Columbia College Affinity Magazine: Spring 2021

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a f f i n i t y SPRING 2021 | MY.CCIS.EDU

Computer Science alumni make an impact in the world Linda Hayles ’11 motivates highperforming entrepreneurs to crush their business goals Interim President Dr. David Russell plans for the college’s future

SUCCESS AT OUR FINGERTIPS Julia Collins ’14 makes her way in New York City.



Zoom with us! Page 38



Computer science program prepares graduates for the workforce straight out of college.

24 | From the Ground Up Linda Hayles ’11 motivates highperforming entrepreneurs to crush their business goals.

28 | A Gift of Art A collection of images by worldrenowned photographer Bruce Davidson is given to the college by anonymous donor.

6 | Inside the Gate College celebrates 170th anniversary with story of Rogers family legacy; faculty make headlines outside the classroom.

32 | My CCAA Get to know Dr. David and Lee Russell; CCAA hosts event for militaryconnected alumni.

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

Spring 2021 Editor, Production & Design Carolyn Preul Staff Writer Kevin Fletcher Editorial Review Board Sam Fleury April Longley Beth McWilliams Suzanne Rothwell Dr. David Russell Dr. Piyusha Singh Contributors Keiyana Austin Jason Black ’17 Jonathan Dudley ’10 Dan Gomez-Palacio Drew Grzella ’01 Leslie Kennon ’00 Ann Muder Keith McIver Missy Montgomery ’06 David Morrison Andy Oldenburg Cindy Fotti Potter ’05 _______________________________ Affinity magazine is published by the Columbia College Division of Advancement. © 2021 All rights reserved Please send correspondence to: Editor, Affinity magazine 1001 Rogers St., Columbia, MO 65216 Alumni Relations: (573) 875-2586 Development: (573) 875-7563 Strategic Communications: (573) 875-7283

Columbia College Board of Trustees 2021

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Chair 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 Board Representative William J. Johnston ’82 Faculty Representatives Ken Akers, Ph.D. Kent Strodtman, Ph.D. Trustees Lynne Stuver Baker ’64 Lex R. Cavanah Jerry D. Daugherty Lt. Gen. Richard C. Harding Mitchell R. Humphreys, M.D. June Viner Hurdle ’83 Jane Blackman Lossing, M.D. ’64 Jolene Marra Schulz ’61 Kevin C. Sprouse ’04 Gary A. Tatlow Janet Carter Wright ’58


Columbia College and Women’s History Month Go Together Since assuming the role of interim president, I have been reading “Columbia College: 150 Years of Courage, Commitment and Change” by Faculty Emerita Paulina Batterson, longtime CC professor of government. Batterson’s book celebrates the Columbia College experience “not only as an inspiration, but also a lesson in creativity, loyalty and dedication.” As I read about the early struggles to establish the first college for women west of the Mississippi in the bucolic small town of Columbia, Missouri, in the mid-1800s, I realized that Women’s History Month and the founding of Christian Female College, now Columbia College, go together in spectacular fashion. There was a time when leaders of elite Eastern men’s colleges, led by President Charles W. Eliot of Harvard, ardently opposed admitting women to their institutions. Batterson relates how Christian College “… had the audacity to open almost a generation before obstructionism in the East gave way and decades before the founding of such prestigious eastern women’s colleges …” as Vassar, Wellesley and Radcliffe.


Dr. David Russell, Interim President


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With this remarkable history in tow, my wife, Lee, and I invite you to join us in paying homage to all the Christian College women, and those who followed them as graduates of Columbia College. They were trailblazers then and now, determined to make their own way in the world by study, exploration and newfound knowledge. They left us with a priceless legacy that today points the way to a boundless future.

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In a bold act completely outside accepted mores of the time, Christian College opened in 1851 not as a finishing school but as a truly complete collegiate experience. We never looked back, surviving changing conditions that forced many other colleges to close their doors forever.


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The Rogers Family Legacy



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This year marks the 170th anniversary Christian Female College received its charter from the Missouri State Legislature on January 18, 1851. In celebration of Charter Day, Genie Banks Rogers, Board of Trustees Secretary, shares stories of the family’s long-standing relationship with the college, dating back to her great-great uncle Joseph Kirtley Rogers, the college’s third president 7 from 1858 to 1877. –DM


New Home For Military Community

HR Degree receives global society alignment

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A $25,000 gift formally names the Veterans United Foundation Patio at the college’s Brig. Gen. Charles E. McGee House, home of the Ousley Family Veterans Service Center. This space serves as a hub to host programming and further build camaraderie in the college’s military student community. Veterans United is the No. 1 employer of CC alumni with 234 graduates working for the company headquartered in Columbia, Missouri.



Through the current partnership, Veterans United offers Columbia College students, faculty and staff veterans the opportunity to utilize the company’s Home Buyer Select Program, which offers savings on the total amount of their home loan. Columbia College is also offering a tuition discount to Veterans United’s borrowers, employees and their spouses. –SF

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has acknowledged that the college’s bachelor’s degree in human resources management is now aligned with SHRM’s HR Curriculum Guidebook and Templates. More than 643 students at the college are currently working toward their HR Management major. “The SHRM is the preeminent global organization for HR professionals,” says Dr. Tina Olson, instructor in the Robert W. Plaster School of Business. Throughout the world, over 400 programs at approximately 375 educational institutions have been acknowledged by SHRM. –SF

MLK Awards Honor Community Service The Columbia College Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee awarded two Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Awards to recognize members of the college community who serve others in the spirit of Dr. King. As a member of the D, E & I committee and last year’s inaugural award recipient, Director of Alumni Development Keith McIver presented the virtual announcement.

