Shafer Court Connections Winter 2019

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POWER ISSUE See how nearly 200 inspiring alumni prove that a VCU education can take you anywhere



BIGPICTURE A new entry to the distinctive mural scene in Richmond, Virginia, graces the side of the VCU Police headquarters in the heart of downtown. Painted in fall 2018 by then-senior fashion design students Caitlyn Sharlette (B.F.A.’19/A) and Keanna Kogut (B.F.A.’19/A), it depicts an anthropomorphized solar system, namely the planets reimagined as fashionable women. Pluto, which was reclassified from planet to dwarf planet in 2006, is feeling the rejection. “I have Pluto in the corner being dramatic because she finally got kicked out,” Sharlette says.

Photo Jud Froelich

WEB EXTRA Learn more about the project and view photos of the mural in process at

Winter 2019


Celebrating alumni success I am excited to share this special issue of Shafer Court Connections with you. We have compiled a list of nearly 200 alumni with impressive, often amazing, accomplishments. This is our “power issue” because these graduates are powerful forces in their professions and communities. I’m inspired by the commitment, tenacity and passion of these alumni. I am so proud to be a fellow Ram, and I know you are also. This fall, VCU honored two other groups of alumni at the 10 Under 10 awards and the VCU Alumni Stars. On Nov. 2, VCU recognized 10 graduates of the past decade at a private ceremony, where they were honored for their service to the university, their professional success and their contributions to their community. Thank you to everyone who submitted a nomination for these awards. Visit to read about this year’s honorees. On Nov. 7, we celebrated 17 Alumni Stars at the Dewey Gottwald Center at the Science Museum of Virginia. Our stars, honored for their extraordinary personal and professional achievements, represent VCU’s many academic units. You can also read more about these amazing alumni on our website. We have more events coming this spring, and I hope you can join us in person or engage virtually. Stay updated on these events and more on our Facebook page and at Yours for VCU,

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

Winter 2019 Volume 25, Number 2 Vice president, development and alumni relations Jay E. Davenport, CFRE Assistant vice president, alumni relations Elizabeth Bass (M.S.W.’03/SW) Assistant vice president, strategic marketing and engagement Melanie Irvin (B.S.’96/MC) Senior director, development and alumni communications Kristen Caldwell (B.S.’94/MC) Director, creative content Mitchell Moore (B.S.’07/MC; M.S.’08/E)

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

Send address changes or comments to: Development and Alumni Relations Virginia Commonwealth University 111 North Fourth Street Box 842039 Richmond, Virginia 23284-2039 Phone: (804) 828-2586 © 2019, Virginia Commonwealth University an equal opportunity, affirmative action university

On the cover A mix of talented alumni — athletes and artists, thought leaders, elected officials, social change agents, creative entrepreneurs and groundbreaking researchers — prove that the power of an education can take you many places. Turn to Page 10 to read about these amazing alumni.


VCU Alumni

CONTENTS Teresita Fernández’s (M.F.A.’92/A) 2018 installation “Autumn (…Nothing Personal)” lights up the center of Harvard Yard. Photo Robin Lubbock/WBUR

18 Features


10 The power issue

4 University news

The power of an education can take you many places, and these inspiring alumni prove it. Learn how some of VCU’s graduates (almost 200) are changing communities, making a difference in patient care, boldly starting and leading successful companies and capturing the imagination of millions.

12 Sports Marketers, athletes, trainers and analysts lead from the boardroom to the playing field.

14 Entertainment Authors, musicians, actors and directors turn out award-winning performances.

16 Education Teachers, technologists and influencers transform lives and communities.

18 Arts and design Brand designers, illustrators, sculptors and 2D artists stretch creative boundaries.

20 Business VPs, corporate CEOs and Fortune 500 leaders make a mark in a variety of industries.

22 Innovators and entrepreneurs

24 Science, technology and research Professors, discoverers, investigators and scientists endeavor for a healthier world.

28 Social impact and public service Activists, healers and public servants strive to create positive changes in communities.

9 Presidential perspective 44 Alumni support: Stephen D. Lenett, M.D. (M.D.’75/M; H.S.’78/M)

46 Alumni connections 50 Class notes 65 Datebook

32 Marketing, media and communications Marketers, broadcasters and advertising executives tell the stories that shape the world.

34 Health care Surgeons, advocates, physicians and health system administrators promote quality care.

37 Trailblazers Pioneers in social work, business and art exemplify the definition of dedication and service.

Founders, visionaries, inventors and researchers imagine a better tomorrow.

Winter 2019



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


New College of Health Professions building

Photo Kevin Morley, University Marketing

Occupational therapy doctoral student Kealah Pou (left), VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D., College of Health Professions Dean Emeritus Cecil Drain, Ph.D., College of Health Professions Senior Associate Dean Alexander Tartaglia, D.Min., VCU Health System CEO Marsha Rappley, M.D., and MCV Foundation board Chair Harry Thalhimer at the ribbon-cutting ceremony

When classes began this fall, faculty, students and staff in the VCU College of Health Professions gathered in a brand-new space dedicated to the college’s nationally ranked programs. The 154,000-square-foot building, designed to meet LEED Silver certification standards, was unveiled at a community ribbon-cutting in March 2019. All nine academic units, the doctoral program in health-related sciences, the dean’s office and the Virginia Center on Aging now are housed in the same building for the first time in the college’s 50-year history. The building, which includes a west-facing, eight-story wing and a south-facing, four-story wing, is equipped with learning laboratories for patient simulation and diagnostic technology, formal and informal spaces to promote interprofessional education and collaboration among the health professions specialties, and flexible classrooms for student engagement and distance-learning opportunities. “Health professions, such as nurse anesthesia, physical and occupational therapy and radiation sciences, comprise more than 60% of the health care workforce,” said Cecil Drain, Ph.D., emeritus dean of the College of Health Professions, who led the push for the new building. Drain retired in March after a 22-year tenure. “This new building will enable the college to provide a consistent supply of excellent practitioners to address ongoing patient needs.” Programs in the College of Health Professions consistently rank among the best in the country. Five programs are ranked nationally in the top 20 by U.S. News & World Report: nurse anesthesia (No. 1), rehabilitation counseling (No. 4), health care management (No. 5), occupational therapy (No. 17) and physical therapy (No. 20).



This summer, VCU launched the Queer Research and Advocacy Center, called the Q Collective, to serve as a creative and intellectual hub in support of LGBTQIA+ artistic and scholarly activities among faculty, staff, students and the greater Richmond community. The center, which is operated through VCU’s Division for Inclusive Excellence, is poised to stand out on the national higher education landscape as an effort to merge research, scholarship and advocacy to raise awareness of issues that affect LGBTQIA+ populations and communities. A core mission of the Q Collective is to help develop conversations and collaborations throughout the university, said Dae Newman, co-chair of Equality VCU, a collaborative advisory and advocacy body focused on LGBTQIA+ issues. “We’re excited about the potential for the Q Collective to facilitate collaboration and advocacy, raise awareness about resources and bring greater visibility to some of the excellent scholarship and work that is being done at VCU,” Newman said.

VCU reached $310 million in sponsored research funding in fiscal year 2019, setting a new record for the university. Combined awards for sponsored research programs totaled $310,216,377, representing a jump of 14.6% from VCU’s $271 million in funding the previous fiscal year. The new mark places VCU among the top three Virginia universities. Nationally, VCU ranks No. 54 for federally funded research among public universities and No. 67 for all research by public universities, according to the National Science Foundation. VCU has set institutional records in sponsored research 10 times in the past 12 years. VCU’s research portfolio features diversified funding from federal, state, industry and other private funding agencies. Among the drivers of growth for VCU in the recent fiscal year was nearly $90 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health, a 14% increase over the previous year. The university also received $73.8 million for research from private funding and gifts and $46.9 million from the state.

Q Collective creative hub


VCU Alumni

Milestone moment


Higher marks for graduate programs


Three VCU schools already ranked in the top 50 climbed further up U.S. News & World Report’s list of the country’s best graduate programs when updated rankings were released in spring 2019. VCU now has 19 graduate programs ranked in the top 50 nationally. Schools with improved rankings are the School of Education at No. 20 (previously No. 26), the School of Social Work at No. 25 (previously No. 30) and the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at No. 39 (previously No. 44). In addition, health care management in the College of Health Professions was ranked No. 5, nuclear engineering in the College of Engineering was ranked No. 20, and the School of Nursing’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program was ranked No. 44. Rehabilitation counseling in the College of Health Professions retained its No. 4 ranking. U.S. News & World Report also ranked the School of Education as No. 3 on its list of best online graduate education programs.

Tressie McMillan Cottom, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Sociology in the College of Humanities and Sciences, has been named the recipient of the Doris Entwisle Early Career Award of the American Sociological Association section on Sociology of Education. Cottom was recently ranked No. 113 among 200 scholars in the U.S. who had the biggest influence on educational practice and policy in the past year by the 2019 RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings.


Photo Jud Froelich

Stephanie Cattie, nursing major and recipient of the Lettie Pate Whitehead Scholarship


Making a college education accessible

In October, VCU launched the Invest in Me initiative to raise funds for student scholarships. The initiative is part of the Make It Real Campaign for VCU and aims to raise $50 million by June 30, 2022. Funds raised will support scholarships in the three focus areas: nurturing talent, opening doors to opportunity and rewarding excellence. “VCU has a great track record of challenging educational inequities, enrolling an increasingly diverse student population while simultaneously increasing graduation rates and reducing the average time to graduation,” said VCU Vice Provost for Strategic Enrollment Management Tomikia P. LeGrande, Ed.D. “The Invest in Me scholarship initiative will help to further level the playing field, especially for our students with particular talents, such as in the arts, athletics or leadership; for those who need support to access opportunity, such as first-generation or nontraditional students; and for those who have shown excellence in their fields of study, so that we can continue to attract the very best and brightest to VCU.” Donors can make gifts to the Talent VCU, Opportunity VCU or Excellence VCU funds to support all undergraduate students, or they can support a scholarship in a specific school.

Jean Giddens, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, Doris B. Yingling Endowed Chair and dean of the VCU School of Nursing, was elected to a two-year term as a board member at large of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. The board is the governing body for AACN, which comprises 823 public and private universities nationwide that offer a mix of baccalaureate, graduate and postgraduate nursing programs.

DIVERSITY CHAMPION VCU received the 2019 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award, with special distinction as a Diversity Champion, from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. The annual HEED Award is a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion throughout their campus communities.

GOOGLE AWARD Hong-Sheng Zhou, Ph.D., assistant professor in the College of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science, received a Google Faculty Research Award.

Each proposal for these highly competitive awards goes through a rigorous review process, and only 15% of applicants receive funding. Zhou’s research project, “Secure Computation Against Kleptographic Attacks,” was one of 10 selected in the privacy category.

FULBRIGHT SCHOLAR Cristina Stanciu, Ph.D., professor in the College of Humanities and Sciences’ Department of English, has received a prestigious Fulbright U.S. Scholar award to teach in Romania for a year and to conduct research for a manuscript. As part of the award, Stanciu will teach courses in indigenous and multiethnic U.S. literature and culture and will guest-edit two peer-reviewed journal special issues on race and ethnicity.

WRITING HONORS “A Dark Inheritance: Blood, Race, and Sex in Colonial Jamaica” by Brooke N. Newman, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of History in the College of Humanities and Sciences, won a Independent Publisher Book Award in the category of world history. The awards bring increased recognition to exemplary independent, university and selfpublished titles.

TONY NOMINEE For the second time in three years and the third time in her career, Toni-Leslie James has earned a Tony Award nomination for her costume design in a Broadway play. James, director of costume design in the Department of Theatre in the School of the Arts, was recognized for her work on “Bernhardt/Hamlet.” The play ran at the American Airlines Theatre in 2018.

WEB EXTRA Learn more about the Invest in Me scholarship initiative at

Winter 2019



« Elizabeth Bass (M.S.W.’03/SW) joined VCU on Nov. 4 as

assistant vice president for alumni relations, becoming the first alumna to hold the job. She has worked in higher education and the nonprofit sector for 20 years. She previously served as executive director of MENTOR Virginia, an organization that partners with schools, universities, corporations and nonprofits to increase the quality and quantity of mentoring relationships across the commonwealth. Bass has also worked with various nonprofits in engagement and volunteer leadership capacities, including as executive director of Madison House, the student volunteer center at the University of Virginia.

« Amir Berbić, a design expert who has worked in the


Cyber defense designation

VCU has been designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense education by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. The Centers of Academic Excellence program promotes higher education and expertise in cyber defense to reduce vulnerability in the national information infrastructure. Institutions are designated based on their degree programs and alignment to specific cybersecurity-related knowledge units. VCU was recognized based on the College of Engineering’s B.S. in Computer Science with a concentration in cybersecurity, which teaches students all 326 knowledge units required for this designation. The college also offers certificates in cybersecurity and data science.

U.S., Europe and the Middle East, joined VCUarts Qatar as dean Aug. 1. Berbić was previously a professor of graphic design at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he had served as associate dean for faculty affairs of the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts; as chair of graphic design; and as acting director of the School of Design. Berbić’s work has been recognized in numerous publications, conferences and exhibits internationally, and his work is included in the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.

