Alumni Honors

The CAFNR Alumni Association honored alumni and friends at Celebration of Excellence

The CAFNR Alumni Association honored alumni and friends of the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at the annual Celebration of Excellence, held Thursday, April 11, on campus. The Association recognizes alumni and friends for contributions to CAFNR and Mizzou, and for professional accomplishments. Honors included:


Emily Kueker, who received her bachelor’s degree from CAFNR in 2002 in agricultural education, leadership and communications, received the Past President Award.

Kueker, Lake Ozark, Missouri, served as president of the CAFNR Alumni Association over the past year, and has also served as Professor-for-a-Day in the college. While a student in CAFNR, she helped plan CAFNR Unlimited, as the alumni intern. She is co-owner of Vivayic, a virtual company that designs learning solutions – training programs and educational initiatives – in support of business and organizational goals.

“Emily is a quiet, steady and highly effective leader. It was an honor for my office to work closely with her this past year,” said Darcy Wells, senior executive director of advancement, CAFNR Office of Advancement. “Longtime alumni relations director Dana Brown Haynes retired in December 2017. Without a dedicated staff member to support the work of the CAFNR Alumni Association, Emily helped build the bridge necessary between advancement and the alumni board to ensure the success of programs developed by the alumni board over the years. The relationship between the alumni association and the advancement office has never been stronger; we’re all looking forward to a bright future of collaboration.”

Gary Marshall

Gary Marshall, CEO of the Missouri Corn Growers Association and Missouri Corn Merchandising Council, was named Alumnus of the Year.

Marshall is a member of the CAFNR Foundation board, and received the CAFNR Citation of Merit Award in 1999. He received his bachelor of science in agricultural economics in 1974 from the University of Missouri.

“Throughout his tenure, Gary has provided vision and guidance with the mission of improving corn grower profitability, building both domestic and foreign markets, fighting for pro-agriculture legislation, educating consumers and improving production practices. His dedication to reinvigorating rural Missouri and expand markets for corn producers helped pave the way for not only Missouri’s farmer-owned ethanol industry, but corn and ethanol producers nationwide. A respected agricultural advocate in Washington, D.C., Gary fought to secure the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) alongside fellow biofuel proponents. Not stopping there, Gary led the charge to establish the Missouri Renewable Fuel Standard,” said nominator Morris Heitman, past president of the Missouri Corn Growers Association and fellow CAFNR alumnus. “Investing in future students and alumni, he shows his support for the University’s Extension program, leading Missouri Corn to sponsor several youth activities each year. Under his leadership, Missouri Corn recently invested in CAFNR students, sponsoring a study abroad program for students interested in the grain and oilseed industries. Gary also led the charge to promote Missouri corn farmers and CAFNR graduates through the Missouri Corn Fueled First Down sponsorship of Mizzou football. This promotion helped educate Mizzou fans and graduates alike of the many benefits of Missouri agriculture.”

Gary Wheeler

Gary Wheeler, CEO/Executive Director of the Missouri Soybean Association, the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council and the Foundation for Soybean Innovation, received Honorary Membership to CAFNR’s Alumni Association.

“Gary Wheeler represents the best of Missouri agriculture in many ways. He is a leader among his peers, passionate about the industry and people with whom he works, and deeply committed to a vision for long term success. While not a graduate of our College, he carries the spirit of CAFNR throughout his personal and professional endeavors,” said nominator Neal Bredehoeft, vice president of the Mizzou Alumni Association and past president of the CAFNR Foundation. “In his community, Wheeler is an advocate for not only agriculture, but also for rural communities and economic growth, as well as for lifelong learning. He is active in youth leadership and development programs, emphasizing the opportunities found through technology and innovation. His eye toward the future and the next generation extends across his professional capacities too. He applies a strategic vision in partnering with CAFNR and the entire University of Missouri System, driving investments into research, facilities and human capital to support long-term growth and success. His attention to understanding the economic impact and opportunities in our field has been fuel for many successful partnerships in recent years, including those taking the powerhouse of CAFNR to new audiences.”

Stephen O'Loughlin

Stephen O’Loughlin, President and COO of Lodging Hospitality Management, received the Honorary Membership Award from the CAFNR Alumni Association.

O’Loughlin has been a consistent supporter of the Hospitality Management program at University of Missouri. His focus on hiring graduates from the Hospitality Management program has led to offering career opportunities to countless graduates over the years. After graduation from University of Missouri St. Louis, O’Loughlin accepted a position as sales manager at the Novi Hilton in Detroit, Michigan. Following his success at the Hilton property, he moved to the Marriott Pavilion Hotel in St. Louis. O’Loughlin was named President and COO of Lodging Hospitality Management (LHM) in 2008 after 11 years with the company. He joined LHM in 1997.

