MIZZOU magazine Fall 2020 SHP edition

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mizzou.com | Fall 2020

Girl on Fire Oh, the hand-wringing when women first enrolled at Mizzou. 34

Coach Is on the Phone The Tigers’ new football coach already has friends all over Missouri. 38 At the Centers New research centers specialize to topple big problems. 24

of Schoollth Hea ons i r P ofess





Unravel the whodunit and how of Mizzou’s many great mystery writers. 16


FIRST LOOK GETTING OUT THE VOTE When this photo was taken on June 3, not only had new Tiger football Coach Eli Drinkwitz yet to coach a game at Faurot Field, but he had also largely been limited to Zoom calls as a leadership tool. Yet one of those sessions galvanized more than 60 players to march in honor of George Floyd, whose death inspired protests around the world. Their destination? The Boone County Courthouse. Accompanying Drinkwitz and the players were University of Missouri System President and new MU Chancellor Mun Choi, basketball Coaches Cuonzo Martin and Robin Pingeton, Athletic Director Jim Sterk as well as campus and Columbia police officers. The players took a knee in the courthouse plaza for 8 minutes 46 seconds — the length of time police officer Derek Chauvin held his knee on Floyd’s neck. Then 62 Tiger athletes registered to vote. “Today we decided that action is what causes change,” Drinkwitz tweeted later. “Our integrity is when words and actions come into alignment. … Change will happen.” (More on Drinkwitz, Page 38) Photo by Zach Bland, MU Athletics

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Editorial and Advertising Mizzou Alumni Association 123 Reynolds Alumni Center 704 Conley Avenue Columbia, MO 65211 phone: 573-882-6611 mizzou@missouri.edu executive editor Ashley Burden managing editor Dale Smith art director Blake Dinsdale class notes editor Jennifer Manning editors emeriti Steve Shinn and Karen Worley advertising Scott Dahl: 573-882-2374 Mizzou Alumni Association 123 Reynolds Alumni Center Columbia, MO 65211 phone: 573-882-6611, fax: 573-882-5145 executive director Todd A. McCubbin, M Ed ’95 Opinions expressed in this magazine do not necessarily reflect the official position of the University of Missouri or the Mizzou Alumni Association. ©2020


Enduring Spirit High in the lobby of the Reynolds Alumni Center hangs a work of art entitled Spirit of Mizzou. Having worked in Reynolds for more than 25 years, I’ve passed beneath that noble rendering of our mascot thousands of times. But recently I really noticed it. And I kept noticing it. As many of us have searched over the past few months for a manual on handling the pandemic, the spirit of Mizzou has shined brightly. My column in the spring magazine reported the administration’s decisive preventive health measures as well as a general yearning to return to normal campus life. That desire remains as we have accomplished a great deal toward reopening this fall. In May, we celebrated the class of 2020 during our first-ever virtual graduation celebration. More than 5,000 alumni answered our call to welcome the class to the Mizzou family. Each new graduate received a personal note from a past graduate, and notable alumni provided inspiring and fun congratulations videos. Until then, I’d never seen a virtual graduation celebration, but we really nailed it. We have closed the Mizzou: Our Time to Lead campaign with our third-largest fundraising year in history. What a testament to alumni support! We look forward to celebrating — virtually,

of course — in September. Campus recently welcomed two new leaders. University of Missouri System President Mun Choi has taken on a new role as MU chancellor. He has been a great friend to alumni, and we look forward to working with him in this new dual position. Jackie Lewis arrived to lead MU Advancement, replacing Tom Hiles, who retired. She’s a Midwest native who is excited about the big things going on at Mizzou. Every ounce of Mizzou spirit has gone into reimagining the campus experience, learning environment and our traditions to keep Tigers safe this fall. Truly, the efforts of faculty, staff and students along with the support of alumni and friends to renew our campus are remarkable. Yet, there is still uncertainty. I suppose that is a constant. Then again, so is the piece of art presiding over the Reynolds Alumni Center lobby. It has always been there, just waiting for the right moment to remind me about the overwhelming power that is the spirit of Mizzou. Be safe and M-I-Z! TODD MCCUBBIN, M ED ’95 executive director, Mizzou Alumni Association Email: mccubbint@missouri.edu Twitter: @MizzouTodd

Statements of Purpose The Mizzou Alumni Association proudly supports the best interests and traditions of Missouri’s flagship university and its alumni worldwide. Lifelong relationships are the foundation of our support. These relationships are enhanced through advocacy, communication and volunteerism. MIZZOU magazine reports credible and engaging news about the University of Missouri community to a global audience. BOARD OF DIRECTORS President Robin Wenneker, BS BA ’91 • President-elect Sabrina McDonnell, MBA ’15 • Secretary and MAA Executive Director Todd McCubbin, M Ed ’95 • Immediate Past President Steve Hays, BS BA ’80 • Treasurer Jeff Vogel, BS ACC ’90 • Diversity and Inclusion Committee Chair Joe Valenciano, BA ’95 • Mizzou Legislative Network Committee Chair Jeffrey Montgomery, BS Ed ’89 • Appointed Directors Pete Ferretti, BA ’93; Chuck Kaiser, BA, BJ ’93; Mindy Mazur, BA ’99; and David Townsend, JD ’00 • Elected Directors Cristin Blunt, BS Ed ’02; Derek Kessen, BS BA ’05; Emily Kueker, BS ’02; Rusty Martin, BS CIE ’84; Craig Moeller, BS ’93; Ellie Preslar BS BE ’04; Martin Rucker, BS ’07; Bill Schoenhard, BS PA ’71; Jim Simmons, BS ’93, MD ’98; Dawn Smith-Popielski, BA ’96; Peggy Swaney, BS Ed ’71; Leigh Anne Taylor Knight, BS HES ’89, BS Ed ’90, M Ed ’91 • Student Representative Lynn Kreul MIZZOU magazine Fall 2020, Volume 109, Number 1 Published triannually by the Mizzou Alumni Association CASE Bronze Awards 2019: General Interest Magazine; 2020: Feature Writing (Forever Young, Spring 2019), Council for Advancement & Support of Education

FALL 2020





1 First Look

Sixty-two Tiger athletes registered to vote as part of a protest of George Floyd’s death.

6 Around the Columns

Campus officials detail progress on racial issues since 2015, students prepare to take a new musical to Broadway, and Tiger swimmers boast 18 All-Americans.

CONTRIBUTORS Elaine Viets, BJ ’72, launched a second writing career as a mystery novelist after her stellar work as a nationally syndicated humor columnist. She gives us a lively insider’s tour of several Mizzou alumni who write mysteries. Page 16.

David LaGesse, BJ ’79, a former reporter for U.S. News & World Report and The Dallas Morning News, has also published in Money and National Geographic. He writes our bird’s-eye view of new research centers on campus. Page 24.

Tony Rehagen, BA, BJ ’01, has written for GQ, The Columbia Journalism Review and Next Wave: America’s New Generation of Great Literary Journalists. He covers Mizzou’s new Artist in Residence program. Page 28.

Mark Godich, BJ ’79, a senior editor at The Athletic and Sports Illustrated veteran, profiles new Tiger football Coach Eli Drinkwitz. Page 38.

About the cover If mystery novels keep you up at night turning pages, some of your favorite authors could be Mizzou alumni. Page 16.


Meet the university’s Golden Quill Award winners, and get to know Robin Wenneker, the new Mizzou Alumni Association volunteer president for 2020–21.

49 Class Notes

Alumni dish on their latest anniversaries, jobs, weddings and babies.

59 Connections

A faculty member and a talented alumnus team up to jump-start the next generation.

64 Semper Mizzou

Long before Tom Schultz’s distinguished Mizzou career in alumni relations, he was a speedy red-headed winger on the U.S. men’s national soccer team.

facebook.com/mizzou twitter.com/mizzou instagram.com/mizzou


48 Mizzou Alumni News

TWO-YARD GAIN Photo sessions since social distancing maintain a Chase Daniel of distance.


O L AT U J A : M I C H A E L C A L I : M A S K S : S H U T T E R S TO C K

Artist in Residence: Check out a video of vocalist Alicia Olatuja’s visit to campus last spring. Olatuja, BA ’05, who soloed at the second Obama inauguration ceremony, taught master classes and rehearsed and performed alongside students. She showed them up close how a musician plies the ropes of her profession. More: tinyurl.com/resident-artists




Homecom different thising will look be an excitin year, but it’ll g that respectsexperience history while Mizzou alumni and st keeping udents safe.

“Coach Drinkwitz here. Call me Eli.” The new football Tigers head coach and his staff quickly introduced themselves to high school coaches and potential recruits all over Missouri. Page 38


Z A C H B L A N D / M I Z Z O U AT H L E T I C S

24 28

Practitioners of the Telltale Art

Down the decades in bestselling novels, TV series and star-dusted Hollywood movies, Mizzou’s mystery writers have made their mark in one of fiction’s most popular genres. story by elaine viets, bj ’72

At the Center(s) of Research

New federally funded centers lead a campuswide charge to bolster MU’s research achievements. story by david LaGesse, bj ’79

Performing with the Pros

Through the new Artist in Residence program, students learning from — and collaborating with — professionals get a preview of the real world that awaits them. story by tony rehagen, ba, bj ’01

34 36 38

Girl on Fire

A century and a half ago, MU’s first female graduate accepted her sheepskin and quelled fears that women’s presence on campus might ignite a frenzy. story by dawn klingensmith, ba, bj ’97

Play Action

For Heather Hennkens, a former football player turned scientist, work is play. story by tony rehagen, ba, bj ’01

Eli’s Calling

New Tiger football Coach Eli Drinkwitz and his staff are cold calling hundreds of Missouri high school coaches to make sure the state’s best recruits fuel the program. They’ve made a lot of friends already. story by mark godich, bj ’79 photos by zach bland

FALL 2020



Going way back to the Morrill Act of 1862, universities such as Mizzou have been expected to help communities solve problems, and the coronavirus pandemic has been an acid test. “Over about 10 days in March, the faculty went from, ‘Wow, this might affect the way we work,’ to ‘OK, the people of Missouri need us; let’s make sure we deliver the outreach, education and research they’re counting on,’ ” says Marshall Stewart, vice chancellor for extension and engagement. The responses ranged from developing testing swabs to providing remote learning to homebound elementary students to helping the governor’s office retrain retired nurses for deployment. Outreach: Right off the bat, through webinars, online presentations and a web-based hub, MU Extension linked people in all 114 counties and the city of St. Louis with researchbased information from personal finance experts on how to handle income taxes and track down stimulus checks. The Small Business Development Center helped owners deal with furloughs and layoffs and apply for federal funding. Mental health specialists helped everyone cope with the stress of the pandemic. MU Extension continued advising farmers at the height of planting season by walking them through soil sample techniques, pesticide application, livestock management and horticultural issues. They created the Missouri Food Finder to connect growers and consumers in search of healthy local food and facilitated discussions to help farmers markets reopen safely. Research: The MU Center for Applied Research and Engagement Systems put together a suite of COVID-19 tracking 6


Michael Absheer, tools that was used across the nation — but MU researchers have done much more the manager of than just watch the coronavirus spread. the MU College A few examples: Biochemist Steven Van of Engineering’s 3D-printing lab, Doren won a grant to study a possible key removes coronavirus to a vaccine. Veterinary researcher Kam- testing swabs from a lendra Singh found that antiviral drugs rack after they were remdesivir, 5-fluorouracil, ribavirin and cured in an infrared favipiravir were effective in treating the heating unit. A virus. MU Health Care neurologist Adnan cross-campus team I. Qureshi published recommendations for is manufacturtreating stroke patients based on a new- ing swabs so MU Health Care has an found link between stroke and the coronaadequate supply virus. A multidisciplinary team developed to test patients for an air-purifying visor, and a pair of arts COVID-19. and science alumni invented lightweight respiration protection chambers to protect frontline medical workers. Education: The College of Education’s Mizzou Academy partnered with Columbia Public Schools to provide curriculum and support for online learning. It also developed courses about COVID-19, worked with a Camdenton High School robotics team to 3D-print face shields for medical professionals, and connected families and youth to free counseling during this trying time. “We are the University of Missouri,” Stewart says. “It is our mission to extend our assets to every Missourian. This is what we do.” — Tony Rehagen BA, BJ ’01


Mobilizing to Confront COVID-19


Campus and University of Missouri System leaders hosted a virtual panel discussion on July 16 to report progress toward inclusion, diversity and equity as well as to outline next steps. The university is committed to continuously improving the experience and outcomes for underserved and underrepresented students, faculty and staff, said Mun Choi, UM System president and MU chancellor. Improvements during the past five years include: • Creating the Division of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity and hiring a chief diversity officer • Investing $1.2 million in enhancing institutional infrastructure, with more to come • Increasing by 32 percent the number of underrepresented faculty • Increasing six-year graduation rates among Black students by 7 percent to nearly 60 percent • Investing in training for diversity and inclusion across leaders, students and faculty • Enhancing faculty recruitment strategies and guidelines to attract more diverse applicants • Doubling the number of counselors of color at the Counseling Center Choi shared a summary of a newly released American Council on Education report, which notes broad improvement in Mizzou’s inclusive competencies since 2015. The report says Mizzou increased leadership engagement, strategic planning and community education efforts; however, progress is at times uneven, and many members of the MU community remain frustrated by a perceived lack of progress. “I’m very proud of the work that has been done to contribute to these

efforts,” Choi said. “But there’s more work to be done, and we’re committed to getting that work done.” The university plans further sessions about the report during fall 2020 to prompt deeper community discussion. Maurice Gipson, MU’s new vice chancellor of inclusion, diversity and equity, reported plans to improve collaboration with students, faculty and staff toward a more diverse and inclusive campus. “We’re going to make sure our work, and particularly our work in inclusion, diversity and equity, is undergirded by the acronym ACT: accountability, commitment and transparency,” Gipson said. He announced steps the university will take immediately in response to community concerns. These include: • Launching by mid-August a bias hotline where students, faculty and staff can anonymously report behavior targeting individuals or groups based on their identities • Instituting cultural competency training and bystander and civil discourse training for community members • Reviewing the MU Police Department’s use-of-force policies and continuing to emphasize de-escalation tactics • Placing signs around campus affirming not only Mizzou’s commitment to diversity and inclusion but also its stance against racism and discrimination • Modernizing video equipment to increase campus safety and the ability to hold those who commit acts of prejudice accountable Gipson acknowledged that, despite the progress, if community members don’t perceive the improvements, questions will remain. “It’s our responsibility to make sure that each individual — each stakeholder — feels the change.” FALL 2020



How to Sell Via Email

At a special meeting on July 28, the University of Missouri System board of curators voted to merge the roles of the system president and MU chancellor. The board appointed Mun Choi to the position, which he has held on an interim basis since March. It also extended his contract by two years, to June 30, 2026, with no pay increase. Choi was appointed as system president in March 2017 to lead the system’s four universities. He has led the universities through several transformative projects, including launching the NextGen Precision Health Initiative, expanding online learning, establishing new partnerships with industry and initiating sweeping scholarship programs that increased access to higher education for all students. Recognized nationally for his leadership, Choi was appointed to the board of directors for the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities in November 2019. “The new governance structure offers the best way to ensure continued academic and research excellence across the UM System while providing a more cost-effective model during this unprecedented budget crisis and beyond,” said board chair Julia Brncic. “The combined role preserves the strength of our individual universities and will not result in a one-univer8


sity model.” She praised Choi’s work as interim president and chancellor, including his decisive leadership. When MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright left in March, the board hired experts through AGB Consulting, a service the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges offers to review governance structures, provide information about national models and help guide discussions. The board shared AGB’s report on potential approaches, then solicited feedback from nearly 300 student leaders, faculty, staff, donors and other constituents from all four universities. “COVID-19 might have expedited our conversations around UM System governance, but this decision will offer a more efficient and effective structure to better serve our students, faculty, staff and communities” said Michael Williams, BA ’95, JD ’98, UM System curator and chair of the board’s Governance, Compensation and HR Committee. Choi said he is proud of his new position: “I look forward to pursuing even more ways to collaborate among our institutions and grow our shared mission of academic and research excellence that benefits our students and our communities while maximizing common resources.”


Meet Your New Chancellor

Closing a lot of deals remotely these days? Detelina Marinova has a few tips that can help. The Frances Ridge Gay MBA professor of marketing spent the past two years combing through emails from a private firm to figure out how salespeople can more effectively negotiate remotely. “Email communication is cue-poor,” Marinova says. Salespeople can’t rely on facial expressions or gestures like they would in face-to-face meetings. In a study recently published in the Journal of Marketing, Marinova reports two negotiation tactics that keep buyers engaged: compliance and internalization. Compliance tactics shift the risk off the buyer by promising something or assertively suggesting an action. Examples: “We will deliver by next month,” or “We need you to perform the inspection.” Internalization tactics force the buyer to analyze the seller’s recommendations or expertise. Examples: “We strongly recommend … ,” or “Find attached the product specs.” The key is to deploy either compliance or internalization tactics — but not both at the same time. When sellers stuck with one negotiation tactic, buyers’ attention increased by 14 percent. When they combined tactics, it dropped by 30 percent. “If you start mixing,” Marinova says, “customer attention goes down, so contract award probability goes down.”


Love letters of poet T.S. Eliot and Emily Hale recently became available to scholars.


TO MY MUSE After nearly 60 years in storage, letters from poet T.S. Eliot to his muse have surfaced, and they seem to confirm many a college student’s suspicions about the famed writer of “The Waste Land” — he put obscure references in his poems just to confound people. To be clear, “Those references add meaning to the poems,” says Eliot scholar Frances Dickey, an associate professor of English at MU. But they also add opacity, which was the poet’s intent. Dickey combed through 26 years’ worth of Eliot’s typed, singled-spaced letters to his confidante, Emily Hale, who donated them to Princeton University in 1956 on condition that they stay sealed until 50 years after her death or Eliot’s, should he survive her. Hale died four years after Eliot, in 1969, and Princeton made the letters available to researchers in January. Though Eliot’s correspondence with Hale overlapped his first marriage, scholars expected to find love letters, and they weren’t disappointed. However, “The fascinating reveal is that he tells Emily what his poems mean, and come to find out, he drew from his life experiences.” During Eliot’s heyday, it was unfashionable for poets to write autobiographically. “Poems were about history or beauty or eternal questions,” Dickey says. Outwardly, Eliot espoused this ethos, so “it’s stunning to discover that he wrote about his life and his feelings and the people he knew, and then he covered it up by making it difficult to understand.” A walk in the countryside with Hale inspired Eliot’s poem “Burnt Norton,” but though he told her it was “their love poem,” he obscured its personal nature by adding extraneous details including “a confusing epitaph from the Greek philosopher Heraclitus,” Dickey says. Eliot agreed to Hale’s plan to donate his letters sometime before 1956, when he remarried and their correspondence ceased. Perhaps true to form, Eliot obfuscated the written record. In 1960, he wrote a strenuous disavowal of his love for Hale, to be released the same day as her donated letters. After remarrying, “I think he was less keen on having his love letters to Emily read by the world,” says Dickey, adding that the 1,131 letters he wrote to her “speak for themselves.” — Dawn Klingensmith, BA, BJ ’97

It’s 1,070 miles from Mizzou to Broadway, but for the past two decades, a gift from an alumni couple has been putting theater students on stage in Manhattan, giving them a priceless opportunity to perform for agents and producers. The Mizzou on Broadway program paused in recent years for budget reasons but was set to relaunch with a musical, All the Spaces, on Sept. 17 at the York Theatre in New York City. Then COVID-19 arrived. Undaunted, Joy Powell, PhD ’15, assistant teaching professor of musical theater, conducted rehearsals on Zoom and opened the show online in July, where it has been seen by hundreds more than a usual performance in Rhynsburger Theatre. “All the talent really rose to the occasion,” says Powell, who worked with student director Brandon Riley. Mizzou is among the first university theaters to pivot to digital. The show, co-written by students Murphy Ward and Kylee Compton, with music by Ward and Shawn Campanini, presents accomplished student actors singing and dramatizing a love story of disability, heartbreak and redemption. On the technical side, Powell tapped students adept in video recording, audio engineering, sound editing and mixing. They used the theater’s three cameras and green screen to launch All the Spaces on YouTube. Theater department chair Heather Carver plans for Mizzou on Broadway to resume in September 2021 with All the Spaces lead actors Caleb Jared, Symonne Sparks, Raynesha Green and Joel Rodriguez taking the York stage. Accompanying them will be another dozen students in the cast and crew. This innovative gift from Gary Tatlow, JD ’64, and his late wife, Marilyn Tatlow, BA ’62, allows Missouri theater students to add a Broadway production to their résumés as they take part in a rare showcase before New York theater professionals. Playwright and composer Ward, who worked 2 1/2 years on the show, is determined to hear the 15-song musical in Manhattan, no matter the year delay.

