Columbia College Affinity Magazine: Fall 2020

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a f f i n i t y FALL 2020 | MY.CCIS.EDU

Flexibility is key New initiative adjusts to students’ daily needs for health, safety and education

FALL 2020


Diversity cohesion in the workplace Page 16

IN EVERY ISSUE 6 | Inside the Gate


| Cover Story

The college’s latest educational innovation empowers students to choose their best way to learn.

26 | From the Heart We took to the CCAA Facebook page to ask alumni about the Columbia College educators who made an impression on their personal and professional lives.

Virtual dedication of the Brig. Gen. Charles McGee House/Ousley Family Veterans Service Center scheduled for December; support for International students remains a priority through COVID-19; Athletics offers fan cutouts to fill Southwell Arena.

36 | My CCAA Keith McIver takes the reins as Director of Alumni Development; get to know the CCAA Advisory Board.

32 | “Go for it.”

46 | CC Notes

From an idyllic upbringing in the Ozarks, to the “big-city” life at Christian College, to the halls of Congress and the office of one of the richest men in America, Joan Puchta Pata ’63 has certainly seen it all.

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

Fall 2020 Editor, Production & Design Carolyn Preul Staff Writer Kevin Fletcher Editorial Review Board Dr. Scott Dalrymple Sam Fleury April Longley Beth McWilliams Suzanne Rothwell Dr. Piyusha Singh Contributors Keiyana Austin Jason Black ’17 Jonathan Dudley ’10 Dan Gomez-Palacio Mitch Gosney ’13 Drew Grzella ’01 Dustin Hawkins Leslie Kennon ’00 Keith McIver Missy Montgomery ’06 Cindy Fotti Potter ’05 Tangalayer Oates ’04 Miranda Wilkerson _______________________________ Affinity magazine is published by the Columbia College Division of Advancement. © 2020 All rights reserved Please send correspondence to: Editor, Affinity magazine 1001 Rogers St., Columbia, MO 65216 Alumni Relations: (573) 875-2586 Development: (573) 875-7563

Columbia College Board of Trustees 2020-21

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Chair David R. Russell, Ph.D. Vice Chair Rev. Dr. Brad Stagg Treasurer Carol J. Winkler ’93 Secretary Genie Rogers Member at Large Matt Williams CCAA Advisory Board Representative William J. Johnston ’82 Faculty Representatives Ken Akers, Ph.D. Kent Strodtman, Ph.D. Trustees Lynne Stuver Baker ’64 Lex R. Cavanah Jerry D. Daugherty Daisy Willis Grossnickle ’66 Lt. Gen. Richard C. Harding Mitchell R. Humphreys, M.D. June Viner Hurdle ’83 Jane Blackman Lossing, M.D. ’64 Jolene Marra Schulz ’61 Helen Dale Coe Simons ’65 Kevin C. Sprouse ’04 Gary A. Tatlow Janet Carter Wright ’58


Friends, Back in August I was concerned about whether, and how long, we would be able to hold in-seat classes, particularly on the Day campus. The decision to offer in-seat classes for the fall semester was not an easy one. As I write this, it’s mid-October and our High-Flex model — which allows Day Program students to choose each day whether they attend in-seat or virtually — is serving us well. Daily symptom tracking and temperature checks help too. Thankfully, to this point we have had few COVID cases and no hospitalizations. Having said that, winter is coming, as Ned Stark would say. It seems likely that COVID will flourish in the cold weather when we all stay indoors. There are signs that this is already happening. We must remain vigilant at all of our locations across the country. Sadly, this means that we are still not holding in-person commencement ceremonies, including our traditional December ceremony in Columbia. This is a huge disappointment for so many students and families, but it just isn’t prudent to gather so many people together in one place. We’ll do our best to make the virtual ceremony meaningful and satisfying.


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Meanwhile, please stay safe.

Dr. Scott Dalrymple Columbia College President




Expanding educational opportunity for City employees A partnership with the City of Columbia offers the City’s 1,500 employees a discounted tuition rate and helps them pursue additional educational opportunities through the college’s online and evening classes on Main Campus.

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College receives $1.38m to assist students



A $1.38 million grant will help firstgeneration and low-income students and students with disabilities in the Day program earn their degrees. The grant will provide funding through the TRIO Student Support Services Program for the next five years. This is the fourth time the college has received a grant renewal since its establishment in 2001. TRIO staff are expected to support 172 students this year through tutoring, peer mentoring, financial literacy programs, career services workshops, cultural awareness activities and preparation for graduate school. –SF

“Recruiting and retaining a trained and well-educated workforce is critical for the City of Columbia,” said Columbia Mayor Brian Treece. “Thanks to this new partnership, City employees will have the opportunity to continue their education, improve their skills and deliver better service to taxpayers.” –SF

Students can apply online at, or contact Admissions at (573) 875-7352 or

National Science Foundation grant spurs student to research career As our world continues to become more and more connected through technology, securing digital networks becomes increasingly critical. For the second time in six years, a Columbia College undergraduate is contributing to research that will further that goal.

While initially concerned he might not have the ability to keep pace with his peers from much larger schools, Fisher instead found that the foundation laid by his instructors at CC was precisely the cause of his success at REU. “I just cannot evangelize the department that we have at Columbia

College enough. When I went to Mizzou and I’m working on par with this person who’s about to defend her Ph.D. and this guy who has been working in the industry that’s working on his master’s, I realized that I can work with them. I’m not out of my depth at all, and that’s such an incredible feeling. I had never written a single line of code before I got to CC, and now here I am.” –KF

Explore the Computer and Mathematical Sciences Department at

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Fisher noted that Columbia College’s Computer Science program continues to pump out a consistent pipeline of high-quality alumni.

“I had never written a single piece of code before I got to CC, and now here I am.” – Michael Fisher

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Michael Fisher, a senior computer science major from Moberly, was one of 10 students selected to participate in this summer’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program at the University of Missouri’s College of Engineering. The 10-week program is funded by a multi-year grant provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF).



Alumni share memories on Facebook.

Christopher Itai Cardona ’13 dresses for National College Colors Day, 2020. His sweatshirt reads, “Never underestimate a man who graduated from Columbia College.” Agreed!

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Bill Seibert ’10 stands on the steps of Missouri Hall,1974-75.



Missouri Hall roommates and 1971 graduates Kathy Whiteside, Corinne “Corky” Myer Baggett, Christine Boyle, Cynthia “Benji” Beneki Risman and Jane Berkemeier Howard hold roses gifted by seniors at the Ivy Chain Ceremony in May 1970.

New Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Center underway; “Juneteenth” becomes official college holiday President Scott Dalrymple has approved two major initiatives recommended by the college’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Committee. While largely symbolic, Dalrymple acknowledges these advancements come during a heightened time of social unrest in the world where “symbols matter.” The college’s oldest building, Williams Hall (pictured right), was built in the 1840s when slavery was still legal in Missouri. “I can think of no better fate than to transform it into a modern Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Center,” Dalrymple says. Preliminary designs are being discussed and fundraising efforts are underway. “This summer, many Americans became more familiar with the historical significance of June 19,” says Dalrymple. He noted that while President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863 — freeing all slaves

in the Confederacy — enforcement was dependent on the Union Army’s advance. It wasn’t until June 19, 1865, that slaves in Galveston, Texas, were liberated. This date is now celebrated as Juneteenth. In recognition of the historical moment, Columbia College will recognize Juneteenth as a paid holiday, starting June 2021. –CP

Singh named Provost and Senior Vice President


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Dr. Piyusha Singh was promoted to Provost and Senior Vice President in July. In this expanded role, she will lead the college’s academic initiatives including the in-seat, online and virtual experiences. Singh also oversees Student Affairs, the Department of Athletics, the Institutional Compliance Department, International9 Programs and the Office of the Registrar. Singh, who is a founding member of the college’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and geography from Mount Holyoke College and a Ph.D. in public policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University. –SF


LEADERSHIP Chair Dr. David Russell (left) and Vice Chair Rev. Dr. Brad Stagg (right) started four-year terms at the helm of the Columbia College Board of Trustees on July 1, 2020.

A retired lieutenant colonel, Dr. David R. Russell brings 50 years of cumulative public service as chair of the Board of Trustees, which he joined in 2016. He most recently served as Missouri’s Commissioner of Higher Education and CEO for the Missouri Department of Higher Education, where he was the architect of a new blueprint for Missouri higher education called “Preparing Missourians to Succeed.”

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Russell launched initiatives aimed at eliminating barriers to college completion for Missouri’s students, making a college education attainable and affordable and promoting career pathways in such high-demand areas as the sciences, education and the health professions. He was designated Commissioner Emeritus of Higher Education upon his retirement from state service in 2016.



Russell holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from Henderson State University (Arkansas), a Master of Arts in Communications and Public Affairs from The American University in Washington, D.C., and a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership and

Policy Analysis from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Russell and his wife, Lee, are members of the college’s President’s Society and Cornerstone Club. Among many military decorations received during his 22-year Army career is a Purple Heart, the oldest military award still presented to American service members. Rev. Dr. Brad Stagg is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and has served as the senior minister of Columbia’s First Christian Church since July 2012, for which he was appointed a seat with the Board of Trustees. Stagg earned a bachelor’s degree in humanities at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, received his Master of Divinity from Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, and completed his Doctor of Ministry from Garret-Evangelical Theological Seminary at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. In 2019, Stagg delivered the college’s Schiffman Lecture on Religious Studies entitled “Jesus, Adam Smith and Modern Capitalism.” –CP


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December 7, 2020, will be a doubly special date for retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Charles McGee ’78, one of the last surviving members of the famed Tuskegee Airmen.

previous OFVSC location in Missouri Hall and provides the college’s military and veteran student community a dedicated gathering space to talk, study and network.

Not only will it mark his 101st birthday, but it is also the date that Columbia College will formally dedicate the Brig. Gen. Charles E. McGee House, the new home of the Ousley Family Veterans Service Center.

The new center opened in February. While the global pandemic temporarily closed OFVSC operations, it has reopened and resumed assisting the college’s student veterans.

At nearly 2,000 square feet, the house, which is located at 904 N. Eighth Street, triples the space of the

Because of the pandemic, the college has announced plans for a virtual dedication of the McGee House/OFVSC. Several military and civilian dignitaries

will offer their congratulations for this momentous occasion.

The McGee House/OFVSC exists thanks to the longstanding generosity of the Ousley family. In 2009, George ’78 and Gayleen Ousley made a generous gift to the college, creating the Ousley Family Veterans Service Center while also endowing a scholarship that is given to several Columbia College active military or veteran students each year. The gift was given in honor of the Ousley’s son, Jay, who passed away in a tragic accident in Spain while serving in the Navy. George, who is a successful mid-Missouri businessman, and his son, Greg ’97, are also veterans of the U.S. Navy. –KF

While the McGee House/ OFVSC has opened and is actively supporting Columbia College’s student veterans, gifts to the project are still welcomed. Any gift of $500 or more will be recognized on a donor wall inside the center. You can make a gift at or call (573) 875-7563 to inquire about naming opportunities for several spaces within the McGee House/OFVSC that remain available.

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In January, not long after celebrating his 100th birthday, McGee was part of the ceremonial coin toss prior to kickoff of Super Bowl LIV. Two days after the Kansas City Chiefs secured their second Lombardi Trophy with a 31-20 win in Miami, he was honored by President Trump in the Oval Office, where he received his Brigadier General star. Later that evening, he was recognized during the President’s State of the Union address, along with his greatgrandson, Ian Lanphier.

A virtual dedication of the McGee House and Ousley Family Veterans Service Center will take place Dec. 7, 2020, Brig. Gen. Charles McGee’s 101st birthday.

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While 2020 has been a challenging year for many, it’s been an unforgettable 12 months for McGee, who graduated from the college’s Kansas City location after a long and dedicated career both as an aviator and then as the director of the Kansas City airport.


WORLD VIEW Supporting International Students through COVID-19 The International Center, located in the Office of International Programs, is the college’s home base for the international community at Columbia College. It serves students at main campus in Columbia, Missouri, as well as growing populations at the college’s locations in Denver and Salt Lake City. The Center’s staff provides our diverse student body with a welcoming environment that cultivates academic success and personal development, as well as assistance with federal immigration regulations and promotion of intercultural education. When campus closed in March, international students faced tough decisions about how, when and whether they could return home. After ensuring students had a safe

place to go, the Center provided support related to immigration and travel, financial uncertainty and social isolation. The Office of International Programs worked with the college’s Advancement and Student Affairs offices to raise and award private funds for students. These funds were especially important as international students were ineligible to receive emergency funding provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress. Students also attended regular virtual meet-ups to combat the loneliness and isolation of physical distancing. “While it is a highly stressful and unpredictable time for everyone, international students have been particularly affected by the pandemic.

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Columbia, Mo.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Denver, Colorado

Undergraduate enrollment

54 (Day Program)



Top countries represented

United Kingdom, Brazil, Spain, Nepal, Germany

Brazil, Mexico, Nepal, Venezuela, Ukraine

Nepal, Vietnam, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Libya

Top majors

International Business, Sports Management, General Studies

Business Administration, Management, Management Information Systems

Business Administration, Computer Information Systems, Management Information Systems

2019 international student Wafa Hattab holds a sign that reads “You are welcome here” in French.

International Student Orientation welcomed students to campus. The Center continues to support students living abroad who are unable to return for in-person instruction, explore ways to build community in a virtual environment and help residential students navigate housing logistics for when the college plans to transition to an all-virtual platform in November.

July saw a rollercoaster of news as the federal government determined policies affecting international students. During a time of such uncertainty, the Center was in regular contact, offering open advising sessions to help students understand those policies as well as the college’s reopening and academic implementation plans for the fall.

“While this is not a traditional semester in any respect, we can and will make it successful,” says Miranda Wilkerson, assistant provost for International Programs. American higher education, she emphasizes, depends on the presence and diversity of international students. “We can’t do education in the 21st century without them. International students create campuses and classrooms where students experience difference and can become more globally proficient. Their inclusion enriches the learning environment for everyone.” –MW

Plans are in place to assist students throughout the fall semester. Following a mandatory quarantine period for students returning to the U.S. from abroad, a mostly virtual

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It has taken a major mental and emotional toll on our students who don’t have support systems in the area,” says Britta Wright, director of the International Center. “It has been both our job and privilege to offer resources, provide guidance and assist students through this crisis, so they may continue to achieve their academic and personal goals.”

