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College of Arts and Science
Summer 2011   Vol. 3, No. 1

College of Arts and Science

   e-Mosaics is published quarterly for the
                                                 From the Editor
      College of Arts and Science at the
            University of Missouri.
          It is distributed via e-mail,
                                                 For this issue, I had the pleasure of writing      undergraduate degree, Bert Bates and Kent
      and it can also be accessed on the         articles about two of my favorite people on        Kreh took different paths in their professional
        Arts and Science Web site at             campus. Mike Watson, the associate director        lives.         of computing services for A&S, has a warm,             Bates became a lawyer and even served a
     Editor/designer: Melody Galen,              friendly way about him. He’s always in high        term as a member of the University Board of
  313 Lowry Hall, University of Missouri,        demand — seems everyone has a computer             Curators. Kreh has traveled all over the world
    Columbia, MO 65211, 573-884-0120             question for him: ”Mike! Do you have a sec-        and seen first hand the differences in cultures
 E-mail:                     ond?” But computers aren’t the only things         and social mores. Both men say that the
 Contributing writer: Laura Lindsey              to fill his life. You can read about some of the   broad education they received in A&S, and
 College Web site:             activities that fill his free time.                their political science degrees, in particular,
 Cover photo: Mike Watson fly fishing at             The Southern upbringing of my next             helped them achieve success in their careers.
 Mills Lake in Rocky Mountain National           subject, the gregarious and charming Profes-           MU is a place to launch yourself into
 Park. Photo courtesy of Mike Watson.            sor James Miller, is readily apparent. His years   myriad careers, and the College of Arts and
 Photo of Swallow Hall on Page 2 taken by        directing and choreographing musicals for          Science is integral to that. We’re the begin-
 Dan Glover.                                     MU have left him with plenty of stories to         ning of nearly all those career paths, but we
                                                 share. On Page 12, you can read about his          can also be the end of them, too. I think I like
                                                 experiences hoofing it onstage and teaching        that.
                                                 others to do it, too.                                                               —Melody Galen
                                                     Laura Lindsey has written stories about                                 BA ’90 English, BS Ed ‘90
                                                 two alumni from our political science depart-
                                                 ment. Though they began with the same

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Contents      3 From the Dean
              4 William H. Bates: A Dedicated Alumnus
              7 Mike Watson: Where There’s Smoke, Let There Be Barbecue
              9 Kent Kreh: Alumnus Travels Around the World
             12 Jim Miller: Southern Boy
             15 Class Notes

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                               As clichéd as it        something we’re proud of, and we’re sure that          It’s a fair question to wonder why we
                               is, sometimes it’s      taxpayers will approve, too.                       would spend the money on something like a
                               true that the more          Even faced with a shrinking pool of faculty    survey when money is so tight. The simple an-
                               things change, the      as a result of budget cuts and a hiring freeze,    swer is that we really do care what our gradu-
                               more they stay the      we have an ever-growing student population.        ates think. Are they proud of their alma ma-
                               same. The econo-        A&S loses, on average, 10 faculty a year to re-    ter? Do they think we do as good a job now
                               my is still kind of a   tirement alone. But that burgeoning student        as when they were students? What can we
                               mess, the university    body means that the faculty and staff we do        do to get them involved in the college? That
                               still struggles to do   have must meet more and more needs. It’s not       last one is an important question. We depend
                               what is required        always an easy matter to accomplish what’s         on people outside the university for so many
                               with fewer and          necessary for the students who come to MU          things — alumni activities, departmental
                               fewer resources,        for their educations, but we constantly reas-      alumni boards, and the like.
and, best of all, there are still plenty of reasons    sess the situation and find creative ways to get       Yes, we do have a lot of work ahead of us,
to be proud of what we accomplish at MU.               it all done.                                       but no matter the economic situation, there
   I’m thrilled to be able to say that the                 On the topic of getting things done, in June   will always be a lot of work to be accom-
much-needed renovations of Tate and Swit-              we mailed just under 30,000 surveys to alum-       plished — it’s just part of what we do. Fortu-
zler halls are complete. Faculty, staff, and           ni of the college. We chose as a sample those      nately, our wonderful faculty and staff consis-
students in the departments of English and             alums who are 40 and older. Our goals were         tently demonstrate that they’re up to the task.
communication are in the process of mov-               to update our records, reacquaint ourselves                                —Dean Michael J. O’Brien
ing back in and familiarizing themselves with          with graduates with whom we’ve lost touch
their refurbished surroundings. The fact that          over the years, find out what they’ve been up
two buildings were essentially dismantled              to, and perhaps to elicit helpful suggestions as
and then reassembled for under $15 million is          to how we might improve the things we do.

