MIZZOU Fall 2021 Trulaske College of Business Edition

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mizzou.com | Fall 2021

Riverine A decorated writer takes us on the float trip of a lifetime. Page 14.

Trulaske College of Business




FIRST LOOK ROCK ON Even if you don’t know Chuck Sperry, Journ ’84, you’ve probably seen his iconic rock posters for bands like The Who and Pearl Jam. He also makes fine art, including this design, commissioned by MIZZOU magazine, which he calls “Orange Sunshine.” Screen printed in his Hangar 18 studio in Oakland, California, it is his homage to the utopian ethos of the 1960s in San Francisco’s HaightAshbury district, where he has lived and made concert posters for over 30 years. More: Page 32.


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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 editor emerita 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, publisher Todd A. McCubbin, M Ed ’95

On Mission As we begin a new academic year, it’s thrilling to prepare for many of the activities that make the University of Missouri an extraordinary place. Every day we’re working together in our labs and classrooms to grow our mission of learning, research and engagement. In short, it’s great to welcome back our Tigers. With so much energy around campus, it’s fitting that we’re also embarking on a new era of discovery at Mizzou. In October, we’ll celebrate the long-awaited opening of the NextGen Precision Health building. The stunning facility is full of incredible tools that will help faculty, data scientists, industry partners and so many others build the future of health care right in the heart of Missouri. It joins our other world-class facilities, such as the MU Research Reactor — the most powerful of its kind in the United States — as a testament to Mizzou’s ongoing commitment to and investment in research excellence. Along with industry-leading resources, it also takes talented faculty to drive innovation. It requires a bold, creative team with many different perspectives who have access to tools equal to the demands of groundbreaking research. The word is already out: Mizzou offers that special combination of resources and a commitment to cross-disciplinary engagement that make it the perfect place to find solutions to the challenges we all face. We have recruited some of the best researchers and are including new faculty with a wide array of

expertise to bring to the NextGen table. Together, they will be at the forefront of addressing critical issues such as substance use disorder and rural health disparities. In the following pages, you’ll meet a few of them and learn how the knowledge they bring in areas such as population health and microbial-based cancer therapy will benefit Missourians and save lives. For these researchers, NextGen is a rare opportunity to work with the latest equipment, such as advanced imaging instruments from Thermo Fisher Scientific and Siemens Healthineers. For our university community, it’s a chance to supercharge our impact, provide more opportunities to students and even better fulfill our role as Missouri’s flagship land-grant university. We’re creating an environment primed for collaboration and innovation. It’s clear why so many world-renowned specialists are excited to join us. The NextGen initiative brings together a community of people spread across disciplines, universities and our campus family, working together for the good of everyone. Your support as alumni is a critical piece of that puzzle. We value your help championing our lifesaving work in precision health and spreading the message that Mizzou is a driving force of revolutionary research in the Midwest. Because when we bring together the right people in the right place with the right tools, we can save lives and make Missouri a dynamic hub of expertise — a place unlike anywhere else in the world.

Opinions expressed in this magazine do not necessarily reflect the official position of the University of Missouri or the Mizzou Alumni Association. ©2021 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 Sabrina McDonnell, MBA ’15 • President-elect Jeff Vogel, BS Acc ’90 • Immediate Past President Robin Wenneker, BS BA ’91 • Treasurer John Gamble, BS ’00 • Secretary Todd McCubbin, M Ed ’95 • Diversity and Inclusion Committee Chair Joe Valenciano, BA ’95 • Directors Cristin Blunt, BS Ed ’02; Renita Duncan, BS Acc ’08, M Acc ’08; Pete Ferretti, BA ’93; Matt Jenne, BS CiE ’97, MBA ’15; Chuck Kaiser, BA, BJ ’93; Derek Kessen, BS BA ’05; Emily Kueker, BS ’02; Christine Mathews, BS BA ’10, MBA ’17; Mindy Mazur, BA ’99; Craig Moeller, BS ’93; Ellie Preslar, BS BE ’04; Martin Rucker, BS ’07; Mark Russell, BJ ’84; Jim Simmons, BS ’93, MD ’98; Dawn Smith-Popielski, BA ’96; David Townsend, JD ’00; Janet Wheatley, BS HE ’77 • Student Representative Cade Koehly MIZZOU magazine Fall 2021, Volume 110, Number 1 Published triannually by the Mizzou Alumni Association

MUN Y. CHOI, PHD President, University of Missouri

FALL 2021





1 First Look

Legendary poster artist Chuck Sperry, Journ ’84, created a piece of art just for MIZZOU magazine. We profile him on Page 32.

6 Around the Columns

Researchers map the bird genome and help build a better career guidance tool, while alumni open a woodworking makerspace and a lavender farm.

48 Mizzou Alumni News Who’s Your Favorite Rocker? View a slideshow of concert posters and fine art by Chuck Sperry, Journ ’84, at tinyurl.com/sperryposters.

CONTRIBUTORS Steve Wiegenstein, BJ ’76, MA ’82, PhD ’87, is a 2021 PEN/ Faulkner finalist for his short story collection, Scattered Lights. His essay for MIZZOU magazine looks at life from the vantage of a canoe on a Missouri stream. Pages 14, 16.

Bill Tammeus, BJ ’67, was a member of the Kansas City Star staff that won a 1982 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting. He offers sober but hopeful advice for avoiding another 9/11. Page 64.

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 profiles Tiger quarterback Connor Bazelak. Page 40.

Justin Heckert, BJ ’02, a native of Missouri’s bootheel, has written for ESPN, The Ringer, The New York Times Magazine, GQ, Esquire and Atlanta Magazine. He profiles gig poster master artist Chuck Sperry, Journ ’84. Page 32.



49 Class Notes

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

53 Alumni Bookshelf Mizzou graduates crank out the volumes.

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


Semper Mizzou

The tragedy of 9/11 was personal for Pulitzer Prizewinning journalist Bill Tammeus, BJ ’67. Here’s his advice for avoiding another disaster like it.

Council for Advancement & Support of Education (CASE) Awards 2021: Gold, Feature Writing (“Who Was I in College?,” Winter 2020); 2020: Bronze, Feature Writing (“Forever Young,” Spring 2019); 2019: Bronze, General Interest Magazine Society for Publication Designers (SPD) Awards 2021 merit awards “Eli’s Calling,” Fall 2020 “A Third Act,” Spring 2020


About the cover Although Steve Wiegenstein’s short stories have made him a national literary figure, he’s always floated Missouri’s rivers and streams like a local expert. Check out the essay he wrote about life and floating for MIZZOU magazine. Pages 14, 16. Photo by Robert Llewellyn

Say hello to the Mizzou Alumni Association’s new volunteer president, Sabrina McDonnell, MBA ’15, and tune in to Entertainment Tonight’s new host, Nischelle Turner, BJ ’98.


Known for his iconic rock posters, Chuck Sperry, Journ ’84, cites MU art Professor Frank Stack as an early influence.

His Moment

Being a finalist for the 2021 PEN/Faulkner literary award puts Steve Wiegenstein on a literary A-list with the likes of John Updike, Cynthia Ozick and Bobbie Ann Mason. by tony rehagen, ba, bj ’01

Same River Twice


Award-winning fiction writer Steve Wiegenstein has spent a lifetime cherishing the beauty of Missouri’s rivers and streams. Read his sparkling essay about life and floating. by steve wiegenstein, bj ’76, ma ’82, phd ’87 pen/faulkner finalist, 2021


How Nurses Elevate Eldercare

Highly trained nurses improve the care of seniors and save money in the process, according to a new study. But will insurance regulations allow this model to flourish? by nancy yang, ma ’83

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NextGen Talent

A new approach to hiring marshals multiple researchers around real-world problems. by david lagesse, bj ’79

Harpo’s Hits 50

Detailing the appeal of the classic college town bar. by aaron mermelstein, bj ’72

From Concert Halls to Museum Walls

Chuck Sperry’s posters have delivered audiences to concert venues of some of the world’s most famous rock bands. by justin heckert, bj ’02


Quarterback Connor Bazelak did his due diligence, waited for his chance. Now it’s his turn to lead the Tiger offense. by tony rehagen, ba, bj ’01

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Wesley Warren has found a time machine of sorts, using the genes of animals to watch evolution through the eons. An MU professor of genomics, Warren has joined a legion of scientists worldwide who are mapping the genomes of animals, aiming to create a catalog that enables researchers to learn how DNA has evolved over time and between species. A practical benefit comes when scientists want to understand which genes help cause a human disease. It can be thousands of genes, however, that contribute to a disease. “It’s rare that a disease is driven by a single gene,” Warren says. That’s where comparing animal genes can help scientists focus on the most important culprits. “To narrow in quickly, you can align the genomes of other vertebrates that cover a certain span of evolution,” Warren says. Scientists can then see where and when genes changed and which changes might be driving



a particular trait or disease. Warren holds a joint appointment in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and the School of Medicine, a combination that reflects the philosophy behind MU’s NextGen Precision Health building, which brings together researchers from diverse fields. He’ll play a role in NextGen, which emphasizes genetics in designing treatments for individuals and groups. Genome sequencing, or mapping the genes of an organism, achieved a famous milestone in 2003 when scientists finished cataloging the human genome. Sequencing costs have since plummeted. Now the international consortium of scientists aims to map the genomes of 70,000 vertebrate species. The breadth of that effort is evident in the 100-plus scientists, including Warren, who contributed to a recent research paper. The article earned the cover of the prestigious journal Nature, and it serves as a best-practices guide for participants in the massive species-sequencing effort. He contributed to sequencing several species described in the paper, most notably the zebra finch, a bird unusual in that it learns unique songs from its father. A young finch is much like a babbling baby as it tries to grasp language. That makes the bird a potential model for the evolution of speech in humans. The insight might extend to breakdowns in language, Warren says: “When you have disorders in speech recognition in some people, what are the genetic players involved?” He conducted initial research on the zebra finch more than a decade ago while a professor at Washington University in St. Louis. Recruited to Mizzou in 2018, Warren earned a University of Missouri System grant for buying advanced gene-sequencing technology. That boosted the capabilities of Mizzou’s Genomics Technology Core, which serves researchers across the system’s four campuses. In his field of comparative genomics, Warren has contributed to sequencing numerous species. They include chickens, cave fish, monkeys, apes, sharks and, of course, humans. “I have to pivot frequently to another species and come up to speed on its biology.” He explains to students that each time he’s driven by curiosity and the question of, “Why.” That is: “Why do I see a trait in one species and don’t see it in another?” — David LaGesse, BJ ’79


The Genetics of Time Travel

LAVENDER FIELDS FOREVER Melissa, Royal Velvet, Folgate and Hidcote — the names of lavender varieties that Katie, BJ ’94, and Jason Lockwood grow for sale are as varied and interesting as their fragrances. When not working in Mizzou’s IT department, the couple, along with their parents and three teenage children, tend to their new business. Battlefield Lavender is a 20-acre U-pick farm and gift shop (with online store) located 23 miles north of Columbia. The Lockwoods not only grow the purple-, white- and pastel-colored herbs but also handcraft lavender-based products such as soaps, sachets and bath salts. Depending on the season, they conduct tours of their essential oil distilling process and farm, which brims with 2,400 lavender plants. If stretched out end to end, the rows would extend for 1.3 miles. More: battlefieldlavender.com


Bold Moves, Bold Change

Mikaela Ashley had come from the suburbs of Chicago to Mizzou with the notion of studying sports marketing. But when she discovered the School of Journalism’s strategic communications program, she found a place where she could customize her own job in advertising with hands-on experience. Ashley’s classes delivered the real-world skills she sought; they also gave her a window into what that world would look like. “Mizzou is a great school but, like the ad industry itself, the classes weren’t very diverse,” says Ashley, who graduated in May. It was also through her J-School teachers that she heard about the American Advertising Federation’s Most Promising Multicultural Students program. After answering a series of short essay questions and creating her own tagline and hashtag — #boldmovecreatesboldchange — Ashley was one of 50 students from 22 colleges nationwide invited to participate in January. The four-day immersion into the industry included sessions on personal branding and interviewing as well as conversations with ad, marketing and media professionals. The experience, she says, provided her with the insight and connections she’ll need to succeed. “Seeing people like me doing the same work I am passionate about was huge for me.” — Tony Rehagen, BA, BJ ’01


In June, 599 alumni responded to a survey sent to 21,466 Mizzou Alumni Association members. Three out of four respondents graduated in the 1960s, ’70s or ’80s. Overall, 95% or more rated as either good or excellent not only the magazine’s credibility but also the quality of its photography, design and writing. Among the 250 respondents who left comments were several who appreciate this periodical as a way of staying in touch. Examples: “Every time I get MIZZOU magazine, I feel reconnected to Mizzou.” “MIZZOU magazine makes me proud of my alma mater with every single issue. Top-notch.” Also in June, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education bestowed a gold medal on the magazine’s Winter 2020 cover story, “Who Was I in College?” The essay by bestselling author Wright Thompson, BJ ’01, looked at his connection to college haunts (Shakespeare’s and Booches) and what he learns about himself upon revisiting them. Scan the QR code to read the award-winning story. FALL 2021



#Mizzou @MizzouHoops The 2021 #NBA 6th Man of the Year. #MizzouMade @JordanClarksons Congratulations, JC! #TTFL

A crystal ball won’t do it. Neither will a traditional interest test. But a career guidance tool, researched by Patrick Rottinghaus, associate professor of education and human development, is revealing new career possibilities to middle and high school students. YouScience Discovery, an internet-based career guidance system, helps students navigate past gender stereotypes and limited life experiences to find career paths they may never have imagined for themselves. These paths are leading more females to consider careers in engineering, more males to see themselves in patient care roles and more underprivileged youths to get on academic tracks for high-demand fields. Rottinghaus gave YouScience Discovery’s online aptitude and interest tests to more than 7,000 students in 14 states. He found that, when students understand their aptitudes are a solid

match for career success in one or more fields, their eyes open to new possibilities. “Instead of just asking about their interests, which is what they already know and are focused on, we show them they have various aptitudes and the ability to grow skills in unexplored areas,” Rottinghaus says. Although girls and boys have similar levels of aptitudes, their interests and socialization may lead them to overlook careers in high-demand fields, such as STEM and health care. Rottinghaus’ study confirmed that it’s the difference in interest, not ability, that limits students’ academic and career paths. In his role as a career counselor, Rottinghaus has seen what can happen as students learn more about their abilities. “It gives them more confidence, helping them envision their future and be more intentional in establishing plans and connecting education to work experience.” — Jack Wax, BS Ed ’73, MS ’76, MA ’87


kids to the listening center with headphones on,” Kelley says, “and we’ll take care of most of the rest.” More students grasped words such as “disappointed” and “enormous” with the storybooks and reinforcing lessons than in classrooms without. Kelley’s most recent study, among other things, showed kids could grasp more words, four per book versus two in earlier studies. There’s a squirm limit, though. That is, her books run about 10 minutes, versus six minutes longer in an earlier version. “They did not want to listen that long,” Kelley says with a chuckle. Funding for the studies comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences.

Amid the chaos of preschool, where kids learn everything from brushing teeth to being good friends, young brains also absorb surprising vocabulary with lessons designed by a Mizzou researcher. Combining picture books, audio tracks and teacher reinforcement can measurably improve the word power of kids, especially those at risk of otherwise falling behind, according to studies led by Elizabeth Kelley, an assistant professor in MU’s School of Health Professions. The research uses a series called Story Friends, print-and-audio books co-developed by Kelley with Howard Goldstein at the University of South Florida. They designed the books to slip into preschools, where routines and qualifications vary widely. “Just get the 8


@h4x354x0r I love the #Mizzou community so much! Y’all are so beautiful, wonderful, vibrant, spirited, a little bit wild. I love that! Never in my life have I experienced the kind of affirmation this community gives me. From every bead in every Hacky sack I’ve ever owned, THANK YOU! @iamoluwaa The cats out the bag.. or should I say tiger Many of you know Mizzou was my top choice but I was put in an awkward position to choose between a full ride and my dream school and you know what the say follow your heart so that’s exactly what I did! #ichoosemizzou #mizzou25 @HerbieTeope New Chiefs LB Nick Bolton says he's dreamed of hearing his name called out during the draft since he was 4, 5 years old. More importantly: "Being close to Mizzou and playing for the Chiefs is a dream come true," Bolton said.


Better Career Guidance

@The_Antlers We're gonna sponsor a Mizzou athlete after we figure out what sponsoring an athlete means



Woodworkers who dream of becoming a Picasso of pine or a wizard of walnut have a new place to build their skills and projects in Columbia. Sawdust Studios, owned by Mizzou alumni Cruz, Arts ’12, and Brooke Chavez, BA ’11, is the area’s first makerspace for woodworkers. Although makerspaces can be found in most communities throughout the world, those for woodworkers are rare. At Sawdust Studios, members of all skill levels can access more than $50,000 of equipment any time, day or night. Cruz teaches woodworking classes and oversees the operation of the business in addition to managing his contracting company. A lifelong woodworker, he enjoys his new role as community builder. “I love to see members of all ages interacting, talking about each other’s projects and bouncing ideas off each other,” he says.


FRANKLIN PIECES TOGETHER A CRAFTY FUTURE Former Mizzou quarterback James Franklin, BA ’13, has learned to create beauty from what he’s given. After not catching on in the NFL, he pieced together a steady six-year career in the Canadian Football League (CFL) before announcing his retirement last April. Without the megabucks contracts, he gradually taught himself how to remodel his own homes by watching YouTube tutorials. And when COVID shut down the 2020 CFL season, he decided to supplement landscaping gigs by turning his newfound woodworking skills and a pile of scrap wood into original works of mosaic art for sale on Etsy. FranklinMadeDesigns features a range of Franklin’s works, from mountainscapes to abstracts, but a majority of the early pieces are Mizzou-themed, geared to Tiger fans who wanted the story to go along with their art. “The support of Mizzou people made me what I am today,” Franklin says. “I started with Mizzou stuff because of my connections there, but I want to branch off, do houses, cars and even fine art.” Whether the new business is part of a viable retirement plan, Franklin can’t say for sure. But he’s confident he’ll put something together. —Tony Rehagen BA, BJ ’01

• MU officials announced in July a restructuring of the Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station (MOAES), resulting in increased efficiency and effectiveness of its research and education centers across the state and annual financial savings of more than $800,000. Organized in 1888, MOAES will now include four research hubs operated by the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and four Extension and Education centers operated by MU Extension. • Noah Manring became the dean of the College of Engineering May 1, after serving as interim dean since May 2020 following the departure of Elizabeth Loboa. With a technical focus in fluid power (for which he holds 10 U.S. patents), machine design and cardiovascular, he previously served as the chair of the mechanical and aerospace engineering and electrical and computer engineering departments and the college’s associate dean of research. • The University of Missouri System board of curators approved a tuition increase across all four of its universities of between 2% and 5%. At Mizzou, undergraduate tuition rates will increase 5%, or $15.30 per credit hour. The changes fall below the rate allowed by Missouri law, which would permit an increase of up to 9.1%. Tuition at University of Missouri institutions remains among the lowest in surrounding states. FALL 2021



Making of a Masterpiece

Americans love British culture, and, for 50 years, they’ve gotten their Brit fix watching Masterpiece on PBS. Masterpiece, the longest-running weekly prime time drama series on American television, rakes in an annual broadcast and streaming viewership of 75 million. The series finale of Downton Abbey alone drew nearly 10 million U.S. fans who tuned in to bid the Crawleys farewell. In her new book, Masterpiece: America’s 50-Year-Old Love Affair with British Television Drama, English Professor Nancy West explores the franchise’s history, its influence on television drama and why so many love Downton and the series’ other 450-plus programs. Masterpiece, which presents adaptations of novels and biographies alongside original television dramas, is the brainchild of Stan Calderwood, the first president of WGBH, Boston’s public television station. An Anglophile from Nebraska, Calderwood got the idea to import BBC miniseries while lying on a hotel bed during a vacation in London. With host Alistair Cooke at the helm, Masterpiece debuted a mere six months later on Jan. 10, 1971, with the miniseries The First Churchills. “It’s crazy to me that a show that has been around for 50 years came together on the fly like that,” says West, who grew up watching Masterpiece with her mom in their Newark, New Jersey, apartment and now specializes in film studies and Victorian literature and culture. “We would sit there on Sunday nights in our twin beds, get under the covers and pretend that we were real smarty-pants. The show is super polished, and you get the impression when you watch it that every detail has been thought out and carefully orchestrated.” Downton Abbey also materialized quickly — after a lunch date between writer Julian Fellowes and a TV producer who 10 MIZZOUMAGAZINE

suggested he attempt another Gosford Park, which won him an Academy Award in 2002. Within a few weeks, Fellowes had developed the aristocratic Crawley family along with their domestic servants, and, when the show premiered in America on Jan. 9, 2011, it was an overnight success. Why? “We don’t like to think about class in the United States,” West says. “This show gave us a chance to not think about the pressures of social mobility because everybody has his or her place in that world. There’s something, for us as Americans, deeply comforting about that. Like, oh, we don’t have to be ambitious. We can just be happy with our little lot. And it’s not that we really believe that, right? But for an hour on Sundays — why not?” Not only was Downton Abbey the most popular period drama ever on television, but it also changed the medium by revitalizing long-form drama and showcasing the art of ensemble acting, West says. And there’s something special about the cast: “Unlike American actors, British actors are trained extensively. Whether it’s in London or in some tiny little village, there’s a production of Hamlet going on somewhere in England. And if you’re trying to do Shakespeare, you know about timing. You know about rhythm. You know about elocution. You know you can deliver a whole monologue, and anything after that is a walk in the park.” Through original interviews, commentary and behind-thescenes stories, West’s book illuminates the influence of Masterpiece: “Its characters are trying to do the right and decent thing. They resonate with us because, you know, we all want to lead a good life. And we want to be charming and witty along the way. That’s its legacy: Drama that gives us characters we can admire even as we recognize their faults.” — Kelsey Allen, BA, BJ ’10

C A R N I VA L F I L M & T E L E V I S I O N LT D / P B S

Why did Americans watch Downton Abbey by the tens of millions? We ask English Professor Nancy West, whose new book explores the stateside appeal of British TV.




