Alumni awards

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2018 Distinguished alumni award recipients  

Mr. Randall Harbert

Harbert is the Chief Agency Sales and Marketing Officer and has been recognized by Business Insider as one the 50 Most Innovative Chief Marketing Officers in the World.

At UCM, he pursued leadership experiences as a member of Alpha Kappa Lambda, an exciting career as a collegiate golfer, and was the male recipient of the Charno Award. He says it was the mentors at UCM, like graphic arts professor Jim Hoisington, that helped him excel.

After graduation, he started his professional career with positions in both pharmaceutical sales and branding. In 1992, he left his marketing position at H.J. Heinz for an entrepreneurial opportunity, as an agent for State Farm Insurance where he quickly rose through the ranks.

Both Rand and his wife, Kelly, have served on both the UCM Alumni and Foundation Board. They helped provide the State Farm Marketing and Sales labs, helped bring the State Farm Marketing and Sales Competition to UCM, and have also endowed the Randall and Kelly Harbert Marketing Professorship.

“I learned to be a good student at the University of Central Missouri,” Harbert said, “What I learned here is that if you work hard, the rewards can be great and that’s my biggest takeaway.”

Dr. Rebecca Morlando

Rebecca Morlando is the Lean Six Sigma Manufacturing and Supply Chain Director for 3M’s Safety and Graphics Division. She oversees operations in more than 20 countries, with revenues in excess of $5.5-billion.

“I fell in love with 3M,” she said. “How can you not? As a chemist, as a natural scientist? We take great scientists, we solve big problems, and we impact lives around the world.”

She is a Warrensburg native whose educator parents helped develop her love of learning. She earned her undergraduate degree in chemistry from UCM, then attended the University of Missouri to earn a doctoral degree in chemistry in 1997. She then launched her professional career with 3M, a company where she had worked part-time during her dissertation. She became a plant manager in 2003. Since then, her star has seen a meteoric rise with positions increasing in responsibility and scope.

Her work takes her to countries across the world. Already in 2018, she has worked on every continent except Antarctica. As she travels the globe, she recognizes that the roots of her leadership reach back to lessons learned in her Warrensburg home and on the UCM campus.

Mr. Richard Phillips

Richard Phillips has been recognized with the Missouri Pioneer in Education award, the “Friend of Education” award, and was inducted into the UCM Athletics Hall of Fame in 2013. He completed his undergraduate degree at UCM before beginning a 50-plus-year career in education as a teacher and coach at Odessa High School, followed by three years in Pleasant Hill. After earning a master’s degree, he returned to UCM in 1970 to obtain an education specialist degree.

He had moved to a superintendent position when the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), asked him to be assistant director for supervision of instruction. He accepted the role with DESE and began a 14-year journey as the main architect of the state’s classification and accreditation effort. In 1993, he accepted a position as the assistant superintendent at Fort Osage High School. Then in 2010, he was invited back to Jefferson City as the interim deputy commissioner of DESE.

He was elected to the UCM Alumni Board where he served as president in 2004, and says it allowed him to view the university through a different lens. He then served on UCM’s Board of Governors in 2005 and is currently serving as the president of the UCM Alumni and Foundation Board.

Dr. Rafie Hamidpour

Rafie Hamidpour holds doctoral degrees in engineering and bioscience as well as being a prolific author. He currently has engineering specialty offices in California, Kansas, Missouri and Virginia. In addition to engineering, he is also a medical researcher for Pars Bioscience- a company that conducts pharmacological studies exploring the benefits of herbal medicines such as saffron and camphor as anti-cancer agents. It was his experience with the master’s degree program in industrial management at UCM that he says helped to get him ready for his doctoral education.

He was originally from Iran, where his childhood and father helped shape his work ethic and drive towards academic success. During his academic career, he earned undergraduate degrees at Arizona State and the University of Missouri - Kansas City in mathematics and engineering. It was while working as an engineer in Kansas City that he commuted to the University of Central Missouri to pursue a master’s degree. His first patent was for developing a motion control system and his educational curiosity and work ethic drove him on to earn two doctoral degrees.

“I liked the courses at UCM,” Hamidpour said. “It is a good state university. I really enjoyed the research, and the master’s program set me up for my Ph.D.”