CC TEACH Club, a chapter of the Missouri State Teacher’s Association, partnered with Inclusion+ to host a food drive for students at Douglass High School in Columbia, Missouri. The club offers personal and professional growth for education students through community service and leadership training. –CP

Spring Commencement to be held in-person Thanks to a generous offer from officials at the University of Missouri, Columbia College will host two in-seat commencement ceremonies at Mizzou Arena on Saturday, May 1. The ceremonies will feature graduates from the Spring 2021 Class and will be live-streamed for family and friends unable to attend. –SF >> Click here to read more.

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Allen Butler ’07 leads community outreach as a board member of Annie’s Table in serving over 200 families and individuals in the Greater Chicagoland area who are at the highest risk of facing food shortage and food insecurities. Butler graduated from Columbia College-Lake County and is an active member of the CCAA Advisory Board.


Career counseling, networking and resumé assistance are available free of charge to all students and alumni through the Grossnickle Career Services Center. To get started, contact (800) 231-2391 ext. 7425 or visit

Lessons in Leadership There’s not a hidden secret to being a good leader. What you will find are key traits that make it easier to instill confidence and initiate action in the workplace. If you are in a leadership position or want to stand out in your role, it is never too late to refine your leadership skills. Dan GomezPalacio, director of the Grossnickle Career Services Center, recommends two books on leadership that he turns to for inspiration.

“From the Bottom Up: One Man’s Crusade to Clean America’s Rivers” by Chad Pregracke with Jeff Barrow (2008) “This is a fun read about a guy – Chad Pregracke – who started a large nationwide river clean up organization. It offers good lessons on leadership from unlikely sources.” Since founding Living Lands & Waters in 1998, Pregracke’s passion for environmental consciousness has enabled volunteers to remove more than 10 million pounds of garbage from America’s rivers.

“Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”

“Quiet” was a New York Times bestseller and named one of the best books of the year for its thoughtful exploration of introverts’ personality traits. –CP

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“Often career and leadership advice books are aimed towards extroverts – people who think nothing of networking or putting themselves out there. This book gives really good advice for introverts on how to succeed in a world often geared towards extroverts. It’s also helpful for those who manage introverts.”

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by Susan Cain (2013)


Beyond the Classroom

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Dr. David Karr, professor of history, co-authored “British Jacobin Politics, Desires, and Aftermaths: Seditious Hearts,” a collection of essays on British political radicalism in the shadow of the French Revolution and in the decades after. “A British ‘Jacobin’ was one who at some level identified with the ideals and aspirations of French revolutionaries across the Channel,” Karr says. “The first half of the book explores the hopes, dreams and utopian longings of British Jacobins during the 1790s. The second half of the book examines how British Jacobinism remained a current of popular radical activity well after the French Revolution had been defeated by European armies.”

Assistant Professor Bo Bedillion showcased ceramic plates in a solo exhibition, titled “Murmations,” at the Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery in Lindsborg, Kansas. “Making plates satisfies my desire to create useful objects with my hands,” Belillion says. “The surfaces of my wares are achieved through a sensitive and thoughtful glazing program. I strive to manifest visual representations of loosely held memories, while retaining the structural integrity of a well-made pot.” Dr. Pete Monacell, associate professor of English, published a poem in the Fall 2020 issue of The Iowa Review. His work is titled “Poem Without a Bird in It.” Nollie Moore, director of the music program and a voice instructor, was nominated for the 2020 Missourian Progress Awards. He was also listed as one of the community’s “best performing artists.” –CP

Professor Emeritus Dr. Anthony Marshall Reflects on Lifelong Career “Serendipity” is the word that comes to mind for Anthony Marshall, Ph.D., when he reflects on his career. The business administration professor emeritus and former department chair of what was then known as the Department of Business Administration says he always knew that he wanted to teach at a college.

him to finish the degree, which led to him graduating with a law degree years later.

“It’s been a culmination of a lifelong dream to become a professor for a college in the Midwest,” he says. “Luck, good fortune and education all helped to point me in the direction of fulfilling that goal.”

That encouragement and support led Dubinski to establish a scholarship in Marshall’s honor years later. The Dr. Anthony S. Marshall Scholarship Award in Business Administration is presented each year to one student pursuing their business degree. Since the award was established, 18 alumni, faculty and staff members have made contributions to the scholarship. During his years at Columbia College, Marshall helped guide students and provide insight into his own experience in higher education and the corporate world. –AM >> Click here to read more.

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Joe Dubinski ’96, partner at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP in St. Louis, was one of those students. He had started his business degree before taking several years off. He says Marshall helped encourage

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In more than 25 years as a professor at Columbia College, he taught his students the importance of education in opening up life’s possibilities.

“During that time, I often found myself visiting his office to have conversations about life and the business world,” Dubinski says. “Those talks helped me to decide what I wanted to do in life.”


On Top of Their Game The success of Columbia College student-athletes is matched in the game and in the classroom. The Cougars finished the Fall 2020 semester with a cumulative 3.23 undergraduate GPA.



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Junior Anthony Sobolevsky is majoring in communications with a minor in biology. He is a member of the men’s soccer team and a presidential scholar. “Mondays are super busy, which is a test to time management. We pretty much train all year round, so each night I plan for the next day. I set a lot of reminders so I know when to be where. Everything is back-to-back-to-back, but thankfully with Zoom, I can do more remotely from my apartment.”