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Building diversity cohesion in unsettling times

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Quite often, I hear deep concerns about effectively managing or creating diversity cohesion in the workplace. Whether you are a new professional entering into today’s job market or an individual seeking to broaden your knowledge on managing or building a diverse team, there are some common and straightforward skill-sets to assist on this journey.



Diversity cohesion is quite simple. It is the act of creating an environment in which respecting individuals promotes innovative thinking. Diversity goes beyond external classifications, such as age, gender, sexual orientation, race, religion or social and economic class. This cohesion is a company’s reflection of the community it serves. If you are reading this, diversity cohesion is you; it’s me; and it’s the communities we serve. Here are three topics I discuss with clients to spark diverse thinking while setting diversity cohesion goals.

Introspection Self-awareness is vital to your overall success! Learning to value your reflection can ensure you project the image you desire others to perceive of you. Introspection is a dedicated process that evolves over time; nevertheless, be aware there is positivity with this process. As you better understand yourself, you will learn to understand others and value their roles in the workplace.

Ask questions Asking questions reduces preconceived assumptions and stereotypes, and fosters a positive twoway communication platform between individuals and groups. Learning how to ask inclusive and informative questions is a great way to reduce barriers. For example, instead of questioning “Why did you make that decision?,” you may ask, “Are you comfortable sharing your decision-making process?”

The goal is to motivate colleagues to speak collaboratively in the workplace and decrease negative feelings or behaviors among groups or peers.

Be groomed for resistance Motivating workplace change with the intent to merge different cultures or organizational norms can be a recipe for disaster. Changing leadership and new or updated policies with inconsistent workplace practices may create pushback.

To combat resistance, become a transparent leader, supervisor or employee. Learn how to align the organizational mission and values with individual and team goals. Learn the history and tone of the organization or team. Be prepared to get uncomfortable, while keeping a balance on what issues are personal and what are professional. Be ready to make positive connections when and where you can. Change is a process, and, if adapted strategically, it can improve diversity cohesion. As you get started, remember to set attainable goals and be patient throughout the process. –TO

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Or, instead of saying “In my experience, this happened,” you can ask, “How would you handle this based on your experience?”

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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 in 2004, and a Master of Business Administration from Trident University International in 2006.


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Cougar Athletics




the ’Well While social distancing regulations prohibit guests from attending matches in-person, Cougar fans can still be a part of the 2020 season. Columbia College Athletics is selling customized Cougar Club Fan Cutouts to fill the stands. Once purchased, you will be contacted about choosing your favorite fan photo for the full-color, 16” x 24” cutout. Fan cutouts will be placed in the arena of Southwell Complex and will be visible during home volleyball and basketball webcasts. Thank you for supporting our incredible Columbia College student-athletes! –DG ORDER A COUGAR CUTOUT


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Several larger spaces, such as the New Hall Event Center (right), have been converted into classrooms to provide maximum social distancing. Here, Assistant Professor Dr. Blake Nielsen speaks to his Psychology 101 class.

THE COLLEGE’S LATEST EDUCATIONAL INNOVATION: Two years ago, in a faculty profile for this magazine, human services instructor Michael Perkins had this to say about Columbia College:

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“We have a history of being innovative, and I think it’s important to try things even if they don’t work. Columbia College has always been nimble, willing to take calculated risks when others wouldn’t, and that exploring, pioneering mindset has set us apart from other schools.”



A global pandemic later, those words continue to ring true. While COVID-19 forced all highereducation institutions into a virtual-only learning mode back in March – and numerous colleges remain online through at least the fall semesters – Columbia College remained true to its pedigree as a consistently evolving institution. Perkins was referring to the college’s branching out into extended-campus learning – what is now Columbia College Global, which spans more than 30

locations nationwide, including half on military installations – beginning in 1973, as well as its pioneering online program that is now two decades old. This fall, that nimble spirit continues with a pair of initiatives – the Virtual Education Initiative and High-Flex – that empower students to choose their best way to learn, both on Main Campus and across its locations nationwide. “The one thing we’ve learned in the last six months or so is that we don’t know what the virus does or will do, or what a student’s individual circumstances are,” says Dr. Piyusha Singh, provost and senior vice president. “The key piece of this is the flexibility for each student

“The key piece of this is the flexibility for each student to decide, without putting a lot of administrative burden on them or a faculty member.” – DR. PIYUSHA SINGH


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For the Columbia College Global locations across the country, the Virtual Education (VE) initiative gives students the option to enroll in either an in-seat or VE section of a given course. An additional benefit of this plan is the ability of a student at a given location to take a VE course offered at a different location, allowing students access to more courses than ever before. Students at CCG locations select their learning mode at the time of registration. Day Program students have even more flexibility with the college’s High-Flex model. For most classes – there are certain exceptions for

courses that require an in-seat presence for specific pedagogical reasons – students can decide each day whether they attend in person or virtually. The educational experience is synchronous, just as it was for in-seat students that moved to virtual classes this past spring.

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to decide, without putting a lot of administrative burden on them or a faculty member.”

When students are on campus, they – as well as all faculty and staff – are required to wear masks while indoors or congregating in groups.

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What’s different about this approach is that it is, as the program’s name suggests, highly flexible: As an example, for a class that meets three times a week, a student could elect to be inseat – attending in a safe, socially distanced environment – on a particular Monday, choose to attend virtually on Wednesday, then be back in person on Friday.



The college is well-positioned to make this enhancement for the same reason it succeeded in March: Columbia College was one of the first schools in the country to offer online classes back in 2000, in an era when most institutions thumbed their nose at distance learning.

“In March, we responded, but now we need to be proactive, so what can we do to offer value to our students?” Singh says. “We want them to know that our only focus is on continuing their education and keeping them safe. That has been our focus since March.” That focus appears to be working. While the college has reported a total of 30 COVID-19 cases among the Day Program student body as of September 16 – all but seven have been removed as active cases at time of press – it’s clear that efforts to sanitize, impose a mask mandate and offer spacedout seating in classrooms have mitigated spread of the virus.

Daylin Huebotter, a junior English major, was in quarantine the entire first week of classes due to COVID-19 exposure, yet she was able to begin the semester uninterrupted. “Thanks to the flex model, I was able to Zoom into my classes and basically live stream my class,” she says. “I am able to participate as if I was actually in the classroom and feel as if I am really there. The professors have been amazing at making sure to include the students that attend virtually and run their classroom as if we are all there in seat.”

from nearby Boonville. “I have some stress from the growing case number of cases that are in Columbia, so the virtual classes allow me to stay home. Once things start to get back to how things were before the pandemic, I will be returning to campus.”

Huebotter explains that each classroom is equipped with a camera that tracks the professor as they walk around the class, as well as with omnidirectional microphones that allows virtual students to hear both the instructor and students inside the classroom. “Overall, my experience with this flex model has been amazing. Even on the days when I feel like staying home, I am still able to attend class!”

It is clear that students appreciate the option to tailor the way they learn. “I find myself an in-person type of student, but once I got used to online, I felt more comfortable doing it that way as well,” says Sai Vasu, a first-year business and marketing major from Columbia. “I’d be totally fine with the college offering it for future semesters as well.”

