Author Archives: tmiles

Meet Our New Leader

The next person to catch University President Sue Thomas with a panic-stricken look on her face will be the first. When she was thrown into an interim role last year, Thomas was, by her own admission, “a little freaked out,” but she never let it show. Truman’s 17th president carries herself with a combination of confidence and positivity that can be infectious, and it might be exactly what Truman needs right now.

In February, just days after learning she would be dropping the interim tag from her title, Thomas was informed of an 8 percent withholding in funding from the state for the remainder of the year, a reduction of more than $3.1 million. The forecast for the coming academic year is expected to include additional cuts, which could exceed $4 million. For a social psychologist with a research interest in grit, Thomas received an early opportunity to explore the concept firsthand.

“I’m motivated by challenges. I always want to feel like I’m making a positive difference, so challenges don’t scare me,” Thomas said. “We have a lot of bright, talented people on this campus, and we will figure it out.”

As president, Thomas has continually sought the input of various campus constituents, and strategic planning meetings comprised of faculty, staff and students were conducted throughout the spring semester to help the University forge a path forward.

The answer to how Thomas maintains optimism in the face of adversity can be traced back to her childhood in western Pennsylvania. The oldest of three daughters, she was essentially a first-generation college student, although her father did earn a degree after attending night school for a decade.

“My parents were always very clear from the time we were little that we were going to college,” she said. “That was just a given.”

While she may have had the encouragement of her family to pursue her education, financial support was lacking. Thomas was a Pell-eligible student, and she put herself through school by working and taking out loans. As responsible as she is for her own success, she is quick to credit others for helping her achieve her goals.

“Partly why I got here is because, every step along the way, people saw potential in me that I didn’t always see in myself,” she said.

Fortunately for Truman, one person who saw potential in Thomas was the interim provost at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Thomas worked there for more than 20 years and assumed she would spend her entire career at SIUE. At the recommendation of her colleague, she applied for Truman’s vacant executive vice president for academic affairs and provost position in 2014.

Two years after arriving on campus, Thomas was moving into the big office in McClain Hall. Upbeat and unassuming, she has stayed true to her roots, even as her campus profile has elevated. She prefers to be addressed as Sue, and no one is more humbled by the gravity of her position than she is.

“My upbringing allowed me to be very grounded, so I take nothing for granted,” she said. “I’m not big on perks. I just don’t have that mindset. I’m in awe of where I’ve ended up because I don’t think anybody, including me, would have predicted I would be the president of a university.”

Her humility does not mean Thomas is not up for the challenges on the horizon. While she would rather not be dealing with issues like millions of dollars in lost funding, she understands every cloud has a silver lining.

“It gives us the opportunity to look at things in different ways, clearly define who we are and where we are going,” she said. “Truman really does have an opportunity to be a national leader by showing that a liberal arts and sciences education is the education for the 21st century.”

Her own experience with the liberal arts has equipped Thomas to lead that endeavor. She chose to attend Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa., primarily because she was looking for a small-school experience after graduating with a high school class comprised of more than 1,100 students. She may not have selected Allegheny for the liberal arts, but the experience strongly resonated with her, and she is now in a position to be the person investing in others and assisting them to reach their potential.

“I like helping people be as successful as they can possibly be,” she said. “A university must be a place where you can achieve more than you ever imagined, and you are positively transformed by your college experiences.”

Sue Thomas … 101

Penn Hills, Pa.

Allegheny College
Bachelor of Arts: Psychology

University of Missouri-Columbia
Master of Arts: Social Psychology
Master of Business Administration
Ph.D.: Social Psychology

Sue Thomas … 102

Career Highlights
Truman State University
President, March 2017 –
Interim President, July 2016 – February 2017
Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, 2014-16

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Associate Provost for Academic Planning and Program Development, 2007-14
Assistant Provost for Planning, 2005-07

Michael Oliveri, Ph.D., husband
Sam, son
Annie, daughter




Acknowledging the Past, Pursuing the Future

In 1867, classes at the North Missouri Normal School and Commercial College started on the first Monday in September. There was no outrage about beginning on a traditional three-day weekend, probably because Labor Day would not become a federal holiday for another 27 years. If the weather was particularly warm, as summer days in Missouri are known to be, those same students could not even cool off with an ice cold Coca-Cola, seeing as how that company did not start on the path to becoming one of the world’s most recognizable brands until 1886. Regardless of how the 144 students arrived in town, it surely was not by car since America’s first automobile manufacturer, the Duryea Motor Wagon Company, was more than two decades away from opening its doors.

