The Truman family and the Kirksville community were heartbroken upon learning that one of the most respected and loved among us, Dr. Teresa Heckert, professor of psychology, had passed away. Her concern in the final days of her life was for those she cherished and those she would leave behind - her friends, her colleagues, her students, her family, and most of all her husband and her children. While speaking about her illness, Teri was quoted as saying, “I didn’t have time for cancer, but it had time for me.” At various times during her 20 year career at the University, Teri’s dedication and passion for Truman often led her to state, “I will teach until the day I die.” Teri always kept her promises. This one was no different.

Teri displayed remarkable courage as her fierce battle with cancer concluded on February 19, 2014. Her husband Chuck was at her side, holding her hand.

An Inspirational Teacher

Teri Heckert was born to lead, to inspire, and ultimately, to teach. At Truman, she was recognized for her academic expertise in the field of psychology, where she won the respect and admiration of her colleagues and her students. Even greater admiration and respect was earned for her humanity…for living a joyful and purposeful life that always supported and elevated others.

Teri was an exceptionally gifted teacher. Among her most powerful lessons were those that demonstrate what it means to persist and even thrive in the face of adversity. Teri overcame numerous, seemingly insurmountable obstacles on the pathway toward achieving her ambition of earning a Ph.D., building a teaching career at a university that she adored, and raising a family that would one day be prepared to venture out into the world to make their own unique and valuable contributions. Teri’s time with us serves as an example of how to live a life fueled by extraordinary purpose, grace, generosity, compassion, faith, and above all, love. Teri would smile knowing that she has made each of us richer for having known her and for learning the lessons that she so skillfully taught. It is now our opportunity, our responsibility, and our privilege, to demonstrate mastery of those lessons.

It is all up to us.

“I’m still grateful for those who have walked this far with me on this journey.”

― Teri Heckert
January 17, 2014

Our journey must continue. It is with gratitude that we bring Teri, and the values that she championed, with us. We will cherish her in our hearts and in our memories. The generosity, grace and compassion that Teri embodied will continue to inspire our choices and actions. Teri’s unfailing optimism and hope for the future will thrive and remain a sustaining force in perpetuity through the endowment that honors her and bears her name.

The Dr. Teresa M. Heckert Memorial Scholarship in Psychology

This scholarship endowment was established in 2014 by family and friends of the late Dr. Teresa Heckert to memorialize and commemorate Teri’s significant and lasting contributions to Truman State University. Teri’s numerous university leadership roles included serving as chair of the Northeast Missouri Regional Campaign Committee for Truman’s comprehensive fundraising campaign, “Bright Minds Bright Futures.” Surpassing the regional and overall fundraising campaign goals has been cited as one of the accomplishments that made Teri most proud. Preserving and protecting life-changing opportunities for her students was consistently among Teri’s top priorities. We are honored to create this new endowed fund as part of Truman’s newest fundraising campaign, “Pursue the Future.”

Dr. Teresa M. Heckert served as Professor of Psychology and Chair of the Department. She was a member of Faculty Senate and was President for two terms. Most recently she was a member of the Guiding Coalition that worked with the University President to create a vision document for the future of the University. She also served as co-chair of the Faculty/Staff Annual Campaign. She was a member and past President of the Kirksville Kiwanis Club and held numerous volunteer positions in her church, the Girl Scouts and the public schools.

Dr. Heckert received her bachelor’s degree from Lebanon Valley College and her master’s and doctorate degrees in industrial/organizational psychology at Bowling Green State University.