Author Archives: tmiles

Top Dogs

Women’s Basketball
Freshman Katie Jaseckas made such an immediate impact on the Bulldog women’s basketball team that she was voted the Great Lakes Valley Conference Freshman of the Year. Jaseckas led the team in scoring and rebounding and was second among league freshman in scoring. Her 18 rebounds against Drury, Jan. 15, tied for third-highest in a conference game this season and 10th best in a Bulldog single game. She had seven double-doubles, which was fourth among all GLVC players.

Men’s Basketball
Redshirt-senior forward Zach Fischer went from walk-on in 2013 to an All-American in 2018. Fischer is the men’s basketball program’s first CoSIDA Academic All-American since 2011 and first on the first team since 2000. For the single-season school record book Fischer’s 2018 effort was first in field goal percentage, tied for sixth in total points and eighth in total rebounds.

Senior Will Shanel’s four-year run as a Truman swimmer was a memorable one to say the least. Shanel won five GLVC titles in two events, earned All-American honors seven times in three events and owns five different school records. He became the first male in 41 years of program history to be named an All-American four times in the same individual event.

After a first-team all-conference performance on the gridiron for the Bulldog football team, Sam Reeves transitioned to the mats and came up one match short of the elusive All-America honor. Reeves joined the team at semester for his third season and posted a 17-10 overall record. He earned his trip to the Division II nationals by placing fourth in the 197-pound weight class at the super regional, Feb. 24. Reeves lost his opening match but won his next by a score of 3-2 to set up a bout for All-America honors. He would lose that match by a 5-2 score. He was the first Truman wrestler since 2013 to qualify for nationals. In addition, Reeves earned academic honors from the National Wrestling Coaches Association.

Junior outfielder Christa Reisinger just continues to fill up her trophy case. The 2018 portion of that case includes two GLVC Player of the Week honors (four in career), a top-25 finalist for National Player of the Year (second time), GLVC Player of the Year (second time), first-team All-GLVC (third time) and NFCA first-team All-Midwest Region (third time).

Junior infielder Charlie Kreh had one of the best finishes to a season by a Bulldog baseball player. Kreh hit .449 in the month of April, including a 17-game hitting streak, and reached base in the final 23 games to earn first-team All-GLVC honors. Kreh finished the season with a .379 batting mark with 42 RBIs and 14 doubles. He was also named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District team. Also of note for baseball, seniors Kent Frantz, Peter Young and Brendan Trimble left their mark on the Truman record book. Frantz became the all-time leader in pitching wins with 19, Young shattered the all-time saves record with 25 and Trimble finished in the Bulldog top 10 in many offensive categories.

Men’s & Women’s Tennis
Seniors Paul Province and Lindsey Schlichting were the leaders of the Bulldog tennis squads this season. Both played in the top singles and doubles spots for their respective teams and were their team’s nominees for the GLVC Sportsmanship Award.

Track & Field
Truman had two conference champions crowed at the GLVC Outdoor meet this past May. Freshman Cassie Jennings captured the pole vault and junior Elle Renault set a new conference meet record in the javelin. Jennings kept rising to new heights each week in the pole vault as she also set a Stokes Stadium record of 12-04.00 when the teams broke in the new facility in April. Renault got an NCAA provisional mark when she won the javelin at conference. Other Bulldogs to hit NCAA provisional marks this year were junior Cassidy Smestad in the shot put and freshman Bobby Campbell in the discus.

Women’s Golf
Senior Nicolle Barmettler wrapped up arguably the most illustrious career in the history of Truman women’s golf this spring. Barmettler became the program’s first player to be named All-GLVC once, let alone twice, and made back-to-back appearances in the NCAA East Super Regional, the first to do that as an individual.

Are You an Alumni Chapter Member?

Truman has 10 alumni chapters located across the country where there are large populations of alumni. Joining an alumni chapter is a great way to network and make connections that could help in a future job search, as well as make new friends and have a great time at fun events. Chapter membership is only $20 per year or $30 for joint memberships. Recent grads may join for half price. Enjoy events like museum tours, trivia nights, social hours, professional sporting events and Truman athletic events, just to name a few. Join today! Go to and select memberships.

