Shafer Court Connections Fall 2018

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Fieldwork Alumni use their degrees to discover careers with transformative, creative and adventurous elements


Photo Jud Froelich

Water cascades down Monroe Park’s central fountain, one of many features restored during the park’s recent extensive renovation. The 7.5-acre park, located at the east end of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Monroe Park Campus, had been closed since November 2016. The $6 million renovation is the first comprehensive modernization of the park since its creation in 1851. Other upgraded features of the park include repaved walkways, new benches, 132 new trees and permeable pavers at each entryway. The Checkers House in the center of the park serves as home to a coffee and sandwich shop and a satellite station for VCU Police.

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ELEVATE your alumni experience This time last year, VCU Alumni and MCV Alumni Association board members were contemplating a critical decision for the future of the alumni organizations: to discontinue membership and move to an inclusive model as many large universities have done. Almost a year later, I am excited to see how this transition is benefiting ALL our alumni by allowing them to engage in our many programs and events. VCU Alumni’s five-year strategic plan, ELEVATE (Expanding Leadership, Enrichment and Volunteerism for Alumni Through Engagement), is building momentum by guiding all alumni engagement. We are enhancing existing outreach, legacy and recognition programs; creating new initiatives around career development, professional networking and lifelong learning; and establishing new volunteer roles for alumni. There will be more to come based on your ideas and suggestions. The alumni relations staff are taking the ELEVATE plan on a 10-city tour in early 2019 (with more dates in the fall). Join Josh Hiscock, associate vice president for alumni relations, and staff as they not only unveil the strategic plan but also showcase new programming and opportunities for you to get involved. Learn more about ELEVATE, the tour and where we’re going at This is only the beginning. We seek one shared outcome in everything we do and that is to elevate your alumni experience. Yours for VCU,

Dale C. Kalkofen, Ed.D. (M.A.E.’76/A) President, VCU Alumni

Fall 2018 Volume 25, Number 1 Vice president, development and alumni relations Jay E. Davenport, CFRE Associate vice president, alumni relations Joshua Hiscock Executive director, alumni outreach and engagement Amy Gray Beck Executive director, development and alumni communications Melanie Irvin Seiler (B.S.’96/MC) Associate director, development and alumni marketing and communications Kristen Caldwell (B.S.’94/MC) Director, creative content Mitchell Moore (B.S.’07/MC; M.S.’08/E) Director, business development and marketing Booth Greene

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 Box 842039 Richmond, Virginia 23284-2039 Phone: (804) 828-2586 Email: © 2018, Virginia Commonwealth University an equal opportunity, affirmative action university

On the cover Stationed at an Air Force base outside Cheyenne, Wyoming, Capt. Ashley Ertel, LCSW (M.S.W.’12/SW), helps military personnel navigate mental health issues. Turn to Page 25 to read more about Ertel and other alumni putting their degrees to work. Photo Samantha Ramos, Carbon and Copper Photography


VCU Alumni

CONTENTS Alice Tangerini (B.F.A.’72/A) Photo Jud Froelich

25 Features 10 Bridging the gap Universities look inward to create career and technical education programs designed to prepare students for today’s workforce and fill America’s skilled labor shortage.

14 What to do after VCU? VCU experts weigh in with solutions to common career roadblocks, such as tips for how to break out of your comfort zone to advance in your profession.

18 New horizons As more adults return to college midprofession to pursue their true passions, VCU is positioned to offer guidance and resources for a successful career switch.

Departments 22 Family tradition Jess Judy (M.H.A.’77/HP) chose a different path from that of his father and grandfather, both doctors, but he didn’t stray far, proving the health care gene runs strong in the family.

25 Putting their degrees to work These alumni might not fit the traditional image of their profession but they illustrate how they’ve used their knowledge and skills to find fulfilling career paths and make a mark in their fields.

4 University news 9 Presidential perspective 34 Alumni connections 36 Alumni support: Ed Flippen, J.D. (B.S.’65/B)

38 Class notes 4 4 Alumni profile: Danny Mallory (B.S.’15/N)

49 Alumni profile: Kaitlyn Siedlarczyk (B.A.’15/H&S; M.T.’15/E)

53 Datebook

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


Impressive finish for Hyperloop at VCU

Photo Alexandria Tayborn, College of Engineering

Engineering student Arthur Chadwick placing the shell on the pod's frame

When VCU entered a team in the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition in fall 2017, it would have been hard to anticipate how far that team would go. The competition called for designing and building a pod vehicle that could race at high speeds through a futuristic loop. SpaceX is proposing Hyperloop as a transit solution for the future. VCU’s team was building a Hyperloop pod vehicle for the first time while competing with veteran teams from all over the world, some of whom had years of experience under their belts. Hyperloop at VCU came through, however, becoming part of an elite group of 20 teams selected from hundreds of international hopefuls to go to the finals in July 2018 at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California. More than 40 VCU students from engineering, business, arts and humanities and sciences were on the team. Twenty, including a dozen core members, made the trip to California, along with VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D., and sponsors from Dominion Payroll, Kaleo and VCU’s da Vinci Center. VCU’s team passed tests and completed qualifications right up to the end and showcased their completed pod at the final event. SpaceX has announced that it will host another competition next summer. After their historic debut, VCU’s Hyperloop team is inspired and energetic to compete at SpaceX again. The students are processing what they learned from meeting other teams and from working closely with SpaceX engineers and putting that knowledge to work as they make it real — again. WEB EXTRA Learn more about Hyperloop at VCU at



VCU is one of 33 colleges and universities selected by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute for its 2018 Inclusive Excellence Initiative, which gives each school $1 million in grant support over five years to help them engage more students in science. The institute and its partner, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, are especially interested in reaching students from underrepresented groups, such as minorities, first-generation students and working adults with families. VCU is partnering with John Tyler and Reynolds community colleges in an initiative to make teaching styles in STEM classes more inclusive and to build administrative infrastructure to better support transfer students. The hope is that these measures, which involve working with more than 75 faculty members, will promote success for more than 7,000 students, most of them transfer students. VCU’s goals for the grant also include establishing the Science Learning Center, an incubator for innovative programs and collaborations to serve VCU’s STEM students.

The School of the Arts and the School of Medicine have launched a physician-scientist-in-residence program, one of the first residencies of its kind at an arts school. The position is part of an ongoing collaboration between the two schools to improve medical education and advance the clinical health and well-being in the community by addressing and solving problems through art and design. The inaugural physician-scientist-in-residence is John E. Nestler, M.D., former chair of VCU’s Department of Internal Medicine in the School of Medicine and a faculty member in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism. He holds joint appointments as professor in the departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Pharmacology and Toxicology. Nestler assists with projects in the Arts Research Institute, which serves faculty in their creative research and interdisciplinary practices across the university. He also designed a School of Medicine elective, Medicine, Art and the Humanities, which launches this spring.

Including more students in science


VCU Alumni




Photo Kevin Morley, University Marketing

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam at a VCU news conference


Addressing the opioid crisis

As part of a series of lectures at medical schools across the state, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who is also a physician, visited VCU in August to discuss pain killer prescription practices and pain management. Northam said treatment is a priority and emphasized the need to treat opioid addiction as a chronic problem. His concern with the epidemic is shared by VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D., who vowed in his State of the University Address in January 2018 to tackle the health crisis through research, treatment and education efforts at the university and health system. At VCU Medical Center, emergency department visits because of opioid overdoses more than doubled from 273 in 2015 to 657 in 2017. Last year, 1,227 Virginia residents died from opioid overdoses. Northam asked future health care providers to start thinking innovatively about how to treat chronic and acute pain, prescribing in a safer way and recognizing signs of dependence. EDUCATION

New LGBTQ studies minor

VCU has formed an ad hoc committee to design an undergraduate interdisciplinary minor in LGBTQ studies and put it in place for the 2019-20 academic year. “We’re going to join a growing number of universities in the U.S. and beyond who have minors in LGBTQ studies,” said Richard Godbeer, Ph.D., director of the Humanities Research Center and a professor in the Department of History, both in the College of Humanities and Sciences. “We’re going to be working together this fall to put the proposed minor together, and we are going to submit it very quickly.” Godbeer was speaking at “The Future of LGBTQ Studies at VCU: Spotlight on Faculty Research,” an event that highlighted the work of 14 scholars from the College of Humanities and Sciences, the School of Social Work and VCU Libraries.

U.S. News & World Report has recognized VCU Medical Center as the No. 1 hospital in the Richmond metro area for the eighth consecutive year and as the No. 2 hospital in Virginia for 2018-19. VCU Medical Center also ranks among the top 50 in the country for urology, nephrology, orthopaedics, and diabetes and endocrinology, increasing the number of nationally recognized specialties at the academic medical center from two to four compared to last year.

BEST EMPLOYER Forbes magazine ranked VCU No. 92 out of 300 on its list of best employers for women, based on a survey of 40,000 Americans, including 25,000 women, who work at organizations with more than 1,000 employees. Criteria considered in the survey included working conditions such as benefits and professional development, how well women are included in leadership ranks and how willing employees would be to recommend their employer to others.

magazine considered factors such as VCU’s diversity and inclusion programs and initiatives, as well as statistics such as VCU’s six-year graduation rate for black, Latino and Native American students, which increased by 15.5 percent between 2003-13.

PRIZED RESEARCH VCU’s Center for the Study of Tobacco Products was named the 2018 recipient of the American Psychological Association’s Prize for Interdisciplinary Team Research. The center recently received a $19.78 million grant through a partnership between the National Institutes of Health and the FDA Center for Tobacco Products to launch a fiveyear project focused on predicting the outcomes of government regulations of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.


Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU received national recognition from U.S. News & World Report in its 2018-19 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings. CHoR was ranked No. 41 for kidney care and No. 43 for pulmonology and was the only hospital in Virginia to rank in those categories.

Virginia Premier, a nonprofit managed care organization that is a subsidiary of the VCU Health System, received an award for its commitment to hiring female veterans. Presented by the Virginia Department of Veterans Services, at the 2018 Virginia Women Veterans Summit, the award recognizes Virginia Premier for employing 29 female veterans since 2012, the largest number for any of the large organizations participating in Virginia’s veterans program.



Diverse magazine named VCU one of the top 100 institutions in the country for minority students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs. VCU ranked No. 56 in conferring bachelor's degrees for minorities and No. 29 for awarding Asian-Americans with professional doctorate degrees. The

VCU’s freshman class is its largest ever, up to about 4,600 students from a previous record of 4,234. Of these students, 33 percent are first-generation college students and 55 percent come from traditionally underrepresented groups, making for the most diverse body of incoming freshmen in VCU’s history.


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« Vann Graves joined VCU on Aug. 10 as executive director Photo Pamela Hammond

of the VCU Brandcenter. He was previously chief creative officer at J. Walter Thompson in Atlanta. Graves started his career in 1993 as an intern at BBDO, where he was eventually promoted to vice president and creative director. He has worked on brands including Shell Oil Co., American Airlines and Visa. His work has been honored at the Cannes Lions London International Advertising Awards, The One Show, New York Festival, Art Directors Club Awards and the Clio Awards. Graves is a Fulbright scholar and a decorated combat veteran for his U.S. Army service in Iraq. He rose to the rank of captain. The Brandcenter position marks a return for Graves to his native Richmond. His great-grandfather worked at The Jefferson Hotel and the Jefferson’s carriage house, which today houses the VCU Brandcenter.


Advancing female faculty in STEM

The National Science Foundation has awarded a $2.99 million grant to an interdisciplinary team of female faculty leaders at VCU that aims to raise the participation and advancement of women in academic science, technology, engineering and math careers by initiating systematic change throughout VCU’s institutional structure and culture. The grant, “Overcoming Immunity to Change: ADVANCE IT VCU,” is led by Montse Fuentes, Ph.D., dean of the College of Humanities and Sciences. It includes co-principal investigators from VCU’s School of Medicine, College of Engineering, School of Education and Division for Inclusive Excellence. The project will strengthen VCU’s recruitment processes, bolster career-life integration policies and practices, improve promotion and tenure policies, procedures and practices, and facilitate professional development opportunities for women at all ranks.

« P. Srirama Rao, Ph.D., an allergy and immunology expert,

joined VCU on Oct. 1 as vice president for research and innovation. He was most recently professor and associate dean for research in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Minnesota, where he also held a joint appointment in the medical school as professor of medicine in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine. At Minnesota, Rao led the college through two strategic planning processes and successful implementation of its key signature programs.

« John Venuti was promoted from VCU police chief to asso-

« Dominic Willsdon steps into the role of executive

director of the Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU on Dec. 1. Willsdon has 18 years of experience as a curator and educator in leadership positions at contemporary art institutions, most recently at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, where he has served as the Leanne and George Roberts Curator of Education and Public Practice since 2006. While there, he led key components of the museum’s strategic planning, helped the museum secure major gifts and engaged new audiences through community and civic partnerships. Earlier in his career, Willsdon spent five years as the curator of public programs at Tate Modern in London.


VCU Alumni

Photo courtesy Indianapolis Colts

ciate vice president for public safety, VCU and VCU Health. His accomplishments as chief of police include achieving accreditation with the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators in 2010, becoming the first campus law enforcement agency in Virginia designated as a certified crime prevention campus, being first in Virginia to implement the You Have Options sexual assault survivor program and becoming the first agency in the Richmond metropolitan region to implement worn body cameras for officers. Under his leadership, officer use of force decreased by more than 66 percent, and 95 percent of students, faculty and staff report they feel safe or very safe on VCU’s campus. In his new position, Venuti advises the university and health system leadership and partners with the local community on institutional safety, policy and compliance matters as well as emergency response and planning.

Mo Alie-Cox's one-handed catch in the end zone


Slam dunk on the football field

Former Ram Mo Alie-Cox (B.S.’15/GPA; M.S.’17/GPA) made his first NFL score — a leaping, one-handed grab — in the Indianapolis Colts’ 42-28 win over the Oakland Raiders on Oct. 29. “I don't think I ever caught a touchdown pass before actually,” said Alie-Cox, an Indianapolis Colts tight end. “One year, maybe seventh or eighth grade, I played H-back, so I had a rushing touchdown but never a receiving touchdown.” Alie-Cox, one of the Atlantic 10’s most athletic post players while at VCU, is believed to be the first VCU graduate to appear in an NFL game. Alie-Cox described the post-game social media as “crazy.” “NFL page posted it, then Randy Moss on Monday Night Football, ‘You Got Mossed.’ He was my favorite player growing up. He’s the reason I wear No. 81. It was like, ‘Wow, Randy Moss noticed it.’ I didn’t even play football in college.”


Prize-winning fiction and poetry

VCU celebrated the 2018 winners of the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award, which honors an outstanding debut novel, and the Levis Reading Prize, which recognizes a first or second book of poetry. The VCU Cabell First Novelist Award went to Hernán Díaz for “In the Distance.” The book tells the story of a Swedish immigrant crossing America’s western frontier in the years between the gold rush and the Civil War. The book is also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. The Levis Reading Prize went to Kaveh Akbar for his poetry collection “Calling a Wolf a Wolf,” which engages themes such as language, alcoholism, faith and the search for self. Akbar’s poems have appeared in numerous publications, including The New Yorker, Poetry, The New Republic and The New York Times. He also wrote a chapbook, “Portrait of the Alcoholic,” published by Sibling Rivalry Press in 2017. Each author received a $5,000 cash prize and visited campus for an in-person reading. Both prizes are awarded in association with VCU’s M.F.A. in Creative Writing program and sponsored by VCU Libraries, the Department of English, Barnes & Noble @ VCU and the College of Humanities and Sciences.


Unlimited transit access

VCU and VCU Health System students and employees, including those affiliated with Virginia Premier, have unlimited transportation access on the GRTC Pulse Bus Rapid Transit, a light-rail-style, station-based service that runs through the heart of Richmond, and regular fixed-route bus service, local and express. This comes thanks to a one-year agreement between the transit company and VCU. The pilot program costs $1.2 million and continues through July 31, 2019. ACADEMICS

New certificate possibilities

VCU has added five certificates to help students and alumni enhance, or advance, their education. New offerings are certificates in cybersecurity, data science, public history, special education K-12 teaching and sustainability planning. Learn more at


Making space for community

WEB EXTRA View more photos and take a virtual tour at

Photo Allen Jones (B.F.A.‘82/A; M.F.A.‘92/A), University Marketing

More than 1,470 freshmen moved into the 12-story Gladding Residence Center at the start of the academic year. VCU’s newest residence hall was designed with a special emphasis on community spaces, in hopes of encouraging students to form social bonds. GRC includes a lobby with a fireplace, an air hockey table, abundant natural light and artwork, much of which was created by VCU alumni. The building, made possible thanks to a public-private partnership with American Campus Communities, also contains Residential Life and Housing offices, the Housing Leadership Center, an exercise center and a 40,000-square-foot courtyard. The new hall replaces the GRC I and II residence halls and completes the university’s plan to house all freshman on the Monroe Park Campus. The building design incorporates and preserves the limestone façade of the Branch Public Baths that has stood on the site since 1909 and transforms the bathhouse interior into a communal space for student activities. A large Ram sculpture hanging above the main lobby area

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Campaign surpasses $650 million

Photo courtesy VCU da Vinci Center

Since its public launch in 2016, more than $650 million of the $750 million goal for the Make It Real Campaign for VCU has been raised. The most ambitious campaign in the university’s history ends June 30, 2020, but gifts already are fueling transformative growth. Featured below are impacts being realized by students, faculty members, caregivers and researchers across the university.

Simplifying the challenges of life

Channeling grief into research Shira Lanyi (B.S.’18/H&S) spent 20 years as a ballet dancer, eight with the Richmond Ballet, before retiring to becoming a medical researcher. Driven to investigate the cancer that claimed her mother’s life, she enrolled at VCU to study biology in the College of Humanities and Sciences and graduated with honors in May. A member of the Honors College, Lanyi also researched the physical toll that athleticism, particularly classical ballet, takes on the body. She entered VCU’s School of Medicine this fall. Lanyi’s education was supported by the 2016 Jay and Sondra Weinberg Undergraduate Scholarship in Honors, the 2017 Charles and Leann Blem Scholarship in biology and the 2017 Phi Kappa Phi Scholarship.

