Page 1

m aya n s a n d m i c r o b e s


northern kentucky university

making a scene



alumni awards

fall 2007


northern to nashville These alumni are pickin’, shootin’ and singin’ their way to the top of the charts

Supper club


Busboy Walter Bailey

recalls the

Beverly Hills f ire

vo l u m e 7, n o . 1 fa l l

2 0 0 7

NKU students Galadriel Stineman, Tony Gulla and Jenetta Thomas enjoy a spring day on a bridge near the newly redeveloped lake area.

Nadine Greenslade and Peter Raasch

n o r t h e r n k e n t u c k y u n i v e r s i t y | fa l l 2 0 07 | v o l u m e 7, n o . 1






Four alumni work with more than just music and lyrics.

NKU alumni know how to make kids smile.

in History Channel documentary.

30 years later.





celebrating success Alumni awards.



building an arena by the numbers

MAYANS AND MICROBES beverly hills NKU biology professor featured supper club

lincoln awards

notable norse


northern athletics

24 northern news 25 calendar 27 alumni journal 28 class notes 33 Northern magazine is now online! Check out web-only features at T h e r e , y o u ’ l l fi n d l i n k s t o h e a r t h e s i n g e r s f e a t u r e d i n t h i s i s s u e , u p d a t e s t o t h e s e a r t i c l e s a n d additional information exclusive to the web.

Rob Pasquinucci



Deidra S. Fajack

D. A. Fleischer


Director of Alumni Programs

Dionne Laycock ’90

Gerard A. St. Amand


Joe Ruh

Vice President for University Advancement

Rich Shivener Michael Wilson Michael Howard

CORRESPONDENCE Northern Kentucky University Office of Alumni Programs 421 Johns Hill Road Highland Heights, Kentucky 41099 phone: (859) 572–5486 web: e-mail:


NORTHERN is published four times a year by the Office of Alumni Programs at Northern Kentucky University for its graduates, donors and friends. Copyright 2007, Northern Kentucky University.

LISA DAMES There is a framed copy of Patsy Cline’s Crazy hanging on the wall of NKU alumna and aspiring country music singer Lisa Dames’ house. The Cline album reminds Dames of her musical roots, but the album’s title could also describe her foray into the country music business during the last four years. Dames and her husband fronted thousands of dollars to produce a demo CD and hired agents in three cities, and she spent most of a

n o r t h e r n

summer in a minivan visiting radio stations to promote her music. But to Dames, chasing a dream is never crazy. And the self-described sassy, sexy wife and mother is doing whatever it takes to break into the music business. This devotion brought her to northwest Ohio on a cold, snowy late-January weekend to perform a benefit show for a local YMCA. The North Carolinian isn’t fond of winter weather, despite having lived in Ohio. “This is why I moved to the South!” Dames said with a laugh. The benefit show is one of many ways Dames tries to find ears for her songs. Without the backing of a major record label, she has had to do her own promotion work. In July of 2006, that meant Dames had to hit the road on an 18-state, 16-week tour of radio stations with her guitarist. The road trip, reminiscent of one Loretta Lynn took (as portrayed by Sissy Spacek in Coal Miner’s Daughter), had the duo driving through rural areas looking for the radio studio she was visiting. “We weren’t in major markets. We were in small towns like Platteville,Wisconsin; Clinton, Arkansas; towns so small GPS couldn’t find them,” Dames said. “Sometimes we would literally look for the transmitter tower.” The radio tour meant days away from her husband and two daughters, spending nights in small-town hotels and mornings driving through rural areas looking for the radio studio she was visiting. “I have a husband who believes in me 100 percent. If I didn’t have a husband like that, I

couldn’t do it,” Dames said. Husband Dan Hazlett has a full-time job and takes care of the girls, 7-year-old Penny and 11-year-old Patti, while Dames is on the tours. “I call and talk to them every day when I’m on the road. It’s difficult.” Dolly and Patsy Dames’ love for country music started when she was a little girl, belting out Dolly Parton songs with her best friend. She didn’t have many fans. Her father encouraged her to study business. Her eighth-grade choir teacher said she wasn’t a soloist, and in ninth grade she was told she was too nasal. It wasn’t until she was 21 and sang at a wedding that

she was able to show her talents. Her parents, who were in the audience, were surprised by her performance. “I was walking out of the church and my parents were standing there waiting for me. They were just staring at me,” Dames said. “Finally my stepmom said, ‘We had no idea you could sing like that!’ And I said, ‘That’s because you’ve been telling me to be quiet for my whole life.’” Acting and singing When she was an undergraduate at NKU, she said theatre chair Ken Jones helped hone her stage presence, something that came in handy while playing Patsy Cline and performing her own songs live. Jones remembers Dames as a student. “Lisa was a ball of energy. She was always laughing and smiling,” Jones said.“Ironically, we saw her as an actor and comedian more than a singer, and now she is belting her heart out around the country! Lisa was, as she is now, fun and funny. She was a great student and a very talented, very dedicated actress.”

That acting experience helped Dames begin her long connection with Patsy Cline in 2001, when she played her in a Greensboro theater production of “A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline” and in a series of shows about the country music legend across the country. “I don’t sound exactly like her,” Dames said. “But I tried to focus on the emotion behind her songs; that’s what made Patsy special.” Despite Dames’ success in theatre, she grew tired of performing and playing roles. “I was ready to be just Lisa Dames,” she said. So perhaps while channeling the spirit of Patsy Cline, Dames recorded the demo in 2003, hoping to pitch it to adult contemporary radio stations. But radio executives don’t talk directly with artists. Undeterred, Dames hired agents in Nashville and Los Angeles to promote her music. In early 2007 she signed with Chuck Thompson of Thompson Entertainment to continue to work with record labels in Nashville. The tag line for Thompson’s company is “Where music has a heart and soul.” Thompson said that sentiment is especially

true with Dames. “After meeting Lisa and seeing her perform, it is apparent that she puts her entire heart and her soul into everything that she does,” Thompson said. “Lisa Dames has a long and bright future in this industry, and we are excited to be a part of that.” In early 2007, Dames’ video appeared on a CMT program featuring up-and-coming artists, and her CD can be purchased in select Wal-Mart stores. She has some tour dates on the calendar and has appeared at many North Carolina Borders bookstores. As this issue went to press, Dames’ single (I’d Leave Me) was slowly moving up the country charts, approaching the top 40. Another “minivan” tour of radio stations was underway. But she realizes it’s a long road to the top of the charts, which begs the question: if she doesn’t produce a hit, will the effort and money be worth it? “Absolutely. I didn’t want to sit in Greensboro wishing I was a country music star,” Dames said. “I never want my children to think that a dream is too big or beyond their grasp.”

LISA shaffer Lisa Shaffer’s (’01) love for country music started when she was a 2-year-old girl, listening to plucking banjos, strumming guitars and singing voices coming out of the car radio from the back seat of her parents’ car. When they’d get home, she’d “perform” in the family’s restored log cabin on Heathen Ridge, using a vacuum cleaner as a microphone. Young Lisa was a walking jukebox, singing for free to whoever would listen. She’d often take her “show” outside the cabin to sing to crowds of trees. “I was a big dreamer!” When she was a bit older, she found a well-worn cassette tape of Tanya Tucker’s Greatest Hits and the dream became a goal. “When I listened to that record, I realized I lo-ooo-ve country music and that it is what I want to do.” Now, those dreams and goals are starting to become a reality for Shaffer. Her first single, Just One, was released in June, and a new album is due out in the fall of 2007. She’s signed on with Lyric Street Records and is spending the summer touring radio stations around the country promoting her music. Getting to this point wasn’t easy – her story includes living in an RV and playing in smoky honky-tonks

– but it’s been a great ride so far. “One word: Fun,” Shaffer said. “Every experience so far has been so much fun.” Blanche and Sally As a girl, Shaffer’s interest in country music grew from singing to playing instruments, from the mandolin to “Ol’ Sally,” a well-seasoned Gibson small-body guitar her grandfather gave her. Living on Heathen Ridge gave Shaffer a

chance to learn how to play that guitar from a country music master – Blanche Coldiron (also known as “Blanche the Mountain Woman”), a member of the Kentucky Country Music Hall of Fame who lived nearby. “She was much older than I was, but I always saw her as a mentor and a friend,” Shaffer said.“She was full of music history and had a really good sense of Kentucky music.” Shaffer would go over to Coldiron’s house on Sunday afternoons to learn how to play. Coldiron was adept with just about any stringed instrument and, according to Shaffer, could whip up a mean batch of beans and cornbread. “She exposed me to some older songs that she grew up playing,” Shaffer said. “It was really a blessing to have her live one mile down the road.” Coldiron died in 2006, but the memories of those Sundays inspire Shaffer today. In her bio, Shaffer describes high school as “a blur.” Her life consisted of farm work (she can still drive a mean tractor), buying hundreds of records, and singing. She joined the high school choir, which helped her train and stretch her voice, but she happily never lost the country twang. She recorded a demo and performed

fa l l

2 0 0 7

at Renfro Valley, the “Grand Ole Opry” of Kentucky, which she describes as the highlight of her awkward teen years. Going north Shaffer enrolled in NKU to get a business degree, but the dream of country music stardom stayed alive. She performed with the Kenton County Regulators and other artists while commuting from Crittenden to attend classes at NKU three times a week. She studied business administration as a backup plan in case she didn’t achieve her goal but has found the business savvy is handy. “The country music business is, at the end of the day, a business. I’m so thankful for the education I got from NKU. It helped me understand the business aspect of what I do,” Shaffer said. After graduating from NKU, it was time for

Shaffer to spend more time chasing her dream. That meant going to Nashville. “I waited an eternity – two days,” Shaffer said, tongue-in-cheek. At first, she’d go down on weekends. And then she had more extended stays, singing in places with names like “The Broken Spoke” and the “Bluebird Café.” She’s shown up at late-night open mic sessions to sing to patrons nursing their last drinks. After she finished, it was back “home” to an RV she lived in at the time. “I was just staying in the trenches and working day and night,” Shaffer said about her “camper years” in Nashville. “I was truly a little fish in a big pond.” But Shaffer worked the network, meeting everyone she could, recording demos and writing songs. Along the way she met and married her “prince,” Kevin, who’s a “real country boy.” “He’s my rock that grounds me,” Shaffer said.

