gift in history
The Missouri Western Magazine
is a publication of the University Advancement Office President’s
for alumni and friends of
The University’s Christopher S.
Missouri Western State University
and the St. Joseph Junior College.
“Kit” Bond Science and
Technology Incubator is under
construction. Western will provide
Winter 2008 • Volume 6 Number 1
Diane Holtz support for up to 15 high-technol-
Dear Friends, ogy firms in the incubator, and
In 1971, Professor Evan our students will have more
Kendy Jones ’95 Agenstein wrote to the St. Joseph opportunities to apply what they
News-Press that we should “keep learn in the classroom to “real
Kristy Hill ’95 the magic circle of learning at life” business and industrial
Director of Public Relations and Marketing
Missouri Western inclusive rather solutions (page 7).
than exclusive, where respect for As the number of students
the individual is given priority, majoring in science and
Director of Alumni Services
and all may learn the meaning of mathematics continues to increase
the words – integrity, honesty, at Western (enrollment has almost
Jason Horn ’95, President reliability, and hope.” (page 18.) tripled since 1969), we will break
Greg VerMulm ’89, Vice President
Diane Hook ’90, Secretary More than three decades ground for the renovation and
later, we at Western continue expansion of Agenstein Hall.
Shelby Coxon ’99, Jeanne Daffron ’75, Carole Dunn to provide our students with Funded by a $30.1 million
’91, John Fabsits ’04, Gini Fite ’01, Patrick Grove ’79,
Robin Hammond ’93, James Jeffers ’73, Linda Kerner an education that is inclusive appropriation from the state
’73, Randy Klein ’78, Sharon Kosek ’77, David Lau rather than exclusive. We of Missouri and a $5 million
’89, Kendell Misemer ’81, Jerry Myers ’71, Nicholas respect students, individually private gift from Wes and Patsy
Parker ’02, Zachary Ramsay ’02, Melissa Rewinkel
’93, Ralph Schank ’82, Robert Sigrist ’95, Kris Smith and collectively, for their gifts, Remington of St. Joseph, the
’96, Angie Springs ’02, Mary Vaughan ’79. talents, and abilities. We expect project will add a second
honesty and integrity of our- building; expand and improve
selves and our students. We laboratory and classroom space;
Emil Sechter, President
offer the hope of a better future and create an environment in
Alfred Purcell, Vice President
James Carolus, Secretary through high quality education which students will be challenged
John Wilson, Treasurer for our students. to be inclusive rather than
Ted Allison, David Bahner, Cheryl Bilby, Linden In fact, our students are exclusive, to work individually
Black, Drew Brown, Michelle Cebulko ’93, Stephen achieving national and interna- and in teams, and to meet today’s
Cotter ’78, Pat Dillon, R. Todd Ehlert, Esther George tional recognition for the quality scientific challenges (page 15).
’80, Karen Graves, Peter Gray, Stephen Hamilton,
Cindy Hausman, Judith Hausman, John Jarrett, of their work. They are partici- As a result, our students will
Corky Marquart ’84, Steve McCamy, Carol Moya , pating in study away programs be well prepared for graduate
George Richmond, JL Robertson, LaVell Rucker ’03, which focus on serving others, as study and for work in business,
Lee Sawyer, James Scanlon, Melody Smith ’87,
Loah Stallard, Jon Styslinger, Thomas Watkins,
our nursing students did this past industry, and the professions far
Dan Nicoson, executive director. summer in Honduras (page 4). into the future. In truth, they will
They are also making an impact be the beneficiaries of the “magic
on the St. Joseph community. For circle of learning” that Western
Dirck Clark ’85, Chair
example, what started out as a has provided for students since
Board of Governors
Patt Lilly, Vice Chair
research project focusing on the its founding in 1915.
Dan Danford ’78, Lesley Graves, Janet Leachman, effectiveness of antibiotics in
Carol Moya, Tommye Quilty ’96,
Harold Callaway, student governor.
society, turned into a student-led Yours sincerely,
preservation project of Mount
Mora Cemetery, a St. Joseph
landmark (page 9).
James J. Scanlon
4525 Downs Drive, Spratt Hall 106
St. Joseph, MO 64507
Missouri Western State University is an equal opportunity institution.
On the cover:
Contents Wes and Patsy ’79 Remington and
Dr. James Scanlon look over plans for
the renovation and expansion of
Agenstein Hall. The Remingtons
donated $5 million to the project.
Photo: Eric Callow ’97/Double E Images
4 Nursing Students Take Skills
Way Beyond the Classroom
Eleven students and two instructors traveled to Honduras
last summer on a medical mission.
14 Trading Spaces, Racoon-Style
Ever wonder how raccoons select their dens?
Students set out last summer to find out.
Departments 14 Western Receives $5 Million Gift;
Agenstein Hall Plans Move Forward
Western received the largest individual contribution in its history;
2 Campus News
read about the generous couple who donated it and about the
plans for the renovation and expansion of Agenstein Hall.
19 Alumni News
16 An Array of Achievements
The expansion of Agenstein Hall isn’t the only exciting
23 Alumnotes &
news from the science and math departments.
29 Alumni Gather for Ag Reunion
The closing of the agriculture department was a blow to its
4 alumni; last fall, they gathered to remember the good times.
Master’s programs underway Two more graduate
fall, the launched
Last master ofuniversityscience
for anyone who wants to further
(MAS) degree program, and for
the first time in Western’s history,
She hopes to be a lab manager
and research coordinator someday.
The Missourinew graduate
Board for Higher Education
graduate students are teaching Fifty-one students are enrolled
chemistry labs. in the MAS program and the programs to begin in fall 2008:
Deb Wright ’07, of Cameron, graduate certificate in the teaching a Master of Applied Science
Mo.; Darcie Elder ’07, Gallatin, of writing program. (MAS) in Assessment and a
Mo.; and LeeAnn Schuster ’06, Tabatha Proffit ’05, from Master of Applied Arts (MAA).
of Hiawatha, Kan.; are graduate Savannah, Mo., is a quality control Each degree program will
assistants for the chemistry chemist at Albaugh Inc. in St. include two options.
department. They earn a stipend Joseph, Mo. She enrolled in the The MAA program will
for the semester and their tuition program to help advance her career, prepare students for jobs in
is waived. and is one of five from Albaugh the rapidly growing Internet
“It’s a really unique in the program. design and development
opportunity and I couldn’t pass “A master’s degree gives you industry, and the changing
it up,” said Deb. more of an edge in the job market,” world of journalism. The
Deb, who was 41 when she Tabatha said. options are integrated media
started her undergraduate studies She said the business classes and convergent media.
at Western, believes that her that are part of the degree are a For the MAS in
master’s degree will advance her huge benefit. Assessment, the options will
career five years. “I could have put it (getting her be learning improvement
“That’s a good thing at my master’s) off, but unless you take and writing.
age,” she said with a laugh. “It’s the challenge, you’ll never get to “These options will
really going to pay off. It’s a neat the end,” said Tabatha. “And the give educators and literacy
program and a good opportunity end has so many benefits.” professionals better tools to
assess student learning,” said
Dr. Jeanne Daffron, interim
dean of graduate studies.
Other options may be
added in the future to address
assessment in other professional
fields, such as nonprofits and
health care, Jeanne said.
“The university has a
plan to develop graduate
education needed by our
region and we are pursuing
that plan thoughtfully and
deliberatively,” she said.
Graduate assistant Darcie Elder ’07, works with a student in the Chemistry 101
lab she teaches.
