So . . . please allow me to qualify this award. If you have known me a long time (forever friends and forever family), or if we have only become friends recently since our two moves, I wish to say that it is my pleasure to have your support and friendship in my journey . . . and to say that “no man [or woman] is an island.”. . . . I am tremendously fortunate to have so many kind and loving people in my life. . .and I wanted to thank you for that . . .You have my gratitude. You have my heart. . .
Press Release . . .
Seven alumni and one faculty member will receive Merit Awards presented by the Southeast Missouri State University Alumni Association Nov. 4 at the Copper Dome Society/Merit Recognition Dinner during the University’s Homecoming celebration. The dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Show Me Center.
Alumni Merit Awards have been presented annually since 1958 to Southeast alumni who have brought distinction to themselves and the University.
This year’s alumni recipients are: Teresa Mosley Dirks, ’98, of Kansas City, Missouri, award winning artist in the Kansas City area; Dr. Jerry D. Durham, ’68, of Waterloo, Iowa, chancellor of Allen College; Janet Perez Eckles, ’75, of Orlando, Florida, inspirational speaker and author; William T. (Bill) Gamewell, ’72, of Ballwin, Missouri, senior vice president with Commerce Bank in St. Louis, Missouri; Pamela Macke Johnson, ’77 and ’00, of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, criminalist supervisor and forensic scientist with the Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop E Crime Laboratory in Cape Girardeau; Pamela McClune, ’72, of Denver, Colorado, retired compliance manager with the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority and retired attorney and U.S. Navy captain with the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, U.S. Navy Reserve; and Dr. Pernell Witherspoon of St. Louis, Missouri, and Huntington Beach, California, associate professor of criminal justice at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri.
Receiving the Faculty Merit Award will be Dr. Julie Ray, professor and chair of the Department of Elementary, Early and Special Education at Southeast. The Faculty Merit Award is presented for excellence in teaching.
Teresa Mosley Dirks
Dirks, an artist, painter and former educator, graduated summa cum laude from Southeast in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in art. In 2005, she earned a master’s degree in education from William Woods University.
Born in Kennett, Missouri, and raised in Malden, Missouri, Dirks spent most of her life in southeast Missouri, absorbing the essence of rural, farm life and the relationship between life and nature, a theme she has captured in her photographs, poetry and paintings.
She taught environmental education and then art education in public schools for several years, but her passion for painting inspired her lifelong career.
When creating her artwork, Dirks’ aim is to reconstruct those experiences from her life and environment, and to share that connection with others. She strives to recreate a conceptual experience whether it is the complexity of urban decay, the intensity of the sky, or the linear connection to cultivation, nature and the horizon. The proportions and structure she portrays within her works come from her subconscious need to create with some sense of balance, and also with a tension that is derived from the power of her experiences, and the sense of her being a part of something bigger.
Over the years, her work has developed texturally and organically by using the visual elements and principles of color, line, texture, movement and pattern. The resulting variants and contrasts reflect the complexities and tension of her experiences. Her art has come to symbolize her inner strength and connection with her environment and the years spent watching the brilliance of the world around her.
Dirks is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2011 Missouri Arts Council Poster Award. Her work was featured in the 2012 MAC publications. Her work is held by private and corporate entities.
She has served on the Art in Public Places Committee in Warrensburg, Missouri; organized Paint with Your Girls, a fundraiser for breast cancer research; and served on the advisory boards of Southeast Missouri State University-Malden and the Bootheel Youth Museum where she was also a volunteer programmer. Dirks lives in Kansas City, Missouri, with her husband, Dave. They have two sons and four grandchildren.
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