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Nonprofit Organization U.S. POSTAGE

PAID

Office of Alumni and Donor Engagement

Lexington Ky Permit #879

Alumni Center at Blanton House Eastern Kentucky University 521 Lancaster Avenue Richmond, Kentucky 40475-3102 WWW.EKU.EDU

there’s no place like TRADITIONS THAT UNITE US

SPRING 2017


ALUMNI NEWS

Contributors EKU Magazine is a collaborative effort between EKU Alumni and Donor Engagement, and EKU Communications and Brand Management EKU President Michael T. Benson Executive Vice President and University Counsel Laurie Carter Vice President, Development and Alumni Relations Nicholas Perlick Assistant Vice President, Alumni and Donor Engagement Kari Martin, ’06 Assistant Vice President, Communications and Brand Management Doug Cornett Photography Mishari Aldiab, ’17 Sarah Bucknam, ’16 Chris Radcliffe, ’04 Stacey Sizemore, ’16 Tim Webb, ’92 EKU Special Collections & Archives Contributing Writers Jerry Wallace Kristi Middleton Karen Lynn, ’86 Margaret Willingham, ’80 Steven Fohl, ’07 ’12 Kevin Britton, ’00 ’11 Jeff Hendrix, ’16 Editorial Managing Editor Brandon Moore, ’14 Design and Layout Senior Graphic Designer Mickey Thomas Design Management Jessica Holly

YOU OPEN DOORS OF OPPORTUNITY

Like many, Masi came to EKU enthusiastic, but unsure about her future goals. With guidance from faculty, she discovered not only her passion for management, but doors of opportunity. Scholarships, professional development, networking events and leadership through student organizations have equipped her for a lifetime of success.

For Masi’s full story, additional student stories, or to make a gift online, visit:

development.eku.edu/impact

Design Support Tara Leisure, ’16 Jordan Jung

Alumni Engagement Staff Senior Director for Engagement and Communications Steve Greenwell, ’06

Accredited 100% online degrees to fit your life.

Director of Alumni Programming and Student Philanthropy Jennifer Ott, ’11 Coordinator of Alumni Programming and Student Philanthropy Sarah Baker, ’15

+

ONLINE DEGREE OPTIONS

International Alumni Association Board President Tom Martin, ’93 ’01

NOW ENROLLING!

Immediate Past President Glenn Raglin, ’80

Real degrees. real opportunities.

Vice President Jan Sheppard Barnes, ’72 ’75

go.eku.edu/Jan17

Secretary Jeff Klein, ’07 ’11 Board Members: Kenneth Armstrong, ’90, (Justice and Safety Representative), Ray Arnold, ’09 ’13, Tichaedza Chikuni, ’05 ’11, Afsi Davis ’10, George Demaree, ’82, Christopher Eden, ’09, David Fifer, ’07, Dana Daughetee Fohl, ’07, Amy Jo Smith Gabel, ’06 ’09, Jerry Goble, ’91, Stephanie Goodpaster, ’08, Kristine Herrera (President, Student Alumni Ambassadors), Miranda Massey (Past President, Student Alumni Ambassadors), DaJuane Harris, ’13, Ryan Kennedy, ’14, Bob McCroskey, ’75, David McFaddin, ’99, ’15, Chris Radcliffe, ’04, JoEllen Reed, ’75, Bob Sullivan, ’72, (ROTC Representative), R. (Vasu) Vasudevan, ’03, Donald Whitaker, ’62, Robert Wood, ’82, Christina Baird Young, ’96 ’98, J. C. Young, ’04

Photography Coordination Karen Lynn, ’86 Eastern Kentucky University 521 Lancaster Avenue Richmond, KY 40475-3102

Visit us online:

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

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).

online

SAM Mason, ’86 ’89 and ALEC MaSON

LEGACY TAKES FLIGHT Alec Mason came to EKU to follow not only his father’s footsteps as a student, but also his trails in the sky as a pilot. Sam Mason, ’86 ’89, one of the first 15 students to graduate from the University with an aviation minor, is in his 27th year as a commercial pilot for American Airlines. Alec Mason, a freshman from Manchester, Maryland, joined the EKU aviation program in Fall 2016. “Dad absolutely loved the time that he spent here and wishes he could have never left,” Alec said. “I knew that EKU must be something really special for him to love it that much.” Eastern has since developed one of the nation’s leading aviation programs, and father and son are proud to forge a family tradition. “I know what it means when you are a part of the EKU family,” Sam said. “I never hesitated for Alec to attend school there.” n


SPRING 2017 2 Changing the World One Heart & One Mind at a Time

TRADITIONS THAT UNITE US

4 EKU STORIES

13 Commitment, Positivity and Inclusiveness: Questions and Answers with Dr. Minh Nguyen

14 Global Perspective: Ecuador Trip Life-Changing Experience for 10 First-Generation Students

18 Best of Eastern: 2016 Alumni Award Winners

36 ATHLETICS HIGHLIGHTS

38 Re-create ’68: Alums Take One Last Trip Down Memory Lane

42 Colonels #EKUABROAD

44 ALUMNI NEWS

47 IN MEMORIAM

BEST ALL AROUND On the Field, in the Classroom, Tyler Swafford is an MVP The first Mitchell Scholar at any public university in Kentucky in the nearly 20-year history of the program was also the starting quarterback for the EKU Colonels for a portion of the 2016 season.

HAVE DRUM, WILL TRAVEL

FROM THE STREETS OF CALCUTTA

Dr. Jason Koontz, ’96

Dr. Deborah Alexander, ’77

Dr. Jason Koontz set out to diversify the percussion studies program ... introducing non-western styles to existing band and orchestral styles, and immersing students not just in the music, but the cultures from which it sprung.

“I have learned that we are more similar than we are different. Whether it’s Big Hill, Kentucky, or Afghanistan ... We must remember what we have in common and not let our differences define us.”


Jalen Rose is congratulated by President Benson during College of Science Commencement on Dec. 16, 2016. OPPOSITE: EKU Legacy families gather for a group photo during Family Weekend on Oct. 8, 2016.

02 SPRING 2017


CHANGING

THE WORLD ——— ——— One Heart & One Mind at a Time

As our country emerges from a historic, albeit fractious, election season, I have thought many times in recent months about unity. And I am always reminded how our University blends the unique gifts and talents of students, faculty and staff from all corners of the globe to our mutual benefit. We call it unity in diversity. For many of our students through the years, especially the last half century, the Richmond campus was their first substantial exposure to others of a different race, nationality or faith. Maybe it was a professor, a classmate or perhaps even a roommate. Whatever the context, fear soon gave way to acceptance and deep-seated suspicion to a once unimaginable trust, and all came to understand that unity didn’t mean conformity but, rather, our common bonds as human beings and a shared purpose. Have Colonels always seen eye to eye? Of course not. They didn’t in the turbulent 1960s, and they don’t today. But I know many readers of this magazine could tell heart-warming accounts about how their exposure to different cultures opened not only their minds but their hearts. I know because you have shared with me many such stories. Two articles in this magazine tell how some of our students’ lives were changed forever as they shared a love of music or served others in international settings. Another tells of a social work graduate who used her Eastern education to change lives all around the world. Back home, we have all come to see that our community is at its best when it focuses on what unites us, rather than divides us; fosters a spirit of inclusion that celebrates individuals and their ideas; and honors the value of service. Among those uniting forces are the campus traditions that have linked generations of Colonels, such as rubbing Daniel Boone’s toe for good luck. Other traditions, such as freshman beanies, have not survived, but remain vivid memories for thousands of alumni. You can read about some of our most cherished traditions, past and present, in another article in this issue. A recent addition to our Campus Beautiful was the setting in August for what I hope will be a new campus tradition: the passage of each freshman class, in its entirety, through Turner Gate. Our newest landmark, on the west side of campus, is distinguished by four simple but profound words — Wisdom and Knowledge on the side facing Lancaster Avenue, Purpose and

Passion on the other — that describe what students come here seeking and what they acquire during their studies to use for the betterment of society. Then, for our many “legacy” students, Eastern is a family tradition. It’s not unusual at all to meet current students who are the latest of several generations of their families to attend. What better testament to the enduring value of the Eastern Experience!

Our community is at its best when it focuses on what unites us, rather than divides us... Through any period of change, whether on a national scale or in higher education, we can all take great comfort in the fact that Eastern continues, as it always has, to change the world, one mind and one heart at a time. And that, friends, is our best campus tradition of all.

Michael T. Benson President, Eastern Kentucky University

EKU MAGAZINE 03


EKU STORIES

– EKU STORIES – In this

issue Students Expand Horizons at GLIMPSE Conference Graduation and Enrollment Rates on the Rise Campus Revitalization in Full Swing Adaptive Climbing Program Assists Students with Disabilities EKU Repeats as Minority Access Award Winner Celebration of Philanthropy Honors Ravine and Keen Johnson Society Donors Alumni Join Board of Regents

Read more campus news at

stories.eku.edu

GLIMPSE attendees from across the region pose for a group photo on campus during the conference.

STUDENTS EXPAND HORIZONS AT GLIMPSE CONFERENCE Hundreds of students from EKU and other college and university campuses in Kentucky, Tennessee and surrounding states got a GLIMPSE into their potential and future at a two-day event in November 2016 on the Richmond campus. GLIMPSE is an acronym for Gathering, Listening, Igniting, Mending, Persevering, Surviving and Empowering. The ninth annual GLIMPSE Diversity Student Leadership Conference, part of EKU’s effort to recognize the importance of acknowledging and celebrating diversity as a vital part of higher education, was designed to help students expand their horizons and develop leadership skills. Conference programming focused on empowering students by having open dialogues on issues faced by today’s students of color. Discussions were aimed at preparing students to take on active

04 SPRING 2017

leadership roles on their campuses, cultivating student organizations that provide a positive environment and enhance the overall campus experience for students of color. In addition, the conference provided entertainment, team building and networking opportunities. “GLIMPSE asks participants to take a ‘glimpse’ at the past, present and future of diverse leaders,” said Tiesha Douglas, associate director of diverse student retention at EKU. “Each workshop or presentation is geared toward helping students reflect on such questions as: What does it mean to be a student leader of color in the 21st century on a predominately white college campus and within our own communities? What are the struggles we face, the issues that confront us and the victories that we claim?”


EKU STORIES

GRADUATION AND ENROLLMENT RATES ON THE RISE The four-year graduation rate at EKU has nearly doubled in the past seven years. Of the freshmen who entered Eastern in Fall 2012, 29.7 percent graduated this year. The percentage has climbed steadily since only 15.7 percent of the Fall 2006 freshman cohort went on to graduate in four years. The five-year graduation rate has increased from 33.2 percent to 45.3 percent, and the six-year rate from 38.3 percent to approximately 45 percent.

In all cases, the current rates meet (six-year) or easily exceed (four- and five-year) goals set by the Council on Postsecondary Education for the University. “The latest graduation rate data is encouraging,” said Dr. Eugene Palka, associate vice president for student success. “We’ve come a long way, but we’ve got more ground to cover.” Meanwhile, enrollment remains steady at approximately 17,000, a near-all-time high for the University.

