Emmy Award-winning Journalist to Headline Lincoln University's 2022 Founders' Day Celebration

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Emmy Award-winning journalist and Lincoln University alumna Carmen Fields will headline events at Lincoln's 2022 Founders' Day on Feb. 10.

Fields is the producer and host of the long-running public affairs show Higher Ground on Boston's WHDH-TV. A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Fields has spent decades covering the news in Boston, where she was a part of the Boston Globe's Pulitzer Prize-winning team covering Boston school desegregation. As a broadcaster, she won two regional Emmy Awards for her work delving into local issues. She has also served as press secretary for Suffolk County, Massachusetts, District Attorney Ralph C. Martin II and as senior director of communications for the United Way of Massachusetts Bay. Fields holds a master's degree in broadcast journalism from Boston University and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. She is a life member of the NAACP and is a past board member of the National Association of Black Journalists.

Fields graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism from Lincoln in 1970. She worked as a reporter that year for KRCG-TV CBS Channel 13 in Jefferson City and was the station's first African American staffer.

Founders' Day celebrates Lincoln's 156 years of education service. Founded in January 1866 by Civil War veterans of the 62nd and 65th United States Colored Infantries, Lincoln Institute opened in Jefferson City on Sept. 17, 1866 with two students. In 1887, Lincoln added college-level classes to the curriculum. Under the second Morrill Act of 1890, the school became a land-grant institution. A name change in 1921 to Lincoln University accompanied the school's expansion to a four-year institution; graduate studies were added in 1940. In 1954, the historically Black university opened its doors to all students and today serves a diverse student population of nearly 1,800 with an array of academic offerings.

The university is planning a full slate of events on the Lincoln campus in Jefferson City to mark Founders' Day 2022. Free and open to the public, Fields' Founders' Day address will take place on Thursday, Feb. 10 at 11 a.m. in Richardson Auditorium (710 E. Dunklin St., Jefferson City, Missouri) on Lincoln's campus.

Lincoln University Set to Honor New Graduates of Law Enforcement Training Academy

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Family and friends are invited to celebrate with the five new graduates of the Lincoln University Law Enforcement Training Academy (LULETA) at a Dec. 16 ceremony in Thomas Pawley Theater on the LU campus.

The group is the second class to graduate from the academy. They began their training on Aug. 16 and completed the four-month program in December. Class members came to Lincoln from a variety of hometowns, Jefferson City, Kansas City, Chicago and Magnolia, Arkansas, to attend the academy.

Graduates are:

Alexander Jackson Griggs

Bailey Scott Johnmeyer

Brianna Amber Marie Johnson

Danielle Pearl Skiles

Maxx Charles Walker

Lincoln is the first and only historically Black college and university (HBCU) to house its own police academy. Launched in 2021, LULETA has received national recognition and praise for its focus on recruiting and training minority law enforcement officers.

The December 2021 graduates have earned high praise for their hard work from Academy Director Gary Hill. "Their professionalism and tenacity in completing the program shows that they are ready to deal with whatever comes their way," says Hill about the graduates.

As they enter their new profession, Hill says, the new officers will undergo about three months of agency-specific field training where they are hired before they will be ready for the streets.

"Our goal is to train community members to be law enforcement officers to solve problems in our communities throughout the state," Hill says. "I truly believe that all the academies will continue to produce well-trained officers to fill vacancies, but it is up to each law enforcement agency and community to give the officer a feeling of appreciation and support to make them stay in law enforcement."

The ceremony begins at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 16. Pawley Theater is located on the ground floor of Martin Luther King Hall, 812 E. Dunklin St. in Jefferson City. The event will be livestreamed via Lincoln's Facebook page.

Lincoln University Nursing Students to be honored at Dec. 10 Pinning Ceremony

On Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, at 7 p.m., the Lincoln University School of Nursing will recognize 21 new Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) graduates during a pinning ceremony. A time-honored tradition, Lincoln University School of Nursing Pinning Ceremony is an initiation of individuals into the profession of nursing. The ceremony will be held at the Richardson Fine Arts Center (820 Chestnut St. Jefferson City, MO 65101) on Lincoln's campus and livestreamed via Lincoln's Facebook page.

"A pinning ceremony differs from graduation because graduation signifies completion, an educational program's end. Pinning, however, marks the beginning of a nurse's career," said Jennifer McCord, School of Nursing Department Head. "Lincoln University nursing students rank above national average on National Licensure Exam pass rates, and we are proud to celebrate their accomplishments with this ceremony as they launch their healthcare careers."

According to McCord, every school of nursing has a unique pin, and once students receive their Lincoln University School of Nursing pin, they are forever identified as Lincoln graduates.

