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Sixteen Faculty and Alumni Honored at MU Awards Ceremony

October 18th, 2013

Story Contact: Nathan Hurst, 573-882-6217,

By Diamond Dixon

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Mizzou Alumni Association (MAA) honored 16 outstanding faculty and alumni tonight, at its 46th annual Faculty-Alumni Awards Ceremony in Reynolds Alumni Center. The Distinguished Service Award, the Distinguished Faculty Award and 14 Faculty-Alumni Awards were presented to outstanding MU faculty and alumni.

Harold Hook, who received a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1953, a Master of Accountancy in 1954, and an honorary doctorate in law in 1983 from the University of Missouri, received the 58th annual Distinguished Service Award, the highest honor awarded to an MU alumnus. Established in 1956, the award recognizes outstanding service by an individual whose efforts have added to MU’s excellence.

Hook is a recognized scholar and inventor. He currently works in Houston as founder and president of Main Event Management Corporation which provides management training, consulting and organizational development services to all types of organizations.  He is a retired insurance executive who served as president of three major life insurance companies before the age of 40. His first presidency, at age 31, made him the youngest life insurance company president in the United States. Hook spent more than 30 years as a chief executive officer and the last 18 years as Chairman and CEO of American General Corporation, where he is credited with developing American General Corporation into one of the largest diversified financial services organizations in the United States. He has been a former director of Chase Manhattan Bank, Continental Airlines, Cooper Industries, Inc., Duke Energy Corporation, Panhandle Eastern Corporation, Sprint Corporation, and Texas Commerce Bancshares New York Stock Exchange firms. Hook received the Oxford Cup from Beta Theta Pi fraternity in 1992 and was inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame in 1998. He is a Jefferson Club Ambassador and a life member of the MAA, which awarded him a Faculty-Alumni Award in 1978.

Ruth Stumpe Brent Tofle, BS HE ‘72, and a professor and chair of the Department of Architectural Studies in the College of Human Environmental Sciences at MU, has been honored with the 54th annual Distinguished Faculty Award. Established in 1960, the award recognizes a faculty member whose sustained efforts in teaching, research and service have added to MU’s excellence. The award places special emphasis on the faculty member’s relationships with students.

Tofle led one of the first accredited interior design programs and developed the first and only online doctoral program in interior design. Her program at MU was named the 4th Most Admired Graduate Program in Interior Design in the U.S. by DesignIntelligence, a design council publication. For 15 years, Tofle chaired MU’s Campus Planning Committee for Facilities and Grounds and was a leader in guiding the campus to become the beautiful, well-designed place it is today. Born and raised in Washington, Missouri, her work is recognized worldwide. She received a post doctorate fellowship from the National Institutes of Mental Health, the American Society of Interior Designers Environmental Design Award, and Fulbright Fellowships to China, Morocco and Tunisia. She participated in faculty exchanges in Thailand and Korea and was president of the Missouri Fulbright Alumni Association. Respected in academia and in practice, she is a Center for Aging Fellow, NCIDQ-certified, a LEED Accredited Professional and a Registered Commercial Interior Designer in the State of Missouri. Tofle is an advocate for the Americans with Disabilities Act and received the Faculty Friend Award from the MU Access Office for her efforts in accommodating students with disabilities. She is a Jefferson Club Fellow, received a Faculty-Alumni Award from the MAA in 1992 and was recognized as one of the “30 Most Admired Educators for 2013” by DesignIntelligence.

MAA Faculty-Alumni Awards recognize the achievements of faculty and alumni. Assistant, associate and full professors are considered for their work as teachers and researchers and their relationships with students. Alumni are considered for their accomplishments in professional life and service to their communities and alma mater. This year, 14 awards were presented:

  • Shawn Askinosie, BA ’83, JD ’89, founder and CEO of Askinosie Chocolate (alumnus)


  • Marybeth Brown, professor of physical therapy, MU (faculty member)


  • Glen T. Cameron, Professor and Maxine Wilson Gregory chair in journalism research, MU (faculty member)


  • Ward A. Chambers, BS EE ’67, executive director of international health, professor of internal medicine (alumnus)


  • Tyrone “Ty” Christian, BA ’77, managing partner, TRC Consulting Group, (alumnus)


  • Jay M. Dade, BJ ’85, JD ’93, Attorney and Shareholder, Polsinelli, PC (alumnus)


  • Major Garrett, BJ ’84, BA ’84, chief white house correspondent, CBS News (alumnus)


  • Steven W. Keller, associate professor of chemistry, associate director of MU Honors College (faculty member)


  • Linda Kovachevich Klein, BSN ’74, president & CEO, Klein & Company (alumna)


  • Lynda S. Kraxberger, MA ’88, associate dean for undergraduate studies and administration, chair of convergence journalism faculty, MU (alumna and faculty member)


  • Michael L. LeFevre, BS EE ’75, MD ’79, MSPH ’84, professor of future of family medicine, vice chair director of clinical services, MU (alumnus and faculty member)


  • Pat Okker, professor of English, MU (faculty member)


  • Ed Rapp, BS BA ’79, group president and executive office member, Caterpillar, Inc. (alumnus)


  • Steven C. Zweig, MD ’79, MSPH ’84, endowed professor and chair of family and community medicine, director of MU Interdisciplinary Center on Aging (alumnus and faculty member)

(NOTE: Biographies of the Faculty-Alumni Award winners are available upon request.)

The Mizzou Alumni Association (MAA) strengthens MU by supporting the best interests and traditions of Missouri’s flagship university. MU is the state’s largest and oldest university and the state’s major public, land-grant research institution. The Association, the voice for nearly 270,000 alumni worldwide, keeps alumni connected to each other and their alma mater. Since 1853, MAA has influenced generations of students and alumni by preserving their traditions.

With a more than 40,000 members and the strength of more than 1,300 volunteers, the Association’s Faculty-Alumni Awards celebrate outstanding faculty and alumni who work to advance the arts, sciences and humanities. At Mizzou, scholarship and teaching are driven by a sense of public service—the obligation to produce and disseminate knowledge that will improve the quality of life in the state, the nation and the world.