Warner L. Baxter
Class of 1979
Warner Baxter has reached the leadership position he is in today through hard work, diligence, and a firm educational foundation, which started in the Ritenour School District. Baxter is a true St. Louis success story – a talented individual from a humble background whose work ethic and talent helped him become president and CEO of one of the nation’s largest and best-managed utility companies. On a daily basis, he leads nearly 4,500 employees with the values of integrity, respect, accountability, stewardship, teamwork and commitment to excellence.
A 1979 Ritenour High School graduate, Baxter was a standout on the basketball team, vice president of the National Honor Society and selected as the school’s Scholar Athlete in 1979. He attended the University of Missouri – St. Louis, where he was a full-time student who excelled in the classroom, an amazing accomplishment considering he also worked to pay for his education. He earned a degree in accounting in 1983 and began a successful career with the public accounting firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he worked in St. Louis and New York, before joining Union Electric in 1995, now Ameren Missouri.
He has risen through the company at a remarkable pace – first as an assistant controller, then controller, executive vice president and chief financial officer and finally as President and CEO.
Outside of his work at Ameren, his commitment to professional, civic and community involvement is equally impressive. Today, he serves on the boards of the Nuclear Energy Institute, Gateway Leadership Foundation, St. Louis Sports Commission, UMB Bank Community Board, and Jazz St. Louis. He also serves on the Wyman Board of Trustees, with a passion for helping area youth develop self-confidence and preparing them for successful, fulfilling futures. Baxter is also actively involved with several other charitable organizations, including The Wellness Community of St. Louis, American Cancer Society and Food Outreach.
In addition, Baxter has made meaningful and long-lasting contributions to higher education through his involvement at the University of Missouri and the University of Missouri – St. Louis. As a member of the University of Missouri – St. Louis’ Chancellors Council (and past president) and the University of Missouri 100 Board, he has been a champion in the community for their key strategic initiatives, including enhancing their academic quality and increasing student scholarships and accessibility.
While very busy with his career, his passion remains with his family. Warner is married to his wife, Cindy (the CEO of the Baxter household), and has four wonderful children: Melissa-21, Dan-18, who both attend the University of Missouri, Kathryn-17 and Alec-13, who both attend school in the Rockwood School District. His parents and three brothers are also Ritenour graduates.
Class of 1987
Creative, talented, funny, generous, professional – just a few words to describe Bill Chott, an actor, comedian and teacher whose numerous accomplishments are a great source of pride for everyone in his hometown of St. Louis.
Chott, class of 1987, made his theatrical debut in Ritenour’s musicals and drama programs. He was also a disc jockey for the student radio station, involved in the school choir and a member of the National Honor Society.
He attended Central Methodist University in Fayette, Mo, and continued starring in comedic and dramatic plays and musicals.
Chott received his big break after moving to Chicago in 1991, where he starred at the ImprovOlympic and earned a spot on the Second City comedy troupe. Chott toured the country with Second City and studied with comedy giants like Stephen Colbert, Steve Carrell and Tina Fey.
He has worked with some of the biggest names in show business. Just a sampling of his expansive resume includes credits in television shows CSI, ER, Monk, The Dana Carvey Show and moviesGalaxy Quest and Dude, Where’s My Car?. His voice can be heard on numerous television programs, including Saturday Night Live and the PBS series Curious George.
Chott starred as the bronze medal winning Thomas in the movie The Ringer. Currently he has a regular role on the Emmy-winning TV show Wizards of Waverly Place and appears with Johnny Depp in The Rum Diary.
Chott has worked to build a vibrant improvisational scene not only for professional actors, but for novices from all walks of life. Founding the Improv Trick on St. Louis’ Cherokee Street in 2004, he revamped the form of comedy in the Gateway City. Always an advocate for children, Chott has created special classes and just for children and families. He also offers scholarships to local youth for improv classes.
Chott is very active in supporting the Special Olympics, an organization near to his heart since starring in The Ringer with other actors with disabilities. He has organized fundraisers for the St. Louis Area Foodbank and continues to be one of Ritenour and St. Louis’s greatest ambassadors.
Chott lives part time in St. Louis and Los Angeles.
Douglas Allen Katsev, MD
Class of 1977
Known as one of the world leaders in the field of ophthalmology, Dr. Katsev personifies what it means to be a physician through his professional practice, sharing his knowledge with colleagues and his humanitarian service restoring sight to the underprivileged in the developing world.