« Peter Buckley, M.D., has been named interim vice

Photo Brian McNeill, University Public Affairs

president for VCU Health Sciences and CEO of VCU Health System, replacing Marsha Rappley, M.D., when she retires from that position in early 2020. He will oversee VCU’s academic health system enterprise that includes VCU Health System hospitals and outpatient clinics, physician practice plan, health plan, Massey Cancer Center and VCU Health Sciences schools and college. Buckley will continue to serve as dean of the School of Medicine and VCU Health System executive vice president for medical affairs.

« Ralph R. “Ron” Clark, M.D., chief medical officer of VCU

Health System, became interim CEO of VCU Hospitals and Clinics Nov. 1. In this role, Clark is responsible for the overall management of VCU Medical Center, including administration, patient care services, clinical services and medical affairs. Clark has served as chief medical officer since the VCU Health System was created in 2000, overseeing the clinical quality and safety, decision support, medical informatics and graduate medical education, among other duties. He serves on a variety of regional and national groups focused on improving the quality and safety of health care.

« Susan Parish, Ph.D., joined VCU on July 1 as dean of the

College of Health Professions. Parish, an expert in public health and social work, comes to VCU from Northeastern University, where she served as dean and professor of health sciences at the Bouvé College of Health Sciences. At Bouvé, she oversaw more than 30 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degree programs and led 4,700 students and more than 200 faculty. Before her time at Northeastern, Parish was associate dean of research for the Heller School for Social Policy and Management and Brandeis University.

Ashley McCuistion piloting a drone to take photographs of the Robert E. Lee monument


3D models as teaching tools

Alumna Ashley McCuistion (B.S.’14/H&S) spent time in May piloting a drone along Richmond, Virginia’s Monument Avenue, taking detailed photographs of the statues, which allowed her to create 3D digital models. McCuistion is digital curator and public outreach coordinator of the Fairfield Foundation, a nonprofit based in Gloucester, Virginia, that promotes and involves the public in hands-on archaeology, preservation and education. She and the Fairfield Foundation are working with the Virtual Curation Laboratory in the VCU School of World Studies to create digital 3D models and 3D-printed replicas of the monuments. “Our goal is to create 3D models ... and make them accessible to everyone for educational purposes, so that people can learn about their history — and the controversy surrounding [the statues] — and to preserve them because their future may or may not change,” she said. WEB EXTRA View 3D models of the monuments at


VCU Alumni


ONE VCU master plan approved

The VCU Board of Visitors has approved the ONE VCU master plan, which guides the development of the Monroe Park and MCV campuses. The plan, the first in VCU’s history that creates a shared vision for VCU and the VCU Health System, supports the organizations’ respective strategic plans. Notable elements include a focus on how the physical environment impacts student success and patient experiences as well as an emphasis on improving mobility and safety. The plan also calls for new iconic green spaces, the creation of a new student commons and wellness building on the Monroe Park Campus and the consolidation of adult outpatient clinics at VCU Health.

An overhead view of the master plan; new construction and renovation projects shown in gold.



VCU has received a $50 million federal grant to oversee a national research consortium that will study the long-term impacts of mild traumatic brain injuries or concussions on service members and veterans. The Long-term Impact of Military-relevant Brain Injury Consortium will study the ongoing health impacts of combat concussions, such as those from blasts, bullets and hand-to-hand fighting as well as vehicle crashes, sports injuries and falls. Researchers from the LIMBIC team have already discovered links between combat concussions and dementia, Parkinson’s disease, chronic pain, opioid usage and suicide risk. “We are getting a 360-degree overview of all aspects of these veterans and service members, from their brains and nervous systems to emotional well-being to their day-to-day functioning. We’re getting a full look because they’re enrolled in this ongoing comprehensive study,” said principal investigator David X. Cifu, M.D., professor and chair of Study participant Army veteran Joe Montanari the VCU School of Medicine’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and senior traumatic brain injury specialist for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. “This is the largest study of its kind that is entailing a deeper dive and more thorough investigation than any person, patient or even research participant could get. The individual being studied is getting the most comprehensive evaluation of its kind because that is exactly what is required to finally understand these combat concussions and their linkages to symptoms and secondary conditions, like dementia.” The departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs are funding the grant, which brings together universities, Veterans Health Administration hospitals and the military to study the impact of combat concussions.

VCU has implemented a universitywide smoke- and tobacco-free policy in an effort to reduce tobacco use, tobacco-related fire hazards and litter, and to promote a safe and healthy campus environment. All tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, are prohibited on university-owned property and allowed only in designated outdoor smoking areas. The new policy applies to students, faculty, staff, contractors and campus visitors. The policy does not apply to smoking cessation products. VCU’s Office of Safety and Risk Management is working with Massey Cancer Center, human resources and the student wellness center to offer smoking cessation programs, educational materials and other resources to help tobacco users quit.

Combating the impact of concussions

Photo Julia Rendleman, University Marketing

WEB EXTRA View the full plan and get a glimpse of VCU's future at

Smoke- and tobacco-free campus


Redesigning clothing for Muslim women

A VCU professor in Qatar is redesigning the abaya, the loose, robelike garment traditionally worn by many Muslim women, to absorb vitamin D-rich light while also blocking the sun’s more harmful rays. Khaled Saoud, Ph.D. (M.S.’00/H&S; Ph.D.’05/H&S), teaches at the VCU School of the Arts Qatar campus, where his students inspired him to update the garment. As an associate professor of physics, Saoud is using his scientific knowledge and research to improve the abaya. Abayas are typically black, Saoud said, which means they absorb heat and radiation from the sun. Further, because the garment covers almost the entire body, the wearer is not exposed to enough light, which contains important vitamin D. Saoud created a special coating for fabric that blocks harmful UV rays, while absorbing valuable light and transferring it to the skin. His next step is to work with fashion design students in his class to design and fabricate an abaya from the material. Winter 2019



Campaign hits significant benchmark

Capturing personal stories on film Juan Steck’s (B.S.’19/MC) passion for filmmaking was sparked as a youngster in Peru when his grandfather projected old movies on a wall. Steck’s dream to become a visual storyteller came true at VCU when the first-generation student was awarded $4,700 in scholarships. With this support, Steck, who studied in the Robertson School of Media and Culture, purchased film equipment and repaid some student loans. “I’ve always tried to tell stories that inspire and make you believe in something,” Steck says. “I couldn’t have done that without the support of those who believed in me.”

Creating hope for adults addicted to opioids A new VCU-led clinical trial aims to help stem the high relapse rate of opioid addiction. F. Gerard Moeller, M.D., who holds the C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Distinguished Chair in Clinical and Translational Research: Addiction Science, is principal investigator on a clinical trial assessing a monthly injection for adult patients recovering from opioid overdose. Six distinguished chairs were established in 2017 through a $12 million gift from the C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Foundation. “Our research could have a major impact on a public health emergency,” Moeller says. “Mr. Wright’s gift allows us to further accelerate that research and work with community partners who share our goal of advancing the scientific study of human health.”

Supporting new mothers’ needs New mothers now have a private space to nurse babies or express milk in VCU’s James Branch Cabell Library. A lactation room, the first of its kind on the Monroe Park Campus, opened in August 2018, thanks to a $50,600 gift from the Women in Science, Dentistry and Medicine faculty organization. Carol Hampton, a retired School of Medicine faculty member and former Friends of VCU Libraries board chair, led the fundraising effort and says naming the room for WISDM emphasizes the strong network of female professionals who support students and employees across the university.

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


VCU Alumni

Rendering Ballinger/Quinn Evans Architects

The Make It Real Campaign for VCU reached $745 million in June. The campaign, which began with a quiet phase in July 2012 and launched publicly in September 2016, is the largest fundraising effort in the university’s history. It counts all funds raised through June 30, 2020. Featured below are impacts already being realized across the university from your gifts to support the campaign. A conceptual rendering of the future STEM teaching facility


Investing in STEM education

Virginia’s state budget includes funding for VCU to construct a $121 million, 168,000-square-foot, six-floor building dedicated to science, technology, engineering and math education on the Monroe Park Campus. The building, which will house lab, classroom and office space for the College of Humanities and Sciences, will be built at the site of the Franklin Street Gym, which is slated for demolition starting in spring 2020. “The new STEM facility will provide a state-of-the-art learning, research and collaboration space in a location that is in the heart of the student community,” said VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D. “I am grateful to the General Assembly for their support. Their funding of the project speaks to their belief in VCU’s educational mission and the commonwealth’s goal to become the best-educated state by 2030.” The college annually awards more than 1,500 degrees in STEM disciplines, and more than 15,000 students take STEM classes annually in the college. By adding lab and classroom space, the STEM building will make it easier for College of Humanities and Sciences students to complete the required courses and labs for their majors, reducing attrition and increasing the number of STEM graduates. GRANT

Including more students in science

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.


From graduation to greatness VCU is the place where dreams come true By Michael Rao, Ph.D., President, VCU and VCU Health System


his past May, we conferred more than 5,200 professional, graduate and undergraduate degrees and certificates to nearly 5,000 graduates. At the ceremony, I spoke of the American dream — a term introduced by writer James Truslow Adams in 1931 — and quoted U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove: “The American dream is a phrase that we’ll have to wrestle with all of our lives. It means a lot of things to different people. I think we’re redefining it now.” The graduates we celebrated that day are from diverse backgrounds, with myriad life experiences and an unabashed drive to succeed. Through scholarship, advocacy and volunteerism, they are redefining the American dream. Like you, they will undoubtedly excel at whatever path they choose to take in life as they pursue their goals. In this issue, you will read profiles of VCU graduates who seek to improve the lives of those they reach through education, creativity, health care, entrepreneurship, leadership and more. Many of the alumni featured have achieved national prominence because of their work. The unifying link is VCU. Guggenheim fellow and MacArthur fellow Teresita Fernández (M.F.A.’92/A) leverages her expertise as an artist to move beyond traditional interpretations of landscape art. Her work challenges audiences to think about who is left out of visual narratives presented to the public. Fernández moves beyond traditional landscape pieces of art to spark viewers to question whether art always tells a complete story and what might be

unseen. With a span of more than 20 years, Fernández’s body of work offers viewers much to contemplate and discuss. Richmond Public Schools teacher Rodney Robinson (M.Ed.’11/E) is an outstanding example of someone dedicated to the public good. As 2019 National Teacher of the Year, Robinson is raising awareness among Michael Rao, Ph.D. the American public that all children deserve a high-quality education, no matter their life circumstances. His work as an educator, mentor and advocate for children who have experienced trauma highlights the need to better understand the school-to-prison pipeline. Recognized worldwide, the deft and detailed work of Eduardo Rodriguez, M.D., D.D.S. (M.D.’99/M), makes it possible for people to live productive lives after facial transplants, treatments and procedures following major life events. I am in awe of his work treating and counseling people in their quest to live a healthy and fulfilling life. I hope you enjoy reading about and recognize your fellow alumni in this issue. You are part of a group of visionaries known and respected around the globe. I look forward to seeing what you and coming generations of VCU Rams accomplish. I know it will be exceptional.

Winter 2019



POWER ISSUE By E R I C A N AO N E with contributions from


VCU Alumni

C Y N T H I A M C M U L L E N ( M . A . ' 8 9/ H & S ) , L AT R YC E N O E L , B R E LY N P OW E L L




ower. It’s a single word that carries many meanings. The power to change communities. The power to make a difference in patient care. The power to boldly lead a Fortune 500 company. The power to capture the imagination of millions. On the following pages, you’ll find just a few of our talented alumni. Athletes and artists. Thought leaders. Elected officials. Social change agents. Creative entrepreneurs. Groundbreaking researchers. And more. These inspiring alumni prove that the power of an education can take you many places.

Winter 2019




Photo Sam Greenwood/Getty

(B.S.’10/B) was 8 years L old when his father gave him his first set of golf clubs for Christmas. He dreamed of one ANTO GRIFFIN

day becoming a decorated professional athlete. Now he is living that dream, achieving the biggest win of his professional golf career — and a $1.35 million prize — at the Houston Open PGA Tour golf tournament in Humble, Texas, this past October. “Winning on the PGA Tour has always been a goal for me, but I wasn’t sure if it would ever happen,” Griffin says. “It’s been like living in a dream. It still doesn’t seem real.” Griffin’s course from childhood golfer to PGA Tour winner experienced its ups and downs. When he was 12 years old, his father died of a brain tumor. His golf coach, Steve Prater, became a father-figure to him in the following years. 12

VCU Alumni

“I lost my dad at such a vulnerable age, but for my whole life, I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by people like Steve who saw something in me and wanted to help me grow,” Griffin says. Under Prater’s mentorship, Griffin honed his game and caught the attention of VCU golf coach M AT T B A L L (B.S.’87/B), who recruited him to join VCU’s golf team in 2006 partially thanks to Griffin being awarded the Cutler Golf Scholarship. Playing collegiate golf gave Griffin a preview of what it was going to take to be competitive as a professional athlete, he says, and motivated him to become an even better player. “You think you’re a pretty good player, but you realize your teammates are just as good as you and some of them are putting in hard work to get better,” he explains. “I realized that talent

only gets you so far; you’ve got to work for it. I learned a lot of the work ethic I have now from my teammates at VCU.” Over the course of his nine-year professional career, Griffin has seen moderate success on the course but has also faced frustrating losses and discouraging financial struggles, he says. His recent win puts him at the top of his game, and he hopes his accomplishments encourage other aspiring pros to not lose sight of their goals. “These last few years feel like justification for years of hard work,” he says. “Whenever doubts crept in, I always picked myself up and I’m proud of myself for that. I want others to know that, when you doubt yourself, know that those thoughts don’t matter. Work hard, stay motivated and one day, you’ll be the athlete that others are looking up to.”