Road Wearier

About 1 in 6 employed Americans work irregular or nontraditional hours, which can disrupt their natural circadian rhythms. That can cost up to four hours of sleep daily and cause a condition called shift work sleep disorder, with concentration lapses and excessive sleepiness. The problem can lead to workplace accidents and, as Mizzou researchers recently discovered, dangerous commutes. But just how dangerous? Engineering Professor Praveen Edara had seen research showing that drowsy drivers were at increased risk, but the extent of the increase was unknown. So, he looked at how sleep disorders affected the performance of more than 3,000 drivers participating in a federal study. Edara and his team analyzed data from participants’ vehicles that had been equipped with cameras and sensors recording not only acceleration and deceleration but also drivers’ behavior during crashes and near crashes. Turns out that people with shift work sleep disorder were nearly 300% more likely to be involved in crashes and near crashes than unaffected drivers. By comparison, drivers with insomnia or sleep apnea were about 30% more accident prone than the baseline group. Edara says countermeasures could include structural changes, such as building more highway rest stops, posting roadside messages about the dangers of drowsy driving and equipping vehicles with alert systems. He also encouraged shift workers to be aware of the heightened risk. “For those who work odd hours, it’s important to have some other means to get home if they’re tired on a particular day.”

Step foot on a landfill, and you’ll probably squish some food, which accounts for nearly one-quarter of all solid waste, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Much of it got tossed there because of confusing (and unregulated) food date labels. Londa Nwadike, an extension associate professor at Mizzou and Kansas State University, keeps wholesome food from ending up as garbage by educating consumers about what dates on food labels actually mean. “The sell-by date is not a safety warning — it’s merely a recommendation to the store, not the consumer,” Nwadike says. “The best-by or use-by dates are also recommendations from the food producer, referring to peak quality, not necessarily safety.” The exceptions are infant formula and baby foods, whose use-by dates ensure that their nutritional values aren’t compromised. As for everything else, the date labels should be taken with a large grain of salt. Foods that reach their use-by or sell-by dates probably are still good to eat. But, as with all foods, consumers should check them for signs of spoilage, such as off odors, odd tastes and changes in texture or color. “If in doubt, throw it out,” Nwadike says. “Or better yet, compost it and do your part to reduce waste.”

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A business student at MU, chess grandmaster Christopher Repka is a force to be reckoned with at national and international events. In March, he helped the Tigers win the World University Online Chess Championship.


As a child in Slovakia, Christopher Repka was fascinated with a picture book about tornadoes that his grandmother gave him. He dreamed he would one day experience a twister up close. More than a decade later, in 2019, Repka received a Facebook message from a stranger named Cristian Chirila: Would he accept a chess scholarship to play on the new team Chirila was coaching at the University of Missouri? Repka, who was enjoying a comfortable life traveling the world as a chess grandmaster, initially planned to say no. But the more he thought about it, the more intrigued he became about the chance to get an American college education. And there was one more thing. “When I realized Missouri was in the tornado alley, that was a big factor that contributed to me coming here,” Repka says with a laugh. Mizzou is one of only six American universities that sponsor chess as a scholarship activity. Chirila previously was the grandmaster-in-residence at the Saint Louis Chess Club, which is supported by billionaire chess enthusiast Rex Sinquefield. The club helped start a team at Saint Louis University (SLU) in 2016 and did the same at Mizzou in 2019, partnering with MU’s College of Arts and

Science to fund the program for men and women. Mizzou’s top women’s player is Belarusian Olga Badelka, who ranks in the top 50 in the world, and the top men’s player is Russian Grigoriy Oparin, who ranks in the top 100. “The system is different than, say, football, where you play collegiately and then go professional,” Chirila says. “These players are already professional.” The players sharpen their skills three or four times a week at practices in Respect Hall dormitory. In March, the Tigers won the World University Online Chess Championship in the blitz division, a blazingly fast version of the game in which players are allotted only five minutes total to make all their moves. Repka scored the decisive victory as Mizzou beat SLU for the title. Repka says he was always capable of “flashy moments” but that training under Chirila and practicing against other grandmasters improved his fundamentals. He’s also enjoying his studies in business administration. He calls coming to Mizzou the best decision of his life, though he hasn’t fulfilled all his dreams. “There’s been no tornado,” Repka says. “I’m waiting.” — Joe Walljasper, BJ ’92


Lure of the Tornado

New Athletic Director

Golan’s Path Leads to Mizzou New Missouri soccer Coach Stefanie Golan thought she had her career mapped out. After graduating with a degree in political science from Duke University, where she was a defender on the soccer team, she planned to go to law school and become an FBI or CIA agent. But her coaches at Duke were convinced she had a bright future in coaching. So, after graduating in 2001, she delayed law school to give coaching a try as a graduate assistant while studying business administration. “About three months in, I was sitting in a class, looking at the board, and there were six equations up there,” Golan says. “I looked down at my paper, and there were notes about 10 recruits I needed to call. I thought, ‘Well, this is telling me something.’ ” Soccer was a subject she had studied her whole life. Black-and-white family photos show her kicking a ball as a toddler in saddle shoes. Her father, Gene Kraay, was a standout goalkeeper at the Air Force Academy, and he coached her through her early years of club soccer in St. Charles, Missouri.



Karissa Schweizer, BHS ’18, cemented her status as one of the world’s best distance runners by qualifying for the women’s 5,000- and 10,000-meter runs at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Representing the USA, Schweizer placed 11th in the 5,000 with a time of 14 minutes, 55.80 seconds and took 12th in the 10,000 with a time of 31:19.96. She wasn’t the only former Tiger competing in Tokyo. Ian Kinsler, AF&NR ’03, came out of retirement to play second base for the Israeli baseball team. Mikel Schreuders, BS ME ’20, represented Aruba in swimming

Golan got her first job as a head coach at West Point in 2009. In three years, she led the Black Knights to a 33–18–10 record and an NCAA Tournament appearance. Then she moved on to Minnesota and guided the Gophers to a 92–64–24 mark with four NCAA Tournament bids in nine seasons. Missouri’s job came open in April when Bryan Blitz, the only coach in program history, retired after 25 seasons. Golan was interested. Having once imagined a life of international intrigue, she felt the pull of home and family. “Having an opportunity to represent your home state at the highest level and trying to elevate the standing of that program on a national scale is really exciting,” Golan says. And, as a single mother of two boys, she loves Columbia’s family-friendly logistics. “The fact that I live 15 minutes from my office and that their schools are on my way to work — it allows me the opportunity to do both parts of my life at a high level.” — Joe Walljasper, BJ ’92

in the men’s 100 and 200 freestyle, and Fabian Schwingenschlögl, BS IE ’17, swam for Germany in the men’s 100 breaststroke and the mixed 4-x-100 medley relay. Volunteer assistant track Coach Jillian Weir competed for Canada in the women’s hammer throw. At press time, Mizzou was scheduled to be represented in wheelchair basketball at the Paralympic Games, with MU Coach Ron Lykins, M Ed ’18, serving as the U.S. head coach and current player Colin Higgins competing for Canada.

At press time, University of Missouri President Mun Choi announced that Desiree ReedFrancois will replace Jim Sterk as athletic director. “Desiree ReedFrancois brings an unsurpassed passion for student-athletes and bold, visionary skills that will propel a championship culture at MU,” Choi says. She becomes the first female athletic director in school history. Reed-Francois spent the past four years as the athletic director at University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). A former rower at UCLA, she went on to earn a law degree at Arizona before launching her career in athletic administration. From 2009 to 2013, she was the deputy athletic director at Tennessee, where she worked with current Mizzou basketball Coach Cuonzo Martin. When she was hired at UNLV, Reed-Francois was the first Hispanic woman or woman of color to serve as athletic director of a Football Bowl Subdivision school. She takes over a Mizzou athletic department with some fundraising momentum. MU set a record with $55.5 million in donations to the Tiger Scholarship Fund in 2020–21. FALL 2021 13


HIS MOMENT Being a finalist for the 2021 PEN/Faulkner literary award puts Steve Wiegenstein on a literary A-list with the likes of John Updike, Cynthia Ozick and Bobbie Ann Mason. His award-winning collection of short stories, Scattered Lights, came along after publishing three historical novels. Read the essay he wrote for MIZZOU magazine on Page 16. BY T ON Y R E H AGE N, BA , B J ’01 * PH O T O BY N IC H OL A S B E N N E R

As the son of two voracious readers, growing up in a farmhouse in the eastern Missouri Ozarks surrounded by books, Steve Wiegenstein knew he was born to be a fiction writer. He just had to wait a few decades while life happened. A retired college professor and administrator, Wiegenstein, BJ ’76, MA ’82, PhD ’87, didn’t publish his first novel until he was 56. But he has since more than made up for lost time, putting out two more novels and a book of short stories in the past eight years. The latter work, Scattered Lights, set in Wiegenstein’s native Ozarks, thrust the 66-year-old author into the international spotlight when it was named as a finalist for the 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award. Previous finalists have included American literary legends like Larry McMurtry, Joyce Carol Oates and Jonathan Franzen. But if Wiegenstein’s circuitous route to this moment has taught him anything, it’s not to get too wrapped up in chasing accolades but rather to focus on the task at hand. After all, much of writing, particularly fiction, is about the author achieving proper perspective on the story and the characters therein — to let events unfold organically. “I think things happen when they are due to happen,” Wiegenstein says. “It’s wonderful to get the recognition. But I don’t begrudge the time spent building my career. There’s a whole life there.” That life began in Annapolis, Missouri, a tiny farming town in Iron County, near the Black River. Wiegenstein’s parents were farmers who supplemented their livelihoods. His father was a quarry supervisor, his mother a freelance journalist and copywriter. Both loved to read, but Wiegenstein distinctly remembers his mother clacking out newspaper articles and ad copy on her typewriter at the dining room table. He idolized her. The son tried his own hand at writing in high school and as an undergraduate at Mizzou, but he was only good enough to know he wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t until Wiegenstein got to graduate school at MU, after a stint as a reporter for the Wayne County (Mo.) Journal Banner, that he started believing in his compositions and publishing the occasional story in literary magazines. “It’s only after I’d been out of school for a few years that I developed the kind of discipline and objectivity about my work that allowed me to step up my ability,” he says. “I had a more mature outlook and a better sense of what I wanted to say.” Even so, writing fiction was still more or less a hobby while he built a career in academia. Finally, in 2012, Wiegenstein acted on an idea he’d been saving for nearly 30 years. For his 14 MIZZOUMAGAZINE

setting, the journeyman professor returned to his roots. Slant of Light was the first novel in the trilogy about Daybreak, a utopian settlement in the Missouri Ozarks founded before the Civil War. Its residents came of age during the rapid changes of the late 1800s and early 1900s. “I look for settings that have personal meaning for me,” he says. “I gravitate to rural people and Ozarks people in particular because that’s where I’m from, and they are what I know.” Scattered Lights, which brought overnight attention to Wiegenstein’s work, puts the author’s examination of those people into the 21st century. These characters are virtuous but imperfect, just trying to make their own way. There’s Miss Elizabeth, a widow who quietly ruffles feathers among her small town’s elite by refusing to take her place among them. Charley Blankenship is a black sheep ex-con who, despite his son’s denouncement of him, breaks the law again in a vain attempt to secure the child’s future. And the collection is bookended by sketches of Larry, who at first blush appears to be a Biblethumping country zealot but who comes to question his core beliefs when life isn’t working out as he had prayed it would. “What I greatly admire about Steve’s work is that he steers clear of stereotypes,” says award-winning novelist Ann Weisgarber. “He writes with compassion. At the same time, his characters are rich with flaws. That makes for stellar fiction.” Although it didn’t quite make for PEN/Faulkner Awardwinning fiction (the honor went to Deesha Philyaw, also a National Book Award finalist), Wiegenstein is taking his sudden success with the evenhandedness one would expect from a lifelong academic living out his dream in retirement. He’s working on the fourth installment of his Daybreak series, pushing on without regret. “Now I feel free to work on creative writing and do it from a perspective where I feel seasoned to do it as well as I can,” he says. “And I don’t concern myself with the fact that I didn’t do it earlier. There’s still plenty of time.” M Steve Wiegenstein was 56 when he published his first novel and 66 when his collection of short stories was named a finalist for the PEN/ Faulkner Award. When the retired college professor isn't floating down Missouri rivers, he’s hard at work on his next book.

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SAME RIVER TWICE For a writer who grew up on a southern Missouri farm, what better teacher could there be than the state’s rivers and streams. During a lifetime of float trips, Steve Wiegenstein has come to cherish the beauty of those sanctuaries. He’s spent a career pondering the questions they’ve posed on matters of birth, death, and the struggle and wonder of life’s passages in between. BY S T E V E W I E GE NS T E I N, B J ’ 76, M A ’82, PH D ’87 PE N/ FAU L K N E R FI NA L I S T, 2021 PH O T O S BY N IC H OL A S B E N N E R



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to experience a Missouri river is from its surface, under your own power. Traveling by any other means makes you a mere observer. My first float took place on a salvaged johnboat my dad picked up somewhere, patched with rivets and caulk, and hauled in the pickup a few miles up the Black River, near our farm in Reynolds County. The farm’s previous owner had been a tie-rafter during the Depression, muscling mile-long assemblages of rough-hewn crossties downriver to the railhead at Clearwater. He had left behind a big steering oar, so we used that in the stern and scavenged a canoe paddle from a root wad for the bow. They worked fine for the johnboat, which didn’t need a lot of steering, as it could bounce from obstacle to obstacle and scrape over low spots without much help. From there we floated to the Highway K bridge, where the tractor and wagon had been parked for the return home. Now, 50-plus years later, I make the same float in a hard plastic kayak, and the outfitter’s bus is driven by the grandchildren of those who were once our neighbors and classmates. Thus began a lifetime of floating — streaming along on “a living thing, a third friend,” as Ward Dorrance put it in his 1937 book Three Ozark Streams. He wrote that a day seeing a stream “speeding out of its mist at dawn cannot be like another day,” words that have rung true in my own experience again and again. Setting out into an Ozark stream is a small rebirth, a revisiting of that old metaphor about the river of life. Heraclitus had it right 2,500 years ago: One never steps into the same river twice — a musing on change that’s as much about people as water. I’ve been riding rivers since I was a kid, and they had a multitude of names: St. Francis, Black, Current, Jacks Fork, Eleven Point and more. Missouri, the state of rivers, the state named after a river. What is this state of ours if not a place where you find an open craft and push out into the current? Mark Twain knew this, and for all the com18 MIZZOUMAGAZINE


plicated legacy of Huckleberry Finn, we are left with two friends afloat at night, making stories out of the stars. John Neihardt, the university’s poet-in-residence for many years, knew this, claiming the Missouri as the symbol of his own soul in his 1927 The River and I. So whenever a Missourian with literary ambitions steps from a bank onto a stream, there’s a parade of predecessors to salute and emulate. When I began work on my first published novel, I sought a setting, and looking into the deepest, most treasured corners of my heart, as one does on such a task, I saw a mist-shrouded Ozark valley with a running river on one side and a steep hill on the other. My novels all take place in a riverside village in the Ozarks, a fictional spot, though if you think of Galena, Eminence or Van Buren, you’ll get the idea. The inhabitants depend on the river, they fight it, and sometimes they die in it. In my short-story collection, Scattered Lights, there’s a glimpse of what this 19th-century village has become: a summer camp whose owners make the kids swim in the camp’s lifeguarded pool instead of risking the liability-filled waters of the nearby river. If Missouri is a state known by its rivers, then a river journey is the way to know a Missourian. Every Ozark stream has its champions. The Niangua, angler-friendly and placid, with spectator cows watching from the banks. The North Fork, remote and wild. The Elk, with its dramatic overhanging bluffs, and the Gasconade, with its mile-high ones. But it’s the Current that always



shows up on the tourist brochures, and for good reason. It slices southeast through the midsection of the plateau from Montauk to Doniphan and beyond, queenly and photogenic, great springs lining its path. So we pack a dry bag, point the car in that direction and embark. First Shoal: Disruption In the summers before I left my Reynolds County home for the university, I worked as a counselor at a children’s camp, supervising timid city kids as they swam, shot .22-caliber rifles and rode horses. Group after group of campers floated the same stretch of river dozens of times, with an overnight campout as the pinnacle of their stay. Our vessels were 12-foot aluminum canoes, rackety and almost indestructible, and although the kids received daily practice at the quiet hole of water across from the camp, their reaction upon reaching the first mild S-turn after launch was unreasoning terror. Something was pushing them in an undesired direction, and all their mad paddling had little effect. Their response was usually to paddle harder, often with the kid in the bow paddling in the opposite direction to the kid in the stern, canceling each other’s effort. The canoes bounced off trees; the campers shouted recriminations at one another; and the counselor in the lead waited in the still water below as the canoes floated down with their lifejacket-clad cargoes, sideways and back-

Author Steve Wiegenstein floats the Current River with his wife, Sharon Buzzard, PhD ’85, right. At left: The author, far right, with his brother and cousins at Silver Mines on the St. Francis River. Opposite page: The author, right, and his brother waiting for the Powder Mill Ferry on the Current River. Both photos circa 1960.

ward, occasionally with someone in tears. The first lesson of a float trip is that the world has force beyond your abilities to manage. Flail or adapt. For most of human history, rivers were highways. In my novel Slant of Light, James Turner arrives at his settlement by flatboat up the St. Francis from Arkansas, a fictional journey that is plausible enough. If steamboats could navigate the Osage all the way to Osceola, why not a flatboat up the St. Francis? Railroads supplanted waterways for commercial traffic after the Civil War, leaving the rivers to the locals and the occasional adventurer from outside. In their rich book James FALL 2021 19

left resentments that still ache. Many of my fellow camp counselors were MU students, so I arrived in Columbia in 1973 with an unrealistic vision of its glories, expecting both the Library of Alexandria and Kubla Khan’s pleasure dome. It’s no surprise, then, that my undergraduate years resembled the experience of those camp kids, with a lot of wild effort in dumb directions and striving after goals that I had no business attempting. But eventually, you learn to navigate, to sense and anticipate the forces that are driving you in a particular direction, forces that cannot be overpowered but can be used to accelerate toward the desired end. Once the nose of the boat reaches safe water, the rest of the craft will usually follow.

