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Screenwriter, filmmaker shares story through Citizen Jane Lecture Series

A prolific screenwriter, playwright and filmmaker shared her story with Stephens College students today as part of the Citizen Jane Lecture Series.
Kathleen McGhee-Anderson’s credits include episodes of “Little House on the Prairie,” “Charles In Charge” and “Lincoln Heights.” 
This morning’s workshop, “Learning to Speak Your Truth,” followed the screening of her film “Color of Courage” last night on campus. The film was based on her grandparent’s landmark housing legal battle that ultimately abolished racially restrictive housing covenants in the U.S.
“My grandparents fought a significant Civil Rights battle that went all the way to the Supreme Court,” she said. “Because of our family, African-Americans could legally live in any neighborhood.”
McGhee-Anderson’s grandfather was a light-skinned man who could pass for white in the racially charged 1940s. He bought a home in an all-white neighborhood, after which the family was sued and harassed by neighbors. Ultimately, after winning their battle to stay in their home, the couple became lifelong friends with the white neighbors who had brought the suit against them. The movie premiered on the USA Network in 1999.

McGhee-Anderson, one of the first African-Americans to write for screen, is on the faculty of the M.F.A. in TV and Screenwriting at Stephens, a low-residency program that will begin in the fall.
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Equestrian Center receives $10,000 UPHA grant

The United Professional Horsemen’s Association (UPHA) has awarded the Equestrian Center at Stephens College a $10,000 grant, which will be used for new bridles, training sets and other equipment.
Assistant Professor Kelly Hulse has been a member of the prestigious UPHA for 25 years. She spent much of Thanksgiving break completing the grant application. The UPHA selected Stephens and awarded the grant during the UPHA Convention in Savannah, Ga., earlier this month.
The UPHA is a Saddle Seat organization, but Hulse stressed that the funding will be used to benefit all disciplines at Stephens.

“In my request, I included profiles of Western, Reining and Huntseat instructors Sara Linde Patel and Karen Craighead,” she said. “When we compete, we compete as a group. All of our students’ internships and the jobs our graduates are getting in all fields shows that we are going places.”
Following the convention, Megan Beasom, president of the San Antonio Saddle Horse Association, informed Hulse that Stephens has been selected to be the featured charity at the SASHA horse show in March.
The College will now receive a portion of the proceeds from the show.
“I’m really humbled by it,” Hulse said. “So many people have come up to me to tell me how excited they were that I was” at the conference “and that they could support our school. They realize that our goal is to graduate professionals who will help them in their businesses and in the industry.”

Hulse, who was featured in the January 2015 issue of Saddle & Bridle, has since been asked to provide a clinic on grant writing for UPHA members.
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Team's interactive romper takes third-place award

romperOn the surface, it’s an edgy denim romper that subtly pays tribute to the rock band “The Doors” that one could wear to an outdoor summer concert.
Once it’s fully operational, though, the garment’s embedded LED lights will react to the frequency of sound waves—meaning the back panel of the romper will literally flash lights to the beat of music. 
Stephens seniors Brittany Grayson and Meredith Morrow, along with a fashion design student from Kent State, created the tech-savvy garment during the second annual Fashion/Tech Hackathon at Kent State this weekend. The design took third place out of 35 entries.
The 36-hour competition challenges fashion students and engineering students to create wearable gadgets that fashion-forward consumers would want to wear. 
Most teams consisted of at least one person with computer or engineering skills; although Morrow and Grayson opted to work with another fashion designer on her concept of creating an interactive garment for music festivals. Morrow designed the print, which replicates a subtle “O” that mimics the “O” used in The Doors logo. 
Grayson draped and sewed the romper, which includes a motif back panel where the LED lights are embedded into the material. The panel is detachable, allowing the wearer to wash the main garment without jeopardizing the integrity of the LED sensors. 
Although somewhat disadvantaged by the lack of technical backgrounds, Morrow was able to research programming and code the back panel to get the sound-activated LED system to partially work.
Back in Columbia, Morrow and Grayson plan to enlist the help of a local computer programmer to continue to work to make the interactive romper completely functional. 
The duo also brought home medals and some prize money; but they agreed they got much more out of the experience itself.
After having to construct and try to perfect a garment in such a high-pressure setting, Grayson said she now feels more confident about her draping and sewing skills.

And Morrow is now interested in pursuing more digital aspects of design. “I want to go this route in my career,” she said. “The tech elements are attainable if you have a drive to learn.”

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Stephens presents 'Antigone' with modern twist

Stephens College’s Playhouse Theatre Company is putting on Jean Anouilh’s “Antigone” with a contemporary twist.
The production will stay true to Anouilh’s text—which modernized Sophocles’ Greek tragedy in the 1940s. “Antigone” is the story of a young woman’s struggle as she fights her uncle, King Creon, for the right to give her brother a proper burial after he died leading a rebellion for the crown.

In the Stephens production, Creon is president of the U.S. and Antigone’s clash is with the federal government. The College’s version will also rely on a chorus to help the audience understand the story, but unlike the group of elderly men originally used, Director Traven Rice’s retelling will use journalists and the media. Audiences can expect live video and multi-media effects, as well, to carry the plot.
Ultimately, “Antigone” is the story of civil disobedience—a topic as relevant today as it was in Sophocles’ time, Rice said. It focuses on an age-old debate around democracy: Where do we draw the line between law and order and a citizen’s personal rights?
“The reason it’s a classic and people keep retelling it is because it still rings true,” said Rice, a Stephens alumna. “We stayed true to Anouilh’s text but set it in the White House today so that people would be able to relate to it and to the politics of it.”
“Antigone” is one of three Theban plays written before 441 BCE. Antigone and her siblings are the children of Oedipus and Jocasta, whom Oedipus married without realizing she was his mother, after he killed a man he later discovered was his father. The backstory will be very much a part of the telling of “Antigone,” Rice said, so audience members do not need to be familiar with the Greek classics to enjoy the show.
Second-year theatre student Emily Chatterson will play Antigone, and Professor Rob Doyen will play the role of Creon.
Rice, a producer, director and filmmaker from New York, said she’s been pleased with the level of talent at Stephens.
“Stephens is and always has been great about teaching and doing the classics,” she said. “Antigone is pretty sophisticated, and the classics are hard enough, so I know I’m asking a lot from them. But they’re rising to the challenge.”
The play begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday with a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday and Sunday at the Macklanburg Playhouse. Ticket info.
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SLATE hosts afterschool event for SCCS families

