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Summer 2013, Vol. 15, No. 2
Foundation News

Alumnus Inspired to Create Endowed Scholarship

  Ronald and Ann Thomas
  Ronald Thomas 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
  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 Fuller 
  Doris (Pierce) Fuller's photo 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.

Endowment Honors Patricia Burton

  Patricia Burton 
  Dr. Patricia Burton

The Dr. Patricia Burton Honorary Endowment has been created as a meaningful expression of the Truman community’s respect and gratitude for a dedicated faculty member. The Dr. Patricia Burton Honorary Endowment will provide a resource for the Philosophy and Religion Department to further ensure the strength of the Truman experience and encourage growth within the discipline.

Reaching the fundraising goal of $75,000 will create an endowment to further enhance the learning opportunities at Truman and prepare students for an ever-changing global society. Truman continues to seek innovative learning opportunities, and the University’s challenging liberal arts and sciences education ensures that students are broadly educated. As a result, Truman graduates possess a highly-developed ability to think critically and communicate effectively, drawing upon skills and knowledge that are cultivated through rich learning experiences both inside and outside the classroom.

Burton, a professor of philosophy who joined the Truman faculty in 1987, retired from teaching full-time in December 2012. She has received a number of honors including being named Educator of the Year at Truman in 1994. A year later, she was recognized with the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, and she also received the William O’Donnell Lee Advising Award. She was honored as one of the recipients of Truman’s Walker and Doris Allen Fellowship in 2002 and was selected as a recipient of the Golden Apple Faculty Award in 2008.

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 Koustaal.

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.

Scholarship Offer Opportunity for Students to Recognize Former Teachers

  Mudd Scholarship 
  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.


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