William Woods Elects New Board Officers, Welcomes New Trustees

The William Woods University Board of Trustees has elected new officers and welcomed three new members to the board, including executives from Burger King and Central Bank, as well as a Missouri state senator.


New officers are John H. Edwards of Hilton Head Island, S.C., chair; Nancy Waller Thomas of Columbia, first vice chair; H. Dale LaRue of Fulton, second vice chair; Janet Danuser of Fulton, secretary, and Dan Westhues of Jefferson City, treasurer.


Westhues, Central Bank senior vice president, consumer banking, is also one of the newest members to join the WWU board. Others are Ben Wells of Miami, Burger King executive vice president and chief financial officer; and Luann Ridgeway of Smithville, state senator from Missouri’s 17th District.


The new chair, Edwards, joined the board of trustees in 2007. Since 1980 he has been a member of the dispensing committee of John R. McCune Charitable Trust in Pittsburgh and since 2001 he has been a member of the planning and development committee of the McCune Foundation.


He has been a board member for Hamden Hall Country Day School, a private K-12 school in Hamden, Conn., since 1991 and has been chairman since 2000. From 1984 to 1994, he was the transcriber and administrator for publishing “The Works of Jonathan Edwards,” a project based at Yale University. Edwards earned his B.A. from Boston College and then received his M.A. in early American history from San Francisco State University.


Thomas, a graduate of William Woods, has been a board member since 1987 and is immediate past chair of the board. She is a realtor for RE/MAX Boone Realty of Columbia.
LaRue was appointed to the board in 1985. He is the owner of Central Missouri Vault Company. Both his wife and daughter are alumni of WWU. Danuser, an alumna of William Woods, joined the board in 2002. She was involved in the family business, Danuser Machine Company, for a number of years.

Westhues, a new board member and treasurer, has held his current position with Central Bank in Jefferson City since 2001. Previously he was director of E-commerce for Central Bancompany in Jefferson City.


A 1993 graduate of Westminster College, he earned his master of business administration (MBA) at William Woods University in 1997. He also attended the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Georgetown University.


Westhues is active in the Jefferson City community, serving as chairman of the community campaign for United Way of Central Missouri last year and as funds allocation panel chair since 2001. He is treasurer of the Missouri River Regional Library. He has served on the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and as chair of Leadership Jefferson City. He has been on the board of directors of both the Capitol City Council on the Arts and the Jefferson City Community Concerts Association.


Wells has more than 25 years of financial experience and currently serves as a key member of the Burger King executive leadership team. He has also served as the senior vice president, treasurer of the company. Prior to Burger King, he was vice president, corporate treasurer at Compaq Computer Corporation. Before that he held various financial and treasury responsibilities over a 10-year period at British Petroleum.


He earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Missouri-Columbia, master’s degree in economics from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in business administration from Canisius College.


Ridgeway has served as a state senator since 2004. Previously, she was the state representative for Missouri’s 35th District, 1992-2002. A Moberly, Mo., native, she graduated magna cum laude from William Woods University in 1978 with a bachelor of arts degree. She studied at Oxford University in England and graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1981 with a juris doctor degree.


As a state representative, she was assistant minority whip of the House Republican Caucus, 1995-1999. As a state senator, she was elected to the majority caucus chair leadership position in 2007. In addition to her law career, she is active in local organizations and serves as pianist at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Smithville.