The Network: A newsletter for champions of MU Extension

The Network — Jan. 23, 2017

A message from Marshall Stewart
Vice chancellor for extension and engagement

Hi everyone,

2017 finds University of Missouri Extension preparing to write the next chapter in the story of our organization. In December we finished my Listen and Learn Tour across the state, and you allowed me the time I needed to get acquainted with Missouri, its people and MU Extension. I hope you enjoyed the video of my trip in the last issue and that it gave you a snapshot of how beneficial that tour was for me.

In phase 2 we move from listening to our faculty, staff and councils to casting a wider net to allow us, through Community Conversations, to get a feel for what Missourians believe is needed to create and sustain vibrant communities. These conversations will mark the largest pooling of ideas from our stakeholders that we have ever undertaken.

If called upon to participate in your area, I hope you will avail yourself of the process and give us the benefit of your community knowledge. I am firmly convinced that people united in a purpose can effect great changes, and that we are better together.

As I said in the video, we are blessed in MU Extension to have the best staff, faculty and network of councils to work with. Their passion, vision and work ethic is steeped in Midwestern values that stand us well as an organization.

I thank you for your continued interest and support of University of Missouri Extension, and I look forward to meeting more of you in person as we continue to dialog with communities, forge partnerships with organizations, and build a better understanding of today’s extension and its power to impact lives.


News from Extension

Listen and Learn Tour wraps up

The final regional stop on the tour was Dec. 15-16 in the West Central Region.

Vice Chancellor Marshall Stewart’s Listen and Learn Tour wrapped up in December with stops in the West Central Region. While the official tour is over, the process of listening and learning is ongoing, and information, ideas and concerns from extension personnel and stakeholders are always welcome.

Community conversations begin

More than 20 “community conversations” will be taking place throughout the state. This includes conversations with faculty and staff at all four UM System campuses and Lincoln University. These forums will allow participants to share their thoughts about the crucial issues and challenges that deserve attention in our communities in the next three to five years. Campus staff should have already received an invitation to the Feb. 6 community conversation at the Reynolds Alumni Center.

Candidates for associate vice chancellor

The three finalists for associate vice chancellor for extension and engagement visited the MU campus in December and made presentations outlining their visions for MU Extension. While feedback surveys were closed on Dec. 30, CVs and video recordings of their presentations are available at

Chancellor search committee

Vice Chancellor for Extension and Engagement Marshall Stewart is among the 22 people appointed to a search committee that will identify a new University of Missouri Chancellor. Interim UM System President Michael Middleton announced the committee membership Dec. 29.

News for donors

headshot of Cat Comley AdamsCat’s Corner

Cat Comley Adams
Senior director of advancement

Plans continue to take shape for the facility project that is being developed for the south end zone at Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field. Mizzou Athletics has enjoyed great success in the initial fundraising stages for the project to date, and while the need for continued fundraising is vital, the timeline for the project is moving along nicely. Preliminary studies indicate the scope of the project will likely be larger than initially anticipated.

"As we've had the chance to roll our sleeves up and get further into the planning stages, we believe it's a better option to take down the existing south bowl, rather than leaving the structure up and retrofitting around it," said Director of Athletics Jim Sterk. "Our preliminary study suggested that if we go this route, we will have more premium seating opportunities, and it will give us the ability to provide more space for our football program and its daily operations. We've said all along that we are doing this with the intent of making it one of the best facilities in the nation, and that's exactly what we're planning."

Sterk said that the range of the project should come in between $90-100 million in total costs, up from the initial estimate of $75 million.

"The added revenue we will be able to generate from having more premium seating space gives us the ability to benefit not only our football program with more space, but also to provide enhancements that will be exciting for our donors and fans," Sterk said.

Over the two-year construction process, the project, when combined with Mizzou Athletics' annual economic influence, could provide as much as $700 million in regional economic impact. According to CS&L (a consulting firm working with Mizzou Athletics), as many as 1,200 new jobs will be created because of the project, which could result in as much as $44 million in new salaries.

"The University of Missouri is one of the state's greatest assets, and projects like this have tremendous economic impact on our local and state economies," said interim Chancellor Hank Foley. "This project will allow us to expand the scope of our football program, bringing additional exposure for Mizzou and greater amenities for our fans."

The process of selecting an architect and construction manager is underway, and the project will be up for approval by the University of Missouri Board of Curators in February. Once approved, a timeline for the project will be further defined, with more design work to follow.

Sterk said there is still important work to be done from a fundraising standpoint. "The support we've had so far has been outstanding, as we've received a record six gifts of at least seven figures," he said. "It's very encouraging, but we are still working hard. We have had some promising conversations with potential contributors, and we hope to continue making those exciting gift announcements going forward."