The following BSN graduates will receive their pins at the Dec. 10 ceremony:

Madison Shelby Backes

Gunner Nash Baquet

Latricia Veronica Maria Bush

Janae Antoinette Davis

Pretty Naa-Koshie Geneyan

Kellyann Marie Hale

Jeffrey Daniel Hargrove

Tiana Janay Harley

Allyson Breann Harris

Mary Kate Hentges

Lashonda Renee Johnson

Ali Lauren Juergensmeyer

Bailey Shay Lofaro

Jenna Grace Luebbering

Macie Michelle Moeller

Sydney Renae Nivens

Maigen Faye Quinn

Emma Leigh Richardson

Alexis Nicola Rivers

Justin Luke Sherrell

Macey Marie Stockman

Nursing pinning ceremonies date back to the 1860s, the tradition stemming from when Florence Nightingale presented a medal of excellence to her brightest graduates. By 1916, the practice of pinning new graduates had become standard throughout the U.S.

The pin of the Lincoln University School of Nursing was originally designed for the department's first graduates in 1969. The gold pin is composed of two concentric circles. The center of the inner circle contains a profile of Abraham Lincoln encircled by the words "School of Nursing." The lower quarter of the inner circle contains a lamp which is superimposed upon an opened book. The outer circle of the pin contains "Lincoln University, Jefferson City, Missouri" and is printed in gold letters on a blue background.

In addition to acknowledging the person after whom Lincoln University was named, the pin also symbolizes the value of knowledge and vision in a steadfast approach to the future.

Gold represents a valued resource, and blue is one of the Lincoln University colors. The opened book represents nursing's continuing quest for knowledge; the lamp symbolizes Florence Nightingale, the founder of professional and modern nursing.

Each is expected to wear the unique Lincoln University pin as a part of his or her uniform, as a constant reminder of the high levels of achievement and commitment required for nursing practice.

The Lincoln University School of Nursing offers a BSN degree and an online registered nurse (RN) to BSN degree. In addition, the school offers a part-time Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Nursing degree at Fort Leonard Wood, with evening courses and weekend clinical options for local, active-duty military personnel and their dependents.

Lincoln's AAS and BSN program options are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and are approved by the Missouri State Board of Nursing.

The Lincoln University School of Nursing is known for providing professional advising and significant academic resources to help their nursing students succeed, plus small class sizes taught by dedicated faculty, clinical opportunities and hands-on training, acute and critical care training, affordable tuition, competitive scholarships and more.

For more information, visit lincolnu.edu/web/school-of-nursing/.


Lincoln University Dean of Students Zakiya Brown Selected as 2022 HBCU Executive Leadership Institute Fellow

JEFFERSON CITY, MO -- Lincoln University Dean of Students, Chief Diversity Officer and Chief Student Affairs Officer Zakiya Brown has been selected as a member of the 2022 Community of Fellows for the HBCU Executive Leadership Institute (ELI) at Clark Atlanta University. Only 30 members in the nation are selected as HBCU ELI Fellows each year.

"We are extremely proud of Dean Brown's selection as an HBCU ELI Fellow," said Lincoln Interim President John Moseley. "Her achievement is a testament to the high caliber, student-centered leadership that she brings to Lincoln University. We are excited to see her benefit from and expand her knowledge through the program, which will in turn benefit Lincoln students."

The first competency and performance-based program of its kind, ELI helps preserve and strengthen Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as hubs for education, opportunity and uplift in the community they serve. For aspiring executive leaders and change agents for the future of HBCUs, the robust ELI program focuses on knowledge delivery, hands-on skills, and developing intuition based on know-how.

Brown said she is excited to join colleagues from across the U.S. for this competency-based program, to learn from one another and develop leadership ability together.

"HBCUs have been an essential component of who I have become," said Brown. "From being a graduate of an HBCU and finding professional purpose in serving HBCUs, I could not overlook the opportunity to grow as a leader while investing in and sustaining our nation's historically Black institutions, especially Lincoln University-Missouri. There is endless potential for where LU can go and being a 2022 Community Fellow will enhance my contribution toward our growth."

Brown joined the Lincoln University team in 2019 as Title IX coordinator. She was promoted in June 2021 to expand into a greater leadership role, and she now serves as Lincoln's chief student affairs officer, chief diversity officer and dean of students, in addition to Title IX coordinator. Before her arrival to LU, she served as the interim dean of students and director for student engagement and campus life at Central State, assistant director for diversity and inclusion initiatives at Rollins College, residence life coordinator at Centenary College of Louisiana, and residence hall coordinator at Central State University.

Brown holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Central State University and a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from Concordia University-Portland. She is currently pursuing a Doctor of Education in Higher Education Administration with Northcentral University.