Fork of the White, the photographer-writer team Leland and Crystal Payton describe how float trips transformed from rugged sportsmen’s outings to relaxed, four- or five-day affairs aimed at the leisure class, spurred by railroad brochures from the Missouri Pacific. And even in the 1950s, when Leonard Hall, the great popularizer of the Current River, pretty much brought about the creation of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, floating was still largely a genteel angler’s pursuit. His trips down the river are like those old-time travels, with a guide floating ahead to set up camp, cook dinner and prepare the toddies while Leonard and Ginny fish their way along. In Hall’s day, the Current was a big, beautiful, unregulated river that needed protection not just from the Corps of Engineers’ dam mania but also from the locals, who didn’t treat it with sufficient reverence. They ran cattle along its banks and plowed its bottomland. They engaged in environmentally problematic practices like open range and the annual burning of the forest floor. All in all, Hall was right, but the federal government’s acquisition of the scenic riverways land 20 MIZZOUMAGAZINE


Eddies and Springs But whatever their level of luxury, whether they arrive at the Current River with a kayak strapped to the roof or roar up from Van Buren in a custom motorboat, I can’t kick too much about floaters of any sort, for they are on their own versions of the same quest — the search for something outside themselves, something authentic and natural. I avoid the weekenders because their version of nature differs so radically from mine, but I sense a kinship. Like me, they want to step out for a little while, to thrust a hand into the water where a spring branch comes in and feel the raw chill, to pick up rocks from the gravel bar and skip or kerplunk them back into the stream. My family divides the world into two kinds of people — the ones who adapt to the float’s slow pace and simplicity versus the ones who talk incessantly and paddle as if they have an appointment to keep. For us, the question, “Can they go on a float?” has taken on almost moral dimensions, implying a certain attitude, an openness to experience and a willingness to go with the flow in the most literal sense. When I brought my future wife home to the farm for the first time, she eagerly stepped into the canoe and fell into the river’s serene rhythms, pretty much sealing the deal. We were graduate students in MU’s English department then. One year, we helped organize an ill-fated float with our fellow scholars that taught us not everyone is suited for a river trip. An overambitious itinerary, a group of novices and a steady downpour tested us all. Some relationships managed to find sweet water despite the obstacles; some dragged on the rocks and some got swamped. But for those who feel the pull of the river, the rewards surpass calculation. The feeling of an alternate way of measuring time and space leads

thoughts toward the mystical. Prosaic old Schoolcraft only recommended the Current River to “the planter and speculator,” but the rest of us see the sacred. Ward Dorrance, slicing through predawn mist into a deep hole, with sunlight filtered through sycamores and cardinals singing overhead, felt the urge to fall to his knees, and he wasn’t wrong. When I think of human-created holy places, I think of the vaults of cathedrals and capitol domes, their oversized scale inspiring awe, and the same is true of many natural places we call sacred, our Half Domes and Grand Canyons. But the wonders of a float trip are fleeting, caught out of the corner of an eye. The stillness of a fish resting in the still water below a boulder, the imperturbable gaze of an eagle from the top of a shortleaf pine, the bobbing of a submerged tree branch according to its own mysterious physics: A float trip is a compendium of little miracles for those who have eyes to see. And it’s a lesson that miracles don’t need to be grandiose to be profound. Perhaps the greatest gift of the river is how it opens a place for silence, such a rare commodity today, and one that is needed most by those who do not even notice its absence. The trip begins with chatter and conversation, but those everyday topics gradually fall away. We drift for miles without speaking, or speaking only of necessary things, a barely visible rock ahead, an uncertain fork, an animal on the bank. Then, like the dome of water that rises when you pass over a riverbed spring, the silence


breaches and another kind of essential subject bubbles up: memories, insights, aspirations, deep thoughts for deep water. And the springs! Is it any wonder that the ancients built temples beside them? But no temples flank Ozarks streams, just hydrologists’ carefully crafted posters that tell us of the geology below. Water migrates through the limestone under every hill, shaping the landscape. Streams disappear in one county and gush out at the base of a bluff 20 miles away. But when I gaze into the mesmerizing depths of Blue Spring, or stand above the massive outflow of Big Spring, or take the long walk down to Greer Spring to see its mossy tumble, I lose track of science. I drop into the elemental mystery of water springing from rock, creation seemingly from nothing. Over the years, I’ve been invited to several river baptisms, and though my own religious tradition doesn’t require full-body immersion, I understand the impulse. If I should ever be baptized again, I’d want it to be in the cleansing waters of an Ozark stream. I already experience a spiritual regeneration every time I push out from the shore. But alongside this pleasure is the pleasure of togetherness, the family regathering from far places, old friends joining forces again and new friends being welcomed. When I think of the cascade of people I have ridden the river with, my entire life passes in front of me. And the craft mark the passages: inner tubes and johnboats, kid-friendly and cheap. Canoes for campouts and twosomes. As the parent of youngsters, big rubber rafts for ultimate FALL 2021 21


Read the River

Love floating? Check out Steve Wiegenstein’s reading recommendations. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884) by Mark Twain. “The river scenes between Huck and Jim are unforgettable, but for a full dose of Twain’s appreciation of the great American river, try Life on the Mississippi (1883).” The Drownt Boy (1994) by Art Homer published by the University of Missouri Press. “A melancholy and highly literature-influenced memoir of a float trip drenched in rain and an Ozarks childhood marked by poverty.” James Fork of the White (2017) by photographer-writer team Leland and Crystal Payton. “One of several sumptuous large-format books by this Springfieldbased couple who chronicle Ozark landscapes and culture in pictures and text.” The River and I (1927) by John Neihardt, who taught English at MU. “Before he became a famous poet, Neihardt wrote this memoir/ meditation about a long (and in retrospect, rather risky) trip down the Missouri River.” Stars Upstream (1958) by Leonard Hall, reprinted by the University of Missouri Press in 1983. “This lyrical meditation on floating the Current River is often credited with having a major influence on the creation of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.” Three Ozark Streams (1937) by Ward Dorrance, BA ’26, MA ’28, PhD ’35, who taught French at MU. “This hard-to-find book is a lyrical depiction of float trips on the Black, Jacks Fork and Current rivers in the years before large-scale commercial floating.” 22 MIZZOUMAGAZINE

safety. Nowadays, a rented kayak for spontaneous, fuss-free day excursions. With newcomers, my family used to have an initiation ceremony that involved bowing to the gods of the river and chanting, “Owah tagu siam” repeatedly until the prank became clear. But nowadays we mainly just ask about food preferences and keep an eye out for incompatible personalities among the invitees. Second Shoal: Catastrophe “Have they found the drownt boy?” is the refrain of Art Homer’s 1994 book The Drownt Boy, published by the University of Missouri Press, a dark memoir of a difficult float trip down the Current in high water and an equally difficult childhood in Reynolds County. It’s a reminder that catastrophes happen on floats. People break bones. They drown. I once walked with friends to the scorched place on a gravel bar where a husband and wife had been killed by lightning the day before, just yards from shelter. We studied the spot and discussed what the couple should have done differently, quietly avoiding the fact that any one of us could have suffered the same fate. Of course, the drunk and the careless get more than their share of trouble. But catastrophes happen even to the most cautious among us, and one hopes mainly to avoid the ultimate ones, like drowning or being shot by an angry landowner, as happened on the Meramec a few years ago. Rationally, we know that the most dangerous part of a float trip is the drive to the river. Even so, the thought lingers: Things go wrong. Floating the placid Huzzah with my wife, Sharon, a few years ago, we bumped an underwater log, which momentarily pushed us sideways. Nothing to worry about. But the tail of the boat caught the current, and in the blink of an eye we swept toward a jutting stob that, had she not ducked instantly, would have struck her in the chest with the full force of two bodies and a canoe. We shuddered, exchanged looks and floated on down. In my novel The Language of Trees, one of the characters commits the ultimate act of foolishness. He imagines he can master the river. He builds a dam across the St. Francis, high upstream, to power his mining operations. And when the river breaks through — as rivers always do — the flood nearly destroys a village downstream. This incident is loosely based on an actual dam and an actual mine, though the final calamity is my invention. Children still swim, as I did, in the cool waters below the remnants of the Silver Mines dam, oblivious to the history that gave them their fine swimming hole. What else is there to do with catastrophe, besides anticipate as best you can, brace yourself,


try to duck and deal with the consequences? Even the best paddlers dump their boat now and then. I wrote an entire novel in graduate school, before I knew what the heck I was doing, and handed it to a trusted friend to read. The stricken look on his face a few days later, when he returned the manuscript, told me all I needed. Take-out Eventually, one rounds the final bend. The takeout point lies ahead, the current always a little swifter than you would like, making for one last scramble to the bank and a fresh shoeful of gravel. And the emotion is always mixed. There’s satisfaction, of course, for few pleasures match a completed float, with dry clothes waiting in the car and a meal ahead. But also unfulfilled anticipation. What shall we do next time? A different stretch of river, or perhaps a spring float, or one in the late fall? Who needs an invitation next time? Or maybe it’s time for a solo trip, just one or two people on a new and lonesome stream. I felt the same way when I published my first “real” novel, my first honest-to-goodness novel, in 2012, at the age of 56. The act was complete, and yet it was not. The successful completion of one trip only spurs the longing for the next. But perhaps other stories await instead. The last time I floated the Black River down from Lesterville, I noticed a little plaque on a tree just below the junction with Peola Branch. It bore a man’s name, and I surmised that the spot was an ash-scattering place for someone who, like me, had found his own personal blessing in a springfed, cool-running river. “At the river forever,” it said, and I couldn’t envision a better fate. M About the author and publishers: Steve Wiegenstein, BJ ’76, MA ’82, PhD ’87, is a 2021 PEN/ Faulkner finalist for his short story collection, Scattered Lights (Cornerpost Press, 2020). Phillip Howerton, PhD ’11, and Victoria Howerton, BA, BJ ’89, MA ’01, are co-owners and editors of the press.

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How Nurses Elevate Eldercare Highly trained nurses improve the care of seniors and save money in the process, according to a new study. But will insurance regulations allow this model to flourish? | By Nancy Yang, MA ’83 | Photo by Rob Hill

Marilyn Rantz, Curators Professor Emerita at the School of Nursing, sits with TigerPlace resident Charles Gibbens. Rantz’s pioneering work has improved eldercare processes, reduced costs associated with care and boosted the quality of life of older adults. 24 MIZZOUMAGAZINE

Nursing home residents fare better

and require fewer treacherous trips to the hospital when the staff includes advanced practice registered nurses, or APRNs. What’s more, Medicare and Medicaid save millions of dollars and nursing homes enjoy steadier revenues. These are takeaways from a long-term study by Marilyn Rantz, Curators Professor Emerita at MU’s Sinclair School of Nursing. Rantz’s decades of health care research include

pioneering aging in place, an innovative eldercare model that has influenced senior care programs nationwide. The idea is to provide services and care that meet nursing home residents’ increasing needs where they live, rather than relocating them to higher levels of care. “I really believe that helping older people — advancing that cause — is probably why I keep working, despite getting older myself,” she says. In 2012, Rantz became a member of the Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine), an elite group of researchers that inform government policy. Also that year, she received a $14.8 million research grant, MU’s largest ever at the time, to improve nursing home care. The grant led to the Missouri Quality Initiative, an eight-year study that placed highly trained APRNs in 16 nursing homes in the St. Louis area of the state, supported them and analyzed the changes this new model brought. It’s a game-changer, Rantz says. APRNs improved quality of care, leading to a decrease in hospitalizations that saved over $31 million in Medicare, Medicaid and insurance costs over five years. In addition, APRNs would save homes an estimated $500,000 per 200 beds annually by keeping residents in the facilities, where they can continue to charge for services. Avoiding trips to the hospital fends off a host of potential problems. A frightening ambulance ride or the lack of familiar surroundings can trigger confusion and disorientation, and without their usual care plans in place, elders risk missing or duplicating meds. “If we can intervene and manage these residents in nursing homes where they are already familiar with the staff and routine, it is the best place for them to be,” Rantz says. That’s where the nurses come in. Example: A common cause of avoidable hospitalizations is dehydration. Oftentimes, overwhelmed and undertrained staff members miss dehydration’s early signs, leading to urinary tract infections, pneumonia or other dangerous conditions that trigger trips to the hospital. Having an APRN on the care team changes that dynamic. They elevate the quality of care across the facility, in part by coaching the staff on key diagnostic skills. That means staff catch residents’ problems earlier, when they can still be treated in the nursing home. “If we can get fluids into those residents, it helps tremendously,” Rantz says. “They feel much better, so they continue to eat and move. Movement helps them get back on track physiologically.” And, as the overall performance of staff improves, so does their job satisfaction, which results in less turnover. It would be a win-win all the way around but for a few stumbling blocks, Rantz says. The biggest bump is that Medicare prohibits nursing homes from employing APRNs and billing for their services. Rantz attributes the restrictions to outdated regulations. “This is a key underlying issue that needs to change, and the public needs to know about it,” she says. “There’s no reason facilities can’t employ APRNs and bill under Medicare just as physicians do.” Prohibiting nursing homes from hiring APRNs can be especially troublesome in rural communities where hospitals and other health care resources are limited. If anyone can shape policy, it might just be Rantz and her colleagues. “We are very optimistic this study will be key to influencing federal changes,” says Amy Vogelsmeier, MS ’97, PhD ’08, associate professor of nursing and a co-investigator on the study. The research team, which includes Mizzou faculty members Lori Popejoy, BSN, ’93, MS ’ 96, PhD ’07, and Kelli Canada, enjoys international acclaim for its work improving nursing home care, Vogelsmeier says. This study in particular shines a bright light on the value of a well-trained nurse. M The study “Results of the Missouri Quality Initiative in sustaining changes in nursing home care: Six-year trends of reducing hospitalizations of nursing home residents” appeared in the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging and “Financial and work-flow benefits of reducing avoidable hospitalizations of nursing home residents” is in press in that journal. FALL 2021 25



TA L E N T A new approach to hiring marshals multiple researchers around real-world problems. By David LaGesse, BJ ’79 | Photos by Scott Schaefer, BJ ’04 The new $220.8 million research facility rising aside University of Missouri Health Care’s central hospital campus is often described as housing sophisticated laboratories and high-tech gear. But it’s the people whose work supports the NextGen Precision Health initiative that will push it to science’s leading edge, says Steven Zweig, MD ’79, MS ’84, dean of Mizzou’s School of Medicine. They include a slew of pending hires coming aboard under a new strategic plan and in a process that’s unique on campus. First, a steering committee identifies existing strengths and new opportunities for Mizzou, Zweig says. “We’re encouraging existing faculty to put together proposals for those opportunities, including identifying individuals with the talents we’ll need.” Then, rather than individual departments recruiting individual faculty, campus leaders target clusters of researchers who meet the new objectives. “It’s a very, very different way than we’ve recruited faculty before.” The cluster approach reflects the complexity of today’s science, which increasingly requires collaboration among labs and disciplines to achieve breakthroughs. The image of lone

scientists working to make singular discoveries has become rare, particularly in medicine, Zweig says. Also rarer are discoveries for discovery’s sake: NextGen will focus on knowledge that can be translated into innovative treatments. “It’s not just understanding the structure or function of a physical or physiological process,” he says, “but how it can be applied to real-life problems.” The collaboration will extend beyond medical researchers. They’ll work with experts in physics and chemistry, for example, to get the best from new imaging technology. The design of the new building’s labs and offices will encourage scientists from different disciplines to interact and work together. Campus leaders have approved about three dozen new research positions connected to NextGen. Offers have gone to about a dozen in an effort that will span several years. Happily, most recruited faculty so far have accepted their offers, Zweig says, as they’re drawn to MU’s high-profile commitment to medical science. “This is an exciting time for both the campus and the School of Medicine.”

Modulating Immunity >>> Jorge Gomez-Gutierrez studies potential cures for cancer, exotic approaches that use viruses and bacteria to battle and even prevent tumors. It’s fundamental science — the sort whose discoveries often sat on a shelf unless noticed by a practicing doctor somewhere. Not anymore. “I’m a basic scientist, and I need the knowledge of a medical doctor to understand how my science can be applied,” Gomez-Gutierrez says. So, he left the University of Louisville in early 2021 to come to MU as an associate professor in molecular microbiology and immunology in the Department of Child Health. He followed two colleagues who made the switch a year earlier from Louisville to Columbia, drawn by the university’s commitment to medical research. That commitment focuses on research by teams of scientists from multiple disciplines, working together and trading ideas — perhaps in the halls of the NextGen building, designed to encourage collaboration. NextGen will focus in part on cancer research, alongside planned growth in clinics that treat cancer patients. “Missouri offered the facilities and resources needed to conduct high-quality research that can be translated quickly to treatments,” Gomez-Gutierrez says. He also wanted to rejoin his colleagues, Esma Yolcu and Haval Shirwan, who came from Louisville to MU as professors in microbiology and immunology. “I am still learning and will always be learning, so I’m glad to be working again with my mentors.” Their work advances immunomodulation, which manipulates the body’s immune response to disease. It might mean activating an immune reaction to a tumor. Or sometimes it’s suppressing an immune system, including those that mistakenly attack healthy cells in illnesses like inflammatory bowel diseases. Gomez-Gutierrez’s work focuses on two microbes. He’s studying a virus that might deliver directly to cells new therapies for fighting tumors. A second microbe, Lactococcus lactis, is regarded as safe because it’s widely used in the dairy industry to make cheese and yogurt. It is a probiotic, a living microorganism seen to have health benefits. Eating dairy products, for example, is thought to prevent many digestive tract diseases, including colon cancer. L. lactis also can be genetically engineered to produce proteins that prompt an immune response against a tumor or reduce inflammation in the gut. Gomez-Gutierrez wants to investigate whether a modified version of the bacterium, because it can survive in the digestive tract, can deliver therapies directly to a tumor. L. lactis has great potential to contribute to new treatments, he says, that can be used in clinics at Mizzou and elsewhere. FALL 2021 27


It’s a wild world in street-level medicine. Researchers discover wonderful treatments and drugs for disease, but how they’re used at clinics and doctors’ offices might surprise — even startle — the original investigators. That’s the part of health care that fascinates Gillian Bartlett-Esquilant, professor of family and community medicine. Bartlett-Esquilant studies how medications get used in the real world. “I study them when they get out into the community, where people do weird and wonderful things with medications,” she says with a chuckle. Bartlett-Esquilant came to Mizzou last year to help strengthen the School of Medicine’s ability to measure the impact of drugs and treatments, including how they affect various populations — also key goals of NextGen. She’s particularly interested in how drug research has traditionally missed some groups, such as the elderly, underrepresented minorities and women. “Amazingly, women have whole hormonal systems that men don’t have,” she says, and that changes how their bodies process medications. “Some drugs, for example, are highly effective for treating heart disease in men but don’t work as well in women.” Or if more women had been included in a clinical study, a treatment that worked for them might have made it to market. Recruited from Canada’s elite McGill University, Bartlett-Esquilant also serves as a new associate dean of population health and outcomes research at the School of Medicine. She’s helping beef up the school’s biostatistics unit, which aids scientists as they analyze data for research on new therapies and their impact when deployed. Bartlett-Esquilant is also helping establish programs to train future researchers to engage more with clinical doctors. She calls it a “practice-based learning system” in which frontline doctors might report how a new treatment works for most men but not Latinos or women. “We need to ensure we’re building a system where there’s better communication,” she says. A new umbrella doctoral program, for example, will pull together doctoral candidates from different areas of basic sciences as well as medical research and practice. A firstsemester course will teach research methods and, more important, help students know one another and develop a common language. “We want to make information flow better,” she says, including between departments where scientists might not understand one another’s work. The University of Missouri’s investment in NextGen helped draw her to Mizzou. The initiatives in health care research will take three to five years to assemble and mature, Bartlett-Esquilant says, adding that she remains confident they’ll bear fruit. “I wouldn’t have come if I didn’t think we could pull this off.” 28 MIZZOUMAGAZINE

B A R T L E T T- E S Q U I L A N T : A L L E N M C I N N I S

<<< Real-world Medicine

Biology and Behavior >>> “Precision health” could come across as a vague, imprecise term, but it has clear meaning for Brett Froeliger, a Mizzou researcher looking for addiction’s causes and cures. His studies wrestle with the complexities of the human brain and how it responds to nicotine, opioids, cocaine and other harmful substances. Froeliger hopes that one day a doctor will be able to draw blood, identify a person’s genetics and know which treatments will help most if they’re struggling with addiction. Getting there involves neuroscience, behavioral science, psychiatry and public health experts working together. It’s the sort of multifaceted effort and cooperation that Mizzou will encourage with the NextGen initiative. “I think multidisciplinary is where this field is headed,” says Froeliger, a professor of psychiatry. “We need a more comprehensive view not only of how the person is behaving but also of their biology.” Froeliger came to Mizzou in early 2020 from the Medical University of South Carolina, which, he says, has an admirable commitment to science. But the surrounding region doesn’t have as high an incidence of addiction that, unfortunately, is found across Missouri. “I was looking for where there’s a population with a high need as well as the capacity for addiction research.” On arriving at Mizzou, Froeliger established a new facility for studying basic brain processes, disorders and new treatments. The Cognitive Neuroscience Systems Core shares its facilities with researchers across University of Missouri campuses who investigate the brain and behavior in an effort to “improve human health and well-being.” For Froeliger, the facility offers high-tech equipment, such as a powerful research scanner for magnetic resonance imaging, that helps him understand brain processes. The MRI system generates real-time images of brain structure and function, allowing researchers, for example, to see how substances affect the brain. Another suite houses gear for transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) — an FDA-approved device that enables direct stimulation of neurons to selectively increase or decrease brain function. The treatment works for some patients and disorders, including depression; Froeliger studies its potential for treating addiction. He also investigates how TMS does its thing. “The scientific community has theories, but we still are working to understand how exactly it works,” he says. His lab also includes PCs and offices for cognitive and behavioral testing because, of course, addiction also involves a person’s environment and choices. Ultimately, the goal is to change behavior. Still, “It’s my scientific worldview that it is our biology that drives our behavior,” Froeliger says. “To understand behavior, we have to get a better sense of the neurobiology that guides it.” M FALL 2021 29


What’s the appeal of the classic college town bar? By Aaron Mermelstein, BJ ’72


C R O W D : LG PAT T E R S O N ; H A R P E R : J A N / F E B 1 9 7 1 M I S S O U R I A LU M N U S


Among the chunks of Faurot Field goalposts carried through campus post-victory by thousands of jubilant football fans chanting, “HAARP-OHHHHHS, HAAARP-OHHHHHS,” amid the sports memorabilia and alongside the other significant mementos, there’s a framed Missouri Alumnus magazine article with a picture of a youthful Dennis Harper, BS Ed ’71, that reports he’s recently opened a bar just north of campus and that, “If early accounts are any indication, it is well on the way to joining … student favorites.” Early indications indicated correctly. Harpo’s joined the “student favorites” list immediately. Current indications indicate it’s still a “student favorite.” And an alumni favorite and townsfolk favorite and tourist favorite. And it’s been a favorite for 50 years now. In 1971, when that article was published, Harper’s diploma still had the new-graduate smell, and even though he majored in education, his life education taught him to recognize a business opportunity. “I grew up in Iowa City, Iowa — home of the University of Iowa — and there were maybe a dozen ‘college bars’ there,” he explains. “I looked around Columbia and saw Romano’s and the Heidelberg, Booches, a couple more maybe. And Booches didn’t even let women in!” (Note: Booches was men only until 1976). “Opening a college bar was a no-brainer.” So, mere months after graduating, Harper opened the new place and gave it the name others had given him, Harpo — his nickname in the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. “I didn’t want to put my nickname on it, but everybody said it was catchy. So I did.” He filled his original location in the former Pizza Hut on South Seventh Street with Tiger black and gold, MU sports collectibles, and enough ephemer-rah-rah-rah to make it the most Mizzou spot in town that didn’t have six columns in the middle of it. Just a year later, Harpo’s moved

to the larger, current location at 29 S. 10th St. “We became a trademark place to be seen. We caught on with sports.” Harper smiles when he says, “It’s what a college bar should be. We get businesspeople and tourists. Alumni come back because this is where they came when they were students, and they still feel that connection.” When Chuck Naylor, BS BA ’82, was an undergraduate, “Harpo’s was the watering hole,” he says. Naylor was in the same fraternity Harper had been in and, because Harper was Harpo, “We looked up to Dennis. He was it.” The two reDennis Harper, circa 1971 mained friends through the years. In 2010, Naylor was retiring from AT&T. His son Jack, BS ’14, then a Mizzou undergraduate and Harpo’s regular, heard an impossible rumor: After four decades, Dennis Harper was selling. Naylor was skeptical. “I thought, there’s no way he’d ever sell Harpo’s.” But if the scuttlebutt proved true, Naylor wanted in. “We met over a beer on a game day,” Naylor recalls, “and Sara [Harper’s wife] walks in, and she goes, ‘Let’s just sell it to Chuck.’ That’s how it came down. It was kind of scary. I had to figure out how to run the place!” Naylor knows the intangibles are still critical. “The magic formula is the great location, far enough away from campus but close enough, and that the staff is all fresh-faced college kids who want to work hard. We have people working for us whose parents worked for Dennis when they were students or whose parents used to party at Harpo’s.” Naylor says with pride, “The real secret sauce is that Harpo’s still exudes the college experience, and that creates the loyalty.” Indeed, it’s that powerful loyalty that inspires chanting football fans to schlep Faurot Field goalposts more than a mile to Harpo’s front door. The framed Missouri Alumnus clipping that says the new bar called Harpo’s quickly became a “student favorite” ends with a bit of foreshadowing: “Someday, Harpo’s may evoke the same nostalgic sentiment in today’s [1971] students as such old favorites as The Stables, The Bengal Lair and The Dairy evoke in alumni.” A half-century later, all that remains of those other establishments are reminiscences. But Harpo’s still hums along in 2021, serving up another generation of nostalgic sentiment. M

“ Indeed, it’s that powerful loyalty [to the restaurant] that inspires chanting football fans to schlep Faurot Field goalposts more than a mile to Harpo’s front door.”

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MIZZOU | FALL 2021 | P. 32

From Concert Halls Sperry to Chuck Museum Walls Chuck Sperry’s posters have delivered audiences to concert venues of some of the world’s most famous rock bands. His artistic talent and obsessive craft as a screen printer have elevated his work into the realm of fine art. BY JUSTIN HECKERT, BJ ’02


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Jesse Hall is a great place to skateboard. Chuck Sperry learned this one night when he was the only person there. He was inside the building when he got the idea, and not out on those long concrete paths around the Columns with a view of the dome. He felt inspired that evening. With Jesse’s Previous pages: vast and musty hallways to himself. The nowSperry’s fine art prints famous artist was the editorial cartoonist for The often touch on Greek Maneater back then, in the early 1980s. He had long mythology, spiritual blond hair and smoked cigarettes on the stoop of archetypes and nature, that CoMo dive bar the Shack. He carried a banana like “Dryad,” seven board under one arm and was surprised at just colors screen printed on how quiet its wheels were inside the most famous cream paper, which he created in 2016. building on campus. The Jesse floors vibrating through the board as he sped, Sperry doing ollies Opposite, top: Sperry past the empty rooms, the old wooden doors flying grew up listening to past him. He tells this story now like it was a secret The Who. In 2016, he he kept for almost 40 years. He describes this over created this poster the phone, giggling the whole time, shuffling art for the band’s show supplies in the background, reminding himself that at Oracle Arena in he actually did it, probably (maybe?) something no Oakland, California. one else on Earth has ever done. “Basically, I had free rein at night,” Sperry says, excitedly. “I would skate around; it was such a great surface at Jesse. You could do skids and stuff. No one was there but me! I had my skateboard, and I was thinking, ‘This is going to be great.’ ” Sperry, Journ ’84, is on the phone from his studio in the Warehouse district of Oakland, California, Hangar 18, an airplane-storage-size workspace where he screen prints lush concert posters by hand in a style immediately recognizable, a style now a part of American popular Sperry was an editorial cartoonist for The Maneater during culture, even if his his time at Mizzou. 34 MIZZOUMAGAZINE

name isn’t a household word. Those intricate images layered in vibrant colors. The official posters for the likes of the Who and Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan and Dave Matthews and the Black Keys. Huge bands soliciting him to do a poster for them and giving him total artistic control. When he makes these posters and puts hundreds of them by the batch on his website, “It’s gotten so ridiculous that they sell in like 30 milliseconds or something,” he laughs. Sperry has fans — people who actually go to Oakland just to knock on the hangar’s door or catch him working. People who form a line the night before like it’s Black Friday outside Hangar 18 when Sperry gives a scheduled tour of his archive inside. And his work has been everywhere: in Italy, at Red Rocks, at the Fillmore, on permanent display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. For years he made the band posters for the Virgin Megastore in New York City. He even has a print portrait of Sharon Stone from Casino somewhere on a wall at Martin Scorsese’s house. “A concert poster itself is so extremely ephemeral. It took decades to view it as a piece of art and not an artifact,” says Josef Zimmerman, curator at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, which is scheduled to host Sperry’s “Color X Color” career retrospective exhibit April 24 through July 25, 2022. “We’re looking it at as art because of him. From the screen printing aspects to the design aspects to his color palette, the dude is a master of his craft. The amount of time that he puts into this work to get such high detail out of those screens, without it being individually printed. That’s the stuff that blows my mind. People are still screen printing, but not on that level.” Sperry studied art and journalism at Mizzou. Columbia is where he made his first concert poster — a Xerox for a local band performing at the Blue Note — not knowing it would become a lifelong means of expression. The Maneater is where he learned about deadlines, too, and where his professional career started, with a nod to the political. Where a kid from Ohio approached the editors as a freshman because he read an issue in the dining hall and saw the editorial cartoon and thought, “Eh, I can do better than this.” Columbia is where Sperry first learned the basics of screening at a local print shop. It’s where he met Frank Stack, an art professor and luminary cartoonist who ended up being a mentor while he was at Mizzou, the two bonding over burgers at the Heidelberg, an influence that would find his way into Sperry’s work the rest of his career. “I remember it was really easy to just knock on his door and spend an hour or more just, like,

“ Chuck Sperry’s posters of musicians perfectly enhance the energy of the artists portrayed.” — Roger Daltrey, The Who

rapping out about stuff,” Sperry says. “He was just huge into the visual culture of America at large. We would have these discussions about 1930s movies, and he inspired me to aspire to be a cartoonist like Robert Crumb or Robert Williams. I kinda saw punk rock as like our version of the

1960s counterculture. I started doing band flyers and doing cartoons and comics.” Sperry sat with a sketchbook on the third floor of Read Hall at The Maneater for four years, in

Sperry creates limited edition screen-printed posters. So when he started working with Eric Clapton in 2006, he had to push the limits of what was possible. These three posters, created with artist Ron Donovan, were for shows along Clapton’s 2007, 2008 and 2009 North American Tours. FALL 2021 35

the clatter of typewriter keys, student journalists yelling and throwing glue sticks back and forth in the paste-up room. The walls of the newspaper office layered in student graffiti from as far back as the 1940s. Sperry’s early drawings featured dudes with huge lambchop sideburns, nuclear missiles, Ronald Reagan, Gorbachev, a Cold War always on the brink of disaster. His cartoons usually ran with an editorial twice a week. “There was craziness and late nights,” says Warren Strobel, BJ ’84, Sperry’s editor at the paper and now national security reporter for The Wall Street Journal. “Chuck would come in during the week to discuss what we were doing and what our editorials would be and then come back with a draft. That was one of my favorite parts of the week, working with Chuck — a total break from dealing with stories that were incomplete or needed to be sent back to writers. He was very sure of himself. He quickly would come up with concrete ideas about how to do an editorial cartoon that would fit the theme of the issue.” Near the end of his time at Mizzou, Sperry knew he wanted to be an artist. He stuck around town for a year, making posters for local punk bands, crashing at a house he and his friends nicknamed the Bone House. “It was a two-story house with six punk rockers living in it. All of us

were kind of semi-employed,” Sperry says. “We were making music or making art. That was a really cool scene.” Before he moved to New York’s East Village, Sperry did an illustration for the Columbia Tribune on a story about Sen. John Danforth; the writer was Major Garrett, BA, BJ ’84, now the chief Washington correspondent for CBS News. Sperry lived in New York City from 1985 to 1989 as an editor and aspiring illustrator for the underground-comix-inspired biannual magazine World War 3 Illustrated. But he didn’t find the start to a real career there. He made no money, basically squatted at a friend’s rent-free apartment and wondered whether art could be lucrative. So, he decided to move back to Columbia and roof houses for a while, making what seemed like a ton of money at $10 an hour. He got enough cash together to move to San Francisco. That was ground zero of the scene and the art that had inspired him as a student. He was hired at a comic-book store in Haight-Ashbury and began to meet other artists while inking his own stuff. A huge break came in 1994 when he was hired to make glossy band posters for the Fillmore Auditorium by Bill Graham Presents (in his portfolio were some Maneater cartoons). He was in his 30s, many of his friends already giving up on making art a career. His posters for the Fill-

Sperry made his first professional rock poster in 1994 for the band Superchunk’s Fillmore Auditorium show. Since then, he’s designed posters for, among countless others, Bob Dylan & His Band’s 2010 show at The Warfield, No Doubt’s 1996 concert at The Fillmore, and Black Sabbath’s 2016 Madison Square Garden show.

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“ I’ve always loved Chuck’s unique style: imaginative textures, colors and hypnotic backgrounds which give the flat stock radical dimension.”

— Jeff Ament, Pearl Jam


more were bright and loud with huge cartoonlike lettering, and often hilarious, to promote bands like Flogging Molly and No Doubt. “I was really impressed that he was such a great lettering artist as well as an illustrator,” says Arlene Owseichik, the art director at Bill Graham Presents who hired Sperry. “His work was always really clean and kind of simple, bold. We always appreciated posters that told a story. One of my favorite posters of all time was his No Doubt poster. Every time I look at that thing, it just makes me happy. It has the type integrated with the drawing, and the drawing is humorous, but yet it’s appropriate. No Doubt was from Anaheim; Disneyland is in Anaheim. It’s just happy and kind of irreverent. The people on the roller coaster are nuts.” The job creating posters for the Fillmore eventually led to Sperry getting a gig to paint the walls of a local firehouse — an abandoned structure that became his first studio, where he was able to screen print some of the posters that cemented his career. Sperry was making posters with recurring characters in his work, these intricate screen-printed pictures of people with tails, skeletons, cherubic kids smoking cigarettes, giant squids and evil voodoo zombies. Bands took notice of these eye-catching pieces of art. In 2016, Sperry got commissioned to work on a poster for Black Sabbath — a dream for him. “I would say that around 2008 he really began to develop some traction for his gig posters,” says Ken Harman, owner of the Spoke Art and Hashimoto Contemporary galleries in San Francisco and New York, respectively, both venues that showcase Sperry’s work. He calls it, “equal parts like turn-of-the-century art nouveau meets punk rock meets like classical like Greco-Roman antiquity. The smartest bands let him do whatever he wants. People come to shows just for his posters.” The setup at Hangar 18 is vast, and Sperry doesn’t just do singular gig posters there — though the quality and work is the same for one of Sperry’s posters and a work intended as a fine-art print. “I think to some degree he designs gig posters however he wants to design them,” Harman says. “But when he makes a fine-art print, his only considerations are what he’s interested in exploring, so he has more creative control and flexibility.” Sperry’s studio has several exposure tables where he makes his screen prints. Each table’s vacuum seal, which is made from wetsuit material that Sperry must replace by hand regularly, holds a screen vertical against a large glass plate so that he can expose the image onto the silk screen with UV light. It bakes the image in seconds. He works inside near the tables like he’s doing an ancient ritual, the light created brighter than the sun. This


art equipment has been customized over the years to Sperry’s specifications, including the washout booth and an old, ink-stained printing press he bought from artist Frank Kozik. His printing process is how he’s able to get so much texture on his prints. It also enables a color palette that is bright and vibrant to iridescent. The heavy fumes from the oil-based ink compel Sperry to wear a respirator mask, the smell of the room forcing anyone else out. Oil-based colors are brighter and more translucent than the water-based inks many artists use. He is one of the few artists still doing it all by hand at every step. “Really, for 20 years, I’ve just considered that every time I’m making a gig poster, it should be the highest possible quality,” Sperry says. “Just because it’s a poster doesn’t mean it can’t be art. And, so, the craftsmanship that goes into both is the same.” At Mizzou, Sperry lived on the first floor of a house on Elm Street. The walls of his room were covered in posters of the Clash, U2, Elvis Costello, The Who, a vintage poster of Frank Zappa. He didn’t know what he wanted to do, exactly, back then. He kept a skateboard in his room. He found inspiration everywhere, like in Schurz Hall hanging out with his friends, like in the food at Ernie’s being a perfect cure for a hangover (he would make comics about this). At Memorial Union as he sat in the ticket booth and watched all the people pass. Early inspiration in the music of his friends’ bands and in the town itself. And skateboarding, of course, at night, in the dark at Jesse Hall. M

Opposite, top: Sperry’s 2016 Beatles blotter set, entitled “I’d Love To Turn You On,” includes four prints on unbleached cotton blotter paper, with each depicting a band member: George, John, Paul and Ringo. Bottom: Pearl Jam, Yield, 1998 (w/Ron Donovan)

Above: Sperry in Hangar 18, his silkscreen print studio, located in Oakland, California. Left: A poster for Snoop Dogg’s 2009 show at San Francisco’s The Warfield

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NOW IT’S HIS TURN TO LEAD THE TIGER OFFENSE. by tony rehagen, ba, bj ’01 | photos by zach bland


FALL 2021 41


FAUROT FIELD, April 2021: Despite being a redshirt sophomore entering his third season on the Mizzou football team, quarterback Connor Bazelak is experiencing a day of firsts. It’s Bazelak’s first real Black and Gold Game, due to the fact that the previous year’s spring practices were closed to fans because of COVID-19. Anyway, Bazelak would have been limited in his participation while recovering from a torn ACL. The 2021 iteration of the annual event, the first under Head Coach Eliah Drinkwitz, is less the usual simulated intra-squad game than an open practice, a series of one-off scrimmages and timed drills to entertain a sparse but enthusiastic post-pandemic crowd at Faurot Field. As usual, about half of the roster is wearing black jerseys, the other half gold. But the team’s four quarterbacks are all wearing neutral white, as they will be rotating, taking snaps from both squads. And, for the first time in his college career, Bazelak’s No. 8 is first among them, setting the example, leading the way. When the QBs line up for pregame stretches, Bazelak is in front demonstrating proper form. He is first to get the ball for throwing accuracy drills in the back corner of the endzone. He is first to take snaps for the hand-off drills. Even when he isn’t handling the ball, he is stepping back, waving his arms, shouting encouragement and directing traffic for the other three white jerseys. This spot at the front of the line has been a long time coming for Bazelak. He came off the bench toward the end of his redshirt freshman year in 2019 and flashed glimpses of potential greatness against Top-10 Georgia and rival Arkansas, only to be shot down by that right-knee injury. Although he had rehabbed in time to play in 2020, Bazelak entered that year as a backup, having lost the job to the upperclassman Shawn Robinson. But when Robinson faltered early, Bazelak stepped up to marshal the Tigers to a win over the defending national champion LSU and a 5–5 season that upended expectations. Now the returning Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year enters his first college season as the presumptive starter and de facto captain of this team — with all the privileges and pressures that entails. FAUROT FIELD, April 2021: As the Black and Gold festivities shift into red zone scrimmages, of course, No. 8 is the default under center. But later in the action, Bazelak is also the first quarterback to make a glaring mistake — an interception thrown in the endzone. He unsnaps the chin strap on his helmet and walks off the field, clearly dejected but careful not to show too much frustration. “One of the biggest things I’ve learned is to never get too high or too low, even when stuff is going bad,” Bazelak says later. “When the team sees the quarterback calm and poised, I think that gives them confidence.” Part of that stoic demeanor is an element of Bazelak’s personality, a product of his middle-class Dayton, Ohio, upbringing and his ample self42 MIZZOUMAGAZINE

confidence. But the even-keel approach to leadership has also been hardened by the struggles and setbacks he’s experienced on his path to this position. “He’s such a low-heart-rate guy; he’s really the same guy every day,” Drinkwitz says. “But in fall camp, he talked about how battling through his injury was really hard on him, how he had to approach it one day at a time and not get too upset. I’ve been impressed with how he’s attacked it. And through whatever we’ve been doing, whether he was the No. 3 quarterback or the No. 1 or the No. 4, he just maximized his opportunities. And when his moment came, he was ready.” Now that Bazelak’s moment is here, his obstacles finally removed, the question becomes: What can he accomplish, both for himself and his team, now that he finally has the spotlight? Bazelak’s self-assuredness is partly rooted in the long-standing cosmic certainty that he was destined to be a football player. His grandfather was a quarterback for the University of Dayton, and his four uncles on his mother’s side all played and coached football. His father was a college basketball player at Dartmouth, and his two older sisters excelled at hoops and volleyball. Bazelak, himself, always had a knack for hitting a baseball and kicking a soccer ball. But around third grade, Bazelak started bingeing football on TV, in person with his family at Friday-night high school games and playing pickup games with neighborhood friends. Even then, everyone naturally looked to him as the quarterback. Still, in football-crazed Ohio, it took more than good genes to grab attention. Entering his sophomore year at private Archbishop Alter High School, Bazelak was the backup quarterback until an injury to the senior starter suddenly thrust him to the top of the depth chart just before the season opener against archrival Kettering Fairmont High. There, in front of 8,000 rabid fans, against a public school with three times the number of students as his own, Bazelak stepped in and won the game. “I knew he was an athletic talent, but I didn’t know how he’d react under fire,” says Archbishop Alter Coach Ed Domsitz. “We put him out there in front of all those people, and he didn’t get rattled. He played within himself. It was gigantic. And it set the tone for the rest of the year.” Bazelak maintained that tone for the remainder of his high school career. As a senior, he led Alter to a 13–2 record and a state runner-up finish. He took every Alter snap of the championship game through an injury bad enough to sideline him for the first part of his senior basketball season. Domsitz says his quarterback never made excuses. Meanwhile, college coaches and recruiting experts had to look beyond Bazelak’s lack of eye-

catching statistics. Alter ran a wishbone offense that relied heavily on the running game, leaving the quarterback with precious few chances to showcase his superior arm strength and accuracy — opportunities that Bazelak took full advantage of, compiling 1,097 yards on just 134 attempts his junior year alone. Besides, anyone who knew what they were looking at could see that Bazelak had the makeup and composure of a legitimate NCAA Division I player, and perhaps more. One of those appraisers was Drinkwitz, who, at the time, was offensive coordinator at NC State. “He had the five requirements you look for in a quarterback,” Drinkwitz says. “Toughness, preparation, decision-making ability, accuracy and leadership. Connor has always demonstrated all of those abilities.” Bazelak was an ESPN four-star recruit, ranked the No. 10 quarterback in the 2019 signing class. He received offers from Georgia, Kentucky, Pitt, Purdue, West Virginia, Boston College, Duke, Iowa, North Carolina and others. But he ultimately chose Mizzou because of its place in a power conference, its quarterback-centric system and because the Midwestern campus “felt right,” he says. Mizzou senior offensive lineman Case Cook met Bazelak on the recruit’s first official visit to the Columbia campus back in 2018. Even then, Cook noticed that Bazelak didn’t have the swagger of many top-tier prospects. But the kid wasn’t shy or intimidated, either. “He doesn’t really talk about himself,” Cook says. “I think he has a quiet confidence that’s hard to find. When he got here for his freshman year, he had the same attitude on the field. Nothing really gets to him.”

