Affinity Magazine, Fall 2022

Page 32


Illustrator Jim Paillot ’82 brings popular children’s books characters to life

Students travel overseas to explore the psychology of the Holocaust

Life experiences broaden teachings for Florida-based instructor Dr. Michael Stanley

Dr. Gerald Brouder

3, 1943

June 22, 2022

Beloved Columbia College president emeritus remembered for transformational impact on higher education
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On the Cover:

Dr. Gerald Brouder served as Columbia College president from 1995 to 2013. Photo by L.G. Patterson

affinity Fall 2022

Editor, Production & Design

Carolyn Preul

Staff Writers

Kevin Fletcher

Andy Oldenburg

Staff Photographer

Abigail Wade

Editorial Review Board

Sam Fleury

Alejandra Gudiño

Suzanne Rothwell

Dr. David Russell

Dr. Piyusha Singh


Keiyana Austin ’21

Scott Barker

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

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



Day Program students and faculty visit Europe in conjunction with “Psychology of the Holocaust” course.


Dr. Michael Stanley’s broad life experiences have made him one of the college’s most respected instructors in Jacksonville.


2022 graduates Emma Chedwick and Taylor Hoskens forge a powerful bond during their time at CC .


Jim Paillot ’82 remembers the moment back in kindergarten that he knew he wanted to be an artist.


10 | Inside the Gate

CC Global expands academic reach with new locations on military installations; Nursing student found CC chamber of National Student Nurses Association.

36 | My CCAA

Ten students named 2022 CCAA Scholars Program recipients; More than 350 alumni and friends participate in summer events.

42 | Class Notes

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

3 Affinity Fall 2022
Learn more about your benefits at Military.CCIS.eduNo official endorsement by the US Military is implied. NEW MILITARY-AFFILIATED BENEFIT For complete details visit our website. SPOUSES & DEPENDENTS OF AFFILIATED INSTALLATION EMPLOYEES 15% off discount per credit hour Undergraduate & Graduate CURRENTLY SERVING MILITARY MEMBERS - AND THEIR SPOUSES & DEPENDENTS Undergraduate Graduate $250 per credit hour $325 per credit hour AFFILIATED INSTALLATION EMPLOYEES Undergraduate Graduate $250 per credit hour $325 perhourcredit

Columbia College Board of Trustees 2022-23


Rev. Dr. Brad Stagg

Vice Chair

Helen Dale Coe Simons ’65

Treasurer Carol J. Winkler ’93

Secretary Genie Rogers

Member at Large Matt Williams

CCAA Advisory Council

Representative Joshua Muder ’99

Faculty Representatives

Sandra Hamar, Ph.D. Mark Price, Ph.D.


Lynne Stuver Baker ’64 H. Jane Blackman ’64, M.D. Lt. Gen. Richard C. Harding, U.S. Air Force (Retired)

Byron Hill

June Viner Hurdle ’83

William (Bill) J. Johnston ’82 Bill Leeper ’04 Col. Mike Randerson U.S. Air Force (Retired)

Jolene Marra Schulz ’61

Gary A. Tatlow

Anita Abbott Timmons ’58 Col. Robert Walker ’87 U.S. Air Force (Retired)

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.

Greetings from CC!

» Fall in Columbia is beautiful. It is a season for reflection about the progress we have made as a college during the past year and growing anticipation for the future.

We have much to be thankful for, including the arrival on our Day campus of the largest class of new students we have seen since 2018. The college has opened three new locations on military installations just this year. We also received the greenlight by the Higher Learning Commission to offer nine new academic programs to students this fall, with still more high-demand courses to come. Soon we will begin hiring more faculty to teach on the Day campus and throughout Columbia College Global.

These initiatives are among more than 20 growth strategies embedded in the new strategic plan that was recently approved by the CC Board of Trustees. These strategies are focused on assuring that our students have a quality learning experience.

As CC graduates, each of you personally benefitted from many individuals who were committed to your academic success and encouraged you along the way. Now, by participating in the new CC Alumni Referral Program you can help prospective students in your circle of family and friends to follow in your footsteps and create their own special college memories at CC. We appreciate your active support in attracting more students to the CC experience.

The CC Alumni Referral Program is integral to the Admissions recruitment process. You will find more information on page 37, or you can visit With your help, we can bolster CC enrollments across the nation and insure that we can continue to maintain excellence in all that we do.

Also, in this issue, we pay tribute to our 16th president, Dr. Gerald Brouder, who passed away earlier this summer. Dr. Brouder was a transformational leader who oversaw a period of great prosperity for the college. During his watch, the college increased its endowment many-fold, advanced the use of cutting-edge technology and strengthened our commitment to the sciences.

We hope to see you on campus or at an alumni event near you soon. Thank you for being a part of the Columbia College family.

5 Affinity Fall 2022 FROM THE PRESIDENT


FEBRUARY 3, 1943

» Nine years after descending the exterior steps of St. Clair Hall with the love of his life, Bonnie, holding his right hand, the body of Dr. Gerald Brouder returned to the site of the longest job he ever held. Led by a Columbia College Campus Safety vehicle, Brouder’s funeral procession paused briefly in front of Rogers Gate as the college’s blue flag flew at half-staff. With dozens of college staffers lining Rogers St., the vehicles turned north onto Range Line St., paused again in front of the science center that bears the Brouders’ name, then proceeded to Memorial Park Cemetery for interment.

One of Columbia College’s most transformational leaders, and its 16th president, Brouder passed away in Columbia at the age of 79 on June 22.

Brouder had an immeasurable impact, not only on Columbia College but as a vital part of the fabric of the Columbia community as a whole. He was one of the college’s longest-tenured presidents, serving from 1995 until his retirement in 2013 when he became just the second president in the college’s 171-year history to receive emeritus status.

6 Affinity Fall 2022
– JUNE 22, 2022

He presided over the creation of both the college’s graduate programs in 1996 and its pioneering online program in 2000. As a result, the college experienced record enrollment growth in the Adult Higher Education (now Columbia College Global) division. He was admired for his contributions to the sciences, his commitment to fiscal responsibility and his dedication to academic excellence. Brouder was also beloved for his civility and respect for everyone who passed through Rogers Gate, be they student, faculty, staff or friend.

At the time of Brouder’s selection to head CC, current President Dr. David Russell was serving as state higher education commissioner.

“I am profoundly saddened by the news of Dr. Brouder’s passing. He made a significant impact on Columbia College and his legendary contributions to our success live on years after his retirement,” Russell said. “Dr. Brouder and I worked together for years to strengthen Missouri higher education policies designed to help students successfully complete their college degrees. He was highly respected by his peers in the independent college sector as a thought leader. I always found him to be a tireless advocate for students and a servant leader of the first order. Our faculty, staff and alumni loved him. We will miss him.”

In a video announcing his emeritus status in 2013, Brouder pointed out that

As the funeral procession for Columbia College

President Emeritus Dr. Gerald Brouder paused in front of Rogers Gate on June 28, 2022, members of the CC community stood in silent tribute.

Inset: Dr. Gerald and Bonnie Brouder descend the steps of St. Clair Hall upon his retirement in 2013.

7 Affinity Fall 2022

The final capital project during Dr. Gerald Brouder’s tenure culminated in a state-of-theart science facility. The Gerald T. and Bonnie M. Brouder Science Center opened in the fall of 2013.

he had three main goals for his time at CC: increasing the college’s endowment, advancing technology, and deepening and strengthening the sciences.

Those three goals were best encapsulated in the final capital project of his tenure, a state-of-the-art science facility that opened just months after his retirement. It is fitting that it – the Gerald T. and Bonnie M. Brouder Science Center – was named in their honor.

The Brouders also were instrumental in creating what are some of today’s most

cherished traditions at Columbia College. The first Holiday Lighting, which bathes the buildings surrounding Bass Commons in lights each December, took place in 1996. In addition, the college’s “Storm the Gate” celebration to welcome new students began in 2012. As first lady, Mrs. Brouder, in particular, took great care to bolster the college’s archives over their 18 years at CC.

Born in Chicago on February 3, 1943, Brouder joined the Army after high school graduation. He served in the medical corps in the Army and, once his duties were fulfilled, went to work in an operating room at a children’s hospital in Chicago. As he put it, a series of “epiphanies” led him to steadily build his educational credentials in the nursing field. He first obtained his associate degree, then his bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Brouder served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, which led him to his lifelong career as a nursing educator. He earned his Ph.D. in nursing from the University of Texas and was hired as a faculty member in the School of Nursing at the University of Missouri. He spent 17 years at Mizzou and served as interim chancellor, deputy chancellor and provost. He also held other various positions within the administration and at the medical center before Columbia College came calling.

A 2013 Affinity article summarizing Dr. Brouder’s tenure included this excellent quote, which perfectly illustrates his philosophy: “We respect teaching and learning,” he says. “You can see it in the quality of the teachers we hire; you can see it in the grounds. The sidewalks are edged, the flowers are beautiful … that’s not to spend money on horticulture, that’s to show people you respect the venue in which that awesome responsibility takes place where teaching turns into learning. You’ve got to honor the fact that what we do is grow intellects. We change people’s lives. It’s an awesome responsibility.” –KF

8 Affinity Fall 2022


The college received countless messages about the passing of Dr. Gerald Brouder. Here are but a few remembrances of Columbia College’s 16th president, in your words.

“I have much respect for Dr. Brouder. As a student many years ago I ran into a “unique” situation. I communicated it to him not really expecting a reply as he was a busy president and I was just one student. The same day he not only looked into it but corrected it. That was many years ago and I still am grateful for the customer service he displayed. Even though my role with the college is part time I try to give each and every student great service through a listening ear just like he did for me. He could have easily ignored my communication but did not. He had no idea what that meant to me as a young man. I will always admire Dr. Brouder. Now that I am older and in education everyone I bump into that used to work with him also speaks in the highest of regards.” – William King ´08 ’10

“A kind and decent man. A combo very hard to find these days. Committed, too. I’ve seen him stop to pick up litter on his way into his office. How many presidents would do that?” – Neal Fandek, former staff

“Dr. Gerald Brouder. One of my true heroes! Always in my heart!”

