Missouri State University
Missouri State
The Magazine Published For The Alumni And Friends of Missouri State University

Class Notes


Robert M. Garst, BSED, and his wife, Edith, celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in June 2010. The Garsts live in Midland, Texas, where they are active members in the community. Garst Dining Hall on the Missouri State campus is named in honor of the couple’s support of numerous academic programs.


Greenwood Laboratory School graduate and 1958 alumnus Dr. John D. Rich, BA, has retired from a successful career as a plastic surgeon and resides in Aurora, Colo.

Richard A. Birmingham, BSE, Springfield, was inducted into the 2010 National High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Prior recognitions include being named American Baseball Coaches Association National High School Coach of the Year and being inducted into the Missouri High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. Birmingham was head baseball coach and social studies teacher at Hillcrest High School for 25 years before retiring in 1984. He is president of Dick Birmingham Sports and conducts baseball clinics and coaching seminars around the country.


The school district of the City of Ladue, Mo., honored Lt. Col. (Ret.) Charles W. Marshall, BSED, St. Louis, by naming the high school’s video technology center after him. Marshall designed the center in 1989 and supervised the video program until his retirement in 2000. He taught a total of 36 years, 29 of them at Ladue. The Charles W. Marshall Video Technology Center has been recognized as one of the top high school video facilities in the Midwest.

Jerry D. Dawson, BSE, Paulden, Ariz., was inducted into the 2010 National High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Dawson taught physical education at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale for more than 30 years, served as the physical education department chairman for more than 25 years and was the school’s athletic director for more than 20 years before retiring in 2004. In 2003-04, he was selected as the Arizona’s Victory with Honor Coach of the Year, which is given by the Arizona Interscholastic Association to the outstanding coach for all sports in Arizona.

Paul White, BA, Charleston, S.C., received a Doctor of Business Administration in human resources management in March 2010 from Nova Southeastern University and was inducted into Sigma Beta Delta honorary business fraternity.



Robert D. McMillan, BSW, is the director of oncology services at the Carrie J. Babb Cancer Center at Citizens Memorial Healthcare in Bolivar, Mo. McMillan has worked for CMH for more than 22 years, including 14 years as administrator of Colonial Springs Healthcare Center, a CMH long-term care facility in Buffalo. He recently received oncology social worker certification, a status held only by a few advanced degree social workers in the U.S.

Thomas D. Peebles Jr., BA, Springfield, was named to the 2011 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Peebles practices in the areas of estate and wealth transfer planning and estate and trust administration with Carnahan, Evans, Cantwell & Brown, P.C.


Joseph D. “Chip” Sheppard III, Springfield, was named to the 2011 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Sheppard concentrates his practice in the areas of business, real estate, securities and intellectual property dispute resolution and transactions with the firm Carnahan, Evans, Cantwell & Brown, P.C.

Johnny (Jay) Carter, BS, Marshfield, Mo., moved from chief operating officer to chief executive officer of Farmers Co-op of Van Buren, Ark. Farmers Co-op owns and operates multiple facilities in Arkansas and Oklahoma.

Dawn Jackson Davidson, BS, Bixby, Okla., is the newly appointed assistant bursar at Tulsa Community College.

L. Denise Fredrick, BSE & MSE, ’83 & ’94, retired from Springfield Public Schools in 2009. She finished her PhD at Saint Louis University and became a member of the Missouri State faculty in August 2010, where she is director of secondary education.

Scott Waller, BS, Foothill Ranch, Calif., completed his doctoral work in political science from Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, Calif.  Waller holds two master’s degrees: philosophy and ethics (Biola University, ’99) and politics (Claremont Graduate University, ’09).


Jeffrey Lester, BS, Lebanon, Mo., was diagnosed with ALS in 1993 and thought his educational pursuits were finished. However, in May 2011, Lester plans to graduate with dual master’s degrees from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. You can read more about Lester’s story at getjefflestertograduation.com.