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     Alumnus Has Dedicated His Life to His Profession,
                                      His Community,
                                                  By Laura Lindsey

W                                     His Alma Mater
William H. Bates, BA ’49 political science, has
been a leader in the law profession and in
the community of Kansas City for decades.
His unselfish devotion and tireless work ethic
have garnered him many esteemed honors,
                                                  positions on boards, and seats on numer-
                                                  ous committees of the Missouri Bar and
                                                  other not-for-profit entities. Bates says he
                                                  acquired the skills and knowledge to be suc-
                                                  cessful when he was a student in the College
                                                                                                    considering what usually happened on
                                                                                                    Friday nights.”
                                                                                                        One of the highlights of his college career
                                                  of Arts and Science in the mid-1940s, after he    was the homecoming football game in 1948.
                                                  returned home from serving overseas in an         The Tigers beat the undefeated, fourth-
                                                  infantry division.                                ranked Mustangs from Southern Methodist
                                                                                                    University in front of the largest crowd in
                                                  The More Things Change…                           Memorial Stadium to that point — 30,000.
                                                  Although Bates graduated 62 years ago,            All-American Doak Walker from SMU went
                                                  the stories he tells are familiar from today’s    on to win the Heisman trophy that year, but
                                                  headlines on campus. The record enrollment        even he was no match for MU quarterback
                                                  for the fall 2010 semester brought shortages      Guy “Bus” Entsminger that day. The atmo-
                                                  of living and classroom space, but that was       sphere Bates described on campus after that
                                                  not the first time the university experienced     win seemed similar to the one experienced
                                                  these types of growing pains. In 1946, Bates      by Tiger fans after the 2010 Homecoming
                                                  remembers the university bursting at the          win over Oklahoma.
                                                  seams because of returning World War II
                                                  veterans registering for college as well as the   Discovering a Calling
                                                  other enrollees.                                  Bates recalls the courses he took in English,
                                                      “Classes were crowded and a lot of them       history, government, political science, ac-
                                                  were held either early in the morning, late at    counting, and statistics. He says they pro-
   Bert Bates has been a devoted friend of        night, and even on Saturday mornings,” says       vided him with a sound base for what he
   the university; he even served on the          Bates. “I had an English literature class early   later learned in more detail at the University
   Board of Curators in the 1980s.                on Saturday, which was always a struggle,         of Michigan School of Law. Those under-

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graduate classes stimulated                                                                                                     has worked his entire career.
an intellectual curiosity in him                                                                                                Today, he counsels young
to learn more and to prepare                                                                                                    lawyers who have questions
himself for a career and fur-                                                                                                   about their cases or have
ther studies.                                                                                                                   issues that Bates has previ-
    He spent some time                                                                                                          ously handled. Prior to that,
socializing and relaxing at                                                                                                     he was a partner with the
The Shack and an establish-                                                                                                     firm and served as the man-
ment off campus called The                                                                                                      aging partner for five years.
Outside Inn, but Bates recalls                                                                                                  In that role, he provided the
it being a very serious time for                                                                                                leadership for all the execu-
him and the other veterans                                                                                                      tive decisions regarding the
who returned home from the                                                                                                      operation of the firm.
war. He joined the Beta Theta                                                                                                       In addition to his job
Pi fraternity and remembers it                                                                                                  of representing his clients
being a very different atmo-                                                                                                    properly, Bates has quite a
sphere than what was depict-                                                                                                    history of being involved in
ed in the movies.                                                                                                               civic and charitable work. He
    “We had a good time, but                                                                                                    served on the board of direc-
we were also very serious                                                                                                       tors for the American Red
about why we were there,” he                                                                                                    Cross Kansas City chapter for
said. “Living in the fraternity                                                                                                 eight years, as president of
house was beneficial and            The 1983 Board of Curators — seated: David W. Lewis and William G. Cocos Jr.; middle        the Missouri State Chamber
enlightening, and I made            row: Jeanne V. Epple, Larry L. Robinson, James C. Olson (then university president), W. H. of Commerce, as president
some very good friends in           “Bert” Bates, and Marian O. Oldham; back: Doug Russell, Kenneth R. Heath, and Tom K.        of The Missouri Bar, as chair
that house.”                        Smith Jr.                                                                                   and board member of the
     It wasn’t until his junior                        Supreme Court, and throughout the years of                               Greater Kansas City Chamber
year at MU that he decided he wanted to                knowing them, he developed an apprecia-                 of Commerce, and as chair of the Hawthorne
be a lawyer. He had always been interested             tion for their abilities.                               Foundation.
in political science, and, because he grew                                                                         “I grew up feeling an obligation to help
up in Jefferson City, he had access to many            Giving Back                                             the community because my parents were
lawyers whom he admired. In fact, several              At the age of 85, Bates is senior counsel at            that way,” says Bates. “I have a desire to be a
of his friends’ fathers were on the Missouri           the law firm Lathrop & Gage LLP, where he               contributor to the welfare of the community