– Dale Coe Simons ’65

“His leadership will be dearly missed. He was instrumental in catapulting military friendly programs and engaging military students to grasping brighter futures. He will be sincerely missed. Please don’t let his legacy die.”

– Andrea Wooten ’05

“Dr. Brouder was a general and a giant in the profession of adult higher education, and with Columbia College.” – Jeffrey Purcell, faculty

“Sad to hear this news. Led a renaissance at Columbia College with an open mind, kind heart and a vision and love for Columbia College second to none.”

– Jason Enright ’12

– April Cockrell ’07

“Thank you, Dr. Brouder. It was an honor to have met you and to have had you for President.”

– Antona Brent Smith ’98

“I came in as a student during Dr. Brouder’s tenure and soon after graduation I joined the staff. His consistent leadership centered on ‘civility and respect’ helped to create an incredible environment at CC, one that will have a lasting impact on all who experienced it.” – Jason Valentine ’09

9 Affinity Fall 2022
“I remember Dr. Brouder as a very friendly person who talked to everyone and was genuinely concerned for all students. Prayers for his family and friends.”


» A heartfelt tribute to the late Brig. Gen. Charles E. McGee ’78, as well as the presentation of more than $26,000 in scholarship awards to 22 military-connected students, highlighted Columbia College’s annual Military Recognition Day.

Retired Air Force Col. Mike Randerson, who served as vice president of what is now Columbia College Global from 1995-2014 and serves as a member of the college’s Board of Trustees, provided the keynote address in honor of “his personal hero,” who passed away in January at the age of 102. –KF


» Columbia College Global (CCG) began nearly 50 years ago when an Army education services officer wanted to enroll one of his recruiters to complete his college degree. Columbia College continues to expand its reach of educating today’s students – particularly at our nation’s military installations.

Within the last year, the college has officially opened new locations at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota and Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. College officials have also begun the process of opening locations at Fort Irwin in California and Grissom Air Reserve Base in Indiana later this summer.

“We’re excited to begin teaching servicemembers at Ellsworth and Whiteman,” says Associate Vice President for CCG-Military Rob Boone, who oversees all of the college’s nearly two dozen locations on military installations.

In addition to the new locations, Boone continues to explore additional military-based opportunities. “There are numerous installations looking to expand the education services they offer on base, and our track record speaks for itself.” –KF

10 Affinity Fall 2022 INSIDE THE GATE
Rob Boone, associate vice president for CCG-Military, took Scooter the Cougar on a location visit to Fort Irwin, California.

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» Each spring, Columbia College Global leaders gather in Columbia to collaborate, strategize and build relationships. For many attendees, the 2022 Director’s Conference was their first time on main campus and the first opportunity to collaborate with other location directors and main campus staff in-person.

The conference focused on many of the aspects that impact enrollments and student retention with goals of presenting updates on ongoing projects and committees, developing strategies and partnerships across CC departments, and strengthening processes. –CP


Top row, from left: Guillermo Salgado, Program Coordinator, Imperial; Tara Clawson, Director, San Diego; Joe Savopolos, Program Coordinator, NAS Lemoore; Mike Agron, Program Coordinator, Ellsworth AFB; Carl David, Regional Director of Military Region 2 and Director, JFTB Los Alamitos; Brittaney Todd, Director, Fort Sill; Dr. Darin Hand, Regional Director of Military Region 3 and Director, NAS Whidbey Island; Vanessa Swindell-Way, Director, Jacksonville; Aaron Williams, Director, Orlando; Kelly Nekvinda, Director, Lake County/NS Great Lakes

Middle row, from left: John Fulton, Director, Hunter Army Airfield; Carthel Starks, Director, NAS Jacksonville; Carla Barnes, Program Coordinator, Minot AFB; Savannah Mills, Program Coordinator, Whiteman AFB; Michael Johnson, Program Coordinator, Moberly; Andrew Reeves, Regional Director of Civilian & Online Region 4 and Director, Evening; Jim McNally, Director, Denver; Jeannie Simmons, Sr. Regional Director of Military Region 4 and Director, NASJRB Fort Worth; Paige Woods, Director, Redstone Arsenal; Ellen Parham, Director, Fort Stewart; Cory Elfrink, Director, Rolla

Front row, from left: Debra Hartman, Sr. Regional Director of Civilian & Online Region 1 and Director, Crystal Lake; Karen Beckstrom; Former Director, Elgin; Charity Fonoimoana, Director, USCG Honolulu; Cindy Miller, Regional Director of Civilian & Online Region 2 and Director; Kansas City; Ivy Crigler, Director, St. Louis; Dr. Shena Laymon-Frazier, Program Coordinator, NSB Kings Bay; Kim Bonine, Director, Jefferson City; Joie Hendricks, Director, Online Student Services; Caley Marten, Director, Freeport; Kathy Gress, Director, Springfield; Robyn Pietron, Former Director, Fort Leonard Wood

12 Affinity Fall 2022 INSIDE THE GATE
CC leaders gather at the Whitcraft-Schiffman Memorial Amphitheater, located on the Quad.


» Dr. Gretchen Hendrickson, a CC faculty member since 2010, has been promoted to professor of Philosophy. Hendrickson has taught a variety of courses that range from general psychology, cognitive psychology and child development to quantitative research designs. She has represented faculty on the assessment, tenure and promotion committee, as well as the disability advisory committee. Hendrickson completed a Doctor of Philosophy in Quantitative Psychology from the University of Missouri–Columbia in 2011 and maintains several professional memberships with the Psychometric Society, Midwest Psychological Association and the American Psychological Association.

» Dr. Ahoo Tabatabai has been promoted to professor of Sociology, specializing in gender, sexuality and narratives. Since joining the college in 2011, she has risen from assistant professor to associate professor to professor beginning this fall. She consistently teaches 24+ credit hours per academic year and served as department chair from 2019 to 2021. Tabatabai received a Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology from the University of Cincinnati and serves the Columbia, Missouri, community through volunteer efforts with the Columbia Art League, True North of Columbia and the Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri Afghan Programs.

» Dr. Jennifer Jewell began her tenure as dean of the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) on July 1. She succeeds Dr. Lisa Ford-Brown, who returned to classroom teaching following a year-long sabbatical. Jewell most recently served for eight years as professor and director of the School of Social Work at Salisbury University on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. HASS comprises six academic departments: Criminal Justice Administration, History, Philosophy, & Political Science; Education; Language & Communication Studies; Human Services, Psychology, and Sociology; and Visual Arts & Music.

» Chris Lievsay ’09 ’11 completed a Juris Doctorate at the University of MissouriKansas City. In addition to bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business from Columbia College, Lievsay holds a Master of Education and is the assistant director of the Columbia College location in Kansas City. With an enduring interest in education and government Lievsay focused his advanced studies to better understand how he can impact policy. He is an active member of the Blue Springs City Council and one of 34 individuals to participate in the Missouri Chamber of Commerce’s 2022 Leadership Missouri class.

» Dr. Sandra Hamar, who served as interim dean of HASS for the 2021-22 academic year, has transitioned to interim dean of the Robert W. Plaster School of Business and remains as faculty, teaching courses in the Education department.

13 Affinity Fall 2022


» Although the Nursing program at Columbia College has been teaching established and aspiring nurses for more than 35 years, it continues to grow and evolve.

For the last year and a half, several students in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program have worked toward creating an official chapter of the National Student Nurses Association (NSNA). In March, the chapter received word of their acceptance within the national organization.

CCNSA’s mission is to promote leadership, education, advocacy and collaboration. The organization fosters leadership by encouraging students to serve by running for office on a chapter, state or national level.

Indeed, two students in the college’s BSN program – vice president Lindsey Campbell and Northern region director Liv Turner – are members of the Missouri Nurses Student Association (MONSA) executive board.

It was a laborious process for the students. “There was a lot of tedious paperwork, I’m not going to lie,” says Brianne O’Sullivan ’22, who was part of the core group who worked on the chapter’s bylaws and mission. “But when we got the opportunity to go to Utah and follow a path to continue our career and education, it was a nobrainer.” O’Sullivan has secured a position with Women’s and Children’s Hospital at the University of Missouri in the pediatric ICU.

The effort to get to Salt Lake City itself for the NSNA convention was heroic. Dr. Monroe noted the group raised $8,000 in less than two weeks. The college’s TRIO Student Support Services, under the direction of Mary Browning, and the CC Student Government Association both provided significant financial support, as did a GoFundMe campaign. Dr. Corrine Floyd, director and chair of the Nursing department, offered support as well, both as a donor and a champion of her students.

One of the largest funding sources, around $1,600, came via a bake sale. “The students who wanted to go rallied together and made a schedule of who was going to cook what, who was going to man a table around campus, and they put it together in a day,” says Campbell, who also serves as president of the rising senior cohort of BSN students at CC. “It was so great, and everybody on campus loved it.”

While at NSNA in Utah, the students listened to renowned nursing leaders, learned about job opportunities and scholarships, participated in leadership and career development activities and collaborated and networked with more than 1,500 other nursing students from across the country.

Columbia College’s splash in Salt Lake City was such that Desma Reno, the state consultant for MONSA, compared the group to Rich Strike’s viral underdog win at this year’s Kentucky Derby horse race. “It went a lot like that race, they came into it quickly and won the race in the middle of the chute.”

Monroe credits six seniors who graduated this spring – O’Sullivan, Chenoa Cue, Ebony Kimmins, Alexandra Coones, Emily McBride and Carlota Garcia – for their efforts in getting CCSNA off the ground. Each received the CCSNA Pioneer Award during commencement weekend.

