Affinity Magazine, Summer 2021

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Summer 2021


a f f i n i t y

GOING WITH THE FLOW Fifty years since transitioning to a four-year co-ed program, Columbia College continues to evolve in the ever-changing landscape of higher education

Byron Wilson ’07 comes home to accept Air Force promotion Strategic Plan sets tone for the next five years Virtual awards gala connects alumni with family and friends around the world


FEATURES On the Cover: Abigail Schneider ’21 celebrates the completion of her bachelor’s degree in a big way — decked out in her cap and gown on a white water rafting adventure in Camp Verde, Arizona.

a f f i n i t y Summer 2021 Editor, Production & Design Carolyn Preul

Contributors Keiyana Austin Jason Black ’17 Debra Carnahan ’82 Charles Dunlap Drew Grzella ’01 Leslie Kennon ’00 Missy Montgomery ’06 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. © 2021, 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

Face masks couldn't contain the excitement as graduates received their diplomas at the Spring 2021 Commencement Ceremony.

22 | MOVING FORWARD Five decades ago, the college embraced four big changes to the 120-year-old institution.

26 | THE SHOW GOES ON A virtual alumni awards gala connects recipients with family and friends across the nation.

IN EVERY ISSUE 6 | Inside the Gate Alumna sponsors masterclass series for music students; Cougar Athletics perseveres through the pandemic to post another stellar year. Alumni Association awards nine scholarships; alumnus comes home to Columbia College to celebrate a career milestone.

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Editorial Review Board Sam Fleury Keith McIver Beth McWilliams Suzanne Rothwell Dr. David Russell Dr. Piyusha Singh


42 | Class Notes


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


Staff Writers Kevin Fletcher Andy Oldenburg

32 | My CCAA



NEW in 2021! Columbia College is now a member of the

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Dream Big » If you are an alum who likes to follow closely what is happening at your alma mater, you probably know that the summer is the time for change in higher education — reflection, careful planning, doing and dreaming about the future.

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

The Board of Trustees has undergone some changes as well. Four new members were welcomed to the college’s governing board on July 1. Byron Hill of Venice, Florida; Bill Leeper ’04 of Fernandina, Florida; Col. Mike Randerson (USAF, Retired) of Columbia, Missouri; and CCAA representative Joshua Muder ’99 of Olathe, Kansas, are a distinguished group united in their dedication to Columbia College. We are fortunate to have them. Two trustees — Lex Cavanah of Marceline, Missouri, and Janet Wright ’58 of Columbia, Missouri — retired from the board and will be missed by those of us who depended on them for their experience and wise counsel. Patty Fischer returned to Columbia College in July in the role of chief human resources officer after a three-year stint as director of Human Resources for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Dixie Williams, who has accumulated wide experience in a variety of studentfacing roles at Missouri State, Missouri Southern, Missouri Western and the University of Missouri-St. Louis, accepted the position of vice president for Enrollment Management and Marketing. (See page 7 for more on Dixie). Both positions serve on our senior leadership team. We hope you enjoy the latest edition of Affinity, and thank you for being part of our Columbia College family. You are CC!

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Chair Rev. Dr. Brad Stagg

When giving the committee its charge back in March, I reminded them of the hockey metaphor attributed to Wayne Gretsky to “skate where the hockey puck is going to be, not where it is now.” Strategic planning is about catching the next wave of innovation. As a December deadline whispers in their ears, the members — trustees, staff, faculty, students, community thought leaders and location directors — are preserving the culture that has always defined us, even as they forge new ideas that will help assure our future success. Turn to Page 10 to learn more.

5 Dr. David Russell, Interim President


Columbia College Board of Trustees 2021-22

Our Strategic Planning Committee has been charged with identifying what big ideas need to be conceived and implemented to ensure Columbia College remains relevant for years to come.


Consistency in Forensics » Madison McGregor’s educational path was forged by playing hooky, a field trip that could someday impact the future of forensic science. In 2019, McGregor, a senior biochemistry major from Iowa, attended the educational conference of the Missouri Division of the International Association of Identification at the Lake of the Ozarks as a guest of Associate Professor of Forensic Science Dr. Melinda McPherson. At that conference, McPherson and her students were enthralled with a presentation from Dr. Alicia Carriquiry, a professor of statistics at Iowa State University and Director of its Center for Statistics and Applications in Forensic Science (CSAFE). “It was one of those presentations where you were just flabbergasted at how amazing it is,” McPherson says, recalling taking a break between sessions and walking around the hotel grounds with McGregor. “We were just dreaming, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if you could work with them?’ Fast forward a year and change, and it happened.” McGregor landed an internship with CSAFE in 2020 as part of its Research Experience for Undergraduates, where she researched the varying differences in testing procedures among 15 different laboratories around the region, specializing in firearms and tool mark examination.

Using proposed procedures from the Organization of Scientific Area Committees for Forensic Science (OSAC) as a baseline, McGregor discovered that those 15 labs had an average of six differences out of 46 requirements. One lab had more than 17 differences out of the 46 parameters. [Last October, OSAC announced changes to its structure to make high-quality standards available to forensic laboratories more quickly.] McGregor has since completed research on her first paper and has begun a second project with CSAFE to see what differences in standardization might exist in other disciplines. With established DNA testing standards in place, McGregor is researching standardized procedures for bloodstain pattern and shoe/tire-print evidence to determine if specific criteria are utilized more frequently than others. She credits McPherson and Columbia College for where she is. “The professors all do a great job of working with us, getting us the help we need and trying to advance us. Dr. McPherson is amazing. She’s always trying to find opportunities for us. She wants to put us in positions to be successful.” –KF

Local Partnership Kickstarts Memorial Nursing Scholarship

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she was a freshman nursing student at Columbia College. Out of that tragedy, a new team has formed with a mission of both honoring her and helping future nursing students earn their degrees.



» During her amazing 18-year life,

Nadria Wright loved being part of a team. Nadria’s life tragically ended far too soon in September 2019 when

Shaunda Hamilton, Nadria’s mother, founder of Boone County Community Against Violence, has partnered with Stacey Button, President of Regional Economic Development Inc. (REDI); Jessie Yankee, director of the Missouri Women’s Business Center and Suzanne Rothwell, vice president for Advancement with Columbia College, to kickstart the Nadria Leeann Wright Memorial Nursing Scholarship.

“Nadria was a tenacious young woman full of hopes and dreams and she made an impact on everyone she met,” Hamilton says. “This scholarship was created to keep Nadria’s legacy alive and to help other young promising Columbia College students to achieve their goals. We miss her deeply every day, but we were proud to launch this scholarship on what would have been her 20th birthday (July 6).” The scholarship, which will be awarded for the first time in April 2022, is focused on assisting students majoring in nursing with a GPA of 3.0 or higher who may be facing financial hardships. Learn more or make a gift in Nadria’s memory at –SF


The Columbia College Staff Association Advisory Council presented two annual employee awards.

» Lexi Thomas,

science lab manager in the Brouder Science Center, received the Professional Excellence Award. Lexi was tireless in her efforts to make laboratory experiences available and successful, despite COVID-19 restrictions. When summer laboratory kits did not arrive on time, Lexi personally created lab kits and coordinated deliveries to ensure students were prepared to learn in a virtual setting.


» Dixie Williams joined the college on August 16 as

» Suzanne

Rothwell, vice president for Advancement, was recognized by the Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation as its 2021 Alumna of the Year. Rothwell graduated with the GMLC Class of 2004 and has since served as a member of the Board of Directors (Past President), interim Executive Director and helped establish the newly formed Alumnae Advisory Council.

With more than 18 years of experience in higher education, Williams possesses expertise in student affairs, admissions, student recruitment, budget management, communications and enrollment management. She most recently served as the interim associate vice chancellor for Strategic Enrollment and Director of Admissions at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. “I appreciate the opportunity to be part of an institution with an outstanding reputation and potential for growth like Columbia College,” Williams says. “I would like to thank Dr. Russell (interim president) and Dr. Piyusha Singh (the college’s provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs) for selecting me for this role. I look forward to hitting the ground running with our team while being intentional in our efforts to engage prospective and current students around the country.” Williams secured a master’s degree in college student affairs from Eastern Illinois University in 2003 and received a bachelor’s degree in speech communications from Missouri Western University in 2001. –SF


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assistant director of Regional Recruitment, received the Servant Leadership Award for her community involvement. Outside of work she “hustles” in many professional and philanthropic endeavors that focus on homelessness and veteran support in mid-Missouri.

vice president for Enrollment Management and Marketing, where she oversees the Marketing, Enrollment Services, Student Success, Financial Aid, and Recruiting & Admissions departments.

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» Dee Brown,


IN HARMONY Alumna sponsors visiting lecturer series for Music Program

» Cynthia Shutt Cirome ’60 has worked alongside legendary actors such as Margaret Hamilton and Ginger Rogers, soaking in the skills that come from a lifetime of professional experience. From an early age, Cirome knew she wanted to be a performer. She started her serious musical education at Christian College, where she was noticeably impressed to have industry professionals speak to her class and create excitement for her own budding musical career. These experiences made a lifelong impression and inspired her to give Columbia College music students experiential opportunities that are outside of the core curriculum. With this in mind, Cirome collaborated with the college to make a special donation to its music program.

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“I found that celebrity guests impressed me a lot, just the fact that they would come and work A photograph of Cynthia Shutt Cirome ’60 modeling a historical bonnet during her with us one-on-one and senior year at Christian College appears perform a concert,” she in the 1968 edition of Petticoat Pioneer says. “It was in my mind by Allean Hale. for many hours after that, and even though many years have passed, I hoped it would work on today’s students.”



