Alumni Awards

Alumni Awards

Each year, the Southeast Alumni Association selects honorable alumni and friends who have brought distinction to themselves and Southeast for recognition. Four alumni and a faculty member received Merit Awards at the Copper Dome Celebration virtual event during the University’s Spirit Week. Friend of the University and the Distinguished Young Alumni recipients were also awarded.

Friends of the University / Don and Gloria LaFerla
The Friend of the University award, which recognizes those who support and who are closely associated with the mission, purposes, plans and programs of the University, is the highest honor bestowed by the Southeast Missouri University Foundation. The LaFerlas’ philanthropic support is felt in many areas of campus, including scholarship support provided through the Gloria King LaFerla Endowed Scholarship in Technology; the Donald G. LaFerla Endowed Scholarship for Health Sciences; the Luther A. King Endowed Scholarship to support undergraduate education majors; and the Robert King Endowed Scholarship for undergraduate finance or accounting majors. In May 2014, the LaFerlas’ strong interest in technology and health sciences led them to establish a $1.7 million planned gift, and the University’s Board of Regents honored them with the naming of the Donald G. and Gloria King LaFerla Residence Hall. The LaFerlas met in 1959 as students at Southeast Missouri State College. They say they received a quality education, made lifelong friends, and started their lives together at Southeast.

Alumni Merit Award / J. David Blakemore ’10, ’15
J. David is president of Blakemore Cotton & Grain, LLC. He graduated from Southeast with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, double majoring in accounting and management information systems in 2010, and a Master of Business Administration with an emphasis
in finance in 2015.





Alumni Merit Award / Debra Reid ’82
Debra is curator of agriculture and the environment at The Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, Michigan, and an adjunct faculty member at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. She graduated from Southeast with a Bachelor of Science in historic preservation. Debra is an award-winning author of several books.





Alumni Merit Award / Roy Thomas ’61
Roy is a former Marvel editor and comic book writer and current editor of comics-history magazine “Alter Ego” and comic strips writer for the Edgar Rice Burroughs website. He worked for Marvel and DC Comics on heroic tales such as “The Avengers” and “Amazing Spider-Man.” He graduated magna cum laude studying history and social sciences with minors in English and education.





Alumni Merit Award / Mirza Nadeem Zafar ’99, ’02
Mirza is the division president for Chartwells at Compass Group USA. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in chemistry and a Bachelor of Science in hospitality. Mirza’s Chartwells team was won several awards nationally from Food Management Magazine and sustainability by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).





Alumni Merit Award / Dr. Michelle Lyn Brune ’94, ’98
Since joining the faculty in 2003, Michelle and a team of faculty members, have transformed the interior design curriculum and facilities to meet national accreditation standards over the past 10 years. She continues to serve on and chair several campus committees. She has been a full-time employee of Southeast for 23 years.





Alumni Merit Award / Jeremy Loenneke ’08, ’10
Jeremy is an associate professor at the University of Mississippi in Oxford. He teaches physiology and the impact of exercise on different systems of the body. He is the director of the Kevser Ermin Applied Physiology Laboratory. Jeremy has twice received The University of Mississippi’s Thomas A. Crowe Outstanding Faculty Award. He is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and a member of the American Physiological Society.


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