Four to be Honored with Distinguished Service Award


CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Sept. 23, 2009 – The Alumni Association of Southeast Missouri State University will honor four individuals with Distinguished Service Awards during Homecoming festivities Oct. 10.           Recipients will be U.S. Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond; Mike Smythe of Cape Girardeau, general manager of KFVS12; Lisa Filkins of St. Louis, a several senior level human resources executive in the St. Louis area; and Lu Ruzicka of Chesterfield, Mo., a retired teacher and benefactor.

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

The awards will be given at an All-Alumni Breakfast to be held at 7:30 a.m. Oct. 10 in the Wehking Alumni Center, 926 Broadway. Breakfast tickets are $10 per person. To purchase a ticket or for more information on the awards, call (573) 651-2259 or e-mail

U.S. Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond

U.S. Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond has had a remarkable public service career extending over three decades, since his election in 1970 as state auditor. A sixth-generation Missourian, he graduated with honors from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton and earned his law degree from the University of Virginia.

He served as governor of Missouri from 1973 to 1977 and from 1980 to 1985. During Bond’s tenure as governor of Missouri, he helped to secure $3.19 million in state funding for the Show Me Center and was instrumental in supporting a plan that led to voter approval of $600 million in bonds for capital improvements in Missouri. The Show Me Center is one of the buildings partially financed through those funds. Bond participated in a ribbon cutting and dedication of the Show Me Center in September 1987.

He is now serving in his fourth term in the U.S. Senate and is a member of the Senate Committees on Appropriations, Intelligence, Environment and Public Works, and Small Business. Bond’s fourth term in the U.S. Senate ends in 2010. He has announced plans to retire at the conclusion of his term and will not seek reelection.

Bond, in cooperation with U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, are responsible for garnering $7.55 million for the River Campus, including $2.6 million in federal funding for planning and enhancing the Rosemary Berkel and Harry L. Crisp II Regional Museum and the Explorer mobile museum serving Southeast Missouri; $2.95 million to purchase state-of-the-art equipment for the Earl and Margie Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts; and $2 million for the City of Cape Girardeau for infrastructure on and around the River Campus.

Bond is responsible for initiating the Missouri NASA Education Program, which was developed to augment K-12 science, mathematics and technology education in Missouri through the enhancement of teaching, student learning and curricular materials. Bond secured more than $1.75 million for the NASA Education Program which has three primary components: the Missouri NASA Educator Resource Center located on Southeast’s campus; the Missouri NASA Education Specialist Network, which includes six full-time trained educators located in Cape Girardeau, St. Louis, Columbia and Kansas City; and the NASA exhibit aboard the Explorer mobile museum. The Explorer brings the benefits of quality museum-centered learning to public events and K-12 schools, with the primary target being rural students.

Bond helped to secure almost $2 million for the SEMO Regional Crime Lab to assist law enforcement agencies throughout Southeast Missouri in the war on crime. The crime lab, which operates in a state-of-the-art facility, provides testing for drugs, firearms examinations, blood/body fluids, serology, trace evidence, arson, fingerprints, alcohol in blood, urine toxicology and DNA. The lab, which was dedicated in September 2003, is situated in about 8,000 square feet of space in a building at 122 S. Ellis. It serves nearly 100 law enforcement agencies in southeast Missouri. The lab also features a bullet trap in the lab’s firing range to enhance firearm analysis capability. Bond’s efforts in securing federal funding also allowed for unfinished space in the building to be renovated for these purposes.

Bond also was instrumental in landing $2 million for state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing technology and electronic equipment to make the Otto and Della Seabaugh Polytechnic Building, one of the finest teaching facilities in the nation in the field of advanced manufacturing technology. Industries are continuously challenged to reduce production costs, increase productivity, improve product quality, and comply with environmental concerns.  To address these issues, some industries may need to modify current manufacturing processes or adopt completely new technologies.

This facility has become the focus and staging point for the coordinated delivery of technical education and for the training and retraining of technical workers in the region. A large part of the growth can be attributed to the outstanding lab equipment in the facility.  Southeast, working in coordination with Workforce Development, has delivered technology training and programs that can truly meet the needs of the region.

In addition, Bond secured $650,000 in federally designated funding for the purchase of the Southeast Health on Wheels (S.H.O.W.) Mobile, and medical and dental equipment necessary to provide primary health and dental care aboard the unit. Under a partnership between Southeast and Southeast Missouri Hospital, the S.H.O.W. Mobile provides primary health care and education in Southeast Missouri, a rural economically deprived area with critical health and dental care needs.

Bond also helped Southeast Missouri State in landing $3.5 million for the University’s transit program and Multi-Modal Transfer Facility, and $300,000 for renovation of the Perryville Higher Education Center.

Mike Smythe

Mike Smythe has been general manager at KFVS12 and The Heartland’s CW (WQWQ-TV) for the past eight years. His weekly “ViewPoint” segment was named the 2009 Television Editorial of the Year in both Missouri and Illinois in June. In the last seven years, “ViewPoint” has been honored numerous times by the Missouri and Illinois Broadcasters’ Associations.  “ViewPoint” has been nominated twice for an Emmy Award from the Mid-America Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

In 2008, the Illinois Broadcasters’ Association (IBA) again named KFVS12 the Medium Market TV Station of the Year for the sixth consecutive year. No other station in IBA history has won Station of the Year this many consecutive years.