Nine members of the Columbia College Student Nurses Association (CCSNA) joined their advisor, Assistant Nursing Professor Dr. Heidi Monroe, at the NSNA national convention in Salt Lake City, Utah. Among the group were six seniors who graduated last month and three juniors who will begin their final year at CC this fall.

While nurses like O’Sullivan and Cue, who completed her BSN and began working in pediatrics at the University of California San Francisco near her hometown of Rohnert Park, California, have moved on to their professional careers, four rising seniors – Campbell, Turner, Heather Black and Reagan Hicks – are tasked with sustaining what the group has started.

14 Affinity Fall 2022 INSIDE THE GATE


Dr. Monroe received the 2022 Weingarten Leader of Leaders Award at the NSNA national convention, which is presented to an outstanding dean, faculty advisor, or state consultant who demonstrates distinguished support and service to nursing students. Monroe is just the fourth faculty member to receive the award from NSNA.

Cue couldn’t contain her joy over the future of CCNSA. “I am so excited to see what Lindsey and the others are going to accomplish because we are creating this network, this coalition of students that just want to better themselves and their peers and leave a legacy for those behind us.”

Reno says students who are part of their local and state SNA chapters usually end up being better nurses, both for their patients and their employers. “Employers see the students who have been engaged, in particular the ones who have been engaged in leadership,” Reno says. “Those are the kinds of nurses that I want.” –KF

for new graduates to display their Cougar Pride and support for their alma mater. Launched in 2018 by the Columbia College Alumni Association, each set includes a professional padfolio and stylus pen, Class of 2021 alumni t-shirt, window cling and 25-percent off coupon for a future purchase on the CC alumni store. Proceeds benefit CCAA programming. Shop:

Talk with Danielle Geller

Monday, October 10 • Indigenous Peoples Day

Virtual Presentation: Attend in-person or online

“Dog Flowers” is an arresting photo-lingual memoir that masterfully weaves together images and text to examine mothers and mothering, sisters and caretaking and colonized bodies. Author Danielle Geller received her MFA in Creative Writing for Nonfiction at the University of Arizona and a Rona Jaffe Writers’ Award in 2016. Hosted by the Columbia College Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee, this project is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the Missouri State Library, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State. Registration and details are available at

15 Affinity Fall 2022
Join us for a Book


Luncheon brings donors and students together

More than 150 guests – comprised of donors, students, members of the Board of Trustees, college leadership, academic deans, faculty and staff – attended the first Celebration of Philanthropy inside the New Hall Event Center.

Members of the Assistance League of Mid-Missouri present a check to Student Government Association President Melissa Rogge (pictured third from left). For more information on how you can support the Columbia College Fund or any other philanthropic purpose at CC, please visit

time since the pandemic impacted the country, and four of those fund’s stewards were in attendance. Twenty other fund stewards for existing scholarships were all on-site, and students receiving those scholarships were recognized with awards.

» This past spring, the first Celebration of Philanthropy was held to not only recognize those donors who have created scholarships, but also to thank Cornerstone Club, President’s Society and St. Clair Society members.

Scholarship recipients were able to meet their donors and update them on what is going on in their lives, as the conclusion of the Spring semester approached.

Vice President for Advancement

Suzanne Rothwell noted the diverse reasons that donors give to the

college each year; however, in the end, it’s the students who benefit.

“I have the best job in the world, because I have the privilege of sitting down with friends of Columbia College on a regular basis,” Rothwell says. “There is always a story, always a reason that a gift has been made. Whatever the reason, we are privileged to hear them, and we are grateful for the gifts our donors make that directly impact and benefit our students.”

More than 14 new donor-funded scholarships have been created in the

Attendees were able to hear firsthand from students who have been positively impacted from generous donors. Melissa Rogge, who was named CC Student Government Association President for Fall 2022, delivered a tearful and heartfelt speech to the audience, thanking the individuals who have made her time at the college a success.

“I was honored to be able to speak on the many ways that Columbia College has impacted my life,” Rogge says. “I felt lucky to be able to share and feature the many different people who have made my time at CC so special.”

Cornerstone Club members raised an additional $400,000 for the Columbia College Fund, which meets the greatest needs of the college. In all this year, 170 total students received nearly $500,000 in donor-supported scholarships. –AO

16 Affinity Fall 2022 INSIDE THE GATE


The Cornerstone Club recognizes alumni and friends for their leadership-level annual contributions to the Columbia College Fund. These members go above and beyond to help our students achieve their academic goals. Thank you for your support!

2022 Cornerstone Club Members:

Marilyn Abney-Warner ’00 & Ronnie Warner - Madison, AL

Lesley & James Arnold - Fulton, MO

Jan & Wilson Beckett - Columbia, MO

Kenzie ’19 & Drew ’13 Bennett - Columbia, MO

Barbara Bilger ’62 - Dallas, TX

Jake ’05 & Lindsey Black - Columbia, MO

Carrie & Rob Boone - Columbia, MO

Mike ’08 & Caitlin ’10 Campbell - Columbia, MO

Debra Carnahan ’82 - Saint Louis, MO

Lex & Lori Cavanah - Marceline, MO

Linda & Don Claycomb - Linn, MO

Katrina ‘68 & Norm Cochran - Hideaway, TX

Susie Cox ’61 - Lee’s Summit, MO

Judy Cunningham ’64 - Paradise Valley, AZ

Daniel D’Alesio Jr. Esq. - Neptune Beach, FL

Scott ’02 & Lisa ’11 Daugherty - Columbia, MO

Kathy Digges - Columbia, MO

Mary Dorn - Columbia, MO

Mike Durham ’83 - Blue Grass, VA

Nathan ’99 & Cathy ’19 Eatherton - Columbia, MO

Bill ’98 & Lane ’98 Elcan - Washington, MO

Patty & Donald Fischer - Fulton, MO

Polly Ford ’73 - Prairie Village, KS

Mark Foreman - Columbia, MO

Stacey ’93 & Jeff Goodale - Springfield, MO

Linda Gosney - Columbia, MO

Lauren ’13 & Mitch ’13 Gosney - Columbia, MO

Daisy ’66 & Skip Grossnickle - Columbia, MO

Melanie & Darin Hand - Oak Harbor, WA

Phyllis ’57, ‘75 & Jim ’76 Hardin - Columbia, MO

Debra Hartman - Crystal Lake, IL

Angie Hilbert ’69 - Marthasville, MO

Aimee Hilliard ’62 - Oak Park, IL

Jackie & Sam Hinton - Columbia, MO

Marilyn ’70 & B.W. Hoecker - Columbia, MO

George Hulett ’19 - Columbia, MO

June Hurdle ’83 - Broussard, LA

Tim Ireland & Ed Hanson - Columbia, MO

Debra & Cliff Jarvis - Columbia, MO

Sally ’66 & Stephen Jennings - Des Moines, IA

Greg Johnston ’91 & Patricia Churchill - Jefferson City, MO

Joe ’20 & Starla Landers - Columbia, MO

Bob ’73 & Susan Lang - North Las Vegas, NV

Bill ’04 & Emma Leeper - Fernandina Beach, FL

Trina & Bryan Liebhart - Columbia, MO

Jane Blackman Lossing ’64 & John Lossing - Annapolis, MD

Marcia ’96 & David Machens - Mission Hills, KS

Julia Marsden ’59 - Austin, TX

Joy Masterson ‘65 - Indianapolis, IN

Beth & Blake McWilliams - Columbia, MO

Julie ’12 & Nathan Miller - Columbia, MO

Nancy Miller ’57 - Overland Park, KS

Missy Montgomery ’06 & Joe Carberry - Columbia, MO

Josh ’99 & Ann Muder - Olathe, KS

John ’88 & Lorrie Ney - Columbia, MO

Joe ’79 & Judy Nicchetta - Glenview, IL

Norma ’78 & Ivan Nyberg - Ozark, MO

Jane Pickens - Waukegan, IL

Penny Pitman ’65 & Sherri Javdes - Marthasville, MO

Tyler ’04 & Carolyn Preul - Columbia, MO

Mike ‘14 & Carole Randerson - Columbia, MO

Joe ’93 & Kim Reardon - Columbia, MO

Jared ’16 & Miranda Reichel - Columbia, MO

Linda Ridgeway ’63 - Columbia, MO

Cheryl Ritchie ’78 - Sturgeon, MO

Jim ’93 & Suzanne Rothwell - Columbia, MO

Jeannie Rulo ’18 & Jerry Shannon - Centertown, MO

David & Lee Russell - Columbia, MO

Don Ruthenberg ’95 - Columbia, MO

Jolene ’61 & Bill Schulz - Columbia, MO

Bill ’09 & Rachelle Seibert - Jefferson City, MO

Bryan Shurn ’19 - Vienna, VA

Jeannie Simmons ’02 - Fort Worth, TX

Dale ’65 & James Simons - Driftwood, TX

Elizabeth Smallfelt ’56 - La Jolla, CA

Eileen Sullivan-Marx - New York, NY

Sarah ’96 & Jason Swindle - Columbia, MO

Corbin ’12 & Lauren Umstattd - Kansas City, MO

Rob ’87 & Gail Walker - Aurora, CO

Dixie Williams - Columbia, MO

Carla & Matt Williams - Columbia, MO

Carol ’93 & Darrell Winkler - Columbia, MO

To join or renew your membership, visit or contact the Office of Development at (573) 875-7492.




» For the fifth-straight year, the Columbia College Athletics Department has won the American Midwest Conference (AMC) Presidents’ Cup.

“I am thrilled for our players, coaches, and our entire campus community,” says Director of Athletics James Arnold. “Winning the Presidents’ Cup is a massive honor as it accurately reflects excellence across all sports and speaks to the hard work and depth of talent of everyone in our department.”