Despite the need to social distance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the virtual academic setting invited broader collaborations with guests from across the nation. During the Fall 2020 semester, students and faculty in the Visual Arts and Music Department adapted to new technology and embraced the virtual learning environment to record live performances for virtual competitions. In April, the Cynthia Shutt Cirome ’60 Family Music Fund sponsored its first visiting lecturer program to bring music industry professional into the classroom. Students took part in a six-part Cirome Masterclass

Series. Each session was led by a professional musician who joined the class through Zoom, as the college offered both in-person and virtual courses during the 2020-21 academic year. Guest lecturers included Broadway performer Dr. Darrel J. “DJ” Jordan, professional voice instructor Kevin Wilson, award-winning performer John Wesley Wright, artist Cheyenne Nelson, performer Tara Curtis and motivational speaker Shelby Ringdahl. It was Cirome’s hope that students can work with these guests and observe details that they may not pick up from a performance. For first-year music student Jermon Lambert, the series was more than he could have imagined. He has always wanted to be a singer and, as a child, often entertained his grandma by putting on shows in her living room. Nervous as to what he could expect in college, Lambert has quickly found his footing. During his one-on-one session with Ringdahl, Lambert worked on how he can include more acting in his delivery. “You have to project what you are feeling in your song. I would sing and she would stop me. Maybe I needed to start softer so I could progress and paint the story even more,” he says. “You have to be able to go to a starting point, get to a climax and bring it down. It helped to hear from her Broadway point-of-view, giving me the experience that she has learned.” The series gives students an opportunity to see what they can expect if they follow a career in the arts, as Cirome did. After graduating from Christian College, she completed a degree in music at the University of Indiana before moving to New York City. She spent several years trying out for Broadway productions while working at a playhouse in New Jersey. Years later in Indianapolis, Cirome performed in the chorus for a summer theatre production of the Wizard of Oz where Hamilton reprised her famous role as the Wicked Witch of the West. “I got to talk to her, watch how she transferred from the wonderful person she actually was to her ‘witchdom,’” Cirome says. “And though my vocal training was classical music and opera, which I love, acting alongside her was one of the touching experiences that blossomed from my exposure to musical training at Christian College.” –CP

For details and tickets to the October 15 induction ceremony, visit

HALL OF FAME 2020 & 2021

Former Athletes Secure Their Place In Cougar History 2001-02 Women’s Basketball Team On July 6, 2000, the decision to reinstate women’s basketball as a varsity sport at Columbia College was announced. Not long afterward, Mike Davis was hired as the head coach and tasked with recruiting a team that could compete during the 20012002 campaign. Made up of 5 transfer student-athletes and seven incoming high school graduates, the 2001-02 Women’s Basketball Team would not only compete, but they would gel together quickly and dominate. By winning the regular-season conference championship, they earned an automatic bid to the NAIA National Tournament. The team finished the season with a 30-5 overall record.

Vesna Trivunovic Johnson ’13 / Volleyball

Lindsey Martin Andrews ’14 Cross Country and Indoor Track & Field

In her three years with the Cougars, Vesna Trivunovic Johnson was named Newcomer of the Year, 1st Team All-Conference and 1st Team All-America. She was named to the 2010 NAIA National Tournament All-Tournament Team after helping the Cougars advance to the NAIA National Championship match.

Lindsey Martin Andrews is one of the most decorated individual athletes in Columbia College history. A six-time All-American and a four-time NAIA ScholarAthlete, Andrews holds seven Columbia College Track & Field records and still has the program record for the fastest cross country 5k time (17:34).

Endrinha Sosa ’05 Volleyball Outside hitter Endrinha Sosa is known for the enthusiasm and flair she brought to the 19992003 program. She was a four-time 1st Team All-Conference member, twice named AMC Most Valuable Player, and was honored as an NAIA All-American during each of her final three years.

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A three-time AllConference and twotime All-District men's basketball player, Stacey Batson helped lead the Cougars to an incredible 93-35 overall record during his career. He was a key component on the 1989-90 team, which finished the year with a 30-8 overall record, the program's first-ever trip to the NAIA National Tournament and a spot in the Sweet Sixteen.

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Stacy Batson ’92 Basketball



» Earlier this spring, Interim President Dr. David Russell and Board of Trustees Vice Chair Dale Coe Simons ’65 formed a committee to spearhead the creation of a five-year strategic plan for the college.

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Led by Dr. Suzanne Tourville, professor of Mathematics and assistant provost of Accreditation and Assessment, and Dave Roberts, dean for Student Affairs, the committee includes a diverse group from the college community. Employee representatives, most who are also CC alumni, include Anh Braddock ’12 & ’14, Kim Craig ’12, Samantha Davis ’13, Danielle Douglas, Keith Glindemann ’15, Cindy Potter ’05 & ’06, Jeannie Simmons ’02 and Britta Wright ’07 & ’16. Alumni representatives include Zach McAdams ’20, Christina Sholars ’20 and Trustees Dale Coe Simons ’65, Helen Jane Blackman ’64 and Carol Winkler ’93.



A primary goal is to incorporate the important voices of the Columbia College community into the strategic plan. With this in mind, faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members were invited to participate in a survey in April. Over 1,200 responses were received,

including 269 from alumni and 29 from community members. The majority (60%) of the alumni who responded to the survey reside in midMissouri. “The committee is interested in ways to engage students and alumni from here in mid-Missouri and around the country,” Tourville says. “This feedback will definitely be key in the development of the strategic plan.” Open-ended questions to alumni in the survey indicated a desire to be more connected with the college. In answer to the question of which areas alumni are interested in contributing to, the top responses were: • • • •

Expand and improve academics Mentoring and career preparation Scholarships Athletics

The committee will present its first draft to senior leadership in August and will offer several opportunities for community feedback in the fall. The approved plan will be submitted to the Board of Trustees in early 2022. –SF

WHY CC? The Strategic Plan Committee is particularly interested in why students choose to attend Columbia College. The top five reasons for attending Columbia College given by alumni survey respondents included: • Location • Ability to complete degree in a timely manner • Size of college • Cost • Specific degree programs Current students shared a nearly identical response. Day Program students added attending because “I felt a connection to the college when I visited,” while Online and CC Global students mentioned the benefits of no book costs and no fees through the college’s Truition program.

For regular updates from Inside the Gate, visit

Nurses’ Pinning Ceremonies Mark Rite of Passage » Each year, the Spring Nurses’ Pinning ceremonies are two of the college’s premier events. Students, faculty and staff of the respective programs attended ceremonies at the college’s Lake of the Ozarks location and Main Campus. “The Columbia College nursing students have endured not only the pandemic, but effectively balanced their work and life schedules, and sacrificed time with their families

while attending the nursing program,” says Dr. Corrine Floyd, director & chair of Nursing.

Boone Health, Capital Region Medical Center and Lake Regional Hospital.

At the Lake of the Ozarks location, 14 graduates completed Associate of Science in Nursing degrees with everyone accepting a job immediately after graduation. The newly minted alumni are now serving at numerous medical centers, including Mercy Hospital, MU Health Care University Hospital,

Additionally, more than 50 students graduated from the college’s Day Program in Columbia, with 25 associates degrees and 26 bachelor’s degrees. With a 91-percent pass rate for ASN graduates in December 2020, the program’s alumni continue to test above the national average on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).

“To become a nurse is life-changing. The process to reach that milestone and take the NCLEX-RN is like climbing a mountain.” — DR. CORRINE FLOYD,

Top: Graduates of the college's Nursing Program at the college's location at the Lake of the Ozarks are pictured with instructor Sara Riley (far left); Bottom: Day Program nursing graduates are pictured with Dr. Faye Fairchild (far left) and Dr. Joyce Gentry (far right).

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“Each nursing student has their own story and not only survive their struggles, but share support and promote each other’s progression and success,” Floyd says. “To be a nurse takes competence, grit and perseverance, but it also takes compassion and a nurturing disposition to put our patients first. We are very proud of our nursing students and celebrate their success and drive to become a nurse. It brings us joy to play a part in their journey.” –AO

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Summer Expeditions » This year marked the 10th edition of the Columbia Public School’s Summer Expeditions program that invites select individuals from some of the community’s under-represented youth to Columbia College for a real look into college life. Nearly 80 students in grades 5-8 participated in the month-long activities, tutorials and classroom sessions led by college staff. In collaboration with the Columbia STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Alliance, students had the opportunity to explore connections between art and science. Highlights included classes on origami, snowflakes, recycling, viscosity, mathematics, bugs and flowers.

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Traditionally, the participants would close the program with an entertaining commencement ceremony at Launer Auditorium. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic still at hand, the commencement and other exclusive events on the college’s Main Campus were postponed.



This was also the seventh consecutive year that State Farm Insurance has funded the event. During that time, State Farm has contributed more than $61,000 towards the program. On July 28, members of the Columbia, Missouri, State Farm team and Columbia College representatives attended an official check ceremony recognizing the 2021 edition of Summer

State Farm Insurance contributed $7,500 to fund the 2021 Summer Expeditions program. From left: Columbia College Professor of Political Science Dr. Terry Smith, State Farm Sales Leader Ryan Kenney, State Farm Agent Justin Hahn, State Farm Agent DJ Hinds, State Farm Agent Greg Hill and Columbia College Interim President Dr. David Russell attend the official check presentation.

Expeditions. State Farm Sales Leader Ryan Kenney was one of the individuals inside St. Clair Hall and expressed the importance of the event. “Everyone knows our company slogan, ‘Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there,’ and we really try to achieve that here in Columbia,” Kenney says. “One of our missions is to have people realize their dreams and the Summer Expeditions program does exactly that. In this past year-plus of COVID and seeing corporations pull back in their giving efforts, we had to do some ourselves, but we knew we must continue to support the Summer Expeditions program with Columbia College and Columbia Public Schools.”