Her big break came when, through a “friend of a friend,” she had a meeting with Doug Howard from Lyric Street Records, the same record label as Rascal Flats and Sarah Buxton. “I played three songs for him. As luck would have it, he liked my sound and had this wild idea he could help mold an everyday country girl into a singer-songwriter,” Shaffer said. “I started bringing him songs I had written on a weekly basis.” As the saying goes, the rest is history. Lyric Street liked her singing and songwriting – all but one song on her album is co-written by her. She debuted her song on B-105, the same Cincinnati station she’d hear in the car as a little girl. “Someone pinch me, because I’m living a dream, a dream I’ve had since I was itty bitty,” Shaffer said. “I just can’t believe it’s my voice coming out of the radio.”

ron roark Flip through CDs at a music store and you’ll find a wide variety of cover designs beneath the shiny plastic. It might be an image of a singer propped behind his guitar, Dolly Parton clad in a red, white and blue dress, or Garth Brooks wearing his signature black cowboy hat. One of the people behind those designs is NKU alumnus Ron Roark (’97). The fine arts graduate is an art director for LatockiTeam Creative, a boutique design studio in Nashville that caters to many country music artists. “It’s a rewarding thing to see your work on an end cap at Best Buy,” Roark said, noting that CD designers can be compared to kids who like to have their work posted on the refrigerator door. In addition to doing work for Brooks and Parton, the firm has done work for Keith Urban, Trisha Yearwood and Jason Aldean, among others. “We can’t get away from the music industry. People come to us by word of mouth – we’re growing by leaps and bounds,” Roark said. The firm is also doing work for Nashville’s famous Wild Horse saloon and SESAC, a music industry rights protection organization. As the industry has grown and become more competitive, packaging and display designs Courtesy Michael Howard Photography.

n o r t h e r n

are more important. “Shelf presence and store placement is huge,” Roark said. “Also, the artwork is the first thing blamed when an album doesn’t sell but the last thing to be credited when it does sell.” At NKU, Roark was able to get his creative footing by studying fine arts. His studies gave him the theoretical background necessary to pursue a career in design, and a professor was able to get him started in the industry by helping him get some consulting work with LensCrafters. When he found himself in need of a job after some corporate restructuring at LensCrafters, he decided he would move to Nashville. After doing some freelance work, he began a full-time job working for a record label in the Christian music division. There were downsizing and mergers, closing the art department. After some more freelancing, he was hired at LatockiTeam Creative. Latocki’s client roster, as noted earlier, is a who’s who of country music. The nineperson shop is well known in Nashville and designed a platinum record when Alan Jackson approached the firm to do a one-off CD cover as a Christmas gift. The CD was released to the general public with the same artwork and

went platinum, giving Latocki a reminder of its success to hang on the wall. The music industry is different from his experience in more traditional marketing, but he enjoys the creative opportunity. “It’s high paced, but fun to be part of the industry and the changes it has gone through,” Roark said. “The music industry is very much a community. It’s a lot more relationship based and family based.” The advent of online music downloads is changing what Roark’s firm does.

“There’s less emphasis on the packaging and image,” Roark said.There’s not as much interest in the package since listeners are seeing their favorite artists in video and music downloads. He sees his firm – and the industry – spending more time crafting a visual image for an artist rather than specific CD packages. As far as country music, Roark listens to it more and more to delve deeper into the art and inspire his work. “I want to experience something I’m working on. I want to take

michael wilson

Michael Wilson as photographed by Lyle Lovett. Courtesy of Michael Wilson.

Miles Davis holding a long, soulful note on the trumpet. A pianist punctuating the words to a song with just the right notes. The unmistakable twang of a banjo or steel guitar. Great musicians make a connection with an audience that is timeless and memorable. NKU alumnus Michael Wilson, who photographs musicians, aspires to make that kind of connection with his camera. Wilson has spent his career taking award-winning photos that capture the art of music and those who make it. His work has been on the cover of many artists’ albums.Waylon Jennings, John Hiatt, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Buddy Miller, Emmylou Harris and other legends have used his photographs. Whether it’s B.B. King’s wry smile, Lyle Lovett’s jaw jutting out from under a cowboy hat or Mary Chapin Carpenter’s mane of blonde hair, Wilson tries to capture the essence of his subject honestly. “What makes someone interesting enough to write a song needs to come through in a photograph,” Wilson said. “Most of the people I shoot would write these songs even if nobody ever listened to them.” French horn An early interest in music brought Wilson to photography. While in high school, he saved money from a job working at a Burger Chef to buy a French horn. When he realized he couldn’t play the instrument, he bought a Pentax camera instead. “I had a friend who would shoot photos for the school paper. He’d often have to make a print before we would go out and do something,” Wilson said. “I thought it was cool at that point. So my curiosity led me to purchase the camera.”

my shoes off and roll around in it. I try to find inspiration wherever I can.” He isn’t a musician, joking that just about everyone in Nashville is more musically talented than he is, but he loves living in “Music City, U.S.A.” Nashville is moving beyond its country roots, attracting artists from around the world. Music is a big part of Roark’s life outside of the office. He takes in a concert whenever he can. He also enjoys traveling and has a pet dog named Jack. “And he’s fun,” Roark said.

With no real plans for college, Wilson was offered a scholarship to attend NKU, which he accepted with no real major in mind. When he signed up for classes, an advisor asked him what he was interested in. “I told him I liked photography,” Wilson said. “So he put me in the fine arts program.” After some basic art classes, Wilson took his first photography class taught by Barry Andersen. The class cemented his interest in the discipline. “It was like the curtains opened up,” Wilson said. “Until then, I thought photographers took pictures for newspapers. But this class showed me the 150-year history of the art.” Almost immediately, Wilson became interested in shooting portraits. Shooting photos of people dovetailed with his love of music, and he began taking shots of musicians. After graduating from NKU, he worked odd jobs before taking a job as a darkroom technician and studio photographer. But printing other people’s photos and working in the controlled environment of a studio didn’t suit his desire to make photos without the trappings of technology. “I was hating it. I told myself ‘If this is what a photographer does, then I don’t want to be a photographer.’” When not working, he was spending time in record stores looking at album covers, and he would shoot photos of local musicians on the side. He began to notice that Jeri Heiden was the art director for many of the covers he liked. Almost on a whim,Wilson took 10 of his photos, bound them in a small book and had a friend drop them off at Heiden’s Warner Brothers Records office. A few weeks later, he was shooting spec photos of a band called the BoDeans, which earned him an audience with Heiden. But it wasn’t his professional work that got him his first album cover. “It was this photo,” Wilson said, showing a photo of two dogs standing on the street in the

fa l l

2 0 0 7

T h e p h o t o t h a t h e l p e d l a unc h W i l s o n ’ s career. This was used for the CD cover for t h e 1 9 9 0 R e p l a c e m e nts a l b um , A l l S h o o k Down . Courtesy of Michael Wilson.

Old school: Wilson uses film cameras for his photography.

Other country music stars Here are a couple of other NKU alumni making a difference in the country music business. Lyle Lovett with his guitar as shot by Michael Wilson. Wilson uses natural light and settings in his photographs.

rain. It was used on the cover of the 1990 Replacements album “All Shook Down.” The photo and design won several awards. From that point on, Wilson was established in the niche of shooting musicians for album covers. Country, bluegrass, opera, jazz and blues artists have all spent time in front of his lens. Although he doesn’t claim to have a style, Wilson’s photos are usually black and white, simple images designed to capture the essence of a performer. Tools of the trade Most musicians are pretty particular about the instrument they use. B.B. King prefers a customized cherry/ebony Gibson guitar. It wouldn’t make sense to see him behind a synthesizer or a banjo. For Wilson his “instruments” are a Rolleiflex medium-format twin-lens camera and a darkroom. You won’t see him using a digital camera anytime soon. “You get used to the way a certain tool feels in your hands,” Wilson said. With its boxy design dating back to the 1920s, the Rolleiflex is definitely old school, and using film is becoming uncommon today. “There’s no reason what I do can’t be shot digitally. But I like the slowness of the process and the fact that I’m not judging the work as I shoot it. It separates the shooting process from the editing process.” Wilson also limits his use of lighting, filters, staging and other methods. “I know how hard it is to make a genuine connection with all that machinery around you,” Wilson said. The traditional, tried-and-true approach mirrors many of the artists in front of the camera. Lyle Lovett, Emmylou Harris and John Hiatt are iconoclastic musicians who, quite likely, are uncomfortable being the subject of a photo. Lovett once even turned the camera around on Wilson. “Lyle shoots photos, too,” Wilson said. The unpretentious style continues after Wilson shoots the photos. His office is a small area in the basement of his Price Hill home tucked behind the furnace. There’s a new Apple iMac, its white screen gleaming. “I don’t know how to use it,” Wilson admitted. Clotheslines (for drying prints, not clothes) run along the ceiling and lead to his darkroom. His work takes him to Nashville and Los Angeles from time to time, and he has taught advanced photography classes at NKU. Upstairs, Wilson’s daughters (16 and 15 years old) are banging away on the piano while his wife, Marylin, (he met her while taking her photo years ago) makes lunch. All in all, it’s a good life. “I feel really lucky that I get to do this,” Wilson said. “I have learned to keep my eyes open for surprises. I hope not to forget.” Wilson may not have mastered the French horn, but there’s no doubt he’s doing exactly what he’s made for.