The Presidents’ Cup is awarded to the institution accumulating the most points, determined by final regular-season standings or the final results from the AMC Championship in the 16 conference championship sports.

“To win it for the fifth straight year perfectly demonstrates the commitment to continued success from our administration and all Columbia College stakeholders” Arnold says. “It truly takes our entire campus to sustain our success.”

With the win, the Cougars have now tied William Woods for the most AMC President’s Cup among active schools. Former-AMC member McKendree (Ill.) leads all schools with 10 from 2001-2011. –SB

The Cougars claimed a top-3 finish in every AMC Championship sport* for the 2021-22 season.

First Place

Women’s Cross Country Women’s Golf Women’s Indoor Track & Field Women’s Soccer Softball Men’s Outdoor Track & Field Women’s Outdoor Track & Field

Second Place Baseball Men’s Basketball Women’s Basketball Men’s Golf Men’s Indoor Track & Field Men’s Soccer Volleyball

Third Place Men’s Cross Country

*The Cougars do not compete in wrestling.

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Columbia College Athletics has named Devin Griffin ‘14, Jamie Holmes ‘14 and the 2003 Men’s Soccer Team to the 20th Hall of Fame induction class. “The induction is such a joyous occasion and is one of the highlights of Homecoming week,” says Drew Grzella ’01, associate director of Athletics. “The opportunity for our Cougar community to gather and celebrate our past stars is something we don’t take for granted.” The induction ceremony will take place on Thursday, October 6, in the New Hall Event Center.


» Devin Griffin is one of the most dynamic players in the history of Columbia College men’s basketball. During his four-year career, Griffin was named All-Conference three times and was twice named an NAIA All-American. He was a key component of the 2012-13 team that won 35 consecutive games, ranked No. 1 in the country for eight straight weeks and advanced to the NAIA National Tournament Quarterfinals.

Since graduating, Griffin has maintained a career on the court. He owns Ham Fam Training in Columbia, Missouri. The name carries multiple meanings: HAM stands for “hustle and muscle,” and FAM emphasizes the family bond among basketball players. Griffin partners with youth teams and aspiring professionals across the state to lead skills trainings, camps and clinics and to assist players in identifying scholarships and professional basketball contracts.


» Jamie Holmes arrived at Columbia College after a two-year career at Crowder College in Neosho, Missouri. Although her first season with the Cougars softball team was cut short due to a shoulder injury, she led the Cougars in nearly every offensive category, was named First Team All-Conference and 2013 AMC Newcomer of the Year. She was named Second Team All-Region and was celebrated as an NAIA Scholar-Athlete. Holmes improved during her senior campaign and guided the Cougars back to the NAIA National Tournament. Following the 2014 season, Jamie was named First Team All-Conference and AMC Player of the Year.

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in Sports Management, Holmes served as graduate assistant for the Cougars softball team from 2014 to 2016 while completing a Master of Arts in Teaching. Today, she lives in Springfield, Missouri, where she works for Springfield Public Schools and is an assistant coach at Glendale High School.

20 Affinity Fall 2022 INSIDE THE GATE
JAMIE HOLMES ’14 ’16 |


» All great things have a starting point, a moment when the challenging and insurmountable becomes commonplace. The 2003 season was that starting point for the Cougars men’s soccer program to gain traction on the national stage. Led by third-year Head Coach John Klein and Assistant Coach Kevin Roderique, the Cougars finished the regular season with a 14-5 overall record and advanced to the NAIA National Tournament – the first time in program history.

The team lost its first game of the season but came back to win 10 of the next 11 games. They defeated 12th-ranked Hastings, 15th-ranked Grand View and 24th-ranked Baker during that stretch. Holding nine of their 21 opponents scoreless on the season, the Cougars claimed the AMC regularseason title and finished as the Region V runner-up.

Four players placed on the AMC All-Conference list, including Player of the Year Juan Pablo Irrera and Freshman of the Year Stephen McMullen, and Klein was named AMC Coach of the Year. Ten players were named Academic All-Conference for their work in the classroom.

Because of their finish during the regional tournament and their challenging regular-season schedule, the Cougars earned an at-large bid to the NAIA National Tournament. Although the season ended in overtime at the hands of the defending national champions in the Round of 16, the Cougars continued to stockpile honors. Juan Pablo Irrera was recognized as a Second Team All-American, and Vladimir Roganovic was named Third Team AllAmerican. Stephen McMullen and Steve Williams were awarded honorable mention, while Morten Crosby and Ryan Lynch were tabbed NAIA ScholarAthletes. –SB

21 Affinity Fall 2022 #1 Nano Recondo #2 Jeff Brodie #3 Jared Cross #4 Matt Mueller #5 Ben Boehner #6 Mark Wilcox #7 Juan Pagoada #8 Vladimir Roganovic #9 Gustavo Lopez-Cesarego #10 Juan Pablo Irrera #11 Stephen McMullen #12 Ryan Lynch #14 Morten Crosby #16 Kyle Burns #17 Steven Reineke #19 Chris White #20 Ivan Navarette #21 Ivan Radenkovic #23 Micah Bolton #24 Sasha McMillin #30 Steve Williams


Justdays after Columbia College’s Spring Commencement, 12 students and two faculty members made the trek to Europe for an unforgettable 10-day trip. In conjunction with Assistant Professor of Psychology Dr. Blake Nielsen’s “Psychology of the Holocaust” class, the students were able to get a first-hand look at some of the most historically significant sites of World War II. While the Holocaust was a primary focus of the trip, attendees were also able to enjoy the beauty of the continent during stops in Munich, Nuremberg, Prague, Dresden and Berlin.

Following a lengthy travel day, the CC crew officially arrived in Munich on May 3. It took only two days into the trip for one of the most memorable stops, as they visited the concentration camp at Dachau. It was the first built by Nazis in 1933, and today offers visitors

both the beauty of its natural surroundings, and the piercing imagery of the buildings that once housed prisoners of the camp.

“There were individuals in our group on the verge of crying as we walked through gas chambers and incinerators where so much travesty occurred,” Dr. Nielsen says. “It was obviously so tough to handle that, but it was a very powerful moment to experience. Students could physically touch and experience a documented point in World War II and our world’s history.”

With the heavy subject matter of the Holocaust as the focus at several stops, it was also important for the group to enjoy more lighthearted and traditional tourist activities. From May 6-8, the Cougar crew planted their roots in Prague, Czechia. As the consensus highlight of the trip, the group toured beautiful historical sites such as the Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral and the Charles Bridge.

“It felt like you were literally walking in a painting the entire time,” Dr. Nielsen recalls.

One of the 12 students in attendance, Kaylee Hance, had just received her bachelor’s in psychology before departing to Europe. The ability to conclude her tenure as a student at the college in such grand fashion was something she’ll cherish for a lifetime.

Above: After a delicious dinner, the CC Abroad students stopped for a picture in front of the Brandenberg Gate before heading to the hotel to prepare for a full day in Berlin.

Right: The CC crew took Scootergraphs throughout their European travels. Sight-seeing included historic sites, such as the Konzerthaus concert hall on Berlin’s Gendarmenmarket Square. A local Berlin tour guide took the group through the city as they discussed the rise and fall of the Nazi party.

Through the college’s Education Abroad program, students like Hance earn invaluable experiences while learning about different cultures across the globe.

“I would say that it’s absolutely worth the money to participate in the program,” Hance says. “I was on the fence a bit because of the cost before ultimately committing, but I’m so glad that I went. The trip was such a great blend of history, psychology and sociology.”

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Dr. Michael Stanley’s broad life experiences have made him one of the college’s most respected instructors in Jacksonville.

Over the course of his life, Dr. Michael Stanley served his country in the Air Force for 23 years, spent several years driving semi-trucks, and for the last 14 years, has served as an adjunct instructor for Columbia College’s locations in Jacksonville, Florida. If experience is the best teacher, you can easily understand why Dr. Stanley is one of the most respected ones around.

“Dr. Stanley has a unique ability to build a rapport with all students, especially teaching our nontraditional learners,” says Michelle Silva, an academic advisor at the college’s Metro Jacksonville location. That ability stems from his vast life experience.


» Stanley came of age at the height of the Vietnam War and wasn’t interested in being drafted. After graduating high school and taking three semesters at Southern Illinois University, he enlisted in the Air Force. Stanley spent a year in Southeast Asia and eventually served two tours at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia and another at Davis Monthan in Arizona. Stanley started as a mechanic on construction equipment before deciding he was tired of knocking his knuckles around, so he was retrained for manpower management – what civilians would call workforce development or human resources.

Soon after the switch, Stanley earned his bachelor’s degree and entered Officer Training School. Following his commission, he was stationed in the Air Force’s contract management division in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Subsequent assignments sent Stanley and his wife, Florence, to Spain, England, and finally, Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, where he retired as a captain in 1991.

Over the course of his career, Stanley became a member of the Society for Human Resource Management. He even served on its board of directors and qualified to become a workforce management instructor. To continue his education and progress his career, he earned a master’s degree in public administration during his assignment in England.

It also opened a door that Stanley wouldn’t walk through for several years.


» Upon his retirement from the Air Force, the Stanleys moved near Florence’s family in Northern Indiana. Michael held several management jobs but eventually tired of being a supervisor. He discovered that civilians are entirely different from those in the military, and he got burned out with the civilian world.

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So he pivoted careers, earned his Class A commercial driver’s license, and made local semi deliveries for about 13 years. “I didn’t like being on the road away from my wife, so I was able to find a local job and work with some great people,” he says.

During that time, the Stanleys spent time in Florida visiting their son, Gregory, stationed at Patrick Air Force Base, and Florence’s brother in Jacksonville. They enjoyed the area so much that they eventually built a house and moved to Jacksonville in 2006.