The latest graduation “ rate data is encouraging. We’ve come a long way, but we’ve got more ground to cover.

— Dr. Eugene Palka, Associate Vice President for Student Success

2013

2014

2015

2016

ENROLLMENT RATES 2013-2016

EKU MAGAZINE 05


EKU STORIES

CAMPUS REVITALIZATION IN FULL SWING “Growth Happens Here.” It was the theme for the faculty and staff fall convocation at EKU, but no one had to attend the annual event to know the truth behind those words on the Richmond campus. For example: • Phase 2 of the New Science Building is on track for completion in June 2017. The addition, which will house the departments of Biological Sciences and Geosciences, will give EKU the largest such facility on any college campus in Kentucky. • New Martin Hall and New Hall B, both financed by a publicprivate partnership, are expected to open in time for the Fall 2017 semester and provide two new on-campus residential options. • A new Scholar House, in partnership with Kentucky River Foothills and others, is expected to be complete in Summer 2017. The residential facility for single parents will be located on the former site of Brockton apartments. • A new 320-space parking garage, located adjacent to the Scholar House, is expected to open in July 2017. It is part of the same public-private partnership that is financing the new residence halls. BELOW: Carloftis Garden — expected completion date Summer 2017

06 SPRING 2017

• Planning is underway for both a renovated student union and a new student recreation and wellness center, both financed by a student special usage fee. Construction should begin on the fitness center in Fall 2017, with an expected completion date of Spring 2019. Renovations to the student union should begin in Spring 2019, with completion expected in 2020. • Construction of a new dining hall, financed by Aramark Educational Services LLC as part of a 15-year agreement with the vendor, is expected to be substantially complete by late 2017. • Carloftis Garden, near the intersection of Lancaster Avenue and Park Drive and also part of the residence hall public-private partnership, is expected to be complete by next summer. The Garden is adjacent to the new Turner Gate, an attractive new pedestrian entrance near the intersection of Lancaster Avenue and Barnes Mill Road. • Completion of a second pedway, across the Eastern By-Pass near Alumni Coliseum, is expected in Fall 2017. • Improvements in baseball and softball facilities, funded by agency bonds, should be in place for the spring seasons. “These improvements will transform the way members of the campus community learn, live and work together, and even change the way others perceive us,” President Michael Benson said.


EKU STORIES

ADAPTIVE CLIMBING PROGRAM ASSISTS STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES EKU Campus Recreation has launched an adaptive climbing program to assist students with disabilities. Dr. Louisa Summers, professor of exercise and sport science, and Tommy Willis, director of outdoor recreation, are collaborating to offer the sessions. According to Summers, the new program is a dream dating back to October 2013, when paraplegic adventure athlete Mark Wellman came to campus to present a Chautauqua lecture that also served as the keynote address for EKU’s observance of Americans with Disabilities Act Awareness Month. Wellman brought his adaptive climbing equipment to the lecture, and Army veteran Drew Adamson, who suffered an anoxic brain injury in 2008, was able to climb with Wellman’s assistance. Wellman’s company, No Limits, designs and builds adaptive equipment for climbing, as well as water skiing and winter sled sports. EKU Campus Recreation invested in the equipment, and Willis has prepared his staff to help others use it.

Local Army veteran Drew Adamson works out on adaptive climbing equipment at EKU.

Summers devoted a 2015 sabbatical to helping Wounded Warriors at four camps in Birmingham, Alabama, and is always looking for opportunities to assist local veterans with disabilities.

EKU REPEATS AS MINORITY ACCESS AWARD WINNER EKU recently received the Minority Access Diversity Institution Award for the sixth consecutive year. Eastern is one of only four universities in Kentucky to receive the award in 2016, and the only one to receive it each of the past six years. Earlier this year, the University also received the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversityfocused publication in higher education. Eastern recently established the Diversity Office Scholarship Program to expand and enrich campus life by recognizing and supporting outstanding students from first-generation, low-income and various cultural, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds with diverse interests, perspectives and life experiences. “EKU is committed to diversity and the success of all students,” said Dr. Timothy Forde, chief diversity officer for the University. “We firmly believe that all students can succeed, and we just want to do our part in making sure that they have a wonderful EKU college experience.”

EKU MAGAZINE 07


EKU STORIES

Maribeth Berman addresses the audience at the Celebration of Philanthropy dinner on Sept. 29, 2016. BELOW, LEFT: Students presented a message of thanks to University donors during the Celebration of Philanthropy.

Many were moved to tears. That’s what happens when a roomful of some of EKU’s most generous donors see the impact their gifts have made on the lives of grateful students. It was the University’s first Celebration of Philanthropy dinner, honoring members of the Ravine Society (those who have given $100,000 or more in their lifetimes) and the Keen Johnson Society (those who have given $1 million or more in their lifetimes). “We were honored to celebrate, for the first time, many of the largest lifetime donors in the history of the University,” said Nick Perlick, vice president for development and alumni relations.

“Ravine Society and Keen Johnson Society members make transformational gifts to EKU — now and in the future. It seemed only appropriate to establish a new tradition in the Celebration of Philanthropy, where we can show our gratitude to these leading donors.” — Nick Perlick, Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations

The event, held Sept. 29 at the Center for the Arts, made for an “emotionally charged evening,” according to Melissa Grinstead, assistant vice president for development operations and campaign manager. “I have served nearly 30 years in higher education, and development and alumni relations,” she noted, “and this event was among the best for engaging our donors in the most meaningful way. The emotions the event invoked were physically visible.”

In a video presentation, the honorees heard from some of the students who have benefited from their generosity. Former volleyball standout Rachel Vick, now a graduate student in occupational therapy at EKU, said: “Having a scholarship for my undergraduate years was incredible. It took so much stress off and really enabled me to focus on my studies.” Devin Borders, a senior sports administration major and football standout, pointed to recent progress at the University, some of the improvements made possible by private support. “We’re in the process of something great,” he said, “and I think everybody should want to be on board with what we’re trying to do here.” To express its gratitude, the University presented to the Ravine Society members handmade clocks constructed from wood salvaged from the Ravine. Each member of the Keen Johnson Society received a print of the landmark campus building. Dr. Wardell Johnson, professor of sports management, noted in the video that his doctoral degree was funded by a scholarship, adding, “That gave me the idea that whenever I could figure out how to give back to others, because somebody gave to me, I would do that.”

08 SPRING 2017


EKU STORIES

ALUMNI JOIN BOARD OF REGENTS The EKU Board of Regents welcomed two alumni as its newest members in August 2016. Lewis Diaz and Ramakrishna (Vasu) Vasudevan were both appointed to six-year terms by Gov. Matt Bevin. As a partner with the law firm of Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, Covington, Diaz concentrates his practice on affordable housing and public finance, and is dedicated to the goal of ensuring good, safe, accessible, affordable housing for communities nationwide. In his current Lewis Diaz, ’00 ’02 role and in his previous position as chief counsel to the Kentucky Housing Corporation, he has played a key role in the Scholar House initiative, housing for single parents pursuing a college degree. A native of Cuba and a resident of south Florida through his teenage years, Diaz was an all-Ohio Valley Conference offensive lineman for EKU before earning a bachelor’s degree in history and a Master of Public Administration degree from Eastern in 2000 and 2002, respectively. He went on to earn his Juris Doctorate degree from the Chase College of Law. He also serves as vice chair of the Northern Kentucky Area Development District and on the board of the Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission.

Ramakrishna (Vasu) Vasudevan, ’03

The Frankfort resident has remained active with his alma mater, serving on the University’s International Alumni Association Board of Directors, and as vice chair of the Alumni Programming and Student Success Executive Committee. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the PMI Bluegrass Chapter as vice president of strategic planning. PMI serves the needs of the project management community. Also in August 2016, Collin Potter, a senior business management and marketing research and analytics major from Mt. Sterling, joined the board as student regent. Several of his family members have graduated from Eastern. Potter plans to pursue a master’s degree in business administration.

JOIN THE

COLONEL CLUB Latest News:

4Join the Colonel Club by June 30 and register for a prize package drawing.

Visit go.eku.edu/colonel-club or call Marissa Parmer, director of the Colonel Club, at 859-622-8685 or Treka Adams, program assistant, at 859-622-2046.

4EKU Baseball and Softball season tickets are now available. Season tickets

start as low as $25, chair backs (Colonel Club members only) seating $35. Call the EKU Ticket Office at 844-3-GOBIGE for more information.

COLONEL CLUB EVENTS: 4Baseball stadium ribbon cutting and game vs. Austin Peay — April 14, 2017 4Spring Football game and weight room ribbon cutting — April 15, 2017 4Colonel’s Choice Awards: Center for the Arts — April 30, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. 4Softball 25th year Celebration 5:30 p.m. and Dinner 7 p.m. at Keen Johnson — May 5, 2017 4Softball CC and Alumni tailgate — May 6, 2017 4Colonel Club Golf Scramble — July 6, 2017

More information and team schedules online at ekusports.com

Vasudevan has 25 years of experience in information technology, consulting, and project management for both the private and public sectors. In addition to his Certified Kentucky Paralegal (CKP) and Project Management Professional (PMP) credentials, he earned a Master of Business Administration degree from EKU in 2003.


BES

ARO

Tyler Swafford Globalization and International Affairs Major

10 SPRING 2017


ST ALL

OUND

ON THE FIELD AND IN THE CLASSROOM, TYLER SWAFFORD IS AN MVP

The first Mitchell Scholar at any public university in Kentucky in the nearly 20-year history of the program was also the starting quarterback for the EKU Colonels for a portion of the 2016 season. And for Tyler Swafford, Honors Scholar and signal-caller, those two worlds collided on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016. After interviewing for the prestigious, nationally competitive scholarship at 8:30 a.m. in Washington, D.C., Swafford jumped on a shuttle headed for a regional airport. From there he boarded a small plane bound for Central Kentucky Regional Airport near Richmond. Swafford arrived in Kentucky at 12:40 p.m., just 80 minutes before he was to take the field as the Colonels’ starting quarterback against Eastern Illinois. The senior globalization and international affairs major learned hours later that, out of more than 320 applicants, he was one of 12 who would comprise the 2018 class of George J. Mitchell Scholars. Swafford is the first at EKU to earn the honor, and only the second from any Kentucky college or university. He will study geopolitics and global economy at University College Dublin in Ireland, beginning in Fall 2017. “I do not believe there has ever been a student-athlete at EKU who has shown such vigor in both academics and athletics in a single day,” said President Michael Benson, who provided the nomination letter from the institution, coached Swafford before his final interview and worked with EKU Board of Regents Chair Craig Turner to secure transportation back to campus once the NCAA approved of the arrangement.