2 Western Magazine Winter 2008
Search for new university president
screening committee spent the for prospective candidates. The The 20-member screening
A Fall 2007 semester searching profile described the university, its committee includes one student,
for a new president for Western, accomplishments under current four faculty members, two staff
as Dr. James Scanlon announced president Dr. Scanlon, the challenges members, four administrators
his retirement last April, effective facing the next president and the and nine community members,
June 30, 2008. qualifications required. including members of the Board
R.H. Perry & Associates “People attending the meetings of Governors, Foundation Board,
(RHPA), an executive search expressed a variety of views about Alumni Association Board and
firm for colleges and universities Western and its future,” said Patt Gold Coat Board.
headquartered in Washington, Lilly, vice chair of the Board of “Community representation
D.C., was hired as a consultant Governors and chair of the 20- was important to the Board as
to the committee. Dr. Allen E. member presidential screening we talked about how to structure
Koenig, senior consultant with committee. “Those perspectives were the committee,” said board chair
RHPA, spent three days on reflected in the search profile, help- Dirck Clark ’85. “Western plays
campus in September, meeting ing us find the best match possible.” a key role in the educational,
with groups of staff, faculty, Advertising of the position social and economic development
administrators, the Board of began in September as well, and of the region and we wanted to
Governors and other community the committee planned to bring be sure the selection process
members to gather information to prospective candidates to campus reflected that.”
create an executive search profile by year’s end.
he Missouri Regional
T Community Policing Institute
(MO-RCPI) at Western now has
a national mission, thanks to a
$714,010 grant from the federal
Department of Justice’s Bureau
of Justice Assistance.
Working with the 27-member
RCPI national network, the money
will be used to coordinate and
deliver training nationally in
support of efforts to prevent
crime, drug abuse, and violence.
Since it was founded in 1997,
the institute has facilitated training
sessions and conferences for
more than 700 Missouri law
enforcement agencies, 20,000
law enforcement officers and
Last summer, area elementary and middle school students enjoyed a
6,500 community members.
week of art classes and activities at Artscape, an annual event sponsored
by the Western Institute.
Winter 2008 Western Magazine 3
NURSING STUDENTS TAKE
SKILLS WAY BEYOND THE
leven nursing students’ learning experiences
E went way beyond the classroom last summer when
they traveled on a medical mission 1,700 miles from
home. The students and two instructors set up
makeshift clinics and treated patients in several
Nursing student Jennifer Smith.
villages in Honduras. Courtney Luke, senior from
“I fell in love with all the babies,” said Jennifer Liberty, Mo., said it was quite an
Smith, senior from Kansas City, Mo. “I would love to experience working with the
go back; I feel like we made a difference.” dentist since patients just sat in a
The 12-day adventure was a study of contrasts: regular plastic chair, and the students
beautiful beaches and lush scenery along with a two- shone flashlights in the patients’ mouths.
hour roadblock while military police broke up a Julie Baldwin, assistant professor of
protest; snuggling adorable newborns along with nursing who accompanied the students
gathering funds to enable an elderly man to receive along with Linda Judah ’82 and ’94, noted
treatment for his cancerous growth; responding to the that students had to rethink their first aid
needs of approximately 2,000 patients along with lessons at the clinics. For example, in the
packing and unpacking several totes at seven different United States we treat a sprained ankle
makeshift village clinics; making sure to drink bottled with ice, she said, but in the remote
water along with teaching Hondurans how to sanitize Honduran villages, they don’t have ready
their drinking water. access to ice.
Senior Megan Jensen, from Nebraska City, Neb., Senior Lorie Stephens, of Maryville, Mo.,
said working in the different stations they set up at had a great time, and she said the doctors were very
each clinic - medical, good about giving the Western students hands-on
dental, triage, vision, experience. “They knew we were there to learn.”
parasite treatment, and Students also collected toothbrushes, bars of soap
pharmacy - was what and vitamins before their journey, and they received
she liked the best about enough to distribute to everyone they treated at the
the experience. She clinics. Lorie said several organizations and churches
added that it was fun to from the St. Joseph community donated.
work with the dentist, Linda, who traveled on a mission trip to Honduras
since that was some- two years ago, said she hopes the experience will
thing she had never encourage the students to continue to help the less
.had the opportunity fortunate.
to do before. “This is service in an educational realm,” said
Linda, executive director of the Social Welfare Board
in St. Joseph. “The students get to practice the skills
they learned in school, but apply them to someone
Nursing students took their skills a world away when they
traveled to Honduras last summer.
4 Western Magazine Winter 2008
Julie said she hopes to repeat
the trip in two years. Honduras
is a good destination, she said,
Student wins big on Wheel of Fortune
because travel costs were
reasonable and there is great
wheel was smaller than she
Thenice. The levelandstresswere
need for medical care there.
incredible, but it was still an
Many of the villages they served
outstanding experience. Those
are three hours from the nearest
were the impressions of Becki
Burrell, a senior elementary
“I absolutely loved it and
education major from St. Joseph,
would do it again in a heartbeat,”
Mo., who won $10,000 on Wheel
said Julie. “It was amazing
of Fortune last fall.
experiencing the people and the
“It was overwhelming and
culture, and the students were
overstimulating. I’m surprised
people can ever concentrate on the
The students said they are
puzzle - that’s the last thing you’re shocked by the attention she
ready to go again. They admitted
thinking of,” she said. “I was received. People she didn’t know
their housing accommodations
shaking the whole time. It was called to congratulate her, and she
weren’t as bad as they
very intense.” has often overheard people talking
had expected, and
“But,” she added with a laugh, about her when she’s shopping.
they did get a
“I made 10 grand in 20 minutes, “I had my 15 minutes of fame
so I can’t complain.” and just 15 minutes is fine with me.”
Six shows were filmed at the She bought some jewelry,
“The patients are
Los Angeles studio the day she her husband bought some wood-
so grateful, even if
competed. The contestants had working tools, and the rest of the
you didn’t help them
to stay in a windowless room the winnings went to the bank and
that much,” said
entire morning before they began “Uncle Sam.”
Megan. “It is so fulfilling.”
filming, but Becki said she enjoyed “I loved it,” Becki said.
“Honduras provided a
visiting with the other contestants. “If you have a chance to do
very rich opportunity and
Once the show aired in something different, be brave
experience,” said Julie.
September, Becki said she was and do it!”
Donaldson speaks at
14th Annual Convocation
ABC News veteran Sam Donaldson
was the featured speaker at the
Convocation on Critical Issues in
October, speaking to an audience of
approximately 2,500. He also attended
a private reception, spoke to about 500
people at a dinner and had an informal
question‑and‑answer session with
about 20 student‑leaders over
breakfast. Sam is pictured with
Dan Boulware, former Board of
• Junior Harvey Jackson had his
untitled photo published in the
“Best of College Photography
Annual 2007,” one of five
percent chosen from more
than 38,000 entries.
• Dr. Kelly Henry, associate
professor of psychology, was
named a finalist for the 2007
Thomas Ehrlich Faculty Award
• Julie Baldwin, instructor of
nursing, was promoted from
captain to major in the United
States Air Force Reserves.
The 2007 Phonathon callers appreciate all who contributed to the phonathon, held
• Teresa Harris, assistant
in October and November. Contributions to the phonathon support the Annual Fund.
professor of art, had a piece
accepted into the 25th Annual
2007 Outstanding Employees
ach year, Western honors Outstanding Administrators, Outstanding National Small Works
E Staff Employees and Distinguished Professors. The recipients were Exhibition, one of the 75
honored at a dinner with Dr. James Scanlon, Western’s president, and chosen from more than
the Board of Governors. 450 entries.
