Author Archives: tmiles

Kirksville: A Place to Call Home

When Dick and Edie Erzen started dating, Truman was the last name of the president of the United States, not of the college they both attended. Their courtship began more than 70 years ago when they met as students at what was officially Northeast Missouri State Teachers College, although most on campus referred to it as Kirksville State Teachers College. Their story is adorably sweet. Dick, a native of Bethalto, Ill., played basketball and was a member of many organizations, including K Club and Blue Key. A local girl, Edie was a cheerleader and Sigma Sigma Sigma sister who was also active on campus and selected as the Carnival Queen in 1948.

“I’m not really sure how we met,” Edie said. “I know my friend said she kind of liked the looks of Dick and I said, ‘ick’.”

Dick and Edie Erzen

Her opinion changed over walks downtown to get coffee and after taking in a number of movies at the Kennedy Theater. Although they eventually left the area, Kirksville is where Edie and Dick met, got married and welcomed their first child. They have returned countless times for University events and to see old friends and teammates.

The Erzen family tree now spans an additional three generations and has grown to include six grandchildren and three great grandchildren. Whether those descendants realize it or not, they are here today, in part, because of Kirksville.   

“Even though I’m not from there, it’s kind of a second home for me, and same as the first home as far as I’m concerned,” Dick said. “It’s sort of a home base for both of us.”

Time rolls on with no regard for the eras it covers, and a college campus is not immune to the changes it brings. Buildings are constructed, only to be torn down years later or destroyed by fire. Students form lifelong bonds with others they meet on campus, yet remain total strangers to those who studied just a few years later. Adjustments in curriculum are made, schools are added, the University name evolves and a liberal arts institution emerges. The one constant through it all – the common denominator of past and present – is Kirksville.

Senator Harry S Truman on campus in 1943

Throughout its history, tens of thousands of people have graduated from the University. The first classes were comprised of individuals seeking to become educators. As time passed, more fields of study were added. Truman now offers 48 undergraduate majors along with seven graduate programs, and options abound when it comes to professional preparation. With majors such as interdisciplinary studies, a student can essentially tailor their degree to whatever career they choose to pursue. Graduates of the University have the potential to be as vastly different from one another as night and day, however, there is one universal connection among all alumni. Whether it is the teacher who graduated in 1889 or the biochemist who earned a degree in 2018, at some point in their educational experience, they called Kirksville home.

Maxwell’s in downtown Kirksville

In the lives of many alumni, Kirksville is the little surprise they never knew they wanted. They did not plan to make the town such a huge part of their lives, it just kind of worked out that way. Yes, it is where they earned a degree that most use for their livelihood, but it is so much more. It is where many learned how to be adults – to live on their own and realize the safety net of home and family will not always be present, their terror turning to excitement when they eventually discover they “really can do this!”

Kirksville is the metaphorical ground where countless family trees have been planted. Students who were strangers in a class they signed up for only because the time slot fit their schedule can meet and ultimately fall in love. When visiting campus years later, they bore their children with stories of “where it all started” in Violette Hall, and then spend some time in the Sunken Garden, the site of their wedding just a month after they graduated.

In some ways, a trip to Kirksville is almost like traveling through time. Visiting alumni would not trade the lives they made for themselves to go back, but Kirksville will always tug at their hearts for some reason they can’t fully explain. Their college years, which often seemed stressful at the time, are now quaint and comfortable in their minds. They long for the days of everything being within a five-minute drive, sharing a house with seven friends and having to get up “early” for a 9 a.m. class twice a week.

Laura (Boyd) Roeseler (’03) has fond memories of frequenting downtown businesses and even spending one Friday night engaged in a scavenger hunt at Walmart with her suitemates. The big-city native grew to enjoy the small-town vibe and the homey touches that came along with it, like when a professor would work with her outside of class, or when another called to check on her following an illness to make sure she was feeling better.    

“As an alum of Truman, I have an even deeper appreciation for Kirksville,” said Roeseler, who has since returned to St. Louis. “It is a wonderful community to be a part of, and I miss it.”