The unassuming attitude was befitting a newcomer who was redshirting his freshman year, meaning that he could only appear in three games without burning a year of NCAA eligibility. After debuting for a single snap in the 2019 season opener against Southeast Missouri State, Bazelak came off the bench after two months to relieve starter Taylor Powell late in a 27–0 drubbing at the hands of Georgia. The freshman impressed, completing eight of 12 pass attempts for 64 yards and a drive that bored all the way down to the Bulldog 1-yard line, the Tiger’s lone trip to the red zone that day. The performance earned Bazelak his first college start in the season finale against Arkansas. Again, the freshman excelled, throwing for 80 yards just minutes into the second quarter. But it was then, during a 7-yard scramble to the sideline, that Bazelak pulled up with what turned out to be a torn right ACL. Working his way back from injury was one of the toughest things Bazelak has ever had to do. But like everything else, he approached it as part of his job as a teammate. For him, that started from the moment he returned to the sideline during that fateful game in Little Rock. “You knew it was tough for him, to play so well just to have an injury come like a complete curveball out of nowhere,” says wide receiver and roommate Barrett Bannister. “But he never made it about himself. He was there to encourage [Powell] for the rest of that game. Then his first goal after the game was to get surgery. Then it was to get healthy. Then the goal was to start the following year. This sport is frustrating, but he didn’t show it. If you saw Con-

Bazelak was an ESPN four-star recruit, ranked the No. 10 quarterback in the 2019 signing class. He received offers from Georgia, Kentucky, Pitt, Purdue, West Virginia, Boston College, Duke, Iowa, North Carolina and others.

MIZZOU FOOTBALL 2021 SCHEDULE Sept. 4 Central Michigan Sept. 11 @ Kentucky Sept. 18 Southeast Missouri State Sept. 25 @ Boston College Oct. 2 Tennessee Oct. 9 North Texas Oct. 16 Texas A&M Oct. 30 @ Vanderbilt Nov. 6 @ Georgia Nov. 13 South Carolina Nov. 20 Florida Nov. 26 @ Arkansas FALL 2021 43


Coach Eliah Drinkwitz and QB Connor Bazelak after the Tigers upset defending national champion LSU 45–41 Oct. 10, 2020.

TEXAS, OKLAHOMA BOLT FOR THE SEC On July 29 the Southeastern Conference announced that Oklahoma and Texas would officially join the league July 1, 2025. The Sooners and Longhorns will reunite with former Big 12 members Missouri and Texas A&M, who made the leap to the SEC in 2011. 44 MIZZOUMAGAZINE

nor, no one would’ve known anything was wrong.” The quarterback battle Bannister refers to is that between Bazelak and junior Shawn Robinson, the highly touted transfer from TCU. But as it turned out, the bigger challenge awaiting the redshirt freshman was a new coach in Drinkwitz, a new staff and new offensive scheme. “In the beginning of fall camp, I struggled picking up on the playbook and what coach wanted,” Bazelak says. “He realized that and gave me more reps to help me develop. Going into [the 2020 season opener against] Alabama, he told me that Shawn was going to start. But I knew that if I made the most of the opportunities I got, he’d eventually realize what I could do.” His chance came in the second game of the season. After an unspectacular performance against the Crimson Tide and a slow start the next game against Tennessee, Robinson was pulled by Drinkwitz. The Tigers still lost, and Bazelak threw an interception without a single touchdown. But he also compiled 218 yards passing. And, more important, he earned the confidence of his coach. The following week, Drinkwitz announced that Bazelak would start the next game at home against defending national champion LSU. On Mizzou’s first drive, Bazelak came to the huddle as the starter. His offense, his team, his coach and his school all looked to him to take control of their destiny. “He hadn’t had a ton of

experience at that point,” says Cook, who was in that huddle. “He was just calm and didn’t let the moment be too big. That game, in particular, he gave us a spark. We all realized what we had out on the field that day. I don’t think there was any doubt that he was our leader moving forward.” FAUROT FIELD, April 2021: “Blah.” That is the one-word description Drinkwitz gave the media in his postgame Zoom press conference regarding overall quarterback performance at Bazelak’s first Black and Gold Game. “Blah.” It isn’t a vote of no-confidence in his presumptive starter. Rather, it’s an admission, and perhaps even a public admonishment that, despite all the awards and fanfare from last year, his redshirt sophomore QB still has a lot to learn. “The quarterback play was off. We didn’t throw any touchdowns,” Drinkwitz later elaborates. “There is chemistry growing with these receivers. Connor made a couple good throws, but we can improve.” Bazelak knows that in his gut. Once Drinkwitz fields his final question, the MU sports information director ushers the quarterback to the laptop. He removes his mask, the seams of which are still imprinted on his boyish face. What does he think of his performance today? “It’s just another practice,” he says. “You have to treat it like that. You have to treat it like just another day to get better.” M



Big Heart for Homecomings Thirty-six years after becoming Mizzou’s first Black Homecoming king, Tony Wilson is still focused on homecomings. Not the 1985 celebration over which he presided at Memorial Stadium but the return home of abused and neglected children who are separated from their parents and living with foster families. And when that’s not possible, he works to ensure kids have a different home, one that is safe and permanent. Wilson, BA ’85, who travels with ease through the world of government officials and corporate executives, is now just as comfortable in the company of judges, educators and social workers. He has found a renewed sense of purpose in mentoring adolescents under court protection, standing up for them to ensure they get the services they need. Three years ago, he began volunteering with CASA of Johnson & Wyandotte Counties (Court Appointed Special Advocates), where he has kept tabs on three children while advocating on their behalf. “I just love being a consistent adult presence in their lives,” says Wilson, who lives in Spring Hill, Kansas. Although Wilson’s mother and brother previously had volunteered for CASA, it wasn’t until an accident laid him up for a few months that he seriously considered making it part of his life. His own three children had grown up and moved away from home. With retirement on the horizon, he re-evaluated his priorities, and the prospect of lounging on his deck listening to birds didn’t cut

Wilson works to ensure kids have a different home, one that is safe and permanent.

it. “Two weeks after I got out of rehab, I went to CASA training. I just figured they may not be my biological children, but if I can be helpful to some other kids, I’m all in.” Wilson still has the enthusiasm and engaging personality of a Homecoming king. When he gets a text or a call from the teenager he mentors through CASA, he responds promptly. Twice a month, he visits the youngster in person. They may grab a snack at a nearby restaurant or go for a stroll in the park. Always, he listens attentively to how things are going in the teen’s life. To the rest of the world, Wilson is the Midwest senior director of government affairs for Microsoft Corp., responsible for overseeing an eight-state territory. To the teenager, he’s “the blue donut guy.” Wilson demonstrates his charm and good humor as he explains his complex role in the lives of the teens. “I tell my kids, if you want a blue donut for breakfast every day of your life, that’s OK. It’s my job to let everybody know with a loud voice that this kid wants a blue donut. We can have a conversation about why blue donuts aren’t a good thing, but I’ve got to advocate for this kid to have a blue donut.” About 500 CASA volunteers serve Johnson and Wyandotte counties. Many more — up to 1,000 — are needed, and when Wilson retires, he intends to close the gap. “I know it sounds crazy,” he says, “but my goal is to make sure there are so many CASA volunteers that we’ll need a waiting list.” — Jack Wax, BS Ed ’73, MS ’76, MA ’87 FALL 2021 45





Working within the Mizzou Alumni Association, Catherine Corley, Jackson Ptasienski and Jenna Winkler lead the steering committee in charge of Mizzou’s 110th Homecoming. The committee of 37 students has been planning a blood drive, talent show and step show, spirit rally, parade and more, all with safety in mind. Meet the directors who are eager to welcome Tigers back to Columbia and find out what the theme “A Reason to Roar” means to them.

Catherine Corley, 20

Jackson Ptasienski, 21

Jenna Winkler, 21

Self-description: Tenacious, thoughtful, balanced Involved in Homecoming because: I am a fifth-generation Tiger. Homecoming is a way to preserve my family’s legacy while bringing Homecoming to new heights. Homecoming theme means to me: A chance for all Tigers to come together for the first time in over a year Biggest “oops” as a director: Not using a scheduling website and instead hand sorting through all the committee members’ schedules to find a meeting time Ultimate dinner companion: Malala Yousafzai Can’t live without: Chicken tenders A casual friend would never guess: I am scuba certified. First purchase with lottery winnings: Chipotle! You can’t celebrate while you’re hungry. First crush: Jackson from Hannah Montana Obsession: Kombucha Superpower I’d like to have: Teleportation Favorite quote: “She believed she could, so she did.” — R.S. Gray

Favorite class: Drugs and Behavior with Professor Ines Segert Self-description: Reliable, structured, clumsy Involved in Homecoming because: I want to give all students an opportunity to feel they are part of Mizzou’s most honored tradition. Favorite thing about Homecoming: The community that comes together to make this incredible week happen Biggest surprise about college life: The amount of cooking I would have to do Ultimate dinner companion: Chef Gordon Ramsay. I would love to hear him talk about how a dish tastes and then see if I can understand where the flavors are coming from. Can’t live without: A rice cooker Glad I did it but wouldn’t do it again: Try a LaCroix Biggest fear: Snakes Would never: Let food go to waste — I was raised in a household of five boys! First crush: Demi Lovato I’d love to read the mind of: My 190-pound mastiff, Walter Obsession: TikTok meal prep recipes

Favorite class: Personal Selling with Professor Wayne Keene Involved in Homecoming because: I wanted to give back to the university for all that it has done for me. Homecoming theme means to me: “A Reason to Roar” encompasses every reason Tigers are proud to be Tigers. Biggest “oops” I’ve made as a director: Calling the Mizzou Alumni Association “MMA,” the wrestling organization Biggest surprise about college life: How much coffee I can consume Would never: Be caught wearing a Blackhawks jersey First crush: Channing Tatum I’d love to read the mind of: Jimmy Fallon Obsession: Accessories. I cannot leave my house without earrings and a necklace on. Best way to relax: Looking at houses on Zillow Favorite quote: Psalm 118:24: “This is the day that the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”


Psychology and sociology major Round Lake Beach, Illinois

Economics and marketing major Perryville, Missouri


Accounting major Leawood, Kansas

2021 Parade Route








P 10TH ST.











Memorial Union

Jesse Hall

Reynolds Alumni Center












Greek Town/ House Decs





STADIUM BLVD. Faurot Field

KEY P Parking


accessible seating

Homecoming Events Mizzou Alumni Association events will follow campus and local health and safety guidelines. Find updates at mizzou.com/homecoming. Sept. 27–30 Spirit Homecoming Blood Drive Rally 11 a.m.–6 p.m., 8:30 p.m., Hearnes Center Traditions Donate blood at one Plaza of the nation’s largest Rev up for college-based drives. the big Register to give at Mizzou game with with donateblood.com, Truman the or find a partnering loca- Tiger, Miztion at mizzou.com. zou Spirit Squads Oct. 4–6 and Talent Show Marching 6:30–9 p.m., Jesse Hall Mizzou. Mizzou’s got talent! Watch students sing, Oct. 9 dance and joke on stage Parade in person or in real time Time TBA, Campus and at mizzou.com. Downtown Columbia Show your Tiger pride Oct. 8 as the parade tramps LGBTQ Happy Hour through campus and 5–7 p.m. downtown Columbia. Location TBA The parade features Mizzou’s LGBTQ Resource floats, bands from Center welcomes friends across the state and and alumni, age 21 or older, candy for the kids. to reconnect, celebrate and learn how to get involved. Football Game vs. Campus Decorations North 6–9 p.m., Greektown Texas Stroll through Greektown Time TBA, to see fraternities’ and Memorial sororities’ themed deco- Stadium rations. Cheer on your Tigers as they take on the North Step Show Texas Mean Green, 8 p.m., and stick around Jesse Auditorium during halftime National Panhelto find out who lenic Council oris crowned ganizations compete 2021 Hometo see who can stroll coming and step the best. For royalty. ticket information, follow Mizzou Fraternity and Sorority Life social media accounts. FALL 2021 47


Sabrina McDonnell, MBA ’15, is a big fan of beginnings. Her favorite Mizzou tradition is Tiger Walk, where incoming students kick off their Mizzou education by walking through the Columns toward Jesse Hall. She likes the exhilaration of starting projects even more than the satisfaction of finishing them. She’s an early bird, not a night owl. So, as she enters the 2021–22 academic year as the Mizzou Alumni Association’s volunteer president, she looks forward to leading the board with what she terms “strategic intentionality.” “Although it’s hard to let go of the things we’ve done many times before,” McDonnell says, “a real challenge to us as leaders is to ask, ‘Is this the best way to meet the needs of alumni right now and to prepare for alumni engagement opportunities in the future?’ and hold ourselves accountable to that. Finding ways to balance past successes and future possibilities are the kinds of strategic conversations the board will engage in this year.” Being intentional and strategic are also skills fundamental to McDonnell’s day job as executive vice president and chief customer experience officer at Simmons Bank. Although she splits her time between the corporate office in Little Rock, Ar48 MIZZOUMAGAZINE

kansas, and Columbia, where she previously worked at Landmark Bank, Mizzou will always be home. McDonnell grew up nearby in Auxvasse, Missouri, and her Mizzou story began in earnest when she met her husband, Eric, BS Ed ’82, M Ed ’86, an athletic trainer at the university. They are the parents of two adult children, whom they “raised on the Quad” while building decades of Mizzou memories. In addition to those family connections, McDonnell is also drawn to service. She joined the alumni association board in 2016 in the wake of student protests when she felt many community members were running away or standing on the sidelines. “For me, there was no watching and waiting,” she says. Being part of Columbia’s business community, McDonnell recognizes the interdependence of town and gown. “The University of Missouri has a unique mission for the education of Missourians, and I believe the relationship between Mizzou and Columbia has never been more important. It really is now, for me, about making sure that this organization — this university that I love — is surrounded and supported by alumni advocates who stand ready to honor the past and act as change agents for our very bright future.” — Kelsey Allen, BA, BJ ’10


Full Circle Insights

Class Notes 1950

HWilliam E. Farris, BA ’52, JD ’56, of Santa Ana, Calif., wrote Under Special Circumstances (Second Edition) (Farris, 2020).


Danny Langdon, M Ed ’62, of Bellingham, Wash., wrote The Good Husband: 50 Practices That Will Make You Nearly Perfect (Performance International, 2020). Richard Stockenberg, BA ’66, JD ’69, of St. Louis opened the Stockenberg Law Firm. HJoe Dillsaver, MA ’68, PhD ’75, of Tulsa, Okla., wrote The Ghost (Gatekeeper Press, 2021).




Over the years, I’ve come to realize that one of a leader’s most important roles is that of chief reminding officer. If something is important, it’s worth saying more than just once. I may have learned this lesson on the job, but I honed it to high art by having three teenagers in the house at one time! So here, for your repeated pleasure, are three ways you can help the university on almost a daily basis. Send us great students. This fall, we are pleased to welcome a class that is bright, healthy and high in transfer students. Overall enrollment is stable. Considering the events of the past 15 months, I find that remarkably good news. On the other end of the academic trajectory, Mizzou has achieved its highest graduation and retention rates to date. Share the good news about Mizzou. These pages serve up story after story about great things happening at your alma mater. We are thrilled to be opening the NextGen Precision Health building in October. The structure and the researchers it houses will be dedicated to solving Missouri’s biggest health challenges. Soak up all the news, then share it early and often with potential students, parents, fellow alumni and colleagues around the watercooler. Come back to campus. No doubt this one has been more difficult during the pandemic. But as you return this fall, go beyond the usual tailgating for a Mizzou football game. Walk the campus, visit your school or college, and check out the old and the new. TODD MCCUBBIN, M ED ’95 executive director, Mizzou Alumni Association

John C. Miller, MA ’68, of Tampa, Fla., wrote The Listening: A Murder/Mystery (Miller, 2020). HHDavid Owen Smith, BA ’69, MA ’75, of Alexandria, Va., wrote The Armstrong Brothers: One Pennsylvania Family’s Contribution to Victory in the American Revolution (Xlibris Corp., 2021).


HHDouglas Hatridge, BS Ed ’70, M Ed ’72, Ed D ’78, and HHHelen Ann Hatridge, BS Ed ’71, M Ed ’75, of Lee’s Summit, Mo., will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary Nov. 27, 2021. Greg Paul Busacker, MA ’71, of Hartsburg, Mo.,

Email: mccubbint@missouri.edu Twitter: @MizzouTodd


HHRobert W. Hyatt, BA ’68, MD ’72, of Chesterfield, Mo., wrote The Poisoning of Sarah Larch: A Mid-Missouri Historical Mystery, Finding Sarah June and Sam Frank Taylor: A Character of the Cloth (Robert W. Hyatt, 2020).


wrote Flight: Collected Poems (Compass Flower Press, 2020). HCarin Schulusky, BJ ’73, of Ballwin, Mo., wrote In the Middle (Fossil Creek Press, 2021). HGary M. Schimmer, BA ’74, of Nashville, Tenn., wrote Living Water: Devotions for Your Thirsty Soul (WestBow Press, 2020). HHRobert G. Hanson, BS BA ’75, of Houston retired in March 2020 after 42 years as an insurance investigator and adjuster. Dale E. Cope, BS BA ’78, of Hollister, Mo., retired June 23, 2021, from Peoples Bank & Trust Co. after over 40 years of banking and legal experience. HHThomas D. Holland, BA ’79, MA ’85, PhD ’91, of Arlington, Va., wrote UnHoly Ghost: A Dr. Kel McKelvey Novel (Holland, 2019). Megan Martin, BS ’79, of Columbia, Mo., wrote River Current (Compass Flower Press, 2021).


