Six Receive Alumni Awards from William Woods University

Two Fulton residents were among six persons who received awards from William Woods University during Alumni Weekend, April 24-26.


Laura Hill Steinbeck received the Outstanding Service Award. Every Laura Steinbeckyear, this award is presented to an alumnus who has shown dedication to the university with outstanding service and support in multifaceted areas. Steinbeck graduated from William Woods in 1985 and worked for the university for 13 years. She is also a member of the William Woods University National Alumni Board.

 Jane Bierdeman-Fike

Jane Bierdeman-Fike was named an Honorary Alumnus. She worked as a psychiatric social worker for the State of the Missouri for 45 years. Her relationship with William Woods began when she helped establish the social work program on campus. She is also a member of the Social Work Advisory Board and the President’s Community Council.


Also receiving Honorary Alumnus status was John Edwards from Hilton John EdwardsHead, S. C. Edwards is a member of the John R. McCune Charitable Trust in Pittsburgh. He also served as the transcriber and administrator for publishing ‘The Works of Jonathan Edwards,” at Yale University. Edwards joined the WWU Board of Trustees in 2007 and currently serves as president.


Katie ReedKatie Reed of San Antonio, Texas, received the Award of Distinction. This award was created to honor an alumnus who has achieved recognition in his or her chosen field.  In 1989 Reed ran for the local school board. Now 20 years later, she is serving her fifth term as president of Texas’s fourth largest school district and has served as president of the Texas Association of School Boards.


Debbie Hay of Dallas, Texas, was the recipient of the Green Owl Debbie HayAward. This award is given to honor alumni who have given years of service to the Alumni Association and the university. Hay helped organize a WWU alumni chapter in Dallas and for the past three years has hosted gatherings for new and returning Dallas area William Woods students.



Tom O'ConnorTom O’Connor of Longboat Key, Fla., was the recipient of the Order of the Owl Award. This honor is given to a spouse who has shown a special interest in promoting and supporting the activities of the university. O’Connor was vice president of Bacardi Rum for 30 years. He and his wife, Claudine, have supported numerous projects at William Woods. After receiving his award, the couple was presented with the President’s Medal.