60 for 60: Stan Anderson, Darrion Cockrell, Beth Goetz, Ella Jones and Kristin Lawson honored as exceptional UMSL alumni

by | Sep 11, 2023

To celebrate its anniversary, UMSL is spotlighting 60 alumni who apply one or more of the university's core values in the world and help to make it a better place.

60 for 60 Alumni graphicThe University of Missouri-St. Louis is proud of the economic and philanthropic reach of its programs and partnerships, but it’s the people UMSL most wants to honor as it celebrate its 60th anniversary. Throughout the year of celebration, UMSL will be spotlighting 60 alumni who apply one or more of the university’s core values in the world and help to make it a better place.

This month’s honorees are Stan Anderson, Darrion Cockrell, Beth Goetz, Ella Jones and Kristin Lawson.

Stan Anderson

Stan Anderson, BSBA 1978

Stan Anderson is in the business of making other businesses put their best foot forward through brand-building solutions. As the owner of One Ten Marketing, Anderson specializes in business printing, collateral and premium products, and corporate apparel for financial institutions, secondary schools and major chain retailers. One Ten Marketing, based in Chesterfield, is also certified with IMG College Licensing for the production and distribution of products bearing marks and logos of selected colleges and universities.

Before striking out on his own, Anderson racked up extensive corporate experience, beginning in sales with a Fortune 100 company and advancing to key account management. He also excelled in the field of international logistics, holding positions in sales, national account management and district management, with full operational and profit and loss responsibility.

“I grew up in the Normandy area, and UMSL was an educational opportunity that might not have been available otherwise,” he said. “Like so many other UMSL students, I paid my way through college. But the grind was well worth it because of the life-long associations and friendships that began on campus.“

His career journey in the business realm took off after he earned a bachelor’s degree in business marketing and management from UMSL and later an MBA from Lindenwood University.

When he’s not making other business and education brands shine, Anderson is giving back to the community, serving on the boards of the UMSL Business Alumni Chapter and the Chesterfield Chamber of Commerce. He’s also a volunteer youth coach and a DECA judge, helping to prepare emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for college and careers.

Darrion Cockrell

Darrion Cockrell, BSEd 2013

His name is Darrion Cockrell. But for the kids at Crestwood Elementary in St. Louis, he’s simply known as Mr. DC. For nearly a decade, the UMSL alumnus has been living the transformative life as an award-winning educator who is committed to providing the same kind of positive teacher-student experience that saved him from heading down the wrong path while growing up in St. Louis.

“I began my journey in and out of the foster care system not long after my sixth birthday,” he said. “I had a lot of struggles and a lot of hurdles, and if not for my childhood educators, I would not be where I am today.”

After entering a boys’ home at age 14, Cockrell was soon adopted by his middle school football coach and spent his remaining teenage years in Chesterfield. After high school, he played college football at Millikin University until suffering a shoulder injury. Cockrell then returned home to finish his undergraduate studies at UMSL, earning a BS in physical education and a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies. He is forever grateful to UMSL for setting his feet firmly along a career path in education.

“It was one of the greatest decisions I ever made,” he said. “Although my educational journey was very tough, I am forever grateful for the love, support, patience, flexibility, accountability and knowledge that UMSL provided.”

Since joining Crestwood Elementary in 2015, Mr. DC has been committed to repaying the educational experiences that changed his life, inspiring his students to prioritize healthy bodies and compassionate minds. Cockrell’s commitment to teaching excellence has been recognized at the state and national levels. In 2021, he became the first black male educator to receive the Missouri Teacher of the Year award and was honored the same year with the National Education Association Horace Mann Friend of Education Award.

Beth Goetz

Beth Goetz, MEd 2001

For Beth Goetz, life is all about the love of the game and the drive to succeed, from her university playing and coaching days to her current role as an administrative leader in collegiate athletics. As an accomplished student-athlete, Goetz excelled in soccer at Clemson University and earned All-American recognition at Brevard College in North Carolina, where she was inducted into the college’s Hall of Fame in 2017.

As a coach, Goetz spent 13 years at UMSL, first as an assistant women’s soccer coach in 1996, then as head coach from 1997 to 2008.