HHValerie Battle Kienzle, BJ ’80, of Weldon Spring, Mo., wrote Ready to Wear: A History of the Footwear and Garment Industries in St. Louis (Reedy Press, 2021). HKeith A. Dietzschold, BS Ag ’82, M Ed ’84, of Boonville, Mo., is agricultural education director and Missouri FFA Association state advisor. Bart Loethen, BS Acc ’86, of Chicago co-founded the Forge: Lemont Quarries Adventure Park. Melanie Dalton, BSN ’87, of Leawood, Kan., is assistant vice president of client strategies for Carisk Partners. FALL 2021 49

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. Bobbie Mallin Bresky

Jan & Ron Kessler

Robert Ross

Linda & Larry Burton

Christine Ladd

Cynthia Russell

Julie & David Corley

Marcus Long

Kathryn Wolpers Sanders

Christie & Jay Dade

Beth & Dudley McCarter

James E. Schaberg

Kate Decker

Debbie & Todd McCubbin

Gene A. Schillie

Deborah & Robert Dolgin

Gloria & Don McCubbin

Melodie Powell & Jerry Short

Kate & Robert Fick

Sabrina & Eric McDonnell

Carol E. & Gary L. Smith

Sherri & Randy Gallick

Mary & Jerome McKinney

Jean Springer

Edwin Gladbach

Teresa & Bruce McKinney

Nancy Staats

James Hall

Virginia & Bruce McMillan

Kate Snider Thrailkill

June & Sam Hamra

Sonya & Mark Nistendirk

Julie & Jeff Vogel

Kathy & Steve Hays

Karl Lee Perrey

Robin Wenneker

B.W. Hoecker

Patrick Piercy

Robert Wright

Cheryl & Craig Lalumandier

Lisa & Frank Rodman

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



Ultramarathoner Thrives on Long-distance Relationships Like many runners, Kristin Walls, BS HES ’88, enjoys the sport for its solitude. Whether she’s out for a quick trail run in Columbia, in the Chicago Marathon or at 10,000 feet for the Leadville (Colorado) 100 ultramarathon that she completed in the past year, it’s a chance for her to escape the stress of work and daily life and get inside her own mind. Funny thing is, once she’s in that runner’s zone, her thoughts inevitably drift to other people. She thinks of her father, a high school basketball coach who had once played for Norm Stewart at the University of Northern Iowa and always pushed her to explore her limits as a child athlete, sometimes with more than a touch of tough love. She thinks of her undergrad friends from Mizzou, the circle that helped a self-proclaimed “lost soul” from Springfield, Missouri, feel like she belonged and who were still in Columbia when Walls returned as an adult. When Walls decided to dedicate herself to distance running, they became her pacers, organizers and motivators following her all over the country, stationing themselves along the course in Leadville, urging her on when she was ready to quit at Mile 50. “Many crews had more experience at ultraracing,” Walls says. “Each member of my crew played their own unique part in getting me across the finish line.” She thinks of Jerrell Jackson, BHS ’12, the former MU wide receiver, whom she met when he worked with her two sons at youth sports classes and who now trains Walls for these superhuman endeavors. Jackson accepts no excuses in his Columbia gym. “I used to tear up in training, thinking about all the people who I don’t want to let down,” Walls says. “We share such a bond over this thing.” Today, Walls trains with her team. She’s also inspired a couple of her crew members to lace up for their first trail marathon. Walls will be there to support them. She knows that no runner crosses the finish line alone. — Tony Rehagen BA, BJ ’01


Eugenia Henry, PhD ’87, of Sparks Glencoe, Md., is a member of the scientific advisory board for Firma Clinical Research. Barbara Kennedy, BA ’89, of Phoenix is a board member at Valley of the Sun YMCA.


HHTravis Smith, BA ’90, of West Plains, Mo., was elected to represent the

155th district in the House of Representatives for the state of Missouri. Kathy Baker, BGS ’91, of Plano, Texas, is vice president of marketing at TDIndustries. Erin Webber, BA ’93, JD ’96, of Kansas City, Mo., is president and managing director of Littler Mendelson. Angela Minges, BA ’94,



of St. Louis is president of the Missouri Athletic Club. Linda Richardson Bennett, MA ’95, of Batesville, Ark., wrote God, the Cat and I: Memories of the Past and Hope for the Future (Liferich, 2020).

executive vice president and chief operating officer of LK Architecture.

Post: Ramblings of Wisdom from a Middle-aged Doc (Gatekeeper Press, 2021).

Anthony Casarona, BA ’95, of Scottsdale, Ariz., is a partner at Rusing Lopez & Lizardi.

HHKaren M. Jordan, BS BA ’97, JD ’00, of St. Louis is managing partner of the St. Louis office of Dentons.

Jeanne Bernick, BS ’95, of Walcott, Iowa, is a partner at K·Coe Isom.

Holli Sullivan, BS IE ’95, of Evansville, Ind., is secretary of state for the state of Indiana.

Steve Berry, BA ’95, JD ’99, of Wichita, Kan., is

HHVictor Pace, MD ’96, of Millstadt, Ill., wrote Pace’s

Ayoka Pond, BJ ’97, of Memphis, Tenn., is vice president and chief marketing and communications officer for Baptist Memorial. FALL 2021 51

Charitable IRA rollover More Tigers are discovering the benefits of giving through their IRAs through the Charitable IRA Rollover. Individuals 70½ or older can make qualified charitable distributions from their individual retirement account, directly to a qualified charitable organization, in any amount up to a total of $100,000 annually without being subject to federal income taxes on the distribution AND it counts toward your required minimum distribution! This can be especially appealing to people who no longer itemize, since this kind of gift is not counted as income to the benefactor.

Gifts from your IRA can be used to support anything at Mizzou – from the annual fund to a named endowment!

For more information about giving to Mizzou through the Charitable IRA Rollover, please contact: 52 MIZZOUMAGAZINE

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

















Mizzou Alumni Writers Rack Up New Titles Mizzou alumni keep banging out the books. To be considered for coverage, mail your book published in 2021 or scheduled for 2022 to Dale Smith, MIZZOU magazine, 109 Reynolds Alumni Center, Columbia, Missouri, 65211.

Ambitious Honor: George Armstrong Custer’s Life of Service and Lust for Fame by James E. Mueller, BJ ’82, MA ’92 (University of Oklahoma Press, 2020)

A Mighty Fine Road: A History of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad Company by H. Roger Grant, MA ’67, PhD ’70 (Indiana University Press, 2021)

Beyond Fake News: 2 Finding the Truth in a World of Misinformation by Justin P. McBrayer, MA ’05, PhD ’08 (Routledge, 2020)

The Root of Every5 thing and Lightning: Two Novellas by Scott Alexander Hess, BJ ’84 (Rebel Satori Press, 2021)


What Happened to 3 Paula: On the Death of an American Girl by Katherine Dykstra, BA, BJ ’99 (W. W. Norton & Co., 2021)


All Made Up: The Power and Pitfalls of Beauty Culture, from Cleopatra to Kim Kardashian by Rae Nudson, BA, BJ ’09 (Beacon Press, 2021) 6

This Way Back by Joanna Eleftheriou, PhD ’15 (West Virginia University Press, 2021) 7

Ready to Wear: A History of the Footwear and Garment Industries in St. Louis by Valerie Battle Kienzle, BJ ’80 (Reedy Press, 2021) 8

I Think I’ll Prune the Lemon Tree: Essays from My Arizona Life by Mark Johnson, BJ ’79 (Blues & Greens Press, 2021) 9

He Had It Coming: Four Murderous Women and the Reporter Who Immortalized Their Stories by Kori Rumore, BA, BJ ’01, and Marianne Wather (Agate Midway, 2020) 10

George Washington, Entrepreneur: How Our Founding Father’s Private Business Pursuits Changed America and the World by John Berlau, BA, BJ ’94 (All Points Books, 2020) 11

Killin’ Floor Blues: A Music & Murder Mystery by Paul Martin, MA ’73 (Historia, 2020) 13

Their Feet Run to Evil: A Big Ray Elmore Novel by Thomas Holland, BA ’79, MA ’85, PhD ’91 (Holland, 2020) 14

Memoirs of a Witness Tree: Poems by Randal A. Burd Jr., M Ed ’07 (Kelsay Books, 2020) 15

Concord: A Novel by Don Zancanella, PhD ’88 (Serving House Books, 2021) 12

FALL 2021 53

MIZZOU ALUMNI NEWS HRandy Beck, BS BA ’98, of Manhattan Beach, Calif., is vice president of integrated marketing at Yamaha Corp. of America (See Page 55). HNischelle Turner, BJ ’98, of Porter Ranch, Calif., is co-host of Entertainment Tonight. See Page 60.


Kortet Mensah, M Ed ’00, PhD ’10, of St. Louis is vice president for diversity, equity, inclusion and strategy at Warren Wilson College. Matthew Segal, BS HES ’00, of St. Louis is vice president of development for TriStar Properties. Antonio Tillis, PhD ’00, of Memphis, Tenn., is chancellor of Rutgers University–Camden. Leslie Lindsay, BSN ’01, of Aurora, Ill., wrote Speaking of Apraxia: A Par-

ents’ Guide to Childhood Apraxia of Speech (Second Edition) (Woodbine House, 2021).

Racquet: The Best Writing from the First Three Years of Racquet Magazine (Repeater, 2020).

dential real estate specialist at Gladys Manion Real Estate.

HChristopher Bub, B Acc, M Acc ’02, of Grover, Mo., is chief financial officer at Brinkmann Constructors.

Emily Hassenstab, BA, BS BA ’05, MPA ’07, of Omaha, Neb., is interim director of international programs at the University of Nebraska Omaha.

HKourtney Geers, BJ ’10, of Denver is editor-in-chief of the Denver Business Journal.

William Northrip, JD ’02, of Chicago is a partner at Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP. Kate Casso, BS Acc, M Acc ’03, of St. Louis is senior vice president and corporate controller at Centene Corp. Randy Cole, BA ’03, MPA ’05, of Columbia, Mo., is CEO of the Columbia Housing Authority. Lauren Obermark, BS Ed ’03, of St. Louis received the University of Missouri– St. Louis Hero Award. Caitlin Thompson, BJ ’03, of New York co-edited

Brandon Common, BS Ed ’06, of Baton Rouge, La., is associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students at Louisiana State University. Matthew Broffman, BJ ’07, of Orlando, Fla., was named to the Orlando Business Journal’s 40 Under 40. Catherine Pierce, PhD ’07, of Starkville, Miss., is Mississippi’s poet laureate. Caroline Ragsdale, BA ’09, of St. Louis is a resi-


DeAnna Cassat, BS Acc ’11, of Washington, Mo., is vice president of finance and administration and chief financial officer at East Central College. Corey Bryant, BS CiE ’12, of St. Louis is an associate at SSC Engineering Inc.

Teddy Nykiel, BJ ’14, of Milwaukee is a technology, startups and residential real estate reporter for the Milwaukee Business Journal. HDalton Ruddell, BS CiE ’14, of Kansas City, Mo., is a senior civil engineer at Burns & McDonnell. HEthan Colbert, BA, BJ ’15, of Columbia, Mo., is editor of the Missourian. Taylor Fox, BA, BJ ’15, MA ’20, of New York is an editor for Talent Recap.

Katharine Finley, BA ’12, of Atlanta is an associate at Fisher Phillips.

Brooke Smith, MPA ’17, of University City, Mo., is assistant city manager for University City.

Andrew Clark, BS BA ’13, of Kansas City, Mo., is vice president, relationship director and investment specialist for Avantis Investors.

George Brand, MBA ’19, of Prairie Village, Kan., is an associate in the labor and employment department at Fox Rothschild LLP.

H T I W E RID ER PRIDE! TIG Show your pride every day with the ultimate fan accessory! Proceeds from plates support student scholarships. ORDER TODAY AT MIZZOU.COM/PLATES Texas-based Tigers can purchase Mizzou Texas plates. Check out the link above!

Turn to page 61 for even more Tiger swag for your ride! 54 MIZZOUMAGAZINE



Mizzou’s Music (Marketing) Man When Randy Beck was 5, his mom bought him a drum kit at a garage sale. She set them up in the basement of their Florissant, Missouri, home, plugged in a radio and encouraged her son to try to play along with the tunes. That gift pressed the play button on Beck’s lifelong passion for music. He went on to play percussion in middle school and high school band, then Marching and Mini Mizzou. Now Beck is vice president of integrated marketing for the music arm of the Yamaha Corporation of America. While the journey from drumstick twirler to peddler seems like a natural arc, it was not. Beck arrived at Mizzou as a performance major with dreams of going pro, but soon, fearing music wasn’t a stable career, he switched to finance. He stayed behind the kit at basketball and football games, but after graduating, he followed his diploma. After a few years in the business world, Beck decided to move to Los Angeles and give music one more shot. He set out as a studio and touring drummer. That’s when he had an epiphany. “An artist will fall on their sword for their craft and forgo life’s comforts and securities,” Beck says. “I realized that while I might be a decent drummer, I’m not an artist. And I still needed numbers. So, I went into brand marketing.” Now, after stints with Campbell Soup and Nestlé Purina, Beck oversees all product categories of Yamaha’s music division, including keyboards, guitars, headphones, recording equipment and sound systems. He’s essentially in charge of getting the drums in front of tomorrow’s musicians. “Having been a musician,” he says, “I think about where I am right now, and in some ways, it’s connected to the fact that, years ago, I picked up some drumsticks and had a life-changing experience.” — Tony Rehagen, BA, BJ ’01

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The 1990s megahit TV series Designing Women springs from the screen to the stage this fall in the form of a new play written and produced by series creator Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, BA ’69. The sitcom’s fans get to reunite with the characters of Sugarbaker & Associates, the Atlanta-based interior design firm that served as a backdrop of their raucously funny world. During this modernized version of the series, the women running Sugarbaker & Associates must navigate the pandemic, their growing differences and a firm in crisis. During Designing Women’s trailblazing sevenyear television run, Americans fell in love with the Southern luminaries at its heart. There was Julia Sugarbaker, the firm’s elegant and unflinching founder; her sister, Suzanne, a former beauty queen turned unenthusiastic silent partner; Mary Jo Shively, a single mother of two and the company’s main designer; and Charlene Frazier-Stillfield, the sweet, albeit naïve, office manager from Poplar Bluff, Missouri — a nod to Bloodworth-Thomason’s hometown. Set in 2020, the new play showcases Bloodworth-Thomason’s hilarious and razor-sharp dialog, famous for tackling social issues of the day. Her characters grapple with the same challenges America has faced during the pandemic. Just as the protagonists’ political divides threaten to destroy their friendship, they are forced into quarantine together. With nothing to do but shelter in place, they begin breaking down emotional barriers and revealing their deepest selves to one other.

Designing Women’s world premiere is set for Sept. 6 at TheatreSquared in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where it will run for five weeks. After that, Bloodworth-Thomason hopes to take the play to Broadway. To stream the show or see it in person, visit theatre2.org. — Marina Shifrin, BJ ’10

Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, BA ’69, is bringing Designing Womens’s original characters back life. Only this time, the show is a stage play and the women will be navigating the pandemic and other social and political topics of present day.

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FALL 2021 57


Autism Advocate The cost of autism treatment is a strain on many families. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it costs $17,000 more a year to care for a child with autism spectrum disorder compared to a child without autism. For many years, families in Missouri were forced to pay out of pocket for an important treatment service known as applied behavior analysis because insurers refused to cover it.

But in 2006, Ron Ashworth, BS BA ’67, MA ’68, joined the advisory board for the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders at the University of Missouri. A retired president and chief executive officer of Mercy Health System in St. Louis, Ashworth was subsequently appointed to a Blue Ribbon Panel on Autism created by the state of Missouri. “We heard from health care clinicians, but we also heard from parents and families about the impact that autism had on their lives, which was significant,” Ashworth says. The task force’s report urged the state to require private insurance companies to cover applied behavior analysis for those on the autism spectrum. No stranger to insurance companies, Ashworth took the lead in pressing for necessary legislation. “Ron is just one of those people who, as soon as you explain a scenario or a complex situation, he’s digesting it and coming up with an action plan,” says Abby Powell, an administrator at the Thompson Center. After two years of research, hearings and testimony, a bill passed in 2010 making Missouri the 21st state to require insurance coverage for applied behavior analysis, Ashworth says. Keeping up with the demand for services is the new challenge. As chair of the board of the Thompson Foundation for Autism, Ashworth has helped develop a business plan to ensure the center can recruit experts to see more patients faster and reduce wait lists. A $1 million donation from founders Bill, BS CiE ’68, and Nancy Thompson, HES ’67, to establish the Ron Ashworth Endowed Professorship in Child Development will further allow the center to attract worldclass clinician-scientists. “There’s more work that needs to be done,” says Ashworth, who also serves on the MU Health Care Advisory Board and was recently honored with an Attorney General Honors Award. “And I’ve got too much impatience, too much energy to sit too much.” — Kelsey Allen, BA, BJ ’10


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

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



Gifts are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.


MEET MISSOURI SOLUTIONS More than a building. Our game-changing, statewide commitment to finding solutions to society’s greatest health challenges. Right here in Missouri. Right here at Mizzou.


See Missouri solutions in action:



When Oprah Sends Flowers


Rebecca Pelky, PhD ’20, of Potsdam, N.Y., is assistant professor of film studies at Clarkson University.


HClayton Voss, BS Acc, M Acc ’19, and Andrea Feldman Voss, BSN ’18, of Washington, Mo., June 19, 2021.


HHStephanie Anderson, BS BA ’08, MBA ’10, and HHAlex Anderson, BA ’08, M Ed ’10, of Columbia, Mo., announce the birth of Harvey James April 15, 2021. Abbie Rothermich, JD ’10, and David Rothermich of Leawood, Kan., announce the birth of Anastasia Lucy March 18, 2021.

Faculty Deaths

HThomas Brown, BS Ag ’49, MS ’59, of Columbia, Mo., Dec. 27, 2021, at 94. He was an associate dean of extension in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

the family farm. “She’s the one who made me a Cardinals fan for life,” Turner says. “She listens to every game on her transistor radio.” Her promotion to Entertainment Tonight allowed Turner to launch a scholarship to honor her grandparents, James and Margie Turner. It’s given to a deserving student from Columbia’s Frederick Douglass High School to attend college. She also is a mentor for the L.A.-based group Brown Girls Dream and volunteers with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. “Our family is all about stewardship and helping others,” she says. “We have a family day of service once a month and have for 40 years.” Although she’s lived in Los Angeles for 17 years, Columbia will always be home to her, she says. “As soon as I drive down I-70, I’m in my happy place.” — Margaret Engel, BJ ’73

HJohn F. McGowan, Ed D ’54, of Columbia, Mo., July 9, 2021, at 97. He served in the U.S. Army and was a professor emeritus of educational and counseling psychology. HTung Hsiang Weng, PhD ’67, of Rochester, Mich., May 31, 2021, at 88. Robert Collins, of Columbia,Mo., June 21, 2021, at 79. He was a professor emeritus of history and the author of several books.


HHarold Stoll, BS Ag ’43, of Marshall, Mo., June 8, 2021, at 101. He served in the U.S. Navy. HHBetty Rose Peeler Willhite, BS HE ’45, of


When Nischelle Turner was named as co-host of CBS’ Entertainment Tonight this spring, she became the first Black woman host in the show’s 40-year history. To mark her achievement, Oprah Winfrey, with whom she walked in Selma, Alabama, to honor civil rights pioneers, sent dozens of pastel roses. The gift so thrilled Turner that she dried the flowers and kept the huge arrangement. Her 69,000 followers on Instagram can see it, next to pictures of Turner in gorgeous ball gowns on red carpets and her gym workout sessions. “I stand on the shoulders of so many of the great women in this business — Oprah, Carole Simpson and April Eaton, whom I watched on TV growing up as a farm girl in Columbia [Missouri],” says Turner, BJ ’98. “It’s a real responsibility.” Behind the glamour of her job was a rigorous climb through small-market TV stations and reporting for CNN from overseas hotspots and disasters like Hurricane Katrina, where she slept in her rental car. She’s done everything from operating cameras to assigning stories, editing and working the overnight desk. “Viewers see the finished show. They don’t see you in an airport with a coat over your head, adding last-minute tracks to finish a segment,” she says. Growing up in a sports-mad family, she played volleyball and ran track at Rock Bridge High School, giving up basketball for cheerleading. Mentors and athletes gave her a crash course in network sports broadcasting before she started covering professional baseball, basketball and working as a sideline reporter for Fox NFL Sunday. Her friendship with Shaquille O’Neal led to him asking her to join his Big Podcast, which she started in March. This summer, she also will host a new CBS show, Secret Celebrity Renovation, where celebrities surprise a person who has been central to their lives with a home renovation. If she got that opportunity, the gift would go to her mother, Jacque Turner, who remains on


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 2021 61

MIZZOU ALUMNI NEWS Kansas City, Mo., May 5, 2021, at 98. HEarl J. Conklin, BS BA ’47, of Cincinnati Jan. 9, 2021, at 99. HRichard Hoenig, BJ ’49, of Tinton Falls, N.J., March 7, 2021, at 94. He served in the U.S. Army. HHMarciele Maledy, BS HE ’49, of Columbia, Mo., April 26, 2021, at 95. She was a member of Delta Gamma. HGlenn Geiger, BS Ag ’50, MS ’64, of Columbia, Mo., June 9, 2021, at 97. HWesley E. Gingrich, BS BA ’50, of Boonville, Mo., June 23, 2021, at 94. He served in the U.S. Army. HHCecile Frances Grandjean, BS HE ’51, of Honesdale, Pa., May 23, 2021, at 95.


