2017 Lindenwood Alumni Merit Award Winner
Bobbie Barkley Netsch
Lindenwood’s 2017 Alumni Merit Award recipient is Bobbie Barkley Netsch (’66), which was bestowed at the Undergraduate Commencement ceremonies on May 6, 2017. Every year since 1959, Lindenwood University’s Alumni Association has honored alumni who have distinguished themselves in their careers, in volunteer work, or in service to the university. These exceptional individuals are nominated and chosen by their alumni peers to be recognized for their continuing contributions to their university, to their profession, and to society.
Netsch, a 1966 chemistry and mathematics graduate, is a Lindenwood legacy–her mother was a student in the 1940s. Originally from Aurora, Ill., Netsch was active in campus activities and served as secretary of the student body in 1965 and vice president in 1966. She was also president of Irwin Hall and a member of Linden Scroll, the historic Lindenwood honor society.
Netsch did not plan on a career in the retail business, but while pursuing her bachelor’s degree, she met her husband, Frank, who was already involved in his family’s St. Charles business, Thro’s Men’s Clothing Company, which has been located in St. Charles since 1898.
She and Frank were married the summer before her senior year, and in 1965 they opened Michelle’s, a women’s clothing store alongside of the Thro’s location in O’Fallon, Mo. The two have operated these stores ever since, downsizing through the years from four locations to one in St. Charles. Fifty-two years later, their joint venture continues to be a Main Street St. Charles staple. Bobbie Netsch is not only a successful businesswoman, she is also an avid supporter of Lindenwood. She has been a benefactor to Lindenwood through her leadership and participation in the St. Charles Alumni Club’s annual fashion show for more than 20 years. This fundraiser has provided over $50,000 in student scholarships since its inception. Her generous and tireless support has been instrumental in the event’s success.
Active in local community and regional charity work, Netsch provides direction for at least six or seven fashion shows Benefiting worthy causes each year. She and her husband have three children, seven grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
To be nominated for the award, a fellow alumnus must detail the nominee's qualifying accomplishments, and Lindenwood’s Alumni Association Board considers and votes on all candidates at its February meeting. To be selected, the candidate must receive a majority of the votes cast and be willing to accept the award, in person, at the year’s commencement ceremony.