Education majors at Stephens yesterday hosted an afternoon winter-themed event for children and their families at the Stephens College Children’s School. 
SLATE, or Students Learning About Teacher Education, organized the after-school program, which included game, craft and snack stations in classrooms throughout the Audrey Webb Learning Center.
“It lets the kids all come together and gives our preschool and elementary children a chance to connect,” said Maile Wortham, president of SLATE. “We invite parents so they can get to know more of the college students who are working with their children every day.”
The Stephens College Children’s School is a preschool through fifth-grade private school on campus. While professional teachers oversee the classrooms, those studying education at Stephens assist with class lessons, activities and projects.
SLATE has hosted the annual get-together for three years, although it was originally held in the fall.
“We just felt the fall was too hectic,” Wortham said. “Around this time, we have a little lull in programming, so this gives our students something to be excited about and look forward to.”
Snowball basketball and a “Frozen”-themed beanbag game were among the popular activities at the event. Younger students also made snowmen mobiles and enjoyed chocolate-covered pretzels.
“It’s a time for our families and kids to really come together and have fun after school,” said Danielle Carnes, vice president of SLATE. “It’s gives our families an opportunity to get involved with the school and see that they’re very much part of our community.”
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Students prepare for Fashion/Tech Hackathon

Glasses that capture video, watches that double as cell phones and wristbands that measure your every move might become part of our daily lives soon—at least when inventors can make them fashionable as well as functional.




That’s where two Stephens fashion design students hope to come in. They’re participating in Fashion/Tech Hackathon this weekend at Kent State University in Ohio. In its second year, the hackathon is a 36-hour event that connects students studying engineering, technology, business and fashion. Students are challenged to collaborate and solve problems in the current world of wearable gadgets.
Seniors Meredith Morrow and Brittany Grayson say they’re up for the challenge.
“We’re used to juggling more than one thing,” Grayson said. “And we understand the importance of looking at the big picture.”
Morrow agreed, adding that fashion classes at Stephens emphasize problem solving—one of the key skills students will need in the Fashion/Tech competition.
As designers, Grayson and Morrow will hear ideas from engineering and technology students before determining which project they’d like to be part of. Teams will then have 36 hours to create a prototype of a wearable gadget that not only works but also looks good.
“We’ll be looking at aesthetics but also functionality,” Grayson said. “If it’s a garment, can you wash it or does it need to be detachable? Can you wear it in the rain? As fashion design majors, we understand those things.”
The duo also recently spent time with a local computer expert to get a better understanding of the technical challenges they might encounter during the event. That debriefing, they said, will give them an edge when it comes time to combine the technology and style.
In addition to the challenge itself, Morrow and Grayson are excited about having the opportunity to use the state-of-the-art equipment being provided at the event. Becoming familiar with the latest 3-D printers, body scanners, laser cutters and embroidery software will be a bonus when it comes time to apply for jobs, Morrow said.
The hackathon starts at 9 p.m. EST tomorrow. On Sunday, a panel of industry professionals will judge the projects and present awards from 1 to 2 p.m. The award ceremony will be live-streamed starting at 1 p.m., or noon Central time, at www.fashiontechhackathon.com

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Stephens launches new online home for Stars

The Stephens College athletics department, in partnership with SIDHelp, unveiled a new online home for the Stars on Wednesday. The official athletics website, StephensStars.com, aims to increase SC's visibility and the ability to showcase student-athletes from its eight varsity sports.
With the introduction of a new athletics logo in September, the logical next step for Stephens was a complete overhaul of the previous athletics website. The launch of StephensStars.com helps carry over momentum from the fall and represents the College's commitment to the growth of its athletic programs.
"We feel that the new StephensStars.com is a wonderful reflection of Stephens College and Star athletics," Sports Information Director Adam Samson said. "In today's technology-driven world, athletic departments rely heavily on social media, video and photography to tell their stories. SIDHelp provides us with that new, dynamic platform to engage our student-athletes, fan base and prospective students."
The department believes the website overhaul will dramatically improve the user experience with its intuitive layout and tools to provide fans with instantaneous information.
Front and center on StephensStars.com is a main article rotator, which allows for a more prominent display of photos and video. Also incorporated into the new website are several general information pages, a brand new "Recruit Me" section, alumna questionnaires, printer-friendly options, sport-specific and composite calendars, photo galleries and much more.
Social media and video integration plays a much larger role on StephensStars.com. The social media tabs at the top of the homepage allow easier access to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, while the video module enables fans a more convenient avenue to view #StephensStars YouTube content.
Fans will be able to sign up to receive news about SC athletics delivered to their email inbox or mobile device. Also integrated into the launch is a simple, mobile version of StephensStars.com as well as FREE apps for Android and iPhone users.
"It's an exciting time for us and we are already brainstorming ways to enhance the user experience in the future," Samson added.
SIDHelp has played a key role in the design and functionality of the American Midwest Conference website (amcsportsonline.com) as well as other schools in the league. 
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Junior starts internship at Seventeen magazine