After the move, Michael found a job driving a truck for the local Budweiser plant but wanted a change. Knowing his previous background, his sister-in-law suggested teaching. “I researched it and realized that I wanted to do it,” he says. “But if I’m going to do it, I want to do it at the highest level, so I went for my Ph.D.”


» While he was working toward his degree, someone in the area familiar with Columbia College’s civilian and military locations in Jacksonville suggested he teach there, so Stanley met with then-Director Gary Hall about a position. In 2008, Hall hired Stanley to teach some introductory courses. “We sort of went from there. I’ve taught at other schools in the area, but CC gave me my break.”

He initially taught at both of the college’s Jacksonvillearea locations before teaching solely at the metro civilian site. Once he received his doctorate, Stanley began teaching classes for the college’s human resources degree programs. His favorite class is Organizational Behavior, which integrates sociology, psychology, and several other disciplines.

“I love to get the students talking about some of the incidents they’ve had, and talking about different theories of leadership that are involved in understanding how people fit into organizations,” he says. “Getting students to bring their experiences to the table helps them learn from each other.”

Stanley’s military experience has proven invaluable in his teaching, as most of his students are militaryaffiliated. “Folks with military experience, especially those who have retired or are about to retire, have experienced all sorts of different things throughout their careers,” he says, “so they’re a little more receptive to sharing and learning from others’ experiences.”

One of the biggest things Stanley has learned over time is that each student has a different way of learning. “Even though I have to meet the needs of the majority, I also have to adapt to help each student individually,” he says.

Although he had to teach virtually during the pandemic, he received word in early June that his Late Summersession course in Jacksonville would return to in-seat instruction. “I love the face-to-face interaction with my students. I love that moment when you’re trying to explain a theory or a concept, and their eyes light up, ‘I got it,’” he says. “I love that feeling, that you got something across to them.”

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26 Affinity Winter 2021-22 CONNECTIONS


Young alumnae forge a powerful bond during their time at CC

» Have you ever thought back to your time at Columbia College and wondered how your various interactions during your time at CC sent you down your current path?

That path, and the ways it meandered, was undoubtedly different for each of us; for some, it was the roommate you met on move-in day; for others, it was bonding over memorable experiences – both cherished and less-than-stellar – in the classroom or the hallways of the dorm.

Several members of the Class of 2022 had those college experiences upended by the pandemic. While the adversity was universal, its impact was as varied as the makeup of the student

body, as were students’ reactions to it. Some handled all of it better than others. Emma Chedwick ’22 and Taylor Hostens ’22 leaned into the disruption and ended up flourishing.


Hostens hails from Galesburg, Illinois, a town that serves Amtrak passengers headed to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago. She found out about Columbia College through a college fair at Bradley University. Chedwick grew up in Mexico, Missouri, in a CC household; she recalls her mother, Sherri ’03, driving to Columbia three times a week for classes when she was younger.

Pictured: Taylor Hostens ’22 (left) and Emma Chedwick ’22

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Hostens and Chedwick first met in January 2018 at Columbia College’s Scholarship Day event, where incoming high-school seniors interview and compete for full-ride Presidential scholarships to the college. “We sat next to each other after the essay portion and talked to each other a little bit, and we both went home and told our parents about each other,” Taylor recalls. “We’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, we really liked each other; we’re going to be friends!’”

While true, it took more than a year for that friendship to sprout. Hostens was assigned to Miller Hall and Chedwick to Hughes for their freshman year. As is often the case, they instantly found strong relationships among those they lived closest to.

Part of the strength of those relationships stems from the college’s programs for first-year students, especially within the Day Program. Among those are the college’s Foundations class and First-Year Mentors program, where a veteran student and a faculty member assist small groups of new students.

The two weren’t completely isolated from each other, however, as they were enrolled in the honors section of a Foundations class. “We sat across the room from each other, and we didn’t talk all of freshman year, but we were watching each other from afar,” Hostens says. Their experience with their first-year mentor, Abby McCracken ’20, helped pave the way for their desire to pay it forward. “I remember Abby saying not to worry about taking changes and becoming involved, because college is where a lot of people find themselves,” says Hostens,

who became a first-year mentor herself during the second semester of her freshman year. “I found a deep love for it. It’s a great opportunity to make connections.”

First-year mentors facilitate connections for first-year students and help them blossom into who they want to be. They also assist their faculty member with facilitating the Foundations course, which helps new students learn how to be a college student.

Both were also diving headlong into their studies, each earning positions on the college’s dean’s list. Chedwick earned degrees in accounting and business administration with minors in finance and management, as well as a criminal justice administration degree with a minor in legal studies, while Hostens earned dual degrees in forensic science and biology, plus a minor in chemistry. It’s no surprise that the duo made impressions on their instructors.

“From the day I met her, I knew (Emma) was something special,” says Dr. Ken Akers, assistant professor of Business Administration. “As we went along, I just came to respect her so much. She’s intellectually curious, has a great sense of humor, and constantly asks great questions that are grounded in reality. I can’t say enough about her.”

The best friends moved in to Cougar Village, student apartments located next to main campus, and were roommates for their junior and senior years.

After beginning their college lives in different dorms, Chedwick and Hostens started to see their paths converge closer. Both were assigned to a new home, the sparkling New Hall that opened in the Fall of 2019, for their sophomore year. They were both placed on the fourth floor, two doors down from each other.

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Taylor Hostens ’22 (left) and Emma Chedwick ’22 celebrate Chedwick’s coronation during the 2021 homecoming festivities.


Toward the end of their sophomore year – nearly halfway through their college experience – Chedwick, Hostens, and the rest of the CC community joined the world in having their lives upended by the pandemic.

“It’s awkward to become such good friends with someone right before COVID happened,” Chedwick says. “We were talking every single day, and then one day, we all had to move out and she’s now four hours away.”

All-night conversations in the hallway turned into four-inch flatscreen video sessions via FaceTime or Snapchat. The lack of personal interaction took its toll on a segment of the population designed for interpersonal connection.

“Before COVID, our friend group was probably 10-12 people. Once things were shut down, everyone went their separate ways, and people just kind of stopped putting in the

effort,” Emma says. “It wasn’t just them; I know I did, too.”

Yet the pandemic wasn’t going to keep the pair from making lemonade out of the lemons they were given.


Like Hostens, Chedwick was also a first-year mentor. She had also become part of the leadership of Student Ambassadors. “You do it your first year because you want to try something new,” Emma says, “and then you realize how well you connect with the students, with the staff, with the faculty, and it makes you want to come back.”

Michelle Tharenos, who helps bridge the gap between prospective and currently enrolled students as CC’s coordinator of involvement and traditions, always appreciated Emma and Taylor’s desire to improve things on campus. “What I enjoyed most about them was their passion for

the student experience,” she says. “I just appreciated their love for what we do and their understanding that it makes a difference.”

Although the pandemic had ended their sophomore years prematurely, plans still had to continue for the following year. Hostens’s roommate moved off campus, so Emma and Taylor decided to room together in Cougar Village for their junior year, with classes conducted in a hybrid format that allowed for instruction in person or via Zoom.

By that time, the two were nearly inseparable, aside from their classes. “We were always together,” Hostens says. “If there ever were a time that one of us was somewhere without the other, they’d always ask, ‘Where’s Emma?’ or ‘Where’s Taylor?’”


Hostens was the first to join the “real world,” quickly securing a position as a research technician with Elemental Enzymes, an agricultural biotech firm incubated at the University of Missouri and now headquartered in St. Louis. Now that she’s left CC, Hostens continues to take younger employees under her wing, helping the current crop of summer interns at Elemental Enzymes learn the ropes.

29 Affinity Winter 2021-22
“We’ve been in the thick of it together.”
– Taylor Hostens ’22
Graduating members of the Honors Program were recognized for their commitment to academic excellence. This program allows high-performing students to discover intellectual curiosities and engage in community service.

To The Class Of 2022

In a commencement speech to her classmates, Emma Chedwick ’22 (pictured left) invited the crowd to raise their hand if they’ve ever failed a paper, test or class. Listening from the stage, CC President Dr. David Russell and Dr. Terry Smith, professor of Political Science and director of the Honors Program, both gestured in confirmation.

Chedwick, a dual-major in Accounting & Business Administration and Criminal Justice Administraion, shared the three main lessons she’s learned in her time at CC.

1. Failure genuinely does not matter in the long run, noting the 30-percent grade she received on her first in-class quiz as a college student, causing her to question if she was college material.

2. Always ask a question when in doubt.

3. Be a human. It’s not about the simple biology of existing but being empathetic, knowledgeable and beneficient to others.

In his remarks, Dr. Russell offered additional encouragement that, given their experience at CC, they are now ready to lead.

“Wherever you go from here, there will be people around you who need you,” he said. “When that time comes, I know that you, too, will not hesitate to step forward and do your part.”

She credits Dr. Kent Strodtman, associate professor of biology, for fostering her interest in microbiology and influencing her to go down her current path. “He goes above and beyond to make students feel like they’re going to have success,” she says.

Strodtman was equally proud of Hostens. “Taylor worked well with all students in my courses and was a guide for younger students. She embodies the ideals of being a lifelong learner,” he says.

Chedwick had an outstanding April, winning seemingly every award there is to earn at the college. Among them is the Elizabeth Award, established in 2018 by Vice Chair Helen “Dale” Coe Simons ‘65 and her family. This award recognizes a female senior who has shown dedication to Columbia College throughout her four years, and the Rogers Gate Award, the highest honor

30 Affinity Fall 2022

awarded to a graduating senior by the Division of Student Affairs. The award is presented to students who have distinguished themselves as outstanding CC citizens throughout their collegiate careers.