Dr. Terry Smith, Columbia College Professor of Political Science, spearheaded the Summer Expeditions program in its groundbreaking stages nearly a decade ago. Behind his passion and dedication, the initiative has continued to produce outstanding results for the mid-Missouri community. “It has been a privilege for me to be a part of this program,” Smith says. “A former Columbia Public Schools superintendent originally approached me with the idea. They had a cohort of children in their schools that were high achievers, at-risk and didn’t reach all the qualifications for the gifted program. We wanted to remind the children that you were smart


enough to accomplish this and you only need motivation and support from your respective school and family.” Camp participants get to experience what it is like to study on a college campus, which may encourage them to pursue their future academic goals. If a student who has completed the Summer Expedition program attends Columbia College after high school, they can receive a significant scholarship. In fact, Smith had exciting news to share during the presentation.

“We’re certainly grateful for State Farm and Columbia Public Schools being frontiersmen in putting this amazing program on the map,” says Columbia College Interim President Dr. David Russell. “It’s incredibly gratifying to see these students get this college exposure now at a young age and have them realize that higher education opportunities are possible.” –AO

we’re digital Read current and archived issues of Affinity magazine any time on any device at

Summer 2021

It’s clearly everyone’s hope that the Summer Expeditions program “returns to normal” in 2022. Even with the external challenges that were presented in this year’s edition of the event, countless individuals across numerous organizations were still able to persevere and give these young participants a time to remember and a potential glimpse into the future.

The CC Alumni Grad Pack is the first opportunity for new graduates to display their Cougar Pride and support for their alma mater. Launched in 2018, 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:

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“I’m delighted to announce that this fall, the very first graduate from the inaugural Summer Expeditions class is enrolling at Columbia College. So, in short, this collaboration ultimately worked. She will be the first of many,” Smith says.




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» The teamwork required for John Klein’s men’s



As the final minutes of the first half wound down at R. Marvin Owens Stadium on April 24, Carson Lindsey collected a pass from Erik Rajoy, made a move to evade a defender, and rifled the ball into the back of the net. Lindsey’s goal was the only tally in a 1-0 win over Northwestern Ohio, and moved the Cougar men’s soccer team to the NAIA National Championship Tournament outside of Augusta, Georgia, where they finished among the top four teams in the country. It was the final athletic contest on Main Campus this academic year and a fitting capper to a challenging year for everyone involved in Cougar Athletics.

soccer squad to advance this far was an apt metaphor for them, as well as the Cougars’ other 16 teams, to even have the opportunity to compete during the 2020-21 school year, let alone thrive. As the pandemic shut down life as everyone knew it in March of 2020, college administrators scrambled to transition classes to virtual learning, which led to ripple effects across all areas of the college. It forced the cancellation of all 2019-20 winter and spring sport seasons, which made for many tough moments. “We didn’t have a lot of time to think about it, we had to act,” said James Arnold, who has served as the college’s director of Athletics for two years. “We immediately went from X’s and O’s to crisis managers and tutors and logistical masterminds.”



Instead of poring over film and practice plans, coaches and staff focused on the emotional and mental status of their players, as well as their academic performance in a Zoom world. Those challenges extended into this school year, but they were mitigated by what Arnold called tremendous buy-in from everyone associated with Cougar Athletics. “The relationships that exist now between all these stakeholders – be it Student Affairs, Student Health, Plant and Facilities Operations or Financial Aid – that have worked together through this process will only make CC stronger in the coming years. It wasn’t always pretty, but that’s the real success story. We’re going to be a better college for years to come because of attacking these concerns as a team. “Why are we better on the soccer field? Because everyone was on the same page,” Arnold concludes. Dave Roberts, dean of Student Affairs, agrees. “One of the things people don’t understand, we don’t press the ‘easy button.’ All this work has come at the cost of a lot of heartache and experience, but we can look back and say we did our best.” A small group of individuals was involved in the initial discussion regarding pandemic operations, yet that group quickly realized they needed to foster robust and frequent communication among different departments. The results were not just a full Cougar Athletics calendar – even if most of the teams competed outside of their traditional competitive seasons – but, true to its history, a dominant one. –KF

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CONFERENCE REGULARSEASON TITLES: Baseball, Softball, Lacrosse, Men’s Soccer & Women’s Soccer






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For the fourth straight year, Columbia College won the American Midwest Conference Presidents’ Cup, which is awarded to the school with the best performance among all sports the league sponsors. Since 2015-16 – when the college reinstated baseball, and added men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field – the Cougars have become the elite institution of the AMC.

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“We immediately went from X’s and O’s to crisis managers and tutors and logistical masterminds.”



















JOHN KLEIN Men’s Soccer




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» Kenny Piper ’20





Men’s Cross Country, Women’s Cross Country and Men’s Outdoor Track & Field (AWARDS GIVEN TO COACHING STAFF)

IAN WOLFE Men’s Lacrosse

was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 18th round of the 2021 MLB Draft. During the 2021 Cougar season, Piper earned NAIA 1st Team AllAmerican, ABCA-Rawlings NAIA Gold Glove Winner (Catcher) and CoSIDA Academic All-American. He is only the second Cougar to be selected in the MLB Draft, joining Andrew Warner in 2018.







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At the Spring 2021 commencement ceremony, Joshua Muder ’99, member 19 of the Columbia College Alumni Association Advisory Council, provides the alumni charge that officially welcomes graduates into the CCAA.

CONGRATULATIONS! The venue was different, and masks kept beaming smiles from view until the graduates exited the arena, but the emotion and accomplishment was ever present for Columbia College’s Spring 2021 Commencement on May 1. College administrators had initially announced plans in March to hold a virtual ceremony that day, but thanks to a gracious offer from officials at the University of Missouri, the college was able to hold a pair of in-person ceremonies with full distancing at Mizzou Arena. Graduates were spaced out among 150 chairs on the arena floor and, in the case of the larger afternoon ceremony, up into the first sections of spectator seating at the rear of the stage. They each received a commemorative Columbia College Alumni Association Class of 2021 mask, a gift from the Board of Trustees and senior leadership team.

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In his remarks to the graduates, Interim President Dr. David Russell spoke of the masks in the crowd, and how they have hindered both our verbal and non-verbal communication, yet haven’t hidden our eyes. He invited the graduates to look toward their family, friends and other supporters in the crowd. “[Do] you see those eyes filled with pride, relief, joy and admiration, celebration and satisfaction for a job well done? Those are the eyes of the family and friends who love you, who have sacrificed for you. They are the ones who have supported you with all their heart and soul so that you might have a brighter future. … The Columbia College family is proud to have played a part in helping you realize your vision and providing you the tools you will need to achieve material success and spiritual peace.”




BACK TO SCHOOL Among the Class of 2021 was Tyus Monroe, who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. She was in the first graduating class of the Grow Our Own program, a partnership between Columbia Public Schools and colleges and universities in the area. As part of earning a full college scholarship, honorees make commitments to work in CPS classrooms for four years following graduation. Monroe’s next two semesters will be spent teaching at her alma maters: this summer at West Middle School and this fall at Hickman High School. “The people who came before me – whose shoulders I stand on – they were all with me today, and they got to see me graduate. That’s a great feeling,” Monroe said.

Watch the ceremony:

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The Class of 2021 graduates also participated in a virtual commencement celebration that aired Saturday, July 17. Students were invited to upload photos and video clips that ran as their names were announced. CCAA Advisory Council member Whitney Jones ’16 ’19 ’20 provided the alumni charge, and Monica Semora ’21, a graduate of the college’s Online Program who lives in Arkansas, provided the student address to her classmates. “You worked so hard for this day, “ Semora said. “Never forget the path that brought you to this day. Congratulations Class of 2021!”

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President Merle Hill is joined by college faculty and leadership at the groundbreaking of a new dormitory, Banks Hall, that opened in 1971.



The tenure of W. Merle Hill – the 13th president of Christian/Columbia College from 1965 to 1977 – was, in the words of college historian Polly Batterson, “an earthquake, shaking the institution to its very foundation while preserving its roots and heritage.” While there is certainly much about Columbia College that has stood the test of time, it isn’t hard to see why Batterson wrote those words five decades ago. In the span of four years, the Board of Trustees made four sweeping changes to an institution that, at the time, had been in existence for nearly 120 years. »


» Messick’s meeting illustrated a need that Columbia College was

quickly able to fill. The first classes at Troop Support Command Headquarters (TROSCOM) in St. Louis in 1973 were born out of the military’s desire to have an armed forces that was not only educated, but continued to gain knowledge. Within months, Army personnel from as far as Cape Girardeau were driving up to St. Louis to take evening classes at TROSCOM. Thus began the most rapid period of growth in the college’s history, both on the military and civilian sides. By 1975, the college had established a

presence in more than 150 locations in 40 states. [The exponential growth created its own problems for the college. Because of billing and other quality-control issues, the Board of Trustees actually imposed a moratorium on creating new locations for a period of several years.] The college eventually settled into a more sustainable operations plan for its Extended Studies campuses, as they were known at the time. In addition to its locations on military installations, Columbia College became an attractive option for

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Enrollments, which were numbered in the hundreds at the time, grew immediately; by the time of Merle Hill’s passing in 2015 at the age of 89, Columbia College boasted an enrollment across its Day, Evening, Nationwide and Online programs of more than 25,000 students.

Students gather on Main Campus in the 1980s.

