Article Tag Archives: Scholarship

Dr. Lydia Inman Fjeld Scholarship Established

Dr. Lydia Inman Fjeld

Dr. Lydia Inman Fjeld

Dr. Lydia Inman Fjeld gave selflessly to Truman  throughout her life. She arrived at the University in 1973 after accepting the position of head of the Division of Home Economics. Shortly thereafter, in 1975, she was named dean of graduate studies, a position she occupied until her retirement in 1983.

Inman Fjeld provided strong leadership at a pivotal time in the University’s history. At her retirement banquet, Deena Fowler (’75) delivered an address where she shared her observation that, “Dr. Inman fostered our growth, as well as her growth. She focused on others’ strengths rather than on their shortcomings. She uncorked human resources rather than keeping the lid on.”

Some of the many honors over the course of Inman Fjeld’s career include being named a General Foods Fund Fellow while a student at the University of Minnesota, earning a listing in the 1975 edition of Outstanding Educators of America and receiving the 1977 Merit Award from the Dairy Council of Greater Kansas City.

While Inman Fjeld’s service to the University ended in 1983, her role as one of Truman’s benefactors had just begun. In 1988, she added the moniker of Philanthropic Fellow to her many accomplishments. This designation was publicly recognized by then-University President, Dr. Charles J. McClain at the annual John R. Kirk induction ceremonies. The foundation that Inman Fjeld and her colleagues helped create and strengthen through their charitable giving contributed to the transformation of Truman into the nationally recognized university it is today.

Inman Fjeld passed away March 13, 2015, at the age of 96. Through her estate, she has contributed $25,000 to the Truman State University Foundation to fund the Dr. Lydia Inman Fjeld Scholarship Endowment. Her generosity will ensure that her passion for fostering growth and uncorking human potential will continue through the scholarship she created.

A Son Honors His Parents

Essie (Kelley) and Harry Gardner

Essie (Kelley) and Harry Gardner

Alumnus Mark Gardner (’75), of Springfield, Mo., embodies the Truman spirit by actively caring for the people around him and for the world. Fueled by his desire to make a difference in the lives of others, he endowed the Harry M. and Essie M. Gardner Scholarship through the Truman State University Foundation.

The scholarship, which Mark named in honor of his parents, Harry and Essie (Kelley) Gardner, will be presented to Truman students in the spirit of the Gardner family’s passion for lifelong learning and their belief that education is the foundation of civilized society.

Mark’s mother, Essie, who was the first member of her family to attend college, took summer classes at Truman for four years in the early 1940s to earn her teaching certification. Known for her hard work, sacrifice and remarkable sense of selflessness, Essie taught school until she married Harry, then worked outside the home once their oldest child went to college to help finance their educations.

Essie felt it was important to pursue higher education and strongly encouraged her five children to do the same — a vision that her husband supported through his own tireless work and sacrifice. Harry passed away several years ago, and Essie lives in Edina, Mo., a small town about 25 miles east of Kirksville.

Like his mother, Mark has strong ties to Truman. In 1975, he graduated from the University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, and two years later he earned a law degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Following college and law school, Mark has led an impressive career. For many years, he represented clients in the areas of business law, commercial law, real estate development and real estate finance. Then around 20 years ago, he formed Gardner Capital, a company that has grown into one of the nation’s foremost tax credit development, investment and syndication firms. Specializing in affordable housing development, Gardner Capital has sponsored more than $500 million of equity in housing units in 55 communities. The company also invests in renewable energy production facilities and construction

Investing in a scholarship at Truman ensures that the Gardner family’s vision of using education to make a better world will live on through future  students.

Leone-Patterson Scholarship Established

Prospective students from Kansas, Nebraska and other western states now have an added incentive to attend Truman.

A gift from Ann and Gary Patterson of Wichita, Kan., and their son, Tyler, has created a scholarship endowment with the Truman State University Foundation.

The Leone-Patterson Endowed and Annual Scholarship is designed for students from those states who have unmet need, have active involvement and leadership in extra-curricular activities and a minimum high school grade point average of 3.25.

The scholarship will be utilized by the Office of Admissions as a recruitment scholarship to encourage students to attend Truman.

Ann (Leone) Patterson is a 1972 Truman graduate and serves as director of operations for the Patterson Legal Group in Wichita. Her husband, Gary, is the founder and managing partner of the firm. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Truman State University Alumni Association and has been an advocate for students attending Truman from her geographic region.

