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UNIVERSIT Y OF CENTRAL MISSOURI MAGAZINE VO L . 1 8 , N O. 1

 eet Da’Vontae Hair, M Christopher Vasquez and Megan Fletcher Three UCM students tell their stories of academic success and their gratefulness for the scholarships available to them.


CONTENTS Reaching Back to Give a Hand Up: The Beebe’s Commitment to the Future.

COVER S TO RY

14 MEET DA’VONTAE HAIR, CHRISTOPHER VASQUEZ AND MEGAN FLETCHER Three UCM students tell their stories of academic success and their gratefulness for the scholarships available to them. F EATURE S

4 THE GIFT OF SUCCESS

S EC T IONS 1

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

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PHILANTHROPY NEWS

26 ATHLETICS 30 CLASS NOTES 31 IN MEMORIAM 32 PLANNED GIVING

8 GUEST PROFESSOR COLUMN BY JACK ROGERS, PH.D. Steven ‘72, ‘73 and Susan Beebe ‘73 10 INNOVATION IN PRACTICE Marking 12 months of innovation at The Missouri Innovation Campus 17 CAMPUS NEWS Dr. Roger Best takes over as Interim President 21 2018 DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI 26 YEAR OF THE JENS 28 THE ACADEMIC MARK 29 NEW SUCCESS ADVISING CENTER

FIND US ONLINE AT UCMFOUNDATION.ORG/MAGAZINE

@

EMAIL US AT ALUMNI@UCMO.EDU FOR THE LATEST NEWS AND EVENT PHOTOS, JOIN US ON FACEBOOK @UCMALUMNIFOUNDATION


P R E S I D E N T ’ S M E S S AG E

UCM MAGA Z INE Vo l. 1 8 , No . 1 EXECUTIVE EDITOR

James Wright ART DIRECTOR

Linda Harris ‘91 CONTRIBUTORS

Ellen Blaize ‘11, ‘13 Ruth Dickson John Kennedy ‘92, ‘13 Jacalyn Leake Joy Mistele ‘76, ‘83 Jeff Murphy ‘80, ‘95 An Quigley ’94 Jack Rogers James Wright

Published by the UCM Alumni Foundation. © 2018 by University of Central Missouri. All rights reserved. Find us online: ucmfoundation.org/magazine Contact the editor or submit your address updates by email to alumni@ucmo.edu or telephone, 660-543-8000.

UCM Magazine (USPS 019-888) is published quarterly by the University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg, MO 64093. Printed by Spangler Graphics, 2930 S. 44th St., Kansas City, Kansas 66106. Periodicals postage paid at Warrensburg, MO, and additional offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to

UCM Magazine, Smiser Alumni Center, University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg, MO 64093. To view the University of Central Missouri’s Nondiscrimination/Equal Opportunity Statement, visit ucmo.edu/nondiscrimination.

New Look and Feel With this issue, UCM Magazine has undergone a fresh redesign with a new editor, writing team, designers, and photography. We hope you enjoy the new look and feel of your alumni magazine.

DR. BEST WISHES FOR ALL ALUMNI TO STAY CONNECTED

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ne fact that always impresses me is that the University of Central Missouri has approximately 100,000 living alumni. To put this in perspective, if we had an all-university reunion and everyone showed up, we would be the sixth largest community in the state of Missouri. There is not a stadium in the state big enough to hold all of our alumni. Just as impressive, every alumnus attending the reunion would have a story to tell about a person or opportunity at UCM that contributed to his or her success as a student and in life. Maybe it was a much-needed scholarship, a UCM faculty or staff member who mentored them or gave them words of advice at a critical time, or that favorite class or professor who inspired passion for a future career. Whatever the story, the UCM experience has positively changed lives and is being realized by graduates and their families all over the globe. We hope this issue of UCM magazine rekindles thoughts of special educators and opportunities that played an instrumental role in helping make you who you are today. As you read about the Gift of Success Campaign, you will learn how you can pay it forward to honor those individuals who helped you, and what your generosity can do to enable other students to realize their educational dreams. You’ll also learn about the difference our quality faculty and staff have made in the lives of others through stories told by five Distinguished Alumni, and get a sample of faculty writing as we kick off our new guest feature series. Through UCM Magazine, our goal is to keep you well-informed and connected with your alma mater. We thank you for reading your alumni publication and would appreciate learning about how UCM made, and is continuing to make, a difference in your life. Looking forward to connecting with you,

Roger J. Best, Ph.D. Interim UCM President University of Central Missouri Magazine

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P H I L A N T H RO P Y N E W S

THE UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL MISSOURI has many amazing alumni who embody a spirit of philanthropy. This is shown in the much-appreciated generosity of alumni who choose to give back or pay it forward through their alma mater. These gifts create a legacy of opportunity and enrichment for University of Central Missouri students, both now and in the years to come. Recent gifts have included monetary contributions for scholarships and physical items.

NOLA AND RANDALL RAHE OPPORTUNITY SCHOLARSHIP Available beginning in Fiscal Year 2019, this scholarship is intended to support first-generation, full-time, undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need. Randy Rahe ’77, and his wife, Nola, who were both first-generation college students, say they are glad to have the opportunity to give back to the University of Central Missouri. Randy says that without the financial support he received from then CMSU, he would have struggled to attend college. The Nola and Randall Rahe Opportunity Scholarship will help make sure more UCM students like Randy don’t have to struggle to get a college education. During college at CMSU, Randy was a Mules football player. Randy serves on the UCM Alumni Foundation Board and is the senior vice president for Camping World—the world’s largest supplier of RV parts, supplies and accessories. He and his wife currently reside in Florida. “We hope this makes a little difference to a student to get over the finish line and earn their degree,” Rahe said.

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ALBERT G. LANDA THE RUTH YVONNE GIFT SUPPORTING FARLOW SCHOLARSHIP UNDERGRADUATE This scholarship is available beginning in Year 2019 and is intended to benefit STUDENT SCHOLARSHIPS Fiscal students who graduated from Lexington This $25,000 gift from the Estate of Albert Landa is intended to support undergraduate student scholarships.

Judge Landa was one of a thousand men from across the United States who were part of the U.S. Navy V-12 program, led by LCDR I.L. Peters, commanding officer on the UCM campus between July 1, 1943 and Oct. 31, 1945. South of the Smiser Alumni Center, there is a Navy V-12 “Leadership For A Lifetime” monument that honors those individuals who served in the U.S. Navy V-12 training program. Judge Landa was from Whitmore Lake, Mich., but spent time in recent years meeting with other veterans from the Navy V-12 program on the University of Central Missouri campus. Joy Mistele, director of planned giving, states, “This scholarship gift speaks to the career and service Judge Landa shared with so many individuals, enabling his legacy to continue at UCM in the years ahead.”

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R-V School District and WellingtonNapoleon R-IX School District.

Joy Mistele, director of planned giving, says, “It is important to note the significant and lasting impact Mrs. Farlow had during her teaching career. We are grateful, that as an educator, she understood that education really does make a difference. Her dedication has been extended and demonstrated through a generous planned gift to provide support for future scholarships.” Ruth Yvonne Farlow, ’64, was an educator from Lexington, Mo., and was an elementary teacher in the WellingtonNapoleon R-IX School District. The significant estate gift valued at more than $200,000 endowing the Ruth Yvonne Farlow Scholarship is a legacy that will help empower many students to further their learning and earn degrees.


P H I L A N T H RO P Y N E W S

MARVIN E. “BUNKY” WRIGHT

NELVADA DEAN’S CONVERTIBLE

MARVIN E. “BUNKY” WRIGHT EDUCATIONAL SCHOLARSHIP

E.B. AND NELVADA SURBAUGH DEAN SCHOLARSHIP

Available for Fiscal Year 2020, this scholarship is intended to support full-time, undergraduate students enrolled in the UCM THRIVE program for students with disabilities.

This scholarship supports full-time undergraduate or graduate students in the College of Education

THRIVE stands for Transformation, Health, Responsibility, Independence, Vocation, and Education. UCM THRIVE was the 2015 Governor’s Council on Disabilities Inclusion Award winner, and is a two-year program that expands opportunities for students with disabilities by providing a certificate of success and personal portfolio. The Marvin E. “Bunky” Wright Educational Scholarship was established through a significant gift from the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA). Wright currently serves as the vice president of UCM’s Board of Governors. The Marvin E. “Bunky” Wright Educational Scholarship will help provide need-based funding for tuition, room and board, fees and books.

Joy Mistele, director of planned giving, shares, “Ms. Dean [’41] was a proud alumna and grateful for the quality education she received from UCM. She purchased a car that sported the university colors (convertible—red with a black top), and for a number of years offered it to be used by the UCM president in the Homecoming parade. She loved seeing the president and first lady riding in the back seat, waving as they passed by on the parade route.” “We are deeply appreciative of Nelvada’s decision to provide a gift through her estate,” Mistele continued, “leaving a lasting legacy that will support excellence in education, improving and enriching the quality of life for others as they embrace learning to a greater degree.” The $123,000 estate gift to the UCM Alumni Foundation for the E.B. and Nelvada Surbaugh Dean Scholarship will provide need-based scholarship support for students who are in good academic standing while they pursue a Bachelor of Science or Master of Science degree in the field of education.

