Introducing Distinguished Alumni

Every spring, as a part of its Founder’s Day Weekend, Central Methodist University honors alumni who have made a positive impact on society through their work and social service.

This year the Distinguished Alumni Awards will be presented to Shirley Brown ’60, Patrick Brackley ’71, Jeffrey Francis ’80, Kerri Jenkins ’85, and Susan Hart ’86, and the Young Alumni Award will be presented to Seth Bauman ’09.

The banquet in their honor will be held Saturday, May 5, at 6:00 p.m. with a reception a 5:00 p.m. on the fourth floor of the Inman Student and Community Center, featuring music by the CMU Jazz Band.

The cost is $25 per person, and reservations need to be made by April 27 to Megan Freese (660-248-6234 or in the Advancement Office.

Young Alumni Award

Seth BaumannSeth Bauman, class of 2009, earned his Bachelor's Degree in Religious Studies at CMU in 2009, followed by a Master of Public Administration in Public and Nonprofit Management from the University of Missouri in 2015. He has focused his career on helping other people and the good of the public in general. In 2016 he served on the Missouri Governor’s Student Leadership Forum on Faith and values. He also gave the Gaddis Lecture at CMU that fall. At that time, he was Director of Community Engagement for Missourians for Jason Kander. He has worked extensively with the Missouri Department of Justice, mental health committees, and local police departments.

Distinguished Alumni Awards

Shirley M. Brown, class of 1960, earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Central College in 1960 at age 19, with a major in Shirley Brownvoice and minor in piano. By the time she finished traveling through stops at Grove City College in Penn., University of Penn in Stroudsburg, Southern Illinois in Carbondale, Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, and University of Missouri in Columbia, she had accrued two master's degrees and a lot of experience. She took a job at Berkeley Senior High School in suburban St. Louis and laid down her baton 31 years later in the same school, which had become the Ferguson-Florissant School District in the intervening years. Her additional teaching, singing, and awards go on for many pages.

Patrick Brackley, CMC class of 1971, earned his degree in business with a minor in political science. He moved to New Orleans and began a career in real estate management, development, and construction, opening his Brackley Construction from the garage of his house in 1983. Since then, he and his brother Mike (CMC ’70) turned the business into 25 real estate investments and businesses. He also owns a series of environmentally controlled storage facilities, called Fort Knox. He has been awarded many honors and is active Patrick Brackleyin churches, Junior Achievement, the USO, and Special Olympics.

Jeffrey Francis, class of 1980, graduated from CMC with a degree in Music Vocal Performance. He credits his major professor, the late Dr. Donald Pyle, for giving him a good start. He was a tenor in the A Cappella Choir and a trumpeter in the Marching, Concert, and Jazz Bands. He belonged to Beta Mu Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. After acquiring his degree, he attained his Master in Music from the University of Washington. While there he was selected to sing the lead tenor in the world premiere of an opera performance at the National Opera Association in 1982. He made his professional world premiere of an opera in The Fall of the House of Usher in South America. He soon moved to Europe and has starred in numerous operatic leading parts in the years since. After his first opera in Jeffrey Francis1992, he performed in Deutsch Staatsoper (formerly East Germany), Berlin, Hamburg, Dresden, Austria, Marseilles, Rome, Innsbruck, and Vienna, among other cities. He currently lives in Israel. He made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 2006 as Arbace in Mozart’s Idomeneo.

Kerri (Hopper) Jenkins, class of 1985, came to Central to study nursing, and has taken the field by storm since then. She has established herself as one of the premier movers and shakers in private hospital administration in the Midwest. Her record of rapid financial and quality turnarounds in multiple hospitals, as well as building high performing teams around her, has helped her move up the ladder to the point where she currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer at the new main campus for St. Mary’s Hospital in Jefferson City, Mo., as well as serving as the Chief Nursing Officer. Surprisingly, she started out her career with a two-year associate Kerri Jenkinsdegree from CMC in 1985. Kerri is a deeply committed, highly engaged front line leader who believes in leading by example. She spends most of her time on the clinical units directly interacting with patients, employees, and medical staff. She has accumulated numerous degrees at this point, including a Bachelor’s Degree in Management and an MBA, both from William Woods University, and a Bachelor’s in Nursing from Chamberlain College of Nursing.

Susan Hart, class of 1986, discovered to her surprise and delight that at CMU she was free to combine whatever she loved into her education. She loved accounting and discovered a passion for the arts. She graduated with a degree in accounting as the 1986 Selecman Award Winner, the top graduating honor. But she keeps art in her life as well. Susan is partner, vice president and the Chief Operating Susan HartOfficer of Huebert Builders Inc and the president of Hubco Inc. The Huebert Company is a general contractor that specializes in historic renovation projects, including the rebuilt Missouri Theatre in Columbia. She is the new chair of the Chamber of Commerce in Columbia and serves on the Construction Industry Substance Abuse Board. She has maintained her connection with Central Methodist throughout her life, including facilitating internships for students and helping in Central Serves Days. Her variety in life is shown in her activity in Rotary, Habitat for Humanity, the North Village Arts District, the Central Missouri Food Bank, and the Columbia Art League, among many others.

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