Stephens junior Kyla Cherry grew up reading fashion publications and developing an eye for style—interests that brought her to Stephens.
Now—armed with a broad understanding of the industry she’s gained at Stephens—Cherry is spending this semester in New York City where she’s interning for Seventeen magazine. She credits her college experience for preparing her for the job. Cherry is majoring in fashion communication.
“Stephens does a good job teaching you all of the skills you need such as graphic design and visual merchandizing,” she said. “Faculty members are committed to making sure you have an understanding of the industry across the board.”
At the prestigious teen fashion magazine, which was recently acquired by Cosmopolitan, Cherry will work in the fashion closet, where she’ll organize samples and garments and assist with photo shoots.
She’s excited about the work, but also about meeting people and developing contacts within the industry, she said.
It’s not Cherry’s first time in the Big Apple. The Kansas City native spent the summer of 2011 playing the role of “Young Nala” in the Broadway production of “Lion King.” She was part of the traveling company and toured cities along the East Coast.
“I didn’t realize how big of a deal it was at the time; it was just ‘Lion King’ to me,” she said. “But I was paid to perform, so it allowed me to shop a lot and get exposed to different styles and what different cities had to offer.”
Her mother brought her to the Stephens campus for a tour when Cherry was 16.
“I fell in love with Stephens because it catered to the incoming student,” she said. “Everything was so personalized and it seemed so nurturing. I felt as though I belonged.”
At Stephens, she has taken advantage of a variety of opportunities, including studying abroad at the College of Fashion in London.
“It was truly amazing,” she said. “They taught me to trust my vision.”
Cherry worked with the Center for Career and Professional Development last semester to find an internship, which she expected to conduct during the summer. Seventeen offered her the semester internship with the caveat that she would be able to earn course credits. Her instructors worked with her to make sure that happened.
“They were happy to do it,” she said. “That’s what makes Stephens Stephens.”
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Watch: Diversity Week wrap-up

Stephens College celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Diversity Week 2015 with a week of performances, panels and workshops, service projects and a candlelight peace walk.

More than 12 student groups worked together to create a full week of programming to kick off the second semester of the school year. Watch a video wrap-up of the events here:

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Stephens among top 50 fashion schools in the world

Stephens College is among the top 50 fashion schools in the world, according to Fashionista.

One of the largest independent fashion news sites, Fashionista is one of the most influential voices in the fashion industry. The news site began ranking schools in 2010 in order to help future students determine which program is best for them.

Stephens is among a list of schools located in fashion capitols such as London, Paris, Tokyo and New York. 

To compile the rankings, Fashinista surveyed thousands of past and present students, considered the quality of faculty and tracked where alumnae are working.

“We are continually inspired by the high-caliber designs of our students, and are proud of the work our alumnae are doing around the world,” said Monica McMurry, dean of the School of Fashion and Design. “We’re thrilled others recognize the quality of our program.”

The ranking is just one measure indicating the success of the fashion program at Stephens, which recently took another step toward becoming a member school of the Council for Fashion Designers of America.

Earlier this month, McMurry and Associate Professor Kirsteen Buchanan presented at a CFDA conference for member schools in New York. The event challenged educators to discuss fashion as it relates to the 10 key principles of the CFDA. McMurry and Buchanan were asked to talk about respect within the fashion industry. At Stephens, McMurry said during the presentation, students are encouraged to respect the past by examining and exploring historical garments in the Stephens Costume Museum. Additionally, the school also embraces a culture of respect in regards to sustainability: each year, students create garments from recycled goods to promote awareness for issues such as fair trade, human trafficking and breast cancer.

Stephens has also received attention from Cotton Inc. Last semester, Cotton Inc. awarded the College with a grant to create a new course in textile print. The Pattern to Print class is documenting its progress on a blog that will be added to the list of “Cotton on Your Campus” section of cottonuniversity.org.

The grant, ongoing partnership with CFDA and recognition from Fashionista are indicators that the School of Fashion and Design at Stephens continues to have a worldwide reputation.

“Stephens has been known for its fashion program for decades,” McMurry said. “It’s only getting stronger. We’re confident we’ll continue to play an even more significant role in fashion education in the future.”

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Heggemann honored with achievement award

By Adam Samson, Sports Information Director

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Stephens College basketball captain Dana Heggemann was honored with a Special Achievement Award from the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame during an enshrinement ceremony in Springfield yesterday.
The Missouri Sports Hall of Fame achievement award is bestowed on student-athletes across the state who have received an award or accolade on the National level during the past year.
In September, Heggemann was recognized by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) as the national Emil S. Liston Award winner. The prestigious award is given annually to one male and one female basketball player based on elite academics, athletics and character.
As a junior, the Warrenton, Mo., native carries a cumulative 3.82 GPA in a very demanding biology program at Stephens. On the hardwood, the second-year captain leads the Stars in points per game (13.8), rebounds per game (7.4), blocks per game (1.4) and double-doubles (4), while ranking among the American Midwest Conference top 10 in several categories.
Heggemann is on pace to become a three-time AMC All-Conference honoree. She is also on the ballot for the Capital One Academic All-District team, which will be announced on Thursday, Feb. 5.
In addition to the special achievement awards, the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame welcomed a new class of 14 individuals, one team and one program at the University Plaza and Convention Center. Some of the headliners included St. Louis Cardinal Chris Carpenter, Kansas City Royal Billy Butler and Mizzou Athletic Director Mike Alden.
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Panelists raise awareness about human rights issues

human-rights-panelistsA human rights educator and activist last night challenged the Stephens community to be aware of issues happening in the community.
“Consider the dignity of everyone you interact with,” Nanette Ward said. “No human being should be a commodity.”
Ward is a founding member of the Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition. She was one of several panelists on the #HumanRights365 Panel Discussion sponsored by the Stephens College Diversity Coalition as part of Diversity Week. Other panelists included Ryan Gill, a board member for Welcome Home; Dedan Githegi, a Kenyan native who now works with refugees at Douglass High School; Scott Dean, chair of the Columbia Human Rights Commission; Dr. Amanda Murdie, an associate professor at the University of Missouri who specializes in the behavior of non-governmental organization; and Emily Cross, president of The Human Experience at Stephens. Dr. Tina Parke-Sutherland, a professor at Stephens, moderated the discussion.
Topics included a wide range of human rights issues such as human trafficking; homelessness among veterans; the challenges refugees face; and gender and sexual orientation issues. The event ended with students asking panelists ways in which they can help.

Dean encouraged students to be proactive if they see or hear anything that might indicate someone’s rights are being violated. “Remember your sphere of influence,” he said.