Tyler Patterson is a 2006 graduate of Truman and is a trial attorney with the Patterson Legal Group, representing accident victims and their families. He received an MBA degree from the University of Texas and a law degree from Washburn University.

Fund Honors Professor’s Commitment

Vera Gomez Piper (left) and Lucy Lee

Vera Gomez-Piper (left) and Lucy Lee

Summer 2012 was Vera Gomez-Piper’s final year leading the Costa Rica Summer Program after having taught at Truman since 1978. The Vera Gomez-Piper Endowed Scholarship Fund was established to honor her upon her retirement from Truman while perpetuating life-changing study abroad experiences for deserving students. Since its inception in late 2012, this endowment has received gifts and pledges totaling $31,559. Donations have come from alumni, colleagues, community members, family and Spanish honor society Sigma Delta Pi. Lucy Lee, professor of Spanish and Classical and Modern Languages Department chair, and Ruth Bradshaw, assistant professor emerita of English, spearheaded the fundraising effort. This new Foundation fund expands educational opportunities for students by securing new scholarship resources, thereby providing greater access to outside-the-classroom experiences.

This fund also serves as a meaningful and lasting expression of respect for this beloved faculty member and friend. It is an expression of gratitude for the remarkable contributions that Gomez-Piper has made to Truman and to countless students’ lives. Through education, she has helped eliminate the barriers of language while increasing an understanding of the traditions, history and values of two distinct cultures. Gomez-Piper has not only built skills, knowledge and confidence among her students, but has built lasting and meaningful relationships between her students, her colleagues and the people of two nations that she now calls home.

“For me personally, it has been exciting because I was able to see students learn so fast and become part of the family and enjoy being in Costa Rica,” Gomez-Piper said. “It is a great satisfaction because many of them go back to visit their families in Costa Rica.”

Ruth Bradshaw unveils the amount donated to the Vera Piper Endowed Scholarship as of September 2013 during a reception for Piper.

Ruth Bradshaw unveils the amount donated
to the Vera Gomez-Piper Endowed Scholarship as of September 2013 during a reception for Gomez-Piper.

The Vera Gomez-Piper Endowed Scholarship is a reflection of a deep affection and appreciation for this educator who has served as a pioneer in providing study abroad opportunities to Truman students. This scholarship fund will support Gomez-Piper’s profound legacy in perpetuity. The financial helping hand this award represents offers access to the transformative experience of study abroad.

Tag Day Celebrates Donors

Thanksgiving came early to the Truman campus with the first celebration of Tag Day. Held in conjunction with National Philanthropy Day, Nov. 15, Tag Day celebrated the impact of private donations on the Truman experience. Items made possible by gifts to the University were marked with tags thanking Truman donors. More than 200 items across campus were tagged, including computer labs, campus gardens and outdoor sculptures, classrooms, locker rooms and more.

Students Kaitie Otto (left) and Abagale Casagrande show off two of the many tags that were placed  around campus to highlight donor contributions.

Students Kaitie Otto (left) and Abagale Casagrande show off two of the many tags that were placed
around campus to highlight donor contributions.

Much of the money donated to the University enriches the student experience in important, but less tangible, ways. For example, the University awarded more than $579,000 in Foundation scholarships to 559 students last year alone. Intangible items supported by donors, such as scholarships, student travel stipends for conferences and faculty development programs, were identified with signs across campus.

CircleLogoTag Day was held to increase student awareness of the impact donors have on students’ education and to give students the opportunity to say thanks. Student Senate partnered with the Office of Advancement to sponsor a thank you note writing table in the Student Union Building. Students wrote thank you notes to donors for their support of the University and the student experience at Truman. For more information on Tag Day, visit

Scholarship Funds Honor Faculty Couple, Colleagues

John and Jane Bartling

John and Jane Bartling

Between them, John and Jane Bartling taught and mentored hundreds of Truman students within their respective Mathematics and Health and Exercise Science departments. Both Hannibal, Mo., natives, their collective Truman teaching careers spanned 61 years.

To recognize and commemorate this long and impactful record of service to students and the campus community, Dr. John S. Bartling recently made a gift of securities valued at nearly $65,000 to establish four new scholarship funds with the Truman State University Foundation.

One scholarship honors his late wife, Jane Bartling, who passed away in the spring of 2013. Two others honor Jane’s colleagues and life-long friends, Regina Lindhorst and Jo Ann Weekley. The fourth honors Dr. Bartling’s 31-year mathematics teaching career.