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On May 21, 1969, the Board voted unanimously both to (1) accept men into what was founded as Christian Female College, and to begin the process of (2) migrating from a twoyear junior college to a four-year institution. On October 25 of that year, the college’s governing body (3) adopted the name Columbia College to begin use on July 1, 1970. And less than two years after that, President Hill held a meeting with a United States Army education services officer named Ted Messick that would ultimately become the (4) start of what would become the Extended Studies Division – now known as Columbia College Global.

available to students; today, there are more than 1,100 sections offered during each eight-week session. Because of that ease of accessibility, students can earn an associate degree in 20 months, a bachelor’s degree in three-and-a-half years, and a master’s degree in only 12 months.

A symbol of hospitality to all who visit Main Campus, Rogers Gate has been adorned with a variety of Columbia College signage over the years. Here, a banner connected the center pillars in the 1980s.

civilian adult learners. The college’s location in St. Louis has been in existence since 1973, in Jefferson City since 1974, and the Evening Program on the college’s main campus opened in 1975. Of the college’s nearly 40 current locations, more than half were opened in the 20th century.

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The shift also fundamentally changed who is the average Columbia College student. In the 1960s, it was a 19-year-old; today, with the increase in non-traditional students, the average age of a CC student is 31.



Each location has different demographics; when the Lake of the Ozarks location opened in 1990, there were few higher-education options available in that part of the state. Today, hospitals and other healthcare organizations flock to the Lake location to hire its nursing graduates. The college’s locations in

Denver and Salt Lake both educate students from several countries around the world.


» As Instructor of Human Services Michael Perkins said in the Winter 2019 issue of Affinity, change is part of Columbia College’s DNA. “We have a history of being innovative, and I think it’s important to try things even if they don’t work. Columbia College has always been nimble, willing to take calculated risks when others wouldn’t, and that exploring, pioneering mindset has set us apart from other schools.” There’s no better example of that innovation with the college’s foray into online education in October 2000. “It was primitive, but we did it,” Perkins said. Back then, there were 10 total sections of online classes

For the fifth straight year, more than 80 percent of Columbia College students took at least one online class, and students who exclusively take online courses comprise the largest segment of the student body. The top majors online mirror those of the rest of the college – general studies, business administration, criminal justice, human services and psychology – and has tracked similarly for the last five years. Within the past two years, the college has added degrees in cybersecurity, biochemistry, organizational leadership, health services and health sciences. In addition, thanks to the college’s exclusive partnership with the National Association of REALTORS® forged in 2019, Columbia College now offers certificate, associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in various real estate disciplines.


» Looking ahead to the future of Columbia College, there are two pivotal guideposts that will take place in the next couple of years that will define the direction of the college for the next five to 10 years, says Dr. Piyusha Singh, provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs. The first is a strategic plan that will inform the academic program (see page 10); the second is the hiring of a permanent president

to replace Dr. Scott Dalrymple, who left the college in November. “The academic piece of [the strategic plan] can’t stay stuck in stone – we’re going to have to evolve based on the workforce that our industries need, and where we think the plan will want us to be in five years,” Singh says. That evolution – to look at the needs of industry and tailor the college’s programs to meet that workforce – is a bit of a change from what might have happened previously at the college. “As we develop programs, we look at need, and we look at what we can do well,” she says. “We look at a combination of what we think is going to be a growth industry both in terms of jobs and how our liberal-arts focus fits with that.” As an example of that liberal-arts focus, the college’s cybersecurity program doesn’t just train students how to code; through psychology classes, it can also provide insight into how cybercriminals might think of attacking a network. Other core college courses can teach the criticalthinking and communication skills to interact with their co-workers in a more productive manner. In the end, Singh summarizes the key to Columbia College’s success for the next 50 years in the same word that has made it such an attractive option for the last 50: flexibility. “We have so many options for how someone can finish a degree, we have flexibility in terms of accepting credit, and we have low residency requirements,” she says. “I think our customer service and the fact that we have all these locations has probably helped us become so big in the online space.”


1901 The first Ivy Chain ceremony takes place.

January 18, 1851 The Missouri General Assembly approves the charter of Christian Female College.


1912 Rogers Memorial Gate is built. It remains the central entrance to campus today.

1911 Dorsey Hall is built.


1929 The charter is revised to reflect removal of “Female” from the official name of the college. This sign, a gift from the Class of 1943, is now located in the Christian College Garden.

May 21, 1969 The Board votes to accept men into the college. Kirk Williams is the first and only male resident student to enroll for the Fall Semester.

1963 The Columbia College Alumni Association (CCAA) is organized.

July 1, 1970 The school’s name officially becomes Columbia College. The first full coeducational class – with 54 men on campus – begins studies that fall.

March 1973 — With evening instruction taking place at Troop Support Command Headquarters (TROSCOM) in St. Louis, the concept of nationwide locations begins at Columbia College. // October 31, 1973 — A separate civilian location in St. Louis opens; it remains the college’s longest-running nationwide location.


January 22, 1974 The college begins operations at Fort Leonard Wood, making it Columbia College’s oldest continuing military location.

October 1, 2000 Columbia College becomes a pioneer as one of the first schools to offer college instruction over the internet. What began with 10 online classes now has grown to more than 1,100 courses each semester.

March 3, 1975 The college opens its landmark Evening Campus, forever changing the trajectory of both the college and the lives of thousands of adult learners.

January 6, 2020 The college’s most-recent location opens at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota.

Columbia College Alumni Association

Alumni Awards virtual gala connects recipients with family and friends around the world


ach year, the Columbia College Alumni Association recognizes select individuals for their personal and professional accomplishments. The nominations are reviewed by a committee of the CCAA Advisory Council and presented at a formal awards gala.

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This year’s inspiring award recipients were Donna Osborne Bradley ’11, Pat Hagenbuch ’62, Virginia Zimmerley Stewart ’76 and Victor Ciardelli ’89.



“As always, we had an excellent pool of nominees, however, because we were unable to host our awards ceremony last year due to the pandemic, we decided to limit our very special Class of 2020, and

to not add to it for 2021,” says Suzanne Rothwell, vice president for Advancement. “When you are introduced to our recipients, I think you will see why the year-long wait has been more than worth it.” Gala attendees from around the world gathered in Zoom breakout rooms to mingle and reminisce during a social hour before coming together to watch the awards presentation. The virtual platform also opened the event for the entire CC community to join the celebration. In addition to remarks from college leadership, friends and family members recorded well wishes for each recipient as they accepted their awards. Watch the recording at

D I S T I N G U I S H E D A L U M N I AWA R D For attaining outstanding regional recognition in one’s chosen career field

Victor Ciardelli ’89 CO LU M B I A CO L L E G E D AY P R O G R A M // B A C H E LO R O F B U S I N E S S A D M I N I S T R AT I O N

As president and CEO of Guaranteed Rate, Ciardelli oversees every aspect of the Chicago-based company that includes more than 13,000 employees today. “What Victor is particularly good at is to survey the entire company and all its operations and all its processes and all its divisions and determines what needs improvement,” says Scott Stephen, Guaranteed Rate’s chief growth officer. “He does a deep dive and improves it. It’s the reason Guaranteed Rate is always two or three steps ahead of any other company in the mortgage industry.”

Over the past 20 years, Guaranteed Rate has become a household name. “It started with the White Sox – the excitement driving down Interstate 94 and seeing Guaranteed Rate Field, but that was the beginning of seeing Guaranteed Rate everywhere,” Stephen says. The company sponsors NASCAR, Formula One Racing, bowling and corn hole tournaments, as well as National Hockey League playoffs and UFC championships. As the company grows, so does its heart for its employees and communities at-large. Since the Guaranteed Rate Foundation was established in 2012, it has donated more than $14 million to families and their communities in times of hardship or unexpected need. “It’s important that I look at myself in the mirror and see how I could be better and create a better outcome in any experience,” Ciardelli says. This daily mindset reinforces his core value “growing for good” – the more we grow, the more good we do.

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When he looked at the mortgage business, Ciardelli saw the customers, the referral partners and employees and knew he wanted to provide a better value proposition than any other bank or mortgage company in the country. He began formulating a plan in the mid-90s, which led to the founding of Guaranteed Rate in 2000.

Early on, Ciardelli’s mission was to ensure every day that the consumer experience he provided was better than any competitor. “As long as it is and continues to be, we’ll continue to keep scaling and growing the business.”

27 Affinity


ictor Ciardelli always had an entrepreneurial spirit and has used his education to create what has become one of the largest independent retail-mortgage companies in the United States.

JA N E F R O M A N C O U R A G E AWA R D For displaying a spirit of courage in daily life

Pat Hagenbuch ’62 C H R I S T I A N CO L L E G E // A S S O C I AT E O F A R T S


at Hagenbach is co-owner of her family’s business, Philippi-Hagenbuch, Inc. The Illinois-based company provides custom off-highway haulage solutions with a worldwide reputation for excellence and equipment in more than 40 countries.

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“Pat is a woman of tremendous grace, courage, integrity and character, wrapped up in quintessential style, a quick wit and the most amazing sense of humor you would ever want to know,” says her longtime friend, Micki McCarthy.



A 1962 graduate of Christian College, Hagenbach recalls the life lessons learned while in school. “My time at CC was filled with learning and wanting to learn due to the encouragement and teaching styles from my professors,” she says. “I learned to have respect for and was open to the viewpoints of others, which developed my ability to be a good listener.” This trait served her well as she took over leadership roles and managed internal operations. Hagenbach says she built self-confidence and became a thoughtful decision maker, which provided great value in establishing her credibility as a female business owner.