ACHAUER HOUSE PIANO

CHUCK SIMMONS GIFT OF GRAND PIANO Chuck Simmons, UCM alumnus and longtime supporter of the university, has gifted a grand piano to be placed in the Achauer House. The gifted piano, a family heirloom, has remained in the family since its purchase as a wedding gift in 1894. The piano was manufactured in 1892 by the Hazelton Brothers Piano Company, New York, N.Y., and was fully restored in 1999, requiring the original action, wood hammers and shanks, whippens to be replaced. Simmons had the grand piano at his home in Houston, Texas, for several years and handled the arrangements for moving the instrument to the Achauer House. He shared that despite lessons as a child, he was not an accomplished piano player. After acquiring the piano, it was mainly played by a proper entertainer during dinner parties, functions and celebrations. “The piano was a great social center in my home, and moving it to the Achauer House gives me great joy. I am pleased to share this historical piano with the many guests to the Achauer House, knowing it will continue to hold a prominent place at university functions and events.” During his college years, Simmons worked for Maurine and Doc Achauer at their business, Vernaz Drug Store on Pine Street in Warrensburg, and remained close friends with the family. The historic Achauer House was gifted to the university in 2009 by longtime Warrensburg resident, businesswoman and civic leader, Dr. Maurine Achauer.

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THE GIFT OF SUCCESS By James Wright

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aser focused on its students, the University of Central Missouri has reinforced a new commitment to ensuring that each one of its students is successful and crosses the degree finish line. The university has recognized in the past three to five years that it has a very definitive achievement gap, meaning that some students are not completing and retaining at the same rate as their peers. Closing this gap and helping students reach graduation is the drive for UCM’s Gift of Success campaign. One of the major barriers for students failing to persist in college is financial stress. Currently, 64 percent of our students are either first generation, Pell eligible, or from an underrepresented group. What would it take to retain these students? Interim Provost-Chief Learning Officer Mike Godard, Ph.D., says that for most students with financial need, the dollar amount is surprisingly low. “We usually find that it is somewhere between $600 and $700,” Godard said. “That’s the average number most students actually need help with to be able to continue their educational pursuits here at UCM. It doesn’t seem like a big number, but when there are well over 2,000 students who fit into this category in any given semester, it becomes quite a hurdle.” With this in mind, UCM launched pilot programs to assist those students in real time, in a very fluid manner.

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F E AT U R E S TO RY

“We want to make sure students have a one-stop shop, realizing this is where they can go for help.” As state appropriations continue to dwindle, UCM is taking steps to ensure that affordability is still at the forefront, and is making higher education accessible to all who seek it. “There becomes a sticking point of how we do that and still ensure the university is sustainable financially,” Godard said. “And this is where our donors and alumni come into play in terms of them being able to partner with our current students to ensure they have the same opportunities that they had when they were in college.” The Gift of Success campaign was launched to help meet this need, and to provide $1 million in academic scholarships to students with a financial barrier.

In the Kansas City metro area alone, there are more than 365,000 people with some college credit and no degree. The Gift of Success will help provide the financial resources by supplying the additional tools students need to be successful. It’s not just dollars; it is a combination of support; academic support, mental health, counseling services, and the new Success Advising Center that opened in fall 2018. (see “New Success Advising Center” page 29)

“We are trying to be much more holistic and intentional,” Godard said, “in terms of using our predictive analytics that “EVERY SINGLE ONE OF OUR we have available STUDENTS WILL BE to us to ensure that we ASSIGNED A FULLY-TRAINED anticipate what SUCCESS ADVISOR; those potential barriers are going THEY WILL BE ASSIGNED to be for the A FINANCIAL AID students before they run into that COUNSELOR, AND THEY barrier, or run WILL ALSO BE ASSIGNED A into that hurdle.”

“We know that every time a student stops, every CAREER COORDINATOR...” time a student “We want to doesn’t come back make sure for a semester, the students have a likelihood of them one-stop shop, returning continues realizing this is where they can go for to go down,” Godard noted. “And help,” Godard said. “Every single one the worst thing for any college student of our students will be assigned a is to have some college credit and no fully trained success advisor; they will be degree. We know that this is prevalent assigned a financial aid counselor, and they across the region.” will also be assigned a career coordinator

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Every UCM alumni can make a difference and help a student complete their degree. so we can start looking at those next steps for them when they are first-year students, and not waiting until they are juniors and seniors in terms of that career development aspect.” UCM’s belief is that if students understand and build relationships with their success advisor, financial aid counselor, career coordinator, and especially with faculty, they will feel more comfortable asking for help. For UCM alumni, this is an opportunity to help a student, or several students, cross the degree finish line. Every donation made by a UCM alumni makes a difference and helps a student complete their degree. No matter how small the gift, every donation contributes to scholarships and financial awards that help students facing financial barriers to their success. “It doesn’t take a $10,000, $20,000 or $100,000 gift. We certainly need and appreciate those gifts, but a gift, year over year, of $600 - $700 would ensure that we would have one more student crossing the finish line,” Godard said. It only takes simple multiplication to imagine the impact that our 100,000 living alumni could make for our students, and UCM’s legacy as a whole. It has the potential to affect real generational change through the act of giving. “If we know, for example, that 50 percent of our students are first-generation students, and we know what attaining a bachelor’s degree means financially for a student throughout the rest of their life,” Godard said, “the generational impact that can have on moving a family forward that has historically been at the poverty level or below is massive.” Opening the Success Advising Center and launching the Gift of Success campaign marks the beginning of a new mindset,

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and a new paradigm for how UCM will help students navigate through the challenges of their college experience. Faculty play a key role and are crucial in that relationship building very early on with students, and in helping to identify where needs and barriers exist. “We have been working through our deans and school chairs to communicate the message,” Godard said. “We are in a learning curve. This first fall semester will be a transition period for us and we will really have IN MISSOURI TO OFFER to make sure that we communicate where expectations are. But we PROGRAM will put the right tools and resources in staff and faculty members’ hands to make sure we are all on the same page moving forward.”

FIRST SCHOOL

15-TO-FINISH

UCM’s goal is to reach an 80 percent retention rate in the next few years, which would position UCM as a leader in serving underserved students.

HIGHEST

GRADUATION RATE

A M O N G C O M P E T I TO R S

“We know we can get there,” Godard said. Giving the Gift of Success is one way you can help. Through the simple act of giving, UCM alumni are able to give this Gift of Success directly to students by providing academic scholarships. These contributions, however small, form a fundamental part of how students are supported, and reinforce the UCM family’s continued commitment to serving students. TO GIVE THE GIFT OF SUCCESS, VISIT UCMFOUNDATION.ORG/GIVE OR RETURN THE ENCLOSED ENVELOPE.

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It can’t be understated how grateful students are for scholarships and financial aid. I’m really proud to be a firstgeneration college graduate. One gift could be the difference for another student, like me, getting to graduate.

F E AT U R E

NICHOLAS COOKINHAM ‘18

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G U E S T P RO F E S S O R

Reaching Back to Give a Hand Up: The Beebe’s Commitment to the Future. By Jack Rogers, Ph.D. Steven Beebe and Susan Dye first met when they decided to join the Talking Mules Speech and Debate Team in the early ’70s. Since then, Steven and Susan have lived dedicated and distinguished lives of public service and higher education. Both are acclaimed academicians at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. Susan ’73, who served as the director of Lower-Division Studies for the English Department at Texas State, has received the Texas State University College of Liberal Arts “Golden Apple” Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Teaching Award of Honor from the Texas State Alumni Association, and was recognized for her leadership in building a volunteer program with a State of Texas Friend of Education from the Texas Classroom Teachers’ Association. She has co-authored a number of communication textbooks with husband, Steven. Steven ’72, ’73, served as the associate dean of the College of Fine and Communication Arts, chair of the Department of Communication Studies, and is the first Regents’ Professor in the Texas State University system. He is a recognized lecturer and visiting scholar at Oxford and Cambridge Universities as well as throughout Europe, Asia, and Central America. He has written numerous communication textbooks and served as the president of the National Communication Association, the oldest and largest professional communication society in the world. UCM recognized Steven and Susan’s lifelong service to higher education by honoring them with the 2010 Distinguished Alumni Award.