A fount of health knowledge Each month, about 1,300 people visit the patient library in the Gateway Building at VCU Medical Center. The Community Health Education Center features a health sciences librarian, a library assistant and a staff of volunteers who help patients and family members find health information written in consumer-friendly language. The center recently received $10,000 from the MCV Hospitals Auxiliary to support its operation — maintaining a robust collection of books, magazines and videos and a website that provides vetted information on conditions and diseases.

To learn more about the Make It Real Campaign for VCU or to make a gift, visit


VCU Alumni

VCU students and advisers at the da Vinci Center's Start Up Spring Break


Support for student entrepreneurs

The VCU da Vinci Center is working with Lighthouse Labs, a Richmond, Virginia-based startup accelerator, on an effort to keep talented graduating Virginia college and university students in the state, in hopes that they will create high-growth entrepreneurial companies or gain high-paying employment. The project, Lighthouse U, offers real-world, out-of-classroom training for students interested in innovation and entrepreneurship through workshops held across the state. Participants have an opportunity to compete in the 2019 Virginia Start Up Spring Break, which awards funding to student teams with winning concepts. Lighthouse U is funded by a $1 million grant from GO Virginia, a bipartisan, business-led economic development initiative. RESEARCH

Prolonged sitting as bad as smoking

It’s well-known that sedentary behavior, such as prolonged sitting, can have serious health consequences. “Overall, sitting causes or is associated with many negative health outcomes (i.e. obesity, diabetes),” said Ryan Garten, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences in the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences who conducts research on the topic. “There is currently speculation that sedentary behavior, to which sitting is the most common type, may be as bad for you as smoking.” Being physically fit doesn’t necessarily mean you can sit for long periods at a time. Garten recently published a study that “showed that maintaining a high level of fitness, perhaps from regular running or biking exercise, did not protect against the negative effects of sitting.” His advice? “Identify when we have long bouts of sitting at work and implement physical activity before, during and after these bouts,” he said. “So whether you exercise before work, take regular walking breaks or barter with your boss for a treadmill desk, finding ways to move more throughout the day is key to counteracting the impact of sitting on the job.”

Photo Lindy Rodman, University Marketing

When Shawn Joshi (B.S.’12/H&S; B.S.’12/En) was 14, his brother experienced a severe traumatic brain injury. Creating devices that could bring independence to people with disabilities has been Joshi’s passion ever since. Joshi, who holds VCU degrees in physics and biomedical engineering, worked with Paul Wetzel, Ph.D., associate professor of biomedical engineering in the College of Engineering, to design glasses that can control a computer mouse via eye blinks and head movements. He received the Jay and Sondra Weinberg Undergraduate Scholarship in Honors in 2008 and 2010. Joshi is now a Fulbright scholar in Great Britain, applying biomedical engineering-related solutions to medical challenges.


VCU’s continuing quest Preparing our students for a promising future By Michael Rao, Ph.D., President, VCU and VCU Health System


irginia Commonwealth University is nearing the completion of its strategic plan, Quest for Distinction, and I am pleased with our progress. Among the many accomplishments under Quest was an improvement in student completion rates. Our six-year graduation rate has increased dramatically from 49 percent to 67 percent — higher than the national average of 60 percent. In addition, we closed the graduation gap for underrepresented populations. With our next strategic plan, Quest 2025: Together We Transform, we will continue to focus and improve to help our students succeed now and when they become proud VCU alumni. I’m sure you’ve heard or read about the debate over the value of a college education. In 2016, Consumer Reports surveyed 1,500 Americans and found that almost half of the college graduates polled did not believe their education was worth the expense. We need to counteract that belief by preparing our students for their careers before they graduate from VCU. A university degree is almost always a student’s entrée into greater employment opportunities. We must be agile and meet the ever-changing needs of the students we educate as they prepare for their promising futures. I am proud of the many opportunities

our students have to learn and sharpen their professional skills before graduation, especially through VCU’s Relevant Experiential and Applied Learning, or REAL, initiative. Through the REAL initiative, students Michael Rao, Ph.D. can immediately transfer the knowledge and skills they acquire at VCU to the jobs they begin after graduation. Learning doesn’t just take place in the classroom or lab — it also takes place during internships, work studies and other hands-on opportunities, and I am proud of the value REAL adds to the degrees our graduates work hard to earn. And, for those who decide to switch careers and return to VCU to prepare for their new path, we are here to meet their needs, too. Through VCU Alumni and VCU Career Services, we are here to help graduates plan the next chapter in life. In this issue, you will read about how we help future, current and returning students become the next generation contributing to the advancement of humanity through creativity, discovery and innovation. I am confident they will excel at whatever path they choose.

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Bridging the gap With the economy crying out for more skilled workers, higher education looks inward for answers By Drew Vass


VCU Alumni


une into any news broadcast, and the reports are the same: America has more job openings than there are workers to fill them. “The total number of job openings was 6.7 million at the end of April, with an especially large increase in manufacturing jobs,” according to a CNN Business report. Trade and professional organizations can attest to the shortage. In 2017, 70 percent of construction companies nationwide had trouble finding qualified workers, according to a national study conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America, an industry association composed of more than 26,000 contractor-members. And indicators suggest that matters could get worse across more fields. The U.S. Department of Education, for example, reports that there will be 68 percent more job openings in infrastructurerelated fields, such as roads and bridge construction, over the next five years than there are people training to fill those jobs. The labor landscape has some pundits asking where traditional four-year degrees fit in today’s workforce and what colleges and universities are doing to impart more specific career and technical education to fill the gap.

Dissonant systems

The disconnect between four-year institutions and the job market isn’t all about skilled labor, as about 31 percent of jobs in the labor market require at least a four-year degree, says Kermit Kaleba, federal policy director for the National Skills Coalition, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that advocates for expanding access to high-quality education. And for this reason, “I don’t think the issue is necessarily that we need to be producing less individuals with four-year degrees and fewer individuals with liberal arts degrees,” he says. “That would never be something we would advocate for.” Instead, the challenge, Kaleba suggests, is ensuring that students and workers seeking middle-skill job opportunities have meaningful access to those pathways. At the same time, some indications show that — even among those with four-year degrees aimed at specific positions — individuals might not possess the right skills. An April 2018 Gallup-Lumina report points to those deficiencies, finding that only 43 percent of Americans believe college graduates are prepared for success in the workforce. The same report shows that only 33 percent of business leaders think that educational institutions are graduating students with the skills their companies need. Those perceptions could be hurting the reputation of higher education. In a 2018 Gallup survey of college and university presidents representing 618 institutions, presidents acknowledged decreasing public support for higher education — which 95 percent believe stems from concerns over whether higher education effectively prepares students for careers. Meanwhile, 53 percent of available jobs, Kaleba says, are at the middle-skill level, where degrees aren’t required. And the fact is, many of those jobs are well-paying. In the past, earning a liberal arts degree has been regarded as “a ticket to the middle class,” Kaleba says. But these days, that’s at least to some degree a misnomer. According to the 2017 report “Good Jobs That Pay Without a B.A.,” produced by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, about 30 million U.S. jobs that pay an average of $55,000 per year don’t require bachelor’s degrees. But to prepare students to enter these high-demand careers, yet another workforce shortage exists at both the secondary and postsecondary levels: qualified teachers. Steve DeWitt, deputy executive director for the Association for Career and Technical Education, says the CTE community is grappling with providing a pipeline of instructors. “There are some sectors that are highly impacted, where they cannot find the teaching staff they need,” he says.

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In addition, he and other experts say, four-year institutions should work to integrate more career and technical education programming into their offerings to produce graduates who are job-ready. Those types of programs represent a very small portion of traditional higher education offerings, says Jon Fansmith, director of government relations for the American Council on Education, an association for the nation’s colleges and universities. And so, in what some experts describe as a new wave in postsecondary education reform, colleges are shifting toward more industry- and career-minded education. Virginia Commonwealth University President Michael Rao, Ph.D., recognizes this untapped need. “The 21st-century university must become something new. We must become more relevant to the people who depend on us,” Rao said in his 2016 State of the University Address. Part of Rao’s vision includes creating opportunities to tie students’ academic goals to realworld, working applications. In October 2016, the university formed a steering committee around the concept of Relevant, Experiential and Applied Learning, or REAL. Composed of students and faculty, the group was charged with, among other tasks, evaluating and creating an inventory of the academic experiences already taking place at VCU and proposing a framework to infuse REAL activities universitywide. REAL activities center on four main areas: service (through things such as VCU-recognized community engagement), discovery (encouraging undergraduate research and cultural immersion experiences), creative activities (through innovation challenges, public art performances and collaboration) and career development (through integrative learning and professional identity development). “Sometimes it’s important to remember that we aren’t doing this work on our own, that we are part of an important collective asking about the role of higher education today and in the future, and what we can do as educators to make a difference,” says Erin L. Webster Garrett, Ph.D., assistant vice provost for VCU’s REAL initiative.

Providing flexibility

As some universities blend career and technical education with traditional degree-based programs, they’re also allowing students to slip into and out of education, in search of specific skills along the way. “That mix, I think, is happening in an informal way,” says DeWitt of the Association for Career and Technical Education. “There are four-year institutions trying to do more project-based learning. There are career and technical school organizations that are doing more types of portfolio assignments. I think you’re getting some of that blurring between academics and CTE.” It’s also happening in formal ways. For instance, in April 2017, Purdue University acquired Kaplan University, a primarily online, for-profit, career-oriented institution. Those types of mashups, Fansmith suggests, could lead some universities to break away from traditional degree-based programs. “There’s been a lot of interest in Northeastern and Drexel, schools that use the cooperative-education model, where there are still traditional four-year degree programs but clearer alignments with specific professional opportunities,” he says. Meanwhile, by allowing students to transition into education as needed, schools can also better equip them to keep up with job markets. “We know that the rate at which people are changing jobs, careers and fields is growing,” Fansmith says. “For a lot of people, if you’re in a job and looking to improve your situation, you may not want to go to even a two-year program that has broader requirements. You may simply want to go for three courses, so that you’re certified to get that next promotion up the ladder or to move to a better job or industry.” For this reason, Joe Deegan, senior program manager with JFF, a national education and workforce nonprofit, says a consensus is emerging for providing more on- and off-ramps to the educational process. For example, he points to a loop-based concept developed at Stanford University.


VCU Alumni

“What the Stanford students came up with was this idea of, ‘What if we gave students six years to spend in whatever way they choose?’” he says. “Instead of front-loading six years into the beginning of their adult lives, you could spend two years [in school], then go off into industry, learn some skills, gain some more work experience, then loop back [into college] for a year, learn something that you really need to move to the next level of your career and then loop back out into industry.” By offering such loop-based programs, Deegan says, universities make it easier for students to keep up with shifting job markets. A lot of innovation is happening in this area, he says, especially through what educators label “stackable credentials.” In the field of information technology, for instance, he says students might enter a one-year program to earn an A+ certification, then begin working right away. Those same students could later enroll in a Microsoft certification to advance in the workplace. Fansmith points out that the same concept could apply to four-year degree programs. “I do think there’s a broadening realization that, particularly with specific technical skills, there’s just no way anyone’s going to be effective over a 30-, 40- or even 50-year career span with what they learned when they first got their degree at 22 years old,” he says. “Let’s say you’re a communications professional, and you got a degree in 1996. How prepared are you for today’s social media environment?”

Competency-based education

Another emerging concept helping to mesh the formats of CTE, on-and-off again education and traditional degrees, involves what’s known as competency-based education, which considers students’ workplace experiences and allows them to demonstrate mastery through assessment. “If I [complete] a noncredit program, and I earn an A+ certification, then I go off and work for a hospital doing medical IT for a couple of years, there’s a possibility that maybe I want to earn an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree going forward,” Deegan says. With competency-based programs and those offering prior-learning assessment, “I can get credit for prior learning based on the work experience I gathered along the way.” With competency-based education, expectations for learning remain the same as for traditional programs, but in addition to class time, learners earn credentials through more career-oriented exercises and experiences, often at personalized paces. “This is happening in pockets throughout the traditional postsecondary system today,” Deegan says, citing Lipscomb University in Tennessee. The university’s prior-learning assessment system allows students to convert work experience or demonstrated knowledge into college credits. “You can pass the coursework as fast as you can demonstrate mastery,” he says. As of July, at least 600 institutions were planning to implement competency-based degree programs, according to Marguerite J. Dennis, a former higher education administrator and consultant to colleges and universities. That’s an exponential increase, she says, from the 50 schools that had active programs in 2014. For institutions, the benefits to such open-ended educational processes include bolstered interest in lifelong education. Those benefits, however, come with significant challenges for implementation. “How do you make those offerings that are now compelling, whilst still serving your core constituency Learn more about VCU’s Relevant, Experiential of students?” asks Fansmith of the American Council on and Applied Learning initiative and how it Education. “Those are complicated and challenging issues provides students with a meaningful, multifaceted that schools are struggling with and understandably so.” experience during their time on campus. At the same time, it’s nice to know that higher education is grappling with them, he says.

VCU makes it REAL

– Drew Vass (B.S.’02/H&S) is a contributing writer for the alumni magazine.

Fall 2018



Go to college, get a degree, use that degree to get a good job — it’s the way life is “supposed to” work, and yet in reality, roadblocks often pop up. At Virginia Commonwealth University, a variety of programs and services help students and alumni succeed during and after their time in the classroom. Read on for some common career questions answered by VCU experts.


VCU Alumni

Q: Now that I’m out in the “real world,” I could really use help from people with more experience in my field. How can I make those connections? A: Networking opportunities abound at VCU. Take the College of Engineering

as an example. The college maintains a database of engineering students, alumni and friends. Through that database, alumni can get questions answered by email, phone or in person about job functions and industries related to engineering, says Laura Lemza (M.Ed.’13/E), assistant director for career and industry advising in the College of Engineering. Besides that, many events on campus take advantage of the knowledge and experience of the college’s alumni. In addition to career fairs each semester, panels and presentations on real-life professional experiences as well as discussions of “The First 90 Days” on the job are offered. These events, Lemza says, “keep us all connected with the bigger picture of the College of Engineering” and offer opportunities for alumni to participate, whether they graduated recently or have decades of experience under their belts. Engineering Third Thursday events, run by the College of Engineering Foundation and the VCU Alumni Engineering Alumni Board, offer networking opportunities specifically aimed at connecting alumni and students with Richmond, Virginia-area engineering companies. Other VCU schools and colleges offer programs, too, and alumni can always reach out to learn about upcoming networking events and to get involved. VCU Alumni also has expanded programming on the horizon. Latisha Taylor, associate director of outreach and engagement for alumni career programs, is developing virtual networking capabilities specially designed for VCU alumni. Connections among alumni in different stages of their careers and in different parts of the world “will definitely be a win for alumni,” Taylor says.

Q: I’m worried that my degree is taking me in the wrong direction. How can I set myself on a better path without giving up the work I’ve already done? A: “We want our students to be successful and thriving in their first careers after

Photo Jud Froelich

graduation,” says Maggie Tolan, Ed.D., senior associate vice provost for VCU Student Success. “When we focus on a student’s end goal and work backward toward an appropriate major, we find they have more options and more control over the result.” Tolan points to a new service called Major Maps that helps students plan their career direction and identify actions they can take along the way to set themselves onto a path of success and fulfillment. The service allows users to explore the jobs that majors can lead to and see what skills and experiences could steer them toward various options. The website,, went live this fall and is available for students, families and advisers to use as a plan for success during their college career and beyond. “We understand students can feel boxed in by traditional career paths, but when we focus on passion and each student’s spark, we can help identify majors and plans of study that are unique to each individual student,” Tolan says. VCU Career Services also runs more than 200 events each year and nine industry-based career fairs. One example is Bench and Beyond, a one-day symposium for graduate and postdoctoral scientists and researchers. That event showcases diverse career possibilities in industry, government, education and the nonprofit sector and is an example of how programs at VCU can help students find practical, nontraditional uses for their majors. Students can also come to VCU Career Services for individualized help as they explore career possibilities and plan for the future, and alumni retain that access for a year after graduation.

Fall 2018


Beyond that, VCU Alumni is designing programs to help fill in gaps. Taylor recently completed a career needs assessment survey of VCU alumni and identified a need for help with strategic job searching and resources for advancing careers, refocusing them or changing them altogether. VCU Alumni soon will offer industry networks, which will allow for alumni to receive targeted messaging and programming related to an industry. These will be flexible and open to alumni who currently work in the industry as well as to alumni who are interested and looking for a way in. “We know that major doesn’t always equal career,” Taylor says, adding that she hopes programs like this can help alumni find creative ways to explore and use their skills and education to pursue satisfying careers.

Q: I need more education to advance my career, but I don’t have time to attend college full time, and I can’t move to attend the program I’m interested in. What should I do? A: Many graduate and professional degrees at VCU

are offered partially or entirely online. In some cases, students can study online at whatever time is convenient, and in other cases, they might need to attend online classes at particular times. Online degrees are available at VCU from the College of Health Professions and the schools of Business, Education, Medicine, Nursing, Social Work and Government and Public Affairs. In some cases, such as the School of Nursing’s R.N. to B.S. completion program, the programs are designed to advance an existing career. In other cases, such as the School of Education’s master’s program in special education, the degrees could be used to transition to a new career. Some distance-learning degrees use blended learning, which combines online classes with periodic on-campus sessions to give students a chance to bond with peers and faculty, to take advantage of university facilities and to interact with visiting scholars and practitioners. In particular, the College of Health Professions has distinguished itself as a pioneer in the development of distance-education programs, both within VCU and nationally. Its Ph.D. program in health-related sciences is the only interdisciplinary, internet-based doctoral program in allied health professions in the country.

Q: Maybe I don’t need another degree, but I do think I could use a few extra skills to get ahead. How can I achieve that? A: For those looking to gain an edge, the VCU Office of Continuing and Professional Education offers courses that are accessible online as well as on campus. Some programs could enhance work in specific professions. For example, play therapy training, disability support services and event planning programs could further an existing, specialized career.