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Stephens in line to win $100,000 grant

Stephens College is a finalist in STANLEY Security’s Together for Safer Schools Grant program.
The College could win up to $100,000 in STANELY Security installed products and services. If Stephens were to win, Campus Facilities would use the grant to purchase state-of-the-art building access equipment.
Currently, students swipe a card to get into their residential halls. The updated system would give them access based on proximity, meaning they would not have to hold the card up against a reader.
Stephens has cameras and other security systems installed across campus. The new card reader system would simply upgrade the building access system to the latest technology, Project Manager Richard Perkins said.
The public can help by voting for Stephens in the competition. Through Feb. 13, you can vote for Stephens once per day per email account at https://stanleysaferschools.com/Vote. Or, you can vote by tweeting with the hashtags #stanleysecurity and #stephens (retweeting other tweets with those hash tags also counts as a vote). 
Another option is to vote via text by simply texting "stephens" to 334455.
You may vote daily with each method.
The college with the most votes will win the grand prize, while one runner-up will receive a $25,000 grant. Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to vote and to invite family and friends to participate, too.
Stephens has consistently ranked in the top 10 since the contest began.
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MLK Day celebration features poetry, performances

The Stephens College community last night gathered in the Kimball Ballroom for a special Celebration of Leadership in Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The event featured poetry readings from members of the student group Poets of Infinity. The group uses the power of words to spread social awareness and justice. Club President Gabriel Cole read her poem, “Beautiful,” about society’s unrealistic beauty standards and received a standing ovation.

Evann Jones ’10 then performed a gospel song, “His Eye is on the Sparrow,” followed by a dance interpretation of music from “The Color Purple” featuring Dance Collaborations. Students from the theatre program then talked about how others view diversity. U2’s “MLK” performed by The Velvetones and “Free at Last,” an original piece by Stephens instructor Tom Andes, concluded the event.

The celebration opened with remarks from President Dianne Lynch, who challenged the Stephens community to “step up” and talk and care more about issues of social justice. Addressing the fact Stephens was in session with service projects on MLK Day, Lynch said “We do the world better with a day of service” rather than a day off.

Student Government Association President Brianna Jackson also encouraged students to talk about and help foster change—and to support one another regardless of background.

“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now,” Jackson said, quoting Martin Luther King Jr. “And that boat that we’re in is Stephens College. Together, we stand; united, we’ll fall. … I understand that we all have different preferences and different passions but we should be able to come together and be able to say ‘That’s a Susie, so I will help her at the end of the day. I will respect her. I will learn from her. I will grow.’”

Many students left saying they felt invigorated and inspired by the event.

“We wanted to deliver quality, meaningful programming to campus this week,” tweeted Senior Class President Lesta Newberry, who helped organize the week. “If tonight is any indication, we succeeded.”

See more photos from the event here.
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Students spend MLK Day giving back

Stephens students today made and delivered fleece blankets to Boone Hospital, spent time at area nursing homes and assisted at the Rainbow House as part of the College's Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

In the morning, students gathered in the Student Union to create the colorful blankets. About 35 students then met in the afternoon to walk over to the hospital and deliver the blankets, which were then distributed among patients.

A different group of students spent the morning at the Rainbow House, which provides support and housing for children. Some assisted with creating marketing materials for Child Abuse Awareness Month in April, while others sorted donations in the pantry.

Two other groups spent the afternoon with residents at the Bluffs Nursing Home and Bluff Creek Terrace Assisted Living.

While helping out, students expressed interest in working with the groups again in the future, said Ada Gallup, interim director of the Leadership and Programming office.

"It's the perfect marriage of our talent and uniqueness going out and impacting the community for the greater good," she said. "Connecting students with leaders in the community and letting them give back through service is invaluable. They're seeing the importance of giving back and how important it is to be invested in your community."


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Poets of Infinity promotes justice through words

Poets of Infinity, a slam poetry club formed at Stephens this past fall, will perform poetry promoting social justice during Diversity Week events, including at tonight's Celebration of Leadership in Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The event starts at 6:30 p.m. in Kimball Ballroom of Lela Raney Wood Hall.
The group, which has 14 members, aims to shine a light on issues through the power of spoken word, said Gabriel Cole, the club’s president.
“Our ultimate goal is to express ourselves through words,” she said. “We believe that doing so can make an impact. Our group is called infinity because words live forever. … When people hear our poetry, we want them to feel our words. Even if they aren’t always able to instantly connect with what we are saying, we still want them to feel them and understand them. We are aware that our poetry is very impactful and that’s what we aim to do—impact people.”
Member Tiana Williams agreed, citing Maya Angelou’s famous quote that people will forget what you did but not how you made them feel.
“Even if people don’t remember a single word of my piece, if I made an emotional connection with them, they will remember that feeling,” she said. “I truly believe that poetry is unifying. It humanizes and connects us by revealing our struggles because despite all differences, we bond through our struggles.”
Williams said she knows she can’t tell people how they should feel but “I can tell the story I’ve been given to tell and allow each their own reaction and interpretation. But I do want people to reflect on the bigger picture. I want people to allow themselves to feel whatever emotions rise to the surface.”
Cole has been writing since she was young and wanted a community in which to share her poetry. Knowing Stephens has many talented writers on campus, she created the group to give everyone opportunities to share their works. Poets of Infinity meets weekly and hosts two public poetry slams each semester.
Williams said the group wants to “spark some flames to create change.”

“Since I started performing last year, I have realized the poetry is unifying and ground breaking,” she said. “Poetry is the only platform I have to advocate for issues that need to be addressed, and I do my best to spread awareness and encourage not only listeners but encourage myself to contribute what I can to the cause. I often have to remind myself that this is more than me, more than me standing and saying words with fiery passion and receiving accolades. This is about sparking fires within people to contribute to the explosion or revolution. I feel obligated to deliver the ‘wake up-call.’”

