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Faculty/Staff Retirements

John Cherry joined the Harrison College of Business in fall 2000. He has taught undergraduate classes in Principles of Marketing, Public Relations, Integrated Marketing Communications, Introduction to Business Research, Business Ethics, Internet Marketing, International Marketing, Marketing Management, Retail Management, Consumer Behavior and others over the years. He also taught Strategic Marketing to graduate students.

John is an award winning faculty member. He was awarded the Harrison College of Business Student Choice award in 2004. He was named a Copper Dome Faculty Fellow in Research for 2003-2005 and again from 2007-2009. He was selected as one of three top winners of the 2005 Hormel Meritorious Teaching Award at the Marketing Management Association annual conference. In 2010, John was awarded the R. Ferrell Ervin Award for Excellence in Teaching by the Student Government of Southeast Missouri State University. In March 2012, Dr. Cherry was named “Fellow” of the Marketing Management Association. He also received the Outstanding MBA Faculty award in 2014.

John also worked with the DECA student organization throughout his tenure at Southeast. Countless students received awards at the state and international level during his time as advisor to this student organization. John also facilitated the work of students with many clients over the years in Introduction to Business Research. One of these clients was the University in a study of the impact of Southeast Missouri State University on the Cape Girardeau region. This study showed the University had a $148 million impact on the economy. John was promoted to full professor and granted post-professorial merit.

John was an exceptional mentor to new faculty and a valued colleague. He regularly met with prospective students and shared his excitement for Southeast with them and their families. He will be missed by all who have worked with him.


Dr. Michael Devaney retired at the end of the fall 2017 semester after a successful 30-year career at Southeast. Dr. Devaney was a prolific researcher and writer; he authored many refereed journal articles, a book and numerous letters to the editors of local/regional newspapers.  He was recognized for research excellence by his colleagues in the Harrison College of Business, as a recipient of the Copper Dome Faculty Research Award. He was instrumental in incorporating the “real-time” portfolio into his classes, and he accompanied students to New York City many times to introduce them to the financial capital of the world. Dr. Devaney was an outstanding and inspiring teacher and mentor to thousands of students.

During retirement Dr. Devaney looks forward to travel and visiting with his daughters and grandchildren, reading and fishing with Dr. Weber.



Professor Gary Johnson retired from Southeast in December, 2017. Dr. Johnson had been a faculty member at Southeast for 35 years and a progressive and innovative Associate Dean for the Harrison College of Business for 11 years. He also did two stints as the Interim Dean for the Harrison College of Business.

As an educator, Dr. Johnson helped to maintain the vibrancy of the Accounting curriculum, initiated a course of study in fraud and forensic accounting, sponsored the International Honor Society (Beta Gamma Sigma), helped to establish a Beta Alpha Psi chapter at Southeast, created and implemented St. Louis Interview Days (a 19-year program linking Southeast business students with employers in the St. Louis area), developed the Redhawk Rumble (a student team competition) and created the first departmental advisory council of local and regional professional leaders, and championed the importance of third-party attestation of students’ technology skills by promoting Microsoft Office Specialist certification, and established an endowed scholarship for very high achieving accounting students

Dr. Johnson maintained a strong connection with industry and alumni. He served as Chair of the Board of the MO Society of CPAs (being one of two academics to hold this position in the 100+ year history of the organization); chaired the Society’s Educational Foundation Board; held positions on numerous state committees and taskforces; was an American Institute of CPAs Council Member; and President of the SE Chapter of CPAs; additionally, he served as President of the North American Accounting Society and President of the Missouri Association of Accounting Educators. Dr. Johnson also led the move to a 150-hour accounting curriculum as a member of the MSCPA’s task force and was a leading proponent of the MSCPA’s LEAP initiative to advance all students’ interest in accounting as a career.

Dr. Johnson and his wife Mary (also a former Southeast professor) now take up residence in Destin, Florida.  His positive attitude and energy will be greatly missed in the halls of Dempster.


Barb Ostrenga retired from Southeast Missouri State University in April, 2018 after nearly 24 years of service. Barb came to the Harrison College of Business over 20 years ago as a senior secretary in the Academic Advising Center. She then moved to the MBA and International Business Programs office, where she enjoyed being an integral team member, serving students and faculty alike. During Barb’s tenure in this role, this team was instrumental in growing the Graduate Programs to three degrees, and over 200 students. She enjoyed the heavy workload and the feeling of accomplishment that accompanies a job well done and was an unyielding champion for “her” programs. Mostly, she took great pleasure from meeting students from across the world, and is blessed to still treasure these friendships. She also caught the international travel bug from her directors, traveling to Italy, England, France, Germany and the Netherlands.

During her time at Southeast, Barb was also active in the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP), where she served on several committees and board positions. Barb served as President of the local IAAP chapter while completing her undergraduate degree; managing a very busy office; and doing several service projects for her coursework, professional organization and personal satisfaction.

Barb is currently enjoying her retirement, continuing her service providing crochet chemo caps to children of Blair Batson Hospital and filling time with cooking, arts and crafts.

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