CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Aug. 12, 2015 – The Southeast Missouri State University Alumni Association will recognize four Southeast alumni from the St. Louis area at the 15th annual “Southeast Salutes” celebration Thursday, Sept. 10, at Ces and Judy’s, 10405 Clayton Road in St. Louis.
Alumni, spouses and friends are invited to join Southeast President Dr. Carlos Vargas at the event honoring the recipients’ career and community achievements. Registration is open, but space is limited. Hors d’oeuvres will be served, and a cash bar will be available. The cost is $15 per person, and reservations can be made through the Southeast alumni website, www.iAMsoutheast.com, by calling the University’s Alumni Relations office at (573) 651-2259 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration deadline is Sept. 3.
The 15th annual celebration will honor Bob Bunton, ’82, Parkway North head football coach; Mary Ann Owens, ’86, Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri director of programs and partnerships; Kenneth Stricker, ’87, Consort Homes president and chief executive officer; and Dr. David Taylor, ’00 and ’02, St. Louis Community College-Meramec Department of English chair.
The Southeast Alumni Association and the Association’s St. Louis Chapter created Southeast Salutes in 2001 to honor outstanding alumni from the St. Louis area who have brought distinction to themselves and to the Southeast through professional achievements, community involvement and support of the University.
Bob Bunton graduated from Southeast in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science in communications. As a Southeast undergraduate, he was a four-year letterman of the Southeast baseball team under the late legendary coach Joe Uhls. An All-MIAA and All-Midwest Region second baseman, Bunton was also the sports editor of the campus newspaper, The Capaha Arrow, and wrote sports for the Cape Girardeau city newspapers, the Southeast Missourian and the Bulletin Journal. After leaving Southeast, he began a career in education with the Parkway School District. The 2015-2016 school year will mark his 32nd year as an educator at his alma mater, Parkway North High School. While at Parkway North, Bunton has earned numerous distinctions as a U.S. History teacher and coach. In 2006, he earned the Pillar of Parkway Award for exemplary service and leadership to the Parkway School District and in 2010 was inducted into the Parkway School District Alumni Hall of Fame. As the head football coach and baseball coach at Parkway North, Bunton has guided both of his programs to the MSHSAA Final Four championships and four times has been named the Suburban South Conference Coach of The Year. In 2006, he was saluted as the St. Louis area’s Prep Football Coach of The Year by the National Football Foundation. His football and baseball teams also have been involved in numerous community service projects in the St. Louis area for many years. He has been married to his wife Stephanie (Daniel), a Southeast alumna, for 32 years and is the proud father of five grown children, Bo, Mike, Blake, Tiffany and Ross.
Mary Ann Owens graduated from Southeast Missouri State University in 1986 with Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, majoring in marketing. She has worked with the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri for 23 years cumulatively. She is currently the organization’s director of Programs and Partnerships. Owens oversees all planning and implementation of programs and events for both girl and adult members. In 2012, she was coordinated the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouting celebration. Through various events and a downtown St. Louis festival and parade, more than 50,000 joined into the activities to celebrate the anniversary. Owens also was the founding executive director of the Southeast Missouri Family Violence Council from 1992 to 1998. She is passionate about empowering women and devotes much of her time to volunteering for the Miss America Scholarship Program. Through her efforts as the executive director of two St. Louis pageants, she has spearheaded fund raising to furnish more than $35,000 in scholarship money to young women residing in Missouri. She also serves on the advisory board and as a field director for the Miss Missouri Pageant. In addition, she has served in past years as president of various organizations such as the Nancy Weber Garden Club and the Federated Club. Owens lives in the historic Shaw neighborhood in St. Louis and has one daughter, Bree Bowen, and a 10-year-old grandson, Brett.
Kenneth Stricker, a native of DeSoto, Missouri, graduated Cum Laude from Southeast Missouri State University in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, majoring in accounting and finance. In addition to serving as president and chief executive officer of Consort Homes, LLC, he is chief executive officer of The Jones Company of Tennessee, LLC. Stricker joined the certified public accounting firm of Kiefer, Bonfanti Co., LLP, serving as a staff accountant two years, senior accountant two years and audit manager for three years. He joined The Jones Company in 1994 as operations manager, was promoted to vice president and chief financial officer in 1996 and became president in 2003 when The Jones Company was acquired by Centex Homes. He joined the newly formed Consort Homes in 2006 and became chief executive officer of The Jones Company of Tennessee in 2012. He is a past president of the Home Builders Association of Greater St. Louis and Eastern Missouri and received that organization’s Excellence of Achievement Award in 2014. He has served as chairman of the Missouri Governor’s Housing Task Force, treasurer of the St. Louis County Library Board, president of the St. Louis County Library Pension Board and a member of the St. Louis County Board of the Home Builders Association, the Home Building Industry Advancement Fund and the Development Committee for Habitat for Humanity in St. Louis. He currently serves as chairman of the St. Louis County Building Commission and Board of Appeals, trustee of the Carpenter’s District Council Pension and Health and Welfare Plan, and a member of the Southeast Missouri State University Corporate Planning Committee. He serves as a director of the Board of St. Louis Bank and is a member of the Home Building Industry Political Action Committee and the Home Builders Association’s Legislative Policy and Federal Government Affairs committees. In his spare time, he enjoys golf, hunting, shooting and boating. Stricker lives in Chesterfield, Missouri, with his wife, Christy, and their daughters, Brooke, 15, and Paige, 12.
Dr. David Taylor graduated from Southeast in 2000 with a Bachelor of Arts with a major in English literature. He also received a Master of Arts from Southeast in 2002, graduating with Master’s Honors in English. He went on to earn a doctoral degree in educational studies from Saint Louis University in 2013. At St. Louis Community College, Taylor developed several courses, including a course in literary publishing and another on urban legends and American society. Before becoming chairman of the Meramec campus’ Department of English, Taylor was the department’s assistant chairman from 2010-2012 and served as the faculty advisor to Currents, the literacy magazine, from 2006-2010. He also has been published in various creative and academic journals, including Anthology, AIM, TimBookTu, Missouri Reader and Big Muddy. He has published three poetry chapbooks: “M&M’s and Other Insignificant Poems,” “Two Cobras in a Ritual Dance” and “Life’s Ramblings.” In addition, he has presented at several national conferences, including the annual SUNY-Oswego Symposium on Learning and Teaching, the Conference on College Composition and Communication, the Association for General and Liberal Studies National Conference and the Qualitative Research Conference. In 2010, he received the Teaching Excellence Award from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development. Taylor lives in St. Louis with his wife, Jennifer, who he met at Southeast and who is a Southeast graduate. The Taylors have three children, Renner, 9, Reed, 7, and Rowan, 5. Taylor volunteers as vice president of their school’s Parent Teacher Organization Board and is a Catholic Youth Council coach as well as a Cub Scout den leader.