Senior Abi Feeney is majoring in art with a minor in education. She is a member of the women’s basketball team. “Class always comes first with our team and Coach P [Taylor Possail, women’s basketball head coach]. I try to take advantage of any open hours in my schedule to go into the studio to work on my art projects as well as observing for education. I like to get extra training in during the morning before my classes. The balance is making sure I put in equal amount of effort for both classes and basketball.” –CP


Dr. Yihsiang Liow



Spring 2021

Computer science program prepares graduates for the workforce straight out of college



Julia Collins wasn’t sure what she wanted to major in when she was first accepted to Columbia College. Coming out of Hannibal High School, she had already taken college-level Calculus I and II courses, so she knew she had a knack for mathematics. She gravitated toward the Computer and Math Sciences Department on registration day and, as luck would have it, Associate Professor of Computer Science Dr. Yihsiang Liow was staffing the room at that time.

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“I just remember Dr. Liow and I hitting it off right away,” Collins says. “We had a great conversation. I knew that I just wanted to get a job after college. He said, if you come to the computer science program at Columbia College, you will have a job after you graduate. I was like, ‘sold.’”



“If you do the math on return on investment for your college degree, the computer science degree at CC has to be the best in the region.” — Julia Collins ’14 Product Manager, WorkMarket | New York City

Collins graduated in May 2014 and started her first job at a data analytics consulting firm in Chicago the next month. Now, she works as a product manager for WorkMarket, a startup company under the ADP umbrella based in New York City. She is not alone. Columbia College computer science graduates currently work for such internationally known companies as Google, Amazon, Facebook,

Lockheed Martin, Bayer, Cerner, Intel and Microsoft, as well as companies such as MidwayUSA, Veterans United and Carfax that are integral to the Columbia community.

Unlike Collins, Sam Luebbert ’14 had been exposed to computer programming before he started at Columbia College. Still, he wasn’t sure he wanted to jump straight into the computer science program. It didn’t take long before he realized that was the place for him. “At times the program was tough, but I appreciated it and never again wavered in my growing passion for computer science,” Luebbert says. Luebbert spent a year as an application developer intern at MidwayUSA while he was still attending Columbia College. He had a job waiting for him as an application developer upon graduation. After a few years, he was promoted to his current position,

where he manages a team of three developers. Liow says that the mission of the Columbia College computer science program is to not only prepare its graduates for their first job out of school but to equip them with the necessary skills to put them in prime position for promotions down the line. “When they join a company, they understand how to talk to people and what the requirements are for their software, that they have the ability to analyze a problem, design solutions and produce or program a solution for their client. That’s the minimum,” Liow says. “It’s not enough to just know your textbook.” Columbia College computer science courses emphasize project-based learning and collaboration with fellow students. That way, graduates are wellprepared to move beyond the theory when they enter the workforce. “The instructors often emphasized to students that the skills within

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“If you do the math on return on investment for your college degree, the computer science degree at CC has to be the best in the region,” Collins says.

— Sam Luebbert ’14 Application Development Manager, MidwayUSA | Columbia, Missouri

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It’s a relatively small department that is carving out quite a reputation of producing highly qualified and competent graduates.

computer science were not the only ingredient for success out in the real world,” Luebbert says. “This is absolutely true, as most software development supports a business. You can get ahead if you care about and understand the business versus just your coding.”

have a webpage after it,” Frappier says. “In a professional setting, you’re often given code to work with. You need to be able to step through it and understand it. That was something that was really emphasized by Dr. Liow and the program. Understanding how that was so directly applicable was a really good thing for me.” Frappier completed two summer internships at Google during his time at Columbia College and earned a full-time job with the multibilliondollar revenue corporation after graduation.

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— Ryan Frappier ’17 Software Engineer, Google Mountain View, California



The first time Ryan Frappier ’17 heard about the Columbia College computer science program was from Nathaniel Graham, his teacher at the Columbia Area Career Center (CACC). Frappier started out at the Career Center learning graphic and web design tools such as Photoshop and Illustrator before moving on to programming. “I thought it was really cool I could just type some random stuff and

Liow places a premium on the sort of community outreach that helps prospective students uncover the hidden gem that is the Columbia College computer science program. The college has run a programming contest for high school students since 2015, a high school internship program through Partners in Education and coding events with middle school students. Liow has also served on the advisory board at the CACC. These sorts of events and connections have helped the program grow in enrollments and recognition since Liow first started at the college in 2003. They have also helped students such as Frappier gain awareness of the program and grow in their interpersonal skills while completing the coursework.

Fisher was working at Central Bank when, at 23, he decided to go back to school for computer science. He thought that, even if he never made a career out of it, he’d at least have a cool hobby. “Then I got into it and really fell in love with the entire discipline,” Fisher says. “I thought I had critical thinking skills until I got into it and realized that I might actually be dumb. They trained us to think in a totally different way.” Fisher has used his passion for computer science to take part in a National Science Foundation program called Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) over this past summer. He gained acceptance to the highly competitive

program in part because of glowing recommendation letters from Liow and Professor Dr. Suzanne Tourville. Fisher is looking into pursuing a Ph.D. in computer science. “It teaches you about perseverance,” Fisher says. “The people who are successful are the ones who realize early on that it’s going to be difficult and who just keep persevering forward and accepting that it’s going to be challenging.” The faculty and students have helped cultivate a tight-knit computer science community at Columbia College, all the way down to the Discord server where students can gather to ask questions, play games and stream movies, among other activities. “Students just jump in and ask questions all the time,” Liow says. “We can look at one another’s work and the seniors can help the freshmen through the program. You get immediate feedback and, especially for programming, it’s really important.”

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After nearly four years in the Columbia College computer science program, senior Michael Fisher has a deep appreciation for the critical thinking and problem-solving skills that Liow and the faculty emphasize.

— Michael Fisher, senior

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“I would not be where I am without the experiences I had at CC,” Frappier says. “Being a tutor to other CC students and high school students for Dr. Liow made a pretty big impression on me as a whole. Having the opportunity to understand students and help them helped me grow.”