Kansas City Alumni Host Reception and Entrepreneurial Panel Discussion

The Kansas City Bulldogs gathered for an exciting and informative reception, May 2. The event took place at Fishtech headquarters, recently named Kansas City’s coolest office by the Kansas City Business Journal.

In addition to being united in a really fun space, the evening also featured an entrepreneurial panel discussion moderated by Ryan Shreve (’02) who currently serves as chief financial officer at Fishtech Group. Participants were able to learn more about innovation and entrepreneurship from Kansas City area alumni panelists.

Topics covered included advice for thriving in fast-changing environments, how to learn from mistakes and adapt to move forward and how their Truman education prepared them to excel in the innovation/entrepreneurial space.

The alumni panelists for the event were: Marco Ilardi (’99), president of Adknowledge; Roger Obrist (’01), chief operating officer of Redwood Trading; and Jeff Poe (’90), chief financial officer of Mariner Holdings.

Mall Garden Dedicated to Beloved Bulldog

The Truman State University Foundation hosted a series of events on campus the weekend of April 14 to honor donors and celebrate the sesquicentennial. One of the more serene gatherings was the dedication of a mall garden spot in honor of Denise Smith.

All totaled, Smith devoted more than a third of her life to the University. As a student, she was a proud member of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority, maintaining her ties with the chapter long after receiving her bachelor’s degree in 1979. Following 12 years as the general manager of KMEM radio in Memphis, Mo., she returned to her alma mater as director of alumni relations. She later served as the interim co-director of advancement from January 2016 until her untimely passing in November 2017.

During her nearly 18-year career, Smith worked tirelessly with the Alumni Board of Directors to create a nationwide network of Bulldogs. She was passionate in her efforts to ensure all alumni felt a genuine connection to the University. Because of her leadership, there are now 10 alumni chapters throughout the country, along with a handful of smaller alumni clubs. The University’s travel program has grown in popularity, visiting the likes of France, Scotland, London and, later this year, Iceland. Working in conjunction with the board, Smith helped institute National Truman Spirit Day, celebrated annually on the first Friday in October. Most recently, she was instrumental in establishing TruCare, a monthlong service initiative to inspire alumni to volunteer their time to charities in their communities.

More pictures of the garden dedication, as well as all of the photos from the Truman State University Foundation weekend, can be found at

Frisbee Bonds Lead to ‘Ultimate’ Scholarship

When vision and means meet, a dynamic story unfolds. Sun Ultimate Frisbee, a 501(c)(3) organization established an endowed scholarship in February 2018 through the Truman State University Foundation, and their story strongly portrays this dynamism.

The vision began when a group of alumni friends gathered over a meal. The peers developed a friendship during the early 2000s while participating on the men’s (JujiTSU) and women’s (TSUnami) ultimate frisbee teams. The group saw a need for an organizing body of college-level ultimate frisbee tournaments. Soon after, Sensei Ultimate was born, which was later renamed Sun Ultimate Frisbee.

Glory Days is the non-profit’s signature event, and 2018 will mark its 13th consecutive year.

“It’s a fall-season – recruitment season – tournament aimed at providing college teams the type of experience that gets their newcomers out on the road, gelling with their new teammates and participating in an ultimate tournament they’ll not soon forget,” Bret Gramlich (’06) said.

Participants frequently quote the event as their favorite or most memorable tournament of the year. Glory Days averages about 50 collegiate teams, or around 1,000 athletes, in both open and women’s divisions, and is usually located around the Chicago area. The tournament is typically organized in the months before by a handful of alumni, but to properly host the event around a dozen more alumni – and family – attend to help during the tournament weekend.

