Article Category Archives: Giving Matters

Repeat Winner in Bulldog B.I.T.E. Competition

William Fries, a senior computer science and business double major, won the 2017 Bulldog B.I.T.E. elevator pitch competition in April.

This is the second year for the event. Fries also took the top spot last year. As the winner, he earned a prize of $3,000 for his immediate photo encryption concept.

Isaac Speed, a computer science major, earned second place and $2,000 for his pitch of a notification app for individuals struggling with depression. The team of Basanta Khadka and Babin Shrestha finished third and won $1,000 for their pitch of environmentally friendly disposable plates and bowls made from leaves.

An elevator pitch outlines the concept or idea for a product, service or project in a short period of time, typically from 30 seconds to three minutes. The length of the pitch mirrors the time spent waiting for and riding an elevator in a high-rise building. The purpose of the pitch is to spur the interest of a potential investor or financial backer.

Bulldog B.I.T.E., which stands for Business Innovation by Truman Entrepreneurs, allowed participants to pitch a for-profit or not-for-profit concept. Judges selected six teams to attend the live pitch competition April 7 in the Student Union Building on Truman’s campus to present their concept to a panel. Contestants were judged based on the problem, product/service solution, market, competition, value creation, seed money, a Q&A session and the presentation of the concept.

The final round judges for Bulldog B.I.T.E. were alumni Amanda Gioia (’93), Marco Ilardi (’99), Chris LeBeau (’05), Cody Sumter (’10) and Bryan Witherbee (’94). The first round judges for the competition were alumni Amy Gryder (’97) and Ron Thomas (’65).

Alumni Doug (’94) and Diane (’95) Villhard, along with Mastercard, sponsored the 2017 Bulldog B.I.T.E. competition.

William Fries, left, accepts the first place award for the 2017 Bulldog B.I.T.E. competition from Amanda Gioia of Mastercard and Doug Villhard of Villhard Growth Partners.

Mark V. Gray Honorary Scholarship Established

Through the loving gifts of family and friends, a new endowed scholarship was established in February 2017 through the Truman State University Foundation in honor of Mark V. Gray.

Born in St. Louis, Mo., and raised in Clarksville, Mo., Gray enrolled at the University in 1975. An avid photographer, he became a staff member for the Echo and the Index and was a member of the Catholic Newman Center. Gray earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology in 1979 and upon graduation proceeded to the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine as a research technician in the Biochemistry Department working on a National Institute of Health cancer research grant.

In 1981, Gray joined Rider Drug Camera Corner on the Kirksville square. He and his wife Ellen opened Northeast Camera and Photo Lab in 1997. In 2006, Mark helped open the Walgreens store in Kirksville as the photo lab manager and acquired his pharmacy tech certificate as well.

The Mark V. Gray Honorary Scholarship is designated to support students with financial need who are studying visual arts or biology, with preference given to students with an active interest in photography and/or graphic design. The inaugural recipient is Sarah DeWolf of Pella, Iowa. A junior pursuing degrees in English and biology, she is active with the Catholic Newman Center and is a member of the Index staff.

Gray passed away March 24, 2017 at the age of 60. The Mark V. Gray Honorary Scholarship is an open fund capable of receiving additional contributions. It is designed to be awarded annually in perpetuity in loving memory of Gray’s years of devotion to his family and the community of Kirksville.

“Pursue the Future” Nears Final Year

In late May, Truman hosted a “Pursue the Future” campaign celebration event in the Mid-Missouri regional market. The occasion was the sixth of 10 major events planned for the public phase of the campaign, which began July 1, 2015 and will conclude June 30, 2018.

At the time of printing, the “Pursue the Future” campaign is preparing to enter its final year of the five-year effort to secure $40 million in funds to support the mission of the University. To date, almost $34.2 million (85 percent of goal) has been generously donated/pledged by alumni, parents and friends of Truman.

“I have been so encouraged by the strong support the campaign has received at each of our regional events,” campaign chair Sharron Quisenberry (’66) said. “We continue to build a base of support for the future, and our alumni networks are being greatly expanded and strengthened.”

The four campaign priorities and their goal amounts are:

• Scholarships ($25 million)
• Faculty Enrichment and Academic Programs ($10 million)
• Athletics ($2.5 million)
• Truman Fund for Excellence/Mission Enhancement ($2.5 million)

On behalf of campaign and University leadership, Quisenberry extends a personal invitation to anyone who has a passion for the University to attend an event and connect with like-minded alumni and friends.

“We would love the chance to share a remarkable evening with you at one of our upcoming celebration events,” she said.

Upcoming campaign events will take place in Des Moines, Iowa, St. Louis, Mo., Denver, Colo., and Kirksville.

Campaign Steering Committee

Sharron Quisenberry (’66), Chair
Pinney Allen
Cheryl Cozette
Chuck Foudree (’66)
Mike McClaskey (’85)
Linda Miller (’70)
Larry Quisenberry (’66)
Sue Thomas, University President
Charles Woods (’86)
Scott Zajac (’83)

Remaining Regional Campaign Schedule

Iowa  •  June 17, 2017
St. Louis  •  July 28, 2017
Denver  •  September 23, 2017
Northeast Missouri  •  November 4, 2017