The Mizzou on Broadway program went online in July to mount an original musical that’s bound for the York Theatre in New York City next fall. FALL 2020




@MadisonCzopek Am I about to ‘graduate’ while simultaneously covering the last of the Missouri legislative session? Yes, yes I am #MizzouMade #greatsince1908

Jennifer Sullivan has plenty of reasons to care about her role in initial site planning for Mizzou’s first new research facility since 2004, the NextGen Precision Health Institute. First, as facilities project manager on MU’s planning, design and construction team, it’s her job. But Sullivan also has family ties to the project’s goals of improving health care: Her niece and nephew with a rare blood disorder and a friend with cancer were all treated at MU Health Care. The new building is important to Sullivan because she knows the lifesaving work that will be done inside. Sullivan, BS CiE ’04, is just one of more than 30 MU alumni working on one aspect or another of erecting the new building. Mizzou mechanical engineering graduates helped plan the structure, civil engineers are working on the concrete design, architecture and construction management alumni are putting on the roof, and more than a dozen Tigers from various degree programs from business to preconstruction are pitching in at other points of the project. The 265,000-square-foot five-story facility will house more than 60 principal investigators in engineering, medicine, veterinary medicine, animal sciences, and arts and science. Collectively, it’s part of the NextGen Precision Health Initiative seeking to create treatments and devices to combat disease worldwide. And when the institute opens at the northwest corner of Hospital Drive and Virginia Avenue in the fall of 2021, it will have been built, from foundation to roof, by Tigers. — Tony Rehagen, BA, BJ ’01



The photo may appear mundane — a pile of laundry on top of a washing machine. But it’s far more than that. To the photographer, a husband who recently lost his wife to cancer, the image symbolizes his struggle to deal with the things she left behind. As part of a photo elicitation study by Mizzou researchers, sharing the image and his feelings in a private Facebook group for bereaved caregivers helped the man deal with his emotions. It’s a powerful tool — photo elicitation — and it’s one the National Institutes of Health has awarded two School of Medicine researchers a $3.5 million grant to study further. Capitalizing on Abigail Rolbiecki’s expertise in therapeutic storytelling and Debra Parker Oliver’s deep knowledge in end-of-life care and online support groups, the researchers will focus on helping family caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. “Caregivers are the silent, ignored victims of the disease,” says Oliver, MSW ’85, PhD ’00, professor of family medicine. Participants will join a private Facebook group when their loved one begins hospice care and will continue until six months after their loved one’s death. Guided by a moderator, they will share photographs they’ve made that elicit feelings and reactions to their experiences as caregivers. It’s all about “meaning making,” says Rolbiecki, BS HES ’08, MSW ’12, MPH ’14, PhD ’15, offering an example: “‘Because I had these experiences, I’m stronger.’ ” By empowering caregivers to find meaning, the photo-based intervention helps reduce feelings of depression, anxiety and grief, explains the assistant professor of family and community medicine. Over 5 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s disease, and this study is the first to follow participants from caregiving into bereavement. If the intervention goes as planned, the researchers will write a manual that teaches hospice agencies and health care providers how to use it. — Kelsey Allen, BA, BJ ’10

@MizzouResearch Researchers at @mumedicine recently received a nearly $2 million grant from the @NIH to study a test that may predict whether a patient will respond to an innovative asthma treatment. @theryanprhodes I went for a hike today in my @Mizzougear up into little cottonwood canyon (Utah) and had someone yell M-I-Z! at me @AllisonMPecorin Taking a little bit of @Mizzou to Capitol Hill today

@Broncos Inked. Welcome to #BroncosCountry, @AOkwuegbunam!

N E X TG E N : PAU L M O S S I N E ; P EC O R I N : T W I T T E R


@jpayoute After 10 weeks Jasmine Kay Johnson walked out of Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital. She was studying in her bedroom when she was hit in the head by a stray bullet. AND GUESS WHAT? SHE GRADUATED FROM @Mizzou IN MAY WHILE IN RECOVERY.

Women Warriors Tabitha Awoniyi was pushing the door to leave the MU Veterans Center when she remembered one more thing she forgot to ask. The person sitting behind the front desk — Crystal Wiggins, a graduating senior and fellow student veteran — couldn’t believe her luck. “I’m so glad you came back,” said Wiggins, BS BA ’20. “Do you want to start a group for women veterans?’ ” Awoniyi’s response? “Hell yeah!” Today, women represent approximately 16 percent of enlisted forces. Although that’s a growing number, “We don’t feel like there’s a voice for us,” says Awoniyi, a personnel specialist for an Air Reserve Component stationed at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri and a senior political science major at MU. “It’s good to have a group where there’s no judgment and you can speak freely about things you’ve experienced.” In spring 2020, five members of the new Women’s Veterans group, a subgroup of the Mizzou Student Veterans Association, started meeting in person — and then virtually. Awoniyi hopes they can recruit more members this fall. Plans include building a mentorship program, connecting with MU staff members who are female veterans and collaborating with local veterans groups. Although Awoniyi wishes this group had existed on campus when she was a freshman, she’s grateful for the chance to leave something behind at MU. “Service before self,” she says. “That’s our motto.” — Kelsey Allen, BA, BJ ’10

AW O N I Y I : J U L I A H A N S E N ; S T U D E N T T E A M : N AT E B R O W N

Things Get Real for Mizzou Students’ Start-up On May 19, computer science graduate student Caleb Heinzman hosted the world finals of the Microsoft Imagine Cup, a tech competition of students from all over the globe, while sitting in his Columbia living room. Although his Team Deeptector didn’t bring home the $100,000 grand prize for the event — moved online due to the pandemic — Heinzman says his group’s new business received a huge boost toward becoming reality. Their new venture is all about reality. Deeptector.io is a web-based tool that allows users to drag and drop video files and links into a cloud-based system that can tell whether the content is genuine or if it’s been manipulated by inserting a fraudulent image, otherwise known as a deepfake. It is the brainchild of Heinzman, fellow computer science grad students Kolton Speer and Imad Toubal, and senior data journalism student Ashlyn O’Hara. The team developed Deeptector for the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute Student Innovation Competition, which it won. They were then selected as one of

10 regional finalists out of hundreds of submissions from across North and South America. The win also brought $8,000, with which Team Deeptector filed paperwork to become an official business. Now, having received the exposure and business coaching that comes with competing in the Imagine Cup, Heinzman says his team is honing Deeptector into a viable tool to help reporters detect manipulated videos that spread disinformation online. “Right now our focus is in journalism,” Heinzman says. “That’s where the biggest need is.” —Tony Rehagen, BA, BJ ’01

Briefly • Mun Choi, University of Missouri System president and MU chancellor, named Maurice Gipson vice chancellor for inclusion, diversity and equity. Gipson had been vice chancellor for diversity and community engagement at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. More: tinyurl.com/ MUgipson • Richard J. Barohn now serves as MU’s executive vice chancellor for health affairs. He came to MU from the University of Kansas, where he directed Frontiers: The Heartland Institute for Clinical and Translational Research. More: tinyurl.com/ MUbarohn • Jacqueline Lewis has been named vice chancellor for advancement at Mizzou. She served as vice president of university relations at the University of Maryland in College Park. At Maryland, she led a team of 300 professionals and spearheaded Fearless Ideas: The Campaign for Maryland. More: tinyurl.com/MUJLewis • Steven Zweig, MD ’79, MPH ’84, who joined MU’s faculty in 1984, has been named dean of the School of Medicine. He has engaged with the health system and campus leadership to create an academic health system strategic plan and has initiated the school’s first strategic plan for research. More: tinyurl.com/MUZweig

FALL 2020 11


Nick Alexander Sr., St. Louis, Mo.

Jack Dahlgren So., Victoria, Minn.

Amy Feddersen Fr., Ames, Iowa

Haley Hynes Sr., Lee’s Summit, Mo.

Megan Keil So., Derby, Kan.

Jennifer King Sr., Glasgow, Scotland

Carlo Lopez Fr., Edmonton, Alberta

Meredith Rees Fr., Colorado Springs, Colo.

Micah Slaton Sr., Austin, Texas

Leonardo Garcia Varela Fr., Cali, Colombia

Danny Kovac So., Fort Collins, Colo.

Sarah Thompson Jr., Collierville, Tenn.

Daniel Hein Sr., Sycamore, Ill.

Kyle Leach So., Colorado Springs, Colo.

Savana Trueb Fr., Colorado Springs, Colo.

Maddie Huitt Fr., Gibsonia, Pa.

Giovanny Lima Sr., Sao Paulo, Brazil

Molly Winer Fr. Ames, Iowa

On Feb. 20, Danny Kovac became only the second Mizzou men’s swimmer to win an event at the Southeastern Conference Championships when he raced to victory in the 100-yard butterfly. It was a great achievement, but for Kovac and the Tigers’ other top swimmers, the meet that really mattered was a month away. Then the coronavirus wiped out the NCAA Championships. “I was kind of mad right when I heard the news. This was what I was training for the whole year,” Kovac says. “Then I thought, ‘Why get upset over something I have absolutely no control over?’ All that hard work we put in was definitely not lost. We just never got to see the fruit of it.” But the work of Kovac and his teammates didn’t go unrecognized. Normally, swimmers who place in the top eight at the NCAA Championships are first-team All-Americans, and those who 12 MIZZOUMAGAZINE

place ninth through 16th are honorable mention. That wasn’t possible this year, so everyone who met the qualifying standards for the meet earned All-America honors. Missouri had 18 All-American swimmers — nine each from the men’s and women’s teams. Kovac, who is entering his junior year, will have more chances to compete at the NCAA Championships. One important lesson he learned from last season is to enjoy the process of getting there. “I set goals, but what matters is what you’re doing today to push yourself and push others,” Kovac says. “This is going to sound weird, but I miss being incredibly tired. That’s something I’ve grown to appreciate. You learn to appreciate the things you took for granted, even the hard work.” — Joe Walljasper, BJ ’92


Awash in Honors

Scoreboard 2 — Former Mizzou soccer players who participated in the National Women’s Soccer League’s Challenge Cup over the summer. Midfielder Domi Richardson, BHS ’14, played for the New Jerseybased Sky Blue FC, and forward Sarah Luebbert, BS ’20, played for the Chicago Red Stars. 4 — Super Bowl rings won by Woody Widenhofer, BS Ed ’65, as an assistant coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Widenhofer, a former MU player and head coach, died on March 22 at age 77.



Coaches aren’t the only ones in the Mizzou athletics department who agonize over their game plan for the week ahead. Each Tuesday at 10 a.m., Shawn Davis leads a meeting of communications specialists who brainstorm the best ways to connect with Mizzou fans and potential recruits through text, photos, graphics and video. “Social media is not just a place to dump news anymore,” says Davis, the MU assistant athletic director for digital media strategy. “Recruiting is about making a genuine and unique connection. That’s how you sell a program in this day and age.” The athletic strategic communications team employs two designers who crank out about 80 graphic illustrations a week for posts on the department’s four social media platforms — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. The football program has two more designers who deal strictly with recruiting, creating personalized graphics for the prospects and sending out the “bat signal” — a roaring tiger with the text “Welcome to the ZOU” coming out of its mouth —

when a recruit gives a verbal commitment. Knowing what will make a social media post spread on a wave of likes, shares and retweets is not an exact science, but sometimes it’s obvious. Davis knew what was coming before he posted a video that showed new football Coach Eli Drinkwitz wildly celebrating recruit Ennis Rakestraw Jr.’s announcement that he was signing with the Tigers. More than a half-million people have watched the video, which offered a behind-the-scenes look at just how competitive the new coach is. “The easiest way to go viral is to have access to moments,” Davis says. “In our next meeting, somebody said, ‘I can’t believe we were able to capture that.’ ” Davis believes in making his own luck. “When you’re prepared,” he says, “you’re in position to catch the spontaneous moment.” — Joe Walljasper, BJ ’92

SIXTY YEARS AGO, the Tiger football team ascended to the nation’s No. 1 ranking for the first time after beating Oklahoma 41-19 on Nov. 12, 1960. They fell from the perch the next week with a loss to Kansas, though the Jayhawks later forfeited the game for using an ineligible player. Forty-seven years later, Missouri again summited the polls — and exacted revenge on KU — by beating the Jayhawks 36-28 on Nov. 24, 2007.

Ron Taylor was Mizzou’s starting quarterback in 1960.

5 — Inductees into the 2020 class of MU’s Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame: basketball player Nancy Rutter, BS Ed ’78; baseball player Mike Rogers, BS Acc ’87, M Acc ’89; and track athletes Chidi Imoh, P&CS ’86; Kearsten Peoples, BS HES ’14; and Don Smith, BS ChE ’63, MBA ’65. 11 — NFL seasons completed by Chase Daniel, BS BA ’09, who signed a three-year contract with the Detroit Lions in March. Daniel — one of the NFL’s most coveted backup QBs — has played for the New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago Bears. 25 — Consecutive years a Mizzou baseball player has been selected in the MLB draft when the St. Louis Cardinals picked pitcher Ian Bedell, BUS ’20, in the fourth round. Bedell went 2–2 with a 3.70 ERA as a Tiger starter in the shortened 2020 season and was a top SEC reliever in 2019. FALL 2020 13

Nicole Logue

Daring to Care Tiffany Le, a graduate student in occupational therapy, was nervous at first. Like other students seeking financial assistance from the Care Team at Mizzou, she would be sitting down for a one-on-one meeting with the team’s coordinator, Nicole Logue, MSW ’16. “Will she judge me?” Le wondered. “Will she understand why I desperately need this?” Due in part to regional stay-at-home orders, dozens of students found themselves out of work and grappling with such fears as they sought emergency funding. As the nation began to realize the scope of the crisis, Mizzou’s Care Team took stock locally. “We knew we’d be running out of funds quickly,” says Lori Fox, MA ’02, associate dean of students. The requests for aid poured in, and she began to fear the worst. “We thought we might have to turn people away.” The Care Team, formed in August 2018, normally operates out of a small office in the basement of the MU Student Center. A typical month brings in one or two new

cases — students referred by a friend or faculty member who are seeking help with multifaceted issues. “Sometimes the stressors are financial,” Logue says, and the challenges often include mental fatigue or personal emergencies. “We have to look beyond single issues to the holistic picture for a student.” Services include interventions, advocacy and follow-up consultations, in addition to resource referrals. When the campus closed on March 23, that picture was bleak. Many students lost jobs. Some returned to their families, leaving behind apartments for which they still were obligated to pay rent. International students, unable to work off campus legally, were ineligible for federal aid; with their research projects delayed, remaining in Columbia might’ve been financially crippling or even impossible. In the month following the shutdown, the Care Team received 25 requests — more than they’d normally see in a year. The caseload required tapping into the Student Emergency Fund. With a limit of $250 available per student, the funds were only ever meant as a stopgap until long-term solutions could be found.


When the pandemic pushed resources to their limit, donors jumped into action to support students in need.

C A M PA I G N U P DAT E “When you have a massive number of requests coming in, it’s hard to connect them all to the right resources right away,” Logue says. “The $250 keeps the lights on until we can get them to agencies such as the United Way and the food bank. It’s just enough until other funding comes in, and we can help them figure out the path forward.” Although the Care Team has never been a secret, Fox says, the past few months have raised its profile — both with students and those looking to help. “Donors began searching us out,” Fox says. “Alumni were asking us, ‘What do you have? What can we do?’ ” The outpouring of support could not have come at a better time. By early May, the Care Team estimated that their funds would last only one or two more weeks. Working from home, Fox recorded a video appeal to donors for assistance. By June, hundreds of people donated nearly $25,000 to the Student Emergency Fund. As a result, the Care Team has yet to turn away a single student. “We’ve never seen this level of need before,” Fox says. “But we’ve been able to keep up.” Her optimism is tempered, though. “If the need stays at this rate, we’ll have to replenish the fund.”

Providing a Safety Net


Despite Le’s initial hesitation to seek help, she found herself opening up to Logue during their meeting. They discussed Le’s personal hurdles as well as her anxiety about the future. “My concerns about the city, others’ lives, what school might look like — she didn’t dismiss any of those tangential thoughts,” Le says. “I didn’t realize until after the conversation just how relieved I felt.” Logue considers that sort of conversation just as important as addressing financial concerns. “Anyone can get overwhelmed,” she says. “And when you’re overwhelmed, you don’t always have the capacity to look at your options. We’re the safety net. We just let our students know that they’re resilient. They’re going to get through this.” To learn more about Mizzou’s emergency support funds, visit mizzou. com/tigerssupporttigers.

Lori Fox









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The things I learned at Mizzou definitely helped my journalism career. They also helped my second career — as a killer for hire. So far, I’ve shot, stabbed and poisoned more than 50 people. On paper. I’m here to tell you about a few more Mizzou alumni who write mysteries. But because these people are all killers for hire, you’d probably like to know who you are dealing with. So, a little about me: My journalism degree opened the doors to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where I started as a fashion writer. I had all the right qualifications — I was a woman and I wore clothes. J-School had trained me well for my newspaper job, instilling a respect for deadlines, spelling (before spell check), copyediting and reporting. Being a reporter at the Post-Dispatch was easier than at the J-School’s Columbia Missourian. Back then, everyone in Columbia had been interviewed by J-School students — twice. I was used to doors slammed in my face, phones disconnected, and bored officials fiddling with their pipes or reading the rival Columbia Daily Tribune while I interviewed them. In St. Louis, most people wanted to talk to a Post-Dispatch reporter. Better yet, I got paid. I graduated to feature writer, humor columnist and, finally, syndicated columnist for United Media in New York. In the late-’90s, when the newspaper business began floundering, I left to write mysteries. My first series, featuring Francesca Vierling, was a real creative stretch. These novels featured a 6-foot newspaper columnist at a struggling daily, forever battling editors. After that series, my books relied on my reporting skills. The Dead-End Job mysteries each featured a different low-paying job, and I worked most of them for research. For Shop Till You Drop, I sold bustiers to bimbos. For Dying to Call You, I sold septic tank cleaner in a telephone boiler room.

I still remember my spiel: “Tank Titan 2000 eliminates odors, large chunks and wet spots.” For Murder with Reservations, I worked as a hotel housekeeper, making beds, scrubbing toilets and the Jacuzzi in the honeymoon suite. (Chocolate cleans right out of the tub, but whipped cream is a bear.) Promise me you will never, ever use the in-room coffeepot. You wouldn’t believe how many men grab that as a handy urinal. Eventually, I was ready for something grittier that didn’t include wielding a mop and dealing with cranky customers. I started writing the Angela Richman, Death Investigator mysteries. These paralegals of the forensic world got their start in 1978 during a shortage of pathologists to attend the scenes of fatal crimes. They handle the body at homicides and other unexplained deaths while the police deal with the rest of the scene. I took the Medicolegal Death Investigators Training course for forensic professionals at St. Louis University, where I learned all kinds of arcane but useful information. If you see someone with a “Born to Lose” tattoo, turn around and walk away. They’d be voted “most likely to wind up on an autopsy table.” And that’s where I saw a photo of a man with “Born to Lose” tattooed on his forehead — with a bullet hole under it. My fifth Angela Richman mystery, Death Grip, will be published in December 2020. Down the decades, Mizzou has produced mystery writers with degrees ranging from law to library science. What follows is a short survey of some in the “late-great” category, plus living writers we were able to catch up with — scribes whose novels turn up on the blood-stained bookshelf.









About the author: After a stellar career as a humor columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and in national syndication, Elaine Viets, BJ ’72, has written 34 mysteries and has won the Anthony, Agatha and Lefty Awards.