Steven ‘72, ‘73 and Susan Beebe ‘73

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The Beebes credit their successes in life to their UCM experience, and one of Steven’s favorite mementos is a black and white photo of the 1971 Talking Mules. According to Steven, “Each day that image reminds me how much UCM has been central in enriching both


G U E S T P RO F E S S O R

 ithout their support, many of our Talking Mules W wouldn’t be able to compete and attend the university. my family and career. The skills I learned through participating in debate— speaking, writing, note taking, listening, and research skills—have been vital in advancing my personal career. Most people spend 90 percent of their day communicating. The skills I honed as a debater give me a 100 percent advantage in the time I spend communicating with others.” Susan adds, “I can truly say that I draw every day on my experiences as a UCM debater.  My career as an English educator required that I research, organize, and present information and arguments on many different professional topics and issues. Working with academic colleagues also provided frequent opportunities to draw on the collaborative learning experiences that are such an intrinsic part of debate and forensics. I still trust my research and argumentation skills to help me read and listen critically and reach informed conclusions.” The Beebe’s love of UCM and their experiences with the debate team inspired them to pay it forward to the next generation of students by establishing a scholarship endowment for the Talking Mules. Over the years, they have continued to be engaged,

and they remain one of the strongest supporters of the team. Through their scholarship commitment, the Beebes have helped dozens of students whose financial ability to attend the university has had limitations to continue to thrive in the classroom and on the team. Without their support, many of UCM’s Talking Mules wouldn’t be able to compete and attend the university. When asked why they chose to establish the scholarship, Susan remarked, “It is a joy to be able to provide both encouragement and financial support to talented and dedicated UCM forensics students who share our passion about the power of education to change lives.” According to Steven, “If, while a student at Central, someone would have let me see the future to know that I would be in a position to endow a scholarship to support UCM debaters, I simply would not have believed it would be possible. It is a tremendous honor to be able to support a program that has greatly enriched my life.” Team member Samantha Callaway noted, “Being a Beebe Scholar has made it possible for me to pursue my dreams. I am an education major, so

it means a lot to me that the Beebes dedicated their lives to education. I am awestruck by their success and the fact that they would take the time to help someone like me follow them into a life of teaching.” Former graduate coaching assistant Ryan Morehead said the Beebe’s support changed his life. “Lots of students, including myself, have benefited from the Beebe’s generosity and support,” Morehead said. “I really couldn’t have afforded to travel on the Montgomery Cup without their financial support. It changed my life and perspective like few other things have. I know I am a better teacher and more enlightened person because of the experience.” When current and former Beebe Scholars were told the university was writing an article to honor Steven and Susan, they all wanted to give their testimonials, words of thanks and sincere appreciation. The legacy that the Beebes are leaving by paying it forward to the Talking Mules is a credit to

their love of forensics, the college, and the university, but most importantly, to their steadfast commitment to education and the future of our young scholars. Steven ended his interview with an answer to the question about how his time on UCM’s debate team had prepared him for his professional life. “As far as preparing me for my personal life, without question my professional

success is due to one primary factor—my partnership with Sue,” he said. “Our  partnership started on the debate team and continues as we celebrate 47 years of first meeting each other at Central. Personally and professionally, I simply would not be who I am today without her in my life.”

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INNOVATION IN PRACTICE: MARKING 12 MONTHS OF INNOVATION AT THE MISSOURI INNOVATION CAMPUS By Ruth Dickson The University of Central Missouri has led innovation in Missouri since 1871, and for the past year our Lee’s Summit campus has achieved new heights in innovative education. Since opening in September 2017, The Missouri Innovation Campus

By adopting this innovative approach, UCM enabled students enrolled in this program to graduate with little-to-no cost and enter the workforce prepared to meet the immediate needs of their industries.

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(MIC)—home to UCM-Lee’s Summit and Lee’s Summit R-7 School District—has seen thousands of students pass through its doors to explore the latest in technology and education standards. The MIC story actually began more than 12 months ago. Beginning in 2012 as an approach to providing accelerated learning pathways for high school students with an aptitude for technology, UCM partnered with the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District to develop the MIC Program. This program—now in its sixth year—allows students to complete an associate degree alongside their high school diploma, and then continue to UCM to receive a valuable four-year college degree only two years after they graduate from high school. The MIC program was also

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instrumental in reducing the workforce skills gap for technology companies by having students complete three years of paid internships at corporate partners in technology fields, and having these same companies provide direct input into the development of the curriculum. By adopting this innovative approach, UCM enabled students enrolled in this program to graduate with little-to-no cost and enter the workforce prepared to meet the immediate needs of their industries. The program continues to be successful, with its first cohort of graduates having a 100-percent employment rate at graduation. With this extraordinary background of success, The Missouri Innovation Campus has been built upon a platform


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ABOUT THE MISSOURI INNOVATION CAMPUS Conceptualized in 2012, the new 135,000-square-foot building was made possible through a trailblazing partnership that was established by the Lee’s Summit R-7 Board of Education and the UCM Board of Governors. This cost-saving partnership saved money for both Lee’s Summit R-7 and UCM with the university paying its portion through a lease agreement and the school district funding coming from the 2015 no-tax-increase bond issue. UCM and Lee’s Summit R-7 School District broke ground on the building in March 2016, and the building was officially opened on Sept. 5, 2017 at an event attended by students, community, and state officials.

that drives not just exceptional academic achievement, but also innovative and cost-effective pathways to education. Created with the entire student journey in mind, the MIC takes students from their early years through to post-graduate education, workforce skill development, and industry credentialing—all under one progressive, award-winning roof. During the past year, this approach to the student journey has been demonstrated inside the walls of the MIC, with activities ranging from innovative young students taking summer camps in technology fields, high school students experiencing leading classroom technology, undergraduate nursing students simulating real patient care in the state-of-the-art simulation lab, or working professionals getting the

necessary skills they need through the many workforce development certificate programs.

innovation we need when it comes to college costs.”

Since then, both the MIC program and campus have continued to receive By adopting this model of serving the regional and national acclaim, including lifelong learner, UCM has introduced the being named a Capstone Award Winner Kansas City metro area to a new approach for Real Estate and Development by the to education. As early as 2013, the MIC program was recognized by then President Barack “…exactly the type of innovation we need when Obama, who visited it comes to college costs.” UCM to learn more – Former President Barack Obama about plans for the program. During the nationally-televised visit, President Obama recognized the Kansas City Business Journal, receiving an importance of the accelerated pathways Award for Excellence in Architecture for a that the MIC specializes in, and praised New Building from the Society for College them for being “exactly the type of and University Planning, and winning

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THE PROGRAM CONTINUES TO BE SUCCESSFUL, WITH OUR FIRST COHORT OF GRADUATES HAVING A 100-PERCENT EMPLOYMENT RATE AT GRADUATION.

the 2018 American Architecture Award from the The Chicago Athenaeum International Museum. The campus also was featured in multiple publications including The Architects Newspaper and School Construction News since its opening. Accolades and recognition aside, the future of The Missouri Innovation Campus is firmly rooted in its origins: providing new approaches to accelerating education and expanding access for the students who need it. The MIC team has quietly worked on groundbreaking partnerships with organizations such as Lee’s Summit Medical Center and the Missouri National Guard to extend the reach of the innovative programs, and create new educational opportunities that will impact the future of Kansas City and Missouri through just-in-time skills training and accessibility. The UCM workforce team, located at The MIC, also continues to strengthen its 12-year partnership with the Full

This award-winning space was designed with student experience and state-of-the-art education in mind. Our students get to interact with a variety of individuals, including high school students, fellow college students, business partners and community members. This collaboration provides a one-of-a-kind experience, and allows students to develop new skills in an innovative environment.

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Employment Council, and has extended this partnership to offer certificate programs in computer programming and sterile processing in the medical field. This team is also working on a number of bilingual certificate programs to bridge the skills gap for many employers facing these challenges in the area of customer service and information technology, which are expected to open to students in 2018 and 2019. With such extraordinary feats of innovation accomplished in only 12 months, the future of The MIC is certain to bring new opportunities and new successes to UCM, the region, and the nation. To learn more about The Missouri Innovation Campus, our programs, summer schools and everything we are doing to serve the Kansas City metro, visit ucmo.edu/MIC.

The technology focus at The Missouri Innovation Campus provides great opportunities for students in a variety of industries, including healthcare, information technology, construction and engineering.


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Not your typical classroom—this learning space is designed to imitate the workplace, allowing students to develop workforce-ready skills, and graduate feeling prepared and at ease in a professional setting.

At the forefront of technological advancement, the simulation lab allows nursing students the opportunity to learn on mannequins that can respond to treatment, ask questions and more.

The Missouri Innovation Campus has 60 innovative classrooms and learning spaces, including technology labs, expandable classrooms, and the latest state-of-the-art equipment.

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Alumni Generosity Paves Way for Student Success By Ellen Blaize ‘11, ‘13

At the University of Central Missouri, we believe that the opportunity for an education should be available to everyone who seeks it, and our main focus is supporting student success through accessibility and affordability.

DA’VONTAE HAIR UCM junior public relations major and first-generation student Da’Vontae Hair said he grew up in a single-parent home and wasn’t sure he’d be able to afford college. “It’s just me, my mom and my brother,” he said. “Without scholarships, I probably wouldn’t be here. I’d be at home working to save up enough money, or I’d be in financial debt and worried about how I’m going to pay this off. I’d have that lingering stress over my head while I’m trying to continue on with my education.”

