Alumni Board Members
Gracemarie Cretella '83
Gracemarie Cretella '83 lives in Glendale, California. Gracemarie, a WWU Alumni Board member since 2007, holds a BFA degree in dance and theatre from William Woods. Gracemarie is an actress. During her years at The Woods, her interests included her sorority, Chi Omega, dance and theatre productions. She was a resident assistant at Jones Hall, and had the honor of receiving the Amy Shelton McNutt Award. After leaving the Woods, Gracemarie moved to New York and later to Los Angeles to pursue her passion for the arts. She danced with the Los Angeles Opera, and has been in numerous television productions, as well as several films. Gracemarie has served as an Alumni Speakers' Series presenter, assisted students with internship placements, and has served as her class reunion chair.
Ronda Fults '87
Ronda Fults '87 lives in Stone Mountain, Georgia. Ronda, a WWU Alumni Board member since 2005, holds a BA degree from William Woods and an MBA/TM degree from University of Phoenix. Ronda is Production Support Manager - Windows and Citrix at SunTrust Bank.
Karla Williams DeSpain '79
Karla Williams DeSpain ’79 lives in Columbia, Missouri. Karla holds a BS degree from William Woods in business administration with minors in math and political science. Karla serves on the Columbia Public Schools Board of Education. She is also the Financial Officer for John DeSpain Dermatology and Skintuition Medical Spa. Prior to this, she served as Assistant Vice-President and Director of Personnel and Training at Boone County National Bank. Karla is involved with various local community and service organizations including the Assistance League of Mid-Missouri, Advent Enterprises board of directors, Central Missouri Community Action, United Way, Speaking of Women's Heath, and Columbia Chamber of Commerce. She enjoys swimming, piano, cooking, skiing, and singing. John and Karla have two daughters, Caitlin and Ryanne. While at The Woods, Karla was active in the College Government Association, choir, Student Alumnae Council, Junior Senator, and was an Outstanding Freshman and Outstanding Senior.
Molly McTaggart Hanley '05
Molly McTaggart Hanley '05 lives in Mexico, Missouri. A WWU Alumni Board member since 2011, Molly holds a BA degree in Accounting and Business Administration from William Woods. Molly graduated in 4 years with 150 hours and passed the CPA exam in 2007. She is a senior staff accountant with MHC Certified Public Accountants working in the areas of tax and auditing. Molly's professional and civic affiliations include: The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants, the Mexico Area Jaycees (board member), and Altrusa International (secretary). While at WWU, Molly was a member of Alpha ChI Omega, President's Twenty, Student Alumni Council, Order of Omega, and Phi Beta Lambda. Molly and her husband Josh (WC '02) have two children.
Claire Burghart Hodge '66
Claire Burghart Hodge '66 lives in Hinsdale, Ill.. She was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wis. Claire graduated from William Woods with AA and BS degrees in education. She taught 2nd grade in Overland Park, Kan. and Topeka, Kan. She earned an MS from Kansas University. She served as President of KU Dames. She moved to Illinois in 1971 and lives in the Hinsdale area. Claire has 2 married daughters, and one grandson. Claire was a member of the Junior League of Chicago where she served as treasurer and was recognized as outstanding volunteer. She was a board member of the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago's Clarendon Hills chapter. She was named one of the Outstanding Young Women of America. She worked as an administrator of the Hinsdale Science Center. She served as a tutor, a softball coach, a Brownie and Girl Scout leader, and was active in the WWC Chicago Alumni group, serving as an officer. She is active in her church and pursues her many interests, including gardening, working out, traveling, reading, family, friends, and her dog, Ellie. She enjoys finding old friends, like WWC roommate Gail Kurtz, and enjoys giving back to the college that helped make her the person she is today.
Margaret Holmquist '87
Margaret Holmquist '87 grew up in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, and has lived in Dallas, Texas, since 1997. She joined the Alumni Board in April, 2010. Margaret holds a BS degree in Home Economics with a concentration in Clothing & Textiles and a minor in Business Administration. While at William Woods, she was an active member of Alpha Chi Omega Sorority and served as a Panhellenic Council delegate, which included managing the publication of the campus sorority rush manual. She was also involved in the Big Brother-Big Sister Organization and Young Republicans. Margaret worked for the Metropolitan Water District where she assisted the program manager of the largest reservoir construction project in southern California. She was an active member of the Los Angeles Junior Chamber of Commerce and participated in the dedication of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Since 1994, Margaret has been responsible for the care of her elderly parents. Margaret works at Right Management and is the executive assistant to the executive and managing director of sales and marketing. She is secretary of the William Woods Dallas Area Alumni Board and has planned and hosted various special events to get members actively involved. Margaret has been a member of the Junior League of Dallas and continues to enjoy volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House.
