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Class Notes

Personal and professional updates by class year

1960s

Betty Hamor Trober ’63 is a self-employed bookkeeper, managing finances for the family farm and a local restaurant. In 1982, she married her husband, Ed, and completed a bachelor’s degree in accounting at Dodge City St. Mary of the Plains, the night before her daughter Darcie graduated from high school.

Joanna Johns Willis ’69, who retired from education in 2016, teaches private piano lessons, serves as an author’s assistant and sings in her church choir. She and her husband reside in Lubbock, Texas.

Longtime friends Mimi Rendish ’65 (left) and Lois Flege Pulliam ’47 reconnected in the fall of 2019. The women, who both live in Massachusetts, met while working for a group of scientists. Rendish owns MimizMuzic Studio and is a fulltime piano instructor. Pulliam has been a member of the American Association of University Women since 1957 and was named Woman of the Year by the organization in 2007.

1970s

Doris Alex Schyman ’71 is a lifelong learner. After receiving an Associate of Arts from Columbia College, she completed a bachelor’s degree in education at the University of Missouri in 1973. She had a successful career in education and recently earned a Master of Arts in Jewish Studies from the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership in Chicago.

Evelyn Jorgenson ’76 is president of NorthWest Arkansas Community College. She is an active board member for the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank and the Literacy Council of Benton County.

Dr. Calvin Posner ’76 was elected President of the Democratic Public Education Caucus of Florida in August 2019.

Penny Rafferty Hamilton ’76 published “America’s Amazing Airports” in 2019.

Brig. Gen Charles E. McGee ‘78 received the Silver Buffalo Award, Scouting’s highest commendation for service to youth, by Boy Scouts of America. An Eagle Scout and Tuskegee Airman, he joins a prestigious group of award recipients, which includes 13 presidents, Neil Armstrong and Walt Disney.

1980s

Fawn Clemons Stephenson ’81 is a retired high school art teacher. She and her husband, Gene, married in 1981.

Robyn Frame ’82 retired from being a kindergarten teacher in May 2020. With more than 30 years in education in Missouri, she has received teacher of the year accolades for Fulton Public Schools.

Robert Walker ’87 was promoted to director of Operations, Sustainment & Logistics Operations for Lockhead Martin Space in Aurora, Colorado.

Dr. Martha “Marti” Snyder ’88 is a professor in the College of Computing and Engineering at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She is a member of the American Educational Research Association, International Society for Performance Improvement and the Association for Educational Communications and Technology.

1990s

Amy Henderson ’90 is an associate attorney with Cripps and Simmons LLC in Columbia, Missouri, where she focuses on estate planning, trusts, probate and elder law.

Paul Hopkins ’91 became interim director of the John J. Pershing Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, in April 2020. He retired from the U.S. Army Reserve in 2007.

Dianne Graves Whitaker ’93 has been named director of Human Resources for St. Louis-based Doe Run Company.

David Wood ’97 served 22 years in the United States Navy before earning his bachelor’s degree and working as a law enforcement officer in Virginia. He retired in 2018 and works part-time as a background investigator.

Tonda Bailey ’98 was promoted to director of Business Services for Coastal Wire Company in South Carolina.

David Belmonte ’98 is a content developer for Lexipol, the leading provider of public safety policy and training solutions for first responders. He has 31 years of experience in law enforcement and retired as chief of police in Lake Bluff, Illinois.

Victoria Bishop Ryan ’99 joined Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines in December 2019 as senior manager of Leadership Development.

2000s

Janette Nichols ’00 & ’02 completed a master’s degree in philosophy from Walden University and plans to submit her dissertation for its Ph.D. program in Human Services and Social Work with a specialty in military cultures and families and non-profit management.

Ray Sanchez ’00 served in the U.S. Army and works in IT/Data Analytics in Illinois. Lauren Seburn ’00 is Chief of Police at the Syracuse VA Medical Center. He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force with more than 25 years in law enforcement.

Capt. Rex Scism ’01 & ’05, director of the Research and Development division, retired from the Missouri State Highway Patrol after 26 years of service.

Verna Harris Laboy ’03 won the 2019 Progress in Health Care Award by the Columbia Missourian. She leads the Live Well by Faith program, which works with the African-American community in Boone County.

Tangalayer Oates ’04 is the chief executive officer and principal instructor at Transcending Borders Corporation, a human resources and organizational management consulting and training company based in Georgia.

Kurt Frisz ’05 has been appointed Chief of Police for St. Charles County. With more than 30 years in law enforcement, he was named the 2019 Missouri Police Chiefs Association Chief of the Year.

Colita Harvey ’05 has been promoted to program officer for the Central Missouri Community Action Housing Department.

Kayla McAndrews ’05 and her husband, Craig “Boomer” welcomed a son, Cal Hays, on June 19, 2019. Boomer is an assistant coach for the Cougar baseball team.

Cindy Potter ’05, a Cougar softball alumna and current assistant director of Columbia College Athletics, received the Warren Berg Award for her outstanding contributions to the field of sports information by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

McAndrews, Potter currently serves as the organization’s First Vice President, and will ascend to CoSIDA’s presidency in July 2021.

LaShawnda Walters ’06 married Olalekan T. Kayode on Jan. 28, 2020, in Lagos, Nigeria. She is a U.S. Navy veteran and retired mental health counselor.

James Beasley ’07 & ’11 is the assistant principal of a 4A school in East Texas. He holds a second master’s degree in educational leadership from East Texas Baptist University and was a high school science teacher for 12 years.