Head football coach Barry Odom said he's pleased to see the project continue to develop. "We talk all the time about building a championship-level program, and this is a vital part of that vision. It's exciting to be part of this process, we're creating something that will transform our facilities for years to come," Odom said. "I can't thank our donors enough for their amazing generosity so far, and I'm confident that they'll help us reach our goals."

Here's a look at some of the planned areas for the facility (details to be finalized):

Football operations center

  • Coaches offices and meeting spaces.
  • Equipment room.
  • Locker room.
  • Team lounge.
  • Team meeting rooms with virtual reality simulation.
  • Training room with hydrotherapy.
  • Weight room.

Premium seating areas

  • Field level club area.
  • Private club with seating.
  • Suites.

Public areas

  • As many as 5,000 new seats closer to the field.
    • NOTE – Final capacity of stadium is not yet determined.
  • New concourse.
  • New restrooms and concessions areas.
  • New south end zone scoreboard display.

For all the latest on Mizzou Football, stay tuned to, follow the team on Twitter, and like the team on Facebook and Instagram.

Curators approve new School of Music building

Some of the many students who will benefit from a new School of Music building.

In December the University of Missouri Board of Curators approved plans to construct a new School of Music building on the Columbia campus. The board’s action allows phase 1 of the project to move forward; fundraising will continue toward phase 2 of the overall plan, which includes a 500-seat concert hall.

Originally built in the 1960s, the Fine Arts Building currently houses the School of Music, the Department of Art and the Department of Theatre. To continue to recruit and retain the best students and faculty, the university must enhance and expand its facilities.

At present, the School of Music is spread across six buildings, many of which also host students and faculty from other colleges. The new facility will consolidate the school’s functions into a prominent location at the northeast corner of Hitt Street and University Avenue.

In designing the building, officials gathered input from School of Music faculty and an acoustic consultant, all of whom emphasized the need for open, flexible learning spaces in order to provide an optimal acoustic experience for students, faculty and guest performers. Plans for the building reflect this feedback, as well as a commitment to respecting the investment of those involved through the conscientious use of resources.


A dedicated School of Music building offers compelling benefits for students, faculty, the university and the community. The building will:

  • Facilitate continued growth in enrollment.
  • Enable more students to explore careers in music.
  • Foster in-person collaboration and creativity among scholars and faculty.
  • Attract outstanding students and faculty.
  • Significantly improve the aesthetic appeal of a key campus location.

Your donation will add to the culture of giving at MU, bolster the stature of the College of Arts and Science, advance the arts, and enrich the local community.

To donate, go to

Campaign progress bar

Students GoFundMe contributions to dining hall worker donated back to Mizzou

From The Maneater. Story by Victoria Kuz.

Students created a GoFundMe campaign that raised more than $5,000 for Mizzou dining hall employee Sandy Cunningham, fifth from left.

“Sandy greets every student that walks into Plaza with a smile — and without a doubt, her personality is just as radiant,” freshman Lucy Reis said. “She stops her work to have a conversation, and cares about what students are up to.”

Sandy Cunningham is known for greeting students at Plaza 900 by asking them about their day. MU students Ben Schnelle and Catherine Hoffman took the time to ask Sandy about her life instead — specifically what she wanted for Christmas.

“Initially we asked her, and she was so modest she wouldn’t even give an answer,” Schnelle said.

Eventually, she gave an answer that did not cater to herself at all. Sandy wanted gift cards so that she could buy gifts for her grandchildren.

“Pretty much every Mizzou student (past and present) knows and loves her, so I just thought it would be great to do something special for her,” Hoffman said in a text message.

Schnelle shared Sandy’s answer in a group chat, and with several other students, including Joe Davis, Chase O’Neal and Zack Reader, collaborated on a GoFundMe page to raise money for Sandy.

The original goal of the campaign on GoFundMe, an online crowdfunding platform used to raise money for various types of events, was to raise $500 by winter break to buy gift cards from department stores for Sandy to purchase presents.

The fundraiser was shared on Facebook and quickly went viral within the MU community. Within 45 minutes, the $500 was raised as students poured in their support for Sandy.

“I think the thing I appreciate the most is the consistency of happiness that she brings,” campaign co-founder Zack Reader said. “She caters to a lot of freshmen, with the nature of freshmen being so up and down, her endless willingness to serve and encourage through her role means more to us than she will ever know. And that’s the exact reason we took the initiative to pay it back to her.”