» Q U A N I T R A H O L L I N G S W O R T H (B.S.’08

/H&S), then 16, was the youngest female college basketball player in the country during her freshman season at VCU (200506) and continued racking up superlatives from there. She left VCU as the university’s all-time leading rebounder and was drafted ninth overall by the Minnesota Lynx in the 2009 WNBA Draft. She played for WNBA teams until 2015 while also playing overseas. She represented Turkey in the 2012 Summer Olympics, having become a citizen to qualify for its national women’s basketball team. She now plays center for Dynamo Kursk, a women’s basketball team based in Kursk, Russia. In 2019, the team advanced to the EuroLeague women’s final for the second time in three seasons.

K AT H E R I N E D E C , M . D . (H.S.’93/M), says, “The sports medicine physician is a cornerstone of the integrated health that our families and athletes seek.” She provides that support as a practicing physician for athletes in a variety of sports, as an advocate of the profession and as a teacher. Dec serves as a sports medicine physician, residency director and professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at VCU Health; a professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at VCU; head team physician for Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia; and team physician for VCU Athletics. She is a past president of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and a past medical director for the Richmond (Virginia) Marathon. She has been quoted nationally as an expert on concussions and helped start a new concussion and traumatic brain injury program as part of the Neuroscience Initiative at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU.

Photo courtesy Indianapolis Colts

Photo courtesy FIBA



O N E - H A N D E D C AT C H


M O A L I E - C O X (B.S.’15/GPA; M.S.’17 /GPA) stood out from a young age in both football and basketball but attended a high school and university that didn’t field a football team. He became a star forward for VCU’s basketball team but says, “I always told myself if I ever had the chance to go play football again, I would probably take the opportunity to do it.” He was signed by the Indianapolis Colts as an undrafted free agent in April 2017 and made national headlines in October 2018 when he scored his first NFL touchdown with a one-handed catch in the end zone.

AT H L E T E S , T R A I N E R S , A N A LY S T S , L E A D E R S

T R OY DA N I E L S (B.S.’13/GPA): A guard with the

C H A R L E S H OW E I V (M.S.’07/E): A graduate in

O L I S E “ C L A” M E R E D I T H I I I (B.S.’15/GPA):

NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers; formerly played for the Phoenix Suns; set the Atlantic 10 Conference record for making 11 three-point field goals in a single game while playing for the VCU Rams in 2013

sport leadership who has worked with the U.S. Golf Association’s U.S. Open for more than a decade, currently as championship director for the 2020 U.S. Open at Winged Foot Golf Club in New York

T R E V E O N G R A H A M (B.S.’15/GPA): Plays as a

E R I C M AY N O R (B.I.S.’09/H&S): An assistant coach

A side-arming right-hander nicknamed “The Claw” as a former member of the VCU Rams baseball team; drafted by the Boston Red Sox and played Major League Baseball for six seasons as a relief pitcher for the Red Sox, the San Diego Padres and the Baltimore Orioles; co-owner and pitching coach for Richmond Baseball Academy West in Richmond, Virginia

guard for the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves; played for the VCU Rams and was First Team All-Atlantic 10 Conference as well as A-10 Tournament MVP in 2015 S H E R M A N H A M I LT O N (B.S.’97/H&S): Broadcast

analyst for the NBA’s Toronto Raptors; played basketball for Canada during the 2000 Summer Olympics and professionally for Euroleague squad BC Zalgiris in 2001-02; former guard for VCU Rams

with the Oklahoma City Blue; first-round selection (20th overall) in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz; played five NBA seasons and in Europe; VCU all-time leader in points and assist; two-time CAA Player of the Year; led VCU to two conference championships and two NCAA Tournaments, including hitting a gamewinner jumper with 1.8 seconds left in a 79-77 win over Duke in the 2007 NCAA Tournament

J E R O M E R E I D (B.S’06/E; M.S.’08/E): With degrees

in athletic training and health and movement sciences, has served since 2018 as head athletic trainer for the Philadelphia Eagles; formerly assistant athletic trainer for the Tennessee Titans for four seasons and worked with the Miami Dolphins in 2008

Winter 2019






VCU Alumni

Photo Guy Bell

estselling author DAV I D B A L DAC C I (B.A.’83/ H&S; H.L.D.’01) equates the verb “to read” with the verb “to think” and often crafts his stories through that lens. He offers an edited version of the old maxim to write what you know: Write what interests you. Many of his books are sparked by a piece of information that captures Baldacci’s imagination. In the process of thinking through its implications, Baldacci concocts story, characters and a world. An article about the CIA testing the drug PCP on unwitting soldiers became the seed of Baldacci’s novel “The Simple Truth.” Research on the field of perception management — companies that seek to manipulate public opinion for countries and corporations — became the novel “The Whole Truth” and a prescient commentary on today’s battles over fake news, social media influencers and political spin. “Interest equates to creative gas in the tank, and if you have this passion for a subject matter you’re writing about, your tank will be full the whole time,” Baldacci says. Baldacci published his first book, “Absolute Power,” in 1996. Since then, he has written nearly 40 bestselling novels for adults as well as a young adult fantasy series and assorted other projects. He has sold nearly 130 million books worldwide, and his work is available in 80 countries and 45 languages, from Japanese to Arabic. He was one of the first authors to sell more than a million books through Amazon’s Kindle Store. Baldacci takes his reach and influence seriously. “I want to entertain, but I also want to inform people,” he says. When Baldacci wrote “The Whole Truth,” he wanted people to know about the perception management industry, but he wrote a story, not a sermon. If to read is to think, he believes this gives people a chance to reach their own conclusions. He also encourages reading and education through philanthropy. The Baldacci family’s Wish You Well Foundation supports literacy projects,

particularly those that aim at higher-level literacy goals, such as being able to read well enough to make informed decisions at the voting booth or to advance in a career. At VCU, Baldacci and his wife, Michelle, created the Baldacci Student Experiential Learning Endowed Fund, which is awarded to students pursuing opportunities such as research, study abroad and social entrepreneurship. “One journey can change a life and give you a perspective you didn’t have before,” Baldacci says. Whether he sends someone on that journey through philanthropic projects or through the plot of one of his thrillers, Baldacci has a gift for taking people out of their comfort zones and helping them grow in the process.



G O I N E S (M.M.’90/A) describes his mission as “to enthusiastically create, integrate and preserve the legacy of jazz and its causes through a commitment to performance, education and composition.” A saxophonist, clarinetist, composer and educator, Goines has recorded more than 70 releases, including many with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and the Wynton Marsalis Septet. He has composed more than 100 works, including “Base Line,” which was commissioned by the Dance Division of the Juilliard School in celebration of its 50th anniversary. He regularly appears on top artists lists in leading music magazine DownBeat.



R E Y N O L D S (M.F.A.’92/H&S), professor and chair of the Department of English at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, has published six novels, including “The Rapture of Canaan,” a Publisher’s Weekly and New York Times bestseller that was selected for Oprah’s Book Club in 1997. The novel also brought about personal connections. Reynolds recalls her efforts to find help for a young man who showed up on her doorstep because he, like the book’s main character, had been ostracized by his family for not sharing their religious beliefs. She has two more novels drafted but says she’s “letting them marinate.”


» While a student at VCU, B O R I S KO D J O E

(B.S.’96/B; H.L.D.’18) had to make hard choices born of his success in two very different pursuits: tennis and modeling. He came to VCU on a tennis scholarship, and his performance made a professional tour seem possible. He still ranks 12th in singles wins and third in doubles wins on the career lists at VCU. Kodjoe, however, pursued acting and modeling and has starred in movies such as “Downsized” and in TV shows including “Station 19,” “House of Cards,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Code Black.” He was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World by People magazine in 2002.


N O B S ! B R A S S B A N D , a VCU-educated,


B A R N E T T (B.M.’02/A; M.M.’04/A), trumpeter and VCU music professor who has played with The Temptations and the Woody Herman Orchestra


C H A P M A N (B.M.’11/A), a founding

member and cross-genre trombonist who has played venues ranging from French festivals to Manhattan pubs


H O O D (B.M.’13/A; B.S.’13/H&S), saxophonist, math tutor, University of Richmond pep band director and No BS! Brass Band business manager

» B R YA N

H O O T E N (M.M.’06/A), trombonist, teacher and former member of Richmond-based salsa band Bio Ritmo


H U L L E Y (B.M.’11/A), trombonist since fifth grade who honed his talent on the instrument as part of the VCU Peppas


KO F F (B.M.’12/A), trumpeter, arranger and teacher who toured with Sufjan Stevens, a singer-songwriter who wrote “Mystery of Love,” an Academy Award nominee for best original song

Photo Guerin Blask

Richmond, Virginia-based party band mixing New Orleans brass and East Coast funk featuring alumni:

J O H N B U L L A R D (B.M.’05/A): Internationally

known for developing and transcribing­classical repertoire for the five-string banjo; plays bluegrass standards and was the first graduate of the VCU School of the Arts’ Department of Music to earn a degree in banjo performance J A S O N B U T L E R H A R N E R (B.F.A.’92/A):

Actor who played rogue FBI agent Roy Petty in Netflix’s “Ozark”; appeared in three episodes of Showtime’s “Homeland”; portrayed an axwielding devil who menaces Angelina Jolie in “Changeling” J E S S E VA U G H A N (B.S.’80/MC): Started his media career at WTVR-TV Richmond and has won 21 Emmy awards as a director, including for his work on “Today,” “Meet the Press,” the Barcelona Summer Olympics and the feature film “Juwanna Mann”



M AT T H E W R A M S E Y (B.F.A.’00/A), a Nashville, Tennessee-based singer-songwriter, burst onto the country music scene by writing hits for the likes of The Band Perry and Kenny Chesney. He found even more success as frontman for Old Dominion, which scored its first No. 1 hit, “Break Up With Him,” in 2015, and has had numerous other charttoppers since. The band won group of the year at the 54th Annual Academy of Country Music Association Awards in 2019 for the second year in a row and vocal group of the year at the 2018 and 2019 CMA Awards.

Winter 2019





» K E V I N P O W E R S (B.A.’08/H&S) is author

of three books, most recently “A Shout in the Ruins.” His 2012 Iraq War novel, “The Yellow Birds,” was a finalist for the National Book Award and one of the New York Times’ 100 Most Notable Books of 2012. It was also adapted into a movie. Powers, who is a veteran of the Iraq War, recalls learning that his book helped a Vietnam veteran and his daughter talk about war for the first time. He calls this one of the most gratifying moments of his life aside from being a husband and father. Powers says he never takes his writing career for granted. “Every project I start feels quite scary yet full of possibility,” he says.



(B.F.A.’08/A; M.F.A.’11/A) played Joseph Marstern in the 2012 Academy Award-nominated film “Lincoln.” On stage, he played Andrew Jackson in the world premiere of “Sovereignty” in Washington, D.C., and has been nominated for the prestigious Robert Prosky Award for theater. As a teacher, he brings theater to communities lacking arts programs and works with The Conciliation Project, which promotes dialogue about racism and oppression. His next project is a lead role in a historical film.




VCU Alumni



or the past four years, R O D N E Y R O B I N S O N (M.Ed.’11/E) has taught history to students in sixth to 12th grades at Virgie Binford Education Center, which serves kids in the Richmond (Virginia) Juvenile Detention Center. Many of the students who arrive at the center haven’t been

to class regularly in years, for reasons from chronic absenteeism to chaotic life circumstances that have caused school enrollment to fall through the cracks. Robinson sees one of his main duties as helping them deal with trauma and confusion enough to reset and get on track.

“It’s hard. A lot of our kids are far behind. I always say, ‘You don’t just end up here. It’s a path you travel,’” Robinson says. He works with other educators at the center to create a plan for the students to help change their relationship to the classroom. His efforts have earned increasing recognition. He was named Teacher of the Year for the Richmond region in September 2018 and the 2018-19 Virginia Teacher of the Year, and in April 2019, Robinson was named National Teacher of the Year. Robinson, who has taught in Richmondarea public schools since 2000, was recruited to the Binford Education Center by its principal, TA’ N E S H I A F O R D (M.Ed’06/E; Cert.’09/E). Before taking charge of the center, Ford had worked with Robinson at Armstrong High School in Richmond. “I saw firsthand his passion for at-risk students, his love of history and his mentorship for our male students,” she says. “It is so powerful to see his interactions with young men of color. He teaches through a lens that is very personal and profound.” Robinson became a teacher after being encouraged to pursue the profession by his mother, who was denied an education by segregation and poverty in rural Virginia. He taught at Richmond middle and high schools but began to feel burned out from the pressures of dealing with high-needs kids without sufficient supporting resources. He said the call from Ford reenergized him. “Rather than just becoming jaded or leaving the profession, I decided what better way to understand the school-to-prison pipeline than to teach at an actual detention facility,” he says. The attention he has received as a finalist, and now the winner, of National Teacher of the Year has given him the chance to speak to groups willing to learn about the need to fund programs for at-risk kids, to build detention centers that are more conducive to learning and to find positive role models for students throughout the school system. Robinson’s time in the spotlight has put “a much needed light on students with court involvement,” Ford says. And now, as one of the nation’s best teachers, she adds, “everyone can see that excellent teaching can be found in the least-expected places.”