Chedwick also gave the student address for the morning ceremony during the college’s Spring commencement exercises. One anecdote she shared during the speech involved her unique relationships with her classmates, faculty, and staff during her time at CC and how those connections extended to her professors’ spouses. “I knew she was applying for law schools, so I’d always update my wife (as we’d receive news from Emma),” Akers says. “When she got in, it was a celebration.” Chedwick begins classes this fall at the University of Missouri School of Law. Her current interest is corporate tax law.

But above all the accolades, the pair is proudest of each other. “We’ve been in the thick of it together,” Hostens says. “I got to be there right with her when she won all those awards, when she got her LSAT score, and when she got into law school. She was one of the first people that heard about my job after my mom and my boyfriend. We’re soulmates.”

Tharenos recalls their winding four years at CC with a sense of awe, noting that they didn’t spend much time together as freshmen, the social aspects of their junior year were almost entirely wiped out, and their senior year was spent trying to emerge from the pandemic. “They never quit wanting a good student experience for others,” she says. “We all got tired, but they never stopped. They not only didn’t quit caring, but they kept going.”

More than 400 graduates participated in the spring commencement ceremonies at main campus, joining ranks with more than 97,000 alumni living around the world.

illustrator san dream i

come true

Jim Paillot ’82 remembers the moment back in kindergarten that he knew he wanted to be an artist. “The kid next to me, Arthur, was really good at drawing, and all the kids were crowding around him watching,” he says. “I thought that would be really cool to do. Of course, I also wanted to be Tarzan, but that job was already taken.”

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33 Affinity Fall 2022

Paillot’s path to an art career started at Columbia College. He knew he wanted to major in art, but he didn’t know exactly what that would entail.

“I wasn’t exactly sure what kind of artist to be,” he says. “I knew I didn’t want to be the stereotypical starving artist with a pencil-thin mustache. I wanted to make a living.”

Back in high school, when he and his family were living in Louisiana, he met with a Columbia College representative. He was offered a scholarship to attend the Day Program, so he moved to Missouri and enrolled as an art major.

“I fell into the right spot,” Paillot says. “It was a gift to be there. I got a lot of great guidance from teachers who were also mentors, including Sid Larson and John Lynch. They helped us to open doors and experiment with our artwork. They were a daily source of knowledge of how to get better.”

Since then, Paillot has illustrated more than 100 children’s books, including the “My Weird School” series, written by Dan Gutman. He also creates artwork in many various forms, such as puzzles, board games, magazines, museum design and murals.

He also met a group of artistically talented friends who were able to help push each other in their creative pursuits.

“I have great memories of sneaking into the art center, working late and just having this great fellowship with the group,” he says. “We all challenged each other to do the best that we could.”

After college, Paillot worked at Hallmark for a year as an artist before moving into advertising. While learning about

For more than 20 years, illustrator Jim Paillot ’82 has brought author Dan Gutman’s loveably weird characters’ to life. The first book in the “My Weird School” series was published in 2004, introducing young readers to the students at Ella Mentry School.

photography and print design, he also had a chance to have lunch with one of his heroes—Maurice Sendak, author and illustrator of “Where the Wild Things Are.”

“He was doing something with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and I was designing the posters and got to meet with him,” Paillot says. “I was just starstruck. He was so nice in keeping the conversation going while I was tongue-tied. In every way, he was just an amazing, talented, cool dude.”

Paillot knew he wanted follow Sendak’s footsteps in doing illustrations for children’s books. As a freelancer, he was illustrating for newspapers like the Wall Street Journal and Boston Globe. Soon, he began doing work for the kids’ market, drawing for puzzles and games as well as several kids’ books.

In 2001, around the time he moved to Arizona, he got the call to work on the “My Weird School” series. It’s a job that’s lasted more than 20 years and is still ongoing. Paillot and author Dan Gutman have worked on more than 75 books together. The pair’s most recent collaboration, “Mrs. Stoker Is a Joker!,” was released this summer.

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“It’s been an illustrator’s dream come true,” Paillot says. “With all the books we’ve done, I’ve loved having such steady work while also getting to work on my own time.”

For Paillot, the creative process often starts with reading. When a book comes in for him to illustrate, he reads through it twice. The first time is for fun and the second time is to make notes and decide what parts should be illustrated. He sits at a drawing table in his studio with paper, pencil and a coffee.

“I like working in my studio with a big window where I can snoop on neighbors and see what’s going on in the real world,” he says. “But it doesn’t have to be an ideal environment. When I give talks at schools, I always say you can be creative wherever you are, as long as you have paper and pencil.”

With the “My Weird School” books, Paillot usually draws about 30 scenes. Then he scans and sends them to the publisher. “They’ll say, ‘We love it,’ or ‘Make this person bigger,’ or ‘Put a hat on this guy,’” he says.

The more people who have seen his work, the more phone calls he’s gotten. Over the past 20 years, he’s worked on illustrations with clients like Nickelodeon and Coca-Cola. He also worked with Disney Imagineering to create artwork for Port Discovery Children’s Museum in Baltimore.

“It took me a few years to find my own style of drawing that would be a marketable look as well,” he says. “Of course, it’s fun to draw what I want. But it’s important as a business to do artwork that makes clients happy as well.”

Paillot says he helps keep his creative juices flowing by drawing art for himself in his spare time. His favorite part about being an illustrator is creating things people haven’t seen before.

“There’s often a lot of repetition in art for kids’ books,” he says. “I try to change things up to entertain the reader as well as myself. I like the process of pushing myself to become a better artist.”

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“You can be creative wherever you are, as long as you have paper and pencil.”
— Jim Paillot ’82


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.

Dear fellow alumni,

I hope all is well with you and that you are enjoying the “return to normalcy” we are all trying to achieve. Our beloved alma mater has been working toward those same goals.

One of these goals was achieved with return of our in-person graduation hosted on main campus at the end of April. As the Advisory Council chairperson, I was honored to provide the alumni charge at both the morning and afternoon graduation ceremonies. What a joy it was to welcome the Class of 2022 as the newest members of this special group, the Columbia College Alumni Association. They were equally joyful and let out yells of happiness and pride to be welcomed and make the transition from students to alumni.

These celebrations will continue through November with commencement ceremonies taking place at many of our Columbia College Global locations, and CCAA volunteers will have the opportunity to share the same alumni charge with graduates in their communities.

This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the Federal Pell Grant program that helped many of us make college a reality. I know without the help of federal funding and other forms of student aid, I would not have obtained my goals in higher education and would have missed my chance to be in this alumni group with you.

Student aid like the Pell Grant and CC scholarships changes lives. Think about that. Maybe you also received financial support, or that aid helped a classmate who is still among your closest friends. Our lives are forever changed through the shared experiences and fellow scholars who make ours a diverse and accomplished student body.

As we celebrate 50 years of higher education funding, I invite you to help to make someone else’s dream coming true at If this is your first gift to the college or an annual donation, thank you. Your support will ripple throughout the lives of our future alumni.

I proudly say, “We are CC!”

Columbia College Alumni Association Advisory Council:


Debra Carnahan ’82 Day Program


Courtney Steelman ’11 Day Program


Joshua Muder ’99 Day Program


Rebecca Brietzke ’13 Evening Program

Mike Campbell ’08 Day Program

Julia Collins ’14 Day Program

Luana Fields ’10 Day Program

Stacey Goodale ’93 Day Program

Whitney Jones ’16 ’20 St. Louis & Online Program

Nikki McGruder ’00 Day Program

John Ney ’88 Day Program

Joe Nicchetta ’79 Day Program

Jared Reichel ’16 Day Program

Jeannie M. Rulo ’00 ’18 Online Program

Corbin Umstattd ’12 Day & Online Programs

Liz Weise ’11 ’14 ’18 Day & Evening Programs


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

36 Affinity Fall 2022 MY CCAA
Debra Carnahan ’82 |


Julia Collins ’14 is managing partner of Truss and Accomplice at Lincoln Labs. She studied Computer Science and Mathematics at Columbia College, where she learned from and was supported by the tireless educator-turned-mentor, Dr. Yihsiang Liow. Collins ran cross country, indoor track and outdoor track and spent all of her other time in either Dr. Liow’s office or the Stafford Library working through programming challenges. Collins lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with her husband, Jake.

Luana Fields ’10 earned her bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design and was a standout four-year member of the Cougar volleyball team. The Cougars reached the NAIA National Championship Match in her first year on the squad, and Fields was named to the Columbia College Athletics Hall of Fame in 2015. She is as a commercial loan officer at Hawthorn Bank in Columbia, Missouri, and also co-owner of Cracked Up Mobile alongside her husband, Mikel Fields ’08, a former CC men’s basketball player. The couple has two children, Olivia and Nina.

John Ney ’88 is a principal consultant with Collaborative Solutions/Cognizant, a global consulting firm. He specializes in integrating Workday software with other systems as a member of implementation teams working on global projects. John earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with emphasis in Accounting and Computer Information Systems. John is a member of the college’s Cornerstone Club and resides outside of Columbia, Missouri, with his wife, Lorrie, and their miniature schnauzers. They have a grown son who resides in Texas.

The CCAA Advisory Council is the leadership group of the Alumni Association and is made up of alumni volunteers who are committed to the success of the college. The advice given by this group is integral to the mission of CCAA, which is to foster lasting relationships with students, alumni and friends worldwide. CCAA Advisory Council applications received by June 1, 2023, will be considered for a three-year term beginning July 1, 2023.


Spread the Word

Having personally benefited from the faculty and staff committed to your success, alumni are the best possible ambassadors for the college. Now is your chance to invite another motivated and passionate student to Columbia College. Make a connection at

37 Affinity Fall 2022
 Show your Cougar Pride by requesting an alumni lapel pin, window cling or Scootergraph  Submit a nomination to the Alumni Awards  Access continued studies through the Lifelong Learning Grant  Refer a student to attend Columbia College  Support the next generation of students with an annual gift to support scholarships and programming  Shop apparel, gifts and accessories on the CC alumni store


The CCAA Advisory Council awarded 10 students scholarships totaling $9,000 for the 2022-23 academic year. The CCAA Scholars Program received nearly 200 applications from students across the nation who showcased academic merit and notable affinity for Columbia College.