Although it would be nice to believe that UCM’s dynamic Hair’s first time on campus was between faculty members and state-ofhis junior and senior year of high school the-art facilities are enough to when he attended Missouri Boys State. “I got a feel of how campus life was and get every student to the degree got to stay in Ellis Hall for a week,” he finish line, that’s not always said. “I said to myself, ‘you know what? I like this place and I want to come the case. Many students are back to it.’” held back by financial struggles To make sure he could finance his due to their economic situation. education, Hair began applying for scholarships. “I have a three-year In fact, 64 percent scholarship that started my of our students are sophomore year, but the only either first generation, Pell-eligible, or from an “WITHOUT SCHOLARSHIPS, underrepresented group. I PROBABLY WOULDN’T BE HERE. I’D BE AT HOME WORKING TO SAVE UP ENOUGH MONEY, OR I’D BE IN FINANCIAL DEBT AND WORRIED ABOUT HOW I’M GOING TO PAY THIS OFF.”

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stipulation was that I would have to pay for [my] freshman year on my own,” he said. “Luckily I got additional financial aid and was able to pay for both semesters with just scholarships.” Because of the financial aid he’s received, Hair has had more time to get involved and grow his leadership skills on campus. “I can join student activities, focus more on schoolwork and how


C OV E R S TO RY

to further my career after college, all while making connections,” he said. “Freshman year I was hall council president for Ellis, and then I joined the Student Government Association. After that, I became president of the United Student Housing Association, joined ROTC and also played intramural sports.” He even landed an internship with Missouri Fifth District Congressman Emanuel Cleaver this past summer. “They said I was recruited,” he noted. “Someone on campus had gotten one of my business cards from UCM Housing because they said they liked how I spoke and held myself. I didn’t even apply.” Hair said he has big dreams for life after college. “My end goal is to commission as a second lieutenant in ROTC, and then after I do my initial four years of active duty, transition into the FBI,” he said. “At the age of 55, I want to retire, go into politics, and eventually run for president.” Although he has worked extremely hard to achieve his goals, he said he wouldn’t have been able to do it without the generosity of committed alumni. “I just want to say ‘thank you.’ It’s made a big difference on who I am today.”

years ago during my senior year of high school. He was doing a recruiting trip.”

Tabernacle Choir. That’s shooting for the stars.”

After making a connection with Zabriskie and hearing good news about his financial aid, Vasquez said he was confident with his choice to attend UCM. “I ended up getting a scholarship that was really helpful,” he said.

He said it’s comforting to know that there are alumni who care about his success. “I’m so grateful,” he said, “for those who have continued to provide. It’s humbling.”

Vasquez said he’s now able to focus on his goals. “Last semester was hard because I had to take out a loan, but now I have complete peace about the financial situation,” he said. “I’m still new and as I work and apply for other scholarships I’ll be able to hopefully secure some other funds because there’s still a load there. But because of the scholarships and awards I’ve received, I don’t have to pay a lot, which is really helpful. Every little bit helps.”

CHRISTOPHER VASQUEZ

He also got involved on campus. “Last semester I was in the men’s chorus and I am auditioning this semester for the concert chorale,” he said. “I’m also the secretary for the American Choral Directors Association division at UCM, the president of LDSSA on campus, and I’m involved in a religious studies group called Institute that’s through LDSSA. I also work at the Recreation Center, which I think is the best job on campus, hands down.”

Christopher Vasquez, a freshmen music education major, also has been positively impacted by alumni support. Although he said he was determined to get out of Missouri for his education, he was drawn to UCM. “The director of the vocal music program at the time was Alan Zabriskie,” he said. “This was about three

Similar to Hair, Vasquez has high hopes for his future. “I intend to teach in the public school setting for a little bit, then get my master’s and my doctorate,” he said. “Eventually, I want to be a professor of music and director of choral studies at a university. In the end, my big dream is to direct the Mormon

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C OV E R S TO RY

MEGAN FLETCHER Although many recent high school graduates rely on financial support for college, scholarships are just as important for non-traditional students. Megan Fletcher, a senior wildlife and natural resource conservation major, decided to return to college after working full time for many years. “I went to the Kansas City Art Institute right after high school,” she said, “but I wasn’t ready for college mentally, and art wasn’t really the thing for me long-term career-wise.” That’s when she decided to take a break from academics. “I took seven years off and

had an office job doing data processing,” she said.

It wasn’t until she was in her late 20s that she decided to jump back in to higher education. “I thought, ‘I have to figure She said she gets involved wherever she out what I want to do,’” she said. “‘I can’t can to get the most out of her college be stuck in this office job. I don’t want to experience. “I did the Appalachian Trail work inside for the rest of my life.’” Soon through Military [and Veteran] Services after, she met Beth Rutt, ’78, ’83, director earlier this May and of student activities then I also got the at UCM, through Wildlifer of the her parents. “She “THEIR MONEY IS GOING Year award through convinced me to TOWARD SOMETHING THAT the Wildlife Society go back to school,” for last year,” she said. she said. “I had MATTERS, AND SOMEONE’S She also has to move here and FUTURE,” SHE SAID. “IT participated in quit my job and I was like ‘this is MAKES A HUGE DIFFERENCE.” Earth Week, volunteered for the overwhelming and Missouri Department awesome;’ it was of Conservation, and does outreach like closing a door and starting a whole projects for students, teachers and the new life.” community. “It wasn’t my goal coming After leaving her previous job, back to school to have this type of Fletcher said paying for college relationship with the university, and it’s was difficult. “It’s been very just really been more than what I expected, challenging for me,” she said. in such a good way.” “I had many struggles with Fletcher said she wants alumni to know my FAFSA, but I got two that their role is important. “Their money scholarships my first year, is going toward something that matters, and they have been really and someone’s future,” she said. “It makes helpful. I am very grateful a huge difference.” for that.” Fletcher now runs the Office of Sustainability on campus, is on the executive board for the Wildlife Society and mentors younger students. “I think what I’m going to focus on the most this year is mentoring as a nontraditional student,” she said. “I held a ‘Get a Job with Fletcher’ seminar last semester and had people making appointments with me to work on

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résumés. I feel like it’s just a mark that I want to leave. I want to do anything I can to help fellow students out, to learn and take advantage of connections and relationships.”

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With UCM’s aggressive completion agenda and donations from invested alumni, students are able to graduate on time with less debt, a meaningful degree, and the job-ready skills they need to make an impact. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON GIVING, VISIT UCMFOUNDATION.ORG/FUNDFORSTUDENTSUCCESS.


INTERIM PRESIDENT BEST EXEMPLIFIES POWER OF POSITIVE INFLUENCE By Jeff Murphy ‘80, ‘95

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ever underestimate the power of encouraging words and influence. A lifelong educator, Roger Best, Ph.D., not only passes this advice on to his students and colleagues, but his life story is one of tremendous transformation and a rise up the professional ranks often driven by the positive influences of individuals who opened his eyes to new opportunities through their encouragement. Three days into his new role as UCM’s interim president, a position he assumed Aug. 1, 2018, he shared memories of life-changing moments that contributed to what once seemed nearly unimaginable to him as a first-generation college student from a poor, rural part of Georgia. He was born in Macon, the youngest member of a family that also included his sister four years his senior. While Best enjoyed a childhood living in the country near McRae, Ga., he was greatly inspired by his father. He had dropped out of school in the eighth grade to help out on his parents’ farm, but went on to earn his GED and work his way into a management position at a local manufacturing firm. A situation familiar to many students, Best entered college uncertain about a major. He had a strong interest, however, in business. He was fascinated with how businesses are structured, and how they combine raw materials and people working together to provide a product or service that consumers are willing to buy. This, and a growing passion for finance, became his focus as he worked toward an undergraduate degree in University of Central Missouri Magazine

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F E AT U R E

“YOU LOOK AT THOSE POINTS IN TIME WHERE PEOPLE SAID LITTLE THINGS OR DID LITTLE THINGS THAT REALLY CHANGED THE COURSE OF YOUR LIFE.” management at Georgia College in Milledgeville, about 90 miles from his hometown.

“You should really look into it,” she told him, unaware that her words were almost prophetic.

Although Best wasn’t certain how he would use his college degree, he knew how valuable a diploma would be to his success in life. He also drew inspiration for a potential career from some excellent teachers.

“I was a junior in college, and that was what pushed me in this direction. It was a class project—so at the end of the day, I think that’s what made me end up here,” Best said. He also praised other educators whose words of confidence still follow him today as they did all the way to Florida State University in Tallahassee, where he earned a doctorate in finance.

“I had thought about teaching in high school, but I hadn’t really considered teaching in college,” Best recalled. It was a rare experience in a college business class that helped seal his career path. “I had Principles of Management and it was a night class with an adjunct instructor, four and one-half hours a week, which I didn’t like. We had to do a presentation, so I chose a topic… and I just decided I was going to have fun with it. I tried to engage my class members and I had a blast. I really enjoyed it,” Best said. To his surprise, the instructor approached him after class. She only asked him a very brief question, but it was something he never forgot. “Have you ever thought about being a college professor?” she asked. “No,” he replied.

