely with the Advancement team to provide our alumni and friends the best programs and resources possible. When this position became available, I immediately turned to alumni who became personal

friends and mentors for their opinions. I wanted to hear what they want from the CCAA and furiously took notes! What are some items/concepts you hope to achieve with our alumni? We have a fantastic CCAA Advisory Council who provides valuable leadership in the best interests of our 95,000 alumni around the world. Over the coming months, we’re going to roll out more engagement opportunities for our members.


Homecoming Brunch, hosted by the St. Clair Society: October 16, 2021

No one can speak to the benefits of a Columbia College education better than our graduates. I encourage alumni to share their personal experiences with family and friends who are looking at college programs and refer them to CC. If you need help connecting to our Admissions staff, contact us in Alumni Relations. We’ll get you to the right person! Kansas City Alumni Social: October 27, 2021

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Kansas City Christian College Alumnae Luncheon: October 28, 2021


To reach Carolyn , email or give her a call at (573) 875-7374. CCAA Holiday Party: December 18, 2021


What’s your favorite Columbia College memory thus far? I absolutely love talking to our alumni and have heard some great stories. Meeting our Christian College alumnae has been exceptionally fun. It was a different era when they were in college – nightly curfews, formal dress for dinner, when and where boys could visit students on campus. There were so many rules, and we have the demerit books in the college’s Archives to see just how often they were broken! I also love the symbolism of the Ivy Chain ceremony. Students form a circle with a continuous chain of ivy draped from person to person and when it’s cut, they each take a piece of CC with them. It’s true – we are each a part in the college’s history, and it’s my goal to keep that spirit alive through the CCAA. –AO


A DEGREE TO SUCCEED Alumnus promoted to deputy chief of St. Louis Fire Department Derrick Phillips ’17, right, received the designation of Fire Service Chief Executive Officer in 2018.

he worked through the requirements for attaining that goal, he discovered that a bachelor’s degree is required, with a master’s degree preferred. Enter Columbia College. Phillips initially chose CC because it offered an associate degree in fire service administration. Yet once he discovered that it would require training classes outside of the college that weren’t going to fit into his schedule, he switched his major to business administration. (Phillips completed additional fire-service classes from CC to satisfy elective requirements.)

» A 27-year veteran of the St. Louis Fire Department,

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Derrick Phillips ’17 has been in charge of training and homeland security at the second-oldest career firefighting department in America for the past eight years. Last summer, he set a new career milestone with a promotion from battalion chief to deputy chief for the department.



The position required that Phillips take a difficult promotional exam, which was a general management exercise. Once he learned he finished No. 1 on the exam, it was a mere formality until the promotion came. “I was extremely happy because I felt like I would finally be in a position to make more of an impact on the organization as a whole,” he says. In his new role, Phillips acts as a deputy commissioner and manages all fire operations for the “A” shift and remains in charge of homeland security for the department. The promotion is the latest step in a goal Phillips has been working toward for several years. He wanted to become chief for a metropolitan fire department, and as

He started with an associate degree in 2013 and finished a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the college’s location in St. Louis in 2017. His bachelor’s degree came with summa cum laude honors, and he was inducted into both the Sigma Beta Delta (for students in business, management and administration) and Alpha Sigma Lambda (the oldest and largest national honor society for non-traditional students who achieve and maintain outstanding scholastic standards and leadership characteristics while adroitly handling additional responsibilities of work and family) honor societies. In the years since, Phillips has earned a Master of Public Affairs degree with distinction from Arkansas State and a Master of Arts in Security Studies (Homeland Security and Defense) from the Center for Homeland Defense & Security at the Naval Postgraduate School. Phillips’ education has impacted him so much that he’s considering teaching courses related to homeland security, as well as and pursuing a doctoral degree in global security or strategic intelligence. “In essence, Columbia College laid the foundation for a very rewarding education and career, and the lessons and skills I developed at Columbia College guided me through the rest of my educational journey,” he says. –KF




A COUGAR LOVE STORY » When Zachary McAdams ’20 moved to Cairo,

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Missouri, in high school, he didn’t know who would be waiting on the other side. The small midwestern town was also the childhood home of Allison Keen ’21. They got to know each other through shared classes and school clubs, and soon became an item. “After a prom date, a few dinners at the local Mexican restaurant and some cheesy movies, we finally got together,” McAdams says. “It’s been six exciting years since then!”


