Article Tag Archives: Alumni

Alumni Travel Opportunities

Alumni-TravelIf you want to avoid all of the stress of traveling (except for packing, that part is still up to you), then the Alumni Travel Program is for you.

Our travel program has taken alumni, family and friends all around the world, and our next stop is Costa Rica in March 2014. We take care of finding the flights, the best hotels, transportation while on the trip, and of course, the best tour guides to give you a first-class experience you couldn’t pay for anywhere else.

Looking for something a little closer to home? This summer, TruAdventure, offered by the Truman Institute, is planning an introductory backpacking trip to the Grand Canyon, as well as a five-day hiking and camping trip to Zion and Bryce Canyon!

Find out more at

Tentative upcoming trips include:
• Vineyards of southern France
• Hiking and camping in the national parks
• Cruise to various ports in Portugal and Spain
• Mediterranean Cruise

If you’re interested in more information, email Denise Smith at

Golden Alumni Honored at Homecoming Banquet

Homecoming is our favorite time of year. Everyone just seems happier, has more school spirit and is excited for the year to come. One of the best parts is having our alumni come back to Kirksville. During Homecoming 2013, we had 33 of our most cherished alumni return to campus as special honorees: Golden Alumni diploma recipients.

Our Goldens, as we fondly refer to them, returned to Truman to celebrate their 50th reunion. This past Homecoming, we honored graduates from the class of 1963 and prior. We were so honored to have this year’s Goldens at the Homecoming 2013 Banquet, where they donned caps and gowns and participated in a special diploma ceremony with University President Troy Paino.

The fun didn’t stop there. The Golden Alumni also attended a special luncheon on Saturday where they shared stories and anecdotes from what campus was like in 1963. It was a truly remarkable event!

This year’s Homecoming will honor the graduating class for 1964 and prior. If you would like to participate, email us at Homecoming is set for Oct. 10-12, so mark your calendars now! The Alumni Office will also send out a form a few months before Homecoming if you are interested in joining the fun!

2013 Alumni Award Honorees

Several alumni awards were presented at the Alumni and Friends/Hall of Fame Banquet during Homecoming on Oct. 18, 2013.


Alumna of the Year: Mary (Rhodes) Russell (’80)


Distinguished Service Award:
Michael (’83, ’90) and Mary Jo (Fitzpatrick) Schwend (’81, ’83)


Distinguished Service Award:
Jeffrey (’74) and Marilyn (Casteel) Romine (’78)

Homecoming 2013  Parade Grand Marshal: Darrel Gourley (’50)

Homecoming 2013
Parade Grand Marshal:
Darrel Gourley (’50)


Young Alumni of the Year:
Jason (’00) and Jessica (Neighbors) Hill (’99)


Bulldog Forever Volunteer of the Year Award:
Tania (Hart) Cook (’85)

Upcoming Events for Alumni and Friends

Truman Alumni Chapters have a lot planned for 2014! Last year, events included a little bit of everything: trivia nights, wineries, networking socials, professional sporting events—including Cardinals games and Truman tailgates­­—pumpkin patches, brewery tours, service projects and much, MUCH more! Chapters stay connected to current students by hosting Truman send-offs for first-year students coming from their areas and making care packages for students during finals week.

Want to cheer on the Bulldogs even though you have left the Kirksville area? With the University move to the GLVC Conference, many Truman sporting events are now in chapter areas! Check for upcoming events near you.

Whether your goal is to build friendships in a new city, stay connected to Truman or network to expand your professional relationships, you’ll want to check out some Truman alumni events in your area. Head to for the latest news on upcoming events!

School of Arts and Letters Welcomes New Dean

James F. O’Donnell

James F. O’Donnell

James F. O’Donnell began serving as the new dean of the School of Arts and Letters on July 1, 2013.

In addition to his role of dean, he will also be a professor of music at Truman.

