Merit Awards

Merit Awards

 Distinguished Service Award

Jerry Ford is the director of the Jerry Ford Orchestra and a former consultant for people with disabilities in the Missouri Capitol for over 40 years.

He served two terms as Missouri state representative of the 156th District from 1979-1982. During his service, he assisted the University in receiving $4.4 million from the legislature for capital improvements, including for the renovation of Magill Hall.

Ford has given more than 50 years of service to the University as a student and alumnus. He graduated from Southeast in 1964 with Bachelor of Science in education with a major in music. He distinguished himself with many activities during his undergraduate years, serving as a four-year member of the Southeast Marching Band (known then as the Golden Eagles Marching Band) and University Choir. He is a recipient of the prestigious “Balfour Award” as the outstanding Sigma Chi of Missouri in 1964.

He is a member of the Southeast Missouri University Foundation’s Copper Dome Society, President’s Council, and a former member of the Foundation’s Executive Committee. He and his wife, Margaret, are Foundation benefactor-level donors.

In addition to his service to the University Foundation, he served on the Athletic Booster Board, now known as the Redhawks Club Board, for 28 years, where he raised more than $150,000. He has been a season ticket holder for Southeast’s basketball program since 1964.

Ford represented the city on the River Campus Board of Managers for 15 years. During his tenure, he authored Honor to St. Vincent’s: A History of St. Vincent’s College and the River Campus and A Building Not Forgotten, which have been distributed to several thousand people at no charge.

He has raised more than $50,000 in his 10-year tenure on the Southeast Missouri Music Academy Board. During famed jazz pianist Peter Nero’s visit to the campus, Ford raised more than $6,000 for the Southeast Jazz Program, which he started as an undergraduate while at Southeast. His music groups have raised funds for various causes, including a $6,000 concert for Southeast’s theatre program when performances were held in Rose Theatre, and three for the University’s public radio station, KRCU.

Additionally, Ford coordinated the 10-year celebration of the opening of the River Campus honoring the Vincentians.

His latest project was producing and performing his An American Hero: USO Show in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall, which raised approximately $14,000 to help send Southeast students, faculty, and staff to perform An American Hero at the New York Musical Festival in July.


Distinguished Young Alumni Service Award

Adam and Shvetha Gohn work side by side in a local law firm, Glaus and Gohn, LC, serving the southeast Missouri area.

Adam started the law firm in 2013, concentrating on assisting clients with bankruptcy, personal injury, worker’s compensation, and general civil cases. Shvetha worked in the international education field for eight years, including holding administrative roles at Southeast and Southern Illinois University, before joining Adam at the law firm in 2017 as a paralegal.

Adam graduated cum laude from Southeast in spring 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and a minor in environmental science. While at Southeast, Adam was a member of the Jane Stephens Honors Program and Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society. He received his Juris Doctorate from Southern Illinois University. In 2009, he was named to the Southeast Missourian Business Today’s 40 Under 40 class. He will receive his Master of Business Administration this fall from the University of Kansas.

Shvetha, originally from India, graduated from Southeast in 2009 with a Master of Business Administration in general management. After graduation, she worked for Southeast’s Office of International Education and Services, including serving as an international education advisor from 2009-2010 and assistant director for International Student Services from 2010-2013.

Adam and Shvetha met during their time at Southeast and got married shortly before they graduated in 2009. As passionate young alumni, they enjoy sharing their excitement about Southeast with their friends, and continue to support the University with their time and financial contributions.

They are members of the Southeast Missouri University Foundation President’s Council and the KRCU Circle, a group of couples and individuals who make sustaining commitments to KRCU, the nonprofit public radio station licensed to Southeast. They are also KRCU program sponsors.

The Gohns are also active supporters of Southeast Athletics. They recently established the Shvetha and Adam Gohn Basketball Scholarship to support Southeast basketball student-athletes, and are Legend-level members of the Redhawks Club.

In addition to their financial support of Southeast, Adam serves on the Redhawks Club Board of Directors, and Shvetha serves on the KRCU Board of Directors.


Faculty Merit Award

Dr. Margaret P. Hill was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, and attended the College of William and Mary where she received her Bachelor of Science in physics in 1976. She then held a series of teaching positions in which she taught physical science, physics, and geometry in diverse environments such as a college preparatory academy, a metropolitan urban middle school, and an all-boys Catholic high school.

During her high school teaching years, she developed an avid interest in astronomy and became an active member of the St. Louis Astronomical Society where she built her own six-inch Newtonian reflector telescope through a class offered there, which she still uses today.

In 1989, she earned her Master of Science in physics and in 1994 a doctoral degree in molecular science, both at Southern Illinois University–Carbondale, where she developed a love of physics research and the study of novel magnetic materials. Following graduation, she taught for three years at the University of Northern Iowa.

