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Mizzou Alumni Association Presents Awards to Outstanding Faculty and Alumni

Oct. 5, 2007

Story Contact:  Bryan Daniels, 573-882-9144,

COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Mizzou Alumni Association (MAA) honored 16 outstanding faculty and alumni Friday, Oct. 5, at its 40th Annual Faculty-Alumni Awards Ceremony in Reynolds Alumni Center. The Distinguished Service Award, the Distinguished Faculty Award and 14 Faculty-Alumni Awards were presented.

Lenard L. Politte, M.D. '62, of Columbia, received the Distinguished Service Award, the highest honor awarded to an MU alumnus. Politte was Columbia’s first cardiologist in private practice and was an early leader in cardiac catheterization and pacemaker implementation in mid-Missouri. He retired from practice in 1999 and now supervises cardiology fellows at MU as a clinical professor of medicine. Recipient of the Missouri State Medical Association Honor Graduate Award in 1962, Politte graduated first in his class from the MU School of Medicine. After residency training in pathology, internal medicine and cardiology, Politte joined the School of Medicine staff and later enlisted in the military to serve in Vietnam. During his military service he received a distinguished service award from the Vietnamese military and the Army Commendation Medal. Politte returned to private practice in 1969 and became a founding member and the first president of Boone Clinic, the first multi-specialty clinic in Columbia. A fellow of the American College of Physicians, he started the heart program, was chief of staff at Boone Hospital Center and a founding member of the Missouri Cardiovascular Group, the Missouri Heart Institute and Columbia Regional Hospital. In the community, Politte is a trustee of Stephens College and a board member of First National Bank, Boone Hospital Foundation and Missouri Heart Institute Foundation. He serves MU as a national steering committee member of the For All We Call Mizzou campaign, a member of the Mizzou Flagship Council, and chair of the Chancellor’s Residence Preservation Committee. Politte is past president of the Medical School Foundation and is president-elect of the Medical School Alumni Organization. A distinguished fellow of the Jefferson Club, Politte also is a member of the McAlester Society, life member of the Mizzou Alumni Association and recipient of a Faculty-Alumni Award in 1999. Politte and his wife, Mary Lu, have four children: Keith, Caryl, Kevin and Craig, B.S., B.A. '93; and four grandchildren.

Elizabeth Jones Plogsted James, M.D. ’65, of Columbia, received the Distinguished Faculty Award. Three decades ago, James developed the first neonatal intensive care unit and neonatal transport system in rural Missouri. Her efforts have saved the lives of thousands of premature infants and improved newborn care in Missouri. A professor of child health and obstetrics/gynecology in the MU School of Medicine since 1971, James has also directed the Children's Hospital NICU at University of Missouri Health Care since it opened in 1971. She has been responsible for training neonatal fellows currently in academic and private practice of neonatology throughout the United States and internationally, as she helped establish an accredited fellowship program at MU leading to board certification by the American Board of Pediatrics, Sub-Board of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine. James has shared her knowledge and expertise in the care of newborns throughout the state by establishing an outreach education network for physicians and nurses. She has been extensively involved in state professional organizations and an advocate for her patients and their families at the state legislature. President of the board of directors for A Call to Serve (ACTS)-Missouri and board member of ACTS-International since 1996, James has traveled to the European country of Georgia to help set up a neonatal care system there. An article she wrote about her experiences, "A Decade of Humanitarian Aid and Medical Knowledge Exchange between Missouri and European Georgia Physicians," was published in Missouri Medicine in 2006. Her awards include being chosen by the MU Medical Alumni Association as the first recipient of the Distinguished Young Physician Award in 1982 and being named the Boone County Medical Society Doctor of the Year in 2006. James is a member of the Mizzou Alumni Association and a recipient of a Faculty-Alumni Award in 1992. She and her late husband, Ronald, MS ’64, M.D. '65, have two children, Susan and Jason.

A list of Faculty-Alumni Award recipients is attached.

MAA has more than 35,000 members and proudly supports the traditions and interests of MU’s flagship university and its more than 244,000 alumni worldwide.  MAA has more than 100 active chapters worldwide, and there are 15 school and college organizations of alumni with common interests who assist in recruiting students, raise money for scholarship funds, honor outstanding alumni and support the advancement of their schools and colleges.