n o r t h e r n

Inspirational music Inspiration comes from different places. For Brian Berger, inspiration came to him through prayer. Berger graduated from NKU in 2006 with a degree in liberal studies and always had an interest in music. Three weeks after September 11, 2001, Berger took time to meditate and to pray when he began to write his song We Will Stand. “The idea for the song came to me in prayer. I had no intent to write a song, but God opened up the door and blessed me with the opportunity to do so,” Berger said. The song We Will Stand is a message of hope dedicated to the troops fighting for our country. Berger traveled to Nashville, Tenn., to record the song and a video, which has an emotional representation of all branches of the military and was aired on the Harvest Network, a contemporary Christian station on satellite television. Berger is hopeful that his year-and-a-half journey of creating songs will be complete in October, when the album will be finished, with We Will Stand one of the headlining songs. Award-winning lyrics Rick Amburgey ’01, ’04, recently won the Nashville Song Service Lyric Writing Contest for his song Nearest Distant Shore. Amburgey won in the country music category. see Northern magazine online Read more, listen to MP3s and link to our featured artists by visiting

making a scene

Rob Pasquinucci


NKU alumni Mark Catton and Mike Murphy (both 1978 graduates) work with some interesting characters.Visit their Walton, Ky., offices and you might see Bob the Builder, life-size toy soldiers, Paul Bunyan, giant serpents or a dinosaur. Murphy and Catton don’t need hazardous duty pay. These characters are creations of their firm, MurphyCatton, and are part of exhibits at children’s museums, zoos and aquariums around the country. The company designs and builds various interactive indoor environments that allow kids hands-on experiences. They can see through the eyes of a T. rex, walk through a tree, play on a toy farm combine or even experience the “smells” of the outdoors through an interactive “smellulator” the firm did for various exhibits. The company also fabricates exhibits for older audiences, including an interactive set that replicates the control center for a Navy destroyer at the Nauticus Maritime Museum in Virginia Beach, Va. Audience members can join the presentation and command the ship during an attack. The company’s roots are in trade show exhibits, where they were required to create eye-catching displays that stopped trade show attendees and interested them in industrial composites or computers. They found those skills are also important in museum exhibits, particularly with children, whose attention spans are even shorter. Murphy and Catton met while attending NKU, where they worked together to build sets

D.A. Fleischer Photography

Mike Murphy and Mark Catton at the MurphyCatton offices.

and scenery for campus concerts. The friends went in separate directions following graduation. Catton parlayed his fine arts degree from NKU into jobs at the Santa Fe Opera and for NBC. Murphy was a psychology and philosophy major and worked in a cabinet shop and his own remodeling business. The two joined forces again in the early ’80s, initially working on fine furniture. “We were two guys, a saw and a jar of peanut butter back then,” Murphy joked. “A theatre major and a philosophy major running a business isn’t a good combination,” Catton said. The firm was successful enough to grow, and it began doing subcontract work for trade-show display manufacturers.They built a reputation for creative, quality work, with Catton bringing the flair and creativity of the theatre and Murphy using his woodworking skills. Today, the firm boasts clients from coast to coast in nearly every major city. In addition to children’s museum work, they have built indoor environments for Blue Bunny Ice Cream, the International Bluegrass Music Museum, the Ohio State Sports Hall of Fame and the Kentucky Derby Museum. They’ve built the “money bus,” a traveling van that helps teach children financial literacy. When the Washington Monument was under scaffolding during a refurbishment, MurphyCatton helped develop and fabricate a temporary gallery to give visitors a chance to

learn about the rich history of the monument. The two run a laid-back operation, with Max, Catton’s dog, running around looking for a pat or a handout from workers in the break room. In the shop, MurphyCatton workers are busy attaching plastic tree bark to a display, testing interactive exhibits (“We have to make them kid-proof,” Catton said) or running high-tech machinery that helps make custom pieces that become a tree, Paul Bunyan or another character. Like a theatre production, each project starts with a script outlining what the exhibit needs to do. After some research, designers develop computer renderings. Then, craftsmen shape wood, plastics, metal and paint to form the finished piece. The process can take years to complete. Since children will literally pound on the pieces, the firm tests and retests the interactive parts of the display, using machines to repeatedly run the exhibit until it fails, fixing it, and testing it again. “We like to say quality is never an accident,” Catton said. The two remain loyal to NKU. A group of theatre students recently toured the shop and learned how their skills can be put to work after graduation. “All the wiles I learned in theatre, combined with the skills of craftsmanship and the ability to work with a team, has really helped us build this business,” Catton said. “Much of that we learned as undergraduates at NKU.”

fa l l

2 0 0 7




featured in History



you look closely, you’ll notice the tattoo ringing her arm is a map of a cave. She isn’t “spelunker,” however. The term was invented by an author in the 1950s to describe a character in a book and today is assigned to those who go into caves – often unprepared and untrained – for sport. “Cavers rescue spelunkers” is a well-known bumper-sticker expression.

S t e a m c o m e s o f f N K U stu d e nt E r i c “Stretch” Banks who joined Barton on a cave trip. Banks is a senior majoring in biology and French. Photos courtesy of Hazel Barton.

MAYANS and MICROBES By Rob Pasquinucci

When one thinks of a biology professor, an image of someone with a white coat peering into a microscope might come to mind. Other than a mishap with a Bunsen burner, danger isn’t part of everyday life in the lab. 10

n o r t h e r n

But NKU Ashland Endowed Professor of Integrated Science Dr. Hazel Barton isn’t like “most” biology professors. She trades the lab coat for a helmet and rope and travels to some of the world’s most remote and formidable places, risking life and limb in the name of science. Barton’s research takes her into caves in remote parts of the world to find out if microorganisms can survive in nutrient-starved environments, including NASA clean rooms. She said she enjoys the fieldwork as much as the lab work and is happy to break stereotypes of scientists. “The scientific career is fun as hell,” Barton said, her voice combining the remnants of an English accent and the beginnings of a Kentucky twang. “I think my work lets people see how much fun science can be.” Her research combines her caving passion with scientific work. She started caving as a young girl in Bristol, England, where she had the option of taking field hockey or caving as her physical education elective. With her compact frame, it’s easy to imagine Barton being able to wriggle her way in and out of tight spaces. If

Into Naj Tunich All of Barton’s caving expertise came in handy when she was with a team exploring Naj Tunich cave – an ancient cave amid the ruins of the Mayan empire in Guatemala – for a History Channel documentary. During the trip, one of the team members dislocated his arm (and later his knee), and Barton had to rig ropes to get him out of the cave. The team was still lucky to see the cave, which is considered one of the most mysterious and sacred in the world. In Mayan times, you had to be among the privileged elite just to step foot in the cave, which was considered the mouth of the earth. Mayans marked their visit to the cave by painting hieroglyphs on the cave wall that are still visible today. Barton and her crew took pains to NOT leave any sign of their visit, taking out everything they brought in, including body waste. The Maya were one of the most advanced early civilizations, making advances in science, math and astronomy. But Barton’s cave exploration showed evidence of cruel sacrifices to please gods, giving the team an eerie feeling

Barton explores hieroglyphs in a cave.

as they entered Naj Tunich. “When you go into different caves, they all take on their own personalities, and this made us say, ‘Ummm, I don’t know how we feel about being in here,’” Barton said. The three-mile-long cave has an infamous history. Barton’s team found skeletal remains of sacrifice victims. Those who left alive also made a painful “blood sacrifice” by piercing their genitalia or tongues. All this is depicted in hieroglyphs on the walls of the caves. Research (and more skeletal evidence) shows that the Mayans believed rain came from the cave, and the way to convince the gods to make it rain was to make children cry, so they would bring children into the cave, torture and kill them. “We’re learning all this while we’re wandering through the cave and thought, wow, this is really creepy,” Barton said. Modern explorers were unable to get deep into the cave because of a high concentration of carbon monoxide. A hurricane that hit the area changed the airflow pattern and allowed the team to penetrate deeper than any previous exhibition.The team carried cigarette lighters to check the quality of the air throughout the trip. “It seems like a rudimentary tool, but it works really well,” Barton said. They walked through the cave, past 1,000-year-old Mayan footprints, until they came to a 600-foot pit in the back of the cave that had never been fully explored. Bad air or a lack of rope kept previous teams out, and

an injury to one of the explorers almost forced Barton’s team out during this trip.

Hazel Barton descends into a cave.

Barton explores “starved” environments like this NASA “clean” room .

Rescue operation As the team descended into the dark, damp pit, they could hear one of the climbers dislocate his arm. “He started screaming,” Barton said. He immediately went into shock and the cavers made some quick decisions. “I stayed with the injured caver, but we decided the two others in the team would continue into the pit and I would evacuate the person who was injured,” Barton said. That meant she had to climb out of the pit and re-rig the ropes to make it easier for the caver to escape using only his good arm. Barton has first aid training, so it was logical for her to assist him. She also isn’t squeamish, describing a different cave trip where her arm “popped like a ripe tomato” after a rock hit it. To this day she has a scar from the injury and still has a hard time opening bottles. The rescue was going fine until the injured caver’s leg got caught in a crack and he dislocated his knee. Barton had to free climb (without any ropes) to rig a rappel device to pull him out and climb back down to assist him. Her first job was to reset his knee, which was “horrible,” with the patella literally on the wrong side of the joint and the leg swinging freely at the knee, according to Barton. At this point, the caver had the use of only one leg and one arm. Clearly, the Mayan gods weren’t welcoming

any visitors. “That’s when I realized we had a major rescue on our hands,” Barton said. “It’s hard to describe how serious the situation was to someone who wasn’t in it. We’re hanging over these pits on ropes trying to pull someone up 30 stories. People could’ve died.” At this point, the rescue took precedence over the documentary filming. The camera crew became extra hands to help pull the injured explorer out of the cave. They were, however, able to capture some of the drama as it unfolded and then edit the piece to make some compelling television. After a 21-hour struggle, Barton and the other explorers were able to rescue the injured caver, bringing him to safety, and two members of the team were able to make it to the bottom of the pit before coming back up to assist in the rescue.There wasn’t much to see down there – any Mayan artifacts that were down there are now covered in thigh-high muck. But the trip provided information on whether microbes are “eating” the hieroglyphs (they aren’t) and a rare glimpse into an ancient and mysterious culture. Despite the rough trip to Naj Tunich, Barton isn’t hanging up the helmet and headlamp. Her next trip is to Venezuela in October 2007 to do more cave exploration with some NKU students. Then in February she’ll be exploring caves in Laos for a National Geographic project. Barton during the Naj Tunich trip.

see Northern magazine online. View the video of Hazel Barton at

fa l l

2 0 0 7


Supper Club p h o t o a b o v e a n d p o stc a r d b e l o w c o u r t e s y o f K e nt o n c o unt y l i b r a r y a r c h i v e


alter Bailey (’82) doesn’t remember how his shift at the Beverly Hills Supper Club began on the night of May 28, 1977. If it was like a typical weekend shift, the 18-year-old likely parked his Pontiac Formula Firebird (wages from the Supper Club helped him buy the sports car), clocked in around noon and began prepping food for what promised to be a busy evening “on the hill.”

