Shafer Court Connections Fall 2016

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FALL 2 01 6

Rising up

V fu CU nd la ra un in isin che its g s l c a Pa his am rge t ge o p s 16 ry aign t

Students and alumni work to shelter the nation’s homeless

For more than 30 years, students have lived, learned and laughed inside the walls of Gladding Residence Center. Halls I and II, which stood on West Main Street, came down this summer to make room for a new 360,000-square-foot hall (inset) with space for 1,524 students, completing the university’s plan to house all freshmen on the Monroe Park Campus. The 12-story building, made possible thanks to a public-private partnership with American Campus Communities, will also include Residential Life and Housing offices, the Housing Leadership Center, an exercise center and a 40,000-square-foot courtyard. The building design incorporates and preserves the limestone façade of the Branch Public Baths that have stood on the site since 1909 and transforms the bathhouse interior into a communal space for student activities. In addition, the current GRC III building (visible in the background below) will remain intact and become part of the new community.

Photo Allison Patel (B.F.A.'04/A), Rendering American Campus Communities


Fall 2016


Together, we can make it real It is with great pride that I welcome you to this special issue of Shafer Court Connections. This fall, Virginia Commonwealth University embarked on the largest fundraising initiative in the university’s history, the Make It Real Campaign for VCU. The campaign, with a $750 million goal, will fuel growth in three critical areas: people, innovations and environments. In this issue, we share the impact that funds raised by the campaign have already made, from a scholarship that provides support to social work students as they work to change the world to a new center that prepares pharmacy students for sterile compounding of medications to a program that fills a much needed gap with bilingual health care professionals in Richmond. We hope these stories will engage you and inspire you. Your support is critical during this campaign and will help transform our people, our campus, our community, our commonwealth, our nation and our world. Every gift, no matter the amount, has the potential to change lives. Imagine what we could accomplish if every VCU alumnus — and there are more than 183,000 of us across the world — made a gift to their alma mater. That would have a tremendous impact on our students and the alumni they will become. Please join me in supporting the Make It Real Campaign for VCU. I invite you to learn more at Yours for VCU,

James E. Williams (B.S.’84/GPA; M.S.’96/GPA) President, VCU Alumni

Fall 2016 Volume 23, Number 1 Vice president, development and alumni relations Marti K.S. Heil Senior director, finance and services Judy Frederick Interim senior director, outreach and engagement Amy Gray Beck Senior director, development and alumni communications Melanie Irvin Seiler (B.S.’96/MC) Senior director, VCU Alumni Diane Stout-Brown (B.S.W.’80/SW) Associate director, development and alumni marketing and communications Kristen Caldwell (B.S.’94/MC) Associate director, creative content Mitchell Moore (B.S.’07/MC; M.S.’08/E)

Editorial, design and photography VCU Development and Alumni Communications The alumni magazine is published semiannually by the Virginia Commonwealth University Office of Development and Alumni Relations. The views and opinions expressed in the alumni magazine do not necessarily represent those of the alumni office or university.

Send address changes or comments to: Development and Alumni Relations Virginia Commonwealth University 111 North Fourth Street P.O. Box 842039 Richmond, Virginia 23284-2039 Phone: (804) 828-2586 Email: © 2016, Virginia Commonwealth University

On the cover Through the student organization I RISE, Kevin Amir Ghaffari (B.S.’15/H&S) (left) and Ashkhan Hojati (B.S.’16/En) regularly provided food and hygiene supplies to the homeless in Monroe Park. Turn to Page 10 to learn more about I RISE and how students and alumni, like Ghaffari and Hojati, are working to end homelessness. Photo Allen Jones (B.F.A.‘82/A; M.F.A.‘92/A), University Marketing


VCU Alumni

an equal opportunity, affirmative action university

Photo Tom Kojcsich, University Marketing


26 Features 10 Home again With a housing-first approach, Virginia Commonwealth University students and alumni take a leading role in ending one of the nation’s largest epidemics: homelessness.

16 Game-changer VCU launches the Make It Real Campaign for VCU, the largest fundraising effort in the university’s history, with three core priorities: people, innovations and environments.

25 By the numbers See what the Make It Real Campaign for VCU has already achieved and how you can make a difference in the lives of our people and our communities.

Departments 26 Campaign launch in pictures Images from the three-day celebration capture the people, events and excitement surrounding the announcement of VCU’s most ambitious campaign to date.

28 In real life Prominent alumni returned to campus to reflect on their storied careers and to share how VCU has influenced their lives and contributed to their success.

30 Like father, like son Inspired by his father’s 30-plus-year career, Greg Dadlez follows a familiar path to VCU and to a gratifying profession in the health administration field.

4 University news 9 Presidential perspective 32 Alumni connections 36 Alumni support: VCU Alumni

38 Class notes 41 Alumni profile: Melinda “Lindy” Dunn, M.D.

46 Alumni profile: Wei Dong

53 Datebook

Fall 2016



Virginia Commonwealth University news and research. For the latest updates, visit VCU News at


Photo Julia Rendleman, University Marketing

The art of business

A portrait of pioneering businesswoman Maggie Walker made entirely out of clothing

VCU’s School of Business is hosting its first artist-in-residence during the 2016-17 academic year. Since the beginning of the academic year, celebrated artist Noah Scalin, founder of the art and innovation consulting firm Another Limited Rebellion, has conducted creative-thinking seminars, guestlectured in classes and initiated a 30-day Creative Sprint challenge. But his first schoolwide lesson, in the form of a large-scale pop-up installation, took place in mid-October in Snead Hall, where volunteers under Scalin’s direction painstakingly arranged clothing in the atrium. What some people thought was a fish or a boat or just an abstract shape morphed into a face as they circled around it. Native Richmonders instantly recognized the face as that of Maggie Walker, an innovative Richmond businesswoman who became the first female African-American bank president in the U.S. — and the first woman of any color to charter a bank — in the early 1900s. The portrait can only be fully recognized from one spot in the atrium, physically illuminating the powerful impact of perspective. “It’s great when you can do things like this, where people are literally changing their perspective,” Scalin says. “Just think about how that would change. How you would then see opportunities around you all the time. … What are you missing in your life when you’re walking out in the world? ‘Is there something hidden here that I’m not seeing?’ And certainly in the workplace that [mindset]’s really necessary.” The artist-in-residence program that brought Scalin here is part of the School of Business’ EPIC strategic plan that encourages students, faculty and staff to think about work in different ways.



A new class of platinum-based drugs has shown significant anti-metastatic effects in fighting cancer, according to a study led by a VCU chemistry professor and cancer researcher. The study found that polynuclear platinum-based drugs are effective by identifying new targets in tumor cells, which had previously been unidentified for platinum-based anti-cancer drugs. The results hold the possibility of expanding the cancers treatable by platinum-based drugs and could lead to the production of more cancer-specific drugs. “We think our findings are very significant because it gives a whole new direction to platinum-based drugs,” says Nicholas Farrell, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Chemistry in the College of Humanities and Sciences and a member of the Developmental Therapeutics research program at VCU Massey Cancer Center. “And it gives us a whole new understanding of what was going on with the original drugs. It’s an area that might have been overlooked for 30 years. It’s opening up a whole new avenue of research for platinum-based drugs.”

Virginia Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities, or Va-LEND, received a $3.1 million grant from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The program, a collaboration between VCU and the Virginia Department of Health, prepares professionals and pre-professionals from 14 different disciplines across the VCU schools of Allied Health Professions, Education, Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Social Work to assume leadership roles within the health care system to serve children with developmental and related disabilities and their families. “The increased capacity to provide exemplary screening, diagnosis and family-centered care of Virginia’s children with significant developmental disabilities, including autism, and increased capacity to provide the supports needed by their families, will be facilitated through the interdisciplinary team approach, a longtime cornerstone of Va-LEND,” says Beth Bader, Ph.D. (Ph.D.’03/E), associate director of Va-LEND and a faculty member in the Department of Counseling and Special Education in the School of Education.

Cancer-fighting combatant


VCU Alumni

Expanded network






VCU’s Center for Sport Leadership ranked eighth worldwide and seventh in North America in the 2016 Sports Business International Postgraduate Sport Course Rankings. CSL also ranked eighth worldwide in the Graduates Choice category. CSL has more than 700 alumni working in all areas of the sports industry, including the NFL, NBA, NHL and USGA, and more than 50 Division I college athletic departments across the country.

Thermoregulated “magic gloves” for extremities affected by Raynaud’s disease


Magic gloves

Every time Jessica L. Bishop (B.S.’16/En) suffered an attack of Raynaud’s disease during her senior year at VCU, it motivated her to work even harder on her School of Engineering Capstone Design project, a pair of “magic gloves.” Bishop was 14 when she was diagnosed with Raynaud’s, a disease that affects extremities, such as fingers and toes, so that people with the condition can’t tell when their hands get cold. Her condition has gotten progressively worse over the years, especially in winter. At first, she didn’t take her cold hands and feet seriously. “Then they started turning white. And then [they] started hurting,” she says. “And every year it would get worse and worse. It’s in your autoimmune system, so when you’re exposed to cold or stress, your arteries actually constrict, and the blood flow doesn’t get to your hands. That causes nerve damage.” The gloves, developed by Bishop and her capstone team, help regulate the fingers’ temperature. A special fiber sewn into the glove, which is properly known as a “thermoregulated device for extremities affected by Raynaud’s disease,” heats up when electricity is applied. A controller with a thermometer sits in the glove’s fingertips. When temperatures reach a dangerous level, the controller turns on one of two heaters. A low-powered heater keeps the wearer at a safe temperature. If the temperature falls below that, the high-powered heater kicks in. But, if the temperature rises too much, the heater turns off so the wearer doesn’t sweat. Mohamed Gad-el-Hak, Ph.D., says he was thrilled to serve as faculty adviser for the project. “What attracted me to the project is Jessica’s positive attitude about channeling a personal adversity into doing something to help all of humanity,” says Gad-el-hak, professor emeritus in the Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering. “Students like that is what makes it all worthwhile, not to mention life worth living.” The university has received a provisional patent for the magic gloves and is seeking a private sponsor to file for a permanent patent.

Samuel Wojcicki (B.S.’16/H&S; B.S.’16/En) received the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Junior Fellowship, becoming the first recipient from VCU. The endowment selects only 10-12 fellows per year from nominations from hundreds of American colleges and universities. Wojcicki will spend this year working with Carnegie’s energy and climate program.

Brandcenter students Yanci Wu (B.F.A.’13/A) and Xia Du received a Future Lions award at Cannes, the major global student advertising competition, for their creation of Amazon Emma, a new artificial intelligence that lives in Amazon Echo. Emma helps seniors combat loneliness and isolation by initiating conversations, asking questions, finding puzzles and events, and navigating the internet. VCU was the only U.S. university to win out of 2,000 entries from 69 countries.

U.S. News & World Report ranked VCU Medical Center the No. 1 hospital in the Richmond metro area and the No. 2 hospital in Virginia. VCU Medical Center also ranks in the top 50 in the country for orthopeadics at No. 36 and is tied at No. 46 for nephrology.


The M.P.A. program in the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs received the Social Equity Award from the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration. The award recognizes a public policy, affairs or administration program that exemplifies the highest standards in diversity through contributions in research, teaching and service.


Marsha D. Rappley, M.D., CEO of VCU Health System and vice president of VCU Health Sciences, is featured among the Becker’s Hospital Review 2016 edition list of 110 Physician Leaders of Hospitals and Health Systems. The list includes recipients who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and clinical expertise throughout their careers, leading initiatives to improve their individual organizations and the health care of the communities they serve.


David Wojahn, a poetry professor in the creative writing program in the College of Humanities and Sciences, received the literary magazine Shenandoah’s James Boatwright III Prize for Poetry. Wojahn’s winning poem, “Briefe Historie of the Noose in the Colonie of Virginia,” will appear in his new collection of poetry, “For the Scribe,” to be published in winter 2017.


Jeff South, associate professor at the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture in the College of Humanities and Sciences, received the Society of Professional Journalists’ national Distinguished Teaching in Journalism Award. The award recognizes a journalism educator who's made contributions to the profession and/or journalism education.

WEB EXTRA Watch Bishop and her team talk about their gloves at

Fall 2016




Through a partnership with Carnegie Hall’s Lullaby Project, musicians, researchers and health care providers from across the university are working on an intervention for new or expectant mothers facing the hardships of parenting that might hinder mothers from bonding with their newborns. The Lullaby Project aims to increase the mother-child bond through language that is universal: music. VCU, through the School of the Arts’ music department and Arts Research Institute and VCU Health’s Institute New mom Taquita recording “Calm Down” for Women’s Health and Centering Pregnancy program, launched an 18-month study this fall, made possible through a $20,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant to Carnegie Hall. The study will evaluate the intervention’s impact on the mother’s perceptions of bonding with her unborn baby and feelings associated with being a parent, her own psychological health and symptom distress and perceived maternal stress. The intervention consists of three sessions where, with the help of professional musicians, the moms write lyrics and music, and the song is recorded in a studio.

VCU closed the 2016 fiscal year at a record institutional high of $271.1 million in sponsored research funding. It marks the eighth time in the past 10 years that VCU’s researchers have taken the university to record levels of external funding. “Our faculty scholars are continually formulating the crucial questions to advance knowledge in their disciplines,” says Francis Macrina, Ph.D., vice president for research and innovation at VCU. “Equally important, they are able to develop rigorous approaches to answer those questions and to successfully compete for grant support to do the work. Through sponsored research, they create new knowledge with the potential to benefit humankind and the world."

Photo Diego Valdez

Musical bond

WEB EXTRA Hear lullabies recorded by mothers in the program:

All-time high


Community service star

The Corporation for National and Community Service named VCU a finalist for the 2015 General Community Service Presidential Award, recognizing the university as one of the top higher education institutions in the country for its commitment to community engagement. VCU was named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the ninth consecutive time, but this marked the first time that VCU earned finalist recognition. The honor, which was announced in September, covers service during the 2013-14 academic year and represents one of the highest acknowledgements a college or university can receive for its community engagement endeavors. During the 2013-14 year, VCU students completed about 1.3 million service hours, which included community-based activities in 182 servicelearning courses.



Two digitized photographs and a digitized postcard from VCU Libraries’ Special Collections and Archives are featured in inaugural exhibits at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which opened Sept. 24 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. One of the images is a digitized photograph of the Robert R. Moton High School for African Americans in Prince Edward County, which was built in 1953 following a student-led strike in protest of segregated and inferior school facilities. The other two, a 1978 photograph and a postcard, feature Sixth Mount Zion Church, which was saved from demolition in the 1950s when construction of the Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike, which later became part of Interstate 95, cut a swath through Jackson Ward, effectively bifurcating a historically African-American neighborhood in Richmond. “While loaning or sharing our collections is a part of what we do, it is thrilling nonetheless to be able to contribute to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture,” says Wesley Chenault, Ph.D., head of Special Collections and Archives at James Branch Cabell Library. “A bit of our collective past in Richmond and Central Virginia is now represented there and connected to a larger narrative of struggles and triumphs related to civil and human rights at the National Mall.”

Sixth Mount Zion Church


VCU Alumni


Photo EzumeImages

Community-focused curriculum

HIV particle


New uses for an old drug

A research team spanning four continents has found that AR-12, a drug used in clinical trials to treat certain cancer tumors, also is effective in treating a host of viral infections, including multiple strains of drugresistant HIV, Ebola, influenza, mumps and measles. “Basically, we have fully worked out how the drug works and why it stops so many different kinds of virus,” says lead researcher Paul Dent, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the VCU School of Medicine and Universal Chair for Signal Transduction. Researchers noted that AR-12, when used in combination with certain drugs, inhibits chaperone proteins, which triggers autophagy, preventing the virus from taking over. In the lab, AR-12 doubled survival and suppressed liver damage caused by hemorrhagic fever virus, effectively protected cells from Ebola and suppressed drug-resistant strains of HIV significantly more effectively than any currently approved anti-viral treatment. One of the most compelling observations was that AR-12 suppressed the reproduction of multiple drug-resistant strains of HIV1 and HIV2. CLINICAL TRIALS


VCU’s StudyFinder, launched in July, provides an online platform for potential research participants to find and enroll in clinical trials. “Participating in research at VCU is a powerful way of contributing to the future of health care,” says Tim Aro, manager of clinical research informatics at the VCU C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research’s Enterprise Informatics. “With StudyFinder’s easy-to-use features, potential volunteers can search for clinical trials and communicate with study teams quickly and easily with just a few clicks of the mouse. Contributing to science has never been easier.” Volunteers interested in learning more about open clinical trials at VCU can search by age, health status, keywords or general categories. They will then be taken to a study-match page that clearly outlines the title of the study, name and contact information of the coordinator, and eligibility requirements. Learn more about StudyFinder at

With help from an $800,000 grant, the VCU School of Nursing is increasing students’ clinical experience in primary care and communitybased settings. Tamara Zurakowski, Ph.D., clinical associate professor in the VCU Department of Adult Health and Nursing Systems, received the grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration for her project “Primary Care Options to Maximize Opportunities to Transform Education in Nursing (PrOMOTE-Nursing).” The project addresses the lack of communitybased nurses who are prepared to meet the needs of the underserved. “Nearly one-third of nurses working in a community-based setting do not have a bachelor’s degree,” Zurakowski says. “There is a tremendous need for more highly qualified nurses in these locations.” PrOMOTE-Nursing expands on the school’s current service-learning model that requires students to complete clinical service during their senior community health clinical course. LEADERSHIP

« Peter F. Buckley, M.D., joins the VCU School of Medicine

Jan. 17 as dean. He also will serve as VCU Health System executive vice president for medical affairs. Buckley comes to VCU from Augusta University in Georgia where he is dean of the Medical College of Georgia and executive vice president for medical affairs and integration. A psychiatrist and expert in schizophrenia, Buckley also is a professor of psychiatry, pharmacology and radiology at MCG.

« Deborah Davis has been named CEO of VCU Health System Hospitals and Clinics and vice president for clinical affairs at VCU. She joined VCU Health nine years ago as chief operating officer where her accomplishments included oversight of the move into the Critical Care Hospital, the design and occupancy of the Children’s Pavilion and the implementation of the health systemwide STAR Service initiative.

« Heidi McCormick joined VCU as director of VCU Career

Services. McCormick comes to VCU with more than 20 years of higher education administration experience, primarily in career services and alumni relations. In her new role, McCormick plans to expand student access to experiential learning with a focus toward deepening VCU’s commitment to the vitality of the Richmond community and to organizations at the state and national levels.

« Garret Westlake joined VCU as executive director of the da

Vinci Center. He previously served as associate dean of student entrepreneurship in the Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Arizona State University, where he oversaw the university’s status as the country’s No. 1 most innovative university — beating Stanford and MIT, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Fall 2016




A record-breaking class



Researchers from the schools of Medicine and Engineering are testing a new diagnostic tool that could detect Parkinson’s disease 10 years before a person shows any visible symptoms. The noninvasive eye-tracking device uses infrared light to follow a patient’s eye movement as the patient attempts to fix his or her gaze on a screen-displayed object. While normal eye movements are highly regulated and follow well-defined patterns, neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease alter eye movements. “One aim of the grant is to validate that we can use eye tracking to diagnose Parkinson’s disease with high accuracy,” says principal investigator Mark Baron, M.D., professor of neurology in the VCU School of Medicine An eye-tracking device for diagnosing Parkinson’s and interim director of the VCU Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center. “Another aim is to validate that we can diagnose Parkinson’s disease well before a patient displays outward symptoms.” Baron and his research partner, Paul Wetzel, Ph.D., associate professor of biomedical engineering in the VCU School of Engineering, received a $1 million grant from the Michael J. Fox Foundation to test the tool.

In 1994, archaeologists found a small copper alloy cymbal, also known as a “jingle,” that was once part of a tambourine that arrived in the Jamestown colony before 1610, making it the oldest known English tambourine in the U.S. As part of an upcoming exhibit refresh at the Jamestown Settlement museum, Bernard Means, Ph.D., an anthropology professor in VCU’s School of World Studies in the College of Humanities and Sciences, is helping to re-create the tambourine. Means visited Jamestown Rediscovery’s lab to 3-D scan the jingle, allowing him to create a digital 3-D model that can be used to replicate the instrument. The tambourine will Creating a 3-D digital model of the jingle be featured as part of an exhibit of musical instruments played by Jamestown-era cultures. Means, who spent the summer 3-D scanning artifacts such as 2,000-year-old terra-cotta figurines in India and dog vertebrae dating to 400 A.D. in upstate New York, says the Jamestown tambourine is a particularly special project. “In archaeology, I’m used to picking up and touching things,” he says. “One of the really nice things about this artifact is that not only will we be able to touch it, but we’ll be able to use it to actually hear the past.”