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Kaylee Hance, a third-year psychology major from Belle, Missouri, loves the convenience of High-Flex. She has a fully virtual class right before another High-Flex class, so if the previous one goes long for any reason, she can Zoom into her second class from her residence hall. “My favorite part is that it’s a choice I can make day-to-day.”

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Over the summer, Jorda’n McKenzie was concerned about what college was going to look like this fall. Yet the junior psychology major noticed the college’s TV commercial announcing High-Flex and was pleased with the ability to stay home and not commute

When President Dr. Scott Dalrymple announced the college’s plans to begin the Fall Session in person, he also noted the college would shift Day classes back to fully virtual instruction after Thanksgiving to complete the semester.

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From the Heart While 2020 has brought unexpected academic challenges across the world, the faculty at Columbia College have adapted quickly to virtual classrooms and maintained a high level of support for students amid the COVID-19 global pandemic. We took to the CCAA Facebook page to ask alumni about the Columbia College educators who made an impression on their personal and professional lives. Responses flooded in from experiences spanning five decades, a testament to the lifelong impact of education.



“Loved all the staff but would like to give a specific shout-out to Lisa Isaacson, who has been supportive both as an instructor and mentor.”

Dr. Lisa Isaacson


“Thank you, Tiffany! It’s easy to want to support memorable students like you!” – LISA ISAACSON

“Lisa is meticulous in her course preparation and collaboration with Online staff in maintaining the currency of the courses she develops,” says Grainne Redmond, an online instructional support specialist. “Her knowledge is frequently praised by students in

Isaacson finds she gets to know her students better than ever through online courses. “I love teaching, and that’s fortunate because a degree in Philosophy pretty much means one will teach in higher education,” Isaacson says. In fact, Isaacson has earned four degrees from the University of Missouri-Columbia: a bachelor’s degree in music education, master’s degrees in philosophy and religious studies and a doctorate in philosophy. In 2018, she received the inaugural Deans’ Award for Excellence in Online Adjunct Teaching.

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Courses include Introduction to Philosophy, Ethics, Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion, Logic, Religion and Human Experience, Comparative Religion, History of Christianity, Introduction to the New Testament and Asian Philosophy and Religion.

course evaluations. They also speak highly of Lisa’s commitment to their learning and growth as she connects with them and encourages critical thinking of the content.”

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Lisa Isaacson joined the faculty of Columbia College’s Evening Program in 1982 and, for the past 16 years, she has channeled her passion for instruction into developing and teaching upper-level philosophy and religious studies courses through the college’s Online Program.

Jim Metscher

“The best professor I have ever had was Jim Metscher. This man went out of his way for everyone. Mr. Metscher was so down to earth, had stories for days. He knew everything about everything (literally) … We were all heartbroken to hear of his passing. RIP to the best professor ever.” –ALLYSON LESINSKI ’10 DAY CAMPUS

Richard James “Jim” Metscher inspired countless students during his 35 years at Columbia College. An adjunct instructor of sociology, Metscher started teaching Day classes and was one of the first instructors for the Evening Program in the mid-1970s.

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Allyson Lesinski ’10 enjoyed his teaching so much that she took nine of Metscher’s classes and double majored in sociology and criminal justice. “If you were having a bad day, you would come into class and see him smile, and your spirits would immediately be uplifted,” she says.



Dr. Terry Smith, a longtime history and political science professor who served as dean of Academic Affairs from 1996 to 2015 and interim president in 2013-14, remembers his colleague fondly. Both avid and eclectic readers, they often exchanged book recommendations. When Metscher died unexpectedly in 2009, a memorial service was held


“Definitely Jim Metscher – an amazing man gone way too soon!!” –JILL STEDEM ’96 EVENING CAMPUS

in the college’s Launer Auditorium. “He was also a big Cardinals fan,” Smith says. “The only song played at his well-attended memorial service was ‘Take Me out to the Ballgame.’ ” A scholarship created in 1983 in honor of Jim’s wife, Lizbeth Brydges Metscher, and a second scholarship created in Jim’s memory merged to form the Metscher Family Scholarship. Lizbeth was a respected humanities instructor in the Columbia College Evening Program. More than 25 student recipients have benefitted from the scholarship over the years, upholding a family legacy that will continue to support students for generations to come.

“Thank you to all the awesome instructors in the vocal music department and to Dr. Berry – she gave me a whole new appreciation for American History.” –VALERIE SABINO ’77 DAY CAMPUS

“Boyd Mooney was the man.” –TERRY LEE ’88 FORT WORTH

“Dr. Alioto, Sid Larson, Michael Sleadd, Ben Cameron, Dr. Dunathan, Dr. Taylor. Dr. Overton, Mr. and Mrs. Batterson … soooooo many who shaped my life.” –STEVEN PERSON ’92 DAY CAMPUS


“Jim Metscher, who was an exceptionally amazing person, Dr. Barry Langford and Dr. Joe Carrier. These men made my experience at Columbia College one I’ll cherish and remember always. Great instructors and great people – always willing to help in any way they could.” –STACY HUGHES ’06 DAY CAMPUS AND ONLINE PROGRAM

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“Ms. Townsend taught Statistics. She made it easy to understand. I never would have even passed without her. I earned an A because she made a great effort and encouraged me.”

“Shout-out to all the online and campus instructors who made is possible for me, my husband and so many others to obtain our degrees from home / after work / evenings, allowing us to maintain a work/life balance that has become so important to so many. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

“Janie Alexander had almost as much belief in my abilities as I did.” –SHAVON BENNETT ’17 ONLINE EDUCATION

“Timothy Lewis was fantastic in all the marketing and business classes I had with him.” –MEREDITH KOONTS ’04 ORLANDO

I had great instructors, but there was a couple who co-taught psychology classes [Joseph Proctor and Diana Dobier] who were exceptionally great.”

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“I can’t pick one person. Dee Mathison and Kandice Grossman were my most impactful professors. Love them!” –ANGELIA COACHMAN ’12 KANSAS CITY

“Hands down Professor William Burak. History became a part of my curriculum due to his engaged instruction sessions. Thanks for believing in each of us.” –TERESA BECKER ’10 HANCOCK FIELD (NY)

“Jim Metscher and Jack Barnhouse.” –RENEE GRAHAM ’90 EVENING CAMPUS

“Shout-out to Enrollment Counselor Victoria Dickerson. She has been awesome in helping my daughter get enrolled in college. Thanks, Victoria!” –CAROL SCHAFER ’15 ONLINE EDUCATION

“And you were definitely one of my best students! You are so thoughtful to say such kind things. Thank you!” –KANDICE GROSSMAN

“You are one of my favorite students of all time! I am forever grateful to have met Gloria Steinem with you! What an experience!!” –DEE MATHISON

“I played soccer for Columbia College, and Dr. Fairchild attended several games, pompom in hand, cheering on myself and a few of the younger nursing students who also played on the team. She knows her stuff, but she also knows how to teach the information as well as make it fun for us to learn. This may or may not include AC/DC music at 8 a.m.”