Walter Bailey shortly after the fire in 1977.


n o r t h e r n

Like any busy night, Bailey would have filled glasses with water, put fresh shrimp on ice and added whipped cream to parfait glasses filled with ice cream. He probably paid little attention to the patrons, who began streaming into the club, while he added tables and chairs to accommodate the overflow crowd coming to see that night’s headliner – singer John Davidson. On this ordinary late-spring evening, there was no clue that in a few short hours, tragic events would unfold that would change his life forever.

Showplace of the nation NKU alum Walter Bailey wasn’t the only person with ties to a burgeoning young university at the Supper Club that night. Current professors, staff members and alumni who were alive on that humid night in May cannot forget the shocking scenes of the tragedy – whether they witnessed them in person or saw them depicted on TV newscasts and newspaper accounts. This past summer, sad memories were revived as the region

commemorated the 30th anniversary of the fire. The Beverly Hills fire is one of those events where everyone remembers where they were when they heard about it, and everyone has a story about being there weeks before the building burned down. The 54,000-squarefoot club sat on a hill overlooking Alexandria Pike. Its 19 rooms had all the kitsch of a Las Vegas casino – decorated with plush carpeting, elaborate chandeliers, expensive paneling and drapes, and even a fountain. The Beverly Hills Supper Club hosted proms, dances, showers and weddings. It was a destination for anyone

years later

NKU alum nus ’ heroi c role i n the tragi c fire

By Rob Pasquinucci

who wanted to enjoy top-notch entertainers (Redd Foxx, Rich Little, James Brown and others) and a full dinner for less than $13. The building was expanded several times during its history, which contributed to its “piecemeal” layout – and later contributed to the death toll from the fire. The club was a series of variously sized and shaped banquet rooms connected by a long corridor (see building diagram on page 14). The focus of the club on this particular evening was the Cabaret Room, where John Davidson was scheduled to perform two shows. Patrons generally ate in the Supper Club’s main dining room and then took a seat in the Cabaret Room. Walter Bailey knew his way around the club, including back rooms used by employees to quickly get from room to room. Bailey recalled working for a portion of that night in May in the very crowded Cabaret Room. He stayed an extra five minutes or so to sneak a glimpse of the opening act – comedian/ ventriloquists Jim McDonald and Jim Teter. He left to assist staffers in another room. As

he stepped into the corridor, he was abruptly stopped by a waitress who asked where the Schillings were (Rick, Scott and Ron Schilling ran the club). “Why?” Bailey asked. “There’s a fire in the Zebra Room.” “She whispered it. Like she was telling me a secret,” Bailey said.

A small fire Bailey’s first thought was the fire was a smoldering tablecloth caused by an overflowing ashtray, which often happened at the club. The Zebra room was at the opposite end of the corridor. He trotted down the hall to investigate. When he got to the doorway, he saw the doors to the room were closed and smoke was just starting to seep between them and on top of them, and it appeared as if pressure was building behind them. What Bailey didn’t know was the warning signs other guests saw and heard earlier in the evening. Guests who were attending a wedding reception felt extreme heat in the room despite the air conditioning. They also heard

odd sounds coming from the wall – sounds like thunder or furniture being moved. But by the time Bailey was at the door, the party had broken up and nobody was in the room. After seeing the Zebra Room, Bailey ran to the main front bar and shouted, “Everyone out; there’s a fire!” Bailey then knew he had to get back to the Cabaret Room. The big showroom was filled beyond capacity with more than 1,000 people waiting to see John Davidson. A crowd was still filing in even as the opening performers were beginning their routine. Bailey ran to the host who was seating the line of people and told him the news. “There’s a fire in the Zebra Room; we need to clear the Cabaret Room,” Bailey said. The host stared at Bailey and had no reaction for a moment, then asked him to watch the line while he opened doors. Bailey decided to make his move. He led the entire group waiting to get in through the Cabaret room to safety. He then headed for the stage and waited for an opportunity to make an announcement to the crowd to clear the room.

fa l l

2 0 0 7


The northeast exit

8 Fatalities 99 Fatalities (Includes 12 Fatalities Behind Bar)

Bar 13 Fatalities 5 Fatalities

1 Fatality Behind Stage

34 Fatalities

This was the scene that confronted firefighters at the Beverly Hills Supper Club fire.

2 Fatalities (Last fatalities found. Recovered after fire was extinguished)

Key General location of fatalities recovered night of fire Fatalities recovered after fire control

FATALITIES reproduced with permission from Reconstruction of a tragedy: The beverly hills supper club fire , ©1998 National fire protection association, quincy, Mass. all rights reserved.

“I thought, I had better be right about doing this,” Bailey said. “I took a deep breath and started walking down to the stage. I thought back to high school classes – I had stage fright a few times. I thought what I could say that wouldn’t cause a panic.” Bailey reached the stage and was blinded by the spotlights that were trained on the comedians who were part of the opening act. He reached for the microphone and the comedian handed it to him. He took a deep breath. “Peering into the spotlight I took the microphone away from the comedian, pointed to my right and told the audience to look at the exit at the right corner. I pointed to the exit at the back of the room. And then I


n o r t h e r n

pointed to the exit at the left corner of the room and asked everyone to notice those exits (some of which weren’t marked). I asked the audience to leave the room because there was a fire in the front of the building. “People said I sounded calm,” Bailey said. “I wasn’t calm. My heart was pounding.” The crowd – which filled every available corner of the room, including ramps to the stage – calmly reacted to his announcement and began to leave the room after the comedians returned to the mic and said they’d continue the show later. Someone in the crowd asked if they’d have to hear the same jokes again. The crowd was moving, but didn’t realize the extreme danger bearing down on them.

A wall of smoke Bailey’s next move was to go back to the Zebra Room. He was worried he was hasty in clearing the Cabaret Room. “If they had put out the fire, I’d be in trouble,” Bailey said. “I’d have to try and get people back in.” Getting out of the Cabaret Room wasn’t easy. Bailey had to walk across tables and booths to get around the crowd. He stopped to ask the lighting crew to turn on the house lights to help people get out of the room. When he made his way back out into the hall, he knew his decision to clear the Cabaret Room was correct. “There was this floor-to-ceiling wall of smoke barreling toward me with people running in front of it. Some people were cursing. Panic was setting in. I was shot out one of the exits. I felt like I was being shot out of a fire hose.” While outside, someone asked Bailey to keep an eye on a waitress who was shaken up from the fire. He was looking at the Garden Room, which had a large window. Smoke filled in from the top and completely filled the room. “It was like watching a swimming pool being filled in reverse,” Bailey said. The crush to get people out of the room continued. He noticed people stumbling out of the exit, overcome with smoke. He decided he couldn’t stay outside while people inside the club were suffering. “I got antsy,” Bailey said.

This Cincinnati Post archive photo shows women who survived the fire being treated by local rescue workers. cincinnati post archive

He ran back to the building and began pulling people out. He heard screaming, moaning, coughing. A former swimmer, he held his breath as long as possible in the black, toxic smoke. His eyes and lungs burned. People were piled up at the exits, struggling to breathe and escape. A firefighter later described the struggle to escape as a “wall of arms and heads, people piled up at the double doors screaming and waving their arms.” Bailey knew if he got a really good, deep breath he could get in and help. He continued to try and pull people out until he realized the people remaining had succumbed to the smoke. “I’d grab them in the dark, I could hear their voices. I’d grab them and pull them out,” Bailey said. “But when I grabbed someone who was already dead, I realized I shouldn’t risk my life to get people who were already dead.” Among those trying to escape was Jeff Ruby, who is now a well-known Cincinnati restaurant and nightclub owner. He later would offer Bailey a job. By this point, the fire department had arrived. The Southgate Fire Department had to quickly get reinforcements from 33 other departments – a total of 522 firefighters helped fight the blaze. For 165 at the club that night there was no way to escape the noxious smoke. Bodies were pulled from the Cabaret Room and placed by the chapel – a separate building

This book of matches is from the same era as the fire. This is from David Horn’s collection of Supper Club artifacts.

David Horn has collected these items from the site of the Beverly Hills Supper Club fire. Note the melted drink stirrers and the bottle of beer that has remained unopened since the fire.

fa l l

2 0 0 7


Walter Bailey today. Courtesy of KET.

behind the Garden Room that was the site of weddings and other happy occasions. As the evening of May 28 drew to a close, firefighters continued to fight the fire and recover bodies from the club. It would be the next day before all 165 who died were accounted for, making it one of the worst nightclub fires in U.S. history. Television and newspaper coverage was nonstop. Many of the survivors interviewed mentioned “a busboy” who helped clear the room.

Could more have been saved? Almost immediately,Walter Bailey was known as one of the heroes of the fire. The phone at

his mom’s house started ringing. He held an impromptu press briefing at a 7-Eleven store in Highland Heights and within a week would be interviewed on Good Morning America, nervously answering David Hartman’s questions about the night. Cards, letters, even a personal note from President Jimmy Carter came, but he didn’t consider himself a hero. “I always wondered if I could have gotten more people out of there,” Bailey said.“If nobody had died, I would have felt differently, but I always wondered if I could’ve moved faster, or quicker, would less lives be lost? It’s a burden I carried for years.” So Bailey began school at NKU that fall (although he was offered a commission at West Point based on his actions during the fire) studying economics and generally didn’t talk about what happened at the Supper Club. Most of his fellow students didn’t know he was “the busboy” who helped save lives during the fire. He shunned most news interview requests that seemed to come around every anniversary of

the fire. Life went on for Bailey, who is now an investor in Flower Mound, Texas. He is married and has two daughters and two sons. As the 30th anniversary approached, Bailey was ready to recollect. “I realized I saved a lot of people,” Bailey said. “I did whatever I could at the time.” He talked with reporters and appeared in some of the retrospectives. The awards, commendations, letters and other memorabilia that have collected dust in his home were brought out, and he is considering loaning them to NKU for a special display at Steely Library. An ordinary night in May ended in tragedy, but it brought out heroic efforts from Bailey, the firefighters and others at the Supper Club that night. The hill remains empty today, but the memories and the lives it shaped will remain forever.

see Northern magazine online Find out more by visiting

Other ties to tragedy T h e f o l lowing are some o ther NKU c o n n e ct ions t o t he Su pper Clu b Fire.


n o r t h e r n

The musician: Buzz Neill

The news photographer: Karl Kuntz

Among the 165 dead was an NKU music student, Everett “Buzz” Neill. When NKU students returned to classes in the fall of 1977, there was a proposal in the Student Government Association to name the thennew University Center after Neill, according to accounts in The Northerner . The University Center was never renamed, but a scholarship in Neill’s memory was established, and a plaque noting his death in the Supper Club Fire was placed in the Fine Arts Center. It remains the only permanent memorial to the fire.