• Anna Smith, junior, in
CONGRATULATIONS TO ...
• Dawn Hansen, accountant,
conjunction with Dr. Sandie
• Dr. James MacGregor, assistant business office
Seeger, assistant professor of
professor of history • Kathy Kelly, administrative biology, and Dr. George
coordinator, student development Patrick from Andrew Taylor
• Beth Wheeler ’77, director of • Roxanna Lawing ’99, foundation Still University, had an article
external relations accounting director published in the journal
• Ken Lewis, locksmith Impulse.
• Jeanne Daffron ’75, associate
vice president of academic and • Ruby Mayes ’97, systems • The four-year programs in
student affairs administrator/programmer, construction and electronics
• Jerry Pickman ’85, director of engineering technology
development • R.E. Moore, director of have been re-accredited
developmental math by the Technology
• James Mulder, library supervisor Accreditation Commission
• Wonda Berry ’84, director of
Outstanding Staff Employees
• Steve Saffell ’99, math coordina- of the Accreditation Board
recreation services for Engineering and
tor, center for academic support
• Trevor Brown, corporal, Technology for six years,
public safety • Tim Talbot ’85, adult basic
education teacher - WRDCC the maximum allowed by
• Brett Esely ’01, assistant athletic the accrediting organization.
director - external relations
6 Western Magazine Winter 2008
Incubator rises along interstate
Christopher S. “Kit”
The newScience and Technology
Incubator is taking shape and is
life sciences training in the region
and beyond. They will move in as
soon as the building is completed.
for employers because they
would not have to spend as many
valuable resources to train new
on track for completion this Dr. Gary Clapp, president and employees,” said Gary. “We’ll
summer, and work has begun to CEO of IIALS, said the institute’s have a regional impact on
attract tenants. The building is approximately 3,000 square-feet economic development.”
located on campus west of of leased space will include a wet Gary said the IIALS lab
Interstate 29. laboratory, classrooms and could be used in Western’s
Dr. Christopher Shove, offices. He said the lab will be set master of applied science
executive director and dean of the up as an industrial lab, which is a programs and for professional
Western Institute and grant writer regulated lab environment, and development for personnel in
for the $2.5 million project, is Western students will be trained area industries. Even high school
working to develop seed capital to on how to work in this type of students may receive training in
invest in those who would use the lab setting. the lab, and other tenants in the
incubator to develop technology Gary said although students incubator will have access to
or a new product. are well trained to work in an the lab as well.
“If we put in place the seed academic lab setting, there are Along with a $2.5 million
capital pool, I’m very confident differences between the two grant from the Federal Economic
we will attract small high types of labs. Development Administration and
technology firms from across the “In a regulated lab $70,764 from the university’s
United States,” said Christopher. environment, you are forced to unrestricted reserves, the IIALS
One incubator tenant already work under guidelines from is funding $125,000 of the cost
committed last spring - the area’s several federal agencies.” And, of the incubator. The 25,000-
Institute for Industrial and he added, the equipment and square-foot building could serve
Applied Life Sciences (IIALS), a documentation procedures differ up to 15 high-technology firms.
joint public/private cooperative in each type of lab. IIALS partners include
effort to enhance “We will create a student Western, the St. Joseph Area
with high value Chamber of Commerce, the City
of St. Joseph, Buchanan County,
and several area
has been its
Western's new science
and technology incubator,
west of I-29 on campus,
is slated to open in the
summer of 2008.
Winter 2008 Western Magazine 7
to find out what it means to be
a Griffon is the of
four-day orientation program,
Last fall, almost 700 incoming
freshmen arrived on campus early
to earn one credit hour and get a
head start on their college
experience. Griffon Edge participants had
Bobbie Delaney, Griffon Edge a campus tour, learned how to use
Griffon Edge participants help repair
coordinator, said her favorite part the library, attended workshops on
concrete steps at the MidCity Excellence
of the program actually occurs topics such as campus email and
Center. A day of service in the community
beyond the four days - she likes textbooks, and participated in a
was part of the orientation program for
running into Griffon Edge Welcome Fair that introduced
the almost 700 new students.
students throughout the semester, new students to campus clubs community for a day, picking up
and seeing how comfortable, and organizations. 14 tons of trash in a 500-block area
confident and involved they are As part of Western’s and performing a variety of tasks
in campus life. She believes the commitment to community at the MidCity Excellence Center.
program plays a large role in service, all Griffon Edge students New students also watched a
those results. fanned out in the St. Joseph movie with a diversity theme,
“Freedom Writers,” and
participated in discussion groups
about it. Nationally renowned
Overheard the first few days ...
motivational speaker Joe Martin
“I’m very excited. I have all my
capped off the program as the
stuff together. I made my bed. I’m ready
featured speaker at the New
to go.” Catherine Williams, freshman,
Higginsville, Mo., on move-in day.
“I think it’s (Griffon Edge) a
good place for questions and for
“She’s doing better than me.”
meeting people,” said freshman
Ora Mae Williams, Catherine’s mom.
Christopher Southard of St. Joseph,
“The people were a lot nicer here
Mo. “I liked seeing the organiza-
(when I visited) than other schools.
tions and how you can get
Above: The Williams Below: The Stuvers
The people won me over.” Joe Bailey,
freshman, Indianola, Iowa, on why he
Megan Gawatz, also from
chose to attend Western.
St. Joseph, said she liked the
movie they watched.
“I like the sense of caring the
“It connected to what we were
faculty has for us.” Jasmine Gray,
talking about,” she said.
freshman, St. Louis.
“We had a great group of
students,” said Bobbie. “I’m
“This is our first one going away,
excited to see what they can do
but we’re doing okay.” Cheryl Stuver,
while they are here.”
mother of freshman Ashlee Stuver,
Brookfield, Mo., on move-in day.
8 Western Magazine Winter 2008
Western assists historic Mt. Mora Cemetery
Wha t began a s a biology cla ss project ha s blossomed in to a multi-depa rtmen t
effort by studen ts, faculty an d sta ff to help preser ve historic
Moun t Mora Cemetery common. The his classes gather
study clearly Geographic Information
in St Joseph, Mo.
. showed the System (GIS) data for
effectiveness of each gravesite last fall.
Assistant professor of modern medi- That information will be
biology Dr. Sandie Seeger’s cine, Sandie said, available online to make it
Biology of Aging class last year and she’s looking easier for people to find
visited the cemetery to record for an appropriate specific graves when they
birth and death dates and journal for the visit the cemetery.
compare survivorship rates results to be Another biology
before and after 1950, when published. professor will also help
the use of antibiotics became But the Mount Mora showcase its
students’ time numerous trees. The
at the cemetery had another result, cemetery was redesigned by
$100,000 donation according to Sandie - they became architect W. Angelo Powell in
fascinated by the beauty and history 1872 in the “rural garden
of Mount Mora, a cemetery that cemetery” style then coming into
he Foundation was
Tsupport scholarshipsthe grant
recipient of a $100,000
dates to 1851, holds the graves of at
least 400 Civil War veterans and
vogue, characterized by a park-like
setting with curvilinear roads and
beautiful landscaping, said
was named to the National Register
traditional students. The grant is of Historic Places last year. Suzanne Lehr, founder of the
a gift of the Thanksgiving Fund, Senior Margaret Justice, the Mount Mora Preservation &
a fund of the American student director of the cemetery Restoration Association. The
Endowment Foundation. The project, suggested creating a Web plantings included a wide variety
money was designated for two site to make people aware of the of tree species, and Dr. John
existing nontraditional student cemetery’s beauty and help preserve Rushin will help the cemetery
scholarships. it, and Western’s Instructional obtain state arboretum status by
“We are grateful to the Media Center took up the challenge. collecting GIS data for all the
donors of the Thanksgiving Rick Brown, Michelle Ritter and trees and labeling them.
