Columbia College Affinity Magazine Winter 2019-20

Page 1

Winter 2019-20


a f f i n i t y Open for

Business Living and learning come together in New Hall, home of the Robert W. Plaster School of Business and a multilevel residential community.


a f f i n i t y President’s Message Dear Alumni, There’s a lot going on at your college — here I’ll highlight just two of the things we’re excited about. First, in September we opened New Hall, a 60,000 square-foot facility housing both our Robert W. Plaster School of Business and a 150-bed residence hall. It’s a great place to live and learn, with thoughtful design features and cuttingedge technology throughout. Students and faculty give the facility rave reviews. Second, I’m pleased to announce that we have signed an exclusive partnership with the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). Under the agreement, NAR’s 1.3 million members can receive a $100-per-course scholarship toward any eligible course at CC—and only CC. Other features of this unique partnership include:

• NAR’s endorsement of our real estate curriculum—making CC the only institution in the country with this stamp of approval. We believe this to be the largest exclusive educational partnership in the nation. It will have a significant, positive effect on both organizations. Finally, a word about Affinity. We are constantly looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint and monitor the college’s resources. We feel this is the right time to move from print to online so this will be the final printed issue of the magazine. Affinity will continue in digital form, so please enjoy its news and stories for many years to come! Sincerely,

• The formation of NAR Academy at

Columbia College, which will house new real estate offerings, including stackable certificates (expected Spring 2021) An advisory panel of REALTORS® who will help us ensure that our curriculum is rooted in real-world content

Columbia College Board of Trustees 2019-20 Chair Walter E. Bixby III ’82 Vice Chair Helen Dale Coe Simons ’65 Treasurer George W. Hulett, Jr. Secretary Jolene Marra Schulz ’61

Trustees Lynne Stuver Baker ’64 Lex R. Cavanah Jerry D. Daugherty Daisy Willis Grossnickle ’66 Lt. Gen. Richard C. Harding Mitchell R. Humphreys, M.D. June Viner Hurdle ’83

Dr. Scott Dalrymple Columbia College President

Jane Blackman Lossing, M.D. ’64 Genie Rogers David R. Russell, Ph.D. Kevin C. Sprouse ’04 Rev. Dr. Brad Stagg Gary A. Tatlow Matt Williams Carol J. Winkler ’93 Janet Carter Wright ’58

CCAA Advisory Board Representative William J. Johnston ’82 Faculty Representatives Danielle Langdon Kent Strodtman, Ph.D.




My CCAA Find out what employers want in new grads; volunteers come together for inaugural alumni service day; Julie Morff ’04 & ’12 budgets with confidence; Renea Amen ’11 answers her own questions.


Open For Business The new home of the Robert W. Plaster School of Business — and Columbia College’s first new residence hall in 50 years — is now open.


Forward Progress Meet five Columbia College alumni who are making strides in their communities.



Cougar Sports Zone A quartet of siblings make a run for it; Cougar Athletics inducts three alumni in the Hall of Fame Class of 2019.



CC Notes Alumni share personal and professional updates in Class Notes; In Memoriam remembers alumni who have passed; refer a student to Columbia College.

a f f i n i t y Winter 2019-20 Editor, Production & Design Carolyn Preul Photo Editor Kaci Smart ’09 Copy Editor Janese Heavin

On the Cover:

Photo by Kaci Smart ’09 Design by Carolyn Preul

Staff Writer Kevin Fletcher Contributors Dan Gomez-Palacio Drew Grzella ’01 Beth McWilliams Jonathan Dudley ’10 Cindy Potter ’05

Editorial Review Board Dr. Scott Dalrymple Sam Fleury April Longley Ann Merrifield Suzanne Rothwell

Affinity magazine is published by the Columbia College Advancement Division (1001 Rogers St., Columbia, MO 65216). For assistance, please contact Alumni Relations at (573) 875-ALUM (2586) or © 2019 All rights reserved.

Table of Contents


Inside the Gate Columbia College main campus is named third most secure in the country; a new partnership with The National Association of REALTORS® will offer expanded access to academic programs.

Inside the Gate



Join the conversation on social media with your Cougar Family.


As a veteran, Nilsa Gonzalez ‘19 finds passion in helping other veterans transition to the work force and adjust to a new life.


THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to everyone who stepped up today to help get the field ready for the AMC Tournament Semifinal! We cannot express enough how amazing you guys are!


Proud to be named No. 1 in the state for having the lowest average student debt per borrower by LendEDU. Welcome, John!


It is with great pleasure that we announce the promotion of John Fulton Jr. as the Director of the Hunter Army Airfield location. John has been with Columbia College for five years as the Assistant Director where he has shown exemplary performance and unwavering dedication to our students. @ COLUMBIA COLLEGE HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD | 09.11.19

Fall is in full force. Layer up!

1 year

to a new you

Earn a Master of Business Administration

8-week classes start 6 times a year

Online, evening options

Earn an MBA in just 12 months

Apply today for free!

Inside the Gate


Columbia College campus named third most secure in country BY SAM FLEURY


Heffer named new director of campus safety David Heffer was named Columbia College’s new director of Campus Safety in October. Heffer most recently served as director of Public Safety at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland, where he oversaw a 35-member campus public safety agency and spearheaded the college’s Emergency Operations Team.

Columbia College is the third most secure college campus in the United States, a new report has found. The college’s main campus in Columbia, Missouri, took the No. 3 spot on’s recent list of 100 most secure colleges in the country. The publication ranked campuses based on property crime rates after analyzing 10 years’ worth of crime data from hundreds of public and nonprofit colleges. As part of its efforts to maintain safety, the college relocated the Hulett Family Campus Safety office to the Quad in 2016. Moving the safety office to the heart of campus gave it greater accessibility and visibility. Safety officials have also increased the number of trainings and workshops they offer students. Specifically, programs cover personal and situational awareness, preparation and fight and escape strategies. This is not the first time the college has been lauded for its campus safety efforts. In 2016, recognized Columbia College as the safest campus in Missouri. That same year, the college ranked No. 5 in the country on College Choice’s Safest Large Colleges and Universities in America list. Additional information on the college’s safety efforts can be found at

Heffer also brings experience in the design and implementation of mental health response planning. He was the primary liaison for Goucher College with local county, state and federal law enforcement partners and a founding member of the school’s Presidential Council on Racial Equity and the Bias Education and Response Team. Prior to joining the team at Goucher, Heffer was a police lieutenant at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., for 16 years. During that time, he also served as an adjunct faculty member, teaching self-defense and physical skills classes which focus on situational awareness and protective mindset.



Columbia College recently announced a new exclusive partnership with The National Association of REALTORS® to offer expanded access to academic programs to association members. With the agreement, Columbia College will become the exclusive higher education partner for more than 1.3 million NAR members, providing opportunities for them to complete a variety of associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees, including real estatespecific offerings anticipated in late spring 2020. Columbia College also plans to develop and offer a Master of Business Administration degree with an emphasis in real estate, based on the award-winning Master of Real Estate degree curriculum developed by the association for its members through REALTOR® University. NAR members who enroll in the NAR Academy at Columbia College can receive $100 per eligible course in financial support from the Center for Specialized REALTOR® Education (CSRE). The CSRE is a NAR wholly owned subsidiary that creates and facilitates educational programs in real estate, working to elevate professional standards through designations, certifications and degrees in real estate. REALTOR® University was conceived and launched in 2012 to provide members a new opportunity to grow through academic achievement. This agreement represents a sustainable expansion of that vision. In addition to an MBA with an emphasis in Real Estate, Columbia College will develop degree completion programs for NAR members, bachelor’s and associates degree programs and college-level real estate certificate programs in 2020. The NAR Academy at Columbia College marks the successful realization of the Realtor University vision.

“We believe this new partnership will truly be a game changer, not only for our institution but for NAR members around the country.” — COLUMBIA COLLEGE PRESIDENT DR. SCOTT DALRYMPLE With the graduation of all active Masters in Real Estate program students, and with the sharing of the curriculum with Columbia College, REALTOR® University will officially discontinue its master’s program, and provide an opportunity for interested members to enroll in Columbia College as a member benefit. “As far as we know, this is the largest exclusive educational partnership in the United States,” says Dr. Scott Dalrymple. REALTOR® University alumni will become members of the Columbia College Alumni Association and the founding members of a NAR scholar’s society. Columbia College was deemed the ideal institution to serve NAR with its legacy of academic excellence, global reach and robust online programs.

For more information about the NAR Academy at Columbia College, visit For more information on the member benefit details, see

Inside the Gate

Columbia College to expand educational opportunities for REALTORS®

Inside the Gate


Col. Charles E. McGee ’78 is a member of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, a recipient of the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal and a member of the National Aviation Hall of Fame.


George Ousley ’78 (left) and Col. Charles McGee ’78

College announces new home for Ousley Family Veterans Service Center BY SAM FLEURY


The Columbia College Ousley Family Veterans Service Center will have a new home in 2020. The college recently acquired the property at 904 N. Eighth Street with the intent to provide an enhanced experience for its military and veteran student community. The new facility will be named the Col. Charles E. McGee House and serve as the home of the Ousley Family Veterans Service Center. The new venue, which will be nearly 2,000 square feet, will provide the college’s military and veteran student community a social gathering space to talk, study and network and continue the high-quality service the college provides to its military students. A dedication for the new facility will take place on May 21, 2020, as part of the college’s Military Appreciation Day festivities.

Col. McGee was presented an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Columbia College in 2014. He held the Air Force’s fighter combat record for many years with 409 missions and 1,151 combat hours, serving in World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam War. He celebrated his 100th birthday on December 7. The Ousley family’s generosity has played a key role in the college’s work with veterans for several years. In 2009, George (a 1978 graduate) and Gayleen Ousley made a generous gift to the college, creating the Ousley Family Veterans Service Center while also endowing a scholarship that is given to several Columbia College active military or veteran students each year. The gift was given in honor of the Ousley’s son, Jay, who passed away in a tragic accident in Spain while serving in the Navy.

Inside the Gate


Purple Heart College designation highlights Veterans Week ceremonies BY KEVIN FLETCHER


Columbia College is the 58th institution to be named a Purple Heart College. The designation recognizes the college’s efforts to honor “the service and sacrifice of the nation’s men and women in uniform wounded or killed by the enemy while serving to protect the freedoms enjoyed by all Americans.” Originally awarded as the Badge of Military Merit by Gen. George Washington in 1782, the Purple Heart is the oldest U.S. military award still presented. Gen. Douglas MacArthur revived the award and renamed it the Purple Heart on the 150th anniversary of Washington’s creation in 1932; it is now presented to service members of the United States Armed Forces who have been wounded or made the ultimate sacrifice in combat. More than 1.9 million Purple Hearts have since been awarded. “The Purple Heart College designation is a clear indication of our continued support of our veterans,” says Rob Boone, associate vice president for Columbia College Global-Military and a retired Army lieutenant colonel. “Columbia College has had an enduring

Walt Schley, Commander of the Missouri chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart (right), joins Dr. Scott Dalrymple for a dedication ceremony on November 6.

relationship with all branches of service since 1973. Our commitment to the military has never wavered, and it never will.”

Congratulations to the Columbia College locations that are celebrating milestone anniversaries in 2020. Fort Worth, Texas.................................................................. 45 years Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.............................................. 45 years Salt Lake City, Utah.............................................................. 45 years Marysville/NS Everett, Washington..................................... 40 years NAS Jacksonville, Florida..................................................... 30 years Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri................................................ 30 years CCAA Advisory Board representative Ed Sasan ’11 gave the alumni charge at the Columbia College-Redstone Arsenal commencement ceremony on November 2.