I knew from the moment I met Tyler as a freshman that he was a young man marked for great things, given his intellect, his work ethic and his ability to relate to others. — President Michael Benson

Benson should know. He was once selected as a Rotary Scholar to study Middle Eastern history at the University of Oxford in England. “Tyler will meet people who will change his life and will remain his friends forever. He is in for a truly transformational experience.” Swafford plans to pursue a career as an international human rights attorney after he graduates in May 2017. Two

EKU MAGAZINE 11


Swafford started four games in 2016, throwing for 940 yards and five touchdowns.

experiences — one as a member of EKU Honors and the other as a member of the football team — galvanized his career choice. He was part of the University’s Honors delegation in 2016 to the Salzburg Global Citizenship Seminar, an experience that included a “profound” trip to the Dachau concentration camp. In 2015, Swafford joined Colonel teammates and coaches to serve with the Hands and Feet Project in quake-ravaged Haiti, where he was “deeply impacted” by the Haitians’ “innocent love for life, sports and people.” EKU Honors Director Dr. David Coleman said Swafford, who boasts a perfect 4.0 GPA, “has demonstrated in multiple ways his deep concern for human rights issues and service to humanity. I am confident that he is going to make an enormously positive impact on our world.”

persistence, knowledge and, most of all, care. Dr. Coleman was equally as helpful. He’s the one who first sat down with me last February to discuss the possibility of one of these prestigious postgrad scholarships.” Swafford was also named the national FCS Scholar-Athlete of the Year and a member of the FCS Academic All-Star Team.

The former all-state quarterback in Tennessee chose Eastern after receiving a football scholarship offer. As a redshirt sophomore this past season, Swafford started four games and threw for 940 yards, including five touchdown passes. I can’t say enough about

Dr. Minh Nguyen. I couldn’t have done any of this without his persistence, knowledge and, most of all, care.

The Mitchell Scholarship Program, sponsored by the US-Ireland Alliance and named ” — Tyler Swafford for a long time U.S. senator, is designed to introduce and connect generations of future American leaders to the island Swafford said: “We would not have been able to pull this off of Ireland. Applicants are judged on academic excellence, exemplary without the blessing and full support of Coach (Mark) Elder leadership, and a sustained commitment to community and and his staff, as well as the support and generosity of the EKU public service. administration, especially President Benson and Chair Turner. “I see it as a great opportunity for future American leaders Their commitment never wavered, and I am grateful for it. to become familiar with Ireland, and get to know one another “I can’t say enough about Dr. Minh Nguyen (coordinator of the through a transformative academic and cultural experience,” University’s Office of National and International Scholarships Swafford said. n and Fellowships). I couldn’t have done any of this without his

12 SPRING 2017


COMMITMENT, POSITIVITY

AND INCLUSIVENESS Q U E S T I O N S and A N S W E R S with D R . M I N H N G U Y E N

Why do you love teaching at EKU?

I owe virtually everything in my professional life to EKU. Even though I was born and raised in Vietnam, I feel very much at home

What is one thing you wish everyone knew about the Honors Program?

The fact that EKU Honors is widely acknowledged by honors

here. I identify a lot with students in Appalachia. Like many of

educators nationwide to be one of the very best programs of its

them, I was a farm boy (and) a first-generation college student.

kind in the United States. Since 1990, more than 900 EKU Honors

I understand our students’ struggles. I understand their dreams.

students have made presentations at the Annual Conference of

Talk about what the Honors Program has meant for students during the time you’ve been involved.

For many students, EKU Honors represents an accessible and financially workable option for one of the very best highereducation experiences in the region (and) provides an opportunity for a small-liberal-arts-college sort of experience in the context of a large, comprehensive public university. With the average ACT composite score of Fall 2016 incoming class topping 29 for the first time, EKU Honors is becoming a top choice for many of the very best students from around Kentucky and across the region.

Tell me your approach to mentoring students.

the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) — a total that far surpasses that of any other honors college or honors programs in the world. We are also leaders in securing nationally competitive awards. Over the past five years, EKU Honors students have earned two Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships, three Phi Kappa Phi National Fellowships, one Humanity in Action Fellowship, one NCHC Portz Scholar Award, one Salzburg Global Citizenship Alliance Internship (the first SGCA Internship in the world), one Truman Scholarship (the only Truman ever won by a student at any Kentucky comprehensive regional university), and one Mitchell Scholarship (the only Mitchell ever won by a student at any public institution of higher learning in the Commonwealth).

Commitment, positivity and inclusiveness. I am not averse to

calling for intensive effort from others and more so from myself. My students know, however, that I care, and that I enjoy learning and making discovery with them.

Dr. Minh Nguyen

Favorite Book: René Descartes’s “Meditations on First Philosophy” (1641).

Favorite Hobby: Playing soccer and watching Football Club Barcelona.

15, ISTOC K.CO UND: ©FR OM20

International Scholarships and Fellowships

BACKGRO

Current Roles: Professor of Philosophy, Director of the Asian Studies Program, Associate Director of the Honors Program, Coordinator of National and

M

Years Serving EKU: 14

EKU MAGAZINE 13


Map: duncan1890; Textiles: SL_Photography; Passport: FlamingPumpkin; iPhone: Nataniil; Camera: KariHoglund (all © iStock.com); Wood © Sergiy Bykhunenko, Fotolia.com; Other stock: Fuzzimo.com

14 SPRING 2017


GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE Ecuador Trip Life-Changing Experience for 10 First-Generation Students

They rode cable cars to Volcano Pichincha, the highest point in Quito, Ecuador, where they surveyed a sprawling metropolis of 1.6 million people. Down in the city, they volunteered at a preschool, where they cleaned, painted murals and the exterior, installed lighting, built a fence, donated supplies and forged lifelong friendships.

from true. The world outside of the United States is beautiful, adventurous and full of knowledge. This trip has shown me that you can’t be afraid of life, you must go out and adventure!”

From either vantage point, and many others in between, it was a life-changing experience for 10 first-generation EKU students, many of whom had never traveled internationally or even flown.

Lush especially enjoyed the sightseeing treks: the waterfall in Otavalo, the Equator and the mountaintop experience (figuratively and literally) high above Quito.

The University sponsored the South American trip in June 2016 to give some college students an opportunity to step outside their comfort zone and “learn a lot about themselves,” said Liliana Gomez, a trip leader along with Dr. Bryan Cole, director of military and veteran affairs.

“All of these places had the most gorgeous scenery,” she said. “The waterfall was by far the most beautiful sight I had ever seen in regards to nature.” Just as that sight was “breathtakingly beautiful,” the view from above the city was “a very humbling experience. All of these sights reminded me how beautiful our planet is, and how small we are in comparison.”

Mission accomplished, say the students. “Eastern Kentucky University opened that door for me,” said James Campbell, a sophomore nursing major from Hazard. “It really changed my life, and I am so grateful for that.” Sixty-eight first-generation students applied to go on the journey, the process including an essay on how such an experience might impact them. Fifteen were interviewed before 10 were selected. The group included several Hispanic students, a fast-growing demographic at the University. Courtney Lush, a junior statistics/sociology major from Louisville, said the trip “significantly expanded my worldview. Never having been immersed in another culture as we were on this trip, my perspective of the world was very limited and somewhat sheltered. We always believed the world outside the U.S. was dangerous and unsafe. After traveling to Ecuador, I found that to be far

Many students agreed, however, that even the most scenic vistas and equatorial climate were no match for the smiles of the children and the warmth of the local people. “To see their faces light up each day that we returned was the absolute best feeling,” said Tyler Pack, a sophomore Spanish and international business major from Louisa. “Knowing that we were able to help those precious children is something I’ll always carry with me.” Campbell, whose blond hair made him recognizable “from a mile away,” said he was drawn from the first day to a little boy named Eiker. “He did not know me, did not speak my language, and he knew that I was different. However, this child showed me an unconditional love that I have never before witnessed, and it completely warmed my heart. Every child in this

EKU MAGAZINE 15


day care was poverty-stricken, and I was in awe at how beautifully loving and accepting he was of his life. It made me realize that it is not only important, but necessary, to be grateful for the life I am blessed to live. When it was time to leave, I started to cry because I knew I would never get to see their bright-eyed and hopeful faces again.” As a Roman Catholic, Lush found another connection. “I noticed one of the girls was wearing a rosary around her neck,” she said. “This led to some interesting experiences throughout the week. I wanted to let her know that I was Catholic, too, but I struggled on how to do so because I did not speak Spanish. Finally, I went up to her and said, ‘Me gusta Maria tambien’ (I like Mary, too), while pointing to her rosary, She immediately knew what I meant and gave me a hug. For the rest of the week, she was my little ‘buddy,’ always wanting to follow me around and show me things.” Gomez, a recruitment and retention specialist who has been instrumental in the fast-growing Hispanic population at the University, said the week was “a great balance” of work and cultural experiences. “We really worked hard at the school, and we were able to use the talents that each student brought.” Among other activities, the students also enjoyed salsa dancing, toured Old Quito, viewed a parade, visited a flea market and watched a local artisan make musical instruments. Cole noted the camaraderie that quickly developed among the students, who had not generally known each other before the trip. “There was very little of people going their own way,” he said. “We had a very good group dynamic.” It helped that every grouping of students among the 10 had at least one who could speak Spanish. One was Alexcis Ortiz Cazares, a sophomore Spanish major from Chicago, Illinois, who said he would “forever be ‘agradecido’ (grateful) for this beautiful and amazing opportunity to travel. The trip showed me how grateful we should all be for what we have, and how we shouldn’t be so materialistic about everything as there is no need for fancy things in life to achieve happiness. Also,

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I learned not to judge other people. For example, the local people I met while in Ecuador were the most humble and nicest people I have met.” The trip’s biggest surprise? That one of Ecuador’s national dishes is “cuy,” known in the U.S. as guinea pig, a common household pet. Otherwise, the students marveled at how much they felt at home, even 3,000 miles away. Lush noted youths hanging out in a sandwich shop after school and the American music blaring from car stereos. Pack, among those who had never flown, said he would like to return to South America for a study-abroad experience. “This wonderful trip has given me the courage to expand my reach and try new things I had never dreamed of before,” he said. “It made me realize that I am worth it, and that I can do anything I set my mind to.” Count Lush among those now ready to explore other new frontiers. “I definitely have the travel bug now,” she said. “I am ready to visit another country, and see what beauty and knowledge that place has to offer. Once you start traveling, you’ll never want to stop. And, honestly, I don’t believe you should ever stop traveling and exploring the world. God gave us this beautiful planet so that we could enjoy it, not ignore it.” Prior to the University’s offer, such a trip was beyond Lush’s reach. “I honestly never believed it would happen because of financial issues,” she said. “I am so thankful that EKU decided to go through with this trip and give us all a chance to see the world. The fact that EKU was willing to... give 10 of its students this type of a once-in-a-lifetime trip really demonstrates how much the University cares about its students.” For its investment, the University, and the world, get “empowered” students “more willing to put themselves out there than before,” Gomez said. Or, as Campbell said of himself, a student ready to “experience life to the fullest and really leave my mark on this world.” n


EKU MAGAZINE 17


BEST OF EASTERN Executives, Activists, Entrepreneurs ... just a few of the titles our 2016 Alumni Award Winners wear proudly in their professional pursuits. Each with his or her unique EKU story — these alumni represent some of EKU’s finest accomplishments.

