Author Archives: kbest

Men’s Basketball

The 2015-16 version of Bulldog men’s basketball logged the fourth-most wins in program history, finishing with a 21-9 overall record under the direction of second-year head coach Chris Foster.

Truman, which also advanced to the Great Lakes Valley Conference tournament for the third time in as many seasons as conference members, landed four players on all-conference teams: junior Cory Myers (first-team and all-defensive team); senior Cole Myers (second-team); junior Kyle Kanaskie (second-team); and junior Dwight Sistrunk Jr. (all-defensive team).

Truman came out of the gate with just a 4-3 mark through the first seven games before stringing together an eight-game winning streak – capped with back-to-back double-digit home wins against McKendree (Ill.) and Illinois Springfield to sit at 12-3. After two losses on the road, the Bulldogs won eight of their final 11 to earn the No. 6 overall seed in the GLVC tournament. Truman picked up a 90-84 home win against Missouri-St. Louis in the opening round before coming up just short against the region’s No. 1 team, Wisconsin-Parkside, in the quarterfinal round in St. Louis.

This year’s group completed the first back-to-back-to-back 20-plus win seasons in program history. The Bulldogs graduate two seniors, Andrew Vander Zwaag and Cole Myers, while returning Cory Myers, Kanaskie, Sistrunk Jr., and 10 other squad members for the 2016-17 season, set to begin in November.


For the third-straight season, the Truman baseball team won 20 games. The Bulldogs were 20-30 after last year’s run to the Division II World Series.

Junior transfer Nick Agliolo provided the early offensive spark as he hit above .400 for the better part of the first half of the season. Agliolo finished with a team-leading .360 batting average with eight doubles and three triples.

T.J. Wood

T.J. Wood

Senior T.J. Wood led the GLVC in stolen bases with 24 and finished his Truman career fourth in steals with 43. As a team, Truman again was near the top of the league in steals with 73 out of 103 attempts. Senior pitcher Mark Roberts wrapped up his Truman career as the all-time leader in innings pitched and tied for first in career starts with 42. Sophomore reliever Peter Young eclipsed both the career and season record for saves. Young had a 3-1 record with eight saves and finished his second season with 14, breaking the previous record by four.

Consistency was the issue with the Bulldogs this year as they had three, three-game winning streaks, and out of the seven GLVC West Division series, won one, lost three and split three with no four-game sweeps by either team. The Bulldogs played a record 31 games at home including 22 straight running from March 4 through April 3.

Gardner Named to Hall of Fame

Kenneth Gardner

Kenneth Gardner

Former Bulldog director of athletics and legendary track and field coach Kenneth Gardner has been selected for induction into the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame in June.

Gardner is one of the founding fathers of both Truman Athletics and the Missouri Intercollegiate Athletics Association. He attended the University from 1939-1947, pausing to serve in the United States Army during World War II. He was an All-MIAA football and track performer, and also served the Army as a major in North Africa and Europe, earning the Silver Star and Purple Heart.

After finishing his degree in 1947, Gardner coached at Marceline High School from 1947-1951. He returned to Kirksville as an assistant football coach in June 1952, and also assisted with basketball and track and field. He became the head track and field coach and led the Bulldogs to a decade of dominance. From 1959 until 1968, the Bulldog track and field team won every indoor and outdoor MIAA championship contested. The Bulldogs won a total of 19 indoor titles from 1959-1980 and 15 outdoor titles from 1959-1979, all under Gardner’s leadership.

Gardner coached 39 individual NCAA Division II All-Americans and had 11 win individual national championships. He was a two-time recipient of the College Track and Field Coach of the Year award, served as college division referee at both the Drake and Kansas relays, was on the games committee for the Division II National Track and Field Championships, a chair of the Midwest Region for the Division II Football Championships and sat on the Division II Football National Committee. He was a charter member of the Truman Athletics Hall of Fame in 1983 and inducted into the Missouri Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1984.

