CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Sept. 19, 2003 — The National Alumni Council of Southeast Missouri State University will honor six individuals with Distinguished Service Awards during Homecoming festivities Oct. 4.
Recipients will be Bekki Cook of Cape Girardeau; Rev. Bernard Johnson (formerly Henry A. Johnson) of Vina, Calif.; Gov. Ted Kulongoski of Salem, Ore.; Michael Landrum of Blooming Grove, N.Y.; Weldon Macke of Gordonville, Mo.; and Helen Harrelson of Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.
The Distinguished Service Awards, which are being given for the second time, are presented to individuals who attended Southeast but who did not graduate, said Jane Stacy, director of alumni services and development.
“Each of these people have brought distinction to the University and remain active in the life of the University,” she said.
The awards will be given at the All Alumni Breakfast scheduled for 7:30 a.m. Oct. 4 in the Student Recreation Center-South Campus, formerly the Activities Center of First Baptist Church, which recently was purchased by the University. Tickets are $9 per person. To purchase a ticket or for more information on the awards, call the Alumni Association at (573) 651-2259.
A native of Jackson, Mo., Cook attended Southeast in the fall of 1970. She went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1972 from the University of Missouri-Columbia. In 1975, she graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law.
Cook served as the 36th Secretary of State for the state of Missouri from 1994 to 2001. When she was elected in 1996 after being appointed by Gov. Mel Carnahan in 1994, she was the first Cape Girardeau County native elected to statewide office in Missouri in 100 years. She has been awarded the James C. Kirkpatrick Excellence in Governance Award from Central Missouri State University.
Last fall, Cook was appointed by Missouri Gov. Bob Holden to serve on the Southern Growth Policies Board, which develops and advances visionary policies by providing an active forum for partnership and dialog among Southern governors, legislators and stakeholders from business academic, and the economic and community development sectors.
Cook began practicing law with the Limbaugh, Limbaugh and Russell law firm in Cape Girardeau. From 1979 to 1992, she was vice president of the Oliver, Oliver, Waltz and Cook firm in Cape Girardeau. In 1997, she was inducted into The Law Society of the University of Missouri School of Law. In 1992, she received the Missouri Law School Honorary Order of the Barristers Award and has served on several committees of the Missouri Bar.
She has served on the board of directors of the Southeast Missouri University Foundation and has been a member of the President’s Council of the Copper Dome Society at Southeast. She has served on the board of the Southeast Missouri Hospital Foundation, and, in 1994, she was honored by the Cape Girardeau Zonta Club with its Woman of Achievement Award. Cook served as chair of the Cape Girardeau County Domestic Violence Authority and as a board member of the Cape Girardeau Area United Way, LIFT Missouri, Inc., the American Cancer Society, and the Otahki Girl Scout Council. She and her family are members of First Presbyterian Church.
She and her husband, John, are the parents of two children, Hunter and Morgan.
The Rev. Bernard Johnson, formerly Henry A. Johnson, is a native of Fort Lyon, Colo., who has served as a Trappist monk for more than half a century.
Johnson grew up in St. Louis and entered Southeast in fall 1943. He continued on campus through fall 1944. He entered Southeast as an apprentice seaman as part of the Navy V-12 program. While on campus, he was active in Black Mask, A capella Choir, men’s basketball and the Webster Society.
Johnson entered the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in
July 1946 in Conyers, Ga., and made a solemn profession as a Trappist monk on Oct. 7, 1951. He was ordained a priest on Nov. 28, 1954. In 1958, he began post-graduate studies, earning a master’s degree in law from Pontifical University of the Gregoriana in Rome. In 1960, he returned to Conyers to become dean of studies, and, in 1967, he became superior of Our Lady of New Clairvaux Abbey in Vina, Calif. He served as abbot there from 1967 to 1970, when he was elected procurator general. He later served as temporary superior at a monastery in Hong Kong before going to Rome to serve as procurator general. In that position, Johnson served as a liaison between his order – Cistercians of the Strict Observance, more commonly known as Trappists – and the various departments of the Holy See, handling financial, personnel and administrative duties. The order numbers about 4,000 members, monks and nuns with 144 monasteries on every continent.
He currently resides, once again, with 47 monks at Our Lady of New Clairvaux Abbey in California.
Landrum, formerly of Farmington, Mo., entered Southeast in the fall of 1960 and attended until the spring of 1963. During his time at Southeast, he was a member of A cappella Choir and was very active in drama, appearing as the lead in several productions, including “Dark at the Top of the Stairs,” “Paint Your Wagon” and “A Sleep of Prisoners.” He also performed as a supporting actor in several other productions, and served as stage manager. Landrum was recognized for his talent with the Davis Barnett award for Best Actor of 1961-1962.
In addition to attending Southeast, Landrum also attended Wayne State University and the National Theatre School of Canada, where he received training in classical Shakespearean acting.
Since his time at Southeast, Landrum has distinguished himself in the field of theatre. He has been a professional actor for more than 35 years, appearing in films and soap operas, on and off Broadway, and as a commercial spokesperson on television and radio. Landrum also has served as a spokesman for numerous Fortune 500 companies during his career.
