Southeast Alumni Association Honoring Four with Distinguished Service Awards

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Sept. 28, 2015 – Four individuals will be honored with Distinguished Service Awards from Southeast Missouri State University’s Alumni Association during Homecoming festivities Oct. 17.

Recipients include George Hartsfield of Jefferson City, Missouri; Walter Smallwood of Kirksville, Missouri; and Rick Hetzel and Cheryl Mothes of Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

Distinguished Service Awards are presented to individuals who have made lasting contributions to their communities and to the University.

The awards will be presented at an All Alumni Breakfast to be held at 7:30 a.m. in Kem Statuary Hall in the Aleen Vogel Wehking Alumni Center at 926 Broadway. Cost of the breakfast is $10 per person, payable in advance. Reservations may be made by calling the Alumni Association at (573) 651-2259 or emailing agrissom@semo.edu. RSVP deadline is Friday, Oct. 2.

George Hartsfield cropped

George Hartsfield

George Hartsfield

 George Hartsfield grew up on a farm near Malden, Missouri, and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Southeast Missouri State College in 1965 with a Bachelor of Arts with majors in history and political science and a minor in English. While a Southeast student, Hartsfield was active in a number of campus clubs and organizations and was elected Cardinal Key, the predecessor of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. He also served as president of the College’s Student Government during the 1963-1964 academic year.

Hartsfield was recruited into Southwestern Bell Telephone Company’s management trainee program through Southeast’s placement office. After four years with the Bell System, he spent 21 years serving in several management positions in Jefferson City with United Telephone System. In 1991, he became the president/chief executive officer of the Jefferson City Area YMCA, retiring from that position in 2009. Other business interests of his have included banking and real estate.

Since moving to Jefferson City in 1969, Hartsfield has been active in numerous community organizations. He served two years as a city councilman and eight years as the mayor of Jefferson City. On a statewide basis, Hartsfield has served as president of the Missouri Municipal League and as a member of the Missouri Gaming Commission. In retirement, he continues to be active in the political process and volunteer service. His favorite volunteer “gigs” have been at the homes of presidents Harry S Truman and Lyndon B. Johnson.

Hartsfield is married to Dr. Paula Kindrick Hartsfield who is retired after spending 32 years in public education. She now serves as a deacon at Grace Episcopal Church in Jefferson City. The Hartsfields have a daughter, Stacy, and two grandchildren, Parker and Avery.

In 2013, Hartsfield established the Clayton and Mamie Hartsfield Endowed Memorial Scholarship which benefits Malden High School graduates who attend Southeast. Donors to the scholarship fund have included several other family members, and it is named in memory of their parents and grandparents. Hartsfield and his wife also make annual contributions to an endowment fund at Southeast.

Rick Hetzel and Cheryl Mothes

Cheryl Mothes and Rick Hetzel

Cheryl Mothes and Rick Hetzel

 Cheryl Mothes, a Sylvia, Kansas native, is a financial adviser for Edward Jones. Her husband Rick Hetzel, a native of Jefferson City, Missouri, owns R. Hetzel Properties, LLC and Insta Golf, LLC. The couple currently resides in Cape Girardeau, where they share a passion for “radical generosity” and helping others, including animals. In addition to supporting the University through scholarships and legacy planning, they love supporting the Safe House for Women, the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri, Zonta Club of Cape Girardeau and Library for All.  Both serve on H.O.W? Ministries Board and MissionFest Cape Board, initiated a consortium of agencies to form Heartland4Haiti and have rescued numerous cats and dogs together.

Mothes is a member of the Saint Francis Medical Center Foundation Board, a GRACES member with United Way of Southeast Missouri, a Zonta Club Haiti medical/dental clinic team leader, chair of the Grace United Methodist Church Foundation, Southeast Missouri State University Horizons member and Power of Women planning team member. She has a Master of Science in Nursing from Wichita State University and a Master of Business Administration from Washington University. Mothes has been a financial advisor with Edward Jones for 15 years, and has been recognized with the firm’s highest honors for her exceptional work with clients, long-term individual investors and business owners throughout her community.

Hetzel serves on the Banterra Bank Advisory Board and the committee for Health and Human Services for Southeast Missouri State University. He is a University Horizons member and endowed a criminal justice scholarship. Hetzel holds a Master of Arts from Webster University and graduated from the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy in 1988.  He retired from U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command in 1990 and as Chief of Police in Cape Girardeau in 2001.

Walter Smallwood

Walter Smallwood

Walter Smallwood

Walter Smallwood was among the first African Americans to receive a football scholarship to attend Southeast Missouri State University.  He was also an integral four-year member of the University’s track team. Smallwood graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Science in secondary education, majoring in physical education and industrial arts. He continued his education, earning a Master of Science in Education from Truman State University.

Upon graduation from Southeast in 1969, Smallwood was hired almost immediately by the School District of Webster Groves, Missouri. He was Webster Groves High School’s head track and field coach and an assistant varsity football coach for 25 years.  Smallwood retired from the Webster Groves School District after 35 years as a classroom educator and coach.

He has remained a dedicated and loyal Southeast Missouri State University sponsor, supporter, enthusiast and mentor to many high school seniors. Smallwood remains personally active in supporting Southeast Missouri State University, serving on both past and current alumni boards or committees as a member. He truly believes, and has diligently demonstrated his passionate belief, “that student athletes who attend Southeast Missouri State University, not only have a successful collegiate-athletic experience, but most importantly, graduate with an outstanding education.”

Smallwood is married to his wife of 38 years, Cynthia Golden, a 1972 Southeast graduate. Her political science degree catapulted her on to becoming the first African American female officer for the St. Louis County Missouri Police Department, retiring after 30 years as a lieutenant. Their daughter, Amber Golden Smallwood, resides in Alsip, Illinois, and is the director of two group homes in Chicago, Illinois, for individuals with developmental disabilities.