Photo Pat Kane, University Public Affairs

Maya Chesley (left), Erin Coggins, Ellen Korcovelos, Charles Perris, Levester Williams, Lynn Secondo, Dylan Halpern and Vanessa Diaz

A record 11 VCU scholars received U.S. Fulbright Student Program awards for the 2016-17 academic year. This represents the largest group of recipients from VCU in a single year accepted to this nationally competitive program. Four recipients were awarded English Teaching Assistant grants: Maya Chesley (B.A.’15/H&S; B.S.’15/H&S), Erin Coggins (B.S.’14/ H&S), Vanessa Diaz (B.F.A.’15/A) and Charles Perris (B.A.’16/H&S). And seven students received research grants: Fajir Amin (B.I.S.’12/H&S; M.T.’12/E), Dylan Halpern (B.F.A.’15/A), Kaelne Koorn (B.A.’15/A; B.F.A.’15/A), Ellen Korcovelos (B.S.’16/LS), Shannon Laribo (B.S.’14/ H&S; B.A.’14/A), Ph.D. chemical engineering student Lynn Secondo and Levester Williams (M.F.A.’16/A). With this latest group of Fulbright scholarship recipients, 44 VCU students and recent alumni have been offered Fulbright awards since the VCU National Scholarship Office was created in 2005. The office provides support for VCU alumni, graduate students and undergraduates who wish to compete for prestigious national and international scholarships. Interested alumni can contact the office at (804) 828-6868 or

Early Parkinson’s detection


VCU Alumni

Museum-quality reproduction


Investing in the future Your gifts support our students and the alumni they will become By Michael Rao, Ph.D., President, VCU and VCU Health System At Virginia Commonwealth University, we welcome challenges and uncover solutions while transforming the lives of those we educate and heal. We are ambitious and intelligent and possess the grit to tackle the seemingly insurmountable. That’s what we do at VCU, and I am in awe of the good we accomplish. But more work lies ahead, which is why we launched the Make It Real Campaign for VCU. We set an ambitious goal for ourselves to raise $750 million, the largest amount in the history of the university, by June 2020. The campaign will greatly shape the future of the university. Gifts — no matter the amount — will have a positive impact on our students, faculty, staff, clinicians, researchers, patients and the community. You have the power to help others learn, grow and use the knowledge and skills obtained at VCU to make a difference in Richmond and beyond. I recently had the pleasure of hearing two students share how the generosity of others made their education at VCU a reality. Courtney Williams is a sophomore in the School of Business majoring in business administration with a concentration in management, while simultaneously pursuing a certificate in leadership studies through the LEAD program. In elementary school, Courtney set a goal for herself: Attend college. A high-achieving student, she easily rose to and conquered the challenges she encountered. One challenge, however, was particularly daunting. How would she pay for college? Listening to Courtney speak passionately about how a scholarship from the Nelco Family Foundation Fund helped her realize her dream of pursuing higher education, I was encouraged by her strength and passion for learning. With a strong belief in the importance of excellent leadership and teamwork, Courtney plans to enter the field of project management after she graduates. I am confident she will succeed beyond expectations. The second student, Bentley Massey, an undergraduate double-major in chemistry and math, dreamed of becoming a physician. Wait-listed by the VCU School of Medicine, he had

resigned himself to taking a different path. In the process of deciding what his next step would be, Bentley received a phone call: He had been accepted and selected to receive the Dr. Miles Hench Scholarship. He was going to medical school after all. Endowed by Larry Schlesinger, M.D. (M.D.’71/M), the scholarship is awarded to the last student admitted to that year’s medical school class. Schlesinger was the last student admitted to

Courtney Williams (left), President Rao and Bentley Massey

his class and graduated at the top. Bentley is determined to follow Schlesinger’s lead. Now in his third year, Bentley has had the opportunity to shadow alumnus Robert N. Satterfield, M.D. (M.D.’95/M; H.S.’00/M), an orthopaedic surgeon in his hometown of Wilson, North Carolina. It’s through the generosity of others that Bentley and Courtney can pursue their dreams. We believe in teamwork at VCU, and I believe we are all instrumental in the success of the university, our faculty and the students we teach and prepare for today and the future. We all can make it real. Thank you for your continued support of your alma mater.

Fall 2016


PHOTO ILLUSTR ATION Photo Kuzma/iStock/Thinkstock


VCU Alumni


HOME AGAIN VCU students and alumni work to end chronic homelessness at the national, local and campus levels by shifting the solution to a housing-first model


While attending a Virginia Commonwealth University lecture on community service, Kevin Amir Ghaffari (B.S.’15/H&S), in a pique of excitement, pulled a notebook from his bag and scribbled a plan he hoped would transform Richmond, Virginia, and the nation. His notes ran several pages that spring day in 2015, a blueprint — complete with diagrams and the names of possible VCU collaborators — to solve homelessness. He was already helping feed the homeless in the city’s Monroe Park, but Ghaffari, a student at the time, was impatient to do more. “I got lost in my own thoughts, and I was frustrated,” he recalls. “I was thinking, ‘What are a bunch of college students making an extra sandwich really going to do to meet the challenge?’ I wanted to make a meaningful difference.” His notes gave birth to I RISE, a student-run nonprofit group that seeks to solve homelessness by providing permanent housing to those who normally would blend into the streetscape or seek refuge in shelters. As cities around the U.S. grapple to find ways to address homelessness, VCU students and alumni — at the national, local and campus levels — are playing a significant role in working to end the epidemic. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reports an 11 percent decline in the numbers of homeless since 2007, but the statistics show that there’s still much work to be done. Every year, 500,000 Americans — 3,000 to 5,000 of them in Richmond — experience homelessness of some duration.

Fall 2016


PHOTO ILLUSTR ATION Photo ErikaMitchell/iStock/Thinkstock

A NEW PHILOSOPHY I RISE, for its part, aligns with new national thinking, which suggests that permanent housing, as opposed to long-term transitional housing or shelter stays, offers the best chance to address personal issues, including mental health and substance abuse problems, and to combat homelessness. Housing the “unhousable” has become the new mantra among policymakers and public health officials, who previously required addicts and the mentally ill to demonstrate they were successfully addressing their challenges before receiving housing. “The research shows that you can take someone who has a serious and persistent mental illness and they can succeed,” says Lori Thomas, Ph.D. (M.S.W.’06/SW; Ph.D.’08/SW), an associate professor of social work at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a chief promulgator of housing-first policies. “Housing becomes this kind of foundation for their ability to recover from the mental illness and substance abuse. It’s not easy, but they can actually stay housed and, quite frankly, begin the process of recovery much more effectively. “People started to think, ‘If you can do it with those folks, why aren’t we doing it with everybody?’” she adds. “It really changed the paradigm. Fixing people and then getting them into housing resulted in a 50 percent


VCU Alumni

or less chance that they would stay housed. This new housing-first process has resulted in an 85 to 95 percent chance of people staying housed.” Since 2010, Virginia has seen a 31 percent drop in overall homelessness. During that same time period, the commonwealth has seen a 37.6 percent decrease in family homelessness. Housing-first policies are credited with much of the decrease. HUD, which provides housing vouchers to the needy, is shifting its philosophy to reflect the evolving zeitgeist, reallocating much of its grant funding to the housing-first model. Once situated, residents are usually provided “wraparound support,” which includes access to social workers, therapists, nurses and psychiatrists. One of Thomas’ recent studies helped to upend traditional assumptions about homelessness. She studied Moore Place, an 85-unit housing-first apartment complex in Charlotte, which in one year helped cut emergency room visits and hospital admission billing by $2.4 million in the city. Arrests and jail stays dropped precipitously among Moore Place residents, with 78 percent and 84 percent declines, respectively, she says. Policymakers, meanwhile, have taken note of Thomas’ housing-first research. In Mecklenberg County, North Carolina, government officials and the Charlotte Housing Authority offer incentives for developers to

Every year, 500,000 Americans — 3,000 to 5,000 of them in Richmond — experience homelessness of some duration. – U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

build more supportive housing projects for the chronically homeless — one federal definition being a person who has been continually homeless for more than a year. Charlotte and Richmond are among 75 cities around the country aligned with Zero: 2016, an effort to end chronic homelessness by the end of the year. (In 2015, Virginia became the first state to “functionally” eliminate homelessness among veterans, meaning the state has programs in place to ensure that homelessness is prevented, or that it is a “rare, brief and nonrecurring experience,” for that population. The housing-first model is credited for this success.) The Moore Place complex and the land on which it’s built cost $6 million, funded by government grants and private donations. Each resident costs $14,000 per year to house (compared with a taxpayer tab that can reach $40,000 per each person living on the streets). Moore Place residents are required to allocate 30 percent of their income, usually in the form of disability or veterans benefits, for rent. “Managing homelessness wasn’t working,” Thomas notes. “We weren’t ending it. We were putting people in shelters, but they weren’t exiting successfully.” Thomas’ place in the discussion dates back to VCU. In the second year of her M.S.W. program, she took a field assignment with Virginia

Supportive Housing, which offers affordable housing and provides personalized case-management services to clients. In 2005, the director charged Thomas with spearheading housing-first efforts in Richmond, which was the state’s inaugural program. Nationally, Virginia was one of the early adopters of housing first. “I remember getting off the phone and thinking, ‘Oh, my goodness, I didn’t see that coming,’” says Thomas, who proceeded to work for three years as Virginia Supportive Housing’s Greater Richmond housing-first program coordinator. She was driven to homeless research in part because of her faith — she earned a Master of Divinity from the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond — but also because of her time at VCU. She calls field experiences “transformational” and “catalytic.” CHANGE ON THE RISE Back at VCU, a core of 20 I RISE volunteers has moved four people into apartments since fall 2015, each home newly furnished and stocked with food. The cost: less than $4,000 per person. To date, I RISE has raised $25,000 through donations from students, faculty members and the larger Richmond community as well as additional funding from organizations such as the Walmart Community Grant Program. Growing up in Hampton, Virginia, Ghaffari learned the value of empathy early on from his mother, sometimes forsaking his birthday and the Super Bowl to join her on “homeless feeds” in the community. As a college student, he fed the homeless in Richmond’s Monroe Park. But Ghaffari, who last spring received a bachelor’s degree in science, says his efforts felt lacking, the impact muted by a concern that more could be done. “There are services to keep homeless individuals alive, but are they really living?” Ghaffari asks. “What kind of quality of life do they have? What services are being made available so they can maybe take a step up and rise to a new level in their life? I wanted a homeless fix.” At a recent I RISE general body meeting, more than 200 VCU students turned out to the University Student Commons Theater to listen to Ghaffari and I RISE members describe their efforts. They played video documentaries (filmed by VCU film and photography students) that highlighted program beneficiaries. Ghaffari called the Watch as Sarah’s life turnout “phenomenal.” transforms thanks to “I think everybody left that I RISE student volunteers meeting with a more tender heart,” at he says. In one video, I RISE’s first client, a middle-aged woman named Sarah, is overcome with emotion as she steps into her new digs. Sarah met the students when they were helping out in Monroe Park. “My, my, my,” she says, breaking down as she hugs Ghaffari and four I RISE colleagues. “Thank you all so much.”

Online extra

Fall 2016


A former home health care provider, Sarah wrestled with addiction and became homeless when the person for whom she was caring died. While the students bought and built furniture and prepped the apartment, they left Sarah at an area salon to get her hair styled. I RISE members check in on her monthly. “Sarah is doing fantastic,” Ghaffari says, adding that she’s returned to working in home health care. “She is completely back on her own two feet and has money in savings in case something happens.” Volunteer Ashkhan Hojati (B.S.’16/En) says he was driven to join I RISE after considering his own childhood. The sports-minded youth endured several broken bones and surgeries. “I was so lucky that I had an amazing family who would always support me through those times,” he says. “I think that has something to do with my compassion.” Helping to feed the homeless in Monroe Park, Hojati listened to their stories and learned that several of them were driven to the streets by unforeseen circumstances. “Many of these individuals really affected me and touched my heart,” he says. “Every time I went to volunteer, I wished to aid them in their struggles, but as a single college student I just didn’t have the means. That was the main motivating factor on why I got involved with I RISE.” These days, I RISE is developing a transitional work program that, as envisioned, would help members of the Richmond-area homeless population join the workforce, in collaboration with local businesses. This past summer, Ghaffari completed a 12-week entrepreneurship course with the VCU Pre-Accelerator program (sponsored by the College of Humanities and Sciences), during which I RISE was awarded $5,000 to pursue the work program. Bigger plans are afoot. Ghaffari ultimately plans to export I RISE to Washington, D.C., and its suburbs. BY THE NUMBERS



people were homeless on a given night in the U.S. in Janurary 2015. Of that number, 206,286 were people in families, and 358,422 were individuals.

50 15 %

of the homeless population is older than 50.


of the homeless population, or 83,170, is considered “chronically homeless.”

Source: National Alliance to End Homelessness


VCU Alumni



of homeless people, or 47,725, are veterans.

AN EVOLVING BATTLE While a number of federal and privately funded programs exist around the country, those efforts are sometimes restricted to targeted populations: the mentally ill, those battling substance abuse and veterans, for example. Ghaffari hopes I RISE will help fill the void. “If something tragic happens in someone’s life and they find themselves on the streets for a couple of weeks or two or three months, there’s really not services for those individuals,” he says. “It’s disheartening.” Other alumni are fighting homelessness under different circumstances, and on a larger stage. In 1999, Sharon McDonald, Ph.D. (B.S.W.’86/SW; M.S.W.’88/ SW; Ph.D.’04/SW), was a social work congressional fellow in the office of the late Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., when she attended a hearing on funding to address homelessness. At the time, 700,000 to 2 million people were homeless, according to a report from the U.S. Conference on Mayors. She called it a “turning point,” a time to bring together public service providers to battle the scourge, or risk letting the problem become worse. It’s the shared model that exists today. “It really resonated with me, the idea of trying to build accountability from other systems,” says McDonald, who today is director of the families and youth program for the Washington, D.C.-based National Alliance to End Homelessness. McDonald enrolled at VCU to work on poverty, not homelessness, but she quickly came to see the social justice and cross-sector implications of trying to keep people housed. “On family homelessness, we have an inherent problem,” she says. “We’re not solving the income side of things, and we’re not solving the affordable housing side.” McDonald works to secure “re-housing” assistance for America’s more than 64,000 homeless families. (All told, that’s more than 200,000 people, 130,000 of whom are younger than 18.) She has worked with the alliance for more than 15 years. Before that, McDonald spent six years as a social worker at Richmond’s Daily Planet. McDonald says her job is to promote better practices in homeless prevention and intervention. She advocates the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. The program, administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Family Assistance, allots block grants to states to operate programs that, in part, provide assistance to needy families. Families, unlike some other homeless populations, not unusually have short episodes of homelessness, McDonald says. They often benefit from “rapid re-housing” models, tailored assistance packages first widely prescribed by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. She’s optimistic about the future. “There’s increasing consensus around the things to do to end homelessness,” she says. “There continue to be huge challenges that haven’t been tackled. A huge segment of our population is extremely poor, and we’re not making the investments in low-income housing for people. You have communities where it’s become more and more competitive for poor people to navigate finding a place to live.” But, McDonald notes, “we’re seeing remarkable signs of progress in realigning the response [to homelessness]." That’s a shift that she, and others working locally and nationally to help communities solve the complex problem, are at home with. – Andrew Faught is a contributing writer for the VCU Alumni magazine.

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Game-changer VCU launches historic $750M fundraising campaign In September, Virginia Commonwealth University publicly launched the largest fundraising campaign in its history. The Make It Real Campaign for VCU, which runs until June 30, 2020, reaches all areas of the university, raising funds that support students, alumni, faculty and staff, patients, caregivers, researchers, schools, libraries, centers and institutes, athletics and the community. A universitywide campaign goal of $750 million was announced by President Michael Rao, Ph.D., at an exciting event Sept. 22 at James Branch Cabell Library, generously sponsored by the MCV Foundation and the VCU Foundation. (For photos, see Page 26.) This public phase of the campaign follows what was, in effect, a “soft opening” that began July 1, 2012. (To find out how much has been raised so far, as well as some other important facts and figures, see Page 25.)

Why a campaign, and why now? Private philanthropy is critical to the university's mission and vision. Gifts from alumni and friends enable VCU's students, faculty, caregivers and researchers achieve their goals and impact society. To that end, a comprehensive campaign is a strategic initiative designed to strengthen the university by engaging all areas of campus and reaching out to our alumni and friends to make a real difference on the future of VCU.

What will the campaign support? Gifts to the campaign support critical initiatives that promise to become points of distinction for VCU long into the future. In particular, the campaign will fuel growth in three primary areas: people, innovations and environments.

How can you help? We invite you to turn the page to read about how funds raised by this campaign have already made an impact, and to visit to learn more. – Reporting by Janet Showalter (B.S.'87/MC) and Drew Vass (B.S.'02/H&S)


VCU Alumni

President Michael Rao, Ph.D., announces the campaign goal at a celebration with the university's closest friends and donors. Photo Allen Jones (B.F.A.‘82/A; M.F.A.‘92/A), University Marketing

Fall 2016


Campaign P R I O R I T Y : People Attract, support and retain the finest students and faculty through scholarships, professorships and endowed chairs. Provide students with purposeful, hands-on learning and living experiences and faculty with support for start-up research ideas.

‘I am grateful. Scholarships can have such an impact’ Kafui Ayassou understands the challenges facing communities. “Not everyone has access to the same things, like education and health care,” the VCU graduate student says. “When society has too many inequalities, people can feel defeated. I want to help bring more equality to Richmond’s diverse neighborhoods.” To do that, Ayassou knew she needed to further her education. When she came to the U.S. from France eight years ago, she had a bachelor’s degree in social sciences from the University of Paris but soon enrolled at VCU. She is on track to earn a Master of Public Administration from the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs in 2017. “It hasn’t been easy,” she says. “School is so expensive.” Earlier this year, Ayassou received the Jeffrey S. Cribbs Sr. Endowed Scholarship in Philanthropy, bringing this single mother of two young children some much needed relief. “I am so grateful,” she says. The scholarship, first awarded in 2009, gives up to $1,250 annually to a qualifying graduate student pursuing a career in philanthropy and who is committed to serving the nonprofit community in the Richmond area. Ayassou, who works as a bank teller to help pay her way through school, will use the scholarship to help with tuition and books. After graduation, she hopes to work with local agencies and community groups to realize her dream of building stronger communities.

Kafui Ayassou

“So many young people are discouraged about college because it is beyond their financial reach,” Ayassou says. “Scholarships can have such an impact.” The Cribbs scholarship was created to recognize Jeffrey S. Cribbs Sr.’s 10th anniversary with the Richmond Memorial Health Foundation. “The board wanted to do something to honor my service,” says Cribbs, a former administrative vice president at VCU. “I’ve always wanted to start a scholarship for those dedicated to helping others.” The board’s initial gift was $25,000. Upon Cribb’s retirement earlier this year, more funds were added, bringing the endowment to $75,000. “I always enjoy meeting the recipients and learning more about them,” says Cribbs, who continues to serve as the foundation board’s president emeritus. “I hope this scholarship helps them pursue their dreams.”

‘Here, we know we are not alone’ Jorga Janek was 2 years old when she began to lose her hearing. Now 8, she is completely deaf. “When other children hear her talk, they run away,” says Jorga’s mother, Rie. “She can only stand there, hurt and confused. She doesn’t understand why they don’t want to play with her.” Jorga’s life changed in 2014 when Camp TALK (Talking and Listening Kids) was created. A partnership between VCU Medical Center’s Department of Audiology and the VCU School of Education, Camp TALK is a one-week summer camp for pediatric audiology patients and their families. It is focused Jorga Janek (left) and Hayden Miller


VCU Alumni

on developing and building speech by providing language-based enrichment activities. “Jorga blossoms when she is here,” Rie Janek says. “She sees children who are just like her. She really comes out of her shell.” Her transformation would not be possible without the MCV Hospital Auxiliary, a group of community volunteers that provides support to VCU patients, visitors and staff through service and fundraising. This year, the group raised about $303,000 through hospital gift shop sales and special events to fund 53 employee-led projects, including $6,700 for Camp TALK.