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The Connoisseur of Craft

the writerly one

JEFF DEAVER, BJ ’72, is a spectacularly successful writer who gives back to his profession. When he was president of the Mystery Writers of America (MWA) — a job that’s mostly honorary — he traveled thousands of miles to visit all eleven MWA chapters, NANCY PICKARD, BJ ’67, crisscrossing the country from Florida is a writer’s writer, to the northwest at his own expense. At known for her careful ploteach stop, Jeff gave chapter members a ting and evocative prose. free writing seminar. In Ring of Truth, she He has sold more than 50 million writes, “Like nowhere else books worldwide. The Bone Collector I’ve ever seen, the air in was a major motion picture, starring DenSouth Florida is soft, zel Washington and Angelina Jolie. Dead so soft. After my last Silence, an HBO movie starring James book tour, riding home Garner, was based on A Maiden’s Grave. from the airport late Lifetime adapted The Devil’s Teardrop. of a winter’s night, I In addition to Jeff ’s journalism opened a window in degree, he graduated from Fordham the backseat, closed University law school and practiced law my eyes and felt the before turning to writing full time. soft air pat my face like a lover.” “I write crime fiction — mysteries When I come back home to Fort Lauderand thrillers.” Jeff is careful not to lump dale, I feel the same way. those subgenres together. “A mystery Nancy’s writing also has sly humor. “It asks: What happened? Who killed the just kills me to see somebody break bones parish priest? A thriller asks: What’s on purpose,” she writes. “I want to protest going to happen? Will he get there in time, before the world blows up? that God and a pregnant lady worked hard “Crime fiction allows me to write the most intensely engaging story and on this skeleton, so have some respect.” give readers the most intense emotional experience,” he continues. “The Why mysteries? “Because I can’t seem core plot of a crime story requires the author keep asking questions and to write anything that doesn’t have a putting up roadblocks. That drives the story: What is going to happen next? dead body in it,” says Nancy, who is a Raise conflict, raise questions. The best crime fiction introduces elements household name among mystery devotees. that drive other subplots: a romance or a family conflict. These are appropriOf her J-School days, she says, “The ate in a crime story. They give it depth.” Missourian probably should have asDespite his artistic comparisons, Jeff doesn’t see himself as a literary figsigned me to the crime beat rather than ure. “I’m not a prose stylist,” he says. “I’m not a Cormac McCarthy, a real covering the Department of Motor artist who makes the words sing. I don’t have that ability, nor do I want it. Vehicles. My only job was to pick up the I want to take the skills I learned in journalism school and translate them weekly list of new drivers’ licenses. One into the clearest prose possible. Learning how to be a reporter — that’s still day I said, ‘Nah,’ and went to The Shack important. I research all my books, interview experts in the field, prepare for beer with some friends. I walked into my questions ahead of time. I put words together in a pragmatic style.” the newsroom the next day, intending to A list of all Jeff’s international honors and awards would take the rest of tell a certain famous professor that I’d this article. Here’s a sampling: The Mystery Writers Association of Japan been sick, but before I could say a word, named The Cold Moon Book of the Year. The Bouchercon World Mystery he said, ‘So did you get the story about Convention gave him its Lifetime Achievement Award. British organizathe car crashing into the DMV?’ ” tions have given him two honors named after daggers as well as a ThumpLearning to make plausible excuses ing Good Read Award — how’s that for a title! was part of a Mizzou student’s informal Jeff is particularly proud of The Broken Window, which features his series chartraining, and our teachers have heard acter, the quadriplegic detective Lincoln Rhyme. He says the book was prescient them all. One teacher warned us during in the way it dealt with data mining and identity theft. “I sounded the alarm, the first class that he would only allow eight or nine years ago. Crime fiction allows us to deal with all of those issues.” two dead grandmothers per semester. He will have a new Lincoln Rhyme novel out in 2021, as well as another If you haven’t read Nancy’s books, start Colter Shaw thriller. with The Scent of Rain and Lightning. FALL 2020 19






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“NOTHING SAYS ‘You’re going to die alone’ like being asked to judge the three-legged race at the Tuttle Corner Johnnycake Festival because you’re the only one without a partner.” That’s how Jill Orr, BJ ’95, MSW ’00, starts her first Riley Ellison mystery, The Good Byline, and the laughs go on from there. Humor is a delicate subject to master, as I learned that the hard way at Mizzou. I took a course on printing, which included the antique art of manual typesetting. For one assignment, I made stationery for the man I was dating. It showed Andy Capp, the cartoon boozer, waving a pint beer glass and shouting, “One more, gaffer!” I got a D on that assignment. My teacher was a devout Baptist, and he was not amused. Jill’s comedic mysteries — she’s been compared to Janet Evanovich — are set in a small southern town. In The Good Byline, you’ll meet Riley and the inhabitants of Tuttle Corner. Here’s one of my favorite sections: “The day my boyfriend of seven years left me to go find himself, the good people of Tuttle Corner unofficially changed my name from Riley Ellison to Riley BlessHer-Heart … . People in Tuttle Corner love to bless your heart. It’s code for anything from an expression of sympathy to a vicious insult, sometimes both at the same time.”

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The Bleak one LAURA MCHUGH, MA ’99, BA ’00, didn’t have a particular genre in mind as she drafted her first novel. “I really wanted to write a pageturner, and it wasn’t until I was done that I realized I’d written a mystery.” Her creation, The Weight of Blood, was an instant hit, winning an International Thriller Writers Award. The Sunday Times (UK), Kansas City Star and BookPage named it a best book of the year. Laura’s dark, brooding novel, set deep in the Ozark Mountains, grabs readers right from the opening line: “That Cheri Stoddard was found at all was the thing that set people on edge, even more so than the condition of her body.” After that, we learn the details: “Cheri’s head snagged on a piece of driftwood. Stuffed into the hollow of the tree was the rest of Cheri’s pieces, her skin etched with burns and amateur tattoos.” Vogue magazine, of all things, raved about The Weight of Blood, saying it “conjures a menacingly beautiful Ozark setting and a nest of poisonous family secrets reminiscent of Daniel Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone.” So where did Laura develop her talent for creating menacing beauty? She has a degree in English from Truman State University and consecutive degrees in library science and computer science from Mizzou. “I think computer science helped me the most. That’s the more logical side of my brain. It helps with the plotting,” she says. When it comes to topics, “I start with a story, and I’ve been paying attention to the news, to the stories about human trafficking or the opioid crisis, and they led to the novels.” Her fourth book, What’s Done in Darkness, is due out in summer 2021. “It’s a small-town drama about homeschooled kids disappearing. These are the kids that fall through the cracks,” she says. Once more, it’s set in the Ozarks. “To me, the beauty, the isolation, the rugged terrain make it a perfect setting.”


The Heartland Humorist

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The Country Lawyer WHEN NANCY ALLEN graduated from Mizzou’s law school in 1980, she was part of the first generation of women to enter the legal profession. She landed in Greene County, “which had Missouri’s highest rate of sex crimes against children,” she says. “Because I was the only female prosecutor, I got the sex abuse and domestic violence cases. I cut my teeth on incest.” She resolved to write a book about that work, and the result a quarter-century later was her first mystery, The Code of the Hills. “It’s important that we not ignore that issue in fiction,” she says. “Fiction writers can educate their readers about the legal system and societal issues.” Nancy was in her 50s when she started on the novel. She spent six months writing and another 10 months looking for an agent. “For a year, we tinkered with the manuscript. When she said the vulgar language would have to go, I fired her and got another agent. We parted ways, too. Finally, I got the right agent and she sold it.” She has written three more Ozarks mysteries and honed her craft — so much so that James Patterson asked her to collaborate with him.” Yes, that’s the James Patterson, the one whose novels go straight to the top of the bestseller list. Working with Patterson, one writer told me “is like taking a master’s course in mystery writing.” Not to mention major moolah and recognition. Nancy’s first book with him was Juror No. 3, and two more have followed. “In the beginning, I was peddling a book that no one wanted to buy. It was so hard to get my foot in the door, and now they’re coming to me.” Looking back, she counts herself lucky to have entered law school back when women were a novelty in the field. “We had to be tough. I had to battle to enter a new profession, and that was good experience for entering the publishing world in New York.” Stay tuned for her next series, Vigilantes Anonymous, a high-concept thriller about a group of misfits fighting injustice in Manhattan. 22 MIZZOUMAGAZINE

The groundbreaker MARIJANE MEAKER, BA ’49, has always been something of a rebel. Even way back in boarding school, she was expelled for using photos of faculty members as a dartboard. She took a detour at Mizzou, too, switching majors from journalism to English after flunking that J-School bugaboo, economics. By the time I went to Mizzou, they had a special class for math-challenged J-School students, Econ 51. Teaching it must have been like teaching an elephant to disco. Meaker went on to become a groundbreaking writer who had four careers under four pen names, authoring landmark books under each. As Vin Packer, Marijane wrote some 20 novels, mostly mysteries. One was Spring Fire, considered the first paperback dealing with lesbian issues. Published in 1952, it reportedly sold 1.5 million copies. The prejudice and prudishness of the times would not let Packer tell the story her way — lesbians could not live happy lives in fiction. Reportedly, her editor required that one character must say she’s not a lesbian and the other must be “sick or crazy.” As Ann Aldrich, Marijane wrote five nonfiction books about lesbian issues including We Walk Alone and We, Too, Must Love. She also wrote more than 20 young adult novels as M.E. Kerr. Her books dealt with many adolescent issues, including racism, sexism, AIDS, homosexuality and drugs. She won an award from the American Library Association for her “significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature.” She has a wicked sense of humor. In her autobiographical Me, Me, Me, Me, Me: Not a Novel, Meaker confessed that, at the beginning of her career, she pretended to be a literary agent. Her clients? Meaker’s many pen names. She also wrote for younger audiences as Mary James and four books under her own name, Marijane Meaker, including one about her affair with Patricia Highsmith, Highsmith: A Romance of the 1950s. Marijane always made her living as a writer. She never needed a second job to support herself — a rare feat for a writer at any time. Many of her books remain in print. At 93, she is “not focused on work these days,” according to Michelle Koh her friend, fan and “webmistress.”

DOROTHY B. HUGHES, BJ ’25, has been called a “renaissance author.” The J-School graduate started her career as an award-winning poet, moved on to mysteries and criticism, and also wrote the definitive biography of Erle Stanley Gardner, the creator of Perry Mason. Crime fiction authority Sarah Weinman calls Dorothy the world’s finest female noir writer. “She built worlds — especially in the early New York novels and the later ones set around Los Angeles’ twisting streets and in New Mexico’s wide-open spaces — that were vivid with bright colors, glittering baubles and big dreams yet never felt cartoonish.” During her time at Mizzou, Dorothy wrote and published poems that became part of her 1931 collection Dark Certainty, winner of a Yale Younger Poets Prize. Nine years later, she wrote her first hardboiled novel, The So Blue Marble. Thirteen more novels followed, two of which became major Hollywood movies: The Fallen Sparrow with John Garfield and Maureen O’Hara and In a Lonely Place with Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame. In the early 1950s, during the shameful McCarthy era, Dorothy was blacklisted in Hollywood. She became a successful critic and won a coveted Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America. Later, she’d receive an MWA Grand Master Award for literary achievement. Dorothy’s last novel, The Expendable Man, includes these haunting words: “When man wants an evil, he’ll always MA G OU A find someone evil to supply him.” ZZ F


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MYSTERY WRITERS Richard, JOURN ’20, and Frances Lockridge were married, and so were their characters. With Frances’ plots and Richard’s writing, they created a blockbuster series. During the 1940s and ’50s, masses of fans waited eagerly for the next adventure of the cosmopolitan Mr. and Mrs. North. After Mizzou, Richard served in the Navy during World War I. In 1922, while working at a Kansas City newspaper, he married another reporter, Frances Louise Davis. They moved to New York, where Richard worked for the New York Sun. He also contributed to The New Yorker, writing comedic sketches about a couple called the Norths. Why that particular compass direction? “It was merely lifted from the somewhat amorphous, and frequently inept, people who played the North hands in bridge problems,” Richard once explained. Bridge was all the rage then, and bridge columns, featuring the hapless north hand, were popular features. “Pam North is a flighty homemaker, prone to malapropisms and random trains of thought. Jerry North is an editor at a publishing house, who often understands and translates for his wife,” writes mystery biographer Jeffrey Marks. Comedienne Gracie Allen was perfectly cast as Pam North in a 1943 movie version. The Mr. and Mrs. North mysteries were the brainchild of Frances. She came up with the idea for the first mystery but hit a snag with the plot, which included a body in a rowboat. Richard used her idea and the characters he’d created for the New Yorker humor sketches. The rowboat became an apartment bathtub, and the victim lost his clothes, as well as his life. The Lockridges’ creation resulted in a small industry: 26 mysteries, which were adapted for the movies, theater, radio and finally TV. Spinoffs included the 22-book Lt. Heimrich series, the ten-book Nathan Shapiro series, and the six-book Paul Lane series. “The stories include copious amounts of feline help,” Marks continues. In the first book, The Norths Meet Murder, they have a cat named Pete. Pete was soon shuffled off the stage in favor of Toughy and Ruffy who later gave way to Vodka, Sherry and other liquor-named pets.” But the series wasn’t all cats and cocktails. “Of all the mystery wives, Pam is perhaps the one most often endangered,” according to Murderess Ink. “Not a venture goes by in which Pam isn’t mauled.” The couple were co-presidents of Mystery Writers Association and won its inaugural Edgar Award. Most of their books are still available as e-books, paperbacks and hardcovers. So are the DVDs of the TV shows, starring Richard Denning and Barbara Britton, which you can also find on YouTube. Frances died in 1963. Richard remarried and continued writing until his death in 1982, but he never wrote another Mr. and Mrs. North novel.

The Literary One


The franchise

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At the

Center(s) of Research New federally funded centers lead a campuswide charge to bolster MU’s research achievements. STORY BY DAVID LAGESSE, BJ ’79 * ILLUSTRATION BY SEÑOR SALME

Deep in Missouri’s southwest corner, where the Little Sugar and Big Sugar creeks straddle Huckleberry Ridge, about 200 students attend Pineville Elementary School. They’re part of McDonald County R-I School District, a collection of small-town schools that can struggle to keep pace with today’s demands for technology — and the teaching of tech skills. It’s a district that’s getting help from Mizzou’s College of Education. Powered by its largest grant ever, part of a campuswide push to double research funding, the college is extending its reach into rural schools across Missouri and Kansas. Mizzou’s eMINTS National Center partners with outstate educators to enhance their hard skills in technology — and their soft skills in teaching, says Tad Brinkerhoff, director of eMINTS, or Enhancing Missouri’s Instructional Networked Teaching Strategies. In turn, Mizzou gains insight into what works and what doesn’t in some of the country’s more challenging classrooms.

Campuswide Research Push

That combination of outreach and scientific analysis makes research universities immensely valuable to society, and faculty are at the core of it. “It’s our job as academic leaders to provide them with the opportunities and resources to significantly grow research efforts that are bold and transformative,” says Mun Choi, University of Missouri System president and MU’s new chancellor. Two years ago, Mizzou’s federal research funding stood at about $200 million, and campus administrators announced an ambitious goal of doubling it by 2023. The strategy includes adding three to five major research centers. It’s an effort bearing fruit. The $22.4 million in new funding for the eMINTS National

Center is just the largest in a flurry of major grants to Mizzou researchers. In the two years since the campus set its funding goal, grants already have established three national centers: • $10 million for the National Center for Rural School Mental Health, also in the College of Education, for testing online systems that can help identify and manage student issues • $8.6 million for the Swine Somatic Cell Genome Editing Center, for conducting cutting-edge biomedical research in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources • $5.2 million for the Advancing Research and Its Impact on Society Center, which helps universities nationwide highlight the public benefit of their work A “research center” is typically a web of professorial alliances — increasingly a national network — and not necessarily a brick-and-mortar facility. That contrasts with the gleaming $221 million NextGen Precision Health Institute, a building under construction near the MU University Hospital that will house a number of scientists and perhaps a few of the centers.

Improving Mental Health in Rural Schools

A center often combines scholars from multiple disciplines, such as the education, social work and psychology experts who will help improve mental wellness resources for rural schools through the National Center for Rural School Mental Health. Federal agencies that dole out much of higher education’s research money increasingly want investigators across disciplines, hoping to break down barriers to creative thinking, says Wendy Reinke, the center’s co-director. “I’m a school psychologist, and my social work colleague has a different perspective,” Reinke says. “Maybe we can put these things together and make something better.” The center’s team will test a web-based system to identify FALL 2020 25


and help students with potential issues. It starts by asking them about their moods and outlook. If answers raise concerns, the online system links to research-tested plans that teachers or counselors can pursue with students. These rural districts already struggle to meet basic education needs, and the center won’t have money to put mental health providers into the schools. “We have to provide something that’s sustainable with the resources that are already in the building,” Reinke says. Although new, all these major grants arrive based on work that began years ago. For the rural school mental health center, a team led by Reinke has worked with earlier, smaller grants in developing the best questions to ask students.

Two years ago, Mizzou’s federal research funding stood at about $200 million, and campus administrators announced an ambitious goal of doubling it by 2023. The strategy includes adding three to five major research centers. It’s an effort bearing fruit.

Editing Pig Genes to Cure Human Disease

The grant for swine genome editing comes to a Mizzou campus that’s well-established in the field. “Actually, when it comes to genetically engineered livestock, this campus leads the world,” says Kevin Wells, an associate professor of animal sciences. “There is no one in the same league.” Wells serves as co-lead researcher at the new Swine Somatic Cell Genome Editing Center, which continues inquiry that began at Mizzou decades ago, including a focus on early embryo development in pigs led by Randy Prather, the center’s co-leader. Prather’s groundbreaking work resulted in pigs bred for the special needs of biomedical researchers around the world, as well as gene therapies for swine diseases. The new gene-editing center wraps that agricultural expertise into a quest to cure human disease. Perhaps no avenue of human medical research offers more promise than gene editing, which seeks to cure illnesses such as cystic fibrosis and sickle-cell anemia by manipulating cellular DNA. Research into gene editing is moving quickly, and its potential power demands coordinated study of its ethics and methods, which gives rise to Mizzou’s new gene-editing center. The center is part of a massive $190 million national consortium of 45 labs focused on tools needed to edit human genes. Funding comes from the National Institutes of Health. When Wells came to MU 14 years ago, he brought expertise in gene engineering from private-sector and government gigs. The gene-editing center’s five-year grant aims to develop methods for delivering gene therapies to cells — approaches that will be useful across biomedical research. “These tools are not getting built for anything specific,” Wells says. “They have to be disease agnostic.” As fellow mammals, pigs share enough traits with humans to serve as models for testing medical cures, Wells explains. Work that begins in the lab moves first to small mammals, 26 MIZZOUMAGAZINE

such as mice, then to the bigger, longer living and more complex pigs, and then on to nonhuman primates, such as monkeys. “Part of the benefit of pigs is that we have this extensive infrastructure everywhere — we’re good at raising pigs,” Wells says, as he strolls between closed doors that leak the sounds and smells of swine. Among those raised at Mizzou are porkers that can glow. Jellyfish genes that cause them to fluoresce under special lighting can serve as tracers for gene-editing tools that the new center will test. If the tool has succeeded in inserting a gene into targeted cells, those cells will glow when exposed to blue light, Wells explains. By the way, the “somatic” in the center’s name is a biology term for cells that have nothing to do with the, er, gonads. That is, somatic gene therapies don’t touch reproductive cells such as sperm and eggs. Because, as promising as the cures might be, we’re not ready to ponder genetically engineered people.

Connecting Research to Society

The public, whose taxes help fund university labs, often struggles to grasp the value of research. And the stakes are high. Decades ago, for instance, critics mocked the research on what made jellyfish glow because they didn’t understand the work’s potential. That research has proven crucial to cutting-edge medical research. A push to spotlight science’s value led to federal funding of Mizzou’s Advancing Research and Its Impact on Society Center, or ARIS. “We’re trying to help researchers demonstrate the value of what they do,” says Susan Renoe, assistant vice chancellor for research, extension and engagement and ARIS executive director. ARIS grew out of a national summit Mizzou hosted in 2013 for grant agencies, industry and academics to discuss what university research means to the wider world. “Researchers absolutely know how to write and review the intellectual merit of their work,” Renoe says. But they’re often not as good at explaining the “broader impacts” of their work and how it improves lives. Mizzou, for one, aggressively publicizes its innovations, such as the bioengineering that launched Beyond Meat, a prominent player in selling plant-based alternatives to meat. But sharing investigators’ impact means more than press releases, Renoe says. “The goal is to engage the public in our research.” That mission often sends scholars venturing into local

Alumni Fund Centers and Institutes Recent private gifts launch and support areas of excellence.

Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy Rich, BA ’66, JD ’68, and Nancy Kinder have given a total of $35 million to found and support the institute, which looks at U.S. constitutional and democratic traditions through education and scholarship. Students can earn bachelor’s or graduate degrees as well as study domestically in Washington, D.C., or abroad at the University of Oxford.

Evan Kshetri checks out a robotics booth brought to the St. Louis Science Center by University of Missouri researchers, who shared their work through engaging, hands-on activities.

communities, perhaps for STEM-related education efforts. ARIS recently lauded a Vanderbilt University scholar for serving as “head scientist” at a Nashville middle school. Similarly, MU investigators travel to schools and other venues, such as the Saint Louis Science Center, Lucas Oil Speedway or movie theaters to bring their work to Missourians. These initiatives continue online during the pandemic. MU was early to help its researchers with integrating engagement into their research plans and measuring the impact. Mizzou’s hosting of the 2013 summit led to a small grant to form a national alliance, which blossomed to more than 800 members including not only research universities but also technical schools, community colleges, nonprofit institutions including zoos and aquariums, as well as industry partners and private consultants. “When you start measuring the impact and getting the information out to the community,” Renoe says, “you’re changing people’s minds about higher education.”


