Board of Trustees
John H. Edwards
Chairman of the Board
A board member since 2007, Edwards is the chair of the board of trustees. Originally from Pittsburgh, Pa., he earned his B.A. from Boston College and then received his M.A. in early American history from San Francisco State University. Since 1980 he has been a member of the dispensing committee of John R. McCune Charitable Trust in Pittsburgh, and since 2001 he has been a member of the planning and development committee of the McCune Foundation. Edwards has been a board member for Hamden Hall Country Day School, a private K-12 school in Hamden, Conn., since 1991 and has been chairman since 2000. From 1984 to 1994, he was the transcriber and administrator for publishing “The Works of Jonathan Edwards,” a project based at Yale University. In 2004, he presented a LEAD program at William Woods on the importance of history and Jonathan Edwards’ place in American history.
First Vice Chair
Westhues was appointed to the board in 2008. Westhues is senior vice president, retail banking, of Central Bancompany in Jefferson City. Previously he was director of E-commerce and later VP of consumer banking for Central Bancompany. A Westminster College graduate, he earned his master of business administration (MBA) degree at William Woods. He also attended the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Georgetown University. Westhues is active in the Jefferson City community, serving as chairman of the community campaign for United Way of Central Missouri and as funds allocation panel chair since 2001. He has served on the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and as chair of Leadership Jefferson City. He has been on the board of directors of the Capitol City Council on the Arts, the Jefferson City Community Concerts Association, and the Missouri River Regional Library.
Nancy Waller Thomas
Second Vice Chair
Thomas has been a board member since 1987. Following her graduation from William Woods in 1967, she remained active in the National Alumni Association, serving a two-year term as president. In 1985 she received the Alumni Association’s Green Owl Award. She also served on the committee to plan the renovation of the Myldred Fox Fairchild Alumni House. She and her husband, Tom, began the Nancy Waller Thomas Endowed Scholarship. She has been a realtor for RE/MAX Boone Realty of Columbia, Mo., since 1987; she now serves as state officer with the Women’s Council of Realtors. Thomas is an active community member and is involved with the Missouri State Genealogical Association.
Butler is the board secretary and a member of the executive committee and was appointed to the board in 2005. A graduate of American University and a licensed nursing home administrator, she is owner/administrator of a Falls Church, Va., nursing home. She also is the president and chairman of the board of the Lucille and Bruce Lambert Charitable Foundation, which has contributed generously to William Woods over the years.
Wells is a former vice president and chief financial officer for Burger King Corporation. He was appointed to the board in 2008. Wells has more than 25 years of financial experience. Prior to Burger King, he was vice president, corporate treasurer at Compaq Computer Corporation. Before that, he held various financial and treasury responsibilities over a 10-year period at British Petroleum. He earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Missouri-Columbia, master’s degree in economics from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in business administration from Canisius College. His daughter, Kate, is an alumna of WWU, having earned her bachelor's and MBA degrees in 2009 and 2011, respectivly..
Sue Falley Anderson
Anderson of Los Angeles, Calif., was appointed to the board in 2005 and is a member-at-large of the executive committee. Anderson came to William Woods from Topeka, Kan., and graduated in 1961 with an A.A. degree. Anderson and her husband, Dana, have four children, one of whom, Jenee, is an alumna. A real estate developer and investor, Dana Anderson is vice chairman of the board and a partner in The Macerich Company, the third largest mall owner in the United States. The Andersons were special guests at the 2007 WWU Commencement, when Dana served as our speaker. Anderson Arena in the Helen Stephens Sports Complex is named for the Andersons, in appreciation of their generous donation toward its complete renovation in 2007.
H. Dale LaRue
LaRue was appointed to the board in 1985 and is a member at large of the executive committee. In 1989, he served on the Presidential Search Committee. Dale is the former owner of Central Missouri Vault Company. He is a well-known Fulton community member, past president of the Callaway Chamber of Commerce, past president of the Fulton Colleges Board of Associates, and an organizer of the first annual Kingdom Days celebration. Dale’s wife, Gwynne, and daughter, Amy, are both alumnae of WWU.