In 1969, Hagenbuch’s husband, LeRoy, and his business partner outlined their company’s vision in the Hagenbuchs’ basement and for more than 50 years, Philippi-Hagenbuch has set industry standards in equipment design and productivity. Hagenbuch took on an active role in 1977, building a name for herself in a male-dominated field. She has dedicated much of her life to serving her community, often attending events and raising funds for mission-driven non-profits with special attention to helping children and those in need. She received a community service award in 2016 from the Community Foundation of Central Illinois. Fiercely loyal to her family, McCarthy describes Hagenbach as a living example of what unconditional love looks like. In spite of recent health issues, Hagenbach leans on her faith and unyielding perseverance to continue to support those around her. “Friends and family who have faced their own challenges have found Pat to be one of their most loyal supporters. Again, [she is] putting aside what she’s facing to help somebody else go through what they’re facing,” McCarthy says. “Simply the name of this award demonstrates that you could find no one else who lives a life more courageously than Pat Hagenbach.”

C O M M U N I T Y S E RV I C E AWA R D For demonstrating outstanding leadership and service to the citizens of one’s community

Virginia Zimmerley Stewart ’76 CO LU M B I A CO L L E G E E V E N I N G P R O G R A M // B A C H E LO R O F H U M A N S E R V I C E S

Hospital Center (now Boone Health), which supports every cancer-related service the hospital offers, including community outreach, screening and surgery.

It was after they started their family that Virginia looked to continue her education. Twenty years after starting her college journey at the University of Missouri, Virginia became one of the early graduates of Columbia College’s Evening Program, also taking Day Program classes, and earned a degree in the travel industry, where she worked for 10 years.

Longtime family friend Ramona Lucas Smith ’88 recalls Virginia’s many contributions in Columbia, Missouri, and beyond through her compassion and drive. “Many people think of Norm as the face, but she would be the one who would make it happen,” Smith says. “She encourages everyone she sees to do the things to keep themselves happy, whether it’s for their mental health, physical health or family health.”

She worked to support the Mini Mizzou pep band, which allowed the group to travel to away games and bring an element of a home game atmosphere on the road. She also launched an advertising agency that produced and marketed the Norm Stewart Show. Following Norm’s cancer diagnosis and treatment in 1989, the Stewarts leveraged his celebrity to form the Coaches vs. Cancer initiative. To date, basketball programs nationwide have raised more than $130 million for the American Cancer Society. In 2014, the couple founded the Virginia and Norman Stewart Cancer Center at Boone

While Virginia has impacted the community through the couple’s professional endeavors and volunteer outreach, the family shares a humbling spirit for all she’s accomplished. “I just know her as my grandmother,” says granddaughter Genevieve Dunning. “She’s so sweet, so funny – the life of the party.” “Virginia, this is your award,” Norm says. “You achieved this all on your own. I’m so proud of you, and I congratulate you.” In celebration of this award, Norm announced during the gala the formation of the Virginia Zimmerley Stewart Endowed Scholarship that will be awarded to Columbia College students who share Virginia’s drive to complete an interrupted education. For more information or to make a gift in Virginia’s honor, please visit

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“I remember her studying a lot and I gave her quizzes while she was making dinner,” says Virginia’s son Lindsey Stewart. “She was very excited to get her degree, and that set her on a very successful career path.”

“We get invited to a lot of places maybe because of me, but we’re invited back because of her,” Norm says.

29 Affinity


irginia Zimmerley Stewart has served as a longtime community volunteer alongside her husband, former University of Missouri basketball coach Norm Stewart. Virginia and Norm married when they were young; with Norm just out of college and pursuing a career in basketball.

P R O F E S S I O N A L A C H I E V E M E N T AWA R D For attaining outstanding success in one’s chosen career field

Donna Osborne Bradley, PhD, JD CO LU M B I A CO L L E G E O N L I N E P R O G R A M // M A S T E R O F C R I M I N A L J U S T I C E


onna Osborne Bradley’s extensive resume includes more than 20 years of experience as an attorney and educator. At her core is a passion for teaching and a tenacity that fuels those around her to succeed.

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Bradley found her way to Columbia College during a pivotal time in both her personal and professional life. When her son David passed away unexpectedly in 2009, she experienced severe depression in the months that followed. It was her son Dominic Griffin and goddaughter Shemia Reese, both attending Columbia College at the time, who encouraged her to go back to school.



“There’s nothing like receiving advice and wisdom and knowledge from someone who has been where you are,” Reese says. “She understands the struggle. She understands the good times. It allows someone to be vulnerable and open up to receive everything she has to give.” While Bradley already held a law degree, her earlier education was completed long before the widespread use of personal computers and she was hesitant to sign up for online graduate courses. Thanks to the phenomenal experience with her professors and classmates at CC, Bradley completed her master’s degree

and was inspired to continue with a Ph.D. in public safety and criminal justice at Capella University. She has also completed coursework toward a doctorate in education at Lindenwood University. “It’s kind of like a bragging right now. My mom’s a doctor,” says her son Myron Evans. From there, Bradley pursued a full-time career in higher education. She has taught numerous human resource management and criminal justice courses to graduate and undergraduate students at multiple colleges, including Columbia College. Dr. David Gerlach, president of Lincoln College in Lincoln, Illinois, first met Bradley in a brief introduction during an interview last year for a leadership role at the college. It only took a few minutes for Gerlach to know Bradley was the perfect person for their campus. “Before she left that campus that day, I told the vice president that she needed to hire her on the spot. Don’t let her leave campus without hiring her.” Bradley began her tenure as Lincoln’s vice president of Academic Affairs in January, and Gerlach sees even more in her future. “Donna will be a college president,” he says.

The breadth and depth of accomplishments of this impressive group speaks directly to the quality of a Columbia College education.

“Not only do I believe that to be true, it’s what I aspire for her.” Bradley has also impacted countless lives by serving an inner-city ministry for 16 years and working as the education and outreach coordinator at St. Louis Metropolitan Equal Housing and Opportunity Council. “From donations to getting the community involved in food drives or clothes drives, she has a way of bringing people together,” Evans says. “You have some people who try to do it from the outside, but Donna’s the type of person who goes in to the community so she can address what is really happening.” Bradley’s longtime impact has spread throughout her community and beyond the classroom to solidify her passion for education. “She won’t solve your problem for you, but she’ll make sure you have the tools to handle whatever’s in front of you,” Evans says.

The CCAA created the Alumni Awards program with the organization’s founding in 1963 and continues to celebrate members every year who share an affinity for the rich history of college and personal commitment to excellence. To view past recipients or submit a nomination, please visit

Gifts may be given in honor of award recipients. Visit to support the Columbia College Fund or an individual scholarship, and indicate the individual to be honored with the gift at the bottom of the form.


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 along her with husband and their two sons, Austin and Andrew.

Greetings CC alumni, As I begin my term as chair of the CCAA Advisory Council, I have reflected on my time as a student at Columbia College and the many years that have passed since then. Life certainly has a way of taking twists and turns on a pathway and one day you find yourself coming full circle. That is exactly how I feel about serving on the Advisory Council. When I was a student I never thought that I would one day be back in this capacity. What a joy it is to be involved with our alma mater! Since my time as a student, the college has grown so much, and just like our personal journey along our own paths, CC has taken its own twists and turns. It has not only survived but thrived. Recently, the college met the challenge of COVID-19 while continuing to provide an excellent education for our students. This was no small feat, and thanks to the hard work and dedication of our faculty and staff, we successfully navigated through a difficult time.

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We capped off a year to remember with the presentation of the 2020-21 alumni awards. If you haven’t watched the ceremony, I encourage you to take a look at Your chest just might swell with pride as did mine when I heard their stories and what their CC experience and education meant to them. You can also read about the winners starting on page 26 of this magazine. I am excited for what lies ahead and eager to get back to in-person Advisory Council meetings instead of Zoom! One of my goals is to increase participation by our alumni, and you can help me with that goal. Be on the lookout for new programming and initiatives in the coming months. It’s an easy lift when we all pitch in! Together we can make a difference and continue with excellence in education. Together, we are CC!


32 Debra Carnahan ’82 |

Columbia College Alumni Association Advisory Council: 2021-22


CHAIR Debra Carnahan ’82 Day Program ALUMNI REPRESENTATIVE TO THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES Joshua Muder ’99 Day Program ALUMNI ADVISORS Rebecca Brietzke ’13 Evening Program Allen Butler ’07 Lake County Mike Campbell ’08 Day Program Jonathan Dudley ’10 Day Program Stacey Goodale ’93 Day Program Bill Johnston ’82 Day Program Whitney Jones ’16 ’19 ’20 St. Louis & Online Program Jeannie M. Lahman ’18 Online Program Nikki McGruder ’00 Day Program Joe Nicchetta ’79 Day Program Jared Reichel ’16 Day Program Courtney Steelman ’11 Day Program Corbin Umstattd ’12 Day & Online Programs Liz Weise ’11 ’14 ’18 Day & Evening Programs EX-OFFICIO MEMBERS Suzanne Rothwell Vice President for Advancement Keith McIver Director of Alumni Development Lynne Stuver Baker ’64 Christian College Advisor Emerita and Chair of Advancement Committee on the Board of Trustees


» Did you know the CCAA hosted 11 virtual events during the 2020-21 academic year? In addition to new

presentations and career workshops to be hosted online, several in-person events are scheduled for the fall. Tuesday, October 5 Columbia, Mo. The Althea W. and John A. Schiffman Lecture Series, Lecture in Religious Studies featuring Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins, general minister and president of the Christian Church (DOC) from 2005 – 2017

Saturday, October 16 Columbia, Mo. Homecoming Weekend, featuring an Alumni Brunch hosted by the St. Clair Society and the Alumni Tailgate prior to the soccer game

Wednesday, October 27 Kansas City, Mo. Alumni Social at Boulevard Brewery

Thursday, October 28 Kansas City, Mo. Christian College Luncheon at the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts

Thursday, December 16 Columbia, Mo. CCAA Holiday Reception

Access the full calendar:


 Secure your lifetime CougarMail account,

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

online CC alumni store

 Show your Cougar Pride by requesting an alumni

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

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

your diploma  Children and grandchildren of alumni are eligible

to apply for an Alumni Legacy Scholarship to attend Columbia College Day Program


Summer 2021

programs for travel, insurance, shopping, dining and more

33 Affinity

 Access exclusive member discounts



“I do this for you.” » When C. Byron Wilson ’07 learned of his promotion to the rank of captain in the U.S. Air Force, he knew where he wanted to have the ceremony. Wilson chose to go back to his roots at Columbia College, his alma mater. Family and friends attended the promotion ceremony on June 4 in Launer Auditorium on Main Campus, followed by a reception in Atkins-Holman Student Commons. “Columbia College was a huge turning point in my life,” he says. “It was foundational as far as academics and just me shaping myself as a man. Before I came I did not have many places to stay or consistent meals. Staying in Miller Hall was the first time I had consistency in that regard. I could not think of a better venue for the ceremony. I wanted to bring it back home.”