Improving Learning for Students

Research thrusts like the rural student mental health center and eMINTS have obvious community impact. Their investigators travel to schools across the state — and, for that matter, across the country. The effort to improve mental

health in rural schools, for example, will partner not only with Missouri educators but also in Virginia’s Appalachian region and into such thinly populated parts of Montana that they’re called “frontier” counties. “We want to make sure whatever we’re building works for them, as well,” Reinke says. eMINTS has a 20-year head start, having launched in 1999. Through the years, the project has seen its methods adopted by schools in 14 states, from Utah to Virginia to Maine. Its new and largest grant will focus on 40 schools in rural Missouri and Kansas — with another 40 schools as a control group not participating — to test its ever-refined program that trains teachers how best to use technology in classrooms. Although it changes to keep pace with new tech and classroom needs, the program has worked, judging from the success of eMINTS in finding grant money. Perhaps in a sign of maturity, the center also hopes to sell its services to schools and teachers, generating income that could supplement and perhaps replace grants. Grants are great, says center director Brinkerhoff, but independent income would ensure the center can long continue its mission: “Our goal remains how to improve learning for students.” M About the author: David LaGesse, BJ ’79, a former staff writer for U.S. News & World Report and The Dallas Morning News, has also published in Money, The Washington Post and National Geographic.

Jonathan B. Murray Center for Documentary Journalism Documentary journalism students combine the School of Journalism’s trademark careful reporting with a visual storytelling form through courses at the center Murray, BJ ’77, founded with a $6.7 million gift. The center offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and the curriculum harnesses not only classroom experiences but also the Missouri Method’s hands-on approach. Novak Leadership Institute The Novaks — David, BJ ’74, and Wendy, BJ ’74 — founded the institute with a $21.6 million gift and a people-first mission. David developed a leadership style based on advertising and strategic communication principles while serving as chair and CEO of Yum! Brands. Students take courses and engage in service activities through the only institute for strategic communication leadership. FALL 2020 27


Through the Artist in Residence program, students learn from — and collaborate with — professionals and get a preview of the real world that awaits them.

Performing with the


S T O RY BY T O N Y R E H AG E N, BA , B J ’01 PH O T O BY N I C H O L A S B E N N E R

FALL 2020 29




Dani Major is uncharacteristically anxious. After all, she is a singer, a vocal performance major at Mizzou. But on this Friday night in late February, the sophomore is standing beside two fellow students on the stage of the historic Missouri Theatre, a tangle of frayed nerves. “I was smiling the whole time,” she says, looking back. “But I think I sweat 4 pounds.”

Part of Major’s unease was that she was vocally and mentally exhausted. This was her fourth performance in the Chancellor’s Arts Showcase, an annual concert for student musicians. Of the four, this number was also the one she felt least prepared for because it was a last-minute assignment. But the nervousness was also due to the fact that this was the headliner, the end of the evening, and she was singing backup for an emerging star, vocalist Alicia Olatuja, BA ’05. Major and many of her fellow music students had been following Olatuja around campus all week. She had returned to Columbia as part of Mizzou’s Artist in Residence (AIR) program, a collaboration between the Museum of Art and Archaeology, School of Music, Department of Theatre, School of Visual Studies, and Department of English. The program invites established artists to MU to speak and work with students across those disciplines, imparting firsthand knowledge and experience while also supporting the arts. “It’s so important for us to advance the view that the arts are an industry,” says Marie Nau Hunter, AIR program coordinator. “For one, we’re



promoting the arts industry. It’s also valuable because so many students who are majoring in these areas get this real-world experience to hear about. There’s no substitute.” During Olatuja’s weeklong stay, she gave several seminars and master classes, sat in on a songwriting class, and worked with a jazz vocalist in a oneon-one rehearsal. “She was riveting, listening to her just talk,” Major says. “My friends and I went to every single seminar. She talked about getting started, her relationships and how the career path affects them, and how important it is to take care of your own health while traveling alone. And she talked a lot about how talent is only a small part of what it takes — work ethic is everything. For some of us, that was a relief, and for others, it was a wake-up call that we were being complacent.” Olatuja brought the added insight of having been exactly where the students are right now. She graduated from the School of Music in 2005. She then moved to New York, where she attended the Manhattan School of Music. Since then, she has performed at Carnegie Hall and The Kennedy Center, recorded with Grammy-winning artists, and her solo at Barack Obama’s second inauguration in 2013 made her a worldwide celebrity. “I try to tear down the wall,” Olatuja says. “I am you in the future trying to talk to you now. I give

them the real deal of it; that’s what I never got to hear and experience. Not just the horror stories but things that are unexpected, tools you need that you don’t know you need. When I answer questions, I try to give you the CliffsNotes so you don’t have to go through all of that or if you do, you can get the most out of it.” During the visits, the artists-in-residence get something out of the experience, too. Not only do they get an opportunity to give back to the artistic community and shape young minds entering their industry, but they also have a chance to pause and reflect on their own careers. “It reminds you of where you were, where you are going, and it clarifies where you are,” Olatuja says. “Very few experiences offer all three at once.” Olatuja’s weeklong residency also offered an opportunity to perform at the showcase for many of her former instructors. And it gave students, like Major, the chance to think like performers and professionals instead of students — including trying to learn and polish a closing number on short notice. “I thought, ‘It can’t be that hard,’ ” Major says. “It was.”

Vocal performance major Dani Major, far left in both photos, was one of several students who got to spend most of a day rehearsing with star vocalist and Mizzou alumna Alicia Olatuja, above in the red dress. That evening, they performed with her at the Chancellor’s Art Showcase, opposite page.

More Workshop Than Classroom

Like every other instructor on any other campus in America, Alix Lambert was forced to rethink FALL 2020 31


her approach to teaching when the coronavirus pandemic suddenly shuttered classrooms and drove the work online. Fortunately for Lambert’s students, the mid-March shutdown happened just as their teacher was trying to turn their minds loose anyway. Lambert is the AIR program’s first long-term resident. She is a renowned documentary filmmaker, artist and writer who worked on the HBO dramas Deadwood and John from Cincinnati, on which she served as associate producer. The School of Visual Studies brought her to Mizzou for a semester to teach and impart her experience working in the field. Her weekly classroom sessions looked at the portrayal of crime in both fiction and nonfiction. She had students watch films and listen to podcasts. Lambert shared her own work, including a film she is editing about the 1973 shooting death of filmmaker Jon Pownall and her new book, COURTROOM (A Graphic Novel), which contains her sketches and notes from sitting in on various courtroom proceedings. She even took her students to observe a live trial. “I wanted them to think about the moral and ethical decisions you make while telling a story about true crime,” Lambert says. “Especially when it’s about someone whose life is in the balance.” More than just experience, Lambert brought a real-world feel to her classroom. “For the first time, I felt like we were being spoken to as artists,” says Fatimah Krgo, a senior majoring in visual storytelling. “And we were almost helping her out, too. She asked us our opinions on her work, which

made us more confident in our work. Our eyes were opened to a world we had only heard about.” But in contrast to Olatuja, who wanted students to break out of the shell of campus and to think and act like professionals, Lambert let her pupils take advantage of the security of college. She assigned no final project or presentation. “I wanted them to experiment and push the envelope rather than thinking this has to be a perfect final project,” she says. “That’s an opportunity you don’t get once you leave school.” Then came COVID-19. Lambert flew back to her apartment in Brooklyn, where she moved class discussions to Zoom. “Moving online really forced them to rethink what they were trying to work on,” Lambert says. “They don’t have quick access to human beings. I’ve been excited to see them all take on that challenge and not give up. A number of them were doing film work but suddenly had no actors. They rewrote so they could be on camera more themselves. Some even rethought what you could see and hear.” Students say the timing made moving classroom discussions online easier. “The transition was pretty seamless,” Krgo says. “The whole semester, she wasn’t trying to force anything that didn’t feel natural. Out of all my classes, it felt the most natural.” Through Lambert, students also got a weekly live look-in to the epicenter of the pandemic, far away from Columbia. For Lambert, her conversations with students were an escape. “Brooklyn is sirens all day and all night,” she says. “It was nice


In addition to teaching a semester-long class in the School of Visual Studies, documentarian Alix Lambert, MU’s first long-term artistin-residence, shared her experience and wisdom with classes in other schools and also appeared on a campus podcast, above, in February.

“ I wanted them to experiment and push the envelope rather than thinking this has to be a perfect final project,” she says. “That’s an opportunity you don’t get once you leave school.” — Alix Lambert

to talk about life and art. I feel like I get from students as much as I offer. I enjoy the exchange. It gives me an energy about thinking and engaging.”


Smile and Look Confident

As far as real-world experience, it doesn’t get any more real than working with the artist-in-residence. Just ask singer Dani Major. During the only dress rehearsal, Olatuja had taken the three student backup singers to her dressing room at the Missouri Theatre to give them some advice. It didn’t matter if they messed up, she said, just stand there, smile and look confident. If you look like you know what you’re doing, the audience will just think you had a moment — if they notice at all. Major tries to remember that as she stands sweating onstage behind the great mezzo-soprano.

The song begins; Olatuja begins. Major, the top voice of the three supporting parts, comes in. But her compatriots don’t follow. “It was mortifying,” Major says now. “But as embarrassed as I was, nobody in the audience knew that we had messed up.” “They froze,” Olatuja says. “They had learned so much music for that event, had crammed so much music into their CPU brains so quickly that they shorted out. But it’s good that it happened there. They learned something they didn’t know about themselves. They don’t have time for that in the real world.” M About the author: Tony Rehagen, BA, BJ ’01, has written for GQ, The Columbia Journalism Review and Next Wave: America’s New Generation of Great Literary Journalists. His last story for MIZZOU magazine was “Dashing Hope,” about MU’s first Olympic medals a century ago.

Lambert had a wide range of experience to share with students, from her books to her documentaries such as The Mark of Cain, top left, and her work on television dramas, including the HBO series Deadwood, top right, for which she and her fellow writers earned a Writers Guild nomination in 2007.

Olatuja performed with students at the Chancellor’s Arts Showcase in February. “A central part of our land-grant mission is to ensure art is available to everyone,” says College of Arts and Science Dean Pat Okker. “Through AIR’s strategic partnerships with organizations like the State Historical Society, University Concert Series, MU Health Care and others, the entire community gets access to unique art experiences.” FALL 2020 33

FIRE Girl On

he probably stuck out no more or less than the other women who enrolled when the university first admitted female students in 1867. Her hair was parted down the middle and pulled back in a typical hairstyle of the era. She dressed properly in skirts that hid her ankles. But Mary Louise Gillett might have been considered bolder than most simply because she came from out of town. Most of the other coeds were from Columbia and had relatives to look after them. Gillett, hailing from Hannibal, was a hundred miles from home and presumably looked after herself. Back then, the board of curators fretted that “outsiders” like Gillett “without guardians or protectors” posed a danger to themselves and propriety, according to Jonas Viles, author of The University of Missouri: A Centennial History. Whatever else she was, Gillett — nicknamed Lulie — was a trailblazer. In 1867, MU established the Normal School (later the College of Education) to educate public school teachers and allowed young women to enroll in what was then considered a “very bold and hazardous measure,” according to a retrospective assessment in the 1871–72 university catalog. Gillett was among the first cohort of women students, and three years later, in 1870, she became the university’s first female graduate. This year marks the 150th anniversary of her graduation. With the letters NG (Normal Graduate) behind her name, Gillett taught school in her hometown for two years before returning to the university to teach. By then, women weren’t limited to the Normal School and had begun attending regular academic classes alongside the men. In the beginning, they’d been segregated. “The actual doors of the university building” were shut tight against the earliest coeds, and “we were assigned to a corner of the campus remote from that beautiful and sacred citadel, in a frame building remarkable only for lack of beauty or convenience,” wrote Sarah Gentry Elston, BS 1873, MS 1876, in a 1923 issue of The Missouri Alumnus, MIZZOU magazine’s predecessor. 34 MIZZOUMAGAZINE

Women and men generally did not comingle. If a man wanted to escort a woman to a social event, he wrote her a formal invitation, and the recipient, likewise, accepted or declined the offer in writing. At first, the university barred women from lectures, the chapel and even the library except during special hours. By the time university President Daniel Read penned the 1873 catalog, the women’s presence had “done no manner of harm,” he wrote, so “we very cautiously admitted them to some of the recitations and lectures in the University building itself … providing always, they were to be marched in good order with at least two teachers, one in the front and the other in the rear of the column as guards.” Not long after, “guards” escorted women in the same manner to chapel. “There, with becoming modesty we sat with downcast eyes,” Elston wrote. Rolling his eyes was President Read, who, based on the tone of his 1873 catalog, was amused at the anxieties and apprehensions about integrating women students. “By degrees,” he wrote, “and carefully feeling our way, as though explosive material was all around us, we have come to admit them to all the classes in all the departments, just as young men are admitted.” Women might not have been combustible, but academically, they were on fire. Two years after Gillett graduated, Anna Ware, BS 1872, became the first woman to receive a degree other than an NG degree. The following year, she became an assistant instructor of mathematics at the university. In 1874, a “girl” had the grades and the poise to be valedictorian, Viles wrote, adding that women students “carried off a quite disproportionate number of departmental prizes, ranging from freshman Greek and constitutional history to pruning.” In 1967, the university named a women’s residence hall after Gillett. It still stands as a memorial to a woman who seems to have fared well without a protector or guardian, though her sister did accompany Gillett to a drier climate to help her ailing lungs. Gillett’s health was recovering when she died in Colorado following a horseback riding accident at age 30. A smaller memorial marks her plot in Riverside Cemetery in Hannibal, a hundred miles from where she made history as MU’s first female graduate. M


A century and a half ago, MU’s first female graduate accepted her sheepskin and quelled fears that women’s presence on campus might ignite a frenzy. By Dawn Klingensmith, BA, BJ ’97

FALL 2020 35









In the lab or on the field, Heather Hennkens plays for keeps.






X X X X O O O O More than a decade later, Michael Lewis still remembers the moment he reconnected with Heather Hennkens. It was at a conference in Sydney. The two had briefly overlapped at Washington University in the early 2000s, but now, years later, Lewis was a professor of veterinary medicine at Mizzou, and Hennkens was a speaker at the conference. Lewis doesn’t remember what Hennkens’s presentation was even about (it was about radiopharmaceuticals). What stands out in his memory is the sight of Hennkens at an afterparty. She was dancing in a walking boot and on crutches. More shocking than that sight was the explanation she gave: She had broken her ankle playing professional football. “I didn’t even know women played football at that level,” Lewis says. “When I found out she’d been doing that, I knew she was serious about things that you wouldn’t normally encounter in professional life. It also indicated that she does things that most people don’t do.” Lewis encouraged Hennkens to do her postdoctoral fellowship at Mizzou, which she completed in 2009. She’s now a new assistant professor of chemistry at MU. But just because she’s hung up her cleats and put on a lab coat doesn’t mean that Hennkens has stopped playing around. “When I refer to work in the lab, I say, ‘We play with molecules,’” says Hennkens. “If I’m just chatting with people, I refer to it as play. It should be fun; you should enjoy it. If it’s your career, it should be something you can find passion in. From that perspective, work is play.” That’s not to say that Hennkens doesn’t take her work seriously. In fact, her research might one day mean the difference between life and death for cancer patients. In her work with radiopharmaceuticals, Hennkens is trying to develop radioisotope pairs. One of the twins detects cancer and the other targets therapy that contains and eliminates the tumors. The former would help doctors precisely locate and stage tumors, and the latter would treat tumors directly, sparing adjacent organs. This could allow physicians to treat cancer without the sapping side effects of chemotherapy. It’s exactly the type of medical research that is at the core of MU’s NextGen Precision Health Initiative, and a breakthrough for Hennkens would be a game-changer. Playfully pushing boundaries is practically in Hennkens’ DNA. One of her first memories was winning a tee-ball trophy at age 5 and then being crushed when she dropped it and broke off the bat. Growing up, she was competitive in soccer as well as in softball, which earned her a scholarship to play at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri. Eventually,

chemistry labs started conflicting with practices on the diamond, so she quit the college team. But she still found time for competitive women’s fast-pitch and coed slow-pitch, where she displaced the men and took over starting shortstop duties. She also picked up flag football, which became a fixation — so much so that she decided to try out for the St. Louis Slam, then of the National Women’s Football Association, the first all-female professional tackle football league. “I wasn’t a kid; I was in grad school. It was great fun,” Hennkens says. But not all fun. “I never thought I’d have to do so much exercise with my neck. I had to watch TV with my helmet on just to get used to the weight. It was soreness like I’ve never felt before.” That pain was nothing compared to what awaited her on the field. X X X X “I was a wide receiver and kick O O O O returner,” she says. “Special O teams would try to flatten me like a pancake. I loved it.” “I was a wide The ankle injury that helped receiver and kick bring Hennkens to Mizzou returner,” she also effectively ended her pro football career. Now her arena says. “Special is the MU Research Reactor, teams would where she plays with medical try to flatten me radioisotopes in hopes that she and her team can make them like a pancake. I into molecules that go where loved it.” doctors need them to go. Although some of the research has been tested on animals, the road from bench to bedside is a long one. But Hennkens has never been one to shy away from a challenge. M FALL 2020 37





New Tiger football Coach Eli Drinkwitz and his staff are cold calling hundreds of Missouri high school coaches to make sure the state’s best recruits fuel the program. They’ve made a lot of friends already. : Mark Godich, BJ ’79 | : Zach Bland MIZZOU MAGAZINE


Fall 2020 | P. 39



John Klekamp is Missouri through and through. He was born and raised in St. Louis County, graduated from Lincoln University, and has coached high school football since 1997, the past 10 years as the head coach at rural Montgomery County High. “I just love the game,” he says. “I can be found talking to one of my coaches for hours about football and drawing something on a whiteboard.” What Klekamp has never had is a passion for University of Missouri football. “I’ve always wanted to root for the home team,” he says. But then he is quick to add, “I’ve been doing this for more than 20 years, and I’ve never been to a Mizzou game.” A rabid Notre Dame fan, he says he had no reason to make the 54-mile drive to Columbia on a fall Saturday. Eli Drinkwitz is changing that. The 37-yearold Arkansan with one year of Division I head coaching experience — the man who signed the 40 MIZZOUMAGAZINE

eyebrow-raising six-year $24 million contract — continues to show why he was the right man for the job at this time as Missouri football tries to regain traction in the grind that is the SEC. One by one, Drinkwitz is winning the skeptics over. Take, for example, Klekamp, who was intrigued when he heard Drinkwitz at his introductory news conference in December, got fired up upon seeing the viral video of Drink’s reaction to a Texas recruit’s announcement that he had chosen Mizzou over Alabama and the home-state Longhorns, and was blown away by the 20-minute phone call he had with new Tiger running backs coach Curtis Luper in April. Keep in mind that little ol’ Montgomery County is a school with an enrollment of about 400. The Wildcats haven’t produced a Division I player since the mid-1990s, and Klekamp was quick to remind Luper that he doesn’t have any such prospects coming through the program. Luper didn’t much care. The two men talked a little about football and a lot of family, and before they hung up, Luper told

Believing it helps make him accountable to his staff, Drinkwitz will continue to take a hands-on approach with the offense, not only calling the plays but also coaching the quarterbacks.