Deborah Bunn Hutchison
Hutchison is an author, filmmaker, creator, and entrepreneur and a 1974 graduate of William Woods. She is the founder of Gutsy Gals Inspire Me® (www.gutsygalsinspireme.com), an inspirational media company dedicated to promoting and nurturing positive female role models. In addition, Hutchison writes the Her Way column for the Pacific Coast Business Times newspaper which profiles women business owners. Deborah is the co-author of the published book, "Put It in Writing: Creating Agreements Between Family and Friends," along with Judge Lynn Toler of Divorce Court TV. This book contains several family and friend agreements used to create clarity and accord with hot topic issues prone to causing emotional heartache, e.g., lending or borrowing money, premarital cohabitation, adult kids moving back home, teen driving, and more.
Judith Horton Chapman
Chapman, a 1960 graduate of William Woods University, joined the board of trustees in 2011. A resident of Houston, Texas, she is the retired owner of Esther Wolf Women’s Luxury Apparel. Active in her community, she is president of the Boniuk Center for the Study and Advancement of Religious Tolerance at Rice University, a member of the American Institute of Archaeology, and president of English Union Brand. Her interests include world travel and cultural experiences.
Neal Barrentine Clapper
Clapper is Enterprise Server and Storage vice president for Hewlett-Packard Company, where she has worked since she graduated from William Woods in 1980. Previously she was Enterprise Server and Storage vice president for Asia Pacific and Japan and before that, for Europe, Middle East, and Africa. She began her career with HP as a senior programmer analyst in the computer support division, then served as research and development section manager, lab manager, and customer support manager before becoming a vice president. A member of the board of trustees since 2011, she earned a B.S. in computer science at WWU and an M.S. in engineering management at Stanford University. She received the Alumni Award of Distinction from William Woods in 2006. She is a member of Chi Omega sorority.
Mary Linn “Lolly” Coldiron
Coldiron, of Atherton, Calif., joined the board of trustees in 2010. She graduated from William Woods with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1972 and is a member of Alpha Phi sorority. She is the owner and operator of ML Coldiron Interiors and has been operating the interior design company since 1978. She served on the board of the WWU Alumni Association and has assisted with students interested in attending WWU. Her sister, Kathy A. Coldiron, is a 1973 graduate of WWU.
Elizabeth Tsahiridis Farris
Farris joined the board of trustees in 2010. She graduated from William Woods with a Bachelor of Science degree in education and earned a master’s degree in educational administration from Missouri State University. A resident of Branson, Mo., she is the managing member of CastleRock Enterprises, a commercial development company, and serves as chief operating officer of her husband’s law firm, the Farris Law Group. She is an active volunteer and frequent officer in a number of organizations. She is a member of Alpha Phi sorority.
Firley was elected to the board in 2001. A resident of Jefferson City, she is the retired president of Casualty Indemnity Exchange. She is the widow of Art Firley, a former WWU board member who donated the Firley Soccer Field at William Woods in her honor. Mrs. Firley has been a member of the WWU President’s Advisory Council. She is a member of the Jefferson City Family YMCA Board of Trustees, University of Missouri Friends of Music Board of Directors and the American Heart Association Mid-Missouri Heart Ball Committee. She was a founding member of the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center Advisory Board in 1991 and continues to serve on that board. She also serves on the Capital Region Medical Center Board of Governors and the Hospice of Jefferson City and Mid-Missouri Board of Directors. She donated an art collection of more than 200 pieces to the university, including works by such artists as Salvador Dali.
Gunn, who was appointed to the board in 1984, graduated summa cum laude from William Woods in 1971 with a major in biology. She graduated from the University of Missouri School of Medicine in 1975 and now practices dermatology in Jefferson City, Mo. She has served as president of the Mid-Missouri Dermatological Society, as well as on the board of directors of the Missouri Dermatological Society. In addition, Dr. Gunn is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, the American Medical Association, the American Society of Investigative Dermatology and the Dermatology Foundation. In 1983, she delivered the fall convocation address at William Woods. She also established the Victoria Gunn Scholarship.
Melinda Cheryl Hall-Patterson
Hall-Patterson, a board member since 2002, is a 1969 graduate of William Woods University and the mother of Maria Schiffer, WWU ’92. She succeeded her father,the late Melvin Hall, who had been a member of the William Woods University Board of Trustees since 1962. Cheryl has been a member of the President’s Advisory Council, a group of select individuals who visit campus on a regular basis to advise the president on various issues. She has assisted with the management of her father’s numerous businesses, including the ownership of several financial institutions and, more recently, business ventures pertaining to the entertainment and tourism industry in Branson, Mo. The scholarship sponsored by the Hall family is the largest endowed scholarship at the university.