Fund for their generosity and Cindy Wells created a site that “One of my goals was to
support of Western,” said Jerry allows visitors to search for specific connect Western more closely with
Pickman ’85, director of graves. The burial records had the community,” Margaret said.
development. “Their gift will already been computerized by “I’d like to get even more people
benefit many nontraditional volunteers and made available on campus involved in the project.”
students.” online through a genealogical Suzanne said her association
Nontraditional students are Web site. appreciates the help. “We started
those who are 25 years or older, But Western’s Mount Mora very small, but with great vision,”
going to college for the first project didn’t end with the she said. “With so many people
time or coming back after an development of the Web site. now involved and with the
absence, or who do not conform Dr. Cary Chevalier, associate support of Western we can
to the definition of a traditional professor of biology, had one of reach our goals.”
Winter 2008 Western Magazine 9
Trading spaces, ra c
named them - Rocky, Bandit and RJ.
A lot of research time was spent
If you’ ve ever
considered buying a tracking the animals to their dens. Once
they found the dens, they marked the
coordinates of the den, thanks to a GPS
home, you’ ve probably
heard the old realtor (Global Positioning Systems) unit.
The students then spent many
days returning to the dens (GPS
adage about the three
made finding them again easy), and
most important things to
measuring 22 variables of the den site,
such as distance from water, type of
consider: “ Location,
den (under a bush, in brush, etc.),
Well, last summer, as part of the height of den from the ground, distance
Summer Research Institute (see next to the nearest tree, number of potential
page), a team of one Western student, sites in the area, and canopy cover.
Steve Hellstrom; and three high school By the end of the research, students
students, Laura Kukuc, Stephanie had discovered 30 dens that the three
Longe and Heather Slawson; set out to males had inhabited and measured
determine if raccoons feel the same variables at 15 of them. Bandit, it
way about the location of their homes, seems, liked to call several places
er, dens, as humans do. “home,” but Rocky and RJ were
The students, under the direction content with fewer abodes.
of Dr. Cary Chevalier, associate The students also selected random
professor of biology, spent several alternate den sites close to the
weeks researching the dens of the little raccoons’ choices and measured the
masked mammals to figure out if 22 variables of those sites as well. If
they really paid attention to certain the raccoons were merely picking sites
amenities when they selected their at random, the team hypothesized, then
dens, or if their choice was randomly the measurements of variables between
made. Unlike humans, where females
have lots of say in home selection, male
raccoons choose the dens, so that’s the
gender they studied. Raccoons
Thanks to Western’s 744-acre
campus with many wooded areas,
the students didn’t have to leave
campus to find dens. They set
up live traps in the woods and be counted
selected three male raccoons from
the animals captured (they also on to do the
trapped a mother opossum and her five
babies, but they released them). They
then placed radio collars on the home-
seekers so they could track them to
their dens. Oh, and of course they
c o o n -style Summer Research
the raccoon dens and the alternate sites should
variety of projects
show little difference.
But they found out the ring-tailed creatures
he summer of 2007 marked
can be selective about their dens, as there was
T the sixth year for Western’s
some differentiation between the raccoons’ dens
Summer Research Institute, and
and the randomly selected sites. The most
projects ran the gamut from solar
important factors seemed to be den height, type
cell technology, to heavy metal
of den and number of potential ground dens.
contamination, to multimedia
Cary said the research will continue this
elements to Buddhist coping to
winter as Western students will measure the
raccoon tracking (see p. 10).
variables at the rest of the identified den sites.
Dr. Ben Caldwell, associate
“Den sites for raccoons have been looked
professor of chemistry, began the
into at other locations, but not in northwest
Institute and has served as its director
Missouri. We know virtually nothing about
for the past six years. He said the
what raccoons do on campus or in northwest
Institute was originally formed to
bring together Western faculty and
He noted that raccoons don’t build their own
students with area high school
dens, but move into pre-existing ones instead.
students for meaningful research,
Laura, now a Western freshman, said she
and that mission has remained
was surprised at how much work was actually
unchanged. Teams usually consist
involved in the research, but she liked the
of one faculty member, one Western
hands-on experience with the raccoons.
student and two or three high
“It was a good experience. I like animals
and nature,” said Laura. “I didn’t expect to get
After eight weeks of research,
to work with the raccoons so much.”
a public symposium is held so
Stephanie changed her perception of
teams can display and discuss
raccoons as “cute and cuddly” after trying to tag
one of the captured mammals. “Raccoons are
“The Summer Research
violent,” she said.
Institute provides opportunities
“But they’re remarkable little critters,”
for entering freshman and high
said Steve, a senior biology major. “Raccoons
school students not ordinarily
can never be counted on to do the ordinary.”
available at larger research
He said tracking them to their dens was
institutions,” said Ben.
“I wasn’t much of a nature person,” said
Stephanie. “But I am now.”
From the top: Heather Slawson and Laura Kukuc
place radio collars on a raccoon; Steve Hellstrom
with a GPS unit; Heather and Steve take measurements;
and Stephanie Longe handles Rocky.
Western Magazine 11
Griff o n S po r ts
Western to host Elite 8 Championships
strong fan base for Division II
Athletics received somehost insti-
news last fall when it learned it women’s basketball.
would once again be the “Missouri Western has a
The early fall sports season
produced honors for four
Griffon student-athletes. Western
tution for the NCAA Division II
Women’s Elite Eight Basketball
history of conducting the
tournament and doing a very fine
volleyball produced three players Championship job,” said Sandy.
that were named to All- in 2009 and “The university also
Tournament Teams in the month 2010. has a commitment
of September: senior middle hitter Although from the community
Alyssa Berg, Bellevue, Neb., and the NCAA Championships to get involved. They’ve proven
freshman outside hitter Meghan Committee considered multiple themselves, and the community
Voelz, Elk Grove, Ill., were both factors in reviewing all of the bids, has embraced Division II basket-
named to the All-Tournament committee chair Sandy Michael said ball. We’re looking for that to
Team of the 2007 Ramada Inn Western’s central location was key happen again and to take it to
Invitational hosted by Western. to the group’s goal of developing a another level.”
Sophomore setter Madison
Benton, Kansas City, Mo., was
named to the All-Tournament
Team of the Cameron
Invitational in Lawton, Okla.
Alyssa became the 14th
Griffon volleyball player in
school history to record over
1,000 kills for her career in
October in a match on the road
at Fort Hays State.
Senior golfer Aaron
Lisenbee, Savannah, Mo., won
the University of Minnesota-
Crookston Fall Central Region
Invitational and helped pace the
Griffons to a tie for second
as a team.
The athletic Hall of Fame class of 2007, from left, Ricky Lowe ’78, Becky Reichard
’99, and Bill Stevens ’81, are pictured with Chuck Zimmerman of Wendy’s, the Hall
New attendance of Fame sponsor. Larry Ingram ’86, and the 1975 baseball team were also inducted.
record 9,007 fans filled
A Spratt Stadium as the Griffons
hosted Northwest Missouri State
Father-son golf winners
University Sept. 15. The previous
attendance record of 8,730 was
reshman Landon Hochenauer teamed
Fthe Ozarks thisFlightsummer.Father-Sonwith ahis father, total ofat135, Lake
Terry, to win the
Golf Championship the
The duo had two-day nine
set back in 2005, also against under par, and won by one stroke.