VCU Alumni

OCPE also helps with developing general workplace skills, both technical and interpersonal. The office’s catalog includes noncredit online courses and certificates in customer service, sales, self-publishing, computer skills and topics such as dealing with difficult personalities, Google tools and podcasting. For some programs, OCPE offers special discounts for VCU alumni.

Q: The next step in my career is outside my comfort zone. How can I learn the skills I need to be confident in a professional setting? A: You might not find a one-size-fits-all solution for filling in these sorts

of gaps, but offices and programs at VCU can help. “We strive to provide students a personalized roadmap to get their career jump-started,” says Julia Wingfield (B.S.’02/MC), associate director of business career services at the VCU School of Business. She points toward one-on-one counseling and event programming that helps students and recent alumni navigate resume creation, setting up a LinkedIn profile, attending career fairs, going to job interviews, networking and other aspects of the process. Events such as the Black and Gold Academy offer advice on how to dress professionally, the etiquette needed for professional dinners and how to work a room.

that they can go to school and focus on their school work and not deal with financial headaches.” For veterans with mental or physical service-connected disabilities, the office offers resources to help them participate in the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program established by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. VCU’s VETS in College, a program for service members or veterans with spinal cord or traumatic brain injuries, funded by the Commonwealth Neurotrauma Initiative Trust Fund, provides individualized assistance with academic or career goals at no cost. The office does much more than that, however, including helping veterans connect with one another, deal with trauma, get tutoring support and explore vocational options for the next stage of their careers. The office often provides this additional support by forming partnerships with VCU Career Services or others at the university, Ross says. This allows the office to expand its programs far beyond what it could do solo. Ross describes strong connections among people as the ultimate tool for helping veterans make the transition to civilian life. For those looking to gain an extra edge, the “We may have an individual who was a door breacher in the Army last month, forcing open VCU Office of Continuing and Professional closed and locked doors in potentially dangerous situations, who might be sitting in Psychology 101 Education offers courses that are accessible this month,” he says. “If we’ve got somebody in that situation, we want them to know if there’s a faculty online as well as on campus. or staff member nearby who served in the Army.” Identifying veterans across VCU, he says, can lead to mentorships and friendships that play an important role for years to come. To assist with that The School of Business also helps its students and graduates acclieffort, Military Student Services obtained a grant to launch the Vets mate to the professional world by building connections to the Richmond Among Us campaign, which distributes lapel pins to faculty and staff business community through services such as the Connect Mentoring who served so military-affiliated students can seek them out. Program, Explore Informational Interviews and Networking 101 Similar efforts are in place among alumni. The VCU Alumni workshops. Military Veterans Alumni Council, which organized its first event in “Students learn the vital importance of building bridges to their November 2017, is reaching out to military-affiliated alumni to expand industry of choice and practice their communication and networking its membership, strengthen existing connections and form new ones. skills with professionals out in the real world, gaining experience and contacts for their future careers,” says Carolyn McCrea, director of student and corporate engagement in the School of Business. These questions touch on only a few of the career issues that might come up for alumni. The university and its affiliated organizations offer Q: What services are available to help veterans and their families solutions for many others, sometimes as existing programs and somesucceed in civilian life? times in the form of personalized assistance. For those looking for help, the first thing to do is explore what VCU has to offer. Recent graduates A: VCU’s Military Student Services, part of the Division of Student can take advantage of VCU Career Services’ full spectrum of assistance. Affairs, is dedicated to helping veterans, active service members, spouses VCU Alumni’s Taylor recommends alumni also check to see what their and dependents use their military benefits and otherwise transition to schools or departments provide. And new VCU Alumni programs will civilian life. help alumni at all stages of their careers and keep them connected to “The big part of what we do, on a day-in, day-out basis, is support one another. students who are using the GI Bill,” says Stephen Ross, director of Military Student Services. “First and foremost, our job is to get them their money so – Erica Naone is a contributing writer for the alumni magazine.

Fall 2018



VCU Alumni

New horizons VCU offers guidance, resources to those seeking a career switch By Janet Showalter



usty Anderson and his co-workers watched in horror as the events of 9/11 unfolded before them. They had gathered around a conference room TV, in shock as newscasters reported what they knew about the terrorist attack. While they listened, their boss entered and told them it was time to get back to work. As Anderson returned to his desk and stared at the tax returns piled high in the corner, he realized he no longer wanted to be a tax accountant. “I didn’t want this to be my life,” he says. “This is not how I wanted to be remembered. I wanted to make a difference in the world.” He went home and told his wife that he wanted to pursue his passion. He wanted to become a doctor. “I knew where my life was going and what my destiny was supposed to be,” Anderson says. “They were not on track. I had to get them there.” The problem was, he had no idea where to begin. Because he grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area, he reached out to the School of Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University.

He later found his way to VCU Career Services, where the staff helped him navigate the process of applying to medical school. “I will forever be in debt to VCU for allowing me to do what I love to do,” says Anderson, M.D. (Cert.’09/H&S; M.D.’13/M; H.S.’16/M), a contracted physician with Richmond Emergency Physicians Inc. “I didn’t even know if going back to school was a possibility, but they were with me every step of the way.”

Pursuing passions Anderson’s story is not unique, says Michael Huffman, Ph.D. (M.S.’02/E; Ph.D.’12/GPA), director of VCU’s Office of Continuing and Professional Education. More adults are returning to colleges and universities to pursue their passions. “Some adult learners are going back to school to enhance their skills, but many are totally changing careers,” Huffman says. “The job satisfaction may not be there. They want to do something different with their lives. We help them accomplish just that.”

Fall 2018


Huffman’s office, in partnership with the colleges and schools at VCU, provides and supports a variety of continuing and professional education and skills training for those looking to make a career switch. Credit and noncredit classes are available in the arts, personal enrichment, recreation, business support services, education, engineering and manufacturing, health care and social assistance, information technology, management, professional services, retail, and public administration and nonprofit studies. More than 6,180 adults enrolled in OCPE’s credit and noncredit offerings and events in 2017-18. The most popular are graduate admissions test prep classes, a play therapy training program and the paralegal studies certificate. Other specialized training is available in areas such as hospitality, craft beer, land surveying and addiction studies. As most adults can’t quit their jobs to return to school, classes often are held in the evening or on weekends. “I really didn’t want to go back to school, but I knew if I wanted to change careers, I needed a specialized skill,” says Yaminah Knight, who enrolled in the paralegal studies certificate program in April 2018. “I know this is the right path for me.” Knight, who holds a master’s degree in criminal justice, worked as a correctional officer, a case management counselor and a probation and parole officer for 23 years before deciding she needed a career change. “I was mentally and emotionally drained,” she says. “There was a lot of stress and long hours.” Her husband, two daughters and grandchild are glad she is making the switch. “I wanted to figure out something else for myself,” Knight says. “I wanted to have more time with my family. As you get older, priorities change.”

Start your switch at VCU Learn more about the services available through VCU Career Services and the VCU Office of Continuing and Professional Education at and


VCU Alumni

Completing the six-month accelerated program will allow her to pursue a new career with more regular hours, while keeping her focus on helping others. “It’s a great fit for me,” says Knight, 43. “Being able to represent and help someone with a need is exciting to me. I’m so glad that universities like VCU extend themselves to help the nontraditional student.” More than 65 percent of the students seeking assistance from the Office of Continuing and Professional Education are between the ages of 25 and 54. About 30 percent are 55 and older, and another 3 percent are high school students enrolled in summer programs or SAT and ACT prep classes. “There’s always been a need to serve adult learners, but now more than ever we are seeing a demographic shift,” Huffman says. “Millennials are becoming the largest section of the workforce as the baby boomers are transitioning out. There is a lot of interest now in changing careers.”

Planning for success VCU Career Services monitors career and employment trends through the National Association of Colleges and Employers and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, says Danielle Pearles, associate director of employer and experiential development for VCU Career Services. “There is a lot of opportunity out there for individuals to be able to move around and try new things,” she says. “They want to see what fits best for them and make sure they feel fulfilled in their career.” Career Services works to connect VCU students with industry by delivering individualized career and professional development, relevant services and success strategies. It provides online access to numerous career pathways so adults can learn about the skills and education they need to pursue a new career. Some of these pathways are arts and design, communication and media, education, public service, health care, technology, business and engineering. “We try to give people as much information as we can so that they have the opportunity to make informed decisions,” Pearles says. Networking is also key. In the 2017-18 academic year, VCU Career Services offered 10 career fairs and more than 120 workshops, programs and presentations designed to help students and alumni further their careers.

“Our goal is to help alumni and students learn more about a specific career and how they can evaluate what is the best fit for them,” Pearles says. This summer, VCU Career Services launched Handshake, a free registration-based career management platform that allows students and alumni to build connections with employers interested in recruiting talent from VCU. The platform suggests tailored employment and internship opportunities as well as volunteer positions to student and alumni users. Likewise, students and alumni can post their resumes and develop their profile to share their goals, experience and interests so employers can seek them out. “I think one reason more people are making career switches today is because technology is providing individuals with more access to information,” Pearles says. “Twenty years ago, it was incredibly time intensive to discover new options. Now, technology bridges that gap. You can connect to and explore new opportunities online.”

Making the leap Adults switch careers for very different and personal reasons. For some, it’s the desire to earn a better income or climb higher on the corporate ladder. For many, though, it’s the longing to feel fulfilled. “I often hear people say they aren’t finding joy at their current job,” Pearles says. “If you aren’t feeling good about what you are doing day in and day out, it takes a toll on you. It forces you to take action.” But switching careers can still be a scary thing. “There is certainly a comfort zone in staying in the same field,” says Knight, who learned about the paralegal program at VCU after doing research online. “But that’s no reason to stay. It’s exciting to start fresh.” Like Knight, Dusty Anderson was nervous about making such a drastic change. With help from Career Services, he learned he needed to complete about 40 credits in prerequisites and do well on his Medical College Admission Test to have any chance of pursuing his health care dream. He did both and was a proud 35-yearold when he applied to medical school. After that, it was another four years of medical school, plus three years of residency.

We are helping people on their worst day. It doesn’t get much better than that.” Without guidance from VCU, Anderson says, he might still be working as a tax accountant. “Some of the best advice I got while applying to medical school was from Career Services,” he says. “It’s an asset that people don’t pay enough attention to. They provide those intangibles. They helped me separate myself from the competition.” Staff members even helped prepare him in the event he didn’t get accepted into medical school. “We went over other careers that matched my interests,” Anderson says. “Luckily, I didn’t have to go that route. I can’t imagine doing anything else.” Still, Anderson likens switching careers to standing on the edge of a cliff with a parachute on your back. “You are standing there and no one has checked the chute,” he says. “You jump, pull the cord and hope it opens. I know it can be scary to pursue your dreams. It can be risky. But it is one risk well worth taking. It’s the best decision I ever made.” – Janet Showalter (B.S.’87/MC) is a contributing writer for the alumni magazine.


“It was worth it,” he says. “I really feel this is what I was put on this Earth to do.” Anderson, who began his medical career as an EMT when he was 15 years old, has served as a volunteer firefighter since 1991 and as a paramedic since 2004. Becoming an emergency room physician, he says, was the next logical step. Today, he primarily works out of St. Mary’s Hospital in Richmond, Virginia. “I love everything about it,” he says. “You have no idea each day what is going to walk through that door. There can be a hundred things going on at the same time, and you have to work as a team for everything to go well.

Fall 2018




tradition Three generations of Judys find their health care calling By Sarah Lockwood


VCU Alumni

Photo courtesy Jess Judy


here were almost three Dr. Judys. In fact, as his career in hospitals matured, Jess Judy (M.H.A.’77/HP) had to scold physicians who knew his father and had taken to calling him “Dr. Judy.” He didn’t want the term of endearment to give anyone false ideas. While he did carry on the tradition of working in the medical field, Jess did not become a physician like his father and grandfather before him. William Judy, M.D. (M.D.1904/M), was a physician and minister in West Virginia. Like many doctors’ sons in the mid-20th century, Dr. Will’s son, S. Ben Judy, M.D. (M.D.’48/M), followed in his father’s footsteps. When he headed to the Medical College of Virginia instead of playing professional football, Ben Judy became the first Virginia Tech (then Virginia Polytechnic Institute) scholarship football player to attend medical school. As a young student in Clarksville, Virginia, Ben’s son Jess remembers noticing with his siblings that a lot of their classmates were named Ben or Benjamin. That’s because many had been named after the doctor (their dad) who had delivered them. Dr. Ben Judy was a general practitioner, who not only treated patients for fractures and other ailments but also had a special interest in obstetrics. Ben was an excellent father, Jess says, but despite his best efforts to attend ball games and family functions, as the town doctor, he was often called away. That was on Jess’ mind when he chose his career path. He considered applying to medical school but instead Jess pursued the administrative side of health care. When he graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University’s Master of Health Administration program in the College of Health Professions and began his career in a hospital in Roanoke, Virginia, Jess’ father’s reputation preceded him. “Just the fact that I share his name, physicians, for whatever reason, had a degree of respect [for me]; they were comfortable with me,” Jess says, noting that one of the biggest challenges hospital leaders face is physician relations. But for him, “it was never administration versus the doctors. I was able to cross that divide pretty effectively over the years.”

His way with doctors did not go unnoticed. Jess became an HCA hospital CEO at 29. He climbed health system corporate ladders and started some joint ventures with physicians, returning to health administration in the early 2000s. Then, in 2006, Jess joined LifePoint Health as a division president. He moved into his role as senior vice president of provider relations in 2008, overseeing all activities related to physician practices and engagement. While he technically retired from daily operations activities in 2016, Jess still works full time at LifePoint. Did Ben approve of his son’s career path? Sometime in Jess’ mid-30s, he remembers his father asking him to come to his office to talk. “I just want to make sure that you had no interest in going to med school,” Ben said to Jess. It turns out, Ben had set aside money to help with the cost of medical school in hopes that one of his children would decide to go. Jess told his father to spend the money. “I don’t think it bothered him,” Jess says. “I never felt any sense of a loss of a relationship because of me not going to med school. In fact, he

Jess Judy and his wife, Kathleen, (center) flanked by son-in-law Warner Jones (left), daughter Colleen Jones and grandchildren Max Jones and Lucy Jones, and by daughter-in-law Marti Judy (right), son Noble Judy and grandchildren Fitts Judy and Jess Judy III (standing)

came to south Georgia one time [when I was working in a hospital there] and everywhere I was with him, it was pretty clear that he was proud of what his son was doing.” Ben tried to retire in Clarksville, but his patients continued to call on him. Babies he had delivered had grown up and wanted no one else to deliver their children. He moved to Waynesville, North Carolina, to retire but ended up helping out at a colleague’s practice. Just short of his 80th birthday, he died getting ready for work. “He literally died with his boots on,” Jess says, his voice hinting at his awe and admiration of his father’s work ethic. In 2014, Jess established the Judy Family Student Enrichment Fund to recognize his family’s legacy and to support students attending the VCU College of Health Professions. He also served a three-year term on the Department of Health Administration’s Alumni Advisory Council, co-chaired the department’s Committee for Sustained Excellence and served as an adviser to department leadership. Jess was named the department’s

2012 Alumnus of the Year, received the department’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017 and was named the college’s 2017 Alumni Star. Jess often tells his wife that he has another set of children, the young health care administration professionals whom he mentors. Many are also VCU graduates, including William Haugh (M.H.A.’08/HP), a 2017 VCU Alumni 10 Under 10 winner, as well as LifePoint Health CEO of the Year. “Working with Jess is like you’re working with a living legend,” Haugh says. “Jess has been an incredible mentor. He guides me, coaches me, he listens to me, gives me feedback and guidance when I need it and when I don’t think I need it.” Jess and his wife are building their retirement home in Nashville, Tennessee, where their two married children and four grandchildren live nearby. Jess III started kindergarten this year. Perhaps with this generation, there’s a chance for another Dr. Judy. – Sarah Lockwood is a contributing writer for the alumni magazine.

Fall 2018


“VCU was a place I could combine my childhood loves of space and medicine. Scholarships made my dreams less daunting.” 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

Brent Monseur, M.D. (M.D.’16/M) an equal opportunity/affirmative action university


For many, graduation brings a thrill of both excitement and fear. It’s the moment of leaving campus and setting out into the unknown. It’s the moment of truth that reveals how a course of study will work when applied to the “real world.” It’s the moment when, amid pressure to “get a job,” a person might be searching for what to do in life. The possibilities, however, are out there. The nine Virginia Commonwealth University alumni on the following pages have followed their degrees to careers with transformative, creative and adventurous elements. They might not fit traditional images of what comes after a person earns a particular degree, but in the glimpses they’ve shown here, they reveal how they use their knowledge and skills to find fulfilling career paths and to make a mark in their field.

Fall 2018



As a botanical illustrator, Alice Tangerini creates drawings and paintings of dried plant specimens from all over the world based on microscopiclevel examination of their features. The purpose of the illustrations is to enable botanists to identify plants and to support their research. Tangerini’s artistic expression shines through but always in service to scientific accuracy. Though there aren't many job openings for botanical illustrators in a museum setting, Tangerini broke in through a tip from a neighboring Smithsonian botanist willing to take a chance on an unknown. Today, Tangerini is a major figure in the field of botanical illustration, and her work was featured in three different exhibits in 2018. She has illustrated more than 1,000 different plant species over the course of 46 years at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. She is also responsible for curating the museum’s Catalog of Botanical Art, a collection that includes illustrations dating back more than 200 years. Photo Jud Froelich


VCU Alumni

isaac rodriguez, ph.d.

Photo Brandon Dill Photography

M.S.’10/EN; PH.D.’13/EN

Isaac Rodriguez, Ph.D., used his two biomedical engineering degrees to co-invent a product, a combination of Manuka honey, a collagen derivative and nanoparticles, which promotes tissue regeneration. Though his primary expertise is in the lab, since graduation, Rodriguez has stepped into the world of business to bring his invention to market. He co-founded the Memphis, Tennessee-based biotech startup SweetBio in 2015, with his sister, Kayla Rodriguez Graff, and serves as its chief science officer. The company quickly earned accolades, raising more than $3 million and graduating from ZeroTo510, an accelerator program designed to help entrepreneurs clear medical devices for commercial use, and from LaunchTN’s The TENN, an economic development program that helps entrepreneurs in the Tennessee area. SweetBio recently launched a product in the veterinary market. In 2019, it will launch its first human clinical product, Apis, a resorbable solid sheet that can be used for wound care treatments and in dentistry.