‘I am giving them a voice’

Photo Tom Kojcsich, University Marketing

As a child, Allison Gilbreath (B.S.’11/GPA; M.S.W.’16/SW) witnessed members of her family struggle with drug abuse and found herself woven into the child welfare system. “I saw what it was like to be a number in a file,” she says. “I felt I had no voice. Even as a child, I knew I wanted to make a difference.” She earned her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from VCU in 2011 and began working for Prevent Child Abuse Virginia. Wanting to influence policy changes at a statewide level, she returned to VCU for her Master of Social Work. She felt the financial strain almost immediately. But thanks in part to the Social Work Administration, Planning and Policy Practice (SWAPPP) Scholarship, Gilbreath graduated in May 2016. Two months later, she became a policy analyst in foster care and juvenile justice at Voices for Virginia’s Children. “This scholarship has helped me pursue my passion of helping children by helping to shape policy,” she says. “I am giving them a voice.” Professor emeritus Bob Schneider, Ph.D., and Bob Peay (M.S.W.’74/SW), both former faculty members in the School of Social Work, established the scholarship in 2004 to support macro social work students, those who work in diverse agencies that address larger-scale social problems, policies and advocacy. Peay and Schneider are seeking additional donations with hopes of increasing the endowment to the $100,000 level by 2017. “While about 85 percent of M.S.W. students want to be clinical social workers, 15 percent want to work in the area of policy and advocacy,” Schneider says. “Given these numbers, we wanted to establish a macro fund that would always be there to encourage these students.” In addition to receiving the $750 scholarship, Gilbreath won the David N. Saunders Legislative Award. “This experience has made me want to contribute to the school that gave me so much,” says Gilbreath, who donated her textbooks to a rising second-year student and has pledged a monthly contribution to the school. “I want to make them proud.” Allison Gilbreath

“Camp TALK does so much good,” says JoAnn Burton, an MCV Hospital Auxiliary volunteer for more than 15 years. “I think it will be one of those projects that will be funded year after year.” The camp was developed by Alison King, auditory therapist for the audiology department at VCU Medical Center, and Christine Eubanks, Ph.D., department director. “The camp helps children develop social, emotional and communication skills,” King says. “That is absolutely essential for their development. Without the grant from the hospital auxiliary, the camp would not be possible.” Ten children attended the first camp, with 29 participating this year. Most wear high-power

hearing aids or have cochlear implants. They not “When you have a child with hearing loss, only learn listening and communication skills but sometimes you can feel isolated,” Rie Janek says. also have the opportunity to meet local police “But here, we know we are not alone. There’s a officers and their canine partners, enjoy musical tremendous amount of comfort in that.” performances and learn dribbling techniques from Rams basketball The camp helps children develop social, players. The camp, staffed by emotional and communication skills. That audiologists, students from the is absolutely essential for their development. School of Education and community Without the grant from the hospital volunteers, also provides resources for parents in the areas of auxiliary, the camp would not be possible. childhood hearing loss, auditory– Alison King, auditory therapist, verbal techniques and language development. Department of Audiology, VCU Medical Center

Fall 2016


Campaign P R I O R I T Y : Innovations Create new interdisciplinary partnerships and centers of excellence to offer students and faculty the right environments for meaningful research and learning experiences that will expand the university’s ability to solve complex local and global challenges through inquiry and discovery.

‘More of a team effort’ VCU’s Web-based course Interprofessional Virtual Geriatrics Case is changing how the next generation of health care professionals is trained by breaking down traditional silos and forcing students to collaborate across disciplines. The innovative and interactive course format was first offered in 2010. By the end of the 2015-16 academic year, more than 1,500 senior students from VCU’s schools of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy and Social Work had trained in this semester-long program. Working in interdisciplinary teams of about six, the students are assigned a fictional, complex geriatric case scenario, with each student receiving only the information typically available to that student’s discipline. They must use an electronic record simulator to share information and determine the best course of care on a discussion board, which helps the team answer 65 challenging multiple-answer questions that reflect real-world situations. The course was created with support from a $1 million grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. VCU was one of just 10 institutions in the country selected to receive the four-year funding. “In health care, it’s sometimes hard to voice your opinion because of hierarchy and tradition,” says Alan Dow, M.D. (H.S.’04/M; M.S.H.A.’05/AHP), VCU assistant vice president of health sciences for interprofessional education and the Ruth and Seymour Perlin Professor of Medicine and Health Administration. “Through these programs, we’re increasing what we refer to as ‘psychological safety,’ by making students feel more comfortable in voicing their ideas and opinions.” Dow co-created the course with Peter A. Boling, M.D. (H.S.’84/M), professor of internal medicine and chair of the VCU Division of Geriatric Medicine. While traditional, team-based projects often lead to one or two students dominating discussions or driving progress, VCU’s course, by design, doesn’t afford any one team member enough information to form a correct analysis, Dow says. Instead, students must listen to and use the input of other disciplines to arrive at a case decision. “This type of learning is so different from traditional lecture- or group-based models,” says David Goldberg, M.D. (M.D.’16/M), a previous online course participant. “More than anything, I think it showed us that medicine is becoming more of a team effort.”


VCU Alumni

Alan Dow, M.D. (clockwise from front), Pamela Parsons, Ph.D., RN, Clinical Associate Professor, School of Nursing; Aaron Ramirez, a second-year student in the School of Medicine; Kelechi C. Ogbonna, Pharm.D., associate professor, School of Pharmacy; and Michelle McGregor (M.Ed.’11/E), dental hygiene program director, School of Dentistry Photo illustration University Marketing

‘You go forward with newfound confidence’ Photo courtesy VCU School of Engineering

As the climax of their undergraduate studies and a prerequisite to their degrees, seniors in the School of Engineering’s Capstone Design program are challenged to work in teams to identify and tackle realworld problems. At the end of the two-semester course, the student teams present their work at the Capstone Design Expo where they compete for awards and prizes. Teams receive base funding, up to $750 per team, from their Christopher Deloglos (left), Patricia Moseh, professor Afroditi V. Filippas, Ph.D., professor and Chair department but can seek supplementary funding for their projects of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Erdem Topsakal, Ph.D., and Umar Hasni from industry sponsors or apply for a Mark A. Sternheimer Senior Capstone Design Award. Local businessman and School of Engineering benefactor Mark A. Sternheimer Sr. “As a student, you’re incredibly excited to be working on something cool and established an endowment in 2012 to promote creativity and to fund innovative and something that people really need,” says Umar Hasni (B.S.’16/En), one of the team entrepreneurial capstone projects. Students undergo a rigorous application process members on the project “3D Printed Microwave Hyperthermia Applicator for that teaches project planning and a judging process that could rival “Shark Tank” in Chemo/Thermo-Therapy of the Breast.” “This project really forced us to learn how applicant's intensity and desire. In addition to potential funding, teams are provided to collaborate and organize ourselves around a common goal.” an opportunity to showcase their team and projects to professionals from industry For decades, microwave-driven hyperthermia has proved effective at bolstering and finance. chemotherapy and radiation treatments, but the technology has been difficult to “Once you’ve actually made something, you go forward with newfound confideploy because of its size and expense. Hasni, now a graduate student in the engidence,” Sternheimer says. “That confidence then leads to an added desire to do neering school, and his teammates, Christopher Deloglos (B.S.’16/H&S; B.S.’16/En) something even larger. It’s about having the confidence to know that you can solve and Patricia Moseh (B.S.’16/En), used 3-D printing technologies and new materials problems.” to develop a system for making cost-effective, 3-D-printed microwave hyperthermia In 2016, a Sternheimer Award led three students to a breakthrough for treating applicators that, for the first time, are personalized and organ-specific. The project cancer patients. won top prize in the multidisciplinary category of the 2016 Senior Design Expo.

‘We’ve performed mock trials ... but this is the real deal’ With the vast majority of new drugs designed for ambulatory and in-home intravenous applications, Exum says center-based research also is expected to influence federal guidelines and legislation designed to regulate practices and facilities for aseptic processing. Meanwhile, the center represents a new wave of education at VCU that’s focused on interactive simulations. In an Pharmacy students in the Center for Compounding Practice and Research instructional lab and cleanroom, up to 45 students can collaborate over simulated electronic medical records to create case-specific sterile compounds. Video capture allows instructors to provide play-by-play critiques. “In the classroom, we’re lectured on how sterile compounding works and how it should be carried out,” says Nooria Razai, a third-year Pharm. D. student. “We’ve performed mock trials, pretending to be in sterile environments, but doing it in a real facility is an entirely different experience. This is the real deal.”

Fall 2016

Photo Tom Kojcsich, University Marketing

Some of medicine’s greatest advancements involve genomics and the ability of physicians to tailor pharmaceuticals to patients’ exact needs. And while compounding has long enabled pharmacists to dial up unique formulas, a trend toward home-based health care has the need for sterile processing set to grow by leaps and bounds. A new Center for Compounding Practice and Research in the VCU School of Pharmacy is answering that call, thanks in part to the generous support of key alumni, who matched Virginia General Assembly funding dollar-for-dollar to make the facility a reality, including a $50,000 donation from Carthan F. “Sonny” Currin Jr. (B.S.’59/P) and a $10,000 contribution from Aubrey Sam Clay (B.S.’77/P). As a result, the new $1 million lab is one of few nationwide providing students with hands-on education in sterile compounding. In the near future, the school will also open the lab to its alumni, area pharmacists and pharmacy technicians for training. In March, a series of continuing education courses in sterile and nonsterile compounding will be launched. “We have a unique opportunity to have this sterile facility at VCU,” center Director Barbara Exum, Pharm.D. (B.S.’82/P; Pharm.D.’86/P), said in an interview with VCU News. “Not only will we produce competent compounding pharmacists, but we will also have a direct, positive impact on patient safety and provide a higher quality of life for the patients we serve.”


Campaign P R I O R I T Y : Environments Provide world-class facilities, equipment and materials to expand the university’s research capacity. Increase the impact and sustainability of VCU’s community partnerships and its resources in education, health and workforce development.

Todd Janeski Photo courtesy VCU Rice Rivers Center

‘Sustainability ... has always been what we are all about’ Make no mistake: With 650,000 bushels harvested per year, Virginians love oysters. But that number is small compared with the 17 million bushels of the wild Eastern oyster, also called the Virginia oyster, collected annually during the 19th century. Today’s oyster population is estimated to be at only 1 or 2 percent of that peak population. The problem goes well beyond our plates, especially considering that every oyster filters 50 to 60 gallons of water per day, serving as a vital part of the Chesapeake Bay’s ecosystem. In addition, oyster reefs provide safety and feeding habitats for fish and crabs while also protecting shores from erosive waves. The Virginia Oyster Shell Recycling Program, a 3-year-old public-private nonprofit collaborative based out of VCU’s Rice Rivers Center, is helping lovers of the halfshell to eat to their heart’s content, thanks to a vast network of volunteers who take shells destined for the trash and return them to the bay. Through a pipeline of nearly 60 partnering restaurants and 30 public drop-off stations throughout Virginia, volunteers collect leftover oyster shells and then seed them with spat (baby oysters). By increasing their efforts one 5-gallon bucket of leftover shells at a time, VOSRP’s volunteers now have stretched the program’s output by a million new oysters year over year, to an expected 12.2 million oysters in 2016.


VCU Alumni

“We consider it a privilege to be a local, family-run business that supports the many products coming out of the waters that are in close proximity to the area where we all live and work,” says David Nichols, sales manager for Sam Rust Seafood, a wholesale seafood distributor in Hampton, Virginia, and one of VOSRP’s supporters. “Sustainability may be a new buzzword to many of us. However, it has always been what we are all about.” Todd Janeski, VOSRP’s director, says volunteers and private donations to the program ensure the stockpiles of shells continue to grow. That, and people eating oysters. “When you go to one of our partnering restaurants and order a dozen oysters, you’re now a passive participant in our operation,” he says. “You’ve just eaten enough oysters to filter enough water to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool.” The bulk of those oysters, he says, come from aquatic farming facilities (and not from natural oyster beds). Meanwhile, his program places its new oysters into protected areas, where they’re free from harvest and not only cleanse water but also produce offspring that help grow new oysters and benefit nearby areas where wild oysters are harvested.

Photo Lindy Rodman, University Marketing

Integrating services is ‘breaking down barriers’ According to the “Handbook of Psychological Assessment in Primary Care Settings,” Richmond’s Latino population nearly doubled between 2010 and 2016. At the same time, a shortage of Spanish-speaking and bilingual clinics left the majority of those people without access to mental health services. In June 2015, a reversal of the trend began with a $100,000 grant from the Richmond Memorial Health Foundation to support the VCU Department of Psychology in the College of Humanities and Sciences. The grant enabled teams from the department to provide free bilingual mental health services through primary care clinics. Operating out of VCU’s Hayes E. Willis Health Center in Richmond’s Southside, the program also fulfills one of RMHF’s primary intentions by drawing top-flight bilingual psychologists to the area, via VCU’s Primary Care Psychology Training Network. The Virginia Healthcare Foundation also provided a parallel grant for $134,000 to expand and enhance the behavioral health services at the Willis center. “When we recruited our first bilingual graduate students [to the doctoral program], we landed two — one from New York and one from Los Angeles — who said that they came here specifically to be part of this clinic and to serve low-income Latino communities,” says psychology professor Bruce Rybarczyk, Ph.D. (M.S.’86/H&S; Ph.D.’88/H&S), who heads the project. “Our argument from the beginning was, if we can do something special here, by helping the mental health of the local Latino community, we felt we could leverage that into sustainable services. And we did.” Rybarczyk says the success fueled by the initial two grants from local foundations led to obtaining $1 million in additional competitive funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, allowing the program to embed doctoral students in six clinics, including three that serve Latino patients. “This arrangement has made me more aware of how physical health ailments influence mental health and vice versa,” says Nour Al Ghriwati (M.S.’16/H&S), a third-year doctoral student in clinical and developmental psychology, who is one of the network’s trainees. “Integrating psychology-based services into a primary care setting is breaking down barriers and enabling us to reach patients who might otherwise never be reached.” The network expects to provide a total of 5,000 free behavioral health treatment sessions in 2017.

Liz Sadock (right), a clinical psychology doctoral student, and nurse practitioner Mary Simmons

‘You’re free to make mistakes and learn from them’ When VCU’s new School of Nursing building opened in 2006, the 45,000-square-foot facility did more than provide a shiny home to one of the university’s oldest programs. From the simulators in its Clinical Learning Center to multimedia experiences in its auditoriums, the building’s technologies upended the way students absorb the nursing curriculum by immersing them in real-life clinical experiences. “At this point, I can’t imagine going through my training without this approach to learning,” says Chris Abplanalp, a student in VCU’s 18-month accelerated B.S. in nursing program. Take, for instance, the school’s patient simulators, which emulate the vital signs of a real patient. “This technology provides an opportunity for education within a space in which you’re free to make mistakes and learn from them,” Abplanalp says. “We have the opportunity to go back and review simulations with instructors to determine what we did right and wrong, and what we could or should do differently.” Those lessons, he says, stay with you, because they’re tied to actual clinical experiences. When Corinne Dorsey (Dipl.’54/N; B.S.’65/N) saw the new building going up and imagined the transformative effects it would have on nursing education, she came forward to chair a committee overseeing the Cabaniss Leadership Challenge, a project established to raise $4 million to name the building after Sadie Heath Cabaniss, the school’s founder. The campaign’s contributions would go toward endowed scholarships and professorships as well as supporting the school’s mission of research, education and service. Dorsey began with a $10,000 personal donation. “This building brought our school to the forefront of nursing education and research by enabling us to address 21st-century methods in teaching, research and learning demands,” says Jean Giddens, Ph.D., dean, professor and Doris B. Yingling Endowed Chair for the VCU School of Nursing. “The Clinical Learning Center, for instance, allows students to experience hands-on patient situations in a realistic, simulated space, thus enhancing their education in a safe manner. That’s something we were unable to do 10 years ago.” After receiving countless donations from fellow nursing alumni, the Cabaniss Leadership Challenge reached its $4 million goal in October 2013, providing the school with 21 new endowments for student scholarships and professorships, a new Clinical Scholars Program and a new name: Sadie Heath Cabaniss Hall. Most importantly, those developments equate to new, immersive curriculums that enable nursing graduates to begin their careers with real-world experiences in tow.

Fall 2016


By the numbers The Make It Real Campaign for VCU is already more than halfway toward its goal of $750 million. Here’s a snapshot of what we have achieved together since its quiet launch July 1, 2012.

$450.2M Total raised during campaign



Number of campaign donors

Number of alumni donors to the campaign



New endowed scholarships

New endowed chairs and professorships

Figures as of Nov. 30, 2016

Make it matter The $750 million goal announced at September’s public launch makes the Make It Real Campaign for VCU the university’s most ambitious fundraising campaign to date. Your support is critical as we move forward to make it real for student and faculty innovators, for the community we serve and for the health care leaders of tomorrow. You can support the Make it Real Campaign for VCU in whichever way is best for you. • Named gift opportunities: Make an endowed gift, and you will create a lasting legacy that pays dividends to VCU in perpetuity. • Annual gifts: Make a one-time gift (that we hope you’ll give each year!) to support an area of your choice. • Matching gifts: Many companies match gifts made by you or your spouse, doubling — or sometimes tripling — your investment. • Planned gifts: You can name VCU in your will or estate plan.

• Stock gifts: Giving securities is an easy and tax-wise way to show your support for VCU. • Tribute and memorial gifts: Whether you want to make a donation in honor of someone for their birthday or to donate in memory of a loved one or friend, your gift will go to work right away. • Payroll deduction: VCU and VCU Health employees can give directly from their paychecks.

For more information about how to give, call (804) 828-0880, email or visit Fall 2016



Campaign launch in pictures More than 300 of Virginia Commonwealth University’s closest friends and donors gathered Sept. 22 for the public launch of the Make It Real Campaign for VCU. University pep band the Peppas offered a spirited welcome to the newly renovated James Branch Cabell Library, where an early evening reception was followed by a program featuring an exclusive first look at a special campaign video before the $750 million goal was revealed. The following day offered a series of tours, talks and demos across the university spotlighting the people, innovations and environments of VCU that are changing lives and challenging the norm. The three-day celebration culminated with the Broad Street Mile, which featured a new Spirit of Giving race.





VCU Alumni








Guests watch the campaign video. 2 The Peppas welcome guests to the James Branch Cabell Library for the campaign kickoff. 3 John Doswell, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’79/D) (left), Jon Hill (B.S.’85/B; M.B.A.’99/B; M.S.’12/B), Vickie Snead (B.S.’76/B) and Tom Snead (B.S.’76/B; H.L.D.’12) enjoy Cabell Library. 4 Aaron Gilchrist (B.S.’03/MC) moderates Friday night’s alumni panel discussion. 5 Donor and campaign volunteer Lisa Ellis, M.D. (M.D.’01/M), speaks at the campaign kickoff. 6 Reilly Brown (B.F.A.’03/A) (left) and Charles Vess (B.F.A.’74/A) (center) discuss their careers and the comic industry at a Friday talk. 7 Monica Rao (left), Steve and Kathie Markel, and President Michael Rao, Ph.D., celebrate the campaign’s launch. 8 Students demonstrate the motion-capture studio at Friday’s tour of The Depot. 9 Victor Yanchick, Ph.D. (left), Donna Yanchick, W. Baxter Perkinson Jr., D.D.S. (D.D.S.’70/D) and Elaine Perkinson enjoy the kickoff reception. 10 Children line up to run the Broad Street Mile with Rodney the Ram and area mascots. 11 VCU School of Education student and scholarship recipient Alfred Vann II speaks at the campaign kickoff. 1

Photos 1-3, 5,7, 9-11 Allen Jones (B.F.A.‘82/A; M.F.A.‘92/A), University Marketing

Fall 2016


In real life Accomplished alumni reflect on their careers and the role VCU played in their success By Tom Gresham

President Michael Rao, Ph.D. (far right) welcomes alumni Thomas Scalea, M.D. (far left), Tara Donovan, Aaron Gilchrist, Marilyn Tavenner and David Baldacci to campus.


homas Scalea, M.D. (M.D.’78/M), remembers the night he decided he would spend his career in the fast-paced, highstress world of trauma care. It was August 1977, and he was a fourth-year student in the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. He was training that month in critical care medicine under the tutelage of Alpha “Berry” Fowler III, M.D. (H.S.’76/M), the chief medical resident. “That month really shaped my life,” Scalea said. One night, Scalea and Fowler were called to the bed of a patient who was turning blue as those attending to him struggled to insert an IV. Fowler turned to Scalea and said, “You better put an IV in that guy or he is going to die.” Scalea gathered himself, took charge and inserted the IV, and the patient recovered. Soon after, Fowler, who holds the W.T. Thompson Jr. Professorship in Pulmonary Medicine at VCU, put his arm around Scalea and said, “How does it feel to save your first life?” “From that moment, I knew what I wanted to do,” Scalea said.


