Missouri State University
Arts & Letters Expressions
An online publication for the alumni and friends of the College of Arts and Letters

Department hires accomplished choreographer for dance, musical theatre

Sarah Wilcoxon will join the theatre and dance faculty in the fall to work with both the dance and musical theatre programs. She will also direct Inertia Dance Company.


Choreography featured throughout U.S.

With an interest in using art to build and shape community,Wilcoxon’s work has not just been limited to stage settings: she creates performances that blend research and choreography into participatory workshops for festivals, community events and schools.

Wilcoxon’s choreography has been featured in musicals, commercial work and on concert dance stages throughout Central Illinois, Chicago and Northern Florida.

Her research and creative interests include jazz dance history, dance as rhetoric, cross-disciplinary collaboration and dance conditioning/injury prevention.

Degree focus in dance as rhetoric

Wilcoxon holds a master’s degree in communication from Illinois State University, where she focused on dance as rhetoric, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in dance from Florida State University.

She has taught jazz and musical theatre dance master classes at the Suzanne Farrell Workshop for Young Dancers, the American College Dance Association’s Southeastern Conference, the Peoria Ballet Academy Summer Intensive and the Florida State University Summer Intensive.

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Graduate student wins international typography award

Master of fine arts student Maria Gerasimchuk-Djordjevic was named among the winners of Print magazine’s Type and Lettering Awards, an international competition, with her work “Lai!/Bark!”

Gerasimchuk-Djordjevic is part of the first class studying for a visual studies graduate degree. She will be traveling to Ukraine, her home country, this summer to continue her thesis research.


More about the program

Students in the master of fine arts in visual studies receive an advanced education in visual arts and design, with an emphasis placed on the student’s individual research.

The curriculum is specifically designed to be flexible to meet the individual research needs within contemporary, traditional and interdisciplinary approaches and media.

Get application guidelines and program information from the department of art and design.

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The Standard wraps up year with numerous awards

Missouri State’s student-run newspaper, The Standard, won several awards this year. Here is a preview of those awards.

The Standard

Missouri College Media Association

Newspaper Division I

1st place

  • Feature photography, Ryan Welch
  • Special section/supplemental, The Standard staff

2nd place

  • Sports photography, Ryan Welch
  • Special section/supplemental, The Standard staff

3rd place

  • Best overall newspaper, The Standard
  • News photography, Emily McTavish
  • Sports photography, Maddy Cushman
  • Story illustration, Nic Deckard
  • Page one design, The Standard staff
  • Sports page, The Standard staff
  • Info graphic, Nicole Roberts and Rebecca Biundo

Honorable mention

  • Website, The Standard
  • Video, Eli Wohlenhaus and Bart Anders

Society of Professional Journalists college contest

Region 7 (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska)


  • Best all-around nondaily student newspaper, The Standard
  • General news reporting (large schools, 10,000+ students), Han Zhao and Nicole Roberts

College Media Business and Advertising Managers national contest

2nd place

  • Best display ad – color, The Standard
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Notable Broadway actress joins theatre and dance faculty

Broadway actress Lisa Brescia will be the theatre and dance department’s next assistant professor in acting. She will begin in the fall 2016 semester.

Lisa Brescia in "Cabaret" with the Playmakers Repertory Theatre

Lisa Brescia in “Cabaret” with the Playmakers Repertory Theatre

Lisa300Brescia as teacher, acting coach

Brescia has been teaching and coaching actors for several years, frequently leading master classes at universities, and as head teacher and founder of The Actor’s Playgroup in New York City. She has a master of fine arts in classical acting from the Academy for Classical Acting, and has studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Broadway credits

  • Donna Sheridan, “Mamma Mia!”
  • Elphaba (standby), “Wicked”
  • Cleo, “The Times They are A-Changin’”
  • Amneris, “Aida”
  • Marion, “The Woman in White”
  • Disciple, “Jesus Christ Superstar”
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Mind’s Eye features Keri Franklin’s research on writing instruction

Dr. Keri Franklin leads the newly formed Center for Writing in College, Career and Community at Missouri State. The organization houses the Ozarks Writing Project and College-Ready Writers Program.