CHIEF FINANCIAL , OPERATING OFFICER B. J. Ruckriegel, ’98 Louisville, Kentucky Young Alumni Award He once dreamed of an FBI career but switched

to accounting in his second year at EKU. Today, B. J.

Ruckriegel is the award-winning chief financial officer/ chief operating officer for CandyRific, a worldwide

leader in the novelty candy industry. Seven of the past eight years, he has been a finalist for Business First of Louisville’s CFO of the Year, winning the title in 2011.

DIRECTOR, COMMUNITY RELATIONS/ PROJECT MANAGER Onyinyechi (Onyachi) Chuku, ’06 Upper Marlboro, Maryland Distinguished Service Award A project manager and director of community relations

for a public access television station and event manager and brand/marketing consultant for small businesses, Onyachi Chuku is a three-time recipient of the Gold-

Level Presidential Volunteer Service Award, bestowed by President Obama. She also works through the EKU Young Minority Group and the Minority Collegiate Connection, which she co-founded.


AVIATION EXECUTIVE Donald Bornhorst, ’87 Excelsior, Minnesota Hall of Distinguished Alumni Donald Bornhorst grew up in the shadow of Cincinnati /Northern Kentucky Airport, and went on

to a long and distinguished career in the aviation industry, holding

progressively responsible positions with Delta Connection/ Comair.

Under his leadership as president,

Comair emerged from bankruptcy.

He was named senior vice president of Delta Connection in 2007 and

served in that capacity until retiring in 2015.

Both of his parents also graduated

from Eastern: Donald A. Bornhorst, ’62 ’64, and Emma (Longstreet) Bornhorst, ’70.

EKU MAGAZINE 19


MILITARY JUDGE Heather Partridge, ’97 Chesapeake, Virginia Hall of Distinguished Alumni Her trips with EKU Honors as an undergraduate student stoked

her love of travel and desire to see

the world. But little could Heather (Nigg) Partridge know then the

dramatic turn her life would take a few years later. After meeting

a Judge Advocate General’s Corps recruiter while in law school, she

went on to complete an internship with the Navy and never looked

back. Today, she serves as a Military Judge in the grade of Commander,

presiding over General and Special Courts-Martial for the Department of the Navy.


LICENSED BANKER , LGBT ACTIVIST Jeffery Humble, ’07 Nashville, Tennessee Young Alumni Award A personal banker with Fifth Third Bank in

Nashville, Tennessee, Jeffery Humble’s love of

service has made him one of the most respected

volunteers in the Music City. He received a “30 in

Their 30s” Award from The Tennessean and the Center for Nonprofit Management, and was a finalist

for a community service award presented by the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce.

VETERAN, PROFESSOR Dr. Bertee Adkins, ’73 ’74 Richmond, Kentucky Distinguished Service Award

After serving 20 years in the Air Force, Dr. Bertee

Adkins went on to earn two degrees from Eastern and teach business communications (1973-98) at his alma

mater. Just as his tenure was marked by a deep concern for the welfare of his students, he later endowed a scholarship fund to benefit future Colonels.

EKU MAGAZINE 21


SENIOR ASSOCIATE ATHLETICS DIRECTOR Dan McBride, ’89 Richmond, Kentucky Distinguished Service Award Growing up in Richmond, attending Model Lab

and then Eastern, Dan McBride can’t remember life without EKU Athletics. Except for a brief stint as

a local radio executive, he has served in athletics

administration at his alma mater since 1992. He serves today as senior associate athletics director and is an active community volunteer.

SENIOR POLICY ANALYST, ADVOCATE Colin Reusch, ’07 ’09 Washington, D.C. Young Alumni Award As senior policy analyst for the Children’s

Dental Health Project, Colin Reusch is a widely

recognized expert on the Affordable Care Act and its

provisions related to children’s oral health, regularly

interacting with a variety of policymakers, advocates and interest groups at all levels. He and his wife,

Lindsey Cross, ’09, remain actively involved with their alma mater.

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ENTREPRENEUR, BUSINESSMAN Craig Turner, ’75 Lexington, Kentucky • Hall of Distinguished Alumni A highly successful central Kentucky entrepreneur and businessman,

Madonna Spradlin, ’75, have also been generous with their

and has served as its chair since 2013. He headed the search

Turner Gate, a new pedestrian entrance on campus. He serves

Craig Turner was appointed to the EKU Board of Regents in 2006

committee that selected Michael Benson as president, and soon the University embarked on the most ambitious campus revitalization initiative in the institution’s history. He and his wife, the former

financial support, including funds that enabled construction of today as founder and CEO of CRM Companies, a commercial development company.


VETERAN, COMMUNITY VOLUNTEER Bob Elder, ’53 Buda, Texas Hall of Distinguished Alumni When Bob Elder retired after a

distinguished military career, it was hardly the end of either his hard work or his

commitment to service. He only turned from fighting the enemies of freedom

worldwide to serving his fellow man in less dramatic, but no less meaningful, ways.

After a stint with Lockheed Missile and Space Co., he became a local veteran

employment representative with the Texas Employment Commission and was named

Outstanding Older Worker for the state of Texas. In addition, he has served on local

American Red Cross and library boards, and was the organizing president of a medical center.

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GENERAL DENTIST, HUMANITARIAN Fotina Lefta-Hoskins, ’09 Virginia Beach, Virginia Young Alumni Award An Albania native who graduated as an Honors Scholar, Fotina Lefta-Hoskins — she goes by Dr. Tina Lefta

today — is a dentist who prides herself on providing services to many who might not otherwise be able to

afford dental care. Her family roots run deep at EKU, where older sister Mellani Lefta, ’05, and husband, Zachary Hoskins, Esq., ’07, also earned degrees.

GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAIN EXECUTIVE, UNIVERSIT Y PROFESSOR James Kirby Easterling, ’92 ’97 ’03 Richmond, Kentucky Distinguished Service Award

Leaving behind a highly successful corporate career, mostly with Corning Inc., James Kirby Easterling

returned to his alma mater in 2014 to launch a Global

Supply Chain Management program, the first program of its kind in Kentucky. Today, it is one of the

University’s fastest-growing programs, benefiting heavily from his vast experience in the field.

DO YOU KNOW AN EXCEPTIONAL EKU ALUM? NOMINATE THEM AT ALUMNI.EKU.EDU/AWARDS TODAY!


HAVE DRUM,

WILL TRAVEL Dr. Jason Koontz, ’96

He sees the transformation every time he takes percussion students on international trips, where they get the chance to learn from the masters in new and wildly diverse cultural settings. And the sight never gets old. “It’s the coolest thing to see a student put in that situation,” said Dr. Jason Koontz, ’96, director of percussion studies at EKU. “Their first reaction is to be a little anxious. Then, after a day or two, they start to relax and open up. By the end of the trip, they’re hanging out on the corner with the locals and eating things they’ve never tried before.” Just as many EKU academic programs are increasingly attuned to globalization, students in the School of Music’s unique percussion studies program can expect to travel, figuratively if not literally, to exotic locales as they hone their skills. Soon after joining the Eastern School of Music faculty in 2000, Koontz set out to diversify the percussion studies program. That meant introducing more non-western styles to existing band and orchestral styles, and immersing his students not just in the music, but the cultures from which it sprung. The best example of that is the emergence of the Steel Drum Ensemble as a well-traveled musical ambassador for Eastern. Besides trips all around Kentucky and the U.S., Koontz has taken his protégés to competitions and festivals in Trinidad and St. Lucia in the Caribbean as well as Brazil, and arranged for other visits to India and elsewhere. “What sets this percussion program apart from others in the state is the fact that we are exposed to so many different kinds of world music on a daily basis,” said Katelynn Ward, a sophomore music education/music performance major from Greenville, Kentucky. “Because Dr. Koontz is so heavily influenced by world percussion, we are able to play many different kinds of music in a traditional format.” Ward was part of an EKU group that traveled to St. Lucia in 2016 and, performing with the Laborie Steel Orchestra, won the national Panorama competition. “These are experiences I’ll never forget,” she declared. Those memories included a new way to learn music.

26 SPRING 2017

“At EKU, we learn music by reading sheet music,” she said. “In St. Lucia, members of the Steel Orchestra learn by rote; there is no sheet music. Learning parts of the performance piece in that way was a very rewarding experience.” It’s that combination of curricular diversity and international experiences that gives EKU percussion students a competitive edge, whether on the performance stage or in any number of workplace settings. “It’s globalization on a musical scale, a complete education,” Koontz said. “The more diversity you have, the better you can collaborate outside your own daily sphere of influence. These international trips provide insight into a culture’s music, social studies, geography and language. With all the amazing diversity in food, geography and architecture, music becomes a small part of the experience.” In January 2015 — students do love those midwinter Caribbean trips — Koontz and a small group of EKU percussionists participated in the Panorama Educational Program in collaboration with the Birdsong Steel Orchestra in Trinidad, just off the coast of Venezuela and birthplace of the steel band family of instruments. The students rehearsed and performed with a 120-member steel orchestra under the direction of Grammy Award winner and steel pan virtuoso Andy Narell at the world’s largest steel band competition. Such experiences, Koontz said, allow his EKU students to “go to the source, learn from the masters and gain a new perspective on everything.” More importantly, perhaps, they provide EKU students with “a cultural and historical context, and insight into the music of Afro-Caribbean culture that helps to foster a curiosity and an understanding of diversity.” The young EKU musicians also learned directly from Narell during their headlining performances at the Panorama Caribbean Music Festival at Virginia Beach, Virginia. Will Stephenson, ’10, a


Jason Koontz plays the Brasilian “Pandeiro,� which is used for samba and chorinho.


second-year graduate assistant under Koontz, has also joined musicians from all around the world to perform at numerous Global Rhythms concerts at Miami University in Ohio. Stephenson’s first “major” experience with the EKU Percussion Studio was a trip to Brazil, where students studied the music and culture in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Salvador de Bahia. Shortly after that trip, he and a fellow percussion student traveled to Chennai, India, to teach about steel drums and other types of Western percussion at the KM Conservatory for Music. As part of the Trinidad trip, he performed in the Panorama competition. “All three were excellent opportunities, where I not only grew as a musician but as a person as well,” Stephenson said. Interestingly, though he grew up an avid percussionist in school bands, Koontz didn’t originally pursue a career in music, instead ABOVE, LEFT: Koontz plays African and Brasilian percussion with members of the EKU Percussion Studio during REC the Ravine in 2015, while his 4-year-old daughter plays shaker beside him. LEFT: Koontz provides lecture demonstrations at a Japanese elementary school in Hokuto City, Japan, in 2013 during an artist exchange for the Madison County International Club. BELOW: Koontz and a percussion ensemble rehearse Phil Faini’s “Bravura” in the Foster Music Building on Dec. 8, 2016.