Charles W. James
James has been a member of the board since 1990. He is retired after serving as chief executive officer of Central Electric Company,now known as AZZ Central Electric, in Fulton, Mo., for 20 years. Central Electric manufactures electrical switchgear that is distributed nationally and internationally. His background is in electrical engineering; he is a Registered Engineer with the National and Missouri Societies of Professional Engineers and senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. A well-known community member, Charlie served 10 years on the Fulton Board of Education and six years as a board member of the Chamber of Commerce. He is a former outfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds. James' daughter and two granddaughters are WWU alumnae.
Janet Watson Rohman
Rohman of Los Angeles, Calif., is a sales associate with Loveland-Carr Properties, part of Coldwell Banker. A 1972 WWU graduate, she joined the board of trustees in 2011. A Louisiana native, she owned an interior design business in Little Rock, Ark., before moving to Los Angeles. Her real estate career began in 1983, and she specializes in luxury homes. For eight years, she was the mayoral appointee to the Historic Preservation Overlay Zone (HPOZ) board for Melrose Hill, a small, treasured neighborhood filled with historic bungalows. Rohman has been a resident of Windsor Square for 25 years, and her local community leadership and involvement remain strong. She can often be found singing gospel tunes with her choir or cooking for the next broker’s open house or party at her home. She is a member of Chi Omega sorority.
Carlos Ortega Maldonado
Maldonado, a board member since 1993, is founder and president of the Espiritu Santo University in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Maldonado received the Doctor of Jurisprudence from the Catholic University Law School of Guayaquil. He is also a graduate of the Goethe Institute in Germany. He attended American high schools in Nebraska and Indiana. In 1989, Carlos founded Corazón De La Patria, an elementary school in an underdeveloped area of Guayaquil. He is founder and director of Pramar and Bonafide, Shrimp Farm Companies, and founder and general manager of CETI Corporation. He is also a real estate broker, president of the Social and Sport Club Espíritu Santo and director of the Administration Board of Conticorp in Guayaquil.
Petrovich-Tao of Park City, Utah, joined the board in 2011. She is the former chief operating officer of Arby’s Restaurant Group, a 3,700-unit sandwich chain. Previously, she worked for Burger King Corp. for seven years, first as Mountain States division vice president and then as vice president for global training and development. Before that, she was vice president for North American franchise operations for Mrs. Fields Brands. She also served as vice president for Kinko’s and held leadership positions with PepsiCo/Tricon Global Restaurant, Inc., including director of operations for Taco Bell. A 1981 WWU graduate with a B.A. in business administration, she also studied at the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. She is a member of Chi Omega sorority.
Ridgeway, a state senator from Smithville, Mo., was appointed to the board in 2007. She has served the 17th District as a state senator since 2004. Previously, she served as state representative for Missouri’s 35th District, 1992-2002. A Moberly, Mo., native, she graduated magna cum laude from William Woods University in 1978 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and political science. She studied at Oxford University in England and graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1981 with a Juris Doctor degree. As a state representative, she was assistant minority whip of the House Republican Caucus, 1995-1999. As a state senator, she was elected to the majority caucus chair leadership position in 2007. In addition to her law career, she is active in local organizations and serves as pianist at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Smithville.
Judy Kuergeleis Schmuck
Schmuck, of Wildwood, Mo., is a 1972 graduate of William Woods and is a past president of the WWU Alumni Board. She has held a number of local and national leadership positions in Alpha Chi Omega sorority and is currently adviser for the chapter on campus. She holds an M.S. degree in early education from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, and master’s plus hours from St. Louis University. She served on the WWU President’s Council and was a founding member of the WWU President’s Club Giving Society. She has received two prestigious awards from the WWU Alumni Association—the Outstanding Service Award in 2000 and the WWU Green Owl Award in 2006. Schmuck’s father, the late Charles Kuergeleis, served on WWU’s board from 1998 to 2008.