Fall 2018


zachary casagrande, D.D.s. D.D.S.’04/D; M.S.’06/D

He might appear to be your average coffee enthusiast, but Zachary Casagrande, D.D.S., also has a successful practice with Northern Virginia Orthodontics. There, his love of coffee helps to raise money and awareness for good causes. The Cup for a Cure Starbucks Cafe, a unique idea inspired by the practice’s expansion in 2015, is located inside NVO’s Ashburn, Virginia, office. NVO purchases the coffee and provides complimentary beverages to all its patients and their guests, and for every cup of coffee the in-house barista pours, NVO donates $1 to the practice’s nonprofit, The NVO Foundation, which is dedicated to supporting community causes and the fight against pediatric cancer. NVO serves 200-300 drinks a day. The cafe has raised almost $50,000 to date. In the meantime, Casagrande has made a name for himself as one of the best orthodontists in the Northern Virginia area, earning recognition from Washingtonian Magazine and Northern Virginia magazine, among others. His drink of choice? “Double Americano with just a little bit of cream,” he says. Photo Jud Froelich


VCU Alumni

Adele McClure

Photo Jud Froelich


Adele McClure describes her work as outreach and policy director for the office of Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax as “a position I never could have imagined myself in when I was a child.” Though she was interested in politics from a young age, McClure arrived at her current career through a circuitous path. Poverty, homelessness and repeated evictions caused her to attend three high schools her freshman year. She rose above the difficulty to become the first person in her family to attend college. Passionately concerned about mental health, homelessness and access for people with disabilities, McClure volunteered to work on those issues through civic engagement, including on Fairfax’s campaign, for years before she could do it as a career. She says she was “honored” when she received her appointment in January 2018. “Now I have the opportunity to shape policy discussion around issues that the lieutenant governor cares deeply about, issues that impact the lives of all Virginians,” she says.

Fall 2018


stuart harris, m.d. M.D.’99/M

Photo Jim Harrison Photography

Originally an English major, Stuart Harris, M.D., tried on various careers and locations before deciding to study medicine. He taught English in the small Japanese village of Iwaizumi, backpacked on the slopes of Mount Everest and earned an M.F.A. from the prestigious creative writing workshop at the University of Iowa. A longtime outdoor enthusiast, Harris found his calling in the practice of medicine under extreme circumstances, when resources are limited, the location remote and the stakes might be high. He is an attending physician at Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Emergency Medicine. Within that department, he founded and serves as chief of the Division of Wilderness Medicine. Harris is also an associate professor of emergency medicine at nearby Harvard Medical School and has taught medical students in New Mexico’s Gila Wilderness, treated patients in high-altitude regions of Nepal, accompanied scientific missions to the Amazon and used a floatplane to make house calls to patients in extremely rural parts of Alaska.


VCU Alumni

Kristin Dickinson, Ph.D. B.S.’09/N; PH.D.’14/N

Fall 2018

Photo Don Shepard Photography

Kristin Dickinson, Ph.D., became interested in research when she was an undergraduate nursing student working as a research assistant at the VCU School of Nursing. After earning her bachelor’s degree, she continued at VCU, studying for a doctorate. At the same time, she began working as a new RN on an inpatient oncology unit at VCU Medical Center. Working on this unit and interacting with the patients and families provided her with a deeper understanding of the clinical issues affecting patients with cancer, and she realized she wanted to understand more about cancer symptoms and quality of life for patients. In particular, Dickinson saw many patients with cancer-related fatigue. Little is known about this pervasive symptom, and she approached it through her love of biology. Now an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing, her research focuses on studying cancer-related fatigue at a cellular level and finding ways to improve quality of life for those with cancer through treatments that target that symptom.


ashley ertel

Photo Samantha Ramos, Carbon and Copper Photography



Capt. Ashley Ertel, LCSW, had “absolutely zero intentions” of joining the military after she earned her master’s in social work. After a couple years of working, however, she says, “I realized I wanted to do something bigger with my life.” Now one of a relatively small number of U.S. Air Force social workers, Ertel has a lot to juggle on the job. Stationed at the Francis E. Warren Air Force Base west of Cheyenne, Wyoming, she manages a large mental health caseload and serves as alcohol and drug abuse prevention and treatment program manager, suicide prevention program manager and disaster mental health team chief. A key factor of military mental health care, she says, is that she has “a responsibility to both the patient and the mission.” To help get patients back to duty as quickly as possible, Ertel says she’s been given significant training and certification in many evidence-based approaches, opportunities she’s not sure she would have received anywhere else.

VCU Alumni

jade SULLIVAN M.S.’14/B

hannah sullivan

B.S.’12/MC; M.S.’14/B

Jade and Hannah Sullivan met while studying at the VCU Brandcenter, and they’ve brought their knowledge of design and communications to bear on an insurance startup called Pogo, in an industry not exactly known for being on the artistic cutting edge. The couple, who married in 2016, wanted to help freelancers, independent contractors and the self-employed sort out commercial insurance as painlessly as possible. They had a way into the industry through Hannah’s father, an insurance broker who partnered with them to create Pogo. Their experiences in the gig economy, as well as stories of frustration from artistic friends, helped them identify room for improvement in how people learn about and compare insurance options. To do that, they use their creative skills to present information in a friendly, intuitive, accessible way. In the process, they’ve blended their skills to create a unique product, working as partners in business and in life. Photo Jud Froelich

Fall 2018



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

Awards applaud VCU’s most dedicated volunteers VCU Alumni honored some of its most generous graduates in October at the Alumni Volunteer Service Awards celebration. The biennial awards recognize alumni who have given their time and talent to serve VCU Alumni and to advance the mission of the university. Each recipient received a glass medallion handmade by Sean Donlon (B.F.A.’12/A) and enjoyed a musical performance by Tess Ottinger (B.M.’16/A; B.M.’17/A). Read more about these dedicated volunteers at








Photos Jud Froelich


1 Andrew Hobson (B.S.’12/En), winner of the VCU GOLD Award, given to a graduate of the last decade for commitment to VCU and to VCU Alumni 2 Joseph Lowenthal Jr. (B.F.A.’55/A), winner of the 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 3 Saif Khan (B.S.’07/H&S), president of the Military Veterans Alumni Council whose Veterans Day Reception won the VCU Alumni Outstanding Program Award, recognizing a successful and innovative program that has furthered the mission of VCU Alumni 4 Michelle R. Peace, Ph.D. (Ph.D.’05/M), winner of the MCVAA Hodges-Kay Service Award, given 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 5 Sarah Huggins Scarbrough, Ph.D. (M.S.’07/GPA; Cert.’07/GPA; Ph.D.’12/GPA), winner of the Edward H. Peeples Jr. Award for Social Justice Leadership, awarded to a graduate for leadership in humanitarian contributions in combating inequality and social injustice 6 Austin Stewart, sociology major, medical humanities and nonprofit management minor, Class of 2019, winner of the VCU STAT Award, recognizing a member of Students Today Alumni Tomorrow for outstanding leadership and service 7 Ken Thomas (B.S.’91/B) and Pat Thomas, winners of the Elaine and W. Baxter Perkinson Jr. and Vickie and Thomas Snead Jr. Alumni Award for Extraordinary Service, given to alumni who have shown extraordinary leadership and who have made outstanding contributions to the university 8 Franklin R. Wallace Jr. (B.F.A.’87/A; M.P.A.’08/GPA), winner of the VCU Alumni Service Award, recognizing a graduate who has made significant contributions to VCU Alumni


VCU Alumni

Meet best-selling author Lee Smith Save the date for the ninth annual Monroe Scholars Book and Author Luncheon on May 1, featuring author Lee Smith. Smith’s works of fiction include “Fair and Tender Ladies,” “Guests on Earth” and, most recently, “Dimestore,” a memoir of growing up in rural Grundy, Virginia. The luncheon benefits VCU Alumni’s Monroe Scholars Book Award program, which provides an award to high school juniors who meet the criteria of leadership and scholarship and a $1,000 scholarship if they enroll at VCU. More details will be available early next year.

Get your free VCU Libraries card As a student, you probably spent a lot of time at VCU’s libraries. Did you know you can still visit the libraries as a graduate? Access to VCU Libraries is a lifelong benefit to all alumni and includes: • Borrowing privileges at the James Branch Cabell Library and the Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences. • Use of in-library computers. • Access to online journals and databases from in-library computers. • Invitations to library educational and literary events. Sign up for your free library card and learn more at You’ll find information about access to VCU Libraries, and many more benefits, listed under Benefits > Benefits for all alumni.

Life Member Society events planned A slate of exciting upcoming opportunities is planned for members of the exclusive Life Member Society, including a special preview at the Institute for Contemporary Art in February, early access to purchase A-10 basketball tournament tickets and alumni events during MCV Campus Reunion Weekend in April. Information about these and other events will be sent via email. Don’t miss a message! Update your information online at If you have questions, email Lauren Leavy, senior coordinator of alumni engagement events, at

Alumni at the AAAC block party

AAAC marks 30-year milestone By Anthony Langley Chartered in 1989, the VCU Alumni African-American Alumni Council has supported the success of African-American students from their first days on campus to graduation and beyond for nearly 30 years. From the beginning, the group’s first presidents, Bruce Twyman (B.S.’74/H&S) and Gail Robinson (M.P.A.’72/GPA), and other like-minded alumni who attended VCU during its earliest days, wanted to form an organization that would increase the retention and graduation rate among African-American students. “[When we attended] VCU, it was just becoming a university so we had a unique opportunity to have our voices heard,” Robinson says. “We wanted AfricanAmerican students to know that there was an organization that was always there for them, that they should affiliate with.” Working alongside university faculty and staff, including the late Grace E. Harris, Ph.D. (M.S.W.’60/SW), former provost and vice president for academic affairs, and Alvin Schexnider, Ph.D., former vice provost for undergraduate studies, the group developed an organizational structure that would not only provide an avenue for socialization but also academic development. “Many of us were first-generation students, and we knew how important it would be to stay in touch and help each other in any way we could,” says longtime volunteer Kevin Johnson (B.S.’83/B). “I think the reason the council is so successful is directly because of those early initiatives.” Today, programs like the Mentoring Circle, which connects current students with alumni with shared professional interests, and an increased presence at alumni and campus events continue the AAAC’s commitment to student development and retention at the university. As the AAAC continues to grow, former President Nina Sims (B.S.’93/MC) is optimistic, knowing that further blurring the line between student and alumni experiences is where the organization will find its greatest successes and rewards. “We’ve been lucky to have these great careers and connections,” Sims says. “Now it’s up to us to help this next generation of Rams find their place in the world and teach us what their needs are so we can continue to provide for them the best we can.” Under the leadership of President Rodney Harry (B.S.’90/GPA), the AAAC has worked with campus groups such as the Black Student Union and Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, sponsored the first kente cloth graduation ceremony and provided scholarship opportunities to students in need. “We want students to know that [the AAAC] is a resource for their success,” Harry says. “I’m proud of what the African-American Alumni Council has become and glad that VCU has made such a commitment to diversity and inclusion.”

– Anthony Langley (B.S.’16/MC) is a contributing writer for the alumni magazine.

Fall 2018



Ed Flippen, J.D., (left) and Lucian Friel Photo Jud Froelich

From combat to engagement Scholarship rewards service of VCU student veterans By Julie Young


ucian Friel (B.S.’17/MC) served a tour of duty in Iraq in 2005 with the 2nd Marine Division. As a combat correspondent and photographer, his war stories were dispersed far and wide by the American Forces Press Service. After completing his four years of service, he earned an associate’s degree in liberal arts from the Virginia Beach, Virginia, branch of Tidewater Community College, hoping to transfer to a four-year university with expertise in GI Bill benefits and a strong program of support and engagement opportunities for veterans. He found a perfect fit in Virginia Commonwealth University, where he could engage with and support fellow student veterans while working toward his degree. Friel excelled academically as a work-study student with VCU Military Student Services. He assisted veterans with benefits applications, set up fantasy football leagues and holiday parties and coordinated community service projects. Friel received a VCU Veterans Scholarship as he entered his final semester in fall 2017. The scholarship, awarded annually to a student veteran, child or grandchild, gave Friel room to breathe. “For me, it was really good to get that at the very end,” says Friel, now an education support specialist with the VCU Rehabilitation Research and Training Center. “It let me know that everything that I had done meant something, and it really did relieve me of the stress that I’m graduating now and have to find a job.” The scholarship was made possible by Ed Flippen, J.D. (B.S.’65/B), who knows firsthand how small acts of encouragement can make a lasting impact on a student’s life. Flippen entered VCU after military service and needed to work to pay his tuition. An admissions counselor developed a morning, evening and summer class schedule that allowed Flippen to remain employed and granted him credit for service in the 82nd Airborne Division in lieu of his physical education requirement.


VCU Alumni

He graduated from VCU in 3½ years and then earned an M.B.A. and law degree from the College of William & Mary. In the midst of an illustrious law career, he returned to VCU in 1994 as a member of the Board of Visitors, serving until 2012. In 2000, Flippen was elected rector. “I’ve always been grateful for the personal attention I received in my initial visits to VCU,” Flippen says. “I know in large part it was because I was a veteran.” Flippen and his wife, Pearcy, established a merit scholarship in 2007 that was renamed the VCU Veterans Scholarship Fund in 2014. The scholarship is awarded to recognize exemplary service to fellow VCU student veterans. It can keep student veterans afloat, says Stephen Ross, director of Military Student Services, who adds that VCU enrolls 300-400 students annually who are veterans or who are on active duty or in the reserves or National Guard. “It could mean helping with health care, living expenses, family doctor bills, really any of the costs that anyone could experience,” Ross says. “Many veterans live off-campus, and transportation is one area that I have seen cause problems. A car breaks down and there is no money for repairs, a student can miss classes. We have even seen parking create challenges when a student may have temporary health-related issues.” The scholarship also can motivate students to finish their education. “I think having a scholarship like this, especially for veterans who have already had so many life experiences and now are taking a different direction, can reinforce that they’re on the right path,” Friel says. To learn more about the Veterans Scholarship Fund, contact Thomas C. Burke (B.S.’79/E; M.P.A.’95/GPA), executive director of the VCU Foundation, at

– Julie Young is a contributing writer for the alumni magazine.

alumni ornament INTRODUCING THE 2018

VCU Alumni has created the first in a series of ornaments that pay tribute to beloved campus landmarks. The inaugural 2018 ornament features the Egyptian Building, the first permanent home of the Medical Department of HampdenSydney College (later the Medical College of Virginia). Handcrafted in North Carolina, the limited-edition ornament is made from zinc and comes with an insert containing information about the building. The ornament costs $28 plus shipping. Virginia residents add 4.3 percent sales tax.

To start your VCU holiday ornament collection, order online at Supplies are limited.


Want to see more about what’s happening with your fellow alumni? View archived and expanded class notes online at


Charles Bartlett Jr. (B.S.’75/B) retired from the American Heart Association in 2015 and has since worked as a part-time leadership consultant.


Robert Benson (B.S.’72/SW) is a contract business systems analyst for Virginia, based in Richmond. L

Richard Newton Sr., M.D. (M.D.’54/M), retired from cardiology practice in Roanoke, Va. He established cardiac programs for southwestern Virginia through Virginia Western Community College and established coronary care units at Lewis-Gale Hospital and Community Hospital, both in Roanoke. He was chief medical resident at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wis., in 1958. L

Lynn Burton (Cert.’74/HP; B.G.S.’85/H&S) retired in 2016.

1960s Gary King (B.S.’69/E) retired in 2005 from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs after 35 years of service. William McConnell (A.S.’69/En; B.S.’72/B) retired from GE and lives in Daleville, Va. L Steven Scarbrough (B.S.’68/P) retired in 2003 but continued working part time and recently completed his 45th year at Southside Regional Medical Center in Petersburg, Va. Anna Lou Schaberg (B.S.’66/H&S; M.Ed.’70/E) was honored in the Richmond, Va., YWCA’s 2018 Outstanding Women Awards in the category of human relations and faith in action. The award recognized Schaberg for her work in seeking innovative solutions to community challenges in workforce development and meeting the needs of homeless youth and refugees. L Marcia Sidford (B.S.’66/HP) retired in 2017. Richard Stotler (B.S.’65/P) was married Nov. 30, 1968, to Jeanne K. Meyer. He retired in May 1995 as a lieutenant colonel from the U.S. Army with 28 years of service. He has two children, Kristine and Jeffrey. Natalie Taylor (B.S.’61/H&S) is a retired social worker. She has two adult sons.


Sally Coates (B.S.’72/SW) retired as tourism executive for the city of Winchester, Va. Donna Coulgoulder (B.S.’77/E) retired from teaching in 2014 after 34 years. She has three children and three grandsons. Linda Cupit (B.S.’71/N; M.S.’76/N) is a clinical consulting hypnotist and certified by the National Guild of Hypnotists. She maintains a private practice in Naples, Fla., where she sees clients with everyday needs such as smoking cessation, weight loss, food addiction, sports training and anxiety. L Beatrice Dalton (B.S.’70/E; M.Ed.’08/E) retired after 43 years of teaching high school at J.R. Tucker High School in Henrico, Va. L Robert Deigh (B.S.’77/MC) published his second book, “Spark: The Complete Public Relations Guide for Small Business.” The book is used at colleges and universities around the country and as a guide for small and large companies. A former journalist, Deigh has won national writing awards. Frank Delmonico, M.D. (H.S.’78/M), was elected chair of the World Health Organization’s Task Force on Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation. He recently addressed the International Congress of the Transplant Society in Madrid, describing the impact of the Declaration of Istanbul, a statement calling for all countries to establish a legal and professional framework for organ donation and transplantation. James Edwards Jr., M.D. (M.S.’72/M; M.D.’75/M; H.S.’78/M), retired from family medicine in 2013. He is active in community programs, especially the Boy Scouts of America. He has been married to Mary Carter Ransone for 43 years, and they have two children, Travers III and Totty Anna, and four grandsons.