28 SPRING 2017


beginning as a psychology major at Okaloosa-Walton Community College in his native Florida before transferring to Eastern. He credits former EKU School of Music Chair Rob James, who at that time was directing percussion studies, for his most fortuitous change of direction. “After he invited me to play in some percussion ensembles,” Koontz recalled, “he sat me down and said I had a lot of talent and a good foundation, and that I needed to be a music major.” When, after earning two graduate degrees, he returned a few years later to join his alma mater’s music faculty, Koontz found James to be similarly supportive in his role as chair. “As a percussionist, he had a real good understanding of what it takes to run a successful percussion studio,” Koontz said. “There are so many logistics involved in moving and transporting instruments, so much equipment to organize and so many repairs.” Sixteen years later, the rich diversity of the program and international exposure have combined to make EKU a popular destination for aspiring percussionists, with the program increasingly attracting students from a variety of states. “People know our reputation for excellence,” Koontz said, “and that we are engaged in these international experiences.”

But he’s not about to let the program coast on that growing reputation. “I’m open to anything,” he said, “always thinking about working out some new musical or educational arrangement.” For example, he has discussed with a “good friend” from Guinea the possibility of setting up a workshop in that West African nation. Such trips don’t come cheaply, of course, and much of Koontz’s time goes to securing funds to defray some of the students’ costs — at least the airfare. Who knows what far-flung corners of the globe Koontz and his percussionists will visit next? Who knows what street corner on some tropical island will find an EKU student musician learning some new steel drum trick from a local master? As Stephenson explained, “Dr. Koontz has a never-ending thirst to learn. He is always trying to learn how to play a new instrument, not limited to percussion, and dives full in trying new things. Through this, he shows his students that there is no end to what we are capable of, and instills a culture of learning and educational exploration.” n


“To pass my test.” “To ace my job interview.” “To win the big game.” These are a few examples of what people wish as they add to the shine of the burnished toe of the Daniel Boone statue on Eastern’s Richmond campus. The bronze statue began guarding the Keen Johnson Building in May 1967, and the tradition of rubbing the left toe of Kentucky’s best-known frontiersman began shortly after, specifically said to better the chances of a student doing well on college exams.

TRADITIONS THAT UNITE US Over the past 50 years, thousands of students, faculty, staff, alumni and visitors have deposited their wishes at the base of the nine-foot statue, a replica of the sculpture Louisville native Enid Yandell made for the 1893 World’s Fair. Fess Parker, who portrayed Daniel Boone in a television series from 1964 to 1970, even stopped by when he came to Eastern in 1968 to receive an honorary degree. As the legend grew, so did the range of requests heaped on Daniel’s toe. Since at least the early ’80s, members of the EKU Marching Band — or Marching Maroons as they were then known — have filed by one at a time on the way from the band room to Roy Kidd Stadium to improve the chances of a successful performance, recalled Amy Wolfford Washburn, ’86, of Greensboro, North Carolina. “Some years it worked better than others,” she noted with a smile. “Good memories.”

Student rubbing Daniel Boone’s toe, 1967. Band members rub the toe before a game, Sept. 8, 2016. Actor Fess Parker, who played Daniel Boone in the show of the same name, 1968. Photos courtesy EKU Special Collections & Archives.

30 SPRING 2017


And alumni can’t resist a chance to visit the statue when they return to campus, even if they are no longer worried about getting a passing grade on a test. “I rubbed that toe every chance I got,” said Jerry Miller, ’98, who met his wife, Ann Baehl Miller, ’92 ’94, at EKU, and now lives in Cincinnati. “Now that we have three children, we’ve taught them the same tradition when we go back to campus.” This is only one of the traditions Eastern alumni remember as they look back at their years on the “Campus Beautiful.” For many, taking part in annual Homecoming activities — from the parade to the halftime crowning ceremony — is a tradition they continued after graduation, returning from far-flung locations (or around the corner) one weekend a year to once again share those activities with friends and family. The wearing of beanies by EKU freshmen was an on-again, off-again tradition that finally ended for good in 1973, according to EKU Assistant University Librarian Jackie Couture, co-author of “Eastern Kentucky University: 1957-2006.” Fawn Conley, ’85 ’92, of Richmond, Kentucky, who was a freshman during one of the tradition’s on-again phases, at least found the reviled cap fairly comfortable. “I got so used to having it on that I went to bed with it on one night,” she admitted. Students gathering at “Powell Corner” between classes has been happening for decades, and the “Corner” has consistently provided a central gathering spot for student conversations, as well as a locale for formal and informal informational events. LEFT, FROM TOP: Homecoming queen candidates, 1969. Bennie Coney runs with the ball during the Homecoming game against Jacksonville State on Oct. 22, 2016. Halftime during Homecoming game, date unknown. The EKU Marching Colonels perform in the Homecoming Parade on Oct. 25, 2014. OPPOSITE, TOP: Freshmen students, wearing beanies in two different eras. OPPOSITE, BOTTOM: Two students face off with wooden swords in 1970. A couple walking through the Ravine during Fall 1964.

32 SPRING 2017


Another observance remembered fondly by many alumni is the Hanging of the Green. Beginning in 1930, a group of students would ceremoniously hang mountain laurel the first week of December in celebration of the holiday season — first in Burnam Hall, then, as the ceremony grew in popularity and size, in the Keen Johnson Building. Participants would then light candles, sing Christmas songs and often hear from a guest speaker. After almost seven decades, participation declined and the ceremony has not been held since 1997. In an article about the ending of the Hanging of the Green ceremony, Ashley Salyer Thacker, ’13 ’15, a member of the University Special Collections & Archives staff, emphasized the important role traditions play beyond providing wonderful memories, writing, “Traditions give us a common bond, a sense of pride and a surge of spirit that inspires us to grow.”

TRADITION OF PLACE

THE RAVINE There is a special place at the heart of Campus Beautiful

that unites us all. Lined with trees and graced with flowers,

it is in this place we have discovered new friends, enjoyed new experiences and encountered the magic of campus life. When visiting our beloved EKU, we are drawn to this special place and the beautiful memories it evokes.


As some of the University’s traditions have faded, others have risen to take their place, still inspiring the campus community to continue that growth. Special programming offered for incoming students has created new traditions, including an annual freshman convocation, picnic and Traditions Night, where students learn chants and cheers associated with EKU Athletics.

Traditions give us a common bond, a sense of pride and a surge of spirit that inspires us to grow. — Ashley Thacker, ’13 ’15 University Special Collections & Archives

come seeking and what they acquire during their studies to use for the betterment of society. “These four words epitomize how Eastern can properly prepare our students and also instill in each of them the desire to attain greatness in their life endeavors,” said Craig Turner, ’75, chair of the EKU Board of Regents, who, with his wife, Madonna Spradlin Turner, ’75, donated the funds for manufacturing and installing the gateway. At the beginning of the Fall 2016 semester, more than 2,000 EKU freshmen took part in the University’s newest tradition — the Welcome Walk — where the incoming freshman class passed through Turner Gate to the cheers of faculty and staff, who lined the route offering their support and encouragement.  Addressing the students at the Keen Johnson Building before they began the walk, EKU President Michael Benson explained they were living in history.

At the end of each semester since its completion, Turner Gate has been the backdrop for a steady stream of seniors wearing graduation caps and gowns posing for photos — alone and in groups.

“We are starting a new tradition tonight, and generations after you will say that the class of 2020 was part of something great,” he said, expressing his hope that the Welcome Walk becomes an enduring tradition much like rubbing Daniel Boone’s toe for good luck.

The University’s newest landmark, formally dedicated in August 2016, is distinguished by four simple but profound words — Wisdom and Knowledge on one side facing Lancaster Avenue, Purpose and Passion on the other — that describe what students

Perhaps those freshmen will return to campus with their own children and retrace that freshman walk with them through Turner Gate, before visiting the Daniel Boone statue to share the story of their good fortune at Eastern. n

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: The Class of 2020 walks

under the pedway on its way to Turner Gate. Students form the Big E. New student convocation. OPPOSITE: Inaugural Welcome Walk through the newly opened Turner Gate. All photos from Big E Welcome, August 2016.

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ATHLETICS HIGHLIGHTS FORMER COLONEL RACES IN SUMMER 2016 OLYMPICS Former EKU All-American Ole Hesselbjerg represented Denmark in the preliminary round of the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Hesselbjerg did not advance to the finals; however, he finished 31st out of 45 total competitors with a time of 8:40.08. He entered the event ranked 44th out of 45 steeplechasers.

FOUR-YEAR EKU LETTER WINNER UMPIRES GAME 7 OF WORLD SERIES When he learned that he would be the replay official for Game 1 of the 2016 World Series, Sam Holbrook, ’87, knew that meant, after rotating around the field, he would also call balls and strikes in a Game 7 if neither team prevailed in six or less. But who could have known then that the once hapless Cubs would win their first championship since 1908 in a Game 7 for the ages? “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous,” Holbrook told the Lexington Herald-Leader. “It’s Game 7 of the World Series. Of course you’re nervous.” Holbrook, a four-year letter-winner at EKU and pitcher under legendary head coach Jim Ward, joined the MLB umpiring staff in 1998. He had previously worked the 2004 All-Star Game, the 2012 National League Wild Card Game, four division series, the 2008 and 2012 American League Championship Series, the 2009 and 2011 NL Championship Series, and the 2010 World Series. “It was an epic game,” the Morehead native said of the Cubs’ thrilling 8-7 victory over the Indians in 10 innings, a contest that played out with little controversy at the plate. “People keep asking me about it (and) that’s the one word that keeps coming to mind: epic.”

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Hesselbjerg was EKU’s first Summer Olympian since Jackie Humphrey-Corbin won the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 100-meter hurdles (12.83) and competed at the 1988 Games in Seoul, South Korea. Former Colonel sprinter Dallas Robinson qualified for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, as a member of the U.S. bobsled team. Hesselbjerg was a two-time NCAA bronze medalist in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (2014 and 2015), and he holds the EKU record in the event at 8:33.2. He was also an Academic All-American multiple years, graduating from EKU in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in physics.

FOOTBALL STANDOUT OVERCOMES ADVERSITY Surrounded by gang violence and often hungry as a child, he hustled the Chicago streets just for a fast-food sandwich. A move at age 9 to a small town in northern Georgia only swapped the gunfire for the slings and arrows of racism. But senior Colonel offensive lineman Justin Adekoya found a purpose in football and education. The Lexington Herald-Leader captured his heartwarming story at go.eku.edu/justin.


SOCCER TEAM EXCEEDS EXPECTATIONS They were picked to finish 10th out of 11 teams in the Ohio Valley Conference. A rebuilding year under a new coach, they said. But EKU and its first-year Coach Nick Flohre confounded the “experts,” taking a share of its first-ever OVC regular-season title, finishing 8-2-0 in the conference and 13-5-1 overall. It was the most successful season in the program’s history. Flohre earned the first OVC Coach of the Year award in program history, and Cassie Smith and Jordan Foster earned first-team all-OVC honors.