Since 1990, he has been in private practice at the Sansum Clinic of Santa Barbara, Calif. He leads this large group of doctors performing more than 2,500 cataract/refractive surgeries a year. One of the highest volume eye surgeons in the state of California, Dr. Katsev has performed operations on many nationally-known celebrities – including several academy award winners, singers and sports figures.
The foundation for his successful career was established in the Ritenour School District. A standout in the classroom and athletics, Dr. Katsev was a member of the National Honor Society at Ritenour High School. He served as captain of the Huskies golf and ice hockey teams as a senior and went on to play golf for four years at Saint Louis University (SLU).
After graduating from Ritenour High School in 1977, he attended SLU and earned a degree in chemistry. He was accepted to the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Ga. and returned to SLU for his ophthalmology residency. Dr. Katsev specialized in cornea/refractive surgery at the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA) as a fellow.
Throughout his career, Dr. Katsev has received numerous awards and honors and has been asked to serve on the boards of many major professional organizations. As a leading authority in ophthalmology, Dr. Katsev has made more than 90 presentations on a variety of topics at national and international medical conferences.
In addition to his professional activities, he is widely recognized for his humanitarian work with Surgical Eye Expeditions International. Since 1988, Dr. Katsev has performed thousands of sight restoring eye surgeries in developing countries around the world. In addition, he conducted extensive educational programs for ophthalmologists in those second and third world countries.
Dr. Katsev and his wife, Dr. Nina Katsev (an optometrist who graduated from UMSL), reside in Santa Barbara and have three children – daughters Cailyn (who is attending the University of California at Berkeley ) and Kiki (a freshman at UCLA), and son Blake (12 years old and all- star baseball player).
Lifetime Achievement Award
The Grubbs are the founding family of Ritenour wrestling and the patriarchs of one of the most successful wrestling programs in state history. The family is instrumental in the success of Ritenour’s incredible wrestling heritage.
In the 1930′s, the oldest Grubbs boy, W.M. “Bill”, joined one of the early Ritenour wrestling teams. Parents Willard and Isabelle Grubbs became passionate supporters of the program. Little did they know their efforts would help lead to one of the most successful high school wrestling programs in the nation. Brothers Bill, Pete, Norman, Jack, Dean and Lee and their cousin Bob, were early grapplers for Ritenour. Other cousins Jim and Harry also represented the school through the Ritenour YMCA AAU team, which was closely intertwined with the school program.
They were followed by grandsons Ron Grubbs and Barry and Jay Roades. All in all, a dozen young men, all members of the Grubbs wrestling dynasty wore the orange and black for the Huskies.
No one family has ever cared for and promoted wrestling as much as the Grubbs. Before wresting was recognized as a school sport, parents Willard and Isabelle supported the Ritenour team in all possible ways, including financially and with transportation to and from meets. Early uniforms were made by Isabelle out of long underwear and trunks – dyed black and orange, of course.
Seven of the Grubbs wrestlers earned at least one state championship at Ritenour. Many won two. It is absolutely impossible to tally the number of National AAU medals which were won by the boys at tournaments all over the country with the Ritenour Y team. The family greatly contributed to the success of Ritenour’s incredible 14 consecutive-year state championship run from 1948-1961. The streak stands nationally as the second longest in the history of high school wrestling. There seldom was a time between 1936 and 1955 when there wasn’t at least one Grubbs family member on the Ritenour Wrestling team.
The Grubbs family organized and managed the Ozark AAU Wrestling Tournament, which was held for two decades at Ritenour Schools – drawing the top collegiate wrestlers from throughout the Midwest. Jack also began the first “little league” wrestling effort in the basement of the Ritenour YMCA. The result is the area-wide youth wrestling program all communities still enjoy. And the Ozark AAU meet exists to this day, now as a youth tournament for 7-15 year olds. Third generation wrestlers Barry and Jay Roades and cousin Ron Grubbs all placed in state championships for Ritenour in the 1960′s and were part of the University of Missouri Tigers wrestling program in the early years of its development.
Lee retired from coaching at Ladue High School in 2007, ending a 70-year commitment to amateur wrestling by the family.
The Grubbs family was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame – Missouri Chapter on Oct. 6, 2007.
Willard, Isabelle, Pete, Bill, Norman, Jack Grubbs and Barry Roades are deceased. They are survived by Bob, Dean, Lee and Ron Grubbs all who reside in St. Louis. Jay Roades, Harry and Jim Grubbs live out of state.