Online Program.................................................................... 20 years Waynesville, Missouri............................................................. 5 years Honolulu, Hawaii................................................................... 5 years


State of Inclusivity Conference encourages dialogue and discourse BY SAM FLEURY

Columbia College partnered with the Inclusive Impact Institute to host the inaugural State of Inclusivity conference on main campus in August. The day started with a welcome from Dr. Scott Dalrymple for the more than 300 guests from around the state of Missouri. Attendees then embarked on a day filled with break-out sessions focusing on topics ranging from “Disability is Diversity” to “Many Faces of Privilege” to “Addressing Difficult History Without SugarCoating the Truth.” The group came back together for a closing general session, recapping their powerful experience. “We were thrilled to host the State of Inclusivity Conference because the values that they focus on with diversity, equity and inclusion are so important to our Columbia College community,” said Erin Mazzola, assistant dean for Student Affairs and co-chair of the college’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. “The education and connections that took place at the conference were so valuable for everyone who attended, and we were able to show the community what a welcoming and beautiful campus we have.” Nikki McGruder ’00, director of the Inclusive Impact Institute, plans to host the conference on campus again in August 2020.

Columbia College’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee is committed to making the college a welcoming place for all. College events and programming include the Black Business Expo, Women’s History Month, International Extravaganza, Disability Awareness Week, Black History Month and the annual Night of Unity talent showcase. For more information on the Columbia College Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team, visit

Inside the Gate


Emerging Leaders Institute hosts reunion BY CAROLYN PREUL


Graduates and current students of the Emerging Leaders Institute celebrated the program’s 15th anniversary at breakfast during Homecoming Weekend.

Since starting in 2004, more than 200 students from the Columbia College Day Program have participated in the Emerging Leaders Institute (ELI).

“By making sure I understand their strengths and True Colors that make them who they are, I am able to be a more effective leader in the workplace,” she says.

ELI cohorts complete a three-semester program designed to explore their leadership potential and prepare them to be engaged citizens in their community.

Students meet weekly to engage in active discussions and reflect on the concept of leadership for social change. They also participate in professional development opportunities through mock interviews, etiquette dining, public presentations and a mentorship program that pairs students with a community member in their field of study.

“ELI is an comprehensive student group that helps bring committed students together from all backgrounds, majors and interests to learn and grow in an inclusive experience,” says Sarah Naji, senior coordinator of the Center for Student Leadership. “We are proud it has been a part of our campus for 15 years and hope to continue the tradition of developing excellent student leaders.” Natalie Caldwell, a senior marketing student, is a member of the 2019 class. In order to balance classwork, a work-study job with the Office of Alumni Relations and an off-campus internship, she utilizes techniques learned through ELI to better communicate with co-workers and peers.

In recognition for their participation, ELI members receive two scholarships – The Cunningham Emerging Leaders Institute Award and the Andrew J. Bass Jr. Emerging Leaders Institute Completion Award. “Columbia College is grateful to Judy Cunningham and Faye Burchard, whose foresight and generosity established this comprehensive program,” says Missy Montgomery ’06, senior director of Philanthropy.


ASSOCIATE IN SCIENCE IN NURSING Pursue an Associate in Science in Nursing if you want to switch to a nursing career. Accelerated program In seat in Columbia or Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri

TRADITIONAL BSN Recommend the traditional BSN to a high school student interested in becoming a nurse. On campus in Columbia, Missouri Scholarship opportunities available

RN TO BSN PROGRAM Choose our RN to BSN program if you’re a working RN who wants more employment and leadership opportunities. 100 percent online Accelerated 8-week classes

Read more about our programs at


HOMECOMING 2019 Spirit Week brought students together for a 90s-themed celebration hosted by the Office of Student Affairs. Activities included a pep rally, movie night, a color run through campus, fall formal and royalty coronation.

The Cougar men’s and women’s soccer teams won their respective matches on Homecoming! Both teams took down AMC rival Park University at R. Marvin Owens to close out Homecoming 2019 in style.

Homecoming royalty is nominated by and voted for by students of Columbia College Day Campus. King Zach McAdams ’20 and Queen Ivana “Veezy” Easley ’20 were crowned during the coronation ceremony. Zach McAdams Major: Biology/Chemistry Year: Senior Activities: Student tutor, Student Ambassador, Alpha Chi, Science Club, Royal PingPong Club Ivana “Veezy” Easley Major: Human Services Year: Senior Activities: Student Mentor, Orientation Leader, Student Ambassador, Women’s Basketball, Committed and Serving Together

Inside the Gate


Leadership: Board of Trustees welcomes three members in 2019 BY SAM FLEURY


Dr. H. Jane Blackman Lossing graduated with honors from Christian College in 1964. She continued her studies at Indiana University, where she earned both a bachelor’s degree and an M.D. before interning at the Kaiser Foundation Hospital in San Francisco. She completed her residency in ophthalmology at the University of Wisconsin in 1973. Blackman had a private ophthalmology practice in Washington, D.C., from 1978 to 2004. She received a teaching award for her work at the Washington Hospital Center, and a Prevention of Blindness Service Award. Both her aunt, Catherine Lybrook Yoke ’49, and sister, Judy Ann Blackman Harvell ’62, also attended Christian College. She established the Dr. H. Jane Blackman Lossing ’64 Scholarship in 2015, supporting academically gifted females majoring in a sciencerelated field and was the 2010 recipient of the Columbia College Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award.


Kevin Sprouse is a native of Columbia, Missouri, and currently serves as the president and CEO of Endovac Animal Health, formerly IMMVAC Animal Health. Previously, he was the chief of operations and vice president of IMMVAC and was also an adjunct instructor at Columbia College. Sprouse holds a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College in management, marketing and finance, and a Master of Business Administration in management from Washington University’s Olin Business School in St. Louis, Missouri. Sprouse is a member of the Columbia College President’s Society and also served on the “Tradition Meets Tomorrow” campaign steering committee that benefited the construction of the Gerald T. and Bonnie M. Brouder Science Center.


Kent Strodtman, Ph.D., serves as a faculty representative to the Board of Trustees. Strodtman joined the Columbia College faculty in 2012 as an assistant professor of biology before being promoted to associate professor of biology in 2018. Prior to coming to Columbia College, he was a visiting professor of biology and environmental science at Westminster College after serving as a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Missouri. A passionate, innovative educator, Strodtman teaches classes in biology, genetics, biochemistry and molecular biotechnology and actively supports student research projects and club activities.



Schiffman Lecture in Religious Studies Connects Jesus and Capitalism BY KEVIN FLETCHER


Rev. Dr. Brad Stagg, the senior minister of Columbia’s First Christian Church since July 2012, was the guest speaker for the college’s 19th Schiffman Lecture in Religious Studies. He earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary earlier this year; his thesis, “Jesus, Adam Smith and Today’s Capitalism,” was the topic of the October lecture. While Smith is known as the “The Father of Capitalism” thanks to his 1776 magnum opus “The Wealth of Nations,” Stagg notes that economics might have been Smith’s fourth most-important class as a professor at the University of Glasgow. He also taught law, ethics and theology. In 1759 Smith penned “The Theory of Moral Sentiments,” which espoused what Smith called “mutual sympathy.” We know it better as “empathy.” It is based in Jesus Christ’s teaching of the “Golden Rule” — “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” According to Stagg’s research, Smith stated the key for a society would be to ask how to pursue what it needs and wants without harming someone else.

Christianity and capitalism don’t seem to mix in the 21st century. Yet Columbia College Board of Trustees member Rev. Dr. Brad Stagg, who has spent several years studying the roots of capitalism, says pure capitalism and Christianity are intertwined.

To learn more about the Althea W. and John A. Schiffman Lecture Series, visit

“The basis of capitalism is that we are trusting, loving and caring to our fellow being, that we are moral beings,” Stagg says. “Is that what we have today?” Stagg believes our culture has disconnected Smith’s empathetic foundation from today’s corporatefocused capitalism. Modern-day critics of capitalism consider the model’s emphasis on self-interest to be nothing more than greed. However, Stagg argues that under Smith’s view of capitalism, empathy for “the other” counterbalances self-interest. “Capitalism is only as good as we are moral,” Stagg says. “Adam Smith and Jesus were right from the beginning.”

Inside the Gate

18 Are you interested in learning how to start a scholarship in support of your passions? Call the Office of Development at (573) 875-7563.

Justice For All BY SAM FLEURY


After 32 years of teaching a myriad of criminal justice related classes at Columbia College, Dr. Michael Lyman feels like he learned just as much from his students as they did from him. “I was always amazed throughout my time at the college, as much as I knew about policing and criminal justice, the questions that the students would ask and the concerns that they would have would remind me that there is always more to learn,” Lyman says. “You learn as you teach. Students teach you as you teach them, and it’s a very healthy, rewarding profession.”

Following his retirement as a professor in April, Lyman wanted to find a way to continue that cycle of knowledge. Along with his wife, Julie, and their daughter, Kelsey, the family formed the Michael D. Lyman Criminal Justice Endowed Scholarship. The scholarship is focused on supporting a student from the college’s Main Campus Day Program with a declared major in criminal justice, a designated GPA and a minimum of 60 credit hours earned toward his or her degree. Lyman, who is nationally renowned in the criminal justice professional

From left: Kelsey ’19, Michael and Julie Lyman

community, has more than 40 years of experience in the field of policing. He has authored eight books on various topics including criminal investigation, drug trafficking and organized crime. He has also served as a source for national media outlets in high-profile criminal cases and has testified as a policing expert in federal courts throughout the country. The former police officer made numerous contributions to the criminal justice program during his time at the college. He served as the chair of the Criminal Justice Department and initiated the


Inside the Gate

President’s Society honors college’s loyal contributors

development of the Master of Science in Criminal Justice program and the Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science program. Lyman notes that the college played a vital role in his career. It offered him the opportunity to teach in a field he is passionate about while encouraging students to employ real-life tactics in response to hypothetical situations. “My experience at the college had a huge impact on my life and my understanding of the criminal justice system,” Lyman says. “Policing is my specialty and my research agenda as well, so it impacted that every single day, in one way or another.” The scholarship will be awarded this spring to one student, however, Lyman and his family hope to expand the scholarship through their future philanthropic gifts. They want to impact numerous aspiring criminal justice professionals in the future. “The goal is to take the edge off financially for a student who may be having a difficult time making ends meet,” Lyman says. “It’s a culmination of a goal of ours to have another avenue of potential funding for students who want to go into law enforcement as a career.”