VCU Alumni

Since 1997, Scalea has served as physician-in-chief at the University of Maryland’s R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, the nation’s only freestanding trauma hospital. He told the story of that lifechanging moment at “In Real Life: A Conversation with Distinguished VCU Alumni,” a panel discussion held Sept. 23 in James Branch Cabell Library featuring four highly accomplished VCU graduates. Joining Scalea were David Baldacci (B.A.’83/H&S; H.L.D.’01), a best-selling novelist; Marilyn Tavenner (B.S.’83/N; M.H.A.’89/AHP), president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans; and Tara Donovan (M.F.A.’99/A), a widely exhibited artist and winner of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship. VCU alumnus Aaron Gilchrist (B.S.’03/H&S), co-anchor of News4Today in Washington, D.C., served as moderator. The panelists returned to campus to reflect on their careers and to share the ways that their time at VCU influenced their lives and contributed to their success. The event was a centerpiece of the launch of the $750 million Make It Real Campaign for VCU, the largest fundraising campaign in the university's history.

Finding success through hard work

Photo Julia Rendleman, University Marketing

Although their fields and paths varied widely, the panelists proved united on the key to their success: hard work. Tavenner reflected on her time at VCU as the university’s “longest-running part-time student” between 1981 and 1989, when she completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. A mother of two young children at the time, Tavenner also worked full time. She dedicated herself to working toward her degrees “one semester at a time.” Her disciplined approach led to a wide-ranging career in health care that has included stints as Virginia’s secretary of health and human resources and as administrator/ principal deputy administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Deep into his career, Scalea continues to work grueling long hours, including a six-days-a-week surgery schedule, and revels in it. Almost every day, he faces a series of life-and-death cases. Instead of finding the parade of intense encounters exhausting, he finds it invigorating. “I like being the one with the responsibility,” he said. “I like people looking at me. It’s a complicated way to live, but for whatever reason, it’s the way I like to live.” Donovan said she frequently battles lingering doubts that despite all of her success she is “a fraud” who is “going to get caught.” She has achieved global renown and created numerous beautiful and memorable artworks but finds that creating a new piece has never gotten any easier. “I have the exact same problems I had 25 years ago, but now more people are watching,” she said. In response, she said, she simply bears down and puts in the necessary effort to break through that uncertainty. “I’m not a believer in inspiration,” she said. “It’s all about hard work.” Baldacci remembered that most of his fellow students worked at least part-time jobs when he was a VCU student. In fact, he sometimes attended class close enough to his shift as a security guard that he would wear the uniform to class. That work ethic proved critical when he began to write novels while practicing law. Lawyers might not be popular, Baldacci said, but they do work long hours. Adding a fiction-writing career to his demanding full-time job meant late nights and little sleep, but he did it with the same determination he had employed at VCU. Today, he has written 37 novels.

‘We’re going to get even better’

Each of the panelists said their experience at VCU has resonated throughout their careers. Tavenner said VCU’s deep ties to the community and the importance the university placed on public health care helped spark her interest in policy. That burgeoning interest led others to suggest she shift her academic focus from nursing to hospital administration. “Without that kind of encouragement, I never would have done that,” she said. Donovan said when she was at VCU the facilities were modest, but the energy and expertise were special. “There was a very strong community of people supporting each other,” she said. When she moved to New York after graduation, she missed the tightknit environment that the VCU Department of Sculpture had provided. “I wanted to get back to the place that VCU created for me,” she said. Today, Donovan has successfully re-created that atmosphere in her studio, where she employs several VCU alumni to help her produce her large-scale installations and sculptures made from everyday objects. Solo

Marilyn Tavenner (clockwise from top left), David Baldacci, Tara Donovan and Thomas Scalea, M.D., discuss their experiences.

exhibits of her work have been staged in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the UCLA Hammer Museum and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, among other venues. VCU influenced Scalea’s approach to medicine before he even was accepted into the school. During his admissions interview, Miles Hench, Ph.D., then-dean of admissions, came from behind his desk and sat at a table with Scalea, asking him questions not only directly related to the study of medicine but also about Scalea’s passions. The personal touch and emphasis on compassion and caring would be a common theme during Scalea’s subsequent medical school education — a period he has referred to as the best four years of his life — and one that stuck with him. “The first thing I did when I went into practice was I bought a table and two chairs,” he said. “I never talk to anybody from behind my desk.” Baldacci said his time at VCU has had an enduring effect on him, too, including his work as a novelist even though his academic focus was political science. In response to an audience question, Baldacci acknowledged that characters inspired by people from VCU had made their way into his novels. “I’ve killed people from here,” he said with a smile. “The murders were all solved, though.” Baldacci said the faculty is the key to the VCU experience. Professors and other instructors are ultimately who inspire students, he said, helping them explore new possibilities about themselves. “I think this university excels at that, and I think we’re going to get even better,” he said. – Tom Gresham (M.F.A.’15/H&S) is assistant director, news, VCU University Public Affairs. This article was originally published at

Fall 2016


lik e



fter interning with finance groups where his job was to help rich people make more money, Greg Dadlez (M.H.A.’12/ AHP) decided he wanted a more fulfilling career path. He didn’t have to look far for inspiration. Greg followed in the footsteps of his father, Chris Dadlez (M.H.A.’79/AHP), and earned his Master of Health Administration from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Allied Health Professions. “I was just overwhelmed by that,” Chris says. “I couldn’t be prouder. I didn’t push him in that direction because I wanted him to make the decision of what he wanted for his life, but I was so happy that somehow, most likely, I did influence that decision. Not outwardly, but maybe because of what he saw over the course of our life together.” It wasn’t hard for Greg to see that his father loves his job. During his more-than-30-year career in health administration, Chris climbed the ranks of hospitals and health systems. He helped to create one of the largest health care providers in New Jersey, merging 10 hospitals and becoming executive vice president of the


VCU Alumni

23,000-employee organization. He has spent the past 12 years in Connecticut with St. Francis Care, a major teaching hospital and the largest Catholic hospital in New England. In 2015, St. Francis merged with Trinity Health, one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation. Chris now serves as CEO of Trinity Health New England and says he wakes up every day excited to go to work. “Our focus is to make a difference in the lives of the people we serve and take care of and that’s extremely fulfilling,” Chris says. “So I’ve had a tremendous amount of fulfillment over the years in making sure that we’re doing the best for our communities.” His son has also found the industry rewarding. As director of operations for Ochsner Accountable Care Network and Ochsner Physician Partners, based in New Orleans, Greg enjoys working directly with physicians and takes pride in knowing that he makes a difference in the lives of patients. “While I’m not directly providing patient care, I’m helping to enable those who do, to perform as efficiently and effectively to take care of our patients,” Greg says.

Both father and son are grateful for their VCU degrees, which gave them a strong foundation and a reliable network in the industry. “I’m still able to reach out to some of my professors, all of my classmates,” says Greg, who often consults classmates who are performing similar roles in other health systems. “It’s a lasting resource that sticks with you.” For Chris, the VCU network has become a two-way street. While he kept in touch with mentors and used the department as a resource early on in his career, he has now become a

Chris Dadlez (left) and Greg Dadlez

resource to the department, returning to campus to guest lecture and to serve as a preceptor for residents in the program. He has hired many of those residents and employs a few in his current organization. “It’s always important to me to give back to the profession, because I know that I had a great opportunity that was given to me through my education,” says Chris, adding that his residency made an impact on his start in the industry. “It made a big difference, so I really wanted to give back.”

Health care seems to be a magnet for the Dadlez family. Greg’s sister, Nina, is an attending pediatric hospitalist and assistant director of quality at the Children’s Hospital of Montifiore Medical Center in New York City, and the family is celebrating Greg’s engagement to Kristyn Knowles, whom he met at Ochsner. The family connections aren’t a luxury every 20-something has, Greg acknowledges. “I don’t think a lot of people are able to call their father, their parents, and talk about

what they’re doing every day and have them really understand,” he says. “If I have to make a big career decision, or if I’m dealing with something at work, I do always call my dad. My mom has been a great support for me as well, but he really understands the intricacies and complexities of the situation I’m dealing with and can give me advice that I can lean on.” – Sarah Lockwood is a contributing writer for the alumni magazine.

Fall 2016



News, highlights and event photos from VCU Alumni. Stay connected at

Awards applaud VCU’s most dedicated volunteers VCU Alumni honored a collection of its most generous graduates Oct. 28 at the 2016 Alumni Volunteer Service Awards celebration. The biennial awards recognize alumni who have given their time and talent to serve VCU Alumni and the VCU community. Award winners were nominated by volunteer peers and university faculty and staff, and were selected by the University Alumni Leadership Council, a group that serves as the executive committee for the VCU Alumni Board of Governors. Each honoree received a handmade glass medallion bearing the VCU seal (far right) that was crafted by alumnus Sean Donlon (B.F.A.’12/A).

Elaine and W. Baxter Perkinson Jr. and Vickie and Thomas Snead Jr. Alumni Award for Extraordinary Service Awarded to alumni who have shown extraordinary leadership and who have made outstanding contributions to the university William M. Ginther (B.S.’69/B; M.S.’74/B) and Marsha C. Ginther share a volunteer service record that dates back to the 1980s when Bill Ginther was president of the business school’s alumni association. Most significant is his service on the VCU Board of Visitors since 2010. He served as rector in 2013 and 2014. He also has served on the boards of the VCU, MCV and School of Business foundations and on the VCU Health System Authority board. The couple support the Ginther Family Merit Scholarship in the business school, made a recent gift to the Markel Center at the VCU Institute for Contemporary Art and serve on the steering committee for the Make It Real Campaign for VCU.

Eugene H. and Rosalia C. Hunt Alumni Pride Award Awarded to a graduate who has shown outstanding service in one of VCU Alumni’s constituent organizations Michelle Turner (B.S.’93/H&S) keeps the black-and-gold spirit alive in the Big Apple as president of the VCU Alumni New York City Chapter. She has organized alumni road trips to Richmond and almost two dozen basketball watch parties around New York over the past few seasons. With the success and national exposure of VCU men’s basketball and Turner’s efforts, the parties draw sizable numbers of alumni, providing a golden opportunity for networking and keeping alumni engaged with VCU. She is working with the other NYC chapter leaders to establish a scholarship fund for a future VCU student from the tri-state area.


VCU Alumni

Edward H. Peeples Jr. Award for Social Justice Awarded to an alumnus for leadership in humanitarian contributions in combating inequality and social injustice Following treatment for depression at VCU’s Virginia Treatment Center for Children, Cameron Gallagher started running races as a form of therapy and a platform to combat the stigma about mental illness among teens. When she died from an undiagnosed heart condition shortly after finishing her first half-marathon, her parents, Grace and David A. Gallagher (B.S.’97/B), picked up Cameron’s torch. They established the Cameron K. Gallagher Memorial Foundation and gave $50,000 to support a new Children’s Mental Health Resource Center at VTCC. The foundation sponsors the successful SpeakUp5k runs throughout the country to raise awareness about mental health issues and to encourage conversations between adolescents and their families.

VCU Alumni Service Award Awarded to a graduate who has made significant contributions to VCU Alumni Timmy Nguyen (B.S.’11/B) spends almost as much time at VCU events as an alumnus as he did during his years as a student. He is an ambassador, a cheerleader, a fan, a dedicated champion and a generous donor of his time, talent and money. Giving back is at the core of his motivation, and by example, he seeks to encourage graduates to become involved in VCU Alumni and the university. Dates of his volunteer activities begin early in his VCU student years and invariably end with “to the present.” The list includes a host of alumni-coordinated events, such as the Alumni Charity Challenge to raise donations for a Richmond, Virginia, food bank, Massey Cancer Center Gift Bag Delivery and YMCA Bright Beginnings back-to-school shopping. His board service includes VCU Alumni and its RVA GOLD Chapter and the VCU Business Alumni Society.


VCU Alumni Outstanding Program Award Awarded for a successful and innovative program that has furthered the mission of VCU Alumni The Alumni Charity Challenge, established in 2013 by VCU Alumni’s RVA GOLD Chapter, engages alumni chapters from more than 26 universities in Virginia as well as several out-of-state institutions. The groups gather at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery in Richmond, Virginia, one evening each fall for a food drive competition to see which school can donate the most canned goods (by weight) for FeedMore, the Central Virginia Food Bank. During the past four years, the challenge has collected more than 16 tons of canned goods, a record that has been recognized by the mayor of Richmond, the governor of Virginia and the U.S. Congress.

MCVAA Outstanding Alumnus Award Awarded to a graduate of the MCV Campus who is nationally recognized and who has made distinguished contributions to health care Paula Saxby, Ph.D. (M.S.’85/N; Ph.D.’92/N), serves the nursing profession at multiple levels. She is deputy executive director of the Virginia Board of Nursing, works with the Virginia Nurses Association and the Virginia Action Coalition, and serves as liaison between the state board and the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. Additionally, she served as president of the MCV Alumni Association of VCU from 2011-13, where she made it her mission to encourage alumni to become engaged with students, the School of Nursing and VCU. For her efforts, she was honored in 2013 as one of 120 visionary leaders among alumni and faculty at the 120th anniversary of the VCU School of Nursing.

VCU Alumni GOLD Award Awarded to a graduate of the last decade for commitment to VCU and to VCU Alumni Joseph R. “Joey” Stemmle (B.S.’13/B) has volunteered for almost a dozen university organizations, with the most time invested in the VCU Alumni RVA GOLD (Graduates of the Last Decade) Chapter and the VCU Business Alumni Society. Since 2014, Stemmle has served as director of volunteering and secretary/treasurer of the RVA GOLD Chapter, helping to plan and execute numerous events. He is also helping to rebrand and resurrect the VCU Business Alumni Society and is a member and active promoter of Rainbow Rams, a VCU Alumni constituent organization that connects LGBTQ and ally alumni for social events, networking and raising funds for scholarships.

VCU STAT Award Awarded to a member of Students Today Alumni Tomorrow for outstanding leadership and service Sarah Kilmon, a creative and strategic advertising major set to graduate in spring 2017, has immersed herself in VCU Alumni’s student organization, Students Today Alumni Tomorrow, since stepping on campus as a freshman. She served on the STAT Leadership Council in 2014, was director of membership and education in 2015, was the state representative for District III CASE ASAP (Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, Affiliated Student Advancement Programs) in 2015 and, in 2016, was part of a group hosting the Virginia CASE ASAP conference. This year, as STAT’s director of networking and alumni relations, she developed and hosted networking events and led the implementation of four new events.

MCVAA Hodges-Kay Service Award Awarded to a graduate of the MCV Campus in recognition of service to the MCV Alumni Association and participation in activities of the association, their school and/or the university As an MCVAA board trustee, Tammy Swecker (B.S.’93/D; M.Ed.’05/E) plays a significant role in the annual MCV Campus Reunion Weekend and planned the first reunion for dental hygiene alumni, which is now an annual event. She is a full-time faculty member in the VCU School of Dentistry’s Department of Oral Health Promotion and Community Outreach and serves as a dental hygienist at VCU Health. She has promoted oral health through education and screenings at a variety of community organizations. Her efforts have been recognized with numerous awards, fellowships and honors for teaching excellence, including the 2014-15 VCU Service-Learning Faculty Fellowship, and she was appointed by the governor to the Virginia Board of Dentistry.

W E B E X T R A Learn more about these alumni at /Awards/Alumni-Volunteer-Service-Awards.

Fall 2016



Photo Lori Stone

Connect with a new alumni group

VCU Alumni’s 10 Under 10 recipients Frank Jones (left) accepting for Terrell Brown, Joshua Boone, Sudharshana Apte, Fatima Smith, Charlotte Arbogast, Rachel Mercer, Tin Htut Myint and Danny Plaugher (Not pictured: Terrell Brown, Kevin Powers and Joey Stemmle)

VCU Alumni celebrates its GOLD stars VCU alumni honored 10 graduates of the last decade in November at the 2016 10 Under 10 awards celebration. The awards celebrate alumni who earned their first VCU degree within the past 10 years and who have enjoyed remarkable professional success, made important contributions to their community and/or loyally supported the university. The following alumni are the 2016 10 Under 10 recipients: • Sudharshana Apte, Ph.D. (M.S.’11/H&S; Ph.D.’14/H&S), a research scientist with Altria • Charlotte Arbogast (Cert.’12/GPA; M.S.’12/AHP), a long-term care program analyst at the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services • Joshua Boone (B.F.A.’10/A), a TV, film and Broadway actor

As a VCU student, you had a multitude of possibilities for getting involved with the many groups on campus. As a graduate, you have even more opportunities to stay connected. VCU Alumni sponsors more than 35 geographic, schoolbased and special-interest groups, offering opportunities for professional development, networking, volunteering and friendship-building. And we have more on the way, but we need members, like you, to help them grow. If you are interested in helping one of following groups get chartered, email us at Some of the groups evolving are: Academic • Psychology Alumni Association • FTEMS (Fast Track Executive M.S. in Information Systems) • Strength and Conditioning • GLOBE Alumni Geographic • Las Vegas • Outer Banks, N.C. • The Villages in Florida Shared interest • Jewish Alumni Association • Real Estate Professionals • Alumni With Disabilities Council • International Alumni Organization (study abroad) Find your fit with one of these groups, join an existing group or start a new group. Email to get involved today!

• Terrell Brown (B.S.’09/MC), an award-winning news anchor • Rachel Mercer (M.S.’12/MC), a brand strategist in the advertising industry • Tin Htut Myint (B.S.’06/En), a product development and cus­ tomer solutions engineer with Dominion Voltage Inc. • Daniel “Danny” L. Plaugher (B.A.’06/H&S), executive director of Virginians for High Speed Rail • Kevin Powers (B.A.’08/H&S), an Iraq war vet­eran and author of “The Yellow Birds” • Fatima M. Smith (M.S.W.’12/SW), assistant director for sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking and advocacy services at the VCU Wellness Center • Joseph “Joey” Stemmle (B.S.’13/B), a financial adviser at Riverstone Wealth Advisory Group Read more about these remarkable alumni or nominate a GOLD graduate for the 2017 awards at


VCU Alumni

SAVE THE DATE! April 7-9, 2017 Join us for Reunion Weekend when the African-American Alumni Council, Richmond Professional Institute Alumni Council and MCV Campus schools host dinners, dances and campus tours. The MCV Campus Reunion is celebrating classes ending in 2 and 7 but everyone is welcome back. Visit for more details.


(B.S.’15/GPA), graduate student in criminal justice and VCU men's basketball forward

“Fan support isn’t the only thing that’s critical to team success. The new practice facility, funded partly by alumni and friends, means I’ll never drop the ball as a player or as a student.” At VCU, making an impact is what we do. But we can’t do it alone. That’s why we launched the Make It Real Campaign for VCU, our most ambitious fundraising initiative in the university's history. How will you help us support people, fund innovations and enhance environments?

Make your impact at an equal opportunity/affirmative action university


Tools for the future VCU Alumni contributes to Cabell Library’s creative space By Anthony Langley


ince 2013, VCU Libraries’ Innovative Media Department has provided the university community with new and emergent technologies that enable faculty and staff to express and explore their creativity. “I often say that our mission is to support the VCU community in the exploration and communication of ideas in ways other than text,” says department head Eric D.M. Johnson. For him, that means concentrating on three areas: multimedia creation, physical 3-D modeling and emerging technologies. With the recent renovation and expansion of James Branch Cabell Library, the department moved into a new space, called The Workshop, on the building’s lower level. The space boasts audio- and video-editing workstations, a gaming/viewing area with virtual reality headsets, an audio recording room, a green screen capture room and a makerspace that provides tools to create and invent objects. Open to VCU students, faculty and staff, the different rooms have a multitude of purposes, from a gaming session on the latest consoles to teaching classes. The Workshop also provides three-day loans of


VCU Alumni

equipment ranging from microscopes to DSLR cameras. “Libraries have always been involved in helping people share their ideas,” Johnson says. “Now we live in a world where the tools have become simple and cheap enough that anyone can [create].” It was this passion for the ever-changing, creative environment that helped VCU Alumni leaders decide to make a gift to VCU Libraries’ New Building Fund after a presentation highlighting the changes that were coming to Cabell. Alumni board members hoped that by having the organization’s name highly visible on the new lower level, a collaborative workspace that rims The Workshop, students would become more aware of VCU Alumni and be encouraged to remain involved with the university after they graduate. “What better place to donate to than the central gathering place for students across the university,” says Ken Thomas (B.S.’91/B), secretary of VCU Alumni. “Our libraries are such an important and necessary amenity to the student body that we knew we were doing the right thing.” The 2014 gift to the New Building Fund helped to create many of the distinctive features that students enjoy in the renovated library, such


Students get creative in Cabell Library's makerspace, which offers 3-D printers and scanners, a laser cutter, wearable computing and other tools and craft supplies. Photo Robert Benson and VCU Libraries

as new seating and modern library tables that charge electronics, as well as supporting the makerspace. The makerspace houses 3-D printers, laser-cutting and engraving equipment, sewing machines and programmable electronics such as Arduino boards and the Raspberry Pi. “We’ve had M.F.A. students etching poetry on glass with the laser cutter, biomechanical engineering students who have 3-D printed artificial hands and theater students printing models of historic theaters,” Johnson says. “The sky really is the limit.” Dennis Clark, associate university librarian for research and learning, echoes Johnson’s statements. “Not only can students produce technologically sophisticated content for their courses, but they also have the opportunity to experiment with cutting-edge tools in order to tell stories in new ways,” he says. Though still in the planning stages, the immersive theater will support a range of visual communication formats from infographics to virtual and augmented reality. With an increased interest in virtual reality, the Innovative Media Department wants to make the space as futureproof as possible.