Joseph S. Passanise, BA, ’91 & ’93, Springfield, was named to the 2011 edition of The Best Lawyers in America and was recognized again as a Missouri Super Lawyer in the area of criminal defense by Law and Politics publication. In November, the Law Offices of Dee Wampler and Joseph Passanise was selected for inclusion in the inaugural edition of the 2010 Best Law Firm Rankings. Passanise is married to Jennifer Steffes Passanise, BSN, ’03, and they have two children, Bella and Samuel.

Rodney H. Nichols, BA, Springfield, is bank counsel section vice chairman of the Missouri Bankers Association. Nichols is a shareholder in the litigation, banking and transactional practice groups of Carnahan, Evans, Cantwell & Brown, P.C., and he concentrates his practice in the areas of banking, commercial, real estate and probate litigation, as well as general corporate and business matters.

Stephen R. Bough, BS, was awarded the Governor Mel Carnahan “Good Guy” Award by the Greater Kansas City Women’s Political Caucus. The award is given annually to a male leader in the community who actively supports female candidates. Bough is serving his second term as the chair of the Jackson County Democratic Committee and practices law in Kansas City.

Dr. James Fletcher, BSED, was promoted to associate professor of physical therapy at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, Ark. Fletcher also engages in part-time clinical practice as a physical therapist and athletic trainer at the Adolescent Center of Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Fletcher and his wife, Trissa, reside in the Conway area with their two children, Treslyn and Tate.

Christopher X. Moloney, BS, was appointed chief marketing officer and senior vice president for marketing and products at Experian, one of the world’s leading providers of personal financial and credit information. Moloney formerly led marketing at St. Louis-based Scottrade during a time when it achieved record growth and brand recognition including the naming of the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, home of the NHL’s Blues. Moloney moved to Newport Beach, Calif., in 2010. He retains his role as a board member of the Ad Council and the CMO Council.

Christine Hixon Smiley, BS, Lewisville, Texas, is director of consumer insights at the headquarters for Michaels Stores in Irving, Texas. Smiley provides marketing analytics and research to help Michaels better serve its arts-and-crafts customers.

Stephanie Replogle Thibeault, BFA, Little Rock, Ark., is director of the University of Arkansas–Little Rock dance program. In October, the Arkansas Arts Council awarded her an Individual Arts Award and ArtLinks recognized her works at the 2010 statewide arts conference.

Colleen Klosterman Dunn, BS, lives in Samuprakam, Thailand. She opened “Mother India,” a new business selling handcrafted textiles from India that focuses on women’s clothing and accessories.

Troy W. Metcalf, BFA, returns to his recurring role of Jim on ABC’s second season of The Middle. Metcalf also appears on Comedy Central’s Strangers With Candy and looks forward to continued success in the television industry.

Jamie Cox Robertson, MA, teaches English at the University of Arizona in Tucson and is the author of two books: A Literary Paris and An Uncommon Heroine.

Nicholas J. Coleman, New York City, is an actor, filmmaker and photographer originally from West Plains and Nixa, Mo. Coleman performs in Off-Off Broadway theater, in films and on television. He appears as an undercover actor in What Would You Do?, an ABC prime-time television series that uses hidden cameras and actors to stage ethically sensitive scenarios. He also appears in daytime television shows such as One Life to Live. Backstage Magazine recognized Coleman as one of the Top 5 New York Headshot Photographers.

Jeremy Goettel, BS, Lowell, Mass., received a Doctor of Philosophy in cell biology from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., and was appointed as a post-doctoral research fellow at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass.


Jodie Borgerding, BA, Washington, Mo., is the instruction and liaison librarian at Webster University. She received the Missouri Library Association’s Outstanding New Librarian Award for 2010. Borgerding served as chair of the MLA ReadMOre initiative. At the national level, she has been nominated for two Association of College and Research Libraries committees, as well as two committees of the New Members Round Table/American Library Association.