Watch the Poets of Infinity on "On It! With Stephens Life" here
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Competitive dance team kicks off season

By Adam Samson/Sports Information Director
LIBERTY, Mo. – The Stephens College competitive dance team kicked off the 2014-15 competition season this past weekend at the William Jewell College Dance Challenge in Liberty, Mo. Several high schools from the region participated as well as the Starlets.
William Jewell was originally set to compete with the Starlets in the College Mix division; however, the Cardinal dance team did not have the minimum number of student-athletes to compete and dropped out at the last minute. The Starlets' performance continued as an exhibition.
Judged with the official National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) scoring rubric, the Starlets averaged a score of 80.75 out of 120 with the highest total being a 94.
Participating for the Starlets were Destiney Lockhart, Natalya McDaniel, Ta’Shayla Montgomery, Bernadette Murray, Beck Saunders and Victoria Vitale.
The Stephens squad scored well in the areas of hip-hop technique, execution and staging transitions, while receiving rave reviews for its energy in the opening, timing and synchronization and clean turns.

Next up for the Starlets is the Lindenwood University–Belleville In-Season Competition on Friday, Jan. 23. It starts at 7 p.m.
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Stephens to celebrate Diversity Week

Stephens College is celebrating diversity next week with panel discussions, service projects, activities and a campus-wide celebration.

Stephens will, as in the past, remain open on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to allow for a focus on programming. Students who would normally be in class on Monday are required to attend at least one of the service events or the evening celebration in honor of Dr. King. The Celebration of Leadership in Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Kimball Ballroom of Lela Raney Wood Hall and will be a special evening of performances celebrating individual uniqueness.

As social events play out across the country, the Stephens community will spend Diversity Week—and weeks following—talking about differences, similarities and how people can empathize with those unlike themselves.
“So much is happening at this time in history,” said Ada Gallup, interim director of Leadership, Programming and Diversity. “Everything is coming to a head. People are tired of being marginalized by society. They’re saying, ‘I do matter. I do have a voice. I am important.’ The ground is fertile for these conversations and social changes.”
The time for change is “right in our face,” said Brianna Jackson, president of the Student Government Association.
Today's juniors and seniors were on campus during the last presidential election, and the campus was “booming with conversation,” she said. Since then, though, political dialogues have quieted.
“It's been silent,” she said. “People keep their thoughts to themselves or their friends. The media—whether that be traditional or social—has stirred up a lot of feelings and made people feel a certain type of way. Students are finally ready to open back up and start participating in a change.
“That's what Stephens needs. We as Stephens College and past Stephens Women have been trailblazers, initiators, defenders of human rights, of social advancement, of women since we began. This new generation is finally stepping into what it means to be a Stephens Woman. They are aware, they are ready, they are hungry.”
Emily Cross, president of The Human Experience, agreed.

“This country is at a pivotal moment for civil rights and social consciousness on a wide range of intersecting issues, including race, sexuality and mental health,” she said. “Stephens students have been hungry for a chance to be heard, and Diversity Week gives us the perfect opportunity to tell our stories. I hope everyone finds a chance to tell their story and to listen to others this week, but above all, I hope everyone has one moment where they realize they aren’t alone.”
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Stephens alumna creates dresses for 'Selma'

Those watching the movie “Selma” this month might pay particularly close attention to some of the dresses on the big screen.
Many were constructed by Zina Wilson Arthur, a Stephens alumna who graduated with a fashion degree in 1978. Specifically, she made the turquoise dress Oprah Winfrey is wearing during the scene in which she recreates Annie Lee Cooper’s struggle with officers; a burgundy dress Winfrey wears during a voting scene; and a green print dress Carmen Ejogo wears while portraying Coretta Scott King in a courthouse scene. She also made all but one of the stunt garments—which are prominent in an “aftermath” scene, she said.
The film credits list Arthur as a “cutter,” which is technically a patternmaker in the film industry, she said. She got the job on the referral of a friend.
“I was familiar with ‘Selma,’ so that was important to me,” she said. “And then I heard Ruth Carter was the designer. I’d hope to someday meet her—so when I found out she was the designer, I was thrilled.”

This was Arthur’s first feature film, although she has done work for television and theatre. The difference, she said, is having to keep in mind just how large the garments will appear.
“Every angle counts,” she said. “Everything is blown up, so you’re evaluating everything you see.”
Arthur did not take a costume design course while at Stephens—she was afraid to, she admitted.
“I was scared of it because I’d heard it is so fast-paced,” she said. “Speed is not my gift, and going into film and TV is a lot of ‘hurry up.’ I had to face my fear and go ahead and do something that’s not my strength.”
Arthur came to Stephens with a knack for sewing. During college, she said, she honed her patternmaking skills, as well.
“One of the very good things about Stephens was that it was so hands-on so quickly,” she said.
Arthur has enjoyed a longtime career as a designer, tailor and patternmaker. She hopes more film work is in her future, as well—even though she admits it’s changed how she watches movies.

“I had to see it for a second time,” she said. “The first time, I found myself evaluating the costumes so much.”
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Longtime professor packs up colorful office

Dr-Michael_BowlingDr. Michael Bowling, standing amidst boxed-up books and nearly empty cabinets, points to a pro-feminism bumper sticker pinned to a bulletin board.

“Do you want it?” he asks, then happily takes it down following an enthusiastic “yes.”

Book by book, artifact by artifact, one bumper sticker at a time, Bowling is divvying up nearly four decades worth of stuff as he prepares to vacate his office in the Pillsbury Science Center.

He retired in 2012 but has been a regular fixture on campus while slowly moving out of his longtime office—trying to find proper departments and offices to pass along the historical books, documents and other materials in his possession.

Since joining the mathematics department in 1978, Bowling has made quite a mark at Stephens. He served in numerous faculty and administrative positions; on committees—he was the first man elected to the Women’s Studies Advisory Board; and has received many honors, including the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1996. A popular adviser among students, today the College gives out the annual Dr. Michael Bowling Distinguished Advising Award in his honor.

Last month, as Bowling was cleaning out the final drawers and sifting through the last of the documents, he lamented the fact that some of his more unusual recognition will likely be painted over: the colorful walls and ceiling tiles in his office.

It all started in the fall of 1999 when facility crews painted the science hallway. Someone asked him what he thought of the fresh paint job. It’s nice, he remembers saying, but still “dull, institutional beige.”

Two days later, one of the concrete walls in his office had been painted purple.