It was a natural next step in her career when Fairchild joined Columbia College’s full-time nursing faculty in 2005. Dr. Joyce Gentry credits her colleague with leading “creative, motivating and rigorous” courses. “She builds strong, professional relationships with her students and ensures that the students are prepared for the real-world of nursing,” Gentry says. Fairchild received the 2020 Trustees Award for Teaching Excellence, which is given to a full-time faculty member who demonstrates consistent excellence in the classroom and teaches rigorous classes with high academic expectations. In 2019, she was a recipient of the Columbia, Missouri, “Top Nurse” award recognized by the International

Nurses Association during National Nurses Week. Her research interests include the retention of at-risk nursing students by applying remediation intervention strategies. Most recently, Fairchild presented her research at the International Conference on Nursing Education: Practice & Research in February 2020 in Valencia, Spain. Fairchild received her BSN, a dual MSN (Administration & Education) and her Doctorate of Nursing Practice in Healthcare Leadership and Innovations from the University of Missouri–Columbia Sinclair School of Nursing. She is a nationally certified nurse educator and leads national one-day leadership workshops for charge nurses. When talking to students, she encourages them to keep an open mind. “I have held numerous positions over the years that at first I wasn’t sure about,” Fairchild says. “I was glad that I was willing to ‘give it a shot’ and try because I found out so much about myself and interests that I didn’t know I had.”

Fall 2020

A professional registered nurse for 35 years, Dr. Faye Fairchild spent the first 20 years in various ICU staff nurse positions, including nurse manager, quality improvement coordinator and senior-level leadership roles. However, she recalls her favorite days were those when she had a student assigned to her charge.

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Dr. Faye Fairchild



Go for it.

Fall 2020

By Kevin Fletcher



Joan Pata with classmates at the 1963 Ivy Chain Ceremony, in front of Missouri Hall

From an idyllic upbringing in the Ozarks, to the “big-city” life at Christian College, to the halls of Congress and the office of one of the richest men in America, Joan Puchta Pata ’63 has certainly seen it all. And were it not for a gentle push from back home, it all might never had happened. Near the end of her first year of college, Joan was voted president of the Student Government Association, and knew the position was going to require a great deal of work, time and energy the following year. The responsibility weighed on her, to the point she told her father she was considering not returning to school. “He said, ‘Joanie, God gives us all gifts, and I can clearly see that God has given you gifts, and this could be something that would really stretch you and grow you,’” Pata recalls. “‘I think you were elected for a reason, and I’d encourage you to go for it.’” She did, and that set the course for an amazing career.

After earning her associate in arts degree in 1963, Pata earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas, just two hours from her hometown of Rockaway Beach, Missouri. Her next opportunity led her to Washington, D.C., to work as a

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“That was a growing experience. I remember the dress I wore and standing at the podium. That was the beginning of a great year,” she says. “It was a wonderful opportunity. I felt blessed by God to have classmates and good friends that served with me. It was a good experience and I would encourage anyone to think carefully about the opportunities they’re offered, because you never know where those opportunities will take you.”

Fall 2020

As part of her SGA duties, Pata was responsible for representing the students by giving an address during the college’s Fall Convocation.

While working for Missouri Senator Stuart Symington in the late 1960s, Joan Pata’s top secret clearance caused “quite a stir in her Missouri hometown when the FBI came calling and investigated her background,” says Joan’s husband, Bob. Pictured from left: Joan (front row, left) celebrates at a colleague’s retirement party with the Senator’s staff; a signed photo of Sen. Symington.

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speechwriter for Missouri Senator Stuart Symington. While she was only there for a year, she had plenty of memories.



One of her duties would be to report back to Sen. Symington what was occurring on the Senate floor, so on occasion she would ride the Capitol’s internal subway system from the Senator’s office building to the Senate chambers. “One of the times that I got on the subway car, Robert Kennedy jumped in next to me, introduced himself, and said, ‘I’ve seen you around here.’ We began chatting, and he was delightful.” Sen. Symington was invited to give a speech to the National Geographic Society; in preparation for crafting that

speech, Pata expected to hail a taxi to the NGS offices. She was instead met by a limousine for her first experience of the grand style of Beltway life. The Senator had also reserved office space inside The Capitol building to allow Pata quiet space to focus on her writing. “I remember looking out the window out onto Washington and thinking, ‘What’s a girl from rural Missouri doing here?!’” Pata decided to return to Arkansas to work on and complete a master’s degree from the University of Arkansas, where she began a teaching career in her specialty of communication that included a stint at what is now the University of Nebraska-Kearney. In the fall of 1971, Pata was the first

Bob and Joan Pata

“Sam was delightful to be around. He’d drive up in his little red truck, and I’d remember instances where he’d visit a store, go up to a clerk, say for instance Mary, and he’d say, ‘Mary, how are you doing?’ And she’d say,

Scheduling conflicts prevented Pata from meeting up with her classmates two years ago for their 55th Christian College reunion, but she’s grateful for her time in Columbia. “I wouldn’t trade that for anything. There was an authenticity at the college,” Pata says. “It mattered whether I succeeded or not. I was not a number by any means, nor was anyone else a number.”

Fall 2020

Among each issue’s features was a “Mystery Guest,” and Joan recalls founder Sam Walton – who graduated from the University of Missouri and went to high school just down the street from Columbia College – visiting her office frequently, including often asking who the Mystery Guest would be each month. “He’d try and ask, but I wouldn’t relent,” she says.

Pata now lives with her husband, Bob, in Nixa, Missouri – not far from where she grew up in Rockaway Beach. Her son, Matthew, earned his law degree and worked for several years for federal judges in Georgia and Michigan before becoming a self-taught programmer while at General Motors. He continues to live in Michigan and now works as a developer for Automattic.

35 Affinity

editor for Walmart World, a monthly in-house magazine for Walmart’s thousands of employees across what was then around 50 stores (as of this year, Walmart and its subsidiaries now employ approximately 2.2 million people across more than 11,000 stores).

‘Sam, I’m doing fine.’ He’d say, ‘Didn’t your husband have surgery last year? How’s he doing?’ ‘Well he’s doing fine, Sam, thanks for asking.’ And that’s who he was. That was something that never left him,” Pata adds. “I’ve often wondered how big his eyes would be if he saw Walmart now.”



Welcome to the new normal. We all have had to make hard changes and remain flexible. If you have not taken time for reflection, I encourage you to think about everything that has happened and how you have moved forward. I, for one, am thankful for all the many blessings I have in my life and I wish many more for you. I am glad to report that one of those blessings is the leadership of our college. I’m not sure if they have a crystal ball, but they always seem to be one step ahead. Over these past several months, I have seen the college take on these challenging times head-on with grace and flexibility. The Alumni Association has followed suit. Under the leadership of Keith McIver, our new Director of Alumni Development, we have jumped head-first into virtual experiences. New online alumni events focus on three distinct areas: socials, careers and education. Turn to page 40 to read about our first virtual social. We had a great turn out, including many members of the CCAA Advisory Board, and have a full line-up of events prepared in the months ahead. Do you have an event idea? Send your ideas to

Fall 2020

I hope you will enjoy this issue of Affinity magazine. I would like to take this time to thank those who have so bravely served on the front lines, taking risks every day in response to COVID, the safety of our communities and serving overseas. Thank you for all that you do. We Are CC!