“Now that many of us are participating in coaching our kids’ and neighbors’ athletic experiences, drawing upon our memories of the past only continues to increase in value,” Gramlich said. “So now, in a variety of ways, we’re simply trying to help as many others as possible become better people through sport.”

The Sensei Alumni Ultimate Frisbee Endowed Scholarship is designated to support students participating on either the men’s or women’s ultimate frisbee team with financial need who demonstrate leadership, inclusion, sportsmanship, selflessness and player/team development.

The non-profit was recognized during the spring Foundation Banquet on Truman’s campus for their generosity and induction into the John R. Kirk Memorial Society. Once the fund generates sufficient earnings on the principal, the scholarship will open for applications.

Gift Provides Support Through Competition

Alumni donors are more important than ever to ensuring Truman’s tradition of excellence continues. Every year, thousands of alumni contribute back to their alma mater supporting scholarships, academic departments, athletics and more. Regardless of the size of the contribution, these gifts enhance the quality of the Truman experience for students and help build for the future.

While it’s certainly true that donations of all sizes make a big difference, that is a message that can be hard to communicate – especially to younger alumni. Unfortunately, the more time that passes after graduation, the less likely an alum is to give back at all. And those who do give back longer after graduating tend to give less than those who start giving back right after college.

This was a challenge that Colleen Ritchie (’84) understood very well from her service to the Foundation Board of Directors. The goal of the Foundation Board is to inspire philanthropy and impactful relationships with the University. Ritchie offered her own resources to do just that. She pledged $50,000 over five years to be used as challenge money to motivate young alumni and students to give back to Truman. Ritchie’s support helped donors see firsthand how their smaller gifts made a big difference during Truman’s first #BulldogsGiving. Thanks to her generosity, 225 alumni, parents, friends, faculty and staff gave back to the first #BulldogsGiving, starting a giving tradition that grew even larger the next year. In 2017, #BulldogsGiving featured five crowdfunding campaigns with campus groups working to attract donors to their cause. Within one week, 342 people had donated to the University in support of scholarships, the Truman band and athletics.

Ritchie’s matching funds have also supported student giving initiatives. Over the past two years, the student giving campaign has featured student-run crowdfunding campaigns competing for matching donations. The student giving campaigns worked not only to communicate the impact of smaller donations but also to show students how gifts benefit them directly. The 2018 campaigns raised money to equip the Bike Co-op with bikes for a bike share program, to provide free STI testing through the Student Health Center, sponsored by the Women’s Resource Center, and to upgrade radio equipment for KTRM. Run by students for students, more than $11,000 was raised for these three causes in one week. With match money, more than $21,000 went directly to causes important to students on campus.

Great things have happened because Ritchie invested in inspiring students and young alumni to give back, but that’s just the beginning. Ritchie has continued her commitment to creating a culture of philanthropy at Truman by making a pledge during the “Pursue the Future” campaign. Her vision will continue to help educate and motivate younger donors to get in the habit of giving back to Truman. About her goals for the future, Ritchie says, “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.”

Young Entrepreneur Pitches Innovative Ideas

Catching the elevator door right as it closes, the young entrepreneur receives his chance. There are 100 stories before the investor reaches the office. Three minutes, that is what he has, and that is all he needs. Three minutes to take his idea, summarize it and leave a lasting impression.

For Smithville, Mo., native William Fries, this scenario is all too familiar. Maybe not the high-rise building and the elevator shooting up 100 stories, but the pressure of an opportunity to pitch his idea to an investor. As a three-time Bulldog B.I.T.E. finalist, Fries has looked not one but seven investors in the eye and pitched his idea in hopes of a good return.

Bulldog B.I.T.E., which stands for Business Innovation by Truman Entrepreneurs, is a competition in which University students pitch their ideas to investors with the chance to win prize money. Not only has Fries been a finalist all three years, he also won the event in his first two attempts.

Fries is equal parts entrepreneur and crusader. Seeing that priceless information is often stored on everyday electronic devices, he began to develop ideas to protect their security.