At some point during Collins’ time at Columbia College, she and Liow came to an important understanding. He would assign exceedingly difficult programming challenges, which could take up to 12 hours to solve. She would come back to him with a steady stream of questions during the challenge to help her innovate a solution.

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So Liow eventually loaned Collins some of his office real estate. “He would just put a desk in the corner of his office,” Collins says. “I would work from the desk sometimes and, if I had a question, he would be right there.



That type of availability was invaluable to my growth and learning. He really wanted me to make it. I felt that.” The program’s small size allows students to maintain personal connections with the faculty, both while they are at Columbia College and after they graduate. Collins, for example, still calls upon Liow when she’s seeking career advice. One-to-one attention is invaluable for students pursuing an intensive course of study like computer science, Liow says. “If you’re sitting in a lecture with 400 other students, it’s a difficult

Before joining the faculty at Columbia College in 2003, Dr. Yihsiang Liow was a software engineer for a multinational Webhosting company based in Chicago. Outside the classroom, Dr. Liow advises the college’s Computer Science and Ping Pong clubs. Photo taken prior to COVID-19 pandemic

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Count Collins in as one of the noisemakers. “I hope over time people can understand how rigorous this program is and wellprepared the graduates are. People see that in me now that I’m out in the field,” Collins says. “I’m always happy to be a hype woman for the Columbia College computer science program.”

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environment for learning,” Liow says. “Having a small class makes it easy for students to learn and interact with one another. Most people are not aware of how strong our program really is. It’s just that, being a small school, we don’t make as much noise.”

Dr. Yihsiang Liow became interested in software development in high school. His first project was a just-in-time scheduling software for a U.S conglomerate. Since then he has worked in the government and public sectors. He also conducts research and development work, including the development of an encryption chip for Motorola.

By Carolyn Preul

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Linda Hayles ’11 believes the biggest reason women leave money on the table in the professional world is their own mindset, but not if she has something to say about it. From real estate to health care, clients turn to her Texas-based firm, Unlimited Success Consulting Worldwide, for a no-holdsbarred honesty that gets results. Her infectious energy and quick wit leave no room for self-doubt.


From the Ground Up


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Right: Linda Hayles published “Girl, Get Your Courage Factor” in 2016, available on Amazon; far right, Hayles with her children

In the spring of 2020, when it felt like the world hit pause and the threat of the COVID-19 virus stunned local and national economies, Hayles turned up the dial. She launched a new 90-day coaching series and secured seven clients in eight days. By May, she hired a coach of her own to help restructure her business plan. Hayles believes she is in a unique position to help others.

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It wasn’t until she hit rock bottom 15 years ago that Hayles found her inner strength. She found herself suddenly homeless and the locks to her home changed by an abusive husband. Unsure of what to do next, she drove to her night class and told her professor that she was going to withdraw. Her professor urged her to stay in school – encouragement that made all the difference.



“Getting my degree in psychology as an adult gave me the skillset to help my clients overcome their limiting beliefs so they can make the money they want to make in their own businesses,” Hayles says. “I don’t make all this money in my business because I’m such a great salesperson. I make this money because I’m great at developing people — thanks to my degree.” Hayles attended Columbia CollegeOrlando, where she earned straight A’s and made the Dean’s List. She

believes the right education can change lives: case in point, “I went to school at 36 years old with a GED and graduated at 40 with a bachelor’s degree.” Columbia College’s location in Orlando was established in 1975 to fill an educational gap for non-traditional students in that corner of the country. Today, in addition to its main campus, the college has more than 30 locations nationwide and an expansive Online Program. Like many adult learners, Hayles balanced evening courses while providing for family. Never a fan of the term “side hustle,” Hayles laid the ground work for her business plan while at Columbia College. In 2013, she relocated to Houston for a fresh start. Her initial goal of becoming a therapist didn’t satisfy the craving for a high-energy platform to share her skillset. Instead, Hayles became as a relationship coach for women. She wrote a book and even flew to the Cayman Islands to host a TEDx talk for females in business. By 2019, she was determined to turn her

“For people to choose the right school, especially as an adult learner, Columbia College was that for me.” –Linda Hayles ’11

“My biggest passion is teaching women to make their own money,” she says. “They can change generational cycles of poverty, the mediocrity of homelessness.” Hayles knows firsthand the fear of being left out alone and wants to give women the tools to secure their financial independence. “I should have been a statistic,” she says, but with young children to care for, Hayles knew a good education was vital to her long-term goals. “For people to choose the right school, especially as an adult learner, Columbia College was that for me.” Her book, “Girl, Get Your Courage Factor,” is a compilation of stories

She believes breaking the limited mindset of the minority — that being a strong woman takes away from your femininity and ability to nurture — is paramount to moving forward. “For most Hispanic women, our culture is so deep that it doesn’t matter if your parents are second-generation Americans,” she says. Over the last year, Hayles has expanded her client base to include men. She trains clients how to position their services, speak to management and make the sale. She now employs two women and aspires to lead seminars. “The older I get, the more I realize every thought I have is just a perception,” she says. “Every time I have a limiting thought, I ask myself ‘Where did that come from?’“ And then she’s on to the next big thing.

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Hayles leverages her success to teach others how to maximize their professional performance both independently and financially. It is her understanding of human behavior – traits and habits she learned during her college studies – that keeps her focused.

about overcoming adversity to become an entrepreneur. Hayles pulls from her own life experiences, proving that she could simultaneously raise strong, capable children and make a place for herself. Now thriving young adults, her younger son is in the Army and her daughter is in college.

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skills into financial stability, culminating in the launch of her own personal and business development firm.