36 Follow the CCAA on Facebook for regular updates!

Columbia College Alumni Association Advisory Board: 2020–2021

CHAIR Jonathan Dudley ’10 Day Program


VICE CHAIR Debra Carnahan ’82 Day Program


ALUMNI REPRESENTATIVE TO THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES Bill Johnston ’82 Day Program ADVISORS Allen Butler ’07 Lake County

Insulated aluminum tumbler $18

Whitney Jones ’16 ’19 & ’20 St. Louis Jeannie M. Lahman ’18 Online Program Bill Leeper ’04 NAS Jacksonville Chris Lievsay ’09 & ’11 Kansas City Joshua Muder ’99 Day Program Joe Nicchetta ’79 Day Program

Lined journal with pen $15

Ed Sasan ’11 Redstone Arsenal Corbin Umstattd ’12 Day & Online Programs STAFF Suzanne Rothwell Vice President of Advancement Keith McIver Director of Alumni Development Carolyn Preul Associate Director, Advancement Communications Keiyana Austin Administrative Assistant, Alumni Relations

Cord organizer $2



Fall 2020

Ask anyone around campus and they probably know Keith McIver. He’s known for stopping by offices “just to say hi,” catching up with students in the dining hall and cheering on Cougar Athletics … often leaving a trail of reading glasses in his wake. Today, even with Zoom meetings minimizing face-toface contact and a new pair of everyday glasses to keep him focused, McIver is still on the move. In August, he took the reins of the Columbia College Alumni Association as Director of Alumni Development.



Tell us a little about yourself and your background. My foundations are family, faith and service. I was born and raised on the coast of South Carolina, near Myrtle Beach. My family still lives there. I attended college in Massachusetts and graduate school in New York City.

NYC is a wonderful place to live, but I have also called Boston, Washington, D.C., and Columbia, South Carolina, home.

we have paused our travels and faceto-face gathering for the foreseeable future, I have to get creative when programming alumni events.

I most enjoy listening to the piano, and I am also a fan of the symphony orchestra. When I first moved to mid-Missouri, I traveled to Chicago to listen to the Chicago Symphony play Mahler #6.

If this crisis has taught us anything, it is that we are forced to think differently about how we do business. We have 94,000 living alumni, but regional events allow us to engage with a small percentage. I’m planning a number of virtual alumni events over the next few months that are available to alumni nationwide. They are broken into social events, careerfocused discussions and town hall lectures – I’m calling them “Cougar Conversations” – where faculty members will talk about relevant, topical events that are a part of the college’s educational curriculum.

What prompted your move from a location director to Development? In 2015, I was invited to move to Columbia, Missouri, to hone my skills in fundraising and development. I enjoy turning philanthropists’ ideas and investments into realities for our students and donors.

What professional expertise are you most excited to bring to the Alumni Association? The “new normal” of remote meetings has presented a great opportunity as I move in to this new role of alumni development. While

Why are you proud to work at Columbia College? It is a small institution that has allowed me to grown personally and professionally. While I no longer work directly with students, I have always enjoyed encouraging them, listening to their stories and providing advice.

If a colleague were to describe you in five words or less, what would they say? Kindness, empathetic, collegial, team player and friend –CP

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I began working for Columbia College in April 2008 as the director of its location at the Naval Weapons Station in Charleston, South Carolina. Most of my students were on active duty.

39 Affinity

How did you get your start in higher education?


Staying socially distant in a social world

Fall 2020

The CCAA broadcast its first live virtual event on September 18. Keith McIver, director of Alumni Development, hosted a behind-the-scenes tour at Logboat Brewing Co. and talked to the brewery’s owners about running a successful business during a pandemic. Logboat was co-founded in 2015 by Judson Ball ’07 (pictured above, far left).



A second event followed on October 6, inviting CCAA members inside the Veterans Urban Farm. The social was hosted by Billy Polansky ’17 and Carrie Hargrove ’09 (right), owners of the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture. “There are so many tools available to us now that actually increase our opportunities for engaging with alumni around the world,” McIver says. Through the Zoom platform and Facebook Live streaming, alumni and friends have registered for virtual events from 17 states and even Australia. –CP

Tune in to a forum with political science professor Dr. Terry Smith heading into the 2020 election. MONDAY, OCTOBER 26 REGISTER TO GET LINK Dr. Smith is a professor of Political Science and director of the Honors Program at main campus. Courses in American politics include The American Presidency, American Political Parties, Legislative Process, Judicial Process, American Public Policy, State and Local Government, and American National Government. Dr. Smith serves as a radio and television election analyst and gives regular political commentary for a mid-Missouri radio station.


The CCAA is pleased to welcome graduates of REALTOR® University to the Alumni Association. In partnership with the National Association of REALTORS®, the new NAR Academy at Columbia College offers access and scholarships to NAR members in pursuit of real estate-related certificates, associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. Learn more:



Get to know your Advisory Board representatives. ALLEN BUTLER ‘07 received a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with a minor in psychology from Columbia College-Lake County. Allen is an ex-Navy DAV from the first Gulf War “Desert Storm.” He first volunteered for the CCAA by serving on the board of the Great Lakes Affinity Council and enjoys giving back to the college that helped him realize his dream. Allen lives in Wheeling, Illinois, with his wife, dog and their two boys, who both work and attend college.

Fall 2020

DEBRA CARNAHAN ’82, vice chair of the Advisory Board, is an attorney, retired judge, founding partner of Carnahan & Carnahan law firm and a former assistant U.S. attorney and state prosecutor. Debra currently serves as a principle and founder of Carnahan Global Consulting with her husband, former Congressman Russ Carnahan. She appears regularly on the PBS award-winning program “To The Contrary with Bonnie Erbe.” The couple lives in St. Louis.



JONATHAN L. DUDLEY ’10, chair of the Advisory Board, is a military intelligence officer for the Missouri Army National Guard Homeland Response Force, which is responsible for responding to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidents in a four-state region. Since 2011 he has served in various positions with the military, including training & operations officer, logistics officer and information technology officer. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Columbia College and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He resides in St. Louis with his wife, Dee.

BILL JOHNSTON ’82 currently serves as the alumni representative to Columbia College’s Board of Trustees. He is an account executive for Shelter Insurance Company, where he is responsible for market property catastrophe reinsurance to brokers and insurance companies. Since 1983 he has served in various positions at the company, including property underwriter, personal lines underwriting supervisor, business improvement supervisor and report coordinator. He earned his Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation in 1999, and he also received his Associate in Technology and Associate in Reinsurance designations. Bill and his wife, Janice, are members of the college’s President’s Society and St. Clair Society. The couple has two grown children, Brad and Kim, and two grandchildren. They reside in Columbia, Missouri.

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JEANNIE M. LAHMAN ’18 first graduated from Columbia College in 2000 with an associate degree in general studies and completed her bachelor’s degree in american studies in 2018. She and her partner, Jerry Shannon, live in Centertown, Missouri. A freethinker, Jeannie is an activist and advocate of women’s and children’s rights and credits her education at Columbia College as the foundation of her activism.

