Distinguished Alumni

Ashton Lafferty ’71AshtonLafferty_Web.jpg

Ashton Lafferty earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from Culver-Stockton College in 1971. While in college, Lafferty was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon. He also sang tenor in both the Acapella Choir and C-S Singers, and acted in several theatre productions on campus.

Lafferty spent 26 years of his career in the United States Air Force. He retired in 1997 as Colonel. He followed that with 17 years as a contractor in the office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon, retiring from that position in 2014.

Lafferty is married to Sally Ann Layfied of Pelsall, England. The couple lives in Alexandria, Va.

Leslie (Johnson) Kelsay ’73LeslieKelsay_Web.jpg

Leslie (Johnson) Kelsay earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and history from Culver-Stockton College in 1973. She also holds a Master of Business Administration from Pepperdine University. While in college, Kelsay was a member of Sigma Kappa sorority. She was also a recipient of the Honors Service Fellowship and was the features editor for the Megaphone. Additionally, she sang alto in the C-SC Concert Choir, acted in several campus productions, was secretary of the Student Senate and was on the Pom-Pom Squad.

During her career, Kelsay was a member of the senior leadership teams of three hospitals in Silicon Valley affiliated with the Hospital Corporation of America. Most recently, Kelsay was the vice president for marketing and communication at Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose, Calif. In addition to leading marketing and strategic planning initiatives, she was a member of the corporation’s national marketing/communications advisory group and provided peer leadership in crisis communications. Earlier in her career, Kelsay held positions at the United Way of America and American Water Works, as well as that of reporter and editor for the Monterrey Peninsula Newspaper.

Kelsay is actively involved in her community, belonging to several civic organizations, including the United Way, the Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce, Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Girl Scouts of the Monterey Peninsula. Kelsay is also active in the Rotary Club of San Joes and in Rotary International District 5170, co-chairing an international service project bringing fresh water to the village of Dragon Tail in Bin Xi’an County in China. She was also awarded the Women Helping Women award by Soroptimist International, and was recognized by the YWCA of Silicon Valley for service to women and girls via the TWIN award (Tribute to Women in Industry).

Kelsay has sat on Culver-Stockton College’s board of trustees since 2006. She is currently retired. Kelsay is married to Leslie Kelsay and has two stepdaughters, Denise (Mrs. Jim) Crosby and Melanie (Mrs. Eddie) Therezo. She currently lives in Santa Clara, Calif.

Jeff Stuerman ’82JeffStuerman_Web.jpg

Jeffrey Stuerman earned a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting and business administration from Culver-Stockton College in 1982. He also holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Washington University in St. Louis. While in college, Stuerman was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha. He was also a member of the forensics team and president of Student Parliament.

Stuerman has 30 years of experience in the financial industry, and is president of Stuerman & Co., a consulting firm based in the St. Louis area. He was also president of Edward Jones Trust Company and president of TIAA-CREF Trust Company. Additionally, he held the position of vice president and director of marketing at A.G. Edwards Trust Company. He is currently the chancellor for Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Stuerman has sat on Culver-Stockton College’s board of trustees since 1992, holding the position of board treasurer from 2008 to 2013. He was also the president of Culver-Stockton College’s Alumni Association. Stuerman is married to Susie Stuerman. The couple lives in St. Charles, Mo.

Outstanding Young Alumnus

Jarrod Phillips ’00JarrodPhillips_Web.jpg

Jarrod Phillips graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Culver-Stockton College in 2000.

Phillips is the mayor of Canton, Mo. He also owns Primos, a restaurant in Canton he founded in 1997 during his sophomore year of college. Phillips sits on the Canton City Council, and is the former president of the Canton Chamber of Commerce. He was a charter board member of the Canton Main Street Organization and is a former member of the Northeast Missouri Workforce Investment Board. He previously served as an alderman for the city of Canton from 2008 until 2012 when he became mayor.

