Denison Magazine Summer 2024

Page 1




ISSUE 2 | 2024
Photo: James Schuller

The Hilltoppers serenade Phil and the crowd in Punxsutawney.

(Story on pg. 45)


Happy Birthday, Swasey!

On the centennial celebration of our beloved gathering place, we’re looking back at 100 years of chapel memories.


Recent alums speak to the power and pliability of a liberal arts education at Denison.



In her nearly 30 years on The Hill, retiring associate professor Toni King was an unflagging advocate of diversity, equity, and inclusion.


As the Red Frame Lab’s Denison Consulting program grows by leaps and bounds, students reap the rewards.




An old CD and some Denison connections gave The Hilltoppers a cappella group their day in the sun in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.



Because of publishing deadlines, we’re bound to be a bit behind. Please email us with anything we’ve missed at


Connections and criticalthinking skills have built a Denison-NFL pipeline.



Walker Roberts ’82 left Denison with a degree in history and a minor in matchmaking.


We pull back the terry cloth and speak to the young men behind a newer East Quad icon.



A military strategist teaches Denison students to solve the most ‘wicked’ of real-world problems.

6 THE COMMENTS SECTION Deeper Hopewell history


Two reasons I love our college


Big Red ran hot this winter


There goes the sun



An alum reflects on “last call.”


The comments section

There’s nothing better than hearing from Denisonians. Send us your compliments, complaints, and brilliant story ideas: We may reprint part or all of your letters in this section.


Historically, Denisonians have been at the forefront of research about Ohio’s Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks. As described in “Special place in world history” (Issue 1, 2024), the recent work of several brilliant and dedicated scholars (Dr. Brad Lepper and others) led to the inscription of these astonishing creations as the 25th site in the United States on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

But we should not forget another Denisonian who was the first person to systematically study these sophisticated monuments built by Indigenous people 2,000 years ago. Warren King Moorehead, Class of 1888, dropped out of college in 1887 without completing his degree to excavate the Earthworks at Fort Ancient near his boyhood home near Cincinnati. Through Moorehead’s persistence, this site was acquired and preserved by the state of Ohio and became Ohio’s first state park in April 1891.

He dedicated the rest of his life to archaeology. In 1891 and 1892, Moorehead excavated the mounds on a farm near Chillicothe owned by Mordecai Cloud Hopewell. His goal was to obtain artifacts for display at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exhibition in Chicago.

At the fair, the exquisite pieces created a stir. People began identifying the objects based on the ownership of the land where they were found, and the concept of an ancient culture named “Hopewell” was born because of Moorehead’s work.

Continuing his research and excavations, he gained the reputation as the “Dean of American Archaeology.” In 1930, Denison finally gave him a degree, recognizing his accomplishments with an honorary Doctorate of Science.

With the two most exquisite Hopewell UNESCO World Heritage locations less than seven miles from Granville, Denisonians can continue to be leaders in research about these complex and beautiful formations.

I enjoyed reading the 1/24 issue of Denison Magazine . The photo on the front reminded me that I have a few interesting souvenirs from my time at Denison. I was both a student (Class of 2000) and an employee (senior network engineer, 2000-2004).

I have an old Xerox of a “Denison Online” document that explains how to get your computer connected to the school network. (Most computers didn’t have network cards back then. It’s a fun read that shows how weird the Internet was in its early days.)

I have an old computer punch card that predates my time on The Hill but features an old Denison emblem.

And I have a few old floppy disks in various sizes from 3.5” to 8” that were used in the aging computers during my time there.

I quite cherish them as reminders of my time on The Hill, but would happily loan them out if you were interested. Denison put me on the career path I’m on now, as the director of cyber security operations for Wendy’s.

Chris Marshall ’00

Excellent job on issue #1 2024 magazine! One of the best issues I’ve received. Really liked seeing the piece on Bill Mason!

Many interesting stories of people and their lives. And, so glad to see the stellar efforts by the university to offer career guidance. It was nonexistent when I was a senior. Again, great job on the magazine!

Steve Plummer ’76

Great piece on Bill Mason, truly a gem and one of a kind.

Paul Doty ’68

As Bill’s former office neighbors in Sigma Chi, we at Denison Magazine couldn’t agree more.


A quick note from a flight that I’ve spent reading the extraordinary profiles in the latest Denison Magazine. What a spectacular issue! As always, the design is inviting, and the writing is engaging, clever, and often funny. I kept bothering my husband during the flight to make him read particular items and sentences. I especially enjoyed the profiles of the Woodyards, Jeryl Hayes, Warren Hauk, and Carl Moellenberg. I had corresponded with Carl in the early days of the gay alumni group but had never known his full story.

Thanks for all this work. The total effect makes one very proud to be associated with the rich variety of Denison.

Jeff Masten ’86

To All the Denison Magazine Staff, You guys do an amazing job! Truly an incredible publication you produce. Keep up the good work.

Dennis O’Brien, ‘63

And finally, our first response to a call you’ll find throughout this issue for stories celebrating the Swasey moments of your lives.

My name is Cait (Ghiloni) Flickinger, Class of 2014. I wanted to share my two favorite memories of Swasey Chapel — both happened after I graduated. My husband (Matt Flickinger ’14) proposed in front of the chapel in June 2014, just a few weeks after we graduated. We missed our opportunity to step on the seal after Commencement, so when we returned to take a photo, he took the opportunity to propose.

And then almost exactly two years later, we got married in the chapel (May 28, 2016). We had eight Denison alumni in our wedding party, including my two sisters, Amanda Ghiloni ’10 and Gabriela Ghiloni ’15.

My life would be very different without the college on The Hill and that chapel.

Cait (Ghiloni) Flickinger ‘14

Annual Fund

2024 is shaping up to be a banner year at Denison, and we need your support! Make an impact on all students by giving to the Denison annual fund before June 30. Your gift expands opportunity and affordability, boosts academic programs, enlivens the student experience, helps launch careers and lives, and produces world-class arts and winning athletics teams. Be a part of student success and make your gift today!



A beacon of liberal arts and relationships

This issue of the magazine celebrates Swasey Chapel, because Swasey is turning 100!

For over 100 years, some of our most important events have taken place at Swasey. Over the last 11 years, Anne and I have enjoyed a wide array of lectures, concerts, ceremonies, and other events. As I reflect on the range of events that take place at Swasey during a normal year, I am reminded of two of the many reasons I love our college.

First, Swasey plays an important role in the liberal arts education we provide our students. For me, the essence of a liberal arts education is to develop within students the capacity and commitment to be critical thinkers and creative problem solvers who can effectively communicate with others and have the intellectual humility needed to successfully navigate the world around them.


▶ The liberal arts educate us to be critical thinkers who have the ability to explore problems and issues in their complexity. They teach us to use reason, rationality, and data to better understand the world around us and always search for truth.

▶ The liberal arts educate us to be creative problem solvers who have the capacity to innovate. It’s one thing to be able to critique, and it’s another to build on that critique by imagining paths forward and seeing beyond old solutions to build the future.

▶ The liberal arts educate us to be effective communicators who have the ability to speak and write in ways that others can hear. Anyone can shout, but liberal arts students are taught how to weave words together to help others understand our points of view and to listen to and hear the views of others so we can engage and learn from each other.

▶ All of this matters far less if we don’t also exercise intellectual humility, which instills within us the habit of walking through life aware that we might be wrong. Hence, we might also want to be lifelong learners who are always seeking out alternative views, facts, and experiences. We should always be challenging orthodoxy, starting with our own.

The liberal arts also instills important values and habits, including a commitment to hard work, ethics, empathy, curiosity, perseverance, humor, and an appreciation that we are part of things larger than ourselves. The concerts, lectures, ceremonies, and other events we hold in Swasey all serve to provide this kind of education for our students.

Second, one of the other aspects of Denison that I respect and admire is the deep relationships that are forged between our students. Denison is defined by the people who come here, the relationships we form with each other, and the way those relationships shape our lives. This extends to the wonderful tradition of Denisonians marrying each other in front of their Denison friends at Swasey. For decades, Swasey has been a site for Denison weddings!

If you have pictures of a Denison wedding that has taken place inside Swasey, please send them to We will try to include some in the next edition as we continue to celebrate Swasey’s 100th birthday.

As I finish my 11th year at Denison, I am deeply proud and grateful to be a Denisonian. This is a great college and I feel fortunate to serve it. Thank you for all the ways you support the college.




The highest point on campus, Swasey Chapel has served as a lodestar for generations of students returning home to The Hill. Dedicated in 1924 and funded by trustee Ambrose Swasey, the chapel was built as a house of worship and served as the centerpiece of the Greater Denison expansion plan. Today, it hosts ceremonies both spiritual and secular, performances and artists of all genres, and too many weddings to count. No place on campus has united us quite like Swasey.


“They needed a chapel, which was central to any Denison student of that era,” Read said. “Swasey stepped forward.”



The sanctuary is home to the university’s gospel, chamber, and concert choirs, and to popular performances from the acclaimed Vail Series and Bluegrass and American Roots Festival. It also hosts renowned authors, speakers, and world-class musical performances and artistry.

The chapel’s greatest contribution, however, may be the indelible memories it leaves with students, faculty, and staff.

“We must salute the past as we move forward,” said David Woodyard ’54, who’s taught at Denison for more than 60 years and proposed to his wife, Joanne Adamson Woodyard ’55, outside Swasey Chapel. “For a lot of alumni, this place is where their life transpired and grew.”

As Swasey commemorates its centennial anniversary in 2024, it remains the celebrated centerpiece of the university.


The chapel’s namesake and benefactor, Ambrose Swasey (1846-1937), earned honorary degrees from seven academic institutions, including Denison, without ever attending a university.

“All my brothers and sisters went to academies or colleges,” Swasey once said, “but my only schooling came from the little country grammar school” in Exeter, New Hampshire.

A teenage apprentice in machine works, Swasey displayed a remarkable aptitude for mechanical engineering. He was awarded 23 patents and, along with his business partner, Worcester Warner, founded a company that specialized in machine tools. The duo later gained international acclaim for designing astronomical instruments.

As his fortune grew, so did Swasey’s desire to spread his wealth. He gave generously to academic institutions and religious organizations. Denison, founded as denominationally Baptist, satisfied both criteria.

Swasey and his wife, Lavinia, were devout Baptists. He had grown up hearing tales of his ancestors being driven out of Salem, Massachusetts, because of their religious convictions.

Much like business magnate and fellow Baptist John D. Rockefeller, who also donated to Denison, Swasey needed little encouragement to support the university after relocating his company from Chicago to Cleveland.

“There were a fair number of colleges established by the Baptists,” said Dennis Read, associate professor emeritus in

The Aug. 24, 1974, Swasey Chapel wedding of Sally Swan ‘74 and Jim Hartenstein ‘74

English. “If you were a Baptist and you made some money, there was an obligation to support these institutions.”

Swasey joined the Denison Board of Trustees in 1897, becoming its president in 1923 and serving as its honorary president until his death. He financed a men’s gymnasium (now Bryant Arts Center) in 1905 and the building of Swasey Observatory in 1909. When the university unveiled its “Greater Denison” plan for campus expansion, he was the first to reach for his checkbook.

“They needed a chapel, which was central to any Denison student of that era,” Read said. “Swasey stepped forward.”

Even as the chapel’s cornerstone was being laid in 1922, Swasey was increasing his investment. He made possible the purchase of an echo organ and a bell tower containing a carillon of 10 bells in honor of Lavinia, who died in 1913.

The chapel, which seats more than 950 people and mirrors Sir Christopher Wren-style English churches, was dedicated April 18, 1924. It cost $400,000.

“I think of Swasey as a place where someone can have a spiritual experience, a connection with the divine,” said Timothy Carpenter, Denison’s gospel choir leader and Christian life coordinator. “It is a magnificent gift to this campus.”


Today, Swasey remains the premier venue for campus performances, lectures, exhibitions, and milestones along a student’s academic journey. A gathering at Swasey carries a sense of solemnity, of elevation, of celebration.


Ambrose Swasey didn’t live long enough to witness the chapel’s greatest contribution to his nation. Anticipating war and fearing an enemy air attack, the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., selected five secret locations in 1941 to store its most precious possessions.

Denison was chosen among the sites, housing cultural treasures in the chapel, Doane Library, and Life Science building. About 1,200 wooden cases, weighing roughly 140 pounds each, were unloaded by students sworn to secrecy. The material was guarded around the clock by four men employed by the government and tasked with monitoring barometric readings to ensure the goods weren’t damaged by the humid central Ohio summers.

The three most priceless documents — the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Magna Carta — were shipped to the Fort Knox Bullion Depository in Kentucky. Denison received the next tier of valuables, including presidential papers, notebooks of famous authors, musical instruments, and the original telegram sent by Samuel Morse: “What hath God wrought?”

The cargo was safely returned to the Library of Congress in 1944. In his letter to Denison president Kenneth Brown, Librarian of Congress Archibald MacLeish wrote: “You will share our thankfulness that the long and difficult journey is completed without accident, and you will know ... how much we owe to you and your colleagues and to the University for your generosity of mind and spirit.”



“Swasey adds a formality and a unique energy to these events,” said music professor Ching-chu Hu.

The chapel has hosted some of the world’s most renowned lecturers, authors, academics, musicians, entertainers, politicians, and cultural icons. Yo-Yo Ma. Itzhak Perlman. Dizzy Gillespie. Renee Fleming. Steve Carell ’84. G. Gordon Liddy. James Baker. George Will. Bob Dole. Madeleine Albright. Eudora Welty. Michael Starbird. Mariana Ortega. Amor Towles.

The list goes on.

“When artists come and they see the grandeur of the chapel, they really appreciate the space and the setting,” said Hu, director of the Vail Series, which is hosted at Swasey. “It also serves as the public performance space for several of our larger ensembles as well as our festivals. So many in the community know Denison primarily from their attendance to these events.”

For students, memories made at Denison often start in Swasey. Over four years, the Swasey bells provide the soundtrack to campus life, and the steeple serves as a lodestar for students returning home to The Hill.

First-year students begin their academic voyage by assembling in the sanctuary before heading down Chapel Walk for their class induction. They return four years later for Baccalaureate ceremonies that mark a culminating Swasey event for graduates.

And every spring, the Academic Awards Convocation celebrates faculty and student excellence in an emotional, cheer-filled ceremony where the Provost’s Academic Excellence Award winners are honored and the President’s Medalists are announced.

The President’s Medal is Denison’s highest honor for a graduating senior. There’s a parallel award for alumni,


the venerated Alumni Citation, awarded to Denison alums for professional accomplishments and service since 1949. Those recipients also find themselves back at Swasey, seated on the stage — a full-circle moment for a celebration of lives launched on The Hill.

On this year’s Day of Giving, 1,008 Denisonians gave a record-breaking $525,777. Your generosity immediately impacts priority areas like academics, student life, arts, athletics, career launch, and scholarships and financial aid.

The architecturechapel’sis solid — but it doesn’t define Swasey


Hunter Hughes ’14 felt at home the moment his gaze first met Swasey Chapel.

Hughes grew up in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, a bucolic Detroit suburb with stately tree-lined streets. The main building on his high school campus, designed in the 1920s, features a red brick facade, limestone columns, and a bell tower topped with a cupola.

“It’s almost identical to Swasey,” said Hughes, an architect with Matthew Baird Architects in New York.

The paradox of Swasey Chapel, celebrating its centennial anniversary in 2024, is how distinctive it is to Denisonians — while being relatively indistinguishable from other campus chapels built in the same era.

Architect John H. Beyer ’54 says that’s not a knock on Swasey, which in his mind serves as the university’s de facto “logo.”

“The most important thing about Swasey Chapel is its symbolism, not its detailed architecture,” said Beyer, founding partner of Beyer Blinder Belle in New York. “Being on top of The Hill and being seen from afar, it represents the classic image of the whole university. That’s not a bad distinction for a building to hold.”

The idea to perch Swasey on the university’s highest point of land, coupled with subsequent decisions to keep it separate from academic and resident hall quadrangles, affords it visibility not enjoyed by chapels on some U.S. campuses.

Mechanical engineering savant and former Denison trustee board president Ambrose Swasey donated $400,000 to build the chapel as part of the 1917 Greater Denison expansion project. Arnold Brunner was selected as the architect; the sons of Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed New York’s Central Park, handled the architectural landscaping.

One trait of Olmsted designs was to leave a side of a campus quadrangle open to create scenic views. That was the approach to Denison’s academic quad, giving students, faculty, and staff a clear sight of Swasey.

“Any time you walk toward the chapel from either direction, it fills your line of vision because it’s not lost in a quadrangle,” said Beyer, whose firm transformed Denison’s old gymnasium into Bryant Arts Center in 2009. “Most campus chapels are just in a quadrangle. What makes Swasey special is you can see it from a distance.”

Chapel construction began in 1922 and was completed two years later. For budding tour guides and architecture wonks, Swasey’s exterior features Bedford limestone and Harvard brick laid in Flemish bond grace. The chapel stands 140 feet, 6⅝ inches tall (not counting


the lightning rod), while six Ionic columns support the portico that faces Chapel Walk.

“After graduation, I went to London,” said David Anderson ’87, an architect for Miller Dyer Spears in Boston. “I had always thought of Swasey as a New England chapel, but walking around London, you see a lot of churches that kind of look like the chapel. Many were designed by Christopher Wren after the Great Fire of 1666.”

Anderson played percussion in the Denison symphony orchestra. He loves the intimacy of Swasey’s auditorium and how close the audience sits to its stage. He’s also aware of the one glitch not anticipated by its builders.

The chapel was designed for worship, not concerts. As Denison became a secular university in the 1960s, Swasey expanded its purposes to include high-profile lectures, academic award convocations, and musical and artistic performances.

Swasey has undergone many renovations to retain its appearance and charm, but improving the acoustics remains a challenge.

“We pull the curtains to absorb some of the sound during concerts,” said music professor Ching-chu Hu, director of the Vail Series. “We try to do little things to modernize the chapel. Most of the artists love performing there, and they understand it was not built as a performing space.”

The chapel is ideal for big events such as the Vail Series. While Swasey limits capacity to 990 spectators to keep fire marshals happy, it’s more than twice the size of Sharon Martin Hall in the Michael D. Eisner Center for the Performing Arts.

Anderson understands why Beyer, his fellow architect and alum, considers the chapel to be Denison’s logo. He recalls a time when Swasey was on the university’s official stationary.

“Swasey Chapel orients not only the campus, but the surrounding town, and does it beautifully,” Anderson said.

As an undergrad, he cherished the view of the chapel from his room on winter mornings.

“After an overnight storm, you would have one side of the cupola blasted with snow and ice and the other side getting hit with sunlight,” Anderson recalled. “It produced this amazing halo of light on the edges.”

Swasey Chapel remains an iconic venue to many alums, Beyer said, because of the memories made inside its walls and what it represents institutionally.

“I don’t know if many students stand back and say, ‘Whoa, this is a significant piece of architecture,’” Beyer said. “They think of it as a symbol. What’s really important is what happened there and on campus. Seeing the performances, listening to the famous speakers, celebrating academic achievements. That’s what lives in memories.”

“Being on top of The Hill and being seen from afar, it represents the classic image of the whole university.”

Organ donors give new life to Swasey sound


When William Osborne took his final bow on the Swasey Chapel stage in 2003, he left behind an instrument that had been part of his life for more than four decades.

Few activities at Denison gave Osborne more pleasure than playing the Austin organ and hearing the melodious sounds from the 3,207 pipes located behind the plaster grilles above the stage.

“That organ was only part of what I did at Denison, but it was the means by which I expressed myself most intimately,” said Osborne, a distinguished professor emeritus of fine arts. “It became a friend.”

Osborne hasn’t played that pipe organ since his retirement, but through his generosity, he’s ensured others will have the opportunity for years to come.

Osborne is the lead donor in a fundraising project that generated nearly $280,000

to renovate the organ and pipes of an instrument that, like Swasey Chapel itself, is celebrating its 100th anniversary. James Carpenter ’54 and T.J. Hodgman ’78 are also among the Denisonians who made gifts to restore and modernize it.

Osborne, who recorded three albums featuring the organ, is delighted to contribute to a fundraiser that began more than four years ago. He arrived at Denison in 1961 as assistant professor of music, university organist, director of choral organizations, and founder of the Denison Singers, the vocal ensemble that’s performed throughout the country and in Europe and South America.

Organizers of the long-running Vail Series, which hosts musical and artistic performances in Swasey, plan to commemorate the organ’s makeover in the fall of 2024. Music professor Ching-chu Hu, director of the Vail Series, acknowledged that some organists could not play at the chapel in recent years because of its limitations.

“A lot of it had fallen into disrepair,” Hu

said. “The pipes needed to be fixed, and the console was missing electrical components. Our donors really stepped up to make this project a reality.”

A representative from Austin Organs, Inc. confirmed just how much the donors’ gift is saving the university. He said to build the current pipe organ from scratch would cost nearly $1.7 million.

The Hartford, Connecticut, company still has the contract from Denison’s 1923 purchase bearing Ambrose Swasey’s signature. The organ cost $17,000 — part of the $400,000 that Swasey, the former Denison board of trustees president, donated to build the chapel.

The latest renovation includes a new console and wiring, a computerized system, and a refurbishing of the existing pipes.

“The beautiful organ in Swasey Chapel is such an asset to Denison,” Hu said. “It’s been such a massive project and we’re excited to have it back in full working condition.”


Swasey tales


Halloween hijinks

Fred Porcheddu-Engel ’87 loves the chapel, and one of his most memorable campus moments occurred there in the late 1990s.

It was Halloween night, and the English professor hauled three of his best students, a VHS player, an extension cord, and a video copy of Frankenstein to the bell tower. At some point, the group decided to have a bit of fun with unsuspecting passersby on Chapel Walk.

A lookout would signal to others when someone was strolling past Swasey. A few ominous notes were struck on the bell tower keyboard. Halloween hilarity ensued.

The mystery shrub

The photo looks doctored despite eyewitness accounts to the contrary.

High above Chapel Walk grows the legend of the Swasey shrub — the sightings infrequent, but enough to keep curiosity seekers searching for this botanical Bigfoot.

This is no fraternity prank. Denison’s facilities services staff have ample experience dealing with the troublesome woody plant. Workers climb the innards of the Swasey Chapel bell tower once or twice a year to slay the shrub and dig out weeds that sprout from cracks.

Why do the unwanted growths keep reappearing?

Buzzy and his mates are partially responsible.

Seed-eating buzzards and pigeons roost in the cupola, facilities services workers said, fertilizing a tale that blossoms when the weather warms.

Pesticides are an option, but as long the birds keep making their deposits, the issue likely will persist.

While the campus is meticulously groomed, getting at Swasey’s stubborn growth is challenging. There’s no elevator to the top of the chapel.

Shrub-scrubbing treks are timed to avoid bell-ringing blasts to the ears.

The staff is so effective at rooting out the shrub that many on campus have never noticed it peeking above the open edges of the cupola.

“The person would freak out and start running,” the professor recalled. “We were up to mischief, and it remains one of my favorite memories.”

Swasey had a provision written into the Treaty of Versailles — yes, the treaty that ended World War I in 1919 — that allowed him to travel to Germany at his own expense and take the instruments to China.

Swasey’s love of China led to him donating $250,000 for a red brick building on the Sun Yat-sen University campus, which was named Swasey Hall.

In the stars

They don’t just name chapels and observatories after Swasey. His work in building some of the world’s largest and finest telescopes of the era earned him several celestial distinctions.

Bearing his name? A moon crater, “Swasey on the Moon,” and an asteroid, “992 Swasey.”

The extra mile

University benefactor Ambrose Swasey made a fortune in mechanical engineering and earned fame through technological advances in astronomical equipment and observatories.

The Denison board of trustees quickly learned that when Swasey put his mind to a task, it usually was completed. In the years between financing the construction of Swasey Observatory (1909) and Swasey Chapel (1924), the philanthropist embarked on a spectacular goodwill mission.

Swasey and his wife traveled the world and were fascinated by the story of 17th century astronomical instruments that were stolen from a Chinese observatory during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900. The precious items had been whisked to a palace in Potsdam, Germany.

He made it his crusade to ensure the safe return of the instruments. Using his influence,

Foyer attractions

The main attraction inside Swasey is the sanctuary, with its rows of original pews, large columns, and beautiful chandeliers. But the chapel’s foyer contains several interesting nuggets as well.

The wall-mounted relief of Swasey is done by Victor David Brenner, the same artist responsible for the Abraham Lincoln penny. There’s also the Centennial Plaque, originally displayed at the main entrance to campus in 1931. The stone identified Denison as a “Christian College of Liberal Arts,” in keeping with its Baptist roots. In 2006, the sign was replaced during the college’s 175-year anniversary celebration and eventually moved to the chapel.

The most eye-catching artwork is Her Son , a statue of a mother and child. Porcheddu-Engel said the statue was used in a Denison promotional film to symbolize a parent sending a child off to college.



When Laura Frame ʼ83 first read Gender Matters: A Guide to Growing Women’s Philanthropy by Kathleen E. Loehr, a vision she’d had for years started to crystallize. Frame’s sustained relationship with Denison, including in her role as Denison’s director of principal gifts, connects her with some of the university’s most passionate, visionary, and generous donors.

But she felt like something was missing. Fundraising seemed like a time-tested process, but the book asked critical questions such as, “What role does gender play in philanthropy? Is there something different about how women give?”

was helping to establish a philanthropic community of women at Denison. Frame convened eight focus groups in 2022 and formed a volunteer task force and advisory council in 2023.

Several university luminaries — Denison trustees Kathryn Correia ʼ79 and Vivian Quaye ʼ03, Denison board of advisors member Michelle Warner ʼ88, and Denison’s former director of major gifts Kathleen Shelton ʼ85 — stepped forward enthusiastically as co-chairs.

As Frame dug deeper and learned about the often unsung but rich history of women’s achievements at Denison, the concept of Four Forward was born. Frame contacted Loehr directly in 2021, and soon the author

“My decision to become involved with Four Forward stems from a deep resonance with its mission and my personal journey,” Quaye says. “Denison played a pivotal role in shaping the course of my life. The invaluable support and guidance from the women faculty and staff during my years as a student were instrumental in helping me overcome challenges.”


“We can do so much more collectively than we can do individually,” Warner says. “When women come together, it creates a unique energy and a call to action for many who might not otherwise engage.” Loehr’s research supports this sentiment, finding that many women prefer to collaborate as part of a group effort rather than contribute solely as individuals.

So what’s in a name? University records hold that the first four women to graduate from Denison received their degrees in 1900. “Four Forward honors these remarkable women — Eva Virginia Johnson, Anna May Patt, Myrtle Ignitian Gibson, and Grace Lyon Seasholes — whose unwavering determination and persistence for equal education opportunities paved the way for countless others,” Frame says.

The concept of four also pays homage to the four years a student typically studies at Denison and is echoed in the concept of four arcs — into, through, venture, and return — that, when combined, form an enduring circle of support for all stages of a Denisonian’s life.

The money raised through Four Forward supports students on their journey “into” Denison by championing access and affordability. While they move “through” their education, Four Forward supports off-campus studies, career services, and entrepreneurial explorations. After graduation, Four Forward encourages network-building and the formation of nourishing connections as new alums “venture” into their lives. Four Forward also fosters meaningful engagement opportunities for Denisonians when they “return” to campus, paying it forward for the next generation.

Four Forward welcomes all women and everyone who supports Four Forward’s full-spectrum mission of access, achievement, connection, and philanthropy. “Denison is an incredible organization that pulls us toward each other through shared experience,” Correia says. “I love considering the possibilities of our collective impact.”


“When women come together, it creates a unique energy and a call to action for many who might not otherwise engage.”
Brooke LaValley
“I never saw him again, but it turns out Walker Roberts was a pretty good matchmaker.”

The Matchmaker



Two flyers, hung in separate university buildings, changed the life of Mike Lafferty.

The first was answered by his future tenant. The second by his future wife.

Lafferty, a former newspaper reporter, knows how to weave a story by connecting strands of information. Even the loose threads, ones which puzzle him, add intrigue to the tale.

On the afternoon of Nov. 27, 2023, he shared these details with mourners who assembled at First Presbyterian Church in Granville. The occasion was a memorial service for his wife of 40 years, Margaret “Marlee” Meriwether, a trailblazing professor of Middle Eastern history at Denison.

“When young married couples first meet, one will ask the other, ‘How did you meet?’’ Lafferty told the audience. “Marlee and I always hemmed and hawed, and I would say something like, ‘Marlee picked me up in a bar,’ which always got me a hard elbow to the ribs.”

The truth takes time to unspool and involves a question Lafferty has asked himself many times over the past four decades. Because the only connection that linked Lafferty and Meriwether in 1981 was a senior named Walker Roberts ’82 — his renter, her student.

Roberts left Denison after graduation, and a week before the couple met on the front porch of Lafferty’s West College Street home.

“So what about Walker Roberts?” Lafferty said in his closing remarks to the audience.

“I never saw him again, but it turns out Walker Roberts was a pretty good matchmaker.”

It makes for a nice story, but even as he told it, Lafferty had no idea if it was true.


Walking through Slayter Hall in 1981, Roberts spotted a flyer on the wall with a phone number:

“Room for rent, half bath. Call Mike.”

Lafferty made decent money working for the Columbus Dispatch, but he was a single man in his mid-30s with a mortgage, a sailboat, and a penchant for overspending. Facing his financial straits, Lafferty decided to take on a boarder for the 1981-82 school year. This was a time when Denison permitted seniors to live off campus.

Lafferty received one call. Roberts.

“Walker was a nice young man,” Lafferty recalls. “More importantly, he had the security deposit.”

It was an ideal arrangement. Both had busy schedules and rarely saw each other. But as time passed, the landlord and tenant moved beyond small talk.

Roberts learned of Lafferty’s passion for journalism and sailing. Lafferty discovered Roberts was majoring in history, planning to attend graduate school, and dating Leah, a woman he met while studying abroad in Austria.

Lafferty also kept hearing about the student’s academic advisor.

Meriwether had just joined the Denison faculty, and her expertise in Middle Eastern history and culture


piqued Roberts’s interest in international studies and foreign affairs. She sometimes invited students to her apartment and made them her famous hummus.

The professor was adventurous. She had studied at the American University in Cairo, Egypt, and spoke Arabic. She was a relentless researcher and a strong female presence on Denison’s faculty.

She also was single and living in Stone Hall, which at the time housed junior faculty members.

Meriwether took an interest in her students’ lives. She wanted to know how Roberts enjoyed living off campus. He told her about Lafferty, his work as a writer, his sense of humor. He volunteered one other tidbit about his landlord. Lafferty loved sailing.


A week after Roberts graduated and moved out of the house, Lafferty found himself in a bind. He had invited two couples from the newspaper to go out on Lake Erie.

While he had a robust professional life in Columbus, Lafferty was not much for dating. But he figured organizing a sailing trip only to show up as a fifth wheel was bad form.

Lafferty had never seen Meriwether, let alone been in her company. Roberts had painted a vivid picture, however. Lafferty decided to post flyers on the front and back doors of Stone Hall:

“If you want to go sailing, call Mike.”

“I thought, well, advertising had worked once for me,” Lafferty says. “But in this case, I was fishing for only one fish, and I was hoping nobody else would bite.”

Lafferty received one call. Meriwether.

The professor made the two-minute walk to Lafferty’s house. She stood on his front porch and told him, “I want to go sailing.”

That weekend, they drove to Port Clinton, Ohio, and set out on a three-day excursion. Lafferty was keen on Meriwether’s blue eyes and dark hair, but what really attracted him was her intellect.

“Marlee is the smartest person I’ve ever met,” Lafferty says.

The weather was perfect. The wind never took the sailboat off course. On the first night, after the other couples had gone to bed, Lafferty and Meriwether held hands and kissed for the first time.

They were married in 1983 and soon had a son named Patrick. Lafferty treasured summer days when he could work from home and be together with Meriwether and their newborn.

Over the years, the couple occasionally discussed Roberts and the role he might have played in their meeting. “I thought about Walker many, many times, and wondered how his life turned out,” Lafferty says.


Roberts enrolled in Johns Hopkins University, married Leah, and started a family. He began working in Washington, D.C., with a goal of landing on Capitol Hill.

He leaned into the Denison alumni network and connected with Indiana senator Richard Lugar ’54, chair of

LEFT: The matchmaker himself, Walker Roberts ‘82.
RIGHT: The happy couple, Mike Lafferty and Marlee Meriwether.

the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and his chief of staff, Chip Andreae ’77.

They hired Roberts as a documents clerk making $6,000 a year. Among those who previously held the job was a college student named Bill Clinton, who went on to other things.

“I miss her so much,” Lafferty says. “We held hands every day.”

Roberts served under President Ronald Reagan in the White House Office of Legislative Affairs from 1987-89. He followed that honor with a 17-year stint on the staff of the House Committee of International Relations before transitioning to the private sector in 2006 and joining the lobbying firm BGR Group, where he still works.

Roberts stayed connected with Denison. He knew Lafferty and Meriwether had wed. About 15 years ago, while driving from Indianapolis to Washington, Roberts took a detour to Granville, hoping to surprise the couple. Unaware they had moved, he never found them.

In early 2024, Roberts learned of Meriwether’s death. He read her obituary and thought it was a beautiful tribute. Nobody had to tell him who had written it.

Roberts received an email from Denison Magazine in March, seeking comment on his memories of Meriwether. A follow-up email contained a single request: Would he participate in a Zoom meeting with his old landlord?


“Hey, Walker,” Lafferty says, staring into his laptop camera. “Long time no see.”

“Yeah,” Roberts replies. “What’s it been, like, 42 years?”

The conversation is effortless. The memories flow, as do the questions. Two men recalling a time when their whole lives were ahead of them.

Roberts asks if the house at 440 West College still stands. Lafferty says it does. He sold it to former Denison President Michele Tolela Myers after he and

Meriwether lived there for a few years. Roberts jokes that had he remained in town, Meriwether would have kicked him out. That she wouldn’t have wanted a former student living in the downstairs bedroom.

They laugh at the thought of it. The stories spill out one after another.

Lafferty talks of how he accompanied Meriwether on research trips to the Middle East. How they spent years sailing together.

Roberts mentions the contributions Meriwether made to his development.

“I am who I am now because of my schooling at Denison and the relations I made with Marlee and others,” Roberts says.

“Marlee was the epitome of the professor who gets students excited to learn. She stimulated my intellectual curiosity.”

Lafferty explains how Meriwether was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in 2012 and how brave she was in facing the disease.

“I miss her so much,” Lafferty says. “We held hands every day.”

“It brings tears to my eyes knowing you had such a wonderful life together,” Roberts replies.

As the hourlong teleconference nears its end, the two men exchange contact information. They pledge to stay in touch.

Lafferty says he’s happy that Roberts has enjoyed a long and prosperous career in Washington.

Finally, the former newspaper reporter ties up one of the loose threads of his love story. He asks the question that’s been on his mind for four decades.

“Was it your intention to fix us up?”

Roberts flashes a grin. “Oh, for sure,” says the matchmaker.


Spring in our steps


Photos by: Brooke LaValley

Women’s soccer coach Sarah Brink felt a bit overwhelmed the first time she saw the 173-page data-driven breakdown of her team’s first season.

But as she leafed through the binder, syncing her memories of specific games with the corresponding GPSgenerated stats, Brink marveled at the meticulous detail.

“Seeing data to back up how I was feeling during certain games was affirming,” she said.

Among the reasons Brink accepted the position in 2023 was her belief that Denison is at the forefront of innovative ideas. Here was evidence of that commitment — a deep dive into data courtesy of health, exercise, and sport studies (HESS) assistant professors Gail Murphy and Eric Winters.

Now, the athletic department and its academic partners are exploring ways to take their relationship to a different level.

Big Red athletics, along with HESS and data analytics, has

been working to develop ideas for keeping varsity athletes healthier while also benefiting students eager to break into the growing fields of sports data and sports science.

One possibility is giving data analytics majors the opportunity to assist Big Red sports teams throughout a season. Instead of compiling end-of-year reports, the students would be trained to analyze data in almost real time.

Frequent reports from data analytics students could influence practice habits, improve fitness levels, and reduce fatigue and injuries.

“We refer to athletics as our living classroom, and this is an example of it,” athletic director Nan CarneyDeBord said. “This is leading-edge stuff. We have highly motivated coaches who are looking for the best methodology to help the performance of our athletes. Our ultimate goal academically is to create an environment conducive to launching our students into whatever field they choose.”




While some major college programs employ student data analysts, few give them academic credits for their work. That’s among the ideas under consideration.

While the departments weigh their options, Winters can’t help but think of the potential benefits for students.

“This would give us a chance to get outside the four walls of the classroom, where you are doing just theory,” Winters said. “That’s obviously necessary and important, but we want to connect the practice to it. Practice is always more full and rich than learning about it in a book.”

Fundraising will be crucial to make this enterprise a reality.

The athletic department is hoping to invest in more wearable technology, including additional GPS monitoring devices, which the women’s soccer players attach to lightweight vests beneath their uniforms.

Matthew Miller, associate director of data analytics, believes students would be eager to pursue studies that incorporate sports data analysis.

Students already are allowed to petition the department to create their own academic concentration; Miller said sports analytics is among the most popular alternatives.

“We’re all in agreement that there’s a viable curriculum and a plan to move forward if we get the resources we need,” Miller said. “And there’s definitely an employment demand for these types of skills.”


Murphy and Winters laugh at the memory of their many animated discussions — just outside of the athletic director’s office — about the data they were collecting from soccer games and practices. The excitement made speaking with their inside voices challenging.

“We were hooked, and we drove poor Nan nuts talking about it,” Murphy recalled.

Combining forces with HESS and data analytics — two of the university’s most popular majors — immediately made lots of sense to the athletic director.

“There’s definitely an employment demand for these types of skills.”

Murphy and Winters weren’t in a rush, however. They began thinking of an academic-athletic partnership in 2021 when the athletic department purchased its first GPS devices. Murphy was still coaching the women’s soccer team and didn’t want to commit to the project until turning the program over to Brink following the 2022 season.

From the start, they knew protecting the athletes’ identities was vital. The data analytics students wouldn’t see the names of the players they analyzed. No individual results would be posted.

Winters and Murphy learned quickly how easy it is to become paralyzed by the sheer volume of data points.

“You can go down a lot of rabbit holes,” Murphy said. They used trial and error to determine what metrics were most relevant to women’s soccer, their test program. They focused on distance run by players as well as bursts of acceleration and deceleration.

Another important factor was learning how to communicate their findings. The 173-page report was filled with bar graphs and charts that made it simple for Brink to recognize trends from games and practices.

“When you are doing a school project, everyone in that class is aware of the technical stuff you are describing,” said Matt Iammarino ’18, an assistant developer and analytical football researcher for the Tennessee Titans. “But in any corporation, the NFL included, you have to be able to explain it in their language or the analysis can get lost.”


The glass-enclosed weight room inside the Mitchell Center is the body shop of the athletic department. Beau Scott, director of sports performance, is tasked with shaping, contouring, and fine-tuning.

Even before the arrival of the GPS devices, Scott was demonstrating the value of big data in athletic circles.

Scott became an enthusiastic client of the data analytics program not long after it was founded in 2016. He employs several students each year to make sense of the metrics collected in the weight room.

A year ago, the department purchased a bilateral force plate, which athletes from every sport use at least once a week. To the untrained observer, the routine appears pedestrian: Athletes jump on a padded surface connected to a monitor.


But for student analysts, the force plate yields valuable metrics from a single jump. They also interpret data from other weight-room activities.

Scott is looking for trends in an athlete’s power, explosiveness, and fatigue, among other things. The results can help coaches adjust training.

“Several members of our team had some fatigue levels that were too high going into the NCAA championships,” swimming and diving coach Gregg Parini said. “The fact that Beau can give us that information in real time allows us to make informed decisions.”


Miller, the associate director of data analytics, made a phone call to a three-time Super Bowl champion in the spring.

Mike Frazier runs the analytics department for the Kansas City Chiefs. He also has a Denison connection — his father, Michael O. Frazier, was the university’s director of auxiliary enterprises and risk management from 2005 to 2007.

Miller said the Chiefs analyst has agreed to speak to Denison students in the near future. By then, ideas of the athletic-academic partnership might be fully formed.

The benefits to athletics and data analytics are obvious, but Winters insists HESS also would acquire valuable knowledge through data collection.

“We are intrinsically interested in taking what the data is saying and what’s happening on the field and looking at the quality of the athletes’ movements,” Winters said.

“We’re interested in trying to prevent injuries and flatten fatigue curves.”

Miller said the data analytics program is comprehensive enough that students would have little trouble finding work in adjacent fields if they didn’t want to make a career out of interpreting sports data. Either way, the experience they receive in working with actual teams would look great on a resume.

Time will tell whether the athletic department’s discussions with HESS and data analytics lead to a formal academic proposal for faculty consideration. If they need an endorsement, however, Brink sounds willing to provide it.

“What they have done is awesome,” Brink said. “After reading the report, we’re working hard on our conditioning this spring. I can point to the data and say, ‘Here are the games we struggled in — games where we weren’t sprinting enough.’ The analytics add another layer. It’s not just me saying it.”

“In any corporation, the NFL included, you have to be able to explain it in their language or the analysis can get lost.”

The 2024 Alumni Citations




Having spent the majority of her career at the Federal Communications Commission, Baker anticipated several changes in technology and helped the FCC adjust policies related to public safety radio frequencies and the creation of a new Emergency Alert System, which went into effect in 1997.

Baker was the first woman to serve as a bureau chief at the FCC and had a tremendous impact on those who followed her.


Now known for his illustrious TV and film career, Carell got his start in improvisational comedy as a member of Denison’s Burpee’s Seedy Theatrical Company. He performed in The Second City troupe in Chicago and was a correspondent on The Daily Show before appearing in films such as Bruce Almighty and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. His first leading role was in The 40-Year-Old Virgin , a box-office hit he co-wrote. He starred as Michael Scott on the popular television series The Office, which earned him a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Television Comedy in 2006. Following his role in The Office , Carell continued to appear in many successful films and earned an Oscar nomination for his role in Foxcatcher in 2015. Carell spent much of his time at Denison as a member of the Burpee’s and the ice hockey team and continues to support both organizations.


Covey has built a career centered on building strategic partnerships to advance the missions of the organizations he serves. As the vice president of strategic relationships and corporate development for Cincinnati Children’s, he is responsible for domestic and international collaborations that advance the system’s highest priorities. Prior to joining Cincinnati Children’s, he led consumer-facing partnerships at Kroger and co-founded America’s largest grocer’s corporate venture capital fund. Earlier in his career, Covey spent more than a decade in corporate development and global strategy roles at Nielsen. Outside of his career, Covey is an active and steadfast volunteer for Denison. While he currently serves on the campaign executive committee, he has also served as a volunteer for Alumni Council, Annual Fund, admission, and reunion.


Brewer has dedicated his career to providing quality health care to medically underserved people. His career has taken him to Nigeria, the Congo, Mozambique, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti as a missionary or volunteer physician. Brewer taught and mentored many medical students and doctors at Michigan State University and the University at Buffalo, inspiring them to provide medical care in underserved areas regionally and abroad. Brewer received a Humanitarian Award from the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry in 2011.


Dozier has prioritized service to his community and his country throughout his career, which began with the United States Army. He served as a reconnaissance officer in Iraq and Afghanistan and earned the Army Commendation Medal and Bronze Star. Following his military service, he returned to his hometown of Atlanta and has held several positions at Hire Heroes USA, a national nonprofit supporting U.S. military members and veterans in the civilian workforce. He represents District 4 on the Atlanta City Council. He contributes to the city of Atlanta’s growth and well-being through board positions with Invest Atlanta, Atlanta Downtown Improvement District, and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, among many others.



Throughout his career as a trial lawyer, Elliott has been passionate about fighting for the underdog and making the world a safer place. He is the co-founder of Columbus-based law firm Cooper Elliott, and he has represented the families of Stone Foltz and Collin Wiant, who were both killed in hazing events at two Ohio universities. Elliott went on to help pass Collin’s Law, Ohio’s anti-hazing statute, and is now a frequent speaker at universities including Denison about the dangers of hazing. A member of Denison’s football team, Elliott was inducted into the Denison University Athletic Hall of Fame and previously served as president of the Varsity D Association for more than a decade.


McKnight oversees all of Mattel’s toy categories and global brands and was recently recognized by Forbes as one of the top brand marketers in the world for 2023. She has held senior leadership positions at Mattel for nearly 25 years. McKnight led the critical effort to further contextualize the Barbie brand for the next generation, partnering closely with Warner Bros., Atlantic Records, and the filmmakers of Barbie to bring the record-breaking film to life. She spearheaded the award-winning best-in-class marketing campaign for Mattel, bringing the story of the Barbie brand to life through a new lens. The film grossed more than $1.44 billion at the worldwide box office, breaking the record for the highest-grossing film from a female director, the highest-grossing film in Warner Bros.’ 100-year history, and the biggest film of 2023.


As the chief people, equity, and inclusion officer for the YMCA of Central Ohio, Farley works across teams to transform the organization’s approach to human resources, risk management, DEI, and anti-racism through systems, structures, and processes. He also serves as an instructor in the African American and African Studies department at the Ohio State University, where he teaches courses on African American history and the Black urban experience. Prior to his current position at the YMCA of Central Ohio, Farley worked in student development at Denison for more than 12 years.


Miller discovered her love of dance at Denison University as a student and became the program’s strongest advocate, serving as chair of the dance department for more than 40 years. She developed the fledgling dance department into a nationally recognized center for dance education, particularly focused on diverse movement practices. Miller’s decades of research in somatics have afforded her opportunities to present on the topic around the world and earn the highest honor from dance’s largest service organization, the National Dance Education Organization.


Lovett became passionate about philanthropic and service leadership in high school, and those themes guide her to this day. With her husband, she co-founded Keystone Montessori School in Charlotte in 2013 and enthusiastically supported the new Ann & Thomas Hoaglin Wellness Center at Denison. Continuing with her service leadership, Lovett has been an active contributor to causes related to early childhood education, breast cancer awareness, women’s collective giving, eradicating homelessness, and adolescent mental health. She began her professional life with Oracle Corporation during the early days of Silicon Valley, ultimately serving as director of customer experience and advisor to the CEO.


Moellenberg has been involved in more than 100 theatrical productions on Broadway, the West End, Australia, and national tours. His 13 Tony awards for producing, among others, Spring Awakening, Death of a Salesman, Pippin, Dear Evan Hansen, and Oklahoma are evidence of an incredibly successful career. Those not familiar with Moellenberg’s story might be surprised to learn that he spent nearly two decades ascending the corporate ladder at banking and investment firms, ultimately serving as a senior executive chief of staff to the president of Chemical Bank. That all changed when he determined that his banking lifestyle and a life-threatening health situation were no longer compatible. Today, Moellenberg continues theater production and has branched into film production.


PROMISES TO BE EVEN BIGGER THIS YEAR! The festive weekend will include many opportunities for alums to connect with students and one another over shared interests and passions. From a spirited tailgate to a special Swasey 100th concert, from affinity group reunions to coffee with a favorite professor, this weekend is built exclusively for alumni. LEARN MORE: NOV. 1 - 3, 2024

In addition to your annual support, a gift of any size in your will or living trust is a meaningful way to benefit Denison beyond your lifetime. You can also name the university as a beneficiary to your retirement account or donor advised fund. Whatever your passion on The Hill, we can help you create your legacy. Contact our Office of Gift Planning at 740-587-5023 or visit Create Your Denison Legacy DENISON UNIVERSITY DOES NOT PROVIDE TAX, LEGAL, OR ACCOUNTING ADVICE. YOU SHOULD CONSULT YOUR OWN TRUSTED ADVISORS BEFORE ENGAGING IN ANY TRANSACTION.


“I am here because of the perspective I gained from being at Denison.”

How introspective thinking guided her career choices


Rachel Mabie ’16 spent a semester abroad, studying in the Czech Republic and interning at Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty.

Working for a government-funded media outlet that broadcasts news into Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East seems like a natural fit for a communications and international studies double major.

But it wasn’t. Mabie discovered she didn’t enjoy writing press releases and news headlines for stories, or conducting interviews. That didn’t make the internship a waste. On the contrary, it reinforced one of her biggest takeaways from her time at Denison.

“It’s about having the courage to think introspectively,” said Mabie, a global marketing manager for Hyatt. “You ask yourself, ‘Do I enjoy what I’m doing? Do I want to keep investing in something I don’t think is for me long term?’ I’ve probably had five of these big moments in the past six or seven years when I thought about shifting gears. In these moments, I relied on the muscles I first flexed at Denison.”

Mabie, the daughter of two alums, Doug ’86, a board of trustees member, and Andrea ’87, chose the university because she liked the campus vibe and the chance to keep playing field hockey — at least through her sophomore year.

What she came to appreciate is how Denison flushes students out of their pockets of comfort. The structure of a liberal arts education, Mabie said, helps produce open minds by requiring students to take a variety of classes and explore different paths.

“When I was 22, I didn’t necessarily think I would be on the track I am now,” she said. “I am here because of the perspective I gained from being at Denison.”

Mabie thrives in an environment that involves strategic planning, accountability, and being part of the creative process.

In eight years, Mabie has gone from placing ads on social media platforms to developing marketing campaigns for brand strategy. She’s been with Hyatt in Chicago since 2023 after spending the previous four years with Vail Resorts in Colorado.

“I’m definitely in a more creative space now from where I started my career,” Mabie said. “It’s been a winding path, but I’ve learned a lot from being honest with myself.”



Translating numbers into words is a Denison tradition


Cameron Moore ’19 analyzes data to assist banks in assessing credit risks for potential loans.

Moore can crunch numbers, but what employers seem to like about him — and other Denisonioans in the same field — is his way with words. His explanations to clients are clear and concise in conversations and emails.

“Anyone can be analytical, but if you cannot explain how you go through your process and arrive at a result, that can be a problem,” said Moore, a senior analyst in structured finance at S&P Global in Chicago.

Moore uses his own experience to make a larger point about the liberal arts at Denison. While he majored in economics and minored in history, Moore graduated with a broad-based education — an appealing trait to employers who need workers with a diverse skill set.

He spent four years working at Morningstar, the world’s fourth-largest credit ratings agency. There’s a rich pipeline that runs from Denison to Morningstar, with many grads starting their careers at the agency.

“One response we’ve heard from Morningstar is they like candidates from Denison because of their writing skills and ability to communicate with clients,” Moore said.

The Morningstar development program, Moore said, requires its employees to spend ample time on the phone with clients, answering questions and solving problems in a way that doesn’t sound like a sales pitch.

It makes Moore grateful that he had to attend writing seminars and hone his communication skills at Denison. He recalls working with fellow students to edit each other’s papers.

“I developed a broad background there,” Moore said. “It allowed me to be knowledgeable about a lot of different topics. I never feel out of place in a situation.”

Moore, who’s from the Chicago suburbs, made three visits to Denison before committing to the university. He didn’t need to wander far outside of Oak Park and River Forest High School to learn of Denison’s reputation. Keeping with a Chicagoland trend, the school has sent many grads to Granville.

“There are so many Denison alums in the area,” he said. “I went to a Chicago Bulls game the other day and saw a couple in the stands. I hang out with Denisonians all the time.”

“Anyone can be analytical, but if you cannot explain how you go through your process and arrive at a result, that can be a problem.”


He travels the world in search of ah-ha moments


Michael Ball ’22 grew up in rural Colorado, or as he likes to say, “five miles up a dirt road.” The scenery is breathtaking, and the nature hikes can uplift the most jaded souls.

His bus rides back and forth to the public school in Woodland Park (population: 7,920) were one hour each way. While proud of his roots, he was eager to discover a world beyond them.

“It’s beyond what I could have imagined as a senior in high school.”

So when Ball — the first member of his family to attend college — heard President Weinberg encourage students to mingle with people from different cultures and chat with those who didn’t share his worldview, he took the advice to heart.

“I recall Adam sharing those thoughts at a welcome event for the Class of 2022,” Ball said. “It’s guided my approach to the things I’ve done.”

Ball is a policy analyst at USAID, a government agency working to end global poverty and enable developing societies to realize their potential. He will attend graduate school in the fall of 2024 as a Thomas R. Pickering Fellow and, if all goes to plan, enter the foreign service of the State Department as a diplomat.

“I’m super excited and grateful,” he said. “It’s beyond what I could have imagined as a senior in high school.”

Ball believes immersing himself in the liberal arts experience at Denison prepared him for a career in

international affairs. He became a better problem solver. He learned to examine and defend his beliefs while also respecting and learning from the opinions of others.

The writing skills he developed allowed him to communicate ideas concisely — imperative in the arena of policymaking. His desire to travel and understand Middle Eastern cultures came from getting to know Arabic-speaking students at Denison.

The political science major studied in Morocco and Jordan during his final two years at the university.

“You begin seeing things from different perspectives and have those ah-ha moments, where you realize the world is bigger than you first thought,” Ball said. “But also that people from other countries have much more in common with Americans than we do differences.”

While he lives in Washington, D.C., Ball enjoys visiting home. His parents are supportive of their son’s commitment to public service. His father is an Army veteran and a retired carpenter. His mother is a bookkeeper and a museum docent.

“My parents have developed a love for hummus, falafel, and shawarma, which is a pita wrap stuffed with chicken and a healthy dose of garlic,” Ball said. “It’s my duty to bring back insights from my trips and share them with my community.”



She’s first in flight with global commerce


Imani Holmes ’19 still recalls the words of global commerce associate director Jane Palmer as the new major took flight in the fall of 2016.

“Jane used to say we were building the plane as we were flying it,” she recalled.

Holmes never regretted being one of its first passengers, earning her degree as part of global commerce’s inaugural graduating class. An account supervisor at Edelman, the world’s largest public relations firm, Holmes possesses the skills to navigate rapid change and clients’ ever-shifting needs.

The interdisciplinary major teaches students adaptability and allows them to explore how markets and commerce operate from a liberal arts perspective.

“It gave me a well-rounded experience and perspective,” recalled Holmes, who minored in Spanish. “It’s very much what the liberal arts are about.”

Holmes is a health equity advocate, which puts her in contact with different facets of the intricate and dynamic health care industry. She works with premier biotechnology and pharmaceutical clients, among others. The wide range of challenges and clients’ complex needs, she said, could fluster someone not equipped with broadbased knowledge of the field.

Denison provided that foundation. She often thinks about the messages of President Weinberg, who stresses the importance of intellectual curiosity, lifelong learning, and relationship building.

Holmes is not surprised global commerce has become the college’s fifth-most popular major in less than a decade.

“When you matriculate from college, you carry the skills you learned with you,” Holmes said. “Global commerce allows you to pursue various disciplines and unearth new passions within the major. That’s given me a lot of confidence in my post-graduate life.”

Holmes had a “hodgepodge” of interests in her first year at Denison, including international affairs and health care. The more she learned about global commerce, the more she realized it satisfied most of them.

In her line of work, Holmes said, establishing relationships is critical. That includes returning to campus and sharing her story with students preparing to enter the workforce.

“When you think about your college experience, you want it to be something that reflects what you will experience in the real world,” she said. “I credit the liberal arts education I received for being the impetus for my career in health communications. I couldn’t be happier with the choice I made.”

“When you think about your college experience, you want it to be something that reflects what you will experience in the real world.”



Maureen Madar ’19 didn’t fully appreciate the value of her liberal arts education until she left Denison and began talking to friends, fellow grad students, and even patients she was about to anesthetize.

“I work clinically in an operating room,” said Madar, a certified anesthesiologist assistant at MetroHealth System in Cleveland. “I’ll have people tell me, ‘You’re very conversational for someone who’s in science.’”

“I was able to check a lot of boxes in my time at Denison. I took everything I wanted.”

Madar assumed her college experience was typical until she heard stories from those who didn’t go the liberal arts route. Friends who played sports were surprised to learn she was part of the Big Red golf team for four years and still had time for scientific research.

At graduate school, Madar listened to medical students describe their undergraduate existence as little more than science labs and classwork.

Madar played varsity sports. She belonged to the Delta Gamma sorority. She was an undergraduate researcher and a teacher’s assistant. And while the biology major focused on science, Madar found time to study religion, languages, ceramics, and queer studies.

“The liberal arts allowed me to be a more well-rounded individual,” Madar said. “I was able to check a lot of boxes in my time at Denison. I took everything I wanted.”

The broad-based approach exposes students to lessons that might not directly pertain to their major but can be useful in the workforce.

Madar took queer studies from associate professor Warren Hauk, who also teaches biology and deals with a life-altering trauma triggered by light sensitivity. She considers Hauk the “embodiment of liberal arts.”

What the professor taught her about the LGBTQ+ community has become valuable in terms of patient care. Madar works at a hospital that performs gender-affirming surgery. She’s also a clinical student coordinator who helps prepare future anesthesiologist assistants for her role.

“Part of the job is talking to patients and putting them at ease,” she said. “In some cases, I would have been wholly unprepared for those conversations if not for that queer studies course. What I learned in those classes truly broadened my perspective and readied me for my career.”

Madar still golfs. She loves to travel and enjoys life with her dog. A natural-born conversationalist, the only way she’s putting anyone to sleep is with anesthesia.



His ambitions were nurtured at Denison


It’s tempting to think that the computer science degree Seed Zeng ’14 earned at Washington University in St. Louis is more relevant to his software engineering career than the physics degree he received at Denison.

Zeng says that’s not an accurate assumption.

“I would argue the reason I’ve grown faster in my career compared to peers my age is because of the education I got at Denison,” he said.

Zeng participated in the 3+2 program offered at Denison, in which students study for three years on The Hill and two additional years at affiliated engineering schools, resulting in a pair of bachelor’s degrees.

Ambition is not in short supply with Zeng, whose goal is to found his own startup. A staff software engineer at DoorDash since 2022, he worked at Klaviyo and Meta previously. Zeng also co-hosts a podcast, Venture Vibes, in which he interviews CEOs and founders of startups.

He was an excellent student at Denison, but some of the most valuable lessons he learned were tangential to physics.

“As you grow as an engineer or in any industry, you need to know how to deal with people,” Zeng said. “That’s where the liberal arts education comes in. You’re taught the importance of collaboration. You have to resolve conflicts. You have to understand other people’s

motives and where they’re coming from. I learned that at Denison.”

He remains in close contact with physics professor Wes Walter, who visited him and his family in China.

“Professor Walter told me I will always be a physicist in the way I think,” Zeng recalled. “Being trained in that discipline definitely gave me an advantage of highlevel thinking.”

Zeng maintains a personal website that includes podcast links and blog posts on systems and technology. He would love to have Terry Jones ’70, founder of Travelocity and Kayak, on his podcast.

A native of China, Zeng already is following Jones’s advice for would-be entrepreneurs: Gain experience working at a startup or large company before founding one yourself.

Zeng lives in Boston, but his long-term goal is to return home.

“Entrepreneurship is my next move,” he said. “I want to move back to Asia to be closer to family and better food.”

“I would argue the reason I’ve grown faster in my career compared to peers my age is because of the education I got at Denison.”


An avid runner, he learned to think on his feet
“I got great advice at Denison. The Knowlton Center got me every opportunity you see on my LinkedIn page.”

Two years removed from student life at Denison, Jacob Rains ’21 addressed a Congressional committee seeking expertise on an important health care matter.

His liberal arts education, Rains said, taught him to “think on my feet” and to interact with people who don’t necessarily share his worldview. Those are handy skills for someone working in Washington, D.C., and trying to influence health care policy.

Raines, appearing before the House Committee on Agriculture in 2023, spoke of the need to attract more doctors and nurses to rural areas. The shortfall of trained health professionals, he said, has contributed to a disparity in life expectancy between those living in urban and rural areas.

A specialist in Medicaid policy, Rains understands how federal health programs can benefit rural and underserved communities.

“The issue has been around for 50 years but accelerated in the past 20 years,” Rains said. “Dealing with shortages, particularly with nurses, is something that the committee urgently wants to solve.”

Rains, a political science major, didn’t arrive at Denison looking to become a health care advocate. He was drawn by the sense of student community and the cross-country team he captained as a senior.

But during his time on The Hill, internships exposed him to rural and underserved health issues. He even joined a medical reserve corps, testing patients for Covid who lacked health care coverage.

“I got great advice at Denison,” Rains said. “The Knowlton Center got me every opportunity you see on my LinkedIn page.”

He attended graduate school at the University of North Carolina and was a research project manager for its health research center. That work earned him his Capitol Hill invite.

Rains is now a consultant for Manatt Health. He said his Denison education and exposure to students with different backgrounds helped him navigate the world of health care.

“The Medicaid program serves more than 80 million people,” Rains said. “It serves people experiencing a wide variety of challenges. Being able to incorporate their lived experiences into policymaking is vital.”

Rains has brought something else to Washington from his days on the Big Red cross-country team.

“Running helps a lot with stress,” he said. “There are a lot of runners in health care policy. It’s not a coincidence.”



Parents see liberal arts as a


for sisters’ success stories


Lauren ’18 and Laine Ratzer ’20 have made it easy for their parents to visit them when mom or dad travels from California.

The sisters live in Chicago, under the same roof, in the same downtown apartment.

“There was a time when we were also working on the same floor at Google,” Lauren said. “We spend a lot of time together, but we like it that way.”

Debi Hemmeter and Jim Ratzer are proud of what their daughters have achieved. They attribute part of that success to their kids’ previous address in Granville.

“I love the liberal arts education they received,” Hemmeter said. “They have become phenomenal at critical thinking and problem solving, and it’s why they are thriving in their careers.”

Lauren is a senior specialist at Salesforce, working in the software developer’s innovation center. Laine is an account strategist at Google.

“Debi and I are both from the Chicago area, and we have connections there,” said Jim, an attorney. “But it was great to see how the girls learned to network in their time at Denison. They developed their own connections.”

Parents play a role in helping their children select a college. Sending multiple kids to the same university is

one sign of a family’s satisfaction.

Hemmeter said Lauren and Laine have different personalities, and both excelled in the liberal arts environment. What impresses Hemmeter is how students at Denison are taught through a “Socratic approach,” which involves a shared dialogue between faculty and students. Professors lead with thought-provoking, open-ended questions that promote classroom discussion and additional questions.

“Denison checked a lot of boxes for me,” said Lauren, a communication major. “I really liked the small classroom learning environment. There were a lot of passionate students.”

Lauren and Laine agree the emphasis on a wellrounded curriculum provided multiple avenues for employment. Lauren interned in the hospitality industry and the sales and marketing sector.

Laine, an economics and communication double major, could not believe Google recruited both sisters simultaneously. They shared the same start dates.

“How you shape your educational experience to employers is super helpful,” Laine said. “Talking about all the different classes and experiences I had at Denison helped me stand out.”

Continued on page 32

“They have become phenomenal at critical thinking and problem solving, and it’s why they are thriving in their careers.”

Laine and Lauren are part of a large and loyal alumni base in Chicago. Each is willing to help current students make connections and teach them how to network. They also have a strong mentor in their mother.

Hemmeter worked for four Fortune 50 companies before co-founding Lean In, a global community dedicated to fostering leadership and inclusion for women in the workforce.

“I taught my girls that they must be unapologetically ambitious,” Hemmeter said. “Dimming their own light does not serve anyone, but being the best they can possibly be inspires everyone around them and raises them up.”

Hemmeter and Laine were featured speakers at Denison’s 2024 ReMix + Women event. They stressed the importance of advocating for yourself.

Laine had begun training for the Chicago Marathon in 2023 when she learned Google was running two promotion cycles. She paused her training to prepare for potential advancement, ending up with her choice of two promotions in different parts of the country. She remained in Chicago with Lauren, who celebrated the start of her new job at Salesforce in January 2024.

Laine recalls visiting her older sister at Denison during her senior year of high school. She was undecided about her college options until that trip. The warmth and intimacy of the campus sold her on Denison and its mission.

Four years removed from The Hill, she’s happy to help students turn their liberal arts education into a rewarding career.

“When I get a text from someone at Denison, I will always respond,” Laine said. “Whether it’s interview prep or answering questions about the process, I’m here. Denison helped me get to where I am now.”

Tell us something good! We want to help you celebrate your latest accomplishments in a Big Red way! Share your news with us — from starting a new job, earning a new degree, wedding bells, retirement, and everything in between.  SHARE YOUR BIG RED GOOD NEWS TODAY! 40 #DENISONPROUD ISSUE 2 2024

Tto a l eclipseof T he Hill


The event was cause for celebration, as hundreds gathered in the grass at Reese-Shackelford Common to watch the moon slowly blot out the sun. It was a spectacular view, one that Ohio won’t see again for the next 75 years. In fact, all of North America will have to wait another 20 years to witness another total solar eclipse. Viewing glasses, a complimentary gift from the physics and astronomy department, were a hot commodity.

Denison photographers captured the spirit of the moment.
Photos by Brooke LaValley & James Schuller

A never-ending gift for retirement


Speaking at the 2024 Academic Awards Convocation, President Adam Weinberg jokingly told the audience that while Toni King is retiring, Denison has no plans to let her stop teaching.

King, an associate professor and the director of the Center for Black Studies, was seated on the Swasey Chapel stage. The president timed his remarks to correspond with the presentation of the Charles and Nancy Brickman Distinguished Leadership Award, given to senior faculty members who excel in commitment to the university.

King is a 2020 Brickman recipient. She’s also been an influential figure on The Hill for nearly three decades, advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Beyond her teaching responsibilities, she served in leadership roles with the Black Caucus, an ad-hoc group of faculty and administrative staff whose mission is the success and retention of Africana descended students, faculty, and staff, and Sister-Leaders in Dialogue, a group she co-founded to support women students of color in their leadership development. King also was among the founding members of the Faculty of Color/ International Faculty (FOCIF) group in 2008 and was the associate provost for faculty diversity from 2009 to 2014.

Before clearing out her Knapp Hall office, the author of Black Womanist Leadership: Tracing the Motherline spoke with Denison Magazine . Answers have been lightly edited for context and brevity.

Does it feel like you have been here since 1997? It feels like I blinked, and 27 years passed by. I remember visiting the campus while looking for a position in this part of the country. I was freelance consulting in DEI at the time. I met with the provost, Charlie Morris ’62, and he kept connecting me with people on campus. Even as I strolled the grounds, there were faculty members and staff who were so friendly and helpful. I came away really impressed, and when Denison posted the position for Black studies and women’s and gender studies, I immediately applied.

What are some things you are most proud of during your time at Denison?

I’m most proud of the students who I have taught and mentored, and the alums who I’m still in touch with. They are a never-ending gift to someone like me. I’m also proud of participating in and co-chairing the Black Caucus for so many years, and for helping get the idea of FOCIF off the ground. It’s been wonderful to see how it has grown.

Can you share a story from a former student who benefited from your mentorship? Mimoza Czeku ’02 just visited Denison recently and scheduled time to have coffee. I recall long talks with her about her leadership on campus as a DCGA Senator and other co-curriculars. She was always a boundary spanner who created connections between groups. She could be found holding what we now call “courageous conversations” characterized by talking about and across differences. In her work-study position at the Center for Black Studies, she and I would often unpack her experiences. She’s now a sales business


development professional for Norsemen Defense Technologies, where she says her economics major and Black studies minor prepared her to seamlessly connect across any level of organizational hierarchy – from support staff to military generals. She reminded me that she uses the wisdom from our conversations every day.

What changes have you seen in diversity and inclusion on campus over the years?

The numbers of diverse students may have gone up and down over the years, but it’s trending upward. The culture of diversity, however, is significantly

different when one thinks about the student body and how it has built up the culture. It’s always been present, but they are adding textures and layers to it. We have an African and Caribbean Student Association. We have dance groups that have brought in cultural traditions. It’s just a wonderfully intellectual and artistic mix. HERE US is such a good example of what the faculty and student body have combined to add. Denison Forward and the recognition given to administrative, staff students, and faculty is another.

So what does the next chapter hold for Toni King?

There will definitely be travel with my husband. I will still be writing about topics I’ve always written about: Black women’s leadership and diversity in higher education. There will be some consulting work. The consulting I do will involve some of what I was most proud of at Denison. How to build a culture of diversity. How to share stories that show diversity is growing deeper. How to enable more groups to bring all they have to offer into the community. I might be retiring, but this kind of work will never stop for me.



Toni King

King joined Denison in 1997 and held a joint appointment in Black studies and women’s and gender studies until her retirement in 2024.

Brooke LaValley

space for everyone’ opens in Huffman Hall


With more than 160 campus organizations on The Hill, Denison student leaders knew there was no feasible way to give each group a dedicated home of its own.

“There’s only so much real estate to go around,” Alex Pan ’24 said.

So the Denison Campus Governance Association came at the issue from another direction.

“They began thinking that since we can’t give everyone their own space, how can we create a space for everyone?” said Dana Pursley, director of the Alford Community Leadership & Involvement Center (CLIC).

“It was all driven by student government,” said Patrick Fina, former associate director at CLIC.

In March 2023, student senators unanimously voted to fund $150,000 to renovate a largely idle space in the basement of Huffman Hall that once housed the Office of Community Values & Student Conduct.

They decided to call the revamped space the Huffman Innovation Leadership Lounge — HILL for short — and design it as a hub for student groups. It opened on Jan. 17, 2024

“I want this to be the crown jewel of East Quad,” said Pan, who was student body president when the project was approved.

The renovation packs a punch. Three conference rooms can be reserved through the campus engagement platform WhatToDU. Each has a different vibe, from casual crash-pad to executive boardroom.

The common area is arranged so several groups can meet simultaneously, and a separate room is filled with arts-related supplies, should a club need to produce posters or flyers.

Students helped choose the furnishings and guided the overall design. Colors are bright, seating is durable but comfortable, and materials are largely recycled. Photographs of current students adorn the walls, and CLIC hopes to freshen them up as the student body changes from year to year.

“We wanted it to feel ‘Denison,’” Fina said.

All student leaders of Denison’s recognized campus organizations — about 700 students in all — have swipe access to the lounge.

While there are a few intimate nooks and the reservable rooms have doors, “we don’t want this to turn into a silent study space,” Pursley said.

Instead, she and Fina hope the lounge serves as a meeting place where students with disparate interests and perspectives come together, share ideas, and strike out together in new directions.

“That’s the whole point of the liberal arts,” Pan said.


Hilltoppers ‘savor every second’ in national spotlight

Trip to Punxsutawney groundhog fest was decades in the making for a cappella group

This was the gig of the lifetime for the Denison Hilltoppers, singing a cappella to a raucous crowd of 20,000 atop Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, one of the opening acts for a hairy headliner that has the mystical power to declare an early end to winter.

The Hilltoppers — let’s decree them the Philtoppers on this day, Feb. 2, 2024 — may not have upstaged the world’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil.

But what a day they had.

Punxsutawney on Groundhog Day is something to behold. Adults don groundhog onesies and LED-lit hats that spell out “SHADOW,” complete with a red slash through the word. The skies fill with fireworks and with T-shirts launched from shoulder cannons. Intermittent pillars of flame shoot up on the main stage, throwing heat 60 feet into the crowd. And security on this wooded hill in north-central Pennsylvania is tighter than hairpin turns in a rodent’s burrow.

Where’s Waldo, you ask? In the crowd at Punx-

sutawney. So was Elvis, sporting a shimmery green cape emblazoned with, “Ain’t Nothing But A Groundhog.”

Every Feb. 2 in Punxsutawney is an epic whistle-pig shindig. It’s Woodstock for a woodchuck.

Into its midst walked the Hilltoppers, the longtime all-male singing group on campus, founded in 1978, and which welcomed its first female member this year.

They wore their trademark khakis, ties, and navy blue blazers. They stood out.

“Someone called us the Hogwarts kids, which I think is hilarious,” said Emmet Anderson ’25.

It was a long and winding road from The Hill to Gobbler’s Knob. The journey began before the current Hilltoppers were born, back in the 1990s when a top-hatted, tuxedoed gentleman now known as the Thunder Conductor — who, since 2007, has belonged to Punxsutawney Phil’s dapper entourage, the Inner Circle — came across a CD of the Granville group.

He wasn’t known as the Thunder Conductor

“It was surreal, being up there on stage,” Donnelly said.
“It was just people all the way back.”

then. He was just Dave Gigliotti, fresh out of the University of Pittsburgh and starting his career as a chiropractor.

A buddy of Gigliotti’s, it turns out, was dating a woman who had gone to Denison. She was a fan of the Hilltoppers, raved about their performances, and played for them a CD of their recordings, circa 1993.

The relationship between his friend and the Denison grad didn’t last, Gigliotti said. But his appreciation of the Hilltoppers did.

“I’ve loved them ever since,” he said. “I have them on my phone. They play in my car periodically.”

As Thunder Conductor, Gigliotti is responsible for the entertainment that precedes Phil’s famous forecast.

“The ‘thunder’ is the actual crowd noise that morning,” he said.

He reached out to the Hilltoppers about 10 years ago, and plans were struck to sing at the festivities. But an ice storm derailed that visit. Last fall Gigliotti tried again, calling his prior Hilltoppers contact, Nick Ingram ’15. Ingram passed the new invitation on to Hilltopper Gabe Donnelly ’25.

They accepted. They piled into three cars, drove to Pittsburgh Thursday night, and hit the road to Punxsutawney at 1 a.m., arriving in town just before 3 a.m. By then, the masses were already queuing for the army of shuttle buses.

“I got maybe 20 minutes of sleep,” said Max McQuistion ’25. His initial, sleep-deprived take on the proceedings?

“Very interesting,” he said, looking around. “But people go crazy about a lot worse stuff than a groundhog.”

The Hilltoppers were treated like royalty. They were given VIP parking and backstage passes. They performed a 10-minute set at 5:30 a.m., their version of Toto’s “Africa” (a personal request from the Thunder Conductor) about an hour later, and the National Anthem after that.

“Savor every second of this,” Anderson told the circle of friends before their first set. “Because it’s a once-in-alifetime opportunity.”

There were, truth be told, a few glitches. The outdoor venue was a challenge — the singers said later they couldn’t hear each other well and sometimes not at all — and the rapid-fire schedule didn’t allow for soundchecks. Win Abeles ’25, still recovering from a club soccer injury, had to climb the stairs to the stage on crutches.

And at one point during their set, the festival’s sound system inexplicably blared a Spanish newscast.

They took even that in stride.

“I was curious why that was happening,” McQuistion said later. “But why not? Added a little spice to it.”

Another unexpected development unfolded as they toured the grounds during a break. A stranger in a groundhog hat approached, addressing them as though he knew them personally.

And he did. Colin Thomas ’26 realized it was his dad; his parents had flown in from California to surprise him.

The Hilltoppers couldn’t get over the size of the crowd.

“It was surreal, being up there on stage,” Donnelly said. “It was just people all the way back.”

“A sea of people,” said Owen Baker ’25, who as an international student from the United Kingdom admitted he found some of these American traditions a bit perplexing. Take, for instance, the four shirtless men that he spied up front, P-H-I-L painted on their bare chests.

“That was something else,” Baker said.

“This is so fun, so, so fun,” said Antonia Baylor ’26, a pioneer in Hilltoppers history as the group’s first female member.

Their obligations fulfilled, the Hilltoppers stood arm in arm as fireworks thundered above the treeline.

They joined the crowd up front and went wild when Phil was held aloft and predicted an early spring, to uproarious applause.

The skies had brightened by then. Their once-in-a-lifetime opportunity taken, the Denison students basked in the national spotlight, soaking it all up. They were not standing in anyone’s shadow.


It was strange and beautiful and unforgettable


My alarm was set for midnight, but I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned in the bed of our Pittsburgh Airbnb, trying to imagine what the morning would bring. All I knew was that I was about to leave, alongside 13 of my closest friends, for Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.

Armed with energy drinks and loud music to keep us awake, we ventured to Gobbler’s Knob. We stopped along the way and got some strange looks from the locals, who had no reasonable explanation for the 14 of us in our suits at a gas station at 12:30 a.m.

Even in the sea of strange costumes in front of the stage, our blazers and khakis stood out. Inner Circle members noticed us from the stage, and TikTok influencers interviewed us with their mini microphones.

We stood backstage around 4 a.m., seeking shelter in a bus — the only source of heat. The nerves reached their peak. We warmed up, both our bodies and our voices, and had some final moments of zen before we walked onto the stage.

Some 40,000 people. I couldn’t even see the back of the crowd. The faces in the back turned into blurry dots.

Our first set wasn’t perfect. We couldn’t hear ourselves singing, so we had no idea how we sounded. A Spanish radio broadcast cut off our classic Hilltopper bit of introducing ourselves, but we kept going. The show must go on.

Sometimes, when I perform, I space out — if I ignore the fact that I’m performing, it makes it easier to get over


any twinge of stage fright. I knew for this concert, I had to focus. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I wanted to remember every single detail.

Our second set was pure elation. We performed “Africa,” by Toto, which is always a crowd-pleaser. People were singing along in the audience. Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro shook our hands. I think it might’ve been the best we’ve ever sounded. We were all beaming from ear to ear.

We sang the national anthem to a silent crowd. Fire shot out behind us during the “rockets red glare,” and fireworks exploded above our heads for the “bombs bursting in air.” It was beautiful.

Once we finished, they launched the fireworks show. We stood next to the stage and hugged and soaked in the joy of our accomplishments.

Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, 6:30 a.m., waiting for a rodent prognosticator, with our arms around each other. I sobbed. This was the culmination of so much hard work from all of us and from so many Hilltoppers before us.

We got VIP seats to see Phil’s big prediction. We screamed our voices away to the groundhog-themed parody of “Mr. Brightside.” We hoped for an early spring, and we got our wish.

It was a truly unforgettable morning. And one I’ll remember every Feb. 2 for the rest of my life.




Once upon a time (that time being fall semester 2022), there lived six young men in a place called Shaw Hall, on the East Quad of Denison University, a liberal arts college founded in the days of yore (1831) in the Ohio village of Granville.

The roommates were swimmers all, and therefore well-acquainted with towels and their primary purpose, which of course is drying.

But the tale at hand pertains to a particular towel, a towel that would come to transcend this intended purpose. Over the course of two academic years, its usefulness to the Denison student body would grow far beyond the 28x58 inch rectangle of soft and absorbent 100% cotton that it, in a very real sense, was.

It was a Disney princess towel.

This is the story of the students behind it.

“This all happened by accident,” Lucas Conrads ’25 says.

Long before the towel belonged to all Denisonians — as it now does — it was the sole property of Christian Narcelles ’25.

Narcelles, of Springfield, Ohio, is an unabashed fan of Disney, and the towel began as a family joke when he was still in high school.

“My mom got it as a gag gift for me for Christmas,” he says. He embraced the gag and began taking it to swim meets, and then to Denison, where he met five other members of the Class of 2025: Conrads, Gavin Jones, Max Soja, Patrick Daly, and Blake McDonald.

“We’re all on the swim team,” Soja says. “That’s what brought us together.”

The six decided to live together their sophomore year and scored the suite on the second floor of Shaw. It was a fine suite, but soon after moving in, they realized they had a problem.

“The window was pretty bare,” Narcelles says.

“It’s pretty much the most visible window on East Quad,” Daly says.

The roommates were not aware of, or particularly concerned with, the nuances of traditional window treatments. They hung up Narcelles’ towel, facing out.


Because this was college, and it was funnier that way.

“Together We Are Strong,” the towel declared. Four princesses — Rapunzel, Belle, Cinderella, and Tiana — watched over the approach to East Quad, a pastel beacon of positivity.

The groundwork for a legend had been laid.

“I don’t think any of us really thought about it,” Daly says.

But other people did.

“Spring 2023 is when it really picked up,” Conrads says.

The friends realized their classmates were talking about the towel, both on social media and even out in the real world, as they passed it on their way to and from class. The roommates know this because sometimes they were walking directly behind these conversations, cloaked in anonymity.

“It’s kind of like being a superhero,” Conrads says. “Like your alter ego. People don’t know it’s you.”

This became increasingly hilarious to “six guys who are into athletics” who had “no other pink or princessy stuff” in their living quarters, Conrads says.

As their identities remained draped in obscurity, the towel’s fame grew. Students fretted when it fell and rejoiced when it reappeared.

“This finals week, the last thing I have is the princess towel,” someone posted on the anonymous social app Yik Yak.

When the 2022-23 school year drew to a close, students posted a picture of the empty window and reflected on what had been.

“End of an era,” one wrote on Yik Yak.

Someone else responded by saluting, three times, emoji-style.

“Rumor has it they’re keeping the same room next year…” another said.

The rumors were true.

When the students returned in the fall of 2023, the towel was back.

“We got the same room,” Conrads says.

Halloween arrived, and the six devised an elaborate in-joke. Each would dress as a different Disney princess.

“A lot of it came down to hair color,” Jones says. “And price.”

Jones went as Belle from Beauty and the Beast, Conrads as Anna from Frozen , Soja as Cinderella, Daly as Snow White, Narcelles as Jasmine from Aladdin , and McDonald as the fishy protagonist from The Little Mermaid.

“I was initially a little hesitant about dressing up as a princess,” McDonald says. “But eventually I bit the bullet and bought an Ariel costume.”

By this time, they were seeing the towel in a different — dare we say deeper? — way.

“The more popular it got, the more the message resonated with us,” Soja says.

“It was kind of like a poem,” Narcelles says. “You see more in it the more you read it. It’s a message that built upon itself.”

Together we are strong. That had meaning here on The Hill, at a rigorous and intimate liberal arts college where everyone lives on campus all four years, where friendships begun at age 18 are ultimately tallied in decades, where faculty know students by name, and where generations of those students have gone on to great things. Students like Michael Eisner ’64, the former chairman and CEO of Disney, for instance.

As for these six students, they are living elsewhere for their senior year. But they plan to arrange for the towel to stay with the new occupants of their Shaw suite.

“It would be cool to pass it down,” Daly says.

Jones wonders what it would be like to return to campus, long after graduation, and see the towel in their old window.

“That would be crazy,” he says.

“Like 30 years down the road,” McDonald says.

Jones laughs. “I was thinking like 5.”

Five years or 30, that would be something, they agree. To have what started as this silly moment among college friends turn first into something meaningful and then lasting, woven into the very fabric of what makes Denison strong.

“I was initially a little hesitant about dressing up as a princess,” McDonald says. “But eventually I bit the bullet and bought an Ariel costume.”

Best Roomies

When you hit the roommate jackpot, that’s something to celebrate. At President Weinberg’s invitation, about 80 graduating seniors turned out this spring for the annual Roommate Dinner, recognizing Denisonians who have lived together on campus for six or more semesters. The dinner has quickly become a beloved tradition — and as you can see from these pictures, it’s a favorite of ours at Denison Magazine as well.

Photos by Brooke LaValley


moved by a spirit


Timothy Carpenter begged his mother to let him stay home.

It was April 5, 1968, the morning after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Carpenter, the only black student in his high school in East Palestine, Ohio, recalled it being the longest day of his life.

His mother wouldn’t hear it. “Dr. King died for you to have the right to go to school,” she told him.

His heart heavy and his mind reeling, Carpenter boarded the bus.

“As I was making my way to my seat,” Carpenter said, “one of the students — I can tell you his name, but I’m not going to — looked up and said to me, ‘We got him.’”

Sitting in a recording studio at the Michael D. Eisner Center for the Performing Arts, Carpenter reflected on the experiences that have shaped his worldview.

The man best known around campus as “Rev” is Denison’s gospel choir director and Christian life coordinator. He teaches a course on the history of gospel and pinch hits on special projects tailored to his renowned musical talents and ability to connect with students.

Carpenter is also an indispensable resource for the campus’s annual MLK celebration.

“These days mean so much to me because of what I lived through,” Carpenter said. “Dr. King’s tenacity, his justice, his righteousness — the amount of good he did gives me energy to continue on in his legacy.”


On the first day of class in spring semester 2024, Carpenter told students it’s not his objective to make them gospel music lovers.

“I’m here to get you to understand the struggle that went into the creation of this music,” he said. “It didn’t just come out of nowhere. So that’s what we’re going to discuss. That journey, that evolution.”

Carpenter, who’s contributed to two Grammy-winning albums, has lived that struggle. Beyond the grim memories of King’s assassination, his family received threats of cross-burnings in their yard. They kept their


drapes shut so as not to attract unwanted attention or gunshots through their picture window.

He realizes his perspective might have been different if his father, James, had not relocated the family from Youngtown, Ohio, after retiring from the steel mill. But adversity coupled with sound advice molded Carpenter in ways he could not have imagined that day on the school bus.

“My upbringing showed me how to get along with people who are different than me,” Carpenter said. “My parents were amazing. They taught me how to surround myself with good people and how to deal with, but not avoid, the bad ones.”

Carpenter embraces the struggle. He never loses sight of it or forgets it can be marshaled in ways to make those around him feel welcomed and included.

The ordained elder and pastor hosts a weekly “Power Hour” at Herrick Hall in which students of all faiths are encouraged to participate. His God’s Way Ministries in Columbus has assisted Denison students going through difficult spells.

“What makes him such a wonderful fit for us is his capacity to be open with everyone,” said Stephanie McLemore, director of religious and spiritual life. “He doesn’t know a stranger, and that makes him a real gem.”


As Carpenter introduced himself to a new class of students, he pointed to the piano in the corner of the room. “This is my instrument,” he said.

Born into a family of musicians, Carpenter began playing piano at age 3. He was touring the country in his teens as part of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World and earned a music scholarship to the University of Cincinnati.

His talents as a writer, composer, and studio musician have put him in the orbit of many gospel legends. But he’s also worked outside the genre, serving as a musical director for Tony Award-winning plays in Cincinnati and performing across Europe, including a guest stint as conductor of the Deutsches Filmorchester Babelsberg symphony orchestra in Germany.

“Rev is an internationally known musician, and you wouldn’t know it talking to him or listening to him because he’s so humble,” McLemore said.


Carpenter takes the same route every day to Denison, where he began working in 2010. Traveling east on Ohio State Route 37, he gets off at the Cherry Street exit to ensure his first sight of campus is Swasey Chapel.

“It’s a centering thing for me,” he said. “When I see the chapel, I know I’m going to be OK that day.”

Carpenter loves interacting with students, especially members of his choir. Among his many highlights is the group’s 2014 performance with recording artist

Bobby McFerrin in Swasey Chapel.

Madeline Borger ’24 said Carpenter allows students ample latitude to reach their potential. She recalled the choir director letting Siqi Lui ’22, a student from China, rap during a performance.

“You would see Siqi light up when she started rapping,” Borger recalled. “Rev knows how to get the best of people.”

Kwaku Akuffo ’23 spent four years getting to know Carpenter, singing in the gospel choir and assisting him in special presentations. Akuffo saw him create an immersive experience, filled with audio and visual effects, that led students on a journey from slavery through King’s march on Washington and culminating with the 1968 assassination.

“It was a cinematic masterpiece,” Akuffo said. “Denison is truly blessed to have him on campus.”

On the day after the 2016 presidential election, Carpenter sensed the tension gripping his history of gospel class. He ditched his lesson plan and encouraged his students, a mix of races and ethnicities, to discuss what was on their minds. There were just two rules: Be respectful and speak from the heart.

“Rev is someone a lot of students trust,” said Toni King, professor and director of the Center for Black Studies. “They feel like they can have honest conversations with him, and they value what he says because of his life experiences.”

Carpenter, who just celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary with his wife, Denise, shows no signs of slowing down. He’s working with the Black Student Union, greeting folks with coffee on many Monday mornings at the Gilpatrick House, and rebuilding the ranks of a gospel choir decimated by the Covid years.

How does a man who’s experienced so much yet has more to offer find time to unwind?

“I like to fly kites,” Carpenter said. “I brought one to campus and flew it on the football field. My dad taught me how to launch them without running. It’s a matter of patience and being cognizant of which way the wind is blowing.”

“My upbringing showed me how to get along with people who are different than me.”



Molly Noga ’26 came to Denison with career plans to be an organizational consultant, so joining the Denison Consulting program was a no-brainer.

“This program has given me the most accurate glimpse I’ve ever had thus far in my education about what a career in consulting would actually look like,” says Noga, a psychology major and goalkeeper on the Denison women’s soccer team.

Denison Consulting had a banner fall 2023 semester, when teams of students worked with corporate clients to build better businesses, from battery technology to fast-food franchises. The fall semester also saw the program reach a significant milestone, serving its 100th client since launching four years ago.

Originally called Red Frame Lab Consulting, Denison Consulting is among the opportunities provided through Denison’s Red Frame Lab, an innovation hub where students develop their entrepreneurial skills and learn business and design thinking fundamentals directly from industry experts.

In addition to both internal and external consulting programs for students, the Red Frame Lab offers immersive workshops, startup programs, pitch competitions, and one-on-one coaching.

Denison Consulting, the external consulting program, was born of necessity in 2020 when traditional internships dried up during the Covid pandemic. Denison sought to provide students with equivalent realworld business opportunities by connecting them with companies looking to solve all manner of operational problems.

The concept has proven wildly popular among the clients and Denison students.

“This past semester was the first that we had far more students interested than we can currently take,” says Rick Coplin ’85, Red Frame Lab’s associate director.

Red Frame Lab director Steve Krak says students appreciate the exposure to the unpredictable, fastpaced, and often challenging business climate they’ll enter after graduation.

“There’s a lot of intention around giving the students a real-world experience that isn’t as fraught with risk as it will be in the real world,” Krak says. “But it’s close. It goes beyond what they do in their classrooms, and that is by design.”

Denison Consulting began tackling semester-long projects in the spring of 2021, which presented more complicated challenges to students seated at the consulting table. The program is built on professional development, with students learning to scope and manage projects, serve clients, work as a team, and communicate and present their recommendations effectively.

The program is open to all students, regardless of their major. But they must apply and can be promoted — or not — based on their performance. Promoted students attend a weekly professional development seminar focused on project and team leadership, along with real-time problem-solving sessions.

“You get out of it what you put into it,” Noga says. “If



you want to step back and have a bit of a passive role on your team and with the client you can, but it would definitely be to your disadvantage.”

Students earn stipends as interns and work in groups of five or six. Each team is paired with a partner-in-residence, a professional consultant who mentors and offers advice but allows the students to lead each project. Coplin calls the partners “the secret sauce to success for our students.”

Brandon Sklenar ’15 is one of those partners. A strategy manager with the consulting firm Accenture, Sklenar reached out to Denison several years ago to see how he might assist current students at his alma mater. That informal commitment grew into his formal role with Denison Consulting last summer.

He coached his first team in fall 2023, guiding them through a project with an insurance technology client. The client was so pleased with their work that a second team of students was asked to continue the project this spring, he says.

“To allow students to gain credible experience while pursuing their undergrad degree is a strong differentiator for Denison, and something that the students will carry with them throughout their careers,” Sklenar says. “I’ve seen firsthand the growth in productivity, critical thinking, and team collaboration across each of the two teams I’ve worked with.”

Coplin selects the client list. In fall 2023, students tackled projects for the following businesses:

• OnPoint Warranty Solutions of Louisville, Kentucky. Denison students were asked to assess how AI technology might aid the company in customer service.

• NC4K of Columbus, Ohio. Students focused on expanding NC4K’s efforts to aid families who have a child diagnosed with cancer by identifying gaps in services and developing a strategy to expand and support those services.

• Wendy’s International of Dublin, Ohio. Students conducted interviews, crunched data, and researched how Wendy’s could increase its

franchisee opportunities in 20 cities, especially among women and minority groups.

• An out-of-state battery technology company. Students signed a non-disclosure agreement for this project and worked with the business to launch its first product, which is designed to improve consumer safety by providing advance warnings of impending catastrophic battery failures.

• Bailey Bug of Newark, Ohio. The startup company develops specialized apparel for wheelchair users. Students provided the company founder with insights on product positioning and growth strategies.

Coplin believes the best projects for the student consultants are those he’s not quite sure they can pull off — projects that require them to “dive into this abyss of uncertainty” before emerging weeks later with solid recommendations for their client.

Red Frame Lab staff frequently urge the budding consultants not to let the difficulty or uncertainty scare them off.

“Don’t take the ‘this is hard’ feeling as an indication that you shouldn’t be doing this,” Krak advises. “Don’t be discouraged because it’s tough, because it will always be tough.”

Students have stepped up to that challenge.

“Getting to connect with business owners at such a young age and build a fairly personal relationship with them is a huge bonus,” Noga says. “I’ve learned a lot about client-consultant relationships and what’s expected of real-world consultants.”

The feedback from businesses has been consistently strong, Coplin says.

“I had one of the senior Wendy’s executives say she would hire one of our consultants right then and there if she were able to,” he says. “That was a good indication of the quality of work that Denison students do.”

At the Red Frame Lab, students explore and develop their entrepreneurial skills, engage with visiting entrepreneurs, and learn about business and design fundamentals.





1 WOMEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING The most crowded piece of campus real estate is the trophy case belonging to the Big Red swimming and diving program. The men’s and women’s teams have won so much hardware that prestigious national keepsakes are stacked on bookshelves in the assistant coaches’ office.

They added another trophy to the collection in spring 2024, as the women placed second to Kenyon in the Division III NCAA Championships. The strong showing came a year after the Big Red women won the title.

“The standards here are the standards,” said coach Gregg Parini, whose women’s and men’s squads have combined for seven NCAA championships. “We are committed to selfimprovement. I think the theme for both teams right now is, ‘There’s lots to feel good about and there’s a lot to learn.’”

The women, two-time NCAA champions, posted 36 AllAmerican performances (31 individuals, five relays) at the 2024 NCAA meet in Greensboro, North Carolina. Tara Witkowski ’24 capped a brilliant Big Red career with three top-5 finishes in the 500-yard freestyle, 400 individual medley, and 1650 freestyle. Emily Harris ’26 finished second in the 200 freestyle and third in the 200 butterfly.

Quinn Brown ’26 was fifth in 500 freestyle and eighth in 1,650 freestyle.

At the conference level, the Big Red earned NCAC coaching staff of the year honors in diving. Led by assistant coach Russ Bertram, the women’s team swept the top three spots in 1-meter and 3-meter competitions.

2 MEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING On the men’s side, a stellar final day at the NCAA meet vaulted the men to sixth overall.

The men, five-time NCAA champs, finished with 26 AllAmerican performances (23 individual, three relay). Lucas Conrads ’25 was third in the 1,650 freestyle and seventh in the 500 freestyle. Patrick Daly ’25 placed sixth in the individual medley and 200 breaststroke. Luke Landis ’24 came fourth in the 1,650 freestyle.

3 WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Second-year coach

Maureen Hirt guided the Big Red to an impressive turnaround while demonstrating great perseverance under adverse circumstances. Hirt was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in October 2023 just as her team was preparing for the start of the season.

2 1 3 56 #DENISONPROUD ISSUE 2 2024

“Although this seems like a lot, I have a very good prognosis and should be able to go on to coach many seasons with the Big Red,” Hirt said at the time. “I have been so blessed to have the Denison community supporting me through this journey.”

Her team responded with a 20-7 overall mark and a 10-4 record in conference play — doubling its win totals in each category from the previous season. The 20 victories were the most by the Big Red since the 2015-16 season.

Hirt was named a finalist for the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association coach of the year in Division III. She won the regional coach of the year award. Abby Cooch ’27 was named regional rookie of the year and NCAC newcomer of the year. Her 99 assists were the most in the program in 13 seasons.

MEN’S BASKETBALL: The program is gaining traction under coach Chris Sullivan. The 10-6 conference record marked the third consecutive season with at least 10 wins. The Big Red had never achieved that distinction in the NCAC era, which dates to 1983.

Ricky Radtke ’25, a second-team all-conference selection, set a program record with 65.2% shooting from the field.

4 FENCING: Head coach Peter Grandbois and assistant Rhys Douglas were named Eastern Women’s Fencing Conference coaching staff of the year. The club finished with a 29-16 overall mark and a No. 3 ranking among Division III programs in the U.S. Fencing Coaches Association.

Lal Ertun ’27 (foil) and Natalie Isberg ’26 (sabre) earned Division III All-American honors.

5 MEN’S INDOOR TRACK: Jacob Brown ’24 finished 18th in the heptathlon at the Division III NCAA indoor meet. He also won the conference meet in that event, with the Big Red coming fifth overall.

WOMEN’S INDOOR TRACK: The Big Red women were fifth in the NCAC meet. Sophia Ellerkmann ’24 led the way, winning the 400-meter dash and placing second in the 200-meter race.

MEN’S SQUASH: The Big Red finished with a 10-10 record, the best mark in the program’s four-year existence.

Juan Felipe Hernandez ’26 earned first-team All-Liberty League honors for a second consecutive season. Tarun Mammen ’25 and Jackson Bragman ’27 were second-team all-conference selections.

WOMEN’S SQUASH: The squad finished third in the Liberty League Championships and was 8-12 in the regular season.

Esme Adelman ’27 was named Liberty League rookie of the year. Along with Antoinette Ramsey ’25, Kate Manderlink ’26, and Lane Harding ’26, she was also one of four Denison firstteam all-conference members.

5 4













Denison football coach Jack Hatem can’t promise recruits a chance to play in the NFL. He can, however, show them evidence of former Big Red players working in the league.

As part of its presentation to recruits, the coaching staff has created a photo illustration of the university’s pipeline to the NFL. It features the faces of seven alums, working in various capacities, who were employed by pro franchises as of spring 2024.

While its greatest claim to football fame remains legendary college coach Woody Hayes ’35, Denison has made significant NFL inroads since Hatem’s arrival in 2005.

“It speaks to the type of program Coach Hatem has built,” said Max Paulus ’13, director of college scouting for the



Cleveland Browns. “We tend to look out for one another, even well after graduation. And the truth is, there are people in everyone’s career that help them break through in a competitive industry.”

Hatem, the Big Red’s second all-time winningest coach, is proud of the connections his staff and former players have fostered. The university’s head coach since 2010 uses the NFL hook as a recruiting tool, understanding that some athletes would love to stay in the game after graduation.

The combination of a liberal arts education — one that develops critical-thinking and problem-solving skills — and the alumni network’s willingness to help current players find jobs gives Denison an NFL advantage over many Division III programs.


Sam Fioroni ’13, a pro scout for the New England Patriots, is a testament to Denison’s connections. The economics major was working as a financial representative for Northwest Mutual while admittedly spending too many hours on ESPN’s website reading about football.

After reaching out to Hatem, Fioroni received a call from Brian Mason ’09, now the special teams coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts.

“Brian gave me good advice as I was trying to get out of a career in the insurance business,” Fioroni recalled. “I started putting out hundreds of resumes.”

Fioroni and Paulus are good friends and former Big Red teammates. Through a contact, Paulus helped his buddy land an assistant coaching job at the University of Chicago in 2014. A year later, Paulus connected Fioroni with the Browns, who put him to work on an analytics project. The club was so happy with Fioroni’s performance it offered him a scouting internship, which led to a role as a scouting assistant and later a scouting coordinator.

The Browns recently added another Big Red alum, Sam Secrest ’23, as an external film analyst.

“Under Coach Hatem, players develop a trust and belief in one another,” Fioroni said. “Max stuck his neck out for me, and I’ll never forget that. Nowadays, I pick up the phone anytime Coach Hatem calls about one of his players who’s expressing an interest in scouting.”

Matt Iammarino ’18, an assistant developer and analytical football researcher for the Tennessee Titans, shares a similar story.

Iammarino was working as a software engineer in 2020 when Noble Landry ’18, now an assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Chicago Bears, invited his former teammate to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. While scouting draft-eligible college talent is the combine’s primary function, it doubles as pro football’s largest annual job fair, the city’s bars and hotel lobbies teeming with gridiron go-getters looking to engage NFL personnel.

Landry, employed by the Colts at the time, offered Iammarino his couch and incredible access. A year later, Iammarino started his position with the Titans.

“Noble and I have talked about how we were grateful for our experience at Denison and how it helped us get to where we wanted to go,” said Iammarino, a computer science major.

Denison is believed to have the most former players working in the NFL from NCAC schools. Its total is likely to rise, and not just because former players are willing to pass along

resumes and recommendations to NFL employers. Qualified data analysts are in high demand around the league, and the university’s burgeoning data analytics program is becoming a powerful launching pad for careers.

Mason, a history and economics double major, said the liberal arts environment turns students into problem solvers. Paulus, another history and economics double major, added that adaptability is crucial in the NFL, where turnover in personnel and pivots in organizational philosophies are commonplace.

Paulus has worked under five Browns’ general managers since 2013.

“In any profession, there’s a learning curve,” he said. “But especially in pro sports, where you are constantly being evaluated and experiencing shifts in leadership. The liberal arts experience exposes you to multiple disciplines and various ways of thinking, which allows you to be more pliable and adjust to different leadership.”

FROM TOP: Denison football coach Jack Hatem, Max Paulus ‘13 and Sam Fioroni ‘13 at Deeds Field, Noble Landry ‘18 and Matt Iammarino ‘18 displaying their jerseys, Sam Secrest ‘23 and Anthony Rooney ‘22 during their Denison football days.

In the fall of 2023, soon after Halloween, the Denison women’s basketball team gathers to watch film from its scrimmage against Muskingum University.

Assistant coach Liv Woolam tells the players they’ll be FaceTiming head coach Maureen Hirt instead of meeting with her in person.

This isn’t normal. The players are confused. And scared.

Nobody else won 20 games while battling cancer


Hodgkin lymphoma, previously called Hodgkin’s disease, is curable, especially when caught early. About 8,800 people in the U.S. were diagnosed with the disease in 2023; 90% are expected to survive five or more years after being diagnosed, according to National Cancer Institute statistics.

Hirt makes one thing clear to doctors ...
“I’m coaching this season.”

When Hirt, known to her players as Coach Mo, appears on the screen, she’s lying in a hospital bed, fighting back tears.

Now, the players are panicked.

Hirt is overwhelmed. She can’t speak. Her mother takes over and explains Hirt has been diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, a rare cancer that affects the lymphatic system.

As the players process the news and work through their emotions, the focus on team culture takes on greater meaning and urgency. They know the 2023-24 season will present a challenge like none other.

“Unity is one of our core values, and we were about to understand its value,” Woolam says. “We were about to find out how strong we were.”

The immediate concern is Hirt.

Those statistics, however encouraging, mean little in the moment. With the season about to tip off, all the students see is their beloved coach in a hospital gown, battling cancer.


Hirt makes one thing clear to doctors and medical personnel treating her.

“I’m coaching this season,” she tells them.

She spends 18 days in the hospital. Woolam is among her few visitors allowed. The players want to see Hirt, but they understand the risk of spreading illness to someone in her condition.

The coach rejoins the team after Thanksgiving break, with the Big Red off to a flying 4-1 start. Denison was 10-16 overall in Hirt’s first season, but players and coaches sense something special is building as 2023 comes to a close.

On Dec. 9, the Big Red rally from an 18-point halftime deficit to stun Case Western Reserve University, 52-51,

jdr photography 60 #DENISONPROUD ISSUE 2 2024

as junior Abigail Westmeyer hits a 3-point shot with 13 seconds remaining.

“Watching Coach Mo go through what she did and recognizing how difficult it was trickled down to the rest of the team,” Woolam says. “The players were like, ‘If she can fight through that kind of adversity, I should be able to do anything.’”

While rounds of chemotherapy sap her strength, Hirt is energized to be back in practice, back on the bench for game nights.

“Coaching isn’t a job for me,” Hirt says. “It’s part of who I am, and when I ask people to be ‘two feet in’ for our program, I have to be two feet in myself.”


Two feet in. It’s a slogan the team frequently uses, coined by junior Molly Fisher at the start of the 2022-23 season. It exemplifies the physical and holistic aspect of committing 100% to the program.

Hirt is the embodiment of two feet in.

Nothing stops her from leading the team, from building on the momentum. Not the doctor appointments or chemotherapy treatments or the protective mask she must wear around others.

Heading into 2024, the Big Red own a 9-2 record.

“She was willing to do whatever it took to be back with us as soon as possible and be around us again, and that shows her love and passion for basketball and this team,” Ava Warcaba ’24 says.

Hirt promotes the power of the “positive touch.” She encourages fist bumps and high-fives in practices and games, inspired by former NBA point guard Steve Nash — who, as legend has it, averaged 239 high-fives per game when he played for the Phoenix Suns.

“The impact of getting a positive touch from somebody after drills, or after a really hard competitive practice, is a little way that you can connect with your teammates and just continue to come back together as a group,” Hirt says. “Everyone thinks you need to do these big team-bonding events or you need to do these big things, but we try to carve out culture as something that we do every day.”

On Jan. 19, the Big Red defeat conference rival DePauw University, 54-48, for the first time since the 2015-16 season. Denison had been 2-28 in its previous 30 meetings against DePauw.

If there are any lingering doubts about the team’s commitment to “two feet in,” they’re vanquished on Feb. 3. The Big Red rally from 13 points down in the final five minutes to shock Wittenberg, 78-77. Morgan Kress ’27 delivers the game-winning free throw with 1.5 seconds remaining.

Denison is 16-5 overall and 7-3 in the conference. The Big Red’s improvement is the talk of the league, the fight of their

coach and players an irresistible story.

“Usually there’s a point in every season when players get tired of coming to practice,” Woolam says. “It’s a long season, a grind. But that didn’t happen this year. The players looked forward to coming in every day to work with Coach Mo.”


It’s been said that adversity does not build character but reveals it. Both coaches and players learn much about their inner strengths.

“We really leaned on what we had been preaching about team culture and its importance,” Woolam says.

Denison reaches the semifinals of the conference tournament. They finish the season 20-7 overall and 10-4 in conference play — doubling their win totals in each category from the previous season. The 20 victories are the most by the Big Red since the 2015-16 season.

Everyone in the athletic department supports Hirt’s fight. The men’s and women’s golf teams establish a Big Red Birdie Battle fundraiser. They ask for pledges for all birdies and eagles during the spring semester, with proceeds going to the James Cancer Hospital in Columbus.

Hirt is humbled and grateful. Her chemo treatments run through the spring, with a stem cell transplant scheduled for the summer.

The Big Red’s dramatic improvement in the standings earns Hirt individual recognition.

She wins the regional coach of the year award and is named a finalist for the Division III Women’s Basketball Coaches Association coach of the year.

“I don’t know how anyone else could have won that award but Coach Mo,” Woolam says. “Nobody else won 20 games while battling cancer.”

jdr photography jdr photography
TOP: Hirt was a Division III coach of the year finalist. MIDDLE : Liv Woolam signals to a player on the bench. BOTTOM: The team wearing shirts that say “Coach Mo Strong.”
lilly rennie
Liberal arts and political-military strategy combine to achieve a new



In his former career as a U.S. Army officer and military strategist, Scott Smitson routinely wrestled with complicated, intractable issues — the sort of problems appropriately called “wicked.” He relished the opportunities that came hand-in-hand with the challenges. Smitson’s strategy experiences ranged from working in the Pentagon on the Joint Staff, advising the head of the Counter-ISIS coalition in the Middle East, overseeing U.S. defense strategy and policy for Latin America for U.S. Southern Command, and serving as a professor at West Point.

Today, he teaches Denison students the theory and practice of strategy to prepare them for an increasingly dynamic and challenging world. It’s a unique and enlightening experience for a liberal arts student

to learn from an academic with a full military career behind them.

Smitson calls it “scholarship with impact.”

The way of thinking and problem-solving Smitson imparts is part textbook, part experiential learning, part real-world application, and far too extensive for just one class. He has created a three-part program on Grand Strategy for his students to gain the knowledge, tools, and experiences needed to perfect a pragmatic approach to problem-solving.


Smitson introduces students to the theoretical and practical components of strategy formulation and assessment in his course on national security policy

and decision-making. Students are immersed in the important dimensions of how governments translate strategic objectives into actionable plans: institutions, frameworks, budgeting, and processes.



He adds context (and a bit of intrigue) with personal stories about the Pentagon from his time on the Joint Staff. Philosophy, politics, and economics major Noah Lieb ’24 relished Smitson’s boots-on-the-ground knowledge. “You can Google the U.S. government, but you don’t get the real complexities of how this stuff actually works,” Lieb said. “Learning from someone who practiced security policy is very cool.”

During the final weeks of the course, students play an epic tournament of Hedgemony. It’s more than a game — U.S. defense professionals use Hedgemony to test how their strategies might evolve in the field. The RAND Corporation created the game to help the Office of the Security of Defense devise recent versions of the National Defense Strategy (something Smitson contributed to during his stints at the Pentagon), and now it is used in the classroom.

Classmates play out simulations of actual events from the point of view of the United States, an international partner like the EU, or a competitor such as China, Russia, Iran, or North Korea. Complications arise. Situations spiral. It’s like overdosing on CNN. Each team has to make tough choices at the intersection of defense spending, political risk, economic investment, and diplomacy.

Lieb said you can also use the game to deconstruct recent historical scenarios, such as the 1982 suicide bombing at the barracks housing U.S. peacekeeping forces in Lebanon.

“We want to understand what went wrong,” he said. “Was it policy? Operations? Why was the intention good, but the outcome so bad?”


Smitson wants his students to have the kind of knowledge they can only get from being where policy is made. The second element of the Grand Strategy program is taking his students on the road to meet government, policy, and military leaders.

In the summer of 2023, Smitson brought his class to Washington, D.C., on a 10-day professional excursion.

“I want my students to understand the foundations of how security policy, broadly conceived, is shaped, made, and influenced in Washington, and how these policies shape American responses,” he said.

Flexing his personal network, and with the significant support of many Washington-based Denison alums, Smitson introduced his students to many of the most important organizations, institutions, and personalities that shape and influence U.S. policy across Washington.

“You can Google the U.S. government, but you don’t get the real complexities of how this stuff actually works.”
“Seeing recent graduates who just entered the workforce helped me realize this is something I could do, too.”

The hefty agenda included meetings at the U.S. Import-Export Bank, the State Department, and Congress. The trip was capped off by a visit to the Pentagon, where students met key members of the policy and plans communities. Politics and public affairs major Jack Helms ’26 tacked on some additional sight-seeing: a cyber security session at AT&T and a visit to the Atlantic Council, where he watched Sen. Bill Cassidy (Louisiana) and Sen. Mike Bennet (Colorado) discuss Mexican and Central American trade policies.

Students watched as military, diplomatic, and topic experts collaborated to achieve their goals. They also were treated to impromptu career panels at the end of each meeting, many of which included Denison alums.

“It was remarkable to learn how these experts negotiated their career paths,” Lieb said. “I could see they were real human beings. For a 20-year-old, that’s important.”

It was the first visit to Washington for Julia Azevedo ’25, a politics and public affairs major from Sao Paulo, Brazil. She was thrilled to visit the New America think tank and meet with young professionals. “Seeing recent graduates who just entered the workforce helped me realize this is something I could do, too,” she said.


During Grand Strategy’s final segment, students take their accumulated knowledge and focus on a current-day challenge. The fall 2023 class zeroed in on climate security issues in Africa. With eight climate zones, 54 countries, and more than 3,000 languages, the continent is not an easy test case.

And that’s the point Smitson is making — nothing is easy. With strong support from the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Institute of Peace, and U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), each student chose a country to study and quickly became an expert on that region’s food, water, economic, health, and energy security. They saw how these issues become entangled and how it can be difficult to address one challenge, such as energy, without adversely affecting another, such as economic security.

After they were specialists in their nation, Smitson’s students assembled in groups broadly linked by climate to create presentations that considered how governments could mitigate the risk of climate-driven instability.

As Lieb and his teammates identified the similarities and differences between their regions, they realized there were no simple answers. “Climate change affected them all,” he said. “We had to look at everything not as individual countries, but holistically.”

For the course’s final exam, Smitson invited a group of panelists to observe the presentations: Tegan Blaine, a director of the U.S. Institute of Peace; Sharon Burke, the founder of Ecospherics, a global environmental consultant group; Peter Cloutier, a foreign services diplomat with the U.S. Agency for International Development; and Colonel John Griswold, a strategy director for U.S. AFRICOM.

Burke complimented the students on their work. “Top level,” she said. “These presentations are right on the cutting edge of what’s being invented and incorporated in government and international organizations right now.”

Griswold was struck by the level of storytelling. “The ability to weave together a causal story that is thoughtful and informed is a gift,” he said. “It’s proof of the value of a liberal arts education — like systems integration on steroids.”

Smitson is already planning for the future. The next trip to Washington is being planned for a new cohort of students, and the fall 2024 course will be dedicated to understanding the geopolitics of energy. Career and professional development will be another plank of the program, and efforts are underway to align internship opportunities in the national security space with Grand Strategy program students.

“We must be prepared, taught, inspired, and mentored to see, to foresee, and hear and heed, the ‘warning shots’ that will herald not only the future challenges to the nation, but most importantly, those opportunities that come hand-in-hand with the challenges,” Smitson said, “Our study of Grand Strategy helps to build and grow within us that kind of confident foresight of thought for future action.”


En garde, prêts, ink!

In just its fifth season as a varsity program, the women’s fencing team defeated a pair of nationally ranked Division I teams — No. 5 Ohio State and No. 15 Air Force at the Ohio State Elite Invitational. To celebrate, head coach Peter Grandbois and assistant coach Rhys Douglas did the only natural thing.

They got tattoos.

It was Grandbois’s first, and he didn’t spare any ink.

He vetted it with the team, and after receiving their enthusiastic approval, made an appointment with a tattoo artist in Columbus in December 2023. His tattoo displays the weapons used in fencing — foil, epee, and sabre — with the Latin phrase “Pugno Ergo Sum” (I fight, therefore I am). Beneath the Latin phrase are the fallen opponents: “OSU” and “AF,” crossed out to mark the defeat.

Each time the Big Red takes down a Division I ranked team, he’s committed to adding that college’s initials to his arm.

Brooke LaValley


1960 s

1961 Dave Guy, of Nottingham, Maryland, reports that while he has nothing special to report, he’s had a good life. He discovered Denison through a recommendation from his pastor and fell in love with the college during a visit. He had long aspired to be an Air Force pilot and was drawn to Denison’s Air Force ROTC program. Guy kept busy on The Hill: He was a charter member of Alpha Tau Omega, deejayed a Saturday evening music show on WDUB, appeared in theatre productions, conducted chemistry research, did play-by-play announcing at football and basketball games, and took civilian pilot lessons at Port Columbus Airport. He graduated with a bachelor’s in chemistry and wore his full military uniform under his commencement gown. “As part of the ceremony, I took off the cap and gown and was sworn into the U.S. Air Force,” he writes. His Air Force career saw him based in France, Ohio, Okinawa, and Kansas before he was discharged in 1967. He was hired by Pan Am to fly Boeing 707s out of JFK and laid off a few years later during financial cutbacks. “I never did get back in a cockpit,” he writes. Ultimately, he ended up in a 44-year career with Crown Cork & Seal Co. He’s remained active in local theater, averaging three to four shows a year in the past 45 years. He’s also stayed connected to Denison through Reunion and Denison Everywhere events. “I have had a long and fruitful life and continue to appreciate my Denison roots,” he writes.

the living in preparation for the inevitable. It is a rare lesson offered by a poet who somehow taught herself, and then the author, how to let go.” Dowie is the former publisher and editor of Mother Jones magazine, founder of Talking Point Radio, and previous editorat-large of InterNation . He recently retired from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, where he taught science, environmental reporting, and foreign correspondence. Dowie’s works have won 19 journalism awards, including four National Magazine Awards, a George Polk Award, a William Allen White Gold Medal, and a Media Alliance’s Meritorious Award for Lifetime Achievement.

1963 Jim Mollenkamp , of Palos Verdes Estates, California, reports he’s “living the dream” after retirement, with tennis, golf, and family. He misses his fraternity buddies.

John Parrish , of Statesboro, Georgia, was featured in a recent issue of Statesboro Magazine . The article, “Dr. John Parrish and the Birdmen of Bulloch County,” discusses his field guide, Birds of Georgia , and his connection to John Abbot, an early 19th century English artist.

Rick Taylor, of Shepherdstown, West Virginia, has released his second book, Ida Mae and Her Passage to Chautauqua . Read more at


John Stewart , of Sausalito, California, is a retired judge enjoying the extra time he has on his hands. In May 2023, he traveled to Berlin with his wife, Linda, to attend the movie premiere of Barbie with his daughter, Mattel exec Lisa Stewart McKnight ’90. “It was a lot of fun, and Berlin is a very interesting city, but there were some twists,” he writes. “First, because of the actor’s strike, the actors did not attend, so no selfie with Margot Robbie. Secondly, the movie was entirely in German — not a subtitle to be found. Lisa had to nudge us awake from time to time to tell us what was going on — fortunately, she had seen it earlier. Afterward, we went to Stockholm, which is also an interesting, beautiful city. When we arrived home, we saw the movie again. It was much better in English.”

1962 Mark Dowie , of Point Reyes Station, California, released his ninth book, Judith Letting Go: Six Months in the World’s Smallest Death Cafe , about “the lost human art of releasing everything that matters to

1964 Anne Huxtable Palomaki , of Lakewood, Ohio, is enjoying volunteer activities in her community: working with an immigrant family, garden club, swimming, book club, handbell choir, and choral singing. She says she and her husband, Jack, continue their travels to Chautauqua, New York, to participate in activities there. She’s also kept up with many Denison friends.

After 36 years in investment banking, Peter Van Winkle , of Lincoln, Massachusetts, retired in 20 04 to a farm in Sandwich, New Hampshire, three miles from his house on Squam Lake. For 15 years he was president of Sandwich Home Industries, an art and craft shop for over 100 artists from throughout New Hampshire. After a battle with cancer and a series of hospital stays, he now requires dialysis treatments three days a week, so he moved to a life care retirement community close to one of his daughters. “Dialysis keeps me from traveling so I will miss our 60th at Denison,” he writes. “The old people’s home keeps me healthy as a horse and permits me to continue managing money for a handful of clients. My favorite activity these days is sunbathing on our balcony and fitness programs in the pool and gym as well as painting (watercolor) in my studio.”


1965 Steve Ewing , of Dallas, was appointed president and CEO of Deductive Health Solutions, an AI-based technology company offering a unique musculoskeletal assessment to uncover instabilities and deficiencies in the body. DHS works with professional and collegiate athletes to help them maintain the highest level of sports performance.

1969 In 2022, Bob Kabel moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, after more than 40 years in Washington, D.C., and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, where he had a house and lived during the early years of the pandemic. His brother, Greg Kabel ’80, has lived in Fort Lauderdale for several years.

1970 s

Dianne Otte Thompson , of San Ramon, California, reports that the Big Red prevailed at the October 2023 Mt. Diablo Challenge, a grueling road bike race up California’s Mount Diablo. Thompson, a member of the California-based Valley Spokesmen Race Team, took first place in her division.

customs and immigration agencies and developed expertise in data analytics supporting U.S. customs and immigration agencies. After staff and management positions, he did international consulting in Europe and Asia on border management technology and modernization.

1975 Catherine Bader Carlozzi , of Santa Fe, New Mexico, co-chaired her state’s largest nonprofit fundraiser, the Cancer Foundation for New Mexico’s annual Sweetheart Auction, in 2023 and 2024. She joined the board in February 2022 and also serves on the executive and stewardship/development committees.

1976 Brian Davidson , of Logan, Ohio, and Bud Gerathy, of Monument, Colorado, got together for the Broncos-Browns game last fall in Denver. Though the Browns lost, Gerathy reports that a good time was had by all.

1970 After a career as senior financial executive for several cultural not-for-profits, most recently for 10 years as vice president for finance and administration of the Adrienne Arsht Center Trust in Miami, Tom Berger, of Annapolis, Maryland, has officially retired. To celebrate this transition, he and Ann, his bride of 48 + years, took a three-week road trip throughout the upper Midwest, culminating at Lake Louise, Canada. He is focused now on caring for their 300-year-old house and his 75-year-old self.

1971 Ralph Lindeman , of Washington, D.C., has authored a nonfiction narrative history, Confederates From Canada: John Yates Beall and the Rebel Raids on the Great Lakes , published by McFarland & Co. The book focuses on Confederate efforts to inflame anti-war sentiments in northern states during the final stages of the Civil War by conducting raids from Canada across the undefended U.S. border.

1973 Jeff Burdick , of Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, retired in 2021 after 43 years of service to the Medical University of South Carolina.

Leigh Coen , of Oakton, Virginia, celebrated a 37-year systems engineering career in IBM Federal Systems in Bethesda, Maryland. He spent a decade assigned to

Bruce Spiess , of Palm Springs, California, has concentrated his medical career in blood and how to conserve it, develop artificial blood compounds, and treat trauma and bleeding during surgery. He is now the medical director of HemoSonics LLC, which developed an ultrasound-based technology to assess bleeding risk and guide therapy in real time in the operating rooms or trauma bay. At the University of Florida, the technology reduced blood utilization by 24% in heart surgery and saved between $60 0,000 and $2 million in one year.

1977 Steven Forrest , of Elmira, New York, writes that he thoroughly enjoyed his liberal arts education at Denison. He received his J.D. degree in 1980 from DePaul University College of Law, drawn to both competition (he played soccer all four years at Denison), as well as the allure of courtroom drama. His primary goal was to spend his career in front of juries as a trial lawyer for both criminal and civil cases. As a defense attorney, he tried approximately 135 felony jury trials. He was also a plaintiff’s lawyer in civil jury trials on claims ranging from car accident negligence cases to breach of contract suits. In 1996, he ascended to the bench and has spent the last 28 years as an Elmira City Court judge, presiding over more than 100 criminal and civil jury trials. With the help of others, he created and presided over multiple problem-solving courts in the Chemung County, New York, area. In 2018, he was appointed to the Statewide Drug Court Advisory Group, and in 2020, he became the first ever supervising judge for the city courts in the Sixth Judicial District, an area covering 10 counties. For the past 11 years, he also has been appointed as an acting family court judge, as well as an acting county court judge.

Class Notes 1961–1977 &

Class Notes

He has served as president of the Chemung County Bar Association and the New York State Association of City Court Judges. As he approaches mandatory retirement at the end of 2025, he thanks Denison “for providing me not only with the preparatory tract, but also the skill set to meet the challenges of a long and successful career.”

Lynn Timmons Edwards volunteers as the Arizona correspondent and reviewer for the magazine and website Cabaret Scenes , a publication of the American Songbook Association. She performs when possible in her own cabarets and with her son, bass-baritone Stephen. Edwards and her husband spend summers in Flagstaff, Arizona, and winters in Phoenix, where they hosted Denison Everywhere for the first time in 2024.

Bill Wein , of Lake Bluff, Illinois, retired from a 43-year career in commercial real estate finance in August of 20 22. Three weeks later he started his second career as a full-time first-grade teacher’s assistant at Lake Bluff Elementary School, working with students who need additional help in math, reading, and writing.

1979 After 43 years working in archives — the last 30 at the New York State Archives — Prudence Weber Backman , of Rensselaer, New York, has retired. She now spends her time gardening in both her yard and the family’s summer residence, decorating every room in her house for Christmas, transcribing 18th through 20th century documents for ConsidertheSourceNY. org, and visiting family and friends. Her husband, John Backman ’79 , is semi-retired, spending his working time writing essays for publication, providing spiritual direction, and participating in online forums, conferences, and spiritual retreats.

Amy Truitt Huggins, of Vashon, Washington, has been a yoga teacher since 1999 and a meditator since 2017 through

In August 2023 , Hank Ross , of Port Washington, Wisconsin, accepted the position of associate dean of clinical affairs at Marquette University School of Dentistry.

Lynn Stanton-Hoyle, of Fairfax, Virginia, retired after 35 years as a Presbyterian PCUSA parish pastor. Now, in addition to enjoying her grandchildren, who live nearby, she volunteers with VOICE, a Virginia interfaith organization advocating for greater state funding for mental health and substance abuse care. She also volunteers with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, serving on their helpline as a volunteer with lived family experience and team-teaching in their Family to Family education class for families with a loved one living with a mental illness. Golf, hiking, pickleball, traveling, and connecting with family and friends rounds out her retirement days.

1980 s

1980 Rick Beckwith , of Chantilly, Virginia, just published his first book, What If It’s All True?, and reports it is selling well. He writes that he is grateful for the formation Denison gave him.

Barry Dubinsky, of Boca Raton, Florida, became a partner and Florida team leader of the Insurance Defense Practice Group with the multistate law firm Hickey Smith Dodd. He shares that his daughter, England, was married in May 2023 , and he became engaged to Melba Gutierrez.

1981 After falling short on a previous attempt, Gregg Shallan , of Chula Vista, California, took another shot at summitting the 22,800-foot Mount Aconcagua, the tallest mountain in the Southern and Western hemispheres. Over a 17-day expedition, Shallan and his team battled high winds and blizzard conditions on the upper part of the mountain. After being stuck at 18,000 feet for four days due to high winds, they made one last attempt to summit, reaching 20,000 feet before winds turned them back. While the team did not reach the top, they considered their effort a success — they got as high as possible and returned alive.

1982 Morgain Smith , of Vero Beach, Florida, retired from a 20-year career with US West/CenturyLink communications and moved back east to Vero Beach in April 2021. She married Matthew J. Robinson on Oct. 10, 2021, at the Community Church of Vero Beach and the Vero Beach Yacht Club.

1984 Carol Townsend Jones recently retired to the Charleston, South Carolina, area and is loving being near the beach, family, and great restaurants.

1985 Martha Churukian , of Urbana, Illinois, retired from the Urbana School District after more than 30 years as an elementary art teacher, achieving National Board Certification in 2011 and renewing in 2021. She also simultaneously served as the elementary fine arts coordinator for nine years and as an active union (NEA) member, holding various leadership positions. In 2023, she was recognized by the Illinois Education Association/NEA Region 9 for Outstanding Dedication to Public Education.

1986 Rob “Doc” Travis Jackson , of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is a semi-retired motivational speaker and anti-violence advocate. And he may soon be exploring a run for the U.S. House representing Pennsylvania’s 11th Congressional District. Jackson, who had fallen on hard times in the last few years, has been rebounding from grief, anxiety, and transitional housing. If elected,


he would be among the first African Americans to represent the largely rural areas of York and Lancaster counties in Congress while addressing the diverse urban neighborhoods of Lancaster. A gig worker, Jackson has worn many hats since moving to Lancaster some 20 years ago, including that of a personal care/direct care professional, a school district employee, an evening telemarketer, and a newspaper contributor.

Vernon Jones is enjoying Chicago after a very long stint in Asia. He writes: “Live music capital of the world! (Sorry, New Orleans.)”

1989 Steve Elderbrock , of Bridgeport, West Virginia, writes that “it has been an eventful year and a half for me. In October 2022, I got married to Debra Prichard, who graduated from high school with me back in 1985 in Findlay, Ohio. There’s a long story there, of course, but suffice it to say that after 55 years of being a bachelor, marriage was worth the wait!” In July 2023, he celebrated his 26th anniversary of being ordained as a pastor in the Presbyterian Church and began a new call as pastor of the Bridgeport Presbyterian Church in Bridgeport. “Life is very, very good — and I feel blessed,” he writes. “It doesn’t seem possible that it has been 34 years since Denison.”

1990 s

1991 Now in his seventh year of teaching at Indiana University, Richard Roland is on pre-tenure leave this fall, having directed the musical Spring Awakening in Fredericia, Denmark. He is embarking as a creative consultant on a new musical in development in the UK and will be traveling back and forth to London frequently over the next year while implementing his four new core musical theatre studio classes for the BFA musical theatre program at IU.

1992 Leslie Davidson is the vice president for enrollment management at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Amy Hardesty Gillies, of Washington, D.C., was promoted to senior executive director of centers and institutes and special advisor to the dean at Georgetown Law.

Ilaria Hughes Rawlins , of Orient, Ohio, is the CEO of Fortuna Bank (in organization). Fortuna will be one of three purposefully formed women-owned banks in the country (out of 4,800) and will be intentional in providing access to capital, mentorship, networking opportunities, and financial education to female entrepreneurs and women. Fortuna has received conditional approval from the ODFI and is actively raising the $20 million in capital required to open the doors.

1994 Brendan Higgins , of Flushing, New York, shares that he ran into fellow classmate Jennifer Garner at The Kelly Clarkson Show. “I’m Kelly’s stage manager,” he writes. “Jen and I both agreed we’d love for you to include this photo in (the) next alumni magazine.”

1995 The mayor of Dayton, Ohio, proclaimed Nov. 5, 2023, Peter E. Matthews Day for his many accomplishments as an author, speaker, and leader, including founding the Dayton Equity Center and serving as the youngest lead pastor for the McKinley United Methodist Church, the oldest African American church in Dayton.

1996 Steve Paull , of Dublin, Ohio, was promoted to senior vice president of enterprise applications at Victoria’s Secret.

Dan Stoner, of Gainesville, Florida, was promoted from a database administrator to a cloud operations engineer at EarthScope Consortium, a university consortium dedicated to supporting transformative global geophysical research and education. EarthScope operates the National Science Foundation’s seismological and geodetic facilities for the Advancement of Geoscience.

Wout Wynants , of Nuremberg, Germany, published his first book, Miss Rambutan’s Bad Hair Day, which he wrote and illustrated.

Class Notes 1977-1996 &

Class Notes &

1998 Shelley Hooker Burnside , of Richmond, Virginia, started a new role as instructional assessment and analysis specialist at Atlee High School in Mechanicsville, Virginia.

1999 Ronni Wilson Armstrong is an associate attorney at MacGillivray Law Offices in Bellefontaine, Ohio.

Craig Biehle , of Ballwin, Missouri, is a director at United Way of Greater St. Louis.

2000 s

2000 Alison Stine , of Denver, has released her new novel Dust (Macmillan Publishers St. Martin’s Press), about a girl who moves with her strict, unschooling family from Ohio to Colorado, finally finds community, then realizes a storm is coming to blow them all away.

2001 Dave Michael , of Louisville, Colorado, was promoted to staff software engineer.

2004 Desmond Vindici was named a managing director at Slate Asset Management, a global alternative investment platform targeting real assets. Vindici is based in Chicago and focuses on capital markets and CMBS for Slate’s U.S. debt platform, Slate Real Estate Capital.

2005 Julie Black Nolan , of Richmond, Virginia, was named vice president for external affairs for the United Network for Organ Sharing. Before joining UNOS, Nolan was a senior policy advisor in the public law and policy practice at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in Washington, D.C. She also served in multiple roles in the U.S. House of Representatives, including deputy chief of staff and legislative director for a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, and worked in the public policy practice at Patton Boggs LLP.

Births: Annette Thornburg Owen and David Owen, of Dallas, welcomed a son, Conrad Seeley Owen, in November 2023 .

Tina Andrews Parks , of Riverview, Florida, works for Happy Hormone Cottage specializing in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, thyroid disease, and adrenal concerns. She serves clients in Ohio and Florida via telehealth.

Namrata Sandhu , of Valencia, Spain, is the co-founder and CEO of Vaayu, the world’s first automated carbon software for retailers, named one of Time ’s Best Inventions of 2022 . A regular contributor to thought leadership panels, Sandhu was listed in TechRound’s Top BAME 50 Under 50 Entrepreneurs 2022 and EU

Startups Most Influential Women in the Startup and Venture Capital Space. She has appeared on Bloomberg and been featured in Vogue Business, Business of Fashion and Wired. Her 20-year career has spanned the Arcadia Group and leading global retailer Zalando, causing her to find a critical gap in the market for a real-time carbontracking tool to speed up reduction at scale. Since launching Vaayu, Sandhu has successfully raised over $13 million in funding and onboarded more than 100 global brands.

2006 After stints with Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals, Jessica Jenkins has founded Cleveland Pelvic Wellness Center, a pelvic floor physical therapy practice.

Meredith French Reedy, of Charlotte, North Carolina, was selected for the Charlotte Business Journal ’s 2024 Women in Business Awards program. The highly competitive program recognizes 25 women who are making an impact in the Charlotte region through career accomplishments and community involvement. Reedy is the co-founder and co-head of law firm Moore & Van Allen PLLC’s Farm Credit Lending group.

Mark Williams is in his sixth year as head coach of men’s and women’s rowing at the University of Toronto.

2007 Carl McCoy, of Columbus, Ohio, is the director of development operations at the Columbus Symphony.

Morgan Wells , of Concord, California, is an associate professor of practice at the University of California College of the Law, San Francisco.

2008 Marriage: Cleighton DePetro , of Chicago, married Ashley de Lange in October 2023 in Tuscany. A solid group of Denison friends made the journey to celebrate in one of the couple’s favorite countries. “We enjoyed fantastic weather (80 degrees and sunny) for three days of fun,” DePetro writes. “Thanks so much for the Denison banner — we had it hanging in the courtyard all weekend and felt the pride.”

In the photo, from left to right: Matt Fadel ’08 , Gar Heintzelman ’08 , Aaron Libman ’08 , Craig Burton ’08 , Carter Mills ’08 , Gracie Sherk ’11, Bill Bonin ’08 , and Mike Hudson ’09.

Meghan Duffy works as a gender and youth technical advisor at the CDC in Mozambique, where she implements and assesses programs and services to prevent and respond to the twin epidemics of violence and HIV. In February


2022 , she married Dercio Monjane, surrounded by family and friends from around the world. She defended her doctorate in public health from Johns Hopkins University two days before giving birth to her daughter, Myka Moire Duffy Monjane, on December 3, 2023. She writes that she has received “numerous visits in Mozambique from my Denison besties … and my Denison friends showered us in presents and love throughout the journey. The education and relationships established at Denison are really truly for life, and I will be forever grateful for the blessing it was to learn, grow, and launch my life there.”

Jessie Kanelos Weiner hosted her first solo digital exhibition, Paris I Suppose , at the Un Jour Une Illustration gallery. The presentation highlights over 70 watercolor paintings celebrating the many nuances and intricacies of Paris.

2009 Kevin Wayner is the public information officer for the City of Lakewood, Ohio.

Births: Evan Zuzik and Eric Stern, of Pittsburgh, welcomed their first child, Simon, via surrogacy on Dec. 12, 20 23.

2010 s

2010 Maddie Weinland Anthe s, of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is the assistant dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania.

Victoria Collins Nogay and Stas Nogay recently moved back to Granville. In 2023 they celebrated the birth of their daughter Pax Alcott, who joins sisters Villanelle and Elowen. Vic’s first chapbook of poems, under fire under water, was published in 2022 by tiny wren publishing.

Elayna Nowak teaches as adjunct faculty with Tufts University’s Doctorate of Physical Therapy program. While walking around during a break on the first day of ortho lab for the DPT class of 2025, she came to find another

Denisonian in the class — Katie Livingston ’22. “Obviously I had to snag a pic and share,” she writes.

2011 Ksenia Golovkina , of Miami, writes that “the fun of competition does not need to stop when you graduate college.” In December, she and team partner Valeria Dalmastro Mendez won second place in the hybrid fitness competition Deka Strong Teams event at the Spartan Deka World Championship in Dallas, only four seconds behind first place. She also won her age group and was named Age Group World Champion. “The overall victory had slipped out of our hands,” she writes. “But we still podiumed as a team, and I could not be more proud. We’ve only raced as a team once before, and were able to immediately make a mark at Worlds this same year. I think it is a pretty cool accomplishment, considering our relatively recent meeting of each other. We know what we are capable of, and are excited to make some splashes in 2024.”

Jesslyn Starnes works for the National Snow and Ice Data Center, working to provide access to NASA cryospheric data to both the scientific community and the general public. She lives in the Inland Northwest Washington with her husband, Russell, and dog, Freya. In her free time, she works as an illustrator and technical editor for independent knitwear designers.

2012 Births: Jane Zelenkov Avery and Luke Avery, of Golden, Colorado, welcomed their first baby on Aug. 19, 2023. “His name is Fletcher James Avery,” she writes, “and we sure hope he goes to Denison one day! :)”

Chelsea Bellew, of Lake Worth Beach, Florida, is partner at Goldberg Segalla.

Clare Meernik , of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and her husband welcomed son Sebastian Lucas in October 2023.

2013 Births: Matthew Kennedy and Stephanie Lemut ’14 welcomed their son, Anton Kennedy, on Oct. 16, 2023. He joins his big sister, Flora, born in 2021. Kennedy and

Class Notes 1998-2013

&Class Notes

Lemut were married in 2019. Kennedy earned his master’s degree in biological sciences from Bowling Green State University in 2020, and Lemut earned her master’s degree from the Ohio State University in 2016. The family recently moved to Cleveland, where Kennedy is the water quality project coordinator for the city of Cleveland and Lemut is a behavioral health clinician.

Alyssa Swanson and Meghan Bagley ’15 , both former members of Denison’s swimming and diving team, completed the Ironman 70 .3 (1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, and 13.1-mile run) on Sept. 24, 2023, in Augusta, Georgia.

2014 Tara Foster is the new head sailing coach and sailing director for the nationally ranked varsity sailing team at SUNY Maritime College in the Bronx, New York City. She’s also an adjunct professor teaching sailing classes for the college.

Alison Smith, of Somerville, Massachusetts, is pursuing a residency in laboratory animal medicine at MIT.

2016 Steven Hix and Olivia Ireland ’17, of Charlotte, North Carolina, were married in Hilton Head, South Carolina, on May 28, 2023. They began dating as students in 2015. They report they were excited to celebrate with Denisonians from 10 different class years (1976, 1977, 1980, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018) as well as former and current Denison admission employees.

Erin Katalinic , of Columbus, Ohio, is an LISW-S working as an outpatient family services clinician at St. Vincent Family Services and recently completed a graduate certificate in play therapy from MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, Kansas.

2017 Marc Weaver, of Fort Worth, Texas, is a theatre director at Indian Springs Middle School in Keller, Texas.

2018 Jane Bright , of Longmont, Colorado, married Kevin Casey on Sept. 27, 2023.

2019 Rene Guo , of Gambier, Ohio, is assistant director of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Kenyon College. She earned a Master of Divinity in 2021 from Yale University.

2020 s

2020 Marriage: Tovey Nederveld and Tran Anh Nguyen were married on Oct. 6, 2023, in Hudsonville, Michigan.

2021 Grant Balogh married Bridget File on Dec. 16, 2023, at the River Course in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. They were blessed to be able to share that memory with other Denison alums. The couple just bought their first home on Johns Island, South Carolina.

2022 Susan Biederstedt , of Carmel, Indiana, was named a finalist in a JPMorgan Chase internal “Shark Tank” competition. Biederstedt’s idea was selected from over 150 international and domestic entries and was a central regional winner and one of nine finalists presented at JPMorgan Chase’s New York City headquarters.


Juan J. Bernabe Perez ’17

Featured in the 2014 magazine, Perez is making a difference in the lives of fellow immigrants.

Juan J. Bernabe Perez ’17 had achieved financial and professional security by age 27. His rung on the corporate ladder came with firm footing and a great view.

He was a statewide operations manager for a regional health care network in Massachusetts, with a team of 57 employees under his command. It’s a career Perez never could have imagined 16 years earlier after emigrating from the Dominican Republic with his single-parent mother.

Low on confidence, slow to grasp English, and bullied for being gay, Perez transformed his life through the help of mentorship in his adopted hometown of Lawrence, Massachusetts. He dreamed of one day paying it forward.

His time at Denison helped him achieve that goal.

“I am who I am because of my Denison education,” said Perez, who remains close to modern languages associate professor Dosinda Alvite. “I built so many connections and crossed so many bridges in my time there. I was able to become a leader.”

His origin story was featured in the spring 2014 edition of Denison Magazine. A decade later, Perez is helping ease the burdens of fellow immigrants trying to start a new life in America.

In 2023, he quit his job with the regional health care provider to become the site director for an emergency family shelter assessment center. Perez works to supply medical assistance, housing, job skills, and other critical support for immigrants in Massachusetts.

“I left the corporate world because I was missing that connection, that human touch,” he said. “I’m a people’s person. I missed working with individuals and impacting lives.”

His corporate responsibilities never prevented Perez from volunteering his time and sharing his inspirational story. He’s a regional board member for Easterseals Massachusetts, which offers essential services for people with disabilities. He’s also a role model for youth who see a bit of themselves in Perez.

As a senior in high school, he was featured in the PBS documentary The Graduates/Los Graduados , which spotlights educational success stories of Latino students. He still receives email and social media inquiries about his appearance.

“That show opened many doors,” Perez said. “It enabled me to meet celebrities and do some public speaking, talking about my experience in LGBTQ+ community.”

Perez remains close to his mother, a staunch Christian who imbued him with confidence by accepting his sexual orientation. And, yes, he still loves to dance, an activity he briefly abandoned while struggling to assimilate into American culture.

“I still take classes here and there,” Perez said. “Dance is my therapy. It helps me decompress.”





Evelyn Woosley Hannaway , 96, of Dublin, Ohio, Jan. 31, 2022. At Denison, she was a music major and sang in many productions and regularly for Sunday services. She also was a member of Delta Gamma and Delta Omicron, the music honorary. In 1946, she married her Denison sweetheart, John (Jack) Hannaway ’45, and they raised four daughters. Hannaway developed an interest in ornithology, especially — and fittingly — birdsong. She was preceded in death by her husband and survived by her daughters, Leslie Hannaway, Gail Kopetz (Barry), Paula Hannaway, and Nancy Hannaway (John); four grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

Patricia George Stepanchak , 99, of Columbia, Pennsylvania, Feb. 13, 2024. At Denison, she was a member of Alpha Phi and studied nursing before transferring to the University of Pittsburgh. She specialized in polio care for 10 years after college, which included supplying specimens to Dr. Jonas Salk during the development of the polio vaccine. She also traveled with the American Red Cross to hot spots nationwide to care for polio patients. She had a sense of adventure, riding the Colorado River rapids and exploring the world extensively in her 20s. After marrying and raising a family, she returned to nursing in 1974 and retired at 70. She also resumed her world travels, visiting countries from Ecuador to Nepal. She was preceded in death by her husband, Russell Stepanchak, and a brother, Ralph M. George Jr. She is survived by four sons, Richard (Sharon), Tom (Lynda), David (Kari), and John; two grandchildren; four step-grandchildren; and five nieces and nephews.


Rev. Ernest Bodenweber, 97, of New Haven, Connecticut, Oct. 17, 2023. The son of Denisonians, he was a member of Phi Gamma Delta at Denison. He went on to study at theological school and lead churches across Massachusetts and Connecticut. Devoted to his faith and to song, he remained an active volunteer in retirement and sang in several choruses. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Dorothy Tekel Bodenweber. He is survived by his wife, Muriel Beck Bodenweber; two daughters, Jennifer Bodenweber and Joanna Bodenweber; son-in-law, Geoffry Fried; five stepchildren; and many other relatives.

Sara Gallagher Dorsett , 96, of Akron, Ohio, May 27, 2022. At Denison, she was a member of Delta Gamma.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Roswell B. Dorsett Jr.; brother, Kay; sister, Jane; and a daughter, Kay Ellen. She is survived by children Ross Dorsett, Kirk Dorsett (Maggi), Ken Dorsett (Patti), and Jan (Peter) Bayer; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.


Thomas Holl Gray, 98, of Overland Park, Kansas, Dec. 13, 2023. He entered the U.S. Navy V-12 officer training program at Denison and was chosen for the Navy’s Northwestern University Midshipman Academy. He served in Pensacola and Jacksonville, Florida, and returned after the war to Denison, where he was a member of Kappa Sigma. Gray is survived by his wife of 75 years, Helen; their two children, Jim Gray (Judy) and Debbie Ervin (Dan); five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Virginia “Ginner” Craig Jefferds , 97, Madison, Wisconsin, Dec. 7, 2023. At Denison, she was a member of Mortar Board and Delta Gamma and served as the president of the Women’s Athletic Association. She was a commissioned ensign in the U.S. Navy who organized and coached softball and basketball programs for enlisted women. She married John G. Jefferds in 1950 and upon her discharge from the Navy began a career teaching physical education in public schools. Jefferds was a champion of physical fitness and living proof of its value. She threw softballs, shot hoops, swung golf clubs, taught the waltz and foxtrot, and hosted backyard carnivals throughout her life. She played team volleyball into her 80s and ziplined through the Costa Rican treetops at 89. She was preceded in death by her husband; sister, Mareta Browell; and brother, Bob Craig ’53 . She is survived by her daughters, Ann Jefferds (John) and Jenny Jefferds (Rick); sons, John (Michelle) and Craig (Sarah); nine grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Nancy Holdin Ottolin, 94 , of Wheaton, Illinois, April 19, 2021. At Denison, she was a member of Delta Gamma. She was preceded in death by her husband, Richard Ottolin, and her brother, William Holden Jr. She is survived by her children, James L. Ottolin (Myra), Mark R. Ottolin (Judith), and Barbara C. Grant (Dale); four grandchildren; and a great-grandson.


Peg Collier Bammann , 96, of Granville, Ohio, Feb. 13, 2024. At Denison, she was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta.

Phyllis Early Kramer, 95, of Dayton, Ohio, Nov. 14, 2023. At Denison, she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. She worked as a training director and bridal consultant at Rike’s and retired from KinderCare Learning Center. She was preceded in death by her husband, James. She is survived by her daughter, Kelly Kramer,


grand dog, Brody, and other cherished family members, including Deborah Sweaney, Marilyn Fetters, and George Kramer Jr.

Nick Stratton , 96, of Baltimore, Aug. 21, 2022. At Denison, he was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha. He was preceded in death by his wife, Dorothy Alice Stratton, and a brother, John Strelka. He is survived by his children, John Matthew Stratton and Suzanne Ruth Stratton; sister-in-law, Olga “Viv” Strelka; and two nephews.

1950Thomas H. Horner, 95, of Hudson, Ohio, Jan. 19, 2024. A banker, philanthropist, and Clevelander through-and-through, Horner remained committed to Denison long after his graduation in 1950. At his beloved “Denidoo,” Horner served as a career advisor at the Knowlton Center. As a student, he was a member of Kappa Sigma. Horner’s love for family was instilled early on, as he whiled away childhood summers with his cousins at his grandmother’s and aunt’s farm in Charles Town, West Virginia. After Denison, he served two years in the U.S. Army before following his father into banking. He began as a loan officer with the Central National Bank of Cleveland and later became vice president of Union Commerce Bank, vice president and director of Peoples-Merchants Trust Co., and president/chief executive officer of Dime Bank. In 1977, he became senior vice president of the Central Trust Co., which was later acquired by Bank One. He retired from Bank One in the early 1990s. He was actively involved in the Cleveland Print Club and was a member of both the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Canton Museum of Art, where he was a trustee and later president. Horner was preceded in death by his wife, Virginia “Ginnie” Jackson Horner, and two brothers, Charles Horner and James Horner. He is survived by a sister, Mary H. McLeod, and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Richard “Dick” Hudson , 96, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, Sept. 16, 2023. Hudson grew up in South Bend, Indiana, and graduated at 16 from John Adams High School to join the U.S. Army Specialized Training Reserve Program at the University of Kentucky. He was activated at 18 and commissioned into the Signal Corps in 1946, serving in the Philippines at Leyte and Manila until 1947 and reaching the rank of second lieutenant. At Denison, he was a member of Phi Gamma Delta and met his future wife, Lois Peterson Hudson ’49. The couple worked as personnel recruiters for 50 years, with offices throughout Ohio and Michigan. Hudson answered the call of public service and became a township trustee and county commissioner. He was preceded in death by his wife and is survived by his

Malcolm McNiven ’51 LIFE



Malcolm McNiven ’51, whose early life was transformed by his Denison education and who spent his later years in service to the university, died Oct. 19, 2023, at age 93.

A walking testament to the power of the liberal arts, McNiven pivoted from a budding career in academia, where he earned degrees in psychology, to a highly successful run in market research and advertising. He also was a member of Denison’s board of trustees from 1971-93, attaining life trustee status.

McNiven’s loyalty to the university was a constant in his life. He grew up poor in New York City; his father died when he was 12. His mother started a lunch counter in Queens, and McNiven delivered meals during summer breaks.

Geoff McNiven ’80 speculates his father borrowed money from extended family to attend Denison, where he majored in psychology and worked odd jobs that included maintaining the department’s labs. Mopping the gym floors as a janitor, McNiven sometimes made small talk with a young Big Red football coach named Woody Hayes.

“My father loved Denison,” Geoff said. “He met my mother (Elaine Vellacott ’53) there. They would go back for her reunions. They always talked about their lives at college.”

McNiven, who also earned degrees from Ohio University and Penn State University, planned to become a professor. His background in behavioral and experimental psychology led him to teach U.S. military personnel in Europe while working for the University of Maryland. It was a special time in the lives of Malcolm and Elaine McNiven as they traversed the continent in a Volkswagen.

In 1957, as McNiven was settling into his role in higher education, he received an intriguing offer from DuPont, a multinational chemical company.

“They reached out to him to do marketing research,” his son said. “He did a lot of experimental research. He conducted studies with pupil dilation response to see how much people liked the product.”

McNiven’s pioneering work led to management positions with Coca-Cola, Pillsbury, IMS International, and Bank of America. He returned to academia in 1988 as a marketing studies director at the University of Georgia.

Despite the professional demands, McNiven was home most nights for dinner, his son recalled. He liked sailing and tinkering with old sports cars.

His commitment to higher education never wavered. At Denison, he served on committees for investment, finance, development, and instruction. He also chaired the strategic planning committee in the late 1980s.

A child of the Great Depression, McNiven spent part of his final days pondering how far he had come from New York’s uncertain times.

“Right before he died, my dad got a big smile on his face,” Geoff recalled. “He said, ‘My life turned out way better than I thought it would.’”

gisela goppel



three children, Jane Monteith Hudson, Richard Grant Hudson III (Kathy), and Thomas Peter Hudson (Barb Gillespie); a grandson; and sister, Pamela Krewson ’51.

Jerry Schwab, 92, of Naples, Florida, July 28, 2019. At Denison, he was a member of Kappa Sigma. He had been a Naples resident since 1986 and was a member of the Naples Yacht Club, Royal Poinciana Club, and the Naples Philharmonic (now Artis Naples). He was preceded in death by his wife of 67 years, Donna, who had passed away just 10 days earlier, and by his son, Douglas, in 1958. He is survived by another son, David A. Schwab (Sherri), and two grandsons.

Ed Subler, 96, of State College, Pennsylvania, Jan. 19, 2024. At Denison, he was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha, Pi Delta Epsilon, the Adytum, and Denison Campus Government. He was a people person and wellsuited to a career in marketing and advertising, mostly at Westinghouse Electric Corp. and Ketchum, MacLeod & Grove in Pittsburgh. He was preceded in death by his wife, Alice “Lisa” Carpenter Subler. He is survived by his daughter, Dodie Subler ’84; sons, Leo and Scott; three grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.

Marjorie Wilcox Townsend , 95, of Windsor, Ohio, Jan. 31, 2024. At Denison, she was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta and a math major who went on to teach mathematics at East Tech High School in Cleveland and Grand Valley Middle School. She was preceded in death by her husband, Norman A. Townsend ’49. She is survived by her children, Marjorie L. Townsend, George Townsend (Liz), and Peter Townsend ’83 (Cindy); five grandchildren; and many friends.


Martha Garner Albers , 93, of Poplar Bluff, Missouri, Nov. 29, 2023. At Denison, she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, graduated Phi Beta Kappa, and at her 50th reunion, was awarded a Denison Alumni Citation for outstanding service in recognition of her involvement in the founding of Haven House, a domestic violence shelter. She served as its first president and as a board member for over 25 years, but Haven House was only one manifestation of Albers’ tremendous capacity for empathy. She brought food to the hungry, often soup, well into her 90s. She taught Sunday school and prepared each lesson for days beforehand. A month before her own death, she was still writing letters of faith and encouragement to others. She took communion to shut-ins and served as a lay chaplain at her local hospital. Much of life, she believed, was best handled with prayer and humor. In 1957, she married David William Albers, a union that lasted 64 years until his death in 2021. In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by her brother, Rev. Allen Garner, and son David William Albers Jr. She is survived by her

three remaining children, Grace Christian Blaich (John), Timothy Albers (Susan), and Rev. Gay Albers (Greg Roberts); 10 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; daughter-in-law Carissa Albers; and two special friends, Rebecca Chadwick and Genia Weitzel.

Lois Kampmeier Hennig , 93, of Kirkland, Washington, Oct. 3, 2023. At Denison, she was a member of Delta Gamma. Days before her death, she expressed to family that she would have loved to have a great-grandchild, and she was delighted to learn that one was on the way. She died in her favorite chair, the fireplace ablaze, with her sons by her side. She and her husband cherished their Morgan horses and their acreage. She was preceded in death by her husband, Charles; sons, John and Paul; and grandsons, Chad and Shane.

Charlotte Alber Price, 93, of Lewiston, Maine, summer 2023. At Denison, she was a member of the Shepardson Club. She was a longtime professor of economics at Sarah Lawrence College. She is survived by her daughters, Anne and Helen (Teddy), and four grandchildren.


Carolyn Eriksen Bartell , 93, of Parker, Colorado, Jan. 21, 2024. At Denison, she was a member of Alpha Phi. A woman of faith and an educator at heart, she conducted mission work in Africa, equipping teachers at rural schools and supporting God’s Garden, a school for children orphaned by AIDS in Zimbabwe. She was preceded in death by her husband, Benson Michael Bartell, and siblings, Janet and David. She is survived by her sister Sharon Bauman ’61 (Ray); children, Beth (Scott), David (Norah), Debbie (Mike), and Peter (Sonya); 10 grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and many nieces, nephews, and friends.

Richard Eichhorn , 95, of Elizabeth, Colorado, Nov. 14, 2023. He served in the U.S. Army at Fort Riley, Kansas, and spent his career as a salesman and business consultant in Columbus, Ohio. He was preceded in death by his wives, Mary Jeanne Smith Eichhorn and Kathleen Prescott Eichhorn. He is survived by his brother, Charles P. Eichhorn (Lulu); daughter, Susan Eichhorn; and sons, Richard (Jayni) and David (Indrani).

Caroline Warfield Fleming , 93, of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, Nov. 24, 2023. At Denison, she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. She enjoyed her winters in Sarasota, Florida, and the warmer months at Sylvan Beach, Michigan, where she and her family summered for 80 years. She was preceded in death by her husband of 69 years, Robert S. Fleming ’50 . She is survived by four children, Susan Schuler, Mary Francis (Scott), William Fleming (Sufia), and David Fleming (fiance, Jacklyn Headrick); four grandchildren; and other relatives.


Jack Humphreys , 92, of Bethlehem, Georgia, July 17, 2023. At Denison, he was a member of Delta Upsilon. After Denison, he went on to medical school, served in Germany as a medical officer in the U.S. Army, and was a resident in ophthalmology at the Cleveland Clinic. He practiced in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Atlanta. He was preceded in death by his wife of 60 years, Barbara Mooers Humphreys, and brothers, Robert Humphreys and Arthur Humphreys. He is survived by his children, Megan Humphreys and Brenin Humphreys; two grandsons; a nephew; and five nieces.

Charles Edgar Rice , 93, of Mount Vernon, Ohio, Dec. 27, 2023. At Denison, Rice was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon and met the love of his life, Jo Lea Bennett ’55 . After college he started in sales, which taught him he was not cut out to be in sales. He joined the admissions office at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, where he developed a multivariate formula to predict the academic success of college applicants, impressing his superiors, one of whom advised him to go to graduate school. He did, studying psychology at Florida State University with renowned comparative psychologist Winthrop Kellogg. At Florida State, he researched the visual perception of animals, specifically chickens. Chicken did not return to the Rice family menu for a good 10 years after graduate school. He worked in corporate psychology before returning to conduct research with Kellogg at the Stanford Research Institute in Palo Alto, California. In 1969, Rice was hired as a psychology professor at Kenyon College and worked there until his retirement in 1994. He also cared for the cemetery behind Rosse Hall on the Kenyon campus, and in his final years enjoyed walking the grounds and holding conversations with the many good friends buried there. On Jan. 23, 2024, after a small ceremony, he joined them there. Rice was preceded in death by his brothers, Robert Eugene Rice and Harold K. Rice ’55 , and a grandchild, Brian Forthofer. He is survived by his wife of 71 years, Jo; his children, Ted Rice (Siobhan Fennessy), Karen Pavlik (Pete), Charles E. Rice II (Mary), and Elizabeth Forthofer ’83 (Glenn); 10 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Margot “Judy” Van Deventer Rogers , 93, of Tubac, Arizona, Sept. 18, 2023. Born in Chicago, she spent every one of her 93 summers at Sylvan Beach, where she swam in Lake Michigan and sailed White Lake. At Denison, she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. She was a private pilot, held a sailplane license, and was a proud member of the 99s, an all-women’s flying club active in the 1960s and 1970s. She also competed in several airplane races. As an educator with Grand Rapids public schools, she taught high schoolers everything from Introduction to Aviation to Death and Dying. In retirement, she lived in the family’s fourth-generation home in Sylvan Beach, where any friend paying a

visit was assured a cup of coffee on her deck. She was preceded in death by her husband of 41 years, William Rogers ’52; sisters, Barb Wagoner and Nancy Lilly; and a niece, Christy Fugere. She is survived by her children, Greg Rogers (Kathy), and Wendy Buitenhuis (Casey); six grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; two nieces; a nephew; and many more family and friends.

Robert Gene Thompson , 95, of Downingtown, Pennsylvania; Dec. 6, 2023. Known by many as the “mayor” of the Struble Trail rails-to-trail network, Thompson walked the trail system for nearly 30 years, even after bypass surgery required he use a walker. He had a “have a nice day” for fellow walkers on two legs and a pocketful of treats for those on four. He served as an MP in Korea at the end of World War II and went on to Denison, where he was active in theatre as a stage lighting technician. As he worked hanging lights one day, a voice called up to him from far below his dangling stocking feet. “Can I darn those socks for you?” Thus began the 70-year romance between Thompson and Nancy A. Heckman Thompson ’55 of Minnesota. After college, he first worked for Owens Corning Fiberglass then moved to Downingtown as an employee of Beloit Corp., and worked for Roy F. Weston Inc. until his retirement. He was preceded in death by his brother, Howard E. Thompson. He is survived by his wife; children, Richard T. Thompson, Roderick S. Thompson (Patricia Ryan), Wendy J. Thompson (Elise Bush), and Jane L. Thompson; five grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; sister-in-law, Judith Thompson; and his right-hand man, Warren Kim Popjoy.

Betsy Boom Weidman , 93, of Chester, Maryland, Nov. 25, 2023. At Denison, she was a member of Delta Gamma.

Millicent Curtis Agnor , 92, of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, Oct. 14, 2023. At Denison, she was a member of Delta Gamma. She is survived by her sons, Mark Agnor (Cappy Silver), Ross Agnor (Cathy), and Craig Agnor ’91 (Leah); “fourth” son, Massimo Barbieri (Grazia); eight grandchildren, a great-grandchild; and a niece.

Gerald “Jerry” Bohnsack , 92, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, Sept. 1, 2023. At Denison, he was a member of the American Commons Club before transferring to the University of Iowa. He was a lifelong educator. He was preceded in death by a sister, Brenda Walkup. He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Marion Francis LaRocco; daughters, Kim Dwyer (John) and Shari Rusler (Dean), sons, Mark (Shannon), Chris, and Jim (Tracey); 13 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-granddaughter. He is also survived by a brother, Marlin McCreary; sisters Ardele Downy and Beth Ann Mack; brother-in-law, Jim Walkup; and cousins Gary Lukehart (Pat) and Larry Lukehart.




Prudy Putnam Mann , 92, of Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, Dec. 11, 2023. She graduated from the Northfield School for Girls in East Northfield, Massachusetts, and at Denison was a member of Delta Gamma. She was preceded in death by her second husband, Horace L. Mann; her first husband, William Starn ’53; and a son, Geoffrey Mann. She is survived by three daughters, C. Susan Heath (Perry), Martha Sandusky (W. Scott), and Rev. Elizabeth P. O’Callaghan (Marla Aizenshtat); five grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

Jamie Moore , 92, of Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, Feb. 16, 2024. At Denison, he was a member of Kappa Sigma. He was an emeritus professor of history at The Citadel and served three two-year terms as a member of the U.S. Department of the Army Historical Advisory Committee and on the National Council of the American Association of University Professors. He was a president



Professor emeritus Arnold Joseph , who possessed a zest for living and promoted a love of learning, died Feb. 11, 2024, at age 96.

Playful and creative, Joseph was a fixture in the Department of Modern Languages from 1963 to 1990. The joy he spread teaching French language, literature, and culture was in stark contrast to the danger and horror he witnessed as a child and young adult.

Joseph’s family escaped rising antisemitism in Nazi Germany in the 1930s, fleeing to Luxembourg before emigrating to America. He served in the U.S. Army as an interpreter and censor at the Nuremberg Trials in the 1940s. Joseph was responsible for censoring the mail of Nazi officials awaiting trial.

In 2019, Joseph shared tales of his youth and experiences from the famous war crimes trials in the short film Censoring Nuremberg , produced by Tim Raycroft ’89 and professor emeritus of cinema Dave Bussan ’81.

In the film, Arnold explained how fortunate he was to survive. While his immediate family moved to New York, his grandmother and other relatives were killed after emigrating to the Netherlands.

“Arnie made it very clear he did not see himself as heroic in any way,” Bussan recalled. “He would say, ‘I was not in the Holocaust. Don’t put me there.’”

After serving his adopted country, Joseph studied in Paris and earned his doctorate at the Ohio State University, laying the foundation for his

of both the South Carolina Historical Association and the South Carolina Conference of the American Association of University Professors. His books include Island in the Storm: Sullivan’s Island and Hurricane Hugo (with Dorothy P. Moore), which was a ForeWord magazine Book-of-the-Year bronze award winner, and Growing Up in Davie County: Reflections from One Hundred Years Ago, a 2005 ForeWord magazine Book-of-the-Year honorable mention selection. He is survived by his wife, Dot; son, Jamie Moore (Anne); and four grandchildren.


Dan Buck , 92, of Columbus, Ohio, Jan. 29, 2024. At Denison, he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. After graduation, he attended the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and served on the Great Lakes. His career building homes and commercial buildings spanned five decades, and one of his homes was featured in Life magazine in 1967. He cruised and fished throughout the Florida Keys and the Bahamas and was also an avid skier. He was preceded in death by a brother,

career at Denison. He inspired students with his vast knowledge of French language and culture.

There was always a bit of whimsy in his teachings. He had a faux gargoyle perched over his office door and made students who were late for his class explain their tardiness in French.

“Arnie was a free spirit, charming and charismatic,” said Judy Cochran, professor emeritus of French. “His teaching reflected his diverse interests and life experience.”

Joseph was a painter, sculptor, and baker who made meringue swans on Thanksgiving. He was an avid bicyclist, organizing tours both locally and in Europe.

Associate professor Susan Kennedy, chair of health, exercise, and sports studies, remembers Joseph as a welcoming presence to young faculty members. He was the ringleader of the morning coffee shop group that met daily in the village. He never forgot his military service and was a frequent participant in Granville Memorial Day observances.

“Arnie was the perfect example of how to be a faculty member and how to grow old gracefully,” Bussan said. “You would see him jogging and riding his bike well into his 80s. He was just such a wonderful and engaging man who lived a remarkable life.”

Joseph is survived by his brother, Gary Joseph; his sister-in-law, Mickey Joseph; and his daughters, Theresa and Laura.


IN MEMORIAM gisela goppel

Roger Buck. He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Charlene “Mickey” Buck; sons, David Buck (Elaine), Jeff Buck, and Scott Buck (LeeAnn); stepson, Stewart Johnson; seven grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; sister-in-law, JoAnn Buck; and two nephews.

Barbara “Bobbie” Morrow Garber, 91, of Albany, New York, Dec. 5, 2023. She graduated from Columbus School for Girls in 1950 and spent her first college years at Denison, where she was a member of Delta Delta Delta. She moved with her family in 1953 to New Orleans, where she graduated from Newcomb College of Tulane University. There she met her future husband, Eugene K. Garber. In 1954, after graduation, she received a Lisle Fellowship in International Understanding to study postwar conditions in Marienberg, Germany. Later that year she joined Eugene, then an ensign in the U.S. Navy Supply Corps, in Naples, Italy, where they were married. They occasionally lived abroad in England, Spain, and Mexico. They celebrated their 40th anniversary in the small settlement of Mas Audran in southwest France and lived for several months in Wuerzburg, Germany, where Eugene taught at the Universitaet. She served on the staff of Roger and Joseph Robach in the New York State Assembly over a period of 20 years. She is survived by her husband of 63 years; her daughter, Anne Zilch (Robert); son, William (Jenny); four grandchildren; and her sister, Jeanne Porter.

Ernest Jarrett , 92, of Lebanon, Indiana, Oct. 26, 2023. At Denison, he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. He was preceded in death by a great-granddaughter and several brothers and sisters. He is survived by his wife, Mable Jarrett; sons, Ernest Jarrett Jr. (Judy), Mike Jarrett (Debbie), David Jarrett (Susan), and Glenn Jarrett (Diane); nine grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Patricia “Pat” Raney Pogue , 91, of Beachwood, Ohio, Feb. 25, 2023. For 38 years, Pogue was the Shaker Heights, Ohio, Welcome Wagon Lady, known for connecting newcomers with whatever they might need to settle in, from a French-speaking piano tuner to a crack swing-set repairman. She was a longtime public servant, serving on many PTA boards and the local boards of Planned Parenthood and the League of Women Voters. She directed her greatest energies to helping programs such as Head Start, the Neighboring Program at Fairhill Mental Health Hospital, and Project LEARN. She taught students to read at Buckeye-Woodland School, hosted disadvantaged children during the summers at her home, and worked with the women of the Sleeping Bag Ministry to fashion sleeping bags for unhoused people. Pogue was preceded in death by a brother, Dana Raney. She is survived by her husband of 68 years, Dick Pogue; three children, Mark (Janine), Tracy (Michael),

and David (Nicki); eight grandchildren; a great-grandson; and a niece.


Bob Billingsley, 91, of Canal Winchester, Ohio, Feb. 1, 2024. At Denison, he was a member of Beta Theta Pi. Billingsley served in the U.S. Navy and was a retired real estate agent. He was one of the founders of Grace Bible Church in Canal Winchester and a member of the Gideons International. He was preceded in death by his wife, Patricia M. Billingsley; and brothers, John S. Billingsley Jr. ’53 and William Billingsley ’58 . He is survived by his children, Jeff Billingsley (Brenda), Kathy Danec (Richard), Andrew Billingsley (Pamela), and Steve Billingsley; nine grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

Marty Watkins James , 90, of Norwich, Vermont, Nov. 12, 2023. At Denison, she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, majored in English, and met her future husband, Douglas James ’56 . The couple moved to Boston, where she taught at the Michael Driscoll School in Brookline, Massachusetts. In the summers, she and Doug worked at the Taylor Statten Camps in Algonquin Park, Ontario, sharing a love of the northern lakes. After settling in Vermont, they raised four children and she became deeply involved with assisting refugees who had relocated to the area. She was devoted to her church and community and was always ready to volunteer, whether by working a rummage sale, delivering a meal, or helping run the town’s Christmas pageant. In 2015 she was named one of two Norwich Citizens of the Year. She is survived by her husband; children, Tim (Suzanne), Cathy (Chris), Sally, Tom, and Sroy (Vina); and seven grandchildren.

John C. Keegan , 88, of Pittsburgh, April 2, 2021. At Denison, he was a member of Phi Delta Theta. A lifelong Steelers fan and season ticket holder for 42 years, he traveled to many Super Bowls. He was an avid golfer who cherished his chance to play at St. Andrews Links in Scotland. His circle of golf friends brought him joy long after he could no longer play. He loved cars but did not appreciate drivers who poked along or didn’t use their turn signals. He liked cold beer, red wine, and single-malt Scotch. He did not like waiting in a doctor’s office, waiting for a restaurant table, or for that matter any other kind of waiting, an understandable personality trait for someone who was never late and often an hour early. Keegan is survived by his wife of 62 years, Helen; four daughters, Kathy, Krissy, Kari, and Jackie Wolfe ’88; and 11 grandchildren.

Lee Frederick Lampkin , 88, of North East, Pennsylvania, July 18, 2022. At Denison, she was a member of Delta Gamma. She was preceded in death by her




husband, John “Jack” O. Lampkin Jr. She is survived by her daughter, Laura Lewis (Gary); son, Jon Wade Lampkin (Lynne); and two grandchildren.

John Rodgers , 90, of Santa Barbara, California, Nov. 10, 2023. At Denison, he was a member of Sigma Chi. Married in 1955, he and his wife, Nancy Miller Rodgers, lived in married housing on campus until his graduation, when they moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, and he enrolled at Harvard Medical School. He completed his internship and residency training at Mass General in Boston, and the couple spent two years in Germany while he served as a captain in the U.S. Army. In 1965, Rodgers joined Albany Medical Center in New York, where he spent his career and eventually became the chair of the gastroenterology department. He also taught at Albany Medical College, performed research, and practiced at the Veterans Affairs hospital. After Rodgers’ retirement, the couple helped with the weekly operation of the food pantry of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Albany. Rodgers was preceded in death by his siblings, Thomas Rodgers ’57 and Sarah Vanderwall ’60. He is survived by his wife; his daughters, Katherine Cleaves and Cynthia Belgorod; son, John B. Rodgers III; five grandchildren; and a sister, Mary Stillman.

Jo Anne Bruce Schwing , 89, Richmond, Virginia, Sept. 18, 2023. At Denison, she was a member of Delta Gamma and met her husband, Larry S. Schwing ’56 , who preceded her in death in 2005. A brother, John Bruce, also preceded her in death. She is survived by her children, Judith S. Benton ’84 (David), Larry S., and John B. (Cecelia); four grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; sister, Judith B. Chain ’58 ; and sister-in-law, Linda Newton Bruce ’72

John Steinberger, 88, of St. Paris, Ohio, July 29, 2022. At Denison, he was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha. He was a U.S. Army veteran and served during the Korean War. He received his bachelor’s degree in agronomy from Ohio State University in 1968 and worked most of his life in the agriculture industry. He announced for the Ohio Quarter Horse Congress and 4-H at the Ohio State and Champaign County fairs for 48 years. He was preceded in death by his first wife, RuthAnn, and a sister, Louanna Jean Calland ’54 . He is survived by his wife, Shirley Ann Zirkle Steinberger; children, Susan Jill Moore (Terry) and Joseph Clark Steinberger; stepchildren, Jessie Zirkle Barker (Hal), Douglas Layne Zirkle (Penny), and Steven Lee Zirkle (Robi); nine grandchildren and step-grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.


Betty Grafton Boyd , 89, of Charlotte, North Carolina, July 21, 2023. At Denison, she was a member of Delta Delta Delta. She was

preceded in death by her husband, Skip, and her brother William Grafton. She is survived by her daughter, Susan Griffin (Robert); son, Gregory Boyd (Ann); brother Thomas Grafton (Polly); and five grandchildren.

Christopher Curran, 88, of La Grange, Illinois, May 12, 2023. At Denison, he was a member of Delta Upsilon. As a physician at LaGrange Memorial and Hinsdale hospitals, “Doc” delivered thousands of babies over a 30-year career. He was an avid fly fisherman, fly tier, and fly rod maker, hobbies that were a testament to his patience. Curran’s booming laugh could fill a room and his words of wisdom were always appreciated, but he never sought the limelight. He endured years of health challenges with grace and quiet strength. He is survived by his wife, Lois; children, Christopher Jr., Petrea Kasper (Brian), Paul (Beth), Sean (Becky), Steve (Dawn), and Scott (Amy); and nine grandchildren.

Mary Malasky Grannan , 89, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Dec. 7, 2023. Grannan was raised on the West Side of Detroit and graduated with honors from Miss Newman’s School before attending Denison, where she was a member of Alpha Phi. She helped to establish one of the largest Campfire Girls councils in Ohio and later Michigan. She met and married Bill Grannan, also of Detroit, and the couple raised three boys. She returned to school, earned a master’s degree in social work, and spent the next 20 years as a social worker in Detroit and Southgate, focusing on the effects of drug abuse. In retirement, she worked with several local meditation groups and community organizations, helping seniors deal with issues surrounding death and dying. She was preceded in death by her husband and is survived by her sons, John, Doug, and Gus; a grandson; and several nieces and nephews.

Hal Lonas , 93, of Canton, Ohio, Feb. 16, 2024. At Denison, he was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha. He came to The Hill after serving two years in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He met his future wife, Mary E. Rentsch, during his college years, and they eventually settled in Canton. Lonas worked for several years at Nickels Bakery and took a position with the Timken Co., where he worked until his retirement. He enjoyed gardening and the occasional ups, and even the many downs, of Ohio professional football. He was preceded in death by a son, Theodore Lonas. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Mary; son Hal Case Lonas Jr. (Raquel); brother, Webster M. Lonas ’56 (Patti); sister, Barbara Lonas Clancy; eight grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren.

Mary Shoemaker McKinney, 88, of Athens, Georgia, Oct. 27, 2023. Prior to Denison, she worked as a camp counselor where she met her future husband, Ralph V. McKinney Jr. At Denison, she was a member of Kappa


Kappa Gamma. She spent a year abroad in Germany while her husband served in the U.S. Army and returned to finish her degree at Ohio State University. She began teaching and received a master’s degree in history, a focus that would come to define much of her later life. When her husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer, they made the decision to fill his remaining days with as much fun and family as possible. This included moving everyone to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming for the summers. There, much to her surprise, she eventually found love again with longtime friend John Busby. In their short marriage — Busby died just three years into their relationship — he encouraged her to follow her passion for history. McKinney continued to return to Wyoming for summers and conducted weekly history talks for guests at Colter Bay, Jenny Lake Lodge, and Jackson Lake Lodge. Covid kept her home in Georgia but led her to tackle other history projects, including transcribing index cards from World War II concentration camp prisoners into a searchable database. She is survived by her younger sister, Cindy Duncan; four daughters, Heather Peacock (Rick), Holly McKinney (Chip Collins), Laurel Sanville (Kevin), and Rosemary Milsap (Steve) Milsap; and seven grandchildren.

Evelyn Johnson Sailer, 89, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, Oct. 20, 2023. At Denison, she majored in French, spent her junior year in France, and was a member of Pi Delta Pi, French Honor Society, and Alpha Phi. She moved to Germany in 1957 to study German at Tübingen University. There she met her husband, Hans Sailer, and the couple was married in 1958. She was a member of the Society of Mayflower Descendants and the Elder William Brewster Society. During her career as an educator, she established a Junior Girl Scout Troop at the American International School in Dusseldorf, Germany, and a high school swimming and diving championship program in Summerville, South Carolina. While living in Michigan, she became a certified scuba diver. She won many medals in the Virginia Senior Games in swimming, cycling, and track. She was preceded in death by her husband of 54 years and is survived by a son, Kenneth Sailer (Susan); a daughter, Karen Stotlar; and three grandchildren.

Elsa Brumbaugh Schaefer, 90, of Rochester, New York, Feb. 14, 2024. A member of Delta Gamma and a chemistry major at Denison, Schaefer received her master’s in chemistry from Cornell University and worked for the Monroe County Environmental Health lab until her retirement. She was dedicated to causes of social justice, human rights, and environmental protection, and she acted on those beliefs through her participation in Metro Justice of Rochester, the Penfield Democratic Committee, the Genesee Valley Land Trust, and the Thousand Acre Swamp program. She was granted the

Faith in Action award in 2007 by the Greater Rochester Community of Churches for her work in prison ministry, which included bringing children to visit their mothers in prison. She was preceded in death by her sister, Mary; husband, Rev. Philip D. Schaefer ’57; and grandchild, Arlynn. She is survived by her children, Philip (Alice), Sarah Eberst (JV), Andrew (Rebecca), and Stephen; nine grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

Tom Steffen, 87, of Bennington, Vermont, June 14, 2021. At Denison, he was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha. He met his wife, NancyJean Ogilvie ’57, and their relationship grew through church outings, college, and seminary studies. He was ordained into the United Church of Christ in 1960 and settled in as pastor of the Second Congregational Church in Bennington in 1965, a post he faithfully maintained for 29 years. He gave more than 1,500 sermons, celebrated weddings, anointed baptisms, and made his counseling available nearly 24/7, with the only exception being Cleveland Browns football games. He became an institution in Bennington, sitting at various times on the Bennington school board, Southwestern Vermont Medical Center board, and Old Castle Theatre Company. He and his wife led summer hiking trips for youths along the Long Trail and formed the Bennington Pedal People with cycling trips across the country and overseas. He was preceded in death by a son, David Steffen, and was survived by his wife, who died in 2023; sister, Mona; sons Jamie and Jeff; and six grandchildren.


Rachel Pickett Anderson , 87, of Arlington, Texas, Sept. 1, 2023. Sincerely invested in the welfare of others, Anderson kept in contact with childhood friends and knew intimately those who touched her life even tangentially: her banker, the pharmacist, the employees at her gym, her hairdresser, her mechanic, even the guys at the battery store. It was a trait that suited her well in her profession as a nurse. At Denison, she was a member of Chi Omega. She adored books and conversations with librarians, some of her favorite people. She collected turtles and harbored a soft spot for feral cats. She was preceded in death by her brother, Hugh Dale Pickett Jr., ’53, and her husband, Robert Anderson. She is survived by her children, Kaye Davis (Ken) and Steve Anderson (Lorrie); seven grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.

Jim Cox , 88, of Severna Park, Maryland, Oct. 24, 2023. He held a doctorate in accounting, and at Denison, he was a member of Phi Delta Theta. He was a 2nd lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, serving as a supply officer in Okinawa. On his return, he joined the accounting faculty at Ohio University, where he taught for 40 years. He was recognized with several teaching awards and fellowships and was easily recognizable on campus, riding




his red Vespa and dressed in a bowtie, Birkenstocks, and white socks. He married Sarah Lewis ’58 , their marriage lasting 65 years. He was a great supporter of Ohio University athletics, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), and the Copperheads, a wooden bat baseball league. In retirement, he became an avid bridge player and grill master at neighborhood block parties. Cox was preceded in death by a nephew, Marshall Cox III. He is survived by his wife; his brother, Marshall Cox (Nathalie); four children, Kathy Cox (Stewart Henderson), Marcy Warner (Jim), Mindy LeBlanc (Gregg), and James S Cox Jr. (Sarah); eight grandchildren; two nieces; and a nephew.

Richard Ford , 88, of Seattle, Nov. 5, 2023. Born to Katherine Ford ’25 and Robert Ford ’26 , Ford’s bonds to Denison ran deep, with aunts, uncles, and cousins who called The Hill home as far back as the 1800s. At Denison, he played lacrosse, was president of Lambda Chi Alpha, and was active in numerous musical activities on campus. As music director for a production of On the Rocks , he auditioned a flutist named Nancy Becker ’57, a chance meeting that marked the start of their lifetime together. After graduation, he taught high school, attended Yale Divinity School, and ultimately earned a doctoral degree that combined American and African history. His first post as a professor was at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. In 1968, he joined the history department at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, where he would stay for more than 30 years. He firmly believed there were no shortcuts to development, and he ran workshops to empower residents in rural villages, mostly in Africa but also Asia and the Middle East. Ford befriended village chiefs but always said village women were the heart and soul of Africa. When visiting a community for the first time, he would learn his favorite survival phrases in the local language: “hello,” “thank you,” “no problem,” and “I’d like a cold beer.” By career’s end, he knew these phrases in dozens of African languages. He was preceded in death by his brother, Bill. He is survived by his wife; children, Andy (Cindy), Linda, Jay Ford ’88 (Barbara), Sarah (Bharat), and Dan (Raquel); seven grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Carole Finn Halverstadt , 89, of Lutherville-Timonium, Maryland, Jan. 1, 2024. At Denison, she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. She was the owner of Craft Concepts. Halverstadt was preceded in death by a sister, Pat Keyes. She is survived by her children, Melissa Jaivin, Sarah Carrigan, Phebe Hibshman, and Albert Halverstadt, and many grandchildren.

Jinny Curtis Racine , 87, of Springboro, Ohio, Aug. 5, 2023. She was a retired occupational therapist and served in the U.S. Army Medical Specialist Corps. Thomas Reynolds Jr, 88, of Walworth, Wisconsin, Sept.

12, 2023. At Denison, he was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha. He served in the U.S. Army Reserves and married in 1961. He served on the Village Board of Clarendon Hills, the Hinsdale Hospital Foundation, and local school boards, and also helped to endow scholarships for environmental-centered studies and outdoor education for students in the Geneva Lake, Wisconsin, area, where his family spent summers. He loved to talk Cubs baseball and Bears football. He worked in Chicago, initially in insurance with Marsh & McLennan, eventually moving into independent consulting in health care management. He was preceded in death by his wife of 60 years, Ann Wilson Darlington Reynolds. He is survived by four children, Tom, Doug, Keith, and Liz; and 10 grandchildren.

Barbara “B.G.” Rowe, 88, of Millsboro, Delaware, Nov. 9, 2023. At Denison, she was a member of Alpha Phi and studied biology, laying the groundwork for her career as a virologist. She enjoyed orienteering and collecting rocks and gems. She prepared taxes for seniors for free, volunteered at Beebe Hospital and Rehoboth Beach Public Library, and sang in the Epworth United Methodist Church Chancel Choir. She was preceded in death by her longtime companion, Pat Hansen. She is survived by her sister, Linda Rowe; her best friend, Judith Brooks; and several cousins.

NancyJean Ogilvie Steffen, 88, of Bennington, Vermont, Oct. 26, 2023. She grew up in a golfing family with roots in Scotland, but always engaged in other pursuits, from art to synchronized swimming. At Denison, she was a member of Delta Delta Delta and met her future husband, Tom Steffen ’56 . For nearly 60 years, Nancy was a beloved and fearless leader of numerous groups and programs that included the Girl Scouts, church school, and a bicycle group, the Pedal People. She took Bennington youth on annual bicycle trips across the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Her love of cycling and skiing led her to purchase a bike and ski shop, Up and Downhill, in the early 1970s. She was a whiz at fixing bikes and maintaining skis. She also directed the church’s bell choir, organized the Snowball Bazaar, and became known in her family as the “Energizer Bunny.” She was preceded in death by her husband and middle son, David. She is survived by two younger siblings, David Ogilvie III and Margaret “Peg” Johnston; two children, James and Jeff; and six grandchildren.

Gail Reinholtzen Struve, 88, of Evanston, Illinois, Oct. 8, 2023. She was a member of Delta Gamma and spoke fondly of Denison and her sorority sisters throughout her life. She was preceded in death by her husband, Ted Struve. She is survived by her sons, Clay Struve (Donna) and Matthew Struve (Susan).


Orlando L. Taylor, 87, of Washington, D.C., Jan. 16, 2024. This obituary may report his age as 87, but he never admitted to anyone, or himself for that matter, that he was older than 39. He was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and always referred to himself as just a “country boy.” It was a tremendous understatement. He was a stellar cook, trivia junkie, skilled orator, professor, dean, and accomplished scholar. He received his doctoral degree from the University of Michigan and held honorary doctorates from seven other colleges and universities, including Denison. In pioneering the research on “Black English” early in his career, he legitimized the African American experience and set a course for advancing Blacks in higher education. Over the course of his career, he was instrumental in increasing the representation of minority students in graduate programs at predominantly white institutions. As the first African American president of the National Communication Association, and through his leadership in organizations such as the American Speech and Hearing Association and the National Black Speech, Language, and Hearing Association, Taylor helped to usher communication sciences and disorders into the public discourse and to ensure that there was broad inclusion of Black perspectives in those disciplines. He was also known for his gut-busting, booming laugh and his baritone voice, developed while he was a teen working as a radio disc jockey. Taylor was preceded in death by his wife, Loretta Taylor, and brother, Robert Taylor. He is survived by his son, Orlando Taylor II; daughter, Ingrid Boone; daughter-inlaw, Lisa Taylor; six granddaughters; two great-grandchildren; and dearest friend, Kelly Mack.

Nancy Turner, 87, of Verdun, Quebec, March 6, 2023. She lived most of her life in Montreal and spent most of her career as a speech-language pathologist and manager at the Montreal General Hospital and teaching at McGill University’s School of Communication Sciences and Disorders. She was preceded in death by her aunt, Emilie Dreher; in-laws, June and Greig Harrison; and brotherin-law Greig Harrison II. She is survived by Jill Harrison, her partner of over 40 years; sister-in-law, Joni Harrison; brother-in-law Lindsay Moyer; five nieces and nephews; seven great-nieces and -nephews; and many cousins.


Don Brown, 86, of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, Oct. 2, 2023. A state wrestling champ in high school, Brown played football and baseball at Denison. He was a member of Beta Theta Pi and served as chapter president his senior year. After graduation, he enrolled in law school and coached football at Western Reserve University. He eventually followed in his father’s footstps officiated at local high school and Division III college football for over 50 years. After retiring, he remained a proud member of the Cleveland and Ohio football officials associations. He also founded a girls softball league in Orange


Professor Emeritus of English John N. Miller ’55, an accomplished poet who taught students to cherish good writing and appreciate bad puns, died on Nov. 6, 2023, at 90.

Miller’s poems appeared in numerous periodicals. He also published collections of poetry including After the Invocation , In Passing , Second War in Hawai’i , and In and Out of Their Elements

While he was a serious writer, Miller knew how to lighten the mood in the Denison classrooms, where he taught from 1962 to 1997.

“My dad had a real sense of humor,” said his son, Mark Miller. “He would get into pun wars with students. He liked bad puns.”

Denison English professor Fred Porcheddu-Engel ’87 said much of Miller’s poetry blended thoughts of community, memory, and justice.

“One poem of his haunts me to this day,” Porcheddu-Engel said. “In the poem, he observes that there’s a street just west of Granville called Cherokee Trail, and how bitter is the irony that its name seems to be intended to evoke a romantic rusticity — blithely ignoring another Cherokee Trail, part of the Trail of Tears, the forced relocation of Native Americans in the 1830s in which thousands died. John said it was like thinking Buchenwald was a nice name because it means ‘birch grove.’”

Miller was born in Van Wert, Ohio, but when he was a toddler his family moved to Hawaii. He recalled the islands being filled with U.S. military after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Miller attended Punahou School — the alma mater of President Barack Obama — before returning to Ohio to attend Denison, the alma mater of his father, Stephen A. Miller 1925

Miller majored in English and met his first wife, Louise Spoerri ’56 , on The Hill. He earned a master’s in creative writing and a doctorate in literature from Stanford University.

Back at Denison, Miller bought a house in Granville and enjoyed taking his family on walks across campus. He directed the creative writing program and served as the inaugural co-director of the Jonathan R. Reynolds Young Writers Workshop. He also chaired the English department and was vice chair of the faculty.

In 1990, he received a Fulbright Fellowship to pursue research and teach at Heinrich Heine University in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Beyond his academic pursuits, Miller hiked, gardened, and traveled with his second wife, Professor Emeritus of modern languages Ilse Winter. Even after retiring, Miller never stopped writing.

“He was a born linguist,” his son said. “He had a love of the English language and how one could make it so beautiful.”

gisela goppel



School District, one of the first of its kind. He was involved in numerous civic and social organizations, including the Cleveland Athletic Club, where he served as secretary for many years. Late in life, Brown became a strong supporter of the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival. He was preceded in death by his wife, Nancy Langmead Brown, and a stepson, David Walther. He is survived by his two brothers, George M. Jr. ’60 and Richard H. (Barbara); children, Polly Lu (Duncan Linn) and Don P. Jr. (Karen); two stepdaughters, Dayl and Denise Walther; 10 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Jean Cahill Cooke , 87, of Broadview Heights, Ohio, Nov. 24, 2023. She was a member of Delta Delta Delta at Denison and met her husband, Jim Cooke ’57, in a bowling class. They were married in Swasey Chapel on March 22, 1958, with the student body gathering to earn a church attendance credit. She was honored as both the Sweetheart of SAE and the Military Ball Queen for the ROTC chapter. Cooke was a longtime teacher and active community volunteer. She ushered at Playhouse Square for 23 years and worked the Cuyahoga County polls on Election Day for 33 years. She held multiple positions for the Denison Alumni Association, including chairing two capital funds campaigns and a 50th Reunion committee. In her volunteer work with the Old Stone Church on Public Square in Cleveland, she was integral to the erection of the new steeple, the reconstruction of the Tiffany stained-glass windows, and in 2009, the creation of the Gallery at Old Stone. She is preceded in death by her husband, James S. Cooke. She is survived by her son, Jeffrey C. Cooke ’81 (Molly); daughter, Judith S. Krew (Michael); four grandsons; and a great-grandson.

Kent Holley, 87, of Columbus, Ohio, Nov. 24, 2023. At Denison, he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. After serving in the U.S. Navy, he spent his career in insurance, specializing in underwriting. He was preceded in death by a brother, William Holley. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Kay; two sons, Brook (Ayn) and Bryan (Betsy); daughter, Kristin (Bill); nine grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Barbara Goble Ley, 87, of Jacksonville, Oregon, Jan. 1, 2024. At Denison, she was a member of Delta Delta Delta. After graduation, she accepted a job at New York Hospital working for Dr. Allyn Ley. They married in 1967, and she inherited four stepsons. She and Allyn moved to Ithaca and had two children, Brad and Marcie. Ley worked as a travel agent and was an active member of the Ithaca Yacht Club, First Congregational Church, and Ithaca Bridge Club. She traveled the world despite living with Parkinson’s disease for decades. She was preceded in death by her husband; her sister, Judy; and her stepson Doug. She is survived by five children, 10 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Carolyn Oglesby Ogen, 87, of Champaign, Illinois, Dec. 18, 2023. At Denison, she was a member of Pi Beta Phi. She was a master gardener and enjoyed her own greenhouse for over 30 years. Together with Ernest Young and Phyllis Hughes, she founded the Greenhouse Group, a hobby greenhouse organization that existed for over 13 years. She was preceded in death by her husband, Edward M. Ogen. She is survived by her twin sister, Jacquelyn Bekins ’58; twin nieces and their families; and a half-sister, Yolande Knight.

Sandra Bunts Rafos , 87, of Toronto, Ontario, Nov. 13, 2023. At Denison, she was a member of Delta Delta Delta. In 1970, she embarked on a career with the nonprofit Institute of Cultural Affairs. Throughout her 20-year tenure, she helped develop and facilitate programs designed to challenge social boundaries and resolve problems. She held international posts in Kenya, Nigeria, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Chicago, and Toronto, and helped to develop an education program for inner-city preschools and programs for women in rural Kenya. She and her family would gather each summer at their cottage in Brutus, Michigan. Her creative spirit found an outlet in quilting, and she crafted quilts that won multiple ribbons and warmed relatives on winter nights. She is survived by three daughters, Kimberly Ann Sirrine (Michael), Robin Christine Roy (Jay), and Sharon Lynn Rafos (Helen); four grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren; and a sister-in-law, Marjorie Rafos.

Jon Rogers , 87, of Waconia, Minnesota, Nov. 10. 2023. At Denison, he was a member of Phi Gamma Delta. After Denison, he went to medical school and was one of the six founders of the Minneapolis Heart Institute. In his spare time, he strove to play the perfect game of golf and hunted with his dogs, Deli and Audie. He spent summers at Sandpiper in Ludington, Michigan, and winters in Fort Myers, Florida. He was preceded in death by a brother, Thomas W. Rogers, and stepbrother, Howard Rogers Jr. He is survived by his wife, Patricia Rogers; sons, Christopher Rogers (Darrah), Thomas Rogers (Meagan Dailey), and Brian Flicek; daughter, Stacy Nelson (Peter); and two grandsons.

Judy Frost Russert , 86, of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, Sept. 24, 2023. At Denison, she was a member of Pi Beta Phi and met her future husband, David Russert ’58 . Early in her career in advertising, her team developed the “Jump for Jif” peanut butter ad campaign. She was a successful junior golfer and carried her love of golf throughout her life, playing competitively at Long Cove Club. The couple visited St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands annually for over four decades and summered at their vacation home in Clear Lake, Indiana. She was preceded in death by a daughter, Beth. She is survived by her husband; their two sons, Matt (Kim) and Ben


(Amy); seven grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; a sister, Patsy Callahan; and brother, Rick (Julie).

Jay Sload, 87, of Shaker Heights, Ohio, Nov. 11, 2023. He spent 80 of his 87 years in Shaker Heights. At Denison, he majored in math, played basketball, and was a member of Beta Theta Pi. After graduation, he spent two years stationed in France with the U.S. Army. He began his investment career as a bond salesman at McDonald & Company Securities, now UBS Financial Services, and remained there for the remainder of his career, lastly as a senior vice president. He was a longtime member of the Country Club in Pepper Pike, where he was an avid golfer. He was predeceased by his brother, Jack Harrington Sload ’52 . He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Beverly Sload; his three sons, Michael Sload (Tammy), David Sload (Carla), and Peter Sload (Patti); his sister, Judy May; and nine grandchildren.

1959 Cynthia Felch , 85, of South Bend, Indiana, Dec. 17, 2023. At Denison, she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Delta Phi Alpha. She earned master’s degrees in German from Rutgers and chemistry from the University of South Dakota and received a Fulbright Fellowship to study modern German literature at the University of Vienna. A lifelong educator, she taught foreign languages at Central Michigan University, St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Indiana, and Indiana University Northwest in Gary, Indiana. She later taught science, foreign languages, and math for Marty Indian School in Marty, South Dakota, before moving to South Bend, where she was active in social justice causes, especially with the St. Vincent de Paul Society. She was fluent in several languages, passionate about the Olympics, and a lifelong fan of the Chicago Cubs. She was preceded in death by a brother, William Felch. She is survived by her sister, Joyce; daughter, Jade Hoffman (Peter); sister-in-law, Sandi Felch; four nephews; and an unofficial adopted daughter from India.

Nancy Condon Gurney, 86, of Cincinnati, Nov. 27, 2023. As a teen, she loved ballet and danced with the Cincinnati Zoo Opera Ballet Corps. At Denison, she was president of Kappa Alpha Theta and president of the governing body for women’s residences. She also met her future husband, Don Gurney ’59. They were deeply connected to their beloved village of Mariemont, where they lived for 53 years. When their children were young, they loved packing up the woodie station wagon for vacations in Michigan, Florida, and the New Jersey shore. Gurney’s community service resulted in her receiving the Cincinnati Enquirer Woman of the Year Award in 2002. She worked on behalf of a host of organizations, including Camp Stepping Stones, Cincinnati Youth Collaborative, Hoffman School Girls Club, United Cere -

bral Palsy, Kids Helping Kids, and the Junior League of Cincinnati. Her civic experience served her in a 10-year career as a foundation officer for PNC Bank, where she administered private foundations, advised grant applicants, researched requesting agencies, reviewed proposals, and networked on behalf of the community. She was predeceased by her husband and her twin brothers, Jack and Jerry Condon. She is survived by her son, Scott Gurney (Sara); daughter, Amy Getgey (John); seven grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; sister-in-law, Juanita Condon; and three nieces.

Tom Roehl , 86, of Bay Village, Ohio, Feb. 1, 2024. At Denison, he was a member of Phi Gamma Delta. He spent his career in and around the restaurant business, the first half with Stouffer’s restaurants in New York, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Chicago, and Mexico. He met the love of his life, Sue Frick, when they both worked at the Stouffer’s in Higbees. He was the opening manager of Pier W, the iconic Cleveland eatery that is cantilevered from a cliff overhanging Lake Erie. The oyster bar at the restaurant was created from one of his wooden boats. After retiring from Stouffer’s, he branched out on his own, developing, owning, and operating four restaurants in historic buildings. The Pufferbelly Ltd. included two restaurants in renovated railroad stations located in Berea and Kent, Ohio, and one each in a fire station in Erie, Pennsylvania, and on a barge next to the SS Cod at Burke Lakefront Airport in downtown Cleveland. Roehl was a member of the Cleveland Yachting Club for over 45 years and had many boats throughout his lifetime. His favorite gift was a 1953 Lyman boat given to him by his children for his 65th birthday, in what proved to be an unsuccessful effort to get him to retire. He restored it by hand and loved to take his grandchildren for rides. He was preceded in death by his brother, Peter Roehl ’57. He is survived by his wife of 60 years; sister, Hanna Cummins (Andy); sister-in-law, Susan Roehl; brotherin-law, Bill Frick (Kem); daughter, Heather Lethander (Charlie); sons, Tom Roehl, David Roehl (Christa), and Dan Roehl (Christie); and eight grandchildren.

Bruce Shoquist , 86, of Rockwall, Texas, Jan. 17, 2024. At Denison, he was a member of Phi Delta Theta and met his wife, Shirley Smith Shoquist ’58 . He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps and stationed at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, where their first two children were born. Promoted to captain, he served at Guantanamo Bay during the Cuban Missile Crisis. A 40-year career in the medical industry followed, and he was one of few specialists in the United States qualified to train and assist doctors during microscopic neurosurgery. In 1976, he moved his family to Rockwall, where he and his wife built their dream home to entertain family and friends on the waters of Lake Ray Hubbard. He fell in love with the water and regularly





was found in his boat, listening to Jimmy Buffet and watching the sun set. He was preceded in death by his wife and is survived by their four children, Sheri Franza (Ed), Steve Shoquist (Kelley), Stacy Weishaar (Durand), and Shannon Cannon (Thure); eight grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.


Barb Henning Anderson, 85, of Brunswick, Maine, Nov. 23, 2023. At Denison, she was the rush and standards chairs of Delta Gamma. She met and married Bruce C. Anderson, in Springfield, Illinois. They would move east, settling in an 1835 Cape farmhouse in Bowdoin, Maine, where she showcased her primitive American antiques, quilts, Beaumont pottery, and book collection. She worked part-time as an office manager at Androscoggin Animal Hospital and as an associate in the Bowdoin College registrar’s office. She enjoyed the Bowdoin Summer Music Festival, Maine State Music Theater, golden retrievers, Swedish culture, and all things plaid. She was preceded in death by her husband and is survived by her daughter, Kristin A. Hovey (Will); sons, Kent D. Anderson and Keith C. Anderson; two grandchildren; brothers, Douglass R. Henning ’66 and Charles W. Henning; sister, Jean L. Parker (Christopher); sister-in-law, Linda T. O’Gara; three nieces; five nephews; and a cousin.

Sue McAllester Cornell, 85, of San Diego, Oct. 18, 2023. At Denison, she was a member of Chi Omega. She retired as the administrator of Pacific Beach Presbyterian Church. She is survived by her husband, Darrell Cornell ’60 ; sons, Stephen Cornell (Brian) and Brian Cornell (Lesa); a granddaughter; and a step-granddaughter.


Margaret “Tink” Tappan Enders , 84, Traverse City, Michigan, Oct. 19, 2023. At Denison, she was a member of Alpha Phi. She found solace in the woods and waters surrounding Traverse City, where she lived for 50 years. She liked to sit on her front porch on summer evenings and listen to the last birdsongs before dark. She is survived by her husband of 62 years, William R. Enders; son, Doug (Katie); a grandson; and a brother, Tom (Tracy).

Ed Grimm , 83, of Jacksonville, Florida, Sept. 21, 2022. At Denison, he was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha.

Sandy Clark Sample , 84, of Modesto, California, Jan. 23, 2024. At Denison, she was a member of Chi Omega and the Denison Christian Association. After graduation, she moved to New York to attend Union Theological Seminary, where she earned her Master of Divinity. Between semesters at Union, she worked in California in migrant ministry with the United Farm Workers. In Modesto, she met and married Frank Sample, a recent widower with three teen daughters, and had a son. After her husband’s death in 1980, she went back to college to

become a preschool teacher and worked with children for the next 25 years. She is survived by her son, Stephen Sample; daughters, Dawnine Sample Dyer and Martha Sample Tingle; two nieces; five grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.


Parker Huber, 81, of Brattleboro, Vermont, July 8, 2022. Circle dancing was a great love of his, and he danced in the Brattleboro Circle Dance community for 35 years. He was active in the Putney Friends Meeting for nearly that long, and more recently, with St. Michael’s Episcopal Church through their contemplative and centering prayer groups. Huber had a significant influence on the community of nature writers, both locally and nationally, through his founding of the Glen Brook writers’ group and involvement with the Crestone writers’ group in Colorado. He was an avid naturalist and writer, known for his yearly pilgrimages to the top of Mount Monadnock on Thanksgiving Day. He climbed mountains all over the country and in New Zealand and served in his younger years as a wilderness guide. He published a number of books based on his own adventures and those of the writers he admired most, Thoreau and Muir. The Wildest Country, in which he followed Thoreau’s journeys in Maine on foot and by canoe, was originally published in 1981 and reissued by popular demand in 2008. When he lost his ability to ride his bike in 2020 due to Parkinson’s disease, Huber walked the streets of Brattleboro as much as he could to remain connected to the outdoors and the townspeople he cherished.

Hunter McMullin , 83, of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, Nov. 9, 2023. After Denison, where McMullin was a member of Phi Delta Theta, he started his career in the equities business before moving into sports management. He was president of the Philadelphia Wings professional box lacrosse team and then the vice president of the Philadelphia 76ers. One of his proudest achievements was his role in bringing to the team Julius “Dr. J” Erving — whose wife, Turquoise, fondly called him “Hunter Honey.” After the 76ers, he went into commercial real estate. Outside work, he took great joy in heading the entertainment committee at the Merion Cricket Club, where he threw famous summer porch dance parties at his Haverford home that went until the wee hours of the morning. He liked playing backgammon so much that he organized tournaments, and most recently he enjoyed taking on, and beating, his grandchildren. He was an honorary director of the Philadelphia Charity Ball and a longtime member of the board of Philadelphia Children’s Hospital, among many other civic roles. He was preceded in death by his brother, David. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Pamela Powell McMullin; sons, H. Brooke McMullin Jr. (Patricia) and Scott McMullin (Sarah); and five grandchildren.


Margaret L. Meriwether

A prescient piece of advice from a college professor altered the course of Margaret L. Meriwether’s academic career — ultimately providing Denison with an expert in an emerging historical field.

Best known to friends as “Marlee,” Meriwether taught Middle Eastern history, politics, and culture for 30 years on The Hill, beginning in 1981. The professor emeritus, who wrote one book and was a co-editor of another, died Nov. 18, 2023, at age 74.

Meriwether, a Fulbright scholar, traveled extensively and lived in the Middle East, particularly in Syria and Egypt. At a time when the region was attracting significant American interest, she brought expertise and boots-onthe-ground perspective to Denison classrooms.

That might not have happened had Meriwether ignored a suggestion from an advisor at the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned a doctorate in history. Meriwether had planned to focus her academic pursuits on Europe.

“The advisor told Marlee she should think about the Middle East,” her husband, Mike Lafferty, recalled. “He said that’s going to be a hot region in the coming years.”

Meriwether was not only a prominent scholar in Middle Eastern and Ottoman history, but she became a trailblazer during her early years on campus.

“She was a strong female faculty presence,” said Catherine Dollard ’88 , senior associate provost for academic affairs and an associate professor of history. “Fairly early in her career, she became a full professor in a period when there were not many female full professors. Marlee was courageous and adventurous.”

Among the few female Middle Eastern historians of her era, Meriwether honed her Arabic language skills at the American University in


Cairo, Egypt. She traveled to Central Asia and the Muslim areas of China.

Her scholarship was concentrated on Ottoman Syria during a 300-year period beginning in the 17th century. Her book, The Kin Who Count: Family and Society in Ottoman Aleppo , 17701840, was published in 1999. The work challenged widely accepted images of the “traditional” Middle Eastern family and was translated into Arabic. She also was co-editor of A Social History of Women and Gender in the Modern Middle East and wrote many academic papers.

At Denison, she served as chair of the history department and, beyond her work in the classroom, hosted seminars on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Iraq, and women and family in the Middle East. Meriwether was an associate director of the Gilpatrick Center for Student Research and Fellowships and the director and interim director of the honors program — both of which were precursors to the Lisska Center for Intellectual Engagement.

Meriwether enjoyed sailing with her husband, a good glass of Giesen Sauvignon Blanc, and cooking. Her recipe for hummus was much requested. Her work as a student advisor produced a fullcircle moment. One of her students, Walker Roberts ’82 , lived off campus during a period when seniors were allowed. His landlord was Lafferty, then a reporter for the Columbus Dispatch . Roberts spoke so highly of his professor that Lafferty invited her to go sailing.

The couple married in 1983.

Meriwether is survived by her husband, their son, Patrick Meriwether Lafferty, and three siblings.

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& Obituaries


Helen Hopkins, 82, of Denver, Nov. 5, 2023. At Denison, she was a member of Alpha Phi. She was employed as a real estate assessor in Denver for most of her working years. She was committed to the women’s movement, founding the Colorado Women’s Political Caucus and serving on the steering committee of the National Women’s Political Caucus. She marched, phoned, wrote, and fundraised for the national Equal Rights Amendment and cried and cursed when it went down. She surrounded herself with savvy women in her investment club, self-reliant women in her hiking group, and “hard-drinking church ladies.” She enjoyed gardening in her later years with her neighbor, saying, “This gives a girl perspective, and this old broad enormous pleasure.”

Mark Saiter, 82, of Dallas, Feb. 2, 2024. As he described it, Saiter weaseled his way into Denison, where he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon and known to his friends as “Mouse.” At a house party, he met the love of his life, Susan Camp Gowing ’64, who fortunately took the effort to discover his real name. The rest was history. Saiter enrolled in law school at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and found a flyer posted in the Lawyers Inn seeking a courthouse runner for the law firm of Passman & Jones. He not only ripped off the tag with the phone number but took down the flyer, ensuring no one else could apply. He got the job. Gowing followed him to Texas after her graduation, and they were married in 1965, with Saiter’s future law partner, Sam Passman, among those in attendance. These events highlighted what Saiter would long describe as the two best decisions of his life: first, to marry Gowing, and second, to take down that flyer. He was preceded in death by his wife. He is survived by his brother, Paul Saiter (Margie); sister, Holly Saiter; sister-in-law, Helen Gray; children, Rob Saiter (Mary), Cindy Saiter, and Dave Saiter (Tammy); and 11 grandchildren.

Cam Buckland , 79, of Solon, Ohio, Jan. 10, 2022. He was a lifelong Clevelander who spent many summers visiting his mother’s family in Boston, where he developed an affection for the Boston Red Sox and enjoyed sharing stories of how he rode the trains to Fenway Park as a boy. He wore a Red Sox jacket around Cleveland, a habit that led to some interesting conversations. Outside of this Red Sox aberration, he was an Ohio sports guy, known to become a little crabby if his beloved Buckeyes disappointed him. His educational endeavors resulted in degrees from Denison, where he was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha, Oberlin College, Case Western Reserve University, and Kent State University. He was awarded his doctorate in curriculum instruction by Kent State in 1990. His dissertation, The Probable Effect of Tuition Tax Credits and Voucher Plans on Selected Public School Systems in Northeast Ohio, was ahead of its time,

as school funding is still a matter of heated debate in the Ohio state legislature. He taught in the Shaker Heights school system for 35 years. He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Jeanie; children, Heather Nowakowski and and Erik (Jennifer); and four grandchildren.

Sally Novotny Gedney, 81, of Hillsborough, California, Dec. 31, 2023. She grew up in Stamford, Connecticut, with deep ancestral roots in North Carolina on her mother’s side. She attended the Northfield Mount Hermon School, where she sang in the choir. She brought her love of singing to Denison, where she was a member of Alpha Omicron Pi. She met her future husband, Ellis C. Gedney ’63, through the chorus at Denison. She went on to receive a master’s in social work and became a social worker at the University of Virginia Hospital. She continued that work after the family moved to California, running hospital groups for cancer survivors and grieving loved ones. She is survived by her husband; daughters, Sarah and Elizabeth (Daniel); and five grandchildren.

Linda Zendt Lieske , 80, of Lutherville-Timonium, Maryland, March 24, 2023. At Denison, she was a member of Pi Beta Phi. She completed her master’s degree in counseling and became a gifted educator in mathematics, guidance, and college counseling. She met her future husband during one teaching position; he also taught math, in an adjoining classroom. Throughout their marriage, they had many cats and dogs and one hermit crab. Nothing brightened her day like cuddling with a dog or cat (not so much the crab). She is survived by her husband of 55 years, G. Spencer Lieske; two sons, Derek Lieske and Alex Lieske (Heidi); and three grandchildren.


Daniel Bauer , 78, of Chandler, Arizona, Oct. 17, 2023. At Denison, he was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha. After medical school, he was a captain in the U.S. Air Force, from 1971 to 1973, at UDorn Royal Thailand Air Force Base. Following his military service, he worked at Good Samaritan Hospital, Williams Air Force Base, and Arizona State University’s student health services before going into solo general practice. His commitment and expertise earned him a Patient’s Choice Award from 2008 to 2010. He was an artist with a penchant for bright acrylics, and he owned a Harley-Davidson motorcycle he named “Loretta.” He enjoyed friendly competitions in tennis, racquetball, darts, bocce ball, and shuffleboard. He was a member of a men’s Bible study and a book club coined Knights of the Round Table. He combined his artistic talent and faith by creating scripture and journey cards. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Emily Rosamond Bauer. He’s survived by his wife, Kimberly Bauer; son, Alexander Thomas Bauer (Krystalyn); and three grandchildren.


Geof Booth , 79, of Petersham, Massachusetts, Dec. 24, 2023. At Denison, he was a member of Phi Delta Theta and the lacrosse team. Upon graduation from Denison, he entered U.S. Navy Officer Candidate School and was assigned to Amphibious Warfare School in Virginia. He served in Vietnam on a converted LST as part of the Brown Water Navy on the Mekong Delta and the Co Chien River. He was honorably discharged and received the National Service Ribbon, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with Device, the Vietnam Service Medal with three Bronze Stars, and the Combat Action Ribbon. Afterward, he went to Chicago and got his first job as a media salesman for Life magazine. He moved to New York City to work at Money, then rose through the ranks at Travel & Leisure , Food & Wine , and Gourmet magazines. He finished his career at The Washington Post . He met his wife, Penny, whom he called “Scout,” in Quebec City, Canada, in 1987. The couple enjoyed time on their boat, Co Chien, and cruising worldwide became a part of their lives. The south of France was their annual summer destination, where they made many friends during their more than 30 years of visits. Closer to home, they loved Brooks Pond and relished the 23 years they spent at their beloved country home, Wildwood. He supported many nonprofit organizations and was a former Tabor Academy trustee and strong supporter of Denison. He was preceded in death by a sister, Pene Rockwell. He is survived by his wife; sister, Brenda Clapp; and a niece.

Stuart Fishelman , 79, of Spring Grove, Pennsylvania, Jan. 21, 2024. At Denison, he was a member of the American Commons Club. He was a social worker in Baltimore, Maryland, who was highly regarded in his field and appointed to Maryland’s Sexual Offender Advisory Board. His passion for helping others began in the 1960s, when he participated in voter registration drives in Atlanta alongside Martin Luther King Jr. He was preceded in death by his brother, Eugene. He is survived by his significant other, Deborah Henry; her children, Kimberly Henry (Margie Lewis) and Ryan Henry (Michelle); his son, Noj Chatpibal (Thanawan), and family; his daughter, Michelle; his sister, Carol (Gerald); his former wife, Deborah; stepdaughter, Kelly (Mike); stepson, Kris; and many other family and friends.

Marianne Loranger Olmsted , 80, of Los Angeles, Jan. 28, 2024. At Denison, she was a member of Chi Omega. She cherished her time at Denison and the many friends she made on The Hill.

Carol Crabill Pohl , 79, of Chicago, Sept. 21, 2023. She loved all things athletic and was a particularly good golfer. She could break 80 in her prime, and even in the late stages of dementia could hit a 200-yard drive straight down the fairway. At Denison, she was a member of

Delta Delta Delta and majored in math and physical education. She taught high school until she and her husband, Rich Pohl Jr. ’66, were stationed in Honolulu during the Vietnam War. When their kids were older, she volunteered as a soccer and swim coach. She loved refereeing games and the spirit of junior varsity, where everyone got playing time. She ran two half marathons, water skied, and fished with Rich. When she wasn’t doing something physically active, she could often be found reading, especially on the boat or dock. She played piano and accordion and taught herself how to play flute and cello. At Christmas, she would lug around her accordion while friends and family caroled door-to-door. She was preceded in death by her husband and son, John. She is survived by her daughters, Sharon Walsh (Ben) and Sarah Pohl (Ethan Smith); and seven grandchildren.

Pat Hunt Rider, 79, of Hilton Head Island, Jan. 8, 2024. She grew up in St. Clairsville, Ohio, where she would walk uptown to her father’s law office, spending hours helping him with his work. She followed her big sister to Denison, where she was a member of the Delta Gamma and spent the summer before she graduated as a Congressional intern at the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C. She spent most of her career in Dayton, Ohio, first working at Price Waterhouse as a financial administrator and recruiting manager while she and her husband started their own business, focusing on corporate team-building and leadership programs. She was instrumental in the formation of the Montgomery County Job Center and a founder of Clothes that Work, a program that provides business clothing to job seekers in need. Her community activism led to her being honored as one of Dayton’s Top Ten Women in 1998 and one of the Dayton YWCA’s Women of Influence in 2006. She is survived by her husband of 44 years, Craig Rider; children, John Tillson (Angie Mitchell), Karen Ketterer (Ed), and Ashley Hawkins (Rick); six grandchildren; one great-grandchild; a sister, Sue McNaghten ’62 (Robert); a niece and nephew; and five longtime friends, Becky, Gay, Margie, Ruth Ann, and Mary Ann.

George Schudy, 80, of Houston, Nov. 13, 2023. At Denison, he was a member of Beta Theta Pi. He met his wife, Judy, in 1968 on a blind date, and they married in 1969. Together, they founded Houston Lynx Basketball, a nonprofit program to help local high school basketball players develop their skills both on and off the court, with an eye on college scholarships. The program also provided coaching and tournament travel at no cost to the players. Schudy actively coached the top team until 2016. He truly loved practicing orthodontics, publishing eight articles in the field and lecturing nationally and abroad. He served as president of the Southwest component of the Edward H. Angle Society, and president of the Texas Orthodontic Study Club (TOSC), which





awarded him the Trailblazer Award. He is survived by his wife; sister-in-law, Pat; children, Elise, Richard, and Robert (Yvette); and seven grandchildren.


Martha Neff Kessler, 78, of Washington, D.C., Dec. 4, 2023. At Denison, she was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta. She grew up just down The Hill in Granville, Ohio, but her 40-year career as an intelligence officer with the CIA would take her far from home, to the Middle East, South Asia, and other points around the globe. For six years, she headed the Arab-Israeli Division and was a liaison with U.S. peace negotiators throughout the Madrid peace process. She was a fellow at the National Defense University’s War College, a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution, a frequent contributor to its Middle East foreign policy journal, and the author of Syria: Fragile Mosaic of Power During her career, she was awarded the CIA’s Medal of Distinguished Service and the National Intelligence Community’s Medal of Achievement. In retirement, she served as ombudsman at the Department of Homeland Security. She had a vast network of friends, one of whom recently called her “the most popular woman in Washington, D.C.” She is survived by her daughters, Justine and Lauren; son-in-law, Zander Mackie; two grandchildren; sisters, Jane Norton and Rev. Susan Blue; her brother, Howard Kessler (Michele); and many nieces and nephews.


Marty Lyon , 77, of Newark, Delaware, Dec. 5, 2023. At Denison, she was a member of Alpha Phi. She attended Upper Darby High School in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. She worked for John Wanamaker and Woodward & Lothrop department stores.

Brent Miller, 78, of Pembroke, North Carolina, Jan. 23, 2024. At Denison, he was a member of Sigma Chi. He later moved to North Carolina and spent many years in banking, lastly as a trust officer for Southern National Bank in Raleigh, North Carolina. He then became owner and operator of MTB Flooring. A child of Detroit, he was a lifelong fan of the Lions and the University of Michigan Wolverines. He was preceded in death by his sister, Julie Jordan. He is survived by his wife of 28 years, Talana; stepsons, Micah Wells (Onekie) and Marcus Wells (Jenine); and five grandchildren.


Mary Gosline , 76, of Toledo, Ohio, Nov. 10, 2023. At Denison, she was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta. She lived for a time in Belgium and Germany, traveling extensively throughout Europe and Japan. She later moved to Downingtown, Pennsylvania, where she embarked on a 25-year career as a sales representative for Zeiss Microscopes. She is survived by her brothers, Robert B. Gosline ’65

(Mary) and William H. Gosline ’66 (Cheri); a nephew; and three nieces.


Bill Wedd, 75, of Delaware, Ohio, Jan. 29, 2024. At Denison, he was a member of the American Commons Club. After college, he had a long career in sales and owned a business that sold reading materials to schools across the country. A voracious reader, he averaged two fiction books a week for most of his adult life. He also continued to write, record, and listen to music and was a loyal fan of Cleveland sports teams during both their fleeting periods of success and longer spells of mediocrity. He was an active member of the 12-step recovery community for over 20 years and was dedicated to supporting others in their journey to sobriety. He is survived by his son, Alan Wedd (Meghan); siblings, Beth Petty, Jim Wedd (Joanie Knapke), Patty Crowther (Will), and Tom Wedd (Luanne McElheney); and other family and friends.


Sue Payne Dumas , 74, of Thompson, Connecticut, Nov. 27, 2023. At Denison, she was a member of Alpha Phi and majored in music education. She received her master’s degree in elementary education and her sixth-year master’s degree in education administration, and she began teaching in the Hamden public school system. She went on to become an assistant principal at Killingly Intermediate School, then principal at Mystic Middle School in Stonington, Connecticut. She was most proud of being awarded the 2005 Connecticut Association of Schools Principal of the Year. She coached softball for the Hamden Parks and Recreation team, the Dragonettes, winning the championship twice. She was a passionate Red Sox fan, just like her dad. She was preceded in death by her husband, Eugene Robert Dumas, and brother, Mark Payne. She is survived by her blended family of children, Adam Boppert (Crystal Miller), Bryan Boppert (Ashley Sterling), Jeremy Dumas (Catherine), and Heather Dumas; many grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and honorary sister and friend, Nancy Tozzo.

Joe Finch , 74, of Bloomington, Illinois, Aug. 12, 2023. Born in Terre Haute, Indiana, he grew up in Newark, Ohio. While at Denison, he worked at nearby Dawes Arboretum, cultivating in him a lifelong passion for horticulture. He worked for State Farm, mostly in Bloomington, until his retirement, and he savored winters spent in much warmer Florida. Finch cherished Canadian fishing expeditions, Michigan mushroom hunting trips, and his Ohio State Buckeyes. He is survived by his wife of 25 years, Colleen Crews Finch.

Roger Heaton, 74, of Cape Coral, Florida, Dec. 9, 2023. He was in the first graduating class of Wheaton North


High School, where he was an exceptional athlete, earning All-Star honors with varsity letters in football, baseball, and wrestling. He would later return to his high school in Illinois as a biology teacher and three-sport coach for a few years before deciding to pursue a career in law. At Denison, he majored in psychology, lettered in baseball, and was a member of Delta Upsilon. After law school at the University of San Diego, he practiced law in San Diego for decades. He was a longtime member of the Old Pros Softball league in San Diego, and he is credited with starting the Wheaton North High School Alumni Association with his fellow classmates and serving as its first president for a number of years. He was preceded in death by a younger brother, William Bradford Heaton. He is survived by his children, William Bradford Heaton, Randall Arthur Heaton (Melissa), and Ross Laurence Heaton; sister, Laurie Ferry (Bill); and a grandchild.

Ellen Ludlow, 72, of Warrington, Pennsylvania, Jan. 19, 2022. She worked for most of her life as a speech pathologist and after retirement became a master gardener who volunteered at the local botanical gardens. She is survived by a sister, Jeanne Ludlow Bergin ’72 , and a brother, Mark Ludlow.


John McGonagle , 72, of Saint Cloud, Florida, April 18, 2023. At Denison, he was a member of Beta Theta Pi.

John Snyder, 72, of Harvard, Massachusetts, Nov. 13, 2023. At Denison, he was a chemistry major and a member of Lambda Chi Alpha. He completed his doctoral degree in organic chemistry at the University of Chicago and a postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia University. He joined Boston University as an assistant professor in 1983 and served on the faculty of the Department of Chemistry for 39 years. He was immensely dedicated to any student interested in chemistry and was awarded BU’s prestigious Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1989. His unwavering commitment to mentoring undergraduate and graduate students was recognized and honored with the student-nominated Templeton Prize for Excellence in Student Advising in 2009. At BU, he established and served as co-director of the chemistry Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, where his passion for learning and research inspired more than 120 students to pursue further education and careers in the sciences. His dedication to fostering students’ interests in the sciences led to his establishment of the Phyllis D. Snyder BU IMPACTS Fund, which provides access to the sciences to underserved students of all ages and promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion through participation in summer STEM immersion programs. While academics defined his career, he was also an avid runner, twice completing the Boston Marathon. He is survived by his wife and companion of 36 years,

Alexander Thomson III ’59 LIFE



Denison Life Trustee Alexander Thomson III ’59, who found joy and brotherhood on The Hill after enduring family tragedy as a child, died on March 27, 2024. He was 86.

Thomson, known to friends as “Sandy,” met his future wife, Sally Wood Thomson ’59, during their first week on campus. He joined the Sigma Chi fraternity and earned a degree in history before serving in the United States Marines Corps.

“Denison, Sigma Chi, and the Marines helped my dad fill a void in his life,” said his son, Stephen Thomson.

Thomson’s father, Alexander, died when he was 6. His sister, Adele, was institutionalized when he was 12. Growing up in a single-parent household in Cincinnati, Thomson overcame adversity to make his way to Denison, where he developed an enduring bond with the university.

Thomson obtained a master’s degree at Miami University after returning from his military service and began a long career in higher education administration. He worked in various capacities for Ohio State University, Case Western Reserve University, and the University of Cincinnati.

But Thomson never forgot the impact Denison made on his life, generously giving his time and money to both the university and the Sigma Chi fraternity.

He served on the Denison board of trustees from 1998 to 2012, after which he was elected a life trustee. Thomson was active on the enrollment and student affairs and advancement committees and assisted the university as a career advisor, president’s associate volunteer, and reunion and campaign volunteer.

Even in failing health, Thomson drove from Cincinnati to attend trustee functions. He was awarded an Alumni Citation in 2019.

“Sandy was so committed to Denison and the student experience,” said Dana Hart ’76, who served on the board of trustees with him. “I don’t think he ever missed a board meeting when he was an active member, and I know he recruited students to Denison from the Cincinnati area.”

Thomson was a tireless fundraiser for Sigma Chi and was awarded the Order of Constantine, the fraternity’s highest honor.

“The two of us saw eye to eye on how to maintain our building,” said Bill Mason ’57, the Sigma Chi alumni house director. “He handled the finances and devoted so much time to the fraternity, even while living in Cincinnati.”

Thomson was active in the Rotary Club, the United Way, Buckeye Boys Ranch, the American Red Cross, and the Mercantile Library of Cincinnati. He also was the founding president of the Upper Arlington Education Fund.

“My dad believed in paying it forward,” Stephen said. “I know he was always grateful for what Denison did for him.”


gisela goppel


Julie; daughters, Tracy and Nikki; Anacristina Maia; and five siblings and their families.


Richard H. Dinkins , 71, of Nashville, Tennessee, Oct. 1, 2023. The son of a Tennessee pastor, Dinkins experienced a pivotal moment at age 10, when he met Martin Luther King Jr. After Denison, Dinkins returned to Nashville to attend Vanderbilt University Law School. As a third-year law student, he clerked for a civil rights legend, state Sen. Avon N. Williams Jr. He became involved in the consolidated desegregation case for Nashville Public Schools that greatly influenced schoolchildren of all races, creeds, and color. The pair worked together for over 20 years, and Dinkins was the lead attorney in Nashville public school desegregation cases. He was also the first African American to serve on the Tennessee Court of Appeals. He was a cooperating attorney for the NAACP legal Defense Fund, Minority Business Enterprise Legal Defense Fund, and the American Civil Liberties Union Voting Rights Project. Ordained as a deacon in 2013, he served in various leadership roles with organizations including Legal Aid Society, the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, Tennessee Jazz & Blues Society, and the Tennessee Alliances for Legal Services. He received many awards, including a Distinguished Service Award of the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators, Civil Rights Leadership Award of the Nashville NAACP, Liberty Bell Award from the Nashville Bar Association, and a Freedom Fighter Medal from the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education. As a Denison alum, he served as vice president of the Black Alumni Association, then as a career advisor, and later as a student internship sponsor. He was preceded in death by a brother, Charles L. Dinkins Jr. He is survived by his children, LaChanta Richelle Lampkin (S.L. Lampkin), Zuri Walker, and Ian Dinkins; two grandchildren, Lariah Hayes and Kennedy Potter; brother, Ken Dinkins, and many other devoted family and friends.

Elaine Vorobel McCarroll, 71, of Medina, Ohio, Oct. 7, 2023. At Denison, she was a member of Alpha Phi. She received her law degree from Cleveland State University and had a long career as an estate tax attorney with the IRS. She was a member of the Medina Breakfast Kiwanis Club for nearly 30 years and served as president. She also volunteered with many organizations around Medina and spent time tutoring at a local elementary school. She is survived by her husband of 37 years, John; a daughter, Mary McCarroll; and a stepson, John P. McCarroll.

and sailboat racer, he competed in numerous regattas. He passed on his knowledge, teaching sailors about the joys of racing and cursing. He was an active member of Edgewater Yacht Club for more than 50 years and volunteered as a teacher and mentor with the North Coast Women’s Sailing Association. His daughter dragged him into the ocean to take a scuba certification class, and he took much joy in tormenting and teasing the dive staff. He was integral in bringing the tall ships to the Port of Cleveland in the early 1980s, and he shared his enthusiasm for the water by volunteering to introduce many young Ohioans to the lake. As a volunteer, he did a Great Lakes tour with students on the tall ship Sorlandet. Aboard, the card-carrying AARP member experienced the true joys of sailor life by sleeping in a hammock, just like the kids. He is survived by his wife of 36 years, Patricia B. Minshall; daughter, Halle B. Minshall ’11; brother, Eric Minshall; and a niece and nephew.


Jonathan Alder, 72, of Greenville, North Carolina, Feb. 8, 2024. At Denison, he played football, was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha, and on a blind date one Valentine’s Day, met his future wife, Bonnie Coords ’73 . He spent 25 years in the food service industry. He was a man of deep faith, and he loved asking probing theological questions, telling jokes that only he would find funny, and taking road trips set to Christian music soundtracks. In 2004, he returned to school at East Carolina University and earned his history teaching license. He is survived by his wife; five daughters, Jennifer Keesler (Edward), Rachael Manwaring (Mark), Aimee Corvin (Jason), Lydia Farmer (Scott), and Bethany Waters (Andrew); 17 grandchildren; siblings, Janet Marc (Raymond), Mark Alder (Pam), Martha Jacobs (Jim), Kathy Spresser (Mark), and Beth Iorio ’86 (Clark Iorio ’86); and other family and friends.


Walker Hoerr, 69, of St. Louis, Oct. 30, 2023. He was a proud volunteer at Meals on Wheels of Greater St. Louis. He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Kelly Miles Hoerr; daughters, Lauren Hoerr and Mary Kate Hoerr; sister, Suzi Davis (Dan); brother, Louis Hoerr (Joanna); and many cousins, nieces, nephews, and great friends.

Chip Minshall , 70, of Shaker Heights, Ohio, Jan. 31, 2022. He was a member of Alpha Tau Omega and recalled that he did squeeze in some studying between bouts of partying at Denison. He went on to Case Western Reserve University School of Law. An avid lifelong sailor

Betsy Piper, 69, of Spring Hill, Florida, Oct. 25, 2023. At Denison, she was vice president of Kappa Kappa Gamma. She joined her father’s business, Piper Associates, and worked there until founding her own company, Tech Plus Inc., in 1981. She moved to Damariscotta, Maine, in 2004, where she owned Town Line Video & Convenience Store, growing the business to include truck rentals, beer/wine, and takeout chicken and pizza. She brought along her Heritage Coons Maine Coon breeding business, show operation, and rescue center for the large

& Obituaries

cats. She and her husband also owned a local motel. She farmed crops and trees on their 80 acres and welcomed snowmobile racing there. She is survived by her husband, John Cotter; siblings, Gwen Melia (Kenny), James Piper (Rhonda), Cindy Piper, and Randy Piper (Lisa); nine nieces and nephews; and other family.


Sue McManus Fairchild , 68, of Jupiter, Florida, Jan. 8, 2024. Originally from Massachusetts, she remained in Ohio after graduating from Denison, where she was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta. She built a successful career in financial services and retired from PNC Bank in 2013. She relocated to Jupiter, Florida, in 2008, where she loved the warm weather, challenging golf courses, and her network of friends. She was preceded in death by a brother, William McManus III. She is survived by her daughter, Lauren Griffiths (Rob); siblings Jeffrey McManus, Martha O’Brien, and David McManus; two grandchildren, several nieces and nephews.


Dick Putnam, 65, of Westerville, Ohio, Aug. 4, 2022. As a child, Putnam moved with his family from upstate New York to Granville, Ohio, where he played football and basketball. At Denison, he majored in economics and history and became a member of Alpha Tau Omega. He and several fraternity brothers reunited annually for social gatherings, golf outings, outdoor adventures, and concert events. After earning a master’s degree in business, he worked in the restaurant industry for 14 years. For the next 10 years, he worked at The Ecology Group, where he served as vice president of operations and accounting. In 2003, he and a friend started Consolidated Waste Management LLC, where he served as CEO. He and his close ATO buddy, Mark Beckstrand, trained (more or less) and competed in two Warrior Dash mud-and-obstacle competitions in 2013 and 2014, followed by the Asheville Sprint Triathlon in 2017. He and his son rebuilt the fifth-generation Putnam family home in Maine, preserving more than 110 years of family history for future generations of Putnams. He is survived by his wife, Debra Lou Kerr Putnam; son, Michael Ervin Putnam (Abigail); two grandchildren; his father and namesake, Richard; sisters, Kathleen Grinch (Dean) and Carol Truini (Mark); brother, Michael Putnam (Theresa); 11 nieces and nephews; and other family.


Paul McCoy, 66, of Pomfret Center, Connecticut, 2023. At Denison, he was a member of Delta Chi and met his future wife, Anne Barker ’79. A seventh-degree black belt, he shared for more than 30 years the principles of Tang Soo Do and Kenpo karate, helping generations of students discover physical strength and the importance of discipline, respect, and inner growth. He is survived by his wife; daughter, Barbara McCoy; and other family and friends.


Ahmed Sabry El-Zawahry, 63, of Chillicothe, Ohio, Feb. 3, 2024. After Denison, he received his master’s degree in advanced international studies at Johns Hopkins University and had a career in international banking, primarily for the Union de Banques Arabes et Francais in Cairo, Singapore, and Tokyo. His parents’ long careers with the World Health Organization meant he had long been multilingual and multicultural; there were very few locales where he wasn’t comfortable and curious to learn more. He is survived by his wife, Nabila Hammoud; and three children, Yaseen, Laila, and Nada.


Bill Schumacher, 63, of Canton, Ohio, Sept. 24, 2023. He played lacrosse and studied economics at Denison, then began a career in commercial real estate. He was the chief operating officer of Schumacher Homes for 25 years. He was a member of the board of trustees at Canton Country Day School, where he was recognized as Distinguished Alumni of the Year in 2017. He is survived by his wife of 27 years, Beth Donohoe Schumacher; children, William Schumacher and Katherine Schumacher; mother, Mary Stires Schumacher; siblings, Mary Becker (Bill), John Schumacher (Katie), and Paul Schumacher (Nicole); uncle, George Schumacher (Joan); and other relatives.

David Westerlund , 63, of Lutherville-Timonium, Maryland, Sept. 3, 2023. He will be remembered for his humor, courage, persistence, athleticism, and empathy, all of which played crucial roles in his 35-year battle with multiple sclerosis. He packed as much as he could into his 63 years, despite the limitations forced upon him by the disease. Known to friends as “Westy,” “West,” or “Chopper Dave,” he played lacrosse at Denison, visited over 50 countries, raced sailboats, planned new buildings with The Cordish Companies, and imploded old ones with Controlled Demolition Inc. He acted as a mentor for special needs children competing in the Maryland Special Olympics and coached his children’s sports teams. He was an avid reader, gardener, music fan, and motorcycle rider. He is survived by his two children, Benjamin and Caroline; three brothers, Christopher, John, and Michael; his sister, Susan Westerlund-Pizzi; 11 nieces and nephews; daughter-in-law, Kaitlin Westerlund; and many friends.

1996 Brian Hagen Greer, 49, of Charleston, South Carolina, Dec. 21, 2023. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.


Jon Blessing , 45, of Frankfort, Michigan, April 1, 2023. Blessing left deep impressions on the hearts of the people in his life, from his extended family to his many friends. They remember the brightness of his eyes, his easy laughter, his magnetic




and charismatic presence, and his immensely lovable spirit. He is survived by his wife, Bridget Byron; sons, Johnny and Bodhi; parents, David and Betsey; sisters, Sarah, Amy Blessing ’97, and Anna; and many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews.


Kevin Christner, 37, of Tonawanda, New York, Sept. 14, 2023. His love of learning began with a solid foundation in reading at Holy Family School, and he always prefaced nightly book time with, “Don’t forget the author and illustrator.” At Denison, he graduated with high honors in economics and history and was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha. Whatever he did, he was all in. He was flying glider airplanes before he could drive and earned his single engine land rating before finishing high school. He was a member of the Civil Air Patrol TAK Composite Squadron (Tonawanda). He was also an altar server at St. Peter and Paul Parish and was awarded “Altar Server of the Year.” Annual family vacations to destinations covered 46 states and several European countries, largely fueled by his passion to explore and learn more about them. A race car enthusiast from a very young age, he found his way to Watkins Glen and Laguna Seca, made the yearly trek to Indianapolis for the Indy 500, and spent Sunday mornings glued to Formula One races. His career in finance led him to Buffalo and to the Saturn Club, where he became an avid squash player and was proud to be the club’s historian and archivist for many years. He is survived by his parents, Don and Sue; his son, Orson; and many loving and supportive aunts, uncles and cousins.


Drew Fancher, 33, of Alpharetta, Georgia, Nov. 13, 2023. When he was born, he didn’t cry; he simply looked at his parents and the world around him with his piercing blue eyes. He was passionate about Texas A&M University, where his parents went to school. Watching Aggie sports with his dad (and sometimes mom and wife) was a year-round practice, with trips to many football games, the SEC basketball championship, and the College World Series. He also loved hunting, a place where he felt closest to God. He later took up scuba diving and said it was the one place where the world was quiet. He also had a love for his three four-legged fur babies, Wyatt, Trooper, and Teddy. Fancher’s final love was creating and running The Forum Cocktail Company with his wife in the Upper West Side of Atlanta, fulfilling a lifelong dream and accomplishment. He is survived by his wife, Brittany Burkett Fancher; his parents, Tess and Don Fancher; brothers, William and Tate; grandmother, Faye Fancher; mother-in-law, Kim Burkett; brother and sister-in-law, Blake and Grace Burkett; and niece, Annie Blake Burkett.

Shakia Asamoah, 31, of Silver Spring, Maryland, June 6, 2023. She was a

doctoral student in education policy, teaching, and leadership at the University of Maryland, College Park. She worked as a researcher and data engineer at Campaign Zero. Asamoah was a spirited communicator and a meticulous, highly analytical woman. She dedicated her energy to issues of queer liberation struggles, Black feminism, and neurodiversity awareness.


Ralph Beabout , 100, of Waverly, Ohio, Feb. 17, 2024. He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War II and was a veteran of the Pacific theater and part of the initial invasion in Okinawa, Japan. He retired after 43 years as a mechanical engineer. He was the oldest active member of the Pike County YMCA, an avid swimmer, reader, and an Ohio State football fan. He was preceded in death by his wife, Lou Beabout; daughter, Carol Harris; and sister, Reta Brannen. He is survived by a son, Dennis Beabout (Terrie); daughter, Sandy Colegrove (Dale); seven grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

Miriam Blake , 97, of Mansfield, Ohio, Dec. 19, 2023. She received her associate degree from the Cleveland Institute of Art, married Robert S. Blake on May 26, 1951, and worked as a secretary at Denison, the Toledo Museum of Art, and Bowling Green State University. She was a great lover of the arts and music and was an avid Ohio State fan. She enjoyed volunteering at Kingwood Center for many years and was a member and supporter of the Cleveland Museum of Art. She was preceded in death by her husband and is survived by her daughter, Holly Blake (Jeremy Morgan); son, Benjamin S. Blake; and cousin, Nancy Sutton.

Kathleen Knudson Damron , 82, of Berkeley, California, Aug. 23, 2022. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she met her husband, John Damron ’55 , on a swimming platform. They settled in Los Altos Hills, California, and retired in San Francisco. She is remembered for her sweet potato souffles, Christmas paellas, women’s education, travel, and her Marimekko dress collection. She was preceded in death by her husband and is survived by three children, Steven, Peter (Anne), and Mary Glaeser (Andreas); five grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.

Helen Robinson Ferry, 96, of Mantorville, Minnesota, April 18, 2019. During World War II, she knitted wool socks for soldiers and searched the skies for enemy planes. She married her high school sweetheart, Thomas Ferry ’45. She and her children volunteered with Meals on Wheels and visited the elderly at nursing homes. She helped start the Mantorville Restoration Association, committed to restoring the community’s historic buildings, and for a time, owned a local souvenir shop, The


Chimney Cupboard. She was preceded in death by her husband and two sisters, Florence and Catherine. She is survived by her three children, Thomas, John (Gervaise), and Ann Driver (Daniel); eight grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

Jean Fridrich Gibson, 93, of Peterson, Minnesota, Oct. 8, 2023. She was an accomplished singer and helped found two homes for unwed mothers. She was preceded in death by her husband, William K. Gibson ’47; siblings, Agnes, Evelyn, Ralph, Rita, Coletta, and William; son Matthew; and three grandchildren, Alec, Jay, Regina. She is survived by eight children, William Gibson (Brenda), Mark Gibson (Nancy), Brian Gibson (Julie), Patrick Gibson (Sandra), Therese Szyszkiewicz (Thomas), Alec Gibson (Lisa), Dana Gibson (Jo), and Eric Gibson (Patricia); 27 grandchildren; and 23 great-grandchildren.

Gary Harris , 79, of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, Aug. 22, 2023. He taught industrial arts for more than 35 years and was a constant tinkerer, gifted woodworker, and skilled handyman. A pilot of private aircraft and gliders, Harris took any opportunity to be among the clouds. He was a member of the Soaring Society of America, Airplane Owners & Pilots Association, Experimental Aircraft Association, and Cleveland Soaring Society. He was preceded in death by his wife, Diana Harris ’65, and is survived by his daughters, Heidi L. Harris and Heather L. Popp; two grandchildren; and sister, Jill Basham.

Harold “Hal” Hodson Jr. , 95, of Granville, Ohio, Sept. 14, 2023. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He spent 40 years in the insurance industry and founded Benefit Plans Inc. in 1965, which pioneered health insurance for small employers. He was a farmer, businessman, boater, traveler, and avid sports fan. He lived to host his grandchildren at “Camp Hodson” at his Green Tree Farms in Lancaster, Ohio. He is survived by his children, Morgan, Marcia, Peter, and Philip; 10 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Loetta Hatton Hopkins, 95, of New Castle, Indiana, July 14, 2021. She was a member of Middletown Woman’s Club, the Peter Foree Chapter of The Daughters of the American Revolution, and the Jefferson County Medical Society Alliance. She was honored for her service to Meals on Wheels, women’s prisons, and over 4,000 hours spent at the oncology unit of Baptist East Hospital. She also served as president of the Bellewood Children’s Home Women’s Board, was a volunteer at Central State Hospital, and served five times with her husband, William E. Hopkins ’43 , on Christian medical/dental missions to Honduras. She was preceded in death by her husband of 58 years; son, William W. Hopkins; and grandson, John Peter Lansinger. She is survived by three daughters, Lynne Lyndrup (Jerry), Patti Lansinger

(John), and Bonne Douglas (John); six grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

Marianne Smith Lytle , 92, of Millersburg, Ohio, Feb. 12, 2023. She was preceded in death by her husband of 70 years, John B. Lytle ’50; her daughter and son-in-law, R. Hope and Jefferson L. Hart; and two brothers, R. Dean Smith and R. Gene Smith. Lytle worked as an X-ray technician at Pomerene Hospital in Millersburg and Wooster Community Hospital. An avid reader, she was a founding member of the Fredericksburg Community Library. She is survived by her sons, Skip (Julie) and Mark (Janet); seven grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

Jim Milmoe, 95, of Golden, Colorado, Dec. 27, 2022. He was a renowned photographer whose images appeared in nearly 500 publications and are included in permanent museums nationwide, including New York’s Museum of Modern Art. He taught college-level photography courses at several institutions and in 2022 was honored with an exhibit, The Art of Grave Markers, at the Cactus Club in Denver. He was preceded in death by his wife of 62 years, Marilynn Milmoe ’50, a writer who shared his love of art and photography. He is survived by five children; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Carolyn Plewniak Mimmack , 86, of Grand Island, New York, Dec. 16, 2023. She was preceded in death by a husband, Leonard P. Plewniak, and by David A. Plewniak. She is survived by her husband, Jack Mimmack; daughter, Polly Ortiz (Pablo); Leonard P. Plewniak; Patty Wagner (Jerry); and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Grace Molnar Murrish , 100, of Cincinnati, June 17, 2022. She was preceded in death by her husband, E. Clark Murrish ’48 , and survived by her children, Carol E. Murrish and Joan E. Murrish.

Julian Robertson , 90, of New York, Aug. 23, 2022. A Wall Street investor who helped create the modern hedge fund industry, he was also known for his sweeping philanthropy to myriad causes. He was preceded in death by his wife, Josephine. He is survived by three sons, Alex, Spencer, and Julian III; sister, Wyndham; and nine grandchildren.

Carl Sorenson, 91, of Canton, Ohio, and Naples, Florida, March 7, 2022. Upon his graduation from DePauw University in 1951, he went to work for General Electric Co. and later became a part-owner in Jackson-Bayley Electric Co. His recruitment to Jackson-Bayley by Norm Jackson launched his career as an entrepreneur. The two men would become best friends and were founders, owners, and directors of companies in Stark County and elsewhere. His commitment to his community was



first recognized in 1964, with the “Canton Young Man of the Year Award.” He served four terms as a Canton council member. He also served as a trustee of the Wilderness Center and Canton Country Day School, both in Canton, and Morgan Studios in New York City; and as a member of Western Reserve Academy Board of Visitors in Hudson, Ohio. He was preceded in death by a brother, Joseph Weed Sorenson. He is survived by his wife, Sally Ann Sorenson ’57; two sons, Carl Severn Sorenson IV and James Campbell Sorenson; daughter-in-law, Camilla Sorenson; and two grandchildren.

Zane Wachtel , 83, of Newark, Ohio, Jan. 28, 2022. He worked for Varasso & Associates Architects, later known as Wachtel & McAnally Architects/Planners. He was active in Newark Rotary, the Elks, the local food pantry, American Red Cross, Hospice of Central Ohio, and the Midland Theatre. He was preceded in death by a son, Chuck. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Carole; daughter, Katrina Jurden; a granddaughter; three great-grandchildren; and other family.

Former staff

Dick Boyden , 90, of Mashpee, Massachusetts, Nov. 1, 2023. He was director of admissions at Denison from 1977 to 1991, leading the charge as Denison made significant strides in enrollment and marketing. Prior to his time at Denison, he worked at Bowdoin College and served in the U.S. Navy, retiring with the rank of commander. He remained active in retirement and was a board member of the Orenda Wildlife Land Trust and the Bourne Conservation Trust. He also maintained his close ties to his Deerfield Academy classmates and his fraternity brothers from his time at Wesleyan University. He may have been happiest with a chainsaw in hand, clearing forest trails for nature-lovers. He was preceded in death by his wife, Jane. He is survived by his daughter, Cynthia H. Boyden; son, John G. Boyden (Kristin); two grandchildren; a sister, Mrs. Ralph Parady and her husband; and his partner of many years, Linda J. Genest.

Millie Charron , 90, of Newark, Ohio, Sept. 23, 2023. At Denison, she was the library acquisitionist. She was preceded in death by her husband of 45 years, Evariste A. Charron. She is survived by a son and daughter, several grandchildren, and numerous extended family members.

Jerry Frost , 86, of Westerville, Ohio, Sept. 5, 2023. He retired from Denison in 2001. He was a huge fan of NASCAR, classic cars, and car shows. He was preceded in death by his sister, Patsy Ann Frost, and brother, Jack Allen Frost. He is survived by a niece, Susan Frost Elkins; nephew, Jack Frost Jr.; and other extended family. Dick Gosnell , 93, of Newark, Ohio, Dec. 25, 2023. He retired from the Denison physical plant after more than

40 years of service. He was a skilled carpenter, plumber, electrician, painter, and well driller. He was also an accomplished horseman and expert marksman who hunted, fished, trapped, and trained hunting dogs. He loved bird-watching, gardening, and hunting mushrooms. He was preceded in death by his wife, Rose Marie Gosnell; son David L. Gosnell ’75 ; grandson Shane Gosnell; and brother, Fred Gosnel. He is survived by three sons, Thomas A. Gosnell (Lynn), John L. Gosnell (Lori), and Richard L. Gosnell (Susan); seven grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren.

Fleur Woods Metzger, 91, of Columbus, Ohio, Dec. 27, 2023. At Denison, she was an associate director of public affairs, now known as University Communications, from 1985 until her retirement in 2012. Her childhood had its share of challenges, which helped shape her character as a determined optimist. She and her husband, Charly, moved with their children to Granville in 1971. They made their first Granville friends while helping found the Raccoon Creek Paddle Tennis Club, and she went on to help start the Granville Recycling Center, serve as publicity chair of the Granville Garden Club’s annual Daffodil Show, and sing in both the Granville Community Chorus and the Denison Concert Choir. She and Charly, along with Dave and Dottie Klauder, purchased and renovated an 1853 brick mansion which they opened as Bryn Mawr Restaurant a year later. After the kids were grown, she began her career as a writer and publications editor at Denison. As the daughter of an English professor, she was proud of her 27 years at Denison and the many accolades and awards she and her colleagues received for their work. She retired in 2012 at age 79, but her keen eye for a misplaced comma and sharp ear for an incorrect pronoun made a lasting impression on her family. She was preceded in death by her husband. She is survived by her four children, Lisa Drake (Phil), Julie Baker (Doug), Laura Wigdale (Jay), and Charlie Metzger (Wendy); 14 grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

Former faculty

William Cullen Dennis, 81, of Bozeman, Montana, Nov. 10, 2023. He organized the first two expeditions to Mt. Denison in Alaska and inspired many to climb mountains and explore the backcountry of Montana and Wyoming. As a professor of American history at Denison from 1968 through 1984, he urged his students and friends to think critically, offering up different points of view in an always respectful manner. He went on to hold various positions at Liberty Fund, Inc., from 1985 to 2001. He received his doctoral degree from Yale University.

Guy Stern , 101, of West Bloomfield, Michigan, Dec. 7, 2023. Born in Germany in 1922, he emigrated to


the United States in 1937. He lost his entire family in the Holocaust. He joined the U.S. Army and became part of a secret military intelligence unit known as the Ritchie Boys, which served in the European theater of World War II. He received a Bronze Star for exceptional service and for innovation of successful interrogation techniques of German war prisoners. After the war, he resumed his education and ultimately taught German studies at several universities, including Denison. From 2003 to 2022, he worked at the Zekelman Holocaust Center in Farmington Hills, Michigan. He continued to speak publicly about the threat of rising bigotry, hatred, and antisemitism in the United States and Germany. Stern received many honors throughout his life, including honorary doctoral degrees, the Goethe Medal of Germany, and the Medal of the Legion of Honor in France. He was preceded in death by a son, Mark Stern, and is survived by his wife, Susanna Stern.

MAY 29–31

A 50th Reunion celebration for the Class of 1975

MAY 30 – JUNE 1

Celebrating the Classes of 1950, 1955, 1960, 1965, 1970, 1985, 1989, 1990, 1991, 2000, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2015, and 2020

MAY 31 – JUNE 1

Denison Forever, an opportunity for all members of post-50th classes to return to The Hill.

Additional exciting details will be shared later this summer!


Mennel is a professor emeritus of history and humanities at the University of New Hampshire. He lives at Edgewood Centre in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Back in the day, it was shouted out at Tony’s or by Myrt at the Horseshoe Bar and Grill in Newark, signifying that evening festivities were coming to an end. For me, the phrase still evokes both warm memories and a bit of regret for time ill-spent.

Sixty years later, “last call” has also become a marker for that part of life now literally upon me. As such, it has become another chance to appreciate my Denison years and to define my later life as well.

The triggering event arrived rudely several years ago, when I was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, or partial body paralysis.

“Look on the bright side,” my doctor said. “Your opinionated part still works!”

Well, I thought, my college friends will be happy about that.

As I remember Denison, last call has become a chance to connect my career as a history professor with those scholars who got me started. One was Guy Stern, who fled Germany in 1937 and returned with the U.S. Army to interrogate Nazis. His distinguished academic career began at Denison; his course on German culture and politics was unforgettable. Other early guides included historian Bill Preston, whose research uncovered the repressive practices of early FBI political lobbying. And political scientist Fred Wirt, who pioneered critical study of public opinion. His Monday quizzes drawn from the New York Times Sunday “Week in Review” laid the groundwork for work to come. (The paper cost 35 cents at White’s.)

I hope my own students felt the critical spirit of these wonderful teachers as I translated them during



Last call

my career. In any event, retirement loomed upon me in 2005, with my new disability not far behind. Both left me searching for a way to prolong teaching within the confines of a long-term care facility. This was a very different kind of last call.

The solution that I hit upon used a popular website,, to connect my new “students” — the nursing and therapy professionals who care for me as well as fellow patients — with their own pasts. A unique aspect of these exercises has been the predictions of some students that I would not find much. Their families, I was told, were comprised solely of “ordinary” and generally forgettable people. Happily, my research uncovered the opposite — notable ancestors appeared everywhere.

One colonial American lineage turned up a man from Salem, Massachusetts, whose sworn testimony freed a teenage girl imprisoned for witchcraft. Then there was the Boston man with the middle name “Tea Party,” which he earned on the wharves at the real event. A French-Canadian woman, whose family migrated to Maine in the 1920s, traced her origins to the first Acadian settlements in the Annapolis Valley, while an Exeter man’s lineage led to Ambrose Swasey, principal donor to Denison’s chapel, then as now a center of campus life.

By helping new inquirers connect with their own past, teacher and student alike become immersed in the flow of present events and our anticipation of change to come. It has been a most rewarding experience, shoring up my own hope for the future.

May you all discover the spirit of Last Call.


Denison University Society of the Alumni


ALUMNI COUNCIL (through June 30, 2024)

Vanessa Miller ’04


Ali Teopas Spungen ’08


Amy Gillies ’92


Elizabeth Daughtery ’86


Rebecca Glick ’03


Bob Howarth ’66


Demitri Johnson ’11


Aaron Laramore ’88


Mark Morawski ’90


Linda Parker Gates ’86


Michael Piper-Younie ’00


Vivian Quaye ’03


Alicia Henry ’05



Dana GrandmaisonGilligan ’02



Jonathan Van Balen ’02



Frank Ward ’04



Amy Gillies ’92


Mike Trigg P’25



Adam Weinberg


Greg Bader


Libby Eckhardt



Lewis A. (Lee) Sachs ’85 (Chair), James L. Anderson ’85, George Bodenheimer ’80, Cynthia Ooten Booth ’79, Ashley Edwards Bradley ’93, Daniel J. Brickman ’80, Marcus Colwell ’84, Kathryn Correia ’79, Tim Ewing ’89, Jesse Felker ’23, Jeremy J. Flug ’83, Kristen Fitzwilliam Giarrusso ’84, James T. Glerum Jr. ’82, Lauren S. Haarlow ’90, Matthew J. Harrington ’84, Jeryl Hayes ’04, Crystal Roberts Jezierski ’94, Jeffrey Johnson ’81, Richard Kienzle ’85, Suzanne B. Kriscunas ’72, Marc B. Lautenbach ’83, Eric Lindberg ’93, Douglas W. Mabie ’86, Jeffrey Masten ’86, Amy Todd Middleton ’93, William C. Mulligan ’76, Stephen Polk ’78, Abigail Pringle ’96, Vivian Quaye ’03, George V. Russell ’88, Arthur P. Steinmetz Jr. ’80, Thomas E. Szykowny ’79, G. Jackson Tankersley Jr. ’72, Gregory N. Taylor ’86, Jamie K. Thorsen ’77, Rayshon Walker ’22, Susan D. Whiting ’78


Mary Jane Le Van Armacost ’62, Charles A. Brickman ’54, Walter F. Burke ’71, John A. Canning Jr. ’66, Janet Crown ’85, Mark F. Dalton ’72, Paul A. Dimitruk ’71, Michael D. Eisner ’64, John V. Faraci Jr. ’72, Martha Dunbar Hall ’81, Dana Hart ’76, Ro Nita Hawes-Saunders ’73, W August Hillenbrand, Thomas E. Hoaglin ’71, David J. Hooker ’72, Paul W. Hylbert ’66, Charlotte Power Kessler ’65, John D. Lowenberg ’64, Sharon Smith Martin ’65, Steven P. Matteucci ’78, William T. McConnell ’55, Donald B. Shackelford ’54, Gary V. Simpson ’84, John N. Taylor Jr. ’57, Joseph H. Thomas ’56


Lori Kurtzman



Mark Pinkerton

Photo Editor

James Schuller

Obituaries Editor

Theodore Decker Staff

Kristy Bellofatto

Asesha Dayal ’17

Taby Arthur Fogg ’14

Brooke LaValley

Tom Reed

Ginny Sharkey ’83

Denison Magazine (ISSN 1042-1645) is published two times a year by the Denison University Office of University Communications, 100 West College St., Granville, OH 43023

Copyright ©2024 by Denison University. All rights reserved. Opinions expressed in Denison Magazine are those of the individual authors and subjects, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the college administration, faculty, or students. No portion of this magazine may be reprinted without the express written consent of the editor.


Send address changes to Denison Magazine, Denison University, 100 West College St., Granville, OH 43023.



This is the original architect’s plaster model of Swasey, delivered to Millard Brelsford, secretary of the board of trustees, in 1923.

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