The University has been around longer than many of the amenities taken for granted today. Current students might shudder at the thought of something as archaic as dial-up internet access, but when the inaugural class came to campus Alexander Graham Bell was still nine years off from securing the first telephone patent. As the University prepares to celebrate its 150th anniversary, it is important to understand the historical context of the achievement and equally significant to realize sustained success is the result of generations of hard work and sound stewardship. In a century and a half, the University has grown from a small normal school, dedicated solely to teacher education, into a nationally renowned institution with alumni scattered across the globe. A common proverb for excellence is to note something is “the greatest thing since sliced bread,” but even referencing that American staple, which hit the shelves in 1928, fails to properly capture the grandeur of the University.

Joseph Baldwin’s Series of Fortunate Events
The first thing to keep in mind when considering the long and lustrous history of the University is to understand it almost never happened. Without the help of a few serendipitous events, there would be no milestone to celebrate.

Joseph Baldwin was a native of Pennsylvania who taught in Missouri after receiving his bachelor’s degree. By 1866 he was the president of a seminary school in Indiana, but felt compelled to start his own institution. During his previous stint in the Show-Me State, Baldwin helped create the Missouri State Teachers Association. Through connections with state educational and political leaders, and at the urging of a family member who happened to live in town, Baldwin was encouraged to establish his school in Kirksville.

The final piece of the puzzle came as the result of another school’s misfortune. The Cumberland Academy was only open for about a year before going under in 1861. A second attempt to revive it was cut short when the Battle of Kirksville forced its closure on Aug. 6, 1862. Various churches made use of the building during the next several years, but it was not until Baldwin arrived in 1867 that it would again be used as a school.

Had the building not been available, or had Baldwin previously taught in another state, or his family member not moved to the area, Sept. 2, 1867 would be just another day in the history of Kirksville. Instead, it marks the beginning of an educational movement that has gotten stronger during the past 150 years.

A School By Any Other Name …
The quickest way to start a rift among alumni is to call the University by the “wrong” name. Since its inception, the proper name of the school has changed seven times. On average, that would be a name change about every 21 years, but some of the monikers were short lived. In just the second year, the name was abbreviated to simply North Missouri Normal School, which only lasted two years. The next designation, Missouri State Normal School of the First District, currently holds the record for the longest lasting handle at 49 years, narrowly beating out its successor, Northeast Missouri State Teachers College, which reigned for 48 years. Even though it is second in the record books, that era ranks first in the hearts of many alumni. Ironically, they refer to it as yet another name. For a certain generation, the school was and forever will be Kirksville State Teachers College.

“Even though KSTC was not an official University name, it was the University nickname adopted by many alumni from the 1920s through the 1960s,” said Denise Smith, director of alumni relations.

Yearbooks from the time display pictures of cheerleader sweaters and letterman jackets emblazoned with only an oversized K to acknowledge their allegiance, and many alumni still hold that alias in the highest regard. A walk down Franklin Street during the annual Homecoming parade will reveal more than a few KSTC sweatshirts and jackets.

When Truman State University became official in 1996 there was another period of adjustment since many had become accustomed to NMSU during the previous 24 years. The name was selected as an homage to the only Missourian to serve as president of the United States. Although Harry Truman had no significant ties to the University, let alone a degree from any college, he was a proponent of lifelong learning and public service. By all accounts, he would have embraced the spirit of the University’s vision statement to develop citizen-leaders committed to service, and the school’s association with him has come to be widely accepted as an appropriate tribute.

The Times They Are A-Changin’
The name is hardly the only thing to change at Truman in past 150 years. If not for alumnus and author Basil Brewer writing a school song entitled “The Purple and the White” in 1902, the University may have never adopted those colors. He was later rewarded with the naming of Brewer Hall in his honor, which hopefully lessened the blow when professor Gail Albright penned “Hail to the Bulldogs!” in 1974, a more popular song which is still played at University sporting events.

Alumni are constantly reminded attending the University makes them a “Bulldog Forever,” but the mascot was not forever a bulldog. Embraced in 1915, the bulldog has been associated with the University for a little more than two-thirds of the school’s existence, but it is difficult to imagine otherwise.