Ms. Sarah Osborne

Sarah Osborne has been recognized as a Next Generation Leader by the Kansas City Business Journal and is a member of the American Academy of Actuaries. She is a volunteer for the United Way of Greater Kansas City and now serves to assist women and children through her volunteer work on the Phoenix House board of directors. She began work as an actuary at Assurant Employee Benefits, and in 2010 she advanced to the vice president position with Lockton Companies. Since 2016, she has served as the senior vice president and chief actuary and analytics officer for GEHA.

She entered college at the University of Central Missouri in the late 1990s, where she was an outstanding student of actuarial science. She was involved with the Student Government Association, the Actuarial Organization, Kappa Mu Epsilon, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, a UCM cheerleader and was named a Charno Award winner.

She credits the late Sherralyn Craven, professor of Actuarial Science as a strong influence toward her success at UCM saying, “She started the actuarial program at UCM. I was the recipient of her scholarship. I got to know her then and we stayed in touch until she passed away. I’ll never forget all that she did for me.”






Barry Davis is a regional managing partner for BKD, one of the nation’s largest certified public accounting and advisory firms with 35 offices in 16 states, more than 2,700 employees including 270 partners, and more than $550 million in annual revenues. Davis joined BKD two years after earning an undergraduate accounting degree from Central Missouri in 1981. He was honored this fall at the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Dinner during Homecoming. READ MORE

Karen LeDoux is a retired major general in the U.S. Army. Her last assignment was as the commanding general of the 88th Regional Support Command at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, overseeing base operations for the Army Reserve across 19 states. As a civilian, she is a program vice president at the Logistics Management Institute with an ERP business modernization portfolio. She was honored this fall at the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Dinner during Homecoming. READ MORE

Rob Ruth keeps busy between his family, career, community, church and alma mater. This 1975 alumnus grew up in Warrensburg, graduating from WHS in 1971. At UCM, he pledged Sigma Phi Epsilon and was president of the Physical Education Club. He also was a four-year starter for Mules Baseball and all-MIAA player in 1974-75, helping the team win the MIAA title and make their first appearance in the World Series. That 1974 team, including Ruth, is now a member of the UCM Athletic Hall of Fame. Rob was honored this fall at the Distinguished Alumni Award Dinner during Homecoming. READ MORE

Chang Bin Yim is the retired vice president of Textile Rubber and Chemical, a chemical and technology company with manufacturing and distribution facilities throughout the world. He came to Warrensburg from Seoul, South Korea, and earned degrees in math and chemistry in 1963. After earning a master’s degree in statistics from the University of Missouri, he started his career with Textile Rubber. This fall, Chang was honored at the Distinguished Alumni Award Dinner during Homecoming. READ MORE 

LaTanya Buck is the first person appointed as dean of diversity and inclusion at Princeton University, an Ivy League school considered one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious. She holds two degrees from Central Missouri: a bachelor’s in public relations in 2002 and a master’s in college student personnel administration in 2004. She earned a Ph.D. in higher education administration from Saint Louis University. LaTanya was honored this fall at the Distinguished Alumni Award Dinner during Homecoming. READ MORE




Adrian Andrews has lived on high alert during his 28 years with the U.S. Secret Service, leading federal and state undercover stings and providing protection detail for presidents, vice presidents and foreign dignitaries. He was honored by the UCM Alumni Foundation in October as a 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient.  READ MORE 


Rick Mustion’s extraordinary professionalism, competence, commitment and character are credited with his military achievement becoming a major general. The two-star designation is the highest permanent rank given during peacetime in the uniformed services, requiring final approval by both the Senate and President. He was honored by the UCM Alumni Foundation in October as a 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. READ MORE 


Dan Power has succeeded in three career paths – education, real estate and finance – and along the way, has helped every community where he and his wife, alumna Shirley Barr, lived and raised their family. He was honored by the UCM Alumni Foundation in October as a 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient for Service.  READ MORE


read about our 2015 da winners



If you know of alumni deserving of such recognition, please contact us for a nomination form at Suggestions will be reviewed by a committee and those individuals selected for formal nomination will be contacted for additional information.

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