Southeast Missouri State University
For more information, contact:
Ann K. Hayes (573) 651-2552




CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Aug. 9, 2002 - Six alumni and a faculty member at Southeast Missouri State University have been selected to receive the annual Merit Awards presented by the University's Alumni Association.

The six alumni will receive the Alumni Merit Award and the faculty member will receive the annual Faculty Merit Award when they are honored during Homecoming festivities Oct. 18. The Merit Award Dinner is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in the Show Me Center. Tickets for the dinner are available by calling the University Alumni Office at (573) 651-5159 or (573) 651-2259.

Alumni Merit Awards are presented by each of Southeast's academic colleges and schools to honor distinguished alumni. The awards have been given since 1958 to graduates of Southeast who have brought distinction to themselves and to the University.

The Faculty Merit Award is presented for excellence and distinction in teaching.

Recipients of this year's Alumni Merit Awards and the college or school presenting the awards are as follows: Bill M. Burch of Sikeston, Mo., School of Polytechnic Studies; Dr. Melvin C. Kasten of Cape Girardeau, College of Science and Mathematics; Ellen Gunter McDowell of Lees Summit, Mo., College of Health and Human Services; Robert J. Rauscher of Hobson, Mont., Donald L. Harrison College of Business; Donald G. Revelle of Wesley Chapel, Fla., College of Liberal Arts; and Linda M. Wells of Phoenix, Ariz., College of Education.

This year's recipient of the Faculty Merit Award is Dr. Walt W. Lilly, a professor in Southeast's Department of Biology.


Lilly holds a bachelor of science degree in biology from Southwest Missouri State and a doctoral degree in botany from the University of Minnesota. Lilly became a Southeast faculty member in 1982. He is a professor in the Department of Biology and serves as the University's Radiation Safety Officer. During his 20 years at Southeast, Lilly has proposed and revised more than 20 courses and chaired the two major curriculum revisions of the Department of Biology since 1980. In addition, he has been a life-long proponent of experiential learning through undergraduate research. Lilly has directed over 40 undergraduate student research projects and 10 masters students' thesis research. To support his research, Lilly has been awarded more than $50,000 in internal grants and more than $600,000 in external grants. Many of his research projects are supported by the National Science Foundation. Lilly also is the co-author of nearly 300 gene sequences in GenBank. During his tenure at Southeast, Lilly has published 19 research papers in refereed journals, presented more than 50 professional presentations and received numerous awards.


Burch entered the field of agriculture in 1953, when he rented 80 acres of land during his senior year of high school to generate income for his college expenses. He received a bachelor's degree in agriculture from Southeast Missouri State University in 1957. Currently, he is the chief executive officer and owner of Burch Food Services in Sikeston, Mo. Before owning Burch Food Services, he served as office manager and agricultural loan officer for Production Credit Association in Sikeston, Mo.; was vice president of Coca-Cola Bottling Co., in Sikeston, Mo., Cairo, Ill., and Carbondale, Ill.; and was manager of Dale Vendor in Sikeston, Mo. Burch also has served in several areas of community service, including mayor and city councilman for the city of Sikeston; president and rodeo chairman for the Sikeston Junior Chamber of Commerce; regional vice president and national director of the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce; emeritus member and board of directors member of the Southeast Missouri State University Foundation; treasurer of the Missouri Development Finance Board; county chairman of the Scott County Democratic Central Committee; president of the Lion's Club in Sikeston, Mo.; board of director member of the Cerebral Palsy Center in Sikeston, Mo.; and board of director member of the Missouri Delta Hospital Foundation in Sikeston, Mo.

Kasten, a Cape Girardeau native, is a retired general surgery physician. During his career, he was chief of staff at Southeast Missouri Hospital from 1973-1974; chief of staff at St. Francis Hospital from 1968-1969; and chief of surgeon at both hospitals. From 1992-2000, Kasten served as a member of the Cape Girardeau City Council. Kasten has been a member of the American Medical Association (AMA), the Missouri State Medical Association (MSMA), the Cape County Area Medical Society, the Fellow American College of Surgeons and the Diplomat American Board of Surgery. He also is a member of the Mark Twain Society. Kasten earned a bachelor of science degree in biology and chemistry from Southeast in 1949. He continued his education at the University of Pittsburgh, where he obtained a medical degree in 1951.

McDowell graduated from Southeast in 1973 with an associate of arts degree in nursing. She continued her education at the University of Evansville, where she obtained a bachelor of science degree in nursing in 1976. In 1987, she completed her master's degree in administration, majoring in healthcare, from Southeast Missouri State University. Currently, McDowell is the clinical research manager at Regulatory/Clinical Consultants, Inc., in Lee's Summit, Mo., and the president of The McDowell Group. She has received many awards, including the 1990 National Distinguished Achievement Award from American Society for Healthcare Education and Training, the 1990 Marquis Who's Who of Emerging Leaders in America, the 1987 Who's Who in the Midwest, and the 1985 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year from the Southeast Department of Nursing.

Rauscher is a retired group vice president of marketing at Amoco Oil, Corp., in Chicago, Ill. He dedicated over 30 years to Amoco Oil Corp. Rauscher also has served in several areas of community service, including as an advisory board member of the Children's Miracle Network; an advisory board member of the National and Chicago Area Salvation Army; a foundation board member, chairman and Board of Regents member at Concordia University; a member of the board of the Chicago Economic Development, Corp.; and an advisory board member of the DuSable Museum. In 1959, Rauscher graduated from Southeast with a bachelor of science degree in business administration, majoring in marketing. In 1977, he completed the management program for executives at the University of Pittsburgh.

Revelle serves as president and chief executive officer of Syzygy Associates in Orwell, Ohio, consultants in strategic business planning to industry, health care and military clients. Prior to his leadership of Syzygy Associates, Revelle held the positions of executive vice president of Montefiore Academic Medical Center in the Bronx, N.Y., senior vice president of Black and Decker Corp.'s world headquarters in Towson, Md., vice president of TRW, Inc.'s international headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio, and director of employee relations of Westinghouse Electric Corp. in Pittsburgh, Pa. He was a lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserve. Revelle has lectured at major universities, including Harvard Business School, Georgia Tech and the University of Massachusetts, and has written and contributed to various publications. He is a member of many civic organizations, the Master Business Administration Association, state and federal bar associations, American Bar Association, Human Resources Society, New York State Board of Education, and he serves as chairman of the Academic Medical Centers Consortium. Revelle graduated from Southeast in 1952 with a bachelor of arts degree in social and political science. He went on to earn a master of business administration from Harvard Business School and a doctor of jurisprudence from The University of Colorado Law School.

Wells has served as head softball coach at Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz., since 1989. Before holding her current position, Wells spent 15 years as head softball coach at the University of Minnesota. She graduated from Southeast in 1972 with a bachelor of science in education degree, majoring in physical education. While at Southeast, Wells lettered in softball, volleyball, basketball, tennis and field hockey. She also played softball professionally. Wells continued her education at the University of Minnesota, earning a master of arts degree in exercise physiology in 1981. She has received numerous special recognitions over the course of her career, including induction into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame, the University of Minnesota Athletic Hall of Fame, the Minnesota Volleyball and Softball Halls of Fame and the Minnesota State Coaches Association Hall of Fame.


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