Carolann Dunn

Crystal Lake Woodstock, Illinois

Major: Business Administration in Management

Julie Lide

Rolla Rolla, Missouri

Major: Accounting

Andrew Schwarting Day Program

Jackson, Missouri

Major: Business Administration and Marketing

Keyon Coleman Online Program Charlotte, North Carolina

Major: Business Administration

Cliff Stamper Rolla Salem, Missouri

Major: Cyber Security

Britni Hill Online Program

San Antonio, Texas

Major: Master of Arts in Teaching

Nida Taha Online Program

West Valley City, Utah

Major: Business, Innovations and Entrepreurship

Chad Davis Springfield Brookline, Missouri

Major: Business, Organizational Leadership

Jamaica Scott Evening Program Columbia, Missouri

Major: Criminal Justice

Deana Opp Rolla Rolla, Missouri

Major: Accounting

38 Affinity Fall 2022 MY CCAA

My plan moving forward is to pursue entrepreneurship 100% and use all of the knowledge gained to implement and bring about a better business structure that will eventually be perfected to create a chain of businesses that I can proudly call my own.” – Keyon Coleman

Upcoming Events

CC Homecoming Saturday, October 8

Find the CCAA Hospitality Tent during Festivities on the Quad, including live music, caricature artists, face painting, pumpkin decorating, a tailgate BBQ and more! All activities are free for alumni, families and friends.

CCAA Social: Kansas City Thursday, November 3

Join us in Boulevard Brewing Co.’s tasting room for the 7th annual Kansas City area gathering.

Christian College Kansas City Alumnae Luncheon Friday, November 4 Alumnae who attended CC prior to 1970 are invited to this annual Christian College reunion.

Veterans Week November 7 - 11

I have now been a stayat-home mom for over 30 years, homeschooling and raising seven children.

Once my older children started college, they kept telling me that they thought I would like it. They were right.”

– Deana Opp

Activities include tours of the Brig. Gen. Charles E. McGee ’78 House – home of the Ousley Family Veterans Service Center, flag raising ceremony, national moment of silence and military service treelighting ceremony. U.S. flags and yellow ribbons line Bass Commons and the Quad for this annual recognition of military veterans.

CCAA Holiday Party Thursday, December 8

’Tis the season! Join fellow graduates, faculty members and college leadership to kick off the holiday season.


39 Affinity Fall 2022
‘ ‘ ‘ ‘

Photo Gallery

More than 350 alumni and friends participated in the CCAA Summer of Fun events across Missouri. »


40 Affinity Fall 2022 MY CCAA ALUMNI EVENTS



41 Affinity Fall 2022

In the News


Sharon Sullivan ’67 celebrated 40 years as an Ursuline Sister. Most of her ministry has been at Brescia College/University. She served as director of residential life (1984-87), professor of education and special education (1987-90, 19932009, 2017-present), chairwoman of the Social and Behavioral Studies Division (19992004), chairwoman of the School of Education (2004-2007) and coordinator of special education (1999-2007, 2017-present). She was academic dean and vice president for Academic Affairs (2007-2010). From 2010-16, Sister Sharon served as the congregational leader for the Ursuline Sisters. She resides in Maple Mount, Kentucky.


Dr. Evelyn Jorgenson ’76 has retired as president of Northwest Arkansas Community

Personal and Professional Updates by Class Year, submitted January – August 2022

College. Jorgenson worked in higher and adult education for 48 years, including 25 years as president of community colleges in Missouri and Arkansas. She received the CCAA Professional Achievement Award in 2003.

Gary Fields ’77 was recognized as a Golden Graduate from the Class of 1972 at Ranken Technical College. He retired in 2006 as chief master sergeant of the Air Force Reserve.


Deanna Sherman ’86 has joined Powers Insurance & Risk Management as an account manager.

Dr. Debra Thrower ’88 is an assistant professor of Social Work at St. Leo University. Thrower moved to Tampa, Florida, after completing an associate degree at Columbia College, a starting point for a 25-year career in the social work field and higher education. In 2021, she received the Social Work Educator of the Year Award by the National Association of Social Workers - FloridaTampa Bay Unit.


Cami Travis-Groves ’91 is a transformational coach and national speaker based in Kansas City. With 30+ years of professional graphic design and creative experience, she offers one-on-one and group coaching, book publishing, a podcast and more through her website

previous government service as a senior federal agent.

Kathy Baker ’99 has been promoted to director of Human Resources for the City of Columbia (Missouri).


Billy Bogue ’01 was promoted to vice president of Sales and Marketing for Matsuura USA, located in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Col. Gary R. Charlton ’95 is commander of the 105th Airlift Wing of the New York Air National Guard. A veteran with seven combat deployments, Charlton has piloted more than 3,200 flight hours.

Dr. Alexander J. Buelna ’97 was promoted to deputy associate commissioner for Community Enforcement, Regulatory Services Division with Texas Health and Human Services. He is a retired Chief Warrant Officer Four of the United States Army, as well as

Major Michael Tuner ’00, a member of the Missouri Highway Patrol since 1996, has been promoted to bureau commander for Field Operations.

Joe Jackson ‘01 received the 2021 Meritorious Award in the Area of Court Services by the Virginia Juvenile Justice Association Services. Jackson is a Court Service Unit Director for the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice’s Williamsburg Court Service Unit.

CLASS NOTES 42 Affinity Fall 2022

Tia Casady ’04 ’11 is the director of Fitness, Aquatics & Recreation for the Sawgrass Country Club in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

Mauj Price ’04 released her first book “Believing for More: Infinite Possibilities Await You” in 2021. Price is an information technology manager, veteran and project management professional.

Tina Fonville-Woods ’08 has been named principal of Derby Ridge Elementary in Columbia, Missouri.


Andrew Johnson ’06 ’11 has been named chief of police in Hanover Park, Illinois.

Anne Tegerdine ’08 was named director of conference and events for the Missouri School Board Association. She resides in Columbia, Missouri.

Brian Wylie ’08 was promoted to vice president and chief growth officer for Avion Solutions based in Huntsville, Alabama. Following a 20-year career with the U.S. Navy and completing his degree from CC’s location at NAS Jacksonville, Wylie joined the company in 2009.

Blair Barfuss ’09 has been named chief of police at Utah State University. Barfuss attended the FBI National Academy and is cross deputized as an FBI federal agent. He received a First Responder Award in 2021 for his work at former employer, Dixie State, where he was responsible for the school becoming the first agency in the state to be ABLE certified and helped train other local officers.

Stephanie Roberts ’09 completed a Master of Science in Nursing

Healthcare Policy and postgraduate Nursing Education certificate through Chamberlain University. She is a senior clinical reviewer for Noridian Healthcare Solutions.

Latricia Ferguson ’07, and her husband, Jeff, welcomed daughter Taliana Brooke Lynae on June 10, 2022.

Emmanuel Eliason ’08 is a certified financial planner in Aurora, Colorado.

Debbie Papish ’78 organized mini reunions as she traveled across the state of Missouri on a summer road trip. Stops included St. Louis, Columbia and Kansas City with classmates who graduated from the Day Program in 1978-1980.

43 Affinity Fall 2022
Danny Barnett ‘10 ‘12 (right) married Aaron Foster in St. Louis on June 8, 2022. VIEW & SUBMIT NEWS ONLINE:

Sarah Huebotter Setzer ’10 ’12 and Nick Setzer ’09 welcomed son Rowdy Jackson on January 20, 2022.

Leon Stevenson III   ’07 ’11 is a veterans certifying official in the Columbia College Ousley Veteran Services Center.

MaryAnne Barnhart ’12 has been named supervisor of Case Advocacy for CASA

(Court Appointed Special Advocates) of St. Louis, a role in which she advises volunteers supporting children in the state’s foster care system.

Chad Massman ’12 is director of membership for the Columbia Chamber of Commerce.

David Seamon ’12 was elected president of the Columbia Public Schools Board of Education.

Dr. Joe Fullington ’13 is the director of Plant Operations at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Travis Rodgers ’14 has been promoted to the director of merchandising for Hunting & Outdoors at Midway USA.

Adrienne Hamlin Black ’14 ’19 and her husband, Eli, welcomed their first child, daughter Serena James, on March 9, 2022.

Erica Ramirez ’15 was named director of Operations at MidAmerica LGBT Chamber of Commerce in July. Ramirez was a member of the Cougar women’s soccer teams from 2012 to 2014 and currently resides in Kansas City.

Elwick Vidal ’16 is a child protective investigator for the Department of Children and Families.

Adym Cooney ’17 ’18 was named assistant secondary principal for Hallsville (Missouri) Middle and High Schools.

Mary Hilliard Wilkins ’14 and Dillon Wilkins ’14 welcomed son Cameron on March 10, 2022.

Emily Grant ’17 is a human resources executive assistant for the Institute for Defense Analyses in Alexandria, Virginia.

Ethan Veit ’18 and Kaleena Logan ’19 celebrated a spring wedding with friends and faculty from their time at Columbia College in attendance. The couple met while in college and began dating after reconnecting in New York City, where they are with both working on post-baccalaureate degrees.

Ethan is a Ph.D. candidate studying microbiology. This past spring, Logan received her white coat at the Northeast College of Health Sciences Transitions Ceremony where she is completing the Doctor of Chiropractic program.

Photos by Trischa Splitter

CLASS NOTES 44 Affinity Fall 2022

Gloria Sargent ’17 has been promoted to chief executive officer of commercial operations in Missouri and central/ southern Illinois for UnitedHealthcare.