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and to contribute to the favorable image of           Bates has been recognized in many ways
my profession as a lawyer.”                       for his longstanding record of philanthropic
    He has also volunteered his time to his       and legal service. In 2009, he received the
alma mater. He was appointed by Gov. Kit
Bond in 1982 to serve on the University of
                                                  Outstanding Kansas Citian Award from the
                                                  Kansas City Rotary. In addition, he has re-           Arts and
Missouri Board of Curators for a six-year term.
During that time the curators accomplished
                                                  ceived the Oxford Cup — an award that rec-
                                                  ognizes achievement from his social frater-           Science
many tasks. One issue included supporting
MU President Peter Magrath’s recommenda-
tion to divest $5 million in university invest-
                                                  nity, Beta Theta Pi — and the Whitaker Award
                                                  for Outstanding Services, among many
                                                  others. In 1991, Bates was one of the first
ments in firms that operated in South Africa      recipients of the Geyer Public Service Award,         Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with
that did not subscribe to the Sullivan Prin-      which recognizes those who contribute their             Wynton Marsalis, 7:00 p.m., Tues.,
ciples, which encouraged racial equality.         time to support education. The award was                Sept. 27, Jesse Hall
    During Bates’ tenure, the curators also       named for legislator Henry S. Geyer, who
developed an educational exchange pro-            wrote the Geyer Act in 1839, establishing the         Inaugural Arts and Science Golf
gram with the University of Cape Town for         public school system in Missouri, and thus              Tournament, Fri., Oct. 7
students and faculty — one of the first of        MU.                                                   Commencement, 3:30 p.m., Sat., Dec. 17,
its kind — and they helped to create the              “The award is symbolic,” he says. “MU was           Hearnes Center
pedestrian street now known as Lowry Mall.        the first land-grant university west of the           2012
Prior to that, the mall was a driving street      Mississippi, and receiving an award named             A&S Signature Concert: Chucho Valdés
and Bates remembers that white campus             after the man who created that is a signifi-            and the Afro-Cuban Messengers, Sun.,
felt like a different world from red campus       cant honor.”                                            Feb. 12, Missouri Theatre
when he was a student. Closing the street             Today, Bates is slowing down a little, and        Arts and Science Week, Feb. 20–24
and constructing Lowry Mall makes a great         he says jokingly that his job now is to just get
                                                                                                        Scholarship Reception, Tues., Feb. 21
difference on the entire campus, says Bates,      up in the morning, but he admits that he still
because it connects red campus to Memo-           has the attitude that when he is asked to do          Chancellor’s Concert, 7:30 p.m., Mon.,
rial Union and it gives the students a place to   something he will step forward and help.                Mar. 5, Jesse Hall
congregate.                                           “I’m a self-starter and a doer,” he says. “If I   A Taste of Arts and Science, Sat., Mar. 10
    “Serving on the Board of Curators was the     decide that something is worthwhile, I won’t          Commencement, 1:00 p.m., Sat., May 12,
highlight of anything I have ever done,” says     wait for people to twist my arms, I just go to          Hearnes Center
Bates. “It was a satisfying experience to work    bat for it.”                                           Several of the links above will take you to a
on something where I was contributing to a                                                                       different Web site than A&S
worthwhile institution.”