42 McAdams chose CC for his undergraduate studies and set out to earn a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry

with a minor in computer information systems. A member of the Honors College, he served as president of the Student Government Association and was crowned Homecoming royalty his senior year. “I spent the majority of my time in the Science department,” he says. “I did a lot of one-on-one work with faculty that set me up for what I’m doing now.” Keen joined McAdams in Columbia a year later and jumped in to campus life as well. She was a member of the Cougar softball team during her four years on campus as she worked toward a bachelor’s degree in nursing with a minor in psychology.

Clockwise: The Keen/McAdams bridal party shows their Cougar paws, a nod to the CC softball team. Pictured: Maddie Ramsey ’22, Carli Buschjost ’21, Konnor Arrowood ’21, Allison Keen ’21, Zachary McAdams ’20, Zach Nichols ’20, Mike Nichols ’20, Daymond Dollens ’19 and Brandon Root ’19. The couple married Nov. 27, 2021, and will return to Columbia College for years to come to see their engraved brick near Alumni Fountain.

The couple married on Nov. 27, 2021, in Jefferson City. “We connected with many of our best friends at Columbia College and wanted them to be a part of our special day,” McAdams says. “Allison’s

Wedding guests, including four seasons of Cougar softball players, were not surprised by the dinner selection — catering by Lily’s Cantina. Keen explains that they had Mexican food for their first date, “and then about 95% of the dates after that,” McAdams adds. The newlyweds remain in Columbia. Keen is a registered nurse on the Labor and Delivery unit at Women’s and Children’s Hospital, while McAdams continues his second year as a research student at the University of Missouri. He is studying the gut microbiome in a Molecular Pathogenesis and Therapeutics Ph.D. program. McAdams continues to work with faculty and staff as a member of the college’s Strategic Planning Committee that is focused on long-range goals. “And another thing that will keep us connected is our brick,” he says. “We love to come back and see it.” –CP

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Naturally, when it came to the planning their next step, Missouri Hall served as the perfect backdrop for McAdams to propose in October 2020. Keen’s softball teammate Kari Arbova captured the moments on camera. In addition to an engagement ring, McAdams presented his future bride with a brick inscribed with the words “Allison Elizabeth, will you marry me?” A testament to their time together at Columbia College, the brick was later installed on the walkway around the Quad’s Alumni Fountain.

bridesmaids included Konnor Arrowood ’21, Carli Buschjost ’21 and Maddie Ramsey ’22. My groomsmen were Daymond Dollens ’19, Brandon Root ’19, Mike Nichols ’20 and Zach Nichols ’20.”

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Throughout their years at CC, they found ways to serve together. In addition to student government leaders, both were student ambassadors in the Admissions office, Keen as a member of the events team and McAdams as chair of the tour guides. They look back on nights spent with friend in AtkinsHolman Student Commons — events like Scooter’s Holiday Hangout — with fondness.


In the News 1990s

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Mike Wagner ’93 ’02 is assistant vice president and mortgage loan originator at First Midwest Bank in Columbia, Missouri. Wagner has worked in the banking and financial industry for 30 years.



Ken Hinners ’97 visited main campus during a road trip with his wife, Joji. Hinners studied business as the college’s location at Naval Station Everett in Washington State. The day after graduating, he retired from a 21-year career in the U.S. Navy and began a second career serving an additional 21 years as a labor representative with the U.S. Postal Service.

Personal and Professional Updates by Class Year, submitted July – December 2021


Melissa Atencio Faurot ’00 has been named executive director of Rainbow House. The nonprofit organization includes a child advocacy center and emergency shelter in Columbia, Missouri. A practicing attorney and owner of Faurot Family Law, she joined the Rainbow House Board of Directors in 2011 and has served as board president since 2012.