Anthropology 498: New Museum Studies course
The New Anthropology 498: A new Museum Studies course was conceived as a collaborative project by former Missouri State Museum Assistant Director, Jamie Henry, who brought the project to the attention of Assistant Professor of Anthropology & Sociology, Dr. Christine E. Boston.
With the assistance of Lincoln University faculty members, Dr. Darius Watson and Dr. Brian Norris, and Missouri State Museum staff members, Sophie Grus and Missouri State Museum Director, Tiffany Patterson, the Museum Studies course was ultimately conceived and implemented.
Over the Fall 2021 semester, students from Sociology, English, Political Science, History, and Psychology were provided an in-workplace educational experience in which students learned about the museum studies profession by working with Patterson and Boston. They were responsible for redesigning of the current Missouri Black History cases by selecting new Missouri Black History subject matter of their choice to have on exhibit. They spent the semester conducting research and composing the exhibit text, locating artifacts and images, and presenting their work to the actual Missouri State Museum Board.
It is anticipated that student projects will be unveiled in 2022. Help us congratulate these fine students on their work and studies!
 Lincoln University Museum Studies
Pictured: Top row (from left to right): Alexandre Mugisha (Political Science), Princess Garner (History), Crystal Taylor (English), Mary Franklin (Sociology), Kennedy Thompson (Psychology); Bottom row (from left to right) Dr. Christine E. Boston (Assistant Professor, Anthropology & Sociology), Louie Delk (History), Jaida Gray (English); Tiffany Patterson (Director, Missouri State Museum)
Holiday Celebration Planned for LU Women's "Hey Friend ... Let's Talk" Series

Calling all Blue Tiger women! Join us Dec. 3 for a holiday party to celebrate you.

Lincoln University of Missouri has launched "Hey Friend ... Let's Talk," a series that connects women of all backgrounds, races and ages to celebrate their uniqueness and share their experiences. 

"Women receive a number of messages from the world, messages about how to present themselves in society, how to show up, what to say and not say, and even what to wear," said Bianca Holley, residence hall director and student conduct officer who created this new event series at Lincoln. "We saw a need and opportunity to empower women at LU. As women, we have to make sure we are celebrating, leaning on and learning from one other, truly harnessing the power of being together."

The series, created by Lincoln residence hall director and Student Conduct Officer Bianca Holley, comprises monthly events that unite a panel of Lincoln staff and students for open and honest conversation relating to timely themes. The most recent event, held Tuesday, Nov. 9, celebrated Friendsgiving (Thanksgiving-style gathering with friends) where attendees sported autumn hues. The next event, which will celebrate the holidays and the end of the year, will be held on Friday, Dec. 3, from 6-8 p.m. in Scruggs University Center Ballroom. Wear your ugly holiday sweaters and bring your journals!

Examples of activities at "Hey Friend ... Let's Talk" events include the following:

Mirror affirmations: Each person was given a phrase or statement when they entered the event. We took turns having each one stand before the mirror and share something from the statement, affirming their true identity and releasing anything negative. 

Journal Talk: Participants write in journals. They may keep their writing private; they not asked to share their thoughts openly from their journals.

Photos below from the Oct. 2021 "Hey Friend ... Let's Talk" event.



During this ice breaker activity, attendees were asked to move the hula hoop from one end of the circle to the other without unlocking their hands. The purpose was to build community, trust, and camaraderie among the women while also embracing the importance of communication.




Fine Arts Showcase and Christmas Concert, LU's Centennial Celebration

Join us in celebration of Lincoln's Centennial for a fine arts showcase November 29 through December 3, culminating with a Christmas concert by the Department of Humanities and Communications in Richardson Fine Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 3.

The event is free and open to the public.

 Lincoln University 2021 Christmas Choral Concert



Blue Tiger Bio: Maria Villamil

Jefferson City, MO- Coming from Bogota, Colombia, Lincoln University freshman Maria Villamil knew that Missouri was going to be a little different from her home.

"You can get all the seasons here," Villamil explained. "Which is pretty cool for me, because I didn't have all the seasons in Colombia. I'm excited to see snow. I've actually only seen it two times. So I'm excited, but I know it will also be super cold!"

Villamil acknowledges that the differences between Lincoln University and the schools she attended in Colombia extend past just the weather offerings.

"It's very different," she said. "The programs are different; you get to see and take other subjects that you cannot see back in Colombia. [At home], if you study psychology, you only get to take classes in psychology. You do't get to see other subjects. So I think it's super cool that you get to learn other things, both in and outside your major, here at Lincoln."

Villamil was a nationally-successful golfer in Colombia, recording seven top-10 finishes in Colombia interclub tournaments, and she at one point was ranked as high as 53rd in the junior division of the Colombia Golf Amateur rankings. She came to Lincoln for two primary reasons. The first was to join the Blue Tiger women's golf team. The second, and more important to her, was to get a quality education.

"I love my major, which is psychology," Villamil said. "I love learning about the human mind, like how the brain works and how we react to emotions."

Once she earns her degree at Lincoln, Villamil plans to either become a sports psychologist or a neuro-marketing specialist. Even though she is in her first semester at LU, Villamil believes that the professors have already begun to help her reach those goals.

"I very much like all of my professors," Villamil said. "For example, my general psychology professor, Mara Aruguete, she's always pushing you to be better every time. She's always sending messages in Canvas, saying things like, 'good job,' and it makes you happy to know that someone is seeing your progress and helping you improve.

