Article Tag Archives: Scholarship

Fund Honors Professor’s Commitment

Vera Gomez Piper (left) and Lucy Lee

Vera Gomez-Piper (left) and Lucy Lee

Summer 2012 was Vera Gomez-Piper’s final year leading the Costa Rica Summer Program after having taught at Truman since 1978. The Vera Gomez-Piper Endowed Scholarship Fund was established to honor her upon her retirement from Truman while perpetuating life-changing study abroad experiences for deserving students. Since its inception in late 2012, this endowment has received gifts and pledges totaling $31,559. Donations have come from alumni, colleagues, community members, family and Spanish honor society Sigma Delta Pi. Lucy Lee, professor of Spanish and Classical and Modern Languages Department chair, and Ruth Bradshaw, assistant professor emerita of English, spearheaded the fundraising effort. This new Foundation fund expands educational opportunities for students by securing new scholarship resources, thereby providing greater access to outside-the-classroom experiences.

This fund also serves as a meaningful and lasting expression of respect for this beloved faculty member and friend. It is an expression of gratitude for the remarkable contributions that Gomez-Piper has made to Truman and to countless students’ lives. Through education, she has helped eliminate the barriers of language while increasing an understanding of the traditions, history and values of two distinct cultures. Gomez-Piper has not only built skills, knowledge and confidence among her students, but has built lasting and meaningful relationships between her students, her colleagues and the people of two nations that she now calls home.

“For me personally, it has been exciting because I was able to see students learn so fast and become part of the family and enjoy being in Costa Rica,” Gomez-Piper said. “It is a great satisfaction because many of them go back to visit their families in Costa Rica.”

Ruth Bradshaw unveils the amount donated to the Vera Piper Endowed Scholarship as of September 2013 during a reception for Piper.

Ruth Bradshaw unveils the amount donated
to the Vera Gomez-Piper Endowed Scholarship as of September 2013 during a reception for Gomez-Piper.

The Vera Gomez-Piper Endowed Scholarship is a reflection of a deep affection and appreciation for this educator who has served as a pioneer in providing study abroad opportunities to Truman students. This scholarship fund will support Gomez-Piper’s profound legacy in perpetuity. The financial helping hand this award represents offers access to the transformative experience of study abroad.

Tag Day Celebrates Donors

Thanksgiving came early to the Truman campus with the first celebration of Tag Day. Held in conjunction with National Philanthropy Day, Nov. 15, Tag Day celebrated the impact of private donations on the Truman experience. Items made possible by gifts to the University were marked with tags thanking Truman donors. More than 200 items across campus were tagged, including computer labs, campus gardens and outdoor sculptures, classrooms, locker rooms and more.

Students Kaitie Otto (left) and Abagale Casagrande show off two of the many tags that were placed  around campus to highlight donor contributions.

Students Kaitie Otto (left) and Abagale Casagrande show off two of the many tags that were placed
around campus to highlight donor contributions.

Much of the money donated to the University enriches the student experience in important, but less tangible, ways. For example, the University awarded more than $579,000 in Foundation scholarships to 559 students last year alone. Intangible items supported by donors, such as scholarships, student travel stipends for conferences and faculty development programs, were identified with signs across campus.

CircleLogoTag Day was held to increase student awareness of the impact donors have on students’ education and to give students the opportunity to say thanks. Student Senate partnered with the Office of Advancement to sponsor a thank you note writing table in the Student Union Building. Students wrote thank you notes to donors for their support of the University and the student experience at Truman. For more information on Tag Day, visit

Scholarship Funds Honor Faculty Couple, Colleagues

John and Jane Bartling

John and Jane Bartling

Between them, John and Jane Bartling taught and mentored hundreds of Truman students within their respective Mathematics and Health and Exercise Science departments. Both Hannibal, Mo., natives, their collective Truman teaching careers spanned 61 years.

To recognize and commemorate this long and impactful record of service to students and the campus community, Dr. John S. Bartling recently made a gift of securities valued at nearly $65,000 to establish four new scholarship funds with the Truman State University Foundation.

One scholarship honors his late wife, Jane Bartling, who passed away in the spring of 2013. Two others honor Jane’s colleagues and life-long friends, Regina Lindhorst and Jo Ann Weekley. The fourth honors Dr. Bartling’s 31-year mathematics teaching career.