“Everywhere people have problems that they don’t know how to solve,” Fries said. “I hear about these issues and internalize them, just letting them sit. Eventually, the right conditions will occur and a solution comes to mind.”

The need to protect information developed into his first pitch, a general-purpose hardware security device that would protect passwords, files and other sensitive media. If the user’s computer were to be compromised, their credentials would be safe.

An interest in photography inspired Fries’ second pitch, an SD card that encrypts photos on the fly and protects photojournalists traveling with their work. The card would allow journalists to hide photos on their devices from detection.

“Photojournalists are not always well received in the locations they travel to,” Fries said. “Frequently, photojournalists are compelled by local forces to destroy or forfeit their photographs, sometimes putting themselves and their sources in danger.”

Along similar lines, the inspiration for Fries’ third pitch derived from unwarranted phone searches. When returning from travel abroad, U.S. citizens can be asked for security passwords to their devices for search without a warrant. Fries’ pitch was a card that would allow the user to secure their device with a password known only by reading a specific card that would be locked in a secure safe or left with someone in the U.S. The only way to unlock the phone would be to retrieve the card, and when back in the U.S., the citizen could request a warrant.

Bulldog B.I.T.E. is not Fries’ only brush with success. This year he became the first Truman student to participate in the Reynolds Journalism Institute Student Competition and was the lone bulldog on a team filled with Mizzou students. Their idea, VeriPixel, which is used to verify photos and identify fake news, won first place and earned them an all-expense-paid trip to New York City to meet with industry leaders and investors.

With plenty of ideas ready to be explored, Fries’ only barrier is time.

“There is always something — always problems to solve, whether my own or someone else’s,” Fries said. “I have a long list of ideas. I’m just waiting for time.”

After graduation next spring, Fries might finally have the time he seeks, and he will have no shortage of things to do with it. His interests include photography, cryptography, art and film making. As a double major in both computer science and business administration management, he is unsure of where his future career will take him, but he knows he wants to pursue something interdisciplinary in nature. He is pleased with the support he finds through the University faculty and resources while he plans his next move.

“Events such as Bulldog B.I.T.E. spur thought and discussion,” he said. “Professors are always willing to listen and assist, even if not related to coursework. I think I’ve learned just as much with professors outside of class as I have in class.”

New Data Science Program Expands Career Opportunities

With its new online graduate certificate in data science, Truman is offering working adults with a college degree an opportunity to gain experience in one of the world’s fastest-growing career fields.

Data scientists are trained to decipher large volumes of information in order to find trends and gain deeper insight into what it all means. Average salaries can reach well into six figures, and common career paths include business intelligence analysts, analytics managers and research scientists, to name a few.

Truman’s online program is the perfect fit for professionals looking to enhance their skill set or considering a career change. It is comprised of five online classes and can be completed in as little as 45 weeks. It’s also a great option for upcoming or recent graduates who want to add additional value to their already valuable Truman undergraduate degree.

“This program is designed with the needs of the working student firmly in mind,” said Kevin Minch, associate provost. “Courses are compact and online. An academic success mentor helps students stay on track throughout each course. Students are assessed based on projects that apply the skills they learn to work-relevant topics. Most importantly, they learn the essential skills to apply data science to work promptly, whereas many other programs require the completion of an entire master’s degree before producing a credential you can show your employer.”

For convenience, there are multiple start dates available throughout the year. Courses are taught in intensive, eight-week terms, and a flat tuition rate applies for all participants, regardless of where they reside. Open to graduates from all educational backgrounds, the only prerequisites are Computer Science 170 and Statistics 190, or the equivalent from another university. Truman currently offers both of the prerequisites online during the summer term.

Upon completion of the program, participants will receive a notation on their transcripts and a certificate suitable for display.

Processing for applications has begun and the program will launch in January 2019. Participants who anticipate having to complete the prerequisites are encouraged to do so in summer 2018.

Additional details on the data science program can be found online at or by contacting


Multimedia Lab Upgrades Keep Truman on the Cutting Edge

The multimedia lab in Pickler Memorial Library was recently renovated, with several enhancements to the physical space, as well as the technology it provides.