The DuKum Inn

Obviously, there is no universal opinion on Kirksville. Depending on who is asked, as well as when the question is posed, individual results may vary. For the most part, the alumni who wistfully recall late-night hijinks in the dorms, or celebrating their 21st birthday at the DuKum Inn, scarcely remember the trepidation they had prior to move-in day.

“I was a little apprehensive about living in a much smaller town than St. Louis,” Roeseler said. “While Kirksville was quaint, I worried about not being close to amenities that I was used to at home. As I got to experience the town during my time at Truman, I found that Kirksville had everything I needed, and the community welcomed and appreciated students, which made it feel like home.”

Rainbow Basin in 1982

Firsthand experience has a way of offering perspective. Kirksville does not have a professional sports team, or a stadium capable hosting a concert by the most popular performers of the day, but the town is not without its appeal. Over time, many students come to realize the benefits of the area, and most alumni have pleasant memories of the place where several of their formative experiences took place.

For proof of the growing affection alumni feel toward Kirksville, look no further than the pilgrimage that is Homecoming. Each year, visitors brave the cool autumn morning to run in the 5K, or line Franklin Street to watch the parade. In the afternoon, some alumni are thrilled their children are finally old enough to bring to the football game, and they eagerly hand over their keys so the future Bulldogs can jangle them at kickoff for a tradition they still don’t quite understand themselves. It’s not unusual to see a KSTC sweatshirt in the stands at Stokes Stadium on that special day. The alumni who wear them are not disrespecting the University, but rather giving a nod to the way things were. They will proudly be Bulldogs Forever, even if they haven’t completely warmed up to this new name that has only been around for 22 years. As the sun goes down, the restaurants in town buzz with excitement. For old times’ sake, alumni happily wait twice as long as usual for their local favorites, with Pancake City, Rosie’s Northtown Café and Pagliai’s Pizza among the most popular haunts. By late night, the bars are filled to capacity. They don’t always look like they used to, and in some cases might not even be the same places, yet they somehow feel familiar.

Nearly 50 years have passed since Steve Justice (’70, ’81) was an undergraduate, but he tries to return from his home in League City, Texas, as often as he can. His love of Kirksville’s small-town charm and his desire to reconnect with friends he met years ago have led him to attend the last 23 Homecomings in a row.

“Besides being able to spend time with friends, I enjoy seeing changes on campus and hearing about all of the new and exciting things going on at the University,” Justice said.

Whether it is nostalgia or a genuine sense of school pride, many alumni hold the University in such high regard they gently point the next generation of prospective students in the direction of northeast Missouri when conducting their own college search. The Admission Office estimates roughly 25 percent of beginning freshmen applicants have a family connection to the University or first learned about Truman through a graduate.

“Every year we are thrilled to have a significant number of Truman alumni bring their children or other relatives to visit campus during the college selection process,” said Melody Chambers, director of admission. “Nothing beats the sheer joy of proud graduates reminiscing about their time in Kirksville as they share their alma mater with the next generation.”

Thousand Hills State Park

Even if Uncle Rico might be trying to relive part of his youth by suggesting his old school to his nephews, that does not discount the fact Truman has remained a great institution for decades. Prospective students tend to be pragmatic when selecting a school, as well they should. They are calculating, and rarely share the same warm and fuzzy feelings about Kirksville that alumni have come to know. However, countless people have made the transition from skeptical student to gleeful graduate, further proof of something special taking place during their matriculation.

“We did encourage both of our kids to look at Truman for their higher education, however, we did not push them to Truman because we went there,” said Todd Rohler. He and wife Stefanie graduated in 1989 and their two sons also chose to attend. “Both of our boys felt like Truman was the place for them right away, and they were sure to tell us that they didn’t choose Truman simply because we are both alumni.

“Seeing Truman from a parent’s perspective brought back many memories of ‘NMSU’ for Stef and I. Although there have been many changes, there are still many things that have not changed, like the family atmosphere and the fact that the faculty really get to know the students.”