Donations exceeded $3,000 within three hours. By 11 a.m. the following morning, $5,112 had been donated by 607 people and the link had been shared more than 7,700 times.

The students behind the campaign did not necessarily anticipate its rapid growth.

“This action was no doubt inspired by the incredible amount of gratitude we feel towards faculty and staff throughout the entirety of campus,” Schnelle said. “We were just so moved by Sandy’s selflessness that we started this project without considering the magnitude it might reach and any unplanned implications it may have.”

When Sandy ultimately found out about the page, she decided to instead donate the thousands of dollars given to her back to the community.

In a statement released a few hours after creating the fundraiser, Davis, O’Neal, Reader and Schnelle expressed their gratitude to the MU community and explained that Sandy had chosen to transfer the GoFundMe donations to MizzouThon, the largest student-run philanthropy at MU. MizzouThon raises money for the MU Women’s and Children’s Hospital through events all year, most notably the 13.1-hour dance marathon in the spring.

“Sandy puts a smile on my face every time I go to Plaza, and I'm sure she makes her grandkids even happier,” freshman Adam Treutelaar said. “The least I can do is spend as much as I'd spend on a meal swipe to help her do that.”

News for retirees

Retiree meetings for spring 2017 are tentatively planned for April. Each meeting will include a Dutch-treat lunch, an educational program, and ample time for networking and reconnecting with colleagues. More details to come in the next issue of The Network.

News for councils


In late December, Tony DeLong retired from MU Extension. Tony had served as the extension councils coordinator.

We are committed to ensuring that council and commission questions continue to be answered and addressed, so planning is underway to re-allocate some of his responsibilities and to create additional ways to continue to serve these audiences.

As Dr. Stewart looks ahead toward aligning some aspects of MU Extension in new ways, he announced this month that Mark Stewart, former East Central regional director, who has been serving as interim associate vice chancellor for extension and engagement, will transition to more of a field operations role, which will include overseeing the network of extension councils.

My role will remain largely the same, but with more emphasis on building partnerships and forging support for MU Extension across the state.

Legislative Day 2017

The UM System Government Relations team has begun planning the 2017 Legislative Day, slated for Feb. 28 in Jefferson City. Traditionally, MU Extension has had the overwhelmingly largest presence on that day, while each of the four campuses (Missouri S&T, UMSL, UMKC and MU) take part in the day. The Mizzou Alumni Association, 4-H, the Mizzou Flagship Council and other university-related organizations have also taken part. This year we are delighted to be teaming up with the MAA to co-host the breakfast for legislators and their staff to thank them for their support of MU Extension across our state.

More information is available in this downloadable flier. Online registration and additional details will follow soon. Meanwhile, please mark your calendars now to help us make an impression at the Capitol.

From Tracy Feller

Director of Constituent Relations

We hope you are enjoying receiving The Network from MU Extension.

News for elected officials

Elected officials resource toolbox to launch soon

A new online tool will put the information elected officials and their staff need at their fingertips. It indexes the facts, research, data and resources they can turn to and rely on to enable them to make informed decisions on matters affecting their constituents in the districts they serve. We hope elected officials will want to bookmark this resource for quick reference in the future.

Indexed tabs are designed to aid county, state and federal elected officials and their staff in carrying out their duties and serving their constituents. We have tabbed the categories for easy reference, and added subheads within the larger categories to help get users quickly find what they are looking for.

Our contact information will be under the “Assistance” tab, and we welcome your input and feedback as we continually strive to improve this new tool. Look for a link in the next issue of The Network.

Campus spotlight

Flatt is Family Impact Center’s new director in Columbia

Jenny Flatt is the new director of MU Extension’s Family Impact Center. For the last nine years, Flatt was a 4-H youth specialist serving Cole, Osage and Callaway counties.

Flatt, who holds a doctorate in educational leadership from MU, says she is “excited for the challenge that this position holds, and looks forward to the further development of an already excellent campus/community outreach center.”

Through partnerships with various units within the university, the Family Impact Center provides services to community members in Columbia in a variety of fields, including health, financial literacy and life skills. The center also offers a number of youth programs. Students provide the bulk of the services, offering an opportunity for experiential, hands-on learning.

A year of evolution

Tiger triumphs from 2016

From Mizzou News. Story by Karen Pojmann.

2016 was a good year to be a Tiger. The Mizzou family earned sports championships and major academic honors. We celebrated traditions and milestones. We welcomed new leaders and smart students. We reaffirmed our values and gave back to people in need. We made strides toward making our campus even more beautiful and more welcoming — a place we’re always proud to call home. Take a look at just a few 2016 Mizzou accomplishments.

We won big.