She joined the faculty at Southeast in 2000 and currently is a professor of physics in the Department of Chemistry and Physics. Her research lab contains facilities for synthesizing and characterizing new magnetic alloys such as the transition metal-based magnetocaloric materials, which have the promise of replacing the current vapor-cycled refrigerators with ecologically friendly and energy efficient counterparts, and with nickel-manganese based materials that have the potential for use as magnetic switches.

Her research on magnetic materials has resulted in 17 peer-reviewed articles and 29 state, regional, and national conference presentations. She has been the recipient of three external grants and two Southeast grants.

In 2017, she served as a lead volunteer for the Citizen Continental America Telescope Eclipse (CATE) Team-040 in Perryville, Missouri, during the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse. This Southeast student and faculty member team collected data and images for the National Solar Observatory as part of a nationwide endeavor of 68 separate teams to study the time evolution of the inner solar corona over the 90-minute duration of the eclipse across America.

In her spare time she enjoys reading, jogging, and traveling with friends. Hill and her husband, Dr. Hamner Hill, interim dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, are the parents of two sons, Jackson and Owen, and have a daughter-in-law Lauren Clark. She has one grandchild, Peregrine.


Alumni Merit Award

James Henry received a Bachelor of Music in theory and composition and a Bachelor of Music Education from Southeast in 1987. He earned his doctoral degree in music composition from Washington University.

He is an associate professor and director of choral studies at the University of Missouri–St. Louis (UMSL) where he conducts the University Singers concert choir and Vocal Point a cappella ensemble. In addition to his duties at UMSL, Henry is the musical and artistic director of the four-time Barbershop Harmony Society’s (BHS) International Chorus Champions, the Ambassadors of Harmony, a 120-voice men’s chorus.

Henry’s singing experience spans multiple genres. He currently sings bass with and arranges for BHS’ International Quartet Champions, the Crossroads. Crossroads has performed around the world and is the 2016 recipient of the National Association for Music Education’s prestigious “Stand for Music” award for their efforts on behalf of music education.

Henry previously sang with the Gas House Gang, also BHS International Quartet Champions. The Gas House Gang performed in all 50 states and in 15 countries in venues from the Grand Ole Opry to Carnegie Hall. Their numerous television and radio appearances include NBC’s “Today Show,” NPR’s “At the Creation,” and several PBS specials. Henry has also served as bass section leader for the Saint Louis Symphony Chorus.

As a composer, Henry has won awards for his songs and piano pieces. He served for three years as composer-in-residence at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School under the aegis of Washington University, the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, and the Buder Foundation. He was also a music mentor for the “Music! Words! Opera!” educational program sponsored by Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.

Henry travels the world as a guest conductor, clinician, and lecturer. He is a contributing author for the Encyclopedia of American Gospel Music and the Grove Dictionary of American Music. He has won several awards, including the International Leadership Network’s “Dare to Lead” and the Missouri Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Henry and his wife, Geda, recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. They have three children: Lydia Hlinka, who is an educator in the Fort Zumwalt School District; Gea Rose Henry, who is pursuing her Bachelor of Fine Arts in theater at Missouri State University; and Isaiah Henry, who is a student at Francis Howell Central High School. They also have three grandsons: Henry, Julius, and Louis.


Alumni Merit Award

Hon. Timothy J. Patterson, a 1963 graduate of Southeast with a Bachelor of Science in Education, secondary education, with majors in history and social science, is a retired Circuit Judge, 23rd Judicial Circuit, Division One, Jefferson County, Missouri.

While attending Southeast, he served as consul (president) of the Sigma Chi fraternity and president of the Newman Club, and was inducted into Cardinal Key men’s honor society.

After graduation, Patterson taught for two years before enrolling in the School of Law at the University of Missouri–Kansas City (UMKC). His plans to attend law school were interrupted by the draft, and he joined the U.S. Air Force. He received a Russian language certificate from Syracuse University in New York while in the service and then served overseas in Turkey. Upon completion of four years of military service, he returned to UMKC and graduated with a Juris Doctorate in 1972. He served as chief auditor and counsel for the probate court in Kansas City. In 1973, he was hired as the first assistant prosecutor in Jefferson County, Missouri. In 1974, he was elected for a four-year term as prosecuting attorney for Jefferson County. In 1978, He joined the private practice of Anderson, Brooking, Hammon and Dieffenbach Law Firm in Hillsboro, Missouri.

In 1982, he was elected Circuit Judge of Division One, 23rd Judicial Circuit, serving for a period of 24 years. During that time as presiding judge, he founded the Drug Court in Jefferson County and brought mediation into dissolution cases and Children First, an education program to ease the effects of divorce on children. He served on the Community Treatment Center (COMTREA) Board of Directors for more than 20 years.