Even the physical aspects of the University have changed, sometimes drastically and at a moment’s notice. As beautiful as campus is today, some would argue it was at its peak nearly 100 years ago. After leaving the Cumberland Academy and establishing roots at the University’s current location, Old Baldwin Hall was the first structure to be completed. It sat behind a picturesque lake, and for nearly 30 years it was the only building. When a fire ravaged campus in 1924, the lake was emptied to put out the blaze. From that disaster, some of the bedrocks of the modern campus came into being. The drained lake made way for the area now known as the Quad. The footprint of Old Baldwin Hall became the Sunken Garden, and Kirk Memorial was established on the site of the scorched building’s tower.

In the time since Old Baldwin Hall was alone on campus, several buildings and landmarks have been established. Some structures were purely decorative or commemorative, like the statue of Joseph Baldwin, erected in 1927 to celebrate his 100th birthday, or the Bell Wall, dedicated in 1967 as part of the University’s centennial celebration. The iconic clock tower, now synonymous with Truman to a generation of students and alumni, was installed just 25 years ago. A few buildings have come and gone, but many remain with long histories intact. In some instances, renovations brought new life, and since the redesign of Pickler Memorial Library in the early 1990s, many of the updates have incorporated contemporary additions with existing structures — the old and the new coming together to both acknowledge the past while allowing for functionality in the future.

The Next 150 Years
Most of the University’s history remains rooted in teacher education. Additional programs were not added until 1968, and though that break from tradition may have seemed strange at the time, it was essential for the survival of the school.

When the University mission changed, some programs were drastically altered or even eliminated in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Much like the choice to expand beyond teacher education, the changes were not always popular at the time. The difficult decisions made during the transition did ultimately bear fruit, proof of which can be seen in the accolades the University has continually piled up in the last 25 years. Regional recognition evolved into national rankings, and Truman has been hailed for a variety of reasons, including its emphasis on undergraduate education, the number of first-generation students enrolled, alumni who contribute to community service projects, and the success rates and earning potential of students 10 years after enrollment.

“For an institution to be around for 150 years, the institution has had to figure out not just how to survive, but how to thrive during ever-changing times,” University President Susan L. Thomas said. “Celebrating a sesquicentennial anniversary is a clear indication that Truman takes challenges head on. The University is willing to take a hard look at itself and make the strategic and thoughtful changes necessary to advance the institution.”

Change on a college campus may be gradual, but it is inevitable. To meet the challenges of the future, adjustments will surely need to be considered from any number of angles. Developments in society might influence student interest, and advancements in technology could alter trends in education in ways not yet known. If history is any indication, Truman will be ready for whatever comes next.

“It’s always scary to change, but we wouldn’t be the amazing University we are today if we hadn’t changed,” Thomas said. “By remaining deeply committed to meeting contemporary needs, we ensure Truman will remain a powerful educational force for the next 150 years.”

We are Truman and Northeast, and KSTC …
Part of the reason alumni and friends identify so resolutely with certain aspects of the University, like a name, building or program, is because for many, their time on campus was an intense, immersive experience. Students transform a lot in a relatively short period of time. The typical college experience is a four-year snapshot frozen in time. It is what makes reminiscing with classmates decades after graduation so enjoyable.

A look at the timeline of the University’s history shows an arc of purposeful growth, and every change implemented has been done in the interest of providing the best possible education to students. Each generation builds on the achievements of those that came before it, and the accomplishments of today’s students are due in part to the paths carved out by their predecessors. Any future evolution of the University is not an indictment of previous eras, but rather an endorsement of their successes and the next logical step in continuing to provide an education that prepares students to be good citizens and leaders. That is one thing that will never change.






The Queen of Smoothie King

Jackie Floyd (’07) accomplished a lot in her first few years after graduating from Truman with degrees in theatre and English. While spending a year as part of a music ministry team, she toured Southeast Asia and the western United States. She followed that up with time as a resident director at Rockhurst University while she earned a master’s degree in theatre from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. After obtaining a teaching certificate from Avila University, she moved half-way around the world to teach high school English in the United Arab Emirates. A message from her sister, Kelli (Floyd) Kent (’05), would turn out to make her next few years just as busy.

“She told me she wanted to start a Smoothie King and asked if I wanted to be her business partner and the operating partner,” Floyd said. “She ended the text with ‘This is not a joke.’”

Within a month of that initial text message, the sisters had submitted an application for the Columbia/Jefferson City territory. Since opening their first store in Columbia, they have been rapidly building a Smoothie King empire, which now includes a food truck, along with stores in Jefferson City, West Des Moines and Waukee, Iowa, and their hometown of Kirksville.

“I was particularly excited to bring Smoothie King to Kirksville because I have friends and family from my childhood and collegiate years here,” Floyd said. “I am proud to say that our Kirksville opening day was the largest and most successful opening day we have had in any of our stores.”

Floyd and Kent show no signs of slowing down any time soon. They have plans to open 11 stores, and they are currently working on locations in Ankeny, Iowa, and another in Columbia.

“We love working together as a team, building a successful business that provides job opportunities for many people, as well as a great product to our guests,” Floyd said.

As a budding entrepreneur, Floyd still continues to stay connected to the arts. She is active in community theatre in the Columbia area and uses it as a way to make new friends. Even though her degrees are not directly associated with her current career path, she values the skills she picked up in the classroom.

“I believe some of the most important things I learned from my time at Truman were how to work with a team and effective communication skills,” she said. “The liberal arts degree allowed me to explore a variety of courses and collaborate with many people with different interests from my own. These experiences provided a strong foundation for me to start my own business and develop relationships with many people.”

Jackie Floyd (’07) celebrates the opening of the Smoothie King in Kirksville with her grandparents.

Alumna Leads Highway Patrol

Sandra (Munden) Karsten

When it comes to her career path, Sandra (Munden) Karsten has had a singular focus since she was 17. After attending the American Legion Cadet Patrol Academy, where she got to learn about different areas of the criminal justice system, one agency stood out among the rest.

“Throughout the week, I watched different professionals and was impressed by the troopers,” she said. “Their professionalism made a positive impact on me, and I wanted to be a part of the patrol from that point on.”

Since earning a criminal justice degree from the University in 1985, Karsten has been an integral part of the institution she once admired, and in March, she was officially sworn in as the 23rd superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. In a distinguished career that has included multiple leadership roles, Karsten is the first woman to occupy the top spot in the state’s highest law enforcement agency.

“I never set out to become the colonel. I set out to be a trooper and do the best I could,” she said. “I never set out to be first at anything. That happened as I was going about working hard and trying do the right thing wherever I was assigned. I always strived, and still do, to treat people with dignity and respect.”

Karsten is also the first woman to be promoted to the ranks of lieutenant, captain, major, lieutenant colonel and now colonel. She takes pride in those achievements, but she credits the work of many individuals in making them possible.

“While history does remember significant firsts, what is often not talked about are the first steps leading up to that history,” she said. “I have shared this history with many people – my family, my recruit class, my first zone, my first supervisor. The list goes on. With each first, there was a sharing of history.”

As superintendent, Karsten looks to pay forward the same support she has received throughout her career. She values people first and the process second, not always an easy task with more than 1,200 officers and 1,100 civilians under her command. In addition to its primary emphasis on traffic and water safety, the patrol is a full-service professional law enforcement agency, responsible for motor vehicle and commercial vehicle inspection programs, driver license examinations, criminal investigations, crime laboratory analysis, and related research and statistics, among other things.

To keep the patrol running smoothly, Karsten draws on some inspiration from the value-added program that was established around the time she was attending the University.

“The name of this program stuck with me, and I have used the concept at different times in my career,” she said. “I have asked what value has been added in a process or program, and what that value represents.”

That line of thinking is not the only way Karsten has maintained ties with her alma mater. Although she earned a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Missouri, and has participated in several other leadership programs, Truman remains special to her. Last year, she spoke at a send-off event for new students from the St. Louis area, and more than a dozen members of her family have attended the University, including her brother and sister.

“Our family values education, and Truman provides outstanding opportunities for a great liberal arts education,” Karsten said.

Along with her duties with the patrol, Karsten serves as an adjunct professor at Lincoln University, is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and is active with Special Olympics fundraising and various youth activities. She also serves as an executive board member for the Missouri Peace Officers Association.

Karsten and her husband Tim live in Jefferson City. They have two sons, John and Paul.

University Experience Leads to Presidential Post

Orinthia Montague

Like a lot of alumni, Orinthia Montague (’90) cites Truman as the foundation of her academic success. She went on to earn a master’s degree from Lindenwood University and a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri, and she has spent much of her career in higher education. The coming academic year will mark her first as president of Tompkins Courtland Community College in Dryden, N.Y. Small things can make a big difference, and in Montague’s case that may be true. Her reason for choosing Truman – the place she feels started her career path – stems from sharing a bathroom with her four sisters.

“This will sound crazy, but at the time I knew I did not want to attend a school where I had to share a bathroom with a floor full of girls,” she said. “After visiting Truman, I realized it was the right size and the atmosphere really was a fit for me.”

Montague had a fulfilling time on campus. Step shows and parties are now more memorable than her bathroom situation, and she did a lot of community service in town as a member of Alpha Angels, the little sister organization of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. Academically, she felt supported too, specifically by her advisor Paul Mineo and Dwyane Smith, the director of the Multicultural Affairs Center.

“There were just so many people at Truman committed to my success, not just in the classroom, but as a global citizen,” she said.

A practicum experience under Smith is what really sparked her interest in higher education. A first-generation college student, Montague found there were many things she did not know when she arrived on campus, and she was motivated to help others.

“I wanted to be a part of the other side of the higher education arena that serves as a support net for students,” she said.

In her new role at Tompkins Courtland, Montague will be empowered to do just that, but it might not always be easy. Decreased funding to support students and success initiatives are pressing issues in higher education. To address that, she plans to seek opportunities to leverage her institution’s resources and collaborate with community partners.

Another tricky issue she will have to navigate is the relationship between enrollment and outcomes. Community colleges are designed to provide access and opportunity for a breadth of students, but that can cause difficulties, something she hopes to address as president.

“Even though we accept students at various preparation levels, we are being held to the same outcome standards as institutions with rigorous entrance requirements,” Montague said. “Our challenge as community college presidents is to find a way to address this misalignment of expectations, which is typically tied to funding.”

As far as her specific goals at Tompkins Courtland, Montague wants to build on the positive campus culture, address issues of enrollment and find ways to support student retention and engagement. She is pleased with the faculty and staff under her employ and has a positive outlook on the future.

“Tompkins Courtland is a school poised to move forward in its growth success,” she said.

A Living Link to University History

Walter H. Ryle IV

If there were a Mt. Rushmore dedicated solely to University presidents, the debate regarding which four administrators deserve a spot could get intense. Truman has been fortunate to have many exceptional leaders. If the decision were put to a vote, one name that would be near the top of almost all ballots would be Walter H. Ryle III. The longest-serving president in school history, he oversaw a period of exceptional growth in terms of students, employees and infrastructure. With all his accomplishments, to one alumnus and former faculty member, President Ryle was simply “dad.”

Walter H. Ryle IV, known to family and friends as “Walt,” was only five years old during the first year of his father’s presidency. At the time, he did not fully grasp his father’s importance to the University.

“As a child, I wasn’t really conscious of my dad’s position,” Walt said. “I don’t remember being any different than any of the other kids or being treated differently.”

Walt credits his father’s job for keeping him “simmered down” when he was a young fraternity man on campus, but he never felt any pressure due to his family name or reputation.

“My dad and mother both were really good parents in that they gave me a lot of rope,” Walt said “They didn’t try to mold me in any way that I was ever conscious of, other than their good example.”

President Ryle may have been too busy to meddle in his son’s business. Much of what the University is today is owed in great part to his vision. Under his leadership, the school saw the construction of, or addition to, more than 20 buildings on campus. The number of faculty more than quadrupled on his watch, and the student body jumped from 668 students in his first year in 1937 to 5,320 by his final year in 1967. With 30 years on the job, even just his major achievements would be too numerous to list.

Perhaps his most important contribution was his establishment of a general education program consisting of 64 hours of study on a broad range of subjects, or as President Ryle described it, “an education useful to all who possess it, at all times, and under all circumstances.” It was essentially the forerunner to what would become the liberal arts foundation of the University decades later. Although President Ryle has a reputation as a staunch advocate for teacher education, Walt believes his father would wholeheartedly support the path the University has taken since he was at the helm.

“He was so committed to teacher education that people decided he would be unhappy about the shift away from that. People say that, and there’s just no basis for it,” Walt said. “I know he was very supportive of President McClain’s vision of a state-supported liberal arts school.”

President Charles McClain was one person who realized the full extent of Ryle’s importance to the University. In the introduction to Ryle’s 1972 book, “Centennial History of the Northeast Missouri State Teachers College,” McClain wrote “Dr. Ryle had the foresight and the judgement necessary for effective planning during a critical period of rapid growth and expansion. A great measure of today’s success of the institution is possible because of the groundwork laid by Dr. Walter H. Ryle. We are indebted to him, and his name deserves to rank on the honor roll of illustrious American educators.”

In addition to having a personal family connection to President Ryle, Walt is in a good position to assess his father’s influence on the University. He eventually served on the faculty under his father and was employed by Truman until 1999. A professor emeritus of history, Walt was in the classroom for nearly 40 years. Among other duties, he served on the undergraduate council, as well as more than 20 years on the University athletic committee. That experience allowed him to transition into the role of athletic director in 1994, a position he occupied for five years. In 2012, he was inducted into both the MIAA and Truman Athletic halls of fame.