Wilson is not a person who likes to be the center of attention, he says. He prefers to mentor and share and help others. “This is an uncomfortable setting, but it is important to be right here to show others that coming from hardship does not mean your life has to be like that forever,” Wilson says. “I didn’t do any of this without you — my village. You are the reason why I stand in front of you here today.” Lt. Col. Pete O’Neill — deputy director of contracting, Air Force Installation Contracting Center, operating location air mobility command — highlighted Wilson’s accomplishments in his career with the Air Force before Wilson’s family joined him on stage to pin his new rank.

Summer 2021

Byron Wilson ’07 invites family members on stage to pin his new rank of Air Force Captain.



Clockwise from left: Capt. Wilson with his wife, Brittney ’09, and sons, Jude and Jonah; Wilson with Air Force Air Mobility Command contracting leaders; family gather to celebrate Wilson’s promotion.

When Wilson became an officer, he finally started to feel like he belonged, he says. He had struggled with selfdoubt because of his hardships growing up.

Wilson is currently stationed at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, where he works in purchasing and contract management for multimillion-dollar contracts with the 763rd Enterprise Sourcing Squadron. When Wilson spoke with his 95-year-old Korean War veteran grandfather this spring, his grandfather was elated by the news of the promotion.

A similar conversation was held between Wilson and his older son, Jude, who wanted to know why the rank insignia was going from one to two bars. “Much like my grandfather, his eyes got big and he had a big smile on his face,” Wilson says. “Jude is a hard guy to impress. ... He paused, and when he pauses, that means Jude is thinking.” Jude wanted to know if his dad was going to be captain of the “whole Air Force.” There was only the slightest disappointment when his son learned the promotion wasn’t to lead the entire organization: “He puts down my rank and says, ‘I thought you were going to be captain of the whole thing,’ “ Wilson says to uproarious laughter from family, friends and colleagues. “So I say that to say that you have never arrived. There is more work to be done. There are always opportunities for us to grow. The job never ends.”

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Before joining the Air Force, Wilson received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in 2007. His first career was with the Boone County Juvenile Office as a deputy. He joined the Air Force in 2010 and completed a master’s degree in business administration in 2016. Earlier that year, he also received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Columbia College Alumni Association.

“His eyes got so big, glazed over and he said, ‘My grandson is going to be a captain,’ “ Wilson says. “It made me feel so good coming from my grandfather.”

35 Affinity

“Why was I placed in this position, and I made a vow to myself and to my family that I would continue to try to strive and make them proud and earn my positions and perform as if I am supposed to be there,” Wilson says. “That is what I have been focusing on and I think that is important. There are always people in my corner that have always tapped me on my shoulder and saw things in me that I didn’t and believed in me when I didn’t. ... I do this for you.”




» For the eighth consecutive year, alumni and friends of Columbia College are turnings dreams of a quality education into reality. The CCAA Scholars Program awards $1,000 scholarships based on applicants’ academic merit and notable affinity for Columbia College. The selection committee of the CCAA Advisory Council has selected the following nine students for the 2021-22 academic year.

Summer 2021




Columbia, Missouri // CC Location: Day Program // Major: Nursing Heather Black wants to build a stronger future for her daughter, a plan that inspired her to apply to Columbia College’s nursing program at the age of 44. “Without the advice of my advisor, input from financial services and encouragement from my professors, I would never have been able to start this journey,” she says. Black finished her first year with a 3.667 GPA.

LAN’TANIA BRIGGS Orlando, Florida // CC Location: Orlando // Major: Human Services Lan’Tania Briggs didn’t understand the importance of a college education early in her life, but today, the mother of three and grandmother of two will soon earn her associate degree in human services. After graduating from high school in 1987, Briggs was focused on getting a good job, and she did. She has worked for the Orlando Housing Authority for more than two decades and is using what she has learned at Columbia College to open her own nonprofit organization. “I have now learned how to help myself, and with this knowledge I will be helping others,” she says. With the support of this CCAA scholarship, Briggs will continue her studies toward a bachelor’s degree.

KATELYNN CASE Ashland, Missouri // CC Location: Online Program // Major: Psychology and Sociology Since starting her academic journey at Columbia College, Katelynn Case has transitioned from evening classes at the college’s location in Jefferson City to primarily online studies. “Columbia College has been a central structure of how I will become the kind of woman my daughter can look up to,” Case noted. She has received “gracious support in unexpected large life events, such as when I lost my home in a fire and lost my job due to COVID-19.” Case is a student worker in the Grossnickle Career Services Center while she works toward bachelor’s degrees in psychology and sociology. “Already I am actively living my dream of helping others by assisting my peers in achieving their career dreams.”

MOZELLE CASWELL Chula Vista, California // CC Location: Online Program & NAS Jacksonville Major: Cybersecurity

Croghan, New York // CC Location: Online Program // Major: Human Services Maria Garito returned to college later in life and strives to finish her degree not just for herself, but for her daughter. She has balanced a full-time job and “fullertime” motherhood with online courses leading toward a degree in human services. “Columbia College is giving me a chance to be a role model,” Garito says. “I couldn’t be more proud to say I am doing it … slowly but surely with the help of an amazing kaleidoscope of support, assistance and encouragement from Columbia College.”

37 Affinity


Summer 2021

Mozelle Caswell utilized educational benefits for military spouses while her family was stationed at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida, to complete her associate degree. She is enrolled in the Online Program to finish a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity in December 2021. “My husband [Stuart Caswell ’19] is the original Columbia grad and since I’ve joined too, we have become competitive with our grades and supportive with one another’s learning,” she says. Caswell has a bachelor’s degree from another university but truly associates her CC experience with “a happier time” in her life. “Columbia College helped me discover that I am capable of being a good student and achieving high marks while engaging in meaningful discussion in my classes,” she says.


DARREN JOHNSON Jacksonville, Florida // CC Location: NAS Jacksonville // Major: Business Darren Johnson balances work, a young family and part-time studies while on active duty in the U.S. Air Force. After completing his associate degree in 2019, Johnson advanced his rank to E-5 and will finish his bachelor’s degree in 2022. Through his positive experiences, he has encouraged colleagues to also study at his alma mater. “Columbia College has made a positive impact on a lot of us and has been very helpful in assisting active duty personnel in preparing to transition out of the services. I am truly grateful,” he says.

FALLON LLOYD Columbia, Missouri // CC Location: Day Program // Major: Human Services When she needed to take an active role in her mother’s health care, first-generation college student Fallon Lloyd was met with full support by the faculty and staff at the college’s main campus. In fact, Lloyd is on track to graduate early in May 2022. “The support that I have received during my time on campus has allowed me to continue to pursue my education, graduate early, and continue to make great strides towards my future,” she says. “Columbia College has been the perfect place for me.”

LUIS RODRIGUEZ DIAZ Newport News, Virginia // CC Location: Online Program Major: Psychology and Criminal Justice Luis Rodriguez Diaz started his educational journey at Columbia College in 2010. Through many ups and downs in his personal and professional life, he found his college work to be the one constant he could rely on. “I remember searching for Wi-Fi spots to complete my school work,” he says. “At the time, being a student of Columbia College was the only thing that made sense to me.” Rodriguez Diaz is set to complete dual bachelor’s degrees in 2021.


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Fort Worth, Texas // CC Location: NASJRB Fort Worth // Major: General Education Elizabeth Sherrill credits the instructors and coursework at Columbia College’s location in Fort Worth for motivating her studies one semester after another. “I never knew that I could enjoy learning so much new and invaluable knowledge through an institution as I have with Columbia College,” she says. Sherrill recently earned her associate degree with a 3.9 GPA and is well on her way to a bachelor’s degree in general education.


38 The CCAA Scholars Program is made possible through the generous support of our alumni. Learn more or make a gift at



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Bring Your Interviewing A-Game » The purpose of an interview is to see if you will be a good fit for a company and to follow up on the information provided in your resume. At the same time, this is also your opportunity to get to know a company’s dynamic and find out what separates you from the rest of the crowd. In May, the CCAA hosted a virtual career workshop to discuss interviewing skills. Tiffani Martin, assistant director of the Grossnickle Career Services Center, outlined key tips to keep the conversation on track, what to expect in phone vs. in-person settings and how to approach direct, behavioral and case-based questions. The presentation was moderated by Keith McIver, director of Alumni Development. Following the presentation, workshop attendees participated in a live Q&A session:

How can I answer “Why should we hire you?” There is not a right or wrong answer. Think of this as your closing remarks. Summarize your key skills and remind them why you are interested in the position and a good fit for the company. How do you frame answers during a career transition? If an interviewer asks why you want to make a change, this is an opportunity to tell your story and how the path has led you here.

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How far back should you relate your experiences? Consider the relevance to the position. With a resume, we talk about focusing on the past 10 years. You may go further back to draw on examples that speak best to your experience.