Pictured, front row from left: Dr. Scott Dalrymple, Dr. Tina Dalrymple, Ryan Brockman representing S.M. Wilson & Co., Julie and Dr. Michael Lyman, Peggy Reed-Lohmeyer and Steve Lohmeyer; back row: David and Lee Russell, Greg and Dr. Sandra Logan, Dr. Joseph Carrier, Barb Danuser representing Boone Hospital Foundation and Rob Boone

Columbia College hosted its annual President’s Society Dinner and Induction Ceremony in September. Attendees were entertained by the Jane Froman Singers and inductees of the 2019 class were presented with a commemorative plaque by President Scott Dalrymple and First Lady Tina Dalrymple. Philanthropic partners who have generously contributed more than $10,000 during their lifetime are eligible for this honor. This year’s class includes 25 newly inducted and upgraded members: Carrie and Rob Boone, the Boone Hospital Foundation, Crystal and Claude Bovell, Brant Bukowsky, Joseph Carrier, Ph.D., Patricia Churchill and Greg Johnston ’91, Kathy and Charlie Digges, Carolyn Duley Dodd ’46 and W. Stanley Dodd Jr., Tery Donelson, Engart LLC, Kit Frew, Alan Harris, Tim Ireland Ph.D., Peggy Reed-Lohmeyer and Steve Lohmeyer, Julie and Michael Lyman Ph.D., Linda and Richard Pryor, Lee and David Russell Ph.D., Sandra Logan Ph.D. and Gregory Logan ’79, Linda Peterson ’99 and James Peterson, SM Wilson & Co., the Stafford Family Charitable Trust, State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance, Dorinda ’04 and Jeremy Stayton, Sarah ’96 and Jason Swindle and Joann and Hugh ’00 Wayman. “Their philanthropy makes a positive difference in the lives of Columbia College students every day and ensures that the institution can continue to offer exemplary academic offerings,” Dr. Dalrymple says. To learn how you join this elite group and make an impact on students for generations to come, visit




a f f i n i t y Letter from our Chair I am always impressed with the great news coming from Columbia College. This issue of Affinity magazine is no different. With the holiday season upon us and a new year approaching, now is a natural time to reflect on the past and celebrate our growth. Take a few minutes to reflect on what Columbia College has meant to you. What memories or emotions do you experience? Which friends, family members or professors come to mind when asked who helped you succeed? While we all have the personal experience of navigating college life, these journeys are worth cherishing. As members of the Columbia College Alumni Association, your stories are important to us. I hope you’ll use the form on page 64 or visit to share your thoughts. The CCAA has opportunities to give back throughout the year. I encourage you to wear your alumni gear and search out ways to support the college. Your contribution, no matter how small you think it may be, makes a tremendous difference. I look forward to serving as your advisory board chair and hearing more about your path since graduation. I hope you continue to embrace your alumni status as a source of pride and reach out to support fellow alumni in your community. We are CC,

Columbia College Alumni Association Advisory Board 2019-2020 Chair Jonathan Dudley ’10 Day Campus Vice Chair Debra Carnahan ’82 Day Campus Alumni Representative to the Board of Trustees Bill Johnston ’82 Day Campus ________________________ Advisors Allen Butler ’07 Lake County Whitney Jones ’16 & ’19 St. Louis Jeannie M. Lahman ’18 Online Program Bill Leeper ’04 NAS Jacksonville Chris Lievsay ’09 & ’11 Kansas City Joshua Muder ’99 Day Campus Ed Sasan ’11 Redstone Arsenal

Jonathan L. Dudley ’10

Corbin Umstattd ’12 Day & Online Programs Carol Winkler ’93 Evening Campus ________________________ Columbia College Staff Ann Merrifield Senior Director, Alumni Relations Suzanne Rothwell Executive Vice President, Advancement


we’re going digital Affinity magazine is transitioning to an all-digital format in 2020. Now is the perfect time to make sure we have your preferred email address on file so that you continue to receive CCAA e-newsletters, event invitations and college news straight to your inbox. Mail us the form on page 64 or visit


22 Career counseling, networking and resume assistance are available free of charge to students and alumni through the Grossnickle Career Services Center. To get started, call (573) 875-7425 or email

Career Corner


The job market is looking good for recent college graduates. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the 2019 class experienced the best hiring environment for new grads since 2007. Hiring is on the rise in all sectors, which is always great news. However, no matter how strong the market is, finding that first job after college can still be a challenge. Each year, NACE surveys employers who hire entry-level candidates, and the same attributes continually rank in the top five. Above everything, employers want to see strong work ethic, personal initiative and the ability to problem solve. These skills can be shown through work experience (even if unrelated to the aspired field), military service, community involvement and volunteerism. Young graduates are in a unique position when entering the job market. For those who don’t have as much hands-on training, they can’t sell their resumes on expertise. In the absence of experience, employers turn their attention to core skills.




It is important for young jobseekers to consider how they present themselves. A strong resume and LinkedIn profile should demonstrate the hard and soft skills they bring to the table. These first impressions can make or break a potential interview.

In the Grossnickle Career Services Center, students are encouraged to focus on their potential. This is a good time to pull from class experiences and discuss how their Columbia College education has prepared them for a particular field. Showcasing an ability to communicate effectively is a great way to establish readiness. Examples include excelling in an intensive writing class, having a job that requires top-notch customer service or working successfully on a team.

Employers want to see candidates who are excited to join the field. Internships or consistent volunteer experience express enthusiasm for a chosen career field. New grads can join professional associations (often for a reduced cost while a student) and/or attend local meetings or conferences. Demonstrating a personal interest shows they are serious about the field and maximize opportunities to network with potential colleagues.



The inaugural Columbia College Alumni Service Day took place Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. More than 100 alumni and friends signed up to spread good will in their communities through 22 projects.

TACOMA, WA Nourish Pierce County

Learn more at

SURPRIZE, AZ Surprise SciTech Festival

“This event is a great way to get alumni together to network in an informal setting and help our communities.” — Adrienne Hamlin ’14 & ’19

LUBBOCK, TX Lubbock Music Teachers Association

COLUMBIA, MO Christian Chapel Academy Douglass Park Clean Up Columbia College Main Campus Beautification Columbia First Nazarene Church Primaris Foundation The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri SYRACUSE, NY Pick up trash at park LIBERTYVILLE, IL Feed My Starving Children

KANSAS CITY, MO Harvesters

CHATTANOOGA, TN Chattanooga Down Syndrome Society

ST. ELIZABETH, MO Food Pantry ROLLA, MO Feeding America

McLEAN, VA Share of McLean Virginia

WEBB CITY, MO Trash clean up

DENMARK, SC Denmark Citizens for Safe Water

SARASOTA, FL Beach clean up

ST. LOUIS, MO Habitat for Humanity ReStore GRANITE CITY, IL ARCH House

PENSACOLA, FL Beach clean up



Alumni Events

Photo Gallery

Alumni events and college-sponsored programs are held across the nation to foster lasting relationships with our graduates. Join us for an event at Main Campus or in your area.

Rebekah Hernandez ’19 and Lisa Wuest ’18 in Crystal Lake, Illinois CCAA Advisory Board representative Debra Carnahan ’82 addresses guests at an alumni event in St. Louis.

Marcia Machens ’96 and David Machens in Kansas City

Lyndon Russell, Charles Thompson ’08, Jessie Crutcher ’11, Allen Butler ’07, Glen Gustafson ’15, Donte Bland ’09 in Gurnee, Illinois



Save the Date Elaine Spillman Penny ’66, Janice Bodenhausen Simpson ’58, Karen Hockaday Avery ’57, Cheryl Elbe Ward ’57, Missy Montgomery ’06, Suzanne Rothwell, Ann Merrifield, Carol Rust Mooney ’57, Lynne Stuver Baker ’64, Lollie Zander Reed ’68, Marjorie Thomas Gutelius ’69, Marilyn Barron Bosso ’49, Barbara Prestage ’69 and Suzanne Wann Holdren ’59 in Kansas City

Alumni Day Saturday, February 1, 2020 Bring the family to Southwell Complex to cheer on your Columbia College Cougars men’s and women’s basketball teams. Register for free game admission and reception!

Christian College Reunion Weekend May 1 & 2, 2020 Alumnae of Christian College are invited to gather as we honor the college’s rich heritage and learn about the new and exciting advancements happening at Columbia College today.

Campus Visits

Kyle Clizer ’06, Jennifer Cross ’06, Jared Cross ’05 and Chris Wright ’08 in Kansas City

You are always welcome to visit Main Campus or our nationwide locations. When in Columbia, come say hello to your Alumni Relations staff in the garden level of St. Clair Hall, Room 11, where yearbooks are available for you to take a stroll down memory lane.




Budget with Confidence BY JANESE HEAVIN

Julie Morff ’04 & ’12 can tell you exactly how the Missouri state budget works. She knows which House Bills fund which agencies, who’s involved at each stage, and the implications of moving funds. And her ability to explain it gives you confidence in the process. “There are so many moving parts that it can be confusing,” she says. “But most of us in public service have the citizens of Missouri’s best interest at heart. We want to provide the service to them that they deserve.” Morff is one of seven budget analysts for the Missouri House of Representatives, House Appropriations Committee. She specifically tracks bills that allocate funds for mental health, human and social services, maintenance, repairs and new and ongoing capital improvements. This past year, she also oversaw the bill that allocates funding for elected offices, including the Office of the Governor and the General Assembly.

“My undergraduate degree helped me learn how to prioritize and gave me the drive to always want to do better.” – Julie Morff ’04 & ’12 Hers is a position 163 elected representatives rely on as they make budget decisions that impact the state. “As a non-partisan staffer, I work with both Republican and Democrat representatives,” she says. “With term limits and the budget process being so complicated, not all members know exactly how to maneuver the budget and get funding needed in their districts.” Sometimes, she simply helps them find where existing dollars are allocated in the budget; other



times, she explains the ramifications of moving money from one part of the budget to another. In the end, she makes sure they have all of the information they need to make educated decisions. “She is responsible for overseeing and guiding one of the largest budget bills through the General Assembly,” says Rep. Kip Kendrick ’06, who represents the state’s 45th House District. “Julie’s analytical skills, attention to detail and drive to produce quality work are critical to Missouri’s budget.” Morff says she found that drive at Columbia CollegeJefferson City. She had gone straight into the workforce after high school, working at a shoe factory for three years before layoffs prompted her to find a new job. She took a position as a receptionist at the Missouri Gaming Commission out of necessity, but found a passion for public service. She then spent a couple of years as a clerk at the Missouri Department of Public Safety. When her boss there, Ken L. Bishop, left to become executive director of the Missouri State Board of Accountancy, he encouraged her to apply to be his executive assistant. Bishop not only recognized her abilities, he also saw potential, encouraging her to go to college. “My boss always encouraged me to think bigger, to want more and to use knowledge to get there,” Morff says.

She took night classes while also working full time, and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Accounting and finance classes proved essential in work, and her education boosted her motivation. Along the way, Morff had the foresight to earn her Master of Business Administration through Columbia College’s online program. “I was already well into my career, but getting my master’s degree was essential to move higher,” she says. “Not only did the classes advance my knowledge in so many areas, I would not have the position I am in now had I not had it.” “I always boast about Missouri’s budgeting process and the discipline that goes into creating a balanced budget on time, year after year,” says Kendrick, who is also a special projects coordinator in Columbia College’s Office of General Counsel. “However, that doesn’t happen without dedicated and talented public servants like Julie.” Morff says she ultimately just likes helping others, but she’s also proud of her personal journey. “I am proud of where I have gotten, and I have done it with honesty and integrity, never compromising my values to get ahead,” she says. “It fills me with a sense of pride knowing that I get to come here every day and be in public service.”

AUTUMN IN THE CANADIAN ROCKIES September 23 – October 3, 2020 Join the CCAA for a breathtaking adventure with plenty of time to relax and take in the Canadian Rockies. Be whisked away in luxury on an 11-day guided tour with Barb Prestage ’69 of Adelman Vacations. For more information, email the Office of Alumni Relations at or call (573) 875-2586.



