(WARRENSBURG, Mo.) – Five UCM alumni will be presented with awards during the annual Distinguished Alumni Dinner at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 13 in the Elliott Student Union Ballroom. Barry Davis and Maj. Gen. Karen LeDoux will receive the Distinguished Alumni Awards; Rob Ruth will be honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award for Service; Chang Bin Yim will receive the Distinguished International Alumni Award and LaTanya Buck will receive the Early Achievers Award. Tickets are required for the event and can be purchased at ucmfoundation.org
Rob Ruth’s life was changed when he became a student recruiter after his graduation in 1975. He said he and two other recruiters helped bring students from across the state of Missouri to UCM.
“I think because of my experience as a student recruiter, I saw the needs that we had from the university standpoint, that we needed more alumni volunteers out there helping to promote the university in various areas wherever any of our folks live,” Ruth said. “So I got involved on the National Alumni Association Board of Directors and became the president of the National Alumni Association.”
Ruth said when his term was up with the NAI, he was asked to be on the Board of Directors for the UCM Alumni Foundation. He said throughout his time on the board, he had been involved in promoting Mule Nation in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area, which boasts a large number of alumni.
Ruth said he grew up while at UCM. He was on the baseball team, a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon and active on the Interfraternity Council. He was also president of the Physical Education Club.
“Some folks say that when they went to the military they went from being a boy to a man, and I think in some respects I went from becoming a boy to a man while I was at UCM,” Ruth said. “Which was really about over a period of six years, from student to being on the faculty for two, so those six years really laid that solid foundation for my business career.”
LaTanya Buck, class of 2002, often joked that she majored in student activities because she was so busy outside of the classroom.
“I was a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority… (I also had) several positions within the Association of Black Collegians, I served on the executive board, and I also served as the editor for what was called the New Black Voice,” Buck said. “It was the newsletter publication of the Association of Black Collegians.”
After majoring in public relations during her undergraduate career, Buck returned to UCM for her masters in college student personnel administration. She said she knew she wanted to work specifically in diversity and inclusion early on, so she dedicated most of her career to doing diversity, inclusion and identity work in higher education.
Buck said she was the first person appointed as dean of diversity and inclusion at Princeton University after a task force identified a gap in a position within the student affairs division for a diversity-related position.
“In this role, I have the opportunity to work very closely with our cultural center for equality and cultural understanding, our LGBT center … and then I do a lot of strategic visioning and planning around diversity and inclusion for our division,” Buck said.
Buck said the support and engagement of a lot of the administrators and advisors who were at UCM had a lasting impact on her.
“A lot of them were the reason why I wanted to go into student affairs, and I recall even asking some administrators ‘What did you have to do to do this?’ I didn’t know this was called student affairs at the time, but I did know that I wanted to work with students and help them developmentally and go through the journey of college,” Buck said. “I would certainly say having some of the very engaged and active administrators, advisors and faculty at the time on campus was impactful.”
Two years after graduating with an accounting degree in 1981, Barry Davis joined a large accounting firm in Kansas City called BKD.
“We have 36 offices across the United States,” Davis said. “I’m responsible for 13 of those offices… making sure that they are getting what they want and rolling and taking advantage of opportunities in those cities and markets we’re located at.”
Davis said he felt very qualified and able to do the work his career field required of him when he left UCM.
“I think that anytime anyone’s going to college, I think you have to obtain the requisite skills and knowledge of your chosen profession,” Davis said. “But I think also it gives you a certain maturity as you’re leaving college – the maturity to talk to people at your same level and at the level above you – and no matter where you are in business you have to be able to talk to a lot of people, and I think that some of the classes at UCM definitely enabled me to do that.”
Davis said he would advise current college students to enjoy their college days because they will go by fast.
“You have to make sure that you are definitely paying attention and making sure you’re not skipping out of college or skipping out of classes because it’s very important to take advantage of these opportunities that have been provided to you,” Davis said. “But at the same time, it’s important to be able to balance the academic side of it with the social aspect of it. I think that if you’re successful at balancing those two you’ll have a very successful college career and professional career.”
Chang Bin Yim
Chang Bin Yim’s goal is to unite South and North Korea and the 10 million families separated by the Korean War, according to a UCM news release.
Yim graduated from UCM in 1963 with a degree in math and chemistry. After earning a master’s degree in statistics from the University of Missouri, he started a career with Textile Rubber. He worked his way to the position of vice president as he started some 25 companies that involved exchanged goods between America and Asia.
He became involved with the Korean American Chamber of Commerce in 2000 and served as its president for a year, working with small and medium Korean manufacturing companies and helping to organize the 4,500-some Koreans who travel overseas to do business.
As a result of his achievements, Yim was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. Winners of the award are recognized by the U.S. Congress and listed in the Congressional Record. He also received the South Korean government’s highest honor, Mukkungwa, for his work.
When she graduated in 1983 with a degree in music, Maj. Gen. Karen LeDoux thought she was going to become a professional violinist.
Instead, she joined the army and was later mobilized and deployed twice to Southwest Asia in support of military operations in Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn, according to a UCM news release. Her most recent assignment was as the commanding general of the 88th Regional Support Command at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.
Some of her military leadership roles include serving as a company commander, deputy commander and commander (forward) of the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program Support Unit, G3 Operations 310th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, brigade commander of the 55th Sustainment Brigade and commanding general 103rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command.
Among her many decorations are the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal and the Joint Service Commendation Medal.
As a civilian, LeDoux is a program vice president at the Logistics Management Institute with an ERP business modernization portfolio.