Ava Harris ’00 published a personal testimonial of the tragic death of her sister. Choked by Pain (May, 2021) is available on Amazon under

her surname, Ava M. DeLoach. Joe Jackson ’01 received the 2021 Meritorious Award in the Area of Court Services by the Virginia Juvenile Justice Association. With 23 years of service in the U.S. Army, Jackson retired in 2003 just prior to accepting the rank of sergeant major. He joined the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice in 2003 and is currently a court services unit director.

Dermatology in the School of Medicine, received the 2021 Ann K. Covington award by the MU Fellowships Office for her mentoring of an undergraduate student. Becevic works with the Missouri Telehealth Network’s Show-Me ECHO program in Columbia, Missouri. Cynthia Faulkner ’06 has retired. For the past 17 years she ran a successful coffee shop, Higher Grounds Specialty Coffee & Tea, in Freeport, Illinois. Janette Wilkes ’07 is a vocational rehabilitation counselor for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Dr. Justin Williams ’05 is an associate professor of History and interim director of the Black Studies Program at the City College of New York. He also served as an adjunct instructor in the Columbia College Online Program from 2008 to 2020. Dr. Mirna Becevic ’06, an assistant research professor for the Department of

Neal Lines ’09 has been promoted to internet advertising manager at MidwayUSA in Columbia, Missouri. He joined the company in 2008 and spent much of his career in application development.

2010s Crystal Chapin Kent ’11, a detective with the Fulton (Missouri) Police Department, received


Courtney Steelman ’11 received the 2021 Missouri Lawyers Up & Coming Award. Currently an associate with Husch Blackwell in Kansas City, Steelman centers her practice on labor and employment law and business relations, focusing on COVID-19

Christopher Cauley ’12 has been named social marketing manager at MidwayUSA in Columbia, Missouri. An avid outdoorsman, he began his career with MidwayUSA in 2002 and most recently served as a merchandising manager. Carson Horvath ’12 is the executive

Kailey Stanek ’20 and Luke Miller ’21 married June 19, 2021, in Jefferson City, Missouri. The couple was surrounded by Cougar Pride down to the socks worn by Miller’s Cougar baseball teammates Reid Browning ’20, Mark Haire ’20, Jacob Hollingsworth ’20, Conner Darnell ’21, Hayden Ludgwig ’19 ’21 and Chris Wall ’21. Cindy Miller, mother-of-thegroom, is the director of the college’s location in Kansas City, Missouri.

director of Creative Advertising at Warner Bros. Entertainment in Burbank, California. Logan McGuire ’12, CTP, is the treasury manager at Motrex LLC in Alpharetta, Georgia, the premiere services provider to Stryten Energy and Element Resources. McGuire works closely with the companies’ banking and private equity partners that span locations nationwide and in Canada. Debbi Waxenfeld ’14 is a senior underwriter for Eastern Union, a commercial real estate finance firm in Syracuse, New York.

Jessica Houston ’14 married Matt Dunn on August 7, 2021, in Preston, Missouri. The couple resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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Chris Lievsay ’09 ’11 was named assistant director of Columbia College’s Kansas City location. Lievsay formerly served on the CCAA Advisory Council and has been an adjunct instructor for the college since 2016.

advice and policy over the last year. She is a member of the CCAA Advisory Council.

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the program’s 2021 G.W. Law Award. She has served Callaway County for 10 years.


Tessa Henderson McKinnon ’15 is a pipeline coordinator at Neighbors Bank in Columbia, Missouri.

senior human resources manager at Proctor & Gamble in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Louis Maritsa Soccer Club, a men’s semi-pro soccer club that plays in the United Premier Soccer League.