Does graduating with honors make a good impression on the employer? Hiring professionals will see it on a resume, but at a certain point it comes down to skillset. However, grades can speak to your story of success (commitment/excellence/perseverance) and are okay to include on your resume.

Can you sound too arrogant/confident in an interview? You are the first person to tell them that you can do the job. Yes, you can overdo it and come off as arrogant, but that’s why you practice. The interview is your time to call out your strengths and accomplishments. When they ask if you have questions for us, it’s okay to ask tough questions of the panel. Find out how long someone has worked for the company and what keeps them there. How can I get constructive criticism or address silent objections? It’s okay to ask if they have concerns that have not been addressed. Try asking “what makes the perfect candidate for this job,” to see if that triggers another talking point. You can also send a thank-you note and highlight a strength that may not have been discussed. What should you bring (or not bring) to an interview? Bring a notepad or padfolio to take notes and extra copies of your resume just in case. Make sure your phone is turned off. –CP

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


Cornerstone Club

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! Lesley & James Arnold Kenzie ’19 & Drew ’13 Bennett Barbara Bilger ’62 Jake ’05 & Lindsey Black Carrie & Rob Boone Debra Carnahan ’82 Lex & Lori Cavanah Matt ’96 & Kathy Clervi Susie Cox ’61 Jill ’75 & Jacques ’77 Craig Don Cunningham ’79 Judy Cunningham ’64 Daniel D’Alesio Jr. Esq. Kathy Digges Carolyn Dodd ’46 Robert Dunston ’78 Mike Durham ’83 Lane ’98 & Bill ’98 Elcan Lauren ’13 & Mitch ’13 Gosney Linda Gosney Melanie & Darin Hand

Phyllis ’57 ’75 & Jim ’76 Hardin Debra Hartman Angie Hilbert ’69 Jackie & Sam Hinton Marilyn ’70 & B.W. Hoecker George Hulett Hon. ’19 June Hurdle ’83 Debra & Cliff Jarvis Sally ’66 & Stephen Jennings Stephanie ’01 & Jacob Johnson Greg Johnston ’91 & Patricia Churchill Jeannie Lahman ’18 & Jerry Shannon Joe ’20 & Starla Landers Bill ’04 & Emma Leeper Trina & Bryan Liebhart Helen Jane Blackman ’64 & John Lossing Marcia ’96 & David Machens Michelle McCaulley ’10 & Jamie Shackelford Keith McIver Beth & Blake McWilliams Julie ’12 & Nathan Miller

Missy Montgomery ’06 & Joe Carberry John ’88 & Lorrie Ney Joe ’79 & Judy Nicchetta Norma ’78 & Ivan Nyberg Eric Oglesby Jane Pickens Cheryl Ritchie ’78 Jim ’93 & Suzanne Rothwell David & Lee Russell Don Ruthenberg Hon. ’95 Jolene ’61 & Bill Schulz Bill ’09 & Rachelle Seibert Jeannie Simmons ’02 Dale ’65 & James Simons Sarah ’96 & Jason Swindle Gary Tatlow Marcy ’00 & Frank Thompson Corbin ’12 & Lauren Umstattd Rob ’87 & Gail Walker Carla & Matt Williams Carol ’93 & Darrell Winkler

Join the Cornerstone Club today at | (573) 875-7563


In the News 1960s

Nancy Christy-Moore ’61 garnered the attention of The Foothills Focus with her dynamic canvas paintings. “My paintings happen by creating chaos and bringing order to them. That’s my trademark style,” she says. In 40+ years as an artist, Christy-Moore has shared more than 20 solo exhibits, including two in Japan.

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Holly Hall Malaspinas ’63 has retired after 22 years as the office manager at Brotherhood & Higley Real Estate in New Canaan, Connecticut. She looks forward to traveling to see her three children and grandchildren.



Joyce Tracy Harger ’64 lives with her husband, Doug, in Loveland, Colorado. Dr. Katrina Bright Cochran ’68 recently published a book, 9/11:

Personal and Professional Updates by Class Year, submitted February – June 2021

Life Forever Changed, about her experiences working with Church World Service and The Salvation Army following the events of a day our nation will never forget. She offers suggestions and challenges to the reader so that a better world might be achieved. Cochran is a licensed psychologist and received the CCAA Distinguished Alumni Award in 1993.


Bertha Garcia Helmick ’74 was appointed to the Hamilton County Municipal Court in Ohio and is the first woman of Hispanic descent to serve as Magistrate of the Hamilton County Probate Court. Judge Garcia Helmick holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Cincinnati College of Law and has run a private law practice for more than 25 years.


Centronella DuffReed ’80 has retired as a system accountant from the U.S. Postal Service. She resides in Florissant, Missouri.

Joseph Michael Dunn ’80 shares his Cougar pride from Maryland.


John Marini ’90 is the chief executive officer of JWM Advisory Services, which offers consulting for disaster recovery. He is also a licensed public insurance adjuster and lives in Manilus, New York. Clarence Baker ’92 married Lisa Ivy on October 23, 2020, in Annapolis, Maryland. Amy Lodes Witte ‘92 received the 2021 Wynn Award from the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. Witte played volleyball at Columbia College from 1988-1992 and was the program’s first volleyball player to have her jersey number retired. She was inducted into the CC Athletics Hall of Fame as a part of the inaugural class in 2003. She lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Joy Jackson Bess ‘97 ‘01 has been named the K-12 Social Studies and 9-12 English Language Arts Coordinator for Columbia Public Schools. She served 23 years as a CPS teacher, department chair and coach before taking on this new role. She and husband, Chris Bess ‘96, live in Columbia, Missouri, with their three children, Anna, Brooke and Jackson. Dr. Alexander Buelna ’97 was recently named senior manager for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission Women, Infants, and Children Vendor Monitoring Unit Office of Inspector General. After serving 28 years simultaneously in the U.S. Army and federal law enforcement, he retired as a Chief Warrant Officer Four and from the Department of Homeland Security Transportation Security Administration Federal Air Marshal Service. Buelna holds a master’s degree in public safety and a Ph.D. in public health, which includes his dissertation, “Veterans’ Perceptions of Military Stigma and the Shame Associated with Combat-Related

To Protect and Serve

Marie Graves ’98 recently joined the law program at Western Sierra Law School. She has three grown daughters and resides in Chula Vista, California. Tonia Compton ’99 is an associate professor and chair of the Social Sciences department at Odessa College. Compton completed her doctorate in History at the University of Nebraska.


Billy Bogue ’01 is a national sales manager for Matsuura USA, headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota. Cpl. Kyle Green ’01 was named public

Helen Wade ’01 was re-elected to a two-year term as president of the Columbia Public Schools Board of Education in Missouri. Wade, who is a partner at the law firm of Harper, Evans, Wade & Netemeyer, has served on the school board since 2011. Scott Ballard ’03 has been promoted to lieutenant with the Missouri State Highway Patrol headquartered in Jefferson City. Askia Bilal ’06 participated in the inaugural 2020-21 Black Artist in Residence Program at Orr Street Studios in Columbia, Missouri, and headlined an exhibit at the Sager Braudis Gallery in Columbia. Bilal studied painting and drawing through Columbia College’s Art program before completing a Master of Fine Arts

Karl Oakman ’00 has been named chief of police of the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department. He will return to his hometown after serving 30 years with the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department, most recently as a deputy chief.

Chris Twitchel ’14 has been named chief of police for Buffalo, Missouri. With 26 years of law enforcement experience, he was most recently a captain with the Camden County Sheriff’s Office and is an adjunct instructor of sociology and criminal justice at both Columbia College and Drury University. Twitchel received the CCAA Professional Achievement Award in 2015.

Mary Frake ’16 was sworn in as the first female chief of police for the Lake in the Hills Police Department in July 2021. During her 27 years of service, Frake has served as an officer, detective, sergeant and deputy chief for the village located in McHenry County, Illinois.

Summer 2021

Melissa Keller ’97, CPA, was promoted to senior vice president and chief financial officer at Fulton Savings Bank. She lives in Central Square, New York.

information and education officer for the Troop F area of the Missouri State Highway Patrol in November 2020. He joined the MSHP after earning a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and has served the organization for 20 years.

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Posttraumatic Stress.” He lives in Georgetown, Texas.


from the University of Michigan and a Master of TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from St. Cloud State University. The New York City-born artist is an instructor at the University of MissouriColumbia in the Asian Affairs Center. Elizabeth Leatherman ’06 is the director of Human Resources for First National Realty Partners in Columbia, Missouri. Missy Montgomery ’06 has joined the Board of Directors for the Heart of Missouri United Way. Montgomery is a senior director of philanthropy for Columbia College. Cary Adkisson ’07 is a family nurse practitioner for MU Health Care and specializes in bariatric surgery. He resides in Linn Creek, Missouri.

Summer 2021

Kara Cardona ’07 has been promoted to senior vice president



of the Navy Federal Credit Union for Greater Pensacola, Florida. Cardona joined the organization in 1999 and serves multiple community organizations as a board member and volunteer.

she supports cadets through responsible fiscal management. In addition to 15 years of accounting experience, DeBoe is an ordained pastor with the United Methodist Church in Eldon, Missouri.

Julie Rinehart ’07 was promoted to vice president of Human Resources at Columbia Insurance Group.

Michelle Hassard ’11 recently completed a Master of Science in Nursing from Maryville University. She is a nurse practitioner.

Kaci Smart ’09 is a graphic designer for American Outdoor Brands Inc., where she produces marketing collateral for national brands. She lives in Columbia, Missouri.