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In addition to building strong leadership abilities, since coming to UCM Best has developed a reputation as an excellent teacher with a strong business acumen and keen sense of humor. He joined UCM in August 1995 as an assistant professor of finance, and climbed the faculty ranks to become a full professor in 2005. He was named chair of the Department of Economics and Finance in 2003; associate dean of the Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies in 2008; and dean of the academic college in 2010. “You look at those points in time where people said little things or did little things that really changed the course of your life,” Best said. “I came in as a faculty member, and my aspiration was to be a full professor of finance.”

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F E AT U R E

With each step of his progression, he remembered and appreciated the encouragement and support that came from his friends and colleagues. While Best was still the youngest and newest member of his department’s faculty, for example, one professor made a special trip to his home to ask him to consider becoming a department chair. Best’s career at UCM took a new turn in August 2017 when former President Chuck Ambrose named him Interim Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration. Following administrative restructuring in January 2018, he was appointed Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. When Ambrose announced June 30, 2018 that he was leaving his eight-year post for a new position with KnowledgeWorks in Cincinnati, Ohio, once again Best was tapped to take on a new leadership role. He may be the only person in UCM’s history to begin his career at the university as assistant professor in an academic department and become interim university president. John Collier, an ’86 UCM alumnus from Weston who became Board of Governors president July 1, announced Best’s appointment July 3.

“The board is grateful for Dr. Ambrose’s years of outstanding service to UCM and the excellent progress that has been made during his leadership. While we wish him well as he begins his new responsibilities, we are excited that Dr. Roger Best has accepted the interim role as president,” he said in a news release. “He is a proven leader with experiences in areas such as finance, administration, and academics at UCM that make him a great choice for this temporary role. As a board, we look forward to our continued work with Dr. Best and have the utmost confidence in his ability to help UCM maintain its momentum over the next year.” Also known for his humility, Best looks at the appointment as an “awesome responsibility” and an opportunity that has been made possible because of the hard work of others. He was appointed for 11 months as interim president, with the board intending to conduct a national search. “I had absolutely no anticipation or expectation that by Aug. 1 I would be serving as interim president,” Best said. “Obviously I’m sad to see President Ambrose leave. He has done so much good for this institution. He has made it a better place for all of us and I will always be grateful for his leadership and for his willingness to allow me to serve in these various capacities.

“I have always just wanted to serve campus in a way that adds value to our students and adds value to our colleagues. That’s the approach I am taking here. What can I do to serve our faculty, staff and students? I hope to be able to contribute in a way that is beneficial to them as well as to our alumni,” Best said, “and that’s true no matter what position I have at UCM.” The word “interim” may come at the front of his title, but Best intends to approach his new role with the same passion and commitment to success he has applied to all of his other UCM roles. “We have 11 months that I could be in this position. In today’s higher education environment you cannot sit around for 11 months and do nothing. It is critical that we continue to move the institution forward,” Best said. His friends and supporters cross many academic disciplines. Based on his previous work, they speak confidently about his ability to help the university maintain forward momentum. Rhonda McKee, Ph.D., professor of mathematics, has known Best for many years. In addition to pointing out how much he cares about students and their success, she noted, “I have great respect for Roger.

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F E AT U R E

“I HAVE ALWAYS JUST WANTED TO SERVE CAMPUS IN A WAY THAT ADDS VALUE TO OUR STUDENTS AND ADDS VALUE TO OUR COLLEAGUES. THAT’S THE APPROACH I AM TAKING HERE. WHAT CAN I DO TO SERVE OUR FACULTY, STAFF AND STUDENTS? I HOPE TO BE ABLE TO CONTRIBUTE IN A WAY THAT IS BENEFICIAL TO THEM AS WELL AS TO OUR ALUMNI.”

He is so talented and yet so humble. In every position he’s had at UCM, he has made significant contributions to the improvement of the university. He listens to people and then formulates straight-forward ideas about how situations or processes can be improved or problems solved. He is energized by the problem-solving process.” Among Best’s many goals will be looking at alternative sources of revenue beyond traditional undergraduate in-residence population and degrees that will help them; identifying programs that meet the needs of adult learners; providing robust graduate offerings; meeting workforce development needs; and maintaining a strong focus on academic program quality and accreditation, an area where UCM excels among its peer institutions. He also makes the engagement and re-engagement of UCM’s alumni a top priority. He noted that charitable giving is greatly appreciated and needed for the institution, but “there are so many other ways our alumni also can contribute, including their time, their expertise and their stories.” “We want them to call back whenever they need something, or just to let us know how they are doing. We want

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them to keep in touch,” he said. “We want them to speak to students, mentor our students, serve on our advisory boards, and tell stories about their successes so we can share those with our current and prospective students”. He added, “When someone attends and graduates from UCM, we make a lifelong commitment to them. We are always there for them.” In addition to his passion for the university, Best is a strong family man and member of the Warrensburg community. He and his wife, Robin, have two married daughters, Amy Burk and Lindsey Keirsey, and six grandchildren ages 1-9. Whatever lies ahead for Best and the university over the next several months, he looks forward to continued collaboration with his colleagues in order to make a difference in students’ lives. As he puts it simply, “I feel very blessed” to be given this opportunity.


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DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI

A LOT OF THINGS HE JUST DOES OUT OF LOVE. HIS VISION IS THAT THIS RESEARCH MIGHT HELP SOME PEOPLE AT SOME TIME IN THE FUTURE, WITH SOME TYPE OF DISEASE.

RAFIE HAMIDPOUR, PH.D. ‘94 2018 Distinguished International Alumni

By John Kennedy ‘92, ‘13 Like many entrepreneurs, Dr. Rafie Hamidpour’s childhood, in his native country of Iran, helped shape his work ethic and ignite a thirst for knowledge. Hamidpour went on to earn undergraduate degrees at Arizona State and the University of Missouri - Kansas City in mathematics and engineering. While working as an engineer in Kansas City, he commuted to the University of Central Missouri to pursue a master’s degree in industrial management. “I liked the courses at UCM,” Hamidpour said. “I really enjoyed the research and the master’s program set me up for my Ph.D.”

“When I got my master’s degree they put me in management. That’s what I did to become a supervisor and I’m glad. I became a supervisor, and in less than 18 months, I was supervising 18 people.”

books and 69 publications. Hamidpour has received nine certificates of registration from the Library of Congress and holds a number of patent registrations in the U.S. and Canada.

Hamidpour received his first patent for developing a motion control system. His educational curiosity and work ethic drove him to earn two doctoral degrees, one in engineering and another in bioscience.

“He’s always thinking about how to improve his work and his projects— how to improve his research,” his wife, Dr. Soheila Hamidpour, said. “A lot of things he just does out of love. His vision is that this research might help some people at some time in the future, with some type of disease. He doesn’t do that for money, for name, or for position. I think that’s what makes his job and his work very, very extraordinary.”

Hamidpour now has offices in California, Kansas, Missouri and Virginia, working in a wide array of engineering specialties.

The industrial management faculty at UCM were very helpful. Hamidpour recalls how Dr. Anthony Rizzi helped him develop his research techniques and transition his career into a management role.

He is a medical researcher whose Pars Bioscience company conducts pharmacological studies exploring the benefits of herbal medicines such as saffron and camphor as anti-cancer agents. His company now has 14 products ready for distribution.

“Because I was working as a senior engineer, I was very young,” Hamidpour said.

In addition to his engineering and bioscience expertise, he has authored 16

Soheila Hamidpour couldn’t have said it better. For these reasons, UCM is proud to bestow this award on Dr. Rafie Hamidpour.

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DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI

REBECCA MORLANDO, PH.D. ‘93 2018 UCM Distinguished Alumni

Rebecca Morlando believes her early years growing up in Warrensburg were a blessing. The youngest of three sisters, Morlando enjoyed being the child of educators who challenged her curiosity and developed her love of learning. Her father, Mike Powers, served 27 years at UCM as a department chair and chemistry professor. Her mother, Janice, was in English literature and speech pathology. “The two together really created a tremendous foundation for what I do today,” Morlando said. Neither parent stopped teaching when they returned home from work. Following high school, Morlando entered UCM’s chemistry program. “I think some of my fondest memories of UCM were being in the classroom with my father,” she said. “He’s a great professor. He always made us laugh and made it a pleasurable

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I BELIEVE IN THE SAYING THAT YOU DON’T DECIDE YOUR FUTURE, YOU DECIDE YO U R DA I LY HABITS AND YO U R DA I LY HABITS DECIDE YOUR FUTURE.

experience to go. I also have fond memories of volleyball and friends.” Following graduation from UCM, Morlando attended the University of Missouri and earned a doctoral degree in chemistry in 1997. She then launched her professional career with 3M, a company where she had worked part-time during her dissertation. “I fell in love with 3M,” she said. “How can you not? As a chemist, as a natural scientist? We take great scientists, we solve big problems, and we impact lives around the world.” Morlando became a plant manager in 2003. Since then, her star has seen a meteoric rise with positions increasing in responsibility and scope. She is now the Lean Six Sigma Manufacturing and Supply Chain Director for 3M’s Safety and

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Graphics division. She oversees operations in more than 20 countries, with revenues in excess of $5.5 billion. “I believe in the saying that you don’t decide your future,” she said. “You decide your daily habits and your daily habits decide your future.” Morlando’s work takes her to countries across the world. Already in 2018, she has worked on every continent except Antarctica. “Life sometimes surprises you,” she said. Because Morlando’s star has prominently risen as a key leader for one of the nation’s largest companies, she is a natural recipient of this year’s Distinguished Alumni award. As she travels the globe, Morlando recognizes that the roots of her leadership reach back to lessons learned in her Warrensburg home and on the UCM campus.