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$1.2 Million



Presidential motorcade at the inauguration of John F. Kennedy. Washington, D.C. USA. 1961. © Bruce Davidson

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Two women at lunch counter. Time of Change. New York. USA. 1962. © Bruce Davidson



The college received a collection of more than 360 photos taken by world-renowned photographer Bruce Davidson by an anonymous donor with an appraised value of $1.2 million according to Penelope Dixon and Associates of New York.

An Iconic Photographer For more than six decades, Davidson, a veteran of the U.S. Army, captured some of the most iconic photos in the world. He worked to blend into his subject’s life by spending extensive amounts of time in their everyday world. Shooting predominantly in black and white, some of his more well-known photos were taken as part of the Brooklyn Gang collection in the late ’50s where he, according to the international photographic cooperative Magnum Pro, “became a daily observer and photographer of this alienated youth culture.” Capturing Powerful Moments Davidson also captured several of the more powerful photos surrounding

the Civil Rights movement during his Time of Change collection spanning 1961-65. In an article in the New Yorker in 2013, the series not only showed “us protests and violence, it also documents the social and economic circumstances in New York City, Chicago, South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama.” Davidson’s work has been published in The New York Times, Time, LIFE, Vogue and Esquire, and he has exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Walker Art Center, among others. He was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Center of Photography in 2018.

Andy Warhol in his studio with Double Elvis. New York. USA. 1964. © Bruce Davidson

“The opportunity to curate and display works by an artist of the stature of Bruce Davidson is a oncein-a-lifetime experience,” said Scott McMahon, associate professor in the Visual Arts and Music department and director of the Sidney Larson Gallery. “Making art like this accessible to our students and the Columbia community is one of our priorities as an institution. We look forward to properly stewarding this collection for generations to come.” The college has some of the photos on display in New Hall and will also be hosting a special exhibition highlighting a selection of photographs from the collection later this year.

Marilyn Monroe with husband Arthur Miller during the filming of The Misfits. Reno, Nevada. USA. 1960. © Bruce Davidson


LETTER FROM OUR CHAIR Jonathan L. Dudley ’10 |

Hello fellow alumni! I hope this note find you and your families doing well and staying healthy. The CCAA Advisory Committee held its winter board meeting a few weeks ago, where we had the chance to meet Interim President Dr. Russell. We greatly appreciate him being on the call and providing his vision for the college during this time of transition. There are several initiatives for you to get involved with this spring — from virtual gatherings to career workshops and my favorite event of the year, Giving Day on March 23. I get so excited for this event because it unifies all groups across the college. All donations go to support the Columbia College Fund. Will you join the CCAA board by making a gift too? Learn more at We will also be celebrating our most recent CCAA Alumni Award winners on June 24, who we introduced you to in the Fall 2020 magazine. This event offers a small glimpse at the amazing alumni who chose Columbia College to help them reach their career and personal goals. Keep an eye out for emails this spring about how you can be part of the event.

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As my term as president comes to a close this June, I will pass the reigns to Debra Carnahan ’82. I cannot say enough wonderful things about Debra. She brings a wealth of knowledge and energy to the board and is always the first to volunteer. I can’t wait to see what initiatives she brings to the table. We Are CC!


32 Follow the CCAA on Facebook for regular updates!

Columbia College Alumni Association Advisory Board: 2020–2021

CHAIR Jonathan Dudley ’10 Day Program VICE CHAIR Debra Carnahan ’82 Day Program ALUMNI REPRESENTATIVE TO THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES Bill Johnston ’82 Day Program


ADVISORS Allen Butler ’07 Lake County Whitney Jones ’16 ’19 & ’20 St. Louis Jeannie M. Lahman ’18 Online Program Bill Leeper ’04 NAS Jacksonville Chris Lievsay ’09 & ’11 Kansas City Nikki McGruder ’00 Day Program Joshua Muder ’99 Day Program Joe Nicchetta ’79 Day Program Ed Sasan ’11 Redstone Arsenal Corbin Umstattd ’12 Day & Online Programs STAFF Suzanne Rothwell Vice President for Advancement Keith McIver Director of Alumni Development Carolyn Preul Associate Director, Strategic Communications Keiyana Austin Administrative Assistant, Alumni Relations




with Dr. Russell

As noted earlier in the “Letter from the President” portion of the magazine, former Chair of the Board of Trustees, Dr. David Russell, was named Interim President of Columbia College on January 7. Dr. Russell brings decades of experience in higher education and public service to the position. His commitment to steady leadership and communication will be critical as the college goes through this time of transition to select its 18th president. In the meantime, we asked Dr. Russell five questions to introduce him to our alumni community.

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You’ve been on the job as Interim President for nearly four months (at the time of publication). What has surprised or impressed you about CC?



I continue to be so impressed by the devotion of our alumni, friends, staff and administration to Columbia College and everything it stands for — its traditions, its commitment to providing our students with a quality education, its proven ability to adapt to changing conditions. If you have ever talked to alumnae of Christian College about their experiences, you’ve felt the love. Oh, the stories they tell, the enthusiasm they have for the college! It is amazing.

You had a distinguished 22-year career in the military and you and your wife, Lee, are passionate about assisting militaryconnected students earn their degrees. What’s one initiative you would like to see implemented to help that process? Lee and I know that military spouses often put their own careers and educational plans on hold when their husbands or wives are reassigned or have to go on repeated deployments around the world. Their children also get caught up in the turbulence of military life. We have started a scholarship fund to help spouses (and their dependents!) finish CC degrees while their families are still with the military, and maybe even after they leave the military if they qualify and are on track to finish on time. We would like to see more done to provide these military spouses and children with financial options for finishing their college education.