“I was surrounded by faculty and colleagues who were truly invested in the students they supported,” she said. “The skills I learned and the experiences I had at UMSL provided a great foundation that continues to guide me both personally and professionally.”

During her tenure, Goetz led UMSL to 10 straight Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournaments, including an appearance in the 2007 championship game, and was named GLVC co-Coach of the Year in 2000. Goetz also served as Assistant Athletics Director/Senior Woman Administrator from 2001 to 2008 and was inducted into the UMSL Sports Hall of Fame in 2014. As both a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in mental health counseling and an employee, she says her time at UMSL was very special.

She went on to serve in athletic leadership roles at Butler University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Connecticut and Ball State University, before moving to the University of Iowa as Deputy Athletics Director and Chief Operating Officer in September 2022. This summer, she was named Interim Director of Athletics for the Hawkeyes. Goetz is also involved in collegiate athletics at the national level as chair of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee. She was named by Women Leaders in College Sports as the 2022 NCAA Division I FBS Nike Executive of the Year and has been recognized by the Indianapolis Business Journal as one of the publications 2021 Women of Influence.

Ella Jones

Ella Jones, BA 1986

What do you get when combining the power of an analytical mind and a servant’s heart? The answer is Ella Jones, a political trailblazer who parlayed her education at UMSL with successful careers in chemistry, cosmetics and the church to become the history-making mayor of the city of Ferguson in St. Louis County. Since 2020, she has led the city’s ongoing journey to heal from the civil unrest that catapulted it to the forefront of the national conversation about race nearly a decade ago.

Jones, who completed a BA in chemistry in 1986, was an analytical chemist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and later at KV Pharmaceutical Company, while juggling additional roles as a pastor in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and a consultant and sales director with Mary Kay Cosmetics. But the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson and the civil unrest that followed motivated Jones to rethink her career trajectory, leading to her election as the first black member of the Ferguson City Council in 2015 and the first woman and first Black resident to be elected Ferguson mayor several years later.

“Several faculty members played key roles in my decision to stay in the chemistry department, either by challenging me to do more, making sure I understood what was being taught, or encouraging me with offers for help,” Jones said.

Before winning her first election, she returned to UMSL to complete training in municipal leadership at the Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life. From the classroom and the science lab to the political stage, she has high praise for UMSL and the experiences that served as the foundation for her success.

Besides her role as the mayor of Ferguson, Jones impacts her community in many other ways, serving as a member of the Boards of the Emerson Family YMCA and St. Louis MetroMarket, a mobile farmers’ market providing fresh fruits and vegetables to underserved communities. She is also the founder of Community Forward, a nonprofit organization that promotes the concept of livable communities in municipalities across the St. Louis region.

Kristin Lawson

Kristin Lawson, BA 2003

Kristin Lawson owes her career to the love of storytelling. From her childhood days in Barnhart, Missouri, to her current role ensuring the defense of our nation, Lawson never shies away from new adventures. She leans into the stories behind the new places she visits and the new people she meets to strengthen her understanding of the world. Lawson is also fascinated by the power of stories to persuade, leading her to UMSL, where she earned a BA in mass communications in 2003. She says she is especially grateful to Michael Murray in the Department of Communication and Media, for recognizing her potential as a communications student and professional.

“Dr. Murray saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself,” she said. “He was a wonderful mentor who expanded my love for all aspects of communications, helping me grow as a student and young adult.”

After graduation, Lawson served as a marketing specialist for a hospice company, leveraging the communication skills she acquired at UMSL to speak with empathy while providing necessary information to medical facilities and patient families. She then moved to a career in the public sector, beginning with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and continuing with the National Cemetery Administration, where she helped families bury their veterans, spouses and dependent children in 135 national cemeteries.

“It was a very humbling experience as I was able to hear stories about WWII, Korea and Vietnam,” she said. “I was enamored because never again will you hear those kinds of stories and the magic behind them.”s

From the National Cemetery Administration, she moved into her current role as a special agent with the Defense Counterintelligence & Security Agency under the U.S. Department of Defense. Lawson says that without her lifelong love of stories and the communication skills acquired through UMSL, she would be unable to extract the information necessary to complete the investigations work that is of critical importance to the security of the federal workforce.

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