North side of the square in 1895

Every town has a story. Kirksville’s may not be well known, but it is certainly unique. “Village of churches” is supposedly the literal meaning of the name, but the folktale of how the municipality became Kirksville is much more interesting, albeit, somewhat less holy. Local legend claims the moniker is actually the result of the town’s first postmaster, Jesse Kirk, essentially bribing the surveyors working in the area to name the city after him in exchange for some whiskey and a Thanksgiving dinner. How true that story is remains up for debate. Kirk was the head of a prominent family. He also owned a tavern and served as the county treasurer, so he was most likely a respected member of the community. It would have been a logical choice to name the town Kirksville without the need for an arrangement over drinks, but the fable may have outgrown the facts.   

Like many similar towns, Kirksville has deep roots in agriculture and a history of manufacturing, but its amenities belie what census data or maps might indicate. Located in a rural area, with a population that remained steady for close to 40 years, it serves as a cultural and intellectual hub for the region. Few, if any, towns its size can boast of even one high-quality institution, let alone two, but Kirksville is also the birthplace of osteopathic medicine and the home of A.T. Still University.

North side of the square today

With thousands of students flocking to Kirksville annually, along with the industries and human resources to support them, the town gets an influx of energy others its caliber might not see. In addition to University activities, Kirksville hosts several special events, like the Red Barn Arts and Crafts Festival and the Round Barn Blues Festival. There is a plethora of cultural options offered year around, including theatre productions and art gallery exhibits. For those who prefer to be outdoors, the area is home to Thousand Hills State Park, as well as numerous hiking and biking trails. Other off-campus attractions include two wineries in the area, an aquatic center and an eight-screen movie theatre. The philanthropic endeavors of the many local clubs and civic organizations also offer avenues for entertainment while spreading goodwill throughout the community.

After Zac Burden graduated from Truman in 2003, the native of Kansas City, Mo., had come to like Kirksville so much he got a job at the University. He is still a ‘townie’ today, and in addition to his job as director of Missouri Hall he serves on the city council and plans to run for re-election in April.

“When my parents first brought me to college, they predicted I would fall in love with Kirksville. They were right,” Burden said. “Two decades later, I love being a member of this community and giving back in any way I can.”

Like the town where it resides, Truman has morphed dozens of times over to become the institution it is today. The Homecoming parade may have always made its way down Franklin Street, but the view from the floats has certainly changed. At one point on the route, a spectator can see West Campus Suites, The Ruth W. Towne Museum and Visitors Center and the Student Recreation Center, all relatively new additions to campus. From the same spot, a glance to the southeast offers a glimpse at the Del and Norma Robison Planetarium, one more sight that might be unfamiliar to anyone who has been absent for the last dozen or so years. A school that started with the mission to train teachers, and opened 63 years before Pluto was discovered, now has a facility capable of letting visitors experience what it would be like to travel through the stars.


Change does not always come with desired results, and several things alumni associate with their alma mater can slip away. Thousands of folks would love to stop in at Elaine’s for a cinnamon roll, but sadly, the local favorite was lost to fire in 1978. Bulldogs of another era would be more inclined to venture up the narrow staircase at Too Tall’s and grab a seat at the oversized table on the third level. That establishment also burned, but rose from the ashes to become Too Tall’s Two. When a second fire almost destroyed it again, a new owner attempted to reopen it and, in a sign of good humor, dubbed it The Inferno. Unfortunately, the third time was not the charm. Two Tall’s closed its swinging mirrored doors for good and is now open only in the minds of those who loved it.

Thankfully, things in Kirksville seem to be moving in the right direction. The population is trending up, businesses are coming to town and support from the community is resulting in improvements to local roads and parks.

To a certain segment of graduates, Kirksville will always be synonymous with The Bulldog Inn or socials at Kirk gym. Years from now others will have fond memories of laser shows at the planetarium, the farmer’s market on Saturday mornings and the first time they experienced the train bridge. What their most memorable college moment may be is less important than the fact they had it and that Kirksville was a part of it. It is their small patch in the quilt of memories constructed by alumni for generations. Town and campus may change, but their ability to create lasting impressions will always remain. Wherever they may roam, in a certain sense for many alumni, Kirksville will always be home.


Navigating the Future

Coming to America put Huan Truong on a path to a better life and a rewarding career.

Prior to studying at Truman, Huan Truong was a college dropout in his home country of Vietnam. Today, the computer science alumnus has a Ph.D. and works for one of the most technologically innovative companies on the planet. 

Truong (’11) always wanted to come to the U.S. for his education, but did not know if it would be economically feasible. With encouragement from some friends, including two who were already at Truman, he took a leap of faith and enrolled at the University. Growing up, he viewed the U.S. as a land of opportunity, which to him meant wealth and fame, but his views changed upon arrival.

“The opportunity here is the second chance that many people like me might not have in their home country. In that regard, Kirksville is my American Dream coming true,” Truong said. “Kirksville was the place that picked me up as a broken-hearted, and literally broke, 20-year-old who didn’t know what to do. Part of what makes Kirksville so special is that it is kind and inclusive for me and many others.”

Although Truong made it to America, his journey to success was not always smooth sailing. By his own admission he was a mediocre business administration student. After three semesters, he took a computer science class. It was a subject he enjoyed, but he wasn’t sure it would be right for him.

“I didn’t know if I wanted to go hardcore computer programming as a major since everyone who does CS seemed boring to the arrogant me at the time,” he said.

After a faculty member pointed out he had a long future ahead of him and he should spend it doing what he enjoys, Truong made the switch to computer science the very next day.

While pursuing his Ph.D. in informatics at the University of Missouri, Truong worked on a side project called Crankshaft. It was an open-source, free software that anyone could install in a traditional vehicle to make it a smart car. With Crankshaft, drivers could have convenient, voice-controlled maps and music without having to physically handle their cell phone. It made the roadways safer, and earned Truong the attention of a little company named Tesla.

Once his studies were completed in the summer of 2018, Truong packed up and moved to Mountain View, Calif., and he now spends his days writing code for a company considered by many to be the trailblazer of the American automotive and energy industries.

“I am honored to be working with people who are so smart and work so hard to make great products,” he said. “The work makes me feel like I live 10 years in the future. There are problems that can only be solved by the collaboration of thousands and thousands of people. I think making great cars that are safe, smart and fun to use is one of those problems.”

As a software engineer, Truong is more problem solver than gearhead. Ironically, for a guy who works at one of the most groundbreaking tech companies in the world, he gets to the office many days by a very old-school means of transportation: his bicycle. He does, however, get to ride in a Tesla car to work on the other days.

“To me, cars are like giant toys,” he said. “I love it, to be able to contribute my part in making technology trustable, friendly and helpful in people’s eyes. I feel not all tech companies are heading that way, so I feel fortunate to work for a company that seems to have a mostly positive impression on people. Lastly, nothing compares to helping the Earth and humanity while having fun and doing exactly what I love.”

In the future, Truong hopes to apply his skills at some of his boss’ more ambitious companies. He would love to work for SpaceX on projects like CubeSat satellites or a spaceship.

What’s in a Name

The dedication of a local park was an early sign of a life committed to service.

Vicki Patryla is nearly 50 years removed from her time as a student, but her name will likely live on in Kirksville forever. She is the name behind the town’s Patryla Park, an honor bestowed on her at the ripe old age of 24.

A native of St. Louis, Patryla (Pa-TRY-la) quickly felt a connection to her college home.

“The faculty seemed very competent and very caring, and I just fell in love with the people of Kirksville,” she said. “I became more engaged and more committed to the city of Kirksville because of the caring feeling of the people.”

As a cheerleader and member of what is now known as the Residence Hall Association, Patryla (’69, ’70) was active on campus. She was also very committed to service in the community, particularly in regard to children. She routinely worked with kids in the residential area then known as Pickler Park, and saw a need to outfit the space with amenities for children. To help make the spot family friendly, she called on Campus Volunteers, an organization she created, to secure financial donations from local businesses and clubs.

After Patryla earned her master’s degree, much of the project was turned over to Campus Volunteers. By 1971, after years of work, the area officially became Kirksville’s sixth public park. Located on Decker Road, and tucked in behind Spur Pond, it was christened Patryla Park in honor of the young woman who put the entire plan in motion. Patryla was brought to tears when she received a letter notifying her of the designation.

“I had no idea it was going to be named after me,” she said. “I was more than overwhelmed, and I was truly humbled knowing that someone would think of me in that way.”

Throughout her childhood, those around Patryla instilled three important points in her: faith in God, belief in others and belief in oneself. While she may have already been on track to lead a life of service, she credits her work with the park in Kirksville for adding fuel to her fire.

Following her time at the University, Patryla earned a degree from the University of Leeds in England, where she studied on a Rotary International Scholarship, and she received her Ph.D. in special education from St. Louis University. Her career has been varied, but service has been at the core. She has taught education at six colleges in five states, often focusing on people with disabilities or special needs. Her efforts do not stop with the classroom. Patryla has served in administrative positions related to community outreach with no fewer than four non-profit organizations or corporations, and her charitable endeavors have led her to several countries. In addition to children and the disabled, she has poured her heart into causes for the elderly, veterans, international citizens and the mentally ill, among others.

After enough selfless acts, it can be difficult to avoid the spotlight. Over the years, Patryla’s efforts have earned praise from both sides of the political aisle. She has received letters of recognition from former Sen. Max Cleland and President Bill Clinton, to name a few, and her work with veterans garnered a call from a staff member for President Barack Obama. Organizations that have shown gratitude for her work include the March of Dimes, the Veterans Administration and the Salvation Army. While it’s nice to be appreciated, Patryla is not motivated by earning distinctions to pad her resume.

“Kindness is the most important credential,” she said. “Life is not about awards, honors and degrees. Life is about doing the work of the Lord. It is nice to be important, but it is more important to be nice. The best gift of giving is giving of oneself and the warmth of the human heart.”

Patryla is retired and now makes her home in Lilburn, Ga.

Patryla continues to volunteer her time for veterans and children like Madison, left, and Megan.

The Right Place

Rich and Melissa Chapman came to Kirksville in search of an education. They ended up finding a home.

As students, Rich and Melissa (Davis) Chapman approached Truman from different directions, both literally and figuratively. After growing up in the small town of Camp Point, Ill., Rich felt like Kirksville was the big city. For Melissa, who hails from the Kansas City suburb of Blue Springs, Mo., moving to a rural area for school was a bit of a culture shock. It worked out well for both of them, and the benefits it has reaped for Kirksville are nearly incalculable.

For most alumni, Kirksville is a multiyear pit stop in their lives. They come to northeast Missouri – sometimes reluctantly – to get an education. Most move on after graduation and have quaint memories of their college town. However, a number of graduates like the Chapmans end up realizing Kirksville is more than just a great place to go to school, it’s a great place to live.

“We chose to stay because we developed relationships with close friends,” Melissa said. “We found a church we loved and jobs that we were passionate about doing.”

Both are teachers in the Kirksville School District, but they took noticeably different paths to get there. Melissa (’00, ’02) participated in the MAE program after earning her degree in English. She completed her internship in Novinger, Mo., and continued to teach fifth grade in that school for three years before moving to Ray Miller Elementary in Kirksville. After 12 years there, she made the short trip over to William Matthew Middle School where she currently teaches sixth grade math and reading.

Upon earning his degree in psychology, Rich (’98) was a truancy officer in Quincy, Ill., for two years before returning to Kirksville to work at the Bruce Normile Juvenile Justice Center. After several years, he switched over to become a special education teacher and earned a master’s degree from the University of Missouri–St. Louis. He later transitioned to the Project Lead the Way Engineering Program, and he now teaches engineering to high school students at the Kirksville Area Technical School.

“As college students, we were so wrapped up with our own new-found independence that we had blinders on to all of the wonderful things Kirksville has to offer and the great people that make Kirksville a great place to live and work,” Rich said. “As educators, we are now very aware of the outreach that Truman students do throughout the Kirksville School District. As students, we never realized how intertwined the college and schools truly are.”

The Chapmans have now been residents of Kirksville more than four times longer than they were students, and they have become ingrained in the community. Their two daughters, Olivia and Julia, are involved in a number of activities. Rich has been a coach for football and golf at Kirksville, and cheerleading at Truman. They have even helped to increase the population of town by convincing Melissa’s parents to relocate to Kirksville. Without a doubt, the family’s biggest impact has come in the form of a 5K run/walk they have put on for the past seven years in support of diabetes research.

The Inspire 1 for JDRF event is the Chapman’s response to Julia’s diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. When Julia was six, she saw a news story about a child who started a race to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and wanted to sponsor her own. It has been a family endeavor ever since. The annual event usually includes about 150 runners and has raised a total of more than $53,000.

“After the first year, we had such an outpouring of support from our community, we knew then that we had made the correct decision to make Kirksville our home,” Melissa said.

Melissa and Rich Chapman with daughters Olivia, left, and Julia

Alumni Reunite to Celebrate and Reminisce

Nearly 200 black alumni reconnected in St. Louis, July 20-22, 2018. More than two-thirds of the participants graduated before Truman became an iteration of Northeast Missouri State, and most had not seen or heard from one another in decades. Throughout the Friday night welcome reception, changes in weight, dress or voice caused a minute of hesitation, but eventually the memories resurfaced.

Saturday morning, alumni of historically black Greek organizations gathered for the Pan-Hellenic Brunch. Two organizations celebrated milestone anniversaries and the historical distinctions of being the first black fraternity and sorority on campus: Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., chartered Epsilon Eta Chapter in May 1963, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., chartered Zeta Zeta Chapter in May 1968. Seven of the 12 charter members of Zeta Zeta reunited with “line sisters” and met 45 of the young women who have followed in their footsteps.

On Saturday evening at the Reunion Celebration Banquet, alumni reminisced about “the good, and not so good, old days.” As a co-chair, Beverly Davis (’70) formally welcomed everyone and highlighted that when she graduated there were no co-ed dorms, no male students beyond the main lounge in the women’s dorm, and dorm hours for women but not men. Laughter filled the air. The younger alumni also learned about some of the challenges black students faced from the mid-fifties through the mid-seventies. Regardless of the collective challenges, it was noted and agreed that Truman’s continued commitment to educational excellence had contributed to everyone’s business and professional accomplishments.

During the banquet, Sharron Washington and Janice Sue Williams Burton were honored with a symbolic gesture. Thunderous applause and a standing ovation greeted them as the 2018 Homecoming King and Queen.

On Sunday, the final reunion activity was a picnic at Forest Park. Most missed the classmates who could not make the reunion and acknowledged those who are no longer here. Alumni celebrated the way they were, and perhaps most importantly, they celebrated who they have become.

Late ’70s Greeks Return to Kirksville

The passage of time and distance couldn’t diminish the sense of community for the more than 300 alumni, attendees and friends who came back to Kirksville for the Late ’70s All-Greek reunion, Oct. 6-8, 2018.

Members of 14 fraternities and sororities made it back for the three-day event, which included a golf outing, a “hug fest” at the Days Inn, brunch at the Student Union Building, tailgating at the fairgrounds, a disco inferno at the Kirksville Country Club and an encouragement to do free-form philanthropy in the community.

The reunion wouldn’t have been possible but for the vision that started with Brad (’80) and Teresa (Voss) Borgstede (’86). Nearing retirement after 38 years at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Brad set out to bring Greek alumni back to campus with the goals of reminiscing, having fun and giving back. To spread the word, Borgstede took to Facebook to track down as many Greek alumni from the late ’70s and early ’80s as possible. Helped by a small army of Kirksville-based Greek alumni, the word spread, and more than 330 people officially RSVPed.