"I feel like I really matter in the class," Villamil continued. "I'm not just a number. I'm someone, the professor knows who I am."

Villamil's first view of Lincoln came online, as she saw a video tour of the campus and was impressed with how pretty everything looked. She finally got to fly to the United States for a tour last May, and seeing the campus in person confirmed to her that Lincoln was the right choice.

"I came last May with my parents," Villamil said. "They loved it, I loved it. From the outside, the campus looks so pretty. I was a little scared, worried that the campus may not be what I thought it was, but it absolutely was what I expected. I'm very happy, I feel like I made the right choice."

Helping reassure Villamil that she made the right decision are the relationships she's built with her teammates on the Lincoln women's golf team and with her coach, Randy Bickel. From going out for meals to team-bonding experiences like escape rooms, Villamil says that being involved with the team has helped her feel like she has a new home.

"Coach is incredible," Villamil said. "I really like how he treats us, and how he manages our golf team. He's really like a second father to us, we're like his adoptive daughters! My teammates and I have become super close, we really talk to each other about our lives and we support each other.

"I like the relationship we have with each other, and with our coach. It's just so familiar now. It's really cool."

Dan Carr
Photo by: Keena Lynch 







Blue Tiger Bio: Dr. Safiullah Pathan

Jefferson City, MO- Quinoa.

Civilizations have eaten the grain of this healthy vegetable for centuries, and the consumption of this nutrient-rich spinach-relative has become a hot dieting trend in the United States, especially over the past decade. What is only now being discovered is that the leaves of the quinoa plant, previously discarded and left uneaten, have even more far-reaching nutritional benefits than the grain.

Leading that discovery with ground-breaking research is Lincoln University's own Dr. Safiullah Pathan.

"As of my knowledge, we're doing the first study of this kind in the United States," Dr. Pathan said. "If you look at international papers discussing the nutritional values of quinoa greens, you see that most of the work is being done outside of the states; in places like Poland, Egypt, Israel, etc. In the United States, there's only one: this study that we're doing."

The benefits of quinoa are numerous: it can be grown in climates both arid and freezing; it can be grown year-round in a greenhouse and high tunnel; it can be harvested in just four-to-five weeks; and it requires less water and fertilizer than other vegetable crops. Quinoa greens in particular contain higher levels of amino acids and valuable nutrients such as potassium, manganese and copper, as well as lower amounts of heavy metals such as arsenic and lead, than the leaves of spinach and amaranth plants.

"I'm presenting a paper, "Quinoa: A Nutrient-Rich Duel-Use Crop," because while people know about the grain, I'm promoting that we can use the grain and we can use the nutrient-rich greens," Dr. Pathan said.

Dr. Pathan has shared his discoveries with other agricultural-based universities, including Virginia State, as well as with farmers from across the country. This year, Lincoln has started giving some seeds from its quinoa plants to other farmers and researchers, so that they can help spread the growing and harvesting of this wonder crop.

While Lincoln is now at the forefront of this research, none of it would have happened if it weren't for a chance conversation that Dr. Pathan had with a woman in Columbia, Mo.

"I donate blood platelets, and one day while donating in Columbia, I was talking with a woman and telling her what I do, and she asked me, 'Do you know about quinoa?'" Pathan explains. "She said it was one of the most nutritious foods in the world, and I felt ashamed, because I was an agricultural scientist but had never heard of quinoa. After she wrote it down, I went home, got on the computer and searched Google for quinoa, and learned it was indeed one of the most nutritious foods in the world."

Dr. Pathan started asking his peers in academia if they had been studying quinoa, and found that very few universities in the United States were doing any kind of research on the plant. Dr. Pathan became so fascinated with learning more about quinoa that, when he came to Lincoln University, he contacted the United States Department of Agriculture and requested a sample of the vegetable.

"Myself and Grato [Ndunguru], for the past four or five years, have been working together, doing the research," Dr. Pathan said. "I started with the grain first, and then the greens. And now more people are interested in the greens."

Dr. Pathan's fascination with agriculture and the ways it can benefit society began as a small child in his native country of Bangladesh.

"When I was six or seven, I went to the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines, and they had a variety of rice plants," Dr. Pathan said. "Some were tall, five feet or six feet, with not more than three-to-five branches. I saw smaller seedlings that yields 10-to-20 branches. When I saw that, I was very interested in why the smaller plants had more branches, yielding more grain."

Answering questions that arose when he was just starting his primary education led to Dr. Pathan pursuing a Ph. D in agriculture at Texas Tech University. That in turn has led to him working with farmers and agriculturalists across the country, with his research influencing new trends in planting rice that have led to higher yields.

"Now in Bangladesh, you no longer see the (taller rice plants), it's all this (shorter) variety," Dr. Pathan said.

