Mizzou Alumni Association names 2021 Faculty Alumni Award winners

headshots of 12 people

Top row: Lowell Mohler, Mary Beth Marrs, William Baker, Mary Sue Beck, Botswana Toney Blackburn and John Walter
Bottom row: D Cornelison, Cooper Drury, Alexander Garza, Sandra Whayne Gautt, Noah Heringman and Yong Volz

Nov. 15, 2021
Contact: Stephanie Fleming, 573-882-8353, sfleming@missouri.edu

The Mizzou Alumni Association honored 12 distinguished faculty and alumni in with the annual Faculty Alumni Awards on Nov. 12.

Celebrated since 1968, the Faculty-Alumni Awards highlight the contributions of exceptional individuals to the university's growth and core mission through their professional accomplishments, teaching and research excellence or service to the institution. At the University of Missouri, scholarship and teaching are driven by a responsibility to public service — the obligation to produce and disseminate knowledge that will improve the quality of life in Missouri and beyond.

Here are the 2021 Faculty Alumni Award recipients:

66th Annual Distinguished Service Award
  • Lowell Mohler, BS AG '58, retired chief administrative officer for the Missouri Farm Bureau and Affiliated Companies, former director of Missouri Department of Agriculture.

Mohler has influenced the field of agriculture in Missouri with his leadership and service requested by governors, legislators and conservation agencies, as well as his alma mater, MU’s College of Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources. His dedication to the state and its resources — its land, animals and waters — have made him “the voice” of agriculture in Missouri, and his service has made considerable impacts on the relationships between the university and the agricultural community as a whole.

62nd Annual Distinguished Faculty Award
  • Mary Beth Marrs, BS IE’87, MBA’95, PhD ’99, associate teaching professor, director of Enrichment Programs, Cornell Leadership Program and Heartland Scholars Academy at the Trulaske College of Business.

Marrs joined the Trulaske College of Business as a faculty member in 2000, after completing the third of her MU degrees. She has developed numerous student enrichment programs, including the Heartland Scholars Academy, which is dedicated to supporting rural, first-generation students like herself. To her students, Marrs is a “mom away from home,” and her care and concern for students extends far beyond the four years they spend in her tutelage. Her expansive alumni network is used to help connect new graduates to opportunities around the world, with many of those graduates remaining active as volunteers, donors or further mentors to her pupils.

2021 Faculty Alumni Award Recipients
  • William Baker, BS CIE ‘75, structural engineering consulting partner, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
  • Mary Sue Beck, MSN ‘84, retired chief nursing officer, University of Missouri Health Care
  • Botswana Toney Blackburn, BJ ‘95, M Ed ‘97, associate chair, Health Sciences; and teaching professor, MU School of Health Professions
  • John Walter Clark, BS ME ‘62, MBA ‘75, retired water engineer, City of Columbia; retired commander 231 Civil Engineering Flight, Missouri Air National Guard
  • D Cornelison, professor of Biological Sciences and Microbiology & Immunology - investigator, Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center
  • Cooper Drury, professor of Government and Public Affairs, and interim dean, MU College of Arts & Science
  • Alexander Garza, MD ‘96, chief community health officer, SSM Health; colonel, U.S. Army Reserve
  • Sandra Whayne Gautt, BS Ed ‘65, M Ed ‘66, PhD ‘77, retired vice provost & professor emerita of Special Education, University of Kansas
  • Noah Heringman, Curators’ Distinguished Professor of English, MU College of Arts & Science
  • Yong Volz, associate professor, Roger Gafke Faculty Fellow; faculty group chair for Journalism Studies, Missouri School of Journalism

Learn more about this year’s recipients

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