Answering Her Own Questions

Some people are simply born with an inquisitive nature. They question how things are done, how things could be done better, and who benefits from the activity (among many other ponderings, of course). Columbia College alumna Renea Amen ’11 can certainly be counted as one of those people, and she has utilized that personality trait to achieve things that 18-year old Renea would never have thought possible. BY SAM FLEURY

After finishing high school in Peekskill, New York, Amen’s father, Willie Finley, wanted her to go to college. Amen questioned that advice and had no interest in pursuing that path, deciding to instead go into the U.S. Navy where she served from 1996-2001. However, during her five years of service, she didn’t progress as quickly as others did. “Anything that required me to study — and the Navy is a branch that requires a lot of studying — I didn’t want any part of it.” Amen says.



“I was a good student in high school, but I didn’t want to do anything with school anymore.” However, that all changed as her military career ended with her final duty station at Naval Station Great Lakes. A friend of Amen’s provided some sage advice, telling her: “If you think you are the smartest person in the room, you have to go and get an education. Because until you go and get that degree, you’re always going to be working for someone you think you are smarter than.” This wisdom truly stuck with Amen. “I had a job, but I didn’t really have a great job, so I decided I wanted to go to school,” Amen says. “But I needed to have a school that worked for me and my lifestyle because I had young children at the time, and that’s how I discovered Columbia [College]. You have to find the right school for you, because if you don’t, you will not put your right foot forward.” As she proceeded to earn her degree in criminal justice at the college’s Lake County, Illinois, location alongside her husband, Semaj, who earned his MBA from Columbia College in 2016, Amen decided she wanted to use that degree (and her inquisitiveness) as a springboard toward becoming a lawyer. However, she was unsure of the next steps in making that transition. The Columbia College family stepped in as professors who had worked in the criminal justice field and a former faculty member

at the college’s main Campus assisted her through the process. “After graduating and starting law school and studying for the bar exam, there were times I couldn’t get to the city to the law school every day (to study) because I was broke,” Amen says. “I went to (Lake County location director) Lyndon Russell and asked him, ‘Can I please use the quiet room so that I can study?’” Russell’s reaction warmed Amen’s heart as she remembers him saying, “You’re an alumna, of course you can use that quiet room. You are always welcome here.” She believes that support was key during her time in law school and also helped her avoid “burning out.” Amen earned her juris doctorate from The John Marshall Law School and then decided to open her own firm, Bur-Men Law Group in Waukegan, Illinois. The firm specializes in criminal defense, civil rights litigation and family law matters, focusing on father’s rights. One of her passions is bringing children into the firm to educate them about the law, their rights and how to interact with the police. Outside of running her firm, Amen is active in her community including serving on the Illinois State Bar Association’s Women and the Law committee and also sitting on the Woodland District 50 Board of Education in Gurnee. She believes that public service is “one of the foundations of keeping a community running smoothly

In 2016, Renea Amen celebrated with her husband, Semaj, who earned his MBA from Columbia College.

and efficiently” and serving on those boards is her way of being the change instead of complaining about need for change. And after “rebelling” against going to college, as she put it, Amen now serves as an adjunct faculty member at the Lake County location, teaching business law. Her time as a student and instructor has truly showcased her journey from someone who questioned the value of a college degree to someone who is passionate about helping students earn their degree and improve their lives. She also imparts that wisdom to her four children, Olivia (22), Khalil (16), Semaj (14) and Samaria (11). “For me, it started with my father, but for my children, I always tell them ‘now you have to do better than me, and you have the means to do that.’”

New Hall





The new home of the Robert W. Plaster School of Business – and Columbia College’s first new residence hall in 50 years – is now open. BY KEVIN FLE TCHER  PHOTOS BY KACI SMART ’09

New Hall was built in 17 months by Reinhardt Construction, at a total cost of $20 million.


Above and right: The New Hall lobby offers a warm welcome to students and visitors. The Landmark Bank Stock and News Ticker displays stock quotes in real time, along with news of the day and sports scores. Far right: A spacious outdoor terrace on the North side of New Hall overlooks R. Marvin Owens Stadium. Ample seating provides a stress-free venue to study or relax in the shade.


Below: Dr. Kennedy Amofa, assistant professor of Business Administration, visits with students in the Hulett Family Conference Room.


New Hall

Left: Students wait in line to check in to their new digs in mid-August. New Hall features 76 residential suites offering 38,000 square feet of living space on the second, third and fourth floors.

New Hall


Right: The Marilyn Silvey Tatlow ’60 Classroom features technology that allows students to collaborate directly on the smart wall or on other devices or displays. It is one of six classrooms on the ground floor of New Hall, each of which can accommodate between 20-36 students. All contain mobile furniture to foster collaborative learning. Below: Construction of New Hall would not have been possible without the generous contributions of numerous of donors, who are recognized on the New Hall Donor Recognition Wall in the main foyer.

Right: Dr. Dolly Plaster Clement gave the keynote speech at the dedication of New Hall on Sept. 25. She spoke of her father’s love of entrepreneurship, and repeated his mantra that “can’t never could.”

Make an Impact Several spaces in New Hall remain available for naming; gifts may be pledged over a five-year period. Please contact the Office of Development at (573) 875-7563 or visit for additional information.

OPEN FOR BUSINESS Students for Smith B Y K E V I N F L E TC H E R

There are over 50 different named spaces in New Hall. One such generous gift came from the Stafford Family Charitable Trust for the second-floor student lounge. Because they have already received recognition of previous gifts with the naming of Stafford Library, the family requested that the space instead be named in honor of a deserving faculty member. The Board of Trustees unanimously agreed to name the space in honor of Dr. Terry Smith, who has served the college since 1996. He has previously served as executive vice president and dean for Academic Affairs, and was interim president of Columbia College prior to the hiring of Dr. Scott Dalrymple. Smith is now a professor of political science and serves as the director of the Honors Program. Arguably one of the most popular professors on Main Campus, Smith is often found playing pool with students on the second floor of Atkins-Holman Student Commons, and his portrait now hangs in the second-floor student lounge of New Hall.

Above: Monica Widhalm, the Plaster School of Business’ academic administrative specialist, speaks with a student in the reception area of the school’s faculty offices.

Dr. Piyusha Singh, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, presents Dr. Terry Smith with a plaque in recognition of the naming of the second-floor student lounge in his honor. That second-floor lounge is also home to a foosball table to provide for plenty of competitive games.



Top: Each of the student lounges on the three floors of residential housing are decorated in a fashion and color scheme unique to that floor, and all furniture was selected by student leaders. All three lounges have ample seating for recreation, collaboration or individual study. Above: Seventy-six residential rooms are housed on the top three floors, each room furnished for double occupancy, sharing a common bathroom with an adjoining suite.


New Hall


Dr. Tina Olson is recognized for her leadership and service in the human resources industry BY SAM FLEURY

Dr. Tina Olson, instructor of Management in the Robert W. Plaster School of Business, received the LEAD (Leadership, Excellence, Achievement and Dedication) Award from the the Missouri State Society for Human Resources Management Council at its annual conference earlier this fall. The prestigious honor is presented to a professional in the human resources field who is as an innovator, advocate and/or thought leader. The award also recognizes a member of the Society who holds an outstanding record of volunteer service to the profession through leadership positions with the organization. “I’m very proud to represent the HR profession, especially as a faculty member at Columbia College,” Olson says. “Mentoring and developing future employees and leaders through education is my passion, and I am humbled and honored to be recognized by my peers with this award.” Olson joined the faculty at Columbia College in fall 2017. She has taught classes in leadership theory, strategic human resource management, organizational behavior, diversity and organizations and design thinking. “Tina is truly deserving of this honor, and we appreciate her efforts as one of our outstanding faculty members,” says Dr. Piyusha Singh,

provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “Her professionalism shines through every day, and her teaching methods encourage open dialogue in class on topics surrounding the ever-changing field of human resources.” Olson received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Iowa, her Master of Education from Washington State University and her MBA from Stephens College. She earned a doctorate in Higher Education Leadership from Maryville University and is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and is a SHRM-SCP (Society for Human Resource Management-Senior Certified Professional). In an effort to also support her community, Olson has served in numerous community volunteer roles through the Heart of Missouri United Way, Women’s Network, which is a division of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, Dolly Parton Imagination Library, Rotary and the Youth Empowerment Zone. Olson served as a district representative for the State of Missouri Society for Human Resource Management State Council and is the previous president of her local HR chapter. Most recently, She served on the board of directors for the Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation. She currently acts as an advisor to this board.

New Hall


ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: A GLOBAL REACH From Bolivia to the Ukraine, the Robert W. Plaster School of Business is educating the world’s future leaders. B Y K E V I N F L E TC H E R Matias Costa Navajas ’11 has always had a global outlook on life. It’s not a hard feat when you live in Bolivia, Japan and Honduras before starting grade school. While he traveled the world long before he set foot at Columbia College, Costa Navajas credits his time here for clearing his future path. The son of a diplomat and an interpreter, Costa Navajas spent his childhood years at the American Cooperative School (ACS) of La Paz, Bolivia, where the student body was largely comprised of the children of North American and European diplomats. “That was what introduced me to a different kind of education. It opened up my eyes to the world,” he says.

His roots began in the United States, and they’ve returned here. His parents are both Bolivian, but they didn’t meet until taking classes at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. The couple had a daughter, Mariola, there before returning home to Bolivia, where Matias was born. When it became time to research schools to attend for college, he considered simply following in Mariola’s steps to the University of Rochester. It also checked an important box of his: a small college that was similar in size and feel to ACS. But as he narrowed his criteria further, his sights turned west. “I actually started looking at some schools in the Midwest, because it’s a region that I had not known anything about, and it really caught my attention,” Matias says. “I was thinking, ‘Why not try something different?’ ” So his quest took a decidedly simple approach. “I just put ‘schools in the Midwest liberal arts’ into the search bar, and [Columbia College] came out.” As Costa Navajas did more research, he loved what he saw. “It has what I would call the full package: small classes, one-on-one interactions with the professors — which for me was essential — and at the same time, you had a town in Columbia that was so integrated with its university. It had a very multicultural sense, which I was looking for with me coming from overseas. So when I went to go to college, my culture shock was almost minimal because it was so diverse in comparison to a lot of my friends who were at other schools in the Midwest. Once he began his studies at Columbia College, he quickly endeared himself to the campus community.



Passing the Torch “He was one of the first students I worked with,” recalls Dan Gomez-Palacio, director of the Grossnickle Career Services Center. “He was clearly a leader on campus and enjoyed taking that role. He was very ambitious. He’s just always thought very globally, very broadly, which is exciting.” His favorite professor, Dr. Diane Suhler, agrees. “He was a joy to have in class, because he was always saying, ‘Oh I just read this…,’ and, ‘[Nobel laureate in economics and New York Times columnist] Paul Krugman just had an article on that.’” Costa Navajas is quick to credit his professors. “Dr. Suhler was the one who got me into the world of economics. Even though we didn’t have an econ major, she opened the door with a minor for me and that opened up so much of the interest that I have in economics and finance.” While Costa Navajas thrived in the classroom, some of his best memories happened away from campus. As a member of the Jane Froman Singers, he was part of separate choral tours of Austria and Italy. “I couldn’t be more grateful for [Assistant Professor of Visual Arts and Music] Nollie Moore, who gave me a choir scholarship,” he says. Costa Navajas credits financial assistance in making his college experience possible. “I had a lot of financial aid, and I can’t say that I would be here without it, so that’s something I’m super grateful for,” he says. “The fact that I was able to have a few grants and scholarships just made it all really useful for me. I was able to get through classes that way.” Costa Navajas graduated with a pair of bachelor’s degrees in finance and business administration and a minor in economics in 2011 before earning a master’s degree in applied economics from Johns Hopkins in 2017. He began his economics career as a financial assistant at the World Bank in 2012 before moving to the statistics department for the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C., in 2013.