Karl Kuntz, ’75, had been a photographer for The Kentucky Post for about a year at the time of the fire, but he wasn’t working on May 27. He was, however, attending a friend’s wedding with his wife. The friend was a volunteer fireman. As an afterthought, Kuntz put his camera in the trunk of his car before leaving. There was an announcement about the fire at the wedding, because the firefighters were being asked to report to help with the blaze. Kuntz’s wife suggested he go check it out, because he was the only Post photographer in town that weekend.

“ As

a p h o t o j o u rn a l is t , y o u have

a j o b t o d o a t t h e t i m e ; y o u just d o n ’ t t h i nk a b o u t i t .

karl kuntz ’75

K a r l K unt z C o u r t e s y C o l um b us D i s p a tc h .

He arrived at the Supper Club around the same time as many of the firefighters and began shooting images of scenes he’ll never forget. “It was pretty horrendous,” Kuntz said. “It was so dark in the back where they were pulling out bodies. You’re almost stepping on people who were back by the chapel. It was intense.” Because he was still new to photojournalism, Kuntz relied on his instincts as he recorded the events on the hill. He grew up in the area and knew many of the firefighters working that night. He saw many of them become grief stricken that this happened on their watch. He stayed focused on his job. “As a photojournalist, you have a job to do at the time; you just don’t think about it,” Kuntz said. “I was there by myself.” Early the next morning (he never went home), he went to the Ft.Thomas Armory, the temporary morgue set up after the fire. There, he shot a photo of a woman identifying a victim and caught a photo of John Davidson coming to the morgue to identify his music manager, who died in the fire. The scenes were painful, but he kept shooting until Sunday evening. “At the time, it was ‘shoot it all and sort it out later.’ It wasn’t something that I thought about; it was something I just did,” Kuntz said. The cream-colored suit he wore to the wedding was “totally trashed” by soot and oil from the fire. A vacation he had scheduled for the following week was cancelled. He got angry calls from readers who called him “heartless.” He went on to photograph funerals and other events surrounding the fire. “The real emotion continued for weeks and months after it happened,” Kuntz said. “It got to wear on you after awhile.”

The attorney: Stan Chesley Stan Chesley was lead counsel on a class-action suit against aluminum wire manufacturers and other companies whose products contributed to the death toll at the club. He is currently a member of the NKU Chase College of Law Board of Advisors and was previously an adjunct faculty member at Chase.

Tom zaniello

Still talking today: Tom Zaniello Tom Zaniello, director of the honors program, teaches an honors class that covers major catastrophes. The students research the Supper Club fire and its aftermath as part of the course.

Helping those who were there: David MacKnight David MacKnight (who is now the associate dean for advancement at Chase College of Law) was a high-school student the night the fire broke out. He and some friends were driving on U.S. 27 when they saw fire trucks at the club’s entrance. They’d had their prom at Beverly Hills earlier that month. When MacKnight and his friends got to the back of the club, they were horrified by what they saw. “Many people in suits and nice dresses were lying all over the lawn behind the building, most with suit coats or other clothing covering their heads. Firefighters, ambulance medics, police officers and other people were working frantically,” MacKnight wrote for a recent Cincinnati Enquirer piece. During the rest of the weekend, MacKnight was one of several who volunteered at the temporary morgue set up to hold the victims until they could be identified. “Our job was to carry the stretchers,” MacKnight wrote. “The stretchers were heavy; they were covered with white sheets or black plastic, and there were more than 150 of them. “We moved the stretchers constantly during the identification process from one section of the morgue to another, including up and down the stairs. In the evening, we loaded the stretchers into refrigerated semi-trucks and then carried them back into the building the next morning. We worked in groups of four or six and had to be careful when lifting and carrying the stretchers.” “A 1977 Enquirer article best described our state of mind. ‘Their minds were intact, though numbed to the task they had to perform’ and ‘They had not yet begun to think about and develop feelings for the disaster.’”

fa l l

2 0 0 7



Success NKU alumni award winners honored at Homecoming

Strongest Influence Award


C.Vitz Quick wit, engaging lectures and success at motivating students in the classroom and their lives are just some of what makes Dr. Robert Vitz this year’s winner of the Faculty and Staff Strongest Influence Award. In his 35 years of teaching at NKU he has served as acting chair of the history department, served as president of the Faculty Senate and was the recipient of a National Endowment of the Humanities Summer Fellowship. Vitz shared his expertise with the community in 1989 when he wrote The Queen and the Arts: Cultural Life in Nineteenth-Century Cincinnati. Outside of his career, Vitz has continually been involved in the community serving the public as well as his former students in a motivational and inspiring way. He has been an advocate of community service and historic preservation by serving on the Cincinnati Preservation Association board and the board of Historic Southwest Ohio.Vitz helped organize a variety of historical events in the community including the Cincinnati Bicentennial Celebration and Northern Kentucky Historic Day, and he is chairing the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County’s 50th anniversary celebration, which is scheduled for later this year.While Vitz enjoys being active in the community, he remembers there is also time for play. He helped organize and participates in an area vintage baseball team. His dedication to NKU and the community has left a lasting influence on the students and faculty.


n o r t h e r n

Kathleen M. Renaker Being remembered as one of a professor’s “top five” in his 35 years of teaching is an honor in itself; however, Kathleen Renaker has gone far beyond this honor with several other accomplishments in her young career. Prior to her graduation she won the 1997 NKU service award and was the speech communication student of the year. Since her graduation in 1997, Renaker has become the director of market research outsourcing for Convergys Corporation, where she has increased research outsourcing revenue by 300 percent. Staying true to NKU, Renaker decided to continue her education and earn a Master of Arts in communication in order to teach evening and weekend speech classes. She consistently receives top scores from her students and has co-presented with fellow NKU professors at professional conferences. As her way of giving back to NKU, Renaker does guest lectures and was recently a presenter at the Norse Leadership Society annual retreat as well as serving on the committee that judged student awards. Renaker mentors NKU students and encourages them to get involved in NKU’s student activities. Renaker, her husband John, a fellow NKU alumnus, and their three children provide her with a busy home life to balance her busy professional life. Her children are regularly seen wearing NKU gear, showing their support for their mom and community.



Alumna Award

Russ Gogzheyan



Alumnus Award

When questions arise about computer science, Russ Gogzheyan is the guy to ask. He started his own company, CEC, Inc., where he serves as a computer science professional. Because of the formation of his company, Gogzheyan has been able to give back to the community and has been named the Outstanding Young Alumnus of 2007. Starting CEC, Inc., was an easy task after all of the obstacles Gogzheyan has overcome in order to be this successful just 11 years after his graduation from NKU. Gogzheyan and his family moved to the United States after fleeing from the civil war of Azerbaijan, which is part of the former Soviet Union. After arriving here, he did not speak English and worked in construction until 1995, when a friend helped him apply to NKU. Once he was a student at NKU, he studied for classes and learned English. Gogzheyan graduated in 2001 with a degree in computer science and shortly after formed CEC, Inc., with the goal in mind of giving back to the community. He has made donations to local churches and schools, offers a computer recycling program and provides computer classes for senior citizens as part of the community literacy program; his hope is that through his company he can improve the local economy and offer more opportunities to computer science professionals. All of what Russ Gogzheyan does is a way to give back to the community that offered him so much during some difficult times.

Ron Ellis ’74 college ofOutstanding informatics Alumnus Award Chase College of Law

Dr. Michael Washington

Michael C. Murray From working as a criminal investigator for the federal government during the Reagan administration to deputy CEO and general counsel of FirstGroup America, Inc., and president of First Transit, Michael Murray is being honored as an Outstanding Alumnus by Chase College of Law for his contributions to the field of law. As a 1989 graduate of Salmon P. Chase College of Law, Murray is licensed to practice law in the state of Ohio; Federal District Court, Southern District of Ohio; 6th U.S. District Court of Appeals; and the U.S. Supreme Court. He is currently the chairman of the Chase Board of Advisors. Murray now lives in Cincinnati and is married with three children. His wife, Elizabeth R. Murray, is a 1990 graduate of Chase College of Law and is currently serving in domestic relations law.

fa l l

2 0 0 7


Jennifer L.

Schmidt-Frazier Kentucky state law librarian Jennifer L. Schmidt-Frazier was honored for her leadership in history, political science and law. She has worked as an attorney, became legal counsel for Kentucky State Law Library in Frankfort and is the winner of the 2004 CLE Award. Schmidt-Frazier graduated in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts in history. As a top student while at NKU, she won the W. Frank Steely Award for outstanding graduating senior in her field. She went on to earn her J.D. from the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law in 2001 and completed her master’s in information and library science from the University of Kentucky. While Schmidt-Frazier was an undergraduate, she was an active member in the student government and was president of NKU’s chapter of the Phi Alpha Theta history honorary. She also served as a judge in the Moot Court competition while in law school.


Alumna Award

College of Education and Human Services

Margo L. Otto Outstanding

Alumna Award

College of Arts and Sciences


n o r t h e r n

Margo Otto has been honored as the Nevada Social Worker of the Year and also won the Outstanding Victim Advocate Award. She is adding an NKU honor to her collection as an Outstanding Alumna for all of her work and success. Otto works at the Nevada Cancer Institute of Las Vegas, where she helps cancer patients improve their quality of life with compassion and empathy. She uses her years of experience in social work to assist the patients and their families in their needs. As an honored and awardwinning leader in her field, she has presented at several statewide regional conferences to educate medical professionals on ways to help patients cope with cancer treatment and care. Otto was nominated for the Outstanding Alumna Award by Adriana Diaz who said,“She is a bright light in the process for cancer survivors that truly helps them find hope and cope with dynamics surrounding cancer care.”