Klekamp to call if he ever needed anything. Say hello to John Klekamp, new Mizzou football fan. “I talk to a lot of college coaches,” Klekamp says. “This was a different kind of conversation. I was not offering him anything, and he was offering me something. To have the main school in the state reach out and try to build that relationship with the little guy was awesome.” The message was much the same in the blitz Drinkwitz and Co. employed across the state during that week in April, the staff burning up the phone lines to reach out to coaches from each of the more than 400 schools that play football in Missouri and in bordering towns. Upon being relayed details of the Luper-Klekamp chat, Drinkwitz says with a hint of enthusiasm: “That’s what it’s all about right there. Our job is to get all of us pushing in the same direction. We’ve echoed that the spirit of Mizzou is St. Louis, Kansas City and rural Missouri, and we’ve got to unite all of them. If we can do that, then we’ve got a chance.” So he is exhaustively leading the campaign, ever present on social media and especially Twitter. It’s about being visible, selling his vision of the state’s flagship football program and energizing the fan base. Sure, football is the focus, but it’s about more than that. He has posted videos in which he has thanked those serving on the front lines of the pandemic, made himself heard on social issues, saluted new graduates, pitched a reading program to youngsters and even chastised Columbians for failing to return their shopping carts to their proper place. (Attention, Walmart shoppers: Coach Drink would like a word about personal responsibility!) Pretty much every video ends with an M-I-Z. The gif of a Tiger growling “Welcome to the New Zou” that he tweets to his 45,000 followers when a recruiting commitment is imminent — and there already have been a slew for the class of 2021 — sets Missouri fan message boards abuzz, speculation running rampant about who the program’s newest pledge might be. “Any way to communicate,” Drinkwitz says. “I can be stubborn and say I don’t want to use social media. The reality of it is, I’ve got to get our message across to our team, to our fans and to our recruits. Whatever that avenue is, that’s what we’re going to do.” Ah, recruiting. It is, of course, the lifeblood of every program, and — stop us if you’ve heard this before — Mizzou is in the unique position of be-

ing able to attract prospects from two metropolitan areas as the only Division I school in the state. The Tigers, however, simply haven’t been all that good at sealing the borders. At least not consistently. Time and again, marquee programs (Ohio State, Oklahoma and Notre Dame, to name three) have raided the state to steal star recruits. It has been a particularly big problem in St. Louis. “I was talking with a prominent St. Louis high school coach who told me the kids here are buying what Coach Drink is selling,” says Josh Helmholdt, the Midwest recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. “And that’s an important part of recruiting. They have to believe in your product. They have to believe in your process.” So far, so good. By early August, six of the staggering 18 commitments Missouri had secured were from the St. Louis area. The early recruiting success has not gone unnoticed around the city, even as the staff has been hamstrung by its inability to show off one of the program’s biggest assets — the $100 million south end zone facility at Faurot Field. Drinkwitz, however, seems unfazed. “Adjust and adapt,” he says matter-of-factly about the challenges of operating in a pandemic. Virtual recruiting it is. The guy was made for it. De Smet coach Robert Steeples, BS BA ’12, a cornerback at Mizzou from 2009 to ’11 who later played in the NFL, says Drinkwitz comes off as a guy brimming with confidence. “The vibe I got from him is a guy who’s confident in his knowledge of the game and what he has to do to implement it,” Steeples says. “That belief could get a lot of guys to buy in. His passion seems to be infectious, along with his charisma.” Klekamp was sold the instant he saw the 102-second video of Drink’s reaction to the announcement from Ennis Rakestraw, a cornerback from Duncanville, Texas. “That’s the kind of guy I can root for,” Klekamp says. “It’s one recruit, but you can tell he was really competitive about it and wanted to celebrate it. He just seems real genuine. Those are the kinds of things that speak to us at the high school level, especially at the small schools, with the way we coach and the passion we have for our kids.” As a St. Louis native who starred at De Smet and returned to coach at his alma mater, Steeples is well-versed in the world of recruiting. St. Louis has become a hotbed, and most agree the talent in the city and around the state runs deep enough for Mizzou to build the foundation for a highly successful program. Lest we forget, 10 of the 11 offensive starters from the 2007 team, which got to No. 1 in the country and was one victory from playing for the national championship, were from the state. In fact, all five linemen hailed from small-town


“We talk about chasing two dreams: a life with football and a life after football. The life with football, we believe we can win the SEC East. That’s the mission. That’s why we’re here.”

Viral Reaction

Watch Coach Drinkwitz’s reaction when a high school recruit chose Mizzou over Alabama and Texas. tinyurl.com/Eli-OMG

FALL 2020 41



Home football and basketball games are set to feature digital tickets for safety and convenience. Using the Mizzou Tigers app, fans will display tickets on their smartphones at the gate for touchless entry. Call the Mizzou Athletics Ticket Office at 1-800-CAT-PAWS for details, including alternatives. Visit mutigers. com to learn the latest on all things athletic.


Missouri and Kansas have slated a four-game series over eight years, beginning at home in September 2025. After 120 games, Mizzou leads the series 57-54-9, with wins in five of the last six contests. The Tigers and Jayhawks last clashed in 2011 before Mizzou joined the SEC.


Missouri, proof there’s a place in the program for players from rural schools and why Drinkwitz will leave no stone unturned to find them. The biggest issue in recruiting the state, Steeples says, is the program hasn’t always placed a high emphasis on the value of Missouri prospects. “It wasn’t that the talent wasn’t there,” he says. “The school didn’t necessarily see value in those players. You can feel that when you’re recruited. You can tell when you’re a priority and when you may come off as an afterthought. A lot of times Mizzou was late to the party.” Adds Helmholdt: “If you’re not valuing the guys in your backyard more than the guys in someone else’s backyard, kids notice that. I think Drinkwitz has done a good job of showing appreciation for the home-state talent.” So what exactly is the message? “It’s a combination of the vision we have for the future of Mizzou football and the vision we have for their lives,” Drinkwitz says. “We talk about chasing two dreams: a life with football and a life after football. The life with football, we believe we can win the SEC East. That’s the mission. That’s why we’re here. “We believe education changes lives. It has to do with making sure the players understand that and how those two things coexist and why it’s important for us that they happen simultaneously while they’re at Mizzou.” That’s all well and good, but the bottom line is that Drinkwitz will be judged by the product he puts on the field — in other words, the wins and losses, the ability to contend in the SEC East, the quality of the bowl games. He’s no stranger to success, having made a meteoric rise up the coaching ranks from the days when he cut his teeth as the coach of the seventh grade team in Alma, Arkansas, back in 2005. He has worked under some of the best offensive minds in the game, most notably Gus Malzahn, now the coach at Auburn. No surprise, Drink’s hands will be all over the offense. Ask him to describe what kind of system Missouri fans can expect, and his cadence quickens, perhaps as a nod to the way his offense will play: fast. “We call it pro-tempo offense, pro-style,” he says. “We’re based out of the no-huddle, but we’ll play with multiple personnel groups. We want to be able to play as fast as we want and as slow as we need to.” Don’t confuse fast with finesse. The offense is predicated on a downhill running game, and the skill set of the quarterback will largely dictate how Drink chooses to attack. Never was that more evident than in his last two offenses. At Appalachian State last season, he oversaw the

16th-ranked rushing attack in the country, leaning on the legs of Darrynton Evans, who ran for 1,480 yards. Even with a passing game that ranked 93rd, the Mountaineers averaged 39.8 points per game, ninth best in the land. The previous year, when he was the offensive coordinator at NC State, Drinkwitz rode the arm of Ryan Finley, a future NFL draft pick. The Wolfpack ranked eighth in the country in passing offense, and although they were only 100th in rushing, the balance between the run and the pass was almost 50-50. “We’re going to have a dominant downhill run game, and we’re going to throw vertical shots,” Drinkwitz says. “Our offense comes down to three things: rhythm, attack, execute. Everybody has plays. It’s a matter of whether your offense is comfortable doing it and if it’s in rhythm. It’s a matter of whether the defense feels like it’s threatened on every play that you may score. And then can your team execute? Can they play well under pressure?” Drinkwitz will call the plays, and in a rare move, he’ll also coach the quarterbacks. It’s what he did at App State, and it’s hard to argue with the results: a 13–1 record, including wins at North Carolina and South Carolina, and a No. 19 ranking in the final AP poll. Drink has an eye for quarterback talent, a quality he traces to his days as a high school coach. He learned early on that quarterbacks come in all shapes and sizes and that no two are the same. So you adapt the offense to the kid’s strengths. There’s more to it than simply coaching a position, however. Drinkwitz believes his extra involvement makes him accountable in staff meetings and film sessions. He’s going to make mistakes just like his assistants do, and he’s not afraid to own up to them. “Low ego, high output,” as he puts it. Plus, he believes his candidness reminds his staff that everyone is human and they’re all in it together. Then there’s this: “The saying is: My ass, my hands. If my ass is on the line, my hands are going to be involved in it.” As the running backs coach at App State last season, Garrett Riley had a front-row seat for the Drink Show. The Mountaineers were coming off a couple of successful seasons and returned a wealth of experience. But if it sounds as if Drinkwitz walked into the perfect situation, don’t be fooled. He installed his own offense, put himself in charge of the QBs and navigated the choppy waters of being a first-time head coach. Never mind how he handled the double duty as a position coach. Riley was especially impressed with Drink’s organizational skills and football knowledge. “He’s very intelligent, a guy who’s really organized,” says Riley, who’s now the offensive coordinator at SMU and is the younger brother of Okla-


homa Coach Lincoln Riley. “He brought a lot to the table in terms of the entire organization and how it operated. I thought he was well beyond his years, and not having been a head coach, I thought he really excelled at that. And then just very knowledgeable with his system, his offense and the way he wants players to be developed.” Philosophically, Riley says he doesn’t expect much to change from what he witnessed with the Mountaineers. “Balance, change of tempo,” he says. “Formationally, he’s very tough for defenses. It’s what he does with formations and motions. It’s going to be hard to prepare for. He’s going to look for big plays like everybody does, and that’s something he has a pretty good feel for. And make no mistake about it: He’s going to pride himself on making them tough and being a physical team.” Drinkwitz, Riley notes, takes great pride not only in developing quarterbacks but also in identifying what they can handle. The offense evolves from that. And therein lies arguably his biggest challenge heading into his first season at Mizzou. Understandably, one of Drinkwitz’s biggest frustrations has been the lack of opportunities to work more closely with his quarterbacks. The Tigers got in only three spring practices before things were shut down, and as the

calendar turned to April, the staff was relegated to virtual coaching. Even that was limited. Then came word in late July that the SEC would play a 10-game, conference-only schedule, starting on Sept. 26. Sure, that gives Drink more practice time, but lost is the opportunity to conduct quarterback auditions against the likes of Central Arkansas. (Oh, and those two added SEC opponents? Alabama and LSU.) The starter figures to come from one of three candidates: junior Shawn Robinson, a transfer from TCU who sat out last season; redshirt freshman Connor Bazelak, who played in three games in 2019 before tearing the ACL in his right knee in the season finale; and redshirt junior Taylor Powell, who has 76 career pass attempts. “It’s going to have to happen very quickly, and they’re going to have to maximize their reps,” Drinkwitz says. “That’s probably the biggest thing we’re going to have lost in this. Whoever comes in the most prepared and takes advantage of their opportunity is going to win the job.” John Klekamp will be watching. If the situation allows, he might even be there. M About the author: Mark Godich, a 1979 graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism, is a senior editor at The Athletic and a former senior editor at Sports Illustrated.

Drinkwitz’s infectious enthusiasm was on full display after Appalachian State knocked off North Carolina last September, one of the Mountaineers’ two victories over a power-five program en route to a No. 19 national ranking.

FALL 2020 43


Celebrate Homecoming 2020 On October 17, Homecoming will celebrate traditions that bring Tigers together.


HALL OF FAME The 2020 Hall of Fame class will be inducted and honored in a virtual ceremony. Tune in to hear special messages about the inductees and each one’s response to the recognition. Join the Mizzou family and friends for this virtual moment filled with #MizzouMade pride. More: Mizzou.com/HallofFame


while keeping alumni and students safe. Find the latest news on the happenings of Homecoming weekend at mizzou.com/homecoming. Meet the event’s student leaders on Page 47.

C L O C K W I S E F R O M TO P : M U P U B L I C AT I O N S F I L E P H OTO ; S A M O ’ K E E F E ; 1 9 6 5 S AV I TA R ; K AY L A B O W C U T T; M U F I L E P H OTO

Way back in 1911, Chester Brewer called alumni home to enjoy a set of high-spirited events wrapped around a football game. Mizzou Homecoming was born. Tigers 3, Jayhawks 3. In times like these, traditions are more important than ever, and the Mizzou Alumni Association will sponsor its signature event, as always. This year’s festivities will look different than usual. But rest assured the 34 students staffing the Homecoming Steering Committee are laboring to produce an exciting experience that respects Mizzou history

Old Missouri, fair Missouri, Dear old varsity,

Ours are hearts that fondly love thee, Here’s a health to thee.

FALL 2020 45


The late Alexander Pickard’s legendary Mizzou career began in 1961 when he started work, fresh from The Juilliard School, as assistant band director and brass instructor. He became director of bands five years later. In subsequent decades, his groups delighted fans with theatrical halftime performances, including marching innovations such as the famous “Flip Tigers.” He died Oct. 29, 2019.


In the summer of 1971, Norm Ruebling was new to the ranks of M2, Marching Mizzou. During an 8 a.m. band camp session, the 250-pound freshman percussionist was trying to stand in formation, melting in the sweltering August heat, when he came face to face with the bullhorn of Alexander Pickard. “Ruebling!” barked the band director into the horn. “You’re not in Troy, Missouri, anymore! Cover down!” Translation: Line up directly with the people around you. Now! But Ruebling recalls he had little to go on by way of landmarks. “I’m thinking to myself: ‘Is he kidding?’ ” says Ruebling, BS Ed ’79, M Ed ’80, looking back almost 50 years later. “I’m standing behind a flute player who weighs maybe 100 pounds soaking wet, and I’m supposed to cover down?” Ruebling would soon learn what thousands of Tiger musicians discovered between 1961, when Pickard arrived at Mizzou from The Juilliard School, until he retired in 1995: That “Dr. P” was always serious about marching band — and taking care of his “kids.” “He was not like a Gen. Patton, but more like a confident leader who understood the value of his students,” says Ruebling, who is now a professional

drummer, bandleader, and co-owner of MO-X Doc and Norm Direct airport shuttle service. “It was always about the band, not about him. If the Kansas City Chiefs forgot to feed us, he told them we wouldn’t march. On bowl trips, when the higherups wanted a scaled-down version of M2, he told them, ‘We all go, or we all stay home.’ We all went.” After being named director of bands in 1966, Pickard built the university’s marching band into the “Big M of the Midwest,” known throughout the world. On his watch, the band started using the “M-I-Z, Z-O-U” chant that has become synonymous with MU. He came up with the idea of Mini Mizzou and was the first director to have the Golden Girls dance. He led Marching Mizzou to London, where they played at Wembley Stadium for the FIFA World Cup. In 1983, he became assistant chairman of the School of Music. But Pickard’s legacy truly lives on in the memories of the students he cared for so deeply. “Later that day [at band camp] on a water break, Dr. Pickard comes over and puts his arm around me and says, ‘How are your mom, Ruth, and dad, Ralph, doing?’ ” Ruebling says. “He knew my parents’ names. He met them one time eight weeks prior and remembered their names. He never ceased to amaze me.” — Tony Rehagen, BA, BJ ’01


Leader of the Band

Timeless and True

Meet the trio of Tigers leading the Mizzou Alumni Association’s 34-student Homecoming Steering Committee. This squad spends months planning events that culminate in the Homecoming celebration.

Macyn McClurg, 21

John Yeager, 21

Rebecca Shyu, 20

Favorite class: Differential Equations. I am a huge math nerd! Homecoming theme means to me: Now, more than ever, we recognize Mizzou students’ resilience and determination. Timeless and True encompasses that. My best idea as a director: Having Chipotle cater our retreat Proudest of: My little brother. At 17, he has become such an awesome human being. Biggest surprise about college life: How fast it flies by Can’t live without: Coffee definitely makes me a better person. Deal breaker in a romance: Chewing on fingernails First purchases with lottery winnings: Golden retriever puppies, and, if there was enough left over, a house Biggest weakness: I get so focused that I can be a bit forgetful. Dream job: Patent lawyer, which combines problem-solving, logistical analysis and the need to be personable Favorite game: Poker. I feel tough playing it. I relax: Taking walks and hikes totally calms me down. Perfect day: Sunny, 70, no class, no homework Would love to read the mind of: My dog. I think he would have a lot to say.

Self-description: Charismatic, relatable, intuitive Homecoming theme means to me: Timeless and True means the values Mizzou is built on will remain strong and that much work needs to be done to stay true to those values. My best idea as a director: Communitywide dome lighting event Most exciting MU experience: Walking onto the field at last year’s Homecoming in a packed stadium Ultimate dinner companion: My roommate Billy always has good stories, and he eats as quickly as I do. Always wanted to: Skydive A casual friend would never guess: I drive a truck. Splurges: Dinner with my girlfriend and gifts at Christmas Most important quality in a friend: Supportiveness First purchases with lottery winnings: A weekend lake house and Jet Ski Superpower I’d like to have: Teleportation. I’d wake up later for classes, save on plane tickets and never be late for anything. I relax: Sitting by a pool when it is nice out, or staying indoors and watching a movie or a Netflix series Obsession: Harry Potter Favorite game: Catch Phrase. It always causes arguments.

Self-description: Dedicated, reliable, compassionate Involved in Homecoming because: To give back to the community that raised me. Homecoming puts something magical in the air. Most challenging thing about being a director: Doing everything via Zoom My best idea as a director: Taking naps between meetings Proudest of: Being part of the 2019 Blood Drive Committee where we collected over 3,300 units of blood Most exciting experience: Kayaking to a glacier in Alaska. Everything was so calm and surreal. Ultimate dinner companion: Ruth Bader Ginsburg because of her tenacity and dedication to paving endless possibilities for women Can’t live without: My phone! A casual friend would never guess: I can do the splits. Biggest fear: Spiders. You just never know what they’ll do next. Splurges: Food and frozen custard Would never: Own a cat. I’ve never met a nice cat. First crush: Zac Efron I relax: Cooking with friends Favorite quote: “The most damaging phrase in the language is, ‘We’ve always done it this way.’ ” — Rear Adm. Grace Hopper


Chemical engineering major from Agency, Missouri

Accounting major from St. Charles, Missouri

Computer science major from Columbia

FALL 2020 47


Incoming Mizzou Alumni Association President Robin Wenneker urges association members to tell the university’s story. “Whether it’s in person or virtually, we need to continue connecting to educate students, alumni and the public about the really amazing work the university does.”


In football, a triple threat is someone who can pass, kick and run. In the field of higher education, Robin Wenneker, BS BA ’91, has become a triple threat of a different kind. The Mizzou Alumni Association’s 2020–2021 president brings an all-star set of experiences, expertise and spirit to her volunteer position. For Wenneker, supporting higher education is a way to help others reach their potential. “I want any student in the state who feels that higher education is the right path for their success to be able to find schools that help them achieve their goals,” she says. “Missouri is lucky to have many great universities, with standouts being our public research universities: UMSL, Missouri S&T, UMKC and, of course, Mizzou.” In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, she encourages alumni association members to become ambassadors and advocates for the university. “Whether it’s in person or virtually, we need to continue connecting to educate students, alumni and the public about the really amazing work the university does,” she says. Growing up in Columbia, Wenneker’s childhood memories include Homecoming parades and family stories centered around the university. Her father, Ron Wenneker, BS Ag ’60, and grandfather, Homer Patrick, BS Ag ’39, MA ’40,

both graduated from MU with degrees in agriculture. As a business major, Wenneker gained a firsthand appreciation of a Mizzou education before earning an MBA at Washington University in St. Louis. “I loved my time at Mizzou; my academics, my internship with the athletic department and my sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta. I found unconditional support — people who just wanted me to be successful in whatever I chose to do.” Since graduating 29 years ago, Wenneker has paid it forward. While in Atlanta working for the Paralympics Games in 1994, she restarted a dormant Mizzou Alumni Association chapter. Ever since returning home in 1997 to become managing partner of the Wenneker family’s farm management company, her support of MU has been nonstop. In all, she has served on more than 25 organizations affiliated with Mizzou and the University of Missouri System. She was recently appointed to the University of Missouri board of curators by Missouri Gov. Mike Parson after serving for a year on Missouri’s Coordinating Board for Higher Education. Whatever Wenneker can do for the university she will do. “I’m a big believer in the saying, ‘As goes the university, so goes the state.’ ” — Jack Wax, BS Ed ’73, MS HES ’76, MA ’87


All-in for Mizzou

Class Notes

(Robert M. Roseth, 2020).


HHKathy Maupin, BA ’77, MD ’81, of Creve Coeur, Mo., won the First Place Independent Press Award for Got Testosterone? (Biobalance Health LLC, 2019).

HHGlenn Felner, BJ ’49, of Winnetka, Ill., received the French Legion of Honour for his service during World War II. HRobert Huddleston, BS PA ’49, of Chapel Hill, N.C., wrote Love and War: A Father and Son in Two World Wars (Austin Macauley Publishers LLC, 2020).


Kim Jocelyn Dickson, BS Ed ’78, of Upland, Calif., wrote The Invisible Toolbox: The Power of Reading to Your Child from Birth to Adolescence (Mango Publishing Group, 2020).

HGerald “Jerry” Shnay, BJ ’57, and HPenny Shnay, BJ ’60, of Park Forest, Ill., celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in April 2020.



