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University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


UCM Honors Distinguished Alumni During Homecoming 2014

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Oct. 13, 2014) – University of Central Missouri graduates who have excelled in television and military careers, and who have made a difference in the lives of others through their work in areas such as epilepsy research and awareness and leadership in the Boys and Girls Club of America are being honored by their alma mater.

McKean Turner
Meryl Lin McKean
Brig. Gen. C. David Turner
Mehta Arthurs
Anand Mehta
Susan Arthurs

As a highlight of the 2014 Homecoming Celebration Friday, Oct. 17, the UCM Alumni Association will recognize Distinguished Alumni Meryl Lin McKean, renowned health care reporter at Kansas City’s Fox 4 News, and Brigadier General David Turner, commander of the South Atlantic Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It also will honor Distinguished International Alumnus Anand Mehta, senior vice president of financial services and chief financial officer for the Boys and Girls Club of America, and Distinguished Alumni Service Award recipient Susan Arthurs, a former airline pilot and UCM faculty member who founded the nonprofit Alliance for Epilepsy Research and produced an award-winning documentary on epilepsy.  

The UCM Alumni Association started the Distinguished Alumni Award program in 1978 as a way to honor alumni considered esteemed by their peers as the “brightest and most distinguished” in their field. They have been nominated by their friends, associates and former professors to receive the award.  To be considered for the award, individuals must have integrity, stature, demonstrated ability and renown, and instill pride in their fellow UCM classmates, faculty and students. Additionally, they must, through deed and action, reflect and recognize the importance of their education and bring honor to UCM; must demonstrate leadership and service to professional organizations, community, church, etc.; be affiliated with national, state and/or local organizations; and have earned national, state and/or local awards.  Similar criteria apply to the Distinguished International Alumni Award recipient, with the exception that the honoree must have attended UCM as an international student.  The Distinguished Alumni Award for Service recognizes individuals, who have given generously of their time, talent and resources to enhance the university, their community, or both and are a true inspiration to all UCM alumni.    

The daughter of the first UCM Homecoming Queen, McKean grew up locally and graduated from Warrensburg High School. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in broadcasting and film from UCM in 1980. For more than 30 years, she has been a consistent voice on medical issues as a health care reporter on Fox 4 News in Kansas City, where she has been a firsthand witness to changing technology, new medical treatments and financial aspects of health care. Her exceptional work in journalism has helped save lives and has earned her professional acclaim. Among her many honors are Emmys from the Mid-America Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. In addition to her work in television news, she also gives back to her community as a volunteer for many causes, including cancer, heart disease, arthritis, her sorority, Delta Zeta, and others.

A St. Louis native and former Eagle Scout, Turner graduated from UCM in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics degree. He went on to earn a master’s degree in industrial engineering from Wichita State University in Kansas. His vast career as an engineer in the Army includes stints in Desert Storm and Iraq, and multiple leadership positions, including positions related to the war on terrorism and recovery efforts from Hurricane Katrina and the Sri Lanka tsunami. His career has included service in Afghanistan as chief of staff for a joint interagency task force, district engineer for the Far East District of the Army Corps of Engineers, directing a $10-billion design and construction program for U.S. armed forces in Korea and leading the Army’s $18-billion Base Realignment and Closure, the largest transformation of the U.S. Army since World War II.

Bringing the belief that success comes from education, hard work and family support, Mehta came to America some 40 years ago from India, and graduated from UCM in 1975 with a Master of Business Administration degree. As senior vice president and chief financial officer for the Boys and Girls Club of America, he is part of an organization that serves nearly 4 million youth in 4,100 facilities across the country. He provides financial leadership for the organization, which has a combined budget of $1.5 billion. In addition to his professional work, Mehta has helped raise thousands of dollars for flood victims in northern India, the earthquake in Haiti and Hurricane Katrina. As a philanthropic leader, he has served as one of the founding board members and treasurer for Child Rights and You, CRY America, a nonprofit organization committed to the rights of children, and is currently vice president of BAPS Charities, which raises support for international communities in need.

Susan Arthurs earned a Master of Science in Aviation Safety degree from UCM in 1994. In 1978, she became the eighth women ever hired as a pilot by United Airlines, but after 11 years flying Boeing 737s, she ad to leave the field when she was diagnosed with epilepsy. She found a new passion in life helping to increase awareness of this disease, which affects at least 60 million people worldwide. Arthurs’ work in this realm includes producing an award-winning documentary with UCM emeriti professor, Doug Underwood, titled “It is Epilepsy – The challenges and promises of Automated Seizure Control,” a work that has won numerous honors at film festivals across the globe. Arthurs also started the nonprofit Alliance for Epilepsy Research and created a series of books with interactive CDs for grades K-12. Her career also includes teaching in UCM’s nationally renowned aviation program, and teaching online courses at a college near her home in Michigan.

In addition to being honored during the annual Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner Oct. 17, award recipients also will participate in the annual Homecoming Parade at 9 a.m. the following day and will be honored at halftime of the Mules football game later that afternoon.