James Steele of Fayette Elected President of CMU Alumni Association Board

FAYETTE, Mo. – Newspaper publisher James H. (Jim) Steele of Fayette, Mo., has been elected president of the Central Methodist University Alumni Association Board of Directors and Judith (Judy) Engel Rethwisch of Fenton, Mo., a retired high school drama teacher, has been elected vice-president.

Steele succeeds Ginger King Luetkemeyer of Jefferson City, a 1993 CMU graduate, who had served as president since 2007. The election was held in Fayette during the late January meeting of the association’s Board of Directors and officially ratified Feb. 4, announced Tracy Crowe Jones, CMU director of alumni relations. Steele and Rethwisch will serve two-year terms.

The CMU Alumni Association (originally called the Alumni Society) was organized in June of 1875 (Central was founded in 1854). It currently has more than 14,000 members. Twenty-one members serve on the board of directors.

Steele has been active with the association, serving on the board for more than six years, most recently as vice president. Currently the owner, publisher and editor of the Fayette Advertiser and Democrat-Leader, he has had a long career in the field of communications, including experience in public relations, broadcast and print journalism. A native of St. Louis, Steele earned a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Central Methodist College (now CMU) in 1964 and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1966, and undertook additional graduate work at MU. He was honored by CMU in 1991 with a Distinguished Alumni Award. In late 2000 Steele purchased the Fayette newspapers from the late H. Denny Davis and has operated them since that time. He also writes and voices a five-minute Howard County news report which airs four times each weekday morning on Boonville Radio KWRT, 1370AM.

Rethwisch retired in 2000 after 35 years of teaching speech, drama, acting, technical design, creative film and television in public schools, primarily in Affton, Mo. (St. Louis County). She continues to be the fine arts coordinator at Affton High School. She earned a bachelor’s degree in speech from Central Methodist College (CMU) in 1965. After graduation she taught at Glasgow High School for one year then took a job teaching speech and drama at Affton. She was honored by CMU in 2006 with a Distinguished Alumni Award. In 1983 she received her master’s degree in theater from Lindenwood University and has continued her education with numerous in-services and workshop courses.

Founded in 1854, Central Methodist is the only United Methodist Church-related university in Missouri, and welcomes qualified men and women of all faiths and from diverse backgrounds. Its wooded, historic campus hosts a faculty of teachers, mentors, and scholars dedicated to providing extraordinary attention to the individual learner. With offerings ranging from high-school dual credit to graduate studies and a total enrollment of more than 4,000, its liberal arts and pre-professional programs are centered on a character core that has twice brought Central Methodist national recognition for its leadership in character education. In recent years the University has attracted significant challenge grants from the national Kresge and Mabee Foundations to help build a $15 million Student and Community Center on the academic quadrangle and to fund $5 million in major upgrades to its athletic facilities. — 30 —

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