In 2004, Smythe served as campaign chairperson for the United Way of Southeast Missouri.  Under his term, the United Way broke their all-time donation record, receiving more than $1 million. He has since been elected to a new three-year term at the United Way. Smythe also serves on the Southeast Missouri University Foundation board of directors and the St. Louis Boy Scout Council board of directors.

Over the years, KFVS12 has supported Southeast Missouri State University with numerous endeavors and recently has provided Webcasts for several athletic events and the annual Homecoming parade.

Smythe began at KFVS12 in 1998 as general sales manager.  In that position, he became widely known by KFVS12 viewers as the energetic host of “Heartland Business Break,” a local on-air “Breakfast Show” segment featuring regional businesses and public service agencies.  As general sales manager, he published and won an Addy Award for his “Pros & Cons of Media” campaign.

Prior to KFVS, Smythe served as general sales manager at WITN-TV in the Greenville/New Bern/Washington, North Carolina market.  There, his “Business Break” segment was honored internationally by the Community Action Network in New York. He also received the NBC “Bright Idea Award” for his development of a multi-million dollar advertising campaign used throughout the country.  Smythe also served as general sales manager at WKEF, the NBC affiliate in Dayton, Ohio, and national sales manager at WTOL, the CBS station in Toledo, Ohio.

In addition to television station experience, Smythe also was employed by the Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB) in Chicago.  In his eight years with the TVB, he served as vice president/Midwest, marketing manager for major markets, and marketing manager for national advertisers. Smythe has been a contributing journalist for Broadcasting Magazine, the United States Banker and the Chicago Sun Times.  He has a master’s degree in broadcasting and business from Bowling Green State University, and a bachelor of arts degree in speech and business from the University of Findlay in Ohio.

Lisa Filkins

Lisa Filkins has been a senior level human resources executive in St. Louis. She has been invited by several area universities to participate in human resource forums sharing her wide-based knowledge with others in the human resources field. Having this relationship with such universities as Southeast Missouri State University, Webster, University of Missouri-St. Louis, Lindenwood University and Harris-Stowe is enabling her to continue to build a network with many human resources professionals around the world. She currently serves as an adjunct professor in a master’s degree program at Lindenwood University, teaching several courses in the field of human resources.

Filkins also has been an advocate for Southeast graduates.  Her support of and participation in the St. Louis Interview Days, a major placement initiative for the Harrison College of Business, has been instrumental in making the event one of the most effective career placement events for Southeast students.Filkins has been the Human Resources manager at several law firms headquartered in St. Louis. Her responsibilities included writing a new policy manual and reviewing process and compensation structures.

Filkins is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management. She serves on the board of St. Louis Internship Program, Youth Lifeline America and Christ Community Lutheran School. She is personnel advisor for Webster Gardens Lutheran Church, participated in the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Executive Lock-Up and is a United Way leadership giver.

Filkins holds a master of arts degree in human resource development from Webster University and a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from St. Louis University.

Lu Ruzicka

Ludeane “Lu” Jeanette Fowler Ruzicka of Chesterfield, Mo., is a retired teacher and benefactor. She is a charter member of the Southeast Missouri University Foundation’s Copper Dome Society and a member of the President’s Council, as was her late husband, Leonard Ruzicka Sr.

Mrs. Ruzicka has been a long time friend and benefactor of the University.  Gifts, made possible through the generosity of she and her husband, completed the necessary property acquisitions that made the River Campus a reality.  Mrs.  Ruzicka also provided funding for the Interlude Fountain in memory of her parents.

A native of Cape Girardeau, Mrs. Ruzicka spent her formative years living with her family on Lorimier Street and on Morgan Oak Street near the current location of Southeast’s River Campus. Ruzicka, whose father graduated from Southeast in 1932, attended Lorimier Grade School, now Cape Girardeau City Hall, and College High School, now the Rosemary Berkel Crisp Hall of Nursing at Southeast.

She went on to attend the then Southeast Missouri State College, majoring in English and speech pathology, graduating in 1951 with a bachelor of science in education degree. During her years at Southeast, she was active in Black Mask, Collegiate Players, the Debate Team, Sorosis Society, Golden Eagles and Centenary Methodist Youth, and was a reporter for the campus newspaper.

She attended graduate school at St. Louis University and, over the years, has taught in various capacities as a speech correctionist; lip reading, speech and audiology instructor; and substitute teacher in several public and parochial school districts.

Mrs. Ruzicka spent two years on the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Ariz., where she was active in the Officers’ Wives Club, wrote the base newsletter and volunteered in the base hospital as an American Red Cross aide.

For nearly 20 years, she was active in Chester, Ill, in the Woman’s Club, the Memorial Hospital Auxiliary and the Friends of Chester Public Library. She initiated and coordinated Memorial Hospital’s Candy Striper program, which provided college scholarships.For a dozen years, Mrs. Ruzicka served as a GED instructor and coordinator for Illinois School District 428 Department of Corrections at the Menard Penitentiary Psychiatric Division in Chester, Ill. She also served as a member of an Illinois state committee for design of the curriculum used in School District 428.

Mrs. Ruzicka has two sons – Jay Wolz of Cape Girardeau, a 1977 graduate of Southeast; and Robert Wolz of Savannah, Ga., a 1982 graduate of Mississippi State. Her stepson, Christopher Ruzicka of Chesterfield, Mo., is a 1980 graduate of Marquette University. She has four grandchildren – Katie Yager and Allison, Miller and Amy Claire Wolz – and three step-grandchildren – Karly, Bridget and David Ruzicka.

U.S. Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond

Mike Smythe

Lisa Filkins

Lu Ruzicka