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   Where There’s Smoke…                                                                                  the magic that keeps most machines up and
                                                                                                         running on a daily basis. Not everyone under-
                                                                                                             stands how all their magic works, but we’re
                                                                                                             glad to have Mike and company around.
By Melody Galen
Many of the faculty and staff throughout                                                                         So, back to the beginning of the story:
the college will recognize the name Mike                                                                     Watson met Melissa in school at MU, and
Watson, and if they don’t, they probably                                                                     right about the time he would have gradu-
should. He’s the one ultimately respon-                                                                      ated, they moved to California to be clos-
sible for keeping all the various computing                                                                  er to her family. When they came back to
devices working properly.                                                                                    Columbia, shortly after their first child
    Watson, BGS ’04, began working in                                                                        was born in 1995, Watson began doing
the chemistry department at the end of                                                                       computer work for the chemistry depart-
1995 when he and his wife, Melissa, BS Ed                                                                    ment, and that job eventually morphed
’90, moved back to Missouri from Cali-                                                                       into the one he has now. While he was
fornia. He had done a bit of surfing on the                                                                  taking care of the chemistry Web site
dot-com wave — for about six years he                                                                        and managing their Novell server, he also
worked in the computer industry in Sac-                                                                      finished up the degree that he’d left hang-
ramento. “It was an exciting time — a lot                                                                    ing. The three components of his general
of fun,” remembers Watson.                                                                                   studies degree are chemistry, computer
                                                                                                             science, and religious studies.
We’re in Charge of Magic
Working at a little computer company in                                                                     The Lure of the Great Outdoors
California is where he initially learned                                                                    Mike and Melissa have two teenagers at
how all the technology worked, and that                                                                     home. So what would his perfect day off
served as a solid base for what he does                                                                     be? Watson says he would probably go fly
now. “I was in computers already. I was                                                                     fishing at Bennett Springs or Montauk
                                                 Mike Watson tending the grill at the barbecue compe-
good at it,” he says.                                                                                       State Park — he’d go to Colorado if he had
                                                 tition at the 2010 Roots n Blues n BBQ Festival, held
    As associate director of computing                                                                      more time. He and his family do several
                                                 in downtown Columbia.
services for the College of Arts and Sci-                                                                   outdoor activities together: backpacking,
ence, Watson is the lead techie over a                                                                      fishing, hunting, hiking, and camping.
staff of nine people who maintain 3,500
computers and a whole scad (that’s a technical
term) of other devices in A&S. They perform                           Let There Be Barbecue
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                                                   when people kept telling them, “Oh, this is the          “Most people never taste barbecue the way
                                                   best barbecue I’ve ever had!”                        it comes out in competition — unless you
                                                                                                        judge it — it’s a different level,” Watson be-
                                                   Best in the World?                                   lieves. “It’s so much better than anything you
                                                   “The best barbecue in the world is about 30th        can buy because you spend 24 hours working
                                                   place in most competitions,” he says with a          on one piece of meat. Getting it just right.”
                                                   chuckle. “One time we got a third place, but             Personally, Watson likes his barbecue
                                                   that was in the dessert category. Mark baked         sauce on the spicy side, but in competition he
                                                   an apple pie, and we got third for that. But in      has to find a balance because one judge may
                                                   the meats, 18th is about as high as we’ve gotten.”   like it hot, while another prefers the tang of
                                                       A team cooks pork shoulder, ribs, chicken,       vinegar. “But you’ve got to have something
                                                   and beef brisket for the judging. He describes       that differentiates your sauce from everyone
                                                   it as a big party starting Friday morning with       else’s,” he says. Despite not making any money
                                                   everyone making preparations to start cook-          from the barbecue circuit, Watson enjoys
Mike Watson and his daughter, Maddie, at Elev-     ing in earnest that night.                           cooking and judging, although he admits to
enmile Canyon, Colo.                                   “You really start cooking about midnight,        not being wild about cooking in July or Au-
                                                   and then it gets really busy between 6 a.m.          gust. It’s too hot. Better to be a judge then.
And make no mistake — they are tent camp-          and noon when you start turning everything
ers, they do not camp in a camper of any sort.     in,” Watson explains. The Sweet and Sassy
He laughlingly dismisses that idea, “You’re        guys do around three competitions a year, and
RVing then!”                                       Watson also judges some competitions when
                                                   he’s not cooking.
Sweet and Sassy                                        It’s a double-blind judging system. Com-
Another activity that takes him outside is         petitors have a number on the box that they
competition barbecuing. About five years ago,      bring to the judges, then that number is
a friend from church moved and didn’t want         changed, and the food goes to six judges at a
to take a huge smoker with him, so Watson          table. A judge doesn’t taste the same team’s
bought it. “It’s pretty big. We can cook for       product more than once — he might get team
about 400 or 500 people if we need to,” he says.   A’s chicken, team D’s pork, team J’s ribs, and
    Watson, neighbor Mark Johnston, and            so on. The judges score it, then the Kansas
Paul Musket, who works at the University           City Barbeque Society representatives take all
Bookstore, formed a competition barbecue           the scores, tabulate them, weight them, and
team — Sweet and Sassy — three years ago           come up with a final score.                          Mike Watson and his son, Zach, at Fall River Pass
                                                                                                        in Rocky Mountain National Park.

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Alumnus Travels Around the World
A&S Education and Midwest Upbringing Keeps Him Disciplined

By Laura Lindsey                                 helped him be successful. His career
Fifty-four years ago, Dwight D. Eisenhower       has allowed him the luxury of traveling
was president of the United States, Ameri-       around the world to work with people
can Bandstand was launched nationally, the       of different backgrounds and to see
first Frisbee® was produced, and the first       things with his own eyes that he was
member of the Kreh family graduated from         only able to view in a book before.
the University of Missouri. Kent Kreh, BA ’57        “My French classes helped me com-
political science, might have been the first,    municate in France,” says Kreh. “The art
but he certainly wasn’t the last. Since 1957,    classes helped me, in Paris, Milan, and
17 members of his family have attended MU.       Rome, to identify and appreciate what I
Their fields of study have included nursing,     saw in the museums there.”
education, and business, but the person who          Kreh was required to take intro-
started it all studied in the College of Arts    duction to theater with H. Donovan
and Science.                                     Rhynsburger — the person credited
    The 1956 yearbook, The Savitar, says, “The   for developing the dramatic activities
underlying aim of the College of Arts and        on campus and for whom the campus
Science is to broaden the view of the world;     theater is named.
to make every bite taste better.” Not much           “We spent class time listening to
has changed with the college’s philosophy        recordings of Broadway plays, and he
since then, and Kreh will acknowledge the        required us to go to the library to read
broad education he received here has served      the theater section of The New York
him well.                                        Times,” says Kreh. “That is just an ex-
                                                                                            Dottie and Kent Kreh.
                                                 ample of a required course that I never
A Beneficial Education                           thought I would use, but my wife and
Although his major was political science,        I have attended over a hundred Broad-                  Kreh says that anyone who attended MU
Kreh was required to take art, theater, and      way shows, and I look back at what I learned       in the ’50s and ’60s will remember “Black
foreign language classes that ultimately have    in that course every time we go.”                  Jack” Mathews. Known for his black-rimmed

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glasses and buzz cut, he was the dean of           Company. Although his degree was in politi-         volved with a lot of negotiations and dealings
men and made sure nothing went wrong               cal science, the company was more interest-         with people around the world,” says Kreh.
with the male students. As a student, Kreh         ed in the fact that he had a degree and was             He found himself involved with licens-
recalls two encounters with the dean. The          less interested in which subject it was.            ing and expanding the Weight Watchers
first one revolved around Kreh’s position as                                                           brand and industry in other countries; his
pledge trainer for his fraternity. One night                                                           background in political science helped him

the pledge class kidnapped him and left him                                                            because he was aware of the international
stranded outside of town. The dean heard                                                               community and government relations.
about the incident from the farmers who                                                                    “I was able to expand a domestic business
rescued Kreh and transported him back to                      here we were with a                      into an international business because of my
campus. He was told to never allow that kind        $10-million ad campaign that                       degree in political science.”

of thing to happen again.                                                                                  For 10 years, Kreh successfully ran the
    The second incident occurred when
                                                    was dead in the water.                             Weight Watchers Publishing Group which in-
the dean gave him a strange message that                                                               cluded cookbooks, a television show hosted
someone wanted to see him. He was told to                                                              by Vanessa Redgrave, and a magazine before
go to the third floor of Read Hall, which was          “At the time, I didn’t think I would have the   he was assigned the responsibility of presi-
odd, according to Kreh, because he was not         opportunity to maximize the academic skills         dent and CEO. During the mid-1990s, Weight
aware that Read Hall had a third floor. As he      I acquired in political science, so I thought I     Watchers was suffering from a dated brand
walked up to the room, he saw a man sitting        would give marketing a try,” says Kreh.             image, but within three years, Kreh was able
behind a card table waiting for him. The man           As it turns out, Kreh is really good at mar-    to refocus the company and refresh the im-
was with the Central Intelligence Agency           keting and sales.                                   age around spokesperson Sarah Ferguson,
and was interviewing students for possible             From that position, Kreh held sales and         Duchess of York, to break all previous profit,
employment. The interview lasted two hours,        management positions at Bristol Myers               revenue, and attendance records.
but Kreh either didn’t qualify or he didn’t give   and General Mills before being recruited by
the right answers, because he never heard          Weight Watchers International, which was            A Tragedy Halts Progress
back from them.                                    then owned by the H.J. Heinz company. As            In 1997, Kreh produced a commercial sched-
                                                   their marketing director, he was required to        uled to air on Labor Day that featured the
A Degree Put to Good Use                           travel extensively overseas.                        Duchess. On the Sunday before Labor Day,
Kreh’s first job was in the junior executive           “This is when my background in political        Kreh heard the announcement of Princess
training program in marketing at Ford Motor        science came into play because I was in-            Diana’s death as a result of a car accident.

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The reports said the accident was because         where they look for businesses to acquire so     “She has had to make sacrifices to come with
of aggressive paparazzi. Kreh panicked. He        they can expand them and then sell them.         me. The bottom line is that she has played
immediately went to work on pulling all the                                                        an instrumental role in my success and has
commercials before they aired.                    A Midwest Work Ethic                             always been by my side.”
    “One of the lines in the commercial had       Kreh’s career has taken him to Minneapolis,          Kreh has also donated his time and
the Duchess of York saying, ‘Dieting is more      New York, and around the world, but he cred-     talents to the Board of the American Heart
difficult than outrunning the paparazzi,’” says   its his Midwest upbringing for his success.      Association in New York City, the New York
Kreh. “So, here we were with a $10-million ad         “It has been a combination of being          Health Research Board, and the St. Louis Art
campaign that was dead in the water.”             rooted in the discipline of someone from the     Museum. In addition, he is a member of the
    After a few weeks of no commercials           Midwest, a high work ethic, and recognizing I    Arts and Science Strategic Development
airing, a press conference was held in the        was helping people that motivated me,” says      Board.
Rainbow Room in New York City, where              Kreh.
Ferguson made her first statement about her           While at Weight Watchers, people would
sister-in-law’s death and then filmed a new       tell him stories about how the program
commercial.                                       saved their lives, marriages, and their re-
    “Normally a commercial like that would        lationships with their children. When he
only attract a dozen people, but there were       realized that he was in a business that could
about 100 people in attendance for that           significantly impact people, it had a great
one,” says Kreh. “From that point on, Weight      influence on his enthusiasm for making that
Watchers turned around. It was incredible         company successful.
what she did for our brand.”
    Kreh was so successful in building the        His Personal Side
company that they were able to sell it for        Work isn’t Kreh’s only passion, however. He
$735 million in 1999.                             met his wife, Dorothy Burgess Kreh, BS Ed ’58,
    He then served a brief time with U.S.         on a blind date, and they dated throughout
skincare retailer and spa operation Georgette     college.
Klinger before serving as chairman of the            “All of the fun and excitement and re-
board with Jenny Craig Inc. Today he sits         wards I have experienced have to be attrib-
on the senior advisory board at ACI Capital       uted to the support from my wife,” says Kreh.

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                   Jim Miller                                                                             Marsha worked at Trafalgar Limited, a com-

                       Southern Boy
                                                                                                          pany that produced belts and handbags.
                                                                                                              Miller has a philosophy about why some
                                                                                                          people are able to make it in the theater world
                                                                                                          and some cannot. “In the 30 years I’ve been
                                                                                                          here, I’ve watched dozens of talented, talented
By Melody Galen                                                                                           people leave and go to New York or Chicago
It’s fair to say that one of the first things one   for a play and “was hooked.” Through his years        or L.A. and not be able to make it,” he says.
might notice upon meeting Professor James           at USM, he performed in plays and musicals,           “Kids from military families do very well in
Miller is his accent.                               even doing a United Service Organizations             show business because they’ve lived all over,
     “I’m a Southern boy,” Miller proclaims. “I     (USO) tour as a senior. At the height of Viet         they’ve had to make new friends, go into situ-
grew up in Mississippi. It’s kind of part of my     Nam, he says, they played wherever soldiers           ations they don’t know.”
identity — my accent, I think, gets thicker         were taking R&R.                                          He explains that he and Marsha couldn’t
every year.”                                            They returned to the states, Miller finished      live without
    One might think that it would have been         up his master’s of fine arts, graduated on the        knowing
diluted a bit after 30 years of working at Miz-     23rd of May, got married on the 26th, and then        where the
zou, in the middle of Missouri. But it has not.     left the next day to do summer stock in South         rent was going
Still thick as molasses in January.                 Carolina. His partner through all of that, es-        to come from.
    Miller decries the assumption that just         pecially the marriage part, is Marsha Miller,         “And you
because one is from a small town in the South,      who also worked in the theatre department             have to have
one must be uncultured. “It’s just not true! It     until retiring this past March.                       that.” They
was not Dogpatch,” he says. “My piano teacher           In their early years together, the couple         were bright,
got a double major in violin and piano in the       lived in New York for a short time, they              they had a
’20s, and she played for all the touring Broad-     helped found a theater in West Virginia, and          good work
way shows. So I knew about Gershwin and             they taught in Florida for two years. Then it         ethic, and

                                                                                                                                                            Photo by Mallory Taulbee
Cole Porter because that was the pop music of       was back to New York for four more years.             they knew the
her day.”                                               “I used that time,” says Miller. “I studied il-   arts. “Marsha
                                                    lustration at the Fashion Institute of Technol-       was good at
Starting Out                                        ogy.” He took drawing classes twice a week for        design stuff,
Miller began college at the University of           three years and went to Parsons for costume           I was good at
Southern Mississippi as a commercial-art            design classes. To pay the bills he worked as an      the television
major with the intention of becoming an il-         art director at an advertising agency creating        stuff, but it
                                                                                                          was not the-       Professor James M. Miller
lustrator. In his freshman year, he auditioned      storyboards for television commercials, and

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I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change!, a musical directed and designed by Miller for Summer Rep-          The Grass Harp, directed and designed by Miller
ertory Theatre in 2009.                                                                                     in 2009
                                                                                                                                               Photos by Mallory Taulbee

ater. It was not what we wanted to do,” Miller          ginning of a strong musical theater program.      to death that I was going to back up while di-
says.                                                   The department had done musicals before,          recting and into the pit I’d go. So far it hasn’t
                                                        but none of the directors were choreogra-         happened.”
Chance Meeting                                          phers. Miller is a director/choreographer,            One summer Miller was directing 42nd
In 1979, he went to Atlanta, looking for a job          which he sees as a strong advantage.              Street, and a young woman in the chorus got
as a costume designer in a university theater.              “The thing you get with a director/cho-       sick before a performance. As it turned out,
He knew he wouldn’t be making much money,               reographer is a total vision of the movement      each chorus girl had a short solo before it
but he’d be doing theater all the time — not            of the piece. You don’t stop when the music       became a group number. Miller knew they
seeking to do it, but doing it. By happy cir-           starts and have somebody else take over. In-      didn’t have time to change the choreography,
cumstance, the Millers met Larry Clark, for-            stead there’s kind of a through line,” he says.   and it was fortunate that she was the first one
mer A&S dean, who was head of the theatre                                                                 up. “They brought me up a tux, I put on some
department at that time. Clark asked them to            On Stage                                          dance shoes, and I knew I had 16 measures.
come to Columbia, and the rest, as they say, is         Miller has had students who walked off the        So I did the first 16 measures as if I was intro-
history.                                                stage and fell into the orchestra pit three       ducing the girls,” he says. “I just improvised a
    His first semester here that fall, the person       times. “One was in Pippin. The woman sing-        dance. That was wonderful fun for the stu-
who was going to direct Cabaret backed out,             ing Bertha, the grandmother, she’s singing,       dents to see me in that predicament.”
and Miller was asked to do it. He directed,             and all of a sudden she’s just down in the or-        Miller also played the governor in The Best
choreographed, and designed costumes for                chestra pit,” he remembers. “She kept singing     Little Whorehouse in Texas, which, he says, is
Cabaret in what has turned out to be the be-            and crawled back up. I’ve always been afraid      the perfect role. “You have 14 lines, they’re all