Northwest. Brad Nurski ’01, and his father, Marty, finished in third place.
12 Western Magazine Winter 2008
Griff on S p o rts campus news
MIAA post-season Sweet victory in Pittsburg
The game produced these
had been 23 years since
ItGriffon football squadathadthe
gone into the “jungle” Pittsburg,
milestones: the highest ranked
opponent Western has defeated on
Kan., and defeated the Gorillas. the road (#7); the first time the
ake plans now to support
That year, a defender named Griffons have ever defeated
Griffon basketball as the
Jerry Partridge ’86, recovered Pittsburg State in back-to-back
teams head to Kansas City’s
an onside kick to help seal seasons; the first time in recent
Municipal Auditorium for the
the victory. history Pittsburg State has allowed
2008 MIAA Basketball
Now the all-time coaching two running backs to rush for
Championships March 6-9.
leader in wins at Western, Jerry over 100 yards; and only the
The Griffon women will open
brought his Griffons to Carnie seventh time in the last 128
action on Thursday while the
Smith Stadium in September and home games that Pittsburg State
Griffon men begin play on Friday.
beat the Gorillas 39-32. has been defeated.
Game times will be determined by
order of finish in the conference
and will be available on March 2.
Watch your alumni e-mails or
Athletics creates Gem Society
go to www.griffonalumni.org for
information on the annual alumni,
Opportunities for femaleand for oftothe athleticwith successfulrecentlyknow
be mentored by them,
the female athletes, are the goals
women in the community to get to
family and friends social that will created Gem Society.
be held around the tournament. The Society kicked off with a luncheon in October which featured
New this year, alumni Dr. Charisse Sparks, a local orthopedic surgeon, as the guest speaker. The
chapters from around the league group plans to host more lunches as well as other activities in the future.
will gather for an official “I would love to see more women in the campus and community
tournament kick-off event called involved with our women’s athletic program,” said Jen Bagley, women’s
“MIAA Rally at the Live.” The softball coach who is spearheading the Society. “It’s important for our
event will take place from 2-6 women athletes to meet successful women.”
p.m. in the new Kansas City
Power & Light District across
the street from the Sprint Center.
Food, beverage and live
entertainment will all be part
of the fun and excitement.
Tickets for this year’s MIAA
Tournament will be available in
the Western Ticket Office on
Feb. 1. To get your tickets, call
A new floor in the M.O. Looney arena was completed in time for the
volleyball season. The floor was funded by the Max Experience, an
athletic fee that was approved by the students.
Western receives $5 million gift
es Remington dropped out of college as a junior that today, 1,200 to 1,500 employees in the area are
W and worked a variety of jobs for a few years, employed by Wes’ firms or their successors.
including road construction, meat delivery and debt He currently owns and operates Pete and Mac’s,
collection. In 1956, he was hired as a sales trainee for an upscale pet daycare and boarding resort with
Anchor Serum in St. Joseph, Mo., a plant that locations in Kansas, Missouri, Colorado, Texas
manufactured serum to and Arizona.
prevent cholera in hogs. “He enjoyed what he did,” Patsy,
And there he found his his wife of almost 55 years, said of
passion for the animal Wes’ career. “For him it was about
health industry. playing the game and winning.”
That more than 50- Did Wes agree with his wife’s
years passion recently led assessment? “I loved it,” he said
to a $5 million gift from fervently. “I feel so fortunate to be in
Wes and his wife, Patsy this business.” He added that, up
’79, for the renovation and until the owner of Anchor Serum
expansion of Agenstein died, Wes sent him a Christmas
Hall, home of Western’s card every year “thanking him for
science and math depart- hiring me.”
ments. It is the largest Wes related that when he started
individual contribution in in the business, customers that he
Western’s history. called on would ask what type of
Wes and Patsy Remington with Dr. Jim Scanlon,
college degree he had. “I’d tell them,
“When you get a gift from a world class ‘I majored in football and I damn
near flunked that,’” he said of his
industry leader like Wes Remington, that college career at Northeast Missouri
State (now Truman State).
is a great commitment to Western and The $5 million gift, Wes said, is
to ensure that workforce development
in the animal health and life sciences
to public higher education in Missouri.”
fields will continue in St. Joseph so
the industry can grow even more.
Dr. Joseph Bragin, provost and vice president of academic & student affairs
“We are delighted by the generosity of Wes and “Patsy and I have always been huge advocates of
Patsy,” said Dr. James Scanlon, Western’s president. wanting St. Joseph to grow,” Wes said. “It’s been a
“Their gift will benefit students, faculty and the region wonderful place to raise our children. St. Joseph has
for decades to come.” been good to us.”
After becoming president of Anchor Serum “I really, really like Missouri Western,” Patsy
(which eventually became Boehringer Ingelheim said. “It fills a very great need in St. Joseph. We’ve
Vetmedica, Inc.) in 1968, Wes started up another watched it grow.”
company for them, and then went on to found or help Wes noted that St. Joseph is part of a life sciences
found “eight or nine” more companies, all relating to corridor in the region where approximately 38 percent
animal health. St. Joseph community leaders estimate of animal health suppliers in the United States
14 Western Magazine Winter 2008
Agenstein Hall plans move forward
A huge impact on the science and math
programs. A showcase for Western.
Those are phrases people have been using to describe the Additionally,
Evan R. Agenstein Hall expansion and renovation project that students will gain
is currently underway. Plans have been approved and ground- pleasant gathering
breaking is scheduled for late spring or early summer. spaces throughout, and
“It’s been an exciting process,” said Dr. Jerry Zweerink, renovations will include Plans are underway for the
professor of chemistry who serves as faculty shepherd on the updating classrooms and renovation and expansion of
project committee. “It’s very exciting to be able to spend more utilities; and expanding Agenstein Hall. The new addition
than $30 million on a building. We’ll have a facility that will office space. In 1969, the will be named Remington Hall to
take us well into the 21st century.” departments had 23 honor Wes and Patsy Remington.
Construction plans include building an addition east of the faculty members. Today
current building that would approximately double its size, and there are 39, along with three graduate assistants.
then renovating the original building. The project, barring The Agenstein Hall project has been in the works since
delays, is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2009. 2002, when U.S. Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond secured
Jerry said the current building, built in 1969, does not $250,000 in federal funds for Western to work with Project
meet the needs of the growing chemistry, biology, and Kaleidoscope/National Science Foundation to draw up plans
computer science/mathematics/physics departments. for the renovation and expansion. The project remained on the
“Things were designed for the ’70s,” he said, “and the state’s capital improvement list since then.
ways we communicate and learn today are drastically different.” Finally last year, the state released $30.1 million for the
Laboratory space is not adequate in the current building, expansion and renovation, and the project received a boost in
and new laboratories will be built in the addition to ensure October when Wes and Patsy Remington donated $5 million
state-of-the-art ventilation systems and equipment. When for the project (see page 14).
completed, both faculty and students will have more space to “It’s been a very positive experience,” Jerry said of the
conduct research. planning. “People are really excited about it.”