The Jane Bartling Memorial Scholarship was established to memorialize and commemorate Jane’s distinguished teaching career at Truman. Jane received BSE and MA degrees from the University and shortly thereafter began a 30-year teaching career in physical education. She retired in 1998 and passed away in the spring of 2013. She was a member of many professional organizations, including the American Association of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, Delta Kappa Gamma and was a sponsor of the student chapter of the Missouri State Teachers Association at Truman. This fund is designed to provide opportunities for full-time students who are majoring in health and exercise science at Truman and have a record of achievement and service in extra-curricular or community groups and organizations.

The Regina Lindhorst and Jo Ann Weekley scholarships were established to honor two of Jane Bartling’s colleagues and life-long friends. Lindhorst received a BSE and MA from the University and taught dance courses at Truman from 1963 to 2005. Weekley received a BSE and MA from Truman and taught courses in physical education from 1966 to 2005. Both scholarships will support exercise science students at Truman.

The Dr. John S. Bartling Mathematics Scholarship was created to commemorate his long and memorable career at Truman. Dr. Bartling taught mathematics at the University from 1967 to 1998. He was selected Educator of the Year in 1977 by Alpha Phi Sigma. The purpose of this fund shall be to provide scholarship support to students majoring in mathematics, with preference for students from the Hannibal area.

Alumnus Inspired to Create Endowed Scholarship

Ronald Thomas (’65) and his wife, Ann

Ronald Thomas (’65) and his wife, Ann

The Dr. Ronald E. Thomas Endowed Scholarship fund was created in 2012 by Ronald Thomas (’65) and his wife, Ann, to provide an opportunity for deserving students to receive a Truman State University education. The couple’s deep appreciation for education inspired them to establish a scholarship to help Truman students accomplish their educational goals.

A Truman alumnus, Ronald enrolled at the University after graduating from high school in Roxana, Ill. He earned a bachelor of science in education with an emphasis in physical education from Truman in 1965, then completed a master of science at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville and received a PhD from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.

Ronald devoted his career to educational endeavors. Since 1999, he has served as the president of Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount, Minn., and he plans to retire in July of this year. His career includes service as a junior high teacher and coach, director of international admissions at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and director of student services at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha. Ronald served as dean of educational services at Centralia College in Centralia, Wash.; dean and interim president at Rochester Community and Technical College in Rochester, Minn.; and president of Coffeyville Community College in Coffeyville, Kan.

During his career, Ronald has earned a number of professional accolades. He was the recipient of the Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction for Presidential Leadership presented by Phi Theta Kappa in 1999, was named the College President Pacesetter of the Year by District V of the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations in 2004 and 2011 and received the Distinguished Star Education Award presented by the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education in 2007. In addition, he has served as the board chair of the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship and has been a presenter and author of numerous community college issues across the country.

The Legacy of Donald Parsons: Making a Difference in Students’ Lives

Don Parsons' photo in the 1956 Echo yearbook

Don Parsons’ photo in the 1956 Echo yearbook

The wife and son of Truman Hall of Famer Donald Parsons (’57, ’61) have established the Donald Parsons Endowed Athletic Scholarship through the Truman State University Foundation to benefit student-athletes attending Truman. Jean (Wells) Parsons, a 1967 Truman alumna, and her son, Devin Parsons, created the scholarship in honor of the late Don Parsons, a teacher, coach and administrator, who dedicated his life to education and athletics.

An All-State basketball player for Ottumwa (Iowa) High School, Don helped his team finish second in the state tournament in 1953. After graduating from high school, Don came to Truman where he joined the Bulldog basketball team. Collecting All-MIAA honors twice (1955-56 and 1956-57), he was named Most Valuable Player on the All-Conference team in 1956-57. Nearly three decades after Don graduated in 1957 with a bachelor of science in education degree, he was inducted into the Truman State University Athletics Hall of Fame in 1986.

While serving in the military in Germany, Don played on his command’s basketball team. In 1959, he taught and coached sports at Greentop, Mo., and after earning a master’s degree from Truman in 1961, he taught science and coached at Evans Junior High School in Ottumwa, Iowa. He became an administrator with the Ottumwa School District and served as the assistant principal at Washington Junior High School followed by 12 years at Walsh Junior High School. He then served as principal at Eisenhower Elementary School and handled other district-wide duties, including directing the staff wellness program and the K-8 physical education and elementary athletic programs. Don retired from the Ottumwa School District in 1994. He died in February 2012.

Throughout his long and distinguished career, Don inspired countless young people, and the scholarship established by his wife and son ensures that his legacy will live on through future generations of Bulldogs.