J O H N B R I C O U T, P H . D . (Ph.D.’98/SW):


Director and professor at the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities School of Social Work where he teaches courses on technology and social work ethics, international social work and rehabilitation science and others; currently researching models for socially assistive robots as temporary respite caregivers for people with developmental disabilities and their aging parents; served as a Fulbright specialist in the Republic of Georgia

(M.T.’99/E): Teaches English in Henrico County (Virginia) Public Schools; named 2015 Teacher of the Year in the Tuckahoe District of Henrico County and a Henrico County Top Teacher in 2018; received the Henrico 21 award from the Department of Instructional Technology in Henrico County Public Schools for high-quality lesson planning that is engaging and modern

S A R A H FA R R E L L , P H . D . (Ph.D.’95/N): A

kindergarten in Powhatan County (Virginia) Public Schools; served as the Richmond Area Reading Council’s president twice; was named RARC’s 201415 Reading Teacher of the Year and used the cash award she received to buy books for her school’s students to read more at home

development executive at Apple who is passionate about transforming higher education and health care through innovation and design; served as president of the Virginia Association of Colleges of Nursing; is board certified to teach psychotherapy


» L E A H WA L K E R (M.P.A.’01/GPA) is direc-

tor of equity and community engagement at the Virginia Department of Education. Her career has long been focused on ensuring that all students have access to the support and services necessary to maximize their potential. Previously community and minority affairs liaison for the Department of Education, Walker now leads Virginia's #EdEquityVA initiative, launched in July 2018 and focused on “advancing education equity, closing achievement gaps and decreasing disproportionality in student outcomes.” To that end, she led the launch of the Virginia is for Learners campaign in April 2019, which seeks to inform parents and stakeholders about the changes that have been made over several years to modernize preK-12 education in the commonwealth. In 2018, Style Weekly named Walker one of the most influential people in education in the Richmond region.

A L L I S O N YA N D L E (M.Ed.’09/E): Teaches


» Born in Kenya, E D W I N O B I L O AC H O L A ,

(Ph.D.’13/E), was inspired to pursue a career in education by his parents, both teachers. Though, he says, he initially was not confident in his ability to get a tenure-track position and be successful, Achola landed his “dream job” and earned early tenure and a quick promotion. As associate professor and co-project director specializing in special education in the Department of Advanced Studies in Education and Counseling at California State University, Long Beach, he trains teachers to work more effectively with students with disabilities who come from diverse communities and helps students transition from adolescence to adulthood. Achola has received $3.75 million in federal grants since 2013 and is a member of the Council for Exceptional Children, a board member of its Division on Career Development and Transition and chair of its Human Rights and Cultural Diversity Committee. PH .D.

Winter 2019




(M.F.A.’92/A) explores landT scapes through unusual materials such as gold, charcoal and graphite, and many of her landscapes take the form E R E S I TA F E R N Á N D E Z


VCU Alumni

Photo Steve Benisty

of large public, sometimes challenging, installations. For example, in one installation at the home of American landscape painter Frederic Edwin Church, Fernández inserted portraits of the indigenous people that Church left out of his depictions of Latin American and Caribbean landscapes. “I often use the word ‘landscape’ not in the traditional sense of a vista or a picturesque scene but rather landscape as the history of people in places, which we know is also completely tied to colonialism, power, ownership and all kinds of other complex and violent histories,” Fernández says. Understanding “landscape” in those terms, she adds, “becomes a way of looking at a place as both a noun and a verb simultaneously. Landscape is as much about what you don’t see as what you do see.” Her largest work to date, “Fata Morgana,” was installed in 2015 in Madison Square Park in New York City. A fata morgana is a type of mirage, a rare optical illusion that creates a hovering image. Fernández created the 500-foot-long sculpture with golden, reflective discs that formed canopies above major pathways through the park. In a video about the piece, Fernández described it as “a kind of portrait of the daily commute and urban activity reflecting how people move through this park.” Fernández points to the importance of the viewer’s role in any piece she creates. For public art, she says, “what gets seen and the narrative that gets created depends on who’s looking, so it is important to think about who and what is getting called the ‘public’ and who is being left out of that definition at any given site.” Over the course of her career, she has been honored with some of the world’s most prestigious awards, including a 2003 Guggenheim Fellowship and a MacArthur Fellowship in 2005. In 2011, President Barack Obama appointed her to serve until 2014 on the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, an independent federal agency dedicated to design review, aesthetic excellence and the beauty and dignity of the nation’s capital. Fernández, however, distinguishes between outside definitions of

success, which have to do with “measurable accomplishments and accolades,” and an inside sense of success. “To me, real success is often quiet and subtle — those small epiphanies that happen in the studio when nobody else is looking,” she says. “It is this private sense of revelation that carries most importance and power and the one I pay most attention to.” Recently, Fernández has been assessing what now amounts to more than 4,000 pieces over two decades of work. In 2017, she released “Wayfinding,” a monograph in which she presents viewers with a themed tour through her work accompanied by essays by writers she chose and admires. This fall, her midcareer survey, “Teresita Fernández: Elemental,” opened at Pérez Art Museum in Miami, and then travels to the Phoenix Art Museum and the New Orleans Museum of Art. The exhibit is accompanied by a new publication, which contextualizes the artistic, conceptual and sociopolitical aspects of Fernández’s practice.

with the natural world, Al-Muftah has been featured in publications including Wall Street International Magazine and Vogue Arabia. Her series, “Faces,” was considered a standout in group exhibits in Doha, Qatar. In 2018, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha presented her first solo exhibit, “Echoes.”


T O R K WA S E DY S O N (B.F.A.’99/A): An

interdisciplinary artist based in Brooklyn, New York, whose abstract paintings, focused on spatial relations, have been exhibited at The Studio Museum in Harlem, Whitney Museum of American Art, Corcoran College of Art and Design and the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art


J U L I E H A R V E Y (B.F.A.’85/A):

» By the time




(B.F.A.’99/A) co-founded Original Champions of Design, based in New York City, he’d already assembled a list of credits that included overseeing brand identity for Nokia and working with famed jazz musician Wynton Marsalis to liven up the brand of Jazz at Lincoln Center. With OCD, he’s entrusted with redesigning and updating branding for some of the most iconic organizations in the nation, including Girl Scouts of the USA, the NBA, MTV and The New York Times Magazine. The Atlantic selected Martin to art direct and design its extensive special issue marking the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. In 2017, Fast Company named Martin one of the “most creative people in business.”

Photo William Jess Laird



» TA R A D O N OVA N (M.F.A.’99/A) is known

for sculptures and installations that begin with everyday objects, such as drinking straws or Scotch tape, and grow into something mysterious and grand. Using hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of these objects, Donovan builds them into, say, a 44-footlong wall or a 1,600-square-foot sculpture. She describes this as an exploration of the organic processes by which things grow in nature. Donovan received the first Calder Prize in 2005 and a MacArthur Fellowship in 2008. Her solo exhibits have been presented at museums including The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark.


» Called one of Qatar’s most promising young

artists by the international digital media brand Buro 24/7, B O U T H AY N A A L - M U F TA H (B.F.A.’09/A) uses graphic design, illustration, installation and printmaking techniques. “My art is very unconscious, spur-of-themoment, impulsive kind of art,” she said in an interview with Emergeast, an online art gallery that focuses on Middle Eastern artists. Known for her work’s commentary on Qatari culture and heritage, as well as its interactions


» Sculptor D I A N A A L - H A D I D (M.F.A.’05/A) is known for creating artworks that stretch the limits of the materials she uses to produce

Contemporary art painter, multimedia producer, video director and choreographer known for controversial nude portraits of go-go dancing art dealers and of Osama bin Laden; her painting of actor Rip Torn appeared on NBC’s “30 Rock”; has worked alongside artists such as Laurie Anderson and Paul Taylor Dance Co. E D T R A S K (B.F.A.’92/A): Artist and

musician whose illegally painted murals "magically" appeared attached to abandoned buildings and boarded-up storefronts worldwide paved the way for a career in mural and sign work, much of which now is owned by permanent collections; serves as a corporate creative consultant and art director for TEDxRVA C H A R L E S V E S S (B.F.A.’74/A): Fantasy

and comics artist who specializes in illustrating myths and fairy tales and has exhibited nationally and internationally; received the World Fantasy Award for best artist in 1999, 2003 and 2010; previously worked as a commercial animator and as art instructor at Parsons School of Design

them. Architectural but also often appearing to melt or drip, Al-Hadid’s sculptures, panel works and works on paper are built up with layers of material and history. To create her sculptures and wall reliefs, she uses common fabrication materials such as polymer gypsum, fiberglass and steel and often works at large scale. “My work isn’t really one decision that’s stable. It’s a lot of interwoven and fluctuating decisions,” she told the contemporary art organization Art21. She has had two dozen solo exhibits in the past decade and several gallery and museum exhibits. She has also had large public installations at Madison Square Park, Williams College and Cheekwood Estate and Gardens. She is represented by Marianne Boesky Gallery in New York City. Winter 2019





picture of pharmacists and customers in a redesigned, reconstructed pharmacy hangs on J O N R O B E R T S ’ (B.S.’79/P) office wall. The image shows them enjoying a new private area for customers to drop off their prescriptions. “Redefining pharmacy service at CVS,” the label reads, celebrating the Pharmacy Service Initiative, a major 2002 effort to identify and solve operational problems within CVS pharmacies. Roberts calls the PSI “the most impactful initiative I’ve been involved with in my career at CVS,” and his career spans more than three decades in the business of pharmacy. Beginning as a store pharmacist at Peoples Drug in Alexandria, Virginia, which was later acquired by CVS, Roberts worked his way up to executive vice president and chief operating officer of CVS Health. Roberts says his perspective from working at so many levels of the company, as well as his core training as a pharmacist, prepared him for the task. He worked on the initiative as part of a small team of six to eight members. “We were up against the status quo,” he says, “and that created interesting dynamics as we looked to dramatically change how we practiced pharmacy at CVS.” The team identified dozens of problems and boiled down seven service elements that needed to improve. As they implemented the changes, 20

VCU Alumni

the company saw dramatic improvement in service metrics such as wait time, customer satisfaction, reduction in errors and employee satisfaction. CVS also saw accelerated growth in its pharmacy business as the initiative revealed that massive growth had been masking the loss of dissatisfied customers. The initiative has been lauded and studied by institutions including Harvard Business School and the Yale School of Management. Roberts keeps information about the initiative on his wall as a constant reminder of the importance of service, and CVS Health has continued to keep its service metrics high. In 2017, the company reported about 97% client retention. Operational improvements are a priority as well. Roberts led the design of improved software for the retail pharmacy system, rolled out in 2005, which the company still uses. CVS recently acquired insurance company Aetna, and Roberts is preparing to reposition the company to about 20%-25% health care services. In the process, he hopes both to improve the bottom line for CVS and to make communities healthier. “Community pharmacy is the front door to health care,” Roberts says. “We have worked really hard to move pharmacist and pharmacy away from just filling the prescriptions to patient care.”





Photo courtesy Jon Roberts

S U L L I VA N (B.S.’88/B) leads the $15 billion Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest hog producer and pork processor. Sullivan joined Smithfield in 2003 after a period of expansion and acquisition. He became president and CEO in 2016 and led the completion of the One Smithfield initiative to unify and streamline the company’s operations, brands and global employees. He also leads Smithfield’s sustainability program and spearheads an initiative to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2025. Sullivan says he is particularly excited about the company’s work to convert hog waste into renewable natural gas. Though Smithfield sells many types of pork products, Sullivan’s favorite remains one of the classics: crispy bacon.


J U L I A (B.S.’01/En) and N I C H O L A S (B.S.’01/En) C A I N helped to build one of the nation’s most influential craft brewing businesses, the San Diego, California-based Ballast Point Brewery, into an internationally recognized craft beer brand. The couple joined Ballast Point and made their way to the executive team, Nicholas as vice president of quality and process engineering and Julia as director of research and development. The couple established in 2016 a scholarship for chemical engineering undergraduates at VCU. In 2015, Constellation Brands Inc. acquired Ballast Point for $1 billion. Today, Julia is director of craft and specialty projects for Constellation Brands, and Nicholas is principal brewer at Kairoa Brewing Co.

» After more than 20 years leading transit

organizations such as the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, KEITH PARKER (B.A.’90/H&S; M.U.R.P.’93/GPA) had accomplished the goals he’d set and won every award and recognition the industry offered. He took his own advice, he says: “Be sure to leave when everyone still wants you to stay.” He became president and CEO of Goodwill of North Georgia in 2017, where he’d already been a board member, attracted to the organization’s community impact. “We use our profits to help people find jobs and careers,” Parker says. He’s motivated by the 25,000 people the nonprofit helps annually. Parker also contributes his talents by serving since July 2019 as rector of VCU’s Board of Visitors.