Remingtons, continued from p. 14 Other projects included in the capital campaign will
operate. “It’s the largest corridor of animal health be announced in the near future.
in the world.” “When you get a gift from a world class industry
The gift will be added to the $30.1 million leader like Wes Remington, that is a great
funding from the state for the Agenstein Hall project commitment to Western and to public higher
(above), and is the lead gift in a capital campaign that education in Missouri,” said Dr. Joseph Bragin,
is being planned as part of a comprehensive initiative provost and vice president of academic and student
called “Beyond Excellence.” The initiative also affairs. “This is a recognition of Western’s role in
includes the $2.5 million federal grant for the economic and workforce development in the region.”
Christopher S. “Kit” Bond Science and Technology “He has vision,” Patsy said of her husband.
Incubator currently under construction on campus. “That sums it up.”
Winter 2008 Western Magazine 15
An array of a c h i e v e m
Research team receives
The expansion & renovation of Agenstein Hall is just a part of
In November 2006, Jeff and Todd led a team of
students researchers who presented their research
results on the pancake problem at the International
Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) Jamboree at
Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.
irst it was a pancake problem. Then it was a They brought home four awards, including first place
traveling salesperson problem. Whatever the for oral presentation.
next problem may be, the biology and mathematics This past November, a second group of eight
departments now have research funds to work on students presented their traveling salesperson results at
the solutions. the jamboree. For their contribution of genetic parts
Last fall, Dr. Jeff Poet, associate professor of math, and their Web site, poster, and oral presentations, the
and Dr. Todd Eckdahl, professor of biology, received team was recognized with gold medal status, the
the largest National Science Foundation (NSF) research highest level of participation, along with teams from
grant in Western’s history - $170,000 - to fund under- Cal Tech, Cambridge, Harvard, Paris, St. Petersburg,
graduate synthetic biology research for three years. and Tokyo.
The grant pays for summer research stipends for In addition to the official recognition of gold
students and faculty, research supplies, travel money medal status, several faculty from other institutions
for all participants to three conferences per year and encouraged the team to publish their work, and they
funding to bring a renowned leader in synthetic are currently making plans to prepare a manuscript
biology to campus. for submission to a scientific journal.
“This grant is going to allow us to stay at the front of A third team from Western has begun brain-
the pack in synthetic biology,” said Jeff. “It’s exciting that storming and investigating ideas for its 2008 jamboree
it is going to go on for at least three years.” research project.
And what does all this have to do with pancakes Jeff and Todd said one of the great things about
and a traveling salesperson? They are mathematical the grant and the research is the collaboration between
problems, said Jeff, and Western students are engaging the math and biology departments.
One of the great things
in the groundbreaking field of synthetic biology to They believe there is a critical need to train future
design, model and build bacterial computers using research scientists to collaborate between the two
E Coli bacteria to solve those types of problems. disciplines. “This research will help cross train the
about the grant and the
students; all biology students will get more math,
and vice versa,” said Jeff.
research is the collaboration
But the collaboration aspect is much greater
than just between two departments: Western
researchers have been conducting joint research
between the math and
with students and faculty at Davidson College in
Davidson, N.C., since they began research on the
pancake problem. At the 2007 iGEM jamboree, the
two institutions entered the competition as one team.
Additionally, Western and Davidson applied
jointly for the grant, asking NSF to accept both
or neither, and Davidson received $173,000. The
two schools have been holding weekly video-
16 Western Magazine Winter 2008
the e x c i t i n g n e w s from the science & math departments.
Alumnus earns wildlife
conference calls since last fall to discuss their
next research project.
“It’s been a great collaboration, and
we’re thrilled to continue working with
them,” said Jeff.
Freshman Lane Heard, from St. Joseph,
Mo., worked with the 2006 team and attended
yan Evans ‘96 and ’06, a field biologist intern working with the
the jamboree as a high school senior. He was
Bureau of Land Management in Newcastle, Wyo., holds the
the only one from that team on the 2007 iGEM
distinction of being the first Western graduate to apply for and receive the
team, and he has continued with the 2008 team.
associate wildlife biologist certification from the Wildlife Society since the
“This project was the main reason I came
biology department began offering the wildlife, conservation and manage-
here,” Lane said. “It’s interesting and a lot of
ment degree two years ago.
fun. We’re doing work that means something.”
“This is a profound and major benchmark for Missouri Western,”
He said he liked collaborating with
said Dr. Cary Chevalier, associate professor of biology. “I think it’s
Davidson, too. “We get so much more
important that the institution celebrate this accomplishment.”
accomplished. We can share mistakes, and if
Cary said the department specifically tailored the curriculum to meet
we can’t fix it, we can ask Davidson for help.”
“This is a profound and major
the education requirements of the certification, so he was gratified when a
“This gives students a chance to design
reviewer from the Wildlife Society told him that Ryan’s application was the
benchmark for Missouri Western.”
a lab experiment, perform the experiment,
best application he had ever received and the easiest for him to approve.
trouble-shoot any problems and evaluate the
results,” said Jeff. “Such work is not typical
of the undergradate “experience.”
It is not a rubber
stamp,” said Cary.
“The certification Dr. Cary Chevalier, associate professor of biology
is a great resumé
builder,” said Ryan, a native of St. Joseph, Mo. “It sets you apart.”
Cary agreed. “If all things are equal between two candidates for the
same job, the certification is a definite tie-breaker.” Additionally, he
believes that more and more natural resource management positions will
require certification in the future.
Ryan played baseball his first time as a Western student and earned a
natural science in biology degree.
“I was always interested in conservation and I enjoy the outdoors,”
Ryan said. “There’s always something new around the corner.” (Like the
rattlesnake he met in his path one day, he added.)
In his current position he is monitoring habitats and conducting
surveys on five different animal species and writing wildlife survey
protocols. His ultimate career goal is to work with primates in the wild.
Freshman Ziao Zhu greets students from Davidson Ryan said his Western degrees definitely prepared him for his career,
College in North Carolina via the web cam as part of especially after talking to individuals who went to larger institutions.
the collaboration of synthetic biology research between “They didn’t get the one-on-one with professors that I did. I was able
Western and Davidson. During the introductions, Ziao to get a lot of field work.”
realized that she had gone to high school in Chegdu,
Sichuan, China with one of the Davidson students.
Western Magazine 17
Agenstein Hall answers
Two questions have emerged as Western plans for the renovation and expansion of
Agenstein Hall: Who was Evan R. Agenstein? and What about the animal heads?
And the answers are ...
included, I trust it shall mean we can keep the magic
circle of learning at Missouri Western College
Who was Evan R. Agenstein?
In June 1971, when the Science and Math inclusive rather than exclusive, differentiated rather
Building was two years old, the Board than identical, where respect for the
of Regents voted to name it after Evan individual is given priority, and all may
R. Agenstein, longtime professor and learn the meaning of the words - integrity,
chair of the mathematics and physics honesty, reliability, hope.”
“Evan Agenstein was an institution
and a monument at Missouri Western What about the
long before the Science and Math
Building bore his name,” said
Bob Shier ’71. “Evan Agenstein was Gazelle, antelope and moose heads,
perhaps the warmest, kindest, gentlest, oh my. The question refers, of course,
most understanding faculty member to the first thing everyone notices when
I met on campus. He was an excellent they enter the second floor of Agenstein -
teacher, always ready to help those who 32 mounted animal heads - kudus, buffalo,
Evan R. Agenstein
didn’t quite master the intricacies of warthog, rhinoceros and more.
his lectures.” Dr. Jerry Zweerink, professor of
Evan, a Stewartsville, Mo. native, chemistry who is serving on the Agenstein
earned a bachelor’s degree from project committee, said the heads will
Northwest Missouri State University continue to be a feature of Agenstein Hall
and a master’s degree from University even after the renovation. The committee
of Missouri - Kansas City. hopes to secure funding to refurbish the
He was principal and coach at heads and display them in the atrium
Stewartsville High School, superin- between the original building and the
tendent of the Stewartsville school addition. “It will be more like a scientific
district for two years, and math chair display of the animals in their natural
at Lafayette High School for 17 years habitat,” he said. “It will be a display for
before joining the St. Joseph Junior educational purposes.”
