Saint Louis University John Cook School of Business Announces the 2014 Excellence Awards Recipients

ST. LOUIS – The John Cook School of Business at Saint Louis University presents the 2014 Excellence Awards recipients. The Excellence Awards recognize prestigious alumni, faculty and corporate partners who have excelled in their fields as well as in the community.

The 2014 Excellence Awards recipients are:

“The annual Excellence Awards is a great opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our successful and service-minded alumni and corporate partners,” said Scott Safranski, Ph.D., interim dean of the John Cook School of Business. “The recipients exemplify our mission of educating the whole person, and we are proud to recognize their important role within the John Cook School of Business and the community.”

Alumni and friends are invited to congratulate and celebrate with the winners during a special ceremony on Saturday, May 3 at 6:30 p.m. at John and Lucy Cook Hall at Saint Louis University. The cost to attend is $60 per person. For more information and to register, visit: alumni.slu.edu/excellenceawards14 or contact Kate Flately at 314-977-2348.

The John Cook School of Business at Saint Louis University is dedicated to excellence in business education inspired by the Jesuit ideals of educating the whole person, seeking truth, and serving others. Founded in 1910 with Father Davis’ vision to create a flourishing school of finance and commerce, the John Cook School of Business is the oldest business school west of the Mississippi River. Rooted in a rich history of values-based business education, for the past century Saint Louis University’s business school has continuously sought to define business education.

About the 2014 Excellence Awards recipients:


Lawrence Collett

Lawrence Collett has been an employee of Cass Information Systems since 1963 until his retirement in July, 2008.  He is currently the Chairman of the Board.  He was hired by the Company’s banking subsidiary, Cass Commercial Bank and held numerous positions culminating in his appointment as Executive Vice President in 1974.  In 1983 he became the first President of the Company’s Information Processing business.

In addition to his business responsibilities, Mr. Collett has held numerous positions with civic, charitable and church related institutions. He was the Chairman of the Greater St. Louis Billy Graham Crusade, and has chaired numerous fund raising activities for non-profit and educational institutions.  He is a member of the Board of Regents of Trinity International University in Chicago, Illinois. Mr. Collett is a member of the CEO Forum, an organization of Christian CEO’s and is on the adjunct staff for the Spiritual Leadership Institute (SLI) of that organization. 

Mr. Collett attended Saint Louis University where he obtained both undergraduate and graduate degrees.  He also performed post-graduate work at Rutgers University through the Stonier School of Banking.

A lifelong resident of the St. Louis area, Mr. Collett has been married to his wife Sharon since 1965.  They have three children and seven grandchildren.


Debra Pike

Debbie Pike has been a full-time member of the faculty of the Department of Accounting since 2006. Prior to coming to Saint Louis University, she was a Vice-President of Accounting at Maritz for many years after having started her career as an auditor at KPMG.  Her teaching interests have focused on Auditing and Managerial Accounting.

She has a genuine passion for her students and is dedicated in her service as the faculty advisor for the Club Water Polo Team and SLU’s chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, the honor society for financial information students.  Debbie has been recognized with the Student Government Association Faculty Excellence Award two times, the Beta Alpha Psi Outstanding Faculty of the Year Award, also twice, and was the University’s 2012 recipient of the Avis E. Meyer Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award.  In addition, she was selected by the members of the Beta Gamma Sigma honor society for their Outstanding Teaching Award and was awarded the John Cook School of Business Service Award for Non-Tenure Faculty.

Debbie’s family bleeds SLU blue.  Debbie earned her SLU MBA in 1992 just two years after her husband, Tom, was awarded his law degree from Saint Louis University School of Law. She is proud that her son will be graduating this month with a dual degree of an Honors Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and a Bachelor of Arts in Russian Studies.  She is equally proud that her daughter will be joining the SLU family as a Nursing student this fall.


Caroline Stegman

Caroline (Burch) Stegman grew up in Brussels, Illinois, a small farming community north of St. Louis.  Caroline followed in the footsteps of her parents and brother and enrolled in Saint Louis University.  Throughout her college career, Caroline was an active member within the John Cook School of Business.  She was a founding member of the Freshman in Business Club and subsequently became a student mentor to incoming freshman.  Additionally, she served as Vice President of the Beta Alpha Psi business fraternity. 

Caroline began her investment career in 2003 at Smith Barney working as a Registered Sales Assistant for an Institutional Consultant in downtown St. Louis.  In 2005, Caroline was offered a promotion to move to Chicago to become an Investment Management Analyst for another institutional team within Smith Barney’s Consulting Group. 