“We’re watching the technology and thinking carefully about what our [immersive theater] will look like,” Johnson says. “Creating an infrastructure that is both robust and flexible is key, and it will be a wonderful resource for the campus community.” Thomas hopes that in addition to providing creative tools for students and the VCU community, the gift from VCU Alumni will create a spirit of giving from within. “Through this gift we made a highly visible statement to our future alumni,” he says. “We are here, and we care about you.” To Clark, the gift means that VCU Libraries can continue to enhance its core mission of supporting, teaching and providing the tools needed for research at the university. “This type of philanthropy is especially important for us right now,” he says. “It enables us to explore and expand our vision for the libraries and gives students creative approaches to their learning.” – Anthony Langley (B.S.’16/MC) is a contributing writer for the alumni magazine.

Fall 2016



1960s David Couk, M.D. (M.D.’63/M; H.S.’64/M) was named 2015 Citizen of the Year by the Fauquier Times, in Fauquier County, Va., for his decades of service to the town as co-founder of the Blue Ridge Orthopaedic and Spine Center and as a longtime volunteer at the Fauquier Free Clinic. M

1970s J. Abbott Byrd III, M.D. (M.D.’78/M), president of Atlantic Orthopaedic Specialists, was honored with the Virginia Orthopaedic Society Career Award for his 30-year career of treating both pediatric and adult patients with complex spinal issues. L William Catterton, M.D. (M.D.’71/M) M, and his wife, Jane (Spence) Catterton, M.D. (M.D.’73/M) M, tour around the Southeast U.S. in a small plane. The couple has two children, Will, 36, a dentist, and Beth, 41, a banker, and three grandchildren. Following graduation from the VCU School of Medicine, William completed a residency and fellowship work in pediatrics at Tulane Medical School at Charity Hospital in New Orleans, followed by a research/clinical fellowship in neonatology (1975-77) at Vanderbilt Medical School. He was an associate professor of pediatrics at the Medical College of Georgia from 1977-83 and a clinical associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga until retiring in 2012. Jane finished her residency in pediatrics and was in private practice. William C. Giermak (M.H.A.’77/AHP), who led St. Mary’s Home in Norfolk, Va., through expansion to care for adults as well as children with severe disabilities, retired in October 2016 after 12 years as the nonprofit’s CEO and a 40-year health care career devoted to making a difference in the community, which included serving as president and CEO of Obici Health System. Highlights of Giermak’s tenure at St. Mary’s include opening the $3 million Albero House in 2013 to care for 12 adults older than 21, creating a recreational therapy program and hiring a respiratory therapist and speech therapists to enhance St. Mary’s services. Giermak is a founding board member of the Faith Inclusion Network as well as a member of the Rotary Club of Hampton Roads and a board member of the Town Point Club in Norfolk. In retirement, he is looking forward to relaxing with his wife, Betty, their three children and their new grandchild. Robert Grey (B.S.’73/B) was honored in fall 2016 by the American Bar Association Forum for Construction Law for his commitment to diversity and inclusion. He served as ABA president in 2004-05 and is currently president of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity.


VCU Alumni

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Darrell Griddin, M.D. (B.S.’71/H&S; M.D.’75/M), retired from Florida State University in December 2015. He continues to work part time with pediatric house staff at the University of Florida residency program in Penscola, Fla. M Thomas M. Kerkering, M.D., FACP, FIDSA (M.D.’74/M; H.S.’79/M), a professor of medicine at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and a physician at Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, Va., was honored by the Medical Society of Virginia for his service to the international community. His interest in infectious diseases has taken him to 82 countries. Howard Lando, M.D. (M.D.’75/M), was named the 2016-17 secretary of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and is serving on the association’s executive committee and board of directors. Diana Woodcock (B.S.’74/H&S; M.F.A.’04/H&S) has been promoted to associate professor at VCU's branch campus in Qatar, where she has been teaching since 2014. She is a Ph.D. candidate at Lancaster University, studying creative writing and poetry.

1980s Stewart Andrews (B.F.A.’86/A) partnered with an author and illustrated and designed the first book in a multibook series, "Yoga Monkey Kids, 12 Beginner Poses and Introduction to Yoga," published by Page Publishing in New York. Examples of the artwork can be viewed at L Padmini Atri, M.D. (H.S.’81/M), served as an attending psychiatrist at McGuire Veteran Administration Center along with a faculty position at VCU from 1982-95. Following that, he had a fulltime private practice until 2013 and was associated with Westbrook Behavioral Associates, International Clinical Research Associates, Neuropsychiatric and Counseling Associates and Alliance Research Group. Besides a wide range of practice, including clinical and research, Atri held a clinical faculty position with VCU Health System. His patients varied from 2-102 years and covered a range of diagnostic categories. Since 2013, he has cut back on his practice to focus on research with ARG. He has five grandchildren who also keep him busy. L Deborah Brown, M.D. (B.S.'81/H&S; M.D.'85/M), joined Kaniksu Health Services in Laclede, Idaho, in June 2016. Dennis Connell, D.N.P. (B.S.’89/N; M.S.’94/N), graduated from Old Dominion University on May 7, 2016, with a Doctorate of Nursing Practice, Nurse Executive. L Stephanie Ferguson, Ph.D. (M.S.’87/N), was appointed to the Committee on Global Health and the Future of the United States by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. The committee seeks to demonstrate the importance

of continued investment in global health initiatives to the next presidential administration. Dorothy Fillmore (M.A.’84/H&S), associate director of academic operations in the Department of Psychology in the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences, was awarded the President’s Inclusive Excellence Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of more than 30 years of advocacy both at VCU and in the Richmond community. Randy Glasscock (B.A.’87/H&S) co-founded and serves as president of PFLAG Provo/Utah County and organized the Utah County Safety Net for homeless youth. L Donna Hale (M.H.A.'85/AHP) gave a presentation in May 2016 at the National Rural Health Association on “Geriatric Telepsychiatry and Remote Home Monitoring in Rural Areas,” which was also published in Aging Today in fall 2015. Linda Hines (B.S.’80/N; M.S.’99/N; M.B.A.’10/B) was promoted to CEO of Virginia Premier Health Plan. She previously served as chief operating officer. A licensed registered nurse, Hines started her career as a bedside nurse before rising in the ranks of Virginia Premier. John Hoppenthaler (M.F.A.’88/H&S) won the Brockman-Campbell Book Award from the North Carolina Poetry Society for his book “Domestic Garden,” a collection of poetry written on the remnants of the American dream. Deborah Hudson (B.S.’89/MC), after a 20-year career in marketing and communications in Richmond, Va., moved to Charlotte, N.C., where she got her North Carolina real estate broker's license and joined the real estate firm of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices-Carolinas. M Douglas Johnson (M.H.A.’85/AHP), after 30-plus years as a hospital administrator, has joined the Hattiesburg Clinic, P.A. as its chief cardiovascular officer. With more than 350 providers, HCPA is the second-largest independent multispecialty group in the Southeastern U.S. It is also the only Stage 7 HIMSS certified site in Mississippi. Pamela Knox, Ph.D. (M.S.'82/H&S; Ph.D.'85/H&S), moved from the associate vice chancellor for academic affairs with the Tennessee Board of Regents to the associate chief academic officer for the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. Richard Mason (B.S.’83/H&S) was named board president of the Greater New York Councils of the Boy Scouts of America, which serves nearly 47,000 youth in New York City’s five boroughs. M John Morgan (B.S.'88/H&S; B.S.'96/N) moved to New Orleans in 2014 and is working as an RN in the float pool at Ochsner Medical Center's main campus. He plays guitar and sings in two bands: Blue Biscuit, a blues and R&B band, and Hallelujah Hatrack, a Grateful Dead cover band.

M Member of the alumni association

L Life member of the alumni association


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Susan Ross (B.S.'84/B) has been promoted to controller for the Virginia Department of Social Services. L Mary L. Studevant (B.S.’84/B) was inducted into the Defense Logistics Agency Aviation Hall of Fame for her 30 years of service to the DLA workforce, customers and their surrounding communities. L Marty Wilson (B.S.’86/B) was named director of software engineering at the United Network for Organ Sharing, where she is responsible for developing the department’s technical strategy and overseeing the delivery of new business applications and features. L

1990s Matthew Bartholomew, M.D. (B.S.’92/H&S; M.D.’97/M), received the Carnegie Medal for his efforts that saved a woman from drowning in a frozen retention pond in February 2015. The medal recognizes individuals who risk their lives to save, or attempt to save, the lives of others. Michael F. Bolling (B.S.’94/H&S; M.T.’94/E) was named executive director of CodeRVA, a new regional high school in Richmond, Va., focused on computer science and coding. Bolling was previously director of mathematics and governor’s schools for the Virginia Department of Education. Allison Gregory, RN, FNP-BC (B.S.’98/N; M.S.’00/N), assistant professor in the VCU School of Nursing, received a Global Impact Virtual Classroom award from the VCU Global Education Office. The award aims to develop a Spanish language and cultural-competence course for nursing and professional students. Gregory used the award to visit Mexican universities collaborating on the course. M Donwan Harrell (B.F.A.’92/A) was featured in The Gap Document, a retrospective magazine published by The Gap that takes a close look at the brand through the eyes of those who have left a lasting mark on the fashion industry. Harrell is founder and creative director of the New York-based luxury denim line Prps. Jaideep Kapur, M.D. (H.S.’92/M), became head of the University of Virginia Brain Institute, which aims to foster multidisciplinary collaborative projects to understand, reverse-engineer and treat brain diseases. Heloise “Ginger” Levit (M.A.’98/A) continues to write articles for Antique Week, 50 Plus and other arts publications while maintaining an active private art gallery in Richmond, Va., specializing in fine French paintings and selected Virginia and nationally known artists of the past 200 years. She stepped down as president of the Alliance Francaise of Richmond but continues as chair of La Table Francaise. L

M Member of the alumni association

Susan Lin (M.S.'90/AHP) has been appointed to the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute’s Advisory Panel on Assessment of Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment Options, which will advise PCORI and agencies, instrumentalities or other entities conducting patient-centered research. She is the only occupational therapist on the panel and one of the 41 new panel members chosen from more than 400 nominees. Sonja Nesbit (B.A.’94/H&S) left an appointment with the Obama administration where she served as deputy assistant secretary for legislation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to join Arent Fox LLP as senior government relations director. Her new role focuses on federal legislation on health care and tax issues. Cynthia Scott, M.D. (M.D.’94/M), earned an M.S. in Narrative Medicine from Columbia University in 2016. M Manoj A. Thomas, Ph.D. (M.B.A.’99/B; M.S.’05/B; Ph.D.’08/B), assistant professor and director of technology in the VCU School of Business’ Department of Information Systems, was granted two $20,000 Microsoft Azure research awards. The first award is to assess consumer sentiment about medical marijuana in social media and the second is for continuing medical education capacity-building.

2000s Maria E. Calle (M.S.’01/AHP) ran the women’s marathon in the 2016 Rio Olympics for her home country, Ecuador. Renee Charlow (M.F.A.’02/A) is a drama teacher at KAA-Herndon in Herndon, Va.

L Life member of the alumni association

Prue Cormie (B.I.S.’04/H&S) spoke at a TEDxPerth event. Her talk, “A New Contender in the Fight Against Cancer,” explored new research indicating exercise might make cancer treatments more tolerable and effective. Robert "Jason" Cottrell, Ph.D. (B.S.’01/H&S; M.Ed.’02/E), completed his dissertation, "The Role of a University College on Student Engagement," at the University of Virginia. He also accepted a position in the Office of Postsecondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education where he will serve in the area of institutional services as an education research scientist. Mark Diana, Ph.D. (M.S.’03/B; Ph.D.’06/AHP), joined July 1 the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at Tulane University as the Drs. W.C. Tsai and P.T. Kung Professor in Health Systems Management, associate professor, chair and M.H.A. program director for the Department of Global Health Management and Policy. Kelley Dodson, M.D. (H.S.’05/M), was named the first female president of the Virginia Society of Otolaryngology, which provides continuing medical education for its members, while addressing political and regulatory challenges affecting their practices. Lawrence Dowler (B.S.’08/H&S) has been elected chairman of the International Association of Emergency Managers Certified Emergency Manager Commission for 2017. Eartha Dunston (M.S.W.’02/SW) received the 2016 Black Pearls Literary Excellence Book of the Year Award for her first children’s book, “The Hair Adventures of Princess Lindsey Sidney.” The book is a celebration of a princess’s hair as it changes textures and styles throughout the week.

Fall 2016



Sarah Golding, Ph.D. (Ph.D.’06/M), instructor and director of undergraduate research in the Department of Biology in the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences, was presented the Outstanding Term Faculty Award at VCU’s 34th Annual Faculty Convocation in August 2016. Zachary Hanbury (B.M.’09/A) was promoted to assistant general manager at music venue The National in Richmond, Va. Robin Heath Kahn (B.S.’02/N; M.S.H.A.’05/AHP) was promoted in September 2015 to senior director of performance improvement for clinical excellence for HCA's Capital Division. Jeffrey Kornblau (M.B.A.’04/B) was elected a member of the Real Estate Circle of Excellence, a group of real estate executives that supports the VCU School of Business’ Kornblau Real Estate Program. Alexa Merchant (B.S.’05/N) is an assistant clinical professor in the nursing science program at the University of California Irvine. Angela Patton (B.S.’00/E) was appointed a White House Champion of Change for extracurricular enrichment for marginalized girls and boys of color. She is CEO of Girls for a Change, a nonprofit organization that supports and inspires girls to realize their potential through discovery, development and social change innovation in their communities. Patton has overseen the creation of more than 200 social change projects conceptualized by girls. Debbie Quick (M.F.A.’06/A), assistant professor and assistant chair of the Department of Craft and Material Studies in the VCU School of the Arts, was a sculptor-in-residence at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts during its Rodin exhibit. Desiree Raught (B.A.’07/H&S) received the 2016 Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching from Teach for America for her work as a high school English teacher in Washington, D.C. Jackie Slemaker (B.S.’06/H&S; M.Ed.’09/E) was named Virginia’s elementary school counselor of the year by the Virginia School Counseling Association. She was also named an American School Counseling Association semifinalist and will represent Virginia as a nominee for national school counselor of the year in February 2017.


VCU Alumni

Jamie Sturgill, Ph.D. (Cert.’05/M; Ph.D.’10/M), director of biobehavioral laboratory services in the VCU School of Nursing, was selected as a VCU Emerging Scholar by the VCU Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research. The program gives novice investigators a chance to meet with other CCTR personnel and their peers for mentoring, career development oversight and educational programs to help them develop the skills needed for their careers in research.

2010s Hunter Andrews (B.S.’16/En) received an award in the undergraduate competition of the Innovations in Fuel Cycle Research Awards, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, for his research paper, “Measurement and Analysis of Exchange Current Density of Lanthanides in LiCi-KCI Eutectic Salt.”

Subhash Jaini (M.S.’16/B) was part of a team that placed in the top five for the Virginia Governor’s Workforce Innovation Datathon Challenge. The team had two days to take a new, highly enriched and curated dataset and turn it into actionable information to support the governor’s goal of filling the more than 250,000 open jobs in Virginia’s postindustrial service economy. Jerry Mizey (B.S.'16/H&S) is a graduate student at George Mason University. He is studying applied developmental psychology. Alexsis Rodgers (B.S.’13/MC) received the 2016 Rising Star Award from the Richmond chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, which recognizes PR professionals with fewer than five years of experience who are doing outstanding work in their field. She is the policy director for Virginia Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam.

Velma Ballard, Ph.D. (Ph.D.’15/GPA), was honored with the Virginia Governor’s Career Achievement Award for her more than 38-year career in state government ranging from being a dispatcher for the city of Emporia to being the first associate director of administration at the Department of Housing and Community Development. M

Elliot Roth (B.S.’15/En; Cert.’15/En), founder and CEO of Spira, is developing a bottled drink made from spirulina, a blue-green algae, which is sold at Richmond, Va., farmers markets.

Katie Bellile (B.S.’14/LS) had a research paper on environmentally friendly mosquito management published in the Journal of Vector Ecology.

Audrey Walls (B.A.’10/H&S; M.F.A.’13/H&S), donor relations coordinator in the VCU Office of Development and Alumni Relations, was named a VCU Visiting Writer. She was previously nominated for a 2015 Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net 2014 and Best New Poets 2013.

Erica Bernstein (M.A.’12/H&S) was appointed director of outreach for The Chlorine Institute, where she assists in planning and executing CI’s emergency-preparedness training activities and supports the Product Stewardship Issue Team. M Rachel Cloutier, RN, ACNP-BC (B.S.’10/N; M.S.’11/N), clinical instructor in the VCU School of Nursing, was appointed president-elect of the Virginia Council of Nurse Practitioners, a statewide professional organization for licensed nurse practitioners. Gregory Donnelly (B.S.’14/B; M.S.’16/B), Mikaila Weaver (M.S.’16/B) and Shannon Smith (M.S.’16/B) were part of a team that won the Student Project Isaac Gravity Award. Sponsored by Adweek Project Isaac, the award celebrates the best student-designed inventions, new projects and concepts. Inspired by the drought in California, the team created a specially designed bottle cap that reduces faucet water waste up to 33 percent. Marley Giggey (B.F.A.’10/A) has been made a staff member of Synetic Theater based in Arlington, Va., where she handles all theater rentals and serves as the resident stage manager for all mainstage shows for the award-winning physical theater company. M Matthew Hill (B.S.’14/En; Cert.’14/B) and Sulaiman Popal (B.M.’15/A) released the app RealRagg on iTunes as part of a project aimed to preserve and expose Afghan classical music that features the country’s national instrument, the rubab.

Jack “Lee” Vogler (B.A.’10/H&S) was sworn into a second term on the Danville (Va.) City Council.

Nicholas Young (B.S.’16/H&S) joined in September 2016 the staff of the Faison Center in Richmond, Va., as an instructional assistant. The center serves the educational needs of autistic youth and adults in Central Virginia.

Births Cara Clark (B.A.’05/A) and her husband, Sam LaGrone, welcomed son Henry Leroy LaGrone on June 12, 2016, at 12:30 p.m. Henry weighed 7 pounds, 10 ounces and was nearly 20 inches long. Clark is an executive assistant with the VCU Foundation. Chance (B.F.A.'13/A) and Sallie (Turner) (B.M.'13/A) Godwin welcomed daughter Alice Lee Godwin on Dec. 31, 2015, at 11:59 p.m. The couple was married six months after graduating from VCU. Chance works as a creative consultant for Whiteboard Geeks located in Chesterfield, Va., and Sallie teaches private violin and piano lessons and is a freelance violinist in Richmond. Almost a year old, Alice is already showing aptitude in drawing and musical skills, her parents report. Some of her favorite activities include drawing with daddy's pens and pencils, playing the piano and having a violin lesson with mommy on her old 1/8-size violin.

M Member of the alumni association

L Life member of the alumni association

Photo Sigmon Taylor Photography

Amber J. Esseiva (B.A.’09/H&S) is the curatorial assistant at the Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU. She has worked in several art institutions in Richmond, Va., including the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the VCU School of the Arts’ Anderson Gallery. In 2012, she was a guest curator at VCUQatar in Doha, Qatar. Esseiva received her M.A. in 2015 from the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, where she curated and co-curated numerous exhibits, cofounded the interdisciplinary curatorial journal aCCeSsions and was appointed the curator of the 2014 M.F.A. graduate thesis exhibition.