In addition to performing as an actor and spokesperson, Landrum has taught at the School for Film and Television in New York City; directed, produced and written for the theatre and is a published writer of fiction and a number of articles. He is an Advanced Toastmaster, a member of the National Speakers Association ad the International Federation of Coaches. Landrum also has served on the National Board of the Screen Actors Guild, was a founding director of the Court Players Theatre Company at the Detroit Institute of the Arts, and has been involved with the Actors Equity Association and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
Landrum has developed a name for himself not only as an actor, but as a successful speaker, writer, personal business coach and presentation skills expert. He currently heads his own communications consulting company, and provides these and other communication and marketing related services to a number of well-known clients.
Landrum and his wife, Peggy, live in New York’s Hudson Valley with their daughter, Elizabeth.
Kulongoski is currently the governor of Oregon. Originally from Missouri, he attended Southeast in 1960. Prior to this time at Southeast, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and served overseas with the 11th and 12th Marine Regiments. Kulongoski then supplemented his GI Bill with work as a truck driver and steelworker to put himself through college and law school.
After earning his law degree from the University of Missouri, Kulongoski started his own law firm in Eugene, Ore., and worked to improve worker safety. He was elected to the Oregon House of Representatives in 1974 and to the Oregon Senate in 1978.
In 1987, he was appointed by then Gov. Neil Goldschmidt as the Oregon insurance commissioner. During his appointment, Kulongoski created thousands of new jobs and helped Oregon recover from its worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
Kulongoski was elected attorney general for the state of Oregon in 1992 and worked to turn Oregon’s juvenile justice system into a national model. He also enforced laws and regulations against corporate polluters during his time as attorney general.
In 1996, he was elected to the Oregon Supreme Court. Kulongoski’s service on the Court gave him the rare distinction of having served in all three branches of government.
He and his wife, Mary, are the parents of three grown children.
Born and raised in Gordonville, Mo., Macke attended Southeast in 1948 for two years, majoring in agriculture. He went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
He remains actively involved at Southeast as a board member of the Southeast Missouri University Foundation. He is currently chair of the Advisory Committee of the Department of Agriculture and serves on the board of directors for the SEMO Regional Crime Laboratory. He was a member of the University’s Presidential search committee that recommended the hiring of former President Dale Nitzschke.
Macke has served his community in a variety of ways for many years. He is an active participant in government at the local, state and federal levels. He was elected auditor of Cape Girardeau County in 1968 and held that position for 34 years. While in office, he represented Cape Girardeau County on the Finance and Taxation Committee of National Association of Counties. During this time, a bill for revenue sharing was passed, bringing many counties in the nation out of debt. He continues to sit on this committee. Macke has served as president and charter member of the Missouri Association of County Auditors. In 1980, he served as president of the Missouri Association of Counties, an organization he helped found. He is currently president of the Regional Planning District and has served on the State Regional Planning Council. He was sent as a delegate to the 1972 Republican Convention.
Additionally, Macke has been involved in numerous local institutions. He has served on the board of directors of four banks. He is currently on the board of trustees at Southeast Missouri Hospital. He is a member of the Jackson Chamber of Commerce. A member of the Rotary Club, Macke has held the offices of treasurer, secretary and president. He has promoted the local economy through entrepreneurship, having been the owner or partner in four local businesses.
He plays a strong role in his church, teaching Sunday school, serving on local and state boards, and on the worldwide Methodist General Conference of Finance and Administration.
He and his wife Bonnie have three daughters, five grandchildren and a great-grandson.
Harrelson attended Southeast from the fall of 1940 through the spring of 1942. Her father was a Cape Girardeau dentist. While at Southeast, she was a member of the drama club Black Mask, the Clio Society (Tri Delta), and a columnist for the Capaha Arrow. Her most important undertaking was a collaborative effort with two other students to change the name of the University, which at the time was Southeast Missouri State Teachers College, to the more inclusive Southeast Missouri State College.
Harrelson went on to receive a bachelor of fine arts degree from the Goodman School of the Theatre in Chicago. However, she had already become a professional actress as a result of a summer stock engagement, through which she became a member of the Actor’s Equity Association, the craft union for actors.
“Death of a Salesman” with George C. Scott, “night, Mother” and “Romeo and Juliet” are just a sample of the Broadway productions in which Harrelson has appeared. Her off Broadway performances are just as distinguished, including her role as Mrs. Gibbs in “Our Town”, directed by the great Jose Quintero.
At different times, she has lived in London and Rome, studying repertory theatre. Some of her most rewarding work was at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, which was founded by her husband, Peter Zeisler; Tyrone Guthrie; and Oliver Rea. Playing in repertory at the Guthrie, Harrelson performed in “Richard III” with Hume Cronyn and with his wife Jessica Tandy in “Way of the World”, as well as other classics.
During her extensive and notable career, Harrelson has worked from coast to coast touring with Broadway plays and later in regional theatres. She was heard on radio in the days of cliff hanger serials. She has also appeared on television, both daytime and primetime. She has had several roles on both “Law and Order” and “Law and Order: Criminal Intent”. Her film work includes “The Deep Well”, a Venice Festival prize winner. Her most recent appearance has been in a Kodak commercial in which a boy enlarges a photo of his grandmother as a young ballplayer.
In addition to acting, Harrelson has been a long-time reader for “Talking Books” and has recorded dozens of books for the American Foundation for the Blind.
She currently resides in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. with her husband Peter Zeisler. They have two sons: Mark Zeisler, who is an actor, and Eric Zeisler, a writer.