Jane Allen (B.S.’75/N) retired as the school health coordinator of Charles City County (Va.) Public Schools in 2014 after working in school health for 23 years.

Jack Ende, M.D. (M.D.’73/M), has concluded his yearlong tenure as president of the American College of Physicians, the nation’s largest medical specialty organization.

Carol Anderson (B.F.A.’71/A) retired in 1983 as art director of the Voice of America. She married in 1987 and is self-employed, working as a fine artist in miniatures.

Arthur Foley (B.S.’71/B) was elected to the board of directors of the Continental Divide Trail Coalition, the lead volunteer organization for the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail. L

Robert Barber (B.F.A.’73/A) moved back to Richmond, Va., after 44 years in Texas. He has worked as a museum exhibit designer, welding instructor and studio artist producing welded metal wildlife art.

Marjory Franklin (B.S.’76/SW) graduated from Catholic University in 1981 with an M.A. in psychology. She received a post-graduate certificate in school psychology in 1982.


VCU Alumni

Daniel Gill (B.S.’72/B) was inducted into the Minority Business Hall of Fame, a national nonprofit organization and museum. The organization cited his accomplishments as a career professional in government, academia and the private sector. L Ronald Glass, M.D. (M.D.’78/M), retired from the practice of medicine in 2017. He relocated to Richmond, Va., from the St. Louis area, where he was a critical care physician. Sally Gravely (B.S.’76/MC) retired after nearly 16 years at Second Presbyterian Church in Roanoke, Va. David Gwaltney (B.F.A.’76/A) was the featured artist for the Museum of Contemporary Arts’ 63rd Virginia Beach Boardwalk Art Show in June 2018. His artwork, “A Spot in the Universe,” was used for the show’s posters and T-shirts. The annual juried show draws 300 artists from across the country. Darrell Griffin, M.D. (B.S.’71/H&S; M.D.’75/M), retired from the State of Florida University System in December 2015 after 10 years each on the faculty of the University of Florida College of Medicine and the Florida State University College of Medicine. Patricia Taylor Harris (M.Ed.’79/E) retired in 2013 as dean of science, engineering and technology at Thomas Nelson Community College in Hampton, Va. William Hill (B.F.A.’79/A) has retired as a senior designer for the Marine Corps History Division after 32 years of service. L Ronald Lanier (B.S.’75/SW) retired from state government after 38 years, having served as director of the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing for the past 21 years. Marion Leff, M.D. (M.D.’76/M), retired in 2017 after 17 years as program director for the Sutter Health family medicine residency program in Sacramento, Calif. Mark Mansfield (B.A.’77/H&S) lives in upstate New York and is the author of two collections of poetry, “Strangers Like You” and “Soul Barker.” His poems have appeared in Bayou, Potomac Review, Star*Line and other publications. He was a 2015 Pushcart Prize nominee. Nancy McTague-Stock (B.F.A.’79/A) received the Silvermine Arts Center’s Artist/Educator Award in May 2018. L John O’Bannon III, M.D. (M.D.’73/M; H.S.’74/M; H.S.’77/M; H.S.’78/M), was appointed to the board of directors for the Virginia War Memorial Foundation. Sue Salmon (B.S.’73/P), who graduated as Sue Ann Ely Shugart, practiced pharmacy for 23 years and then answered the call to ministry in the United Methodist Church. She received a Master of Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary in 1999 and served as ordained clergy for 19 years before retiring from active ministry.

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Stephen Salyards (B.S.’78/H&S) retired after 33 years of service as a personnel research psychologist for the federal government. Thomas Savage (B.S.’78/MC) closed his family law litigation office in Fredericksburg, Va., after 36 years and semiretired to Colonial Beach, Va. He continues to represent children in abuse and neglect cases and serves at the district court level as a substitute judge for the 15th Circuit of Virginia. L Richard Scarnati, D.O. (H.S.’79), wrote “Soul Explosion” about his experiences and spiritual transformation. He recently published a second edition and audio edition of his first book, “God’s Light.” L

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Richard Sedwick, M.D. (M.D.’75/M), works in private practice in gynecology. Deborah Shaver (B.S.’79/H&S) retired as a supervisor in the Cytogenetics Laboratory in the VCU Health System in 2014 after 36 years of service. Glenn Simon, Ph.D. (Ph.D.’79/M), retired from Solvay USA Inc. in 2017 and now runs a part-time consulting business in toxicology and regulatory affairs. The Rev. Allard Smith Jr. (B.S.’76/B; Cert.’79/B) is a retired minister of The Presbyterian Church of the United States. Sabrina Squire (B.S.’76/H&S) retired from NBC12 in Richmond, Va., in May 2018. She was the longest-serving TV news anchor in Richmond as well as the first African-American prime-time co-anchor in the area. An Emmy-winning journalist, she was inducted into the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame in 2012. L Joseph Turner III (M.S.’71/HP) retired in 2009 after 30 years with the Virginia Employment Commission. Deborah Wagus (B.S.’72/N) retired in 2015 and reports that she is loving the life of a full-time grandmother and mom. Jacqueline Warren (B.S.’72/E; M.Ed.’79/E) retired from Henrico County (Va.) Public Schools. Spencer Warren (B.S.’75/B) retired from Dominion Energy. Stephen Wisecarver (B.S.’79/H&S; M.Ed.’81/E) retired in 2017 and is building a house in Berryville, Va., and trying to find time to play golf.

1980s Barry Bechtel (B.S.’82/H&S) enjoys playing the saxophone, photography and travel. Crystal Cawley (B.F.A.’82/A) had a solo exhibit, “Crystal Cawley,” at the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vt., from May 1-Oct. 31. Patricia Concodora (B.F.A.’82/A; M.F.A.’88/A) is a retired interior designer and editor at Bon Mots and Prose Publishing.

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Ruth Countryman (M.F.A.’84/A) retired in 2016. She moved back to Virginia in 2017, first to Farmville and then to Richmond.

History,” a collection of paintings, prints and drawings by Jones and his son, Jeromyah, that was displayed at The Gallery at Main Street Station in Richmond, Va.

Carolyn Eggleston, Ph.D. (Ph.D.’89/E), is faculty emeritus at California State University in San Bernardino.

Judith Katzen (M.S.W.’84/SW) joined Xavier Society for the Blind’s Advisory Group. In this role, she helps select content for the society’s publications in Braille and audio as well as advises on the best use of technology and on potential new initiatives.

James Genus (B.M.’87/A) performed on “Diamond Cut,” a CD by saxophonist Tia Fuller. R.D. Goldsticker, M.D. (M.D.’86/M), is the division chairman of Food4Children of Montero Medical Missions in Cheseapeake, Va. John Hendrick, M.D. (H.S.’86/M), has been promoted to professor of psychiatry at East Tennessee State University. Cathy Herndon (M.A.E.’80/A) is secretary of the board of the Fredericksburg (Va.) Sister City Association and communicates with representatives from sister cities Frejus, France; Schwetzingen, Germany; Este, Italy; and Kathmandu, Nepal. Heidi Hooper (B.F.A.’81/A) was featured on ABC's “To Tell the Truth” with Mel Brooks, where she discussed her art, made from dryer lint. Her work can be seen in Ripley’s Believe It or Not museums all over the world, and Consumer Reports calls her “The Andy Warhol of Dryer Lint.” W. Greg Hundley, M.D. (M.D.’88/M), joined VCU Health Pauley Heart Center as its inaugural director. He also serves as clinical director of noninvasive cardiology at VCU Medical Center and on the senior advisory committee at VCU Massey Cancer Center as a member of Massey’s Cancer Prevention and Control research program. Elizabeth Porter Johnson (B.A.’80/H&S) is on the board of directors of the Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School Education Foundation and served as co-chair of the Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School 20th anniversary celebration fundraiser. L Jerome Jones (B.F.A.’81/A) was featured in Richmond Magazine in connection with “Prophecy Makes

Pamela Knox, Ph.D. (M.S.’82/H&S; Ph.D.’85/H&S), retired in July 2018 from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and lives in Blacksburg, Va. Harry Kollatz Jr. (B.A.’86/H&S) read from his forthcoming novel, “Carlisle Montgomery,” at the 2018 Richmond Lit Crawl. Primer Books, based in Sydney, will publish the book in late 2018. Colleen Kraft, M.D. (M.D.’86/M), in her role as president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, visited a Texas immigration detention center where children who had been separated from families were being held. She was quoted about her perspective in national news outlets, including The Washington Post and NBC “Nightly News.” L Elizabeth Francis Locke, Ph.D. (B.S.’81/HP), was appointed to a four-year term on the Virginia Board of Physical Therapy and to a three-year term on the board of directors of VersAbility Resources in Hampton, Va. Joy Loverro (M.S.’84/HP) has been married to her husband, Dan, for 34 years and has two sons and one daughter. The couple adopted their youngest from Korea 24 years ago when he was 4 months old. Loverro works with adult and geriatric patients for several home care agencies as well as contracts with a hospice agency. She has lived in the San Francisco Bay area for 19 years and is planning to retire to Southern California in 2020. Andrew “Cade” Martin (B.G.S.’89/H&S) opened Cade Martin Photography Studio in the Jackson Ward area of Richmond, Va., launching with a showing of his “Character, Not Characters” exhibit.

Fall 2018



James W. Nemitz, Ph.D. (Ph.D.’80/M), became the seventh president of the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine on July 1. He has been with WVSOM for 31 years and previously served as the school’s vice president for administration and external relations. Joanna Price, M.D. (M.D.’83/M), retired from her private OB-GYN practice in Watertown, Conn., in 2009 and volunteers at the Malta House of Care, which offers general adult medicine for the uninsured, in Waterbury, Conn. Curtis Sessler, M.D. (H.S.’84/M), received the Pioneering Spirit Award from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses for his commitment to teamwork and collaboration in the ICU. Teri Stockham, Ph.D. (Ph.D.’87/M), returned to VCU in April 2018 to speak with forensic toxicology students about the changing landscape of novel psychoactive substances and the challenges they present.

Linda Thurby-Hay (M.S.’88/N) was installed as a board member at-large for the YMCA of Greater Richmond's Community Advisory Board. Lee Ustinich (B.F.A.’82/A; M.S.’84/HP) retired from state service after more than 30 years in public behavioral health programs, treating addiction and managing mental health grants. She now has a small ceramics studio and works in mid- and high-fire clay. Mark Vergnano (M.B.A.’85/B), president and CEO of The Chemours Co., won the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2018 award for the greater Philadelphia region. L Christobel Wetsel (M.S.W.’85/SW) retired in July 2017 from Region Ten Community Services, a nonprofit in Charlottesville, Va., and now works in a relief mental health support services position. Dory Walczak (B.S.’86/N) was selected as the Virginia March of Dimes Nurse of the Year 2017 in the category of pediatric nursing.

Take an adventure with your fellow Rams!

Cheryl Wedel (B.S.W.’86/SW; M.S.W.’89/SW) and her husband, Stuart, live in Manassas, Va., and have two sons, one attending the College of William & Mary and the other Radford University. Stephen Yang, M.D. (M.D.’84/M; H.S.’94/M), was inducted into the Distinguished Teaching Society at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

1990s Charles Bennett (B.G.S.’91/H&S) retired Jan. 31, after 50 years in law enforcement, from the U.S. Justice Department, Criminal Division, International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program as program director in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. Mary Jane Bohlen (M.I.S.’98/A) published “Bosom Buddies,” a coffee-table book of photographs and essays that celebrate the inner and outer beauty of breast cancer survivors.

Travel in s tyle with VCU-them ed luggag e. Order onlin e a t faithfulfan cu and use th e promo co de “gorams” to receive a special a lumni discount.

As a VCU Alumni traveler, you can discover fascinating places around the world. And with all the trip details meticulously choreographed, you can have fun, relax and immerse yourself in a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Each trip offers first-class accommodations, experienced tour guides, a pay-one-price that includes most typical expenses, such as gratuities, and the opportunity to select free time for exploration away from the group.

Check out our 2019 destinations and book your next adventure at


VCU Alumni

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Stacey Cofield, Ph.D. (Cert.’98/H&S; Ph.D.’03/M), associate professor in the Department of Biostatistics, was awarded the 2018 University of Alabama at Birmingham President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching for the School of Public Health at UAB. She used the award to establish the Dr. Al M. Best Biostatistics Teaching Award, a scholarship to support a biostatistics student interested in teaching, in honor of her mentor, Al M. Best, Ph.D. (Ph.D.’84/M). William Davis (Cert.’99/B) was appointed to the board of the Virginia War Memorial Foundation. Richard “Dickie” Cox III (B.G.S.’97/H&S; M.F.A.’03/A) is in the third year of a tenure-track professorship in the Department of Communication at Monmouth University. The university has approved an interactive digital media graduate concentration that he designed. Reginald Davenport (B.S.’92/H&S; M.T.’94/E) was promoted to principal at Glen Allen (Va.) High School in August 2017, after serving as the associate principal there 2010-17. Kim Dobson (B.S.’90/HP) graduated in May from Old Dominion University’s M.S.N.-family nurse practice program and is pursuing a D.N.P. degree. Chris Dovi (B.S.’97/MC) was featured in Style Weekly as one of the most powerful people in the field of education in the Richmond, Va., area. He is one of the founders of CodeVA, a teacher-training program designed to increase student participation in high school computer science opportunities, with a special emphasis on female and minority students. Fredrik Eliasson (B.S.’94/B; M.B.A.’95/B) is executive vice president and chief financial officer of Change Healthcare, one of the largest independent health care IT companies in the U.S. L Colleen Ewing, Ph.D. (B.S.’91/H&S; M.B.A.’17/B), joined the Virginia Department of Veterans Services as director of the Virginia Veterans and Family Support Program. Tiffany Flowers, Ph.D. (B.S.’99/H&S; M.T.’99/E), was awarded tenure as assistant professor of education at Georgia State University Perimeter College in the Department of Cultural and Behavioral Sciences. Her research interests include African-American literacy development, the scholarship of teaching and learning, literature and traditional literacy. L

Marie F. Gerardo (M.S.’90/N; Cert.’99/N), nurse practitioner for the House Calls program at VCU Health, was appointed in May 2018 to the Virginia Board of Nursing by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. Victor Goines (M.M.’90/A) was voted No. 6 in the clarinet category of the 82nd annual readers’ poll run by DownBeat, a magazine that covers jazz and blues music. The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, which features Goines on reeds, merited No. 2 in the big band category and placed in jazz album. Debra Harman, M.D. (M.D.’94/M), has joined HCA at the CareNow Urgent Care in Brentwood, Tenn., as clinical medical director. Tanya Harris, D.P.A. (B.S.’90/B), was the first student to give a doctoral defense for the newly offered doctorate of public administration at California Baptist University in July. She now teaches at the university as an adjunct professor. L Kim Isringhausen (B.S.’95/D; M.P.H.’04/M), associate professor and assistant dean, community outreach and collaborative partnerships, in the VCU School of Dentistry, helped organize the 100th Mission of Mercy Project, which brings dental care to those who need it most. With the help of volunteers from the VCU School of Dentistry, the event provided 953 patients with $1.3 million worth of donated dental care. Tara Jennette (M.S.’96/HP) has worked at Duke Raleigh Hospital in North Carolina for nearly 10 years. She has expanded her administrative role and now supervises more than 20 employees, while maintaining 50 percent clinical patient care. She says her kids, Benjamin, 17, and Mallory, 14, and spouse of 17 years, Mike, keep her busy and amused. Michael Jones (B.S.’97/GPA; Cert.’01/GPA; M.S.’05/ GPA) retired as chief of Virginia Capitol Police in June 2007, as director of WHGA Inc., a security consulting company, in August 2014 and as chief of Altavista (Va.) Police in June 2016. He is an instructor in the VCU L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, where he has taught criminal justice and homeland security since 1994. Virginia “Ginger” Jones (B.S.W.’94/SW) retired from the Henrico County (Va.) Community Corrections Program.

David Gallagher (B.S.’97/B) opened Tang and Biscuit Shuffleboard Social Club in August 2018 in the Scott’s Addition area of Richmond, Va., with business partner David Fratkin.

Karen Kimsey (M.S.W.’96/SW; Cert.’96/HP) was appointed by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam in April 2018 to serve as chief deputy director of the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services, the state Medicaid agency. She has more than 20 years of experience with DMAS, most recently serving as deputy director of complex care.

Alvester Garnett (B.M.’93/A) plays drums alongside violinist Regina Carter, who was voted No. 1 in the violin category of the 82nd annual readers’ poll run by DownBeat magazine.

Jeff Klein (M.F.A.’95/A) is in his seventh season working for Luna Park in Coney Island, N.Y., as the sales manager, where he oversees group sales, business development and tourism programs. Before

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working at Luna Park, Klein was a theatrical booking agent for more than 10 years, representing shows and performers, including “Cabaret,” “Bye Bye Birdie,” “Altar Boyz,” Robert Goulet, Ed Asner and The Three Irish Tenors. Klein has traveled extensively in North America and Europe working as a manager on the national tours of “The Phantom of the Opera” and Disney’s “Aida” and on the European tour of “The Harlem Gospel Singers.” Melissa Kozloff (B.S.’90/H&S) was promoted to HR corporate recruiter at Pathways by Molina, a mental health service in Fredericksburg, Va. Anne Laine (B.S.’93/P) is a missionary in Kampala, Uganda, teaching trauma care and healing. Adam Larrabee (M.M.’98/A) taught at Bela Fleck’s first banjo camp at Brevard Music Center in Brevard, N.C., in August 2018. He is a member of the band Love Canon, whose latest CD, “Cover Story,” hit No. 1 on the Billboard bluegrass chart. Herbert M. Mendelson, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’94/D), has been named director of the University of Maryland School of Dentistry’s new implantology continuum course. Mark Monson (Cert.’90/B) was appointed by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam in May 2018 to the Virginia Board of Nursing. Kevin Myer (M.H.A.’95/HP) is president and CEO of LifeGift. Clarence Penn (B.M.’91/A) performed on “The Good Spirits,” a CD by saxophonist Denis Gabel. JoAnn Perkins (M.B.A.’96/B) retired from Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield after 37 years with the company. Janet Routson (Cert.’95/N) lives in the Houston area. Tanya Ryan (B.F.A.’99/A) began a career in web design and freelance photography after graduation. In 2010, she began teaching the fundamentals of communication arts and design for the Virginia Department of Corrections, Division of Education. She currently has a freelance design business while continuing to teach an American Council on Education college-accredited graphic design course. Wayne Slough, Ph.D. (M.I.S.’93/H&S; Ph.D.’08/E), is associate professor of marketing in VCU’s School of Business. Douglas Sutton (B.F.A.’90/A) observed the 10th anniversary of his business, Move My Mom. Hilaire Thompson, Ph.D. (M.S.’96/N; Cert.’98/N), received the 2018 Excellence in Neuroscience Nursing Education Award from the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses for her contributions to the field. She is the Joanne Montgomery Endowed Professor and graduate program director at the University of Washington School of Nursing. Inducted into the

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American Academy of Nursing in 2008, Thompson co-chairs the Acute and Critical Care Expert Panel. Steven Wasilewski (M.S.’98/HP) retired from the U.S. Army in 2017 after service as an occupational therapist in Texas, Georgia and Afghanistan. He is now serving as a civilian OT at Fredericksburg Orthopaedic Associates in Northern Virginia. Charlotte Wilmer (M.S.W.’93/SW) retired from military social work. John Zakaib, M.D. (M.D.’99/M; H.S.’03/M), left Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital after nine years as founding director of electrophysiology to join Minneapolis Heart Institute. He and his wife, Amy Sue, live in Saint Paul, Minn., with their two sons, Sam and Charlie, and their Great Dane, Harold.