Fall 2020

WHITNEY JONES ’16 ’19 & ’20 is a human resources business partner with Chewy Inc. and an active entrepreneur. She owns two businesses: Liv & Kiss, a plus-size clothing line, and Transitional Homes for You. Whitney received bachelor’s degrees in 2016 and 2020 and completed her Master of Business Administration in 2019, all at Columbia College. Her next academic step is to pursue a Ph.D. in Theology. Born and raised in St. Louis, Whitney currently resides in Dallas.

MY CCAA BILL LEEPER ’04 is sheriff of Nassau County, Florida. He served the Florida Highway Patrol for 35 years, retiring as captain and the public affairs officer/media spokesperson for northeast Florida. He was elected to sheriff of Nassau County in 2012. He graduated from Columbia College-NAS Jacksonville with a Bachelor of Arts degree in General Studies, and he received the CCAA Professional Achievement Award in 2010. Bill served as CCAA President from 2013-2015 and was an inaugural member of the college’s Cornerstone Club. He is an active member of his community, serves on various boards for nonprofit organizations and is a former city commissioner and two-term mayor of Fernandina Beach, Florida. He resides in Fernandina Beach, Florida, with his wife, Emma. They have two grown children, Jordan and Chelsea.

Fall 2020

CHRIS LIEVSAY ’09 & ’11 is a student mentor for graduate business students at Western Governors University and works as an adjunct instructor at Park University in Parkville, Missouri. He is also a city councilman for District 2 in Blue Springs, Missouri, where he lives with his wife, Grace, and their two young children, Benjamin and Emily. He earned his associate degree at Metropolitan Community College, went on to complete both his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Master of Business Administration at Columbia College and earned a Master of Education from WGU-Missouri.



JOSHUA MUDER ’99 is a professional project manager. He received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Bachelor of Arts in History and Government from Columbia College. After graduating he worked and completed graduate school in Sydney, Australia, earning his Master of Arts in International Relations at Maquarie University. He also holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, Kansas. He lives in Olathe, Kansas, with his wife, Ann, and their two children.

JOE NICCHETTA ’79 is a senior vice president and retail specialist for Heitman, a global real estate investment management firm. He is responsible for working with the Portfolio & Asset Management and Acquisitions teams on all aspects of strategic planning and value enhancement of existing assets, as well as the analysis of potential new acquisitions. Prior to joining Heitman, Joe worked for The Rouse Company, General Growth Properties and Starwood Retail Partners. Joe received his bachelor’s degree from Columbia College in 1979 and is a member of the college’s Cornerstone Club. He has worked with various charities such as The Juvenile Diabetes Association and The Special Olympics. He is married and has two sons, Martin and Michael, and a grandson, Alexander. He resides in the Chicago area where he grew up.

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CORBIN UMSTATTD ’12 is a partner in U4, which owns and operates restaurants in the Midwest, as well as invests in real estate and new ventures. He received his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at main campus and is a member of the college’s Cornerstone Club. He lives in Germantown, Tennessee, with his wife, Lauren, and their son, Harris.

Fall 2020

ED SASAN ’11 graduated from Columbia CollegeRedstone Arsenal after serving 22 years in the U.S. Army as an ammunitions and explosives expert. He spent 10 years with the Madison City, Alabama, Police Department. Ed is now an anti-terrorism officer, enforcing Department of the Army standards and regulations regarding force protection and the protection and understanding of terrorist threats. Ed’s family drives him to make his community a better place.


In the News 1960s Chellie Terry Powell ’61 is a birth and postpartum doula. She lives in California.

Fall 2020




Penny Rafferty Hamilton ’76 received the 12th Annual Spirit of Flight Award by the Spirit of Flight Foundation. Hamilton was inducted into both the Colorado Aviation and Women’s Hall of Fame. Her current book is Inspiring Words for Sky & Space Women: Advice from Historic and Contemporary Trailblazers. Penny lives over Lake Granby, Colorado, and is the co-founder of the

Personal and Professional Updates by Class Year

Grand County Historical Association Emily Warner Field Aviation Museum.

1980s Andrea Luchen ’81 retired in May 2020 after 23 years as an elementary teacher. She continues to volunteer at an assisted living center and enjoys traveling with her family.

Donald Buckner ’88 has been named to the board of Caring Solutions, a St. Louis nonprofit that meets the unique needs of children and adults with development disabilities and their families. Buckner is the manager of grants and funds administration for St. Louis’ Foundation of Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Curt Krebsbach ’85 retired as director of training for Valley Hope, a substance abuse organization. He holds a doctorate in addition psychology and will begin a new career as an online instructor for Fort Hays State University and Arizona State University in 2021.


Michael Fuller ’93 has been named the president and CEO of Berkeley Electric Coop in Charleston, South

Kim Loose Reynolds ’95 is a program administrator for the Colorado Address Confidentiality Program. She lives in Thornton, Colorado.

Sarah Jane Hunt ’96 is a food stylist based in her hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. Her work was profiled in the June 2020 issue of Omaha Magazine.

Margaret McCormick ’00 has been promoted to assistant vice president of operations for the division of force protection at SRC, Inc., a not-for-profit research and development company in Syracuse, New York. McCormick has been employed with SRC for more than 27 years.

Nikki McGruder ’00 has joined University of Missouri Health Care as director of diversity and inclusion. She was previously director of the Inclusive Impact Institute in Columbia, Missouri.

Valerie Wedel ’02 exhibited a peaceful installation titled “GROUNDED” for the month of September in the Greg Hardwick Gallery located in the Columbia College Art Department.

Brian Weimer ’02, major of operations for the University of Missouri Police Department, was appointed interim chief in July 2020. He began his career at MUPD as an officer in 1992. Tylisha Dade ’06 ’10 & ’16 has been named assistant principal for Jefferson City Public Schools in Missouri. She has taught in middle school and high school for more than 15 years. Tylisha married Marlin Dade Sr. on June 18, 2019, in Columbia, Missouri.

Fall 2020

Carlos Holt ’94 & ’09 is an audit manager for the Department of Defense. The Holts enjoy being a part of the military community, which encouraged Carlos to transition from municipal government auditing to his new position at Randolph Air Force Base in Texas.


47 Affinity

Carolina. Fuller has 31 years of cooperative experience.


Judson Ball ’07, co-owner of Logboat Brewing Co., celebrated the business’s expansion with the opening of Waves Cider Company in Columbia, Missouri.

council in 2017 and has been with the organization since 2009.

while also serving on the NASDVA Executive Committee.

Adam Voight ‘09 has been promoted to manager of Marketing and Consumer Sales at Socket, a Missouri-based telecommunications provider with its headquarters in Columbia, Missouri.

Dan Barnett ’10 is assistant executive director of Operations for the St Louis Metro Bar. He holds a law degree from St. Louis University School of Law.


Fall 2020

Gunnery Sgt. Louie Sanchez ’08 is retiring from the U.S. Marine Corps after 23 years of faithful and honorable service. He resides with his family in Gulf Breeze, Florida.