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I have begun informal conversations with alumni who serve on both CC’s Board of Trustees and the Alumni Association Advisory Board. Soon we will encourage feedback from alums across the country. Personally, I’d like to see more well-endowed scholarships established to attract great students who seek a small liberal arts experience that will lead to satisfying and rewarding career opportunities. If we had more endowed chairs and professorships, we could grow our first-class faculty. We need more alumni to share their experiences with young students and recruit them to attend CC. Oh, and support for a new Alumni House/Student Welcome Center wouldn’t be so bad, either. Our alumni are uniquely positioned to lead these initiatives.

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How do you envision alumni making an even more significant impact on the institution in the coming years?


What is your vision for the college during your presidency? To put it simply, I think the world needs more graduates who have experienced Columbia College. The college needs to grow its faculty and degree offerings on the main campus in Columbia. It should strengthen the resources available to grow Columbia College Global’s far-flung system of locations nationwide and enrollments, both in-seat and online. We can get there if we all pull in the same direction and with the same devotion that got us where we are today.

As the college begins the presidential search, what are some qualities you believe are crucial for the next Columbia College president? The search for the 18th president of Columbia College will soon get underway. The Board will reach out to all constituencies of the college to solicit opinions about the qualities they seek in the next president. I vote for a proven leader who leads from the front and possesses exceptional people skills, who recognizes that CC has the resources and track record to lead innovation and change in higher education. CC deserves nothing less. –SF

Quick Hits Spring 2021

FAVORITE FOOD: Mama Lee’s homemade spaghetti and meat sauce (Hope for leftovers!)



FAVORITE MOVIE(S): “Heat” — a golden oldie starring Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro; “Saving Private Ryan” starring Tom Hanks FAVORITE LOCAL RESTAURANT: Sophia’s, in southwest Columbia. Consistently great food, and Booth #11 has great sentimental meaning for us BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS: There are so many! “The Wright Brothers,” an illuminating biography of the fathers of

the Age of Aviation by David McCullough. If you’re a science fiction fan, try the classic “The Foundation Trilogy” by the brilliant mathematician Isaac Asimov. “Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis” by Jared Diamond — mind-blowing. FAVORITE MUSICAL ARTISTS: The incomparable Italian opera tenor, Andrea Bocelli, whose live Easter concert from the Cathedral Duomo di Milano last year at the height of the raging pandemic was one of the most stirring performances I have ever experienced. FAVORITE PLACE(S) TO TRAVEL: In North America, touring and hiking Banff National Park in Canada. In Europe, it’s got to be romantic France. We also enjoyed a summer cruise down the Rhine, the Main and Danube rivers.


Spring 2021




Since the pandemic took hold a year ago, the CCAA has partnered with departments collegewide to provide virtual programming for alumni to enjoy from the safety of home. Be sure to mark your calendars and register in advance to join us online — most events are free to attend and open to all alumni and friends. See what we have planned next at events.

SPOTLIGHT | Careers After Military Service


Transitioning from active military service to civilian life can be a daunting task. Luckily for the CC community, nearly 18,000 alumni have served in the military or are dependents of service members and provide a valuable network of individuals who share this unique perspective to the workforce. On Feb. 10, 2021, the CCAA hosted a virtual panel to discuss careers after military service. The event was moderated by Keith Glindemann (senior director of Military and Veterans Services for the Ousley Family Veterans Service Center), Dan Gomez-Palacio (director of the Grossnickle Career Services Center) and Keith McIver (director of Alumni Development). Four alumni panelists shared their experiences during the hour-long conversation.

James Shelton ’03, a retired U.S. Army sergeant first class, is a military relations manager for Lockheed Martin in Orlando. He completed his undergraduate studies at Columbia College-Orlando.

Ed Sasan ’11 was an explosive ordnance disposal specialist for the U.S. Army. After retiring in 2005, he joined the Madison City Police Department and is now an anti-terrorism officer for the Department of Defense. He completed his undergraduate degree at Columbia College-Redstone Arsenal in Alabama. –CP

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Jonathan Dudley ’10 is a military intelligence officer for the Missouri Army National Guard Homeland Response Force. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science through the Columbia College Day Program and currently serves as chair of the CCAA Advisory Board.

Spring 2021

Treka Henry ’09 is a program analyst for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Lenexa, Kansas. She served in the U.S. Army for 11 years and achieved the rank of captain. She earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology through the Columbia College Day Program.


In the News 1950s Nancy Whitson Kandel ’56 lives in Hampton Bays, New York. She married after graduating from Christian College and went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts from Washington University, a Master of Arts in Education from Webster University and a Master of Arts in Metaphysics from Holmes Institute. She attended Christian in honor of her grandmother, Dolly, who graduated from the college in the 1880s.

Personal and Professional Updates by Class Year

recently published “Go, Girl, Go!” and two short stories in “Beach Reads” by the Daytona Writers Guild. She also serves as an editor for Taylor and Seale Publishing.

1990s Wendy Mertz Slifka ’90 is team lead for the new EasyConnect Appliance Program at the Knoxville Utilities Board. She lives in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Spring 2021




Dr. Lynn McClary Hawkins ’61 is an English professor at Daytona State College in Daytona Beach, Florida. She has

Paul Hopkins ’91 has been named associate director of Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital in Columbia, Missouri. He has served in VA for 29 years. Hopkins retired from the U.S. Army Reserve in April 2007.

Col. Timothy P. Williams ’93 has retired after a 26-year career with the United States Air Force. Most recently he served as chief of Combat Operations, 601st Air Operations Center at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida. Col. Williams received his commission in 1993, and since earning his wings in 1997, he has logged over 1,900 flying hours. Dan Davis ’98 is vice president of Security Operations and Threat Intel at Nuspire, a global cybersecurity operation. In this role, he leads the company’s best practices in Managed Security Services.