2000s Justin Beck (B.A.’05/H&S) is married and has a daughter. Amy C. Brown, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’09/D), is a fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry. Nathaniel Bull (M.S.’05/MC) is a senior art director at Pinckney Hugo Group, a full-service marketing communications firm. Tamara Burdick (B.S.’03/MC) co-founded Firm Foundations Marketing Inc., a marketing consulting agency based in Roanoke, Va., that works with churches, nonprofits and small businesses to craft and elevate their communications and marketing messages. Jenna Campion (B.S.’06/H&S) became a business analyst for the state of Virginia in 2017, doing software testing for the Division of Consolidated Labs. Scott Clark (B.M.’04/A) released his latest studio album, “ToNow,” on Clean Feed Records. The record was inspired by the Standing Rock protests in North Dakota, and Clark uses this as a lens to explore the meanings of his Native American bloodlines. The album includes the work of Jason Scott (B.M.’98/A), Alan Parker (B.M.’06/A) and other VCU alumni. Felecia Coleman (M.Ed.'08/E) has served as assistant principal since 2011 at George Mason and Blackwell elementary schools in Virginia. She also served as interim principal of Swansboro (Va.) Elementary. Her Swedish oatmeal rum raisin cookies made her the winner of the first Richmond Times-Dispatch holiday cookie bake-off in 2012 and her photograph, “Bee Ensconced on Coneflower,” was published in the Aug. 5, 2017, Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Your Best Shot series. L Victoria Cox, D.N.P. (B.S.’02/N), received a doctor of nursing practice degree from Liberty University as part of its inaugural Class of 2016.


VCU Alumni

Rosalie Dech (B.A.’07/H&S) is a visitor experience ambassador for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. L. Keith Dowler (B.S.’08/H&S; M.A.’09/GPA) is a certified emergency manager. He was promoted to system director of emergency management and business continuity with the Inova Health System in Northern Virginia.

New releases

Christen Duxbury (B.S.’08/MC) graduated in spring 2018 from the University of Virginia’s clinical nurse leadership program and works as a registered nurse in one of U.Va.’s ICUs. Lindsey Evans, Ph.D. (Cert.’08/GPA; M.P.A.’08/GPA; Ph.D.’17/GPA), has accepted a tenure-track position in the Department of Urban and Public Affairs at the University of Louisville. She previously worked in the VCU Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute. Jennifer Ferrara (B.A.’07/H&S) was selected as one of the top 40 under 40 criminal defense trial lawyers in Virginia by the National Trial Lawyers for her work with the law office of W. Andrew Patzig in Chesapeake, Va. Erin Garmezy (B.F.A.’07/A) was featured in Richmond Magazine, along with her husband, Grant (B.F.A.’09/A), for the couple’s cabin and artist studio, where the pair collaborate on glass sculptures. George Gitchel Jr., Ph.D. (B.S.’06/En; M.S.’10/En; Ph.D.’16/En), worked with Paul Wetzel, Ph.D., associate professor of biomedical engineering in the VCU College of Engineering, and Mark Baron, M.D., professor of neurology at the Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center in the VCU School of Medicine, to license technology for eye movement analysis in patients with movement disorders. The resulting product, RightEye, was an honoree of the CES Innovation Award at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. It went on sale in 2018 for diagnosis of Parkinson’s, tremor and other neurological diseases. Gordon “Gordy” Haab III (B.M.’00/A) was featured in Billboard in May 2018 in an article highlighting his work writing original music for “Star Wars” video games. Peter Haar, M.D., Ph.D. (M.D.’03/M; Ph.D.’06/M), assistant professor of radiology in the VCU School of Medicine, was quoted in U.S. News & World Report on the importance of strong anatomy courses when looking for a medical school that excels in radiology. Thomas M. Hanna (B.A.’05/H&S; M.A.’07/H&S) is the author of “Our Common Wealth: The Return of Public Ownership in the United States.” He was involved, with other authors, in writing “Scaling Up the Cooperative Movement.” Hanna is also the author of “The Crisis Next Time: Planning for Public Ownership as an Alternative to Corporate Bank Bailouts” and more than 30 articles published in journals and newspapers, including The New York Times.

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Alumni and faculty books Understanding homelessness

Violence and intimacy



“Soul Stories: Voices from the Margins” explores health and healing in the context of trauma and homelessness. It draws on Ensign’s (B.S.’84/N; M.S.’86/N) 30 years of experience as a nurse providing care to people marginalized by poverty and homelessness, on her personal journey through homelessness as a young adult and on her experience of teaching critical reflective practice to health science students.

In “A Shout in the Ruins,” Powers (B.A.’08/ H&S) follows up his 2013 acclaimed novel of the Iraq War, “The Yellow Birds,” with a setting much closer to home. He weaves an antebellum tale of the fates of the inhabitants of the Beauvais Plantation outside of Richmond, Virginia, with more modern stories of characters in search of love while reckoning with legacies of violence, suffering and exploitation.

An energetic girl

Healing distrust



In “Cailey’s Best Day,” a children’s book illustrated by Morgan, Hewlett (M.Ed.’09/E) writes about an excited young girl who tries new things and values each new day. Hewlett based the main character on the appearance and personality of her daughter, Brennan. She says she hopes the book’s messages can uplift young girls and has donated copies to victims of violence in Nigeria.


Journey of discovery

“Rest in Peace, RaShawn” tells the story of a black teenager shot by a police officer and the emotional upheaval surrounding his death. In a graphic novel format aimed at young adult readers, Sidney (M.S.W.’14/SW), working with illustrator Van Wagoner, provides discussion points aimed at healing the legacy of distrust between African-American communities and the police who are supposed to protect them.


Sexuality and sense of self

A journey to the underworld, a sorcerer and a prophecy all lead the main character to learn to use the powers that hide deep inside him in “The Rings: Journey Beneath Sirok.” The book is the second in the Elias Chronicles, a series by Kardos, who is senior director of development for VCU’s School of Education. He based the series on Joseph Campbell’s concept of the hero’s journey.


Searching for love

In Young-Stone’s (B.A.’92/H&S; M.T.’95/E; M.F.A.’05/H&S) third novel, “Lost in the Beehive,” 16-year-old protagonist Gloria Ricci, a young woman growing up in the 1960s, runs away from gay conversion therapy and into a host of eccentric characters in pursuit of her quest to be true to herself. The novel was featured in O, The Oprah Magazine's spring reading list.


Writer and illustrator Pennington (B.S.’74/ SW) brings to life a mischievous porcupine who needs affection in “Has Anyone Seen Prickles?” His tricks in the forest hurt and frighten his neighbors, but ultimately, he changes and gets just what he needs, teaching the lesson that “the hard to love need love the most.” With the book, Pennington aims to help foster the best in every child.

Calling alumni authors Send us your latest novel, mystery thriller, memoir, poetry collection, nonfiction or other published work! Last two years only, please. Mail to VCU Alumni magazine editor, Box 842039, Richmond, VA 23284-2039. Please note, works will not be returned.

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Connecting the dots Alumnus charts a path to a rewarding nursing career By Anthony Langley


hough Danny Mallory (B.S.’15/N) began his career as a registered nurse only a few years ago, he is already charting a path to the next stop on his journey. Mallory entered college knowing that he wanted to work in health care, but he wasn’t sure which profession to explore. In 2008, after completing a bachelor’s in health sciences administration from James Madison University, he worked as a marketing intern for Sheltering Arms Physical Rehabilitation Center in Richmond, Virginia. The following year, he joined Health Risk Partners, a Richmond-based Medicare consulting firm, as a project manager. He served as a liaison among the reporting and analytics, product management, client services and IT departments to take medical products through their lifecycles, developing an in-depth knowledge of the business side of health care and risk assessment. Simultaneously, he completed a master’s certificate program in applied project management at Villanova University and, later, a six-month project management opportunity in Shenyang, Liaoning, China. After more than four years of working, however, he wanted a change of pace. Mallory returned to the States and began looking at hands-on career options in a hospital setting. After shadowing nurses, doctors and other health care professionals, he landed on nursing as the route he wanted to take because of the high level of patient interaction. “Being from Richmond, I’ve always heard that VCU had a great nursing program,” Mallory says. “Once I went to some information sessions and did further research about the program at VCU, I knew this is where I wanted to be.” He applied and was accepted into the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing’s accelerated bachelor’s program. After graduating in 2015, he launched his new career at VCU Medical Center where he spent 2½ years as a bedside nurse in the acute care surgery division, caring for surgical and medical patients. “Most people in nursing are called to it, but for me being in the thick of it has been the biggest change,” he says. “Because I came into the field understanding the insurance side [of health care], I’ve been able to combine those skills and my new clinical experiences to help patients understand the financial side of their hospital visit.” This past summer, Mallory transferred to VCU Medical Center’s diagnostic radiology unit. He spends his free time with his wife and son and studying for his adult-gerontology acute care clinical nurse practitioner certification through a master’s program at the University of Virginia. Mallory is currently working on a project with VCU’s Vertically Integrated Projects program to develop 3D virtualreality applications that will be used in complex radiological surgeries and trainings. He hopes to apply his skills as a nurse practitioner either to work in collegiate sports medicine or to help with the physical rehabilitation of military veterans. He also would like to volunteer as a nurse practitioner on the medical staff with his high school football team. “For the moment, I’m just excited to have time to spend with my son,” he says. “As a second-degree student, I learned how to juggle work and life, and thanks to [VCU] I have that balance.”


VCU Alumni

Photo Jud Froelich

– Anthony Langley (B.S.’16/MC) is a contributing writer for the alumni magazine.


William Haugh (M.H.A.’08/HP) received the Fleetwood Award from Lifepoint Health. The Fleetwood Award is presented annually to a deserving hospital leader who exemplifies the spirit and values of collaboration and high standards, strong relationships with hospital employees and physicians, strength of judgment and character and exemplary service to the community. Nicholas Heiner, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’09/D), is practicing in Tucson, Ariz. Oscar Holmes IV, Ph.D. (B.S.’02/H&S), is assistant professor of management and director of access and outreach for business education at the School of Business at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. He was named one of the Best 40 Under 40 Professors for 2018 by Poets & Quants, a site dedicated to covering and ranking business schools. L James L. Jenkins Jr. (B.S.’07/N) was appointed by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam in May 2018 to the Virginia Board of Pharmacy. L Tamara LaPonte (M.Ed.’00/E) was named director of counseling at Stafford High School in Fredericksburg, Va., effective July 1. Jennifer Lawhorne (B.S.’01/MC; M.I.S.’13/H&S) has begun screening her documentary, “Fata Morgana,” which addresses the problems facing refugees in Europe. She was awarded a Fulbright scholarship in 2015 to live with refugees in Sicily. The new work builds on a 2009 documentary in which Lawhorne explored the lives of undocumented kitchen workers in Richmond, Va. Carrie Webster LeCrom, Ph.D. (M.S.’03/E; Ph.D.’07/E), executive director of the Center for Sport Leadership at VCU, has received a Fulbright award to work with colleagues at Stellenbosch University’s Centre for Human Performance Sciences to create, pilot and evaluate a soccer-coaching program for girls in South Africa. John Lilley (B.M.’08/A) was featured on Hector Barez’s debut album, “El Labertino Del Coco.” The album also included the work of Edward “Toby” Whitaker (B.M.’01/A). Michael Madigan, Ph.D. (Ph.D.’01/En), is a professor in the Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, part of the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech. Keylon Mayo (B.S.’06/H&S) was featured on CBS 6 in Richmond, Va., for his bow tie and men’s accessories business, Mr. Klean Kut Accessories. A collection of his designs inspired by traditional African prints and prints from the 1930s was sold in the shop at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Jessica Schipp (B.F.A.’08/A) is re-launching a Kickstarter campaign for her first cookbook, “#AllergicToEverything.” The book is for people with

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multiple food allergies and those who love them. The campaign reached 96 percent funding before the deadline. Jentae Scott-Mayo (B.S.’07/H&S; M.Ed.’09/E) spoke at the 2018 American School Counselor Association annual conference in Los Angeles on “Planning Presentations with Pizzazz.” Elizabeth Seeger (B.S.’04/N) spoke at the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s National Pathway to Excellence Conference on May 3 in West Palm Beach, Fla., on the topic “Engaging Nurses Through the Power of Professional Development.” Matthew Shelton-Eide (B.F.A.’07/A; M.Ed.’10/E), in his role as general manager, led Ram Nation, a basketball team composed mostly of VCU alumni, to the quarterfinals of The Basketball Tournament, a tournament that offers a $2 million prize to the winning team. Kathleen Smith (B.S.’08/N) has six children: Natalie Gianna, Genevieve Frances, Felicity Kendall, Anastasia Therese, Cecilia Bernadette and Mary Agnes Elizabeth. Sharma Stancil (B.A.’08/H&S) has been reading, writing, drawing and painting. She is writing and publishing a series of action-adventure/urban fantasy novels. Robert “Spencer” Thomas (M.H.A.’03/HP) is CEO of Central Carolina Hospital in Sanford, N.C., after serving as the hospital’s interim CEO since October 2017. Andrew Volpe (B.F.A.’09/A) won Best Documentary and the Audience Choice Award at the Perennial Film Festival in Punta Gorda, Fla., for “Free Agent Fan,” a short documentary about his father’s quest to find a new favorite Major League Baseball team to support. The film was also a semifinalist selection in the March 2018 Hollywood, Calif., Film Screenings Festival. Ross Volpe (B.F.A.’07/A), aka DJ Throdown, won the 2018 DMC U.S. Finals DJ Battle held in Denver. “The Sultan of Scratch” beat 10 other finalists from around the country by performing a 6-minute showcase routine. George Walls (Cert.’00/B) is a certified public accountant. Matthew E. White (B.M.’05/A) produced vocalist Andy Jenkins’ debut album, “Sweet Bunch,” as well as the follow-up album of Natalie Prass. VCU alumni Alan Parker (B.M.’06/A), Pinson Chanselle Jr. (B.M.’07/A) and Devonne Harris (B.M.’11/A) can be heard performing on tracks on both albums. Dayanjan “Shanaka” Wijesinghe, Ph.D. (Ph.D.’08/M), assistant professor in the VCU School of Pharmacy, is leading an interdisciplinary team developing platforms that could impact surgical procedures using augmented reality.

Nathan Winslow (B.S.’01/En) is associate director of product development for the sports medicine arm of Cayenne Medical, where he is responsible for research and development of devices that restore mobility. He is inventor or co-inventor on more than 60 U.S. patents for knee and shoulder products as well as products designed to achieve soft tissue reattachment, cartilage restoration and more. Erin Wood, Ph.D. (B.S.’05/H&S; M.S.’07/H&S; Ph.D.’10/H&S), started a part-time J.D. program at North Carolina Central University in fall 2018. She is a deputy Title IX coordinator at the university.

2010s Donald Aduba Jr., Ph.D. (M.S.’12/En; Ph.D.’15/En), received a postdoctoral fellowship from the National Research Council and began work in spring 2018 in the Biofabrication Division of the U.S. Naval Research lab in Washington, D.C. Garrett Atkinson (B.S.’13/En) is married to Katelyn Boone Atkinson (B.S.’14/H&S). Rana “Berfin” Ayhan (M.S.’18/B) was featured in Co.Design for her concept for “NastyBot,” a Facebook messenger chatbot that would help users deflect harassment by taking over a conversation when requested and replying with automated humor. Johannes Barfield (M.F.A.’18/A) received a 2018 Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship, which is awarded annually to one student from each of the 10 best art schools in the country. The award was given based on the strength of his thesis project, an installation called “My Eyes Due See,” which used video, music and sculptures to portray the black experience in America. Jessica Barraca (M.S.W.’11/SW; Cert.’11/GPA) was married in 2017. She is finishing three years as a clinical supervisor of two outpatient mental health clinics. She is launching an online psychotherapy private practice specializing as a trauma sex therapist and sexuality educator. Garland Beasley, Ph.D. (M.A.’11/H&S), graduated with a Ph.D. in 18th-century British fiction from University of Nevada, Las Vegas, in December 2017. Nicholas Berkin (B.M.’13/A) teaches piano at a nonprofit in Charlottesville, Va. He also performs for a small cruise line. Monique Brown, Ph.D. (Ph.D.’14/M), is president of Brown Research Consulting Inc., which provides research-related services, such as human subjects research study design, data analysis and interpretation, program evaluation, grant support and content expertise in public health issues. Madison Bunch (B.S.’15/B) works as a royalty assistant at Smithsonian Folkways Recordings in Washington, D.C.

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chotic and antidepressant medication as part of a Fulbright scholarship.

