The Great Griffon Awards recognize alumni from each college and school who exhibit outstanding contributions to the workforce, society or the University.
Nominees must have completed at least 24 credit hours at any Missouri Western institution and do not have to work in the area in which they studied. Nominees can be recognized for career achievement, service to local communities, state or nations or the University.
At least one year is required between attendance and award nomination. In rare circumstances, this award may be presented posthumously at the discretion of the Alumni Association Board of Directors.
To submit a nomination, please email the Alumni Office.
Jamie Bartley '17
Jaime is the Organ Transplant Manager for the University of Kansas Health System.
She graduated from the University of Nebraska Medical Center with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and earned her Master of Science in Nursing: Healthcare Leadership from Missouri Western.
For her capstone project at Missouri Western, she and her team studied ways to remove barriers, improve quality and outcomes for their patients, and increase living donations.
Their efforts have resulted in historic transplant chains and a great increase in the number of living donors and transplants.
Jacob Cunning '16
Jake graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Management and is currently a Consultant, Human Capital for Deloitte in Atlanta.
As a student, he completed an internship at Boehringer Ingelheim and was hired there when he graduated.
He was active in a number of student organizations and worked in both the President’s Office and the Missouri Western Foundation Office.
Duane Martin '89
Duane graduated with a political science degree and earned a law degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
In 2014, he founded EdCounsel, a law firm that is dedicated to defending and supporting Missouri’s public schools.
Duane is also an adjunct professor at St. Louis University.
Mary Sprake Vaughan '79
Mary graduated from Missouri Western with a bachelor’s degree in Leisure Management.
She served 32 years in the Parks and Recreation Department for the City of Maryland Heights, Missouri.
She was named the director of that department in 1998 and served in that position until she retired in 2016.
Mary is also very active in the Kiwanis International service organization, currently serving as district secretary for the Missouri Arkansas District.
Kristi Bailey Rasmussen '00
Kristi is the Director of Communications and Marketing for the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce, a position she has held since 2008. In that position, she works with more than 1,300 member businesses and the public to communicate the Chamber’s mission, vision, programs and economic development activities. Recently, she guided communications directors across the community to develop St. Joseph’s branding campaign, “Made with Uncommon Character.”
Kristi, from Ewing, Missouri, graduated with an English degree and a business minor. Prior to joining the Chamber staff, she worked eight years at the St. Joseph News-Press, where she was an award-winning reporter and assistant city editor.
Kristi is involved in several community organizations, including East Side Rotary, St. Joseph Women’s Press Club and LeBlond High School Board of Directors. She earned an MBA from Northwest Missouri State University in 2014.
Kristi and her husband, Paul Rasmussen, have a daughter, Katarina.
Rachel A. Pepper '03 DNP, RN, NEA-BC
Rachel was promoted to Chief Nursing Officer of Kansas City Operations for the University of Kansas Health System this past July. She had previously been serving as the Senior Director of Nursing for the University of Kansas Hospital.
“There is nothing like being surrounded by compassionate, intelligent, competent, world class professionals who have dedicated their lives to serving others. Being the leader of this group of nursing professionals is a privilege like no other,” she said.
Rachel, a native of DeKalb, Missouri, earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Missouri Western, and a Master of Science in Nursing-Organizational Leadership and a Doctor of Nursing Practice-Organizational Leadership from the University of Kansas.
“My time at MWSU was amazing,” she said. “I enjoyed the nursing program. The rigor and dedication the faculty provided set up all the new nurses very well for our careers.”
Rachel’s fiancé is Jason Loar.
Jaime Lynn Habersat '99
Jaime is a Transportation Operation Specialist, Loss Prevention Team for the General Services Administration in Kansas City, Missouri. She has worked for GSA since 2009, and in her current position, she monitors for fraud, waste and abuse of government vehicles.
She is also a volunteer Membership/Mobilization Manager for Team Rubicon, a veteran- and first responder-based disaster response organization. She has been volunteering for them since 2014 and has been on 10 deployments with them, including the only volcano operation that the team has ever had. Jaime also teaches training classes for team members.
As a student, she was involved in several organizations, including being one of the founding members of the Alpha Gamma Delta Fraternity.
Jaime graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and earned an MBA from Webster University in 2004.
Patrick Larsen '15
If you look south of Missouri Western’s physical plant on the west side of I-29, you can see one of the legacies of Patrick’s time as a student. The Weston, Missouri native graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art, and while he was here, he and David Harris, associate professor of art, built a wood-fired kiln. Larsen also rebuilt the department’s salt kiln when he was a student.
And if you haven’t figured it out yet, Patrick is all about ceramics. He had been a sculptor for 20 years when he decided to “put a degree behind it.” After he graduated, he opened the Mad Potter Studio, a working studio, in Weston.
As a student, Patrick set up a pottery wheel at the MWSU Foundation’s Donor Appreciation Reception for three years, visiting with those in attendance and displaying his craft.
“A few professors that really stand out are David and Teresa Harris, Eric Fuson, Misha Kligman and Kathy Liao,” Patrick said. “They presented themselves as genuine people with an enormous knowledge base and a passion for teaching.”