Dan Carr
Photo by: Keena Lynch


Blue Tiger Advantage Scholarship Provides Automatic Dollars for Qualified Students

Blue Tiger Bio: Cherryl Jones

Jefferson City, MO-When Cherryl Jones first came to the Office of the President at Lincoln University, she was a mother of three.  As she prepares to retire some 20 years later, she is now affectionately called some version of "Mom" by so many people she has lost count.  When a visitor first walks in the door, she greets them with professionalism and a smile, but if you have the good fortune of dealing with her more than once, she has an uncanny way of pulling you into her maternal fold. 

"I treat them the way I want someone to treat my children," Jones says.  Just like a mother, she meets everyone where they are and cheers them along.  "I see them and I see their potential... and I do whatever I can to help them fulfill their potential."

Her commitment to the students, faculty and staff she has unofficially adopted also extends to the Presidents of Lincoln University.  Sitting at the front desk of 201 Young Hall, she has worked with four Presidents and three Interim Presidents.  While a change in administration can bring with it some uncertainty, Jones has found enjoyment working with each leader. 

"They have all had different personalities and different leadership styles, but it has always been a pleasure to work in this office." 

While most people recognize her for her role as an employee, for a time, she also very quietly wore the hat of student and fulfilled a promise to herself by earning a degree from Lincoln University in May of 2018.  Her love of helping people guided her passion for a particular degree program, but the reality of balancing a career and family led her down a different path. 

"I couldn't do nursing... that was what I wanted to do... because it would have required me taking classes during the day.  I went with my second choice, which was computers.  I made a promise that I would finish my degree and so I did."

Even after her graduation, she decided to stay on in her current position.  She says a job opportunity brought her to Lincoln University, but it's the people who have kept her here. 

"No, I didn't plan on staying here over 20 years, but I got here and I couldn't leave the people. The students, faculty and staff. The friendships I have made and the children I have gained... is what I will miss the most." 

If you ask most anyone, nobody is ready to let Jones go just yet, but she says she is ready and is making plans to enjoy her retirement. 

"My husband, Sebron, and I are going to travel, spend time with family and mark things off our bucket list."

One of those bucket list items is taking a cruise to Alaska, but no matter where she is, Lincoln will never be far from her heart. 

"Lincoln is still my home.  It's still my family.  I will definitely be around."

Misty Nunn
Photo by: JerMichael  White


Blue Tiger Bio: Mark Schleer

Jefferson City, MO-Conservator. Program director. Researcher. Educator.

Mark Schleer wears all of these hats and more on a daily basis as the Lincoln University Archivist. From his office on the top floor of Inman E. Page Library, Schleer serves as the guardian of Blue Tiger history, preserving and displaying writings, records and artifacts of all manner that tell the story of Lincoln.

"We have a book signed by Harriet Tubman," Schleer said, when asked about some of the more unique items in the Page Library Archives. "She signed it with a cross instead of an "X" because she was a devout Christian. I would say that's probably the most interesting item we have."

:We also have a time capsule that came out of Jason Gym in 2008. They were tearing down a wall, this little copper box came tumbling out, and there's some local newspapers in there, some issues of the Lincoln Clarion, there was even a basketball in there. I thought it was pretty cool."

Currently on Schleer's plate is a centennial celebration honoring LU's transition in 1921 from its former title of Lincoln Institute to being designated as a university by the state of Missouri.

"It was a major step," Schleer explains. "It went from being a training institute founded by former slaves, which alone is pretty profound, but it becomes a four-year university just decades later. It's incredible. The fact that we lasted this long, 155 years now, is a tribute to the dream those soldiers had. I know it probably sounds corny, but I mean every word. There's nothing to compare that to."

The founding of Lincoln University is monumental in and of itself, but Schleer points out that the school has continued to break down barriers and make its mark on history throughout those 155 years. Schleer points to the Lloyd Gaines Decision in 1939 as one of the ways Lincoln has made an indelible impact on the history of the United States.

"[Gaines] wanted to go to law school at the University of Missouri, and the Supreme Court of the United States said to Missouri it had to allow him to go to law school in its state. They ended up finding a loophole by building Lincoln a law school, but that was the first step from "separate but equal" to Brown vs. The Board of Education (which led to integration throughout the country). That milestone happened because of Lincoln University, and because of a Lincolnite name Lloyd Gaines. He's a civil rights hero."

Schleer's own history with Lincoln University runs deep. As a child in the 1960s, Schleer attended Lincoln Laboratory summer school for three years. His passion and enthusiasm for educating others, however, led him to transition from someone who was familiar with the campus to becoming a Blue Tiger.

"I had worked in retail for several years after graduating with my bachelor's degree at Central Missouri. I started substitute teaching, and I really liked that and decided I wanted to get my master's in history and become a full-time teacher," Schleer said. "What brought me to Lincoln was asking the people I was working for while I was substitute teaching where I should go to get my education degree, and they all, to a person, said Lincoln. [They said] the teacher education program there is great, a lot better than anywhere else around here."