J’den Cox, a senior psychology major, won a bronze medal in wrestling at the 2016 Olympic games in Rio. Photo by Shane Epping.

Mizzou athletes triumphed on the mat, the court and the field. Senior wrestler J’den Cox followed his second NCAA championship win in April with an Olympic bronze medal in August. In November, the Mizzou women’s volleyball team captured the Tigers’ second Southeastern Conference championship and junior Karissa Schweizer won the NCAA Cross Country Championship — the first Tiger to earn the honor since 1955 and only Mizzou woman to win in NCAA history.

We set a fundraising record.

Donors Bill and Nancy Thompson view a rendering of the Thompson Laboratory for Regenerative Orthopaedics while on a tour of new construction in MU’s Missouri Orthopaedic Institute, with Jimi Cook (left), director of orthopedic research. Photo by Rob Hill.

Nearly 44,000 alumni and friends set a record in fiscal year 2016 by donating more than $170 million to Mizzou. This unprecedented generosity surpassed the previous record of $164.5 million set in 2014 and was $5 million more than MU’s fundraising goal for the year. Gifts large and small supported students, faculty, programs and buildings across campus, adding momentum to the $1.3 billion Mizzou: Our Time to Lead campaign.

We heralded new leaders

Kevin McDonald is MU's first chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer.

Jesse Hall filled with fresh faces in 2016. Jim Sterk became Mizzou’s new director of athletics. Pelema Morrice was named vice provost for enrollment management. We welcomed new deans: Patrice Delafontaine for the School of Medicine, Kathryn Chval for the College of Education and Ajay Vinzé for the Trulaske College of Business. We introduced new vice chancellors: Marshall Stewart for extension and engagement and Patty Haberberger for human resources. Kevin McDonald joined the UM System as its first chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer and also serves as Mizzou’s interim vice chancellor. Our new UM System president, Mun Choi, takes over from interim president Mike Middleton March 1, 2017. In national leadership, alumnus Tim Kaine, BA ’79, became the first Mizzou alumnus chosen as a major political party’s candidate for vice president.

Call to action

In each issue, Vice Chancellor Marshall Stewart will feature a different, relevant call to action. These are ways you can advocate or get involved that will help extension get the word out or maximize our message to decision-makers.

With the new year come opportunities to be a presence for MU Extension in your role as advocates.

The first opportunity falls on Thursday, Jan. 26, when we support the Mizzou Alumni Association and the 15th year of the association's Legislative Forum. A registration form is on the MAA website, and MAA members can register to attend, meet the new legislators and some of their staff, and talk to them about their support of MU Extension and what we do that brings value to their constituents' lives and communities. It includes the Boone County delegation, so is mainly aimed at folks locally. We have traditionally been there with several of you, and it’s a terrific opportunity. It is again being held at Grand Cru off South Providence Road. More information is available on the MAA website at

Secondly, please mark your calendar right now while it is at the top of your mind: Tuesday, Feb. 28, is the 2017 Legislative Day at the Capitol, hosted by the UM System, our four campuses and our university partner organizations. MU Extension has traditionally had “strength in numbers” on that day and we’d love to have a large turnout again this year. There are some changes on the horizon, and the registration, which is free, will open soon. Please watch the MU Extension website for all the details.

As always, YOU make the outreach we do possible. Lend your voice and help us continue to demonstrate the important work MU Extension does across our great state.

– Marshall Stewart


Feb. 8, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Ag PhD Soils Clinic

Fisher Delta Research Center, 147 State Highway T, Portageville, Mo.

A free Ag PhD Soils Clinic will take place 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8, at Rone Hall, County Road 308, in Portageville, Mo. The event is sponsored by the Fisher Delta Research Center and Ag PhD. Lunch will be provided. To register for the event, visit the Soils Clinic registration page.

Feb. 15, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Missouri Rice Conference

Fisher Delta Research Center, 147 State Highway T, Portageville, Mo.

The 2017 Missouri Rice Conference will begin at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, at Rone Hall, County Road 308, in Portageville, Mo.


