Article Category Archives: Giving Matters

Donors Create High-Impact Research Opportunities

Through the generosity and passion of alumni donors, three new undergraduate research opportunities have been created for students in the areas of computer science, molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics and physics.

Sharron S. Quisenberry (’66)

With a passion for research and a desire to provide Truman students with high-impact opportunities that will serve as a springboard for their careers, Dr. Sharron S. Quisenberry has established both the Dr. Sharron S. Quisenberry Undergraduate Summer Research Program and the Research Experience for Undergraduates in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Genetics.

Quisenberry graduated from Truman in 1966. For the last 41 years she has been a leader in education, both as a researcher and university administrator. She is internationally recognized for research in insect/host interactions and conservation of insect resistant germplasm and is a fellow of the Entomological Society of America.

Sucheta (Jawalkar) (’06) and Oseyi Ikuenobe (’05)

Oseyi and Dr. Sucheta (Jawalkar) Ikuenobe are an alumni couple who are also eager to provide students with undergraduate research opportunities. They recently established the Emerging Innovators Undergraduate Summer Research Program.

Both Oseyi and Sucheta recall how challenging the first year at Truman can be for students in the School of Science and Mathematics. As such, they have designed this research experience to be offered to students who have completed their first full academic year at Truman. After a year of intense instruction and work, the Ikuenobes hope this summer research project will give the recipient “a little cake” by providing an inspiring vision about how their academic journey is preparing them for future career experiences.

Oseyi graduated in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science in computer science, followed by Sucheta in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in physics. Oseyi went on to receive a master’s degree in information management from Washington University in St. Louis, as well as an MBA from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. He is currently employed by Square, Inc., where he serves as the head of product, orders and checkout experience. Sucheta went on to earn both a Master of Science and a Ph.D. in physics from the College of William and Mary. She is currently employed at the Georgia Tech Research Institute as a senior research scientist.

Each of these newly created research experiences will provide support for the following:

  • Research stipend for undergraduate researcher
  • Mentorship stipend for undergraduate researcher’s faculty advisor
  • Travel costs for both the student and faculty mentor to present their work at a professional regional or national conference
  • Research supplies needed for the work to be conducted

To support undergraduate research experiences for Truman students, contact the Office of Advancement at or (800) 452-6678.

Business Alumnus Establishes First Americans Scholarship

Major General John V. Cox

Maj. Gen. John V. Cox (’52)

Maj. Gen. John V. Cox (’52) and Patricia (McMichael) Cox have supported Truman State University for many years. In 2021, they combined their philanthropic interests with a six-figure gift to establish the Cox McMichael Scholarship for First Americans, a full-tuition, room-and-board scholarship for Truman students with Native American ancestry. The name is in reference to the words of Harry S. Truman who, during his presidency, used the term “First Americans.”

Heather Beard, the inaugural recipient of the Cox McMichael Scholarship for First Americans

An endowed fund, the Cox McMichael Scholarship for First Americans is designed to be awarded in perpetuity. The inaugural recipient of the scholarship is Heather Beard from Farmington, Missouri. She is studying business administration and marketing and is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation.

Maj. Gen. Cox graduated with a Bachelor of Science in business administration. From Bevier, Missouri, he enrolled at the University in 1948. He recalls the opening of Blanton Hall, the first of the school’s residence halls, and working in a cafeteria on campus as a student.

Patricia grew up on a farm just east of Atlanta, Missouri. They met at a fraternity/sorority dance at the Millard Road House in 1950 and were married in 1953. Patricia taught one year at a country school in Gibson, Missouri. She was one quarter short of graduating when she and her husband moved to Pensacola, Florida.

Moving often as part of military life, Patricia returned to northeast Missouri several times to stay with family when expecting their children. Maj. Gen. Cox remembers flying from Camp Lejeune in North Carolina into the airport in Millard to meet children born in Macon and Kirksville.

Both the Cox and McMichael families have a long history with the University. Maj. Gen. Cox’s grandfather, James L. Love, enrolled in 1875 and 1876. His sisters, Josephine (Cox) Jansons (’39) and Nancy (Cox) Smith (’47) were alumni. Patricia’s mother and aunt, Ruby and Inna Borron, and her brother, Wayne, along with several nephews, also attended.

Maj. Gen. Cox enrolled in the U.S. Marine Corps upon graduation and served as a naval aviator, flying 292 combat missions in two tours of duty in Vietnam. He was promoted to Brigadier General in 1977 and Major General in 1981. He served in this capacity until July 1, 1985. During his career, he amassed 5,043 hours total flight time and was a pilot in nearly every Marine Corps fixed-wing aircraft of the Cold War, including the FJ-4 Fury, F8U Crusader and F-4 Phantom, many from aircraft carriers. Maj. Gen. Cox also has a master’s degree in international affairs from George Washington University.

The Coxes have four children, eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. They reside in McLean, Virginia.

Bulldogs are Beautiful Giving Day Leads to Big Impact

Bulldogs are Beautiful Truman Giving DayThe Truman community came together in support of a variety of funds during the successful 2021 Truman Giving Day Campaign. The 24-hour-long giving effort in April produced gifts from 466 alumni, parents, friends, faculty and staff resulting in more than $150,000 in support of Truman students.

Bulldogs are Beautiful Giving Day Leads
to Big Impact

While alumni supported a variety of Foundation funds, the effort featured five areas of specific focus:

»  Athletic Challenge
A $50,000 challenge gift from Mark (’97) and Jill (’98) (Matthys) Schell resulted in more than $100,000 of impact. Half of their gift was directed to match gifts to football, and the remaining $25,000 was available to match gifts for all other sports.

»  Brent Buckner and Diane Janick-Buckner Student Research Excellence Fund
Leadership gifts from Brian Witherbee (’94), Dr. Hemal Patel (’98), Dr. Jennifer Johnson-Patel (’98) and Dr. Bhavini “Tina” Carns (’01) served as a catalyst for nearly $30,000 being raised to endow a fund to honor the legacy of Brent and Diane as outstanding faculty and student mentors. The excellence fund will support student research in biology.

»  Piano Lab
Donors stepped up to help with the costs needed to renovate the Piano Lab in the Fine Arts Center in the Ophelia Parrish Building. Seven of the pianos in the renovated lab now bear donor plaques that were secured through naming-level support.

»  Business and Accounting Advisory Boards Challenge
Matching funds were provided by members of both of the Business Advisory Board and Accounting Advisory Board members. The challenge was successful in encouraging School of Business alumni to participate and had a specific focus on attracting first-time gifts from young alumni.

»  Truman Food Pantry
Through a $5,000 matching gift challenge from Colleen Ritchie (’84) young alumni and students were encouraged to provide support for Truman students who are facing food insecurity.

Bulldogs truly are beautiful, and even more so when wearing Truman apparel. To that end, and to sweeten the pot, all donors who contributed $60 or more received a pair of socks sporting the Truman logo!

Plans are being set for the next Bulldog Giving Day,
so mark your calendar for April 21, 2022
(which just happens to be national Bulldogs are Beautiful day).