Susan Howard '73
Susan Howard '73 lives in Centerville, Ohio. Susan holds a BS in Biology from William Woods. After graduation, Susan worked in medical research at Washington University Medical School in St. Louis for four years before returning to her home state of Ohio to pursue a career in computers with the Department of Defense, working for the US Air Force at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, near Dayton. She retired in 2007 after more than 30 years of service that included tours living in England and Germany for several years. Her interests include gardening, geneaology, reading, cooking, travel, taking care of her pets, and helping others with anything PC-related.
Meredith Varnell Leslie '95
Meredith Varnell Leslie ’95 lives in Vandalia, Ohio. Meredith, who joined the William Woods University Alumni Board in 2011, holds a BA in Marketing Management and a minor in Equestrian Science from WWU. Meredith works in Human Resources for Procter and Gamble Pet Care, proud manufacturers of Iams, Eukanuba and Natura pet foods. She is the past president of Public Relations Society of America, Dayton Area Chapter. Meredith is involved with various local community and service organizations including the Alpha Phi alumnae association, the Humane Society of Greater Dayton and the Vandalia, Ohio Parks and Recreation 2020 Strategic Planning Committee. She enjoys spending time with her dogs, cooking, gardening and skiing. While at WWU, Meredith was an active member of Alpha Phi Sorority, Paddock Club and Dressage Club. Meredith and her husband are the proud parents of a son, Andrew.
Gail Emmons Kurtz '66
Gail Emmons Kurtz '66 lives in Fulton, Missouri. Gail, a WWU Alumni Board member since 2008, holds a BS in Elementary Education from William Woods. Gail is a teacher in central Missouri and is excited to become active with her alma mater, having returned to Missouri from living in Florida. Gail has specialized in treating and coordinating the successful treatment for Learning Disabilities (LD) for many years. She was a teacher for 20 years in both Central Missouri and Central Florida public schools. Gail has been involved in local, state and national levels of the Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA). She was the President of the State of Florida LDA, and President of the nationwide LDA Presidents' group. She has served on the National LDA Board of Directors. Gail is a member of the International Dyslexia Association, the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorders (CHADD) and the National Institute for Learning Disabilities (NILD). Gail started the Kurtz Center for Cognitive Development in 1986, in an effort to provide treatment which would actually remediate the various types of Learning Disabilities. Over the years, she and her husband found and developed programs which would both remediate and prevent these very significant difficulties. Gail serves as a member of the Fulton Colleges Board of Associates.
Susan Werbach Lowry '91
Susan Werbach Lowry '91 lives in Jefferson City, Missouri. Susan, a WWU Alumni Board member since 2010, holds a BA degree in Elementary Education from William Woods. Susan is currently the Director of Donor Relations at the University of Missouri. Among her responsibilities are the management of the University's donor acknowledgement and stewardship practices; MU's major donor giving society, the Jefferson Club and staffing its thirty-member board of trustees. Susan also oversees donor recognition and event programming. She started her career in higher education at WWU upon graduation. Susan worked in the Admissions and Financial Aid offices as well as the Director of Alumni Activities before leaving her alma mater. In 1999, Susan began work with the MU Alumni Association which lead to her current position in MU's Office of Development. Her professional affiliations include: Counsel for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and Association of Donor Relations Professionals (ADRP). As a student, Susan's involvement included: Kappa Delta Pi (honorary education), Order of Omega (greek leadership society) and her sorority, Chi Omega. She is a PEO member, a member of the University Club Board of Directors and serves as advisor for the William Woods Chi Omega chapter. Susan and her husband, Kent, have one daughter.
Jody Allemenos McFarland '69, '00
Jody retuned to Indianapolis, Indiana, in 2002 after having lived all over the United States while married and raising her daughter Stephanie (Canty) '97 and son, Alex. During the many moves from one end of the country to the other, she always managed to look up former college friends and reconnect. It was with great pride that her daughter also choose William Woods College. She had the opportunity to return to Williams Woods and complete her college requirements and graduate in 2000. She is currently a claim manager for Travelers Insurance and specializes in workers compensation catastrophic injuries. In her spare time, she travels mostly to visit Stephanie and family in Exeter, New Hampshire and Alex and family in Columbia Mo. She is a Stephens Minister, leads a book club and enjoys life. She is thrilled to be able to serve on the Alumni Board.
Gwen Erickson Mersky '72
Gwen Erickson Mersky '72 calls Excelsior, Minnesota her permanent home. Gwen, a WWU Alumni Board member since 2004, attended William Woods for two years, and holds a BJ degree from the University of Missouri. Gwen's best memories of her time at William Woods are the long-term, ongoing friendships she developed, and the experience of working on the Green Owl newsletter. Gwen served as the reunion chair for the class of 1972. Gwen is a change management consultant, focusing on communications. Gwen's interests include anything animal-related and golf. She and her husband had their first holes-in-one in May 2008.