2007 Faculty-Alumni Award recipients:

John K. Anderson, B.J. '87, broadcast sports anchor, ESPN Canton, Conn.

Millions of viewers tune in to see Anderson on ESPN's flagship program every day. The stylish "This is SportsCenter" commercial campaign has garnered Anderson a pair of Emmys, and he has covered both the NCAA Final Four and the Super Bowl for the network. He also wrote a book with golf legend Chi Chi Rodriguez in 2003 titled Chi Chi’s Golf Games You Gotta Play, which became a popular favorite. A role model who holds the dream job of countless students, Anderson serves as an inspiration and contributor to his alma mater. In 2003, he began sponsoring an ESPN/Mizzou internship that brings one School of Journalism hopeful to Bristol, Conn., each summer. Anderson was grand marshal for Homecoming in 2002; helped plan the Alumni Association's sesquicentennial celebration in 2006 and served as emcee at the gala dinner; and co-hosted the Mizzou Tiger Tailgate, which is a fundraiser for athletic scholarships at MU. Anderson served on the J-School's national campaign committee and created an unrestricted endowment at the renowned school in his parents' names. Anderson belongs to the Legacy Society, Walter Williams Society, Varsity M and the Jefferson Club, as well as being an endowed life member of the Mizzou Alumni Association. He and his wife, Tamara, have two children, Collin and Katie.

James L. Cook, DVM ’94, Ph.D. '98, associate professor of veterinary medicine; William C. Allen Endowed Scholar for Orthopaedic Research; Director, Comparative Orthopaedic Laboratory Columbia, Mo.

Cook is a leader in the field of minimally invasive surgical techniques as well as a pioneer in comparative medicine, collaborating with peers in human medicine to benefit both species. Six years ago he founded MU's Comparative Orthopaedic Laboratory, which has grown from a two-member team with $6,000 in funding to a $2 million multidepartmental lab with more than 30 researchers and an international reputation for excellence. Cook, a William C. Allen Endowed Scholar for Orthopaedic Research, currently serves as the director of the laboratory. His research accomplishments include developing an FDA-approved meniscal regeneration biomaterial that has changed the standard of care in medicine and working on a model for the study of osteoarthritis. Cook's work has attracted the public's interest as well, as he has been featured on National Public Radio, Animal Planet, and major network news programs and newspapers. Students enjoy Cook’s passion for orthopedic surgery during one of their most demanding rotations. He has earned a dozen awards for superior teaching, including the Norden Distinguished Teacher Award in 2000 and again in 2006. Cook was president of the MU College of Veterinary Medicine’s Class of 1994 and was named CVM Alumnus of the Year in 2005. Currently, he serves as president of the Veterinary Medicine Alumni Organization. He and his wife Christi, DVM '93, MS '98, are members of the Mizzou Alumni Association and the Jefferson Club.

Doug Crews, B.J. '73, executive director, Missouri Press Association, Columbia, Mo.

Crews began his journalism career in high school, covering local sports and meetings of the city council and school board in his hometown of Odessa, Mo. From 1973 to 1979, he edited four Missouri weekly newspapers. In 1979, Crews joined the press association, where his leadership has earned him national recognition. Known for his ability to build consensus among papers of different sizes and different agendas, Crews has visited more than 300 newspapers in the Show-Me State. He lobbies legislators in Jefferson City on behalf of the Missouri Sunshine Law and open government. A two-time MPA President's Award winner (1994, 2006), Crews also won the National Newspaper Association President's Award in 2005. He is a trustee for the State Historical Society of Missouri, former president of the University of Missouri Libraries Council and former president of the Newspaper Association Managers. In 2004-05, Crews served as president of the Mizzou Alumni Association. He served on MU search committees for the MAA executive director, MU provost, and Community Newspaper Management chair in the School of Journalism. He is an endowed life member of MAA, a Jefferson Club member and former Communications Committee chair. Crews and his wife, Tricia, have two children: Michael, B.A. '03, and Jessica, a junior at Mizzou.

Lewis W. Diuguid, B.J. '77, newspaper executive, Kansas City Star Kansas City, Mo.