Alumnus Award

James L. Flood Taxes, auditing and financial advising along with continued support for NKU are what earned James Flood the Outstanding Alumnus Award. Just after graduating with a degree in accounting in 1981, Flood began his career at Deloitte, one of the nation’s leading professional services firms.Today he is still with the firm, now as a partner, and serves as the tax director in the global employment services division. Flood is still active and supportive of NKU as he serves on the NKU Foundation Board, has served as president of the foundation and has also served on the NKU Alumni Council and College of Business Accounting Advisory Board. Outside of his NKU support, Flood also is active in his own community as he serves as treasurer of the International Visitor’s Council and is treasurer of the Ft. Mitchell Country Club. Leslie Turner, professor and chair of the NKU accountancy department, said:, “Jim has achieved a tremendous amount of success in his career yet he always sets aside time for public service.”

School of Nursing and Health Prof essions


Alumna Award

College of Business

Judi A. Frerick Judi Frerick has taken her desire and need to help others in a unique direction as she is being honored by the School of Nursing with the Outstanding Alumna Award for her work in the field of nursing. She is an assistant professor at NKU in the School of Nursing and Health Professions, where she teaches community and public health nursing. Frerick received her associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing at NKU, receiving the Outstanding M.S.N. Student Award as well as the Clinical Excellence Award for her work in the development of the new nurse educator track. In 2006, Frerick received a partnership grant to help promote and advance nursing research through student partnerships among the School of Nursing and Health Professions and St. Elizabeth Medical Center, St. Luke Hospital and River Hills Healthcare. She also serves as co-director on a second university partnership grant called “Pathway to Nursing” in order to educate high-school students about the nursing field as a potential career. Frerick is among a group of faculty who recently formed the Nursing Advocacy Center for the underserved at NKU, and she serves as an academic advisor on the St. Elizabeth Medical Center Nursing Research Council.

fa l l

2 0 0 7


Dave Hatter College of Informatics

Dave Hatter’s leadership in the technology industry along with his continued support of NKU has earned him the Outstanding Alumnus Award by the College of Informatics. Hatter graduated from NKU with a bachelor’s degree in information systems and is the principal consultant and founder of Libertas Technologies, LLC. He was named a Lotus Beacon Award Finalist in 2000 in the “Best e-Business Solution-Supplier Relationship Management” for the KAM application that he designed, developed and managed for the Cognis Corporation. Hatter has authored or co-authored 10 books for Macmillan Computer Publishing that cover various computer programs. He stays active in his community by serving as councilman and webmaster for the City of Ft. Wright, Ky., New Economy Transition Team and a technological instructor in the NKU community education program. Hatter can be seen as a monthly guest on WXIX’s 19 in the Morning show and on Insight Communication’s Northern Kentucky Magazine.


Alumnus Award


Know of a great alum? Nominate one! The NKU Alumni Association recognizes alumni who have achieved success in their chosen fields and those who have made significant contributions benefiting the university or the community at large. While the awards are presented at the annual awards banquet in February, nominations may be made at any time during the year. Those recommended for awards may be contacted for additional information. An awards committee will review all the nominations and choose the recipients. Nomination forms are available at Click “alumni awards” on the left-hand side of the page.


n o r t h e r n

2,500 tons of s te e l


c u bi c ya rd s of c on c rete

2,500 inter ior lig hts more than


miles of sanitary and stor m piping


gallons of paint

380,000 cubic yards of dirt to move


square feet of exterior wall glass

Building an arena: By the numbers It takes a lot of “stuff� to build The Bank of Kentucky Center. Here are some interesting statistics, courtesy of Turner Construction.

115,000 concrete blo ck s


mil e s of water pipi n g fa l l

2 0 0 7



ATHLETICS Fall sports preview

Soccer Luck of the Irish?

Men’s team adds strength to roster

NKU’s men’s soccer team signed a five-year team captain from Dublin, Ireland, and shutout record holder from Ohio to defend its NCAA Regional Championship title.

Northern Kentucky University’s men’s cross-country team has signed three new athletes who could help carry them to nationals for the second year. • Ryne Smith, a 2007 Scott High School graduate, was named All-Region 4 and All-State First Team and Kentucky State Super Team his senior year. At the Northern Kentucky Conference, Smith was named Individual Champion and Runner of the Year. • Eric Dwyer, a 2007 St. Henry District High School graduate, was named First-Team All-State in 2005 and 2006. • Drew Harris, a 2007 Campbell County High School graduate, was named 2006 Northern Kentucky Athlete of the Year, four All-Region awards, Second Team All-State honor in 2006 and has three other All-State honorable mentions.

Steven Beattie, a 2006 Colaste Ide College graduate in Dublin, Ireland, played for five years with Skerries Town F.C. and scored 50 goals in his career, while Matthew Lavric, a 2007 Gahanna Lincoln High School graduate, was leading scorer in 2005 and 2006 and four-year letter winner.

Women’s team finds new hope NKU’s women’s soccer team added a combination of players to help them advance to the GLVC tournament. • Kendell Day, a 2007 Lakota East graduate, was first team All-Greater Miami Conference. • Heather Meyers, a 2007 Northwest High School graduate, led her team in assists and to league championships the past two years. • Allison Ott, a 2007 Mason graduate, was named Cincinnati Enquirer honorable mention all-star. • Megan Smith, a 2007 Batavia High School graduate, led the team to the Buckeye Conference Championships all four years, 20 goals in the 2006 season and was a four-year starter.


Cross Country

n o r t h e r n

Women sign champions NKU’s women’s cross-country team signed an MVP and a state champ to help the squad chase a title this season. • Lisa Ruth, a 2006 Bishop Brossart graduate, received the LaRosa’s MVP for track and Northern Kentucky Top Field Event Athlete of the Year for long jump, triple jump, pole vault and high jump. • Chelsea Cantrall, a 2007 Walton-Verona High School graduate, helped lead the team to the 2006 Class-A State Championship. Cantrall was the individual runner up at the North Central Kentucky Conference Championship during her senior year.

Twins on the run

Kevin and Brian Alessandro of Louisville, twin brothers who also ran cross country as undergraduates at NKU, finished in top spots in the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati in May 2007. Kevin finished runner-up in the full marathon even though a hamstring pull affected the last few miles, and Brian ran with the winning relay marathon team.

NO R T H E R N Digital Planetarium

TANK and NKU make a connection NKU’s College of Informatics and TANK recently announced mobile, wireless Internet access available free to all TANK bus riders. This service is available to select TANK express routes in Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties and is designed to allow riders to make better use of their commute. All research for the project is done by students and faculty at NKU.

NKU recently dedicated the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation Digital Planetarium. The planetarium is the first laser projection planetarium system ever installed on an educational institution’s campus – anywhere in the world. The facility, funded through federal resources secured by Sen. Mitch McConnell and additional private funds from the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation, will attract talent (faculty, students and visiting artists and scientists) to NKU and will offer students of all ages a new way of learning.

’Round and ’round Hoping to minimize traffic delays and improve the look of the main entrance to campus, NKU and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet built a roundabout at the intersection of Nunn and University Drives. Although common in Europe, this is the first roundabout (or traffic circle) in the state. The new configuration allows drivers to travel to the right in the circle and reach the road they want without any left-hand turns or stoplights. The improved traffic flow is necessary as the university continues to grow. Enrollment is expected to exceed 15,000 this fall.

Gold, black and green? NKU is trying to cool down global warming by using more energy-efficient ways of doing everyday tasks and also by reducing the greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. The university has already agreed that all new buildings will be constructed in accordance with Leadership in Energy and Environment Design standards. The university has also decided to expand its partial recycling program into a full recycling program and will urge students to take part as well as faculty and staff.

fa l l

2 0 0 7



NE W S Kruer named Foundation executive director

Shanley moving to faculty Following nine years of service to Northern Kentucky University as vice president for student affairs, Dr. Mark Shanley moved to an adjunct faculty position in the NKU College of Education and Human Services effective June 15. Shanley has long aspired to establish a master’s program in college student development administration at NKU to support the professional development of NKU and regional student affairs professionals. Under the leadership of Dean Elaine Jarchow and Dr. Michael Altekruse, a college student development track in the community program has been established. After teaching the first course in the track this spring, Shanley determined that he would like to shift his focus to the development of this program. Under Shanley’s leadership, the student affairs division has supported the dramatic growth of student engagement in cocurricular activities and programs, student organizations and leadership programs.


n o r t h e r n

Karen Zerhusen Kruer was named executive director of the NKU Foundation effective April 16. “I have watched Northern Kentucky University grow over the past several decades and have observed its impact through a wide variety of opportunities for learning, leadership and community engagement,” Kruer said. “I am thrilled to be chosen to serve as the executive director of the NKU Foundation, which provides essential private resources that support the university’s educational mission.” The Northern Kentucky native comes to NKU from the University of South Florida Foundation in Tampa, Fla., where she had served as director of development for special gifts and campaigns for the past two years. “I have seen first hand the significance of the generous gifts that support higher education and the importance of a high degree of care in their stewardship,” Kruer said. “I look forward to bringing my skills and experience to this critical role at the NKU Foundation.” Prior to assuming her position at USF, Kruer served for nine years in leadership and management positions in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky nonprofit sector. For four years she served as executive director for the Grailville Education and Conference Center in Loveland, Ohio. She then served for five years as director of regional funds with The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, where she was responsible for The Northern Kentucky Fund and The Clermont Community Fund.

NKU names new College of Business dean Dr. John Beehler recently accepted the position of associate provost for economic initiatives and dean of the College of Business. Beehler has served as dean of the W. Frank Barton School of Business at Wichita State University since 2000. “We’re excited to bring someone of Beehler’s caliber to NKU to lead our College of Business,” NKU President James Votruba said. “His leadership and vision will allow the university to deepen its regional impact and expand its collaborative endeavors to a degree previously unimagined.” The announcement came just days after NKU learned that its College of Business would be included in the 2008 edition of The Princeton Review’s “Best 290 Business Schools” (Random House/Princeton Review Books, $22.95). Last year, NKU’s Entrepreneurship Institute, sponsored by Fifth Third Bank, was named one of the Top 25 Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Programs in the country by the Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine.

fiv e for


Campus comes alive in the fall. Come check out these upcoming events. More information on all events is available at


Make it a slam-dunk.

