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Monday, April 25, 2011
The Talon 5
Donation allows WWU to begin work on Alumni/Visitor Center
What happened in Japan
was devastating. As the news
broke, the world watched in
horror. Suddenly, the question on
everyone’s mind was “What can
we do to help?”
As college students, money
is scarce so it may not seem
possible to help. However, thanks
to the Multicultural Affairs Club
at William Woods, students and
faculty now have an easy way to
help: by collecting their spare
change and simply putting it
into a jar.
The project, called “Make
Change Happen,” started April 6
and will last until finals week. To
Students work to ‘Make Change Happen’ in Japan
add an element of competition,
the students and faculty/staff will
compete to see who can raise the
most money.
At the end of the competition,
the money will be collected and
donated to the Red Cross to
support the relief efforts in Japan.
Jessica Bargate, president
of the Multicultural Club, said
the idea was inspired by a
YouTube video.
“There’s this series of videos
called playing for change,” she
said. “All these
different artists
from all over the
world are playing
the same song
for change. It
was just really
inspiring to me
that they could
come together for
a common cause,
and that’s what I
wanted William
Woods to do—to
come together
to make change
the disaster was
devastating to everyone, it
By Patrice Basso
In addition to the spacious
home, Vonderschmitt’s property
in rural Callaway County includes
three horse stalls and tack room,
offering the potential for small
equestrian activities and space
for hosting events and receptions.
This donation to the $11.7 million
Imagine Campaign is valued at
approximately $1 million.
The Tom and Claudine
O’Connor Alumni and Visitors’
Center is intended to provide
additional guest housing and
meeting space on campus. The
fundraising goal for the center is
$500,000, and the O’Connors have
already contributed $280,000.
The center is one component of
the three-part campaign. Also
planned are a Sorority Circle and
Amphitheatre and the academic
program, Center for Ethics and
Global Studies.
Claudine Barrett Cox O’Connor
graduated from William Woods in
1943 and served as a member
of the board of trustees from
1954 to 1991. She 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 and 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
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).
Her husband, Tom O’Connor,
was the recipient of the Order
of the Owl Award from William
During Alumni Weekend,
William Woods University
President Jahnae H. Barnett
announced a generous donation
that answers the question of
where the president will live
when her current home is
converted into an alumni and
visitors’ center.
Barnett said a member of the
WWU board of trustees, Theresa
Vonderschmitt, was so committed
to the alumni and visitors’ center
project that she donated a 15-
acre country residence for the
presidential home.
“This means I will have ‘a
place to live,’” Barnett said with
a smile, “and it allows us to
begin renovation on the Tom and
Claudine O’Connor Alumni and
Visitors’ Center in the very
near future.”
Vonderschmitt, a
businesswoman, 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 an18-
year tenure with Pan American
World Airways.
Woods in 2009. This honor is
given to a spouse who has shown
a special interest in promoting
and supporting the activities of
the university. O’Connor was
vice president of Bacardi Rum for
30 years.
The Tom and Claudine
O’Connor Alumni and Visitors’
Center will provide additional
guest housing, a university
archival space, meeting rooms,
a welcome center, and other
amenities not presently available.
The center would be immediately
visible from the new Woods Way
entrance on the northwest side
of campus, “providing a beautiful,
dramatic and welcoming portal to
the university,” Barnett said.
"When visitors and alumni/
supporters (WWU’s largest
constituent group) come to
campus, it is imperative that
they feel welcomed. While some
facilities and programs exist to
provide for them, demand has
increased sufficiently for
the university to develop
something more."
According to Barnett, it is clear
that more appropriate facilities
would be an asset.
"With the generous support
of alumni and friends, WWU will
have the resources to provide
lodging for visitors and alumni
and create a showcase gathering
space for the entire William
Woods community—alumni,
faculty, students, visitors and
the surrounding community.”
especially hit home for Tammy
Carter, advisor of the Multicultural
Club. At an event to announce the
project, she explained why: she
lived in Japan for almost
nine years and even gave birth to
one of her daughters while
living there.
She recounted the first time she
experienced an earthquake there.
“I was lying in bed and I thought I
felt the bed moving, but I thought
it was just morning sickness
or something because I was
expecting my
second daughter.
“We had
pendulum lights
in the ceiling
and I noticed
they were
swinging around
and around.
We got under
these special
tables meant
to protect from
Luckily, Carter
and her family
were fine, but
obviously she
relates to the fear of going through
an earthquake. She
also spoke about the people she
met there and became friends
“I made numerous friends. I
didn’t keep up with everyone, and
it grieves my heart because I don’t
know if some of these people were
hurt or if they’re deceased.”
Students and faculty have
already begun collecting their
change, and hope to have a big
donation to give to The Red Cross.
With the help of the students
and faculty, William Woods will
help make change happen for the
victims in Japan.
Tammy Carter
Jessica Bargate