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I LEARNED TO BE A GOOD STUDENT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL MISSOURI. WHAT I LEARNED HERE IS THAT IF YOU WORK HARD, THE REWARDS C A N B E G R E A T, AND THAT’S MY BIGGEST T A K E A W A Y.

Rand Harbert describes his childhood in Carrollton, Mo., as idyllic. He grew up with his siblings, hung out with close friends and enjoyed life to the fullest. His parents provided all the support he needed for a loving home environment. During high school, Harbert developed a lifelong love of graphic design and art. Once he attended the University of Central Missouri, the future marketing executive became strongly invested in his education. “There were so many great mentors from my time at school,” Harbert said. “It was the kind of experience I had with those professors that I hope my own children have, and that probably says more about my experience at Central than anything.” At UCM, Harbert pursued leadership experience in Alpha Kappa Lambda fraternity, an exciting career as a collegiate

RAND HARBERT ‘85 2018 UCM Distinguished Alumni

golfer, and was involved in many student organizations. He was recognized as a recipient of the Charno Award, presented to the outstanding male and female students in the senior class. “I learned to be a good student at the University of Central Missouri,” Harbert said. “What I learned here is that if you work hard, the rewards can be great, and that’s my biggest takeaway.” After graduation, Harbert started his professional career with positions in both pharmaceutical sales and branding. In 1992, he became an agent for State Farm Insurance. Today, Harbert is the chief agency sales and marketing officer and has been recognized by Business Insider as one the 50 Most Innovative CMOs in the world. Harbert is a long-time supporter of UCM. Both he and his wife, Kelly, have served on

the UCM Alumni Foundation Board. Rand helped provide the State Farm Marketing and Sales labs, and was instrumental in bringing the State Farm Marketing and Sales Competition to UCM. He and his wife have also endowed the Randall and Kelly Harbert Marketing Professorship. The Harberts are the parents of three adult children, Morgan, Ross, and Scott with whom they look forward to sharing their 2018 Homecoming experience. “What I want to do ‘post career’ is give back,” Harbert said. “What I enjoy is helping other people, doing things for others, so that they may have some of the opportunities that I did because people came before me and gave when they didn’t have to.” For his continual pride in and support for UCM, the 2018 Distinguished Alumni award is presented to Rand Harbert.

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DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI

SARAH OSBORNE ‘02 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award for Early Achievement

Sarah Osborne's childhood memories are filled with adventures and outings at the Lake of the Ozarks. “My family had a go-kart track at the lake, our family business,” Osborne said. “We didn’t have a lot, but we had a lot of fun and there was a lot of love in our house. I really appreciate all that my parents did for me. It was hard at times, and until I was 17, we lived in an unfinished building that only had one room. It drove me to want to go to school and get an education and hopefully, someday, help other people in need or that didn’t have a lot.” Osborne enrolled at the University of Central Missouri in the late 1990s, where she put opportunity in action and pursued a leadership role. “I was president of Panhellenic Council which was a great experience and a tremendous learning opportunity for me,” she said. “I enjoyed that experience and

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I WAS THE RECIPIENT OF H E R ( S H E R R A LY N CRAVEN) S C H O L A R S H I P. I GOT TO KNOW HER THEN AND WE STAYED IN TOUCH UNTIL S H E PA S S E D A W A Y. I ’ L L N E V E R FORGET ALL THAT SHE DID FOR ME.

getting to know people, and it helped prepare me for leadership after college as well.” Osborne was an outstanding student and pursued actuarial science. She was also involved with the Student Government Association, the Actuarial Organization, Kappa Mu Epsilon, National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the UCM cheerleading squad. She was named a Charno Award winner, an honor presented to the outstanding male and female in the senior class. She said she credits the late Dr. Sherralyn Craven ’54, ’57, professor emerita of actuarial science, as a strong influence toward her success at UCM. “She started the actuarial program at UCM,” Osborne said. “I was the recipient of her scholarship. I got to know her then and we stayed in touch until she passed away. I’ll never forget all that she did for me.”

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Nearly two decades later, Osborne is a wife and mother of four children and just as committed to community service as she was in college. She began work as an actuary at Assurant Employee Benefits, and in 2010, she advanced into a vice president position with Lockton Companies. Since 2016, she has served as the senior vice president and chief actuary and analytics officer for GEHA. Osborne has been recognized as a Next Generation Leader by the Kansas City Business Journal and is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries. She is a volunteer for the United Way of Greater Kansas City and the Phoenix Family. For her many achievements and rapid rise to success, UCM is proud to honor Osborne with the Distinguished Alumni Award for Early Achievement.


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IN TERMS OF WHAT I HOPE TO PA S S ALONG TO MY GRANDKIDS, IT’S THAT THEY UNDERSTAND THE CHALLENGES OF INDIVIDUALS WITH HANDICAPPING CONDITIONS.

The University of Central Missouri holds a special place in the hearts of alumni. Such is the case with Richard Phillips. “I grew up with stories of Warrensburg,” Phillips remembered. “So when my cousin brought me to campus, I spent the day walking around and I got hooked into the culture.” After graduating from UCM, Phillips embarked on a 50-plus-year career in education as a teacher and coach at Odessa High School, followed by three years in Pleasant Hill. After earning a master’s degree, he returned to UCM in 1970 to obtain an education specialist degree. Phillips had moved to a superintendent position when the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) asked him to be assistant director for Supervision of Instruction at the Department of Elementary and

RICHARD PHILLIPS, ED.S. ‘65, ‘67, ‘72 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award for Service

Secondary Education. Phillips accepted the role and began a 14-year journey as the main architect of the state’s classification and accreditation effort. In 1993, Phillips accepted a position as the assistant superintendent at Fort Osage High School. Then in 2010, he was invited back to Jefferson City as the interim deputy commissioner of DESE. Phillips was elected to the UCM Alumni Board where he served as president in 2004, and says it allowed him to view the university through a different lens. He was appointed by then Missouri Governor Matt Blunt to serve on UCM’s Board of Governors in 2005. His unwavering service included two terms as the board president and chairing a presidential search committee. He also served as president of the UCM Alumni Foundation Board.

A man dedicated to lifelong service, Phillips has garnered a host of recognitions, including the Missouri Pioneer in Education award, the Friend of Education award, and was inducted into the UCM Athletics Hall of Fame in 2013. “In terms of what I hope to pass along to my grandkids,” Phillips reflected, “it’s that they understand the challenges of individuals with handicapping conditions. My brother, Gary, was a polio victim and I grew up watching him deal with challenges. I have an opportunity for my grandkids to understand those challenges and to serve those who need additional help.” For his many years of unwavering service to UCM, Richard Phillips is this year’s recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award for Service.

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AT H L E T I C S

By Jacalyn Leake

ome people referred to 2017-2018 as the “Year of the Rooster” or the “Year of the Dog,” according to the Chinese Zodiac. However, those in Warrensburg, especially those on the University of Central Missouri campus or following UCM women’s athletics online, know that it was the “Year of the Jens.” That’s because UCM women’s athletics had an unequivocally amazing year. During 2017-2018, UCM was proud to be home to two NCAA Division II National Championship teams—Jennies Soccer and Jennies Basketball. In addition, Jennies Volleyball, Jennies Softball, Jennies Golf, Jennies Bowling, Jennies Cross Country, and Jennies Track and Field all had their share of successes on and off their respective courts and fields. One of the best ways to get an in-depth and interactive look into the Jennies’ 2017-2018 sports accomplishments and the outpouring of community support is to search for the hashtag #YearoftheJens on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and other social media. The hype wasn’t only online. Many people who missed the online posts were sure to see the real-life billboard version

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of a tweet, courtesy of Lamar Billboards. The billboard sported UCM’s mulehead and text, shouting in all capital letters, “CONGRATULATIONS UCM JENNIES 2018 WOMEN’S DII BASKETBALL & SOCCER CHAMPIONS.” The billboard was a physical manifestation of how supportive and involved the local Warrensburg and surrounding community became during the “Year of the Jens” and the amazing successes of UCM’s female athletes. While online, the trending #YearoftheJens posts and photos highlighted the obvious community excitement for the teams with statements such as “How lucky are we to be part of a dominant athletic program like UCM” from graduate student Ricky Rivera and “You know it is a special year when @UCM_Soccer and @UCMWBB are trading Championship posters and autographs,” from then president Chuck Ambrose. The #YearoftheJens hashtag is often seen next to another proud UCM hashtag—#SnoutsOut. Snouts were certainly out in force when the first NCAA II Soccer National

