Southeast to Salute Outstanding St. Louis Alumni at Awards Luncheon


CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., April 10, 2006 – The Southeast Missouri State University Alumni Association will salute five outstanding Southeast alumni from the St. Louis area at noon on April 25 at a “Southeast Salutes” Awards Luncheon at the Sheraton West Port-Chalet.  The awards will be presented in conjunction with the announcement of the Jack Buck Scholar-Leadership Award recipient and finalists.

This year’s Southeast Salutes recipients are Terry Benassi, principal of Corporate Interiors, Inc.; Annette Heller, attorney and former member of The Missouri Bar Board of Governors; Bradford Layton, founder and chief executive officer of Bradford & Galt; and Susan Solovic, chief executive officer and owner of SBTV.  Mark Munsell, a former Southeast football player, will be posthumously recognized as a Southeast Salutes recipient.

The St. Louis Chapter of the Southeast Missouri State University Alumni Association created Southeast Salutes to honor outstanding alumni from the St. Louis area who have brought distinction to themselves and to the University through career and community achievements.

Selected from more than 15,000 alumni in the St. Louis area, this year’s five honorees come from a wide variety of career fields and educational backgrounds.

Five St. Louis area alumni were honored with the 2006 Southeast Salutes award for their contributions to Southeast and to their community.  From left to right are Julie, Katie, Barry, Trish and Jill Munsell, representing the late Mark Munsell ‘96; Terry A. Benassi ‘68; Bradford Layton ‘75; Annette Heller ‘67; Dr. Kenneth W. Dobbins, and Susan Solovic ‘78.

Terry Benassi ’68

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Benassi has some 35 years of experience in the contract furniture industry.  He is a principal/owner and vice president-corporate sales for CI Select, a Corporate Interiors Company.  CI Select is a 20-year-old company that provides products and solutions for the office, education, healthcare, government, audio-visual and flooring industries with sales of $37 million, which ranks them as the second largest dealer in St. Louis.

Benassi received a bachelor of science degree in business administration with a major in marketing management, with an emphasis in law, and minors in economics and English composition in 1968.  He has been active with the International Facility Management Association, St. Louis Regional Chamber & Growth Association, Special Olympics Missouri-East Area Resource and Development Team, Rotary Club of St. Louis, the Scramble for Kids Golf Tournament benefiting Children’s Miracle Network, Friends of Kids with Cancer, St. Louis Ambassadors and the Variety Club of St. Louis, Sigma Chi fraternity, St. Louis Alumni Chapter’s Old Newsboys Day, Lord of Life Lutheran Church, youth sports programs and the National Youth Sports Coaches Association.

Benassi has been married for 34 years to the former Susan Doerr, a 1970 Southeast graduate. They have one daughter, Anna-Marie. Terry, Susan and Anna-Marie live in Chesterfield, Mo.

Annette Heller ’67

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Heller received a bachelor of science degree in business administration with an emphasis in marketing from Southeast in 1967.  She received a juris doctor degree from St. Louis University School of Law in 1976.  Heller has more than 30 years of experience in trademark and copyright law, serving as a trademark and copyright attorney for Ralston Purina Company from 1974 to 1983 and currently serving as a private practitioner in St. Louis.

Heller is a member of both the Missouri Bar and the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis. She is past vice president of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis and was a member of the Leadership St. Louis Class of 1986-1987.  She currently lives in St. Louis withher husband Jack.

Bradford Layton ’75

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Layton received a bachelor of arts degree in psychology in 1975 and a master of arts degree in counseling psychology in 1976, both from Southeast.  He is the founder and chief executive officer of Bradford and Galt, Inc. in St. Louis.  This Information Technology Staffing and Consulting Firm has grown dramatically and serves the Midwest with offices in St. Louis, Mo., Kansas City, Kan., and central Illinois.

Layton is a four-time finalist in the service category of the St. Louis “Entrepreneur of the Year” award sponsored by Inc. magazine. His company is a two-time honoree in the St. Louis Regional Technology Fast 50 program, sponsored by Deloitte & Touche and the St. Louis Regional Commerce & Growth Association. Bradford & Galt has also been recognized by the St. Louis Business Journal as one of the fastest growing private companies in St. Louis for three years.

He lives in St. Louis with his wife, Barbara.

Susan Solovic (attended ’76-’78)

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Solovic attended Southeast from 1976 to 1978.  She received a bachelor of arts degree in history and political science from Columbia College in 1980.  Solovic is the chief executive officer and chairman of, America’s only online television network dedicated to providing news and information for small businesses in the United States.

Solovic has authored several books, hosted and produced a series of national satellite television broadcasts for women business owners and served on the John F. Kennedy School of Government Women’s Leadership Board at Harvard University.  She is also a popular media guest on radio and television programs across the country.

Solovic lives in St. Louis.


Mark Munsell ’96 (Posthumous Award)

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Munsell was a liberal arts graduate from Southeast in 1996.  He was a four-year letterman at Southeast and played defensive lineman and deep snapper from 1991 through 1994.  He died unexpectedly in November of 2003.

Jill, wife of Munsell, along with father, Barry Munsell and sisters, Patricia, Juliet and Katherine Munsell, together have formed the Mark Munsell Foundation and endowed the Mark Munsell Memorial Scholarship in 2005.