Walt has remained in Kirksville since he retired from the University. He still owns a family farm and has been breeding sheep since 1970. He also stays active in the community and has been a Rotary member for 56 years.

“In my opinion, this is a much better community than I remember from my childhood,” Walt said. “The community has had good leadership and steady growth.”

In total, the Ryle family has been associated with the University in one form or another for nearly 100 of its 150 years. President Ryle and his wife were both alumni, as well as Walt, his wife, Connie, and their son Wesley. Another son, Douglas, was a member of the ROTC faculty for several years. As the University prepares to celebrate its sesquicentennial, Walt is sure his father would approve of where it is today.

“He would be very proud of Truman’s standing, and he would be proud of the administrative leadership that it has enjoyed and the excellence of its faculty and student body,” he said. “I don’t think there is any doubt about that.”



Record Number of Students Receive Fulbright Grants

A total of nine Truman students received Fulbright awards for the 2017-18 academic year.

The Fulbright program offers fellowships for U.S. college graduates, graduate students, young professionals and artists to study, conduct research and/or teach English abroad.

Altogether, Truman had 16 students complete applications for the program. All nine of the selected semifinalists went on to receive awards, an all-time high for the University.

The selected students and the countries in which they will spend the Fulbright year are: Luke Bishop, Spain; Christy Crouse, Colombia; Luc Derry, Georgia; Shelby Kovack, Spain; Nathan Schellenberg, South Korea; Matthew Warner, Spain; Lydia Whitacre, South Africa; Sadie Williams, Spain; and Ellen Zempel, Nepal.

Nine Truman students received Fulbright awards and will teach English abroad during the coming school year. Pictured, from left to right: Luke Bishop, Shelby Kovack, Luc Derry, Sadie Williams, Christy Crouse and Nathan Schellenberg. Not pictured: Matthew Warner, Lydia Whitacre and Ellen Zempel.


Truman Students Excel on CPA Exam

The first-time pass rate for Truman students on the 2016 CPA exam was among the highest in the nation.
According to a National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) report, Truman’s first-time pass rate ranked second in the country for medium-sized programs with 21 to 60 reported candidates. Truman ranked 15th out of the 858 institutions with 10 or more reported candidates.

Truman had 49 first-time candidates sit for the exam in 2016. University candidates passed 81.1 percent of exam sections taken with an average score of 81.2 percent. Nationally, the first-time pass rate was 54.4 percent.
Consistently among the top 10 percent in performance on the CPA exam, Truman is one of only five public universities in the top 20 for medium-sized programs.

Truman is one of only 185 universities worldwide accredited in both business and accounting by AACSB International, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. AACSB accreditation is the internationally recognized, specialized designation for business and accounting programs at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels.

University Preps for Solar Eclipse

The first day of classes for the coming school year will include a unique learning opportunity. Aug. 21, 2017 will feature a solar eclipse across 14 states. Kirksville is near the path of totality and will witness a 98 percent obscuration of the sun by the moon.

In preparation for the eclipse, faculty members and students from the Stargazers astronomy club have been working on events to help the community experience the rare occurrence. Solar telescopes and solar binoculars will be set up the day of the event on campus near the Student Union Building Mall and at the observatory located at the University Farm. They will also be accessible at the Adair County Public Library and the Moberly Area Community College parking lot on Normal Street. Additionally, there will be other means for observing the eclipse, including sunspotters and solar-funnels. These events are free and open to everyone.

In the lead up to the eclipse, the Stargazers will set up solar telescopes at various locations in Kirksville. They also are selling eclipse glasses for $1, with proceeds supporting the observatory. Anyone interested in purchasing glasses can contact Vayujeet Gokhale at

Useful links regarding the eclipse can be found at

Nursing Pass Rate Exceeds State Average

Last year, graduates from Truman’s Department of Nursing exceeded the state average pass rate on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) for registered nurses.

According to the NCLEX-RN pass rates released by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, 97.73 percent of Truman nursing graduates passed on their first attempt. By comparison, the overall Missouri rate was 85.50 percent.

Truman offers both the traditional four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, as well as an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. For the ABSN, students who already have a bachelor’s degree in another subject can earn a nursing degree in 15 months.

The Truman Department of Nursing has the seal of approval from the Missouri State Board of Nursing and is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.