Donald Dillman ’07 is vice commander of The American Legion District 15 and adjutant for Greenfield American Legion Post 47. He is a retired First Sergeant E-8 in the U.S. Army.

Thomas Donohoe ’07 has been promoted to University Registrar at East Tennessee State University.

Nicole Rademan ’07 completed the Graduate School of Banking in Madison, Wisconsin. She is Vice President, Strategic Project Manager at Providence Bank in Jefferson City, Missouri.

Matt Williams ’07 has become the first person to graduate from A.T. Still University’s Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health in his hometown of Kirksville, Missouri. He completed the four-year program this spring and will start is career at the Northeast Missouri Health Council.

Brandon Gilbert ’08 is a master sergeant in the Air Force National Guard and an officer for the State University of New York — Cortland Police Department. Gilbert was invited to speak on “What Veterans Day Means to Me” at the 2019 SUNY Cortland Veterans Day celebration.

WOMEN IN BUSINESS: Four Columbia College alumnae were recognized by the 2019 Women Who Own It Awards honoring women business owners in Central Missouri. Chelsea McGill ’16 owns The Grind Coffee Shop in California and manages Countryside Insurance Agency in Tipton alongside her husband, Alex; Keli Tate ’14 is the founder/owner of The Station restaurant in Fulton; Lara Pieper ’16 owns Bloom Bookkeeping in Columbia; and Tarah Griggs Toellner ’12 owns Martha Rose Gifts and Home Décor in Mexico. Pictured from left to right: Chelsea McGill ’16, Keli Tate ’14, Lara Pieper ’16 and Tarah Toellner ’12

2010s

Elisha Wells Stroupe ’10 is the author of “Desperate Farmwives,” a collection of stories of a small town girl who swore she’d move to the big city after college. She taught for 10 years before launching her writing career.

Scott Moore ’11 was named fire chief of the Battlefield Fire Protection District in Springfield, Missouri.

Clay Chism ’12 received the 2020 Distinguished Service Award at the annual Kingdom of Callaway Supper in Callaway County, Missouri. A lifelong Callawegian, he has served the county since 2000 and was elected sheriff in 2016.

Jessica Cox ’12 married Jared Erickson on June 29, 2019, in Lincoln, Nebraska. She is the owner of Hearts and Minds Counseling.

Jeff Mathiot ’12 retired from the United States Army in 2013. His family raises and shows Nigerian Dwarf goats and run a fully operational dairy goat farm in Missouri.

Logan McGuire ’12 and his wife, Kathleen, welcomed son Banks on Sept. 10, 2019.

Itai Cardona ’13 started a pop-up pantry in his community for people to take what they need or leave what they can share. With national stay-at-home orders changing the course of daily interactions, he felt the need to help. Cardona is the manager of a mobile home community for senior citizens in Southern California and created the pantry to help provide basic necessities to his residents.

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

Lori Jones ’13 is the manager at the Lake Regional Clinic in Laurie, Missouri.

Eric Wade ’13 is the author of “The Crow Code 1877,” a depiction of the overthrow of reconstruction and implementation of Jim Crow. This is his fourth novel.

Amy Brooks ’14 has been promoted to an Operations Specialist-Closer at Veterans United Home Loans in Columbia, Missouri. Michael Cathcart ’14 and his wife, Star, received the gift of a lifetime from the Bob Woodruff Foundation and the NFL. Both military veterans, the couple appeared on Good Morning America in November 2019, where they met former New York Giants players Michael Strahan and Justin Tuck and received a trip to the 2020 Super Bowl in Miami.

Nikki Haigh-Patterson ’14 and Chris Patterson celebrated their marriage in Dorsey Gym at Columbia College main campus in 2017. The couple welcomed daughter Gwendolynn Grace on Oct. 28, 2019. Nikki is a senior administrative support assistant for the City of Columbia.

Jessica Anderson Bedwell ’15 and her husband, Michael, welcomed daughter Elena Grace on March 6, 2020.

Rotshak Dakup ’17 has been promoted to a support escalation engineer at Microsoft in Dallas.

Taylor Emery ’17 infuses her love of pop art, celebrity and her hometown of St. Louis in her custom pottery collection. She completed an apprenticeship in 2018 and sells her work in stores locally and through her Etsy store, ClayByTayStudio.

Gregory Haug ’17 retired as a Police Corporal with the Shrewsbury Police Department and started new job as a client services manager for GardaWorld in St. Louis.

Breanna Troesser ’17 has been promoted to a program analyst at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Leah Dixon ’18 is a staffing specialist at Hughes Resources in Freeport, Illinois. She serves on the board of Davis Town and Country and is a member of the Northwest Illinois Audubon Society.

Jeannie Lahman ’18 joined the Missouri Department of Economic Development as a disaster recovery compliance specialist. Lahman is a member of the CCAA Advisory Board.

Taylor Lantz ’18 is a financial advisor at Northwestern Mutual in Elgin, Illinois.

Rachael Fehl ’19 is a senior human resources manager for Jackson Hewitt Tax Service. A former U.S. Army captain, Fehl was chosen to provide the commencement address at Columbia College’s December 2019 ceremony, where she received a master’s degree in Business Administration. “At the heart of the Columbia College mission statement, it’s about unlocking true potential,” she says. “And the key method is at this pivotal moment of graduation it’s our continued commitment to being open to learn, it’s how we can keep turning that key to unlock our true potential.”

Nolan Rattai ‘19, a former Columbia College Cougar infielder, was named Canadian Baseball Network’s Second Team All-Canadian. After just three months on the team, the 23-year-old has taken over as head coach of the Medicine Hat Mavericks in Alberta, Canada. –CP