Passionate pursuit Alumna builds breast-imaging program in Tidewater By Sarah Lockwood


ith most of the breast cancer diagnoses she delivers, Melinda “Lindy” Dunn, M.D. (B.S.’80/N; M.D.’91/M; H.S.’95/M; H.S.’96/M), can put a positive spin on the news. That’s because, with the help of dedicated radiologists and modern technology, 70 percent of the Women’s Imaging Pavilion’s cancer diagnoses are stage 0 or 1, far better than the national average of 62.6 percent. Dunn, 58, was the first female radiologist to practice in Williamsburg, Virginia, and is a leader in early breast cancer detection. But her path to this career was not clear from the start. Dunn began her journey as a nursing student at Virginia Commonwealth University, graduating in 1980. Soon after, she earned her M.S.N. and nurse practitioner certificate from the University of Virginia and worked as a family nurse practitioner in Petersburg, Virginia, before becoming a faculty member in the nurse practitioner program at VCU. Dunn was determined to continue her education. She began the coursework for VCU’s health administration Ph.D. program, but soon realized that was not the degree she wanted. “I just felt that I could possibly affect more change and have a bigger impact if I were practicing as a physician,” says Dunn, who put her sights on the VCU School of Medicine. Her acceptance letter arrived as an early Christmas present. “I’ll never forget,” she says. “I was ecstatic because that’s where I wanted to be. I just felt at home here.” During her fourth year, Dunn choose to specialize in radiology. When then-residency Director Pinson Neal, M.D., encouraged Dunn to think about subspecializing in breast imaging, she found her calling. “It was the fact that it was a subspecialty within radiology that would give me the kind of patient contact that I knew I needed,” Dunn says. Dunn continued her VCU career in a breast-imaging fellowship under the tutelage of Ellen Shaw de Parades, M.D. (H.S.’82/M). She thought she would stay at VCU forever. But in 1998, when Williamsburg Radiology (now Tidewater Diagnostic Imaging) contacted her about opening a breast-imaging program in Williamsburg, she accepted the challenge. “There was support, not only from the group who was going to be hiring me but from the referring physicians,” Dunn says. “I just sensed that this was a community that would be really supportive.” Before Dunn and her colleagues opened the Women’s Imaging Pavilion, which has now been expanded to the nationally accredited Sentara Williamsburg Comprehensive Breast Center, most referring physicians in Williamsburg were sending patients to Richmond for breast imaging. Now, 18 years later, with new technologies and six dedicated fellowship-trained breast imagers in the Tidewater Diagnostic Imaging group, Dunn’s small center has grown to accommodate more than 12,000 annual mammography screenings, of which she’s incredibly proud. “It’s been the most rewarding practice,” Dunn says. “I absolutely love what I do. I manage patients, I am one of their physicians, but it’s very subspecialized and I kind of have that personality.” Dunn is an avid tennis player. She and her husband, Bob, have two poodles, Ezekial “Zeke” Bonaparte and Priscilla “Cilly” Antoinette. Dunn shares her passion for canines with her colleague Jacque Hogge, M.D. (H.S.’94/M), a fellow breast imager. The two met 20 years ago during their residency at VCU. “Lindy is a fabulous and dedicated breast imager,” Hogge says, describing the friendly, “cando” attitude of the practice Dunn helped build. “I think her dedication, evidenced by her numerous community-outreach events over the years, has helped build this practice to what it is today.” Dunn’s dedication to the field does not end with screenings and biopsies. She also organizes retreats for breast cancer survivors, consults for the grassroots support group Beyond Boobs and serves on the planning committee for the American Cancer Society John Randolph/Dr. Mark Ellis Annual Memorial Dinner. “With breast imaging, I found my ‘calling,’ and it remains the most life-affirming specialty I could have chosen. All I ever want to do is make a difference,” Dunn says. “[You hope] that with each patient interaction you’re making a positive difference in that woman’s life in some way or other.”

– Sarah Lockwood is a contributing writer for the alumni magazine. Fall 2016



New releases

Alumni and faculty books Lessons learned

Vigilante justice

Historic chapter




Siegel-Hawley, assistant professor in the School of Education, published “When the Fences Come Down: Twenty-First-Century Lessons from Metropolitan School Desegregation.” The book explores what happens when communities adopt a regional approach to addressing school segregation rather than focusing on improving schools by raising academic standards, holding teachers and students accountable through test performance, and promoting private-sector competition.

When a mob lieutenant and a bar owner, both with a history of unspeakable crimes against women, turn up dead, a vigilante group calling itself “Judith” takes credit for both killings and promises more. That’s the start of the dark thriller “Judith,” the first novel by Budryk (B.S.’12/MC), in which a group of women grows tired of waiting for the law to handle abusive men and takes matters into their own hands.

Lynching ended in Virginia in the 1920s, but that’s not what the residents of Fauquier County say. In “The Last Lynching in Northern Virginia: Seeking the Truth at Rattlesnake Mountain,” retired newspaper reporter Hall (M.S.’01/MC) takes an in-depth look at the events surrounding a 1932 hanging death of a black farmhand to expose a complex and disturbing chapter in Virginia history.

Balancing act

Changing times



Set in the fictional Richmond, Virginia, neighborhood of Mayfair Heights, “Wirewalker,” the first novel by Hall (B.A.’91/H&S; M.F.A.’94/H&S), follows 14-year-old Clarence Feather who is manipulated into drug running following his mother’s death and his father’s inability to keep the family afloat. The book tells a gritty yet fantastical tale about self-reliance, difficult choices and imagination in the face of danger and isolation.

In “Preserving the Old City of Damascus,” Totah, associate professor of political science in the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences, examines the recent gentrification of the historic urban core of the Syrian capital and the ways in which urban space becomes the site for negotiating new economic and social realities. Based on more than two years of ethnographic and archival research, this book expands the understanding of neoliberal urbanism in non-Western cities.

Triumphant memoir

Civil rights



In “Hank Brodt Holocaust Memoirs: A Candle and a Promise,” Donnelly (B.S.W.’81/SW) details her father’s life in Poland following the German invasion as he waged a daily battle to survive, moving from forced labor camps to concentration camps. Through his unwavering compassion toward others, Brodt managed to keep his humanity and find a way to move forward. This story of survival includes rare photographs from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum that powerfully illustrate these intimate and shocking memoirs.

Daugherity, assistant professor in the Department of History in the College of Humanities and Sciences, published “Keep on Keeping on: The NAACP and the Implementation of Brown v. Board of Education in Virginia.” One of the first titles to provide a comprehensive view of the efforts of African-Americans to obtain racial equality in the state, the book details how African-Americans and the NAACP in Virginia successfully pursued a legal agenda that provided new educational opportunities for the state’s black population.



VCU Alumni

Green read Initially published as a college-level text, “The ABCs of Greening Communications,” provides a step-by-step guide for creating eco-sustainable products and services, including identifying target markets for niche products and/or services. Author Wright (B.S.’81/B), recipient of the 2008 Turning America from Eco-weak to Eco-chic Award, challenges readers to become members of Capitalism 24902, a global village committed to ensuring the foundation of an eco-sustainable future.

Waiting game BELLE BOGGS

Author Boggs (B.S.’98/H&S) struggled with infertility for years before she conceived her daughter. In “The Art of Waiting: On Fertility, Medicine, and Motherhood,” she distills her time of waiting into an expansive contemplation of fertility, choice and the many possible roads to making a life and making a family. She explores the way longing for a child plays out in film and literature, the financial and legal complications that accompany alternative means of family-making and the private and public expressions of iconic writers grappling with motherhood and fertility.

M Member of the alumni association

L Life member of the alumni association


Faculty and staff Cheryl S. Al-Mateen, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine and interim medical director at the Virginia Treatment Center for Children, and Laurie C. Carter, D.D.S., Ph.D., professor and director of oral and maxillofacial radiology and director of advanced dental education programs in the School of Dentistry, were honored with Women in Science, Dentistry and Medicine Professional Achievement awards in April 2016. The awards recognize women who have served as strong role models and mentors for the professional development of women faculty and who consistently demonstrate excellence in mentoring, scholarship, leadership and teaching. Guilherme M. Campos, M.D., chair of the VCU Health Division of Bariatric and Gastrointestinal Surgery, was named vice president of the Virginia Bariatric Society for 2016-17. He will serve as president in 2018-19. Sonya Clark, chair of the Department of Craft and Material Studies in the School of the Arts, was featured in the Art Basel Miami Beach Magazine article, “Art, Race and Gender,” which addressed the future of cultural, ethnic and gender understanding and identity. Andrèa Keys Connell, assistant professor and head of the clay area in the Department of Craft and Material Studies in the School of the Arts, exhibited work in “The Things We Carry,” at the Gibbes Museum of Arts in Charleston, S.C.

the School of Nursing, was inducted in October 2016 as a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. AAN recognized Menzies for demonstrating excellence in teaching and for her significant contributions to advancing nursing science through her research on biobehavioral science among adults who have chronic pain-related conditions. Greg Miller, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Pathology in the School of Medicine, was featured on the May 2016 cover of Clinical Chemistry magazine. Miller was profiled about his love for fast cars and drew comparisons to how he approaches lab medicine in the same way. Carla Nye, D.N.P., RN, CPNP-PC, CNE, director of the School of Nursing’s Clinical Learning Center, received Quest Global Impact Seed Funds from the VCU Global Education Office to travel to Cape Town, South Africa, to meet with simulation leaders. René Olivares-Navarrete, D.D.S., Ph.D., assistant professor of biomedical engineering in the School of Engineering, received a two-year, $300,000 grant from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research at the National Institutes of Health to study the effects of e-cigarette products on human health and pregnancy. Karen Rader, Ph.D., director of the Science, Technology and Society program and professor in the Department of History in the College of Humanities and Sciences, received the Media Ecology Association’s 2016 Lewis Mumford Award for Outstanding Scholarship in the Ecology of Technics for the book “Life on Display: Revolutionizing U.S. Museums of Science and Natural History in the Twentieth Century.”

C. Dillard Award from the Virginia Association for Campus Law Enforcement Administrators for making significant, sustained contributions to the advancement of campus law-enforcement security practices. Kenneth J. Wynne, Ph.D., Commonwealth Professor in the Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering in the School of Engineering and research professor in the Department of Chemistry in the College of Humanities and Sciences, received the 2016 Society of Polymer Science, Japan International Award for his research in the field.


1930s James Spencer Dryden, M.D. (M.D.’33/M; H.S.’40/M), of Punta Gorda, Fla., June 14, 2016, at age 106. He is believed to have been the School of Medicine’s oldest graduate at the time of his death. Alan Kreglow, M.D. (M.D.’34/M), of Fairfield, Iowa, May 23, 1997.

1940s Lucy Andrews (Cert.’40), of Newport News, Va., April 28, 2016, at age 100. Carolyn Bass (B.S.’47/H&S; M.S.’67/H&S), of Manassas, Va., Dec. 19, 2015, at age 90. Robert Bradley, M.D. (H.S.’46/M), of Charlottesville, Va., Jan. 19, 2016, at age 94.

Gurpreet Dhillon, Ph.D., professor of information systems in the School of Business, was an honorary chair and speaker at the 2016 European Security Conference. His presentation, “Big Data Needs Big Security,” stressed the importance of safe online behavior and valuing personal data.

Michael S. Ryan, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics and assistant dean of clinical medical education in the School of Medicine, was awarded the junior faculty teaching award, which recognizes the excellence in commitment to teaching of one physician a year, from the Academic Pediatric Association.

William Bruch Sr., M.D. (M.D.’45/M; H.S.’46/M), of Henrico, Va., March 2, 2016, at age 98.

Henry J. Donahue, Ph.D., and P. Worth Longest, Ph.D., professors in the School of Engineering were inducted into the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering’s College of Fellows, which comprises the nation’s top 2 percent of medical and biological engineers. The two are recognized for their contributions in teaching, research and innovation.

Lawrence Schwartz, M.D., Ph.D., the Charles and Evelyn Thomas Professor of Medicine in the School of Medicine, was named one of this year’s Outstanding Faculty in Virginia. The award recognizes excellence in teaching, research, knowledge integration and public service.

Ernest Duvall Jr., D.D.S. (D.D.S.’49/D), of Dallas, July 9, 2016.

Allen Lee, Ph.D., professor in the School of Business, received the LEO Award for Lifetime Exceptional Achievement in information systems from the Association for Information Systems for his contributions to the field. He has been published in top-tier journals, made presentations at international academic conferences and served as editor-in-chief at MIS Quarterly.

Jerome F. Straus III, M.D., Ph.D., dean of the School of Medicine, was honored with the 2016 Frederick Naftolin Award for Mentorship from the Society for Reproductive Investigation for prioritizing mentorship of young scientists throughout his 11 years as dean. The award recognizes the contributions of an SRI member who has helped train and develop the careers of investigators in the field of reproductive and women’s health.

Victoria Menzies, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Adult Health and Nursing Systems in

John Venuti, chief of VCU Police and assistant vice president of public safety, received the Robert

M Member of the alumni association

L Life member of the alumni association

Claude Coleman Jr., M.D. (M.D.’46/M), of Irvington, Va., April 11, 2016, at age 95. Margaret Dowd (’48/H&S; M.P.A.’79/GPA; B.S.’73 /H&S), of Richmond, Va., Aug. 4, 2016, at age 92.

Katherine Edwards (B.S.’44/N), of Winchester, Va., Feb. 18, 2016, at age 93. L Dot Gardner (Cert.’48/N), of Staunton, Va., Sept., 23, 2015. Harold Goodman, M.D. (M.D.’44/M; H.S.’45/M), of Henrico, Va., Feb. 22, 2016, at age 97. Gladys Hughes (B.S.’42/H&S), of Douglasville, Ga., Aug. 23, 2015, at age 96. Ellen Hylen (B.S.’42/N), of Alameda, Calif., Nov. 19, 2015, at age 95. Frances Jones (B.S.’47/H&S), of Onancock, Va., April 16, 2015, at age 93.

Fall 2016



Helen Klitch (B.S.’41/AHP), of San Antonio, April 11, 2016, at age 94.

Darlene Walter (B.S.’46/AHP), of Lafayette, Colo., May 7, 2016, at age 98.

Phyllis Cartwright (B.S.’51/H&S), of Mechanicsville, Va., Feb. 8, 2016, at age 86.

L. Lovelace (B.S.’48/B), of Weaverville, N.C., Oct. 31, 2015, at age 95.

Emile Werk Jr., M.D. (H.S.’48/M), of Wilmington, N.C., July 17, 2016, at age 93. L

L. Cheatham Jr. (B.S.’54/P), of Richmond, Va., May 19, 2016.

Louis Manhoff Jr., M.D. (H.S.’49/M), of Spring Branch, Texas, May 5, 2003, at age 97.

John Wilson, M.D. (H.S.’48/M), of Black Mountain, N.C., May 4, 2016.

Wirt Christian Jr. (B.F.A.’55/A), of Richmond, Va., June 4, 2016, at age 85.

Margaret Moore, Ed.D. (M.S.’49/AHP), of Chapel Hill, N.C., June 15, 2016, at age 95.

Fred Wise Jr., M.D. (M.D.’45/M), of Charlotte, N.C., Feb. 20, 2016.

John Cline, M.D. (M.D.’58/M), of Graham, N.C., June 7, 2016.

Muriel Navarro (B.F.A.’40/A), of Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico, Nov. 28, 2012.

Lucille Cocke (B.S.’53/AHP), of Franklin, N.C., March 2, 2016, at age 86.


George Oliver Jr., M.D. (M.D.’47/M; H.S.’54/M), of Williamsburg, Va., March 12, 2016, at age 92. L

Hope Allen (B.F.A.’50/A), of North Chesterfield, Va., April 5, 2016, at age 88.

Robert Costen (M.S.’59/E), of Chesapeake, Va., June 6, 2016, at age 89.

Heth Owen Jr., M.D. (M.D.’49/M; H.S.’53/M), of Henrico, Va., July 3, 2016.

John Appling, M.D. (M.D.’59/M; H.S.’62/M), of Cleveland, Tenn., June 23, 2016, at age 83. L

Jesse Dipboye (B.F.A.’59/A), of Glen Allen, Va., April 8, 2016.

Selma Polon (M.S.’47/H&S), of Los Angeles, Oct. 19, 2010.

John Atkins, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’53/D), of Norfolk, Va., Dec. 28, 2015, at age 93.

J. Dunn, M.D. (M.D.’57/M), of Charlotte Court House, Va., March 16, 2016.

Alfred Powell, M.D. (M.D.’40/M), of Madison, Va., Aug. 6, 1999.

Owen Baird (B.S.’50/H&S), of Doswell, Va., Sept. 20, 2014, at age 94.

Edward Durand, RPh (B.S.’58/P), of Tucson, Ariz., March 27, 2016, at age 84.

Henry Royster, M.D. (M.D.’48/M; H.S.’49/M), of Richmond, Va., March 1, 2016, at age 93.

Charles Barnett, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’56/D), of Easley, S.C., April 22, 2016.

Douglas Ey, M.D. (M.D.’54/M; H.S.’55/M), of Huntington, W.Va., March 26, 2016, at age 89.

Thomas Saunders, M.D. (M.D.’48/M), of Henrico, Va., March 18, 2016.

Claude Burrows (B.S.’59/H&S), of Richmond, Va., May 27, 2016, at age 83.

Avalon Fansler, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’55/D), of Norfolk, Va., Dec. 4, 2015, at age 85.

Margaret Starkey (B.S.’44/N), of Roanoke, Va., March 16, 2016, at age 93.

Betty Burton (B.S.’53/SSW), of Norfolk, Va., April 2, 2016, at age 85.

Faye Forbes (B.S.’54/H&S), of Fuquay-Varina, N.C., June 24, 2016, at age 84. L

Ruby Testerman (B.S.’47/N), of Vinton, Va., Feb. 29, 2016.

Mary Burton, M.D. (M.D.’55/M; H.S.’56/M), of Accomac, Va., June 9, 2016, at age 87. M

John Foster (B.S.’59/P), of Chilhowie, Va., April 4, 2016, at age 87.






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VCU Alumni

M Member of the alumni association

L Life member of the alumni association

Arthur Frazier, M.D. (M.D.’55/M; H.S.’68/M), of Roanoke, Va., Feb. 28, 2016, at age 86. L Edmund Glover III (B.S.’58/P), Chapel Hill, N.C., July 14, 2016. Irving Greenberg (B.S.’58/B), of Charlotte, N.C., Aug. 28, 2016, at age 82. Walter Hankins Jr., D.D.S. (D.D.S.’57/D), of Smithfield, Va., May 18, 2016, at age 53.

in Want to jo n 7,000 a th re o the m ho call alumni w e? ms for Lif a R s e themselv r membership you Upgrade day at to Life to /join. org i. n vcualum

The following alumni and friends have recently made a lifetime commitment to VCU by becoming new Life members of VCU Alumni. Thank you! The list includes individuals who joined VCU Alumni as Life members between May 16, 2016, and Aug. 31, 2016.

William Hawkins, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’59/D), of Stuart, Fla., March 13, 2016, at age 86. Eugene Heatwole, M.D. (H.S.’56/M), of Newport News, Va., Sept. 4, 2016. Barbara Hendricks (B.S.’57/N), of Inwood, W.Va., May 7, 2016. Patricia Holliday (B.S.’58/N), of St. Petersburg, Fla., April 20, 2016, at age 81. Farrar Howard, M.D. (M.D.’53/M), of Providence Forge, Va., Sept. 1, 2016, at age 92.