Schleer decided to follow that advice and hasn't looked back. He ended up getting his master's degree at Lincoln, but his career path took a turn away from teaching when a fellow Lincolnite recognized his potential as a university librarian.

"I got a job in the library, and three days into the job, Elizabeth Wilson, the library director, asked me if I wanted to be her night manager,"Schleer said. "I thought, 'Well, I want to be a high school history teacher!'"She gave me the job bulletin and told me to think about it, and I saw the salary, and it was a bit more than a high school teacher's. I said, 'Okay, I'll do it, it's more money than I'd ever earned!'"

While working as the night manager, Schleer was asked by Carmen Beck, his predecessor in Archives, to help her out with research. In 2008, he put together his first exhibit, a large tableau entitled, "The Legacy of Lincoln." Working on the project not only allowed Schleer to tap into his passion for history, but also activated within him a new appreciation for the historic past of Lincoln University. When Beck left a year later, Schleer was asked to replace her, and he jumped at the opportunity.

"Well, I knew I didn't want to become a 65-year-old night manager, telling all the kids to be quiet over there," Schleer joked. "Really, it was a dream come true. I got a master's in history, and now I am the historian for my alma mater. This is a dream job for me."

Since taking over as the University Archivist, Schleer has helped Lincoln's already impressive collection of records and artifacts continue to grow. Some of the collection has developed through his dedicated hours of research. Other items have come as donations from alumni or members of the Jefferson community. And some items he's received through sheer serendipity -like, for example, a time capsule happening to fall out of a wall.

"It's a job I like to do because the more I find out (about Lincoln), the more I want to know, the deeper I want to dig," Schleer said.  "There are some pieces out there that aren't 100% known to everybody, and I'm trying to fill in those gaps in our history. Sometimes it's tough, other times we get it thrown right in our laps! It's pretty cool."

Dan Carr
Photo by: Keena Lynch 


Blue Tiger Bio: Aaron Spencer

 Jefferson City, MO-Senior Aaron Spencer and his camera have become a fixture at Lincoln University, as the journalism major can often be found taking pictures of campus life, concerts and sporting events. 

"I've done a lot of things with our Royal Court and CAB (Campus Activity Board) events," Spencer said. "My most favorite memory here is when we had Meg Thee Stallion and Li'l Boosie for a [concert]. I got to be on stage and take pictures of them. I've also done a lot of sports and other different events that go on around here."

Photography is just one more form of self-expression for Spencer, who has been involved n the arts for as long as he can remember. 

"In school, I was, you know, a band nerd. I did jazz band, marching band" and symphonic band. Also did theatre, and my senior year I was part of the [student] newspaper," Spencer said. 

Working on the school paper at Grandview High in Kansas City, Missouri, helped awaken Spencer's passion for photography and journalism. Spencer began taking pictures at various school sporting events, as well as other student activities, and started to develop a passion for the art form. Being at Lincoln has only helped grow that enthusiasm.

"Really, it was coming here to Lincoln that made me really interested in photography," Spencer said. "In high school, I did a radio show called Generation Rap, so my whole thing was, I thought I would do radio or TV. But I took a photojournalism class, and as I started taking pictures for that class, more and more the professor kept saying how she liked the work I did and that I should take it more seriously. That's when I went out and bought my first camera."

Since taking that first class with adjunct instructor Leslie Cross, Spencer has regularly looked for opportunities to take photos around campus. Whether it be Homecoming events, gospel choir performances or a football game or track meet, Spencer has been active in continuing to gain experience and hone his prodigious skills.

"When I see events going on, even if they don't want me to, I'll bring my camera along and get some pictures taken," Spencer says with a laugh.

All that experience is leading to bigger and better things for Spencer, as he is already starting to plan his career after graduation.

"I want to hopefully one day open up my own production company,"Spencer said. "Whether it be pictures or film, whenever people need help with that, they'll be able to call me and say, 'Hey, we've got this project going on, can you help with pictures or filming?' It wouldn't necessarily be just me doing itI want to have a whole company [of people] to send out to help. That's my goal."

The professors at Lincoln have been strong supporters of Spencer's work, and their encouragement has given him the confidence to believe he can turn that goal into a reality.

"Every time I would do a project, (Ms. Cross) would tell me she liked the pictures I chose and kept telling me this is something I can do, so I took her word for that," Spencer said. "Mr. [Will] Sites is another one, because whenever I do take photos of the sports teams, he's one of the first persons I go and show and ask, 'Is this a good picture? Is this good?"! 

"A lot of our stuff in journalism is really hands on, so they're preparing us for the real world," Spencer continued. "Like how to handle different situations, how to get a job. I feel like the professors at Lincoln really are preparing us for the real world."

While Spencer is truly enjoying his experience as a Blue Tiger, there is one activity that the former percussionist has missed.

"The drumline here at Lincoln they're good, real good,"Spencer says with a laugh. "I actually wanted to do it but the scheduling didn't end up working out the best. I do miss it. I say that every time I hear our band!"