Jeff Briggs, BJ ’85, of Jefferson City, Mo., is president of the National Earthquake Program Managers.

HMarjorie Slankard, BA ’67, MD ’71, of San Diego retired after 30 years as a professor of medicine at Columbia University.


Ed Shew, BJ ’75, of Lake St. Louis, Mo., wrote Chinese Brothers, American Sons (Earnshaw Books, 2020). Robert Roseth, MA ’76, of Seattle wrote Ivy Is a Weed

HHLisa Merrill Hickok, BJ ’83, MA ’84, of Kansas City, Mo., is executive director of Park University’s International Center for Music.

Andy Hill, BA ’85, of Kansas City, Mo., is a special teams assistant coach for the Kansas City Chiefs. Kim Moore Huyett, BJ ’86, of Prairie Village, Kan., is senior director of community relations and strategic partnerships for

the University of Kansas Medical Center. Shannon Shy, JD ’88, of Washington, D.C., is senior counsel (land use) in the office of the assistant secretary of the Navy. HBruce Eric Cantor, BA ’89, of Minneapolis is medical director at UCare. HHMark J. Lodato, BJ ’89, of Syracuse, N.Y., is dean of S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.


Daniel W. Gifford III, BJ ’92, of Louisville, Ky., wrote The Last Voyage of the Whaling Bark Progress (McFarland Press, 2020). Sudheer Babu Koganti, MS ’93, MS ’96, of San Diego is vice president of engineering for ImageWare Systems Inc. HHPaula Fleming, MA ’95, PhD ’05, of Columbia, Mo., is president and chief executive officer of Great Circle. Taliza Johnson, BS CiE ’95, of Washington, D.C.,

is regional manager of the Remington and Vernick Engineers office in Laurel, Md.

New Orleans is commander of the 122nd Fighter Squadron for the U.S. Air Force.

HBrian Henke, BS Acc ’97, of Kansas City, Mo., is executive vice president for administration and chief financial officer at Kansas City Art Institute.

HHJoseph Kaiser, BA ’99, JD ’02, of Johns Creek, Ga., is a partner at Groth and Makarenko.

Sherri McIntyre, MS ’97, of Liberty, Mo., was appointed public works director for the city of Liberty. Julie Tuggle-Nguyen, BA ’97, of Weldon Spring, Mo., is executive vice president of human resources at Midwest BankCentre. HBronwen E. Madden, BA ’98, of Peace Valley, Mo., wrote How Bronwen Got Her Smile Back (Bronwen E Madden Consulting LLC, 2020). HHToby Stock, BS BA ’98, of Arlington, Va., is co-founder and president of The Dispatch, an online media company in Washington, D.C., focused on news and politics. Sam Joplin, BA ’99, of


Peter Fielding, MA ’00, of Kennesaw, Ga., is associate dean and associate professor of music at Kennesaw State University’s College of the Arts. Lindsey Roth Culli, BJ ’05, of Towson, Md., wrote Say Yes Summer (Delacorte Press, 2020). DeQuincy Howard, BGS ’06, of Wentzville, Mo., is head football coach at Roosevelt High School. Millie Munshi, BA, BJ ’06, of New York is global food czar and agriculture editor at Bloomberg News. Lea Satterfield, BS HES ’09, of Kansas City, Mo., founded MPower Co.


Lindsay Eanet, BJ ’10, of Chicago is the public


Mizzou Botanic Garden Help keep our campus beautiful. Annual membership, $25 Lifetime membership, $1,000 Tribute Tree, $2,500 or more Tribute Bench, $5,000 or more Gifts are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

For more information: (573) 882-1830 or gardens.missouri.edu



FALL 2020 49


JOB WELL DONE John A. Gordon, BS ’68, never talked much about himself or his career. Part of that reticence came with the job — he held top-secret clearance as a weapons physicist who rose to senior positions in the 90th Missile Wing, Air Force Space Command, the White House National Security Council and the CIA. He retired in 2000 as a four-star general (MU’s only full general) before going on to lead the National Nuclear Security Administration and serve as homeland security adviser to President George W. Bush. But much of Gordon’s reserve was pure Midwest modesty from a Missouri native who capped a stellar globe-trotting career by retiring quietly to Columbia, where he died in April from complications due to Parkinson’s. “He didn’t brag about it very much,” says Marilyn Gordon, BS Ed ’66, John’s wife of 52 years. “When he passed, he was very satisfied with what he had done. He felt that it was his duty.” He was proud of his family. John and Marilyn met at Mizzou as students in 1965 at a campus mixer. She remembers he was tall, with a nice smile and blue eyes. As they dated, she came to find that he was also smart and ambitious. Upon his graduation, they moved to California, where he was commissioned in the Air Force. It was the beginning of a military life that would send the couple from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Omaha, Nebraska, to Washington, D.C. He was also proud of his alma mater. In 2000, John was

invited back to serve as grand marshal of the Mizzou Homecoming Parade, and in 2003, he received the Mizzou Alumni Association’s Faculty-Alumni Award. Eight years later, he and Marilyn returned to Columbia. He joined the University of Missouri Flagship Council, and they both contributed to the Chancellor’s Fund for Excellence. He received the university’s Golden Quill Alumni Excellence Award in 2019. He and Marilyn regularly attended Mizzou football and men’s and women’s basketball games. He met every Wednesday morning for coffee with 10 other alumni at B&B Bagel, where he spoke often, though rarely about himself. “He was a good conversationalist,” says Gary Smith, M Ed ’65, PhD ’71, former MU director of admissions and registrar and a member of the coffee crew. “But he was not one to gossip. You seldom heard him talk about a president or general who wasn’t a good guy. He was a gentleman. And he was one of the few people that you feel very fortunate to have been able to call a good friend.” — Tony Rehagen, BA, BJ ’01


Legacy N




This season, two new dry wines join the lineup! Look for MIZZOU Vintage wines at your local retailer, or online at missouriwine.com.


Legacy Legacy D RY W H ITE W IN E










FALL 2020 51

MIZZOU ALUMNI NEWS address announcer for the Chicago Red Stars. HAndy Peebles, BA ’11, JD ’15, of Springfield, Mo., was named to Springfield Business Journal’s 2020 40 Under 40 class. He is an attorney at Carnahan, Evans, Cantwell and Brown PC. Nicholas Goos, EdD ’14, of Liberty, Mo., is principal of Northview Elementary. HShelly Rosenfelder, JD ’14, of Springfield, Mo., was named to Springfield Business Journal’s 2020 40 Under 40 class. She is an associate attorney at Husch Blackwell LLP. HNathan Snodgrass, BJ ’18, of Chicago is an account executive at Brunswick Group.


James Johnson, a proponent of public history, spent much of his career teaching history and calling attention to Alabama sites important to Black history. These days, at age 85, he shares his knowledge with others advocating for historic preservation and tourism in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood, where he grew up. Johnson, MA ’71, PhD ’75, serves on the board of the Black Metropolis Convention and Tourism Council, which promotes Bronzeville and its properties with Black history connections listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Johnson’s journey to the South and back again began while studying history at Mizzou, where he gained a sense that “history went beyond government,” he says. “I learned that history included cultural groups, cultural traditions and cultural institutions. It also involved religion and sense of place.” As a professor at Alabama A&M University, Johnson directed the State Black Archives, Research Center, and Museum, where his leadership included raising awareness about local Black history sites. For instance, he helped


make others aware that the 10th Cavalry of Black “buffalo soldiers” had recuperated in 1898 near the university upon returning from the Spanish–American War in Cuba. They had played a central role in winning the battle of San Juan Hill, though Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders originally were credited with the victory. An incident between Black and white troops prompted the buffalo soldiers to relocate to what became known as Cavalry Hill. Johnson wrote a pamphlet about these events, which inspired a community effort he co-directed to establish a state historical monument there. Johnson influenced countless history students, as well as a younger colleague Dorothy Walker, who directs the Freedom Rides Museum. It was from this former Greyhound bus station in Montgomery, Alabama, that activists departed to challenge state segregation laws. “Dr. Johnson would say, ‘These places are not going to be forgotten on my watch, not in my lifetime,’ ” Walker recalls. “It was rare to find an academician with such a passion for preservation of place.” — Susan DeGrane, BJ ’80

HDylan Maher, BA ’20, of Chicago is a real estate broker with Lee and Associates of Illinois. Albert Okwuegbunam, BA ’20, of Denver was selected by the Denver Broncos in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft.


HHSara Bondioli, BJ, BA ’05, and Erich Streckfuss of Cincinnati announce the birth of Millie Rose, April 8, 2020.


HHJoe E. Smith, PhD ’77, and Robert Steinborn of Chandler, Ariz., July 4, 2020. HHSean McLafferty, BA ’14, MPA ’17, and HHConnor Voss, BJ ’16, of Ashland, Mo., June 20, 2020.

Faculty Deaths

HMargaret Sayers Peden, BA ’48, MA ’63, PhD ’66, of Columbia, Mo., July 5, 2020, at 93. She




Preserving Place

Sarah Luebbert, BS ’20, of Chicago is a forward for the Chicago Red Stars.

SHOW YOUR TIGER PRIDE! Upgrade your membership today to receive our newly revamped Life Member kit!

BECOME A LIFE MEMBER TODAY! Already a life member and would like to purchase a kit? Visit mizzou.com/LifeMemberKit to purchase one today! mizzou.com/join | (573) 882-6611 FALL 2020 53


MIZZOU ALUMNI NEWS was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta, a professor emerita of Spanish and a renowned translator of Spanish-language literature. HHJohn W. Massey, BS Ag ’56, MS ’57, PhD ’60, of Aurora, Mo., March 27, 2020, at 88. He served in the U.S. Air Force and was an assistant professor and extension state livestock specialist at MU for 30 years. HWayne Anderson, PhD ’58, of Columbia, Mo., May 29, 2020, at 90. He was a professor emeritus and taught in the psychology department for 32 years. HJohn Dwyer, PhD ’88, of Columbia, Mo., June 26, 2020, at 73. He was associate professor emeritus of forestry. Daniel Coy Scroggins, of Wentworth, Mo., May

And the Survey Said

In 2019, Tiger alumni responded to a survey to help shape the Mizzou Alumni Association’s mission of serving the best interest of the University of Missouri. Conclusions? The 3,516 respondents are big fans of their alma mater, eager to keep in touch with campus and dedicated to helping today’s students succeed. Find takeaways here and visit mizzou.com/alumnisurvey for details.

Most respondents would enthusiastically recommend Mizzou to prospective students. DID YOU KNOW?

Volunteers handwrite congratulatory notes to admitted freshmen before each semester. More: mizzou.com/ congratsnotes Respondents placed high value on making need- and merit-based scholarships available. DID YOU KNOW?

The association awarded $620,250 in scholarships in the 2019–2020 school year.

Mizzou’s rich history, along with traditions such as Homecoming, make the student experience one worth cherishing. DID YOU KNOW? Membership dues support traditions including Tiger Walk and First Roar. Alumni enjoy staying connected to Mizzou through the association’s website and magazine. DID YOU KNOW? MIZZOU magazine has taken home national awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education two years running, with the latest

award in feature writing. The association recently revamped mizzou.com, making it even easier to keep up with campus news. Respondents agreed that identifying job opportunities is the most important way for alumni to support Mizzou students and that mentoring from alumni can help recent graduates succeed. DID YOU KNOW? The Mizzou Mentoring program pairs students with alumni and allows alumni worldwide to connect with students. More: mizzou.com/mentoring


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FALL 2020 55


This Year’s Quills

16, 2020, at 82. He was an associate professor of Spanish for 36 years.

Next time you are on campus, duck into Jesse Hall and check out Mizzou’s wall of fame, which honors winners of the Jefferson Club Golden Quill Alumni Excellence Award. Let’s hear it for the 2020 class: Harry Cornell, BS BA ’50 Cornell is chairman emeritus of Leggett & Platt Inc., a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Carthage, Missouri. In 1960, he became president and CEO of the company his grandfather co-founded in 1883. Under Cornell’s leadership, the company became an industry powerhouse.

network heard over six Missouri radio stations. Learfield is now a diverse media company that helped pave the way for today’s college sports multimedia rights landscape.

Claire McCaskill, BA ’76, JD ’77 Missouri’s first female elected to the U.S. Senate, McCaskill served from 2007 to 2019 after eight years as Bill Geist, MA ’71 Missouri’s state auditor. These days, In addition to winning two Emmys for she is a political analyst for MSNBC and a visiting his work on CBS News Sunday Morning, fellow at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. Geist is a New York Times bestselling author of nine books, including City William Trogdon, BA ’61, MA ’62, Slickers, Little League Confidential, The Big Five-Oh, PhD ’73, BJ ’78 Fore! Play and Way Off the Road. Under the pen name William Least Heat-Moon, Trogdon elevated the Clyde Lear, MA ’68 travel genre to new heights. He is Working in 1972 alongside Derry best known for Blue Highways, which spent 42 weeks Brownfield, Lear founded Learfield on The New York Times bestseller list. He recently Communications Inc., as a small farm published the novel O America. (More: Page 60)

Richard Thompson, of Columbia, Mo., June 30, 2020, at 81. He was a professor emeritus of chemistry and taught at MU for over 35 years.


HHRoy Moskop, BJ ’42, of Dallas June 11, 2020, at 98. He was a member of Kappa Sigma and served in the U.S. Army. HMary Hoffman, BS BA ’45, of Columbia, Mo., May 14, 2020, at 98. She was a member of Delta Gamma and served on the MU Chapter House Corp. as a chapter adviser for over 40 years. HHJames D. Moore, BS ChE ’47, MS ’48, of Las Vegas May 30, 2020, at 96. He served in World War II as a merchant marine.

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I had knee surgery when I was eleven. I had another when I was fifteen. I had another when I was twenty-four. And another when I was twenty-nine. I didn’t know if I’d ever lace ’em up again. Then, I had surgery at Mizzou BioJoint® Center.

2020 57 Learn more at FALL biojoint.com

WELCOME TRADITIONS CIRCLE MEMBERS Traditions Circle recognizes alumni and friends for their contributions to the Mizzou Traditions Fund. Their support of the Mizzou Traditions Fund preserves the traditions we love and provides scholarships for students. Marcia & Ted D. Ayres

Sherri & Randy Gallick

Teresa & Bruce McKinney

Mark Bauer

Edwin Gladbach

Todd Neimeyer

Melvin & Joyce Black

Harry Gremore

Karl Perrey

Linda & Larry Burton

Bob Haubein

Andrea & Andre’ Putman

Sharon Cinelli

Kathy & Steve Hays

Robert Ross

Julie & David Corley

B. W. Hoecker

Gene A. Schillie

Donald Dickerson

Christine Ladd

Nancy Staats

Deborah & Robert Dolgin

Cheryl & Craig Lalumandier

Kenneth Thorp

Kenyon Donohew & Ellen Kippel

Marcus Long

Kate Snider Thrailkill

Kate & Robert Fick

Debbie & Todd McCubbin

Henry Warren

Michelle Fortel

Sabrina & Eric McDonnell

Patty Wolfe

Ginny Fuldner

Mary & Jerome McKinney

Robert Wright

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT! Join Traditions Circle today at mizzou.com/traditionsfund | 800-372-6822


The Missing Link

B R O W N I N G : C O U R T E S Y M U S C H O O L O F H E A LT H P R O F E S S I O N S ; E VA N S , T I L L M A N : N I C H O L A S B E N N E R

Rob Tillman had never met a Black physical therapist before. Born and raised in St. Joseph, Missouri, he had only ever met a handful of Black professionals. So, as he prepared to graduate from MU, he wanted guidance from someone who had walked in his shoes. “Jerry [Browning] told me about this guy who came through MU a few years before me, so I sought him out,” Tillman says. “That was a game-changer for me.” — Kelsey Allen, BA, BJ ’10 The late Jerry Browning, PhD ’79 Prairie Village, Kansas Former director of Mizzou’s physical therapy program When it came to physical therapy and education, Browning was all business. A professor for 34 years and the director of the physical therapy program from 1973 to 1993, he was instrumental in implementing a problem-based learning curriculum and establishing the master’s program. But when it came to people, Browning was a relationship builder and joker. A favorite punchline featured a mother potato remarking on her daughters’ fiancés, including a certain famous TV journalist — “Oh, an Idaho is a fine tater, a fine tater indeed! ... But [Dan Rather], he’s just a common tater!” Browning, who died in 2017 at age 78, was beloved by students and faculty alike. When Browning heard that Tillman was searching for a mentor, he connected the aspiring physical therapist with a recent graduate, Keith Evans, who had just opened a physical therapy and sports medicine practice in Atlanta.

Keith Evans, BHS PT ’81 Mableton, Georgia Director of the Atlanta Human Performance Center Having just opened his own practice, Evans was hesitant to take on a student intern. But Browning reassured him Tillman was enthusiastic and willing to learn, so Evans agreed. When Tillman’s car rolled into the parking lot a few months later, Evans could hear the music blaring from his car stereo. And when he opened the front door, Tillman was wearing jeans and a T-shirt. “He was young and raw, and sometimes you had to pull the reins in on him,” Evans recalls. “The main thing I imparted to him was to take the work seriously. Consider your degree as nothing but a learner’s permit.” Evans went on to earn a master’s degree in exercise physiology, a doctorate in physical therapy and a doctorate in medicine. These days, he not only runs a full-service physical therapy practice and Atlanta’s first medically supervised fitness facility but also leads a highly sought-after externship program for PT students.

Rob Tillman, BHS PT ’86 Little Rock, Arkansas President of Ortho Rehab and Specialty Centers For Tillman, Evans was more than a mentor — he was the missing link between where Tillman was and where he wanted to be. “I was in awe of Keith,” Tillman says. “He really helped me figure out how I needed to carry myself as an African American in health care. As a minority, you have a tighter margin of error, so you have to manage as many variables as you can. Keith taught me that you really have to know more than the next guy if you want to have a shot at being busy.” Tillman went on to a postgraduate residency program and earned the highest clinical certification in orthopedic rehabilitation. In 2003, he opened a private practice, which has expanded to five locations across Arkansas. And as the president of the American Academy of Physical Therapy, he provides support for minority students and works to increase the number of minority professionals. “Knowing Keith made all the difference for me.”

FALL 2020 59

MIZZOU ALUMNI NEWS He’s Back on Your Reading List Mizzou’s own William Least Heat-Moon, author of blockbuster travel books Blue Highways, PrairyErth and River-Horse, has lately turned his narrative talents to fiction in the form of O America (University of Missouri Press, 2020). Heat-Moon, aka William Trogdon, BA ’61, MA ’62, PhD ’73, BJ ’78, gives us Nathaniel Trennant, an English physician who sails to Baltimore in 1848, witnesses the horrors of a slave market and soon meets Nicodemus, a runaway slave. Together they travel the backcountry and encounter characters living out the American experiment. “Not since Huckleberry and Jim lit out for the territory has there been a pair to explore America so engagingly and humorously,” writes Mike Mansur, MA ’80, Pulitzer Prizewinning journalist for the Kansas City Star.

HHJames T. Becker, BS Ag ’51, of St. Louis March 26, 2020, at 90. He served in the U.S. Army. Lloyd Carpenter, BS Ed ’51, of Elkridge, Md., June 6, 2020, at 90. He served in the U.S. Navy. HCharles Downs Jr., BJ ’52, of East Lansing, Mich., May 3, 2020, at 92. He served in the U.S. Army. HHGeorge R. Goode Jr., BS BA ’53, of St. Louis March 10, 2020, at 89. He was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon and served in the U.S. Air Force. HHRichard P. Moore, BA ’54, JD ’56, of Ballwin, Mo., Jan. 15, 2020, at 86. He was a member of Kappa Alpha Order, served in the U.S. Army and was a past Mizzou Alumni Association president. HDon Moxley, BS Ag ’55,

of Sikeston, Mo., April 1, 2020, at 87. He was a member of Alpha Gamma Rho and served in the U.S. Army. Rosa Steele, MA ’55, PhD ’57, of Albuquerque, N.M., May 17, 2020, at 101. She was one of the first women computer programmers at Sandia Laboratories. HAllen R. Keathley, BM ’57, MA ’70, of Terra Haute, Ind., March 14, 2020, at 85. He was a reference librarian and music librarian and taught music classes at Indiana State University. HHHelen McHugh Brauer, BS HE ’58, MS ’59, of Nevada, Mo., May 9, 2020, at 88. She was a professor at various universities. HGale Newman, BA ’58, of St. Louis May 6, 2020, at 84. He was a member of Phi Kappa Psi and served in the U.S. Marine Corps.