Seguin, of Miami, Fla., a member of the board since 2011, is president of UPS Americas Region, responsible for all UPS package and cargo operations in Canada and more than 50 countries and territories across Latin America and the Caribbean. Seguin graduated from William Woods in 1982, and started with UPS in St. Louis in 1983 as a part-time hub controller. Since then she has worked in many management positions with UPS, both in the U.S. and Europe. In 1994, she was named controller for the air district, based in Louisville, Ky., and was promoted to a senior operational role in which she was responsible for opening the first automated test wing at UPS Worldport. She moved to Europe in 2007 to become managing director of UPS South Europe. A year later she was promoted to chief operating officer of UPS Europe, Middle East, and Africa.
Theresa S. Vonderschmitt
Vonderschmitt, a businesswoman and William Woods benefactor, was elected to the board in 2004. She manages more than 50 limited partnerships and a portfolio of investments in more than 200 companies. She also serves as a member of the Board of Japan Communications, Inc., a mobile communications company based in Japan. A native of Japan, Vonderschmitt divides her time between her homes in Jasper, Ind., and San Jose, Calif., with frequent trips to Japan. She has extensive management experience in the airline industry, including an 18-year tenure with Pan American World Airways. She is a member of Alpha Sigma Lambda and a recipient of the Economist’s Award from Fordham University. In 2003, she was named an Honorary Alumnus of William Woods University in recognition of the generous scholarship help she has provided to WWU students. In 2010, Vonderschmitt made a generous donation of a new presidential residence and other real estate.
Honorary Board Members
Joseph P. Cangemi
Cangemi, a board member since 1988 and an honorary member since 2005, is professor of psychology and full member of the graduate faculty at Western Kentucky University. Cangemi is author or co-author of numerous books, served as editor of three behavioral science journals and has had hundreds of articles published. During his career in professional leadership and organizational development consulting, he has consulted for more than 200 major corporations worldwide. He is the three-time recipient of the Excellence in Productive Teaching Award from the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences at Western Kentucky University, the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the State University of New York at Oswego and the Distinguished Public Service Award from Western Kentucky University. He and his wife established the Joseph and Amelia Cangemi Scholarship and the Lisa Ann Cangemi Scholarship, named for their daughter, a 1988 WWU graduate.
Danuser, a graduate of William Woods and former secretary of the board of trustees, was elected to the board in 2002 and became an honorary member in 2009. After attending William Woods in the late ’60s, she married Jerry Danuser of Fulton in 1970 and has made her home in the community ever since. For a number of years she was involved in the family business, Danuser Machine Company, which manufactures farm equipment and related components for customers worldwide. A past president of the Callaway County William Woods Alumni Club, she also served as a member of the WWU Capital Campaign Steering Committee. She was active in the William Woods Theatre Critic’s Circle for many years. In 1995, she was the WWU Alumni Service Award recipient. She served on the board of the Friends of the Winston Churchill Memorial for several years and is on the board of the Central Missouri Chapter of Safari Club International. She enjoys showing American Saddlebred horses.
Albert W. "Bud" Doepke
Doepke became a board member in 1987 and an honorary trustee in 2002. He is the former president of Browning-Ferris Industries of Kansas City. Bud now owns and operates Far View Farm, Inc., of Bucyrus, Kan., where he and his family breed, raise, and train quarter horses. Doepke is a trustee of University Hospital and College, Lakeside Hospital, University Towers, and is a member of the Board of Governors of the American Royal, the American Quarter Horse Association and the Northeast Kansas Quarter Horse Association. He established the Doepke Family Scholarship at William Woods, in recognition of his wife, Martha Jo, and two daughters, Sherri and Cassie, all William Woods graduates.
Bruce Edward Grossman
Grossman, a Mexican citizen, was appointed to the board in 1995 and became an honorary trustee in 2003. Bruce is chairman of the board and CEO of Consultores Patrimoniales, S.A. de C.V., as well as member of the advisory board for the Family Business Network, based in Switzerland. He has a strong marketing background, working as a marketing department brand manager for Procter & Gamble de Mexico, S.A. and as president of Grossman y Asociados, S.A. He is the vice chairman of the board of Grupo Continental, S.A., a publicly held holding company that owns and operates 46 corporations including the fifth largest Coca-Cola operation in the world. Bruce is an associate member of the Society of International Business Fellows and a member of the board of trustees of the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas.