The Jane Bartling Memorial Scholarship was established to memorialize and commemorate Jane’s distinguished teaching career at Truman. Jane received BSE and MA degrees from the University and shortly thereafter began a 30-year teaching career in physical education. She retired in 1998 and passed away in the spring of 2013. She was a member of many professional organizations, including the American Association of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, Delta Kappa Gamma and was a sponsor of the student chapter of the Missouri State Teachers Association at Truman. This fund is designed to provide opportunities for full-time students who are majoring in health and exercise science at Truman and have a record of achievement and service in extra-curricular or community groups and organizations.

The Regina Lindhorst and Jo Ann Weekley scholarships were established to honor two of Jane Bartling’s colleagues and life-long friends. Lindhorst received a BSE and MA from the University and taught dance courses at Truman from 1963 to 2005. Weekley received a BSE and MA from Truman and taught courses in physical education from 1966 to 2005. Both scholarships will support exercise science students at Truman.

The Dr. John S. Bartling Mathematics Scholarship was created to commemorate his long and memorable career at Truman. Dr. Bartling taught mathematics at the University from 1967 to 1998. He was selected Educator of the Year in 1977 by Alpha Phi Sigma. The purpose of this fund shall be to provide scholarship support to students majoring in mathematics, with preference for students from the Hannibal area.

Alumnus Inspired to Create Endowed Scholarship

Ronald Thomas (’65) and his wife, Ann

Ronald Thomas (’65) and his wife, Ann

The Dr. Ronald E. Thomas Endowed Scholarship fund was created in 2012 by Ronald Thomas (’65) and his wife, Ann, to provide an opportunity for deserving students to receive a Truman State University education. The couple’s deep appreciation for education inspired them to establish a scholarship to help Truman students accomplish their educational goals.

A Truman alumnus, Ronald enrolled at the University after graduating from high school in Roxana, Ill. He earned a bachelor of science in education with an emphasis in physical education from Truman in 1965, then completed a master of science at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville and received a PhD from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.

Ronald devoted his career to educational endeavors. Since 1999, he has served as the president of Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount, Minn., and he plans to retire in July of this year. His career includes service as a junior high teacher and coach, director of international admissions at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and director of student services at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha. Ronald served as dean of educational services at Centralia College in Centralia, Wash.; dean and interim president at Rochester Community and Technical College in Rochester, Minn.; and president of Coffeyville Community College in Coffeyville, Kan.

During his career, Ronald has earned a number of professional accolades. He was the recipient of the Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction for Presidential Leadership presented by Phi Theta Kappa in 1999, was named the College President Pacesetter of the Year by District V of the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations in 2004 and 2011 and received the Distinguished Star Education Award presented by the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education in 2007. In addition, he has served as the board chair of the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship and has been a presenter and author of numerous community college issues across the country.

The Legacy of Donald Parsons: Making a Difference in Students’ Lives

Don Parsons' photo in the 1956 Echo yearbook

Don Parsons’ photo in the 1956 Echo yearbook

The wife and son of Truman Hall of Famer Donald Parsons (’57, ’61) have established the Donald Parsons Endowed Athletic Scholarship through the Truman State University Foundation to benefit student-athletes attending Truman. Jean (Wells) Parsons, a 1967 Truman alumna, and her son, Devin Parsons, created the scholarship in honor of the late Don Parsons, a teacher, coach and administrator, who dedicated his life to education and athletics.

An All-State basketball player for Ottumwa (Iowa) High School, Don helped his team finish second in the state tournament in 1953. After graduating from high school, Don came to Truman where he joined the Bulldog basketball team. Collecting All-MIAA honors twice (1955-56 and 1956-57), he was named Most Valuable Player on the All-Conference team in 1956-57. Nearly three decades after Don graduated in 1957 with a bachelor of science in education degree, he was inducted into the Truman State University Athletics Hall of Fame in 1986.

While serving in the military in Germany, Don played on his command’s basketball team. In 1959, he taught and coached sports at Greentop, Mo., and after earning a master’s degree from Truman in 1961, he taught science and coached at Evans Junior High School in Ottumwa, Iowa. He became an administrator with the Ottumwa School District and served as the assistant principal at Washington Junior High School followed by 12 years at Walsh Junior High School. He then served as principal at Eisenhower Elementary School and handled other district-wide duties, including directing the staff wellness program and the K-8 physical education and elementary athletic programs. Don retired from the Ottumwa School District in 1994. He died in February 2012.

Throughout his long and distinguished career, Don inspired countless young people, and the scholarship established by his wife and son ensures that his legacy will live on through future generations of Bulldogs.