HDonald Brown French, BS Ag ’59, of Charleston, Mo., March 22, 2020, at 84. He was a member of Phi Delta Theta and served in the National Guard. HHWilliam Ridgeway, MD ’61, of St. Louis April 24, 2020, at 85. He served in the U.S. Air Force. HJohn R. Dranichak, BS BA ’64, of Binghamton, N.Y., April 16, 2020, at 81. He was a member of Sigma Nu. Robert “Woody” Widenhofer, BS Ed ’65, of Colorado Springs, Colo., March 22, 2020, at 77. He was a Mizzou linebacker from 1961 to 1964 and head football coach from 1985 to 1988. HHJohn A. Gordon, BS ’68, of Columbia, Mo., April 19, 2020, at 73. He served in the U.S. Air Force for 32 years. He served as deputy director of the

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IF YOU HAVEN’T HEARD … New charitable gift annuity rates are available. Current rates for one person range from 3.9% to 8.6%, depending on the age of the recipient. The Office of Gift Planning and Endowments is available to aid you in any questions you may have. We look forward to seeing you again in person but we are here to help until then. Thank you again for your commitment to Mizzou’s mission.

New Rate Charts One Recipient

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1-800-970-9977 | 573-882-0272 | giftplanning@missouri.edu

The information in this advertisement is not intended as legal or tax advice. For such advice, please consult an attorney or tax advisor. References to tax rates include federal taxes only and are subject to change. State law may further impact your individual results. Annuities are subject to regulation by the State of California. Payments under such agreements, however, are not protected or otherwise guaranteed by any government agency or the California Life and Health Insurance Guarantee Association. A charitable gift annuity is not regulated by the Oklahoma Insurance Department and is not protected by a guaranty association affiliated with the Oklahoma Insurance Department. Charitable gift annuities are not regulated by and are not under the jurisdiction of the South Dakota Division of Insurance. The University of Missouri does not issue charitable gift annuities in the state of Tennessee.

FALL 2020 61

MIZZOU ALUMNI NEWS CIA and assistant to the president and homeland security adviser. HEdward M. Wheat, BA ’68, MA ’71, of Sumrall, Miss., April 19, 2020, at 76. He served in the U.S. Army. HHGena Awerkamp, BS Ed ’69, JD ’82, of Quincy, Ill., April 2, 2020, at 73. She was a member of Alpha Chi Omega. HHCandace Ficht Staringer, BA ’69, of Defiance, Mo., May 11, 2020, at 72. She served in the U.S. Air Force.

GOING NATIVE Tucked behind Mizzou’s Agriculture Building stands a small grove of native trees, remnant of an innovative learning garden with, uh, roots going back 40 years. In designing the Woodland and Floral Garden, horticulture students Kevin Karel, BS Ag ’79, and Bill Ruppert, BS Ag ’80, specified Missouri native plants and materials, earning industry recognition and helping spur interest in native landscaping. Now popular, native plantings back then weren’t even a thing, Ruppert remembers: “A horticulture professor asked why we wanted to plant a bunch of weeds behind the Agriculture Building.” More: tinyurl.com/woodland-garden — David LaGesse, BJ ’79

HHL. Clay Barton, BA ’70, JD ’73, of Lee’s Summit, Mo., May 3, 2020, at 71. He was a member of Delta Sigma Phi and practiced law in Oak Grove, Mo., for 45 years. HRichard Holden, BJ ’71, MA ’73, of Morristown, N.J., April 15, 2020, at 70. He worked for Dow Jones

and Co., publishers of the Wall Street Journal, for 41 years and was one of the original staffers of the Asian Wall Street Journal. HRonald Coleman, MS ’75, of Saint Clair, Mo., April 28, 2020, at 74. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps. HBrenda Grober, BA ’78, of Ballwin, Mo., Feb. 26, 2020, at 64. She was a member of Delta Gamma. HHMark Graham, BA ’79, of Westport, Conn., May 26, 2020, at 64. He worked in the broadcast business for over 25 years. HHMark Baganoff, BA ’81, of Hudson, N.C., May 30, 2020, at 62. He was a member of Marching Mizzou. HLarry Livingston, MS ’83, of North Augusta, S.C., March 27, 2020, at 71.

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PASSING OF A TRAILBLAZER At press time, the Mizzou community learned that Gus Ridgel, MA ’51, had passed away. Ridgel (1926–2020) became Mizzou’s first Black graduate degree recipient when he earned a master’s degree in economics in 1951. He went on to a distinguished career in teaching and administration at Kentucky State University. In 1987, MU established the Gus T. Ridgel Fellowship for underrepresented minority graduate students. DEGREE DESIGNATIONS 101* Bachelor’s degrees: BS Acc, accounting BS Ag, agriculture BA, arts BS BA, business administration BS Ed, education BFA, fine arts BS FW, fisheries and wildlife BGS, general studies BHS, health sciences BS HE, home economics BS HES, human environmental sciences BJ, journalism BS Med, medicine BSN, nursing BS, science BSW, social work

Bachelor’s degrees in engineering: BS ChE, chemical BS CiE, civil BS CoE, computer BS EE, electrical BS IE, industrial BS ME, mechanical Master’s degrees: M Acc, accounting MS Ag Ed, agricultural education MA, arts M Ed, education MS, science MSW, social work MPA, public affairs

Doctoral degrees: PhD, doctorate EdD, education JD, law MD, medicine DVM, veterinary medicine Did not graduate: ARTS, arts and science BUS, business EDUC, education ENGR, engineering JOURN, journalism *For a more detailed list of current degrees, visit catalog.missouri.edu/ degreesanddegreeprograms

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FALL 2020 63


Thousands of alumni have known Tom Schultz as a university leader. Yet few are aware of his time in national and international soccer. Below, Schultz travels with the 1954 Kutis soccer club Open Cup finalist squad.

Historical Footnote Prominent Mizzou booster had a little-known brush with soccer fame


take place in London’s legendary Wembley Stadium — until Queen Elizabeth’s coronation was scheduled for that summer. The game was moved to New York’s Yankee Stadium, where only 7,000 people braved the rain to watch the heavily favored Brits avenge their 1950 World Cup loss to the U.S. This time, it was Schultz’s squad that lost, 6–3. Sixty-seven years later, all that’s left of Schultz’s soccer career are some mementos like his cleats and a news clipping of Queen Elizabeth being crowned. (“She really screwed up my trip to England,” he deadpans.) But he says the true treasure from that time is the same thing he enjoys about his work with Mizzou. “Soccer meant so much to me,” he says. “Not just the game — but the people I met along the way.” — Tony Rehagen, BA, BJ ’01


Everyone knows Tom Schultz, BJ ’56. For more than three decades he has connected with students, faculty, administrators and alumni as both president and executive director of the Mizzou Alumni Association. But for all the people familiar with Schultz’s blunt and self-deprecating sense of humor, very few know that he once competed on the world stage as a member of the U.S. men’s national soccer team. In fact, because soccer was a niche sport here in the 1950s, many of Schultz’s countrymen and even some of his friends were unaware while it was happening. Schultz was born in St. Louis, a soccer hotbed where the children of German, Italian, Irish and Dutch immigrants had shared their inherited love of the European pastime since the early 1900s. He played throughout grade school, and in high school, he competed on teams that won the National Junior and National Amateur Championships. He was undersized and often underestimated, but he was good with his left foot and had a head for the game. “I knew where I needed to be on the field,” Schultz says. “And I knew who needed to be taken out. I didn’t look like I could hurt anybody — I could get by with a lot of things.” However, at the tender age of 18, it was Schultz’s scoring ability that earned him a tryout for the 1952 U.S. Olympic team. He scored twice during the two-game trials but was named alternate due to his youth. Schultz wasn’t called up, which he considers a blessing because that American team was promptly booted from the Helsinki Games with an 8–0 drubbing by Italy. Besides, Schultz’s moment was only a year away. In 1953, the U.S. national team tapped him to play an international friendly against England. The exhibition was to








Fall 2020

A History of Leading The School of Health Professions celebrates 20 years. 76

Looking Forward Preparing for a postpandemic world 70 Problem Solvers Jeff Carr’s mission in life is to treat people through movement. 72

FALL 2020 65



Manufacturing Opportunities Marym Musab was drawn to her degree in nuclear medicine because it offers opportunities for patient interaction and saving lives. Musab, BHS ’20, trained in the use of radiopharmaceuticals for diagnosing and treating disease. A key feature of her education included a six-week rotation this past spring at the MU Research Reactor, which makes radiopharmaceuticals and ships them worldwide. “I was very impressed with MURR,” Musab says. “We’re always ordering these drugs, but we don’t usually see what’s involved in getting the radiopharmaceuticals out and delivered.” MURR, the country’s most powerful university research reactor, is the sole U.S. producer of molybdenum-99, a radioisotope that’s critical to medical imaging. Radiopharmaceuticals injected into patients emit light that imaging equipment can detect

to pinpoint and track disease. In some cases, an altered version of the same drug can be used to treat the disease, targeting it without affecting organs nearby. “If someone has metastasized cancer throughout the body, we can’t irradiate the whole body,” says Jeff Galen, BS Ed ’90, BHS ’94, M Ed ’02, director of MU’s nuclear medicine program. “With radiopharmaceuticals, we can do very targeted therapy and have wonderful results.” The challenge is creating such drugs, which is where MURR comes in. “We’re lucky to have what MURR brings to our program, including not only faculty but also research opportunities for students,” Galen says. “Mizzou grads are some of the best trained in the country.”


Since early in the COVID-19 pandemic, School of Health Professions faculty have been quick to help the public better understand not only the disease but also its social aspects, including race. The pandemic is highlighting and heightening disparities, say Enid Schatz, professor of public health, and Michelle Teti, an associate professor in the same department. For instance, say the health disparities experts, a study of 27 states reports that the COVID-19 death rate is four times higher among Black than white people. Similar findings are emerging among other groups that have experienced health disparities, including racial and ethnic minorities, undocumented immigrants, and the incarcerated. Underlying health conditions that can make people more susceptible to COVID-19, including heart disease, diabetes and asthma, are already disproportionately prevalent in African American communities, they point out. What’s more, racial and ethnic health disparities in COVID-19 morbidity and mortality also derive from social determinants of health, including income, working conditions, education, literacy, childhood experiences, housing, social support and access to health services.

PAG E 6 5, M USA B : SA M O’ K E E F E ; M A S K : S H U T T E R STO C K

The Who of COVID-19

The Road to Recovery In 2018, opioid use disorder killed 1,132 Missourians, a rate well above the national average. Communities statewide need access to providers who can help them deal with the problem. In response, health psychology chair Laura Schopp, MA ’91, PhD ’95, is using a new $1.2 million grant to expand an internship program that deals with the problem, particularly in underserved communities. Opioid use disorder occurs in about 29 percent of patients who have been prescribed drugs for short-term pain relief but find it difficult to use them as intended, Schopp says. “Health psychology comes to this arena with great skills for improving treatment and access for people who are struggling.” The grant funds 21 doctoral students over three years. “We extend services at a number of places and get training in areas such as acute care, medical detox inpatient treatment facilities and outpatient treatment facilities,” says Eli Dapolonia, one of five interns who began their opioid treatment rotations in June 2020. By partnering with community-based treatment centers sponsored by the Missouri Department of Mental Health, interns are ap-

plying their knowledge of pain and addiction research to real-world settings, Schopp says. The internship’s use of telehealth services, initially reserved for remote communities, plays an important role in delivering treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic.



James McCorkle has used a wheelchair for most of his six years of life, and, for much of that time, he has been a client at the School of Health Professions’ PhysZOU clinic. That’s where he met physical therapy student Mark Weleaga, who quickly realized that McCorkle needed to improve his wheelchair skills. “During my first session with James, we had to encourage him a lot to get him to do different wheelchair skills and play games,” Weleaga says. So, for help, he went straight to the top — Mizzou’s wheelchair basketball team. “I was hoping to make therapy fun.” Enter J-School student and wheelchair basketball player Zach Steger. When Weleaga approached him about meeting McCorkle during his PhysZOU therapy sessions, Steger was all in. “I enjoy hanging out with him every Monday,” Steger says. He gives McCorkle wheelchair-handling tips, and they pace through agility drills similar to what Steger does at team practices. “Things we had to beg James to do previously, he was showing off the first time that Zach came,” Weleaga says. Steger knows the importance of mentors. “Even when I’m graduated, I really want to keep up with James,” he says. “Just to make sure he’s doing well and see where he’s going.”

School of Health Professions Programs Bachelor’s Degrees •C linical and Diagnostic Sciences (BHS) Clinical Laboratory Science, Diagnostic Medical Ultrasound, Nuclear Medicine, Radiography*, Respiratory Therapy* •H ealth Science* (BHS) Health and Wellness Services, Leadership and Policy, Pre-Professional, Rehabilitation Science •O ccupational Therapy Assistant (BHS) •P ublic Health* (BHS) • S peech, Language and Hearing Sciences (BHS) Master’s Degrees •C linical and Diagnostic Sciences* (MHS) Clinical Laboratory Science, Imaging Sciences, Respiratory Therapy •P ublic Health* (MPH) Health Promotion and Policy, Veterinary Public Health • S peech, Language and Hearing Sciences (MHS) Doctoral Degrees •H ealth and Rehabilitation Science (PhD) •O ccupational Therapy* (OTD) •P hysical Therapy (DPT) Graduate Certificates •E pidemiology* •G lobal Public Health* •P ublic Health* •P ublic Health Communication* Psychology Internships •P ediatric Psychology •R ehabilitation Psychology •N europsychology

Six-year-old James McCorkle gets tips during his PhysZOU therapy sessions from J-School student and wheelchair basketball player Zach Steger.

Psychology Fellowships • Pediatric Neuropsychology •A dult Neuropsychology * available online Emphasis areas FALL 2020 67



Fun for All

Speech, language and hearing sciences graduate students conduct a Parkinson Speech Program session with Gwen Nolan at Lewis Hall on the University of Missouri campus.

People with Parkinson’s disease often struggle with weak, imprecise speech. To help them, the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences created a program that provides individual and group therapy. Under faculty direction, graduate students gain experience working with participants during the sessions. Since 2018, the nonprofit Parkinson Voice Project has provided yearly grants to carry out this work. Most clients enter the program speaking 5 to 10 decibels below average, comparable to a quiet conversation at home, and reach normal range the first day. However, it takes about two weeks before others notice and comment on their stronger tone. Monitoring equipment and self-reporting help measure success, and positive experiences, such as clearer phone conversations, motivate participants to stick with the program. “To see them go from quiet and flat speech to smiling and laughing is just huge,” says Gwen Nolan, a former faculty member who brought the program to MU and now works for the Parkinson Voice Project. She credits the protocol’s success to its goal-directed approach, straightforward training and the camaraderie of fellow attendees. “Participants check their neighbor for whether they’re using their best voice. They spend half the time laughing, and they just love the students. “If someone’s having an off day, we ask them to practice simple sentences or short paragraphs when they read aloud,” Nolan says. “If they’re having a good day, they can practice delivering the Gettysburg Address.”




Nestled in the courtyard between Mizzou’s Lewis and Clark halls, the School of Health Professions’ new Inclusive Playground inspires people of all ages and abilities to do some exploring of their own. Tiger paw footprints lead to wheelchair-accessible structures and towers that include a Braille station and a music keyboard with drums nearby. Swings adapt to various mobility levels, an enclosed merry-go-round ensures safety and a basketball hoop adjusts to many heights. “We serve populations that can definitely benefit from something like this, so we thought it was a worthwhile investment,” says school advancement officer Michelle Custer, BA ’03. Populations include patients of the school’s physical therapy and occupational therapy clinics as well as clients of speech, language and hearing sciences. “This playground is an amazing opportunity for our preschool clients to engage in more physical activity,” says Christi Baker, BHS ’94, who directs the Combs Language Preschool. “We find that children who have speech and language challenges are more vocal when they’re moving and playing — especially outside, which brings new experiences to talk about.” Baker has noticed that a favorite piece of equipment is the pirate ship, an elaborate tilting structure with a buccaneer’s map inside, where student clinicians encourage imaginative play. For the playground’s many users, the treasure is easy to find.

Adapting for Accessibility

It was an aha moment when Bill Janes, a faculty member in the occupational therapy department, learned about Go Baby Go, a national network of students and professionals who modify ride-on toy cars for toddlers with limited mobility. “I realized this is why I became an OT, both because of how the kids responded to Go Baby Go and how it brought out a maker tendency in me,” Janes says. “I like to fix things and make them better for people.” Janes established Mizzou’s Go Baby Go chapter, a campuswide collaboration that includes students in OT, art, physical therapy and engineering. “I walked into a situation where tons of people were already motivated and had secured funding from Pascale’s Pals, so we were able to just take off,” he says. Janes also leads a team of occupational therapists who design and adapt dozens of practical devices for patients at Mizzou’s ALS clinic. Until recently, assistive devices were one-sizefits-all, meaning they weren’t perfect for anyone, Janes says. But with the help of 3D printing and computer design software, he and his team can customize everyday tools like bottle openers, nail clippers and even curling irons to help ALS patients live more independently.

Last year Janes received the Lee Henson Award in honor of both Go Baby Go and his 3D printing lab for their positive impact on accessibility. “OT is about finding surprisingly simple solutions to devastating problems,” he says.

OT faculty member Bill Janes uses a 3D printer to create adaptive equipment for people with disabilities.



The Marlboro Man might be long gone, but smoking and nicotine use in the Show-Me State live on at surprisingly high rates, says Jenna Wintemberg, BA ’10, MPH ’12, PhD ’17, assistant teaching professor of health sciences. An alarming 19 percent of Missouri’s adults smoke. Up to 50 percent of Missouri high school students have tried tobacco or electronic cigarettes, which pack lots of nicotine and come with the risk of pneumonia and respiratory failure. “The numbers for e-cigarettes keep going up and up and up,” she says. Wintemberg, a nationally certified tobacco treatment specialist, developed Adolescent Cessation in Every School (ACES), an ambitious statewide program distributed through school nurses to target emerging smoking and vaping. ACES serves as an alternative to disciplinary action for violating school tobacco policies by offering nurses and professionals exercises to guide students through behavioral interventions, such as support strategies and completing a quit plan. In addition, Wintemberg co-facilitates a program for adults, Quit Tobacco Now, in collaboration with Ellis Fischel Cancer Center and the MU Wellness Resource Center. She helps participants quit gradually

over 10 weeks by coaching them on triggers, coping strategies and the use of nicotine replacement therapy products. The free community program includes a 10-week supply of FDA-approved nicotine gum, patches or lozenges, which double an individual’s chance of success.