As vice president for community resources at The Kansas City Star, Diuguid is responsible for the newspaper's philanthropic efforts in the community. After working at The Kansas City Times, he joined the Star in 1985, where he has written a column for the paper since 1987. Diuguid is an editorial board member and co-chair of the Star's diversity initiative, having been involved in diversity efforts at the paper since its start in 1993. He also has been a certified diversity facilitator with the Newspaper Association of America. Diuguid frequently shares his special talents with schools, corporations, community groups and colleges, including MU. In 1984, Diuguid was a fellow in the editing program run by the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education at the University of Arizona-Tucson and has been on the program’s faculty since 1991. Diuguid has funded scholarships to help minority students get through college to become working journalists. He has served on the faculty of the Kansas City Association of Black Journalists Urban Student Journalism Academy since its inception in 1982. A member of the Mizzou Alumni Association and former member of the association's Alumni Board of Directors and the Communications Committee, Diuguid has two children: Adrianne, B.J. '05, and Leslie.

Robert K. Dixon, B.S. '77, M.S. '79, Ph.D. '92, International Energy Agency executive Paris, France

In leading the Energy Technology Policy Division of the International Energy Agency in Paris, France, Dixon provides authoritative energy and economic policy advice to world leaders. President Bush recognized his service to the nation with a 2004 gold medal. Dixon began his career in academia by rising to tenured faculty positions at the University of Minnesota and Auburn University. Exxon and the Smithsonian Institution have honored him with fellowships, and he has served in positions of great responsibility at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the U.S. Department of Energy, where he eventually ascended to Deputy Assistant Secretary. President Bush asked Dixon to lead federal efforts to restore electricity in New York City after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. Dixon also is the co-founder of Plant Health Care, a biotechnology firm that markets and licenses products worldwide. He is the co-author of two U.S. patents, has served in 10 U.S. diplomatic posts and is a global Mizzou Ambassador. He was a 2005 MU Robert Reich Executive-in-Residence and a mentor in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR) Connections Program. A board member of philanthropic organizations and a life member of the Mizzou Alumni Association, Dixon and his wife, Anita, have two children: Caitlin and Colin.

Janet E. Farmer, Ph.D. '91, Professor of health psychology and child health; Director, Thompson Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders Columbia, Mo.

Farmer is the founding director of the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, which was established by an $8.5 million gift from Bill and Nancy Thompson in 2005. The Center integrates the best research and clinical services from multiple academic units at MU into a model program for the diagnosis and treatment of children and adults affected by autism and other neurological conditions. The Center also promotes the training of future professionals. One of the few board-certified rehabilitation psychologists in the United States, Farmer is a fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA), currently serves as president of the APA Division of Rehabilitation Psychology and is the associate editor of its journal, Rehabilitation Psychology. She received the Marie Kovar Award in 2005 in recognition of her contributions to individuals with disabilities. Farmer has held key faculty appointments in the School of Health Professions (SHP) and the School of Medicine, and has received the SHP Dean's Service Award in 2005 and the Mizzou Faculty Performance Shares Award in 2001. A member of the Mizzou Alumni Association and the Jefferson Club, Farmer and her husband, John, have two children: Christopher, B.A. '98; and Michael, B.A. '00.

Carol Gilles, M.Ed. '78, Ph.D. '91, Associate professor of reading/language arts Columbia, Mo.

Gilles is the chair of the Academic Committee for the MU Teaching Fellows program, which she co-founded in 1994. The program offers support for teachers in their first year and an opportunity for them to earn a master's degree. It began with two local teaching fellows and is growing rapidly; last year there were 87 teaching fellows across Missouri. Both the program and Gilles' longitudinal research on induction-year mentoring are nationally recognized. Gilles coordinates middle-level faculty in her department and serves on the MU Campus Writing Board on top of receiving consistently excellent evaluations from students and garnering numerous teaching awards, including the Provost's Junior Faculty Teaching Award. Her outreach efforts include a Saturday Morning Book Group, which she has led for a decade and is geared toward area teachers and professors who read and critique literature for children and young adults. A member of the Jefferson Club and active in the Olivet Christian Church, Gilles and her husband, Jere, have three children: Andrew, Elizabeth and Sara.