Outstanding Senior Student-Athletes Recognized

Athlete Awards May 2016

Jerry Wollmering, athletic director (left) recognizes senior student-athletes Meghan Senne, Matt Peterson, Alexis Heffernan, Dominic Kacich and Alli Patterson.

Women’s soccer player Alexis Heffernan, volleyball player Alli Patterson and track and field athlete Dominic Kacich were named the Outstanding Senior Student-Athletes for the 2015-16 school year.

Heffernan became only the eighth Bulldog women’s soccer player to earn All-America honors this past fall. She earned her second-straight first-team All-GLVC selection for coach Mike Cannon and the 2015 GLVC champions while finishing her career ranked in the top 10 in goals, points and shots.

Patterson was a four-time all-conference player and two-time American Volleyball Coaches Association All-American for coach Ben Briney and the Bulldog volleyball team. She was the 2015 GLVC Volleyball Scholar-Athlete of the Year, a member of the 2014 GLVC championship team and finished her career ranked in the top 10 in total blocks and hitting percentage.

Kacich qualified and competed in the 400-meter dash at last year’s NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. He has provisionally qualified for the national meet this year with his top time coming in April at the Kansas Relays. He has earned All-GLVC honors in both indoor and outdoor track and was named an Academic All-American by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

In addition, Matt Peterson and Meghan Senne were awarded the Dean’s Excellence Award for highest cumulative GPA for a student-athlete. Peterson was a three-year member of the men’s tennis team and an accounting major, while Senne was a four-year letter winner from the women’s swimming team and a psychology major.

Donors Give Back with Pitch Competition

Alumni Doug (’94) and Diane (’95) Villhard awarded $6,000 to Truman students as part of the inaugural Bulldog B.I.T.E elevator pitch competition.

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 in March in St. Louis to present their product to an alumni 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 project.

William Fries, a junior computer science major, won first prize and earned $3,000. Fries won for his pitch of a small USB security device for protecting digital data, such as emails, passwords or encryption keys. The product keeps data offline and securely encrypted, while still allowing for easy access with a short pin.

Anthony Hill, a junior accounting major, won second place and $2,000 for SpiroRip, a notebook ripping device. Stephen Cutler, a junior business administration major, received third place and $1,000 for Lily Luggage, a luggage concept that combines motorized wheels with Bluetooth technology.

The judges for Bulldog B.I.T.E. were alumni Stacey George (’00), Amanda Gioia (’93), John Haney (’01), Marco Ilardi (’99), Chris LeBeau (’05), Cody Sumter (’10) and Kevin Tibbs (’95).

Alumnus Doug Villhard (center) talks with the finalists of the Bulldog B.I.T.E. elevator pitch competition.

Alumnus Doug Villhard (center) talks with the finalists of the Bulldog B.I.T.E. elevator pitch competition.

A Life-Altering Gift

Ken Rickli Tiffany Shearer

Ken Rickli Tiffany Shearer

Tiffany Shearer’s entire future, not to mention her ambition of attending college, was suddenly in peril when her mother abandoned her in 2012 at the start of her senior year at Affton High School.

“She said she was leaving to go on a three-week business trip and never returned home. The fact that my father has never been a part of my life, and my grandma had recently passed away, I really didn’t have any family or financial support,” Shearer said.

Getting through her senior year was physically, mentally and emotionally draining.

Earlier that same year, Affton High School and Truman alumnus Kenneth Rickli (’65) and his wife Kathleen created the Rickli Family Scholarship with a six-figure gift to the Truman State University Foundation. This renewable full-tuition scholarship is now awarded annually to an Affton High School senior who demonstrates great promise of future success at Truman. This scholarship has proved to be a godsend for Shearer.

“Being named a Rickli Scholar has meant the world to me,” she said. “Without this scholarship, I would not have been able to attend Truman and may never have been able to get the education that I have always worked so hard toward. The Truman experience has helped make my dreams a reality.”