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Fairouz Chibane, M.D. (B.S.’10/H&S; M.D.’17/M), received the Thomas R. Gadaez Intern of the Year Award at the Medical College of Georgia Department of Surgery. Kathleen Clark (M.S.W.’10/SW) is active at Grove Avenue Baptist Church, doing Bible studies, Stephen ministry and other service work.

Jeanine Guidry, Ph.D. (Ph.D.’17/M), assistant professor in the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture in the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences, published “Welcome or Not: Comparing #Refugee Posts on Instagram and Pinterest” in the journal American Behavioral Scientist. Her co-authors included Kellie Carlyle, Ph.D. (Cert.’14/E), associate professor in the Department of Health and Human Behavior and Policy in the VCU School of Medicine, and Marcus Messner, Ph.D., associate professor in the Robertson School. Mechelle Hankerson (B.S.’13/MC) covers state government for the Virginia Mercury, a new state policy-focused news outlet. She previously worked for The Virginian-Pilot. Amy Harr (M.Ed.’15/E) was selected as 2018 Teacher of the Year at Linwood Holton Elementary School in Richmond, Va. The award recognized her teaching and coordination of professional development opportunities for the school’s faculty. John Hulley (B.M.’11/A) released “Five Years,” with his band, Brunswick.

Andrew C. Coalter, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’14/D), is a partner in the general dentistry and prosthodontics practice of Ian P. Ward, D.M.D., PC, in Watertown, N.Y.

Katie Hummer (B.S.’15/N) is a registered nurse. She moved from Fairfax, Va., to Richmond, Va., to work as a ventricular assist device coordinator with a heart transplant office.

Keyanna Conner, Ph.D. (Ph.D.’15/H&S), was appointed by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam in December 2017 as secretary of administration. She delivered the graduation speech to VCU chemistry graduates in May 2018.

Amna Khokar, M.D. (M.D.’13/M), a VCU Department of Surgery resident, presented to a group of kindergartners at Winterpock Elementary School in Chesterfield, Va., on the theme, “Who can be a surgeon? (anyone can!)” as part of an outreach program.

Janette Corcelius (B.A.’15/A) taught at the Levine Music Camp in Arlington, Va., in summer 2018. During the school year, she teaches at Silverbrook Elementary School in Fairfax Station, Va., and teaches clarinet sectionals for the Falls Church (Va.) High School marching band.

Michael Krouse, M.D. (M.D.’17/M), received the Robyn D. Howson Housestaff Humanism Award at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Mitchell Craft (B.F.A.’17/A) debuted a new-media art solo show at Black Iris in Richmond, Va., and was featured in RVA Mag. Stephen Cunningham, D.M.A. (B.M.’11/A), is assistant professor and assistant band director at Grambling State University in Grambling, La. Courtney Darlington (B.F.A.’17/A) performed her work, “Disparity,” at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Becket, Mass. Chet Frierson (B.M.’18/A) performed with “Evolution of the Groove” at the Richmond Jazz Festival. Other alumni who performed included Christopher Sclafani (B.M.’12/A), Andrew Randazzo (B.M.’12/A) and Devonne Harris (B.M.’11/A). Cydni Gordon (B.S.’16/H&S; B.S.’16/MC) is in Buenos Aires, Argentina, conducting research on antipsy-


VCU Alumni

Shira Lanyi (B.S.’18/H&S) was featured in Richmond Magazine for her shift from professional ballet dancer to doctor-in-training. Victoria Lawson (M.B.A.’16/B) works as a senior product manager at CarMax. Her article, “5 Lessons on How You Can Deliver a Product Your Customers Actually Want,” was published in May on Jalisa Lynn (B.S.’14/MC) started a new job as marketing associate at George Washington University School of Business in March 2017 and a digital marketing graduate certificate program in January 2018.

Maryann Martinovic, M.D. (M.D.’12/M), traveled on a volunteer surgical mission to St. Vincent and the Grenadines in conjunction with World Pediatric Project. Gilbert Michaud, Ph.D. (Ph.D.’16/GPA), received a $250,000 grant from American Electric Power Ohio to conduct research on the economic impacts of solar energy deployment and other renewable energy initiatives in southeastern Ohio. Michaud is assistant professor of practice at the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University. Emily Mitchell (B.A.’12/H&S) held a few entry-level academic library positions after graduating. In 2016, she got married and moved to southern Georgia. She and her spouse plan a move to California, where she hopes to pursue a master’s degree in library science. Austin Moore (B.S.’16/MC) is on air with a night show on Bob 93.3 and has been promoted to imaging director at Dick Broadcasting Co. Inc. Shruthi Muralidharan (B.S.’15/En) received a master’s degree in spring 2018 from the University of Pittsburgh, having studied medical product engineering. Ashlee Murphy (M.S.W.’14/SW) is a licensed clinical social worker. She assists people with depression, anxiety or PTSD regain a sense of peace. Zackaria Niazi (B.S.’17/H&S) is studying Persian in Tajikistan with support from a Critical Language Scholarship, which is a U.S. government effort to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering certain foreign languages. Sung Paek (B.S.’11/En) is preparing to live and work abroad in Hong Kong in 2019. Andrew Percy, M.D. (M.D.’17/M), was inducted into the Distinguished Teaching Society at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Rachel Ramey (B.F.A.’12/A; M.F.A.’18/A) is an interior designer at Commonwealth Architects in Richmond, Va. Alexandria Ritchie (B.S.’18/En) was one of 10 OZY Genius Award winners selected nationally in spring 2018 for her idea to develop a pressure-sensing epidural device. She is in a premedical graduate certificate program in the VCU School of Medicine. Darren Rounds (B.S.’16/B) is a certified executive chef, certified culinary educator and certified culinary administrator.

Randall Mailand (B.M.’18/A) works as the music education teacher for pre-K-eighth grade at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School in Richmond, Va.

Kathryn “Katie” Schwienteck, Pharm.D. (Pharm.D.’15/P), was one of two students from VCU’s School of Medicine to be selected to attend the 68th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, which was dedicated to physiology and medicine.

Brittany Martinez (B.S.’15/En) is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Gilliam Fellowship Nominee for 2018 and was a platform speaker at the annual Drosophila Research Conference in 2018.

Maya Simpkins (B.A.’14/H&S; Cert.’16/GPA; M.P.A.’18/GPA) received the Phillip G. Davies Graduate Student Presentation Award at the 46th Annual Conference of the Association for Ethnic Studies for

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her presentation, “Militarization of the Police: The Weakening of the Posse Comitatus Act by the 1981 Military Cooperation with Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies Act & Program 1033.” Max Sirkin, M.D. (M.D.’12/M), invented and developed the Sirkin-Hiles Rail System with Col. Jason Hiles. The system improves care for soldiers injured in the field and was featured at the Smithsonian Institution’s Military Invention Day in May 2018. Christina Solomon (B.S.’17/GPA) is a public notary and certified licensed life insurance producer in Maryland and Washington, D.C. Noreen Tiangco, M.D. (M.D.’12/M), started an anesthesiology residency at Temple University in Philadelphia in the 2018-2019 academic year. Leah Walker (M.S.W.’10/SW), a community and minority affairs liaison at the Virginia Department of Education, was featured in Style Weekly as one of the most powerful people in the field of education in the Richmond, Va., area. Stephanie Williams (M.S.’16/HP) spent summer 2018 volunteering in South Africa at a special needs school. Paul Willson (B.M.’11/A; M.S.W.’15/SW) was elected board president of Ekoji Buddhist Sangha, a community of diverse Buddhist sects based in Richmond, Va. Brian Zimmerman (B.S.’10/B) works at Smithsonian Folkways Recordings in Washington, D.C.

Marriages Katie Bradley (M.F.A.’08/A) married Jason P. Liles on July 16, 2016. Sarah Cameron (B.S.’14/En) married Christian Griggs (B.S.’15/En) in January 2018. Robin Waugh Grazioli (B.S.’79/D) married Robert Grazioli on June 24, 2017, in Newtown, Conn. Bryan Hooten (M.M.’06/A) married Anna-Claire Fourness at Libby Hill Park in Richmond, Va. Their wedding was featured in Richmond Bride. Lauren McClellan Leulu (B.S.’14/MC) married Aaron Leulu (B.S.’14/B) on Oct. 1, 2016. She is a marketing manager at Third I, a D.C.-based data analytics consulting firm. Laura Romanchik (B.S.’11/En) married NASA rocket engineer Dan Riley in November 2017 in Charleston, S.C. Felix Shepard Jr., M.D. (B.S.’85/P), married Noelle Owens in Richmond, Va., on March 3, 2018. L Edward “E.J.” Tremols (M.S.’15/En) married in November 2017. Clinton Yeaman (B.S.’14/En) married in May 2018.

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Births Sam Hensley (M.S.’14/B) welcomed son Gabriel Antonio Hensley on Jan. 15, 2018, in Clearwater, Fla. Cassandra Woodcock Humphries (B.S.’09/En; M.S.’13/En) and Kendall Humphries (B.S.’12/En) welcomed a daughter, Charlotte Humphries, in March 2017. Justin Owen (B.S.’08/En) welcomed his first child, Faith Elizabeth Owen, in November 2017. E. Meade Spratley, Ph.D. (M.S.’09/En; Ph.D.’13/En), and wife, Jennifer, welcomed a daughter, Eleanor Feild, in April 2018. The couple also has a son, Meade Jr.

Faculty and staff Myrl Beam, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies in the College of Humanities and Sciences, published “Gay, Inc.: The Nonprofitization of Queer Politics.” Beam argues that a conservative turn in queer-movement politics stems mostly from the movement’s embrace of the institutional nonprofit structure. He contrasts this with the social movements of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, arguing that, in the past, LGBT activists focused more on challenging societal norms. Jörg Matthias Determann, assistant professor in the VCU School of the Arts’ in Qatar, looks beyond well-known scientists from the Islamic Golden Age to chronicle modern Middle Eastern space exploration in a new book, “Space Science and the Arab World: Astronauts, Observatories and Nationalism in the Middle East.” He explores how space science has interacted with religion, contributed to cultural change and affected the political landscape in Middle Eastern countries. M. Samy El-Shall, Ph.D., Commonwealth Professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry in the College of Humanities and Sciences, was recognized by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam as one of Virginia’s Outstanding Scientists for 2018. El-Shall is internationally known for chemistry research that could lead to clean transportation fuels and the production of new chemicals for pharmaceutical drugs. Sasha Waters Freyer, chair of the School of the Arts’ Department of Photography and Film, had the Virginia premiere of her film, “Garry Winogrand: All Things Are Photographable,” at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The first documentary film on the life and work of the acclaimed photographer, “All Things Are Photographable” had its world premiere in March 2018 at the SXSW Film Festival. It aired as part of the PBS series “American Masters” in September 2018.

Jesse Goldstein, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Sociology in the College of Humanities and Sciences, published “Planetary Improvement: Cleantech Entrepreneurship and the Contradictions of Green Capitalism.” In the book, Goldstein asks whether capitalism, because its approach aims to maximize profits, can truly drive the global change needed to address climate change. Darrell Griffith, senior associate dean of finance and administration in the School of Medicine and executive director of MCV Physicians, has been appointed by the Association of American Medical Colleges to the steering committee of the Group on Business Affairs. He serves as principal business officer-at-large on the committee that advances administrative and fiscal management in academic medical institutions to support medical education, research and health care. Al Regni, professor in the Department of Music in the School of the Arts, retired after 16 years at VCU. Regni taught classical saxophone. In his musical career, he served as saxophonist for the New York Philharmonic from 1963-2013, most of those years as the principal. He earned Grammy recognition for his work on the TV series “Twin Peaks.” Doug Richards, professor in the Department of Music in the School of the Arts, retired after 39 years at VCU. Richards developed VCU’s jazz studies program, and his former students have performed and recorded with many of the world’s leading jazz organizations, including the Count Basie Orchestra, the Ray Charles Orchestra, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra and the Village Vanguard Orchestra. He stepped back from administering the program in 2000, though he continued to teach classes and to direct the VCU Music jazz studies program in recording albums. He received VCU’s 1997 Outstanding Teaching Award and is regarded as one of the finest jazz composers in the world. Sally Santen, M.D., Ph.D., senior associate dean for assessment, evaluation and scholarship in the School of Medicine, is leading the evaluation of the Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium initiative through a contract with the American Medical Association. Arun J. Sanyal, M.D., professor in the Department of Internal Medicine in the School of Medicine, was recognized by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam as one of Virginia’s Outstanding Scientists for 2018. Sanyal is a pioneer in training future medical researchers and an expert in liver disease diagnosis and treatment. Tal Simmons, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Forensic Science in the College of Humanities and Sciences, has been appointed to the steering committee of the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Science and Human Rights

Fall 2018




1940s Charlotte L. Brillhart (B.S.’49/N) of Spring, Texas, April 27, 2018. Emily L. Cassity (B.S.’46/N) of Crestview, Fla., June 3, 2018. Adolphus J. Cook, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’47/D), of Matthews, N.C., May 6, 2018. Helen C. Copeland (Dipl.’45/N) of Virginia Beach, Va., May 11, 2018. Blake F. Putney, Ph.D. (Ph.D.’47/P), of Charleston, S.C., June 19, 2018. Florence E. Whitacre (B.S.’49/N) of Linthicum Heights, Md., May 6, 2018.

1950s Henry W. Addington (B.S.’51/P) of Richmond, Va., May 6, 2018. Carolyn G. Barbe (B.S.’52/N) of Tarboro, N.C., May 9, 2018. Evelyn D. Berryman (B.S.’51/N) of Gainesville, Fla., May 8, 2018. Jean B. Biscoe (’51/SW) of Richmond, Va., July 19, 2018. Winston M. Browne, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’55/D), of Boykins, Va., May 28, 2018.

Evelyn P. Daniel, M.D. (M.D.’50/M), of Louisa, Va., May 16, 2018. Jan B. de Bakker, M.D. (M.D.’59/M; H.S.’63/M), of Wichita, Kan., June 9, 2018. Shirley W. Fox (B.S.’54/HP) of Doylestown, Pa., July 27, 2018. Jerry H. Galliher (B.S.’59/P) of Tazewell, Va., June 5, 2018. B. Garrison (’52/HP) of Cleveland, Ga., April 9, 2018. Darrell K. Gilliam, M.D. (M.D.’59/M), of North Chesterfield, Va., July 27, 2018. Mary S. Harrison (B.S.’54/E; M.Ed.’71/E) of Church Road, Va., July 28, 2018. Lewis B. Hasty, M.D. (M.D.’51/M), of Peachtree City, Ga., April 6, 2018. Donald R. Holsinger, M.D. (M.D.’55/M; H.S.’56/M), of Martinsville, Va., June 3, 2018. James B. Kegley, M.D. (M.D.’52/M), of Bristol, Va., Aug. 6, 2018. Hunter H. McGuire, M.D. (M.D.’55/M; H.S.’62/M), of Richmond, Va., July 30, 2018. Francis H. McMullan, M.D. (M.D.’51/M; H.S.’52/M), of Richmond, Va., May 28, 2018. Peter D. Mills (B.S.’58/MC) of Murfreesboro, Tenn., May 30, 2018. Robert A. Morton, M.D. (M.D.’52/M), of Virginia Beach, Va., July 24, 2018. Charles H. Moseley, M.D. (M.D.’56/M), of Petersburg, Va., Aug. 9, 2018. Daniel C. Newbill, M.D. (M.D.’59/M), of Honolulu, Aug. 9, 2018. Jasper C. Rose (Cert.’53/A) of North Chesterfield, Va., July 30, 2018. James R. Sease, M.D. (M.D.’56/M; H.S.’61/M), of Rockingham, Va., May 9, 2018. Victor Skorapa, M.D. (M.D.’51/M; H.S.’59/M), of Brunswick, Maine, July 16, 2018. David D. Smith, M.D. (M.D.’54/M), of Springfield, Ohio, July 11, 2018. Jessye D. Spencer (Dipl.’54/N; B.S.’55/N; M.Ed.’79/E) of Glen Allen, Va., April 13, 2018. Robert V. Stewart (B.F.A.’56/A) of Richmond, Va., June 6, 2018.

Evelyn J. Ziegler (B.M.E.’59/A) of Madison, Ala., Aug. 14, 2018.

1960s Herbert W. Appel (B.S.’64/H&S) of Sugar Land, Texas, July 10, 2018. Sally J. Beverly (B.S.’62/H.S.; M.S.W.’64/SW) of Bradenton, Fla., May 6, 2018. Luther R. Boone, M.D. (M.D.’68/M), of Virginia Beach, Va., June 21, 2018. Susan W. Briggs (B.S.’62/E) of Bena, Va., May 25, 2018. Robert E. Brown (B.S.’66/HP) of Fort Montgomery, N.Y., May 27, 2018. Betty L. Carrier (B.S.’65/HP) of Ladson, S.C., June 4, 2018. Gene T. Carter (B.F.A.’67/A) of Hampton, Va., May 20, 2018. Bobbie T. Cassell (B.S.’69/E) of Cedar Bluff, Va., Aug. 6, 2018. Anne B. Coffey (B.M.’64/A; B.G.S.’92/H&S) of Bachelor of Concord, Va., June 21, 2018. Altamont Dickerson (M.S.’61/HP) of Ashland, Va., April 2, 2018. Ralph R. Garver (M.H.A.’68/HP) of Hagerstown, Md., April 5, 2018. James B. Graham, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’60/D), of Boone, N.C., May 10, 2018. Richardson Grinnan, M.D. (M.D.’69/M; H.S.’73/M; H.S.’75/M), of Richmond, Va., July 31, 2018. Walter L. Grubb, M.D. (M.D.’61/M; H.S.’66/M), of Matthews, N.C., April 17, 2018. Elizabeth L. Hanrahan (B.S.’68/B) of Ocracoke, N.C., May 20, 2018. Walker W. Hay, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’63/D), of Johnson Lake, Tenn., May 28, 2018. Don R. Himelright (B.S.’64/P) of Strasburg, Va., Aug. 16, 2018. David G. Johnson, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’61/D), of Westminster, S.C., June 15, 2018. Richard E. Kevorkian (B.F.A.’61/A) of Richmond, Va., Aug. 6, 2018.