Prior to coming to Truman, O’Donnell had served as dean and professor of music at Wayne State College in Wayne, Neb., since 2001. He began his academic career at East Tennessee State University where he held a variety of positions during his 13-year stay, and he was a professor and chair of the Department of Music at Indiana State University.

After earning a bachelor’s degree, with honors, from Saint Mary’s College of Maryland, O’Donnell went on to earn his master’s and doctor of arts degrees from Ball State University, and an artist diploma from the World Federation of International Music Competitions. Among his many attributes, O’Donnell brings experience in strategic planning and assessment, program extension and development, budget development and student recruitment, and alumni and community relations.

Connecting Students with Career Opportunities

CareerExpo-WEBPolly Matteson, assistant director and employer relations coordinator of the Truman State University Career Center, works to develop recruiting relationships with employers from various career fields. Many of these relationships are made possible through connections with Truman alumni who work with an employer. Matteson says, “The value of alumni connections cannot be over emphasized.

It is often what makes it possible to talk with and develop relationships with the decision-makers within an organization.”

Matteson has coordinated opportunities for faculty and students from various academic departments to travel to companies and talk with professionals in various departments. “There is no better way to promote Truman than for the recruiters to meet and talk with students,” said Matteson. “One question I always ask with these visits is what skills they look for in interns and new hires, so we can better prepare Truman students for success after college. What impresses me is that the answers do not vary between career paths—team work, communication and problem solving always rank high on the list.”

If you have ideas on ways to collaborate with this effort, please contact Matteson at

School Spirit

Alumni demonstrated their Bulldog pride on the most recent Truman State University National Spirit Day on April 5, 2013. This tradition began in 2011, when the Truman Alumni Association Board of Directors designated the first Friday in the months of April and October as Truman State University National Spirit Days.

To celebrate Spirit Day, the Truman Alumni Association encourages all alumni, friends and supporters of Truman State University to wear their favorite Bulldog purple attire or Truman (or Northeast) apparel and decorate their homes and offices with Truman gear. In addition, alumni and friends of the University are invited to send the Truman Alumni Association photos displaying their Truman pride. On the last Spirit Day, everyone who submitted a photo received an insulated lunch bag, beverage coolie and window cling courtesy of the Truman Alumni Association.

Mark your calendar for the next Truman State University National Spirit Day on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013. To view the Spirit Day Photo Albums, go to

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.

Truman Alumni Association

All graduates of Truman State University automatically become members of the Truman Alumni Association. Led by a Board of Directors, the Truman Alumni Association sponsors Homecoming activities, Truman State University National Spirit Day, the Truman Alumni & Friends Travel Program, alumni receptions, events for Truman graduates and also supports the 10 regional alumni chapters.

Alumni Board Officers

At the Truman Alumni Association Board of Directors meeting held on campus in April 2013, the Board elected Ellen (Hoelscher) McLain (’87), of Jefferson City, Mo., as president and Keith Epperson (’82), of Plymouth, Minn., as vice president.

They began serving in these positions in July 2013.

Ellen (Hoelscher) McLain ('87)

Ellen (Hoelscher) McLain (’87)

McLain is the senior director of development in the Office of Gift Planning and Endowments at the University of Missouri-Columbia.



Keith Epperson (’82)

Keith Epperson (’82)

Epperson (’82) is a minority principal and vice president of research and development for SavvySherpa LLC.




Mike Wilson ('91)

Mike Wilson (’91)

Mike Wilson (’91), of Kansas City, Mo., is now serving as past president of the Alumni Board and will continue to represent the Kansas City Alumni Chapter. He is vice president, consumer loan administration, at UMB Bank.


Alumni Board Appointment

Geraldine (Toth) Ready ('70)

Geraldine (Toth) Ready (’70)

Geraldine (Toth) Ready (’70), of Sun City, Fla., is serving as the Alumni Board representative for the Truman State University Foundation Board. During a 37 ½-year career with JC Penney, she held several assignments and retired in 2007 as project manager in the information systems and development area.