Marko Paunovic ’15 ’18 has been promoted to procurement financial analyst – supplier auditor at Boeing in St. Charles, Missouri. Paunovic was a member of the Cougars men’s soccer team. Whitney Jones ’16 ’20, a member of the CCAA Advisory Council, is a

Nic Powers ’17 ’20 has been named men’s soccer coach at CulverStockton College in Canton, Missouri. Powers played for the Cougars and has been the assistant coach for the men’s and women’s soccer program at CC for the 2018-2021 seasons. He has also served at the director of operations for the Saint

Bridget Hogan ’20 married John Hager on Nov. 17, 2020, in Columbia, Missouri. The couple resides in Fort Riley, Kansas. Lesia Thetsane ’20 is a member of the KC Comets, the Major Arena Soccer League team in Kansas City. A native of Maseru, Lesotho, in Southern Africa, Thetsane played on the Cougars men’s soccer team with studying international business,

business administration and management. Kyra James ’21, petty officer 2nd class in the U.S. Navy, was named junior sailor of the quarter and has been accepted to the Navy Meritorious Advancement. James is currently working at Naval Hospital Bremerton, where she also serves as president of the command’s Junior Enlisted Association and Sailors Against Sexual Harassment and Assault committee. L.C. Price ’21 is a teacher with the St. Louis Board of Education. Price also operated his own employment-assistance company since 2005. –CP

Remembering Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo » Former Marine Sergeant Johanny Rosario Pichardo was one of the 13

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military personnel killed by a terrorist bomb in Afghanistan on August 26, 2021. She was stationed at Camp Pendleton in San Diego, California.



Sgt. Rosario Pichardo was enrolled in the college’s Online Program from 20192021 and was assigned to the Naval Amphibious Force, Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade. Her unit was assisting with the evacuation of American citizens and Afghani nationals from Hamid Karzai International Airport. A native of Lawrence, Massachusetts, Rosario Pichardo was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal and a Purple Heart posthumously. The Congressional Gold Medal is the country’s highest expression of national achievements and contributions by an individual or organization. In a message to the college community following her death, Dr. David Russell said, “We are saddened by the loss of a member of our college family, and we honor the ultimate sacrifice made by Sgt. Rosario Pichardo and the 12 other service members who died in the attack while in service of our country.”

SHOP THE ALUMNI STORE Quarter-zip sweatshirt

CC alumni military tee

Plaid tumbler Nationwide alumni tee

Insulated aluminum tumbler Baseball tee White alumni mug

Lamis tote bag

Pictured: Kenzie Bennett ’19, Keiyana Austin ’21 & Mitch Gosney ’13

Cougar circle paw long-sleeve tee

Please allow 2-4 weeks for delivery. All proceeds benefit CCAA programming.


In Memoriam

To notify the CCAA of alumni who have passed recently, please send an email with the link to the obituary to

Helen Sullivan ’39 June 20, 2021

Karen Shook ’53 December 15, 2018

David Blew ’76 June 7, 2021

Dale Lindley ’89 June 29, 2021

Harriet Howard ’44 June 12, 2020

Elaine Hanigan ’54 October 31, 2021

Stephanie Harris ’76 December 24, 2014

Marnie Ritter ’93 July 12, 2021

Peggy Regan ’44 November 2, 2021

Phyllis Parsons ’56 October 27, 2021

Michelle Partee ’78 May 18, 1980

Mary Preston ’99 August 10, 2021

Barbara Hoyle ’45 February 17, 2020

Nancy Elsea ’57 July 22, 2021

Oscar Adams ’79 October 14, 2015

Marlene Hollister ’99 November 22, 2021

Lydia Whidden ’46 November 10, 2019

Susan Pool ’60 October 15, 2021

Allene Hines ’79 February 1, 1980

Kristina Caldwell ’03 September 14, 2021

Nancy McElwain ’47 August 18, 2021

Leafa Miller ’61 October 11, 2018

Andre Amos ’05 October 22, 2020

Jane Baker ’48 September 11, 2021

Patricia Hagenbuch ’62 August 17, 2021

Merriwood Ferguson ’79 December 7, 2021

Norma Killingsworth ’48 March 23, 2019

Mary Bales ’63 October 3, 2021

Peggy Collins ’49 November 3, 2021

Maribelle Granger ’64 September 27, 2021

Margaret Gage ’50 June 12, 2021

Alison Graas ’65 December 18, 2019

Marlene Chasson ’51 August 30, 2021

Donna Cullen ’67 October 1, 2018

gifts of remembrance

Mary Deskin ’53 May 21, 2021

Jeanne Robinson ’68 July 20, 2021

» If you would like to make a gift in memory of

Donald Foster ’83 December 4, 2018 Floyd Dufore ’87 August 18, 2021

Sarah Testa ’09 September 30, 2021 James Leonard ’14 October 13, 2018

Terry McDonald ’88 July 1, 2021

a loved one, you may mail a check to Columbia College, 1001 Rogers St., Columbia MO 65216 (write “in memory of” and the name of the individual on the memo line) or visit