Ted Donald Groshong, B.A. '63, M.D. '67, Associate professor and Chair, Department of Child Health; Children’s Miracle Professor Columbia, Mo.

The fact that Groshong's students consistently score 10 points higher than the national average on USMLE exams can be attributed to his playing a crucial part in developing the highly regarded, problem-based curriculum at the MU School of Medicine. An MU faculty member since 1975, Groshong previously served as associate dean for student affairs and medical education. He currently works as associate dean for alumni affairs. Groshong's expertise and interests include pediatric transplantation, dialysis, glomerulonephritis, nephritic syndrome and hemolytic uremic syndrome. After earning his medical degree from MU, he stayed to complete a pediatric residency and a nephrology fellowship. The MU School of Medicine Alumni Association gave him a Distinguished Service Award in 2005. Groshong has served as president of the Boone County Medical Society and was honored as their Doctor of the Year in 2002. He is a former president of the Missouri chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and currently serves on two national committees of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the main organization of pediatricians. An endowed life member of the Mizzou Alumni Association and a fellow of the Jefferson Club and McAlester Society, Groshong and his wife, Kyle, have four children: Patrick, Kathleen, Paige and Olivia.

Walter H. Harwell Jr., B.J. '51, newspaper executive Port Orange, Fla.

Widely recognized in the industry as a smart, hands-on business manager who maintained core journalistic values as well as a good bottom line, Harwell led Knight-Ridder’s small- and medium-sized newspapers through the technological and content revolutions of the 1970s and 1980s. The former naval officer served the newspaper industry as a reporter, photographer, editor, managing editor, advertising manager, general manager and publisher before retiring in 1995 as senior vice president for operations at Knight-Ridder. In retirement, Harwell has taught classes in management and editing; served on the School of Journalism's Missourian Publishing Association Board since 1993; and currently serves as its president. He is co-chair of the Columbia Missourian's endowment campaign to ensure the permanent financial viability of the paper as a teaching and research laboratory. In Florida, Harwell has served as campaign chairman for the United Way, president of the Florida Press Association, building committee chairman for Covenant United Methodist Church, and vice president of Family Renew Community, which serves homeless families. A member of the Mizzou Alumni Association, Walter Williams Society, Legacy Society and a very distinguished fellow of the Jefferson Club, Harwell and his wife, Mary Ann, have a daughter, Suzanne, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Brock L. Hessing Sr., B.S. Ag '60, banking executive Dunlap, Ill.

After a 40-year career in banking marked by a commitment to teamwork, Hessing is a retired senior vice present of National City Bank, the country’s 10th-largest bank holding company. In this role, he directed the commercial lending team through three bank mergers, keeping the entire team in place and committing the organization as the premier lender group in Illinois. A community leader, Hessing is a 2001 inductee to the Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame. At MU, he lettered in football and played for Clay Cooper, John Kadlec, Don Faurot, Frank Broyles and Dan Devine. He has been instrumental in the resurgence of the Varsity M Association, carrying on tradition and serving as its president from 2001-2005. Hessing served as president of the Mizzou Alumni Association in 1996-1997, and as president-elect he recommended and guided the implementation of the association's credit card program, resulting in $5 million in income for the MAA. Hessing received a 2002 Tiger Pride Award and is a member of the Jefferson Club, University Club, Library Society and Tiger Scholarship Fund. He and his wife, Shirley, B.S.Ed. '59, and two of their four children, Brock Jr., B.A. '89, and Hannah, B.S. '02, are endowed life members of the MAA. Daughter Elizabeth, son J. Boger and nine grandchildren complete the family.

John A. Kadlec, B.S.Ed. ’51, M.Ed. ’52, special assistant to the athletic director Columbia, Mo.