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funny, you sing a song, do the sidestep num-      Keeping Culture Alive
ber, you do a tap dance, and you’re through.      Aside from fostering talent such as
And the audience goes crazy seeing an old         Jon Hamm, Chris Cooper, and Tom
man tap dance.” Well, really, what more could     Berenger, Miller feels that a theater
an actor/director/teacher ask for?                department such as MU’s has a larger
    One of the things he values most is the       purpose. “If you don’t have these
opportunity to literally be front row in his      things that people are exposed to, then
students’ and casts’ development. The 2011        civilization and culture dies,” he be-
Summer Repertory production of Chicago            lieves.
was very well received, with full audiences.          Miller has a story about the cul-
“Chicago is a well-known show — but each          tural value of theater. When Donovan
production has its own quality, its own stamp,    Rhynsburger came to MU in the 1930s,
and owes that quality to the performers in it,”   he held a one-act play contest, and it
Miller says. “This summer’s Chicago had some      happened that Tennessee Williams en-
of the best talent we’ve seen in this depart-     tered his play in it, but it didn’t win. “It
ment in years!”                                   whetted his appetite, though,” Miller
                                                                         says. “Would that
                                                                         have happened if
                                                                         he had not been
                                                                         exposed to theater
                                                                         as a student, would
                                                                         we not have The
                                                                         Glass Menagerie                                 Click image for a slide show of Professor Miller’s
                                                                         and Cat on a Hot                                Mississippi sketches and costume designs. Clicking
                                                                         Tin Roof?”                                      will take you to another page on the A&S Web site.
                                                                 Photo by Mallory Taulbee

                                                                                            A scene featuring “Roxie” in the
                                                                                            2011 Summer Repertory produc-
                                                                                            tion of Chicago.

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Class Notes                                                                                       for the Indiana University Libraries. He has
                                                                                                  previously held positions in international
                                                                                                  programs and communications for the IU

Class Notes                                                                                       Kelley School of Business.


Class Notes                                                                                       Paitoon Rashatasakhon, PhD chemistry,
                                                                                                  received the Wiley-Chemical Society of
                                                                                                  Thailand Outstanding Publication Award in
1948                                            Arts and Sciences. She had been serving as
Raymond D. Cliffe Jr., BA art, was recently     interim dean since July 2009.                     2011
elected to the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame                                                       Chad Parmenter, PhD English, will join the
and to the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame as a
                                                1998                                              Luther College faculty in August as a visit-
                                                Jamenda McCoy, BA interdisciplinary stud-
Metro Legend.                                                                                     ing professor in the English department. He
                                                ies, is practicing law at the Baker and Daniels
                                                                                                  previously taught at Southern Illinois Univer-
1970                                            downtown Chicago office, and she serves
                                                                                                  sity from 2003 to 2005 and at MU from 2006
James A. Heeter, BA political science, has      on the editorial board of the American Bar
                                                                                                  to 2011.
been elected president of the Kansas City       Association’s Perspectives magazine.
Metropolitan Bar Association. He serves as      Antwaun Smith, BA religious studies, JD ’07,
president and chief executive officer of the    has been appointed by the governor of Mis-
Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.        souri to the Missouri State Employees Retrie-      Got Notes?
                                                ment System board of trustees.                     If you have news to share with us, please
1977                                                                                               forward it to Melody Galen at GalenM@
Ty Christian, BA speech and dramatic art,       1999                                      We’d love to hear from you!
was selected by the Hospitality Sales and       Carla Crandall, BA geography, recently
Marketing Association International as one of   earned her JD at Brigham Young Univer-
the Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Marketing     sity and will do a one-year internship with
and Sales in 2010.                              Missouri Supreme Court Judge Laura Denvi
Jane Wood, BA English, has been appointed       2001
dean of Park University’s College of Liberal    Shawn Conner, BA English, was appointed
                                                director of communications and marketing

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