Higher Education

Dressing the scene

On a weekday early in December, things are a little calmer at the Stephens College costume shop. “The Will Rogers Follies” has opened; “A Dickens Victorian Christmas” has closed. Approaching final exams have left the costume shop nearly empty of students, but there are still thousands of costumes that help tell the history of the school’s theater, dance and music departments.

In the main room of the shop where designs are created, performers are fitted and costumes are crafted, three women sit at their respective stations. Shop foreman and chief designer Patty Doyle remains anchored to her sewing machine. Patricia Davis sits at the end of a long drawing table and faces the door of the costume shop. Gail Shen sits across from her, facing the wall.


Working two jobs to make ends meet normally wears people out. For Mark Partington, a manager at T.A. Brady’s and a supervisor at J.C. Penney’s, one would think that a proper way to relax would be to rest in a peaceful setting.

Instead, Partington has a much more boisterous pastime.


Women’s athletics on the MU campus go back to 1889, when the University of Missouri Board of Curators made one semester of physical education a requirement for women.

The female students used a room on the top floor of Jesse Hall along with a small run-down shack, which was used as a dressing room for women involved in outdoor sports. Over the years, MU women participated in wall scaling, hiking, field hockey, indoor baseball, table tennis and badminton.

MU developing new sports major

MU’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources is in the first stages of developing an undergraduate degree in sport venue management.

Jim Spain, assistant dean of academic programs for the college, said the program would train students to manage the locations where sports occur or become part of a team’s administrative staff, from the high school to professional level.

Disability Web site focuses on community

Putting a personal spin on areas of accessibility, as well as making available resources for disabled people in mid-Missouri, was Laura Schopp’s goal. She was instrumental in getting disAbility Spin Web site started.

With the community’s involvement, the site has the possibility of becoming an all-encompassing resource. DisAbility Spin is devoted to the disabled residents of Columbia who can visit and post their own experiences on the discussion forums within the site. There’s also a section for event listings. “People can constantly update the site. It really belongs to the community and it’s going to rely very heavily on the community’s interest to keep it vibrant,” said Schopp, a neuropsychologist and associate professor in the department of health psychology at MU.

Faces: Leslie Perna

Leslie Perna’s career as a violist has taken her all over the world. Perna, who is associate professor of viola at MU’s School of Music, initially focused on the violin. She received a bachelor’s degree from the Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory of Music in Cleveland in 1984 and a master’s degree from Boston University in 1986, both in violin.

Perna said she drifted toward the viola because she appreciated its role in classical music and its richer and darker sound.

Fun Fact

The Columbia Female Academy was founded in 1833 as a place for Columbia’s elite to send their daughters to be educated. The Presbyterian-based institute was reorganized in 1856 as the Columbia Baptist Female College.

Now You Know

What was learned: About 25 percent of Missouri children entering kindergarten don’t have the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. Research shows that the first five years of a child’s life affect his or her development and success in school, said Kathy Thornburg, director of the MU Center for Family Policy and Research.

What’s being done: Researchers at the center recommend that early childhood educators be properly trained and compensated to reduce teacher turnover. Children also need stability to prepare for school.

Opossum stunt outrages PETA

Animal rights advocates want a national fraternity to ban the use of wild animals in chapter activities after two members at MU were charged with stuffing about 40 opossums — living and dead — into a barrel.

Philip Josephson, national executive director of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity, said Thursday that the opossum stunt wasn’t sanctioned or sponsored by the fraternity. There are currently no plans for a rule barring wild animals, he said.

Crossing paths

With almost 8,000 members in its ranks, MU’s staff is involved in every aspect of university life — including serving as admission representatives, assigning students to residence halls, raising money, and planting the flowers that brighten the campus landscape.

With a diverse workforce and so many different jobs, it’s not always easy to find a common voice. But a little-known campus organization, the Staff Advisory Council, is working to unite MU’s staff and create the best possible working environment.

Kristina Cravens

Kristina Cravens has taken advantage of almost all of the academic programs offered at Columbia College. At 24, she is a day student majoring in psychology with a minor in business.

“It has been nice to have the flexibility,” Cravens said. “I want to finish my education. It is a priority for me.”

The Tunnels

An underground system of tunnels connects the MU residential halls of Lathrop, Laws and Jones and Dobbs Dining Hall. Though they’ve been there for nearly half a century, they’re not well-known or well-used.

Built in the late 1950s, when all four buildings were erected, the tunnels’ primary purpose was to house large, insulated steam pipes, provide storage and transport trash and equipment.

Runoff: 69 votes elect MSA leader

Anxious students gathered on the steps of Jesse Hall on Wednesday evening, awaiting the results of a runoff election for the Missouri Students Association presidency. The result: a win by a margin of less than 1 percent.

Tony Luetkemeyer and Cheryl Tomes won the positions of president and vice president, respectively, with only 50.74 percent of the vote. Sixty-nine out of the more than 4,500 votes cast determined their victory against Ben Coen and Craig Kleine.

Alumna elected to Stephens board

Alumna Cheryl Dunlop Steinkamp was elected as the newest member of the Stephens College Board of Trustees during an Oct. 23 meeting, the college announced in a news release.

Steinkamp has served in various positions, including interim vice president, at William Jewell College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in theater and speech education.

Clip for charity

Angela Speck, an MU astronomy professor, will not need a brush or a comb or even shampoo for quite a while. This week, in front of students and friends, she shaved her head, all in the name of charity.

On Monday night, Speck sat on a stool at the front of a lecture hall and removed her sweater, revealing a T-shirt that matched the jet black of her chin-length hair. She cracked jokes with the small group of students and colleagues eagerly awaiting the Big Shave.

Holocaust survivor ‘confronts evil’

The Holocaust, “survivor’s guilt” and the nature of human cruelty were addressed by former MU professor Fred Emil Katz when he spoke Monday night at Memorial Union.

Katz spoke to about 50 people about his experiences as a Holocaust survivor and his new book, “Confronting Evil: Two Journeys,” which examines how ordinary people can participate in inhumane acts, such as terrorism, in modern times.

Faces: Sean Hickem

For the past five years, “Brown Recluse” has roamed Stephens College disguised as warehouse operator Sean Hickem.

When he is not making sure classrooms are fully stocked with supplies, the Columbia native writes poetry or is onstage, rapping under the alias Brown Recluse.

Campus in brief

MU’s new Life Sciences Center has slowly filled with faculty and students this fall. Senior Associate Director Mike Chippendale has spent most of the fall accommodating new inhabitants of the center and doing things such as silencing banging pipes and getting the wireless network running.

How do I: Audition for a play, dance, or music piece at Stephens College?

Stephens’ students in the performing arts programs of dance, music and theater should begin with the call boards of the department they wish to audition for. The boards carry announcements, bulletins and fliers on the latest audition opportunities.

Students should then gather all relevant information, such as the time, place and schedule of the audition. It is best to know any particulars before going in, so as not to make a commitment that cannot be fulfilled.

Holiday Wonderland

After an excited “10, nine, eight” countdown by more than 150 people and with the flick of a switch, Columbia College was transformed Friday evening into a holiday wonderland.

More than 6,000 white lights instantaneously illuminated the outlines of the building and trees around Bass Commons. The commons is the lawn in front of St. Clair Hall, at Tenth and Rogers streets.