And the seniors in his class that year got in on the joke. Before leaving Stephens, they snuck into his office and filled in the lines between the purple concrete blocks with a bright green paint—adding a green block on the opposite wall complete with their signatures and class year. Future classes followed suit, adding their own colored blocks and signature touches. The Class of 2001 added orange flowers to the purple-and-green wall. Next came pink stems—and a pink-themed adjoining wall courtesy of the 2002 graduates. Those graduating in 2005 got really clever and painted the ceiling tile blue. Later, classes added decorative touches to the interior windows.

Bowling had the colorful walls photographed before leaving, knowing that whoever occupies the office after him will, no doubt, want a new paint job.

He’s not too sentimental about moving on, though. Bowling and his wife, Markita Price (who taught at Stephens from 1979 to 2000), have been enjoying their time off. They’ve recently traveled to Wales, Prague, Scotland, Ireland, Greece and Vienna, and are looking forward to future travels abroad. They also spend a lot of time in Oregon where they visit family, including two grandchildren.

“We’re enjoying retirement,” he said. “Although I don’t plan on being completely absent from campus as I have a few treasured ex-colleagues to visit from time to time.”

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Fashion professor to live blog, tweet Golden Globes

Who will rock the Red Carpet at the Golden Globes this weekend? More importantly, who will be a fashion fail?
Lisa Lenoir, assistant professor of fashion communication, will judge the good, the bad and the, ahem, not so attractive at this weekend’s award show for the Chicago Sun-Times.
She will be blogging for the newspaper’s website at chicago.suntimes.com and will be live tweeting the action from her personal Twitter account @lisalenoir. Follow along using the hashtag #GoldenGlobes.
Lenoir worked as a fashion reporter and editor, as well as travel and society editor, at the Chicago paper before joining the world of academia. At Stephens, she teaches fashion communications and has represented the College twice at LIM College’s annual Fashion: Now & Then Conference in New York City.
Lenoir got a practice round in live tweeting an awards show this week as she critiqued the celebrities attending the People’s Choice Awards. Viola Davis, Robert Downey Jr. and Amy Adams all got a fashion thumbs up (although Adams could have used a simpler necklace, Lenoir opined).
But she’s no stranger to the Red Carpet scene. During her days at the Sun-Times, Lenoir was part of a team that covered all of the awards shows, from the MTV Music Video Awards to the Oscars.

“This brings back a lot of memories but within a new digital age,” she said. “In the early days, we’d watch the pre-shows with Joan Rivers and do a story on the best and worst (for a print edition). The issue with that is if something happened later in the show or someone had a costume change later and my deadline had already passed. It will be interesting to see how my former critique system works in this new era.”
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Sanders named Mid-Missouri's Counselor Advocate of the Year

Dr. Gina Sanders, director of the M.Ed. in Counseling program at Stephens, has been named Counselor Advocate of the Year by the Mid-Missouri School Counselor Association.

She was honored at an appreciation luncheon last month and now is among 12 regional recipients to be considered for the state award.

The team of counseling faculty members at Stephens nominated Sanders, praising her for her tireless advocacy of the program.

“Under her leadership, our school counseling program at Stephens has flourished significantly,” Ann Landes, Carolyn Roof and Bragg Stanley wrote in the nomination letter.

Students also praise Sanders for her encouragement and accessibility.

“Dr. Sanders is a caring, thoughtful lady,” said Courtney Blankenship Perry, an M.Ed. in Counseling student. “She has gone above and beyond to make each student’s learning experience organized and worthwhile. ... Her overall nurturing, yet driven, personality made coming to class each evening enjoyable.”

Sanders said she is honored to be nominated, but said she feels as though she’s just doing her job.

“As the director of the M.Ed. in Counseling program, I feel it is my responsibility to understand the complexities and intricacies of each educational track we offer,” she said. “Therefore, I have put much time and effort into learning about school counseling and the Missouri Comprehensive Guidance Program so I can best support our school counseling students and instructors.”

She praised the faculty, saying Landes, Roof and Stanley “are a joy to work with—it’s hard not to get excited about school counseling when I’m around them. Their enthusiasm for teaching and sharing the world of school counseling is infectious, and I am honored to have them as colleagues and as part of the Stephens team.”

She said she also appreciates the support given by Leslie Willey, dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, and Sean Livengood-Clouse, DESE certification officer.


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Trebek foundation supports lectureship for M.F.A. program

A popular game show host and his wife are funding a lecture position for Stephens College’s new Master of Fine Arts in TV and Screenwriting.
The Alex and Jean Trebek Family Foundation is supporting what will become a guest lectureship in screenwriting: the Guest Lectureship in the Psychology of Character.
Trebek, longtime host of Jeopardy!, and his family are personal friends of Program Director Ken LaZebnik, a Columbia native who is a screenwriter in L.A. The families’ children attended school together.
“We became friends with Alex and Jean over the years,” LaZebnik said. “Jean is the sweetest person in the world. I just wrote a letter to her, knowing they have a family foundation and knowing of her interest in psychology.”
LaZebnik solicited support for a position that would focus on the psychology of film and television characters, and “they made a quick decision to give us the support.”
The M.F.A. program is currently enrolling students for August 2015. It’s a low-residency program that will give students the opportunity to spend 10 days each semester taking classes at the Jim Henson Studios in L.A. The rest of the semester will be spent working online with professional mentors.

The gift marks the first foundation support for the program, which has also garnered support from women writers, including Winnie Holzman, best known for creating the ABC series My So Called Life, and Linda Woolverton, who wrote the 2014 hit Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie.
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Stephens celebrated new programs, historic gift, national honors in 2014

This year, Stephens College welcomed new leaders, launched a new brand and celebrated a historic gift.

The College began 2014 with a string of awards and recognition. Moki Blanding, who graduated earlier this month, earned a regional ADDY Award; the Master in Strategic Leadership was named second best leadership degree in the country by a consumer advocacy group; and Harbinger won Outstanding Literary Arts Journal for the fourth time in five years.

In February, Stephens welcomed TRYPS to the family, announcing that the 15-year-old Theatre Reaching Young People and Schools would relocate to campus and become part of the School of Performing Arts.

