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New Board Members

generic portrait shot of Michelle Aycock
generic portrait shot of Linda Burns
generic portrait shot of Brian Kelly
generic portrait shot of Debra Reid

Southeast Missouri University Foundation Appoints Four New Board Members

Four new members have been appointed to the Southeast Missouri University Foundation Board.

They are Michelle Aycock of Parma, Missouri, owner of AyCorp Companies LLC; Dr. Linda Burns of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, retired english professor; Brian Kelly of St. Peters, Missouri, director of advancement at Catholic Student Center at Washington University; and Dr. Debra Reid of Dearborn, Michigan, Curator of Agriculture and the Environment at The Henry Ford Museum. They will serve three-year terms on the Board.

“With additions to our Foundation Board membership, we seek out alumni and friends who are not only supportive of the University but who also bring a diversity of backgrounds and expertise,” said Dr. Trudy Lee, vice president for University Advancement and executive director of the Southeast Missouri University Foundation. “We are extremely pleased to have Michelle, Linda, Brian, and Debra join us in this capacity. They bring a wealth of experience to the Board and we look forward to them joining us.”

The University Foundation, founded in 1983, furthers the causes and mission of Southeast Missouri State University. The Foundation obtains and manages resources that allow the University to enhance the quality and extend the range of services provided to its students and the region.

“The Foundation recognizes special opportunities for the University and undertakes and supports fundraising activities that provide resources to enable the University to capitalize on these opportunities,” Lee said. “The Foundation recognizes donors and provides strength for the continually improving growth, visibility, and excellence of the University.”

The volunteer Foundation Board of Directors includes many Southeast alumni, regional business leaders, and supporters of the University. Board members comes from not only the southeast Missouri region and the St. Louis area but also from across the country. In addition, the Board includes University administrators, faculty representatives and two student representatives. Last year, the Board also welcomed its first international alumnus.

The Board of Directors is responsible for establishing a continuous development operation to support scholarships and other strategic initiatives of Southeast; to encourage voluntary contributions regularly from alumni, friends, corporations, foundations, and other organizations; and to oversee and recommend procedures relating to the investment of foundation assets.

About the newest Foundation Board members:

Michelle Aycock

Bio coming soon.

Dr. Linda Burns

Linda Lattin Burns, a native Kansan, earned both a Bachelor of Science in Education (English) and an Master of Arts in English from Emporia (KS) State University and a Doctorate of Philosophy in English Education from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

She joined the faculty of the Department of English at Southeast Missouri State University as a lecturer in 1968 and retired as an Emeritus Professor of English in 2001.

Linda and her husband, Dr. Robert Burns, also a professor of English, enjoyed supporting the arts and established several scholarships at SEMO. They traveled extensively internationally during retirement until Bob’s passing in 2011.

Linda has served as a Cape County election judge and has served or is serving on the boards of the following: League of Women Voters of Cape Girardeau County, Friends of the Cape Girardeau Public Library, PEO-Chapter JN, Southeast Hospital Auxiliary, and the Southeast Missouri Symphony.

She enjoys playing bridge and dominoes, and is the proud servant of two rescue dogs, Charlie and Lucy.

Brian Kelly

Brian Kelly graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with his Bachelor of Arts in 2011 and his Master of Public Administration in 2013.

He is currently the Director of Advancement for the Catholic Student Center at Washington University in St. Louis. Previous to this role, Brian was a development officer for Washington University School of Law. Brian is also on the advancement committee for St. John Vianney High School.

While at Southeast, Brian was the Student Representative to the Board of Regents. He also met his wife Jamie while an undergraduate. Jamie received her Bachelor of Science and Speech-Language Pathology degrees as well. Jamie is now a speech language pathologist with Mercy Health Systems.

Brian and Jamie were married in 2014. Their daughter Clare was born in April 2016. Outside of work, Brian loves spending time outside and with his family. Some of his favorite hobbies are running, hiking, gardening and reading.

Dr. Debra Reid

Deb grew up on a family farm in southern Illinois near the Mississippi River. She stayed close to home, earning her Bachelor of Science in Historic Preservation from Southeast Missouri State University in 1982.

After graduation, she headed off for a career full of adventure. Her degree in Historic Preservation paved the way. She worked in history museums and historic sites and earned three additional degrees over the years including an Master of Arts from the Cooperstown Graduate Program in History Museum Studies in 1987, an Master of Arts in History from Baylor University in 1996, and a Doctorate of Philosophy from Texas A&M University in 1999.

Deb taught history and historical administration at Eastern Illinois University between 1999-2017. She also has taught ACES 179: History of Illinois Agriculture as adjunct faculty with the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana since 2005. During these years she wrote the award-winning Reaping a Greater Harvest: African Americans and the Agricultural Extension Service in Jim Crow Texas (2007) and Interpreting Agriculture at Museums and Historic Sites (2017), the co-edited Beyond Forty-Acres and a Mule: African American Landowners since Reconstruction (with Evan Bennett, 2012), and the co-written Interpreting the Environment at Museums and Historic Sites (with David D. Vail, 2019).

She also serves the history and public historic professions in numerous ways as an opportunity to support others as she has been supported. She was president of the Agricultural History Society (2019-2020) and is a fellow of that society. She is a past-president of the Association for Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums (2013-2015), recipient of ALHFAM’s Schlebecker Award for service to ALHFAM (2010), and has been active with the Association for International Agricultural Museums since 1998, including serving as a representative from the United States, as a vice president, and as webmaster.

In 2020, Dr. Reid was recognized as a distinguished alumni of Southeast Missouri State University.


Wehking Alumni Center
Southeast Missouri University Foundation
One University Plaza, MS 7300
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701