Last year, Matias Costa Navajas ’11 served as a mentor for the Emerging Leaders Institute, a leadership program that prepares Columbia College students to be engaged citizens within their community. Costa Navajas was paired with Yulia Bychkovska ’21, an international business major and resident assistant in New Hall this year. In addition to being business students, Bychkovska had another thing in common with Matias: she is also an international student. A native of Zhytomyr, Ukraine, she first came to America for her junior year of high school through the Future Leaders Exchange, a foreign-exchange program administered by the State Department. “It was a good experience, my first time coming to the U.S.,” she says. During her year in Upper Sandusky, Ohio, Bychkovska received a college-admissions solicitation from Columbia College, among others, in her email. She replied, and began striking up an online conversation with Kathy Trabue, director of Admissions Counselors & Events. “She was very excited. We Skyped, and she helped me apply.” After taking a gap year — a rarity in the Ukraine — she received a Presidential Scholarship to attend Columbia College. Even after the official mentorship between Costa Navajas and Bychkovska concluded last spring, he agreed to continue offering support, encouragement and advice. That connection came in handy this summer, when she was offered an internship to work with Project Transformation, a faith-based leadership development and communityoriented summer camp program, in Washington, D.C., this past summer. “[My being in D.C.] was basically a coincidence, because when we started the mentorship I didn’t know that I would be there,” Bychkovska says. They met a handful of times over the summer, and she was introduced to one of Costa Navajas’ co-workers who is also from Ukraine. “It really was a fun and a great experience for me, because he has done a lot. I was joking that I want to be him! He’s a great example of if you have a goal, you can achieve it.”

Forward Progress


FORWARD PROGRESS Meet five Columbia College alumni who are making strides for their communities. BY CAROLYN PREUL



John Hamrick is ready for his time to lead. John Hamrick ’19 thrives on human interaction. During a 20year career in the Navy, he served in Japan, Hawaii, Florida and everywhere in between, ultimately retiring from the naval station in Great Lakes, Illinois, in 2016. This past spring, he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Columbia College-Lake County.

John Hamrick ’19 and Beth Salinger

“Follow your dreams and you will be successful.”

A year before retiring, John met a race director named Beth. The pair, who married in 2018, co-own Endurance Marketing. They host a dozen races across the nation annually, orchestrating all logistics such as road barriers, food, medical personnel and city licensing. Clients include the Cleveland Marathon, the Hot Chocolate run in Ohio and the Fort2Base Run, which Beth started nine years ago in Great Lakes. Participants are challenged on beautiful courses that he and Salinger map out. He even rerouted a running event last year so that runners would go by Columbia College-Lake County. While many runners have a naturally competitive edge, races are timed so that participants of every level can finish. “It’s more important that you experience a healthy lifestyle,” Hamrick says. “You work hard for it, even if you’re just walking. You’re out there when you could have been on the couch. You’re

interacting with other people, and you now have this medal that says, ‘I did this.’” Given Hamrick’s natural desire to inspire others, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise when Lyndon Russell, Lake County location director, recommended Hamrick throw his name in the hat for spring commencement speakers at the Main Campus. “I thought there’s no way anyone was going to select me way over in Lake County to be the commencement speaker. I’m just a regular guy,” he says. “I told Lyndon, ‘Don’t be surprised if they don’t select me,’ and he said, ‘Don’t be surprised if they do.’” On April 29, 2019, Hamrick was the first nationwide graduate of Columbia College to provide the address at the Main Campus commencement. He urged graduates to give themselves permission to fail. ”I’m at the other end of the rainbow,” he says. “The hard work, the sacrifice — it’s absolutely worth it. You’ve got to roll up your sleeves, get passionate. I’ve been there. It matters.” Hamrick isn’t slowing down any time soon. Next up, he is exploring programs for a doctorate in clinical psychology and would one day like to teach college psychology.

Forward Progress


Forward Progress


‘I’M HIKING FOR ME.’ Cindy Todd raises awareness for a rare autoimmune disease.

Cindy Todd enjoys the view from Bishop Pass Trail at Long Lake in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Cindy Todd ’08 has always been active. She loves to be outdoors, one with nature. In 2008, around the same time she finished her bachelor’s degree through the Columbia College Online Program, she began experiencing flu-like symptoms that would last for weeks at a time. Soon it progressed to losing feeling in her feet and even her skin. “I was walking across a parking lot and suddenly couldn’t feel my clothes,” Todd says. “You never think about feeling your clothes until you can’t.” It took three years to identify the culprit: Behcet’s Disease, a rare disorder that causes blood vessel inflammation throughout the body. Symptoms vary from person to person and may include ulcers, ocular disease, digestive issues or an autonomic system dysfunction that regulates body temperature. Without recognizing these seemingly uncorrelated issues, it can take years to properly diagnose. While Behcet’s is more common in the Middle East, East Asia and Japan, autoimmune diseases are becoming more prevalent worldwide. Todd has made it a personal mission to increase awareness. “People can be suffering deeply and others have no idea,” she says. “For people to advocate for research of rare diseases will lead to better treatments and more funding.”

In December 2018, Todd was invited to New Jersey to speak to a pharmaceutical company that makes a drug she depends on to manage her disease. Her input is being incorporated into national training tools. When not working her full-time job in IT or volunteering with Cal Fire, a state-level fire department, Todd can be found on the trails. She has hiked the Sierra Nevada Mountains, from Mammoth Lake to Tuolumne Meadows, Death Valley and twice in and out of the Grand Canyon. Now, she has turned her love of backpacking into a campaign trail. She wears t-shirts that promote Behcet’s

Disease, shares her missions on social media and talks with fellow hikers she meets on these solo ventures. “In the backcountry, you share values in nature and fitness,” she says. “People assume that I’m hiking for a cause for someone else and intrigued that I’m hiking for me.” This past October, Todd traveled to Hong Kong for a two-week adventure that included backpacking and day hikes to Hong Kong Island and along the Dragon’s Back Trail. “I work out six days a week, either walking on a treadmill or hiking,” she says. “It’s a sense of control. I won’t let this disease define me.”


Jimmy Novak brings awareness to mental illness. On March 22, 2019, Jimmy Novak ’18 left his home in Washington State for a five-month hike across the United States. With a route plotted on Google Maps, he planned to walk an average of 22 miles a day for the next 22 weeks, with an August 22 arrival date in Central Florida. Novak was inspired by a 2012 survey that reported 22 veterans died by suicide each day. Those numbers have improved in recent years, but the principle remains. “At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if it is 21, 22 or 26,” Novak says. “If it is one person, we need to talk about it.”

to Start Dreaming Foundation, a non-profit in the Pacific Northwest that provides educational tools and resources to the veteran community. It was through the generosity and hospitality of the communities along the way that Novak kept going. Local VFWs and American Legions connected him to chapters down the road. He used hospitality apps to connect with strangers who would give him a place to sleep. “I had the idea that this would be possible,” he says. “I found there is actually a large community of people who do this.”

Novak suffers from anxiety and depression. The words come easily to him now, but it has been a long road to acceptance. Novak served 21 years in the U.S. Army, where assignments took a toll on him but he was afraid of the perceived stigmas associated with asking for help.

When safety concerns due to winter storms in Wyoming and a tropical storm in the South threatened to hold him back, volunteers transported Novak to clearer paths. He re-routed to add miles back to his journey, eventually walking an astounding 2,815 miles.

“I had a good family, didn’t struggle with money, had long-term committed relationships,” he says. “I didn’t feel like I was justified having ‘problems’ and couldn’t reach for help without appearing weak to my peers.”

“Most people who helped didn’t even have connections to veterans,” Novak says. “But everybody I talked to had been affected by suicide. We all see the value in awareness.”

Today, he’s the first to commend the military for providing resources to service members. It wasn’t until 2018, with retirement on the horizon, that he sought help. He began therapy. He completed a bachelor’s degree in history through the Columbia College Online Program. And he researched a cross-country walk to bring awareness to emotional wellness. With his wife’s help, Novak raised $9,000 to support the estimated $22,000 journey. He donated $1,200 to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and $2,300 to the Permission It took Jimmy Novak five months to walk across the United States from his home in Washington State to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

Forward Progress


“There are a lot of us who struggle with [depression] and the ripple effect that goes along with it as we connect with our families and communities.”

Forward Progress



RUNNING FOR MY HEALTH Habacuc Rico shares his weight loss journey. Running did not come naturally to Habacuc Rico ’17. His fellow soldiers were fast. The elevation was intense. He simply didn’t like it. In 2016, after seven years in the United States Army — including five years in Fort Carson, Colorado, and two tours in Afghanistan — Rico moved home to Illinois and soon found himself in an unexpected situation. His triglycerides were high, so was his cholesterol. He was at risk for diabetes. At 265 pounds, he needed to make a change. Rico laced up a pair of old running shoes and started walking. It was also during this time he transferred to Columbia College-Elgin. In less than a year, he finished his bachelor’s degree in general studies. Rico volunteered with the Boys and Girls Club and AmeriCorps VISTA. He even served as Scooter the Cougar at the Crystal Lake Fourth of July Parade in 2017. “I was huffing and puffing,” he says. “It was hot, but I got it done.” However, the true catalyst came in May 2018 when an Army friend committed suicide. Rico competed in his first 5k that August and has been hooked ever since. “I run for those who are no longer with us and for those who can’t run,” he says. Rico is a member of Team Red, White and Blue, a running club devoted to enriching the lives of America’s veterans through physical and social activity. This past summer he completed a 50k ultra marathon (31.25 miles) in Kenosha, Wisconsin. It was a hard-earned 7 hours and 31 minutes. “It was humid. It was rainy. There were hills,” he says. “I just kept on running. I’ve done harder things in the Army. I kept telling myself to keep pushing.”


Rico has found his support group in his family, friends and fellow veterans who have become his running partners. He added a 200-mile Ragnar Relay and the Tunnel Hill 50 Miler to his list of accomplishments this fall. He ran the Chicago Marathon, sponsored by the American Legion and raised $2,000 for Team Salute. Today, it is easy to see the physical changes. Rico is down 85 pounds, which he credits as much to a clean diet with no red meat or preservatives. “When you’re young, you eat when you want and sleep when you want,” he says. “Now nutrition is a big thing. I’m healthier at 31 than I was at 18 years old.”


Do your research / Talk to your doctor / Get the right shoes and clothes / Focus on nutrition / Start walking


Libby Marko coaches life lessons through a national running program. Libby Marko ’19 first learned of Girls on the Run (GOTR) at Hey Day, a volunteer fair hosted by Columbia College Student Affairs that introduces students to campus organizations and local volunteer opportunities. She submitted her resume and accepted an internship at GOTR for the first semester of her senior year.

As a member of the Columbia College softball team from 2017 to 2019, Marko understands the lifestyle that came with being a student-athlete — especially the importance of communication and time management skills and how to work through conflicts. She wanted to instill those values in her team.