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Championship was earned in December 2017 and a Jennies senior soccer player made her mark on UCM women’s athletics history. Abby Rhode ’18 made the winning penalty kick that gave UCM its first women’s national soccer title. What could be a more amazing ending of the season for the undefeated UCM team, coach Lewis Theobald, and assistant coach Maddi Moon? The online posts about the team’s season and final win were palpable with enthusiasm and excitement. In addition to the Jennies soccer players’ accomplishments, the coaches and staff also were recognized by the United Soccer Coaches as the National Coaching Staff of the Year. Off the field, Jennies soccer player Kelsey Mueller received the Fall Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) Academic Excellence Award for having a 4.0 GPA. Rhodes, Kayla Hamner and Megan Woolley were also named as Fall MIAA scholar athletes for having a minimum 3.50 GPA. In Jennies basketball, Kelsey Williams earned the Winter MIAA Academic Excellence Award for having a 4.0 GPA. Additionally, Morgan Fleming, Megan Skaggs, and Williams were named Winter MIAA scholar-athlete award recipients.


AT H L E T I C S

When it came to Jennies Basketball, a local establishment created its own posts and made its mark on the players. On March 24, 2018, the Jennies basketball team commemorated an amazing year and national championship win at Warrensburg’s Black Compass Tattoo Company. The company’s Facebook posts featured pictures of the Jennies in the parlor with huge smiles and a signed basketball left behind as a souvenir. In addition to the photographs, Black Compass Tattoo Company proudly boasted, “It’s not every day you get to tattoo NATIONAL CHAMPIONS!” Those national champions worked hard and persevered all season. Skaggs described the team’s attitude by saying, “Our mentality throughout the year and throughout the [national championship] game was ‘refuse to lose.’” Jennies basketball definitely refused to lose when, coached by Dave Slifer and assistant coaches Tammy Slifer and Mike Nicholson, they achieved their championship win by beating

the previous year’s undefeated team from Ashland University in Ohio. While the Jennies basketball team celebrated success on the court, Jennies volleyball, with head coach Flip Piontek and associate head coach Caitlin Peterson, were reaping the rewards of their off-the-court efforts and accomplishments. The team was awarded the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Team Academic Award for having a minimum 3.30 team GPA. In addition, many of the team members also made the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) Academic Honor Roll. Kasey Hohlen, Kylie Hohlen, Katie Carlson, and Hannah VanBuskirk were all named Fall 2017 MIAA scholar-athletes for having a minimum 3.50 GPA. Further, Tyler Downs and Kylie Hohlen were both honored with the Fall MIAA Academic Excellence Award for having a 4.0 GPA. On the field, 10 players from Jennies softball, coached by Susan Anderson and assistant coach Lauren Curtis, were named to the MIAA 2018 All-Conference Team while several other team members received honorable mentions. Off the field, two Jennies Softball teammates, Katie Giacone and Emily King, found success as members of Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). King ’18 had a torn ACL, but prevailed in order to meet her military entry requirements. The “Year of the Jens” saw UCM’s first student athlete, Olivia Sobaski, qualify for the National Division II Golf Championship. The Jennies golf program, with head coach Chris Port, is relatively

new and is an important program hallmark. In addition, three Jennies golfers were named Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) All-American Scholars for attaining a minimum 3.50 GPA.

Jennies bowling, led by coach Ron Holmes, saw team member Paytynn Kuhns honored at the MIAA Conference as Freshman of the Year. Eight Jennies also made the National Tenpin Coaches Association (NTCA) 2017-2018 All-Academic team for having a minimum 3.40 GPA. In Jennies Cross Country, with coach Kirk Pedersen and assistant coach Jared Schatz, freshman Mariah Elmore earned Second Team MIAA All-Conference Honors. Academically, Jodi Pedersen was honored with the Fall MIAA Academic Excellence Award for reaching a 4.0 GPA.

University of Central Missouri Magazine

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THE ACADEMIC MARK

AT H L E T I C S

s n e J e rOfTh

#Yea

Pedersen and fellow track and field star, Kymmalett Ross, also earned the Winter MIAA Academic Excellence Award for attaining a 4.0 GPA. Fellow teammates Laia Gonzalez, Emily Thole, and PHOTO Hannah VanBuskirk were named Winter MIAA Scholar-Athlete Award recipients. In addition to her Winter MIAA Scholar-Athlete Award, VanBuskirk earned All-America honors for a national eighth-place finish in Division II high jump for Women’s Track and Field. Along with the Jennies’ individual and team accomplishments, it is the 14th consecutive year that UCM has finished in the top 20 in the Learfield Cup Standings (and 21 out of 23 years total). Notably, UCM placed higher than any other Mid-America Intercollegiate

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In partnership with the new Opportunity in Action campaign, UCM is unveiling a new icon as a permanent part of our campus identity. This new academic icon represents the rich history of the University of Central Missouri. Athletics Association (MIAA) school. The spectacular “Year of the Jens” also helped lead to a second straight year MIAA Commissioner’s Cup win for UCM. 2017-2018 was an extraordinary year for UCM women’s athletics, both on and off the courts and fields. Jennies players seemed to dominate everything they did, whether it was winning national championships or excelling in the classroom. It is almost difficult to wonder what the 2018-2019 year has in store for Jennies athletics. Already many enthusiastic posts about the upcoming Jennies seasons are appearing on social media sites. Without a doubt, everyone on the University of Central Missouri campus and in the local Warrensburg community is looking forward to another amazing #YearoftheJens.

Vol. 18, No. 1 | ucmfoundation.org/magazine

The new icon features one of the best-known landmarks on UCM’s campus, the Administration Building. Built in 1916, the three-story building provides a unique and distinct image for the icon, making it stand out from other institutions. A versatile building that once housed classrooms, a cafeteria and a pit theatre, and now provides an auditorium for world-class performances and much more, the Administration Building resonates with current students, alumni, faculty, staff and the Warrensburg community. The cardinal red and black coloring is immediately recognizable as part of the UCM brand. UCM’s foundation year is prominently displayed, which not only demonstrates the university’s nearly 150 years as a leader in education, but is a nod to our university seal, which also includes 1871 in its design. The icon in its entirety was created to evoke a sense of academic pride. It stands as a symbol of legacy, hard work and innovative higher education.


F E AT U R E

NEW SUCCESS ADVISING CENTER By Jacalyn Leake

UCM is dedicated to helping students experience learning to a greater degree. One of the ways this mission is being fulfilled is with the new Success Advising Center. UCM is the only school in Missouri with an innovative Success Advising Center and success team assigned to each student. This helps our students navigate through their time at UCM, get the best experience possible, and graduate on time with a meaningful degree.

sure all students are advantaged in this way so that we produce more successful alumni.”

“THE ADVANTAGE FOR STUDENTS IS THAT THEY TRULY WILL HAVE A ONE-STOP PLACE WITH COMPREHENSIVE SERVICES.”

This is going to be a game-changing resource for many, especially the 64 percent of UCM students who are either first generation, PellGrant eligible, or from an under-represented group. College can be an intimidating experience, and they may not know where to go to find answers. “The advantage for students is that they truly will have a one-stop place with comprehensive services,” said Karen Goos, interim vice provost for enrollment management.

“Our alumni were – Karen Goos, fortunate to interim vice provost have made the for enrollment connections, find the management Schueller led a pilot necessary support, study last year that and get the right showed the value of encouragement to early and more frequent engagement succeed,” said Ken Schueller, director of with students. Efforts by UCM led to success advising. “Our goal is to make a seven percent increase in persistence among first-time freshmen and a 13 percent increase among transfers from fall to spring.

By adopting a predictive advising model with a dedicated success team assigned to each student, UCM will be equipped to help more students succeed. With the addition of the Success Advising Center, the university’s goal of an 80 percent retention rate is highly obtainable.

University of Central Missouri Magazine

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C L A S S N OT E S

1980-1999 Randall E. Watson, ’82, was selected as director of the Veterans Service Program for the Missouri Veterans Commission, Jefferson City, Mo. He will guide the direction, planning, analysis and coordination of the Veterans Service Program, and place more emphasis on outreach to promote the availability of benefits to veterans, and supporting the needs of Missouri’s entire veteran population. Roger Bowers, ’85, has retired after 31 years with the Lee’s Summit Police Department, and is now a career education teacher at Herndon Career Center, Raytown School District, teaching Law Enforcement. Jason Olson, ’92, is the owner of Duplication Media in Urbandale, Iowa, and the company is celebrating its 15-year anniversary. He started the company in 2003 after working eight years in the video production, editing, and duplication industry. Sarah (Warfield) Chamberlin, ’97, is the recipient of the 2018 Foster-Inglish Award for outstanding achievement and service in public relations. Chamberlin is the senior designer and brand specialist in the Office of Integrated Marketing and Communications at UCM, and has worked for UCM since 2010.