Phillips is married to Brenna (Leonard) Phillips ’02, and has two sons, Brendan and Callen. The family lives in Canton, Mo.

Education Hall of Excellence

Steven Fannin '71StevenFannin_Web.jpg

Steven Fannin graduated from Culver-Stockton College with a Bachelor of Arts in secondary education with an emphasis in biology in 1971. In addition to his degree from Culver-Stockton, Fannin has completed all coursework for his PhD in educational administration at Illinois State University. He also holds a Master of Science in educational administration and a certificate of advanced study in education administration from Illinois State.

While in college, Fannin was president of Lambda Chi Alpha, captain of the Wildcat football team and president of Wood Hall. He was awarded the W.A. Herington Award, as well as recognized with the Outstanding Freshman Football Player Award.

During his career, Fannin held superintendent positions at Morris Community High School and Freeburg Community High School, both in Illinois. Prior to those appointments, he was a teacher and eventually the principal of Hall High School in Spring Valley, Ill. Fannin also taught science at Minooka Community High School in Minooka, Ill. In addition to his teaching and administration roles, Fannin also coached football, basketball, baseball and wrestling at Hall High School.

Among Fannin’s numerous civic roles, he is a member of the Illinois Association of School Administrators and is chair of the Three Rivers Division of the organization. He also belongs to the American Association of School Administrators, the Illinois Association of School Business Officials, and the Three Rivers Education for Employment Executive Committee. He is also the chair of the Grundy County Business-Education Council, the chair of the American Cancer Society Board, the president of Morris Rotary and the chair of the Grundy Area Vocational Center Board. In addition, Fannin chairs the Grundy County Relay for Life and is a member of the board of directors for the Illinois Division of the American Cancer Society.

Fannin is married to Mary Sabatini, and has three children, Adam, Michael ’04 (married to Sunny Kim), and Molly.

Karen (Kost) Baker '81KarenKost_Web.jpg

Karen (Kost) Baker earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and economics with education from Culver-Stockton College in 1981, graduating with Hilltop Honors. She also holds a Master of Science in Education from the University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point. While in college, Baker was the president of Chi Omega Fraternity and was recognized with the Outstanding Junior Woman award. She was the president of the Johnson Hall Dorm and a staff assistant for the Business Department.

Baker's first job after graduating college was as an admission counselor at C-SC. Currently, Baker is the director of pupil services at the Unified School District of Antigo in Antigo, Wis. In this role she administers special education and pupil service programs, as well as related federal programs. Prior to this appointment, she held similar roles in the School District of Ashland, Wis., and at Lakeland Union High School in Minocqua, Wis. Baker also chaired the Special Education Department at LUHS, as well as taught students with emotional behavior disorders. She also has experience as a school-to-work transition coordinator and as a substitute teacher.

Baker is an executive board member of the Wisconsin Council of Administrators of Special Services, and is the region 7 (CESA 9/CESA 12) chair for the organization. She is also an active participant in the Ashland County Coordinated Services Team, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment Program Committee, the Criminal Justice Council, CHANGE Grant Program Committee, Children of Incarcerated Parents Committee, CESA #12 Mental Health Work Group Committee and the Education Collaboration Committee.

Baker is married to Christopher Baker and has four children: Ryan Denton (engaged to Kate Souza), Ashley Denton (with son Micah Denton), Michael Kolarchek and Robert Baker.

Fine Arts Hall of Fame

Frederick Hibbard ’26FrederickHibbard_Web.jpg

Frederick C. Hibbard was an acclaimed sculptor who earned international recognition for his work. Born in Canton, he attended Culver-Stockton College in 1898 and it was then that he took his first fine art course. After attending C-SC, he studied the University of Missouri and also under Lorado Taft at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Hibbard earned an honorary LL.D. degree from C-SC in 1929.