(B.S.’15/H&S; B.S.’15/En): VCU’s first undergraduate computer science alumnus to be hired by Google; began as engineering resident within the Silicon Valley headquarters, moved to software engineer II and now works on Android TV as a software engineer III

(B.F.A.’12/A): With an undergraduate degree in kinetic imaging, worked as an analyst for Lab 49 in Washington, D.C., before joining Vimeo as an application engineer in New York City and now serves as senior user interface engineer with Netflix in the San Francisco Bay Area

R I C A R D O C A P I L L A (B.S.’99/B;

M.B.A.’00/B): Multilingual executive who joined in 2003 Eurocopter Mexico, now Airbus Mexico, the commercial aviation market leader in that country; first served as a regional helicopter sales representative and has been promoted several times, including most recently in March 2019 as the company’s CEO

D O N G C H E N “J AY ” G UA N

H A M I D G O L G I R I (B.S.’16/En):

B.S.’14/B; Cert.’17/En): After working as an associate, professional services, for insurance company Markel, switched gears from business to computer science and now serves as associate

Research and advanced engineer with Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn, Michigan, after completing the Ford College Graduate Program

(B.S.’18/En; Cert.’18/DVC): Software developer at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington, working on projects such as Maze Man, a personmatching system and a virtual voice assistant for banking A U S T I N H O B S O N (B.S.’14/B;

software developer with CoStar Group, a Richmond, Virginia-based provider of commercial real estate information and online marketplaces M E L I S S A N I E R L E (B.S.’16/En):

Software engineer for Apple; while a computer science major, was VCU’s first student to earn a co-op position at BMW, where she helped create apps to facilitate manufacturing process improvements R I C H R E I N E C K E (B.S.’96/B):

Co-founder and co-managing partner of the Fahrenheit Group, a consulting firm working with businesses ranging from emerging growth to middle market to Fortune 500 and with offices in Richmond, Virginia, North Carolina and Arizona; serves on the Richmond Performing Arts Alliance board and is past president of Venture Forum RVA, which supports local entrepreneurs

A L E X A N D R I A R I T C H I E (B.S.’18

/En): Biomedical engineering alumna and founder and CEO of DuraSafe, winner of an OZY Genius Award for the pressure-sensing epidural needle device B R A N D O N WAT T S (B.S.’18/En):

Invited to work as a data engineer for CarMax after completing a software developer internship with the company and earning a degree in computer science; first in his family to graduate from college and one of 19 inaugural recipients of the Wright Engineering Access Scholarship, the flagship scholarship program in the VCU College of Engineering Q UA R K W E I (B.S.’18/En): Software

development engineer for Amazon, working in the finance technology division; within four months of arriving, received organizationwide Needle Mover award

Winter 2019





niversities are rich in cutting-edge research, full of curious and talented investigators and often have the resources to freely pursue the most fascinating ideas. But what happens to results once they’re produced? The path from idea to results to marketable technology or product can be an unpredictable one. N O R M A S U E K E N YO N , P H . D . (Ph.D.’86/M), chief innovation officer at the Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami and the university’s vice provost for innovation, plays a key role in shepherding promising results through the process by which they could become true innovations with broad, far-reaching benefits. She helps faculty and staff investigate which projects to patent, fund and commercialize. She also identifies and encourages interdisciplinary partnerships within the university that have the potential to make an impact on the broader community, and she sets strategy for the university’s efforts to manage and license its intellectual property. Kenyon has made scientific contributions to the immunology of transplants and to diabetes research, and she maintains an active research program at the University of Miami, where she’s also professor of surgery, microbiology and immunology and holds the Martin Kleinman Chair in Diabetes Research. This familiarity with the research process, combined with deep knowledge of the university system and the marketplace, give her an eye for work that presents strong opportunities for development and commercialization. “Just because an idea is patentable doesn’t mean it’s going to be a therapy or product,” Kenyon says. “You can also develop a very good therapy that’s not patentable.” Since Kenyon took her administrative position at the University of Miami in 2012, UM has seen licensing agreements climb significantly. In 2014, the university inked about 30% more licensing agreements than in 2013, and growth has continued since. Through her role as executive director of the university’s Wallace H. Coulter Center for Translational Research, she helps promising projects 22

VCU Alumni

get a strong start. “We award gap funding for scientists to do the killer experiment that will convince a venture capitalist or an angel investor,” she says. “If it’s a good startup, we provide an entrepreneur in residence to help write a business plan and get business funding.” Her office has worked with startups including Heat Biologics, which has reached the stage of phase 2 clinical trials for a cancer vaccine based on University of Miami research, and Vigilant Biosciences, which makes the OncAlert, a test that allows early detection of oral cancer. Kenyon seeks to increase the numbers of patents, copyrights and trademarks coming out of UM as well as startup companies. As her role has expanded over the years, she has extended her focus beyond the biomedical research that formed the initial foundation and is helping commercialize research from schools and colleges across the university.

collapsed lungs. He worked with alumni A L E X A N D R I A R I T C H I E (B.S.’18/En) and H A E J U N G “ K AT E LY N ” S H I N (B.S.’18 /H&S) and current students Patrick Jones, Jennifer Mak and Raihan Khandker to form DuraSafe LLC in 2018. The startup seeks to develop and commercialize the EpiNavigator, a medical device that improves the accuracy of epidural placements.


S A R A H A B U B A K E R (M.P.A.’13/GPA):

Named one of Style Weekly’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2017; founded startup ReRunner, a business service that connects couriers with customers wishing to return retail purchases; serves as director of advancement operations for University of Richmond


M A X X C H E W N I N G (B.S.’13/B): Owner

and CEO of District Barbell gym in northern Virginia and Ever Forward Apparel; a popular fitness and lifestyle vlogger (search “Maxx Chewning” on YouTube); supports ALS Foundation in memory of his father, who had Lou Gehrig’s disease and inspired the Ever Forward theme

» When C H R I S D OV I (B.S.’97/MC) learned

that Virginia has the highest concentration of computer science jobs in the country, he became concerned that the state’s education system might not be equipped to produce the next generation of innovators. In response, he co-founded CodeVA, a nonprofit that advocates for computer science education in Virginia, and now serves as its executive director. The organization helped pass a 2016 law mandating computer science literacy for all K-12 students. Dovi is now focused on helping schools come up with effective, homegrown solutions for implementing those requirements, rather than relying too much on paid products, which could put school districts with fewer resources at a disadvantage.

B R A N D O N D O D D , P H . D . (M.S.’15/En;

Ph.D.’18/En): As a mechanical and nuclear engineering student, helped create and patent a hand-held device that streamlines and expedites the way uranium in water is measured; serves as an engineer with the U.S. Army Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate A S H L E Y H AW K I N S (B.F.A.’07/A;

Photo Brandon Dill Photography




» H I LT O N

B E N N E T T (B.S.’16/En; Cert.’16 /DVC; M.P.I.’18/DVC) started his first company in 2016, building on his personal interest in rock climbing, to design a way to climb traditionally indoors. Native Heights Climbing Solutions now has his IndoorTraditional Climbing Device available for preorder. As a student, he was lead engineer on a number of patents filed by VCU, including one for a device to improve visibility for anesthesiologists administering epidurals and one for a device that treats

I S A A C R O D R I G U E Z , P H . D . (M.S.’10 /En; Ph.D.’13/En), used his two biomedical engineering degrees to co-invent the technology behind the Memphis, Tennessee-based biotech startup SweetBio. He founded the company in 2015 with his sister, Kayla Rodriguez Graff, and now serves as its chief science officer. Working with manuka honey, gelatin and nanoparticles, SweetBio offers a unique wound-care solution. SweetBio launched in 2019 its first human clinical product, APIS, a resorbable solid sheet that can be used for wound-care treatments. In April 2019, SweetBio received a patent for its technology, and in May, APIS was cleared by the FDA. The company has raised more than $3 million to date and was featured on “60 Minutes” in March as a case study of a highgrowth startup thriving outside the typical hotbeds of venture capital investment.

Cert.’13/GPA; M.P.A.’13/GPA): With degrees in painting and printmaking as well as public administration, co-founded and serves as executive director of Studio Two Three, a Richmond, Virginia, nonprofit community arts organization; named to Style Weekly’s Women in the Arts in 2017 L U K E L I B R A R O (B.S.’10/En) and S K Y L A R R O E B U C K (B.S.’10/En):

Co-founded several startups, including HackRVA, one of Richmond, Virginia’s longest-running makerspaces, and Rocket Wagon, a Chicago-based consultancy firm, which has expanded to New York City, Miami, Boston and Buenos Aires, and focuses on the internet of things, aka IoT, by taking advantage of the power of connected devices A N K I T M AT H U R (B.S.’03/B; M.B.A.’12/B;

M.S.’13/B): Co-founder and chief technology officer for RoundTrip, a Richmond, Virginiaand Philadelphia-based startup that coordinates transportation access for patients by scheduling, dispatching and monitoring nonemergency health care transport in 16 states I S A I P O C H TA R (B.S.’96/B): Former Wall

Street executive who established VeRacity VRcade, showcasing virtual reality games at an arcade in Rochester, New York, whose technology was used (in a collaboration with St. John Fisher College and Easterseals NY) to offer new sensory experiences to children and adults with disabilities

Winter 2019






D O N WA N T. H A R R E L L (B.F.A.’92/A) started his clothing design career in companies such as Donna Karan and Nike, where he created national uniforms for the 2002 World Cup for countries including the U.S. and Korea. He branched out on his own in 2002 when he founded Prps, a luxury denim line known for its limited-edition, original designs. In 2018, he reinvented himself again through a new denim company, Art Meets Chaos, where he is creative director. In a video produced by Tommy Hilfiger, Harrell said, “Denim has really defined each and every generation since the ’40s.”



N U C KO L S (B.S.’93/B) is executive director and co-founder of Lighthouse Labs, a nonprofit startup accelerator in Richmond, Virginia. His team won a $2 million grant from GO Virginia and Activation Capital to empower high-growth founders, and Nuckols was named a Richmond Times-Dispatch Person of the Year Honoree in 2018. He says he loves seeing Lighthouse Labs alumni succeed, whether that means growing their startups into young businesses or taking the skills they acquire through the experience and finding rewarding opportunities elsewhere.


VCU Alumni



pioneering virologist, TA U B E N B E R G E R ,


M .D.,

PH .D.

(M.D.’86/M; Ph.D.’87/M), serves as chief of the viral pathogenesis and evolution section of the laboratory of infectious diseases at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Fascinated by the 1918 flu pandemic, which killed more than 40 million people worldwide, Taubenberger cracked the genetic code of that strain of the virus in an effort to discover why it was so deadly. Mapping

the genome unlocked the secret to pathogens responsible for the Spanish flu virus and revealed key behaviors of strains such as 2018’s widespread flu. Taubenberger began looking for genetic material related to the 1918 flu during the early ’90s. After years of painstaking research, his team identified one positive flu case from a soldier who died in South Carolina in 1918. It was enough to generate a partial sequence of the virus. The breakthrough was reported in 1997 in the journal Science. Across the country in San Francisco, a freewheeling adventurer and retired pathologist named Johan Hultin read the Science article and wrote to Taubenberger offering to help. Hultin traveled to the Seward Peninsula in Alaska, where he exhumed and autopsied a flu victim nicknamed Lucy. He shipped her lung tissue to Taubenberger’s lab. The material tested positive for the virus. Taubenberger used Lucy’s tissue and fragments from autopsies of other victims worldwide to sequence the entire genome of the virus. Using molecular biology



Photo Kevin Morley, University Marketing

techniques, a multi-institutional project produced infectious copies of the deadly virus by 2005. Virologists hailed it as a lifesaving discovery, the most important breakthrough in flu research. In looking to prevent an occurrence such as the 1918 pandemic, Taubenberger says, vaccination is the answer. But flu shots have proven to be only partially effective because “influenza is never standing still,” Taubenberger says. That’s what makes flu such a frustrating public health challenge. In recent years, his lab has pushed to develop a universal flu vaccine that would protect against all strains. “This is a pretty tall order, but our hope is to develop a vaccine that would prevent the serious complications of influenza so that if you were exposed to a virus like 1918, perhaps you would feel ill for a couple of days but you would not develop pneumonia or need to be hospitalized,” Taubenberger says. “That’s the goal we are actively pursuing.” Already, clinical trials of a universal flu vaccine are underway.

E D WA R D S , P H . D . , M . D . (B.S.’02 /H&S; Ph.D.’11/P; M.D.’13/M), and his twin, Evan, suffered from severe allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, seafood, eggs and other items, and carrying epinephrine at all times became a requirement for them as they grew up. From that familiarity, the brothers saw ways the process could be improved. They began working to invent a better way to deliver epinephrine while in their late teens and eventually came up with a compact auto-injector that provides recorded instructions to a person trying to use it in a crisis. The company they founded to develop and market this auto-injector became Kaléo, based in Richmond, Virginia, which now aims more broadly to develop a variety of drug/device combination medicines. Working with groups of patients and getting design feedback from them, the company creates products that are cost-effective and easier for people to use.