Kadlec has been a loyal, passionate and dedicated ambassador for MU since 1947, when he came to the University as a football protégé of legendary coach Don Faurot. As a student-athlete, Kadlec lettered from 1948-50 and received All-Conference honors. Since then, the St. Louis native has served MU as teacher, coach, administrator, fundraiser and football color analyst. His coaching career began in 1951 and included stints under Hall of Fame coaches Faurot, Frank Broyles and Dan Devine, as well as Tiger legend Al Onofrio. Kadlec has had a role in 12 of Missouri's 24 bowl appearances as a player, coach, administrator or broadcaster. His many honors include recipient of the Don Faurot Distinguished American Award, induction into the University of Missouri Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame in 1996, induction into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2005 and having the football practice fields named the "Kadlec Athletic Fields" in his honor in 2005. A member of the Mizzou Alumni Association, Varsity M Association and the Jefferson Club, Kadlec and his wife, Dolly, have four children: Judith; Peggy, B.S. PA '76, M.S. '78; John; and Joan, and four grandchildren.

Lampo Leong, professor of art; Chair, Department of Art Columbia, Mo.

Well known internationally for his abstract painting that synthesizes Chinese calligraphy with Abstract Expressionism, Leong uniquely incorporates his profound knowledge of classical and contemporary Western art, Asian brush painting, calligraphy, Western Aesthetics and Chinese Daoist philosophy into his mixed media acrylic and oil paintings. He has been recognized as a pioneer in integrating digital technologies with fine art creation. Leong's painting and calligraphy have been exhibited extensively worldwide in more than 55 solo and 250 group exhibitions, featured in many important museum collections as well as hundreds of corporate and private collections internationally, earning him more than 35 awards. His 26-foot-diameter calligraphic granite inset medallion is permanently installed in a city park by the San Francisco Arts Commission. Besides teaching at MU, Leong has been invited for more than 80 lectures at universities and museums across the United States and Asia and served as judge for many art competitions nationwide. As an artist and educator, Leong's achievements have been featured in more than 800 reviews and publications in newspapers, magazines, books, Web sites, and on television internationally, including a PBS documentary and the U.S. Congressional Record. In 1999, the Mayor of San Francisco proclaimed Nov. 19 to be Lampo Leong Day.

Cindy Miller Mustard, B.A. '65, non-profit organization executive Columbia, Mo.

Community-minded, dedicated, actively engaged and caring are common words used to describe Mustard, the executive director of the Voluntary Action Center (VAC), Columbia's leading agency for information and referral. VAC also offers direct services such as transportation, medication, clothing, food and shelter, as well as providing community-wide volunteer coordination to engage more people in volunteerism. The Columbia Chamber of Commerce named the organization the Not-for-profit Small Business of the Year in 2001, and Mustard was named the Hazel Riback Volunteer Director of the Year in 2001. Actively involved in civic issues, Mustard served as co-chair of the Cultural Plan -- A Blueprint for Action, which was instrumental in creating the city's Office of Cultural Affairs in 1993. She also served on the Stephens Lake Advisory Task Force in 2000, the re-election campaign committee for Mayor Darwin Hindman in 2004 and 2007, and worked for six years on a funding panel for the Missouri Arts Council. Mustard also volunteers her time to help MU students; those who live in Excellence Hall’s "Mustard Floor," named in her honor, share a common interest in volunteer service. Mustard and her husband, Marvin, B.S. Ag. ’72, are members of the Mizzou Alumni Association and have a daughter, Katie.

Eileen J. Porter, professor of nursing Columbia, Mo.

Porter studies the health-related experiences of older women who live at home alone, and her original approach to descriptive phenomenology is attracting national attention in a variety of disciplines. Her research has been funded by two branches of the National Institutes of Health: the National Institute of Nursing Research and the National Institute on Aging. Porter has earned many accolades, including the Outstanding Advanced Qualitative Researcher Award from the Midwest Nursing Research Society in 2003 and the Faculty Award for Excellence in Research from the MU Sinclair School of Nursing in 1998. She was elected a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America in 2006. After joining the nursing faculty in 1995, Porter was appointed director of the PhD Program in Nursing, and she has served on several key campus committees. A former vice-chair of the Faculty Council, Porter currently serves on the Campus Promotion and Tenure Advisory Committee and the Graduate Faculty Senate. She is a founding member of the Nightingale Society and a member of the Jefferson Club, and she initiated a fund to support doctoral students’ scholarly presentations at professional meetings. Porter is married to Dale Veerhusen and has a son, Spencer Jones.