By all accounts, the reunion was a huge success. Not only did hundreds of alumni get a chance to reconnect with one another and their alma mater, they also raised a significant amount of money as a group. By the end of the reunion, in excess of $20,000 had been donated to various Truman State University Foundation funds. One in particular that was highlighted was the Letters Today, Leaders Tomorrow Scholarship fund. The scholarship benefits leaders in the Greek community and was initiated by students.

Buoyed by their success and reinvigorated by connecting with friends and classmates after decades away from Kirksville, the group has already unofficially begun planning for the next reunion, hoping for a return in 2020.

Range Scholarship Honors Former Baseball Player

Less than a year after his passing, the Andrew Range Baseball Scholarship at Truman became a reality.

A native of Troy, Ill., Andrew “Ranger” Range graduated from Truman in 2016. He was a member of the Bulldog baseball team and part of the squad that played in the 2015 Division II College World Series. Range was a law student at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale when he passed away in December 2017 due to a medical issue.

“It’s truly healing to have Andrew continue to positively influence the present and future of others,” said Traci Range, Andrew’s mother. “In life, he was a positive light, and with this scholarship, he will continue to be so through others.” 

To celebrate his life, his family created the Andrew Range Foundation to provide educational assistance to baseball players from his alma maters, Triad High School, Southern Illinois University Law and Truman. Thanks to generous donations from the foundation, the Andrew Range Baseball Scholarship has reached the endowment level, and the first scholarship in the amount of $1,250 was awarded for the spring semester.

“Our program is grateful for the generous gift in honor of Andrew by his parents and his foundation,” Truman baseball coach Dan Davis said. “This gift will not only help our program be successful on the field but will allow recipients of the scholarship to learn about the impact Andrew had on those around him.”

In order to be one of “Andrew’s Rangers” the scholarship recipient must be a baseball player who exemplifies compassion, empathy, resilience and an outlook on life that is infectious. Additional criteria include an unwavering dedication to friends, family, studies and sports. More information about Range and the foundation created in his honor can be found online at

Hughes Named Vice President for University Advancement

Dr. Ernie T. Hughes

Dr. Ernie Troy Hughes became Truman’s vice president of advancement in August.

Having been selected from a national search, Hughes comes to Truman after serving as principal of E. Hughes and Associates LLC, a management consultation firm located in Marietta, Ga., which provides a range of services to help clients understand the cultural underpinnings of philanthropy and the psychology of donors.

Hughes’ extensive higher education experience began at the Southern University System in Baton Rouge, La. He first served as a community development specialist, then in the roles of associate vice chancellor for advancement, special assistant to the president and executive director of the system foundation and finally as the vice president for advancement and executive director of the system.

Along with a Ph.D. in human resource development from Louisiana State University, Hughes earned his bachelor’s degree in finance and logistics, as well as his Master of Business Administration, from Mississippi State University. He participated in the Vanderbilt University Higher Education Management Institute, Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund Leadership Institute.

In addition to the University’s fundraising efforts, Hughes also oversees alumni relations, public relations and publications.

Upcoming GLVC Championship Dates/Sites


Feb. 2-3
Nicoson Hall
Indianapolis, Ind.

Swimming & Diving

Feb. 6-9
Crawfordsville Aquatics Center
Crawfordsville, Ind.

Indoor Track & Field

Feb. 23-24
Indianapolis, Ind.


March 7-10
Vadalabene Center
Edwardsville, Ill.


April 19-21
Center Grove HS
Indianapolis, Ind.


April 26-28
Panther Creek Country Club
Springfield, Ill.


May 2-4
EastSide Centre
Peoria, Ill.

Outdoor Track & Field

May 2-4
Stokes Stadium


May 9-12
U.S. Baseball Park
Ozark, Mo.