Annual Merit Awards to Honor Alumni, Faculty


Photo of the Show Me Center

Seven alumni and a faculty member at Southeast Missouri State University will receive annual Merit Awards presented by the Southeast Missouri State University Alumni Association Oct. 20 in the Show Me Center.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Oct. 5, 2006 — Seven alumni and a faculty member at Southeast Missouri State University will receive annual Merit Awards presented by the Southeast Missouri State University Alumni Association Oct. 20 at the Copper Dome Society/Merit Award Dinner.

Representatives of the Alumni Association will present the awards at the dinner at 6:30 p.m. in the Show Me Center.

Alumni Merit Awards are presented by Southeast to honor distinguished alumni. The awards have been given since 1958 to graduates of Southeast who have brought distinction to themselves and to the University. The Faculty Merit Award is presented for excellence and distinction in teaching.

Recipients of this year’s Alumni Merit Awards are as follows: Dr. David Amberger, ’80, of Honolulu, Hawaii, president and chief executive officer and laboratory director for Aloha Laboratories in Honolulu; Dr. Edward Cleino, ’38, a retired University of Alabama educator and administrator who taught percussion and music education for 30 years; Gary Downing, ’72, of Fairfield, Conn., chief executive officer of Lansinoh Laboratories; Donald Heeb, ’57, of St. Louis, Mo., retired athletic director, head football and golf coach at Vianney High School; Mark Hitt, ’82, of Jefferson City, Mo., manager of Missouri Department of Agriculture’s International Marketing Program; Kathy Kremer Toon, ’74, of Spring Valley, Calif., a teacher of homeless students in downtown San Diego; and Lt. Gen. Clyde Vaughn, ’68, of Washington, D.C., deputy director for operations for the U.S. Army National Guard.

This year’s recipient of the Faculty Merit Award is Barry Bernhardt, director of the Golden Eagles Marching Band.

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Alumni Merit Awards

Photo of Dr. David Amberger Dr. David Amberger ’80, who majored in biology, is the only pathologist in Hawaii on the list of Best Doctors in America. Amberger founded Aloha Laboratories in 1992 and established an unparalleled anatomic laboratory serving Hawaii, one of only two laboratories in the nation selected by Harvard Medical School Pathology for an off-site elective rotation in anatomic pathology.  He holds board certification in anatomic and clinical pathology, as well as dermatopathology, and is a member of the Hawaii Dermatological Society and the Hawaii Society of Pathology.


Photo of Dr. Edward Cleino

Dr. Edward Cleino ’38, who majored in music at Southeast, taught percussion and music education at the University of Alabama from 1949 to 1978 and is professor emeritus of music and music education. In 1957, Cleino began his 18-year-partnership with Alabama Public Television to produce and distribute a weekly show entitled “Music Time” that offered music lessons to more than 60,000 children in 200 schools. Cleino was principal percussionist of the St. Louis Philharmonic in 1934, the Nashville Symphony from 1946 to 1949 and the Birmingham Symphony from 1949 to 1951.

Photo of Gary Downing

Gary Downing ’72, who majored in marketing, is chief executive officer of Lansinoh Laboratories. Downing began his career with Richardson-Vicks in sales and was promoted in 1982 to national sales manager of broker operations. In 1984, Downing became vice president of sales and marketing for Oral-B Laboratories, a division of Gillette. In 1989, he ran the consumer products division of Rhone-Poulenc Rorer, and, in 1995, became chief executive officer of Medtech Lab, a company he created with two partners. Downing has served on the board of directors of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association for 15 years.


Photo of Donald Heeb

Donald Heeb ’57, who majored in physical education, is retired athletic director, head football and golf coach of Vianney High School. During his 30-year-tenure, he earned awards, including Coach of the Year and Missouri Athletic Director of the Year, and he also was inducted into the St. Louis Football Hall of Fame. Heeb began his career in 1958 at Mercy High School. In 1986, he served on the East Coaching Staff of the Missouri Lions High School all-star game in Jefferson City, Mo. In 1997, he received the St. Louis Officials Award, becoming the first person in the history of the Association to be honored as both a coach and an official.

Photo of Mark Hitt

Mark Hitt ’82, who majored in agribusiness, has traveled to 12 countries in North and South America, Europe and Asia during his 16 years at the Missouri Department of Agriculture. As international marketing director, he and his staff help Missouri farmers, food processors and forestry product companies expand their export sales. Hitt also coordinates Missouri offices in Guadalajara, Mexico, Taipei, Taiwan and Jefferson City.

Photo of Kathy Kremer Toon Kathy Kremer Toon ’74, who majored in secondary education with a major in speech education, teaches homeless children of downtown San Diego, often going to the streets to find them. For her work, Toon has been honored as one of 38 California teachers of the year. When she first came to San Diego, she taught students in Juvenile Hall who were confined to their cells due to the severity of their crimes. Then, she moved to a residential treatment center to teach the severely emotionally disturbed. Toon’s goal is to make school a safe haven for her students and a place they can feel safe and successful.Photo of Lt. Gen. Clyde Vaughn Lt. Gen. Clyde Vaughn ’68, who majored in physical education, assumed duties as director of the Army National Guard in 2005. Vaughn, the only Missouri National Guardsman to ever attain the federally recognized rank of lieutenant general, guides the formulation, development and implementation of all programs and policies affecting the Army National Guard, a force of 350,000 soldiers in 54 states, territories and the District of Columbia. He was commissioned through the Missouri National Guard Officer Candidate School program in 1974 and served in a variety of command and staff positions as a traditional guardsman and on active duty. He has served extensively in Central and South America on several deployed task forces. His general officer assignments were as deputy director of operations, Readiness and Mobilization, and the deputy director of Military Support under the G3 of the U.S. Army. He then served as deputy director of the Army National Guard, and most recently, he was assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for National Guard matters.

Faculty Merit Award

Photo of Barry Bernhardt Barry Bernhardt, who joined the Southeast faculty in 1990, directs the Golden Eagles Marching Band, the Southeast Wind Symphony, the Southeast Show Band and the Southeast Chamber Winds.  He is a founding member of the Southeast Faculty Brass Quintet, chairman of the Department of Music Scholarship, Student Recruitment and Retention Committee, and is the director of Summer Music Camps. He has performed with the Paducah Symphony Orchestra, the Moody Blues, Colin Raye, the Temptations, the Jim Widner Big Band, Clark Terry, the Southeast Faculty Jazz Combo and many others. Bernhardt has been on the production staff of Bowl Games of America for 17 years and has written and conducted halftime shows for the San Francisco, Gator, Liberty, Alamo, Holiday, Sugar and Orange bowls. He wrote and conducted the Gator Bowl Halftime Show in January for NBC-TV. He also has conducted halftime performances for three NCAA National Championship football games.