Alumni Spotlight Sonja Kocan ’98, a family nurse practitioner, joined the St. Joseph’s Health Cardiovascular Institute in Watertown and Gouverneur in New York. She earned a master’s degree in nursing from SUNY Upstate Medical University’s College of Nursing in Syracuse. Dr. Marie Peoples ’98 has been named city manager of Webster Groves, Missouri. She holds a Ph.D. in public health epidemiology from Walden University.

SOLITARY BEAUTY Photographer Notley Hawkins ’87 brings feelings to life. Objects have stories to tell. An abandoned road remember its travelers. With socializing kept at a distance and people spending more time alone, Hawkins was captivated by the underlying emotions that have collectively risen to the surface. “During the fall, I became fascinated with country lanes and their unique perspective,” he says. “The rural backroads symbolize the individual journey each one of us has faced during this [COVID-19] crisis.” Hawkins studied painting and drawing at Columbia College and has been a professional photographer for nearly 20 years. The “solitary beauty” of the photographs, he explains, is a metaphor for what people have experienced during the pandemic — a sense of loneliness and serenity.


Spring 2021

Elizabeth Blake ’00, CPA, has been promoted to chief financial officer of Agents National Title Insurance Company in Columbia, Missouri. Blake is a member of Sunrise Southwest Rotary and board treasurer for Heart of Missouri CASA. Nikki McGruder ’00, director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at MU Health Care in Columbia, Missouri,



Burnett School Road Bridge, Boone County, Missouri


has joined the CCAA Advisory Board.

School District Board of Education.

Jay Sparks ’00 is the entrepreneurship program coordinator for Regional Economic Development Inc. through the City of Columbia (Missouri).

Stephanie Johnson ’01 is executive director of the Jefferson City Special Learning Center. With more than 27 years of non-profit experience, Johnson is an elected member of the Jefferson City

Crystal Aholt ’02 has been named executive of High Reliability for Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital in Columbia, Missouri. She began her career at the VA as a surgical ICU nurse in 1996. Eric Clay ’02 became vice president of security at Memorial Hermann Health Systems in August 2020.

Prior to his move to Texas, Clay served as chief security officer for CoxHealth in Springfield, Missouri, and was named a 2020 Healthcare Security Director of the Year by Campus Safety and one of Security magazine’s Most Influential People in Security for 2020. Brian Weimer ’02 has been named Chief of Police for the University of Missouri Police Department. He joined the department as an officer in 1992 and most recently served as interim chief and major of operations. Cindy Fotti Potter ’05 has been promoted to senior deputy

Spring 2021




David Ramirez ’06 & ’19 was promoted to a civil engineering technician for the United States Army Corps of Engineers. Pictured, Ramirez shares his Cougar Pride from the new Fort Bliss Hospital in El Paso, Texas, where he served as an administrative officer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the $1.6 billion project.

Sara Hurst Watson ’08 is a history teacher at Paris High School in Paris, Missouri.

Christian Lewis ’09 has been promoted to regional community president for Southwest Missouri at Simmons Bank and was awarded a 2020 Filbert Five Award by the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame for his contributions to Columbia College men’s basketball. He currently serves on the board of directors for the Ozark Regional YMCA.

Israel Gonzalez ’12 completed a certificate in conflict resolution from Washington University School of Law. Elizabeth Cotten ’13 is a fourth grade teacher at Tipton Elementary in mid-Missouri. “What better way to instill hope, acceptance and strength of character into our society than by inspiring children?” she says.

2010s Spring 2021

Mike Campbell ’08 is a personal injury lawyer. He joined his private practice with Thomas Law Offices in 2020 and heads the firm’s Columbia, Missouri, office. He also cofounded Gavl Video and LawyerMinds, two businesses geared toward lawyers’ marketing and networking needs. He and his wife, Caitlin Jenkins Campbell ’10, live in nearby Centralia.

Kirk Cohoon ’09 is vice president of Logo Promo Gift, LLC. He lives in Florida.

director of Welcome Home, a non-profit transitional housing and support center for Veterans in Columbia, Missouri. She has a bachelor’s degree in business management and marketing and served as the program’s development director since 2017.

Photo: COMO Magazine

Megan Sievers ’10 has been named executive

Adrienne Hamlin ’14 & ’19 married Elias Black on Nov. 7, 2020, in Jefferson City,

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director of Athletics at Columbia College after serving in an associate director role since 2011. Potter is in her 19th year with the college, first as a student-athlete (softball) before moving into an administrator role in 2007.


Missouri. She is a human resources business partner coordinator at Veteran United Home Loans.

Spring 2021

Macie Peterson ’14 has been promoted to director of inclusion and engagement at Shelter Insurance Companies in Columbia, Missouri. In 2019, Peterson formed Single Mothers Affordable Residence Team, Inc. (SMART, Inc.) – a non-profit that assists single mothers who are pursing higher education to find affordable housing.



Lorrie Ellison ’16 has been promoted to associate head athletic trainer at Columbia College. She earned her undergraduate degree from CulverStockton College while competing on the women’s basketball team, then served as a graduate assistant for the Cougars while

completing her master’s degree at CC. Bryan Page ’16 was profiled in E-Squared Magazine, an international publication that blends art and science. The feature included select work he created as a student. Page is currently an adjunct professor for Columbia College teaching digital media, video art, 2D-design and jewelry. Travis Doerhoff ’17 is assistant vice president and banking center manager at Providence Bank. An Army veteran, Doerhoff was awarded an Army Commendation Medal as well as an Army Achievement Medal, and is a lifetime member of the VFW Post 1003. Kelly Golien ’17 has been promoted to human resources manager of Associated

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

Wholesale Grocers. She lives in Waukegen, Illinois. D’Andre Thompson ’18 has joined with Boone County Community Services Department as a program specialist emphasizing in diversity, equity, and inclusion. Thompson was an inaugural member and co-chair of the Columbia College Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. He was instrumental in the introduction of the Juneteenth holiday for CC employees, beginning in 2021, and an advocate for collegewide DEI training and programming.