Irene Kemp Kent
Kent, a member of the board of trustees from 1987 to 2005, is a 1945 alumna of William Woods and now resides in Muscatine, Iowa, where she is active in community affairs. She serves on the board of trustees of the Muscatine Art Center, and is a member of the YWCA, PEO and the American Association of University Women. Kemp and her husband, Jim, share interest in their international company, Grain Processing Company–Kent Feed Company. They have supported William Woods through the establishment of the Kent Family Scholarship, as well as support for the renovation of the Fairchild Alumni House and the construction of the deck for Tucker Dining Hall. She became an honorary trustee in 2005.
Newton has performed live to more than 30 million people, including a thrilled audience at William Woods University in December 1999 when he donated his services to raise money for scholarships. He became an honorary trustee in 2000. He has epitomized the talent, glamour and energy that is Las Vegas--the entertainment capital of the world--for so long that he is called "Mr. Las Vegas." He sets records every time he steps on a stage. His charisma and talent have translated well to the movie screen and he has appeared in several major motion pictures. He has recorded hundreds of albums and has entertained troops in Vietnam, Lebanon and the Persian Gulf. The U.S. Defense Department gave him its highest civilian award for being the only American entertainer to perform in all three locations. In 2001 he succeeded Bob Hope as USO goodwill ambassador, and each year he makes a contribution to that organization in the name of William Woods University.
Claudine Barrett Cox O'Connor
O'Connor, WWU ’43 and a member of the board from 1954 to 1991, was named to honorary status in 2003. She was Alumni Association president in 1951-52 and, over the years, has made substantial financial contributions to WWU. She is the recipient of the Green Owl Award, the Distinguished Alumni Award, and the President's Medal. O'Connor earned B.A. and M.B.A. degrees from Drury College, and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Missouri. She taught at Drury and Southwest Missouri State University. She was also the portfolio manager and financial consultant for Cox Medical Center and several family corporations and trust funds. Involved in numerous activities, she was the first chairman of the state-based National Endowment for the Humanities and the U.S. representative to the Luso-American Development Foundation in Portugal. She was also the alternate U.S. representative to the executive board of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Donald B. Ruthenberg
Ruthenberg is a consultant with higher education institutions in the U.S., Asia, and the Middle East in areas of English language development, student recruitment, and faculty exchange. Best known in mid-Missouri as the former president of Columbia College, he has also served as president of Southwestern College, Iowa Colleges and Universities System, and he has received numerous honors. His wife, Janet Dee Payne, is a 1952 graduate of WWU. They live in Lake Mykee, Mo. He became an honorary trustee in 2009.
John A. Schiffman
Schiffman, a resident of St. Louis, Mo., has strong interests in the roles of ethics and religion in moral development and has enhanced the educational opportunities for many students by his contributions to William Woods and other institutions. At WWU, he provided funds for the Weitzman Model Courtroom and Stone-Campbell Apartments. He is an honorary alumnus (2008), recipient of the William Woods President’s Medal and a lifetime member of the President’s Club Giving Society. He became an honorary trustee in 2009.
C. Travis Traylor, Jr.
Traylor became interested in William Woods in the 1970s when his daughter, Susan, attended. Traylor is self-employed as a private investor and real estate developer. He was the chairman of the board and president of First Mortgage Company of Texas and First General Realty Company until 1983, when he retired. He joined the William Woods University Board of Trustees in 1973 and was named to honorary status in 1998. Traylor was named an honorary alumnus of WWU in April 2012. He lives in Houston, Texas.
Weider, president of Weider Health and Fitness, was named an honorary trustee in 1994. His company publishes Muscle & Fitness, Shape, and Flex magazines, among the most popular health magazines on the newsstands. Weider was named honorary trustee for his energetic advocacy of health education and fitness at WWU. He lives in Woodland Hills, Calif. Weider's support made the Weider Fitness Center possible.
Bernard W. Weitzman
Weitzman, a member of the board since 1976, and former longtime treasurer, is an attorney for Friedman, Weitzman and Friedman in St. Louis, Mo. A member of the ABA and the National Association of College and University Attorneys, Weitzman has assisted William Woods for many years in the development of important institutional policies and procedures. He has established the Bernard Weitzman Scholarship Fund and assisted in providing the campus-wide administrative/instructional computer system. In 2000, in appreciation for all he has done for the university, William Woods dedicated its new model courtroom in his name. In 2005, Weitzman was named an honorary alumnus. He became an honorary trustee in 2011.