» In 1988,



PH .D.

(Ph.D.’82/M), identified a previously undescribed chromosome defect while working at the Greenwood Genetic Center in Greenwood, South Carolina. The rare genetic disorder associated with this defect can cause autism, developmental delay, weak muscle tone and other symptoms. Today, it is known as Phelan-McDermid syndrome, after Phelan and researcher Heather McDermid’s characterization of it. Phelan founded the Phelan-McDermid Syndrome Foundation, which researches the disease and provides support for those diagnosed with it. She is director of cytogenetics for Florida Cancer Specialists in Fort Myers, Florida, and previously directed a cytogenetics lab at Tulane University in New Orleans. She is also a founding fellow of the American College of Medical Genetics and serves on its board of directors.


H A R RY B E A R , M . D . , P H . D . (M.D.’75/M; Ph.D.’78/M; H.S.’84/M): Walter Lawrence Jr. Distinguished Professor of Oncology and chair, Division of Surgical Oncology in the VCU School of Medicine; director of the Breast Health Center at VCU Massey Cancer Center; study chair for two international studies of preoperative chemotherapy for breast cancer; principal investigator for multiple VCU trials of breast cancer treatment C H R I S T O P H E R D O S I E R (B.S.’06/En; B.S.’06/H&S; M.B.A.’16/B): Principal investigator at the Atlanta-based biotechnology company SpherIngenics Inc., developing regenerative medicine applications to help heal traumatic injuries; received the Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund award in 2017 from the Center for Innovative Technology in Henrico, Virginia, to study treatment for chronic wounds

in diabetic patients and to test the commercial viability of a new microbead technology to help heal traumatic injuries G E R A L D L . “J E R RY ” F E L D M A N , P H . D . , M . D . (Ph.D.’82/M; M.D.’84/M): Professor of molecular medicine and genetics, pathology and pediatrics and director of Clinical Genetic Services at Wayne State University in Detroit, with research focusing on molecular technologies in diagnosis of genetic diseases, clinical genetics and dysmorphology; past president of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics A R T H U R H U D G I N S (B.S.’00/En): Manager of the Engineering Test Lab and Model Shop for Hamilton Beach Brands Inc., ensuring consumer goods quality; formerly speculative leader for The Hudgins Co.; regularly sponsors VCU School of Engineering Capstone Design projects


Winter 2019




S H AW N J O S H I (B.S.’12/En; B.S.’12/H&S): 2017-

18 Fulbright Scholar at Oxford Institute of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Research in England; inspired by his brother’s experience with traumatic brain injury, focusing on technology such as smart wheelchairs that can bring independence to people with impairments E R I C K L A N N , P H . D . (Ph.D.’89/M): Professor

and director of the Center for Neural Science at New York University; member of the National Institutes of Health-funded team establishing the Center for Collaborative Research in Fragile X at University of Massachusetts Medical School; past president of the Molecular and Cellular Cognition Society; received the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award and the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation Distinguished Investigator Award P E T E R L I AC O U R A S , P H . D . (M.S.’02/En;

Ph.D.’06/En): Biomedical engineer and director of services for the 3D Medical Applications Center at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, using digital technology and additive manufacturing to design and produce personalized devices ranging from prosthetics for amputees to custom implants for oral surgery and skull plates for blast injuries E U G E N E S . M E D L O C K , P H . D . (Ph.D.’80/M):

President and founder of California-based Medlock Investments Management Inc., providing consulting services in the biotechnology arena and angel funding for an array of business enterprises; formerly associate director, Department of Functional Genomics, for Amgen’s Antibody Discovery Group DA L E L . M O R R I S , P H . D . (Ph.D.’91/M): Vice

president of preclinical safety at Biogen Idec Inc., developing and delivering therapies for people living with neurological and neurodegenerative diseases; served as executive director for drug safety research and development at Pfizer Global R&D C Y N T H I A M O R T O N , P H . D . (Ph.D.’82/M):

William Lambert Richardson Professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology and professor of pathology, Harvard Medical School; Kenneth J. Ryan, M.D., Distinguished Chair in Obstetrics and Gynecology and director of cytogenetics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital; past president of the American Society of Human Genetics MARGARET “KENNY” OFFERMANN, M . D . , P H . D . (M.D.’80/M; Ph.D.’81/M): Medical

oncologist, founder and managing partner of consulting firm Salutramed Group Inc.; past president of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology; formerly deputy national


VCU Alumni

vice president for research, American Cancer Society; professor of hematology and oncology and director of Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University J A M E S W. P U T N E Y J R . , P H . D .

(Ph.D.’72/M): Scientist emeritus, Signal Transduction Laboratory/Calcium Regulation Group, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, where his research focused primarily on calcium signaling and, in particular, store-operated calcium channels; served as Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology professor in the VCU School of Medicine and Wayne State University A L I S O N R YA N , R N , AO C N , A P R N - B C

(M.S.’01/N): Clinical research nurse practitioner with VCU Massey Cancer Center’s early-phase clinical trials program; advanced oncology-certified; 38 years in oncology nursing, including nurse practitioner for Massey Cancer Center’s outreach program, oncology clinics nurse manager at VCU Health and at Parkland Hospital in Dallas DAV I D S H E P H E R D , P H . D . (B.S.’02/En):

Senior principal scientist at ABB, pioneering technology in industrial digitalization; previously served as ABB research area coordinator and software engineering researcher; his recent project, the FlowLight, a traffic lightlike light designed to reduce workplace interruptions, has been licensed by Embrava



R O C K H O L D , P H . D . (Ph.D.’78 /M), is professor of biostatistics and bioinformatics at Duke University Medical Center and is a member of the Duke Clinical Research Institute. He held senior research positions at pharmaceutical companies Lilly, Merck and GlaxoSmithKline and faculty appointments at six universities, including VCU. He has an international reputation for improving clinical trials, especially for data access, transparency and safety. “The scientific method depends on sharing,” he says. “Only by sharing our data and methods can society validate and extend understanding of clinical research results.”

MARY B ETH TOM B E S , R N , CCRC , AC N P - B C (Cert.’10/N): Oncology clinical research

nurse practitioner and director, InvestigatorInitiated Trials Program at VCU Massey Cancer Center, overseeing all clinical trials resulting from research at Massey A L E X VA L A D K A , M . D . , FAC S (H.S.’88/M;

H.S.’93/M): Professor and chair, Department of Surgery, VCU School of Medicine; director of the American Board of Neurological Surgery; past president of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons; served as chair and CEO of the Seton Brain and Spine Institute in Austin, Texas, and co-edited “Neurotrauma: Evidence-Based Answers to Common Questions” J O H N R . YA N N E L L I , P H . D . (B.S.’74/H&S;

M.S.’78/H&S; Ph.D.’83/M): Associate professor in microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics at University of Kentucky College of Medicine, with research focusing on immunotherapy and lung cancer; previously helmed the Cellular Immunotherapy Laboratory at the National Cancer Institute, where he was a member of a pioneering research team that developed cell-based cancer immunotherapies, including the first gene therapy performed in human cancer; was division chief of cellular therapeutics at Biotherapeutics Inc.


» M E L I S S A P E S K I N (B.S.’07/En) worked on

patented technologies to help utilities conserve energy safely without compromising quality for customers. She was engineering team lead for Dominion Voltage Inc., a subsidiary of Virginia-based Dominion Energy, before moving to Dominion’s Distribution System Reliability group in 2018. Peskin specializes in electric distribution planning, using computer models and field data to analyze power flow. She manages the model of all Dominion’s electric distribution lines and creates automated analysis to help engineers quickly identify circuits that need improvement projects. “We keep the lights on,” Peskin says.


» In his third year as a medical student at VCU,


M E A D O R - W O O D R U F F,

(M.D.’84/M), began working with patients with schizophrenia, and his resulting interest in the illness has defined his career. He is the Heman E. Drummond Professor and chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and his research has been continuously funded since 1989. He studies the brain at cellular and molecular levels, and his lab’s breakthroughs include understanding changes in brain chemistry in a patient with schizophrenia. M .D.


» A longtime leader in the field of cardio-

vascular imaging, G R E G H U N D L E Y, M . D . (M.D.’88/M), was the first in the world to use magnetic resonance imaging to demonstrate that MRI stress testing can identify those at risk of a heart attack. He’s also recognized for studying the impact of chemotherapy and radiation therapy on heart health, advancing treatment options for patients in need of cardiovascular and oncology care. In July 2018, he became inaugural director of the VCU Health Pauley Heart Center, which offers inpatient and outpatient care and is a national leader in device-based treatments for advanced heart failure.


» As a principal scientist at tobacco man-

ufacturer Altria, S U D H A R S H A N A A P T E , P H . D . (M.S.’11/H&S; Ph.D.’14/H&S), translates complex business problems and physical processes into mathematical models, which she uses, for example, to identify critical gaps in infrastructure or to increase processing capacity. She volunteers to teach middle school girls about data visualization and applications for math and, this year, received The Manufacturing Institute’s STEP Ahead Award. She is president of the Forum for Women in Operations Research and Management Sciences.



R O D W E L C H , P H . D . (Ph.D.’80/M), professor of medical microbiology and immunology and department chair at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is part of a team seeking new antibiotics. The recipient of a 2014 grant of up to $16 million from the National Institutes of Health, the team is working to identify potential antimicrobials in natural products. Welch’s research group is investigating the mode by which certain natural products with small molecules produce their antibacterial activity. The lab also studies E. coli to understand, among other things, the biological mechanisms involved when people get sick from the bacteria.







(Ph.D.’79/M), researches the function and symptoms involved with brain and spinal cord injuries, aiming to contribute to new discoveries and therapies. He is scientific director of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and Kinetic Concepts Distinguished Chair in Neurosurgery at the University of Miami (Florida) Miller School of Medicine and senior associate dean for discovery science. His work has led to a clinical practice of cooling patients after neurological injury, which helps prevent secondary injuries and improve function. PH .D.


» G R E G G D U E S T E R , P H . D . (Ph.D.’81/M),

researches retinoic acid, which plays a key role in the formation and development of embryos. As professor of developmental biology in the Development, Aging and Regeneration Program at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in La Jolla, California, Duester runs a lab that studies how retinoic acid helps stem cells differentiate into more specialized cells that form particular organs, such as the heart or spinal cord. Duester says that understanding these processes could guide efforts to use adult stem cells to treat human disease or aging through a regenerative medicine approach. Winter 2019




Photo Jud Froelich


he seventh of 11 children, Virginia state Sen. ROSALYN DANCE (M.P.A.’94/GPA) honed her political chops playing negotiator and peacemaker among older and younger siblings. Her middle-child sensibilities molded her into a justice seeker and empathetic people’s champion. “Even today in my family, I am that go-to person or the one that they expect to bring peace in the valley,” says Dance, who marked her 27th year in elected office in 2019. “I think those instinctive skill sets may have influenced how I came to be in the position I am now.” A Chesterfield County, Virginia, native, Dance represents District 16, which covers portions of Chesterfield and Prince George counties, part of Richmond and all of Petersburg, Hopewell and Dinwiddie County. She served as mayor of Petersburg from 1992-2004, was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 2005-14 and has served in the state Senate since 2014. Dance’s political priorities are education, voting rights, Medicaid expansion, mental health and increasing the minimum wage. “Coming from very humble beginnings in an underserved environment where everything was hard but you really didn’t realize that you were poor, you found joy in the small things,” she says. “I just was taking care of others and sensing when there was pain or something that needed to be taken care of. I would be the voice.” 28

VCU Alumni

Her assertiveness carried through at John Tyler Community College and Virginia State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing in 1986, and at VCU, where she received a master’s in public administration in 1994. “I just felt compelled to be a voice for those who seem to be voiceless and to speak out on their behalf,” Dance says. Dance says she didn’t choose a life in public service — it found her. Her health care career began at the Southside Virginia Training Center, where she worked as a psychiatric nurse’s aide, interim facility director and assistant director of residential services. She retired after 34 years. While studying at VCU and moving up the career ladder, a friend pursuaded her to run for Petersburg City Council. Dance won the seat and was voted mayor by her council peers. She served six two-year terms. In 2014, Dance ran to fill the seat vacated by state Sen. Henry L. Marsh III, which she holds until January 2020. Among leadership triumphs, she lists leading Petersburg through reconstruction following a 1993 tornado, ensuring that Fort Lee remains an active military base and spearheading legislation in 2019 to replace Central State Hospital, built in 1870, with a state-of-the-art mental health facility. “It’s all about working with people,” Dance says. “Just being that person who works with both sides of the aisle.”