Moderator: Sam Atwell, MU Extension agronomy/rice specialist

8 a.m. – Registration, coffee, doughnuts


8:15-8:30 a.m. – Future Rice Breeding Program - Christian De Guzman (Southeast Missouri State)

8:30-9 a.m. – 2017 Rice Economics - David Reinbott (MU Extension)

9-9:30 a.m. – MU Research Overview - Matt Rhine (MU Fisher Delta Research Center)

9:30-10 a.m. – Panel regarding furrow irrigated rice - Sam Atwell, Mike Aide and Wendell Minson

10-10:30 a.m. - Break – Visit booths and industry sponsors

10:30-11 a.m. – Missouri alluvium geology - Scott Kaden (Missouri Department of Natural Resources)

11-11:30 a.m. – N-sensor midseason rice - A.J. Foster, Kansas State University

11:30-11:45 a.m. - Neonics & AV1011 – Moneen Jones (MU Fisher Delta Research Center)

11:45 a.m.-noon – U.S. rice domestic and foreign markets – Greg Yielding (Missouri Rice Council and U.S. Rice Producers Association)

Lunch by Tasteful Creations.


Did you know...?

MU Extension Constituent Relations has developed several pieces to help in your advocacy of extension

  • We have two brochures about councils: one to help recruit new extension council members and one that talks about ways to engage extension council members after their terms of service.
  • We have map sheets for each of the seven extension regions that list all the county offices and show their location in the state.
  • Constituent Relations has targeted audience sheets for your use. These describe different segments of our population and some of the programs that may be of interest to them.
  • We also have new 2017 MU Extension calendars that can be used when you talk to someone about extension as a nice "leave behind" and resource to reach various parts of extension.
  • Fact books about the MU campus are also on hand and useful if you are trying to showcase all that Mizzou has to offer and how we are woven into the fabric of our land-grant university.

All of these items are available by contacting Linda Runnebaum at 573-882-4592 or


Please welcome

James Jackson, associate extension professional and 4-H youth specialist, Lafayette County, NW Region.

Nicolette Lonjers, youth program associate, Buchanan County, NW Region.

Tracy E. Campbell, FNEP program manager, SE Region.

Misty Hitch, youth program assistant, Oregon County, SE Region.

LaNesha Robinson, business support specialist, SBTDC.

John Wood, family financial education specialist and CPD, Douglas County, SW Region.

Melissa Davison, business support specialist, statewide administration.

Denise Sullivan, extension professional and nutrition specialist, Jackson County, Urban Region.


Nancy Burns, nutrition program associate, Reynolds County.

Tony DeLong, statewide councils coordinator.

Nancy Coleman, youth specialist and CPD, Ray County.

Janet LaFon, family financial education specialist, Jasper County.

Mary L. Gosche, human development and family science specialist, Cape Girardeau County.

Teresa L. Mareschal, human development and family science specialist, St. Charles County.

Lisa Wallace, human development and family science specialist, Henry County.

Diana Milne, human development and family science specialist, and co-CPD, Clay County.

James Wirth, human development and family science specialist, Taney County.

Karen Dickey, executive staff assistant, communications and marketing.

David Schmidt, extension associate professor and state specialist, SBTDC.

Carolyn Ann Jones, PTAC specialist and program manager, SBTDC.

Nina Yuh Hsien Chen, extension professional and human development and family science specialist, Jackson County, Urban Region.

Louella Kay Sparks, 4-H youth specialist and co-CPD, Pettis County, WC Region.

Saralee Jamieson, human development and family science specialist, and CPD, St. Clair County, WC Region.


Roberta DeCocq, former SW Region HES specialist, died June 19, 2016, at the age of 79. Full obituary.

William H. Maxon died Dec. 10, 2016, at the age of 82. Before retiring from MU Extension in 1984, Maxon worked more than 20 years as a local government specialist based in Independence. Full obituary.

Kenneth Porter Morris, father of Pike County 4-H youth development specialist Patty Fisher, died Dec. 12, 2016, at the age of 93. Memorials may be made to Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Vandalia. Full obituary.

Ben Rainsberger, brother of retired Labor Education program director Paul Rainsberger, died Dec. 21, 2016, at the age of 60. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Southern Ohio Survivors, 33 ½ S. Paint St., Chillicothe, OH 45601. Full obituary.

Connect with us

The Constituent Relations group and the Office of Advancement have teamed up to share news items of interest through this e-newsletter, which replaces the printed Friends of Extension newsletter. In this fast-paced world where news happens quickly, an emailed newsletter not only saves resources, it helps us be timelier and better keep you current. We want to be your Network — and another valuable link to MU Extension.

Is your contact information up to date? Don’t miss another meeting or event. Make sure we have your current mailing and and email addresses.

Have other items you’d like to see? Comments on what you read? Let us know what you’d like to see from us! If that includes retirements, obituaries and personal news, please continue to send them to us and let us know if you have changes to your contact information:

headshot of Linda Runnebaum

Linda Runnebaum
109 Whitten Hall
Columbia, MO 65211

The Network is an online news source for people who champion MU Extension. It is produced by MU Extension Constituent Relations to connect with our stakeholders.