Keri Robinson, BS, and Blake McKee announce their December 2010 marriage at an ocean-side ceremony on the Providencial Island in Turks and Caicos.

Benjamin S. Boslaugh, BS, Springfield, received the Excellence in University Service Award from Missouri State University in January 2010. Boslaugh is facilities operations manager at Missouri State.

Derrick Docket, BA, accepted a position at the Missouri Valley Conference in St. Louis, Mo., as director of new media and technology. Docket and his wife, Brittany Davis Docket, BSED, ’08, reside in St. Peters, Mo.

Kevin Scott, BS & MACC, ’02 & ’03, was promoted to manager at BKD, LLP. Scott, a certified public accountant, has been with BKD for six years and works on the BKD Retail & Business Services and WealthPlan Tax Services teams.

Ryan Persinger, BS, and his wife, Christina Holtmeyer Persinger, BS, ’04, hosted a group of agriculture alumni at their home in Cedar Creek, Mo., during July 2010. The group enjoyed dinner and an evening of memories, stories and laughs, followed by a day of water activities on Bull Shoals Lake. Alumni and friends in attendance were Devin Garland, BSE, ’03; Sue Morgan Garland; Morgan Davis, BS, ’02; Joe Tummons; Tyler Garrison; Josh Poyner, BS, ’01; David Helton, BS, ’01; Garrett Hawkins, BS & MAT, ’03 & ’10; Reagan Fox; Stefanie Eslinger, BS, ’02; Patrick Eslinger, BS, ’03; Vince Blankenship; Glen Cope, BS, ’02; and Tiffany Hopkins Phillips, BS, ’02.

Valerie M. Jennings, BS, Lee’s Summit, Mo., is the owner of Hippie Chow, a company that specializes in handmade, all-natural granola. In May, the company began selling products at the Overland Park Farmers Market and extending its reach to include all Kansas Sampler retail locations, five Cosentino’s markets, Nature’s Own Health Food Market, several Dean and Deluca locations, Foo’s Fabulous Frozen Custard in Leawood and Bananas & Caviar in Charleston, S.C.

Wyatt B. Jenkins, BS & MBA,  ’04 & ‘05, joined BKD Corporate Finance, LLC as a financial analyst. Jenkins previously worked for BKD, LLP and was a member of the National Financial Services Group. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants. Jenkins resides in Nixa, Mo.

Andrew G. Mundwiller, BS, graduated from law school at Widener University in Delaware where he was on the dean’s list and a member of the trial advocacy honor society.  He practices law at The Cagle Law Firm in St. Louis and represents injured victims and their families in cases involving serious injury and wrongful death. Mundwiller was elected to the board of directors of The Special Olympics of Missouri.

Aaron M. Mayer, BS, Lawrence, Kan., was selected to be a participant in the NBC game show Wheel of Fortune. The show was taped in California and aired the day before Thanksgiving.

Stephanie Matthews, MS, and her husband, Tim, proudly announce the birth of their first son, Ryland Cole, born in October 2010. Matthews resides in Springfield.

Craig A. Meyer, MA, is the main editor of Confederate Girlhoods: A Women’s History of Early Springfield, Missouri, the newest title from Missouri State University’s Moon City Press.

Melissa Ohlfest, BS & MS, ’08 & ’10, is the program specialist for parent relations at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Ga.

Sarah M. Jackson, BFA, Springfield, joined Wannenmacher Advertising Company in support services. The company offers a full range of marketing expertise in advertising, digital media, public relations, community events and more. Jackson’s duties include assisting Wannenmacher’s client services and creative teams with administrative support.


  1. Grant Young

    Grant Young, BS, (Cell and Molecular Biology) 2000, is the Head Girls Basketball Coach at Purdy High School, Purdy, MO. He recently helped lead the team to a 26-6 record and to a Class 2 State Championship over Couch, MO 55-49 at the Missou Arena in Columbia, MO. He was honored by the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association and the Associated Press as the Coach of the Year for Class 2 Girls basketball in the state of Missouri.