» “I don’t want to be remembered for my

developments, my projects. I want to be remembered on this earth for the things I’ve done to help the [VCU] Massey Cancer Center, patients and the doctors,” says G E O R G E E M E R S O N (B.S.’78/B), a real estate developer and cancer survivor. He is honorary chairman of the Highlands-Massey Classic, a charity golf tournament he helped found in 2006, which raised more than $1 million for Massey in its first five years. As chair of the legislative committee for the Massey Advisory Board since 2011, Emerson says his goal is to achieve $20 million a year in state funding for cancer, which would put Massey on par with other institutions designated by the National Cancer Institute. So far, his committee’s work has increased state funding from $1 million a year to $12.5 million a year, and Emerson plans to continue serving until the goal is achieved.

to help children and families but also to forming community partnerships aimed at reducing societal risk factors that, she says, can exacerbate abuse and neglect, such as systemic racism, poverty and lack of access to sustaining employment or high-quality child care. SCAN worked with nearly 1,500 children, as well as many family members, in the region from 2017-18 and reached 2,100 adults through community programs. Given the prevalence of burnout in the field, Maruca says she’s proud she’s “still bringing the same amount of faith, caring and energy to our mission of preventing and treating child abuse and neglect as I did when I began.”

/SW; M.S.W.’93/SW), is executive director of Greater Richmond (Virginia) SCAN, an organization that addresses child abuse and neglect in the Richmond region. She has been in a leadership role in the organization for almost 20 years, during which time she has devoted herself not only to SCAN’s mission

(M.D.’71/M): Operated a free hospital for 12 years out of a communal home in Arlington, Virginia; founded The Gesundheit! Institute in 1971, which combines clowning and health care for humanitarian purpose; was played by Robin Williams in a 1998 semibiographical comedy-drama about his life L E A H B U S H , M . D . (M.S.’79/H&S;

M.D.’84/M; H.S.’88/M; H.S.’89/M; H.S.’89/M): After 18 years as assistant chief medical examiner of the Tidewater District in Virginia, served as the state’s chief medical examiner 2008-13 B E C K Y C R U M P (B.S.’07/B): In 2016,

LY N N D O S S (B.S.’74/SW): Worked for

three decades in social service agencies in Texas and Virginia to connect people with community resources; pledged in 2018 the second-largest gift in the history of the VCU School of Social Work, aimed in part at providing scholarships J AC K E N D E , M . D . (M.D.’73/M): As

» R O N N I E S I D N E Y I I (M.S.W.’14/SW) says

» J E A N I N E H A R P E R M A R U C A (B.S.W.’86

H U N T E R “ PAT C H ” A DA M S , M . D .

founded Mindful Mornings, a monthly speaker series that started in Richmond, Virginia, and spread to seven other cities, providing networking and information for people interested in social justice; in 2018, founded The Giving Wall, an online platform that allows people living in poverty to seek financial help from charitable individuals for expenses such as auto repair and medical bills




his goal is “giving African American children and children with disabilities an opportunity to see themselves and their experiences reflected honestly.” Sidney went from being a special education student with a 1.8 GPA to graduating from VCU with a master’s degree and a 3.5 GPA, which he counts among his proudest accomplishments. To inspire similar transformations, he writes the graphic novel series “Nelson Beats the Odds,” which tackles issues such as diversity and inequality, abuse, disability and violence. He also founded Creative Medicine: Healing Through Words to promote the therapeutic value of writing through, for example, facilitating expressive writing workshops in regional jails in Virginia.

president of the American College of Physicians from 2017-18, he advocated for reducing firearm violence by viewing firearm safety as a public health issue, ensuring health care for Americans by extending Medicaid services and offering widespread mental health access; acted as spokesperson on other controversial issues, always speaking from the college’s evidence-based approach PA M E L A FAG G E R T (M.B.A.’86/B): Chief environmental officer for Dominion Energy from 1994-2019; vice chair of the VCU Rice Rivers Center board of trustees; serves on the board of directors of the Western Hanover (Virginia) Emergency Action Team STEPHANIE FERGUSON, PH.D.

(M.S.’87/N): Worked with the World Health Organization to advance nursing and midwifery; consulted with the Pan American Health Organization to make recommendations for improving health in Caribbean nations; was appointed a White House Fellow in 1996 by President Bill Clinton; founded and serves as president of a global health consulting firm


Winter 2019




DAV I D G A L L AG H E R (B.S.’97/B): Founder,

with his wife, Grace, of the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation, an organization that cultivates awareness and understanding of teenage depression and anxiety; has been instrumental in the development of VCU Health’s Children’s Mental Health Resource Center

to prevent and treat family trauma and violence; has worked extensively in the post-adoption field in Virginia to provide support and early intervention for adoptive families in need of help; currently operates a private health and human services consulting firm that works with the Virginia Department of Social Services and other agencies

B . “ F R A N K ” G U P T O N , P H . D . (Ph.D.’00

R A N DY M E R R I C K , M . D . (M.D.’85/M): Owner

/H&S): Leads VCU’s Medicines for All project, which improves access to affordable, high-quality medicines by lowering costs in the market and in development; focuses on increasing access to treatments for HIV/AIDS; is professor and chair of the Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering in the VCU College of Engineering

of Innovative Healthcare and Laser Therapy in Orange County, Virginia; co-founded the Orange County Free Clinic, where he volunteers as board president and medical director; honored as Virginia Health Care Foundation’s 2018 Unsung Hero

R O B E R T H OY T, M . D . (M.D.’71/M; H.S.’74/M):

Health informatics expert; works on open-source software to help faculty and students without access to expensive official products; promotes data science tools that make the field accessible to students without a computer science or statistics background; instrumental in supporting the creation of a simulation center in the VCU School of Medicine’s McGlothlin Medical Education Center SAR A JONES - GOMBERG , M . D.

(M.D.’80/M): Ophthalmologist; travels regularly to developing countries, such as the Philippines, Bangladesh, Mexico and Laos, to perform free surgeries and works with underserved populations through Kaiser Permanente in Antelope Valley in California PAT R I C I A K I N S E R (B.S.’03/N; Cert.’04/N;

B E V KO E R I N , P H . D . (B.S.’69/SW;

M.S.W.’74/SW): Serves on the board of Health Brigade in Richmond, Virginia, a free clinic focused on providing nonjudgmental service to the underserved N A N C Y K R O P F, P H . D . (Ph.D.’90/SW):

Professor and associate dean for research and strategic planning in the Georgia State University School of Nursing; advocates for education and policy that improves social work services for older adults; past president of the Association for Gerontology Education in Social Work and served nine years on the organization’s board H AY L E Y M AT H E W S (M.S.W.’07/SW): Served

as executive director from 2012-16 of the Family and Children’s Trust Fund of Virginia, which works


VCU Alumni

elected as a VCU student as national vice president of the Student National Medical Association, a student-run organization focused on the needs and concerns of medical students of color; serves on the SNMA’s strategic planning council as chief planning council member; continuing her studies in health policy at the University of Pennsylvania R O B E R T W. P E AY (M.S.W.’74/SW): Helped

students in the Richmond, Virginia, region learn life and employment skills, first as director of the Richmond Opportunities Industrialization Center in the 1970s and later as a faculty member in the VCU School of Social Work, where he received multiple grants to create programs to help area students


“ TA C H I ” YA M A DA , M . D .

(H.S.’73/M), served as president of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Health Program from 2006-11. In this role, he oversaw grants totaling more than $9 billion in programs directed at applying technologies to address major health challenges of the developing world, including tuberculosis, HIV, malaria and other infectious diseases, malnutrition and maternal and child health. Yamada is now a venture partner on the life sciences team at Frazier Healthcare Partners in Seattle, where he focuses on creating companies that develop innovative therapies to address unmet medical needs.

K A R E N R E I L LY-J O N E S (B.S.W.’94/SW):

Clinical social worker focused on children and family services; serves as Children’s Service Act coordinator for the state and local advisory team of the Virginia Office of Children’s Services, assisting with a law that provides a pool of funds for services for at-risk youth and their families; received the 2018 Precious Gem Award from the OCS for outstanding work

Photo courtesy University of Maryland

M.S.’04/N): Women’s health nurse practitioner; volunteers at Health Brigade, a free clinic in Richmond, Virginia; co-chair of the Perinatal Mental Health Research Group at VCU’s Institute for Women’s Health; received the Exceptional Dedication and Service Award from the Fan Free Clinic in Richmond in 2014; was appointed in 2017 to the Virginia State Board of Health

P R I S C I L L A M PA S I , M . D . (M.D.’14/M): Was



(B.S.W.’16/SW; M.S.W.’17/SW): Community engagement liaison for Storefront for Community Design, a nonprofit in Richmond, Virginia, focused on youth, community and affordable design; director of Storefront’s Six Points Innovation Center, a youth-led community center that involves participants in green construction; selected for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Culture of Health Leadership program, a three-year program that awards each participant $20,000 annually, for which she is focusing on community trauma and healing for communities of color R H O N DA W I L L I A M S (A.S.’68/E): Software

engineer and entrepreneur turned transgender activist; founded two support groups for trans people in Florida; provides resources and community for about 2,000 daily readers through the blog Rhonda’s Escape






M .D.

(M.D.’67/M), Simon and Bessie Grollman Distinguished Professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, has been a pioneer in the field of infectious disease and vaccinology for decades. He co-founded the Center for Vaccine Development at the University of Maryland in 1974 and served as its director until 2015. His contributions to the field include designing and supervising field trials that led to a live oral typhoid vaccine being approved by the Food and Drug Administration. He also

led the development and testing of the live cholera vaccine. Once vaccines are licensed, Levine collaborates with industry and public health authorities to facilitate their introduction into target populations and to measure their impact on disease burden and safety. In 2017, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases honored Levine with the Maxwell Finland Award for Scientific Achievement, recognizing his excellence in research and training and impact on global public health.

safe blood banking and availability of oxygen or antibiotics.” Now entering the program's third year, Holloway and his colleagues are working to address a broad spectrum of issues as they establish, sustain and develop pediatric critical care in sub-Saharan Africa.




» A D R I A N H O L L O WAY, M . D . (M.D.’06/M),

is assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and program director for the Pediatric Critical Care Global Health fellowship. To Holloway, helping children in emerging economies calls for “better system and program development that is done in partnership with the local community and local stakeholders.” Devices don’t solve problems by themselves, he says, adding, “When we try to deploy new technologies such as ventilators, we can hinder our results by not investing in education and infection control or larger problems such as

R E I C H M A N , M . D . (M.D.’83/M; H.S.’89/M), medical director of Community Coalition for Haiti, had dreamed of working in public health since he read an account of the life of health and human rights advocate Paul Farmer, M.D., 15 years ago, which “sparked my interest in expanding surgical services in Haiti that had been severely lacking.” After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and the untimely death of a business partner, he says, “I decided not to put this dream off any longer.” He left his Baltimore surgery practice in 2013 to expand access to health care in the island nation. His organization created a new training facility for Haitian medical professionals. After a 2016 cholera outbreak, he and his organization flew in needed medical supplies, rebuilt an emergency cholera treatment center and educated villages on safe water practices.

» N A N TA S H A W I L L I A M S (B.A.’11/H&S) is best known as a national organizer for the Women’s March on Washington, D.C., in January 2017, for which her name appeared on “PBS Newshour” and in Essence, W Magazine and other publications. In 2017, she was named a Young Professional Trailblazer by the National Urban League and shared Glamour magazine’s Women of the Year Award with other Women’s March organizers. The Women’s March, Williams says, “represented a powerful reflection of our voice in society.” She plans to continue working to make that voice heard, including through a political club for black women she recently started in New York City. She now manages external affairs and community outreach for the JFK Redevelopment Program, a role that focuses on ensuring that investments in the New York City airport creates opportunity for the surrounding community, with a special emphasis on minority- and womenowned businesses.