Amy Orr Michel '87
Amy Orr Michel '87 lives in Des Moines, IA. She joined the Alumni Board in April, 2010. She is a native of Carthage, MO. Amy graduated from William Woods with a BS degree in Home Economics. She earned an AA in Interior Architecture from Harrington School of Interior Design in Chicago in 1990. While at the Woods, Amy was on the volleyball team and was employed full time at Missouri State School for the Deaf. Amy moved to Los Angeles in 1990 and was worked as a commercial interior designer before becoming a commercial real estate broker. She served as a local board member for International Facility Management Association (IFMA), and international board member for the Computer Application Council of IFMA. She taught Computer Aided Facility Management at Woodbury University in Burbank, CA. She moved to Scottsdale in 2000 where she joined Wells Fargo & Co as vice president for Corporate Properties Group managing in-house real estate where she is currently employed today. Amy enjoys traveling with her husband, Jeff, book club with friends, collecting fine wine, and consulting for home staging and remodeling. She is Alumni Coordinator for the William Woods Des Moines Area Alumni Board.
Adam Patchett '02
Adam Patchett '02 lives in Columbia, Missouri. A WWU Alumni Board member since 2007, Adam holds a BA in mathematics from William Woods. After completing his degree at William Woods, he enrolled at Oklahoma City University School of Law where he obtained his Juris Doctor degree in 2006. In the fall of 2006, he was admitted at the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law in the LL.M. (Master of Laws Taxation) program, which he completed in 2008. While working on his LL.M., Adam worked at H&R Block World Headquarters in downtown Kansas City. Adam works as an attorney with Powell & Bush law firm in Columbia, Missouri. While at WWU, Adam was a member of the baseball team, a member of Phi Alpha Delta, and the founding president of the Lambda Eta chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha. Adam is currently a member of the Missouri Bar Association and American Bar Association. He enjoys spending time with his wife, Jessica.
Stephanie Westwood Rothermich '87
Stephanie Westwood Rothermich '87 lives in Columbia, Missouri. Stephanie, a WWU Alumni Board member since 2005, holds a BA degree in Business Administration from William Woods. Stephanie is owner of Westwood Financial Group. She started her business in 1988 with an affiliation with Massachusetts Mutual Financial Group in Kansas City, Missouri and continues an affiliation with HighPointe Financial Group, LLC of Overland Park, Kansas. Stephanie has a wide range of expertise in financial matters. Stephanie has earned the designations of Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) and a Certified Family Business Specialist (CFBS). Stephanie's professional affiliations include: Investment Advisor Representative (RIA), MML Investors Services, Inc., registered representative with MML Investors Services, Inc., National Association of Insurance & Financial Advisors, Million Dollar Round Table (qualifying member since 1999), Mid-Missouri Estate Planning Council, and Family Business Partners, Advisor. During Stephanie 's years at The Woods, her interests included Student Alumni Council and her sorority, Chi Omega. Stephanie and her husband have two children.
Justin Shy '02
Justin Shy '02 lives in Festus, Missouri. Justin, a WWU Alumni Board member since 2004, holds a BS degree in Computer Information Science from William Woods. Justin is currently employed with Scottrade, Inc. as a Senior Storage Engineer. Justin is an elected official in The City of Herculaneum, serving as Ward 3 Alderman and Mayor Pro-Tem. During Justin's years at The Woods, his interests included his fraternity, Pi Kappa Alpha and the WWU Owls baseball team. Justin is currently active in the Alumni Association, and has hosted alumni gatherings.
Laura Hill Steinbeck '85
Laura Hill Steinbeck '85 lives in Fulton, Missouri. Her professional experience includes serving as both Vice-President and Account Executive for Sallie Mae, Inc. in Reston, Virginia. At William Woods University, Laura has served in several capacities. She has also served as an Account Executive for USA Group, Inc. Laura holds a BA in business administration from WWU. Among her honors and awards are Best Execution of State Strategy and Central Region Salesperson of the Year for Sallie Mae. The Kingdom of Callaway Chamber of Commerce honored Laura with its Leadership Award. Laura has served as a member and officer of numerous financial aid and admissions-related organizations. Laura's civic memberships and activities include serving as a member of the WWU National Alumni Board since 2006, serving as a member of the WWU Callaway County Alumni Association, serving on committees and boards for the city of Columbia, Callaway County United Way, and the Kingdom of Callaway Chamber of Commerce. A member of the Chi Omega national sorority since 1982, Laura has held roles in support of the WWU Tau Theta chapter. Laura served as the President of Bartley PTO, and she has served on Fulton's Mayor's Advisory Council, Transportation Board of Directors, Tax Increment Financing Commission, and Strategic Planning Team. She received the WWU Alumni Service Award.
Christi Slizewski Tennyson '97
Christi Slizewski Tennyson '97 lives in Cottleville, Missouri with her husband Jamie and children Chase and Cassie. Christi holds a BA in Marketing Management and English Communications from William Woods. Forgoing her marketing career for the mommy track, Christi is as a Managing Partner in the family real estate business. Christi also advises her sorority, Alpha Chi Omega at William Woods, serves as Den Leader for her son?s Cub Scout Pack, Vice President of her church council, chair of the church stewardship committee, and is active in PTO.