Due to the Rickli’s generosity Shearer is thriving at Truman.

“Despite all of the challenges I have faced, I am extremely proud to say that of my six semesters here at Truman, this is my fourth semester receiving a 4.0 GPA, and my cumulative GPA is 3.88,” Shearer said.

Her future is very bright.

Small Donations Make a Big Difference

Many alumni have strong connections to Truman but plan to wait to donate to their alma mater until they can afford a more substantial gift. What these alumni might not realize is that small gifts add up to make a big difference.

Thanks to a generous matching gift from alumna Colleen Ritchie (’84), a couple hundred donors learned firsthand the power of small donations during Truman’s first campus-wide giving day – #BulldogsGiving. Ritchie, a member of Truman’s Foundation Board of Directors, committed $10,000 hoping to help younger alumni see the importance of donating, even if they can’t afford to make a large contribution.

Donors who contributed $5 or more on Nov. 14, 2015, received a $50 match to the fund of their choice, thanks to Ritchie’s generosity. Alumni and friends began giving right at midnight in an effort to be among the first 200 donors to receive matching funds. News about #BulldogsGiving spread on social media with alumni and friends encouraging people in their networks to give back.

The effort exceeded its goal of 200 donors, receiving donations from 225 alumni, parents, faculty and staff who contributed more than $9,500 to 77 different Foundation Funds. Ritchie was excited about the participation.

“The first year far exceeded my expectations,” Ritchie said. “I was extremely pleased we nearly doubled my donation in just ONE day of giving. Long term, my hope would be to turn these new donors into lifelong contributors, willing to give back to Truman by leaving their legacy behind. They make a significant impact by enabling future students to pursue the Truman way.”

Plans for an upcoming #BulldogsGiving are currently under way, so alumni and friends are encouraged to keep a lookout for how a small gift can make a big impact for programs they care about.

Social Media Posts

  • “Done! I wasn’t able to give much, but it was the least I could do for a place that gave me everything. I don’t know where I would be, both professionally and personally, without Truman and all of the opportunities/experiences I had there. #BulldogsGiving #BulldogForever”
  • “I do not have much to give, but I want to honor Dr. Teresa Heckert. She saw my potential and believed in me, and for that I am forever grateful.”
  • “Thank you to alumna Colleen Ritchie for providing the funds to match my donation with an additional $50. Especially if I am NOT one of the 1st 200 people donating today because it means many more people have donated today!”
  • GivingMatters-BulldogsGiving


Departing Leaders Honored

Troy D. Paino

Troy D. Paino

Not long after President Troy D. Paino announced he would be stepping down at the end of the school year, alumni, students and friends rallied to establish the Troy and Kelly Paino Emergency Student Relief Fund through the Truman State University Foundation.

Paino kept student learning, achievement and academic quality at the forefront of his six-year presidency. His remarkable personal qualities and extraordinary leadership skills provided a powerful combination as he so capably served all University constituencies.

The fund honors the Painos and will assist current students facing economic hardship and provide resources to help them continue their education at Truman. A $40,000 matching challenge gift was established to encourage all constituencies to support the fund.

Mark Gambaiana

Mark Gambaiana

Similarly, when Mark Gambaiana left the University at the end of 2015 after more than 11 years as the vice president of Advancement, alumni and friends established a fund to honor his service and commitment to Truman.

During his tenure, Gambaiana’s leadership resulted in record-setting achievements for the Foundation, as his team raised more than $65 million. He oversaw the University’s first-ever comprehensive campaign, “Bright Minds, Bright Futures,” which exceeded its $30 million goal, and he launched the current “Pursue the Future” campaign with a goal of $40 million.

With the creation of the Mark and Robin Gambaiana Purple Pride Award, the couple chose to structure the fund to honor University secretaries with a monetary gift for an annual recipient.

Both funds have seen overwhelming support from alumni, friends, faculty, staff and students. Donors interested in contributing to either the Troy and Kelly Paino Emergency Student Relief Fund or the Mark and Robin Gambaiana Purple Pride Award can do so by visiting or by contacting the Office of Advancement at (800) 452-6678.

Alumni and Friends are Gathering Around the Country to Join the Pursuit!

In July 2013, Truman launched the $40 million “Pursue the Future” campaign. After two years of securing leadership gifts in the quiet phase, the campaign moved into the public phase in July 2015 with a formal announcement at Homecoming 2015. At that time, $24,882,110 had been committed.

During the public phase of the campaign (July 1, 2015-June 30, 2018), all alumni, parents and friends are being asked to partner with Truman and provide financial gift commitments in support of the University. To get the word out, generate enthusiasm for the campaign and provide an opportunity to participate, a number of regional campaign events are taking place in the University’s largest alumni markets.

Three regional events have already occurred this year, and seven additional campaign events are planned for the next 18 months. A regional campaign goal of $6.75 million has been set, and more than $3.6 million has been secured.
At the time of printing, the “Pursue the Future” campaign had generated $28,777,284 toward its
$40 million goal. To learn more about the “Pursue the Future” campaign, go to



5 Minutes with Sheila Garlock


Sheila Garlock has been a presence in the  Communications Disorders Department for 20 years – even longer when counting the time she spent earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Truman in 1977 and 1978, respectively. In addition to supervising students in the Speech and Hearing Clinic, she teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses. Some of her students have been known to call her mom, a not uncommon moniker for Garlock to hear on campus considering all three of her daughters attended the University. Emily graduated in 2013 and twins Ashley and Natalie anticipate graduating in the near future. Attending Truman is a tradition in Garlock’s family. All totaled, 20 relatives have degrees from the University, including her husband and his three sisters. The trend shows no sign of slowing down as five other family members are currently enrolled.

As an alumna and an employee, what went through your mind when your daughters decided to attend Truman?
I was really proud when all three of my daughters chose Truman. They knew they were going to get a great education. The fact that Truman was two blocks away from home was not a problem. I made sure they knew they could be as far away as they wanted or needed, but close enough to run home for a hug and support. I love that they would stop by my office for a hug, a snack or a pep talk.

Why do you think attending Truman seems to be a tradition in so many families?
Truman is a tradition for many families because they have great memories of Truman and the surrounding community. Graduates attribute their successes in life in part to the great start they had at Truman and share that with their families as they grow. When you speak highly of your alma mater, your relatives pay attention.

What led you to teaching?
I worked in private practice, public schools, nursing homes and early childhood education programs. When there was a need for a clinical supervisor in the Speech and Hearing Clinic, I was ready for a new challenge. I found that I loved helping students learn to apply the knowledge they had learned. Later, classroom teaching opportunities were presented, and I found I enjoyed this form of teaching also.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I’ve hiked the Grand Canyon rim to rim and back again, I’ve fished for salmon in Vancouver Island and I’ve snorkeled in Hawaii. I am in the Truman women’s basketball records for percentage of free throws made.

What is the nicest thing someone has said to you?
My children tell me I am the “best mom in the whole world.” I have had several of my daughters’ friends call me mom, and I think that is a really nice compliment. I tell my students they can call me Ms. Garlock, professor or mom.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is watching students walk across the stage at graduation. It is an honor to be a part of a great legacy, sending young men and women across the world to make a difference in the lives of others.

What is your best advice to your students?
Don’t be in a hurry. Four years seems like a long time, but it goes by so fast. Make the most of your time in college – experience new things, take risks, explore different ideas, make friends with someone from a different culture. And when you graduate, remember your alma mater.

Sheila Garlock

Sheila Garlock (center) is one of 22 family members to earn a degree from the University. Pictured with recent attendees: back row, from left: Meghan Jones, cousin; Laura Wallace, niece; Natalie Garlock, daughter; Cari Zellmann, cousin; front row: Jessica Jones, cousin; and Ashley Garlock, daughter.