GOTR is a national non-profit running program that teaches girls their power and purpose. Marko worked with the Heart of Missouri Girls on the Run Council under the direction of Executive Director Cheryl Unterschutz.

Marko and her fellow coaches used the 10-week program to help the girls recognize their inner strength. In addition to running practice, she led bi-weekly lessons that GOTR provides to increase self-confidence, personal connections and communication skills. The program works with girls during a critical developmental stage, encouraging healthy physical and emotional behaviors that will last a lifetime.

“Our council provides the Girls on the Run program to more than 25 schools and community centers across midMissouri,” Unterschutz says. “When Libby interned with us, we were serving 25 schools and had more than 300 girls enrolled in the program.” Marko assisted with grant writing, delivered items to team sites and helped prepare for the end-ofseason 5k race. She also co-coached the Coyote Hill team, comprised of 15 girls in 5th through 9th grade. Coyote Hill is a Christian children’s home in Harrisburg, Missouri, that serves children who experience difficulties in traditional foster home placements and benefit from a structured intensive care facility. “Girls on the Run is so much more than running,” Marko says. “It helps girls share their emotions and develop social interactions, and it empowers them.”

She also helped them set and achieve a goal by helping them train to a run a non-competitive 5k. At the 5k event, Marko served as a running buddy to one of the girls from

Coyote Hill, helping her run the full 3.1-mile race and encouraging her to see her goal completed. “This experience for me was one I will never forget,” Marko says. “Getting to coach these girls and seeing all their hard work pay off once they crossed the finish line gave me the chills. Knowing that I have impacted these young girls with such a great program means the world to me.” The feeling is mutual. Unterschutz recalls a note she received from one of the girls. It said, “Before Girls on the Run I had zero percent confidence. Now I have 100,000 percent confidence! I feel like a queen, that’s how much confidence I have!” Marko graduated in April 2019 and is currently working to become a board-certified behavior analyst. She is a high-school paraprofessional and a junior-varsity and assistant varsity basketball coach.

“Knowing that I have impacted these young girls with such a great program means the world to me.”

Forward Progress


Cougar Sports Zone


All Payne, All Gain A quartet of siblings make a run for it at Columbia College. BY KEVIN FLETCHER


Bourbon, Missouri, is a small town of just over 1,600 residents off Interstate 44 in eastcentral Missouri. One family produced four all-state-caliber runners in the state’s smallest high-school classification, and all four are together at Columbia College. The odds begin to boggle the mind. Meet the Payne family: Naomi is a senior studying accounting, runs long distance on the track team and made her mark as a freshman by winning the American Midwest Conference cross country title. Twins Damian and Noah are juniors; Damian is a management information systems major and runs sprints, while Noah runs distance and is on the cross-country team as a doublemajor in sports management and business administration. The youngest of the family is freshman Drew, who runs sprints and is a computer science major.

Naomi Payne, senior

Damian Payne, junior

Noah Payne, junior

Drew Payne, freshman

“Never in my life have I had siblings or anything like that who have all come to the same institution and done the same sport, so it’s very new for all of us, I think,” says Tracy Jex, head coach of Track & Field. “They all did it all together, but I think them kind of finding their own little niche is really cool.”


While they’re certainly part of the same family, they each have their own lives on campus and their own identities. They take turns describing each other. Noah leads off: “Naomi is by far the best distance runner.” Damian chimes in: “Naomi’s like a book freak. All she does is read. Drew’s very mechanically inclined, and I’m just here.” Naomi wraps things up: “Damian probably has the best poker face, and Drew knows where everything’s at.” Everyone, including Noah, agrees that he’s definitely the video-game guy. The Paynes went to school 45 miles south of Bourbon in the middle of the Mark Twain National Forest because their father, Randy, served as Viburnum High School’s director of athletics. Naomi was a star at Class 1 Viburnum when former Cougars coach Tim Cornell recruited her to Columbia. During that process, he met Noah and Damian, who were high-school juniors at the time. When Cornell left Columbia in the summer of 2016 because his wife took a job out of the state, a new coaching staff could have meant a change in plans. That wasn’t necessary. “When I came here, I loved it, and Naomi loved it, so it was pretty much, ‘I’m going to come here,’” Noah says. “And once I met Coach Rad (Assistant Cross Country and Track & Field Coach Daniel Radkowiec) and Coach Jex, I decided, ‘Yeah, I’m going here,’ because it was such a great fit.” Drew was originally considering not continuing sports in college, and

Naomi Payne won the American Midwest Conference Cross Country individual title as a freshman and helped the Cougars win this year’s AMC team title in early November.

was planning to attend Missouri University of Science & Technology in Rolla, but those plans went out the window once he realized he could continue to run. He was the only Payne the new coaching staff recruited, and it admittedly wasn’t a long process. “I think his dad called us up and said, ‘Drew is interested in being on the team,’ and that was kind of it,” Jex says. Noah says while they knew they had the talent for all four of them to run in college, they didn’t necessarily expect to do so at the same school. “It worked out because Columbia College is just awesome, Coach Rad is so successful and he’s an awesome person too, so it was kind of a no-brainer to come here with how successful the programs are.” Damian agrees. “Coach Rad just really feels like a dad to everyone on the team, and Coach Jex is just so supportive of everybody.”

Even though home might be two hours away, family is still nearby. “It’s nice that we get to have our own space, but I see them at Dulany (Hall for meals), and I have two classes with Noah this semester, so that’s kind of nice,” Naomi says. “Honestly, throughout the week on campus, we’re so busy that I really don’t see them as much as you’d think I would,” Noah says. Even if they aren’t seeing each other, chances are that if you’re walking around campus, you’re running into a Payne. “I would say you’d be pretty hardpressed to find a town the size of Bourbon to produce four athletes who will go on to college in the same family and accomplish some really cool things — including, most importantly, getting a degree,” Jex says.

Cougar Sports Zone

Both the men’s and women’s country teams claimed the American Midwest Conference championship this year, the sixth consecutive win for the men and third consecutive win for the women since the program started in 2012.

Cougar Sports Zone


Top Honors Cougar Athletics inducts three alumni in the Hall of Fame Class of 2019. BY DREW GRZELLA & CAROLYN PREUL PHOTOS BY KACI SMART ’09 & CINDY POTTER

Jordan Dressler ’13 Men’s Basketball 2010-13

In his first season with the Cougars, this 6-foot-8 forward from Columbia, Missouri, helped lead the team to a 26-6 overall record, a major improvement from the 13-19 record from the previous year. Dressler finished his career with an overall record of 88-14, three AMC regular-season titles, two AMC Tournament titles and three NAIA National Tournament appearances. He is one of only three Columbia College men’s basketball players to earn First-Team All-American honors. For his efforts in the classroom, he was named Academic All-Conference each of his three years with the Cougars. Dressler studied environmental science and started his professional career at Eurofins Agroscience in Columbia. He now works for Veterans United Home Loans. He and his wife, Kathleen ’12, have a daughter, Scarlett.

Heather English ’14 Women’s Basketball 2010-14

A 5-foot-10 guard from Boonville, Missouri, English played in 135 of the possible 136 games during her four years with the Cougars. She finished with an overall record of 105-31. She was part of three AMC regular-season titles, two AMC Tournament titles and four NAIA National Tournament appearances. English was a three-time First-Team All-Conference selection, a two-time AMC Player of the Year and a three-time NAIA All-American. Her 2012-13 team jersey was included in the Ring of Honor at the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tennessee. The display features jerseys of the top high school and college players from the previous season. English earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration. She is back at Columbia College, working toward a master’s degree in teaching and has joined the Cougars women’s basketball team as a graduate assistant coach.


Women’s Soccer 2012-14

In a sport where individual talent can often be overshadowed by team performance, Hale always stood out. The Murrieta, California, native transferred to Columbia College from San Diego Miramar College for the Cougars’ inaugural season in 2012. She played in 39 of 40 games during her two-year career, scoring 33 goals (currently sixth all-time) and assisting on 33 goals (third-most in program history). Her 24 assists in the 2013 season is the highest single-season total to date for the program. Hale was named First-Team All-Conference twice and AMC Player of the Year. She was also a two-time Academic All-Conference recipient and an NAIA Scholar-Athlete. After completing a bachelor’s degree in psychology, Hale earned her master’s degree in sport psychology at the University of Denver in 2018. She is a mental conditioning coach at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Hale works with studentathletes to train their brains to work for them, rather than against them, during performance.

Who is your role model? DRESSLER: My role models are my parents. Once you hit the real world, you realize that they were right about most everything, and they helped shape you into the person you become. ENGLISH: My mom. She is very hardworking and will do anything for me and my brother. She gave up a lot of her time to put me through sports. If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t be the athlete I am today. HALE: Saying a parent may come across as cliché, but over the last few years I’ve come to even more sincerely respect who my dad is as a person. I aspire to approach my life with his authenticity, conviction and love. His greatest pride is seeing others succeed, and he is always willing to do whatever he can to propel them towards their dreams.

What advice do you have for students today? DRESSLER: Obviously you want to get good grades, but take the time to make connections with people and get involved in activities. They are just as important on a job resume as your college degree. ENGLISH: Never take your time as a player or student for granted. My four years flew by. Also, take care of your body and be there for each other. HALE: Seek out balance. Sometimes we have to do the things we don’t like to do, but it’s also important to make sure we make time for the things that brings us joy. Whether it’s sports, academics, professional or social life, learn to maintain balance in a way that allows you to fill your cup rather than continue to drain it. You can’t pour from an empty cup.

Cougar Sports Zone

Stephanie Hale ’14

Cougar Sports Zone


In his 20th season of coaching, John Klein led the men’s soccer team to the highest ranking in program history. They dominated a perfect unbeaten regular season at 17-0. The women’s soccer team finished the regular season at 15-3 with a perfect 12-0 record in conference play. Both teams notched three straight wins to earn AMC Tournament titles.

Record-Breaking Season

The men’s and women’s soccer teams play to win, each bringing home American Midwest Conference championships. PHOTOS BY CINDY POTTER ’05


Made For This Moment

Tomas Brock is ready to lead the Cougar men’s basketball team. BY KEVIN FLETCHER


Even though he’s beginning his first college headcoaching job, and even though he didn’t plan on becoming a coach, Tomas Brock has been preparing for this moment for most of his adult life.

have been the first to say this — is with the growth of our department, adding on sports, it was time to have a full-time athletic director. Working with James has been great,” Brock says.

Brock has had the good fortune of working with two members of the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He played for his father, Skip, at Mount Vernon High School in southwest Missouri and, for the past four years, he served as an assistant coach for his predecessor here at Columbia College, Bob Burchard, who was recently presented with the Pinnacle Award by the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.

“He’s got a lot of energy and passion and ideas. All of my interactions have been positive, but definitely different. Coach Burchard did an amazing job leading the athletic department, but this is a healthy transition now that we have this many sports.”

In addition, before joining Burchard’s coaching staff, Brock watched from afar as his brother, Matt, held the same assistant’s position at Columbia College for four years. It was during Matt’s final season in Columbia when Tomas gained his first head-coaching experience, at Hillcrest High School in Springfield, where he led the Hornets to the Missouri Class 4 State Championship game. Brock has an advantage Burchard didn’t: With the hiring of athletics director James Arnold, Brock’s only job is to coach. “I think the biggest thing — and Bob would

One potential roadblock to success and family tranquility was removed earlier this spring: Matt Brock had been the head coach at American Midwest Conference rival Missouri Baptist since leaving Columbia College in 2015, but has since taken a new head-coaching job at the University of Illinois-Springfield, an NCAA Division II institution. Is Tomas happy Matt’s gone from the conference, or upset they didn’t have the chance to spar from opposing benches? “Definitely happy. We never liked coaching against each other,” Tomas says. “When we were kids, it might have been fun to compete against each other, but now we’re at a place where we’d rather just cheer for each other.”