FALL 2020 69

The School of Health Professions prepares for a post-pandemic world. By Jack Wax, BS Ed ’73, HES ’76, MA ’87









f there were ever any doubt just how indispensable a role health professionals play, the COVID-19 pandemic has wiped it away. Health professionals hold the future of the nation and world in their hands. The MU School of Health Professions is preparing for that future while shaping it into a healthier one for individuals and communities. “We’ve been through a few epidemics in recent history, but this is the one that’s struck the hardest,” says Dean Kristofer Hagglund. “I believe that the school is poised to make advances in public health, and I would not be surprised at all to see public health become one of our major focus areas.” What the pandemic will not change are the school’s fundamental missions of teaching, research and health care. It’s a charge that extends the school’s impact far from the MU campus. “We have graduates teaching and conducting research at other universities, working for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and providing care in every state,” Hagglund says. “They are not only responding to this pandemic but also looking to the future, questioning how we can do this better the next time.” Mizzou’s land-grant status is as much a part of the school’s heritage as its future. “We value giving access to as many students as possible,” Hagglund says. “Our efforts are to produce graduates who reflect the communities they serve,” including diversity of gender, economic status and geography, seeking students from rural as well as urban areas. Historically, the demand for the school’s graduates has been extremely strong, with 100 percent of those earning professional degrees finding employment in their field. The school’s service projects also reflect its landgrant status. Student interns work in a variety of community programs, providing supervised health care and support through local public health agencies and clinics. In the next few years, research the school conducts on population health will become a critical element of the NextGen Precision Health Initiative. The initiative will unify research among the University of Missouri System’s four campuses and across disciplines. Its aim is to accelerate basic research, translating it into personalized medical treatments. “At its core, precision health is about identifying opportunities to expand effective health care by looking at genetics, individual lifestyles and the

environment. The School of Health Professions will contribute by generating or interpreting research that looks at wider populations, not just the health of one individual,” Hagglund says. Even dramatic advances in treatment and prevention can only improve public health if people can understand them, access them and trust in their efficacy. “Throughout this pandemic, many of our professionals have been talking to local Historically, the demand for communities through radio and newspaper the school’s graduates has interviews,” Hagglund been extremely strong, with says. “They help people understand what’s 100 percent of those earning happening right now.” professional degrees finding This community education, based on public employment in their field. health principles and supported by research, counters misinformation and promotes healthy ways of coping with the stresses of the pandemic. When a vaccine is developed, community education combined with population research will be key to its successful deployment. Collaboration is as essential to patient care as it is to research. In fact, interprofessional collaboration is required by almost every health profession accrediting body. School of Health Professions education and training will remain grounded in an interdisciplinary approach, Hagglund says. Aspiring respiratory therapists will know how occupational therapists can contribute to patients’ well-being; new diagnostic medical ultrasound graduates will be familiar with public health principles. “When we can bring teams together to plan patients’ care, we lower complications, improve patients’ lives and lower the likelihood of a readmission to the hospital,” he says. The COVID-19 pandemic has taught the world a basic principle of public health: The well-being of communities, individuals and health care workers are bound together. Although Hagglund is committed to all the school’s divisions and programs, he looks forward to raising the profile of public health. “My dream is to see our school become the School of Public Health and Health Professions.” M FALL 2020 71


Where Empathy Meets Inspiration

Five graduates combine their desire to help people with creative approaches to solving problems. By Dawn Klingensmith, BA, BJ ’97 Meet five graduates of MU’s School of Health Professions who have something in common — they see a problem, and they fix it. Jeff Carr launched a business to address a gap in health care. Rachel Hughes and Dana Chole reconfigure toys for kids with disabilities who otherwise cannot play with them. Ivan Lee has an idea to end Singapore’s shortage of respiratory therapists. Kelsey Okruch inspires people to reach their next milestone. All of these graduates help people, but they go further and try to solve the problems that hamper people to begin with. >>

Custom Fitness

Phil’s story is typical. He came to The Fitness Co. in Columbia with a common problem he hoped to correct with exercise. At 39, his lower back bothered him so badly that he stopped riding bikes with his kids. Phil’s body is not typical. Every person’s physiology is unique, says Jeff Carr, Phil’s personal trainer and FitCo’s owner. Carr, BHS ’11, M Ed ’15, spent their first session finding out how Phil’s body performed various movements. Phil works as an HVAC installer, and years of squatting and crawling in cramped attic spaces had taken their toll on his knees and back. As a result, he stood, sat and moved differently than someone whose back hurts from sitting at a desk. This evaluation formed the basis of an individualized — and constantly evolving — exercise program that alleviated Phil’s back pain and enabled him to ride his bike again. Carr and four hired trainers each teach classes of two to four people whom the trainers closely monitor. “Each client has their own completely different workout. So, in a three-person session, 72 MIZZOUMAGAZINE HEALTH PROFESSIONS SPECIAL SECTION

I might have a workout for a knee issue and another for a back issue, and the third person may be training for a marathon,” says Carr, whose master’s degree is in health education with an emphasis in exercise physiology and public health. When the coronavirus disrupted business as usual, Carr customized online workouts for clients to tackle at home. Since he founded FitCo in 2013, Carr has personalized workout programs based on clients’ movement analysis, goals, fitness level and underlying physical conditions. The movement analysis determines whether a client has specific issues to address. By offering corrective exercises as part of a personalized program, Carr says he has set FitCo apart while filling a gap in health care. Many people have nagging injuries who aren’t candidates for physical therapy or surgery. People like Phil are proof that some aches and pains can be alleviated through exercise. “He was able to go mountain biking again and do things he hadn’t done in 10 years, which makes me feel good,” Carr says. “I’ve always wanted to help people. It just so happens that I’m able to help people through movement.”

Santa’s Helpers

Many of the children Rachel Hughes works with as a pediatric physical therapist can’t play with off-the-shelf electronic toys. “A lot of them have significant motor impairments and can’t push a button to activate the toys,” says Hughes, DPT ’19. The MU Health Care Children’s Therapy Center — where Hughes has worked since she was a student — bought adapted versions of popular toys, which can cost up to five times more than


“ I’ve always wanted to help people. It just so happens that I’m able to help people through movement.”

the originals. Knowing the price tag, Hughes was dismayed when one of the adapted toys broke. As she took the toy apart to see if she could fix it, a light bulb went on in her head — but not before her temper flared. “At first I was mad. There was steam coming out of my ears when I saw how cheap and easy it is to make the adaptation,” Hughes says. “When you think of these families who already have increased hardship and maybe only one parent can work because the other is taking care of their child, it’s outrageous to charge them so much for a toy.” After anger came inspiration. Rearranging the toy’s wiring — a simple task involving wire snips and a soldering iron — gave her the idea to correct what she perceived as an injustice. “All kids learn through play, but not all kids have equal access to play,” Hughes says. She started adapting donated and store-bought toys in her basement. That summer, in 2018, she

asked her colleague Dana Chole, BS HES ’11, DPT ’14, to help her broaden the reach of her charitable work. Before long, they received financial backing, and the project became known as Pascale’s Pals Switched Adapted Toys. Pascale’s Pals — a volunteer organization that serves children and families staying at Children’s Hospital in Columbia — sponsored the first toy giveaway in December 2018 for children from all over mid-Missouri. The holiday giveaway is now an annual event. Volunteers adapt Nerf guns, train sets, remotecontrol cars, bubble machines and all manner of toys that move, make noise and light up. They rewire the toys to large external switches. “Essentially, what we do is give the kids a larger target [to push],” Chole says. “So instead of using a finger to push a little button, there’s a target the size of a tennis ball.” Because Pascale’s Pals is a local charity, Hughes and Chole run a second organization called Switched Adapted Toys in an effort to establish chapters across the United States and teach volunteers and parents how to make adaptive toys.

Jeff Carr, the owner of The Fitness Co., creates personalized workout programs for his clients based on their movement analysis, goals, fitness level and underlying conditions.

FALL 2020 73

Claudia Stephens, 3, plays with an adapted toy, made by MU alumni, at MU Health Care’s Children’s Therapy Center.

They’re still headquartered in a basement that looks like Santa’s workshop, and the work they do there doesn’t just transform toys. “When kids operate a toy on their own, their posture changes, they smile, sometimes they laugh,” Chole says. “The word that best describes their reaction is joyful. They look joyful and proud.”

Get with the Program

Prior to March, Singapore had been recognized for controlling COVID-19 better than most other countries, but then the virus boomeranged back with a vengeance. If there’s a silver lining, it’s that people in Singapore — and indeed the world over — now understand the role of respiratory therapists (RTs) in intensive care. “Before the pandemic, no one really knew about what we do,” says Ivan Lee, BHS ’12, who was the first Singaporean to graduate from MU’s respiratory therapy program. Helping patients in respiratory failure breathe using a ventilator, “We are there to make a difference when it matters most, in terms of life and death,” Lee says. “We’re the health care system’s unsung heroes.” But not for long, if Lee has his way. The recognition of RTs as frontline heroes could help Lee toward his goal of founding and leading Singapore’s first respiratory therapy training pro74 MIZZOUMAGAZINE HEALTH PROFESSIONS SPECIAL SECTION

gram. Lee is acutely aware of the need for a local program, and not just because he traveled all the way to Missouri for his education. He recently was hired to establish the respiratory therapy department for a new hospital under construction in Singapore. He spends half of his 12-hour workday caring for patients at an affiliated hospital and the other half developing the new department. With coronavirus travel restrictions, Lee expects hiring people will be a challenge. Singapore, which has no respiratory therapy programs of its own, recruits most of its RTs from the Philippines and Taiwan. Some, like Lee, are sent overseas on scholarship to receive training. When Lee is not on the job, he’s working remotely toward a doctorate in health professions education from A.T. Still University in Kirksville, Missouri. (“My loyalty to Missouri institutions is strong,” he says.) His dissertation will make a case for establishing a respiratory therapy program in Singapore. “In an ideal world, I’d adapt the full model and scale of an American program,” Lee says, “but there’s such a shortage of RTs here that we work almost exclusively in intensive care units and don’t do diagnostic areas like pulmonary function testing and sleep laboratories.” If Lee’s vision for a Singaporebased program comes to fruition, students could specialize, and the program would provide a steady supply of RTs. In the meantime, Lee refers Singaporeans to Mizzou’s respiratory therapy program. Currently,


“ When kids operate a toy on their own, their posture changes, they smile, sometimes they laugh,” Chole says. “The word that best describes their reaction is joyful. They look joyful and proud.”


there are two in the junior class and two in the senior class who, upon graduating, will return home to practice.


Going the Distance

Early in her career, pediatric physical therapist Kelsey Okruch helped a 3-year-old patient with spina bifida learn to walk using an assistive piece of equipment called a gait trainer. “I had to physically move his legs when we started,” says Okruch, BHS ’08, DPT ’10, manager of MU Health Care’s Children’s Therapy Center. As the child gained strength and confidence, he was able to move his legs on his own. He also gained distance. A hospital receptionist stuck tape to the wall to mark his progress, moving it a little farther every week. Eventually, the tape and the boy traveled the entire length of the hospital. “So many people were cheering. He became the hospital celebrity,” Okruch recalls. The moment was gratifying for her, too. “Any

kind of milestone we can help a child meet either with an adaptation or independently is beyond rewarding,” she says. Okruch has passed some significant milestones herself. Having earned 40 hours of college credit in high school, she graduated from MU’s physical therapy program at the young age of 22. Last year, at age 31, she became manager of the Children’s Therapy Center, which draws children from 25 counties for physical, occupational and speech therapy. Her plans for the clinic include developing its teletherapy program (the COVID-19 outbreak drove home the need for this service) and — for kids who need intensive therapy several hours a day — bringing a teacher on staff so they don’t fall behind in school. In her management role, she spends about 10 percent of her time working with patients (including the little celebrity, who is now a teen). She spends as much or more time helping other therapists develop professionally. “Finding a piece of equipment that is going to drastically change the way a child functions in the world is rewarding, but now in this managerial role, being able to support my colleagues and help them become more independent and confident in their practice feels like kind of the same thing but on a different level,” Okruch says. “I’m helping them be successful, and that’s rewarding, too.” M

Ivan Lee, left, hopes to start Singapore’s first respiratory therapy training program. Kelsey Okruch, above, helps other physical therapists develop professionally as the manager of the Children’s Therapy Center.

FALL 2020 75



The health professions have a long and distinguished history at MU. But it wasn’t until 2001 that the School of Health Professions became an independent school on campus — a shift that set in motion tremendous growth and new directions in education, service and research. By Kelsey Allen, BA, BJ ’10


wenty years ago, the School of Health Related Professions was a unit within the School of Medicine. Many of its programs, which enrolled just over 500 students a year, were hospital-based. The school had limited resources and lacked the capacity to expand. And the term “related” left a bad taste in the mouth of many faculty members. The time was right for a new identity. The faculty, spearheaded by Director Richard Oliver, BS MT ’71, M Ed ’73, PhD ’77, petitioned the board of curators to become a freestanding school, and in 2001, the School of Health Professions was born. “When a university has the ability to respond to societal needs, we have an obligation to explore how we do that,” Oliver says. “We wanted to help solve widespread dilemmas that families face — whether you’re a child with speech difficulties or a senior who isn’t getting adequate services.” Today, the school’s faculty are leaders in cutting-edge research in health disparities, language development, autism interventions and stroke rehabilitation. Working alongside faculty in multiple outpatient clinics, students get hands-on experience and conduct their own research while providing much-needed services to the community. Following graduation, alumni become leaders in their fields and help shape the future of health care delivery in Missouri and beyond.

Bringing Discovery to the Community

In the early 2000s, Laura Schopp, MA ’91, PhD ’95, was training rural psychologists to provide brain injury services using telehealth video conferencing when her postdoctoral fellow pointed out that audio and video were not synchronized. For those who are hard of hearing, it would have been impossible to lip-read. “We thought, oh, boy, that’s a problem,” recalls Schopp, a health psychologist and founding faculty member, now chair, of the school’s Department of Health Psychology. So, she recruited a team of engineers, and together, they won a National Institutes of Health grant to fix the problem. Researchers not only achieved synchronicity but also changed video compression so people could use sign language without the screen growing blurry. The improved technology also provided realtime captioning. “It was a great opportunity to have a group of neuropsychologists and rehabilitation psychologists who were providing independent practice, doing research, and training interns and postdoctoral fellows become part of this new initiative,” says Kristofer Hagglund, who became dean in 2013. “They helped set the tone for the future in terms of research for the School of Health Professions.” Research faculty from across seven departments and

2001 The School of Health Professions becomes independent under the leadership of Dean Richard Oliver, BS MT ’71, M Ed ’73, PhD ’77. Enrollment sits at 509.

2005 A pediatric occupational therapy clinic is established, offering students hands-on clinical opportunities. A year later an adult clinic is added. The clinics are later renamed TigerOT.


2006 The Accent Modification and Pronunciation Program, in what is now the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, begins working with international professionals.


SHP Through the Years


13 disciplines tackle critical issues facing the health and wellbeing of children and adults in diverse populations. The agenda focuses on translational and entrepreneurial research in health restoration and rehabilitation as well as issues that pinpoint health disparities and health care delivery to vulnerable populations and people with chronic diseases. In recent years, research productivity has surged. The National Institutes of Health has awarded health professions researchers $3.8 million to develop an autism measurement tool and more than $2.7 million to evaluate a new intervention to help stroke patients improve performance of everyday activities. Researchers have also received $2.8 million from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders to expand voice disorder research and $1.2 million from the Health Resources and Services Administration for clinical training of doctoral students in underserved Missouri communities affected by the opioid epidemic. The common threads? The work is highly interdisciplinary,

Denny Griggs, escorted by physical therapy doctoral students Patrick Mengwasser and Sallie Lindsey, walks around PhysZOU in spring 2015. Griggs died in 2018 but not before walking his daughter down the aisle and dancing with her at the reception.

2007 The Master of Public Health program begins. The College of Veterinary Medicine is a key collaborator for the veterinary public health emphasis.

2009 The health science major launches with an enrollment of 227 students. Today, it is one of the most popular majors on campus, enrolling 1,692 students in spring 2020.

and the goal is to optimize individual and community health. Faculty not only collaborate within the School of Health Professions — “I have learned much more about nuclear medicine than most respiratory therapists,” says Kathy Moss, M Ed ’93, PhD ’15, chair of the clinical and diagnostic sciences department. They also team up with colleagues in nearly every school and college at MU. Speech pathologists work with computer scientists. Occupational therapists collaborate with electrical engineers. Health psychologists conduct research with neurologists. “The opportunity to become a freestanding school allowed us to consolidate all of our strengths in the health professions so that cross-fertilization and collaboration could happen,” Schopp says.

FALL 2020 77

Educating the Backbone of the Health Care Workforce

To continue strengthening the school’s interdisciplinary research-focused graduate education, it introduced in 2019 Missouri’s only doctoral program in health and rehabilitation science at a public institution. That was just one of many new programs to come out of the School of Health Professions during the past two decades. In 2007, the school joined forces with the College of Veterinary Medicine and School of Public Affairs to ask important questions, train the next generation of public health leaders and address the needs of underserved populations. Since its inception, the Master of Public Health program has graduated nearly 600 students. Many stay and work in the county and local agencies where they had their internships. Others head to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United States Department of Agriculture.

The school’s watershed event occurred, however, in 2009. In response to student demand and the growing shortage of health care professionals in Missouri, a team of faculty and student service members built a new major: health science. It provides students with a solid health care background, preparing them to pursue not only graduate or professional health science programs but also nonclinical careers. Students find jobs in everything from medical case management and human services to corporate wellness and pharmaceutical manufacturing. “We’re not a technical training school,” Hagglund says. “We provide a strong liberal arts education that emphasizes health and health care.” When the new degree launched, it was one of only a handful of programs of its kind nationwide, Hagglund says. Leaders anticipated that, within five years, they’d have 275 students. By 2013, more than 1,200 students had enrolled in the program. In 2017, it became the No. 1 major on campus, graduating 578 students in 2019, a majority of whom (69 percent) stay in Missouri. “We’re training the next generation of health care profession-

J O N A H S A F F R A N -J O H N S O N

MU veterinary public health master’s students work a One Health Fair in 2019 at the Saint Louis Zoo, where the community could learn about the links between wildlife conservation and human health.

2011 PhysZOU is created as a studentrun, volunteer pro bono clinic associated with the Department of Physical Therapy. In 2013, it becomes part of the curriculum, providing all physical therapy students hands-on experience. 78 MIZZOUMAGAZINE HEALTH PROFESSIONS SPECIAL SECTION

2013 Dean Oliver retires, and Kristofer Hagglund, who had served as associate dean since 2001, takes the reins.

2018 The Master of Public Health with an emphasis in veterinary public health becomes the first fully online program of its kind nationwide.


SHP Through the Years


als,” says Program Director Botswana Blackburn, BJ ’95, M Ed ’97, who received a Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence in 2019. “Being a land-grant institution, we’re focused on making sure our students are culturally competent and can work in diverse populations so we’re meeting the needs of Missourians.” Since 2001, the school has also created dozens of online programs and certificates and elevated the entry-level degree to doctorate for both the physical therapy and occupational therapy programs. Now the fourth-largest school for enrollment at MU, the School of Health Professions has indeed forged its own identity. The school quickly became known for investing in clinical operations that provide the community with services and students with training and research opportunities.



Serving Today’s Families, Teaching Tomorrow’s Practitioners

For the School of Health Professions, improving the health of Missouri’s citizens has always been a central mission. For instance, MU Speech and Hearing Clinics started traveling across Missouri in the 1950s. In response to community demand for adult services, the school opened Eldercare in 1989, becoming the only state-licensed adult day health care program serving families in Columbia. (The program, later known as Adult Day Connection, recently closed due to COVID-19 concerns.) The school’s shift to becoming a freestanding unit gave it the opportunity and resources to expand its clinical programs. In 2005, Lea Ann Lowery, BHS ’88, M Ed ’03, created a pediatric occupational therapy clinic that not only serves children but also provides students with hands-on experience. Working in teams, students learn to see patients and their health in context while developing interventions that support the person as a whole, not just the illness. “In clinic, I immediately

2019 The school launches an interdisciplinary research-focused doctoral program in health and rehabilitation science. New degree programs include the occupational therapy assistant major, master’s degree in clinical and diagnostic sciences, and occupational therapy doctorate.

Left: Kemper Fellow Botswana Blackburn teaches a health professions capstone course to seniors. Above: Students participate as cliniciansin-training at the Robert G. Combs Language Preschool, which serves children with speech and language difficulties. Students work under the direct supervision of clinical faculty.

saw that the students were beginning to learn and understand the things that I had been trying to teach them through paper cases but couldn’t,” Lowery says. Now known as TigerOT, the program has expanded to include occupational therapy and life skills training for adults, adaptive swimming for children with autism spectrum disorders, and low-vision services for adults and children. Following suit, in 2011, a group of doctoral physical therapy students established PhysZOU, a volunteer-based, student-run, faculty-supervised pro bono physical therapy clinic. In 2013, the clinic was added to the physical therapy curriculum, and student participation became mandatory. “Such experiences give students an incredible confidence boost,” says Teresa Briedwell, BHS ’81, associate department chair of physical therapy. “By the time they get to their first full-time clinical, they’re already a step ahead.” The school’s nationally recognized service centers also include a preschool that serves children ages 2 to 5 with speech and language difficulties. Hagglund sees the school’s growth and success continuing to accelerate over the next 20 years. “We will play a critical role in community health and sophisticated team-based health care. That includes advancing workforce diversity and reducing health disparities,” he says. “When it comes to research, I predict that our school will more than double its productivity. And, who knows, maybe we will also obtain a new state-of-the-art facility.” M

2021 The school turns 20, with an enrollment of 2,425 students and 8,041 alumni worldwide.

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CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE MU School of Health Professions

In 2001, the School of Health Professions became a freestanding academic unit with a mission to improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities through teaching, research and service to Missouri and beyond. We are proud of our faculty, who are leading the way in innovative new therapies, treatments and educational practices. As our growth continues and demand for our graduates reaches new heights, it’s especially important that our student body represents the populations our students will serve as clinicians and educators. Gifts to the MU School of Health Professions help fund these efforts. Learn more at mizzou.us/give-to-SHP.

@MizzouSHP University of Missouri


ADVANCE YOUR CAREER Expand your career possibilities with a graduate degree or certificate from the MU School of Health Professions. Each program is rooted in scholarship, discovery and leadership. Many programs can be completed 100% online.

Online Graduate Degrees Master of Health Science Clinical Laboratory Science Imaging Sciences Respiratory Therapy Master of Public Health Health Promotion and Policy Veterinary Public Health Occupational Therapy Doctorate

More Information healthprofessions.missouri.edu/degrees

Online Certificates Epidemiology Global Public Health Public Health

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