NKU basketball begins its season November 15. Cheer on the Norse as they compete for the last time at Regents Hall. Call (859) 572-6639 for more information.


Visit the dark side of the moon: Darkside by Rosenthal Endowed Chair Ken

Jones is a gripping drama that tells the story of the fictional Apollo 18 mission, launched in 1973. The show runs October 25-November 4. In the play, two of the mission’s three astronauts become stranded on the moon’s surface when their equipment fails. As their crewmate in the ship works with ground control to rescue them, he faces his own anxiety while orbiting the moon’s lonely dark side. The Denver Register calls it “spellbinding,” with “soul, suspense, symbolism and surprises..., a dash of humor, and a speck of irony.” $10 adults, $9 NKU faculty/staff, $8 senior citizens 60 and older, $6 students. Seating is general admission; parking is free. Contact the fine arts box office at (859) 572-5464 to purchase tickets with MasterCard, Visa or Discover charge cards.

Happy hour!


Talk politics

at the eighth annual Alumni Lecture Series featuring Pat Buchanan and Tom Daschle at Regents Hall on October 25 at 7 p.m. Ticket prices are: $40 for general public, $35 for faculty/staff/ alumni, $100 VIP reception and lecture, $10 for students. For more information and reservations, contact alumni@ or call (859) 572-5370.

Networking opportunity for young alumni at Sully’s Saloon. November 8, 5-7 p.m., 704 Race Street, Cincinnati. For more information, call (859) 572-5486 or e-mail


Hit the books. Thinking of taking the GRE?

Class meets Saturday and Sunday, December 1 and 2, 9 a.m.5 p.m. at NKU’s Covington Campus, Hankins Hall room 211. This intensive weekend review course taught by content specialists will help you become familiar with the test, practice the types of questions appearing on the test and improve your chances of achieving your goal score. For more information, call NKU Connect Center at (859) 572-5600.

fa l l

2 0 0 7


a l u mn i


I NKU connecting construction

Alumni who haven’t been back to campus lately should come by and check out the transformation that is happening at Northern. Cranes tower over the worksites for The Bank of Kentucky Center and the new student union. Also, crews completed a “roundabout” that will ease traffic congestion at the main campus entrance off U.S. 27. Despite the detours and parking lot closures, those of us who come to campus every day realize these minor inconveniences are just a part of a growing, thriving university. Come by and check it out! If you need a reason to come to campus, there are several upcoming events that could be of interest to you. Check out the calendar on page 27 for details. These include the 2007 Alumni Lecture Series featuring Tom Daschle and Pat Buchanan, which is scheduled for October 25.

and celebrating Northern online

Show your Norse pride

Beginning in December, a redesigned NKU license plate will be available in your local county clerk’s office. Not only is the plate great looking, but proceeds from the renewal fee also go toward the NKU scholarship fund. The plate is a great way to show your Norse pride and support NKU. Also, as fall approaches it’s time to pick up an NKU fleece jacket, which is available on our alumni community website:

Northern magazine is now available online on our new magazine website. This allows us to offer additional content for readers and allows you to search past issues to find out more about fellow NKU alumni. Check it out at and select “publications” on the left side of the page. As always, we want to hear what’s new in your life. Drop us a note and send us your photos at or call (859) 572-5486. Deidra S. Fajack Director, Alumni Programs and Licensing


Vice President Gerard St. Amand with Paul J. Sipes award winner Sarah Christen. J. David Bender ’76, ’79, and Deidra Fajack with the 2007 Senior Award winners Heather J. Meeks and Sarah Christen.


n o r t h e r n

gatherings A reception was sponsored by the Alumni Association in Naples, Fla., on January 14, 2007, at the Vineyards Country Club. The event was hosted by Curtis Cassner, MBA ’93, Chase ’00.

Becky Miller Thomas, Lisa Brinkman and Lisa Daniel were part of the Kentucky TRiO delegation to Congressman Geoff Davis’ office.

Alumni who work at NKU gathered at Loch Norse for the Spring Fling event.

telescopes and sunspots Students from Summit View Middle School visited NKU in May 2007. In this photo, a group of students learns about telescopes and sunspots from Dr. Chari Ramkumar in front of the Natural Science Center.

Alumni, staff and faculty cheered on the Norse during the 2007 NCAA tournament.

fa l l

2 0 0 7


Lincoln Awards

James and Rachel Votruba with L i nc o l n A w a r d r e c i p i e nts E l l e n a n d G e o r g e R i e v e sc h l , J r .

L i nc o l n A w a r d w i nn e r s A l i c e a n d D o n a l d C . W i nt e r s h e i m e r w i t h J a m e s and Rachel Votruba.

Honoring three community leaders Editor’s note: George Rieveschl, Jr., died of pneumonia September 27 just before we went to press with this issue. A philanthropist until the end, he made a $1 million gift to the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.


n o r t h e r n

Ellen and George Rieveschl, Jr. The 2007 Northern Kentucky University Lincoln Awards honored three community leaders who are great examples of citizenship and lifelong achievement: Ellen and George Rieveschl, Jr., and The Honorable Donald C. Wintersheimer. Here is more on these outstanding honorees:

Just as they are partners in marriage, Ellen and George Rieveschl, Jr., are partners in community service, and together they have formed one of the most charitable unions in the region’s history. George’s desire to help people and the community allowed him to become an extraordinary educator, dynamic leader, and bridge builder, linking the corporate world, higher education and the community. Overall, George had already set the standards for service decades ago, when he invented Benadryl, the world’s first commercial antihistamine. Ellen has been by her partner’s side with equal accomplishments and accreditation. Both are respected unequivocally throughout the region, especially for their support of education and the arts. As respected and ambitious role models, George and Ellen have turned Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky into a better place to learn and to live. Through their generous gifts to UC, NKU, Mount St. Joseph and other

educational institutions, the Rieveschls have changed the lives of thousands of students and have set the standard of excellence in support of learner-centered education. Through their love for the arts and education, leadership and substantial financial support for the Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati Opera, Cincinnati Symphony, the Contemporary Arts Center, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and the Cincinnati Museum Center, they have helped nurture the arts throughout the region and the nation. “Ellen and George share a sense of honor and integrity, a keen sense of humor, an uncanny feel for what actually can work, and an outgrowth of common sense,” their nominator said. “They are skilled communicators and in the broad sweep of the performing and visual arts in greater Cincinnati they have no peers.”

has the privilege of serving the commonwealth in his stead.... His attention to detail and energy serve as a model for what our founding fathers intended in a Supreme Court Justice.” He first came to prominence as the city solicitor in Covington in the 1960s, when he fought several rate hikes sought by telephone, electric and gas companies and won a $1.3 million refund for Northern Kentucky telephone customers. It was during this time that he gained a reputation for seeing public service as a way to bring justice to ordinary people. Wintersheimer continues to be involved with Northern Kentucky University and Chase College of Law, including as an adjunct faculty member and volunteer judge for student Moot Court com-

petitions. He maintained his supreme court office in Nunn Hall for a number of years, and in 1998 he received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Northern Kentucky University. He delivered the Chase College of Law commencement address in 2006. Outside of all his outstanding citizenship, notable lifetime achievements, and distinguished professional and community service, Covington’s Levassor Park resident has been married to his wife, Alice, a retired school teacher, for 45 years, and the couple has raised five children – three of whom followed in their father’s footsteps to become lawyers.

The Honorable Donald C. Wintersheimer Donald C. Wintersheimer once described his job as combining “knowledge of the law with simple common sense.” Throughout the Covington native’s inspiring career, scores of allies and adversaries alike came to concur: The former Kentucky Supreme Court justice perfected the practice of law. Justice Wintersheimer holds one of the longest tenures on the court in Kentucky history, as he served on the bench for 31 years – 24 years on the supreme court and seven years on the court of appeals.Whether people agreed or not with his opinions and ideology, they never challenged his decent and honest approach to public service. A prominent local attorney once summed up Wintersheimer’s career as “a beacon of judicial insight for whoever

fa l l

2 0 0 7





llen Singer’s library teems with wares from an array of eras. A transistor radio from mid-1970s. Parts of a disassembled 1921 upright piano. Dozens of 78-rpm records, complete with a creaky 1935 jukebox. The 1996 graduate of Northern Kentucky University considers himself an old soul. He arguably knows more about Cincinnati’s history than most people his age do. Singer is the author of three books that explore certain facets of the Queen City: The Cincinnati Subway; Cincinnati on the Go, History of Mass Transit; and Stepping Out in Cincinnati. The books are distributed by Arcadia Publishing, a company based in Chicago. With those three titles and a few profits under his belt, the 36-year-old is torn whether to pursue another nonfiction account of a Cincinnati affair or to strictly focus on his fiction writings. Authorship wasn’t Singer’s expected career path. “I had been writing things for most of my life...and I had attempted and aborted novels when I was in high school,” he said. “I even made one or two attempts in college, but they never went anywhere.” Singer finished up at NKU with a bachelor’s degree in radio and television, eventually moving on to engineering positions for bigwig radio stations such as WARM 98 and the WVAE 94.9 (The Wave). The digitalization of broadcasting ultimately usurped him from his jobs, because he had learned the art of analog radio engineering in school. As odd jobs were paying the bills, he came across a news report that celebrated a failed development in Cincinnati: the Cincinnati subway system. “When I get interested in something, I want to know more and more about it,” Singer said. Research and writing ensued. His cohorts said profiling the subway would make a great book. So in 2002, he finally completed The Cincinnati Subway.