That same month, Stephens announced that an anonymous donor had given the College a $15 million unrestricted gift—the largest in school history. President Dianne Lynch at the time vowed to use the funding strategically to make Stephens even better.

The College this year saw a boost in national rankings. Stephens jumped to No. 23 Best Regional College in the Midwest on U.S. News and World Report’s list, up seven spots from 2013. And Stephens remained in The Princeton Review’s Best 378 Colleges guide, which named the theatre program the 12th best in the country.

In April, the College’s brand got a makeover with bright new colors and messages reflecting the attitude of Stephens Women. A new Stars logo for the College’s eight athletic programs was revealed in the fall.

Stephens launched several new degrees this year, including B.F.A. degrees in musical theatre and vocal arts. An M.F.A. in TV and Screenwriting will give Stephens a presence in L.A., where students will spend 10 days each semester working in the Jim Henson Studios. And a Physician Assistant program will begin in 2016.

Dean Gail Humphries Mardirosian joined the School of Performing Arts this year, as well as several faculty members, athletic coaches and academic support leaders.

Specific programs had a memorable year, as well. The School of Fashion and Design took another step closer to becoming an official member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. The Equestrian Center welcomed two mules into the program for the first time. The film program saw two of its students—Meredith Jacob and Madeline Carl—travel to 50 states in 50 days for a feature-length documentary. And Creative Ink, the student marketing firm in the School of Organizational Leadership and Strategic Communication, worked with Columbia Transit to design a new logo for city buses.

Stephens ended the year by awarding one 14-year-old girl a full scholarship if she meets the College’s admissions standards when she graduates. Dominique Victor, who lives in a homeless shelter in Brooklyn, was profiled on the “Today” show. An alumna, Paula Goldenberg, brought her to Lynch’s attention, and the College presented the scholarship on a follow-up episode of the morning news program.
Lynch expects upcoming years at the College to be just as significant. “The next several years are going to be exciting,” she said earlier this year. “We have an amazing network of generous and involved alumnae. We also have so many community members who support Stephens. That’s the incredible thing about this place—whether you’re coming to campus for a film or play, visiting our stables, sending your children to our children’s school—you’re part of our family. You’re going to see amazing things coming from the Stephens campus.”
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Stephens awards full scholarship on ‘Today’ show

More than 2.5 million of America’s children will be homeless this Christmas – a number equivalent to the population of Chicago.

Given the health, safety, security and emotional challenges they face every day, few of those children will finish high school, much less go on to earn a college degree.
But Dominique – a 14-year-old eighth-grader living with her mother in a New York City homeless shelter – is determined to beat those odds. 
And she won’t have to do it alone.
Thanks to the “Today” show’sWillie Geist and the generosity of Stephens College in Columbia, Mo., Dominique is going to receive the opportunity, support and financial aid she needs to become a college grad.
Geist met the eighth-grader during a “Today” show segment on homelessness, during which she spoke eloquently about her aspirations to attend college. He reached out to a New York marketing firm to see if employees there could help identify corporate and educational sponsors to support the shelter; one staff member, Paula Goldenberg, is a 2014 graduate of Stephens, and she decided that her alma mater was the ideal environment for a student of Dominique’s background, academic strengths and life challenges.
Stephens President Dianne Lynch agreed. 
“For 180 years, it’s been Stephens’ mission to provide the kinds of opportunities to women that truly transform their lives,” she said. “As a women’s college, we offer our students a unique level of attention and support; we know them, we understand their particular needs and challenges, and we are here to assist them every step of the way.”
Dr. Leslie Willey, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Stephens, was present Thursday morning when the “Today” show revealed improvements to the shelter and a variety of other surprises for the children who live there. Stephens’ offer of a scholarship for Dominique was among those surprises.
“We know you have hopes and dreams, and we want to help you with that,” Willey said on the show. “We know you’re going to be a great Stephens Woman.”
Like every student, Dominique will need to meet the college’s admission standards, a goal she is determined to achieve. Once she has been accepted, Stephens will provide her a full four-year scholarship, including room and board. But because the college understands that Dominique may not have the resources she needs to make the transition to college, Stephens also has committed to providing support for her travel from New York to Columbia for summer and holiday breaks; the amenities – from a computer and a television, to a mini-fridge and cozy bedding  – that are standard equipment in the college’s dormitories; and the academic and social support to ensure her success.
“The White House just held a summit for higher education leaders to talk about how to improve college success among minority and first-generation students,” Lynch said. “We believe you do that by sticking your institutional neck out and saying yes whenever and however an opportunity to help presents itself – and that’s what we’re doing here.”
It’s a partnership and an investment, not a gift, Lynch said. “We provide the opportunity, and the students provide the commitment, resiliency, ambition and intellect. Together, we transform their lives.”
That transformation will begin this summer, when Stephens invites Dominique to campus to participate in one of its many summer enrichment programs – from the sciences, to film, to fashion design, to equestrian studies, to musical theatre. Each summer until she graduates from high school, Stephens will offer Dominique the opportunity to spend time on campus – ensuring that the college truly begins to feel like a home.
And while she’s in Missouri, she may have an opportunity to meet another group of middle school students from New York City: Since 2011, Stephens College each summer has hosted a group of students from the Girls Prep Lower East Side Middle School, a charter school in New York City, in a week-long Leadership Academy. The students learn leadership skills, ride horses, visit local attractions, live in a dormitory, and imagine themselves as college students. In 2013, Stephens announced a Public Prep full scholarship that will be provided to a Public Prep graduate every year beginning in 2017, when the school’s first graduating class will be entering college.
“This is what providing real opportunity is all about,” Lynch says. “You can’t do it half-way. These kids need somebody to give them what they need to succeed. And that’s not just tuition. It’s a community that pays attention, and that cares enough to help them find their way.”