Jordan Foster (FOREGROUND) and Makenna Sullivan take the pitch against Eastern Illinois University on Oct. 21, 2016.

CROSS COUNTRY TEAMS SWEEP OVC CHAMPIONSHIPS EKU sophomore Charlotte Imer finished 31st overall to earn All-America honors at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships in November. It was the best finish ever by an EKU woman, and the second-best finish ever by an Ohio Valley Conference woman at the NCAA Championships. Eastern sophomore Erik Rotich also competed in the NCAA Championships men’s race. The individual accomplishments were the perfect cap to another outstanding season for both the men’s and women’s cross

country teams. The men finished fourth in the NCAA Southeast Regional, while the women’s team took seventh. The two teams made another clean sweep of the OVC championships. It was the EKU women’s 30th overall title, fifth consecutive and 10th league title in the last 11 years. As for the men, it was their 25th overall and 11th straight conference crown.

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@ekusports or visit ekusports.com

EKU MAGAZINE 37


’68

RE-CREATE

ALUMS AND FOREVER FRIENDS JOURNEY BACK TO EKU FOR ONE LAST TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE

The heart-to-heart conversations. Clothes and secrets shared. The long waits at the phone booths. Community bathrooms. The 25-cent grilled cheese sandwiches in the basement grille. Birthday celebrations and any other excuse to break out in song. The alwaysopen doors. Bridge games. The too-hot rooms. First-floor windows, which permitted many a broken curfew. The walks downtown for eating and shopping (no one had a car). But, most of all, the lifelong friendships forged among strangers who accepted one another for who they were. Case Hall was razed in 2016 to make room for a new dining hall but, for eight women who called the residence hall home in 1968-69, the memories came flooding back on a just-in-time visit in May, as workers were beginning to cart out its contents. They called it Re-create ’68. “So many memories that we hadn’t thought of in years came back to us that day as we explored our freshman-year home,” said Katie (Short) Hadden, ’72, who was joined on the visit by Paula (McNeil) Branham; Marti (Childers) Templeman, ’71; Marsha ( Justice) Faulkner, ’72; Brent (Prewitt) Taylor, ’72; Nancy Jo (Hays) Carrico; Diane (Minor) Nelson, ’72; and Gay (Hamilton) Robinson. Others in the group who couldn’t make it to Richmond were Peggy (Wires) Bogle, ’71; Lynn (Bloomfield) Flynn, and Linda (Cornett) Johnson. Sadly, one of the group, Susan (Sparks) Martin, passed away in 2015. She was remembered by a banner placed across her door that included notes and photos from that year.

38 SPRING 2017

ABOVE: Taken on their last day in Case Hall, this is the only photo of all 12 of them together. OPPOSITE, CENTER: The Case Hall crew re-created their last-day photo when they reunited on May 16, 2016. OPPOSITE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Lynn climbs out of a window on Halloween night, 1968, to trick-or-treat at Todd Hall; Linda talking to her boyfriend on a hallway phone (there were no phones in the rooms); Diane fixes Marsha’s hair for a big date; Lynn shaving her legs in a Case Hall sink; Paula and her dad during move-in day, Sept. 17, 1968 — one of only two days per year when men were allowed in the building (the other was move-out day!); a camera-shy Diane eating lunch from the Case basement grille; Paula talking inside a phone booth. Lynn and Marti on an emotional last day in Case Hall, June 5, 1969.


“There was a lack of rooms, so I was assigned to a room with two other ladies,” recalled Nelson, who had not been to campus before enrolling. “We were very cramped, but I didn’t mind. It was the first time I had a bed of my own, first time I lived on my own.” It was a turbulent, even scary, time in American history, but the hall mates always had each other for support. “The closeness we felt was the one thing that I remember the most,” Templeman said. “If one of us hurt, we all hurt. We shared everything.” That didn’t stop when the new friends went their separate ways after freshman year, or even with graduation. “We had all stayed in touch over the years,” Hadden noted, “though we were never all in the same place at the same time after the last day of freshman year. Now that we are all retired, we have a large group gathering at least once a year.” EKU “was where I began the learning curve of becoming an adult,” Hadden added. “Case Hall was the beginning of that. I think that is the one reason it is so special to us. It is the symbol of our friendship that began just three months out of high school and lasts to this day. We grew up together, and have shared life for 48 years and counting.”

Indeed, the seven who made the trip, and others who couldn’t attend, have participated in each other’s weddings, visited one another when a child was born, served as godparents, babysat each other’s kids. Even one of the hall mates named her child after another. And that’s why the 2016 visit to Case “was a dream come true,” according to Branham. “It was like going back in time. I could almost hear conversations that occurred in 1968.” Seeing the hall at the beginning of its end was a bittersweet experience for Templeman. “It was wonderful, but also hard ... to know that no one would ever use these rooms again,” she said. “I’m sure others had a lot of fun throughout the years in Case Hall, but I doubt very many had as much fun as we did, and still do.” n

View full reunion video online:

go.eku.edu/case-reunion

EKU MAGAZINE 39


FROM the STREETS of CALCUTTA Dr. Deborah Alexander, ’77

When she was 5 years old, Dr. Deborah Alexander stuffed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich into a handkerchief and set out on foot. It was her first big adventure. Destination: China. Her trip ended within minutes, of course, but what a prophetic little journey it was. Fast-forward approximately 15 years, and there she was, by now an EKU sophomore social work major, boarding a plane — her very first flight — at the Lexington airport, with luggage given to her by a caring faculty member. Fulbright Scholarship in hand, not to mention a paper bag of other necessities, she was headed to India and an internship working alongside none other than Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity. Thirty-six hours later, this first-generation college student was standing on a runway at the Old Delhi airport. “Just me and a cow.” But that memory, vivid as it is, pales next to her experiences the next few months with Mother Teresa.


“My first impression was how frail-looking and wrinkled she was,” Dr. Alexander, ’77, wrote recently on Facebook. “Mother Teresa assigned me to drive an old woodie station wagon through the streets of Calcutta each morning, gathering those forgotten and alone souls, dead and dying. Eventually, I understood that I was to be Mother’s hands of love and comfort for my passengers’ final hours. “It has taken decades to understand how I was forever changed in those weeks,” she added. “Every day was packed with a chaos of sight, sound and feeling. I can close my eyes and still remember Mother Teresa’s small, wrinkled hands in mine as we said goodbye.” Building upon the lessons she learned during that “springboard” experience in India, Dr. Alexander went on to a long and distinguished career with the U.S. Department of State, often serving as a field program manager with oversight of democratization initiatives designed to stabilize communities, restart government services, and rebuild institutions in crisis-ridden and war-ravaged countries. She became one of the department’s longest-serving officers in Afghanistan, where she labored approximately a decade, long enough to survive three road attacks. Her work also took her to dozens of other countries, especially in eastern Europe, Asia and Africa. Stops included Russia, Siberia, Belarus, Ukraine, Malta, Albania, Kosovo, Serbia, Romania, Slovakia, Croatia, Iraq, Turkey, Pakistan, Thailand, Indonesia, Somalia and South Africa. On some occasions, she was overseeing elections, and helping to develop citizenship skills and political participation among the local people; other visits were security-related. Sometimes, she lived in tents or mud huts alongside soldiers. Often, she was rubbing shoulders with heads of state and military leaders worldwide. Wherever she landed, it was typically her job to build proverbial bridges of understanding and goodwill. It wasn’t that much different from navigating the streets of Calcutta. “I have learned that we are more similar than we are different,” said Dr. Alexander, whose family roots are in Madison, Jackson and Estill counties. “Whether it’s Big Hill, Kentucky, or Afghanistan, people care about their children, especially when they’re sick, and they want good water, health care and schools. We must remember what we have in common and not let our differences define us.” Dr. Alexander has been honored many times for her service: an Expeditionary Service Award, Superior Honor Award and Meritorious Honor Award from the State Department; a NATO Public Service Award; a Medal for Exceptional Public Service from the Office of the Secretary of Defense; and the Public Service Award from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, where she earned her master’s and doctoral degrees. Today, she resides in a townhouse in her native Lexington, where, to no one’s surprise, she busies herself with volunteer work and

TOP: Dr. Alexander in the far reaches of the Kandahar Province, where she

regularly met with children, teachers, women, elders and others. The people pictured here were surprised and amused, as they hadn’t seen an American woman for many years. ABOVE: Dr. Alexander at Bamiyan University in Afghanistan, home to the third largest ethnic group in the country. Those pictured remembered her from an extended visit 10 years earlier.

We must remember what we have in common and not let our differences define us. philanthropic activities, including Sheppard’s Hands for female veterans and Habitat for Humanity, among many others. And it all points back to her four years at EKU. “It was the beginning of my civic, political and global life (and) my focus on building and organizing communities,” she recalled. “I had professors who were so supportive and kind, and never made me feel embarrassed about coming from a working-class family. Through my coursework and my relationships with other students and professors, I began creating my path. It opened windows on the world that I never would have imagined.” n

EKU MAGAZINE 41


Colonels #EKUAbroad

From Ireland to Costa Rica, EKU students travel all across the globe. These study-abroad opportunities come through various programs and departments, such as the EKU Choirs Ireland tour, an Animal Studies communication project in Bimini, programs through the Kentucky Institute for International Studies (KIIS) and many more. Enjoy this sampling of EKU students and their adventures abroad from various #EKUAbroad posts on social media.

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01. 02. 03. 04. 05. 06. 07. 08. 09. 10. 11. 12.

@karleeanne3 in Besseggen, Norway #EKUAbroad @unvonventoinalforrest in Ireland #EKUChoirsTour @chicknamed_nina abroad under the lights of Italy @kimmylen at the Bernese Alps #EKUAbroad @b_iaciofano studying in Bimini #EKUAbroad @mckinleyrose representing #EKUHonors in Spain @rachelizabeth59 making friends abroad in Europe @briofrommeyer with Professor Susan Kipp in Florence @ekuabroad students taking in the sights of Europe @angelalauer1 at the Leaning Tower of Pisa #EKUAbroad @mchurch914, others on way to Ireland #EKUChoirsTour @haleigh_olsson in Belize #EKUAbroad

07 See more photos!

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Follow @easternkentuckyu on Instagram.

Follow @EKUStories on Twitter.