HHJean Von Hoffman Sheets, BA ’51, of St. Louis June 10, 2021, at 91.

April 10, 2021, at 93. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps.

HRobert Stadelhofer, BJ ’52, of McLean, Va., May 20, 2021, at 91. He served in the U.S. Navy.

HHLarry Johnson, BJ ’54, of San Francisco April 18, 2021, at 89. He was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha and served in the U.S. Air Force.

HCharles Czeschin, BS BA ’53, of Naples, Fla., June 12, 2021, at 90. He was a member of Sigma Nu. HWilliam Johnstone, BS PA ’53, of Harrisonburg, Va., May 6, 2021, at 89. He was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha and served in the U.S. Air Force. HFloyd Polsgrove, BS Ag ’53, of Dexter, Mo., July 12, 2021, at 94. He served in the U.S. Navy and worked for the Missouri Department of Transportation for 35 years. Robert Joe Crowson, M Ed ’54, of Fulton, Mo.,

HHJohn Collet, BS BA ’55, of Leawood, Kan., May 28, 2021, at 93. He was a member of Beta Theta Pi. HHRichard Henley, M Ed ’55, of Leawood, Kan., May 28, 2021, at 93. HGloria Gottschalk, BSN ’56, of St. Louis May 9, 2021, at 90. Shirley Welch Caldwell, BS HE ’57, of Albany, Texas, June 2, 2021, at 85. She was a member of Delta Delta Delta. Leonhard Myers, BA ’57, BS IE ’60, of Claremont,

Calif., Feb. 24, 2021, at 90. He was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon and served in the U.S. Navy. Ronald Lee Soble, BJ ’57, of Sacramento, Calif., June 20, 2021, at 85. He was a member of Alpha Epsilon Phi and a Los Angeles Times reporter for over 20 years. HCharles Kielhofner, BJ ’58, of Scott City, Mo., June 17, 2021, at 85. He was a member of Phi Kappa Theta, served in the U.S. Navy and was a Scott County clerk for 28 years. HEdward L. Ponder, BS Ag ’58, of Colorado Springs, Colo., May 19, 2021, at 86. He served in the U.S. Air Force for 24 years. HHJ. Evan Slack, BS AG ’58, of Phoenix Sept. 19, 2020, at 86. He was a member of Kappa Alpha

Order and served in the U.S. Marine Corps. HClarence Jett, BS BA ’59, MA ’69, of Columbia, Mo., June 8, 2021, at 88. HHBruce Strong, BJ ’59, of Midlothian, Va., April 11, 2021, at 83. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps. Donald E. Farmer, BJ ’60, of Marco Island, Fla., March 31, 2021, at 82. He was a member of Phi Gamma Delta, served in the U.S. Army and was one of the original anchors on CNN. HHLaura Heitmeyer, BS Ed ’60, of Sedalia, Mo., March 30, 2021, at 81. HGeorge King, BS EE ’60, of Tampa, Fla., May 5, 2021, at 85. He was a member of Sigma Nu. HHDavid A. Martin, BJ ’60, of Independence,

Ore., June 12, 2021, at 82. He was a member of Marching Mizzou and served in the U.S. Navy. HHLeroy B. Stepanek, BS EE ’60, of Wright City, Mo., March 20, 2021, at 90. He served in the U.S. Navy. HHEarle S. Teegarden Jr., BS BA ’60, of Chillicothe, Mo., April 22, 2021, at 85. He served in the U.S. Army. HHCharles “Skip” Snyder, BS BA ’61, of Littleton, Colo., March 4, 2021, at 82. He was a member of Phi Delta Theta. HHArthur Towson III, BS Ag ’61, of Jacksonville, Fla., March 16, 2021, at 83. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps. HForrest G. Wright Jr., BA ’61, of Overland Park, Kan., June 15, 2021, at 85. He was a member of Beta

Theta Pi and served in the U.S. Army. HHHoward Handelman, BS BA ’62, of St. Louis Oct. 14, 2020, at 80. He was a member of Zeta Beta Tau served in the U.S. Navy. HHRobert Thomas, MD ’62, of Leawood, Kan., April 21, 2021, at 88. He was a member of Phi Beta Pi and served in the U.S. Coast Guard. HHBetty Day, BS BA ’63, of Jefferson City, Mo., June 7, 2021, at 79. She worked for the state of Missouri for 25 years. HHAllison London Smith, BS Ed ’64, of West Plains, Mo., June 23, 2021, at 79. She was a member of Gamma Phi Beta. HCarol Horton LaRue, BA ’64, of Dexter, Mo., May 20, 2021, at 78.


American Advisors Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 602-625-9498 Bank of America . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 800-932-2775 Champion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 champion.com Geico . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C-3 geico.com/MyDiscount Les Bourgeois . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 missouriwine.com Mizzou Advancement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 giving.missouri.edu Mizzou Alumni Association . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50, 54, 61 mizzou.com Mizzou MBA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C-4 business.missouri.edu Mizzou Store . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 themizzoustore.com MU Botanic Garden . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 gardens.missouri.edu NextGen Precision Health . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 precisionhealth.umsystem.edu To advertise in MIZZOU, call MAA at 573-882-6611



HTom Fleming, BS Ed ’65, of Jonesboro, Ark., March 19, 2021, at 78. He was a member of Alpha Tau Omega. Sam McCroskey, MS ’65, of Springfield, Mo., May 31, 2021, at 80. HHJoDon Schwegman, BS ME ’66, of Springfield, Mo., April 28, 2021, at 81. HMark Dallman, MS ’67, DVM ’70, of Blacksburg, Va., March 17, 2021, at 80. HHWilliam Hart Frederick, BS Ed ’67, M Ed ’72, of Kansas City, Mo., June 27, 2021, at 77. He was a member of Sigma Chi and served in the U.S. Army. HHBetty Smith, BS Ed ’67, of Columbia, Mo., June 29, 2021, at 76. HPhyllis Lee Bates, BS Ed ’68, of Fort Myers, Fla., April 14, 2021, at 74. She was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. HCharles Curry, BHS ’68, of Moline, Mo., May 6, 2021, at 75. He served in the U.S. Air Force. HMarcia Markowitz Thomas, BA ’68, MA ’74,

of Kansas City, Mo., April 4, 2021, at 76.

Ohio State University for 40 years.

HJohn Arnold Gondring, MBA ’69, of Kansas City, Mo., July 11, 2021, at 78. He served in the U.S. Navy.

HGary A. Hughes, BS EE, MS ’74, PhD ’81, of Rocheport, Mo., May 24, 2021, at 72. He served in the U.S. Navy.

HPi-Yu Huang, MS ’69, PhD ’74, of Durham, N.C., May 1, 2021, at 82. HM. Charles Howard, BS Ed ’70, of Milwaukee March 20, 2021, at 73. HTerry Sherman, BS BA ’70, of Maryland Heights, Mo., June 20, 2021, at 74. He was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon. HJames Arnold, BS ChE ’71, of Jefferson City, Mo., May 26, 2021, at 77. HHFlorene Chancey, MS ’71, of Henryetta, Okla., March 22, 2021, at 93. HHFrank Emert Jr., MD ’71, of Henderson, Nev., May 22, 2021, at 76. Edith R. Finke, BSN ’72, of Kahoka, Mo., July 25, 2021, at 70. HHRay Ryan Jr., M Ed ’73, EdD ’75, of Delaware, Ohio, Oct. 8, 2020, at 74. He was a professor at The

HKarl Joel Klaus, BSF ’74, of Perryville, Mo., Feb. 23, 2021, at 71. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps. HJames Schumacker, BA ’74, of St. Louis April 28, 2021, at 68. He worked at Anheuser-Busch for 28 years. HDouglas R. Gordon, BS CiE ’75, MBA ’80, of Bronxville, N.Y., June 25, 2021, at 69. He was a member of Phi Kappa Theta and was a sales engineer with Johnson Controls for 41 years. HHDerace O. Robertson, BA ’83, of San Diego May 17, 2021, at 61. Jeanette Oxford, BSN ’85, of Columbia, Mo., July 19, 2021, at 68. HHKimberly Yates, BS BA ’93, of Overland Park, Kan., April 14, 2021, at 49. She was a member of Delta Delta Delta.

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. FALL 2021 63


Karleton Fyfe

Finding the Way Forward After 9/11 When the 9/11 terrorists crashed American Flight 11 into the World Trade Center’s north tower 20 years ago, I was at my Kansas City Star editorial page desk. I was well into my assignment to write the lead commentary piece for that afternoon’s extra edition when I opened an email from my sister Barbara Fyfe. The subject line: “Very Bad News.” Barbara said her son, Karleton, probably was on that plane. Karleton and I were close. Although my heart shattered, I had no choice but to finish the piece, in which I mentioned the likelihood of his death. He was a bond analyst for John Hancock in Boston, and that malevolent morning he left his newly pregnant wife and 19-month-old son for a flight to Los Angeles on business. His murder put my extended family, including Karleton’s two sisters and their families, through trauma after trauma. The obvious question was — and remains — why did it happen? I wrote a hard-won answer to that question in my new book, Love, Loss and Endurance: A 9/11 Story of Resilience and Hope in an Age of Anxiety. It is an account of what can and does happen when people come to believe that they know all the answers to the questions that religion and other disciplines pose, when they are convinced that they have solved all the mysteries, worked through all the ambiguities, the paradoxes, the uncertainties of life and, now bloated with false certitude, are willing to impose their indisputable answers on the world in the company of people who will encourage and support their fantasies, their delusions. Examples of such destructive conviction are everywhere. Even more difficult than the “why” is the question of how to unplug such extremism. Here are three things we can all do now: • Engage in interfaith dialogue, understanding and co64 MIZZOUMAGAZINE

operation. This began for me when I spent two years of my boyhood in India. Our family home, on a university campus where my father was teaching, was close to a Muslim village. I, a Christian, wound up playing with Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and other children, learning something of their traditions and that they were just kids like me. As an adult, I’ve been engaged for decades through such agencies as the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council. Find similar resources where you live. • Become more religiously literate. This is more than just an extension of my first point. It starts with understanding one’s own religious tradition, including atheism or agnosticism, and being able to explain it to others. It also means absorbing such books as Stephen Prothero’s Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know — and Doesn’t. Religious literacy can lead to theological modesty and to understanding what, in the title of one of my books, I call The Value of Doubt. Bill Tammeus’s seventh • Deepen your knowledge of both book deals with the American and world history. Terror- aftermath of 9/11 in his ism, though never justifiable, doesn’t family. Tammeus was a arise from a vacuum. The U.S. has member of the Kansas made enemies. Learn why and maybe City Star staff that won the 1982 Pulitzer Prize even how to elect leaders better able to for local reporting. He prevent that. blogs at billtammeus. Let’s work on this together. Today. typepad.com and It would honor Karleton and the thou- answers email at wtamsands of other victims of terrorism. M meus@gmail.com.


BY B I L L TA M M E US, B J ’67







Steps to Success The Trulaske College of Business builds opportunities for students and alumni to thrive. Earn a Stack of Degrees 68 It’s About Access 70 Get Your Hands Dirty 74 The Future of Work 78

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Globetrotter Audrey Walsworth poses in front of Angkor Wat, a temple in Cambodia. She and her husband, Don, support Trulaske study abroad programs in more developing countries.

Audrey Walsworth is not your typical world traveler. Since graduating from Mizzou, Walsworth, BJ ’56, has visited 327 countries and territories around the world. Although she has hit the touristy landmarks in Paris and London, she believes she’s gotten much more out of straying farther from traditional tourist traps. “I wanted to see a world that was different from mine,” she says. “I wanted to go someplace where the culture was different and where I felt tourism would change things.” That’s why Walsworth and her husband, former University of Missouri Curator Don Walsworth, BS Ed ’57, have endowed programs for Trulaske College of Business students who want to study abroad and are willing to break out of their comfort zones and expose themselves to more developing countries like Ethiopia or Papua New Guinea. “For students, I think it opens up the scope of their thinking,” she says. “You see people who are immensely happy and have next to nothing compared to what we have. And in some places, you see people living under the threat of hunger or the tyranny of a dictator. There are places you have to be more careful — but the whole world is dangerous. In the end, it’s a learning experience that will serve you well.”



These days, it’s common for an employer to scour job candidates’ social media before hiring. But John Arnold, Trulaske assistant professor of management, and his colleagues wanted to know if that screening actually predicted job performance. His work, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, looked both at what sort of information was on job seekers’ Facebook pages and whether it influenced recruiters. For starters, Arnold found that a person’s online photos and posts are not indicative of future success. What’s more, by delving into those private lives, companies might be taking a risk. “There’s a lot of personal information — age, religion, marital status and ethnicity — that recruiters wouldn’t be allowed to ask about during a selection process,” Arnold says. “It tells a cautionary tale because it could put organizations in a legally tenuous situation, and all evidence suggests that it’s not a valid practice.”


Broadening the Idea of Studying Abroad


In 2017, Mizzou was one of nine schools nationwide selected to join the KPMG Master of Accounting with Data and Analytics (MADA) Program, an initiative that prepares accounting students for the world of big data. The program sponsors selected students by providing full tuition, KPMG internships and job offers upon graduation. But even as the initiative concludes its third and final year, faculty at the Trulaske College of Business feel this is only the beginning of an exciting new direction for analytics curricula. “The KPGM program has been an accelera-

S H U T T E R S TO C K ; S TA M P : M I C H A E L C A L I


The Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is Trulaske’s promoter of entrepreneurial knowledge, specifically for students who might not automatically consider the prospect of owning their own business. One area of focus is neurodiverse students, such as those with ADHD, autism spectrum disorder and dyslexia. Center Director Annette Kendall believes not only that entrepreneurship is an option for these students but that their conditions might also make them well suited to it. That’s why the center is tailoring programming and research to make college graduation more accessible to these students. “People with ADHD are hyperactive. They move fast. Some people with dyslexia are better at visualizing the big picture. Students on the autism spectrum, who are socially detached, are less likely to be influenced by dominant ideas,” Kendall says. “These students have gone through life like they have a checklist of deficits. But in the context of entrepreneurship, they are strengths.”

tor,” says Vairam Arunachalam, director of the School of Accountancy. “We already had a great foundation. Now we have a stronger curriculum in place and can offer it beyond the MADA program.” This includes certification in accounting data analytics not only for graduate students but also for working professionals who want to enroll part time. “It’s going to be a gamechanger,” Arunachalam says. “It’s absolutely critical to our success and that of our graduates. With this knowledge, they will be better prepared for the accounting jobs of the future.”


For Bailey Stamp, kindness is its own reward. So, when the member of Trulaske’s Heartland Scholars Academy helped fellow students grieve for a member who died unexpectedly, she wasn’t hoping for anything in return. That altruistic spirit was all the more reason Stamp was the first recipient of the business school’s Roth Kindness Scholarship. “My hope is that if students can learn the importance of kindness before they head out into the world, they’ll be more successful,” says Leslie Guyor, BS BA ’90, whose gift founded what she hopes will be an annual scholarship. “And the world will become a friendlier, happier place.” Stamp was happy to receive the $1,000 award, and she intends to pay it forward. “It’s not hard to be kind,” Stamp says. “It doesn’t cost you anything. And people notice when you’re doing kind things.” FALL 2021 67




Stackable Certificates Build Specialized Degrees

B O O K S : S H U T T E R S TO C K , B L A K E D I N S D A L E ; C H R I S T I A N : B I L L G R E E N B L AT T

Trulaske changes the way students, especially alumni, can learn business and earn degrees. Cameron Christian is on track to be among the first class of MU students to earn a Master of Science in business (MSB) from the Trulaske College of Business. Along the way, she’ll also pick up two stackable certificates — recognized credentials that position students to leap straight from graduate school into their business careers. Introduced in fall 2020, the MSB and the college’s stackable certificates program change the way students learn business and earn degrees. “Students can customize a degree to their particular career interests in significant ways,” says Chris Robert, associate dean for graduate studies and research. “And, because we have gone mostly online, graduate students can propel their career with one-of-a-kind certifications without having to leave their work or home behind to come to Columbia.” This fresh approach was designed with an eye on the needs of Trulaske alumni — recent graduates, such as Christian, and others who already have a foothold in their careers. “It’s answering the call of alumni wanting to continue investing in their education, and it also answers the call of employers who are searching for potential hires with specific knowledge or experience,” says Ryan Murray, director of graduate studies. Christian has been enjoying the flexibility of online classes while working part time and progressing toward her degree. She typically works day shifts at a Columbia coffee shop and studies in the evenings. Whether online or in person, the core of the Trulaske graduate curriculum remains the same. All MSB students take 12 hours of the basics, such as finance, accounting, marketing and management. Candidates also earn two certificates — at least one from the College of Business, with an option to choose an additional credential from a partnering academic unit. Those include the College of Engineering, School of Law, School of Medicine, the Truman School of Public Affairs and others. For her two required certificates, Christian chose Global Supply Chain Management and Marketing Analytics. She is also learning several programming languages. Not only is she digging

The Crosby MBA — Reimagined and Reconfigured

Cameron Christian is earning certificates in marketing analytics and global supply chain management while pursuing a Master of Science in business.

deeper into subjects that fascinate her, but she is also building a stronger resume. “These niche areas will, I hope, make me stand out from other job applicants,” she says. Earning a certificate means completing four to five courses in a particular area. The list of possibilities is extensive and expected to continue growing. From marketing analytics to financial management and from dispute resolution to higher education administration, the combinations lead to interdisciplinary knowledge and professionally recognized certification. For students who don’t choose the MSB, stackable certificates can be a stand-alone option. Students can go for one, two or more certificates, stacking them together, creating the building blocks of their business careers. “If someone wants to come to MU just to earn a certificate in financial management, that’s fine,” Robert says. “But once that certificate is in hand, we hope that student would say, ‘Maybe I should take another certificate along with the core courses, and stay for the whole MSB.’ ” M

After a yearlong pause, the Crosby MBA relaunched in fall 2021 as a primarily online program. The reconfigured curriculum has been streamlined from 57 credit hours down to 45, which students can complete in one-anda-half to two years. Students can earn the degree “from the comfort of home and without breaking their stride in a job or career,” says Chris Robert, associate dean for graduate studies and research. In addition to core coursework on professional skills and competencies — such as communication, leadership and consulting — Crosby students will earn at least one stackable certificate in a specialized area of interest. (See story at left to learn about stackable certificates.) FALL 2021 69


Walking through downtown Columbia, from left, Jean Whitley, Abel Ambessie and Maurice Glass discuss how the Vasey Academy helped launch their academic and business careers.



Asking Better Questions


For the past decade, the Trulaske College of Business has sent a steady stream of graduates to work in New York City. Dean Ajay Vinzé wanted to know: What were those firms looking for? “They said it’s thought diversity,” he recalls. “Students from the Midwest have a different perspective. They bring robustness to their work ethic, and they ask questions that set them apart — that causes these high-performing firms to get even better.” With an inaugural director of inclusion, diversity and equity, Erika Aaron, who started at Trulaske in May 2021 (See sidebar at right), the college is doubling down on its efforts to cultivate diversity. Vinzé takes an “end-to-end” view: “How can you provide the right exposure, experience and value-add so they can become the most engaging set of students that we get to the other side? I want to make sure we’re creating pathways into Mizzou and Trulaske through programs like Heartland Scholars Academy and Vasey Academy and setting up our students for success. When they come to campus, we’re giving them experiences like Camp Trulaske, Trulaske Excellence at Mizzou and others that make a big university feel manageable and integrate them into the academic environment. Then, at the back end, we have an outstanding career services unit to facilitate placement.” Meet a pair of students whose transformational experiences flow through Trulaske diversity programs.