Oris G. Terry (’53/N) of Hampton, Va., June 25, 2018.

Raymond S. Kirchmier, M.D. (M.D.’63/M; H.S.’64/M; H.S.’68/M), of Richmond, Va., May 18, 2018. L

Samuel L. Campbell (’56/B) of Abingdon, Va., June 6, 2018.

Conrad W. Tobin (B.S.’59/B) of Hudgins, Va., June 8, 2018.

Celeste L. Opfell (B.S.’63/N) of Thompson, Ohio, May 3, 2018.

Jack W. Chevalier, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’52/D), of Henrico, Va., Aug. 2, 2018.

Charles R. White (Cert.’59/A) of Manakin-Sabot, Va., July 27, 2018.

Lawrence D. Pollard (Cert.’67/HP) of Virginia Beach, Va., July 12, 2018.

Herman W. Brubaker, M.D. (M.D.’53/M), of Roanoke, Va., April 12, 2018.


VCU Alumni

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Photo Jud Froelich

Coalition, a network of scientific and engineering membership organizations that recognizes a role for scientists and engineers in human rights. Simmons has applied forensic science to human rights violation investigations since 1997, when she led the Physicians for Human Rights’ forensic monitoring project in Bosnia. In 2016, she helped provide expert support to Amnesty International as the human rights organization investigated mass killings and other atrocities in South Sudan and Nigeria. More recently, she assisted Yazda, a nongovernmental organization, in evaluating photographic evidence of a mass gravesite in Kurdistan.


Leveling the playing field Residency program helps history teacher find her passion By Janet Showalter

Kaitlyn Siedlarczyk


aitlyn Siedlarczyk (B.A.’15/H&S; M.T.’15/E) has a simple philosophy when it comes to teaching. “It’s a belief that all children, no matter their circumstances in life, deserve access to the best teachers and the best resources available,” she says. “I want to give them both.” Through Virginia Commonwealth University’s Richmond Teacher Residency Program, Siedlarczyk is getting that chance. Three years after completing RTR, Siedlarczyk says she is now better equipped to help students from high-needs communities meet their potential. “Wherever you are from, you are still a kid,” she says. “But students from affluent neighborhoods have access to so much more. We need to even the playing field.” RTR is a teacher residency program for graduates that prepares teachers to make an immediate impact on classrooms in hard-to-staff schools. The program’s mission is to cultivate a pipeline of extraordinary teachers committed to closing the achievement gap for students. Established in 2011, RTR is a partnership with the VCU School of Education and Richmond-area localities. The program serves 34 elementary, middle and high schools in the cities of Richmond and Petersburg as well as Chesterfield County with plans to expand to Henrico County in 2019. “Our motto is, ‘We can lift up the community from inside the classroom,’” says Kim McKnight, Ph.D. (Ph.D.’17/E), director of RTR Petersburg and Chesterfield. “Every decision we make centers around what is best for the kids. We help our residents grow so that they in turn can help their students grow.” Residents are paired with a veteran teacher, called a clinical resident coach, for a one-year placement. They teach during the day and attend classes at night. At the end of the year, residents graduate with a master’s degree, a teacher’s license and a full year’s experience in the classroom.

“What sets RTR apart is that it allows us to be there all year with the students,” Siedlarczyk says. “It allows you to form relationships with the kids, the parents and the community.” RTR, which provides a stipend for the residency year that pays the majority of tuition costs, is supported by federal, state and local funding as well as private philanthropy. The program recently received $2.4 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Education. Since 2012, RTR has prepared 144 teachers. The program requires that residents make an additional three-year commitment to teaching in the same school or school district after graduation. After completing the RTR program, Siedlarczyk, who also earned a bachelor’s in history from VCU, taught eighth grade at Elkhardt Middle School and then ninthand 10th-grade history at Richmond’s Huguenot High School. By moving up a grade level each fall, she has taught many of the same students year after year. “We have watched each other grow up,” she says. “It’s been wonderful. They have taught me so much about resiliency, loyalty and family. They have taught me how to be more understanding about people who might be different than you.” For the 2018-19 school year, Siedlarczyk is teaching 11th grade at Huguenot and serving as a clinical resident coach for RTR, giving back to the program that has given her so much. “I could not have asked for a better mentor,” Siedlarczyk says. “She taught me everything from how to set up a classroom to how to respect a student’s boundaries. She was always there for me. It’s time for me to help someone else grow as a teacher.” Even though her three-year commitment to RTR is over, Siedlarczyk plans to devote the remainder of her career to high-needs communities. “These are my kids,” she says. “This is my home, and I couldn’t be happier.”

– Janet Showalter (B.S.’87/MC) is a contributing writer for the alumni magazine.

Fall 2018



Richard L. Porter (B.F.A.’60/A; M.F.A.’70/A) of Sarasota, Fla., June 7, 2018.

Aurelius W. Brantley, M.D. (M.D.’70/M; H.S.’72/M; H.S. ’74/M), of Franklin, Va., July 18, 2018. L

Ann K. Leake (B.S.’70/N; ‘76/N) of Charlottesville, Va., April 25, 2018. L

Fred T. Renick, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’68/D), of Asheville, N.C., April 10, 2018.

Ronald L. Buchanan, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’77/D), of Winchester, Va., June 17, 2018.

Ronald W. Lloyd (B.S.’70/MC) of Glen Allen, Va., May 12, 2018.

Charlene T. Robey (B.S.’67/MC) of Richmond, Va., June 2, 2018.

James P. Cook (B.S.’77/GPA) of Glen Allen, Va., April 18, 2018.

Rexanne D. Metzger (B.F.A.’78/A) of Norfolk, Va., May 29, 2018.

David M. Shanahan (B.S.’69/P) of Grundy, Va., May 25, 2018.

Sheila C. Cover (B.S.’78/H&S) of North Chesterfield, Va., May 20, 2018.

Alan S. Mills, M.D. (M.D.’77/M; H.S.’11/M), of Richmond, Va., April 17, 2018.

Norman E. Smith, M.D. (M.D.’66/M; H.S.’69/M), of Barkhamsted, Conn., Aug. 2, 2018.

Anita M. Crocker (M.S.W.’75/SW) of Petersburg, Va., Aug. 14, 2018.

Steven D. Offenbacher, D.D.S., Ph.D. (D.D.S.’76/D; Ph.D.’78/M), of Chapel Hill, N.C., Aug. 9, 2018.

Thomas E. Spillers, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’68/D; H.S.’74/D), of Vesuvius, Va., April 16, 2018.

Charles G. Eaton (B.S.’75/P) of Winchester, Va., May 13, 2018.

Denise D. Palas (B.S.’75/E) of Asheville, N.C., April 17, 2018.

Lillie L. Taylor (M.S.’69/B) of Richmond, Va., April 20, 2018.

Rebecca B. Fewell (B.S.’73/E) of Cataula, Ga., July 18, 2018.

Patrick M. Rankin (B.S.’73/H&S) of Chesterfield, Va., May 29, 2018.

Patricia B. Whitaker (’61/E) of Henrico, Va., April 27, 2018.

Dianne R. Hancock (A.S.’77/B; B.S.’84/B) of North Chesterfield, Va., April 28, 2018.

Dewey B. Rigsby (B.S.’76/B) of North Chesterfield, Va., July 4, 2018.

Mewborn B. Wilson (B.S.’69/B) of Raleigh, N.C., Aug. 17, 2018.

Donna M. Hillmar (M.Ed.’74/E) of Glen Allen, Va., May 23, 2018.

Frederick W. Schaerf (B.S.’74/H&S) of Fort Myers, Fla., July 14, 2018.

Paula M. Huffman (B.S.’71/SW; M.S.’73/HP) of Virginia Beach, Va., April 15, 2018.

Shirley P. Schroer (M.S.W.’74/SW) of Fairborn, Ohio, July 27, 2018.

Larry A. Isrow, M.D. (M.D.’71/M), of Norfolk, Va., July 23, 2018.

Richard T. Spain (B.S.’75/E; M.S.’80/E) of Midlothian, Va., April 23, 2018.

Jacquetta Boyd Johnson (B.S.'70/SW) of Richmond, Va., Oct. 29, 2017. L

Myrtle Sparks (B.S.’76/B) of Virginia Beach, Va., Feb. 26, 2018.

1970s Maxine L. Black (M.Ed.’72/E) of Richmond, Va., April 25, 2018. William M. Bradley (B.S.’77/B) of North Chesterfield, Va., April 16, 2018.

ABBREVIATION KEY Colleges 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 Ed.D. Doctor of Education 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 Engineering College of Health Professions College of Humanities and Sciences School of the Arts School of Business School of Dentistry School of Education 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.


VCU Alumni

M.D.A. 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.L. 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 Decision Analytics 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 Sport Leadership 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

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Just like you, we stand for something bigger. The connections you make in college help you move forward with your life. Our connections make us more than just a business, but rather a company that cares.

TREASURER Christopher Markwith (M.B.A.’15/B) OUTREACH AND ENGAGEMENT COMMITTEE CHAIR Andrew Hobson (B.S.’12/En) AUDIT COMMITTEE CHAIR Linda M. Warren (B.S.’75/B) SECRETARY Joshua Hiscock PRESIDENT, MCVAA Ellen Byrne, D.D.S., Ph.D. (B.S.’77/P; D.D.S.’83/D; H.S.’91/D; Ph.D.’91/M) VCU PRESIDENT Michael Rao, Ph.D. (ex-officio) VCU VICE PRESIDENT FOR DEVELOPMENT AND ALUMNI RELATIONS Jay E. Davenport, CFRE (ex-officio)

AT-LARGE GOVERNORS Aaron R. Gilchrist Jr. (B.S.’03/MC) Lynda Gillespie, Ph.D. (Ph.D.'01/E) Michael W. Housden (B.S.'95/B)

To learn more about our partnership, call 1-888-231-4870 or visit

John Kelly (B.S.’87/H&S) Kelly Knight (M.S.’08/H&S) Kenneth W. Kolb, Pharm. D. (Pharm.D.’82/P) 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/HP) Paula B. Saxby, Ph.D. (M.S.’85/N; Ph.D.’92/N)

Nationwide Insurance has made a financial contribution to this organization in return for the opportunity to market products and services to its members or customers. Products underwritten by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and Affiliated Companies. Home Office: Columbus, OH 43215. Subject to underwriting guidelines, review, and approval. Products and discounts not available to all persons in all states. Nationwide and the Nationwide N and Eagle are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. © 2017 Nationwide AFC-0287AO (6/17)

Fall 2018



Martin C. Routt (B.S.’86/H&S) of Richmond, Va., July 28, 2018.

William W. Tanner, M.D. (M.D.’71/M), of Midlothian, Va., June 29, 2018.

Michele A. Scanlon (B.S.’86/N) of Virginia Beach, Va., June 3, 2018.

Jerry E. Williams (B.S.’76/E) of Richmond, Va., April 15, 2018.

Kathryn M. Shaver (B.S.’80/H&S) of Petersburg, Va., July 2, 2018.

John T. Wingfield (B.S.’72/B) of Richmond, Va., Aug. 2, 2018.

Melissa A. Smith (M.S.’88/N) of Chesapeake, Va., May 12, 2018.

Wendi A. Winters (B.F.A.’75/A) of Edgewater, Md., June 28, 2018.

Sherry T. Turner (B.S.’82/B; M.B.A.’86/B) of Mechanicsville, Va., June 10, 2018.


Benjamin T. Vincent (M.H.A.’89/HP) of Heaters, W.Va., April 4, 2018.

Richard J. Bass, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’85/D), of Norfolk, Va., June 27, 2018.


Mary E. Baxter (B.S.’82/P) of Virginia Beach, Va., June 24, 2018.

Jason S. Cullop (B.S.’91/GPA) of North Chesterfield, Va., April 25, 2018.

Glenn H. Birkitt, M.D. (M.D.’85/M), of Bristol, Tenn., June 21, 2018. L

Michael E. Custer (B.S.’90/GPA) of Arlington, Va., May 21, 2018.

Dale V. Brown (B.S.’81/HP) of Hampton, Va., July 29, 2018.

Loretta A. Harris (M.S.’91/HP) of Grottoes, Va., June 1, 2018.

Connie Dennis-Booker (M.S.’88/N) of South Prince George, Va., April 12, 2018.

Dorothy S. Hart (B.F.A.’90/A) of Richmond, Va., Aug. 8, 2018.

Ellen B. Dixon, Ph.D. (M.S.’83/H&S; Ph.D.’83/H&S), of Newport News, Va., June 5, 2018.

Yvonne D. Henderson (B.S.’98/B) of Richmond, Va., July 10, 2018.

Larry G. Gray (B.A.’81/H&S) of Saint Joseph, Mo., July 13, 2018.

Wendy Kaplan (M.H.A.’97/HP) of Nashua, N.H., May 5, 2018.

Glen G. Hearns (B.S.’81/B) of South Prince George, Va., July 14, 2018.

Kristen S. Kiefer (B.F.A.’94/A) of Orange, Va., April 12, 2018.

Larry S. Hirsch, M.D. (M.D.’81/M; H.S.’85/M), of Atascadero, Calif., April 22, 2018. L

Jeri E. Robertson (M.Ed.’93/E) of South Chesterfield, Va., April 29, 2018.

LeKeith O. James (B.S.’83/N) of North Chesterfield, Va., Aug. 15, 2018.

Michelle C. Vest (B.S.’90/E) of Stevensville, Va., July 2, 2018.

Hansford F. Johnson (M.M.’82/A) of Amarillo, Texas, July 5, 2018.


Frank U. Kunze (B.S.’85/B; M.H.A.’99/HP) of South Chesterfield, Va., July 9, 2018.

Tri D. Atran (B.S.’04/H&S) of North Prince George, Va., June 11, 2018.

Robin R. Lorraine (B.S.’88/E; M.Ed.’93/E) of North Chesterfield, Va., April 14, 2018.

DeWanna G. Christian (M.S.’04/HP) of Staunton, Va., April 9, 2018.

Florence J. Muse (B.G.S.’80/H&S) of Warsaw, Va., Aug. 5, 2018.

Travis H. Grodski (B.S.’02/GPA) of South Chesterfield, Va., July 26, 2018.

Vincent N. O’Bryan (M.Ed.’82/E) of Chesterfield, Va., July 29, 2018.

Carolyn A. Hellman (M.S.W.’01/SW) of North Chesterfield, Va., July 17, 2018.

Anne D. Perkins (B.F.A.’84/A) of Wilmington, N.C., April 19, 2018.

Karen S. Kenny, M.D. (M.D.’00/M), of Saint Johnsbury, Vt., April 13, 2018.

Karen W. Ramsey (M.S.’86/MC) of Charlottesville, Va., April 30, 2018.

Shireen P. Kerr (M.H.A.’07/HP) of Richmond, Va., May 17, 2018.

David L. Roberts (M.B.A.’84/B) of Ashland, Va., April 12, 2018.

Mary E. Mosz (B.S.’05/E) of Chester, Va., April 26, 2018.


VCU Alumni

2010s Sarah L. Anders (B.S.’14/N; M.S.’16/N) of North Chesterfield, Va., May 23, 2018. Patricia K. Kehoe (B.A.’11/H&S) of Richmond, Va., June 4, 2018. Katie M. Mason (B.S.’13/H&S) of Richmond, Va., April 7, 2018. Marcus-David L. Peters (B.S.’16/H&S) of Water View, Va., May 14, 2018. Evan S. Smith (B.A.’12/H&S) of Richmond, Va., Aug. 11, 2018. James C. Wallace (M.B.A.’11/B) of Richmond, Va., June 21, 2018.

Faculty and staff Francile Bilyeu, who retired as a professor of flute in 2008 after 34 years in the School of the Arts’ Department of Music, died July 29, 2018, at her home in Richmond, Va. She was known for her teaching skills, her dedication to her students, her sense of humor and her talent as a flutist. Hunter H. McGuire Jr., M.D. (M.D.’55/M; H.S.’62/M), whose leadership helped shape the School of Medicine during an influential 35-year career, died July 30, 2018, at his home in Richmond, Va., at age 88. A surgeon, teacher and administrator, McGuire served in the School of Medicine as assistant dean for students, interim dean and professor of general surgery. He also served as chief of surgical services at the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center until 2000. There, he mentored young surgeons in heart transplantation and neurosurgery, helped to design the current VA hospital and helped build the hospital’s heart transplant program. The Veterans Affairs Hospital is named for McGuire’s great-grandfather and namesake. Born Dec. 13, 1929, in Richmond, McGuire was fifth in a line of physicians in his paternal family. After retiring at 70, he served on the vestries of three Episcopal churches and on the boards of the Virginia Historical Society and Hollywood Cemetery. L Francis McMullan, M.D. (M.D.’51/M; H.S.’52/M), whose association with VCU and the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center lasted more than 60 years, died May 28, 2018. A board-certified dermatopathologist, he became a clinician, teacher and mentor. A longtime clinical faculty member with the Department of Dermatology in the VCU School of Medicine, McMullan helped dermatology residents on their rounds as late as 2017. He and Claire, his wife of 61 years, established the Claire H. And Francis H. McMullan, MD Scholarship for students at VCU. L

L Life Member Society

Photo courtesy VCU Athletics

Janis B. Spencer (B.S.’73/B) of Arlington, Va., July 14, 2018.

Check out more university and alumni events at and


Back in Brooklyn After a two-year break, the Atlantic 10 Men’s Basketball Championship returns to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, March 13-17. Ticketholders can join VCU Alumni for a reception at Barclays’ expansive 40/40 Club overlooking the arena floor before the men’s basketball team plays its first game. The reception includes hors d’oeuvres, an open bar and the chance to grab your general-admission seat early. Alumni can purchase a game-reception ticket package. Check and your email inbox for details.

Fall 2018


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

ELEVATE your ALUMNI EXPERIENCE VCU Alumni is going on tour! Join us as we unveil our new strategic plan, ELEVATE, and bring new programming and new opportunities for you to get involved. Learn more at and keep an eye on your email inbox for full details in January. BROOKLYN, NY

MARCH 13-16




JAN. 8-19


FEB. 2-6


JAN. 21-25


FEB. 6-9


APRIL 13-17


JUNE 18-22



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