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– ALUMNI NEWS – In this

issue Alumni Profiles Vivian Poynter Bowles Brian Corcoran Tyiana Watt Thompson Sam and Alec Mason

Class Notes In Memoriam

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 SPRING 2017

Dear Fellow Alumni, As another academic year unfolds, EKU is flush with activities and achievement. The 201617 academic year has welcomed 2,695 freshmen, including 763 first-generation students, 90 veterans and 119 members of EKU Honors. Eastern is also witnessing the sixth consecutive year of improving freshman retention and the rate of students who persist to graduation. Around campus, the Department of Chemistry is investing in opportunities afforded by its expertise in fermentation science to create new programs and spur regional economic growth. By tapping into cross-disciplinary advantages in agriculture, chemistry, biology and business, entrepreneurs in craft brewing can utilize the pilot facility located in the New Science Building to experiment with formulas and test products before they go to market. Dramatic changes are taking place at the Crabbe Library — both in physical spaces and activity. From the Chellgren Success Series to a new initiative that all my school peers would have used, Long Night Against Procrastination, which provides students a broad range of library services “after hours,” the Library is a magnificent resource. For all of this good work, higher education continues to be under pressure from state legislatures across the nation and here at home. The uninterrupted budget cuts to higher education, and the belief that the Commonwealth can build and grow the economy without a robust college-educated workforce, is simply not

sustainable. Of the 12 million net new jobs created since 2011, only 80,000 of those were available for someone with a high school diploma or less. It is the academy that creates environments for collaboration, solves great problems, publishes solutions and produces a chain reaction of invention, from penicillin to computers and from GPS to Google. No matter where you live or how you are engaged, I encourage you to be an advocate for higher education. That advocacy, along with your volunteerism and support, is critical to the mission of this great institution. I am proud to report that 100 percent of International Alumni Association board members have contributed to that advocacy this academic year with both their talent and treasure.

Go Colonels! Dr. Thomas M. Martin Classes of ’93 and ’01 Glenn Raglin, Immediate Past President of the International Alumni Association; Kari Martin, Assistant Vice President for Alumni and Donor Engagement; Dr. Tom Martin, current President and Tonya Tarvin Crum, a Past President, enjoy a beautiful fall morning at the Alumni Center at Blanton House on Homecoming and Reunion Weekend 2016.


ALUMNI NEWS

Class Notes Jon Draud, ’60, starting catcher on back-to-back OVC championship teams for EKU baseball in 1959 and 1960, was inducted into the EKU Athletics Hall of Fame on Oct. 8. He is still listed in the EKU record book with his .473 batting average he attained in 1958, which is only two percentage points shy of the all-time EKU single season batting mark. He resides in Edgewood, Kentucky, with his wife, Beverly Draud. Retired middle school teacher Joanna Compton Sewell, ’61, is living in Somerset, Kentucky, with her husband, Fitch Sewell. Joslyn Portmann, ’62, was awarded a Certificate of Honor from the Vietnam War Commemoration. He is a Land of Liberty Sponsor for Operation Stand Down Central Texas. Rupert Stephens, ’64, who played basketball at EKU 1958-1963, was inducted into the EKU Athletics Hall of Fame on Oct. 8. His senior year, he captained the Maroons, and averaged 12.9 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. That season he was chosen the team’s Most Valuable Player and named to the All-OVC team. He and his wife, Mary Feltner Stephens, ’64, reside in Rockledge, Florida. James Reece, ’65, is now “living in paradise” in Naples, Florida, with his wife, June Reece. Carol Sandy Klaber, ’66, a member of this year’s Pioneer Class, has retired from her position with the Kentucky Department of Education-Career and Technical Education after 15 years working with student organizations. She and her husband, Charles Klaber, live in Falmouth, Kentucky. Terry Shetler, ’66, a member of this year’s Pioneer Class, has been inducted into the Northern Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame. After being wounded on his way to Vietnam, he played basketball at Hunter Army Airfield, winning the third Army Championship in 1969. He retired after a 30-year teaching career (he also coached basketball for 25 years and football for 12). He and his wife, Pattie Shetler, reside in Florence, Kentucky. Ann Bradley, ’67, of Whitesburg, Kentucky, has retired after 49 years as Letcher County Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Science. Alex Ceruzzi, ’68 ’69, of Canton, Georgia, recently received a utility patent for his “Stick On Stylus Holder.” Ceruzzi, a professional songwriter, maintains a website about his work at MelodyManMusic.com.

Hayward Evans, ’68, St. Augustine, Florida, retired from Oakwood Books Inc. International Flight Department as director of operations and chief pilot. Chuck Siemon, ’68, a member of Coach Roy Kidd’s first EKU football team who played defensive end for the Colonels 1964-67, was inducted into the EKU Athletics Hall of Fame on Oct. 8. Now living in New Carlisle, Ohio, Siemon was a big part of Eastern’s 1967 OVC championship and a 27-13 victory over Ball State that claimed the NCAA Mideast Region championship for the Colonels. Mike Barnes, ’70, received the United States Professional Tennis Association Player of the Year Award for both singles and doubles in 2015. Mike is the head tennis professional at Miromar Lakes Beach and Golf Club in Fort Myers, Florida. Radio industry executive and former president and CEO of CBS Radio Dan Mason, ’73, recently joined iHeartMedia as senior adviser for broadcast relations. Mason lives in Herndon, Virginia. Lydia Buck Arnold Norfleet, ’73 ’75, recently retired after 40 years in higher education, the last 21 at Vanderbilt University. She and her husband, Wayne Norfleet, will live in Cleveland, Tennessee, when not traveling. Ann Mattingly Bertrand, ’76, of Glasgow, Kentucky, retired after a 40-year teaching career. Dr. Robert W. Robertson, ’78, was named an “Emerging Leader in the Americas” by the Government of Canada. The award included visits to academic institutions throughout eastern Canada to survey innovation and internationalization in practice. Robertson serves as president of the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute in Nassau. Kevin Campbell, ’79, and Linda Cabanne Campbell, ’77, ’79, recently celebrated their 37th wedding anniversary. Mr. and Mrs. Campbell live in St. Louis, Missouri. Motorcycle Officer John Malvin, ’81, retired after 20 years of service with the Coral Springs Police Department, Florida. This followed 11 years in the Army as a military policeman, separating as a major. He is now enjoying retirement in The Villages, Florida.

Dr. John P. Holdren, Vivian Poynter Bowles and Dr. Joan Ferrini-Mundy

Vivian Poynter Bowles, ’76

Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching She was one of 213 K-12 mathematics and science teachers nationwide invited to the White House in September to receive the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. But Vivian Poynter Bowles, ’76, is probably most at home outside Kit Carson Elementary School, Richmond, helping her fourth-grade students make connections between themselves, their communities and the natural world. “Effective teachers have a passion for learning and for instilling that passion in their students,” she said. “I am passionate about conveying to my students that they are part of a great big world — and that it begins in their own backyards. This award tells me it’s okay to have students dig in the dirt and look under rocks.” The award recipients are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians and educators following an initial selection process at the state level. Bowles was one of only two Kentuckians selected. Each winner received a $1,000 award from the National Science Foundation to be used at the recipient’s discretion. Bowles, a 29-year veteran of the classroom, serves on the Kentucky Environmental Literacy Plan Implementation Advisory Team, which develops and promotes environmental applications across the curriculum. n EKU MAGAZINE 45 EKU MAGAZINE 45


ALUMNI NEWS

David Flores, ’81, placekicker for Coach Roy Kidd’s EKU Colonels from 1977-80 who was named to three all-OVC teams, was inducted into the EKU Athletics Hall of Fame on Oct. 8. He kicked perhaps the most important field goal in Eastern history when, in double overtime, he nailed a 20-yard attempt that gave the Colonels a thrilling 33-30 double overtime victory over Nevada-Reno that sent EKU to the national championship game. He currently resides in Stanford, Kentucky.

Brian Corcoran, ’91 ’93

Fast Track to Success A standout on EKU’s track and cross country teams in his undergraduate days, Brian Corcoran, ’91 ’93, never really left the fast track of success, though he did change lanes. The Maine native returned to his home state seven years ago as the founder and CEO of Portland-based Shamrock Sports & Entertainment, which delivers strategic marketing solutions for brands through partnerships with leading sports and entertainment properties. He has garnered the praise of public officials for his leadership in bringing sporting events to the area. Then, in 2014, Corcoran founded Portland Media Group, LLC, a film, television and internet production company that creates TV series, films and music specials. One of its products is “Greenlight Maine,” a reality TV program where entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to judges, hoping to win $100,000. It’s not the only way Corcoran, who received his alma mater’s Young Alumni Award in 2007, nurtures up-and-coming innovators. Dozens of college students and recent grads have participated in Shamrock’s paid apprenticeship program, and many have gone on to work for organizations such as the New York Mets and NASCAR. Corcoran once served the latter as its managing director of corporate marketing before becoming executive vice president of Fenway Sports Group, the owner of the Red Sox and Roush Fenway Racing. Many Shamrock employees are also former studentathletes, which leads to a corporate culture of passion, performance and teamwork, Corcoran told Mainebiz. “They’ve got that competitive spirit ... which is good, because we’re only as good as the next deal we secure.” n

46 SPRING 2017

Attorney Barry Miller, ’81, has been named to the list of 2017 Kentucky Super Lawyers. Miller is the administrative partner of Mazanec, Raskin & Ryder’s Lexington, Kentucky, office. He and his wife, Donna Bunch Miller, ’81, reside in Nicholasville, Kentucky. Dale Patton, ’81, fullback for the EKU Colonels 1977-80, was inducted into the EKU Athletics Hall of Fame on Oct. 8. He was a member of three All-OVC teams and the leading rusher in the 1979 national championship game, in which Eastern crushed Lehigh 30-7. Patton resides in Cincinnati, Ohio. Jackie M. Frost, ’82, of Louisville, recently retired from Jefferson County Public Schools after 33 years as an elementary school teacher. Oresta Maly Hale, ’82, and John David Hale celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on June 24, 2016, at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, with family and friends. Dr. Barbara Kitchen, ’82, is dean of the School of Health Sciences at Midway (Ky.) University. She resides in Lexington. Floyd Mack, ’82, retired after a 32-year career with Lockheed Martin Corporation and Heritage Companies on April 27, 2014. Lisa Holt-Taylor, ’84, spent the summer of 2016 studying the forces of evolutionary, geologic and social change, and contributing to sustainable solutions for the archipelago in the Galápagos. The third-grade teacher at Boyd E. Smith Elementary lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and took the graduate course in pursuit of her master’s degree from Miami University’s Global Field Program.