Jamie Jennings Named New Executive Director for Alumni Relations Jamie Jennings has been selected to be the new executive director for alumni relations at UCM. An alumna of UCM, Jamie emerged from a lengthy search as the lead candidate and officially started her new role Sept. 17. She has served as university events director for more than a decade, and during that time regularly worked on alumni events locally and across the country. “Jamie always goes the extra mile,” Dr. Bill Estes, interim vice president for advancement and executive director of the foundation, said. “She helped write the MuleNation plan for alumni engagement, runs Homecoming events, and has taken on the duties of shepherding the Distinguished Alumni Awards program this year when no one else was available. She is knowledgeable and hard-working and we consider her to be the person best qualified to get our alumni program running efficiently. I am excited about what she can do in this new role.” Jennings will continue with events until a new university events person can be hired.

2000-2009

2010-2018

Alicia Hollis, ’07, is a member of the executive board for MOACAC, and also a member of the NEA and MSCA. “As a low-income community college transfer student, the education I received at UCM has changed the trajectory of my life,” Hollis said. “It was rigorous and while there were nights I wanted to give up, I’m glad I stuck it out. I look forward to another school year of using what UCM taught me.”

Cory Bittner, ’11, co-founded Falcon Wealth Advisors, a wealth management firm in Kansas City, in 2016 and is now engaged to Cassie Rauscher, ‘10. They are planning an October 2019 wedding.

Megan (Wellborn) Freese, ’07, announces the birth of her son, Austin Friemonth Freese.

Walid Bin Islam, ’17, began working as a business system specialist for Forrest T. Jones Company, Inc. Jeffrey Glenn, former student, recently published a book about his childhood and being abandoned at the age of five in Mexico. Jeffrey’s goal is to use a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book to start a charity organization and name it in honor of his adoptive parents.

2018 CLIMB Class

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Vol. 18, No. 1 | ucmfoundation.org/magazine

Brent Teichman ’98, Stormy Taylor ’98, Ken Landes ’12, Tyler Henselman ’04 & ’05, Jackie Jackson ’09 & ’12, Matt Lue ’06, Mark Basinger ’14, Melissa Truex ’13, and Hannah Koger are participants in the 2018 CLIMB Class. CLIMB is a 10-week program designed to encourage citizens in Johnson County to become involved in community affairs. The program improves the skills participants need in order to assume community leadership responsibilities.


IN MEMORIAM

1930-1939 Leola C. Bartshe ’37

1940-1949 Melvin L. Peterman ’42 Ozelle E. Knipmeyer ’44 Grace A. Edmondson ’46 Mary V. Saxton ’48, ’49 Harold L. Van Tuyl ’49 Leo Ellis ’49

1950-1959 Genieve M. Huenefeldt ’51 Martha Jane Wilson ’51 Dorothy D. Morgan ’52 Ruth L. Edmonds ’52 Nanetta N. Litle ’53 Roberta R. Jarolim ’54 William F. Eubank ’55 Harold D. Greer ’55 Betty S. Simonson ’56 Joseph E. Lammers ’57 Ann W. Uhrig ’58, ’72 Marjorie S. Hamby ’59 Mabel J. Hosler ’59 George W. Lyne ’59

1960-1969 Jay D. Schmidt ’60 Dena C. Gaines ’60 Juanita J. Tucker ’61 Larry K. Ferguson ’61 Geraldine Schildknecht ’62, ’72 James R. Dudley ’62 Wallace E. Kille ’63 Larry W. Taylor ’63, ’76 Janice Wright ’63 Dana A. Zumbaugh ’63 William M. Lord ’64, ’74, ’78 Lewis W. Tivis ’64 Robert L. Miller ’65 Stephen F. Hefner ’65 David L. Leamon ’65 Linda Raybourn-Hargrave ’65, ’79 Elizabeth C. Garry ’65 Paul D. Stuerke ’65 Robert J. Ralston ’65, ’66 Nancy L. Andes ’67, ’81 Rosalie Leach ’68 Doc G. Denyer ’68

Glenn D. Mc Donnell ’68 Anna E. Wikoff ’68 Paulette M. Moore ’69 Charles Larry R. Linville ’69 Carol N. Klein ’69, ’82 Barbara J. Conway ’69 James R. La Rue ’69 Helen S. Burgess ’69 Joseph M. Miller ’69

1970-1979 Harold L. Dellinger ’70 Richard P. Chekanski ’70 James E. Sims ’71 John H. Siebert ’71 Ronald L. Cope ’71 James H. Koch ’71 Thomas M. Harvey ’72 Waldo E. Gray ’72 Eugene A. Holland ’72 William N. Cole ’73 Rowena E. Yount ’73 Stanley D. Siron ’74, ’76 Joel L. Roode ’74 Richard D. Moore ’74, ’76 Edward J. Donahue ’74 Edward M. Thornton ’75 Carolyn F. Becker ’75 Rosanne E. Medlin ’75 Luella L. Eshelman ’75 Marion D. Mc Millan ’75, ’86 Joyce F. Meyer ’76 Michael J. Schiltz ’77 Wendell P. Kilian ’77 Diane E. Williams ’78, ’83, ’85, ’86 Karen J. Eckhoff ’78 James A. Owens ’78 Robert S. Patison ’78 Russel A. Moulton ’78 Karen M. Miles ’79 Hugh E. Boswell ’79

1980-1989 Rex L. Griswold ’83 Linda L. Medaris ’83 Ronald G. Wasson ’83 David W. Stoneking ’84 Daniel P. Diaz ’86 Regina A. Brown ’86 Thomas M. Quistorff ’89

1990-1999 Brett A. Moats ’92, ’93 Kammy L. Vail ’93 Sandra D. Alvarez ’94 James M. Courtney ’95 Georgia Mueller ’97 Crystal R. Warner ’98

2000-2009 Donald S. Worley ’00 Sherry A. Hammond ’03

2010-2019 Madeline E. Malecki ’11 Travis A. Kanies ’12 Jessica N. Parsons ’14 Kim L. Francis ’14

Former Students Randy Diltz George D. Gunn Harold G. Gamber Marilyn K. Boyce Stacy A. Johnson Daemon C. Toliver

Friends Ronald S. Bassford Wanda Beard Esther B. Boeckman Bonnie L. Buxby-Ingeman Mildred I. Dump Joyce Jablonski Linda Medaris Lois S. Motley Sharon L. Reith Mark A. Mc Roberts Betty Jane Roop

Faculty and Staff Emeriti Joseph F. Dolecki John W. Horine Alfred E. Twomey Arthur P. Winans ’58

Former Faculty and Staff Connie R. Hetherly Buddy Wellman

University of Central Missouri Magazine

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A Love That Never Ends

By Joy Mistele ‘76, ‘83

W

ayne Thomason’s life tells a story larger than his World War II flying days. He loved adventure, and after running a grocery store and retiring as a machinist, he carved wood figures, gardened, drove a red Corvette, rode a Harley and biked long distance. Yet, he never got over his first love, flying. He wasn’t an alumnus, but he wanted to help UCM students and share his love for aviation. Thomason shared his resources through gifts to the UCM Alumni Foundation to start scholarships. Even when he passed, his will bequest continued to help students. As the nation faces a shortage of pilots, UCM students can thank Wayne for helping to finance their dreams to fly.

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Vol. 18, No. 1 | ucmfoundation.org/magazine

Everyone has the ability to give. Learn how you can use your estate to help more students succeed by contacting Joy Mistele, director of planned giving, at 660-543-8000 or mistele@ucmo.edu.


Visit ucmo.edu/homecoming for a complete list of activities or call (660) 543-8000 for details. Event Date 50 Year Anniversary Reunion 10/26-27 Distinguished Alumni Dinner 10/26 Black Alumni Reunion

10/26-27

Omega Psi Phi Reunion

10/26-27

Parade 10/27 Football Game vs. Nebraska-Kearney

10/27

HOMECOMING 2018

University of Central Missouri Magazine

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Periodicals Postage PAID at Warrensburg, MO and Additional Mailing Offices P.O. B OX 800 WA R R E NS BURG, M O 6 40 93- 5038

d a e r Sp Keep your fellow alumni informed by sending us class notes to be featured in UCM Magazine. If you want to submit information about a marriage, birth, obituary, job status change, professional award or achievement, please submit them at ucmfoundation.org/alumni-update. Information will be used at the discretion of the university and may be edited to fit available space.

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Vol. 18, No. 1 | ucmfoundation.org/magazine

UCM Magazine Vol. 18 No. 1 - Fall  

The UCM Magazine is published by the UCM Alumni Foundation.

UCM Magazine Vol. 18 No. 1 - Fall  

The UCM Magazine is published by the UCM Alumni Foundation.