Among Hibbard’s works are the statues of Mark Twain, Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer in Hannibal, Mo., the Spanish American War Memorial near the state capitol building in Springfield, Ill., and the statues of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln in Racine, Wis. He also sculpted the statues of Ulysses S. Grant in Vicksburg, Miss., James Beauchamp Clark in Bowling Green, Mo., and Jefferson Davis in Frankfort, Ky. Other completed works include soldier memorials in Jackson, Mich., Winchester, Va., Forsythe, Ga., Princeton, Ill., Connelsville, Ohio, Great Bend, Kan., and Pittsburgh, Pa. Hibbard is also responsible for the bronze plaque featuring the likeliness of Carl Johann in the lobby of the Carl Johann Memorial Library on campus.

Hibbard lived his adult life in Chicago and died Dec. 12, 1950.

Cathy (Feliciano) Kapusciak ’82

Cathy (Feliciano) Kapusciak graduated from Culver-Stockton College in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science degree in speech and theatre education. While in college, Kapusciak was a member of Chi Omega. She was an active member of Culver-Stockton’s theatre program, participating in several campus theatre productions, acting in lead roles and stage-managing. She was also the secretary of the Student Parliament and a member on the forensics team.

Kapusciak currently teaches speech, theatre and English at Union R-XI in Union, Mo. Previously, she held a teaching position in the Hazelwood School District in St. Louis. In addition, Kapusciak worked for four years at the Golden Eagle Riverboat Theatre, three years at the Quincy Community Theatre and two years at the Elgin Community Theatre. She plans on retiring after this school year.

Kapusciak is active on Culver-Stockton College’s alumni board, and belongs to the Missouri Fine Arts Academy, the Educational Theatre Association Committee and the Speech and Theatre Association of Missouri.

Kapusciak is married to James Kapusciak and has two sons, Ezekial and Caleb. She lives in Defiance, Mo. 

William Grega ’84WillieGrega_Web.jpg

William Grega graduated from Culver-Stockton College with a Bachelor of Music Education degree in 1984. While in college, Grega belonged to Tau Kappa Epsilon and was a member of the Student Parliament. He also belonged to C-SC’s Concert Choir and performed in several campus theatre productions.

Grega currently serves as president of the Missouri Choral Directors Association (MCDA). This follows 19 years acting as the exhibit coordinator for the organization. He is also in his thirty-first year as a high school choral director. His teaching career began teaching middle school, junior high and high school music for the Sikeston (Missouri) Public Schools. In 1993, he joined the faculty at Parkview High School in Springfield, Mo., where he directs five choirs, teaches AP Music Theory and serves as chair of the Music Department. He has been an active leader for the Missouri Music Educators Association (MMEA), including serving a two-year term as choral vice-president. 

Grega received the Presidential Award of Excellence from MCDA and was in the inaugural induction class of the Culver-Stockton College Hall of Excellence for Education. 

Grega is married to Debbie Grega and has two children, Austin and Chandler.

Dr. Wesley TowerWesleyTower_Web.jpg

Dr. Wesley Tower came to Culver-Stockton College in 1967 as the chair of the Fine Arts Division. His main focus as division chair was transforming the existing fine arts program into a new Division of Fine Arts structure. This involved integrating experiential, performance-based learning and reinstating programs in jazz, show choir, band and instrumental chamber music. During his 14 years as division chair, a number of longstanding fine arts faculty joined C-SC, including D. Larry McSpadden, Anda Zirnitis, Emma Neale King, Al Beck and Carol Mathieson.

In addition to his work at Culver-Stockton College, Tower’s career includes faculty positions at Texas Wesleyan College and Southeast Missouri State University. He was also the dean of the College of Fine Arts and conductor of the Millikin Decatur Symphony Orchestra at Millikin University. 

Tower holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from Depauw University, as well as a PhD from George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. He also completed a private study with Nadia Boulanger, an internationally acclaimed teacher of music, in Paris, France, in the 1950s.

Tower is married to Marjorie Tower and has two sons, Marc and Brian.