Earnestine “Tina” Cottle, ’85, who played for the EKU women’s basketball team 1983-85 and collected first-team All-OVC honors each season, was inducted into the EKU Athletics Hall of Fame on Oct. 8. She holds program records for most double-doubles (16), most rebounds (310) and best field goal percentage in a single year. Cottle lives in Miami, Florida. Dr. Terri Cox-Cruey, ’85, superintendent of the Kenton County (Ky.) School District, was recently inducted into the Holmes High School (Covington, Kentucky) Hall of Distinction. She and her husband, Thomas Cruey, ’ 85, reside in Florence, Kentucky. “Birds of Opulence,” the first book by Kentucky author Crystal Wilkinson, ’85, won the 2016 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. Wilkinson serves as writer-in-residence at Berea College in Kentucky. Now in its 10th year, the Gaines Award honors rising African-American authors. Jay Reeves, ’92, NRP, has been appointed program director of the paramedic program at Jefferson Community and Technical College in Louisville. Wendy Dixie, ’95, has been promoted to chief information officer at Kentucky State University. She resides in Lexington, Kentucky. Charles K. Mullins, ’95 ’08 ’15, has joined the faculty of Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes, Kentucky, as assistant professor of speech and theatre. Dr. Mullins worked at EKU from 2003 to 2015 as assistant director in Conferencing and Events, and an adjunct instructor. Jennifer Button Shackelford, ’00, was recently named education specialist for Mammoth Cave National Park. At the Kentucky State Police annual awards ceremony this summer, Detective Michael Keeton, ’03, based at Kentucky State Police Post 7 in Richmond, Kentucky, was named Post 7’s Detective of the Year for 2015. He and his wife, Marlana Foster Keeton, ’05, live in Richmond. Kelsey Anderson, ’07, of Lakewood, California, was inducted into the EKU Athletics Hall of Fame on Oct. 8. She earned All-Ohio Valley Conference and OVC Freshman of the Year honors during her softball career, and helped EKU capture the 2004 OVC title and win a program record 42 games. Catlettsburg, Kentucky, native Brandon Griffith, ’07, a captain with the Lexington Fire Department


ALUMNI NEWS

PEGGY GAY MOORE, ’79 The Buckhorn native was the first to score 1,000 points in the history of EKU women’s basketball, finished with 1,696, went on to play one season of professional basketball and then to a highly successful coaching career at Breathitt County High School. Legendary Coach Pat Head Summitt once called her “a super player, one of the best I’ve seen,” after she scored 26 points against the University of Tennessee. She was inducted into the EKU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2011. Mrs. Moore and her husband, Leon, passed away from injuries sustained in an automobile accident in December 2016. n

DR. ROBERT W. POSEY Dr. Robert W. Posey, an integral figure in the establishment and early growth of what is now EKU’s internationally esteemed College of Justice & Safety, passed away on Sept. 24, 2016. He was 93.

1. Richard M. Bogard, retired professor of fire safety and engineering technology Shirley Park Deane, retired library science professor Dr. Charles Hugh Gibson Jr., ’53 ’59, retired administrator and professor of education

In the 1960s, Dr. Posey, by then a veteran of the Kentucky State Police and director of its Academy, desired a more professionally trained and educated police force. His efforts eventually led him to Eastern, where his wish to create a degree program in law enforcement met a warm reception. Associate degree programs, laddered with a single baccalaureate program, were developed in 1965.

Dr. Robert Thomas Lierman, retired professor of geosciences Mary Elizabeth Minor-Lindsay, ’95, adjunct English professor Doug Nieland, retired professor of recreation 2. Dr. Marjorie Pappas, retired library science professor 3. Dr. Jay Riggs, retired psychology professor Dr. George William Robinson, retired history professor and chair Dr. James Clyde Stull, retired education professor

In 1966, Dr. Posey resigned his KSP position to become director of the School of Law Enforcement. When the College of Justice & Safety was established a few years later, he served as its first dean. The College’s rapid growth prompted then-Vice President Dr. John Rowlett to remark that Dr. Posey “was the right man at the right place at the right time.” A 250-seat auditorium in the Stratton Building bears Dr. Posey’s name. n

Ed Swinford, ’50, retired industrial arts and education professor Earl Thomas, retired professor of music 4. Lyle Wolfrom, retired music professor

Lillie Mae Ammerman, ’58

Col. (Ret.) James Maurice Drake II, ’69

Donald Wayne Pace, ’62 EKU MAGAZINE 47


ALUMNI NEWS

Tyiana Watt Thompson, ’05

Mrs. Kentucky 2017 As the newly crowned Mrs. Kentucky for 2017, Tyiana Watt Thompson, ’05, hopes to inspire others to pursue their dreams. “I can’t believe I am in a position to positively impact lives and be a role model,” she told her hometown newspaper, The Henderson (Ky.) Gleaner. “I hope I am an inspiration to everyone. I believe you truly can do whatever you want in life, but you have to work hard.” That’s exactly what Thompson does as enrollment manager for online learning at the University of Louisville’s Delphi Center for Teaching and Learning, working with “hundreds of people who come to me with no confidence or knowledge of how to make their dreams a reality.” Thompson, who was involved with the Delta Zeta sorority at EKU before earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology, is the second African-American winner in the program. She also won Mrs. Photogenic, as well as awards for best interview, career achievement, contestants’ choice and ticket sales. n

who also volunteers with the Big Sandy Volunteer Fire Department, was honored last summer with the American Red Cross Firefighter of the Year Award. Andrew Greer, ’09, has been hired by the office of Kentucky Auditor Mike Harmon, ’09, as a public accounts auditor. Greer, who resides in Lexington, is originally from Floyd County. Jack Godbey, ’09, currently an administrator with the Kentucky Department of Corrections, is author of the recently published “Out of the Jaws of Hell: The Story of Criminal Punishment in Kentucky.” He and his wife, Jaime Sanders Godbey, live in Harrodsburg. Josh Nicholas, ’11, and Lauren Simpson, ’14, were married on July 15, 2016. Josh is an associate director of development at EKU, and Lauren is an early intervention speech-language pathologist at Wilson Pediatric Therapies. They live in Richmond, Kentucky. Brent “Eliot” Parker, ’12, has recently published a new novel, “Fragile Brilliance,” which has been named a finalist for the 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize for Thriller Writing. His book is one of 10 finalists, and he joins the finalists list with other prestigious writers such as John Grisham and Greg Iles.

48 SPRING 2017

Chris Cunningham, ’12, and Nicole Donnelly, ’14, married on July 1, 2016. They met at EKU when she was a freshman and he was a junior. They live in Appleton, Wisconsin. Chase Allen Weitkamp, ’12, and Jacob Kelby Daniel, ’15, were married on July 11, 2016, at the First Christian Church in Richmond. Chase is a seventh-grade math teacher at B. Michael Caudill Middle School and is pursuing a master’s degree at EKU in school counseling. Jacob is the operations manager of Hit and Run Indoor Athletics Center. KaShara Garrett, ’13, former EKU Dance Team captain, has become a member of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. Former EKU tight end Matt Lengel, ’13, joined the New England Patriots in November and played a role in their Super Bowl win in February 2017. The Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, native has been on the Cincinnati Bengals’ practice squad the last two seasons.

Morgan Anderson, ’16, and Jonathan “Jonny” Blount, ’15, were married on March 19, 2016, and currently live in Richmond, Kentucky. Brionne Beard, ’15, married Lamar Walker, ’14, on Aug. 20, 2016. Lamar is pursuing his MBA in sports management, and Brionne is also working toward an MBA, both from Midway University. Lamar is employed with Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Georgetown, and Brionne is employed with Eastern State Hospital in Lexington. They live in Lexington, Kentucky. DeLanna Johnson, ’15, and Dr. Ryne Scott Williams, were married on Aug. 29, 2015. Armando “Mandy” Alvarez, ’16, was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 17th round of the 2016 Major League Baseball Draft in June. Alvarez and his wife, Caridad Alvarez, reside in Miami, Florida.

We want to hear from you! For a comprehensive list of Class Notes or to share your good news with fellow alums, visit: alumni.eku.edu/Class-Notes


ALUMNI NEWS

Contributors EKU Magazine is a collaborative effort between EKU Alumni and Donor Engagement, and EKU Communications and Brand Management EKU President Michael T. Benson Executive Vice President and University Counsel Laurie Carter Vice President, Development and Alumni Relations Nicholas Perlick Assistant Vice President, Alumni and Donor Engagement Kari Martin, ’06 Assistant Vice President, Communications and Brand Management Doug Cornett Photography Mishari Aldiab, ’17 Sarah Bucknam, ’16 Chris Radcliffe, ’04 Stacey Sizemore, ’16 Tim Webb, ’92 EKU Special Collections & Archives Contributing Writers Jerry Wallace Kristi Middleton Karen Lynn, ’86 Margaret Willingham, ’80 Steven Fohl, ’07 ’12 Kevin Britton, ’00 ’11 Jeff Hendrix, ’16 Editorial Managing Editor Brandon Moore, ’14 Design and Layout Senior Graphic Designer Mickey Thomas Design Management Jessica Holly

YOU OPEN DOORS OF OPPORTUNITY

Like many, Masi came to EKU enthusiastic, but unsure about her future goals. With guidance from faculty, she discovered not only her passion for management, but doors of opportunity. Scholarships, professional development, networking events and leadership through student organizations have equipped her for a lifetime of success.

For Masi’s full story, additional student stories, or to make a gift online, visit:

development.eku.edu/impact

Design Support Tara Leisure, ’16 Jordan Jung

Alumni Engagement Staff Senior Director for Engagement and Communications Steve Greenwell, ’06

Accredited 100% online degrees to fit your life.

Director of Alumni Programming and Student Philanthropy Jennifer Ott, ’11 Coordinator of Alumni Programming and Student Philanthropy Sarah Baker, ’15

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ONLINE DEGREE OPTIONS

International Alumni Association Board President Tom Martin, ’93 ’01

NOW ENROLLING!

Immediate Past President Glenn Raglin, ’80

Real degrees. real opportunities.

Vice President Jan Sheppard Barnes, ’72 ’75

go.eku.edu/Jan17

Secretary Jeff Klein, ’07 ’11 Board Members: Kenneth Armstrong, ’90, (Justice and Safety Representative), Ray Arnold, ’09 ’13, Tichaedza Chikuni, ’05 ’11, Afsi Davis ’10, George Demaree, ’82, Christopher Eden, ’09, David Fifer, ’07, Dana Daughetee Fohl, ’07, Amy Jo Smith Gabel, ’06 ’09, Jerry Goble, ’91, Stephanie Goodpaster, ’08, Kristine Herrera (President, Student Alumni Ambassadors), Miranda Massey (Past President, Student Alumni Ambassadors), DaJuane Harris, ’13, Ryan Kennedy, ’14, Bob McCroskey, ’75, David McFaddin, ’99, ’15, Chris Radcliffe, ’04, JoEllen Reed, ’75, Bob Sullivan, ’72, (ROTC Representative), R. (Vasu) Vasudevan, ’03, Donald Whitaker, ’62, Robert Wood, ’82, Christina Baird Young, ’96 ’98, J. C. Young, ’04

Photography Coordination Karen Lynn, ’86 Eastern Kentucky University 521 Lancaster Avenue Richmond, KY 40475-3102

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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).

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SAM Mason, ’86 ’89 and ALEC MaSON

LEGACY TAKES FLIGHT Alec Mason came to EKU to follow not only his father’s footsteps as a student, but also his trails in the sky as a pilot. Sam Mason, ’86 ’89, one of the first 15 students to graduate from the University with an aviation minor, is in his 27th year as a commercial pilot for American Airlines. Alec Mason, a freshman from Manchester, Maryland, joined the EKU aviation program in Fall 2016. “Dad absolutely loved the time that he spent here and wishes he could have never left,” Alec said. “I knew that EKU must be something really special for him to love it that much.” Eastern has since developed one of the nation’s leading aviation programs, and father and son are proud to forge a family tradition. “I know what it means when you are a part of the EKU family,” Sam said. “I never hesitated for Alec to attend school there.” n


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