Sharing the Gift of Knowledge

Doris (Pierce) Fuller in the 1934 Echo yearbook

Doris (Pierce) Fuller in the 1934 Echo yearbook

A legacy gift to Truman State University commemorates the life of Doris (Pierce) Fuller,
a Truman alumna who was committed to lifelong learning. “She was an amazing woman, never at rest,” said her son, Charles Fuller. A planned gift made by Doris was designated to the Truman Endowment Fund, a permanent resource designed to provide funds for a variety of purposes, including student scholarships, professional development for faculty and students, technology, equipment and other needs.

Born in Shelbina, Mo., Doris earned a bachelor of science degree in education from the University in 1934. She then taught for two years. In 1936, she married Arthur “Bud” Fuller, a country doctor who served the farming communities. Since her husband’s job took him away from home for days at a time, Doris became his medical assistant and midwife so they could travel together. In one year alone, they delivered more than 300 babies and took care of many broken bones and the occasional at-home surgery.

In addition to their son, Charles, Doris and Bud had a daughter, Johnna. In 1964, the family moved to Colorado Springs, Colo. Charles remembers his mother saying, “No point in living in Colorado if you don’t know how to ski,” and at the age of 55, Doris took up snow skiing.
Doris became a strong advocate of her husband’s osteopathic profession, professional women and seniors, and she served in both leadership and supportive roles in the Osteopathic Women’s Guild, Women’s Club, Acacia and AARP.

Since she never had a driver’s license, Doris took the local bus into town saying that it allowed her to ride with “real people.” She was a dedicated volunteer, and up until her mid-80s, she took the bus each week to serve food at a local charity. Doris also sewed on buttons for elderly ladies, many of whom were 20 years her junior.

An incident that occurred when Doris was 70 illustrates her tenacious spirit. One day when she and a friend were hiking in the high mountains on the south slope of Pikes Peak, Doris slipped and fractured her ankle. It was late in the afternoon, and the friend had to walk three miles to the car to seek help. When help finally arrived after dark, they found Doris had splinted her own leg, found a stick for support and was walking out on a compound fracture. She said, “I couldn’t stay up here overnight or I’d freeze to death.” Nearly three decades later, Doris died at the age of 98.

Doris believed in having fun and enjoying life to its fullest. By including a provision in her will to boost the Truman Endowment Fund, she has provided a resource that offers the gift of knowledge for future generations of Truman students.

Speech and Hearing Clinic Campaign Surpasses Goal

Murilyn Koutstaal poses with a poster celebrating the endowed study abroad scholarship created in honor of her late husband, Cornelis Koutstaal.

Murilyn Koutstaal poses with a poster celebrating the endowed study abroad scholarship created in honor of her late husband, Cornelis Koutstaal.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Speech and Hearing Clinic, the University conducted a “Give $50 for the 50th” fundraising campaign with the goal of generating $50,000. After approximately a year of accepting donations, the campaign concluded in February 2013 with a grand total of $100,000 raised in cash, pledges and planned gift commitments.

“The outstanding results of the ‘Give $50 for the 50th’ fundraising campaign demonstrate the community’s willingness to invest in the Truman Speech and Hearing Clinic and its efforts to provide ongoing state-of-the-art speech-language-hearing and literacy services,” said Janet Gooch, dean of the School of Health Sciences and Education. “These results are also evidence of a deeply imbedded passion that our donors possess for improving our community.”

Truman’s Speech and Hearing Clinic has been helping residents from Kirksville and the surrounding area since 1960. In November 2011, it was moved into new facilities located in the Truman Health Sciences Building. The clinic serves individuals with disorders of speech, language, voice, fluency, hearing and swallowing, all at no cost to the people served. No-cost clinics are rare due to the necessary heavy reliance on donations. The Speech and Hearing Clinic provides services thanks to the support of the University and community organizations.

The Speech and Hearing Clinic also offers hands-on learning for Truman students. Students observe therapy, then become clinical assistants and eventually assume the responsibilities of student clinicians. Because student learning is a key component of the Speech and Hearing Clinic, it was also a high priority of the fundraising campaign.

The centerpiece of the campaign was the establishment of the Dr. Cornelis Koutstaal Endowed Study Abroad Scholarship, which was established by Murilyn Koutstaal, to honor the legacy of her late husband. Cornelis Koutstaal served as professor of communication disorders and head of the Human Potential and Performance Division at Truman from 1990-2001 and was honored with emeritus status upon his retirement.