Joan DeBoe ’10 has joined Missouri Military Academy as director for Business Operations and controller, where

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 at

Liz Weise ’11 ’14 ’18 is a programmer/analyst for Columbia Public Schools in Columbia, Missouri. She and fiancé Tyler Werremeyer are planning an October 2022 wedding. Kimberly Craig ’12 completed her associate degree in biblical studies from Midwest College of Theology. Craig has worked at Columbia College since 2014 and was recently promoted to senior director of enrollment services. Donnie Sanford ’12 and his wife, Tara Timbrook Sanford ’08, co-own a Carquest Auto Parts franchise in Ashland, Missouri. Donnie, who retired after a combined 20 years of service to the U.S. Army and National Guard, completed his

degree while deployed in Israel. Gina Meyer ’13 has been promoted to senior vice president, director of Human Resources and Public Relations, at Mid America Bank in Jefferson City, Missouri. She serves as the board secretary and is also a graduate of the Missouri Bankers Association School of Bank Management. Jamie Richman ’13 is a Navy Counselor by rate, where she provides professional guidance to Sailors regarding their careers. Richman is a petty officer 1st class and has been selected as Senior Sailor of the Year at two different commands during her 19 years of service. She is currently aboard the USS Rafael Peralta. Jared Reichel ’16 received a distinguished MO-KAN-NE TRiO Achiever Award for more than a decade of service to his community in Columbia, Missouri. Reichel was a member of the college’s TRiO Student Support Services (SSS) program, which is designed to encourage firstgeneration and lowincome students

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and students with disabilities to persevere and complete their college degree. Reichel was recently promoted to a realty advocate manager at Veterans United Home Loans. Antonio Rivera ‘17 retired from the U.S. Navy and has relocated to Jacksonville, Florida. Aaron Bossi ’18 was recently named defensive coach for the Hudson Valley Renegades, High Class-A affiliate of the New York Yankees 2021 minor league. Before completing a Master of Business Administration from CC, Bossi played one season with the New York Yankees in 2016 after playing four years during his undergraduate studies at Marshall University. Jerry Nguyen ’18 has completed a Master of Science in Student Affairs and Higher Education from Colorado State University.

Committed to Justice

Chontelle Wilson ’18 published her second book, a collection of original poetry and short prayers titled “HOPE: A Devotional and Inspiration Book.” Wilson is working on a master’s degree in Christian ministry with an emphasis on biblical counseling. Rachel Blades ’19 ’20 is an elementary teacher for Columbia Public Schools and is a youth softball coach. Brandi Peasel ’19 is a nurse on the orthopedic floor at Lake St. Louis Hospital-St. Joseph’s West. During college, Peasel was a resident assistant and student ambassador. She lives in Wentzville, Missouri. Nolan Rattai ’19 was named head baseball coach for Badlands Baseball Academy in Alberta, Canada.

Bryan Fulcher ’17 recently graduated from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis. He holds a Master of Legal Studies degree and a certificate in conflict resolution.

Zachary Kaiser ’17 recently completed a Juris Doctorate from the University of Georgia School of Law and began his career as a public defender.

active member of the Columbia College TRiO program and is a proud first-generation graduate.


Summer 2021

Natalie Caldwell ’20 is a marketing coordinator at Socket Telecom in Columbia, Missouri.

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at Bode Technology in Lorton, Virginia.

Erin Weaver ’18 is a forensic technologist

Ivana Easley ’20 is pursuing a Juris Doctorate at University of Dayton School of Law. Easley was an

Katie Tambke ’20 is a neonatal intensive care nurse at Women’s and Children’s Hospital. She played soccer for the

Cougars and currently resides in Jefferson City, Missouri. Monica Semora ‘21, a teacher with Sylvan Learning Center in Paragould, Arkansas, recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and is enrolled in CC’s MBA program. She was chosen to provide the student address for the Columbia College Global virtual commencement ceremony in July. (See page 21.) –CP












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In Memoriam Louise Mutrux Heatlie ’36 September 12, 2011

Jane Fitch Burke ’59 January 22, 2019

Helen Legg Sullivan ’39 June 20, 2021

Mary Margaret Reppert Oberkrom ’67 June 10, 2019

Virginia Cox Baxley ’41 December 29, 2017 Jane Suggett Munger ’41 June 5, 2015 Barbara Downs Phipps ’45 August 4, 2020 Jamie Branch Wright ’45 April 14, 2021 Virginia Knight Crow ’46 July 3, 2020 Bonnie Spees Short ’46 March 2019 Wilma Heller Fleenor ’47 December 30, 2019 Patsy Arrington Barton ’49 December 25, 2020 Virginia Pierce Cline ’54 January 8, 2020 Charlotte Summers Wenneker ’58 April 23, 2021

Summer 2021

Notifications received March – June 2021



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

Dr. Michael Polley

Suzanne Bailey Schoonover ’71 March 1, 2021 Richard Ferro ’73 June 7, 2021 Scott Mobley ’75 July 28, 2017 Kenneth Glass ’83 May 5, 2021 Marion Haney ’84 May 24, 2021 Terrial Mayberry ’87 October 19, 2018 Gregory Green ’97 March 15, 2021 Bridget Enochs Matheis ’09 April 21, 2021 Gavin Cichy ’19 March 17, 2020

» Dr. Michael Polley passed away on Saturday, July 17, 2021, at his home with his wife, Mary Pausell, and loyal beagle, Irma, by his side. Dr. Polley is remembered for his contributions as an outstanding member of the Columbia College family, respected former professor and encouraging leader. Polley retired in Fall 2019. He joined the college in 1990, serving in as the History and Government department chairperson from 1992-1994 and 19961999. He was also appointed acting academic dean from October 1994-1996. As dean, Polley oversaw the creation of the college's first graduate programs. In his role as a faculty member, he chaired the Freshman Experience Committee that created an orientation course and taught in that program. If you would like to honor Polley’s passion for teaching and helping students, tribute gifts can be made to the Jack and Polly Batterson Scholarship per his family's wishes. Honorary gifts can be made at

Angi Pauley

Hoyt Hayes » Hoyt Hayes made a tremendous impact as a business instructor and mentor during the 19 years he taught at Columbia College. He passed away October 31, 2020.

MAKE A GIFT: 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 givenow. SCHOLARSHIPS: For more information on how to create a scholarship, please contact Missy Montgomery, senior director of philanthropy, at msmontgomery1@ccis. edu or (573) 875-7576.

Career Services Center and was a valued member of the Columbia College Division of Student Affairs for more than 15 years. She passed away unexpectedly on October 8, 2020. “Angi had a smile that lit up a room,” says Dave Roberts, dean of Student Affairs. “She was warm and welcoming to everyone, and clearly made connections across the Columbia College community.” Pauley was a passionate coordinator and supportive supervisor of her student workers. She was known for her delicious contributions to staff potlucks, her positive spirit and love for her family. To honor Angi’s commitment to the college, a dedication ceremony was held on July 23, what would have been her 57th birthday. Guests were encouraged to wear navy blue and silver/ gray, as Pauley proudly championed the Cougar Pride tradition of wearing school colors on Fridays. Pauley’s family donated a tree (pictured above) that was planted near the north entrance of Atkins-Holman Student Commons, and former colleagues’ placed a framed photo in the Career Services office. “The tree and photo memorial are tributes to her lasting impact on campus,” Roberts says. “It is a reminder how each of us has the opportunity through our actions and words to make a positive and lasting contribution in the lives of others.”

Summer 2021

Hayes is survived by his lifetime partner, Janice Joy Reily, who has established the Hoyt Hayes & Janice Reily Business Scholarship to benefit future generations of students who pursue a business degree from the college's Robert W. Plaster School of Business. Through this scholarship, Reily celebrates his life and creativity, and honors his lasting work.

» Angi Pauley served as officer coordinator to the Grossnickle

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Hayes came to the college as a visiting business professor in 1992. Three years later, he joined the full-time faculty as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor from 1998 to 2011. His connection to students and interest in their success continued long after graduation in his role as mentor.



Join the conversation on social media with your Cougar Family.

@ COUGPEN (CC BASEBALL) | 07.13.21

Artist Francie Dittrich ’63 competed in the 2018 U.S. Figure Skating midwestern adult sectionals at age 75. @ COLUMBIA COLLEGE ALUMNI | 07.20.21

Today, CC alumnus Brigadier General Charles E. McGee ’78 will be on hand in Kansas City as the General Aviation Terminal at Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport will be renamed in his honor! @ COLUMBIA COLLEGE | 06.29.21

Summer 2021




"It was no accident that I stopped in to Columbia at the Crystal Lake, Illinois, campus after my husband passed away. With young children and no idea of how to accomplish the type of future I wanted, God had a plan! It seems He had one all along." — Kathy Adams ’07

@ReeceClapp I’m excited to announce that I have committed to Columbia College to continue my academic and athletic career! I’m beyond blessed and thankful to receive this opportunity and I’m excited to get to work! #RollCougs @cougpen @RBbruinbaseball @BigHittersMo


Ashley Brown named location director at @CCLakeOzark ... “She is constantly looking to make the college a better place & will work tirelessly to accomplish that. We’re excited to see the location continue to flourish under her guidance!” #WeAreCC


Now that's a pretty sight! Keep your eyes peeled in mid-Missouri for the brand new Columbia College bus! Via White Knight Coaches & Limos, the Cougars will now be traveling in style. #WeAreCC BROWSE OUR CHANNELS:

SHOP THE ALUMNI STORE Quarter-zip sweatshirt

CC alumni military tee

Plaid tumbler Nationwide alumni tee

Insulated aluminum tumbler

Baseball tee White alumni mug Lined journal with pen

Lamis tote bag Cord organizer Pictured: Kenzie Bennett ’19, student Keiyana Austin and Mitch Gosney ’13

Please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery. All proceeds benefit CCAA programming.

1001 Rogers Street Columbia, MO 65216

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