Today Show Video1
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Campus is transformational for foster pets, too

For young women, Stephens College is a transformational place they call home for three to four years. For some cats and dogs, the campus is also a temporary home — but one that’s just as life-changing.cat-photo-1“I am in the pre-vet biology program and have always loved animals — so it was just something I needed to do,” said Sandra Wicklund, a Stephens College freshman.Dozens of students fostered pets this semester as part of the two-year-old partnership Stephens has with Second Chance, a no-kill shelter in Columbia. There are 20 scholarships offered to first-year students in exchange for fostering, but many students say they simply want to make a difference in an animal’s life.cat-photo-2Foster parents agree that preparing dogs and cats for “forever homes” is the most rewarding part of participating in the program. That involves getting the animal used to being around new people and learning to trust them, senior Cheyenne Smith said.Students benefit, too. Tiawna Johnson, a junior, said she knew she’d be lonely coming to college without her dog. After fostering a cat, she fell in love with felines. Johnson said she likes coming home to a pet after a long day.cat-photo-3Seeing undergraduate students foster animals inspired Alexis Guth, a graduate assistant, to participate. “I was inspired by the students who were giving back to their community,” she said. “After I began fostering, Second Chance encouraged me to assist with the program. I now manage foster cats on campus and help students who foster with any needs they may have.”cat-photo-4

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Speakers tout Ten Ideals at Commencement ceremony

Stephens College Trustee Sara Herrnstadt Crosby ’76 challenged graduates to dig deep within themselves and explore how the College’s Ten Ideals might become actions throughout their lives.
“As you leave Stephens and venture out, I challenge you to find your Courage, the Second Ideal, and incorporate into your lives courage to change, to grow and the persistence to practice it every day,” she said during the December Commencement ceremony on Friday.
Crosby shared her own story of coming to Stephens with a dream of acting and pursuing that dream before transitioning into a career in social work. Throughout her keynote address, she shared how the College’s Ten Ideals—Intelligence, Responsibility, Courage, Independence, Creativity, Leadership, Respect, Sensitivity, Belief and Support—have come into play in her life.
The Ideals were also the theme of the undergraduate speech. Madeline Carl and Meredith Jacob, who both earned a B.F.A. in Digital Filmmaking, praised their Stephens education for fostering in them a sense of independence, responsibility, respect and leadership.
“Our time at Stephens has taught us to truly embrace all of these Ideals and we are so grateful that we have had this experience,” Carl said.
Stephens President Dianne Lynch conferred roughly 50 bachelor's and master's degrees during the ceremony, held in the Kimball Ballroom of Lela Raney Wood Hall.
Sandra Silva, who earned a Master in Strategic Leadership, represented the graduate class during her remarks. She shared her own story of trying to pursue a graduate degree while balancing other work and life obligations. To everyone graduating, she encouraged the class to “go out and share your journey with others. You will add more rich experiences to their life story and to your own. You will change their world and, believe me, you will change yours.”
Watch the Commencement ceremony video here.
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Lee, SCCS enjoy Christmas party at President's Home

Children from Lee Elementary and the Stephens College Children’s School had a chance to tell Santa their Christmas wishes during the annual Christmas Party at the President’s Home on Friday.

The event also gave Lee children a chance to perform Christmas carols for Stephens President Dianne Lynch—which has become a popular part of the annual celebration.

Stephens is a Partner in Education with Lee Elementary, located next to the President’s Home. This is the third year Lynch has hosted the holiday event in the historic President’s Home, which reopened in December 2011.

Children from both schools heard a story from Mrs. Claus, enjoyed sweet treats and colored winter-themed pictures during the party. They also had a chance to see the decorations they made in school on display in the public areas of the home.

See photos from the event here

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Juniors prepare for CFDA competitions

A Stephens alumna and faculty member critiqued student designs last week as junior fashion majors prepare for this spring’s round of Council of Fashion Designers of America competitions.
Morgan Powers, a designer and product developer, and instructor Amy Parris helped students select the best of their designs and suggested improvements to the pieces.
The student works will be considered for the CFDA competitions, which challenge students to mimic the works of designers such as Liz Claiborne and Geoffrey Beene.

They will also be among the garments judged at the annual Jury of Selection, which allows industry professionals to select which designs will be showcased at the annual student designer fashion show in April.
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President of military academy visits Stephens Children's School

Long before his successful career in the corporate world and current position as president of the Missouri Military Academy in Mexico, Tony McGeorge was a Stephens student.

Well, sort of. McGeorge and his twin sister, Nancy, attended a nursery school on the Stephens campus in the early 1950s. He doesn’t remember much about it—he was 3—but he does remember his mother talking about the wonderful foundational education the school provided before the family relocated to the East Coast.

“My mother used to talk about Stephens and how wonderful it was,” he said. “She loved the fact that it was a women’s college and she loved the people—the students and teachers.”

So when McGeorge returned to Missouri in 2012, he wanted a chance to revisit where it all began. 

On Wednesday, he and a small delegation from the military academy had the opportunity to tour the current Stephens College Children’s School facilities before McGeorge read a book to preschoolers.

Prior to coming back to Missouri, McGeorge enjoyed a successful career at Johnson & Johnson, where he was a national spokesperson during the Tylenol poisoning crisis that became a Harvard Business School case study. Tylenol famously pulled all of its products during that period despite financial risks. The company—and McGeorge—were adamant about doing the right thing for customers. Those are values learned at an early age, he stressed.

“It all starts at this level,” McGeorge said at the preschool. “This is where the seeds are planted.”

The preschoolers at Wednesday’s reading weren’t necessarily interested in McGeorge’s roots—they were more interested in letting him know how Santa gets into their chimney-less houses. But he definitely made an impact, reading from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” in his distinguishable East Coast dialect.

“Let’s see how this thing plays out,” he said at one point in the story, quieting the kiddos who wanted to chime in.

A grandfather of four, McGeorge easily won over his crowd. Several children rushed to give him hugs before he left.

“The most special part was the kids’ reactions,” he said afterwards. “I’m a grandfather, and I tell you, that just melted my heart.”
This isn’t the first time the Missouri Military Academy, under McGeorge’s leadership, has partnered with Stephens. The all-women’s campus last year hosted the all-male academy and its guest, Shabana Basij-Rasikh, as part of a special program. McGeorge said he hopes to find more ways to connect in the future.
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