Upon retirement, Patterson served six years on the Jefferson Regional Medical Center Board of Directors in Crystal City, Missouri. He is presently serving on the Jefferson Foundation Board of Directors.

A scholarship in his late wife’s and his name has been established through the Southeast Missouri University Foundation. Patterson is also a member of the University Foundation’s Copper Dome Society and the President’s Council. As an active member of the Sigma Chi Alumni Association, Patterson is the chairman of their scholarship committee for the chapter.

He enjoys singing with the Our Lady Catholic Church Choir and serves as Eucharistic minister and lector. Patterson has sung in the Southeast Missouri University All Alumni Choir for the last three sessions and sings on occasion with the Jefferson College Community Choir in Hillsboro. He has been an active member of the Hillsboro Rotary for almost 40 years.


Alumni Merit Award

Dr. Ronald W. Wagner graduated from Southeast in 1998 with a Bachelor of Science in health management, athletic training option. He earned a Master of Physical Education from Eastern Kentucky University, a Master of Instructional Technology from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, and a doctorate in kinesiology from the University of Arkansas. In addition, Wagner is currently pursuing his Executive Master of Business Administration at Washington University in St. Louis.

This education solidified his belief that the experience and student-professor relationships, not the degree itself, create the platform for success. As an educator, Wagner has served as a faculty member at Eastern Kentucky University, University of Arkansas, and University of Tennessee at Martin. He currently serves as a tenured associate professor at California University of Pennsylvania, where he combines his passion for exercise science and educational technology by teaching in the online exercise science graduate program.

In 2008, his passion for student success led him to establish a company that would bring his vision for the future of higher education to life. Relearnit is a firm which develops and manages online education programs for colleges and universities across the United States. Relearnit is driven by educators and focuses on academic excellence, creating an environment in which it’s not exclusively about enrollment, but rather about supporting the success of students once they complete their course work. This approach creates a formula for long-term financial sustainability for the institutions the firm serves.

Today, Wagner gives back to Southeast in a variety of ways to support the University he believes provided him with opportunities he may not have been afforded elsewhere. In 2015, he established the Dr. Ronald Wagner Endowed Scholarship to support students interested in athletic training. He also serves as chair of the Advisory Board for the former College of Health and Human Services, a group of alumni who provide industry perspective on what qualities and experience they’re seeking in the workforce to help better prepare graduates for success. In addition, through his nonprofit organization, Athleticare Sports Health Foundation, Inc., he leads high school students interested in athletic training on trips to Southeast, allowing them to learn about the University’s athletic training program and experience the campus environment.

Wagner and his wife, L’Erin, and son Ronald Jr. reside in St. Louis, Missouri. In his free time, he serves on the board of directors for Lift for Life Gym and ACCESS Academies.


Alumni Merit Award

Col. Kimberlee P. Joos, who graduated from Southeast in 1991 with a Bachelor of Science in psychology, is a retired U.S. Air Force intelligence officer. In 2002, she earned a Master of Arts in National Security Studies from Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., and earned diplomas with the Air University in 2006 and National Defense University in 2011.

Joos received her officer commission in 1991 through the Reserve Officer Training Program at Southeast and entered active duty service in 1992. She served as an intelligence officer from 1992 to 2015, retiring at the rank of colonel.

During her 23 years of military service, she was selected to command on three separate occasions and served in numerous overseas locations, including Korea, Japan, Germany, and Saudi Arabia. Her final position as commander of the 17th Training Wing, Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, included responsibility for the Department of Defense Fire Academy and multi-service intelligence technical training, which graduated more than 14,000 students annually. She managed real property, equipment, supplies, and contracts in excess of $1.09 billion with an annual operating budget exceeding $106 million.

Her military awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal with Five Oak Leaf Clusters, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Air Force Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal with One Service Star, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Korean Defense Service Medal. In 2014, she received the “Women of Achievement Celebration Award” from the Zonta Club of Cape Girardeau for her accomplishments throughout her military career.

Joos was recently appointed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to a six-year term on the Texas Veterans Commission, which serves as the state-appointed advocate of Texas veterans as they attempt to secure the benefits rightfully earned in exchange for their service in the nation’s armed forces.

Joos makes her home in Argyle, Texas, but remains a passionate St. Louis Cardinals fan. She enjoys traveling, gardening, and golf. She volunteers with the Argyle High School Band and Athletic Boosters and Saint Mark Catholic Church, and serves on the board of the Denton County Master Gardener Association. She also continues to support Notre Dame Regional High School in Cape Girardeau, where she is a 1987 alumna, through their Education Fund Foundation.


Recommended Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *