EKU Magazine Fall 2017

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FALL 2017

Contributors EKU Magazine is a collaborative effort between EKU Alumni Engagement and EKU Communications and Brand Management. EKU President Michael T. Benson

YOUR INVESTMENT FUELS THEIR SUCCESS Last year, Colonel fans witnessed many great honors, including the second highest student-athlete GPA in the University’s history!

▶ 3.102 GPA in Fall 2016

Vice President, Development and Alumni Relations Nicholas Perlick

Alumni Engagement Staff Executive Director of Alumni Engagement Dan McBride, ’89

Assistant Vice President, Principal Gifts Kari Martin, ’06

Senior Director for Engagement and Communications Steve Greenwell, ’06

Assistant Vice President, Communications and Brand Management Doug Cornett

Coordinator of Engagement and Communications Alex Hanavan, ’15 ’17

Photography Amanda Cain Jennifer Ott, ’11 Chris Radcliffe, ’04 Chris Seufert Michael Trainor Tim Webb, ’92 EKU Special Collections & Archives Contributing Writers Jerry Wallace Richard Day Joshua Kegley, ’07 Kristi Middleton Margaret Willingham, ’80 Steven Fohl, ’07 ’12 Kevin Britton, ’00 ’11 Yasmin White, ’17

▶ 3.09 GPA in Spring 2017

Editorial Managing Editor Brandon Moore, ’14

▶ 126 athletes made the Dean’s List

Design and Layout Senior Graphic Designer Mickey Thomas

▶ 198 athletes have a 3.0 GPA or higher ▶ 1,585 community service hours ▶ Achieved the highest OVC competition honor by winning EKU’s fourth consecutive Commissioners Cup

BE A PART OF THE TEAM AND JOIN THE COLONEL CLUB TODAY! 844-3-GOBIGE or email tickets@eku.edu COLONEL CLUB MEMBERS — loyal alumni, parents and friends — are proud that their tax-deductible contributions provide vital resources for all aspects of Colonel Athletics, including scholarships, travel expenses, equipment, academic support and much more. They receive unique membership benefits, such as yard signs, car decals and lapel pins, as well as the opportunity to purchase season tickets and priority post-season ticket access.

Graphic Designer Tara Leisure, ’16 Design Management Jessica Holly

Coordinator of Alumni Programming and Student Philanthropy Sarah Baker, ’15 International Alumni Association Board President Amy Jo Smith Gabel, ’05 ’08 Immediate Past President Tom Martin, ’93 ’01 Vice President; Chair, Alumni Awards and Recognition Bob Sullivan, ’72 (ROTC Representative) Secretary; Chair Development Ray Arnold, ’09 ’13 Board Members: Deborah Alexander, ’77, Kenneth Armstrong, ’90 (President, College of Justice and Safety Alumni), Tichaedza Chikuni, ’05 ’11, Afsi Davis, ’10, George Demaree, ’82, Christopher Eden, ’09, David Fifer, ’07, Dana Daughetee Fohl, ’07, Kelvin Ford, ’94, Stephanie Goodpaster, ’08, Tonita Goodwin, ’80, DaJuane Harris, ’13 (Chair, Alumni Programming and Student Success), Kristine Herrera (Student Alumni Ambassador President), Jeffery Humble, ’07, Miranda Massey, ’17, Ryan Kennedy, ‘14 (Chair, Board Development), David McFaddin, ’99 ’16, Barbara Phillips, ’73, Chris Radcliffe, ’04 ’12, Laura Rudolph, ’08, Lori Tatum, ’01, Lelani Turrentine, ’71, Ray Walker, ’79, JC Young, ’04 ’06

Eastern Kentucky University 521 Lancaster Ave. Richmond, KY 40475-3102

Visit us online:

eku.edu stories.eku.edu alumni.eku.edu development.eku.edu

COVER IMAGE: EKU graduate Jeff Mayfield is a lieutenant firefighter in Madisonville, Kentucky.

Eastern Kentucky University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer and educational institution and does not discriminate on the basis of age (40 and over), race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, ethnicity, disability, national origin, veteran status, or genetic information in the admission to, or participation in, any educational program or activity (e.g., athletics, academics and housing) which it conducts, or in any employment policy or practice. Any complaint arising by reason of alleged discrimination should be directed to the Office of Equity and Inclusion, 416 Jones Building, CPO 37, Eastern Kentucky University, 521 Lancaster Avenue, Richmond, Kentucky 40475-3102, 859-622-8020 or the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Building, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC. 20202 1-800-421-3481 (V), 1-800-877-8339 (TDD).

FALL 2017 2 Recalling Higher Education’s Democratic Purpose

4 EKU Stories



Carloftis Garden/ Jon Carloftis Profile


29 Charting a New Course: Do Charter Schools Make the Grade?

Annual Italy Trip Inspires

32 Homecoming 2017

34 Gold Standard: EKU Groups Celebrate 50 Years

39 Athletics Highlights/ Athletics Facility Updates






Chance Conversation Inspires Mary Ousley’s Health Care Career

Alumni News

47 In Memoriam

EKU graduates understand the importance of making personal, one-on-one connections. One such encounter inspired the career of one of the nation’s most distinguished health care advocates.


POWERING KENTUCKY COMMUNITIES From teachers to first responders, EKU trains a lot of heroes. Many choose to stay in Kentucky to help the Commonwealth’s underserved populations. These are the stories of five such heroes.


SURFACE DETAILS Abstract Expressionist Steve Lyons Taking the Art World by Storm A dash of inspiration and some leftover lumber kicked off the career of one of the world’s leading abstract artists. That’s just one of the twists and turns in the life of this EKU grad.


Recalling Higher Education’s Democratic Purpose As my former colleague, Hal Boyd, and I will detail in our forthcoming book, The Public University: Recalling Higher Education’s Democratic Purpose, the role of higher education in our nation began to evolve in the middle of the 19th century to meet the demands of industrialization and agriculture. Whereas their aim was once, in the words of former Harvard President Derek Bok, “to educate an elite group of young men for the learned professions and positions of leadership in society,” our colleges and universities came to align their missions with what

This “sanctuary of citizenship,” one where all voices and perspectives can be freely shared, is vital to our ability as citizens of a diverse nation to set aside our differences and work together for the common good.

Benjamin Franklin once determined to be “those things that are likely to be most useful.” More pragmatic, vocation-oriented programs such as engineering, business administration, teacher training and public health began to flourish. Then, in the late 19th century, institutions began to undertake more rigorous scientific endeavors, and the American research university was born. As a comprehensive university that prizes the liberal arts, practical hands-on learning and undergraduate student research, all these threads comprise the fabric that is EKU today. But what is often overlooked is our commitment to preparing young men and women to become full participants in this grand experiment of American democracy. This “sanctuary of citizenship,” one where all voices and perspectives can be freely shared, is vital to our ability as citizens of a diverse nation to set aside our differences and work together for the common good.

Kentucky. And most remain following graduation. Among all the public, four-year institutions across the Commonwealth and at all degree levels, EKU graduates also enjoy the highest Kentucky employment rate (76 percent) five years post-graduation. As residents of this great Commonwealth, the quality of life we enjoy in our communities is a direct result of EKU graduates who serve as teachers and school administrators, nurses and other health care professionals, law enforcement officers and other first responders, social workers, environmental scientists and other public health officials, not to mention others who impact job creation in various ways or who enrich us through the arts. Increasingly in coming years, even the pilot at the controls of your airplane may well be a graduate of our rapidly growing aviation program. We can’t make this point strongly enough when we advocate for public support of higher education: besides the wise investment in our young people, it is a down payment toward an engaged citizenry and toward the quality of life that we sometimes take for granted: the education of our children, and the safety, health and welfare of us all. Enjoy this issue of EKU Magazine, and let us remember to thank the Eastern graduates who are “Powering Kentucky’s Communities” and serving us every day.

Michael T. Benson President, Eastern Kentucky University Students Laura Jackson, LEFT, and Lucy Burkhart, RIGHT, snap a selfie with President Benson during Welcome Week.

Taken together, these hallmarks of an Eastern graduate also explain why we can proudly call ourselves “Kentucky’s University” and why, as an article in this issue proclaims, we are “Powering Kentucky’s Communities.” This is nothing new; indeed, it is this institution’s legacy, a story that spans many generations. Nearly 90 percent of our undergraduates are Kentucky residents, the highest rate among all the public, four-year institutions in



– EKU STORIES – In this

issue Mock Trial Team Finishes 15th in National Championship Tournament Flying High: Aviation Program Receives Cessna Skyhawk Famed Campus Mascot Receives Fitting Tribute New Residential, Academic Facilities Make for Exciting Fall Another All-Time High for Private Support Students Meet Their Models for Selfless Service

Read more campus news at


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From left are team members Melissa Mahan, Allie Maples, Brianna Palmer, Alexa Turner, Ryan Wiggins, Laura Jackson, Hayley Abbott, Tyler Swafford and Angel Spurlock.

MOCK TRIAL TEAM FINISHES 15TH IN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT EKU’s mock trial team concluded one of its most successful seasons ever with a 15th-place finish at the American Mock Trial Association’s National Championship Tournament in Los Angeles, California. EKU dropped three ballots in its firstround matchup against the University of Cincinnati but rallied on the second day, taking two of three against the University of Arizona and sweeping all three ballots from the University of Rochester. EKU battled valiantly in the fourth round but dropped two ballots and tied one against the sixth-place team, The Ohio State University. EKU finished with a 5-6-1 record in the tournament, falling a single point shy of an honorable mention trophy.

It was the program’s third top -15 national finish in the past decade. Allie Maples, a senior political science major from Mount Sterling, Kentucky, capped her distinguished mock trial career at EKU with her first All-American Attorney Award, while Hayley Abbott, a junior political science major from Corbin, Kentucky, concluded her first season of mock trial with an AllAmerican Witness Award. Laura Jackson, a junior political science major from Artemus, Kentucky, and Tyler Swafford, a senior globalization and international affairs major from Franklin, Tennessee, each missed an All-American Award by a single rank out of 30.


FLYING HIGH: AVIATION PROGRAM RECEIVES CESSNA SKYHAWK EKU is one of five collegiate partners selected by Cessna Aircraft Company, a subsidiary of Textron Aviation Inc., to participate in the 2017 Top Hawk program. As a result, the University received a new, custom-branded Cessna Skyhawk 172 aircraft to support flight training, recruiting efforts and promotional activities. Joe Marthaler, chief flight instructor for the program, said the selection of EKU for the Top Hawk program “allows EKU Aviation to further enhance its position within the aviation community and market our program to the state and region. This alliance with Cessna is a brilliant occasion to showcase aviation in

Kentucky and further secure Kentucky’s claim to being an aviation state. Kentucky is number two in the nation in exporting aerospace goods and services.” The Cessna Skyhawk 172 features a glass flight deck, which “the industry requires to create a smooth transition for our students to the next level in their careers,” Marthaler said. “Our students will now have a choice that they would not have otherwise had.” He added that the program will showcase its newest aircraft at numerous events “in order to enhance our footprint, both in and out of the state.”

FAMED CAMPUS MASCOT RECEIVES FITTING TRIBUTE For a generation of Eastern Kentucky State College students, he was more than just an unofficial campus mascot. Mozart the dog was a constant companion and shaggy soulmate — in the Ravine, in nearby residence halls and music classrooms, and even on the football field. When he died in 1964 after a 17-year run of the Richmond campus, he was buried behind the Van Peursem Pavilion in the Ravine, the site of many outdoor concerts over the years. Now, thanks to the EKU Honors Student Advisory Council (HSAC), the canine’s legacy will be kept alive for future generations of Colonels. A new gravestone for Mozart, financed by the council, was dedicated in April to replace the old weather-worn marker behind the pavilion. Dr. Ron Wolfe, ’63, retired professor/administrator, fondly remembers the stray mongrel as a gentle and loving dog. He recalled Mozart attending every one of his music appreciation classes and even serving as sort of a class-closing bell. “When he got up and left, we were dismissed.” Wolfe’s favorite memory? “Mozart would walk in with the band during its halftime show at (the old) Hanger Field,” he recalled. “Then, when Tennessee Tech’s band took the field, he walked to the 50-yard line and howled through its entire performance.”

Mearl Risner, ’63, honored Mozart with this oil painting



“This fall will be as exciting a time at EKU as we’ve seen the last two or three decades.” — President Michael Benson told the Board of Regents in April.

Phase 2 of the New Science Building opened this fall, giving Eastern the largest science facility on any university campus in Kentucky.

NEW RESIDENTIAL, ACADEMIC FACILITIES MAKE FOR EXCITING FALL Even returning students might have needed a map to navigate The Campus Beautiful this fall. Not since the 1960s have EKU Colonels come back after summer break to quite so many campus improvements. Judging from high enrollment numbers, prospective students are taking notice, too, of the new residential and academic facilities that now dot the Richmond campus. They include two new residence halls, the second phase of the New Science Building, a new residential facility for single parents, a parking garage and

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enhancements to intercollegiate athletics facilities. Those facilities will be quickly followed in early 2018 by the new Case Dining Hall, a stand-alone facility financed by Aramark Educational Services LLC as part of a 15-year agreement with the food vendor. In the planning stages are a renovated student union, a new, larger student recreation center and a second pedway across the Eastern Bypass. It’s all part of the University’s ongoing campus revitalization initiative, designed to enhance student success and ultimately transform the living and learning experience for EKU students.




The completed New Science Building, on Kit Carson Drive across from the Wallace Building and near the health sciences complex, is now the largest such facility in Kentucky. The second phase houses the departments of Biological Sciences and Geosciences and will enhance the University’s capability of preparing students for STEM-related careers.

The first such facility on the Richmond campus, the 320-space facility, located just east of the health sciences complex and New Science Building, is part of the same public-private partnership that financed the two new residence halls.

NORTH RESIDENCE HALL & NEW MARTIN HALL EKU students can now choose from among two new state-ofthe-art, suite-style residence halls. North Hall is located on Kit Carson Drive just south of Telford Hall. What was formerly called New Hall will now be known as South Hall. New Martin Hall replaces the former Martin Hall at its former location on Lancaster Avenue. Together, the two residential facilities will house more than 1,100 students.

EASTERN SCHOLAR HOUSE Located on the former site of Brockton Apartments and just east of the health sciences complex, the Eastern Scholar House, in partnership with Kentucky River Foothills and others, will provide housing and other services to single parents pursuing college degrees.

CARLOFTIS GARDEN As part of an effort to enhance the curb appeal along its oncelackluster western periphery, the University worked with acclaimed landscape designer Jon Carloftis to develop an attractive green space dominated by all manner of native species. The garden fronts New Martin Hall, giving students on the hall’s west side a spectacular window view.

ATHLETICS FACILITY UPGRADES The much-improved new Earle Combs Stadium, a baseball facility named for the Baseball Hall of Famer who got his start at Eastern, and the new Gertrude Hood Stadium for softball opened during Spring 2017. An expansion project on the east side of Roy Kidd Stadium, expected to open in Fall 2017, adds 3,000-plus bleacher seats, concessions and restrooms, as well as new locker rooms, equipment room, game-day training space and more. The athletics renovations and expansions were funded through agency bonds sold in 2015.

The westward-facing side of New Martin Hall looks out over the spacious Carloftis Garden.



ANOTHER ALL-TIME HIGH FOR PRIVATE SUPPORT Scholarships that support the University’s commitment to student success and result in improved retention and graduation rates. A helping hand for underrepresented minority students. An innovative green energy initiative at the New Science Building. An endowed professorship in music. Improved athletic facilities. Those are just a few of the outcomes of another record year for private support at EKU, which recently concluded Fiscal Year 2017 with $9.2 million in gifts and commitments, its second consecutive all-time high. Included in that total are record annual amounts for scholarships, WEKU radio and Colonel athletics. “Philanthropy is having a profound impact on our students and faculty,” said Nick Perlick, vice president for development

and alumni relations. “Gifts have been directed to countless institutional needs.” Perlick is especially pleased with the increase in support for student scholarships, which “play a meaningful role in enabling EKU students to persist to graduation at record rates.” In fact, the largest single commitment this past year was $1.25 million from an anonymous donor for scholarships in science and mathematics. In all, the EKU Foundation funded 1,151 scholarships in FY 17, with just over $1 million disbursed to deserving students. For more information, visit development.eku.edu/giving.

STUDENTS MEET THEIR MODELS FOR SELFLESS SERVICE They gave up their spring break to help beautify the Jimmy Carter Historic Site in Plains, Georgia. Then the four EKU students enjoyed an intimate, informal dinner with their models for such selfless service: the nation’s 39th president and First Lady Rosalynn. It was hardly an elegant state dinner — barbecue, mac and cheese, beans, candied sweet potatoes and blueberry cobbler on paper plates — but don’t tell that to Esther Epps, a graduate public health student. BELOW: EKU students and others enjoy an informal dinner in Plains,

Georgia, with President and Mrs. Carter.

“It was an absolute honor to meet President Carter and Rosalynn Carter,” she said. “Their humanitarian legacy is amazing, and it was inspiring to meet people who have seen the world and made such a positive impact on international health. We conversed about the volunteer work we did that week, alternative spring break programs, fishing, peanuts and solar energy, as well as their dedication to their hometown.” Epps was also impressed to hear that the Carters are still conducting their humanitarian work into their 90s. “They still meet with ambassadors, leaders of nonprofits and others to continue their work of improving democracy and decreasing disease burden worldwide.”


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Annual Italy Trip Inspires Even now, tears well up in Dr. Dana Keller Bush’s eyes when she recalls the moment she led 26 EKU students into the room housing Michelangelo’s iconic, 17-foot-tall statue of biblical hero David. “I’ll turn around to watch them, and I cry every time,” she acknowledged. “Just the look on their faces when they see that beautiful marble work of art. One by one, their mouths drop, our eyes get misty and we cry together.” Such is the life-changing impact of an annual tour of Italy organized by the EKU Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, which Bush, ’95, chairs. For the first time this year, nine Eastern alumni joined the students and faculty for a portion of the tour, which encompassed Florence, Siena, nearby wine country and Rome, and carried the name of the credit class from which it sprung, Food, Fashion and Family. For most of the students, it was their first time flying on a plane, let alone visiting another country. But they soon came to think of Florence, their base, as sort of a second

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home, even making friends with the shopkeepers who forgave their butchered attempts at the Italian language. “Seeing more of the world crushed the bubble I clung so closely to,” declared Kimberly Mosher, a junior interdisciplinary early childhood education major from Richmond. “Being in a different culture not only opened my eyes to the world, but to the perspective of others I would soon travel home with. It broadens our perspectives on the world and makes us feel less alone, that we have something more to live for than just the degree we walk away with.” Brent Brashear, a senior apparel design and merchandising major from Jackson, Kentucky, still “cannot believe I had the opportunity to go. Just thinking about the things I was able to do and see makes me tear up.”


OPPOSITE: Church of San Miniato. Students and faculty were given a private tour by a local friar. The church was built between the 11th and 13th centuries. From the front, the views of Florence are impressive, as one can see the Duomo and Palazzo Vecchio and to the Tuscan hills beyond (BELOW).


While in Italy, the students took language/culture and cooking classes; visited museums, churches and historic sites; toured a Gucci factory; watched artisans at work; enjoyed a runway fashion show; and spent a “very cold” January morning beautifying a Florence park, repaying a debt of gratitude to the city that so warmly welcomed them. But it wasn’t necessarily the organized activities that left the most vivid impressions. Brashear was surprised to see the streets still filled with Christmas decorations through Jan. 6, Epiphany on the Catholic church calendar. The occasion was marked by a “huge parade that people from all over the world come to watch,” and the students also learned about Befana, an Italian equivalent of Santa Claus.

Spending those days in Florence opened my eyes and broadened my mind in ways that nothing else ever has. — Donna Caldwell, ‘92 ‘95

Whether it was learning to enjoy foods that they never would have tried back home, tearing up at the beauty of a Gregorian chant sung by monks in a 14th-century chapel, or appreciating the beauty and serenity of the famous Boboli Gardens in Florence, the students were changed in immeasurable ways. But first they had to open their minds and hearts to such new experiences. And that process began before they ever left Richmond. The students and faculty — Bush was joined by colleagues Susan Kipp and Rachel Harrington on the most recent trip — became a “family” at a pre-trip party at Bush’s home. “We really form a personal relationship with the students so they will feel comfortable,” Bush said. “They come to trust us. It’s a huge responsibility, but it’s one we really enjoy.” Bush also enjoyed seeing the students and alumni bond over the two weeks they were together. It was impossible to tell who gained more, or who learned more from whom. LEFT, FROM TOP: Dr. Dana Keller Bush, Gaebriell Leake and Kimberly

Moser make pasta during a cooking class. The group poses for a photo on the staircase at Accademia Europea di Firenze, where participants attended a language and culture class every morning. Menswear runway fashion show during Pitti Uomo Fashion Week. Students and alumni feasting together on gnocchi that they created during a cooking class. OPPOSITE: Italian chef, leading cooking class.

Donna Caldwell, ’92 ’95, said she “really enjoyed the opportunity to be with and get to know the EKU students. It was so encouraging to ... talk with them about their goals for the future and to hear them reflecting on all they were learning, and how the knowledge they gained was so much more than they could have imagined. “The entire experience was just wonderful,” added Caldwell, who is employed by Madison County Schools. “So many things to see and do. It is hard to say that I enjoyed any one thing more. However, spending those days in Florence opened my eyes and broadened my mind in ways that nothing else ever has.” The trip also re-engaged Caldwell with the University. “Most definitely, I feel more connected with the EKU community and now will be more interested in things that are going on at Eastern.” The same goes for Renee Kaspner, ’87, who came all the way from California to join the journey. “I enjoyed the ‘school’ schedule, which gave us all a flavor of the culture, including the cooking classes, wine tasting and the opera,” said Kaspner, a community nutrition graduate now employed by the Riverside County (California) Office of Education. “The schedule included time for exploring on your own and being immersed in the Italian way of life.” Like Caldwell, Kaspner came away impressed by the students, who she said “are so smart and learn so quickly. The students

arrived a week before alumni, so they knew all the ins and outs, where to go for great coffee, gelato, shopping and all things important in new surroundings.” Kaspner has already made a trip back to campus to see her newfound friends. “Being able to get connected again to a community that I have such fond memories of has been wonderful,” she said. “We all have memories to last a lifetime... or until another trip.” Not surprisingly, interest in the Italy tour has grown rapidly from just four students who joined the first trip two years ago. But the experience never gets old, either for the students who return or for the faculty. “Every year we come away with something new,” Bush said. “It has really fired me up, wanting to get more students to travel and study abroad. I wish I could just plop every one of our EKU students over there for just three weeks. What a more loving place we would be.” n

For more photos & more info about #EKUAbroad and CFS, visit go.eku.edu/ItalyMag17 or email Dana.Bush@eku.edu.


Chance Conversation Inspires Mary Ousley’s Health Care Career

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It was early in her career as a nursing center administrator. Mary Ousley, ’74 ’86, was making her evening rounds through the facility, as she had done countless times during her prior tenure as a nursing supervisor at Pattie A. Clay Hospital (now Baptist Health) in Richmond. Along the way, she encountered 93-year-old Hazel, who had been admitted earlier that day. “She appeared lonely, so I sat down to ask her about herself,” Ousley recalled. “Soon I was stopping by every evening and, oh, the stories she told me — all about her youth, the exciting things she had done throughout her career, her pride in her son who taught at EKU, all of the stories that were important to her life. We found we shared the same birthday, along with Johnny Carson — a show we both had enjoyed over the years — so we laughed together as we discussed his late-night antics.” The more the two talked, the sharper Ousley’s career plans came into focus. “I did not make the decision to devote my career to long-term care,” she said. “It was made for me.” Ousley, who never left Richmond while rearing five daughters, would go on to become a nationally recognized advocate for older Americans, testify before Congress about issues related to long-term care, have an award named for her (the Mary K. Ousley Champion of Quality Award) by the American Health Care Association (AHCA), which she served as chair, and earn induction into the EKU Hall of Distinguished Alumni. But anytime she conversed with her newfound friend, Ousley was the pupil. “She taught me that every individual was unique and that who we are does not change with age: the goals, the hopes and the desire to contribute remain. Above all, she taught me to see the value of the individual, to always hold the patient/resident at the center of all I would do as a health care professional. I wonder what path my career would have taken if I had simply seen her as an old person.” As Ousley (pronounced ooze-lee) advanced in her career to manage several large national nursing home chains, she assumed a leadership role in the development of national nursing home reform legislation in 1987. She testified before Congress six times between 1989 and 2007. Since 2010, she has worked closely with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, frequently interacting with CMS leadership and others to discuss and influence policy

related to health care delivery, including financing models and quality measures. Ousley quickly earned a reputation for candor and a willingness to question the status quo, reflecting advice from her parents — her father was a miner who rose to become national safety director for the United Mine Workers of America — to always be true to herself. “We have the availability of the best health care in the world, but we also have the most expensive health care, and our health outcomes rank far below many developed countries,” she said in July 2017. “The question remains who will have access to these advancements in care. Will they be available to all or only to the few who can afford the best health insurance? I do not have the answer, but I want to keep working toward the solution.” As she continues her work as a policy advocate with the AHCA, Ousley also serves as the chief strategy officer for PruittHealth, a southeast regional leader in long-term health care whose services include more than 90 post-acute, skilled nursing and assisted living locations and an array of supplementary resources. But never far from Ousley’s mind is Eastern, where she earned an associate degree in nursing and a bachelor’s degree in sociology. In fact, she approaches her role on the EKU Foundation Board of Directors with the same zeal she exhibits in her advocacy for quality health care, looking now for opportunities to merge her passions. “It’s an exciting opportunity to think about the role in the future of health care for our nation and for Kentucky,” she said. “EKU graduates make a profound impact on health and health care delivery in the Commonwealth, and I want to do whatever I can to help strengthen our nursing and health science programs and expand their capacity to prepare even more students and deliver even more outreach services.” Hazel would be proud of her protégé. n




How different would life in your community be without its teachers and school administrators, nurses and other health care workers, public safety officers and other first responders and social workers? Thanks to Eastern Kentucky University and its thousands of graduates who have gone on to serve Kentucky communities in those professions, you’ll never face such a scenario. The vast majority — nearly 90 percent — of our undergraduates call Kentucky home, and 76 percent of EKU alumni are employed in their home state within five years of their graduation — the highest percentages among all public, four-year institutions in the Commonwealth. That is why Eastern can proudly claim the mantle of Kentucky’s University, and why we can boldly declare that we are “Powering Kentucky’s Communities.” The profiles that follow can only begin to tell the story of the impact EKU graduates are making — in communities both large and small all across the Bluegrass State. Their venues of service may vary, but a common thread is unmistakable: a passion to serve others and make a positive difference.

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While that desire may have led them to their career choices and to Eastern, it was at EKU they honed the skills that so often make a life-and-death difference in the lives they touch. Many of these graduates work in underserved counties, and serve as role models for a new generation of impressionable young people looking for hope. As southeastern Kentucky flight paramedic Edwin Bentley explained, “I want to show young kids and the community that there are positive things still in this area.” Not the least of which are all the EKU grads from Pikeville to Paducah who are “Powering Kentucky’s Communities.” n


It’s a rare opportunity when Edwin Bentley, ’00, gets to follow up with patients he helped transport as a flight paramedic with Wings Air Rescue. When it does happen, “there’s no better feeling than knowing that we do make a difference.” A flight paramedic who provides critical care transport in southeastern Kentucky and parts of Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina, Bentley got his start with the Neon (Kentucky) Volunteer Fire Department. That was his introduction to emergency medical services (EMS), and he was soon pursuing a degree in emergency medical care at Eastern. When he returned home, only two paramedics were working full time in Letcher County. Bentley has been very active teaching EMT and paramedic courses as well as precepting new hires. “I’m a talker and love to interact with people on scenes and teaching classes.” His love for people extends to occasional free clinics and “Santa runs” with the helicopter. Bentley said he just wants to help people. “Through all of the economic and social troubles people may face, I want to be a part of some of the good things that occur in my home area, show young kids and the community that there are positive things still in this area and maybe expose kids to the unknown world of EMS.”



Chad Higgins’ career track was sealed in sixth grade, when his teacher refused to let him fail as he struggled with his parents’ divorce. “She refused to let me fail because of my home life,” recalled Higgins, ’14, now a fourth-grade teacher at Yates Elementary School in Lexington. “She’s like a second mother to me, and we are extremely close to this day. I hope to instill in my students that nothing is impossible, and they are capable of doing anything they put their minds to.”

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Higgins also serves the community through his work as director of music and media at Consolidated Baptist Church, recalling the lessons he learned during his two years at EKU. “I made it a point to build relationships with each one of my professors, people in the cafeteria, everyone,” he noted. “That has caused me to be more open and loving to people who I meet and find the good in them, regardless of who they are. I’m much more prepared to impact the world through my students because of my time at EKU.”


Some are homeless. Some are reeling from drug abuse. Others might just need transportation to and from the doctor’s office. Whatever the need, as social work manager at St. Elizabeth Physicians in northern Kentucky, Ashley Cremeans, ’09, is there to lend a helping hand. “I chose social work because I love being in the helping profession,” said Cremeans, of Independence. “I love that I work for a physicians’ group that has recognized the difference that comprehensive care can make, and they embrace a care team approach to helping their patients. I hope that the difference I am making is that we continue to change the health care system to ensure that all our patients’ needs are addressed, and that we can work toward improving not just their physical health, but also their overall well-being.” Cremeans’ commitment to her community doesn’t necessarily end with her workday. “In our field, we use so many community partners to help our patients that we like to give back to those agencies. For me, it’s a way to see services come full circle.”



“Everybody is someone to somebody, so treat them as you would want to be treated yourself.” That has been the mantra for Carmen Griffith, ’91, ever since she followed the footsteps of other family members into the health care profession. Today, Griffith serves as vascular coordinator for Kentucky One Health-Jewish Hospital in Louisville. She collects and examines data, presents paths for improvement to vascular surgeons and others, works with other data managers within the Pathways M2S network, organizes events to raise awareness about vascular disease and aortic emergencies, and attends conferences that include physicians, data managers, nurses and researchers in order to share knowledge and establish regional goals. “Caring for others is all I knew,” said Griffith, noting a mother, grandmother and aunt who pursued careers in health care. “I never actually gave any thought to doing anything else.” Now she hopes her impact is one of “continued growth, consistency and striving toward excellence.”

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It might be their darkest of days, but when Jeff Mayfield, ’01, arrives on the scene, Madisonville residents know they’ve got a friend, advocate and devoted public servant at their side. As a lieutenant with the city’s fire department and as deputy coroner for Hopkins County, Mayfield likes “being there to try to help someone when they are having their worst day.” Mayfield, whose father and “pretty much everyone I knew was on the volunteer fire department,” determined at an early age to follow in their footsteps and joined the department in 2004. In his current role, he supervises his engine company and assists with planning training and fire prevention activities, among other duties. “What I enjoy most is that you are always faced with something different and challenging.” As deputy coroner, assisting families who have just lost a loved one, “I try to bring as much peace and closure as possible by being there to answer any questions they have and helping them in any way possible.”


Carlof tis

GARDEN Northcutt Fountain was donated by EKU alumnus Scott Northcutt.

The garden was created by celebrated landscape designer and Kentucky native Jon Carloftis.

More than 75 percent of the plants in the garden are species native to Kentucky.

A state-of-the-art irrigation system uses sensors that water the grounds only when needed.

Carloftis Garden is two acres, about the size of a baseball field.

Carloftis Garden features twin fountains, one of which was donated by EKU Hall of Distinguished Alumni member Scott Northcutt, ’84, to honor his wife of 28 years, the former Anne Allegrini, ’86. The two met at EKU just two weeks before he graduated . “The garden is a wonderful addition to the EKU campus... and captures the spirit of The Campus Beautiful,” Northcutt said. “The water continuously flowing symbolically expresses my love for my wife as new, ever evolving and renewing.” Mr. Northcutt, a first-generation college graduate, is global senior vice president for Bacardi Limited. The Northcutts reside in Bermuda, but their minds often wander back to Eastern.


Jon Carlof tis Decades before landscape designer Jon Carloftis grew up along the banks of the Rockcastle River in the Appalachian foothills, the Richmond campus of what is now EKU was described as “The Campus Beautiful.” Carloftis Garden, dedicated in May 2017, only adds to the splendor, reminding the campus and community that as new buildings of every purpose are altering the skyline, the addition of attractive green spaces at ground level is no less critical in the University’s ongoing revitalization. Though Carloftis has acquired a national reputation as the “Gardener to the Stars,” the EKU garden is the first he ever designed for a public university campus. Fronting New Martin Hall at the intersection of Lancaster Avenue and Park Drive, it replaces tennis courts that

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were moved to the south side of campus, greatly enhancing the aesthetic appeal on the University’s western periphery. “We wanted to do a garden that was a wow factor,” said Carloftis, who received an honorary doctor of humanities degree from Eastern in 2014. “You want something that’s going to have an impact.” It certainly had that effect on Shalomel Achi, a junior public health major who spoke at the dedication. “I’m thankful for the green space you’re making available to us,” she said. “I’ve seen Eastern be transformed, and I’ve come to love it more.” n

LEAVE YOUR LEGACY A bequest is a special way to give back to EKU for all it has meant to you. Your gift creates a legacy that reflects your values for generations to come. And you can fund it through your will, retirement plan or life-insurance designation.

For information on how you can leave your legacy through EKU, please contact Director of Gift and Estate Planning Melinda Murphy, J.D. | 859-622-8090 or email melinda.murphy@eku.edu


Abstract Expressionist Steve Lyons Taking the Art World by Storm


One of the top five abstract expressionists in the world of art was a journalism major at Eastern Kentucky University, known during his student days for his disco dancing talents and for managing the DJs at the Family Dog nightspot. Welcome to the crazy world of Steve Lyons, ’80, whose life has taken more unpredictable twists and turns than the roads around his native Portsmouth, Ohio, home. There, he was raised by poor parents who knew little about art but recognized his special gifts and pushed him to follow his dreams. Lyons, who did minor in art history at Eastern, dabbled in art as a child and continued to do so throughout a successful career in corporate communications. It wasn’t until 2011 that the art world began to take notice of his talents. Having just finished renovating his home on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Lyons was left with many pieces of scrap lumber. Sensing an opportunity to create, he began painting sea, dune and landscape scenes on different shapes and sizes of wood. His epiphany became a

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“yard sale.” Those originals sold quickly, at $50 to $100 apiece, and soon others were leaving notes wanting one of their own. Within two months, Lyons had sold more than a hundred “momento paintings.” His front porch now a destination for buyers and onlookers, Lyons found it impossible to keep his corporate job and satisfy the demand for his art. He decided in July 2012 to pursue his muse full time and, within a few months, won the shared exhibition prize at the Stadtgalerie in Germany and began to be mentored by international art critic Matthias Billand, who helped Lyons crack the European market. It was Billand who told Lyons: “One day the world will be at your feet.” “I, of course, laughed,” said Lyons, ”but he was serious and told me so.”

Detail view of Steve Lyons’ sculptural painting. OPPOSITE: Lyons paints in his studio, July ’17

Then Lyons became the first American to be offered a mentorship by renowned Finnish artist Markku Piri, who helped Lyons prepare for his first international show. Lyons’ work has now been showcased in Germany multiple times, as well as Poland, Mexico and all across the U.S., and collectors around the world covet his art for its impasto technique, which dates to the late 13th century and involves using thick paint on the surface. In fact, many who have credited him for reviving the technique have described Lyons’ style as “sculptural paintings.” “To put it simply, I use paint to sculpt images onto a surface, such as a board or canvas,” Lyons explained. His “Painted Ladies” series, which has been said to cross genres, became “the darling” of art collectors worldwide, according to a 2016 Huffington Post article. When he was named one of the world’s leading abstract expressionists by the American Art Awards, Lyons competed with a few thousand artists from 42 countries, the winners selected by the top 20 galleries in the U.S. “That was pretty unbelievable to me, this guy who grew up in the foothills of Appalachia.” Lyons was “riding on air” again this year when he was selected as one of America’s top contemporary master artists to be

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included in a documentary that will be part of the National Archives and used in museums for educational purposes. Not a day goes by when Lyons doesn’t recall the lessons learned in his art history and journalism classes at EKU. From his “invaluable” art history courses, Lyons learned that art creation doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and discovered the importance of following one’s own heart. “When it is organic to you, it will resonate with you and others.” From his journalism classes, he learned to always “investigate the story.” But it was retired professor and college dean Dr. Dan Robinette, with whom he recently reconnected, who gave Lyons “the permission to know more, try more, seek better things, do more, accomplish more. He made us feel good about ourselves and for being who we were and who we could be.” Little could Robinette know then, though, that his mentee would go on to be one of the world’s leading artists. n CLOCKWISE, FROM TOP LEFT: The Steve Lyons Gallery in Chatham,

Massachusetts, July 2017. Tools of the artist’s trade. Lyons sketches ideas in his studio. Steve Lyons acrylic, titled “Women and the Universe.” Collection of artwork in the Steve Lyons Gallery.


PHOTOS: Boy with Book: Filadendron. Bus: FatCamera. Students in Class: Monkeybusinessimages. Green apple: eli_asenova. Yellow: valery121283. All © iStockphoto.com

In March, Governor Matt Bevin signed Kentucky’s first charter school law, making the state the 44th to allow charter schools. But for most citizens, charter schools remain a vague concept. What are they? How will EKU’s College of Education respond? The concept of charter schools goes back to 1988, when American Federation of Teachers President Albert Shanker was seeking solutions that might eliminate dropouts. He saw large numbers of disengaged high school students slumped in their seats, or causing trouble, awaiting their earliest opportunity to quit school. Shanker thought that, given some flexibility, a group of teachers might be able to break from traditional approaches and design a better method for reaching these difficult-to-teach students.

If they were successful, these new methods would be shared and could be implemented in other schools. But to do that, the teachers would need permission from the local school board to recruit likely dropouts. Shanker proposed that a school board might give the teachers “a charter” to test their theories and methods for a specific time period. Thus, the idea for a charter school was born.


But by 1993, a new and more opportunistic breed of charter operator began to shift attention away from the original mission. When Shanker observed private corporations getting into the business, cutting salaries, hiring less qualified teachers and reaping profits from state money — all often amid financial scandal — he turned against his own idea and opposed charter schools for the rest of his career. In 2010, Katy Haycock, the oft-quoted founder of the Education Trust, visited EKU and offered a more nuanced interpretation. “There are people in the charter world because they want to make a difference for kids — and there are wonderful examples of charter schools,” she said. “But there are others in the charter movement who are just about freedom from regulations

One of the factors making charter schools difficult to assess is that they are not all alike. Asking if charter schools are good is like asking if restaurants are good. By design, charter schools are allowed to go in many different directions. What it means to be a student in one charter school is likely to be very different from another. For example, the nationally prominent KIPP schools focus on students who can manage a highly structured school environment without creating disruptions. High expectations and character development are central to the approach. One Kentucky charter school proponent is working on the design for a west Lexington charter school that would build its instruction on Bloom’s Taxonomy and the oral traditions already existent in African American and Latino communities.

“There is a battle going on for the soul of charter schools. It is very important who wins that battle.”

Quite possibly the best aspect of Kentucky’s charter school law is that unlike some other states, it requires that our charter school teachers be certified.

This allows EKU to ensure that — no matter where they choose to teach — our teacher candidates and professional educators (grad students) will be highly qualified, meet — Education Trust Founder Katy Haycock all Kentucky certification requirements and successfully impact the learning of all students. Our partners not only include the and whose results are worse than some of the worst traditional school districts we presently offer professional support for, but public schools. There is a battle going on for the soul of charter also the Kentucky Department of Education and the professional schools. It is very important who wins that battle.” standards board. The list of our partners might get a little longer as new charter schools come online, but we will continue to But when charter schools first began to appear, Kentucky work collaboratively to ensure that candidates enrolled in our educators were neck deep in implementing the Kentucky professional education programs meet all Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA), the most sweeping set of school certification requirements. As Education Dean Sherry Powers reforms undertaken by any state at any one time. That’s why put it, “We will continue to study and investigate educational little attention was paid to charter schools here before 2009.

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theories, instructional practices and educational policies/ legislation in order to make appropriate evidence-based decisions for the profession, as well as in university teacher preparation programs.”

scheduling, curriculum and instruction, and must follow the compulsory attendance law. The law states that parents can choose charters — charters do not choose students. Over the past decade, whether to permit charter schools in Kentucky has been a hotly contested education issues taken up by the General Assembly. But the advent of charter schools does not alter EKU’s historical commitment to its mission. We remain committed to preparing Kentucky’s best teachers. No

Look for Kentucky’s first charter schools in the fall of 2018. In the meantime, a lot of work must be done in order to start a charter school. Applications will be accepted in early 2018, and if they meet all of the requirements, will be accepted. Each charter school application must specify the school’s mission and vision; the target student population, “We will continue to study and including ages and grades the school investigate... in order to make will serve; the academic program and appropriate evidence-based decisions instructional methods the school will use; for the profession, as well as in university and an explanation of how the school’s teacher preparation programs.” program can improve the achievement of — EKU Education Dean Sherry Powers traditionally under-performing students. Under Kentucky’s law, charter schools shall not discriminate, shall not have entrance requirements, may not charge tuition, may not withdraw students due to lack of academic effort or poor attendance, must adhere to open meetings and open records laws, and must undergo financial audits. Charter schools have autonomy over finance, personnel,

matter where they go on to teach — in traditional public schools, private schools or charter schools — EKU graduates are sought out by school leaders across the Commonwealth. And according to our latest data, 98 percent of EKU’s College of Education graduates are employed in the schools. n


There’s No Place Like Homecoming OCTOBER 19–21, 2017

Join us as we gather for food, fun, laughter and

shared memories here at The Campus Beautiful. All alumni are welcome! We are rolling out the

“yellow brick road” with a weekend full of exciting events and celebrations. Reconnect with your

Colonel Family at Eastern Kentucky University.

There’s No Place Like Homecoming!

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 19 Colonel Corn Roast 5 – 7pm | Powell Plaza

Enjoy FREE roasted corn, hot dogs and family-friendly activities while getting pumped up for the big game with President

Michael Benson and the EKU Cheerleaders, Dance Teams and

Pep Band. You’ll also get to meet the 2017 Homecoming court!

Eastern’s Got Talent 7 – 9pm | Brock Auditorium

Come and check out America’s favorite variety show with a

Colonel twist! At this annual event, talented EKU students will compete to be the best show-stopper on campus.

Stay Connected as a #ForeverColonel


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EKU Alums

1942, 1947, 1952, 1957, 1962, the Pioneer Class of


1967, 1972, 1977, 1982, 1987, 1992, 1997, 2002, 2007


and Distinguished Alumni Award recipients.

#EKUHC2017 To RSVP, visit homecoming.eku.edu and check the up-to date event listings for affinity gatherings, rain locations and more!




Forever Colonel Breakfast 8:30 – 10:30am | Irvine McDowell Park

Decal Drive Through 10am – 4pm | University Drive

over a continental breakfast. Enjoy this front row seat to

Cruise to your official starting point for the 2017 EKU

Homecoming and Reunion Weekend! Simply pull up to the

curb in front of Keen Johnson to receive a campus map, schedule of events, parking directions and a special EKU Alumni window

decal to show your Colonel pride. For a full list of Friday events, visit homecoming.eku.edu.

Mix and mingle with your reunion class and fellow alums the Annual Homecoming 5K and Parade.

Homecoming 5K 10am | Model Lab School

Run the 39th Annual Homecoming 5K and lead the Parade through Downtown Richmond. Registration is $20 per person until October 17 and includes a Homecoming

T-shirt ($5 registration with no T-shirt). Registration is from

Town and Gown Tailgate 11am – 1pm | Madison County Courthouse Lawn

8 to 10am, with lineup beginning at 10am.

Downtown Richmond and feel the energy from the community

Admire the floats and catch candy as you watch Eastern

Take the scenic walk from the Campus Beautiful to historic in celebration of Homecoming. At this free event, you will

have the opportunity to grab a bite to eat and hear a special message from both President Benson and Mayor Jim Barnes.

Alumni Awards and Pioneer Celebration 5pm | Keen Johnson

Come celebrate EKU’s 2017 Alumni Award recipients and

the Pioneer Class of 1967. Enjoy the camaraderie of fellow

Colonels, a delicious meal and a festive celebration of EKU’s finest graduates. Doors open at 5pm for a reception. Dinner and program begin at 6pm.

Homecoming Parade 10 – 11am | Lancaster Avenue/Main Street

students and community members come together for the Annual Homecoming Parade. The parade will welcome

visitors with “There’s No Place Like Homecoming” floats and feature the 2017 Homecoming Court.

Homecoming Tailgate 11am – 3pm | Alumni Coliseum Parking Lot

Enjoy connecting with friends at the Homecoming Tailgate. Be on the lookout for the Colonel Walk at 1pm, when you

can cheer on the football team as they head to Roy Kidd Stadium to take on the Tennessee Martin Skyhawks.

Young Alumni After Party 9pm – 12am | Paddy Wagon

Homecoming Football Game 3pm | Roy Kidd Stadium

on Main Street for a special gathering of Colonel Graduates

of Tennessee Martin. Enjoy the halftime festivities as we

at the door.

year’s Queen and King.

Join us over appetizers and drink specials at the Paddy Wagon from the past 15 years. The cover charge is $10. You can pay

Cheer on our Colonels to a victory over the Skyhawks

introduce the 2017 Homecoming Court and crown this



tandard S


LBJ was president. The Vietnam War raged abroad, while riots and protests dominated the news at home. The Beatles released their epic

“Sgt. Pepper” album, and “The Graduate,” “Bonnie and Clyde” and “Cool Hand Luke” entertained moviegoers. Elvis married Priscilla, the miniskirt was the hot fashion fad and it was the Summer of Love. A gallon of gas only cost a few dimes, the minimum wage was $1.40 and a new sandwich called the Big Mac cost 45 cents. Thurgood Marshall was confirmed as the first African-American Supreme Court justice by a 69 -11 vote. The St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series, the Green Bay Packers won the first Super Bowl and Muhammad Ali was stripped of his heavyweight title for refusing induction into the U.S. Army.

At home, Eastern was in its second year as a university, Dr. Robert Martin was halfway into his presidential tenure and enrollment was nearing 7,000. Yes, 1967 was a momentous, change-filled year, not just around the world, but on the EKU campus. On its 50th anniversary, here’s a look back at some of the events that marked the year on the Richmond campus.

1966 Governor Ned Breathitt signs bill elevating Eastern Kentucky State College to university status. Eastern Kentucky University was born.

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ABOVE: Rushees are treated to Lambda Phi Omega hospitality at their

Rush Week preference party, 1967.

BELOW: Pi Alpha Theta joined Eastern’s other sororities in a building a float for the Homecoming competition. Alpha Pi Kappa rushees place a penny in the fountain in hopes that their wishes will come true. The men of Sigma Chi Delta rally before a football game in a show of school spirit.

∙1967∙ GREEK LIFE COMES TO CAMPUS It may be hard to imagine today, but as late as 1963, the Progress student newspaper was asking why Eastern did not have Greek-letter social fraternities and sororities, as rivals Western and Murray did. Pressure mounted, but we would have to wait until the 1966–67 term to bring Greek life to campus. After a 16-month study by the faculty, regents gave the go-ahead, bringing a new wave of student involvement. By 1967, several Greek fraternities and sororities had been established — with local status initially before they went national a year or two later. The number of nationally chartered sororities and fraternities at EKU has continued to grow over the years. The change on campus was palpable when Greeks first arrived, recalled Alan Krueger, ’71, who went on years later to become Alumni Officer of the Year with Sigma Nu. One noticeable outcome, he said, was increased campus spirit, especially at weekend athletics events. Krueger fondly remembers the annual powderpuff football games, which served as fundraisers, and the many friendly competitions. ABOVE, FROM TOP: Sigma Chi

Delta president Ron Pinsenschaum supervises a powderpuff football game, 1967. Pledges earn money by shining shoes. Beta Omicron Chi’s mascot provides an interesting sidelight at the Findlay game.

The national charters brought further changes to EKU’s Greek community, including greater oversight and support, additional reporting requirements, and tighter rules and regulations. Although much has changed nationally and locally over the past 50 years, the impact of the decision to bring Greek life to EKU has made a lasting impression on campus, with a highly engaged student and alumni population.


∙1967∙ RENOVATIONS AND CAMPUS BUILDS CRABBE LIBRARY A linchpin of then-President Robert Martin’s drive toward academic excellence, a $2.8 million renovation of the John Grant Crabbe Library in 1967— the equivalent of $21 million today ­— quadrupled the facility’s size, enveloping the existing structure to include a new front facade and an additional floor. It brought the library’s total capacity to approximately 3,000 patrons and 500,000 books. More importantly, it brought readers and books closer together. Little wonder that EKU President Emeritus Doug Whitlock (2007–13) once called the library expansion “transformative.”

WALTERS HALL Walters Hall is unique among EKU buildings, as it honors a community leader whose contributions predated the establishment of Eastern Kentucky State Normal School in 1906. Singleton P. Walters was a major benefactor of Central University and the namesake of the institution that bridged Central and Eastern, Walters Collegiate Institute. Originally housing only women, today Walters Hall is a coed facility that is home to the new American Sign Language Living Learning Community. It was extensively renovated in 2010.

COMMONWEALTH HALL The 20-story Commonwealth Hall originally housed only male students and later included several specialized communities, including Education, Outdoor Pursuits, Health and Wellness, and ROTC. It was said in the mid-1960s that President Robert R. Martin was in a race with his counterpart at the University of Kentucky to see who could build the most high-rise buildings. Commonwealth was repurposed in 2015 as an office building, with five floors (15–19) housing the quickly growing e-Campus operation. Parking and Transportation Services are located on the second floor, with various other offices on other floors.

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∙1967∙ DANIEL BOONE Generations of EKU students have rubbed Daniel Boone’s toes for good luck, but may not know the story behind how the statue came to stand guard over campus. President Martin wanted a statue of Boone to emphasize the famed explorer’s ties to the Richmond area. The 9-foot, 3,500pound statue is a replica of an Enid Yandell sculpture made for exhibit at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. Originally sculpted in plaster, the statue was cast in bronze after the fair and presented in 1906 to the City of Louisville, Yandell’s hometown. With permission from Louisville officials, Eastern had a replica made. But one elderly man who attended its dedication was not impressed. “Don’t look a damn bit like him,” he groused.

∙1967∙ ARLINGTON ESTATE The history of Arlington actually dates to 1866, when Capt. William Arnold purchased the land that comprised the original estate. In 1893, his only heir, daughter Elizabeth, married Harry B. Hanger, a construction engineer whose company was responsible for building New York City’s Lincoln Tunnel. After inheriting the estate in 1909, the Hangers made numerous improvements. The Hangers’ second son, W. Arnold Hanger, generously donated the Arlington mansion and 15 surrounding acres to the University in 1967, and the newly established EKU Foundation purchased 165 remaining acres. Soon, Eastern built a nine-hole golf course, later adding another nine holes, a swimming pool, tennis courts and multiple dining facilities, among other enhancements. Today the property is home to a transformed University Club at Arlington, with more than 650 memberships representing more than 1,300 individuals.

For more information, visit



∙1967∙ GRANTLAND RICE BOWL TEAM Eastern had tasted gridiron success in prior years — for example, the 1954 Tangerine Bowl team — but one squad is remembered fondly for kick-starting a dynasty that resulted in two national championships and two runner-up finishes, 21 Ohio Valley Conference titles and College Football Hall of Fame honors for its coach. The 1967 Colonels, Coach Roy Kidd’s fourth team, had “only four or five superstars,” as safety Ted Green, ’70, recalled, but went on to capture the Grantland Rice Bowl, 27-13 over Ball State. “The rest of us worked very hard to be the best we could be. We are all very proud of putting the program on the map.” The championship season was not without struggle. Eastern fell 16-0 to Dayton in its season opener and tied conference rivals Western Kentucky and Morehead. Then the Colonels went into the bowl game shorthanded, because the NCAA would not allow freshmen to play. That rule kept running back Jack McCoy and fullback Butch Evans on the sidelines, but All-American receiver Aaron Marsh moved to tailback and made key contributions, along with quarterback Jim Guice and All-American nose guard Teddy Taylor.


With all the dramatic changes on campus in 2017, the next generation of historians may well look back at this year in much the same way — as a pivotal moment and watershed year in the history of the University.

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ABOVE: Players celebrate on the field while legendary coach

Roy Kidd receives the 1967 Grantland Rice Bowl Championship trophy. The ’67 team kicked off a championship tradition at EKU. Kidd continued coaching the Colonels for 35 more years, winning 314 games and mentoring 55 All-Americans, as well as 41 players who signed with the National Football League. A statue of Kidd is to be unveiled Sept. 23, 2017, at the stadium that bears his name. (LEFT TO RIGHT) #75 Bill Brewer; #73 Ron House; #40 Ted Holcomb; #20 Harry Lenz; Coach Kidd; and #19 Bob Plots.

GOLD BACKGROUND Vichly44 © iStock.com

Green, whose $250,000 gift this year enabled the dedication of the Colonels’ new locker room in honor of the ’67 team, and his teammates will be honored the weekend of Sept. 23.

– ATHLETICS HIGHLIGHTS – EKU’S FIRST EVER ALL-AMERICAN Richmond native Ben Fisher had a remarkable senior year. In October, he received a prestigious Ohio Valley Conference Scholar-Athlete Award, the highest individual OVC honor. Fisher had one of the best seasons ever in Colonel baseball, hitting .363 with a school record 25 home runs, 72 RBIs and 71 runs scored. At the end of the season he was chosen as the OVC Co-Player of the Year and was selected as an All-American. In June, Fisher was chosen as the Academic All-American of the Year for Division I baseball, the first time an EKU studentathlete earned the award for any sport. Fisher’s dream of playing professional baseball came true on June 14 when he was drafted by the Marlins in the 21st round of the MLB Draft. Fisher graduated in May with a 3.97 grade point average, majoring in biology.


HIGH JUMPER REACHES NEW HEIGHTS High jumper Tequan Claitt was born in Florida, but grew up on EKU’s campus. When he was 5 years old, his stepdad, Chris Washington, received an offer to play football at EKU. Claitt and his mom, Daphne, moved to Richmond to join Washington, who was an offensive lineman from 2002 to 2006. Today, Claitt is a star high jumper for EKU who made waves with his performance this year. After graduating from Lexington’s Bryan Station High School, he returned to Eastern in 2015 as an unheralded freshman walk-on high jumper. He did not stay unheralded for long, capturing conference golds in the indoor and outdoor high jump. This past season, he continued to make a name for himself at the national level. In April, Claitt broke EKU’s 35-year-old high jump record with a leap of 7'5.75" at the Hilltopper Relays. That jump also ranked No. 1 in the NCAA for the entire season and remains one of the top jumps in the world this year. It also qualified Claitt for the USA Track & Field Championships, where he competed against the top professional and amateur athletes nationwide. Claitt’s mother and stepfather graduated from Eastern with degrees in environmental health science. Now, this son of two EKU alumni is not far from realizing his ultimate dream of high jumping in the Olympics.

Charlotte Imer and Jamaine Coleman represented EKU on the biggest stage of NCAA track and field in June, becoming the latest Colonel runners from Rick Erdmann’s storied program to reach the NCAA Track and Field Championships at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. Imer earned second team All-America honors by finishing 14th in the women’s 5,000 meters, matching her personal best time of 15:59.3. She was the first EKU woman to run the 5,000 meters at the NCAA Championships since Ann Eason in 2013. Coleman also earned second team All-America honors, placing 13th in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 8:43.8. EKU joins Louisville and Georgetown as one of only three schools to send a man to the NCAA championships in the steeplechase each of the last five seasons.


ATHLETICS FACILITY updates Softball NEW GERTRUDE HOOD FIELD COMPLETED, MARCH 2017 AND DEDICATED IN APRIL This newly renovated facility serves local and regional communities, attracting

events such as high school tournaments, club tournaments and camps, all of which bring many prospective students to

campus. The renovations include new

dugouts, a climate-controlled press box, improved field drainage and enhanced

outfield decks ideal for informal gatherings. The new grandstand features a brick

facade and accommodates more than 400 spectators. A new locker room, indoor

hitting facility and coaches’ offices will be added in the coming months.

Baseball NEW EARLE COMBS STADIUM COMPLETED, MARCH 2017 The much-needed renovations include new

team dugouts and climate-controlled press box, which accommodates enhanced radio and video broadcasts. The stadium has a

new grandstand featuring a brick facade and more than 900 seats, including 429 chair-back seats, along with handicap-

accessible seating and a new concession

area equipped with restrooms. A new team locker room and indoor hitting facility will be added in the coming months.

The stadium is named in honor of a former Eastern player who went on to star for

the New York Yankees from 1924 to 1935 and earn induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

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from Ron and Sherrie Lou Noel, the dramatically expanded facility now serves all 17 varsity sports. The center

features Hammer Strength brand equipment produced

in Kentucky. EKU’s new weight room is a showcase facility for the brand; the company brings clients to campus

for demonstrations.The facility includes 20 platforms, 20 racks, 720 pounds of weight per platform, black

polyurethane bumpers, four bikes, two treadmills, two ellipticals, four jammers, four iso lunge machines, two leg

presses and four vertical leg curl machines. It has 90 pairs of dumbbells, more than any other school in the nation. It also features a small artificial turf field and one of the largest nutrition bars in the nation.

Football For almost half a century, Roy Kidd Stadium has been a

cornerstone for EKU and Colonel Athletics. An expansion

project on the east side of the stadium will add to the fan

experience, as it will include more than 3,000 new bleacher seats, as well as a concourse with modern concessions

and restroom facilities. A new pedway will be constructed from the hill beyond the north end zone that leads onto the concourse level.

The first floor will include a new locker room for Colonel football student athletes and feature a team lounge, equipment room and game-day training area.




#EKUPEOPLE The faces of Campus Beautiful

The landscape of the #CampusBeautiful may be changing, but it’s still a place where lifelong bonds between people are forged. Follow EKU on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for a glimpse at the new memories being made every day. And while you’re at it, tag a friend, professor or advisor from your time at EKU and share your favorite memory with the hashtag #EKUPeople.








EKU has helped me grow as a professional by allowing me the opportunity to choose my own adventure . — Kasey Waddell, Class of 2017

EKU has made me realize my potential, and has given me my best memories. — Madison Lipscomb, Class of 2020

EKU has been life changing in terms of academics, opportunities and friendships. I have found a second home. — Lucy Giordullo, Class of 2018


It feels amazing to just be a Colonel and walk around campus and feel like you belong. — Yoshua Reed, Class of 2018 Share your photos using



Eastern Kentucky University


01. Students play bingo at a @ekustudentlife event 02. Students leading a workshop @ekussc 03. @ekuhonors representing at #SRHC 04. EKU Black Student Union and

National Pan-Hellenic Council at Latino Student Association Event 05. @ekuhousing showcasing the beautiful New Science Building lobby 06. @zackcornett and others

with EKU Dance Theatre 07. @ekusports showing women’s soccer team preparing for a game 08. @chaselife89 capturing the activities inside Campus Rec 09. Behind the scenes in the art studio with @jordan_denae 10. @eku_libraries hosts their regular #EKULNAP event 11. @ekuprez with May 2017 pro golf management graduates

– ALUMNI NEWS – In this

issue Alumni Profiles

Russie Coy Jones Alex Krallman Abney Sharon Ritchey Dan McBride

Class Notes In Memoriam

Dear Fellow Alumni, Year one. I made Clay Hall my new home. I watched the Twin Towers fall. I traveled abroad. I found lifelong friendships. I became a Colonel. I have never laughed so much, cried so much, learned so much, grown so much. And that was just year one. Now, here I am, beginning a new year one with my beloved Eastern. Sixteen years ago when I moved into Clay Hall, I wasn’t entirely sure about this place. That is not the case now. Today, I am absolutely sure. Today, I choose to give back to the place that gave me so much from day one. My name is Amy Jo Gabel, and I am proud to introduce myself to you as the International Alumni Board President for the 2017–19 term. I graduated from Eastern in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in middle grade education and again in 2008 with master’s of education in instructional leadership. My husband, Chris, Amy Jo Gabel and her daughter, Rylie, attend the Homecoming parade in 2016

For a comprehensive list of Class Notes or to share your good news with fellow alums, visit

alumni.eku.edu/ Class-Notes. We want to hear from you!

44 FALL 2017

is also a two-time graduate of Eastern. We make our home in Smyrna, Tennessee, with our two beautiful Colonel legacies. The purpose of the Alumni Board is to assist in advancing the mission and reach of EKU through connecting our alumni back to the institution and to each other. I am proud to serve on the board with 29 other dedicated alumni and work alongside outstanding staff to achieve our goals of connection and engagement. We desire to know you, your stories, your passions and ensure that your connection to the Campus Beautiful is as strong today as the days you walked on campus as a student. Call on us anytime. Share your stories with pride. Come home often. We hope to see you soon. Go Big E!

Go Colonels! Amy Jo Gabel Classes of ’05 and ’08

Class Notes Marlon Tarter, ’56, retired from Martin-Marietta Corp. in 1998 in Orlando, Florida, and was later employed in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, at K-25 for 14 years. He and his wife, Sandra (Tennant) Tarter, have been married for 49 years and now reside in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Accountants (AICPA) Auditing Standards Board and to the National Association of State Boards Accountancy (NASBA) Compliance Assurance Committee. Jane Walton, ’80, became principal of St. Augustine School (Covington) in July 2017.

Harold Combs, ’65, spent 40 years with The Kroger Co. William Loveall, ’65, and his wife, Nancy Olson Loveall, reside in Colorado, where they celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in September 2017. After his retirement as an Army ordnance officer, he returned to college and completed a degree in machining technology. Joyce (Allsmiller) Crowell, ’73, who also taught computer science at EKU from 1981 to 1986, is retiring as professor emerita after teaching 29 years at Belmont University, Nashville, Tennessee. Justice Tom Colbert, ’73 ‘76, of Sapulpa, Oklahoma, was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2017. In 2013, he became the first African-American to serve as chief justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court. Dr. Michael Colegrove, ’73, is vice president emeritus and professor of education for the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Kentucky, and recently served as a featured speaker at the 2017 National Conference on Bullying in Orlando, Florida. Earl Lowell “No Sweat” Robbins, ’73, has recently released a memoir, titled “Letters from a Genius to an Oaf.” He and his wife, Chasteen Hall Robbins, ’72, reside in Richmond, Kentucky, and have been married for 45 years.

In June 2017, Jeff Graham, ’83, became CEO of Adena Health System, which is based in Chillicothe, Ohio. Rusty Clark, ’88, was named head of lending at Farmers National Bank in 2017. Army Col. Michael Graese, ’88, assumes responsibilities as city administrator in Ashland, Kentucky, after his retirement in 2017. He and wife, Francie (Simpson), ’88, look forward to residing in Ashland. Rob Carr, ’89, was presented with the Jerry Frutkoff Memorial Award in 2017 at the historic Alibi Breakfast at Pimlico Race Course during Preakness Week. The award is presented to the photographer who takes the best Preakness photo from the previous year. Dana Ridenour, ’89, retired from the FBI in 2016 after a decorated 20-year career as an undercover investigator and currently resides in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. Her first book, “The Mask,” is based on her work with the FBI and has received a multitude of awards. Her second book, “Beyond the Cabin,” was released in August 2017. Tina Bennett, ’91, was named superintendent of Clarksville Community Schools (Indiana) in June 2017. Billy Harris, ’92 ’99, became principal of Waynesburg Elementary School (Lincoln County) in July 2017.

Robert “Bob” McFalls, ’77, was recently appointed president and CEO of Florida Philanthropic Network, a statewide membership organization for grantmakers working to build philanthropy for a better Florida. Prior to joining FPN, Bob served as executive director and CEO of the Kentucky Pharmacists Association and its foundation since 2011.

Michelle (Cluxton) Bliffen, ’91 ’97, was named vice president of human resources at the University of Kentucky Federal Credit Union in April 2017.

Prudence (Locke) Gillaspie, ’79, retired in June 2017 after 38 years as a speech-language pathologist in both educational and hospital settings.

Cheryl (Nolan) Compton, ’91, lives in Middletown, Ohio, with her husband, where they are members of the Team Fastrax professional skydiving team.

Alan Long, ’79, managing member of Baldwin CPAs and a member of the EKU Board of Regents, has been appointed to the American Institute of Certified Public

Brent Roark, ’93, assumed responsibilities as superintendent of Harlan County Schools in July 2017.

Russie COY Jones, ’84

Entrepreneurial by design During an epic 2009 ice storm, Russie Jones’s father fell while investigating a power outage in his home. Although he was unharmed, Jones began pondering a means to prevent such accidents. Just eight years later, Jones, ’84, became the first inventor/entrepreneur to sell out a product during a first-time airing on the Home Shopping Network. The patented Rely-a-Light and Lamp Angel emergency lighting device disappeared in 10 minutes. More than 4,000 lamps were sold in the first quarter of 2017 through a variety of well-known retailers. As of early summer, Jones was preparing to go global with airings on QVC and an Australian home shopping channel, and was pursuing licensing the technology to large lamp manufacturers. Jones said her experience in EKU’s interior design program, especially her work with CAD and showing products, proved invaluable, and termed the assistance from the Kentucky Innovation Network’s EKU office “a priceless experience.” “When we started, we just wanted to have something to help my father,” she said. “We never imagined the success we would have.” For more information about the products, visit relyalight.com. n



Check Out the Online Home for Eku Alumni and


Alex Krallman Abney, ’11 ’13

MAKING SOCIAL CONNECTIONS Millennials may be known for their fascination with hashtags and clever Instagram captions, but Alex Krallman Abney, ’11 ’13, has proved that social media is not just an adolescent pastime, but an important staple in the marketing and business realms. Abney, who recently received her doctoral degree in marketing /advertising from Mississippi State University, first became interested in social media marketing while working in Eastern’s admissions department as an undergraduate. Fascinated by the various techniques employed by universities to recruit students via social media, she became determined to conduct her own research. That wish was fulfilled, as the Covington native most recently worked as a statistical consultant for the Social Science Research Center at MSU. Abney just finished year two of a three-year grant project funded by the National Institute of Justice that focuses on understanding the various triggers of aggression and violence in high school students.

Though Abney reminds her students of the importance of face-to-face interaction and exercising caution online, she emphasizes that social media is not the criminal that it is often portrayed to be. “It allows consumers to connect to people around the globe, and creates a two-way dialogue that allows for consumers’ voices to be heard by organizations like never before.” n

46 FALL 2017

PHOTO: Blackzheep © iStockphoto.com

In addition to her research, Abney joined the University of Alabama at Birmingham faculty in Fall 2017 as an associate professor of social media /digital marketing. As part of her curriculum, Abney will require students to work with Birmingham businesses, presenting and executing social media marketing proposals for entities such as Birmingham United Way.

Stay Connected as a #ForeverColonel







CHARLEY LOUIS “PEE WEE” TAYLOR Mr. Taylor, 69, passed away at his Erlanger, Kentucky, home on Feb. 18, 2017, after a battle with cancer. He was drafted in 1969 by the Houston Astros, worked in the office of the Cincinnati Reds from 1977 to 1981, and later returned to the game as a pitching coach in the player development system for the Houston Astros from 1982 to 2012. In 1998, he was inducted into the Northern Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame and in 2005 was an inau-

Dr. Danny Britt, retired professor and chair of agriculture Dr. Jessica Bryant, professor of English Mona Isaacs, former assistant vice president for information technology Dr. Betty Powers, retired professor of family and consumer sciences Dr. Ronald Schmelzer, former professor of curriculum and instruction Dr. Shirley Snarr, retired professor of family and consumer sciences

gural inductee into the Lexington Legends Hall of Fame. In 2014, he was inducted into the Covington Public Schools Athletic Hall of Fame. n

William Quick II, ’72 ’73, student athletic trainer from 1968 to 1972, passed away on April 1, 2017, in Naples, Florida.

Sharon Ritchey, ’81 ’83

Natural-born leader Sharon Ritchey was known at Bloom-Carroll High School in Ohio as an accomplished athlete and natural leader. But when she arrived at EKU, for the first time she didn’t stand out. She knew she had to rebuild her reputation. It wasn’t until she switched her major to marketing after her sophomore year that she found her calling. “Throughout my life I was a leader, starting from the playground in grade school through being a captain of the teams for each sport I played,” she said. “That is what I missed. I knew I wanted to lead people.” So, after adding an MBA degree from Eastern, that’s what Ritchey set out to do. Throughout a 30-year career in leadership roles with Citibank, GE Capital, The Hartford Financial Services Group and AXA US, Ritchey was an inspirational, results-oriented leader adept at implementing a customer-focused culture and building and retaining quality leadership teams, often through times of significant change. Today, the Asheville, North Carolina resident serves on two advisory boards for companies providing technology solutions and does advisory work part time. She will become chair of the LPGA Foundation Board in 2018. “I am very proud of the impeccable reputation I have in the industry as a leader and a coach,” she said. “I am very proud of the people who have worked with me, and it is so great to see their career accomplishments.” n EKU MAGAZINE 47


Dan McBride, ’89

New Role, Same Passion He grew up in Richmond, graduated from Model Laboratory School and Eastern, and has spent most of his adult life as a member of the Athletics leadership team at his alma mater. Along the way, Dan McBride, ’89, “developed an enormous love for EKU and the people of EKU.” The passion still burns, though now in a new role as executive director of alumni engagement at Eastern. McBride, most recently senior associate athletics director at EKU, is no stranger to the University’s alumni operations, having served many years on the Alumni Board. “It means more when you work for a place that means so much to you, a place that has helped mold and make you the person you are today,” he said upon receiving a Distinguished Service Award from the EKU International Alumni Association in 2016. “EKU is changing, and some alumni might not even recognize the campus as it continues to transform and grow. Who better to tell the story of how EKU is changing than someone who understands the rich history of Eastern, but is also embracing what it is becoming today?” Nick Perlick, vice president for development and alumni relations, said McBride’s “background and skill set, his relationships with likely thousands of alumni, his experience planning and hosting hundreds of events and his ability to lead high-performing teams all pushed Dan to the top of a very strong pool of applicants.” n

Paulita Thomason, ’94, was recently promoted to manager of the Indiana State Police Laboratory. She currently resides in Shelby County with her three children, Kennedy, Chandler and Brayden. Keith Hustak, ’01, was named vice president for APP Services at Spectrum Health Medical Group in Grand Rapids. Aaron Rigdon, ’01, returned to his high school alma mater, Saint Patrick (Maysville), in August 2017 to coach basketball. Rebecca Gillis, ’02, is the director of public health protection and safety with the Kentucky Department for Public Health. She currently lives in Frankfort with her husband of 11 years, two children and three dogs. Anthony “Marty” Mills, ’06, assumed responsibilities as principal at Tate’s Creek High School (Lexington) in 2017. Rena Burden, ’08, has been named chief development officer at Turnstone, a Fort Wayne, Indiana, non-profit

48 FALL 2017

group that provides therapeutic, educational, wellness and recreational programs to empower people with disabilities. Chasity Honeycutt, ’09, is currently a nurse at Hardin Memorial Hospital, and her husband, Mark Tignor, is an APRN at an office in Elizabethtown. The two have been married for six years and have a 5-year-old son. Nick Bastin, ’10, currently serves as the chief financial officer (CFO) at Rockcastle Regional Hospital and Respiratory Care Center, Inc. Allison (Smock), ’10, and Trey Reusch, ’11, were married on Sept. 30, 2016. Derek Adams, ’11, and his wife, Mary, ’10 ’16, welcomed their first child, Chet Derek Adams, in July. Jordan Morgan, ‘11, is Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney for the 54th Judicial Circuit (Boone and Gallatin counties) and also recently served in the Bevin administration.

Tina Newman, ’11, became executive director at Dominion Senior Living of Richmond, where she will be responsible for leading memory care and personal care communities. Nicholas Tomko, ’11, and Erin Baker, ’11, were married in December 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio. Nick is pursuing a Ph.D. in chemistry at Case Western Reserve University. Erin is the toddler coordinator at Early Childhood Enrichment Center. Chris Stratton, ’12, was promoted to senior data developer at 84.51° in Cincinnati. He and his wife, Leah Bronley Stratton, ’12, reside in Pleasant Ridge, Ohio. Dave Mixson, ’14, was sworn in as director of public safety and fire chief in South Pasadena, Florida, in July 2017. Katherine Woods, ’15, has been named one of the 2017 Fellows by the New Leaders Council (Kentucky chapter). Morgan Romans, ’17, has joined the EKU Sports Communications office as assistant director.


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