Cassidy Urie ’17, a 6thgrade math teacher and department chair, has received a Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. The award was presented by the White House and National Science Foundation for her outstanding mathematics teaching. Urie is in her 10th year of teaching, with all of them at Jefferson Middle School in Columbia, Missouri. She is one of two recipients in Missouri and one of 117 receiving the awards around the nation.


Angela Wells ’20 is a museum education and outreach specialist for the Missouri State Museum.

an Akron, Ohio-based private equity firm. Signet maintains offices in Jacksonville, Florida, and Beijing, and boasts a portfolio in real estate development and management, health and wellness center operations, creative capital financing solutions and diversified chemical manufacturing. Sprague served previously as the national communications director for The Brethren Church.

Chad Carroll ’21 is a client care services manager for CrossFirst Bank. He began his career in the banking industry in 2011 and resides in Olathe, Kansas.

Monica Semora ’21 ’22 is a resort reservation training specialist for Disney World. She resides in Paragould, Arkansas, where she is also enrolled in Disney College.


» Tracy Crutcher ’17 ’22, a two-time graduate of Columbia College’s location at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, attended the Spring 2022 commencement ceremony on main campus to accept her master’s degree in business administration. Although Crutcher was not personally affiliated with the military, a co-worker who also attended classes on the Army base showed her the ropes.

“It was smooth sailing from then on,” Crutcher says. “I had many classes with several military retirees that have become lasting friends. CC is a wonderful school that I encourage family and friends to research and consider attending.”

Patrick Sprague ’20 was named content manager at Signet LLC,

Crutcher’s partner, Marvin Malone ’91, is a fellow graduate and alumnus of the basketball team. Malone was inducted into the Cougar Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003. The couple snapped a photo with Malone’s plaque during the commencement celebration on April 30.

45 Affinity Fall 2022
Warren VanHeeren ’22 shares his Cougar Pride from Freeport, Illinois. Go Cougars! –CP

In Memoriam

Ruth Cure Alexander ’40

October 18, 2021

Mary Koppenbrink Clement ’44 November 21, 2020

Anne Alexander Lester ’44 April 1, 2018

Elizabeth Hutcherson ’45 June 21, 2018

Janis Brabson Cooper ’46 November 22, 2011

Shirley Stivers Mammen ’47 May 14, 2017

Ann Peckat Anderson ’49 March 4, 2022

Florence Larsh ’49 February 15, 2022

Mary Montgomery Morris ’49 February 16, 2022

Virginia Jones Sinclair ’49 March 7, 2022

Carolyn Berry Becker ’50 December 22, 2015

Nancy Owen Lewis ’50 November 6, 2020

Jacquelyn Turner Middleton ’50 March 13, 2022

Leonora Culbert Welsher ’53 June 26, 2018

Melissa Strock Thurmond ’54 March 23, 2022

Sue Lockhart Weigel ’55 April 6, 2022

Julie Clark ’57 November 5, 2019

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

Karen Hollen ’57

December 31, 2021

Margaret Baldwin Morse ’57 April 28, 2022

Margaret Rodgers Nelson ’57 March 9, 2021

Shirley Agnew Skinner ’57 March 9, 2022

Nancy Cubbage Payne ’60 November 14, 2021

Shirley Bianchi Viti ’62 April 2, 2022

Judith Foster Walden ’62 June 14, 2020

Alfred Stafford ’74 December 11, 2016

Willard Bean ’75 August 6, 2021

Donald Sievers ’75 September 8, 2021

Mary Hall Carter ’77 April 24, 2019

Brig. Gen. Charles E. McGee ’78 January 16, 2022

Fay Shaw ’78 January 2, 2022

Gladys Victor ’79 October 23, 2021

Leonard Vasquez ’80 May 9, 2015

Stephen Barati ’81 September 1, 2021

Osvaldo Guzman ’84 November 23, 2021

James Seeber ’84 October 22, 2017

Roberta Hensley ’87 September 4, 2021

Stephen Bucholtz ’89 August 19, 2019

Michael Miller ’94 July 7, 2021

Michael Woods ’95 May 27, 2022

Carolyn Bowen Adam ’99 April 7, 2019

Linda Tremaine ’01 February 14, 2022

Stephen Parham ’05 February 14, 2020

Christal Simmons ’05 September 5, 2017

Maressa Strozier Shivers ’08 2018

Maryann Dimitrov ’10 December 7, 2021

Melissa Hatfield ’11 December 23, 2021

Kathleen Gallagher Abrahamsen ’13 November 26, 2021

Kimberly Serafin ’15 July 16, 2018

Mitchel Smith ’15 May 5, 2022

gifts of remembrance

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

» 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

January – June 2022

46 Affinity Fall 2022 CLASS NOTES



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Faculty Tributes

Dr. Lawrence W. West

» Dr. Lawrence W. “Larry” West, a former chair of the college’s Computer and Mathematical Sciences Department and a faculty emeritus, passed away on March 30, 2022, after a short battle with acute myeloid leukemia. He was 78.

A native of Lebanon, Missouri, he attended what is now Missouri University of Science and Technology before receiving a degree in mathematics from what is now Missouri State University, and a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Kansas. He then taught at School of the Ozarks in Branson, Missouri, and Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, before being hired by Columbia College in 1996.

West’s wife of nearly 58 years, Janie, said that he loved his job at Columbia College. One student said that he had the ability to make people want to learn, and a former colleague identified him as one of the finest men he had ever known, brilliant and one of a kind. He was an excellent teacher who loved every minute he spent in the classroom and was thrilled to learn of the successes of former students. He became the first Columbia College professor to receive a Governor’s Award for Teaching Excellence, and retired from CC in 2010.

Gifts in memory can be directed in honor of Dr. Lawrence W. West to support a scholarship that aids computer science and mathematics majors at

Dr. Jacqueline High-Pagni

» Dr. Jacqueline “Jackie” High-Pagni passed away on January 2, 2022. A tenacious pursuer of education, High-Pagni achieving her Bachelors of Psychology and Masters of Education from Bradley University in Peoria, llinois, while raising five children. She proceeded to educate thousands of children in the Peoria County school system before moving to Rolling Meadows in 1975. She taught in the Cook and Lake County school systems until getting her Ph.Ed. at the age of 60 from Roosevelt University of Chicago.

Her dream of becoming a college professor was fulfilled in 1999 when she was named an adjunct professor of Education at Columbia College. She ended her teaching career as adjunct professor at Central Methodist University in Fayette, Missouri, in 2021.

Elaine Grev

» Professor Emerita Elaine Grev taught music at Columbia College for 32 years and directed the beloved Jane Froman Singers. She passed away on April 20, 2022, at the age of 91.

Grev earned degrees from what is now the University of North Texas and from the University of Missouri. She was a member of the National Association of Music Education, the American Choral Directors Association, and Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity since 1949. She enjoyed singing in church choirs, the Columbia Choral Ensemble and University Singers.

She is survived by her son, Eric, four grandchildren and two greatgrandchildren. She was preceded in death by her sister, Rowena Taliaferro, son Scott, and two daughters, Dana and Janice.

CLASS NOTES 48 Affinity Fall 2022

Tom Watson

» Professor Emeritus Tom Watson passed away on April 19, 2022, after a short battle with leukemia.

Watson joined fellow Professor Emeritus Sidney Larson on the Art faculty at Columbia College in 1971. He was referred to as “the Renaissance Man,” mastering techniques in multiple disciplines, including drawing, painting, ceramics, metals (jewelry), screen printing, 3D design, art history, computer art, 3D modeling, animation, and what Watson valued as the most critical foundation courses, Art Principles and Color Theory.

For the many students who studied in the CC art studios from 1971 to 2012, Watson was a revered professor of Art, chairman of the Art Department, and ultimately in retirement, professor emeritus.

The family is using gifts received in his memory to name a bench on the MKT Trail in Columbia, where he spent countless hours running the trail. Inquiries may be emailed to Kim at If you are inclined to make a memorial gift to the Columbia College Art Department, please visit

“This was the painting that started our life together,” says Kim Nowak Watson ’91. “It was painted by Tom in 1969 (acrylic, approximately 4’ x 5’); I first saw it in 1981. Being a ‘gearhead’ too I said to myself, ‘I need to get to know this guy!’ ”

49 Affinity Fall 2022
In tribute to Professor Emertius Tom Watson’s legacy, his wife, Kim Nowak Watson ’91, and daughter, Lee Watson Keith ’07, curated a retrospective exhibit in the college’s Sid Larson Gallery. Alumni and friends attended a Celebration of Life Artist Reception on June 25. The exhibit remained open through August 2022.

Shout-out to our amazing TRiO Student Support Services mentors for 2022: Leo Griffin, Emma Martin, Adrienne Mason, Felicite Plemmons and Jade Wynn. The crew is tasked with mentoring nearly 20 incoming Columbia College students, coordinating fun events on campus & assisting with any general needs they may have. Thank you for making CC’s campus a welcoming and tremendous culture every day!

Join the conversation on social media with your Cougar Family.

Adam Parrish ‘97 and his wife, Sarah, celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary with a visit to main campus to see how things have changed since their college days.

Email to set up a tour of campus during your next visit to Columbia.

Today is the day! Fall 2022 Session has begun and we are excited to see all of our students, and prepare for studies as well as #fun! #LakeOzark #collegeinparadise #yesyoucan

What a fun morning for Columbia College student-athletes, as they greeted students across Columbia Public Schools. A perfect way to start the day!

I’m so proud of my time with @ColumbiaCougars! Excited to


Thanks to my

for this awesome gift!! #WeAreCC After five seasons as head coach of Cougar

basketball, Taylor Possail ’15 relocated to South

with his

CLASS NOTES 50 Affinity Fall 2022
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1001 Rogers Street Columbia, MO 65216


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