Dr. Turki Ibrahim Almugaiteeb Dr. Jeffrey P. Booth Susan Booth Joshua Allan Carter Dr. Jernaya R. Coleman LiLa M. Curtis Dr. Ellen Ruth Dean Nona Drumheller

Mary Melissa Earley Carmine J. Fontana Leslie C. Gaines Rhonda V. Hall Dr. Michelle D. Hoekstra Barry O. Lanneau Brooke LeAnne Reed Margo Kimberly Maier

Constance Linda Mack Dr. Te’mica R. Mitchell Dr. Natalie Le Nguyen Joshua Pucci Kelly Reagan Julia Hoag Roughton Dexter Dean Sells David Marlo Summers

Andrew Tarne Grace Kimberly Teeples Leslie B. Tucker-Guilfoyle Matthew Douglas Velasco Gabriel A. Walker Cynthia L.W. Warriner

Donald Howell, M.D. (M.D.’56/M; H.S.’61/M), of Suffolk, Va., May 13, 2016, at age 85. John Kelly, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’53/D), of Bristol, Va., April 3, 2016, at age 76. Shirley Kirby (B.S.’58/N; M.S.’78/N), of Lynchburg, Va., Aug. 7, 2016, at age 80. J. Kirkpatrick Jr. (B.S.’50/P), of Petersburg, Va., May 20, 2016, at age 90. Bernard Levey (B.S.’50/E), of Henrico, Va., Dec. 3, 2014, at age 89. Susan Lilly (B.S.’59/N), of Plymouth, N.C., Feb. 28, 2016, at age 78. L Thomas Long, M.D. (M.D.’54/M), of Lindside, W.Va., April 6, 2016, at age 88. Ira Loper (Dipl.’58/N), of Hampton, Va., March 10, 2013, at age 80. Donald Lowe (B.S.’56/AHP), of Florence, S.C., Jan. 28, 2015, at age 83. Leonard Maiden (B.S.’53/E), of Columbia, S.C., March 10, 2016, at age 88. Jacqueline Mardan (B.S.’59/N), of Wilmington, N.C., April 29, 2016, at age 79. L Virgil Marshall, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’50/D; Cert.’51/D), of Charlottesville, Va., May 21, 2016, at age 94. L Gordon Martens (B.S.’51/P), of Houston, April 8, 2016, at age 96. Clara Matz (B.S.’50/N), of Louisville, Ky., June 29, 2016. Emanuel Michaels, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’55/D), of Norfolk, Va., Aug. 7, 2016, at age 86. M

Doug (left), Renita, David, David II and Jessica Randolph

Why I became a Ram for Life “For me, attending VCU is a family affair. Four out of our family of five have matriculated here. I met my husband when he was an undergrad at the university, later completing his residency in radiation oncology at VCU Medical Center; our daughter and oldest son completed medical school at VCU; and I graduated from dental school here as well. Becoming a Ram for Life was only natural for me given all the opportunities afforded to us by VCU. As Rams, my family was given more than just exceptional academics but careers, relationships and pride.” – Renita Randolph, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’91/D)

Fall 2016



Combining cultures Alumnus connects China and America through art By Anthony Langley “I was like many aspiring Chinese artists in my generation, and I dreamed that I would be recognized and exhibit in America,” says Wei Dong (M.F.A.’88/A). In a time when less than 1 percent of students were accepted into college in China, Dong attended TsingHua University in Beijing, formerly the Central Academy of Arts and Design, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in arts and interior design. “I was very lucky,” he says. “This was the opportunity to follow my passion.” China had just opened its doors to the world in the mid-1980s when Dong was ready to attend graduate school, allowing him to apply to colleges in the U.S. Through the strength of his portfolio, he received acceptance letters from many universities, but chose Virginia Commonwealth University because of its location and the personal outreach he received from his future VCU School of the Arts professor Ringo Yung. “I received a written letter from the interior design department encouraging me to attend, which was a very personal touch,” Dong says. Standing outside of Richmond International Airport in 1986, two weeks before the semester started, Dong realized he did not have a place to stay and that his stipend wouldn’t be coming until the first day of classes. “I called my professor, Ringo Yung, and he allowed me to stay with him until the semester started,” he says. Dong’s professors and classmates welcomed him with open arms, helping him to learn the ins and outs of American culture. When the winter holidays came around, his fellow students opened their homes so he could celebrate with them. “I remember having turkey for the first time at my first Thanksgiving,” he says. “It is such a rare bird in China that I didn’t know you could eat it!” In 1987, one year after arriving in the U.S., Dong presented his first solo exhibit at the School of the Arts in a showing that combined classical Chinese and modern Western art practices. Dong, now working as the Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor in the Department of Design Studies at the School of Human Ecology at the University of WisconsinMadison, has continued to evolve his art style to this day. “His creativity and positive outlook are infectious,” says Sonya Clark, professor and chair of the Department of Craft and Material Studies in the VCU School of the Arts. “We worked together at Wisconsin-Madison for many years, and both agree that VCU is a place that fosters the creativity of its students and faculty. Wei is a great example of what VCU can help a student become.” Since graduating from VCU, Dong has become a published author, has practiced interior design in the U.S. and China and has had his artwork exhibited in galleries around the world. “The secret to my success is that I always remain thankful and maintain a global, cultural perspective,” Dong says. “I teach my students to do the same.” Recently he was honored with the Distinguished Achievement Award from the ChineseAmerican Arts Faculty association and, to mark his 30-year artistic anniversary, Dong presented a 136-painting solo exhibit, “The Journey,” in June at the National Culture Palace of Nationalities in Beijing. He says he would like to bring his art back to Richmond for an exhibit. For now, James Branch Cabell Library is showing his work on the 21-by-24 foot screen that faces Shafer Court through January 2017. “There will always be a special place in my heart for [VCU],” he says. “If I had the opportunity to go anywhere, I would always come back.”

– Anthony Langley (B.S.’16/MC) is a contributing writer for the alumni magazine. View Dong’s paintings online at


VCU Alumni


Bernard Miller, M.D. (M.D.’52/M), of Virginia Beach, Va., Aug. 25, 2016. Barbara Morgan (B.S.’56/P), of Ware Neck, Va., June 13, 2016. M Harry Munson, M.D. (M.D.’51/M), of Richmond, Va., March 1, 1983. Benjamin Norfleet, M.D. (M.D.’57/M), of Newport News, Va., May 12, 2016, at age 83. M Donna Odom (B.S.’59/AHP), of Richmond, Va., Feb. 20, 2016, at age 80. William Orr, M.D. (M.D.’55/M), of Fishersville, Va., April 20, 2016, at age 86. L Constantine Pantelakos, M.D. (H.S.’58/M), of Fayetteville, N.C., May 31, 2016, at age 84. John Payette Jr., M.D. (M.D.’58/M; H.S.’62/M), Culpeper, Va., June 14, 2016. Brownie Polly Jr., D.D.S. (D.D.S.’58/D), of Big Stone Gap, Va., Aug. 4, 2016, at age 47. Alton Powell III, M.D. (M.D.’54/M; H.S.’58/M), of Winter Park, Fla., May 31, 2016, at age 87. L S. Rentsch Jr., M.D. (M.D.’54/M; H.S.’55/M), of Ashburn, Va., Feb. 24, 2016, at age 78. William Rike Jr., M.D. (H.S.’54/M), of San Jose, Calif., May 19, 2013. Robert Robinson, M.D. (B.S.’56/P; M.D.’60/M; H.S.’66/M), of Richmond, Va., March 1, 2016, at age 81.

Emma Yoho, M.D. (M.D.’54/M), of Kent, Ohio, July 7, 2015, at age 87.


Lee Hoyt (B.S.’61/AHP), of San Jose, Calif., May 16, 2012, at age 78. Peggy Jessup (’60/B), of Charlotte, N.C., Oct. 28, 2015, at age 76.

Samuel Bisese, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’61/D), of Portsmouth, Va., June 29, 2016.

Robert Kahn, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’64/D), of Midlothian, Va., April 14, 2016, at age 78.

Shellie Bradford (B.S.’66/N), of Sumter, S.C., June 30, 2014, at age 71.

Gloria Krauss (B.S.’67/E; M.Ed.’71/E), of Richmond, Va., Aug. 23, 2016, at age 81.

Jack Brenner, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’62/D), of Miami, March 10, 2016.

Melvin Kurzer (M.S.’64/SW), of Oak Island, N.C., March 10, 2016, at age 84.

Carolyn Candler, M.D. (M.D.’66/M), Jan. 1, 1976.

Judith Lane (A.S.’64/B; B.S.’91/N; B.S.’67/AHP), of Richmond, Va., July 6, 2016, at age 73.

James Carruth Jr., M.D. (H.S.’65/M), of Pensacola, Fla., July 8, 2016, at age 76. Curtis Clayton (M.H.A.’61/AHP), of Pawleys Island, S.C., April 4, 2016. Abram Clymer (B.S.’67/E), of Harrisonburg, Va., Sept. 1, 2016, at age 76. James Cosby (B.S.’67/B; M.S.’70/B), of Chesterfield, Va., April 22, 2016, at age 71. J. Doyle, M.D. (H.S.’65/M), of Dublin, Aug. 18, 2004. Robert Drewry (B.S.’64/B), of Clifton Forge, Va., June 4, 2016, at age 77. John Farago (M.S.’68/H&S), of Midlothian, Va., Aug. 26, 2013.

Isabella Laude (M.S.’66/AHP), of Babson Park, Fla., June 21, 2016, at age 85. James McIntosh, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’66/D), of Denver, N.C., May 7, 2016, at age 76. Alice Milton (M.S.’66/H&S), of Richmond, Va., Aug. 6, 2016, at age 89. James Moyers (B.S.’60), of Richmond, Va., April 19, 2016, at age 81. Susan Newton (B.S.’69/H&S), of Mechanicsville, Va., Nov. 1, 2014, at age 68. Phillip Okun, M.D. (M.D.’68/M), of Roswell, Ga., March 25, 2016.

Richard Gardner, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’67/D), of Abingdon, Va., May 27, 2014, at age 75.

Sherrell Orrock (B.S.’66/SW; M.S.’70/AHP), of Richmond, Va., Aug. 3, 2016, at age 73. L

Patricia Ryder (B.S.’51/N), of Midlothian, Va., Nov. 20, 2009, at age 88.

Cowles Garrison (B.S.’66/SW; M.S.W.’70/SW), of Midlothian, Va., Aug. 17, 2016.

Jerry Parrish (B.S.’69/SW; M.S.W.’72/SW), of Newport News, Va., March 19, 2016.

George Simpson (B.F.A.’50/A), of Gloucester, Va., March 8, 2016. L

David Greenwood (B.S.’63/P), of Marion, Va., July 3, 2016, at age 86. L

Paul Pirkle, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’62/D), of Ormond Beach, Fla., June 17, 2015, at age 79.

Larry Smith, M.D. (M.D.’56/M), of Greensboro, N.C., March 19, 2016. L

John Gregory, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’63/D), of Tappahannock, Va., Aug. 12, 2016, at age 78.

Thomas Robertson Sr. (M.S.’62/E), of Salem, Va., May 7, 2016, at age 81.

George Solan, M.D. (M.D.’55/M), of Hudson, Ohio, Feb. 27, 2016, at age 90. M

Carolyn Handzel (B.F.A.’61/A), of Crete, Ill., July 4, 2016, at age 77.

Fred Rosenblum, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’64/D), of Boca Raton, Fla., Aug. 11, 2016, at age 78.

William Stanley (B.S.’51/B), of Richmond, Va., July 11, 2016, at age 88.

Horace Hanshaw (B.A.’69/H&S), of Henrico, Va., April 12, 2016.

Samuel Russo, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’61/D), of Portsmouth, Va., Feb. 27, 2012.

Frances Tack (B.S.’54/N), of Matthews, N.C., July 26, 2016, at age 85.

Gerald Headley Jr. (B.S.’61/B), of Lottsburg, Va., Nov. 26, 2015, at age 81.

Cleon Sanders Jr. (M.H.A.’63/AHP), of Raleigh, N.C., Oct. 29, 2014, at age 80.

Grace Taylor (B.S.’56/B), of Clarksville, Va., June 5, 2015, at age 82.

William Heady (B.F.A.’68/A), of Union, N.J., Aug. 14, 2016, at age 69.

Francis Sheild, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’61/D), of Baltimore, Aug. 31, 2016, at age 81.

Henry Tucker Jr., M.D. (M.D.’58/M), of Halifax, Va., June 19, 2016, at age 84.

Ernest Hoelzer, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’62/D), of Fairfax, Va., May 16, 2016, at age 86.

Jack Shelburg, M.D. (M.D.’62/M), of Columbia, S.C., July 14, 2016, at age 85. L

Barbara Uraneck (B.S.’52/AHP), of Weatherford, Okla., April 18, 2016, at age 88.

W. Holloway (B.F.A.’64/A), of Pittstown, N.J., May 25, 2016, at age 73.

Garland Slagle, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’64/D), of Hilton Head Island, S.C., May 28, 2016, at age 81.

Robert Whitmore Jr., D.D.S. (D.D.S.’56/D; Cert.’59/D), of Virginia Beach, Va., May 23, 2016.

James Holt (B.F.A.’67/A; M.A.’69/A), of Orlando, Fla., Aug. 2, 2016.

Mary Swisher (B.S.’61/N), of Bowling Green, Va., May 30, 2016, at age 76.

Vivian Wilkerson, M.D. (M.D.’58/M; H.S.’59/M), of Chesterfield, Va., March 21, 2016, at age 90. L

Sue Horger (B.S.’60/AHP), of Hermosa Beach, Calif., May 13, 2016, at age 75.

Dollie Tarrant (M.S.’69/B), of Norfolk, Va., Feb. 16, 2016, at age 85.

M Member of the alumni association

L Life member of the alumni association

Fall 2016


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William Taylor, Ph.D. (M.S.’64/H&S), of Great Falls, Mont., June 16, 2016, at age 85.

Charles Bruner (A.S.’72/En), of Midlothian, Va., May 7, 2016.

Laverne Kahl (B.S.’78/B), of Midlothian, Va., May 20, 2016, at age 91.

Robert Thomas Jr. (B.S.’60/P), of Crisfield, Md., April 4, 2016, at age 82.

Elizabeth Campen (B.F.A.’77/A), of Edenton, N.C., Aug. 17, 2016, at age 70.

James Kattau (Cert.’75/AHP), of Laurel, N.Y., April 8, 2016.

Stanley Toporek, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’64/D), of Charleston, S.C., March 10, 2016.

William Carroll, M.D. (H.S.’73/M), of Pinehurst, N.C., March 11, 2008.

Patrick Kelly (B.S.’72/E), of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., May 22, 2016, at age 69.

Barbara Traylor (B.S.’67/E), of Whitewright, Texas, June 15, 2016, at age 70.

Joel Council (M.Ed.’79/E), of Raleigh, N.C., April 6, 2016, at age 81.

Sandra Kotarides (B.S.’76/H&S; M.Ed.’78/E), of Tryon, N.C., May 26, 2016, at age 66.

Azarie Waters (M.S.W.’60/SW), of Virginia Beach, Va., Feb. 16, 2016, at age 89.

Thomas Elder (B.S.’71/B; M.Ed.’80/E), of Keysville, Va., April 2, 2016, at age 70. L

Patricia Logan-Reilly (B.S.’74/E), of Chesterfield, Va., May 12, 2016, at age 64.

James Windsor (M.S.’63/H&S), of Williamsburg, Va., April 3, 2016.

Cynthia Faison (B.S.’78/N; M.S.’94/N), of Surry, Va., May 22, 2016, at age 61.

Kenneth Mace (M.Ed.’72/E), of Henrico, Va., July 27, 2016, at age 83.

Phillip Woodson Sr. (A.A.’65/GPA; B.S.’68/H&S), of Richmond, Va., April 4, 2016, at age 93.

Marc Gardner (B.F.A.’76/A), of Red Bank, N.J., May 15, 2016.

Martin Maples (B.S.’75/H&S; M.S.’77/AHP), of Shawsville, Va., Dec. 8, 2012.

Sam Woolwine, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’62/D), of Richmond, Va., May 20, 2016.

Gerald Gates, M.D. (M.D.’70/M), of Spokane, Wash., Aug. 19, 2016, at age 71.

David Margolius, M.D. (M.D.’77/M; H.S.’11/M), of Concord, Mass., July 20, 2014, at age 66.


Leonard Girling (M.B.A.’77/B), of Richmond, Va., May 20, 2016, at age 71.

Mary McNeill, Ph.D. (Ph.D.’72/M), of Greenville, N.C., July 20, 2016.

William Adams (B.S.’73/P), of Big Stone Gap, Va., June 9, 2016.

Janis Graham (B.S.’71/E), of Charlotte, N.C., April 7, 2016, at age 85.

Helen Morrissett (B.S.’74/H&S; M.Ed.’85/E), of King George, Va., Feb. 20, 2015, at age 82.

Bruce Benedictson, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’77/D), of Port Orange, Fla., April 23, 2016, at age 64.

Joseph Greene Jr., D.D.S. (D.D.S.’74/D), of Mount Sidney, Va., April 11, 2016.

Truman Oliver (B.F.A.’73/A), of Chesapeake, Va., July 13, 2016, at age 68.

Harold Boling (B.S.’74/E), of Plano, Texas, Feb. 8, 2016.

Mary Greenlee (B.S.’75/SW; M.S.’80/AHP), of Richmond, Va., June 8, 2016, at age 90.

John Owen, M.D. (M.D.’72/M; H.S.’73/M), of Richmond, Va., Aug. 24, 2016, at age 72.

John Boswell (B.S.’78/H&S), of Washington, D.C., April 26, 2016, at age 65.

Benjamin Hanson Jr. (B.S.’75/GPA), of Richmond, Va., June 12, 2016, at age 69.

Barbara Pendergrast (B.S.’71/N), of Richmond, Va., July 28, 2016, at age 66.

ABBREVIATION KEY College and schools



A.A., A.S. Associate degree Cert. Certificate B.A. Bachelor of Arts B.F.A. Bachelor of Fine Arts B.G.S. Bachelor of General Studies B.I.S. Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies B.M. Bachelor of Music B.M.E. Bachelor of Music Education B.S. Bachelor of Science B.S.W. Bachelor of Social Work D.D.S. Doctor of Dental Surgery Dipl. Diploma D.N.A.P. Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice D.P.A. Doctor of Public Administration D.N.P. Doctor of Nursing Practice D.P.T. Doctor of Physical Therapy H.L.D. Doctor of Humane Letters H.S. House Staff M.A. Master of Arts M.Acc. Master of Accountancy M.A.E. Master of Art Education M.B.A. Master of Business Administration M.Bin. Master of Bioinformatics M.D. Doctor of Medicine

College of Humanities and Sciences School of the Arts School of Allied Health Professions School of Business School of Dentistry School of Education School of Engineering L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs Graduate School VCU Life Sciences School of Medicine Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture School of Nursing School of Pharmacy Office of Research and Innovation St. Philip School of Nursing School of Social Work School of World Studies

Alumni are identified by degree, graduation year and college or school.

M Member of the alumni association

L Life member of the alumni association

M.Ed. M.Envs. M.F.A. M.H.A. M.I.S. M.M. M.M.E. M.P.A. M.P.H. M.P.I. M.P.S. M.S. M.S.A.T. M.S.C.M. M.S.D. M.S.H.A. M.S.N.A. M.S.O.T. M.S.W. M.T. M.Tax. M.U.R.P. O.T.D. Pharm.D. Ph.D.

Master of Education Master of Environmental Studies Master of Fine Arts Master of Health Administration Master of Interdisciplinary Studies Master of Music Master of Music Education Master of Public Administration Master of Public Health Master of Product Innovation Master of Pharmaceutical Sciences Master of Science Master of Science in Athletic Training Master of Supply Chain Management Master of Science in Dentistry Master of Science in Health Administration Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia Master of Science in Occupational Therapy Master of Social Work Master of Teaching Master of Taxation Master of Urban and Regional Planning Post-professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate Doctor of Pharmacy Doctor of Philosophy

Fall 2016



Edley Porter (M.Ed.’78/E), of Henrico, Va., June 26, 2016, at age 63.

Mark Bothwell, D.D.S. (H.S.’81/D), of Owensboro, Ky., June 24, 2016.

Ralph Rogers, M.D. (M.D.’81/M), of Ada, Mich., June 2, 2016, at age 64.

Randall Powell, M.D. (M.D.’71/M), of Mobile, Ala., July 25, 2016. L

Joan Chappell (M.U.R.P.’83/GPA), of Richmond, Va., July 21, 2016, at age 87.

Alan Sarbin (M.Ed.’88/E), of Barboursville, Va., June 24, 2016, at age 83.

Melissa Quesenberry (B.F.A.’70/A), of Mobile, Ala., Nov. 27, 2015.

Donald Cole, M.D. (M.D.’80/M), of Mount Juliet, Tenn., April 1, 2016, at age 62.

Debra Schaefer (B.F.A.’82/A), of Bethany Beach, Del., Aug. 25, 2016, at age 56.

Abby Rabin (B.S.’71/SW), of Somerset, N.J., April 21, 2016, at age 68. M

John Davis (B.S.’85/H&S), of Charlottesville, Va., March 11, 2016, at age 55.

Paul Schneider (B.A.’83/H&S), of Franklin Lakes, N.J., March 10, 2016, at age 60.

Robert Reid (M.Ed.’74/E), of Sandston, Va., June 19, 2016, at age 82.