Cougar Sports Zone

The men’s basketball coaching staff, from left: Chandler Sartain, student assistant; Javis Flynn, graduate assistant; Tomas Brock, head coach; Hank Mathews ’18, graduate assistant

CC Notes



a f f i n i t y



Gayle Snoddy Eads ’58 studied at Christian College before attending Southern Methodist University and University of California, Berkeley. After 40 years in California, she retired and lives close to family in Las Cruces, New Mexico.


Irene Ledbetter Christenson ’60 has worked as a flight attendant with United Airlines for 45 years. She lives in Lake Barrington, Illinois, and enjoys the theater, gardening, reading and exercise. Dale Coe Simons ’65 is an inaugural member of Leadership Women’s Philanthropic Planning Council. Leadership Women, Inc. was established in Austin, Texas, in 1974 with a mission to advance women’s leadership through programs that connect, inspire, empower and honor women. The program has expanded to Leadership Texas, Leadership America, Leadership

Pipeline and, most recently, Leadership International. Simons is vice chair of the Columbia College Board of Trustees.


Becky Berry ’72, who retired from her career as an art teacher (grades 7-12) and Sunday School teacher, has embarked on a new career as a freelance artist. She is illustrating a children’s book and takes classes at the YMCA in Mexico, Missouri. Dr. Joseph Jackson ’75 is an inventor with six U.S. patents for telecommunications and fertility prediction inventions. He is cofounder of the Black Inventions Museum, Inc. Dr. Penny Rafferty Hamilton ’76 earned the Colorado Authors’ League award for her personal essay, “A Pink Warrior Shares Insights from Her Oncology Odyssey.” She was also selected as Grand County Colorado 2019 Citizen of

the Year by the Middle Park Fair & Rodeo Board. Armando Vazquez ’76 is a retired police social worker and veteran master sergeant in the U.S. Army. He lives with his wife of nearly 60 years in Florida. They have three sons, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.


Susan Mohle ’82 is retired from a career in the wine industry. She is a dog walker and overnight pet sitter for Dog Tired in Charleston, South Carolina. Bonnie Hertel ’84 has been named executive director of the Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce in Wisconsin. James Michael Pasley ’87 has published his first novel, Matt: Warriors and Wagon Trains During the Civil War. He is a retired history professor. Don Pollnow ’89 has been named market president for iHeartMedia in Wichita, Kansas.

Published Craig Frank ’83 has published his second graphic novel, Cool Valley, in Denmark. His first graphic novel, JFK Secret OPS, was published in 2014 and explores conspiracy theories of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Both books are included in the comic collection of the Library of Congress.


Jennifer Evans Garner ’93 completed a master’s degree in health sciences in May. She is the coordinator for the West Central Illinois Area Health Education Center in Carthage, Illinois. Janet Moss ’93 is manager of employee satisfaction at Socket Holding Corporation in Columbia, Missouri.


CC Notes

LeAnn Wheeler Perkins ’97 has been promoted to associate vice president for benefits for the Arkansas State University System. Jeana Woods ’98 has been named to the Missouri Municipal League Board of Directors. She is the city administrator for the City of Osage Beach, a certified CPA and also teaches accounting and business at Columbia College-Lake of the Ozarks. Ron Hall ’99 is a project manager for Coil Construction in Columbia, Missouri. He previously served as a Columbia Police Officer for 26 years and owned a security business.


Darryle Brown ’02 is the training and awards manager for the Bureau of Land Management, where he is responsible for performing analysis and research for a variety of training and development initiatives

and advising management on strategic plans, goals and training programs for BLM’s National Operations Center in Lakewood, Colorado.

Lt. Cmdr. Jon Christensen ’02 has been promoted to Commander in the U.S. Navy. He has served for more than 23 years. Mara “Red” Woody ’02 & ’11 has been named assistant commissioner for postsecondary policy by the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development. She completed her doctorate in education from Vanderbilt University in 2018 with a focus on educational leadership and policy. Elizabeth Medina ’03 is a REALTOR® with Lake to Lake Realty in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin.

Greetings from Cyprus

Constantinos Iacovou ’93 is an assistant professor and head of the Hospitality and Tourism Department of American College in Nicosia, Cyprus. He is the only Cyprus resident to have graduated from Columbia College, as he was a transfer student in the college’s Evening Program where he earned his degree in business administration meeting and convention planning. He and his wife, Elena, have a son, Andreas.

Tia Casady ’04 & ’11 and Steven Kelly welcomed daughter Parker Annalise Kelly on Jan. 5, 2019. Stephanie Johnson ’04 joined the Board of Directors of the Greater

Missouri Leadership Foundation. She is associate vice president for recruiting and admissions at Columbia College. Jeffrey Reece ’04 has been promoted to assistant director of the Criminal Justice Information Services Division headquartered in Jefferson City, Missouri. He joined the Missouri State Highway Patrol in 2001. Kara Harris Dickherber ’05 and her husband, Christopher, own Dave’s Pizza & Wings in Linn, Missouri. Sara Holden ’05 coowns Asheboro Popcorn Co. with her husband, Greg. Sara is an OEF/ OIF veteran. They live in Asheboro, North Carolina. Sara Walsh ’05 was named Freshmen Legislator of the Year for advocacy of Law Enforcement by the Missouri House of Representatives. Kerri Roberts ’06 is chief operations officer at TIG Advisors in Columbia, Missouri. She earned an MBA from William Woods University and volunteers with King’s Daughters and Welcome Home, Inc.

CC Notes


Trevonna Parker ’07 & ’18 is a REAL reading advocacy coach and consultant in Texas. She is passionate about literacy in early and elementary education. She has two associate degrees and is working toward a bachelor’s degree, all through Columbia College’s Online Program. Lt. David Williams ’08 was named the 2019 outstanding employee by Jefferson City for 25 years of service to the Jefferson City Police Department. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree at Columbia College. Lt. Col. John Sandefur ’08 officially took command of the 2nd Weapons of Mass Destruction-Civil Support Team on July 31. He joined the New York Army National Guard in 1997 and served two tours in Iraq. Kristina Capp ’09 is the director of human resources at the law firm

of Bond, Schoeneck & King in New York. Jennifer Rhoades ’09, a 1st class airman in the U.S. Air Force, graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. Adrian Tarasoff ’09 is a human resources specialist with the Department of the Navy. He and his wife, Cleoneth, married in August and live in Millington, Tennessee.


Zaneta Adams ’10 has been appointed by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer as director of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency and serves as a member of her cabinet. She is the first woman veteran appointed to any cabinet-level position in

Alumni Panel Four alumni participated in a Psychology Week Alumni Panel on Oct. 8, 2019. Pictured: Kip Kendrick ’06, state representative and special project coordinator for general counsel at Columbia College; Stacy Minnick ’02, human resources recruiter with American Outdoor Brands; and Stacey Williams ’07, suicide prevention coordinator with Missouri Department of Mental Health. Attending remotely: Kayla Boss ’14, lead graduate support advisor with De La Salle, Inc.

the state of Michigan. The Army veteran is also the founder of WINC (Women Injured in Combat), which helps bring awareness to the issues facing women veterans nationwide, while providing a space where they can live, laugh and readjust to life after service. Jason L. Earley ’10 is the veteran services coordinator at the University of TennesseeMartin. Captain Earley retired from active duty in the U.S. Army following 20 years of service. He works to enhance support of the UTM student veterans and their dependents toward a successful transition to college life. Matt Rahner ’10 is the registrar and exhibitions coordinator at the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art in Sedalia, Missouri.

Jared Van Cleve ’10 is an art teacher and golf coach in Moberly, Missouri. He is an artist of oil paintings and photography with shows this year in San Diego and mid-Missouri. Christopher Hammann ’11 & ’16 was named chief of police for the City of New Haven, Missouri. Also in 2018, he became a certified Mid-Missouri Major Case Squad member and received a Merit Award for Excellent Arrest by the American Police Hall of Fame. He serves on the board of the Franklin County Narcotics and Violent Crimes Enforcement Unit. He and Megan Haas welcomed son Jackson Elliott on Sept. 20, 2017.

Tyler King ’11 has been named executive director of Downtown Washington Inc. in Washington, Missouri. He and his wife, Amber, welcomed a son, Carter, in 2019. Taylor Raube ’11 joined the sleep medicine program at Lake Regional Hospital, specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of insomnia and sleep apnea. She will complete


CC Notes

a doctor of nursing program this winter. Jason Culpepper ’13 is a high school and junior high assistant principal and activities director at Tipton R-IV School District in Missouri. Scott Jones ’13 is a member of Leadership Callaway’s Class of 2020, a program sponsored by the Callaway Chamber of Commerce. A REALTOR© at The Company Real Estate, he resides in Fulton, Missouri. Jordan Logan ’13 has been named an assistant coach for the softball

program at Evangel College in Springfield, Missouri. During her time with the Cougars softball team, she was a First-Team All-Conference pitcher in 2012 and named Team MVP. Brian Adams ’15 is a retired United States Army First Sergeant. He is pursuing a master’s degree in business management and volunteers as an advocate for homelessness in the greater San Diego area. Maria Barker ‘15 is a career development specialist in Georgia.

She began her studies at Columbia CollegeFort Leonard Wood and finished her degree through the Online Program while her husband, a sergeant in the United States Army, was stationed in Hawaii.


Ashley Bullock ’15 is a forensic scientist with the State of Dakota Crime Lab. Shirley Hofstetter ’15 retired as interim president and chief financial officer of Mineral Area College in Park Hills, Missouri. Logan Bonney ’16 is cofounder of Anything but

Luke Bailey ’14 & ’16 has been named general manager for Hawai’i Gas Maui County, where he oversees operations, sales and management for the company’s Maui, Lānai and Molokai offices. He is a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard and completed his doctorate at City University of Seattle.

PARTNER WITH US! We offer business and healthcare partnerships designed with working adults in mind. Your employees or members will enjoy: Tuition discounts Flexible class options Accelerated degree programs

Employers benefit, too! Partner with us and: Add to your benefits package to recruit and retain staff Increase employee motivation, productivity See potential tax breaks

Contact us to get started!

CC Notes


his first novel, A Time for Chaos. He lives in St. Louis, Missouri.


Alyssa Knapp ’16 welcomed daughter Aurora LilyMay with her husband, George, on July 15, 2019.

Lauren Guillory ’16 married Cody Gordon on June 29, 2019, in Columbia, Missouri.

Ashley Wager ’14 married Ross Turley on May 18, 2019, in Lake Ozark, Missouri.

Chelsea Shea ’16 completed a Master of Social Work from the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University. Her concentration is international social and economic development. Brooke Paul Smith ’16 is a project manager at Johnson Controls in Orlando. She married Brian Smith in November 2018. Brittany Trussell ’16 is an underwriting associate for Shelter Insurance Companies in Columbia, Missouri.

Deanne Emde ’19 married Darrell Davis on Aug. 10, 2019, in Speed, Missouri.