Getting a Jump-start

Abel Ambessie knows he likes soccer, the drums and Ethiopian food — but as a freshman, he wasn’t sure which track in the College of Business he wanted to pursue. He started in marketing, but it didn’t feel like the right fit. Then he met Jean Whitley, BS Acc, M Acc ’17. Whitley, an assurance senior in the financial services office at EY in Kansas City, Missouri, is Ambessie’s corporate mentor through the Vasey Academy at Trulaske. Established in 1997 by Roger Vasey, BS BA ’58, and his wife, Sandy, the academy includes a one-credit course that provides talented students from underrepresented groups mentoring experiences, networking opportunities designed to jump-start their entry into the business world and a community to belong to. Once a week, Ambessie and Whitley would hop on a Zoom call, and the younger could ask the wiser about classes, career paths and leadership lessons. A graduate of the academy and a member of its advisory board, Whitley was eager to answer “some of those burning questions” that he had when he was a freshman. Then Ambessie connected with his student mentor, Maurice Glass, a master’s student in the accounting program and a Vasey Academy graduate from O’Fallon, Illinois. The president of the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) at MU, Glass invited Ambessie to the group’s next meeting. “Even if you are not interested in doing accounting, I said, we have a group of Black students that is really a good community to have in the College of Business,” Glass recalls. For Glass, the Vasey Academy was the first time he was in a small class with people who not

only looked like him but could also relate to him. “Vasey is important because it provides you with a group of people that you can count on,” Glass says. The Vasey experience provides participants with a $1,000 scholarship, seminars focused on current business trends, and opportunities to participate in corporate trips to Kansas City, St. Louis and Chicago. Although the Vasey Academy is currently a semester-long program, Director Mary Beth Marrs, BS IE ’87, MBA ’95, PhD ’99, says she hopes the relationships with corporate mentors continue: “I ask these people not to just mentor them; I say I want you to make a four-year investment in your mentees. I want you to open doors, make them aware of opportunities for internships or summits at your organization. These companies are getting great diverse talent — and they’re getting access to that talent at a very young age.” For Ambessie, now a sophomore accounting major and a member of NABA, participating in Vasey was an investment in himself: “My senior year of high school, I just had so many questions about college. I didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do or how I was going to get initiative. I was really questioning everything. Through Vasey, I got all those questions answered. I figured out what I wanted to do. I took my first step. I’m in the right place. I feel like I couldn’t have gotten that anywhere other than Vasey.”

When Work Meets Luck

Jesus Oropeza says he just got lucky, but hard work has a lot to do with it. Growing up in Brookfield, Missouri, Oropeza’s childhood wasn’t always a happy one. He was bul-

Trulaske Hires Diversity Champion

The Trulaske College of Business has been committed to diversity efforts for decades. Now, the college has hired an inaugural director of inclusion, diversity and equity to lead the charge. Erika Aaron, an experienced diversity champion with a master’s degree in business administration, stepped into the role in May 2021. Previously a faculty recruitment specialist with MU’s Division of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity, Aaron has been key in developing initiatives that establish and grow inclusive hiring pipelines and that attract diverse candidates through outreach efforts. At Trulaske, Aaron will expand her scope to include all college constituents. She will create programs that promote diversity and equity; provide training to faculty, staff and students; and bring best practices in inclusive excellence to ensure the college is a leader on and off campus. FALL 2021 71

lied, sometimes violently. His mom worked hard at a factory and still struggled to make ends meet. After their house burned down, they were homeless for a time. Oropeza had no intention of going to college. “I jokingly applied,” he says. “I thought there’s no way I’m getting in. So I said, you know, what’s the worst that can happen?” He was making ramen noodles when his mom came in with the mail and handed him a large envelope from the University of Missouri. After opening the acceptance letter, Oropeza was confused — and then scared. How was he going to pay for school? A few weeks later, he got an email: Do you want a free laptop, a free suit and study abroad scholarships? “I thought it was a scam,” he recalls. “Turns out it was very real.” Oropeza had been selected for the inaugural class of Trulaske’s Heartland Scholars Academy, which was established in 2018 with a donation from Sue, BS BA ’75, MBA ’77, and Irl Engelhardt. The academy annually gives 10 first-generation freshmen from rural Missouri and southern Il-


linois support to succeed in the business world through a variety of activities over four years. “The amount of luck was obscenely high,” Oropeza says. Oropeza showed up to move-in day by himself — his mom had to work — and was greeted by a sea of families. “I’m like, alright, none of these people are like me. This is weird. I’m going to drop out,” he recalls. “But I had $13,000 in loans looking at my name.” The first time Oropeza felt like he belonged at Mizzou was in the Heartland Scholars Academy seminar class, whose purpose is to inspire confidence and overcome imposter syndrome. “A lot of times first-gen kids think: ‘I don’t fit in. I don’t have the network and experiences other students have,’ ” says Marrs, who also directs the Heartland program. “This leads to a lack of confidence in their ability to be successful at a place like Mizzou.” So, Marrs brings in successful alumni who were also first-generation students from small Missouri towns. She hosts etiquette dinners, mock interviews and study halls. They do case studies and go on corporate trips to Kansas City, St. Louis and Chicago.


Jesus Oropeza stands in the Walsworth Publishing plant in Marceline, Missouri. Oropeza says he wouldn’t have the opportunities he’s had, including internships at Walsworth, without the Heartland Scholars Academy.




In October 2018, only nine weeks into his freshman year, Oropeza was on stage at a Davenport Society banquet telling the givingsociety members that he’d found community in the Heartland Scholars Academy; that without it, he would be lost; that he has hope. After a speech at a similar event for MU’s Jefferson Club in Naples, Florida, he was approached by Don Walsworth, BS Ed ’57, CEO of Walsworth Publishing Co., in Marceline, Missouri. Walsworth offered him a job, and, for the next two summers, Oropeza interned at the company, first in operations, then management. Now a senior finance major, Oropeza has interned as a business analyst at Fidelity Investments; found a mentor in Nathaniel Laroche, a VP at Stifel Financial Corp.; and is preparing to sit for the chartered financial analyst exam. “This genuinely changed my life,” he says. “I know people, I’ve seen things that I probably wouldn’t have experienced throughout my entire life. If you try hard enough and get lucky enough, just about anything is possible.” M

In any endeavor, finding the right support system is often the difference between success and failure. That’s why Pinney Allen; her husband, Charles “Buddy” Miller; and her brother, MU Adjunct Professor of Finance W.D Allen, funded the Allen Access Program, a $5 million umbrella initiative to serve under-resourced and underrepresented students in the Trulaske College of Business. The program’s goal is to build a community of peers who share experiences and backgrounds, while providing the resources they need to succeed. This initiative includes scholarship support, but it was designed to be more comprehensive. “It’s not just about scholarships,” Miller says. “Sometimes it’s buying a laptop, having the right suit for a job interview or just knowing what is available. Everybody should have a chance.” The college has pledged to raise an additional $12 million over the next 10 years to build this program, which already includes a $375,000 gift from W.D Allen Ernst & Young LLP. Part of the funding will go toward outreach in rural Missouri and hard-to-reach areas of St. Louis and Kansas City, where students may grow up not realizing that certain opportunities exist. “A lot of these kids may not have thought of college as an option at all,” Pinney Allen says. “They certainly haven’t considered the state’s flagship university as a possibility.” The Allens and Miller know that, for some students, attending college improves the chances for lifelong success. “These are qualified students who are at a point where they might go down one path or another,” says W.D Allen, BS BA ’90, PhD ’06, for whom the program is named. “If we can do anything to encourage them down the path that leads to a better life, that would be beneficial to everyone.” FALL 2021 73




Immersive Education During an era of virtual learning, the Trulaske College of Business never stopped creating opportunities for students to get hands-on experience. In 2020, students who would normally work on professional projects with operational businesses in partnership with MU Extension and the MU Office of Service-Learning continued to do so — via Zoom. A student group of mid-Missouri investors kept investing in startup companies, only most pitches were virtual. Student interns swapped terminals in the Inside Sales Lab for home offices while still supporting the work of partner companies. And School of Accountancy Adjunct Teaching Professor Stacy Wright continued using the college’s relationship with Kaldi’s Coffee to create assignments in her course. “We’re able to audit the contract that the college set up with Kaldi’s and come up with components to check into. Then I can use what the students are seeing to make sure Kaldi’s is complying,” says Wright, who also directs Trulaske’s finance and administration efforts. “It’s not just in a book or a madeup case. The students are having an impact — and they’re really excited about that.” Here’s a look at five ways Trulaske continued to deliver experiential learning to students across the college this past year.

Cornell’s Cafe

When Tricia Zimmer Ferguson, BS BA ’03, was a student at Mizzou, she helped start a program called P.L.A.N. — Planning, Learning and Networking — to pair students with mentors at local businesses. “We wanted more real-life experience in addition to all the great instruction we were receiving from the faculty and advisers,” she recalls. Today, the co-owner of Kaldi’s Coffee with her husband, Josh Ferguson, BS ’03, is leading another experiential learning initiative at the college. In fall 2019, Kaldi’s opened a coffee shop inside Cornell Hall that serves specialty coffee, tea and house-made bakery items to the campus community. It also functions as a classroom where students get an intimate view of the company’s opOlivia Finley, BS BA ’21, stands in Kaldi’s Coffee on the second floor of Cornell Hall. Prior to COVID, Finley and her classmates investigated how Kaldi’s policies and procedures affect employees’ behavior in an organizational behavior course. “It’s really motivating to do even more in-depth work when you know that their management team is actually going to look at our work and maybe even implement some of the ideas,” she says. FALL 2021 75


Through the Inside Sales Lab, Andrew Berger makes sales for Agilis System, a company out of St. Louis that makes GPS tracking devices for vehicles, fleets and assets.

Socially Distanced Selling

Andrew Berger puts on a headset, sits down at his desk — mere inches from his bed — and dials up a trucking company. As an inside sales intern for Agilis System, a GPS software company out of St. Louis, Berger wants to know if the owner is happy with the GPS he’s deployed in his fleet of 15 trucks. Even before COVID moved everything online, inside sales, as opposed to the traditional role of the traveling outside sales representative, was the fastest-growing segment of the profession. And over the past 10 years, Trulaske’s Center for Sales and Customer Development has built a reputation as a training ground for future sales leaders. In 2018, Trulaske launched an Inside Sales Lab initiative. Each semester, 18 students intern at five or more companies where they earn credit while getting paid to assist with the sales process or even close sales themselves. Before the pandemic, several students worked simultaneously in the lab, which features nine terminals on the third floor of Cornell Hall. Now,

“When you’re working with a real company, you know all the lessons that you’re taking from this are applicable to your future. It builds a better experience to explain to future employers and gives me more of an edge going into the workforce.”


students take turns being in the lab, based on a daily schedule. “In the first week, I got to meet with the VP of sales, district managers, account executives and customer service representatives. I was doing live role-plays with their sales team,” Berger says. “A large piece of it is collaboration and receiving constructive criticism and just getting better. It’s more of an experience that you critically think about and learn from rather than just a part-time job.”

A New Generation of Angel Investors

Not many 21-year-olds have sat across the table from the founders of a company while the CEO tries to impress them. But Carson Lujin and the 19 other students who manage the Allen Angel Capital Education (AACE) venture fund have had that powerful position. Through a hands-on course, students get the opportunity to learn angel and venture capital investment strategies by investing in highgrowth startup companies. They cultivate deal flow, conduct due diligence, structure and negotiate investment contracts, monitor portfolio holdings, and invest capital to ultimately drive financial returns for the fund. “We’re really operating like a real-life venture capital firm,” says Lujin, who is pursuing a master’s degree in accountancy and a bachelor’s in economics. Since its inception in 2010, the AACE venture fund has invested in 12 companies, including Elemental Enzymes, a biotech company


erations, including global supply chain, human resources management and accounting. For example, in Wright’s internal auditing course, student Sabrina Ollis conducted a compliance audit. Part of the contract requires Kaldi’s to work with diverse suppliers, so Ollis worked with a team to set up an audit program that would verify whether at least 51% of the coffee company’s suppliers identify with a marginalized group. “It’s really rare — at least in my experience — to get tangible experience looking at real contracts,” says the accountancy master’s student. “When you’re working with a real company, you know all the lessons that you’re taking from this are applicable to your future. It builds a better experience to explain to future employers and gives me more of an edge going into the workforce.”

founded by Mizzou alumni Brian, MS ’08, and Katie Thompson, BS ’04, PhD ’11. The initial $30,000 the fund invested had increased to $250,000 when the group partially exited the business in 2018. Students leverage these experiences to land highly competitive jobs at J.P. Morgan, Blackstone, Goldman Sachs, Boston Consulting Group and others. “People are pretty amazed by the opportunity,” Lujin says. “Even Ivy League students sometimes aren’t exposed to experiences such as this.”


An Edge Over the Competition

In rural Bollinger County, Missouri, 4 out of 5 residents don’t have broadband — aka high-speed internet access that city dwellers take for granted when they order groceries, attend school or work from home. In response, the University of Missouri System Broadband Initiative launched a pilot plan to bring affordable and accessible broadband internet to rural parts of the state. But the county needed help developing strategies to educate the public on why internet access should be a utility, not a luxury. So, this past semester, a group of students in the Trulaske Edge program worked with Bollinger County to develop these strategies. They researched customer segments, developed targeted marketing proposals and presented recommendations. “This class pushed me out of my comfort zone,” says Sidnee Brumagin, a senior business administration transfer student from Moberly Area Community College. “I’m not a marketing major, so I had to step out on my own and learn some of those methods. And we’re learning how to handle working with clients like we would in the workforce.” That’s the goal of the Trulaske Edge program — four business administration

courses plus workshops where students develop professional competencies and build skills beyond the classroom. Participation in the program is required for graduation. Since students started working with businesses on professional projects in fall 2019, they have completed more than 222 projects in about 25 Missouri counties in partnership with MU Extension and the MU Office of Service-Learning. Lauren Brengarth, BJ ’03, MA ’04, PhD ’11, an assistant teaching professor in the Trulaske Edge program, says it’s responsible for an increase in student placement, with job rates exceeding 90% after graduation.

The Lab of the Future

In the new emerging-technologies lab in Cornell Hall, which opens this fall semester, business students aren’t simply learning from professors. They’re collaborating with students and teachers across campus to co-create the future. Powered by 5G+ technology from industry partner AT&T, the lab offers students opportunities to explore new ways to make safer transportation, remote health care, precision agriculture and digitized logistics a reality. And those are just a few examples. This fall, the lab will host six interdisciplinary courses, each discovering solutions that can change how the world does business. “Our cross-disciplinary teams can take on real-world problems and provide real suggestions,” says Trulaske Dean Ajay Vinzé. Read more about the lab and his vision for business education on Page 78. M

Left: Managing Director of the studentrun venture fund Allen Angel Capital Education Program, Carson Lujin learns investment strategies by investing in real startup companies. Above: Through the Trulaske Edge program, Sidnee Brumagin worked on a student team developing strategies Missouri’s Bollinger County could use to educate residents on the benefits of broadband internet.

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THE FUTURE OF WORK IS HERE In the past year, remote teams and virtual meetings have taken center stage as businesses discover better ways to work. But before COVID spread globally, the expectations of and requirements for the workforce already had begun to shift. The digital transformation has arrived, and although some jobs will be lost and many others will be created, almost all jobs will change. And Trulaske College of Business Dean Ajay Vinzé has a vision for how to prepare students for jobs that don’t even exist yet.



hen Ajay Vinzé started his tenure as dean at the Trulaske College of Business in January 2017, he immediately opened conversations with university leaders, industry partners and alumni about trends that are reshaping higher education: Determinants of future success will be interdisciplinary collaboration, technology and a focus on lifelong learning. Although the world of business expects a holistic approach to decision-making and problem-solving, higher education is delivered in a highly structured, siloed fashion. So, Vinzé put out a call: “He just reached out across the silos and said, ‘Hey, anybody who wants to work together — let’s do this thing,” recalls Jim Flink, associate professor of strategic communication in the School of Journalism. “That may not sound novel, but it is. What it’s done is it’s made a really rich learning environment.” To continue shaping a new educational landscape, Vinzé initiated the MU Institute for Experiential Education, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in spring 2018. Faculty from engineering, journalism, health care, education, arts and science, and business started creating interdisciplinary courses. “In the real world, you have engineers working with business folks working with the design team, with the communication and marketing team — so they all come together,” says Bimal Balakrishnan, associate professor and chair of the architectural studies department. “The vision is to develop this new knowledge worker who has a unique set of skills and abilities.” To scale up and promote a campuswide change, the university needed a big project and an outside partner. As luck would have it, AT&T was looking to collaborate with universities to define the future of 5G-enabled devices and applications. The fifth-generation mobile network, or 5G, is faster, more reliable and provides more network capacity than previous generations. In spring 2020, 19 MU students participated in Connectivity and 5G, an immersive course with instructors from business, engineering, journalism and architectural studies using in-depth research and access to AT&T resources and representatives. Divided into four teams — health care, sports, campus

safety and higher education — the students developed viable industrial applications for this new technology. The health care team, for example, proposed using mobile platforms, video and artificial intelligence technology that would provide both patients and care providers with rapid, real-time feedDean Ajay Vinzé back as well as improve existing remote-care technologies. “It exposed them to new ideas, new ways of thinking, new ways to problem-solve outside their discipline,” Flink says. In summer 2021, AT&T installed a 5G+-millimeter-wave transmission tower in Cornell Hall, which helped spawn an innovation lab. Although housed in the business school, the lab is a university asset that features augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality technology, allowing students and faculty to experiment with simulations, big data translation, visual tracking, holographs and a variety of other potential 5G applications. In fall 2021, six interdisciplinary courses centered around the lab’s technology are scheduled to launch, with students and their professors exploring several potential projects. These include creating kiosks around campus that use immersive technologies to reduce anxiety and improve mental health, exploring innovative telemedicine applications for remote surgeries, and using augmented reality to create immersive journalism. “Suddenly our students are seeing that boundaries don’t exist,” Balakrishnan says. And Vinzé is pushing the boundaries on what a college curriculum looks like. Instead of just three-credit-hour courses, he envisions commercialization bootcamps, design and product development workshops, student pitch competitions, incubators for student-led businesses and cross-disciplinary teams tackling real-world problems. “We’ve been stuck in the same mode forever,” he says. “There could be aspects of the experience that are two credits and others that are five. Some are executed in three weeks; others take 15 weeks. That is how higher education should be delivered. What makes this happen is technology. So, yes, the innovation lab is what we are developing. But the goal is not the lab. The goal is using it to change the trajectory of higher education.” M FALL 2021 79


Emergency Fund Lifts Struggling Students COVID-19’s casualties go far beyond those who become ill. The economic shake-up affected numerous Trulaske students, and some needed a helping hand during a difficult time. A new fund founded last year during the pandemic has become a permanent service at the college.

By the Numbers Student Emergency Fund

The Problems

During the pandemic, Trulaske students faced a range of financial challenges for which they needed emergency assistance. These included unforeseen medical expenses, hospitalizations and surgeries; car repairs for commuting to work; loss of job or reduced work hours due to COVID; parents losing jobs or hours due to COVID; and upgraded Wi-Fi needed for online learning.

The Relief

Fall 2020 semester 29 students applied for emergency funds 23 received an award $88,658 in emergency aid provided

stresses students were coping with. Some had lost their jobs or could no longer rely on family support. Others faced unexpected medical bills, car repairs or school expenses. So far, the fund has paid out $128,278, helping 33 students overcome financial obstacles and continue their education. Unlike scholarships and other long-term financial aid, this fund responds to short-term problems. Even after the pandemic subsides, it will remain in place. “We now have a fund we can tap into to help students through personal financial crises,” says Jeremy Diener, executive director for advancement at the college. The Walker Foundation matches gifts to the fund at 50%. Diener hopes to see this effort grow through a Mizzou Give Direct entry (mizzougivedirect.missouri.edu).


Summer 2021 semester 1 student applied 1 received an award $5,000 provided

Total to date:


provided to 33 students


Last spring, a Trulaske professor noticed a student Zooming into online classes every week from a parked car. Reaching out to see what was going on, he learned the student had lost his housing and had been couch surfing at friends’ apartments. Because of a new fund at the college, the professor could offer something more than sympathy — the student could apply for emergency financial help. “When we realized that a large group of Trulaske students was having financial difficulty and having a hard time staying in their academic programs, we partnered with the Walker Foundation to establish the Trulaske College of Business Student Emergency Fund,” says Gay Albright, the college’s associate dean of undergraduate programs. As word spread, applications started coming in, revealing the serious financial

Spring 2021 semester 16 students applied 9 received an award $34,620 provided

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