Ashlea Hearn ’19 adds published author to her credentials with the release of “Take It: Genesis Mortalis” in April 2021. The first in a four-part Young Adult action and crime series, the story follows billionaire twin sisters

Zachary McAdams ’20 has started a Ph.D. program in molecular pathogenesis and therapeutics at the University of Missouri, where he will research the gut microbiome. During his senior year, he served as president of the Student Government Association and was crowned homecoming royalty. –CP

Photo: Cory Crosby, originally published in The Columbia Missourian

Alumni Spotlight COMPETITION SHOWCASES BLACK-OWNED BUSINESSES Columbia College alumni had a notable presence at the first-ever Virtual Black Business Expo and Pitch Exposition, which took place in December of 2020 in Columbia, Missouri. Of the nine competitors, CC graduates claimed two of the top three spots. Second-place winner Lashunda Glasgow ’08 is the owner and director of A Galaxy of Stars, which provides affordable child care in her hometown of Columbia. Since opening in 2005, the program has grown from 10 to 76 children. She shared half of the $1,000 prize with her staff.

Spring 2021

Rachel Parker ’19 married Evan Rist on Oct. 10, 2020, in Macon, Missouri. She is a purchasing specialist in Columbia College’s Office of Procurement & Business Operations.

Lashunda Glasgow ’08 (left) and Mariah Proctor ’15 (right) are pictured with 1st place winner Anthony Johnson.

Mariah Proctor ’15 received $500 for taking third place with Proctor’s Provision. She opened the home health 45 agency in September 2020 with a passion to care for the older members of the community. She would like expand her services with a mobile “pop-up shoppe” to bring clothing and hygiene items to those in need. Affinity

who start a secret vigilante organization to take down corrupt businessmen. An active member of the CC student body and member of the U.S. Army Reserves, Hearn earned a bachelor’s degree in Communication and Media Studies. She is a marketing coordinator at GLP Attorneys, P.S., Inc. in Seattle and hopes to someday turn her stories into feature films.


Spring 2021

In Memoriam



Notifications received October 2020 – February 2021

Margaret Andrews ’38 November 14, 2020

Marilyn Walsh ’51 July 23, 2019

Clarence Wilkes ’74 July 9, 2020

Marjorie Moore ’39 May 28, 2000

Phoebe Rice ’53 October 3, 2020

Thomas Groundwater ’76 December 24, 2020

Elinor Caldwell ’42 January 21, 2021

Carol Swafford ’53 November 27, 2020

Michael Cessna ’77 February 18, 2020

Paula Darden ’42 December 4, 2020

Helen Caldwell ’54 May 17, 2020

Russell Case ’79 November 29, 2020

Marjorie Wells ’42 November 17, 2020

Janis Jay ’54 October 24, 2020

Michael Bittner ’80 January 19, 2021

Dorothy Appel ’43 December 3, 2020

Lorinda Dodge ’55 February 2, 2021

Melvin Rodick ’91 May 19, 2020

Charlotte Miller ’44 November 28, 2020

Julia Scearce ’60 November 11, 2020

Julia Loiacono ’92 October 26, 2020

Helen Mote ’48 October 21, 2020

Judith Klinginsmith ’61 December 29, 2020

Carmen Ganaway ’94 February 12, 2021

Fredda Bartenbach ’50 February 24, 2021

Sherry Pierce ’61 January 4, 2021

Ronald Balduzzi ’99 January 31, 2021

Charlotte Cowey ’50 November 24, 2020

Jane Shackelford ’74 August 2, 2020

Randy Vorderstrasse ’99 November 21, 2020

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

Christina McAfee ’02 May 1, 2017 Jasmin Godwin ’09 May 17, 2016 Pedro Fraga ’14 July 24, 2020

JIM MORRIS, HON. ’15 Jim Morris Hon. ’15 passed away on Jan. 9, 2021, at the age of 86. He was a beloved family man, community leader and founder of the Morris Oil Company of Springfield, Missouri. Morris grew up in Southeast Missouri picking cotton and peaches and spent winters in Venice Beach, California, shining shoes on the Boardwalk. His visionary business acumen was secured by the devotion he demonstrated in his faith and family, especially 68 years of marriage to his loving wife, Catherine. As a philanthropist, Morris gave youth the opportunity to succeed. His legacy continues to benefit education and young people throughout the state of Missouri. In 2012, Morris made a transformational gift to Columbia College that allowed the college’s location in Rolla to quadruple the size of the original campus. In 2015, Columbia College presented Morris with an Honorary Degree, Doctor of Humane Letters in recognition of his lifetime achievements.


In lieu of flowers, the family would like to set up a scholarship in Ben’s memory. Donations may be sent to Columbia College, identified for the Cameron Scholarship.

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“In 1988, Ben Cameron told me there was an opening for a graphic design professor at Columbia College. I was very fortunate to join Tom Watson, Ed Collings, Sid Larson, Richard Baumann and Ben — a great group of artists, professors, colleagues and friends. We all got along well despite varied teaching styles, personalities and politics. I don’t know which was more colorful, his art or him? I enjoyed his wit and his wisdom a great deal. He had a way of blending the two that made every conversation a blast! He was brilliant in so many ways, but very much in touch with what makes a full life.”

Spring 2021

Columbia College Art Faculty Emeritus Ben Cameron passed away Feb. 5, 2021, at the age of 80. Cameron taught in Columbia for 48 years, including 38 years at Columbia College (1974-2012). Professor Mike Sleadd shares memories of the beloved teacher.

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