Dr. Franklin and her team is dedicating to improving writing instruction across the region. Her research will be featured in the Missouri State’s next Mind’s Eye magazine.

Transforming student writing in the Ozarks

How does a person become a writer? How does a teacher teach writing rather than assign it? How can a school-university partnership make an impact on improving student writing in high schools?

Those are the research questions Dr. Franklin hopes to answer.

Over the last decade, Franklin has secured $1.3 million in grants to carry out the organization’s mission: to impact student writing outcomes as well as teachers’ beliefs and practices.

“I love getting community partners together and seeing people achieve and grow. To create a network that could go on without me — that’s bigger than me — I’m really proud of that.”

Read more about Franklin and her research in the 2016 Mind’s Eye magazine. 

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Music department moves out of Ellis Hall

Ellis Hall will be closed for construction during the 2016-17 school year, and will reopen in fall 2017. The equipment, classes and offices have been relocated to the Glen Isle Shopping Center on South Glenstone Avenue.


More about the relocation

Workers had to open up walls to removing some of the practice pianos and organs out of Ellis Hall.

Workers had to open up walls to move pianos and organs out of Ellis Hall’s practice rooms.

Classes, as well as music’s administrative and faculty offices, will temporarily move to the Glen Isle Shopping Center, located at 1514 S. Glenstone Avenue. The 35,000-square-foot space includes offices, practice rooms and a few classrooms.

Reach us by phone

Phone numbers for music’s faculty and staff will remain the same. You can find those in the music phone directory.

Location, parking and shuttle information

Map to Glen Isle Shopping Center

MSU’s Bear Line shuttle will provide transportation to and from the shopping center, with buses running every half hour. The location also has a large parking lot for commuters.

Ellis Hall renovation information

More information on the renovation and expansion of Ellis Hall can be found on the University Planning, Design, and Construction office website.

Glen Isle Shopping Center on South Glenstone Avenue

Glen Isle Shopping Center on South Glenstone Avenue
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University sends band director off with a bang


“B – E – A – R – S!”

If you’ve ever been to a football game — or been put on hold while on a Missouri State call — you’ve heard the university’s fight song.

Creating the tune that has inspired generations of Bears is just one of Jerry Hoover’s many achievements in his 31-year career as the MSU Pride Band’s director.

On May 10, 2016, the Foundation celebrated that legacy with a retirement reception.

Hoover’s lessons ‘too great to measure’

prideband-300x419Longtime colleagues, band alumni, family and friends affectionately shared stories about the 80-year-old at the reception.

Dr. Belva Prather, associate band director and emeritus music professor, met Hoover for the first time at her job interview in 1986: “He flew in on a golf cart wearing a Mickey Mouse tie.”

She offered a behind-the-scenes view of the ensuing 30 years, like the time Hoover lost the Dinner Bell Trophy.

Fearing it ended up in the Dumpster, they set out quickly to find it.

“He said, ‘I’ll explain this to you: one of us will get in the Dumpster; the other will stay on the golf cart to be the lookout,’” she said. “Let’s just say I was known as the Dumpster Diver ever since.”

Hoover’s son, Doug Hoover, spoke of a dedicated and passionate teacher and father who always remembers to write Thank You cards. And alumnus Brian Burlingame characterized the lessons he learned from Hoover as “too great to measure.”

‘What a ride!’

Hoover recounted his own amusing stories during the event, like the time he and other staff smuggled band uniforms across the U.S.-Mexico border, and when they became the first American band to play at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

“Touching people’s hearts with music is a tremendous opportunity and tremendous responsibility,” he said.

The night would not have been complete without the Pride Band themselves. The fight song filled Wehr Band Hall just before a large cake with sparklers was wheeled in and confetti burst out over the crowd.

Listen to “The Scotsman,” Missouri State’s fight song:

It was a fitting farewell to this intrepid leader whose ending remarks of the evening — a Hunter S. Thompson quote — will forever remind us of why he is so beloved by Missouri State:

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow! What a Ride!’”

Help fund the Jerry Hoover Band Endowment

The Missouri State University Foundation created the Jerry Hoover Band Endowment to support the needs of the MSU Pride Band. Pay tribute to the founding band director by contributing to the fund online.

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