Eric Deel (B.S.’87/N), of Hudson, Fla., March 30, 2016, at age 65.

Tracy Schutt (B.S.’88/E), of Colonial Heights, Va., Aug. 6, 2016, at age 51.

Mary Ridley (B.S.’76/N), of Richmond, Va., June 15, 2016, at age 75.

Spencer Elmore (Cert.’84/B), of Richmond, Va., Sept. 12, 2016, at age 76.

Charles Shaver Jr. (B.A.’81/H&S), of Midlothian, Va., April 4, 2016, at age 67.

Charles Safley, M.D. (H.S.’77/M), of Grand Blanc, Mich., May 22, 2016.

Jane Erdman (M.H.A.’82/AHP), of Indiana, Penn., June 10, 2016, at age 69.

Gwen Stevens (M.A.E.’80/A), of Virginia Beach, Va., Feb. 4, 2016, at age 71.

Robert Scarlata, M.D. (H.S.’73/M), of Morganton, N.C., Jan. 12, 2015.

Harold Frye (B.S.’84/B), of Richmond, Va., April 14, 2016, at age 66.

Robert Stevenson, M.D. (H.S.’83/M), of Statesville, N.C., Sept. 6, 2016, at age 82.

Laura Siff (M.Ed.’75/E), of Richmond, Va., Feb. 10, 2016, at age 86.

Nancy Geary (M.S.’85/N), of Yorktown, Va., Aug. 31, 2016, at age 74.

Beverly Stokes (B.S.’82/E), of Mechanicsville, Va., Oct. 22, 2008, at age 66.

Ramakrishnan Shenoy, M.D. (H.S.’75/M), of Mechanicsville, Va., Feb. 20, 2016, at age 75.

George Gerring (M.Ed.’80/E), of Midlothian, Va., Feb. 18, 2016, at age 65.

Mark Terry (B.S.’82/B), of Richmond, Va., April 30, 2016, at age 57.

David Gladstone (B.S.’81/B), of Midlothian, Va., April 26, 2016, at age 65.

Jon Trabosh, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’80/D), of Elkton, Va., May 5, 2016, at age 69.

Wilbur Hackett Jr. (B.S.’86/P), of Fredericksburg, Va., July 7, 2016, at age 60.

Michael Tremblay (M.B.A.’87/B), of Goochland, Va., June 25, 2016, at age 64.

George Henniker (B.G.S.’83/A), of Norfolk, Va., March 12, 2016, at age 67.

Linda Veldheer, Ph.D. (Ph.D.’89/GPA), of Columbia, S.C., May 20, 2016, at age 69.

Cynthia Hicks (B.S.’81/B), of Midlothian, Va., July 30, 2016, at age 58.

Katherine Virden (M.A.E.’80/A), of Marion, Iowa, Sept. 3, 2016, at age 65.

Katharine Holding (M.S.’80/AHP), of Asheville, N.C., June 26, 2016, at age 74.

Greg Wainright (B.S.’87/B), of Sterling, Va., April 16, 2016, at age 55. M

Po Jen (B.S.’85/B), of Trussville, Ala., July 29, 2016, at age 52.

Catherine White, Ph.D. (Ph.D.’88/M), of Albany, Ore., April 24, 2016, at age 93. M

Catherine Knebel (M.S.’85/AHP), of Ashburn, Va., June 7, 2016, at age 82.

Joanne Womack (M.Ed.’82/E), of Chester, Va., April 16, 2016, at age 86.

Melinda Larsen, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’80/D), of Wayzata, Minn., March 21, 2016, at age 62.


Joseph Liggan (B.S.’83/B), of Henrico, Va., Aug. 17, 2016, at age 58.

Janet Attlesey, M.D. (M.D.’95/M), of Jacksonville, Fla., Dec. 23, 2013, at age 55. L

Patrick McCarter (B.S.’87/B), of Midlothian, Va., March 21, 2016, at age 64.

Mary Blount, Ph.D. (Ph.D.’99/N), of Dothan, Ala., May 7, 2016, at age 68.

Kenneth Midkiff, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’80/D), of Martinsville, Va., April 30, 2016, at age 62.

Dean Boutin (B.G.S.’94/H&S), of Bumpass, Va., July 25, 2016, at age 46.


Peter Mihelich (B.F.A.’87/A), of Richmond, Va., March 1, 2016, at age 62.

Margaret Craft (B.S.’91/N), of Clarksville, Va., May 3, 2016, at age 65.

Rose Adams (B.G.S.’83/H&S; M.Ed.’97/E), of Henrico, Va., June 17, 2016, at age 68.

Charlotte Plaxico (M.S.’84/B), of Fredericksburg, Va., June 23, 2016.

Elizabeth Elam (B.A.’96/A), of Henrico, Va., Sept. 3, 2016, at age 47.

Richard Armstrong (M.S.’84/AHP), of Carlinville, Ill., Dec. 25, 2015, at age 61.

Mary Reidelbach (B.S.’86/H&S; M.S.’91/H&S), of Richmond, Va., May 20, 2016, at age 51.

Mark Gardner (B.F.A.’96/A), of Richmond, Va., July 8, 2009, at age 52.

Gwendolyn Bennett (M.Ed.’84/E), of Ashland, Va., June 10, 2016, at age 68.

Edwin Robinson Jr. (M.P.A.’81/GPA), of Disputanta, Va., March 31, 2016, at age 64.

Peter Helweg (B.S.’94/B), of Glen Allen, Va., July 20, 2016, at age 65.

Victoria Stapp (B.S.’72/N), of Ocala, Fla., May 24, 2016, at age 67. Elizabeth Stranz (M.S.W.’76/SW), of Plano, Texas, Aug. 22, 2016, at age 87. Bruce Twyman (B.S.’74/H&S), of Richmond, Va., June 3, 2016, at age 65. He served as the first president of the VCU Alumni African-American Alumni Council. Stewart Tyree (B.S.’77/P), of Lynchburg, Va., Jan. 5, 2014, at age 62. Peter Walker (B.S.’71/H&S), of Virginia Beach, Va., May 24, 2016, at age 67. L Leslie Watts (A.S.’75/B), of Pinehurst, N.C., March 27, 2016, at age 61. Richard West III (B.S.’74/B), of Richmond, Va., Aug. 24, 2016, at age 64. Gregory Wheal (B.A.’76/H&S), of Midlothian, Va., Aug. 3, 2016, at age 65. Stuart Wolff, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’76/D), of Glen Allen, Va., Feb. 25, 2016, at age 71. Hilda Woodby, Ph.D. (M.S.’76/N), of Richmond, Va., March 9, 2016, at age 67.


VCU Alumni

M Member of the alumni association

L Life member of the alumni association


OFFICERS AND UNIVERSITY ALUMNI LEADERSHIP COUNCIL PRESIDENT: James E. Williams (B.S.’84/GPA; M.S.’96/GPA) PRESIDENT-ELECT: Dale C. Kalkofen, D.Ed. (M.A.E.’76/A) IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT: W. Baxter Perkinson Jr., D.D.S. (D.D.S.’70/D) TREASURER: Jon B. Hill (B.S.’85/B; M.B.A.’99/B; M.S.’12/B) MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE CHAIR: Michael D. Whitlow (B.S.’74/MC) OUTREACH AND ENGAGEMENT COMMITTEE CHAIR: Mary Ann Steiner (B.S.’98/B) AUDIT COMMITTEE CHAIR: Linda M. Warren (B.S.’75/B) SECRETARY AND INCENTIVE REVENUE SHARING AD-HOC COMMITTEE CHAIR: Kenneth A. Thomas (B.S.’91/B) BOARD OF VISITORS REPRESENTATIVE: Vacant VCU PRESIDENT: Michael Rao, Ph.D. (ex-officio) VCU VICE PRESIDENT FOR DEVELOPMENT AND ALUMNI RELATIONS: Marti K.S. Heil (ex-officio) Gokhan Yucel (M.S.’02/B; M.B.A.’04/B) AT-LARGE GOVERNORS Joseph E. Becht Jr. (M.B.A.’80/B) Steven B. Brincefield (M.S.’74/B) Leah L.E. Bush, M.D. (M.S.’79/H&S; M.D.’84/M; H.S.’88/M; H.S.’89/M) Aaron R. Gilchrist Jr. (B.S.’03/MC) John Kelly (B.S.’87/H&S)

Peter K. Kennedy (M.H.A.’10/AHP) Kelly Knight (M.S.’08/H&S) Kenneth W. Kolb, Pharm. D. (Pharm.D.’82/P), Riding Rams Adele McClure (B.S.'11/B) Jibran Muhammad (B.A.'06/H&S) Timmy Nguyen (B.S.’11/B) Cathy Saunders (B.S.W.’76/SW; M.S.’82/AHP) Paula B. Saxby, Ph.D. (M.S.’85/N; Ph.D.’92/N) Vickie M. Snead (B.S.’76/B) June O. Thomas (B.S.’78/B; M.B.A.’82/B) Gabriel A. Walker (B.S.’10/B) CONSTITUENT SOCIETY REPRESENTATIVES Michael Adu-Gyamfi (B.S.’08/B; M.B.A.’13/B), DMV GOLD Chapter Fabiola Argandona (B.S.’16/B), Information Systems Alumni Association Steven Burkarth (B.A.’14/H&S), Political Science Alumni Society Joe Damico (M.P.A.’97/H&S), M.P.A. Alumni Association Juliet Daniels (B.S.W.’13/SW), Lynchburg Chapter Quynh Do (B.S.’01/H&S; M.P.H.’05/M), Public Health Alumni Association Katie Dolvin (B.S.’10/B), Charleston Chapter Todd Emerson (B.A.’93/H&S), Seattle Chapter Maria-Cristina Gavilan (B.A.’12/H&S), Latino Alumni Council Andrew Hobson (B.S.’12/En), Engineering Alumni Association Stephanie Holt (B.S.’74/E), Education Alumni Council Jennifer Homer (B.F.A.’96/A), Portland Chapter Igor Jekauc (B.S.’01/H&S; B.S.’01/En; M.B.A.’04/B), Dallas Chapter James L. Jenkins Jr. (B.S.’07/N), Nursing Alumni Association

Saif Khan (B.A.'07/H&S), Military Veterans Alumni Council Joseph Lowenthal (B.F.A.’55/A), RPI Alumni Council Skye Mullarkey (B.S.’09/H&S), Atlanta Chapter Pejmon Noor (B.S.’11/B), Philadelphia Chapter Mason Packard (B.S.’04/B), Charlotte Chapter Michelle R. Peace, Ph.D. (Ph.D.’05/M), MCV Alumni Association of VCU David Phan (B.S.’06/B), St. Louis Chapter Rachel Podolsky (B.F.A.’07/A), San Francisco Chapter Carol M. Schall, Ph.D. (Ph.D.’03/E), Rainbow Rams Paul Seward (B.F.A.’96/A), Austin Chapter Cullen Shelton (B.S.’02/H&S), Chicago Chapter Frank Shortall (M.B.A.’99/B), Business Alumni Society Michael Steele (M.P.A.’05/GPA), Hampton Roads Chapter Joseph R. Stemmle (B.S.’13/B), RVA GOLD Chapter Laura E. Tanger (B.F.A.’91/A), Los Angeles Chapter Michelle Turner (B.S.’93/H&S), New York City Chapter Latonya Waller (B.S.’01/H&S; M.T.'01/E), African-American Alumni Council UNIVERSITY ORGANIZATION REPRESENTATIVES Shawn Hakim, Graduate Student Association president (ex-officio) Lionel Bacon (B.G.S.'90/H&S; M.I.S.'94/H&S), VCU Athletics (ex-officio) Holly Alford (M.F.A.'97/A), Faculty Senate (ex-officio) Ava Hassas, STAT president (ex-officio) Katie Clark, Monroe Park Campus SGA president (ex-officio) Connor Jarrendt, MCV Campus SGA president (ex-officio)

Make your list and check it twice Find the perfect gift (for yourself or someone else) this holiday season. M.LaHart’s VCU collection features fine watches — including world-renowned TAG Heuer — sterling silver accessories and jewelry, elegant crystal, home accessories and many more VCU gifts. All items are expertly crafted, personally engraved and beautifully presented, perfect for university grads and VCU fans.

Your M.LaHart purchase helps support our programs while celebrating your VCU pride. Shop online at or call (888) 928-9284 and let one of M.LaHart’s personal shoppers help with your selection.

Fall 2016



Radhika Joglekar (M.S.W.’98/SW), of Clarksville, Md., Aug. 19, 2016, at age 46. Kara Joyner (A.S.’95/AHP), of Virginia Beach, Va., May 31, 2016, at age 43. Edwin Land (B.A.’94/H&S), of Petersburg, Va., Sept. 2, 2016, at age 69. Dawn Lemaster (B.S.’91/E), of Bowling Green, Va., July 17, 2016, at age 48. James Lewis (B.S.’95/B), of Woodbridge, Va., Jan. 18, 2015, at age 51. Mark MacDonald, M.D. (H.S.’92/M), of Newport News, Va., Aug. 9, 2010. David Robinson, M.D. (H.S.’95/M), of Orlando, Fla., Oct. 31, 2015, at age 54. Mary Seward (M.Ed.’97/E), of Mechanicsville, Va., Feb. 24, 2016, at age 70. Emily Smith (B.S.’90/N), of Charlottesville, Va., Feb. 20, 2016, at age 52. Lakeita Smith, M.D. (M.D.’98/M), of Glen Allen, Va., July 22, 2016, at age 43. Valerie Smith (B.S.’94/N), of Hampton, Va., June 18, 2016, at age 61. Nancy Taliaferro (M.S.’96/AHP), of Richmond, Va., April 22, 2016, at age 48. Joseph Wallace, Ph.D. (Ph.D.’94/E), of Richmond, Va., Feb. 24, 2016, at age 62. Betsy Yost (B.F.A.’98/A; M.I.S.’15/A), of Flat Rock, N.C., Feb. 17, 2016, at age 61.

2000s Charles Cooper Jr. (B.F.A.’00/A), of Westminster, Md., Feb. 26, 2016, at age 52. Katherine Dorsk (B.S.’04/H&S), of Richmond, Va., July 31, 2016, at age 36. Reena Jadav (B.S.’08/H&S; M.S.’11/B), of Mechanicsville, Va., Sept. 4, 2016, at age 30. Joseph Lundy III (B.S.’01/H&S), of Richmond, Va., Aug. 8, 2016, at age 39. Eric Major (B.S.’05/En), of Midlothian, Va., Feb. 25, 2016, at age 33. Donald McCauley Jr. (M.S.W.’09/SW), of Arlington, Va., Oct. 30, 2015, at age 67. Diane Osborne (B.S.’02/N), of Yorktown, Va., March 8, 2016, at age 58. Lori Para (B.S.’03/N), of Manassas, Va., March 7, 2016, at age 36. Rhonda Phillips (B.S.’06/N), of Lagrange, Ga., June 20, 2016, at age 52.


VCU Alumni

Clover Smith (B.A.’09/A), of Midlothian, Va., March 25, 2016, at age 42.

2010s Dante Johnson (B.S.’15/En), of Richmond, Va., July 2, 2016, at age 25. Benjamin Meade (B.S.’13/H&S), of Louisa, Va., May 11, 2016, at age 33. Corey Randall (B.S.’16/H&S), of Fredericksburg, Va., April 15, 2016, at age 22. M John Richardson (B.A.’11/H&S), of Dillsburg, Penn., Sept. 4, 2016, at age 30. Chelsea Wagner (B.A.’16/H&S), of Hampton, Va., Nov. 25, 2015, at age 22. Barry Williams Jr., D.P.T. (D.P.T.’12/AHP), of Richmond, Va., Sept. 22, 2014, at age 29.

Faculty and staff L. Wayne Batty, of Richmond, Va., Sept. 4, 2016, at age 94. Batty taught at VCU for 58 years in the School of the Arts’ Department of Music and, upon his retirement in 2007, became both the longest-serving VCU faculty member and state employee. During his career, he founded the opera program at VCU and staged more than 1,000 opera and musical theater productions. He received the VCU Presidential Medallion in 1999 for 50 years of service and was named professor emeritus in the music department, of which he remained an active supporter in his retirement. Louis J. De Felice, Ph.D., Nov. 14, 2016, at age 76. He made significant contributions to the field of biomedical sciences and most recently served as a professor of physiology and biophysics at VCU. An award-winning mentor and impassioned scientific advisor, De Felice’s research interests ranged from mathematical physics to devising novel treatments for drugs of abuse such as cocaine, amphetamines and “bath salts.” He taught courses in the biomedical sciences at the School of Medicine in addition to mentoring postdoctoral students and conducting research at his active molecular neuroscience laboratory in Sanger Hall on the MCV Campus. De Felice also served as assistant dean of graduate education at VCU School of Medicine. Before joining VCU in 2008, De Felice served on the faculty at Emory University School of Medicine, Georgia Institute of Technology and Vanderbilt University. Lauren Goodloe, Ph.D. (B.S.’83/N; M.S.’88/N; Ph.D.’00/N), of Richmond, Va., July 31, 2016, at age 56. Goodloe, who joined VCU Medical Center 27 years ago as an oncology nurse, was assistant dean for clinical operations in the School of Nursing and nursing director at VCU Medical Center, where she served

as the architect for the professional advancement program recognizing nursing excellence at the point of care. Goodloe served as president of the Virginia Nurses Association, which in 2014, honored her with the Nancy Vance Award in recognition of her exceptional service and leadership in nursing, and served as national secretary for the board of the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Memorial donations can be made to Massey Cancer Center (select “other” and designate “In memory of Lauren Goodloe”) at or to the School of Nursing (select “other” and type in Lauren Goodloe RN to B.S. Scholarship) at L James Jackson, Ph.D., of Richmond, Va., April 27, 2013, at age 84. He joined the School of Business in 1971, where he served as chair of the Business Education and Office Administration Department from 1980 to 1990. He co-authored four textbooks in the field of administrative support and communications and attained the Certified Professional Secretary designation, being the ninth male to pass the test. Alphonse Poklis, M.D., of Richmond, Va., Sept. 3, 2016, at age 71. He was a VCU Health toxicologist known for an expertise so astute he was consulted on a murder case that appeared on the crime drama “Snapped.” Poklis joined the Department of Pathology in 1987 and was director of its toxicology laboratory at the time of his death. He also taught forensic toxicology courses for undergraduate and graduate students while serving as director of the Core Mass Spectrometry Laboratory in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the School of Medicine. Poklis regularly lectured on toxicology issues for the FBI Academy, and served as a governor’s appointee to the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Virginia Department of Forensic Science. Keith Ready, Ph.D., of Richmond, Va., July 24, 2016, at age 69. A longtime associate professor of physical geography and urban and regional studies, he dedicated almost four decades of his life to teaching and mentoring VCU students. He taught in the Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism and more recently in the urban and regional studies program in the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs. Ready was also passionate about his environmental and park-planning work along the James River and co-wrote “Parks-Preserves-Rivers: A Guide to Outdoor Adventures in Virginia’s Capital Region” with the late Louise Burke. Keith Wright, of Columbia, Va., Dec. 16, 2015, at age 93. He was professor emeritus in the Department of Rehabilitation Counseling in the School of Allied Health Professions. He taught at VCU for 32 years and participated in the development and founding of the department (originally called the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling), which was the first federally funded graduate program in rehabilitation counseling.

M Member of the alumni association

L Life member of the alumni association

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Centennial year In 1917, the Richmond School of Social Economy opened its doors to provide young, middle-class women with social welfare training and to put them on the path to service-oriented careers. The program formed the nucleus of what would later become Richmond Professional Institute and, today, Virginia Commonwealth University. Join the RPI Alumni Council this spring as it celebrates the school’s 100th anniversary during Reunion Weekend, April 7-9. And continue the celebration with the School of Social Work as it marks 100 years of service and preparing professional social workers at the 100 Centennial Celebration in fall 2017.

Photo VCU Libraries, Special Collections and Archives

Fall 2016


Non-profit Organization U.S. Postage Paid RICHMOND, VA Permit No. 869

Virginia Commonwealth University VCU Alumni 111 North Fourth Street P.O. Box 842039 Richmond, Virginia 23284-2039

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THIS IS MY REAL. Brooke Riggs

School of Engineering student

“My chemical engineering skills gave me the knowledge to develop an all-natural fly spray for the equestrian community. My scholarship let me focus on it.” At VCU, making an impact is what we do. But we can’t do it alone. That’s why we launched the Make It Real Campaign for VCU. How will you help us support people, fund innovations and enhance environments?

Make your impact at an equal opportunity/affirmative action university

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