Jessica Upchurch ’09 has been named chief operating officer of the Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois. She joined the

Zaneta Adams ’10 has been appointed Midwest District Vice President of the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs (NASDVA). She will represent Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin,

Eliga Walker ’10 is a human resources specialist at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama. Patrick Warren ’12 was named manager of Regulatory Affairs – Cellular and Regenerative Medicine at the Vericel Corporation, a biotech company in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He began a graduate program at Harvard in the fall of 2020. Jesse Walters ’12 and his wife, Megan Meier-Walters, have expanded their business, Camacho Coffee, to a brick-andmortar location in Columbia, Missouri. The new space includes

a tasting room and second air-roaster, a process that floats coffee beans on a bed of hot air to produce a smoother, lighter taste. Amanda Wells ’12 has been named senior staff accountant for Security Equipment Supply in Earth City, Missouri. Christopher Itai Cardona ’13 received a Distinguished Service Award by Orange County for a senior community pop-up pantry he opened in response to COVID-19 restrictions

in the spring. In July, he continued philanthropic efforts by raising more than $1,200 to provide morale-boosting meals and snacks to healthcare workers at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, California. Jennifer Gates ’14 is a purchasing administrator for the Grand River Dam Authority in Oklahoma. Jenny (Shala) married Jerry Gates on Sept. 9, 2019, in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

Courtney Pfeifer ’15 is a forensic toxicologist for St. Louis County. Nic Reynolds ’17 has been named assistant men’s basketball coach and facilities and events coordinator for Purdue Northwest in Hammond, Indiana. Reynolds played four seasons with the Cougars men’s basketball team. Tausha Martinez ’18 is a marketing and public relations specialist for Catchphrase Communications in Worcester, Massachusetts.

“I like that [owning your own business] puts all the responsibility on your back,” says Mikel, a former Cougar basketball player. “The opportunity is exponential when it’s all up to you.”

49 Affinity

Mikel Fields ’08 likes to keep his goals simple. He wants his business to provide a service to his community and help others. Mikel and his wife, Luana Branco Fields ’10, purchased Cracked Up Mobile in the spring of 2019.

Fall 2020

Entrepreneurial Spirit

Luana, who played volleyball for the Cougars, is a commercial loan officer at Hawthorne Bank. Read the article, originally published by the Columbia Missourian, at


Katie Smith ’18 displayed two art pieces in the juried show, Monochrome, at the Columbia Art League. While she studied business, Smith also took many jewelry and art courses at Columbia College. Since graduating, she launched a silversmith businesses, Be Gutsy Jewelry.

Fall 2020

Chontelle Wilson ’18 published her first book. “The Process” is a short story reflection on her personal and spiritual journey.



Levon White ’19 is working on his first novel while pursuing a master’s degree in elementary education. He regularly volunteers with his local food bank in Port Angeles, Washington.

2020s Jordan Alford ’20 is a graduate assistant for the women’s basketball team at Southern Illinois University. She was a point guard for the Cougar women’s basketball team from 2016 to 2019. Gina Czeschin ’20 is a claims specialist for the State of Missouri Department of Employment Security. She lives in Jefferson City, Missouri.

Thibault “Tebow” Benabid ’20 has signed to play basketball professionally in La Roda, Spain, for the 2020-21 season. The native of France played on the 2018-19 Cougar men’s basketball team. Nick Kaiser ’20 is a graduate assistant coach for the Lawrence Tech ice hockey team in Michigan. Kaiser played lacrosse for the Cougars. –CP

Search and Submit Online Did you know you can search Alumni Class Notes online by name or class year? Find out what your fellow classmates have shared with us over the years, or submit an update of your own.

EXPLORE YOUR MEMBER BENEFITS.  Access exclusive member discounts programs

for travel, insurance, shopping, dining and more  Secure your lifetime CougarMail account,

accessed through Gmail  Shop apparel, gifts and accessories on the

online CC alumni store  Show your Cougar Pride by requesting an

alumni lapel pin, window cling or Scootergraph  Access to continued studies through the

Lifelong Learning Grant  Obtain a copy of your transcript or reorder

your diploma  Children and grandchildren of alumni are

eligible to apply for an Alumni Legacy Scholarship to attend Columbia College main campus Join the conversation online:


In Memoriam

Notifications received June – September 2020

Ginny Kessel ’45 June 14, 2020

John Strom ’76 June 29, 2020

Phyllis Porter Jones ’47 September 11, 2020

Vincent Ventimigilia ’76 February 24, 2020

Paula Watson Whitson ’47 September 1, 2018

Lisa Edelmann Rees ’78 June 29, 2020

Betty Harper Blackburn ’48 July 11, 2020

Robert Caldwell ’79 June 17, 2020

Cindy Pierce Hight ’50 April 16, 2020

Jane Foland Poore ’80 September 15, 2020

Carolee Axtell Galbraith ’55 July 12, 2020

Robert Ferreira ’85 July 18, 2020

Gay Hoyt-Weston ’55 August 4, 2020

Sharon Small Mitchell ’99 September 6, 2020

Kay Shoner ’56 August 18, 2020

Fall 2020

Kay Williams Hudson ’57 August 24, 2020



Joan Tottenham Buell ’58 August 19, 2020 Annabelle Wilson Krueger ’58 August 31, 2020 James Shaw ’75 July 26, 2020

Notifications To notify the CCAA of Columbia (Christian) alumni who have passed recently, please send an email with the link to the obituary to ccalum@ If you would like to make a gift in memory of a loved one, you may mail a check in the envelope provided in this magazine (write “in memory of” and the name of the individual on the memo line) or visit

President Scott Dalrymple presented Tom with an honorary doctoral degree at the Spring 2019 commencement ceremony. “Tom’s passion for the Columbia community, success in his family business and support of Columbia College earned him this honor, which few individuals in the college’s history have received,” Dalrymple says.

Renee joined the college in 2012, and following the reorganization of Columbia College Global was promoted to regional director for Military Region I in 2018. She had previously served as a teacher and acting principal for Lawton Public Schools and also taught online and in-seat education classes for Cameron University. Renee is survived by her husband, Paul, and her two teenaged children, Braden and Alissa.

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Tom was a member of the Board of Trustees from 1976-2001. Columbia College flourished during his time as Chair for 17 of those years (1982-1999) and was named Trustee Emeritus for his exemplary service. He supported several initiatives vital to our success, including the construction of Atkins-Holman Student Commons, which is named in honor of Tom and his wife of 63 years, Linda Holman Atkins ’54. Their philanthropy was key in the construction of the Brouder Science Center and the Quad beautification project. Tom and Linda also supported the George Ann and Sydney Larson Scholarship, as well as Cougar Athletics. He also served as a curator at the University of Missouri.

RENEE KARCZEWSKI, who served as the director of our location on Fort Sill in Oklahoma and a regional director, passed away Sept. 23, 2020.

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TOM ATKINS, a longtime trustee, friend and benefactor of the college, passed away July 22, 2020.

Articles inside

In Memoriam

pages 52-53

Class Notes

pages 46-50

CCAA Advisory Board

pages 42-45

Alumni Events

pages 40-41

Alumni Director

pages 38-39

From the CCAA Chair

page 36

Alumni Spotlight

pages 32-35

Dr. Faye Fairchild

page 31

Jim Metscher

page 28

Dr. Lisa Isaacson

page 27

From the Heart

pages 26, 29-30


pages 20-25

Cougar Athletics

pages 18-19

Career Corner

pages 16-17

World View

pages 14-15

Welcome Home

pages 12-13

Leadership Update

page 10

Inside the Gate

pages 6-9

From the President

page 5

Fall 2020: Table of Contents

page 3
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