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» SCHOLARSHIPS: For more information on how



to create a scholarship, please contact Missy Montgomery, senior director of philanthropy, at or (573) 875-7576.

Notifications received July – December 2021

Jerry Daugherty » Jerry Daugherty, a 23-year member of the Columbia College Board of Trustees, passed away August 31, 2021, after a long illness. He was surrounded by his beloved family.

» Gene Koepke, a dedicated Cougar fan, passed away on September 16, 2021. The Stafford/Koepke family has supported Columbia College Athletics for more than 30 years. They regularly attended athletic events and built a close relationship with the men’s basketball team under the leadership of Coach Bob Burchard. Gene and his late wife, Fran, were instrumental in the creation of the Cougar Club & Scholarship Fund and served on the steering committee for a number of years. They were key contributors to the expansion and renovation of Southwell Complex in 2002, the creation of the Columbia College fitness center in 2010 – which was named in Gene’s honor – and the Bob Burchard Celebration of Excellence Scholarship Fund in 2012. The Koepkes were inducted into the Columbia College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008. The couple had been married 41 years when Fran passed away in 2010.

On Dec. 3, 2021, Trustee Jerry Daugherty’s family – his wife, Mary, and children Brad and Laura – were invited by CC President Dr. David Russell and First Lady Lee Russell to lead the annual countdown to turning on the holiday lights that outline the buildings framing Bass Commons.

The Stafford/Koepke family legacy of philanthropic support at Columbia College continues through his wife, Deb, his daughter, Laura Lentz, and his son, Mark Koepke.

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He also served his community well. Aside from the numerous schools, banks, health care centers, government centers, churches, restaurants, grocery stores and residential projects his company has built over the decades, Trustee Daugherty was a member of the Rotary Club, a director of US Bank and a board member and elder of First Christian Church, where his family has attended for more than 40 years.

Gene Koepke

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Trustee Daugherty’s service to the college goes far beyond joining the board in 1998. As owner and president of Reinhardt Construction since 1990, he left a lasting impression on Columbia College’s Main Campus. Reinhardt’s first project at CC came with the completion of Brown Hall in 1995. Most major capital improvements since then – including the renovation of Missouri Hall and construction of Brouder Science Center, the Quad and New Hall – were completed under his watchful, meticulous eye.



Join the conversation on social media with your Cougar Family.


Last night, more than 200 students trekked through Dulany for the annual Columbia College Late Night Breakfast. THANK YOU to our awesome Division of Student Affairs, college leadership & Aladdin Campus Dining for cooking up a delicious breakfast feast!


CC’s first competitive athletic team was women’s basketball in 1903. We bet they would be proud of our Cougars today - and perhaps a little jealous of modern jerseys.


Tony Burks helped the Cougars to a big win over Hannibal-LaGrange on Thursday night and earned another @Socket Player of the Game honor.

Columbia College Athletics studentathletes helped make the holidays special for the local community. It included Adopt-A-Family programs, gift wrapping & much more. @ COLUMBIA COLLEGE | 12.24.21



It wouldn’t be a Columbia College commencement day without some fantastic mortar boards! Our newest CC graduates brought it today! #WeAreCC #CCMoGrad

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When campus looks THIS beautiful, you definitely have to show off a bit.


PARTNER WITH US! Columbia College offers partnerships designed with working adults in mind. Let’s talk about education benefits for your team!

EARN YOUR NEXT DEGREE! Tuition discounts with over 1600 partner companies. Find out if your company has already gotten started.

Contact us today!

1001 Rogers Street Columbia, MO 65216

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