College staff in 1958. The mounted animals were a gift in
There he served as chair of the the mid-1970s from Harold and Alma
From the halls of Agenstein
mathematics and physics department until he retired Dugdale. Harold was the president of Dugdale
from Missouri Western College in 1971. He died in Packing Co. of St. Joseph, Mo., and the Dugdales
1988 at the age of 78. were well known for their hunting trips. In the 1950s,
Shortly after the building was named for him, they went on two six-week African safaris, and they
Evan wrote a letter to the St. Joseph News-Press. The also hunted black bear in Alaska. The lion on display
following is an excerpt from that letter: “Science and by the east entrance of the Nelle Blum Student Union
mathematics contribute to the development of talents, is also from the Dugdales.
skills and know-how of students. For my name to be Harold died in 1970 and Alma died in 2004.
18 Western Magazine Winter 2008
alumni news & events
From the Alumni Association President
What are you doing Wednesday? I am excited by the opportunities we
Our alumni chapters in St. Joseph, have as Western alumni to network with
St. Louis, Kansas City, and mid-Missouri one another.
began hosting Western Wednesdays Chapter activities are not just for
in September. Held on the fourth alumni in Missouri. Groups are also
Wednesday of each month, we gather forming in Chicago and Washington, DC.
for fun, friendship, networking and If you would like to know more or would
Happy Hour. like to participate in planning chapter
Western Wednesdays are an events, the chapter chairs are listed
example of just one program being on page 22. Or email them at
organized by our growing number of email@example.com,
regional alumni chapters. Mary Vaughan or go to www.griffonalumni.org.
’79, chair of the Alumni Board’s special
events committee, and all of our chapter
volunteers are working to create With Griffon Pride,
programs such as Western Wednesdays
Jason M. Horn ’95 in an effort to connect with as many
President, Alumni Association alumni as possible.
With almost 14,000 of us living Jason M. Horn ’95
between St. Joseph and St. Louis, President, Alumni Association
10 awarded Alumni Family Scholarships
• Spencer Williams, Roland, Iowa;
to our 10
Congratulationsthe Alumni Family
Scholarship this year! Listed with
• Linzy Fairman, Cameron, Mo.;
Shelley (Kallenbach) Fairman ’82. Barbara Williams ’86.
• Dansare Lawrence, St. Joseph; • Ryan Winger, St. Joseph; Virginia
their alumni parents, they include:
Mary Lynn Lawrence. (Walgreen) Winger ’77.
• James Aldridge, St. Joseph, Mo.;
Janice (Wyrick) Aldridge ’74.
• Bethany Barton, Agency, Mo.;
Donna (Blodgett) Barton ’85.
• Joshua Bennett, St. Joseph;
Debra (Bennett) Burns ’98.
• Sophie Chleborad, St. Joseph;
Adrienne (Ziegler) Chleborad ’06.
• Hollie Cook, Hamilton, Mo.;
Terry ’05 and Leslie ’91, Cook.
• Rhylan Daily, Bethany, Mo.;
William ’73, and Priscilla
(Sawyer) ’72, Daily.
Members of the Alpha Sigma Alpha Sorority face paint guests at the second
Winter 2008 annual drive‑in event for alumni and friends, held at Horseshoe Lake Drive In,
Western Magazine St. Joseph, Mo.
alumni news & events
Alumni Association Distinguished Service Awards 2007
W e celebrated 25 years
of distinguished service
this year, as the first Alumni
Edward H. Haffey
Ed, of Castle Rock, Colo.,
Class of 1962
Dr. R.Gregory Downing
Greg, of Niskayuna, NY,
Class of 1976
Association awards were given earned an associate degree from graduated with a bachelor of
in 1983. This year, we honored the St. Joseph Junior College, a science in chemistry, and earned
four alumni, one professor, and bachelor’s degree from George his Ph.D. in nuclear chemistry
a longtime volunteer and Washington University in from the University of Missouri-
former employee. Washington, DC, and a juris doctor Rolla. He is a research chemist
degree from the University of for the National Institute of
Congratulations to: Colorado School of Law. He served Standards and Technology. He
as a lieutenant in the United States also serves as a consultant for
Navy for three years, making two national and international
extended deployments to Vietnam. businesses and governments on
MaryJane Fields Schoen
During more than 35 years of scientific programs.
Mary Jane is an alumna of the
law practice, Ed specialized in Greg has nine inventions
Class of 1947
St. Joseph Junior College as well
representation of most major and procedures to his credit, six
as a former employee of Western.
property and casualty insurers of which have been patented. In
After earning an associate degree
regarding suspected fraudulent fact, he has invented the highest
in 1947, she earned a bachelor’s
claims activity. He retired in 2005. resolution imaging device that
degree from Northwest Missouri
“My two years at the Junior exists in the world today. Greg
State University in Maryville,
College formed the basis for my has collaborated with scientists
and a master’s degree from the
ability to succeed for the rest of my across the globe on a number
University of Missouri -
undergraduate studies and later in of projects.
law school,” Ed said. “I enjoyed it,” Greg said of
Mary Jane, of St. Joseph,
his student experience. “The
owned and operated a preschool,
chemistry teachers were fantastic.
opened the first kindergarten for
It was truly a student supportive
the Savannah, Mo., school district
Tom is the president and CEO group.”
and opened the first all-day
Class of 1975
kindergarten in the area. of KRM Restaurant Corp., which
Mary Jane developed the owns and operates the 54th Street Dr. Dennis Rogers
early childhood emphasis area for Grill & Bars. He graduated with a
elementary education majors at bachelor of science in business Dennis joined Western as an
Director of Percussion Studies
Western and taught here for 20 administration with an emphasis in adjunct instructor of percussion
years. She retired in 1993 but accounting. in 1978 and became a full-time
taught part time until 2005. She Tom, of Kansas City, Mo., faculty member in 1979. He was
also owns Pigtails ’n Inkwells, served as president and CEO of a named director of percussion
a teaching supply store in direct marketing company with 500 studies in 1981, and has
St. Joseph. employees and $100 million in developed a highly successful
“I appreciated the concern annual revenue. He now owns percussion program at Western.
shown by instructors while I was a twelve 54th St. restaurants. Dennis earned a bachelor of
student,” said Mary Jane. “As a “I had a great education there,” music - percussion performance,
teacher, I tried to remember to Tom said of Western. “I still and a master of music -
share that same concern, care and contend they have one of the best percussion performance from the
empathy for my students.” accounting and finance programs University of Missouri - Kansas
in the area.” City Conservatory of Music.
20 Western Magazine Winter 2008
alumni news & events
experience program that
was being developed at the
time. George also served as
director of the continuing
and vice president for
development and planning.
He retired in 1984.