Scholarship Offers Opportunity for Students to Recognize Former Teachers

Truman graduates Nicole Boyer (on left) and Jenna McClanahan (on right) nominated Steve Zuspann (center), a high school teacher from Ste. Genevieve, Mo., to receive special recognition at Truman’s 2013 Spring Commencement.

Truman graduates Nicole Boyer (on left) and Jenna McClanahan (on right) nominated Steve Zuspann (center), a high school teacher from Ste. Genevieve, Mo., to receive special recognition at Truman’s 2013 Spring Commencement.

Through the support of Truman’s education alumni and a generous estate gift, the James and Margaret Mudd Teacher Recognition Scholarship has been endowed and will allow for the ongoing recognition of excellence in education. Thanks to this new scholarship, graduating seniors at Truman have the opportunity to recognize a high school educator or counselor, whom they feel made a positive impact on their academic growth. Each year, the chosen teacher or counselor will receive an invitation to be formally recognized at Truman’s spring Commencement ceremony. To further acknowledge the teacher or counselor being honored, a $1,000 scholarship will be awarded to an incoming Truman student from
the teacher or counselor’s high school.

The first teacher to be honored through the Margaret Mudd Teacher Recognition Scholarship was Steve Zuspann, who received special recognition at Truman’s Spring Commencement ceremonies on May 11, 2013. Zuspann, who teaches chemistry at the high school in Ste. Genevieve, Mo., was nominated by Truman graduates Nicole Boyer and Jenna McClanahan. Brandon Mueller, a student from Ste. Genevieve High School who will be attending Truman
this fall, was awarded the $1,000 scholarship.

Since its origin as a normal school in 1867, Truman has been committed to providing a strong teacher education program. Over the years, more than 8,000 teachers have received preparation from the University, and the program is deeply rooted in the University’s history.

NEMO Named Chapter of the Year

The Northeast Missouri Alumni Chapter was selected by the Executive Committee of the Truman Alumni Board of Directors to receive the 2012 Alumni Chapter of the Year Award. The award recognizes the outstanding achievementsof the chapter in support of the Truman Alumni Association and the University.

The Northeast Missouri Alumni Chapter was recognized for its success in recruiting engaged volunteers who have planned strategies to increase membership and program participation. The chapter’s traditions include annual events such as a golf tournament at the Kirksville Country Club and a fall banquet with an auction held on campus each year; both events raise funds for the chapter’s scholarship, which was established in 2005 to assist Truman students from northeast Missouri.

The Alumni Chapter of the Year Award was presented to Northeast Missouri Alumni Chapter leaders at the Truman Alumni Leadership Conference held on campus Oct. 19, 2012, as part of the Homecoming activities. The Mid-Missouri Alumni Chapter was recognized as runner-up for the Chapter of the Year Award.

Tom Vernon Ritchie, Professor Emeritus of Music

Tom Vernon Ritchie

Tom Vernon Ritchie, professor emeritus of music at Truman State University, died Feb. 20, 2013, in Bloomington, Ind. He was 90 years old.

He spent the final years doing what he enjoyed most—writing music and attending opera and other musical performances at the IU Jacobs School of Music. Ritchie was a professor of music theory and composition for more than 40 years. He also was a professional concert pipe organist and held associate certification from the American Guild of Organists. Prior to joining the faculty at Truman, he was chairman of the Music Department at Drury College and taught at Wichita State. For nearly three decades, students from south-central Iowa and north-central Missouri who wanted to teach music enrolled in his classes.

In 2008, more than 60 faculty members, former students and friends paid tribute to him during an alumni reunion at Truman where they performed more than a dozen of his works.
In addition to his classroom duties, Ritchie composed the music and wrote the libretto for the opera, “The Children of Hamelin,” based on the Robert Browning poem, “The Pied Piper of Hamelin.” The opera premiered at Truman in 1981. He also composed numerous works for voice, chorus, piano, woodwinds and brass.

Ritchie was a World War II veteran. He enlisted in the United States Navy in 1942. After training in amphibious assault at Fort Pierce, Fla., he commanded several landing craft during the invasion of Iwo Jima in 1944, landing Marines of the Fourth Division on the first morning of the battle. He was also present at the landings on Okinawa. Ritchie was deployed to the invasion fleet for Japan before the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.

His children have established the Tom V. Ritchie Memorial Scholarship Fund at Truman State University.