“The upgrade supports our mission to offer an exemplary undergraduate education to well-prepared students,” said Susan Thomas, instructional designer.        

Students can use the lab as a place to collaborate on group projects, work individually or be creative through the use of technology, and faculty will have the ability to create content for courses, websites and more. Some of the many uses of the lab include: recording podcasts; scanning photos, slides or film collections into online digital archives; narrating and sharing videos; converting old VHS tapes into digital video; converting cassette tapes into an online file or onto a flash drive; scanning large documents or books; editing movie clips together; recording lectures; creating green screen videos; and videoconferencing a tutor, mentor, family member or friend. The lab can be used for personal, school or work projects.

Technology offered in the lab includes 10 new iMac computers, five high-end Windows machines, a 70-inch touchscreen display, a One Button Studio, a Lightboard Studio and two videoconference rooms. Among the software found in the lab is iLife Suite for Macs, including iMovie and GarageBand, and Corel VideoStudio for Windows. Affinity Photo and Designer, GIMP, Inkscape, Audacity, Epson Scan, LibreOffice and Google Apps for Education can also be used in the lab.

“It’s important for Truman to remain current with the latest technology, not just because of the cool factor, but because students entering the workforce or continuing on to discipline-specific grad schools need to have exposure to and experience with a wide variety of technology,” said Diane Richmond, director of learning technologies.

The multimedia lab is open during library hours. Student multimedia assistants are available to help patrons during peak hours. For more information about the multimedia lab, contact the Learning Technologies Team at (660) 785-7750 or at

Phi Mu Alpha Celebrates 50 Years

As a career band director, John Malvin is no stranger to receiving adoration from an audience, but the response he got during the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia banquet in February will always have special significance for him. Malvin and five other original members of the organization – Terry Loose, Dean Kurtz, Nolan Schwada, Larry Green and David Evans – returned to campus this year to celebrate its 50th jazz festival. After the alumni shared a few words about their time in the chapter, the current members showed their appreciation.

“The standing ovation for us at the end of our remarks brought tears to our eyes,” Malvin said. “Dr. Roger Cody, our original faculty sponsor, spoke and hugged each of us. It was a feeling I will never forget as long as I live.”

Not only is Malvin a founding member of Phi Mu Alpha at Truman, he served as the chairman for the first festival. As part of the group’s charter, they were tasked with producing a music project. After a number of failed suggestions, Malvin and Loose conceived the idea of a jazz festival, which has been an annual event ever since.

“We had no idea that it would be still going strong 50 years later,” Malvin said. “It certainly was a group effort.”

In 1968, jazz groups from across the state were invited to participate, and acts included bands from the University of Missouri, South Shelby High School and Jennings High School, as well as Truman’s own Sinfonia Jazz Band and the NEMO Singers. The performers were paid $100 each and received a turkey dinner prepared by Sigma Alpha Iota.

Despite five decades of age, the current festivals share many similarities with the original. While the turkey dinner has since been retired, the festival still serves as a celebration of the genre, but there is more of a focus on music education. The jazz festival brings in more than a dozen high school bands to perform and be judged by professional musicians. There is also a clinic those bands can attend, and the festival concludes with a concert featuring Truman’s two jazz ensembles, along with a guest artist.

In addition to helping put the whole thing in motion, Malvin has personally been able to experience multiple aspects of the jazz festival. During his career, he brought his bands to participate nearly a dozen times, and he was fortunate enough to win awards on each occasion.

Serving as the chairman, Malvin describes his first festival as a blur. In subsequent events he was working as a band director. The 50th anniversary gave him and his fellow fraternity brothers a new perspective that will always be rewarding in its own right.

“At this one, we were able to sit back and enjoy seeing the festival and the opportunity to renew old friendships,” he said. “The feeling of respect from the current Phi Mu Alpha members was amazing. They treated us all like we were something very special.”