He earned a bachelor’s
degree in biology from
Eastern Illinois University, a
master’s degree in education
from Millikin University,
and a doctorate in school
administration from Illinois
George has volunteered
2007 Distinguished Service Award
and served on many community
Recipients: Dr. R. Gregory Downing ’76, Mary Jane Fields Schoen ’47,
organizations. As a Western
Dr. Dennis Rogers, Dr. George Richmond. Back row: Dr. James Scanlon, Western’s
employee, he was a great
president; Jason Horn, Alumni Association president; and Ed Haffey ’62.
representative of the institution in
Not pictured: Tom Norsworthy ’75.
He also earned a master of arts - the tireless devotion and
adult and continuing education, commitment of Herb ’35, and the community, and was a leader
an educational specialist degree, Peggy Iffert to Western. The award in exemplifying Western’s
and a Ph.D. in curriculum and is given to an alumnus/alumna, commitment to community
instruction from the University of retiree or other friend of the service and volunteerism. He is
Missouri - Kansas City School university who shows continuous currently serving his second term
of Education. commitment to Western and its on the MWSU Foundation Board
Dennis has been the recipient mission, vision and legacy. of Directors.
of nine merit awards from “Being involved with a
Western and four awards from the new college was very exciting
American Society of Composers, George began teaching in the for me,” said George. “I wanted
Dr. George Richmond
Authors, and Publishers. He has education department at Western in to do everything I could to help
published five books and performs 1969 and became chair in 1970. it grow.”
throughout the world. As chair, he was involved with
“I have enjoyed my Western’s innovative teacher
professional life because of my
students and my peers,” said
Dennis. “My life and purpose has
been to mentor my students.”
The Herb and Peggy Iffert
Award for Outstanding Service
to the University was created by
the Alumni Association Board
of Directors in 2007 to recognize
Winter 2008 Western Magazine 21
alumni news & events
Let’s go to
Angie Durbin ’01,
Take a 10-daythe Dublin
to Shannon, we’ll see the
Sarah Quinlan ’03,
land and tour some of
Ireland’s most historic
Meyer ’02, and
sites. Dr. Robert Shell,
Kim Bax ’05 in
retired associate professor
of Spanish, will lead
What are you doin’ Wednesday? For more information
on travel costs and
itinerary, contact Colleen
he Alumni Association the state - St. Louis, Mid-Missouri,
T has a cure for the mid-week Kansas City and St. Joseph.
Kowich, director of alumni
services, at 816-271-5650.
blues - Western Wednesdays! Western Wednesdays will continue
Hurry! The deadline for a
Last fall, the association kicked off monthly through June and alumni will
$200 deposit is March 1,
meet at a different location each month.
with the remainder due
the mid-week socials on the last
Wednesday of each month for alumni Check out www.griffonalumni.org
and friends at four locations across or call 816-271-5646 for details.
Chapter Corner Grillin’ with the Griffs
The Alumni you are invited to
recently established regional
attend alumni events in your
area! In each issue, we’ll let you
know of upcoming happenings,or,
you can stay informed by checking
out the online community -
The following are the
chairs of each chapter:
Mid-Missouri - John Fabsits ’04
Kansas City - Gini Fite ’01
St. Joseph - Zach Ramsay ’02
St. Louis - Mary Vaughan ’79
More than 200 alumni and friends gathered at Uncle D’s Sports Bar & Grill for a
barbecue before the Western football game against Northwest Missouri State last fall.
22 Western Magazine Winter 2008
alumni news & events
Teacher is first master’s graduate
hen Deb Schwebach ’74, walked across the stage at the Deb, a communication arts teacher, department chair,
W spring commencement ceremony in May, she became the
university’s first graduate school graduate, earning a certificate
curriculum coordinator and professional development chair at
Lathrop R-II High School, has been involved with the PLWP
in the teaching of writing. for five or six years, she said. She was immediately interested in
“It was really nice. I felt very earning the graduate certificate when it became available, as she
honored to be the first,” she said. had already earned hours toward the certificate through PLWP.
The degree prepares “Prairie Lands saved me from teacher burnout,” Deb said.
teachers to use writing as a “I went to the Summer Institute and it rejuvenated me. The
means of improving student impact has been amazing.” It also turned the wife and mother
learning, and is offered through of four children and four stepchildren, and grandmother of
Western’s Prairie Lands Writing 14 into a huge advocate of professional development. Her
Project (PLWP), a professional future goals include focusing more on professional development
development program for writing for teachers.
teachers of all levels. Sixteen In addition to her two degrees from Western, she earned a
students are currently in the master’s in education administration from Northwest Missouri
Deb Schwebach ’74 and ’07. graduate program. State University.
As the very foundation of the university’s
fundraising effort, the Western Annual Fund secures opportunities
in areas critical to the learning experience. Students are benefiting
from special lectures, using state-of-the-art equipment, and
traveling to conferences in their field. These opportunities are
due in large part to the support of alumni and friends through
gifts to the Annual Fund.
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Return to: Alumni Services Office, 4525 Downs Drive, St. Joseph, MO 64507
28 Western Magazine Winter 2008
alumni news & events
Kendell Misemer '81 and Mary Wagner.
Kendell coordinated the agricultural
program's first reunion last September.
This photo, from the 1978 yearbook, shows the Ag Club’s winning float in the
Alumni gather Homecoming parade. The club won the float contest for the record fourth year.
Ag Olympics each year for “I never heard anyone say it was
for ag reunion Homecoming, and of course, a good deal. Everybody was
entering a float in the parade. really upset and hurt.”
omecoming just hasn’t been But the ag department was Kendell said he hopes to hold
H the same since the agriculture more than an active club, said more reunions, and a committee
program closed in the mid-90s; Kendell. The program was of ag alumni is working on ideas
just ask any ag alumnus. only one of two undergraduate for an agricultural program
“We always won all the programs in the nation that display on campus so the
(Homecoming) competitions,” conducted research, and many department won’t be forgotten.
said Margo (Wilson) McPhee ’75. results were published. Each year,
“We made life miserable for the the department hosted Farmers
Greeks.” Field Days to display the research
Margo, with her husband, Jess results, and farmers from the
Margo (Wilson) ’75 and Jess ’77 McPhee
’77, gathered last September with four-state area attended.
visit with former ag professor John Duncan.
about 40 others for the first-ever Sheep and cattle barns once
reunion for Western graduates and dotted the campus along James
friends of the agriculture program. McCarthy Drive, and there were
And sure enough, there at the more than 200 acres of research
reunion were giant trophies from crops.
the Homecoming parade float In 1992, those who had
contests. declared an ag major were allowed
Kendell Misemer ’82, who to finish the requirements for the
organized the reunion, said that degree, but no more majors were
when he was a student, the Ag accepted after that year.
Club was one of the more active “It was terribly disappointing
clubs on campus, sponsoring the (when it closed),” said Kendell.
For the third year in a row,
rain crashed the Homecoming party
on Saturday. Lightning forced the
cancellation of the parade and caused a
two-hour game delay. When the game
finally started, the Griffons beat
Southwest Baptist 49-14.
New this year was an All-Greek
Reunion on Friday evening, which was a
huge hit! Greeks, be sure to mark your
calendar and join us next year.
Thanks to all the alumni volunteers
who helped out during the weekend!
From the top: Although the parade
was canceled, students' floats were
judged on campus: Sigma Sigma Sigma
and Phi Delta Theta Greeks pose by their
floats; alumni enjoy the biology reunion;
queen Chemia Woods, senior speech
communication major; two fans in the
Stadium Club wait for the delayed
football game to start; and friends
and family of R. Gregory Downing,
alumni award recipient, enjoy the
awards banquet reception.