Dan Carr
Photo by: Keena Lynch

Lincoln University Clears Student Balances

Blue Tiger Bio: Dr. Toni Westbrooks

Jefferson City, MO- As a lifelong educator devoted to special education, Lincoln University alum and current professor Dr. Toni Westbrooks has made a lasting impact on countless students of all grade levels over the years. Like many students, however, she did not always know where her journey at Lincoln would take her.

"I was a music major here at Lincoln, for three years," said Westbrooks, a professor in the Lincoln University Department of Education who leads LU's Special Education program.  "During my junior year, however, President Reagan introduced Project 2000, which placed much more emphasis on math and science. This led to the number of positions available across the country for music teachers to be reduced, and I realized I would have a hard time finding a job in my chosen field. That's when I called my wise sister, who asked if I'd thought about special education."

Westbrooks took her first special education course over a summer session, and did an internship at the Special Learning Center of Jefferson City. That single experience ended up changing the course of her future.

"I fell in looooove! I was like, these are my people!" Westbrooks laughs. "That was it. That sealed it. It worked out beautifully, and I wouldn't change a thing."

Westbrooks earned her bachelor's degree in special education and her Master's degree in Principalship and Superintendency at Lincoln. After working as a special education teacher, principal and superintendent, she received a call from LU's dean of education offering a position as an instructor, and jumped at a chance to return home.

"I bleed the blue and white," Westbrooks says with a smile. "I love it!"

For Westbrooks, special education is not just a degree program or a career path, but a calling. She discovered a passion for connecting and instructing students with various needs beyond the traditional student body population, and has excelled at helping those individuals graduate from high school.

"One of the reasons why I really, really love the program is, I kind of refer to it as the nursing program of the field of education," Westbrooks said. "We take those (kindergarten through 12th grade) students who have not been successful in the general education population, and we're kind of that beacon, that safety net, that buoy for those kids. You have to know the base (of Lincoln's education program), and then you also have to know everything else."

Westbrooks' mission since returning to Lincoln has been to help every candidate in LU's special education program pass the Missouri Special Education Assessment. Not only does she want her students to just pass the assessment, she also wants to make sure they are prepared mentally for the rigors of the first three years of teaching.

To accomplish that mission, Westbrooks strives to support her students in any way possible. That includes giving them her cell phone number in case they have questions or need advice; framing lesson plans to better assist students in areas where they are struggling; and celebrating each milestone with them, from finishing their freshman years at LU to graduation and beginning their careers.

Lincoln students entering the program tend to double major in both education and special education, resulting in them often taking 18-21 credit hours per semester. Completing the special education program requires tremendous commitment, and Westbrooks strives to make the path towards graduation easier by supporting her students through both instruction and mentorship. The result of her commitment has been outstanding, as nearly every one of her students passes the assessment examination on either their first or second attempt.

"l'm very proud of the success rate of the students graduating from this program," Westbrooks said. "My students are as passionate as I am about education. (Watching them) walk across the stage at graduation with two degrees is amazing."

Dan Carr
Photo: Keena Lynch
Blue Tiger Bio: Cole Abbott

Jefferson City, MO- In over 10 years working in Shipping & Receiving at Lincoln University, Warehouse Supervisor Cole Abbott has seen just about everything.

"Fetal pigs, formaldehyde...first time I opened that, it was kind of a shock," laughs Abbott, who is in charge of tracking the packages received by the University and making sure they go to the correct departments.

"The mannequins for nursing - it's always fun opening a box and almost seeing a live human in there. And then sometimes you get live organisms like grasshoppers and chameleons. We had one chameleon jump out of the box. You know, it was never found! Now we're into these drones and more technologically advanced products," Abbott continued. "Lincoln tries to stay on the cutting edge with the new technology out there and it's kind of neat to see that stuff."

In his role as the warehouse supervisor, Abbott is one of the few staff members at Lincoln who interacts with every department. His hard work and dedication to the University community has made him a favorite on campus, as faculty and staff members alike appreciate his ubiquitous smile, cheerful demeanor and enthusiasm for serving the Blue Tiger community.

"I am one of the few that get out and go to every building on campus and see everybody, not just the people placing the orders but the people in their department and assistants," Cole said. "You meet everybody, and it is pretty special."

Abbott's commitment to Lincoln and positive relationships with others led to him becoming the chair of LU's Staff Council during the late 2010s. On his desk sits a large trophy, a relic from that era reminding him of the council's victory in the annual Homecoming float decoration contest. Abbott has helped plan fun events for Lincoln's other staff members, and he has been a loyal advocate for University employees through his various leadership roles.

"I really like the support I can provide to other people on campus," Abbott said. "Trying to make others' jobs on campus a little easier is kind of one of the perks I get in the position."