In 2008, Caroline and her husband made the decision to relocate back to St. Louis, and Caroline enrolled in SLU’s One Year MBA Program.  During the program, Caroline interned at Centene, studied abroad in China, and was an Advancing Women in Leadership Mentor.   Today, Caroline remains actively involved as a mentor for current students in the MBA Program.

Post-graduation, Caroline began working as a Research Analyst for Summit Strategies Group, an institutional investment firm in Clayton.  In 2012, she was promoted to a Vice President of the firm.  During her time at Summit, she has focused on serving the daily needs of Summit’s defined contribution clients.  In addition to her responsibilities at Summit, Caroline also now serves on the Board of Directors for the Bank of Kampsville.

In her free time, Caroline enjoys spending time with her husband Vince, and their two-year old daughter, Catherine. 


Richard G. Thornberry

Richard G. Thornberry is a veteran of the financial services industry with more than 25 years of experience as a leader of some of the most innovative mortgage industry businesses.

Mr. Thornberry is a co-founder and Chairman and CEO of NexSpring Group, LLC, which was founded in 2006. During the height of the US financial crisis in 2007-2009, Mr. Thornberry served as a Senior Advisor to the financial institution private equity investment team at a leading global private equity investor.

Prior to NexSpring, Mr. Thornberry was a co-founder and President and CEO of Nexstar Financial Corporation. Nexstar, founded in 1999 as a de novo business in partnership with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, was a highly innovative, industry leading mortgage business process outsourcing firm. In 2005, the company was sold to MBNA. Mr. Thornberry served as President and CEO of MBNA Home Finance until 2006, at which time MBNA was acquired by Bank of America.

Mr. Thornberry was President and COO of Citicorp Mortgage Inc. (CMI) from 1996-1998. He led the turnaround of CMI and in 1998 CMI was recognized as one of Citigroup’s best performing businesses globally.

Mr. Thornberry began his career at Deloitte & Touche in 1981, where he spent 6 years primarily working with financial service clients and entrepreneurial businesses.

During Mr. Thornberry’s career, he has served on a number of company boards including Bayview Asset Management, LLC as an independent director, an MBNA UK mortgage lending company, Nexstar Financial Corporation, Citicorp Mortgage, Inc., Citicorp New York State Bank, and various Prudential Home Mortgage Company subsidiary boards.

Mr. Thornberry holds a B.S. in business administration with a major in accounting from Saint Louis University and is a Certified Public Accountant. He is also a member of the Executive Advisory Board at Saint Louis University’s John Cook School of Business and a member of the Advisory Board for the university’s Billiken Angels Network.


Kristen Donovan

Kristen joined Acropolis Investment Management in 2009 as manager of Acropolis Retirement Plan Solutions. She is responsible for client relationship management, plan design consultation, new business development, participant education and fiduciary reviews.

Kristen brings with her more than 22 years of experience in the financial world, of which 20 have been spent directly working in the employee benefits field, specializing in 401(k) plans. 

Prior to joining Acropolis, Kristen worked for Schwab Retirement Technologies, MetLife Retirement Plans, First Virginia Bank, RBG|The Benefits Group, Boatmen’s Trust Company and Mark Twain Bank.  She held the positions of Senior Account Executive, Assistant Vice President, Trust Relationship Officer and Plan Administrator.

Kristen received a BS degree, with honors, in Business Administration from Saint Louis University and has completed a myriad of post graduate work in the area of employee benefits. Kristen is a registered investment advisor representative and has attained the Qualified 401(k) Administrator (QKA) designation from the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries (ASPPA).

Kristen’s civic involvement includes serving on the Saint Louis University John Cook School of Business Alumni Board as the Chair of the Social Activities Committee.  As the mother of two boys, she also enjoys volunteering and serving on committees at her children’s schools and church as well as managing her son’s club soccer team.



Allsup is the nation’s premier disability representation company. Founded in 1984 by Jim Allsup, a former Social Security field representative, Allsup was the first nationwide, private Social Security disability claims services company. The company built its reputation on the philosophy of “You stay at home. We do the work.”® as well as an expert understanding of the specialized needs of those with disabilities.

Allsup has successfully secured disability benefits for more than 200,000 deserving customers. More than 800 employees located at its Belleville, Ill., headquarters and around the country support the needs of its customers. 

Jim Allsup is a longtime supporter of Saint Louis University. In addition to making one of the first critical major gift commitments to the Billikens state-of-the-art sports facility, Chaifetz Arena, Jim and his company have supported the Center for Entrepreneurship in the John Cook School of Business at Saint Louis University for over a decade. His commitment to youth entrepreneurship is unmatched across the St. Louis metropolitan region, and students attending the Center’s annual Allsup Summer Academy consistently rank Jim as the most inspirational class speaker they witness while on campus. 

View All News