“Although he didn’t graduate from Mizzou and wasn’t a CAFNR student, Steve has long supported CAFNR’s Hopitality Management program,” said Seonghee Cho, chair of Hospitality Management. “During the past two decades, his company, Lodging and Hospitality Management (LHM), has participated in an intersession job-shadow program that enables 20 to 30 undergraduate Hospitality Management students to learn from managers during a week in January. For this program, Steve’s hotels have provided our students with accommodation, receptions, parking and breakfast, yet more importantly, he’s encouraged managers at his hotel properties to show and teach our students about the hospitality industry and managers’ responsibilities. Steve truly cares about students’ learning and facilitates the opportunity for our students to gain real-world experience in the hospitality industry.”


Brian Munzlinger, who received his bachelor of science in agriculture from Mizzou in 1978, received the Citation of Merit Award from the CAFNR Alumni Association.

Munzlinger is an advocate for agriculture and the Missouri legislative process, and has a deep appreciation for the value of higher education and specifically the land-grant mission of the University of Missouri. He is a former state senator (2011-18) and state representative (2003-10), and served as Chair of the Senate Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources Committee and Chair of the House Agriculture Business Committee. Munzlinger is also the owner and operator of Munzlinger Farms, a multi-generational farm growing corn, soybeans and implementing forestry practices.

“Senator Munzlinger distinguished himself in his legislative career as not only a voice for agriculture but an experienced legislator whose opinion and reasoning was greatly respected by his peers and especially by his constituents. When he sponsored or co-sponsored a bill, it generally passed without a lot of issues because of the trust and respect of his peers. They knew him to be well prepared and to have thought carefully of the effect of such bills on the state as a whole,” said nominator Robin Wenneker, vice president of the Mizzou Alumni Association and past president of the CAFNR Foundation. “Often his bills in animal and plant sciences benefit the farmer but they also benefit the researchers and the students engaged in these disciplines. His legislative successes have allowed that part of our farm economy to move forward in new ways. The senator fully realized the impacts that technology, federal rules and the marketplace have on much of Missouri which also affects the welfare of the College and the University of Missouri.”

Joe G. Dillard

Joe Dillard, who received his master’s degree in 1965 in fish and wildlife conservation from Mizzou, received the True Tiger Volunteer Award.

After earning his master of arts in fish and wildlife conservation from MU, Dillard, Columbia, Missouri, began his professional career with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) as a fisheries research biologist. He held numerous positions during his time with MDC, retiring in 1998 and then working part-time from 2000-12. He has served as a volunteer for the School of Natural Resources (SNR) since leaving MDC in 2012.

“Joe’s quiet diligence and motivation exemplify a spirit of excellence,” said Shibu Jose, interim associate dean in the office of research and extension in CAFNR. “We are very lucky to have his historical expertise as we look back and move forward in SNR. He just shows up and does the work, and his contributions to CAFNR and SNR will stand the test of time.”

At the end of the evening, three people are honored with CAFNR’s signature award, the Mumford, recognizing an outstanding faculty member, an outstanding staff member and someone who has given the College distinguished service. Frederick B. Mumford was the College’s fifth dean, and served in the position for 27 years.

Ed Turner

Ed Turner, CAFNR alumnus and former president of the UM Board of Curators, received the Frederick B. Mumford Award for Distinguished Service at CAFNR’s 2019 Celebration of Excellence awards ceremony.

A strong supporter of CAFNR and MU, Ed Turner has served both in many capacities. He was a gubernatorial appointee to the Board of Curators and served as the president of the board. Turner is a member of the Flagship Council and was its chair. He is a delegate for MU Extension to CARET, the Council for Agriculture, Research, Extension and Teaching. He is a member of the board of the CAFNR Foundation, providing the college assistance and funding. And as a member of the Jerry Litton Foundation, Turner was instrumental in establishing an endowment to CAFNR as the base for an educational leadership program developing Litton Scholars. He received his bachelor of science in agriculture from the University of Missouri in 1962.

“In all of these and other roles, Ed has dedicated himself to promoting, guiding and overall service to his alma mater, including many visits with legislators in Jefferson City and (Washington) D.C.,” said Tom Payne, vice chancellor and dean emeritus. “He has been ever present in his support of his College for which he is so, so proud. For his unending service to MU, Ed has received much very deserving recognition. Most notable are the University’s Geyer Award for Public Service to Higher Education, the Gordon Warren Land Grant Award in Extension, the CAFNR Citation of Merit, MU’s Faculty-Alumni Award and the 4-H Directors Award for Outstanding Service.”