The support Abbott has been able to provide Lincoln extends past the tracking and delivery of shipments. Over the years, Abbott has been able to serve as a mentor to a number of work-study Lincoln students, as well as some from the local high schools. Seeing these student workers learn and grow over their time at LU is perhaps the perk of the position that Abbott most appreciates.

"It's pretty neat, seeing these kids come to me, pretty green as sophomores and watch them graduate," Abbott said. "That's one of the real rewarding parts of the job."

Abbott's ties to the Jefferson City community run deep. Abbott was born and raised in town, went to St. Peter's Elementary School and graduated from Helias High School. Abbott was also very familiar with Lincoln University, having attended sports events and basketball camps at the school as a child. When a friend of Abbott's mother gave him a heads up about an opening in the warehouse at LU in 2007, Abbott jumped at a chance to work for the school.

"It's been fun," Abbott says about his time at Lincoln. "It's really neat seeing what the University buys. You kind of get an inside scoop in the new projects at Lincoln or the new things that are coming, new programs, stuff like that. It's kind of neat seeing the equipment they use and realizing what kind of results they're going to get. It's kind of like [seeing] behind the scenes."

Dan Carr
Photo: Keena Lynch

Blue Tiger Bio: Stacy Landis



Jefferson City, MO- To Lincoln University senior Stacy Landis, few things in life are more important than one'sfamily.

"Absolutely, family is everything," Landis said. "They're your backbone, your support through thick and thin."

Landis, a Kansas City native and Lee's Summit alum, is Lincoln's Student Government Association President and is currently serving as a peer mentor in the Blue Tiger Academy, a summer academic program for incoming freshmen. Landis has accomplished much during his three years at Lincoln, but he credits his achievements to one person in particular.

"I would say my Dad is definitely my role model," Landis said. "Without him, I don't know where I'd be. He's like Superman to me. He definitely guides me whenever I feel lost, and pushes me in the right direction. I often get credit for the things I've done in college, but he pushed me towards college."

Landis has been a member of the Lincoln Student Government Association since beginning his LU tenure as "Mr. Freshman," and as a sophomore he was elected as an At-Large representative. As a member of the SGA, Landis has helped promote the Dawson Learning Center and worked with Sodexo to set up town hall meetings to improve the cafeteria. This year, he plans to work with the university administration to promote a 2.5 GPA initiative, strengthen Lincoln's relationships with the community and assist in raising the spirits of the student body after last year's pandemic.

"It's all a team effort," Landis acknowledges.

Collaboration comes naturally to Landis, because in his mind, his fellow Lincolnites are more than just a collection of students, faculty and staff. To Landis, they are all members of his extended family, and those relationships have been crucial to his success as an LU student.

"Lincoln is a big family," Landis said. "You know, once you get involved, you just really feel it, and you really understand that everyone here at Lincoln University is here to help you. We're just like a big family; everyone here is cousins, aunts and uncles, that's just how it is around here."

His experiences working with others at LU will certainly benefit Landis in the long run, as he is a psychology major who plans to pursue a career as a child psychologist. As one might expect, family has played a role in that decision, as Landis' aunt is a psychologist who works with patients experiencing trauma and PTSD. Landis is passionate about using the skills he's gaining at Lincoln to help children cope when they are at their most vulnerable.

"I just feel like (childhood is) where it all starts," Landis said. "It's like the saying, You can't teach an old dog new tricks.' I feel like it's easier to help children grow, to help them before they become adults."

The psychology classes as LU have strengthened that passion, as they mix classical textbook learning with opportunities to engage in discussion with their fellow classmates. The professors encourage students to talk about real world, everyday experiences, often using recent current events as a launching point into deeper conversations. Dr. Walter Johnson, Jr. and Dr. Mara Aruguete are two psychology professors in particular who are helping Landis achieve his goal of spending his life helping others.

"Dr. Johnson is an amazing professor, one of my favorites. Dr. Aruguete gives me a little bit of trouble, but she knows what she's doing," Landis adds with a laugh. "She's gonna hassle you, it's gonna be hard getting an A in her class, but it's gonna be worth it. She's a genius when it comes to teaching and trying to get us to understand different viewpoints. The goal is to teach you the correct way, not the easy way."

When he's not serving the campus community or studying, Landis can often be found playing basketball at The LINC, taking on other students, the occasional faculty or staff member, local high schoolers and anyone else up for the challenge. Landis also enjoys playing video games with his friends, listening to podcasts (he particularly recommends Million Dollaz Worth of Game) or Meek Mill and Jay-Z, and binge watching Martin and Grey's Anatomy.

No matter what it is he's doing, however, Landis is always enjoying and appreciating the experience of being a Lincoln University student. Whether he's engaged in conversation in a classroom, attending an SGA meeting at Scruggs, shooting some hoops at The LINC or hanging out in the cafeteria, Landis feels he is making the most of his time at LU.

Landis' advice to incoming students is to find a way to get involved at LU. In his own words, "It just makes things a lot smoother when you feel like you're around family."

Dan Carr
Photo: Keena Lynch

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