Sharing the Gift of Knowledge

Doris (Pierce) Fuller in the 1934 Echo yearbook

Doris (Pierce) Fuller in the 1934 Echo yearbook

A legacy gift to Truman State University commemorates the life of Doris (Pierce) Fuller,
a Truman alumna who was committed to lifelong learning. “She was an amazing woman, never at rest,” said her son, Charles Fuller. A planned gift made by Doris was designated to the Truman Endowment Fund, a permanent resource designed to provide funds for a variety of purposes, including student scholarships, professional development for faculty and students, technology, equipment and other needs.

Born in Shelbina, Mo., Doris earned a bachelor of science degree in education from the University in 1934. She then taught for two years. In 1936, she married Arthur “Bud” Fuller, a country doctor who served the farming communities. Since her husband’s job took him away from home for days at a time, Doris became his medical assistant and midwife so they could travel together. In one year alone, they delivered more than 300 babies and took care of many broken bones and the occasional at-home surgery.

In addition to their son, Charles, Doris and Bud had a daughter, Johnna. In 1964, the family moved to Colorado Springs, Colo. Charles remembers his mother saying, “No point in living in Colorado if you don’t know how to ski,” and at the age of 55, Doris took up snow skiing.
Doris became a strong advocate of her husband’s osteopathic profession, professional women and seniors, and she served in both leadership and supportive roles in the Osteopathic Women’s Guild, Women’s Club, Acacia and AARP.

Since she never had a driver’s license, Doris took the local bus into town saying that it allowed her to ride with “real people.” She was a dedicated volunteer, and up until her mid-80s, she took the bus each week to serve food at a local charity. Doris also sewed on buttons for elderly ladies, many of whom were 20 years her junior.

An incident that occurred when Doris was 70 illustrates her tenacious spirit. One day when she and a friend were hiking in the high mountains on the south slope of Pikes Peak, Doris slipped and fractured her ankle. It was late in the afternoon, and the friend had to walk three miles to the car to seek help. When help finally arrived after dark, they found Doris had splinted her own leg, found a stick for support and was walking out on a compound fracture. She said, “I couldn’t stay up here overnight or I’d freeze to death.” Nearly three decades later, Doris died at the age of 98.

Doris believed in having fun and enjoying life to its fullest. By including a provision in her will to boost the Truman Endowment Fund, she has provided a resource that offers the gift of knowledge for future generations of Truman students.

Speech and Hearing Clinic Campaign Surpasses Goal

Murilyn Koutstaal poses with a poster celebrating the endowed study abroad scholarship created in honor of her late husband, Cornelis Koutstaal.

Murilyn Koutstaal poses with a poster celebrating the endowed study abroad scholarship created in honor of her late husband, Cornelis Koutstaal.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Speech and Hearing Clinic, the University conducted a “Give $50 for the 50th” fundraising campaign with the goal of generating $50,000. After approximately a year of accepting donations, the campaign concluded in February 2013 with a grand total of $100,000 raised in cash, pledges and planned gift commitments.

“The outstanding results of the ‘Give $50 for the 50th’ fundraising campaign demonstrate the community’s willingness to invest in the Truman Speech and Hearing Clinic and its efforts to provide ongoing state-of-the-art speech-language-hearing and literacy services,” said Janet Gooch, dean of the School of Health Sciences and Education. “These results are also evidence of a deeply imbedded passion that our donors possess for improving our community.”

Truman’s Speech and Hearing Clinic has been helping residents from Kirksville and the surrounding area since 1960. In November 2011, it was moved into new facilities located in the Truman Health Sciences Building. The clinic serves individuals with disorders of speech, language, voice, fluency, hearing and swallowing, all at no cost to the people served. No-cost clinics are rare due to the necessary heavy reliance on donations. The Speech and Hearing Clinic provides services thanks to the support of the University and community organizations.

The Speech and Hearing Clinic also offers hands-on learning for Truman students. Students observe therapy, then become clinical assistants and eventually assume the responsibilities of student clinicians. Because student learning is a key component of the Speech and Hearing Clinic, it was also a high priority of the fundraising campaign.

The centerpiece of the campaign was the establishment of the Dr. Cornelis Koutstaal Endowed Study Abroad Scholarship, which was established by Murilyn Koutstaal, to honor the legacy of her late husband. Cornelis Koutstaal served as professor of communication disorders and head of the Human Potential and Performance Division at Truman from 1990-2001 and was honored with emeritus status upon his retirement.