Beer LLC in Syracuse, New York. The brewery creates grain-free beer alternatives from local fruits and vegetables for people who can’t drink beer due

to dietary restrictions, and those who don’t enjoy the taste of beer. Gary Galeski ’16 independently published

Chris Anderson ’17 has been appointed to the Restoration of Voting Rights Task Force by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. A former Seminole County sheriff’s deputy and background investigator, he will serve as the Seminole County Supervisor of Elections.

Isabel Barrera ’17 and her husband, Omar Salgado, welcomed their son, Leonardo, in November 2018. Rocio Rodriguez ’17 has been promoted to health underwriter for Humana, headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky. She lives in Allenhurst, Georgia. Sheila Stone ’17 is a behavior interventionist for Joshua Independent School District in Texas. She works with students, teachers and administrators to support positive actions in the classroom. Brittany Glendenning ’18 earned her State Law Series 66 registration. She is a paraplanner with Sigma Three Planning, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise. Mike Bosson ’19 is a site manager for Engineering Support Personnel. He lives in Fort Worth, Texas. Shakema Deal ’19 completed a degree in criminal justice while on active duty in Afghanistan. She is a member of the Savannah Police Department. Sean DeGrilla ’19 is a 17-year veteran of law


CC Notes

enforcement and has worked in the private sector of corporate security. He published his first book, “Malcontent: Lee Harvey Oswald’s Confession by Conduct,” which includes the firstever computer voice stress analysis of Oswald’s voice he commissioned to prove Oswald’s confession to the murders of President John F. Kennedy and Officer J.D. Tippit. Matthew DeVore ’19 is an appraisal desk tech at Flat Branch Home Loans in Columbia, Missouri.

Nilsa Gonzalez ’19 is a disabled veteran outreach programs coordinator in Lawton, Oklahoma. A 12year retired Army veteran, she knows first-hand the dedication required to find employment and succeed in the workplace. Ashlee Marlatt ’19 begins her coaching career as the girls’ basketball head coach for the Lady Wolves at Newburg High School in Missouri. She was a four-time All-American Midwest Conference selection during her

basketball career at Columbia College. Matthew Oaks ’19, a Navy veteran, successfully completed The Veterans Local Government Management Fellowship with the City of Marysville, Washington. The program provides transitioning service members with management training and hands-on experience that support smooth transitions into local government careers. Crystal Rogers ’19 is a nurse on a behavioral

What have you been up to? We’ve made it easy for you to share your good news with the submission form on page 64, or log on to alumniclassnotes.

health unit. She is pursuing a master’s degree in organizational psychology. Alexis Uffmann ’19 is a graduate assistant coach with the Columbia College women’s basketball team while working toward her MBA.

Scootergraphs It’s a big world out there. Check out where Scooter has traveled lately.

David Heath ’80 took his Cougar Pride on a road trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

John Biazzo ’79 visited the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Send your #Scootergraphs to

Dr. Sarah Lirley McCune, Columbia College assistant professor of history, visited the Roman Baths while attending a conference in England.

CC Notes


In Memoriam Inez James Tatlock ’36 February 6, 2009

Joan Greenwell Bierly ’46 July 23, 2019

Antoinette Cress Gates ’57 January 11, 2019

Louise Leebrick Atterbury ’38 July 18, 2019

Betty Nichols Kimbrough ’46 June 29, 2019

Linda Poser Giorgi ’57 June 9, 2019

Elizabeth Coleman Venable ’40 June 7, 2019

Marlys Enabnit Thedinger ’47 August 24, 2019

Donna Argue Griffin ’59 October 25, 2019

Kathryn Sombart ’41 July 15, 2018

Suzanne Petersen Van Sinderen ’48 October 24, 2019

Janet Barnes Larwill ’59 July 20, 2019

Marjorie Westerfield Mehl ’42 July 16, 2018

Janice Workman Simmons ’50 June 27, 2019

Mary Smith Copeland ’60 March 18, 2019

Laurene Brummall Kerr ’43 April 21, 2019

Betty Culver Spriggs ’50 August 12, 2019

Avonda Wilson Karstens ’60 August 5, 2018

Billye Abbott ’45 March 1, 2008

Carol Sherer ’52 June 2, 2019

Carol Ricks ’62 July 13, 2019

Helen Black Maupin ’45 September 21, 2019

Mary Wilson Blackwell ’54 May 23, 2019

Margaret Wall Shortell ’62 November 16, 2018

Mary Rogers Shelton ’45 September 5, 2019

Sara Cox Ward ’54 July 12, 2019

Donnis Mundy Honeywell ’63 September 14, 2019

Mary Allton Frances Sneed ’45 June 21, 2019

Nancy Corley Adkins ’56 August 24, 2019

Susan Timmins ’64 October 3, 2019

The Columbia College family tragically lost two students earlier this fall. Nadria Wright, a graduate of Battle High School in Columbia, Missouri, passed away on September 14. Wright, age 18, was a freshman with dreams of becoming a nurse. Just one week later, junior Shelby Meyer of Festus, Missouri, passed away on September 21. Meyer, age 21, was a transfer student from Mineral Area Community College and a leader on the Columbia College volleyball team. Both students made an impact on the campus community and will be missed by all who knew them.

Lynda Daughtry ’71 January 17, 2019 Cathy Wilmes Hellman ’72 September 12, 2019 Robert Morgan ’74 September 17, 2019 Linda Tatigian ’74 April 8, 2019 John Hamilton ’75 November 26, 2018


CC Notes

Clem Brooke ’76 September 17, 2019

Judy Young ’95 September 17, 2019

William Brentlinger ’77 March 1, 2017

Missy Pollard ’94 October 18, 2019

Lester Halmrast ’77 January 7, 2019

Demetrius Stewart ’97 February 1, 2019

Denis Novak ’79 October 5, 2017

Edie Biri Matlock ’99 June 10, 2019

Edison Grant ’80 July 24, 2019

Donna Oberg ’04 August 18, 2018

John Severson ’82 May 10, 2019

Timothy Birt ’11 October 23, 2019

Clifton Howard ’85 August 30, 2019

Micah Bacus ’19 February 25, 2019

Rochelle Robinson ’85 June 23, 2019

Andrew Liebig ’19 September 20, 2019

Francis Lepkowski ’87 November 22, 2015

Notifications as of Oct. 31, 2019

Judith Stock ’89 June 22, 2019 Jordana Turek ’89 February 24, 2015 Joe Tews ’93 July 26, 2018

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

Mary McCleary Posner Hon. ’15 passed away on October 26, 2019. She was a true friend to the college, the Columbia community and especially to veterans. It’s no wonder that Mary’s passion for supporting veterans drew her to Columbia College, where service to veterans and military personnel is deeply embedded in the college’s identity. Following an extremely successful career in communications and consulting as president and principal of Posner McCleary, Inc., she founded the Memorial Day Salute to Veterans Corporation which held an annual celebration in mid-Missouri for 33 years to honor those who have served our country. The final event of the festivities was the Memorial Day Parade, which would conclude on the Columbia College campus with a ceremony honoring those who have served in the US Armed Forces. Posner also served as a trustee for the Robert W. Plaster Trust and Robert W. Plaster Foundation.

Year-End Giving If you’re 70 or older, you may want to consider a tax-free donation option provided by our new partner, FreeWill. You can use your Required Minimum Distribution from your IRA to donate to Columbia College! Visit to learn more. And if the stock market was kind to you this year and you’re interested in making a high-impact gift of stocks or appreciated assets, take a look at this quick and easy tool at



Children and grandchildren of CC alumni automatically qualify for an Alumni Legacy Grant on the traditional campus in Columbia, Missouri

Worth $1,000 annually

Renewable up to four years

Stackable with other scholarships and aid




Complete the form on Page 63 with information about your child or grandchild

We’ll send instructions on how to apply to the college

Children or grandchildren of alumni accepted to CC will receive the award


CC Notes

A Family Tradition John Heimann ’19 of Moberly, Missouri, became the sixth generation of his family to graduate from Columbia (Christian) College and the third to participate in the Ivy Chain ceremony. The family legacy dates back to 1871 with Laura Allie Rutherford Hammett, a graduate of Christian College. Her father, W. T. Rutherford, served as a trustee from 1871 – 1889. John’s great-grandmother, Laura Hammett Van Houten, and her twin sister, Audrey Ann Hammett March, participated in the 1947 Ivy Chain ceremony. “To be on the same campus at the same building, in the same ceremony that our family participated in – and that thousands of others have taken part in over the last 100-plus years – is just amazing,” says John’s mother, Laura. The twins’ aunt, May Belle Hammett, graduated in 1896, while family members Margaret Sutliff Block ’46, Lucille Sutliff John ’53, William Block ’77, Chris Van Houten ’99, Brian Becker ’08, Steven Farrow ’11 and Trisha Becker Farrow ’12 also share the CC alma mater. Following Spring 2019 Ivy Chain celebration, John Heimann ’19 took a graduation photo in the same spot outside Missouri Hall that his great-grandmother and great-great-aunt did 72 years earlier.

Heimann earned a bachelor’s degree in general studies and is currently coaching in his hometown of Moberly, with future plans to teach special education.

Refer your student to Columbia College! Do you know a student who would be a great fit for Columbia College? As part of our efforts to involve alumni in the future of their alma mater, we would like your assistance in identifying potential students. Children and grandchildren of alumni admitted to our traditional day campus receive a Legacy Alumni Grant!

Student Information Name: ____________________________________________________________________________________________ Email: ___________________________________________________ High School Graduation Year: ________________  My Child

 My Grandchild

Alumni Information Name: ____________________________________________________________________________________________ Location attended: ______________________________________________________ Class year: _________________ Email: ____________________________________________________________________________________________

What’s New?

Today’s Date: __________________________

Contact Information Name: _______________________________________________________________________________________ First (Preferred), Maiden and Last

Location attended: ____________________________________ Class year: _______________________________ Address: __________________________________________________________________________  Check if new City: ________________________________________________ State: ______________ Zip: ________________ Home phone: ________________________________________ Cell phone: ______________________________ Email: _______________________________________________ Date of birth: _____________________________ Career Update (within the last 12 months) Employer: _____________________________________________________________________________________ Job title: ____________________________________________  New  Retired Effective: __________________ Wedding Announcement (within the last 12 months) Married to: _________________________________________  Check if spouse attended CC. Class year: _____________ Date of marriage: __________________________ City/State of celebration: _______________________________ Birth/Adoption Announcement (within the last 12 months) Birth of a:  Daughter  Son  Multiples Baby’s name: ______________________________________________ Date of birth: ________________________ Partner’s name: _____________________________________  Check if partner attended CC. Class year: ____________  Check to have your news published in Class Notes. Tell us more about your career, retirement or community involvement. Please attach additional pages if necessary.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Submit updates online at or mail this form to: Columbia College Alumni Relations, 1001 Rogers St., Columbia, MO 65216


CC Notes


Quarter-zip sweatshirt Plaid tumbler

Nationwide alumni tee

Baseball tee with paw

White mug

Pictured: Kenzie Bennett ’19, student Keiyana Austin and Mitch Gosney ’13 on the steps of Williams Hall

Lamis Tote


1001 Rogers Street Columbia, MO 65216

THE RIGHT PATH Keep up-to-date about what’s happening with Columbia College and share your own news and views with fellow graduates. PHOTO BY KACI SMART ’09

Like Us columbiacollegealumni

Become a Mentor groups/12001628/

Find Upcoming Events and Giving News

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.