Wo r k i n g t i t l e s Meet Allen Singer – three-time published author, Queen City history buff By Rich Shivener His next two works required research that was more extensive, he said, particularly Stepping Out in Cincinnati, which he worked on for six solid months. “And I’m a big fan of American Idol,” Singer laughed, “but I couldn’t sit down and watch any of my TV shows.” Still, Singer doesn’t regret authoring those books. Despite squandering his funds on photos and documents, which aided him in accurately detailing his subjects, he said it was definitely fulfilling. “I made a lot of new friends from writing those books, people I would have never met if I had never written those books. I mean, these are people in their 60s and 70s.” Those same people are pushing him to write a book on the Beverly Hills Supper Club, a Southgate hotspot for entertainment, one that took 165 lives when it burned down in 1977 (see article in this issue on page 12). “Arcadia is interested,” Singer said of the topic. “It’s just so much work and so much time...that I just have set aside enough time to do it.” Added his wife, Deanna: “It takes a lot of time and I try to help as much as I can, as I like to spend time with him,” she said. “When he was writing his subway book we never got

to spend time together...that was hard on us at first.” To date, Singer has finished his first draft of a novel, tentatively titled Ghost Machine. The story line, at least what he described in February, follows a 40-year-old amateur inventor who has several patents behind him, but nothing has ever made it to market. He eventually builds a machine to catch ghosts, creating a world of troubles for his colleagues. “It sounds a little like Ghostbusters, I know,” Singer said, “but it’s far removed from Ghostbusters – and it even addresses it twice in the book.” Singer’s Ghost Machine is a far cry from horror and science-fiction comedy plots he attempted to materialize in high school or the children’s novel he wrote, The Candy Butcher’s Secret, which hasn’t enamored publishers just yet. He’s still a part-time writer, scoring freelance assignments with Radio World and Radio magazines between books. He works full time at Cincinnati Machine in Hebron, where he installs wires into industrial machines. Perhaps Ghost Machine will change that. His long-term aim is to be a full-time novelist like his idol, Stephen King.

Shivener is a 2006 NKU journalism graduate and is a reporter for the Community Press .


n o r t h e r n

Class Notes 1978


Charles T. Miller (Professional Studies) who is currently executive director of the Louisville Regional Airport Authority, has been elected as second vice chair of the Kentuckians for Better Transportation Board.

Tanny (Tonya) McGregor (Elementary Education) has written a book called Comprehension Connections: Bridges to Strategic Reading. Her book was released in February 2007 and was featured at the 2007 International Reading Association Conference in Toronto in May. McGregor graduated from NKU with a master’s degree in elementary education in 1994, then a master’s in educational administration in 2006.

1982 Nancy Allf (Chase) was sworn in as president of the state bar of Nevada in June 2007. She is married to David Allf, and they live in Las Vegas, Nev.

1990 Martin Weir (Music) is a musician/teacher and principal percussion in Clermont, Hamilton-Fairfield and Middletown orchestras. He is married to Jamie Wooldridge, and their son, Nicholas, was born in August 2005.

1991 Mark Buerger (Professional Studies) is living in Lexington, Ky., and working for the Special Olympics in Frankfort, Ky. He is married to Michelle Wentworth, who graduated from NKU in 1994. Mark and Michelle have two boys, Jacob, 9, and Adam, 6.

A l u mni


received her Master of Science in information studies in May 2005. She is married to David Wahman.

2000 Kristen Brzygot (Speech Communication) is currently in her fifth year of working with the family-owned business Maronda Homes. It is the fastest growing builder in the tri-state area and is expanding into Northern Kentucky communities. Kristen graduated from NKU in May 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in speech communication and a minor in psychology.

1996 Melissa Alford-Baum (Psychology) is living in Dover, Ind., where she is a homemaker and self employed. After graduating from NKU in 1996, she attended S.H.I. School of Medical Massage and is a certified massage therapist. She is married to Douglas Baum, who is owner and president of Greenworks Services. They have two boys, Tucker and George Douglas.

1998 Mollie L auren Wahm an (English) is working as a reference/collections librarian at the University of Cincinnati. After graduating from NKU, she attended The University of Texas at Austin and


2003 Rebecca Bucher Detzel (Elementary Education) is a first-grade teacher at Grandview Elementary School. She was nominated for the National Honor Roll’s America’s Most Outstanding Teacher Award in 2006. She is married to Rob Detzel, and they just had their first child, Preston David, in January 2007.

mo v e

fast family John Lucas ’72, Chase ’79, former alumni council president, Tyler Lucas ’02 (his son) and Stephen Lucas (John’s brother), have the best seat for the Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400 races each year. They are members of the safety team at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and are literally feet away from the cars as they speed by in excess of 200 mph. They are stationed in turn 3 of the famous speedway at the outside wall and are there to help ensure the safety of the fans in that area and to help out in any situation that might come from an accident. They are part of a larger safety crew at the track known as the “yellow shirts.”

fa l l

2 0 0 7


Class Notes A l u mni



mo v e

Garren Colvin ’97 Garren Colvin (Business) was named the 2006 Northern Kentucky Accounting Executive of the Year. He is also senior vice president and chief financial officer of St. Elizabeth Medical Center. He serves on the Board of Trustees for Thomas More College, Notre Dame Academy and Redwood School.

Michael W. Laws ’06

Anna Hogan

Kimberly Taney

NKU graduates Anna Hogan and Kimberly Taney have joined Wordsworth Communications, a fullservice marketing communications and public relations agency located in downtown Cincinnati. Taney (2002) joined the agency as an account executive. She comes to the firm after four years of experience in developing and implementing grass-roots campaigns, performing media relations and creating marketing communications programs. Prior to joining the agency Taney served as account executive for the Owens Group, where she worked with clients that included Columbia Pictures, Tri-Star, Screen Gems and Revolution Studios. Before that she was employed in the marketing department of Paramount’s Kings Island as a marketing communications coordinator. At Wordsworth Taney will help plan and implement public relations programs for several key agency clients, including Skyline Chili, The Beach Waterpark, Cincinnati State and the Summerfair Fine Arts and Crafts Festival. Hogan, a 2006 graduate and current master’s in communications candidate, was recently named an account executive. As an account executive, Hogan will be assigned to the Wordsworth’s Procter & Gamble professional home-away-from-home business segment, which she will support through media relations, research, writing and related account responsibilities.

Michael W. Laws (Political Science ’03 and Chase Law School ’06) was sworn in as assistant commonwealth’s attorney for the 18th Judicial Circuit of Kentucky. He is also the youth director and serves as a deacon at Christ’s Church Eastside Park.

Maureen Krueger ’93

Krueger became the first district attorney for Moore County, N.C. Krueger said that she went to law school because she felt this was what she was meant to do. She said, “I did not go to seek partnership in a big firm or even open my own office someday but to go into court as the voice of the people and to be the person who brings justice.” Krueger received her undergraduate degree from NKU in 1993 and her law degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Law in 1996. Krueger’s husband, Rick Edelman, and their children have made their home just south of Carthage, N.C.

Marie Mehring ’93

NKU Alumnae win Excellence Award Kimberly Carnes ’06 of Crittenden has been teaching at Piner Elementary School for five years, and Deanna Lipps ’81, ’85 of Burlington has been teaching at Ft. Wright Elementary School for 13 years. Both received the Excellence in Teaching Award from Campbellsville University in May 2007. Both graduated from NKU with a Master of Arts in education. Carnes and Lipps were among 150 teachers honored from 55 Kentucky public and private school districts this year.


n o r t h e r n

Women of the year Four women with ties to Northern Kentucky University were recently recognized for their notable achievement and outstanding service in their profession and to the Northern Kentucky community with the Northern Kentucky Outstanding Women Award. Rebecca Moening (1988, Professional Studies), Nancy G. Kinman (1981, Accounting), Christine Vissman (1985, Salmon P. Chase College of Law) and Rachel Votruba (retired professor from NKU and wife of NKU President James Votruba) have been named 2007 Women of the Year.

Marie Mehring, a second-grade teacher at Ayer Elementary School in Forest Hills School District, received the 2007 Teacher of the Year Award from Hixson, a Cincinnati architecture, engineering and interior design firm. Mehring has taught at Ayer for the past 11 years, spending the past five years teaching second grade. She has a master’s degree in education from Marygrove College and a Bachelor of Arts in education from Northern Kentucky University. Mehring lives in Anderson Township with her family.

Send us your class notes Please fill out this form and mail the entire back cover to the return address listed on the back page. You can e-mail class notes, photos and announcements to grad. year:_____________________________________________________________ MAJOR(s):_______________________________________________________________ name:___________________________________________________________________ address:_______________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ check if this is a new address phone: (



professional title:________________________________________________ occupation:_ ___________________________________________________________ employer:______________________________________________________________ business address:_____________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ business phone: ( business fax: (

)___________________________________________ )______________________________________________

interests / hobbies:___________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ please list any schools you are attending or have attended since graduating from nku and your degree: _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ accomplishments / awards:__________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________

T he sk y ’ s the limit with new L och N orse A rboret u m Northern Kentucky University has been awarded a $7,990 Urban and Community Forestry Assistance Grant to establish an educational arboretum on the grounds surrounding Loch Norse. The tentatively named “Loch Norse Arboretum” will provide opportunities for NKU students, faculty, staff and the general public to learn about and appreciate trees that are appropriate to the Northern Kentucky region.

spouse’s name:_ _______________________________________________________ occupation:_ ___________________________________________________________ employer:______________________________________________________________ business address:_____________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ business phone: (


_________________________________________________________________________ check if spouse is an nku grad if so, grad year:_______________________________________________________



environmental benefits statement

children’s names & birth dates:_____________________________________

Northern Kentucky University saved the following resources by using New Leaf Reincarnation made with 100% recycled fiber, 50% post-consumer waste, and processed chlorine free.






fully grown



solid waste

greenhouse gases




million BTUs



Calculation based on research by Environmental Defense and other members of the Paper Task Force.

©2006 New Leaf Paper


please give us a brief update on yourself or a classmate for class notes in the next issue of northern:________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________

fa l l

2 0 0 7


making room NKU President A.D. Albright is surrounded by university a n d s t a t e o f fi c i a l s a s t h e y b r e a k g r o u n d o n N K U d o r m s in 1981. Similar scenes have been common on campus this summer, as several new projects are underway, including The Bank of Kentucky Center and the new student union. p h o t o c o u r t e s y o f t h e nku a r c h i v e s

nonprofit organization u. s. postage Office of Alumni Programs 421 Johns hill road Highland Heights, KY 41099

PAID burlington, VT permit no. 540

Northern Magazine Fall 2007  

Northern Magazine Fall 2007