E L E A N O R S U E C A N T R E L L , M . D . (B.S.’74/P;

M.D.’80/M): Director of the Lenowisco (Virginia) Health District in Appalachia since 1991 where she has expanded telemedicine, mobile labs and pharmacy access; improved Lenowisco’s emergency preparedness planning; served as primary medical contact and coordinator of the Remote Area Medical Clinic, the largest free clinic of its kind in the nation R. STEVEN LANDES (B.S.’84/MC): Represented

the 25th District in the Virginia House of Delegates

from 1996-2019, where he served as chairman of the House Education Committee, vice chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and as a member of the Rules and Privileges and Elections committees; sworn in as clerk of court in Augusta County, Virginia, in November 2019 E L I Z A B E T H “ B E T H ” M A S O N (B.F.A.’84/A;

B.S.’84/MC): Served as Ward 2 councilwoman in Hoboken, New Jersey, from 2007-15, including a stint as city council president

N A N C Y M C FA R L A N E (B.S.’80/P): 35th mayor

of Raleigh, North Carolina, serving from 2011-19; served on the Raleigh City Council from 2007-11 R O B E R T W I T T M A N , P H . D . (Ph.D.’02

/GPA): Represented the 1st Congressional District of Virginia in the U.S. House of Representatives since a 2007 special election; elected to a sixth full term in 2018; serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the Committee on Natural Resources

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M A R K E T I N G , M E D I A A N D C O M M U N I C AT I O N S


(B.S.’75/MC) and (B.F.A.’76/A) D met at an off-campus apartment when he was a freshman and she was a sophomore at VCU. “I ABNEY




VCU Alumni

Photo courtesy the Cortinas

walked in the front door, and Joe and his friend walked in the back door, and that was that,” she says. Since then, the couple have forged long careers in communications. Joe Cortina founded Cortina Productions, an award-winning media design and production company in McLean, Virginia, that builds interactive experiences, including for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, both in Washington, D.C.; the National Comedy Center in Jamestown, New York; and “Hamilton: The Exhibition,” which opened in Chicago in April and is traveling nationally. Dabney Cortina was director of marketing and public relations for 10 years for the McLean (Virginia) Project for the Arts, which supports emerging and established artists in the mid-Atlantic region. In 2015, she began independent communications consulting. The couple have weathered major technological changes in their industries and have faced questions about how to tell stories in a political and cultural environment in which there is fierce debate over which stories should be told and which tellings are true. “Nobody can truly keep up,” Dabney Cortina says. Her advice, however, is to seek authenticity in communication. “I think people should put more weight into how honestly they represent themselves.” Cortina Productions often locates its projects within the discomfort around difficult stories, allowing museum visitors to learn from an experience and draw conclusions for themselves. “In Search of Refuge” at the Holocaust museum confronts users with the personal stories of refugees seeking entrance to the U.S. “Follow the Green Book,” an interactive exhibit at the Museum of African American History and Culture, places visitors in the position of African Americans trying to travel the

U.S. during the Jim Crow era and is designed as a communal experience, inviting visitors to share stories and information. That exhibit won multiple awards, including the 2017 Communication Arts Interactive Competition and the 2018 THEA Award for Outstanding Achievement. To succeed in the new world of communications, the couple believes in the importance of blending media, art and technology. To support that belief, they created the Dabney and Joseph Cortina Endowed Scholarship at VCU, the first co-scholarship between the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture and the School of the Arts. Joe Cortina says he’s learned that communicating effectively requires facing complex situations with bravery. “In our work in libraries and museums like the African American history and culture museum and the Holocaust museum, it’s always about letting the truth be told and not being afraid of history and not trying to squash history,” he says.


K I E R A N D O N A H U E (B.F.A.’93/A):

Fashion merchandising major who began her career in the hospitality industry with Hilton’s customer loyalty program and progressed to vice president of marketing for the Americas for Hilton Worldwide; now serves as vice president of brand, marketing and digital for Marriott International A A R O N G I L C H R I S T (B.S.’03/MC):


» As anchor and reporter for top-rated news

station ABC7 Chicago (WLS), T E R R E L L B R O W N (B.S.’09/MC) received the Best News Anchor Award in the Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards competition for two consecutive years. Brown won a national Emmy for his coverage of the hunt for the Boston Marathon bombers for CBS’ “48 Hours.” He covers topics such as gentrification, race and crime through a human lens. A recent piece concerned a biracial couple moving to Chicago’s less expensive South Side. Though apprehensive about crime, the couple was embraced by the community. “Their story challenges common perceptions and personifies how we share so much more in common than what divides us,” Brown says.


» Motherhood brought self-doubt to

W I N T S C H (M.S.’01/MC), but when the former ad executive from The Martin Agency realized how common that issue is, she became determined to help women around the world overcome it. In 2010, Wintsch started The Mom Complex, a company that helps businesses such as Walmart and Chobani alleviate common pain points among mothers. She has been named one of Business Insider’s 30 Most Powerful Women in Advertising and one of AdAge’s 40 Under 40. In March, she published “Slay Like a Mother: How to Destroy What’s Holding You Back So You Can Live the Life You Want” to acclaim from The Wall Street Journal and Parade Magazine. K AT H E R I N E

Morning news anchor for NBC’s “News4 Today” in Washington, D.C.; has reported on major events including the funeral of President Ronald Reagan, the retirement of the space shuttle Discovery and the mass shooting at Virginia Tech; has earned two regional Emmy awards


Dozens of Brandcenter alumni have helped create memorable commercials for major brands on the ad world’s biggest stage, the Super Bowl. Here are recent highlights of ads VCU alumni have created. 2018


A DA M C A LV E R T (M.S.’06/MC): E-Trade “This Is

T I M A N D E R S O N (M.S.’99/MC): Hyundai

Getting Old”

“Shopper Assurance”

DAV I D C A N AVA N (B.S.’08/MC; M.S.’10/MC):

L AC E K A R C Z E W S K I (M.S.’11/MC): CBS

Pringles “Wow”

Network “Eyeconic”

A L L I S O N H AY E S (M.S.’05/MC): Jack Link’s

N AT E N OW I N OW S K I (M.S.’11/MC): Coca-Cola


“A Coke Is a Coke”

A L E X L E D F O R D (M.S.’12/MC) and N J P L AC E N T R A (M.S.’12/MC): Bud Light “Ye Olde

AV E R Y O L D F I E L D (M.S.’11/MC) and A DA M WO L I N S K Y (M.S.’11/MC): Audi “Cashew”

Pep Talk” and “Bud Knight”

J AC O B PA N K E Y (M.S.’16/B) and M A R I K A W I G G A N (M.S.’10/MC): SimpliSafe “Fear is

K E V I N W E I R (M.S.’12/MC) and C H R I S C O L L I T O N (M.S.’12/MC): Tourism Australia


Everywhere” S H A N N O N S M I T H (M.S.’16/B): Pringles

“Sad Device”


» J AYA N TA J E N K I N S (B.F.A.’94/A) has served in top creative roles at HP, Twitter and Apple/Beats by Dre and worked on ad campaigns for companies such as Nike and Gatorade. He is a co-founder of Saturday Morning, a group of influential men of color in the advertising field who came together to work on optimistic projects that shift perceptions on racial bias and injustice. Together, they have created campaigns such as Spotify’s “Black History Is Happening Now,” which highlights the achievements of black creators throughout the year. In 2017, Jenkins won a Grand Prix at Cannes Lions, a prestigious international festival for creative marketing professionals. Winter 2019





new face can mean a new life for the victims of certain tragedies, such as veterans or firefighters wounded in the line of duty. E D U A R D O R O D R I G U E Z , M . D . , D . D . S . (M.D.’99/M), specializes in performing face transplants, a difficult and complicated procedure that was successfully completed for the first time in 2005 in France. Rodriguez performed his first face transplant in 2012 at the University of Maryland. He was recruited the next year to be chair of the Hansjörg Wyss Department of Plastic Surgery at New York University Health in New York City, where he created the Face Transplant Program, which he now directs. Through the program, he has not only performed two more face transplants, including the world’s most extensive, but he has also led efforts to make the procedure safer and more feasible, such as through more advanced use of imaging technology and techniques to reduce the amount of medication a recipient needs after surgery. One of the most difficult aspects of a face transplant is identifying a donor who matches the recipient’s needs, Rodriguez says. Then comes the emotional challenge of speaking to the donor’s family to request the face. From there, Rodriguez works with a team of more than 100 health care professionals to orchestrate and rehearse the precise timing of the complex surgery. It takes 12-16 hours to procure the donor’s face and 34

VCU Alumni

prepare the recipient to receive it, and then another 12 hours to perform the reconstruction itself. Aside from the technical challenges of dealing with, for example, the tiny, complex muscles involved in blinking, there is the mental stress of knowing what’s at stake. “You ultimately reach a point of no return,” Rodriguez says. The process of preparing the recipient for the transplant will leave them far worse off than before if the surgery isn’t successful, and Rodriguez says he feels a keen sense of responsibility to the patient throughout. “They’re essentially my patients for life,” he says. While he sees these patients the most before their transplant and for the year after, he remains involved in all major medical decisions in perpetuity. Though his work with face transplants gets the headlines, Rodriguez also helps people with less dramatic, but significant, conditions. He devotes a lot of time to treating patients with facial fractures, congenital birth defects or head and neck cancer. Most recently, he says, he’s seen an increase in male-to-female transgender patients seeking facial feminization surgery. Sometimes, Rodriguez says, his patients or their families come to him and ask how they can ever thank him enough. “My response is, the best way you can thank me is to live a productive life and make use of the gifts that were provided,” he says.



» T H O M A S M . S C A L E A , M . D . (M.D.’78/M),

Photo courtesy NYU Langon Health

is director and physician-in-chief of the University of Maryland R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. Since he took the position in 1997, the average length of stay at the hospital has decreased 15%, enabling the center to treat 2,000-plus more patients a year. About 97% of patients treated at the center survive their injuries. Named a top doctor specializing in trauma by Baltimore Magazine in 2016, Scalea works to ensure that patients receive care in the initial hour after an injury. He established a team that can be dispatched to locations where injured people are trapped and can’t be transported quickly.

R O S S A I R I N G T O N (M.P.A.’12/GPA;

S U Z A N N E G O R E (M.S.W.’04/SW): Founded

M.S.H.A.’17/HP): Director of health policy for Washington Strategic Consulting in Richmond, Virginia; authored the Alternatives to Opioids in the Emergency Department Act to aid hospitals that implement a pain-management protocol prioritizing nonopioid treatments in emergency departments, signed into law as part of the SUPPORT for Patients and Community Act

State Health Partners, created to improve health care, especially for underserved individuals, by building capacity and bringing innovation to state Medicaid programs; former deputy director of Virginia Medicaid, deputy secretary of health and human resources for Gov. Terry McAuliffe and special assistant of health and human resources for Gov. Mark Warner

S T UA R T A . B I N D E R - M AC L E O D , P H . D . , P T, FA P TA (Ph.D.’87/M): Edward L. Ratledge

M A R Y H E L E N H AC K N E Y, M . D . (H.S.’94/M):

Professor of Physical Therapy and associate deputy provost for clinical and translational research at the University of Delaware; lab continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health for two decades, with current focus on translating findings into innovative treatment approaches that attack challenging clinical problems and improve poststroke walking function PA U L B R A S L E R (M.S.W.’99/SW): Behavioral

health services coordinator for Daily Planet Health Services, working with substance abusechallenged Richmond, Virginia, residents, especially individuals with opioid use disorders, via the clinics’ medication-assisted treatment program K E V I N B R I G L E (B.S.’98/N; M.S.’98/N):

Twenty-year veteran of VCU Massey Cancer Center; oncology nurse practitioner with the center’s Dalton Oncology Clinic; received the Oncology Nursing Society’s Pearl Moore “Making a Difference” Award in 2014 for making a difference in the profession DAV I D L . C O C H R A N , D . D . S . , P H . D .

(M.S.’77/M; D.D.S.’81/D; Ph.D.’82/M): Professor and chair of the Department of Periodontics at UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry; formerly director of postgraduate periodontics at VCU; received an honorary doctorate from the University of Bern in Switzerland C H I L D R E N ’ S H E A LT H A D V O C AT E


(M.D.’86/M; H.S.’89/M), immediate past president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, helped educate the public about the dangers of “toxic stress” for children separated from caregivers at the U.S. southern border, making appearances on CBS, NPR, CNN, BBC, MSNBC and Fox News. “Science should lead us to policies that promote and not disrupt health,” she says. She also advocates for children living in poverty. “Children need adults to speak for them. Investment in children and families can change the trajectory of their lives and the health of our nation,” she says. K R A F T, M . D .

L E S L I E E C K F O R D (B.S.W.’83/SW; B.S.’85/N;

M.S.W.’95/SW): A licensed clinical social worker and registered nurse whose practice has focused primarily on geriatric mental health; co-authored “Aging With Care: Your Guide to Hiring and Managing Caregivers at Home,” a personal, professional and sometimes humorous approach to the challenges, benefits and pitfalls of hiring in-home caregivers T O M E I C H L E R , M . D . (M.D.’87/M; H.S.’92/M):

President-elect of ASTRO, the world’s largest radiation oncology society; chair of the ASTRO political action committee, former chair of the ASTRO Health Policy Council and senior editor of ASTROnews; former president of Virginia Radiology Oncology Associates and medical director of radiation oncology, Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute in Nashville, Tennessee

Director of quality improvement for the Department of Internal Medicine in the VCU School of Medicine and an advocate for professional development; received several VCU awards, including the 2009 VCU Women in Science, Dentistry and Medicine Organization Professional Achievement Award, the 2011 Porter Master Clinician Award and Physician Champion in 2013 R I C H A R D H A M R I C K I I I , M . D . (M.D.’82/M;

M.B.A.’99/B): Chief medical officer for HCA Healthcare’s Capital Division, comprising 18 hospitals and six free-standing ERs in four states; practiced pulmonary and critical care medicine for two decades with Pulmonary Associates of Richmond Inc.; served as president of the Medical Society of Virginia and Richmond Academy of Medicine P E R R Y J O N E S , D . D . S . (D.D.S.’74/D): Dental practitioner with a focus on orthodontics and adjunct associate professor in the VCU School of Dentistry, where he developed curriculum for the D2 thermoplastics course that uses 3D-printed models for hands-on learning; 2018 appointee to the Virginia Board of Dentistry; president and CEO of Mobile Imaging Solutions LLC DA R R Y L K A E L I N , M . D . (H.S.’95/M): Chief,

University of Louisville Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and medical director, Frazier Rehabilitation Institute; immediate past president of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, which advocates for patients with disabling conditions and for physiatrists to serve as essential members of the health care team D I A N E S A N S O N E T T I , M . D . (M.D.’77/M;

H.S.’85/M): VCU’s first female cardiothoracic fellow, mentored by transplant pioneer Richard Lower, M.D.; as a cardiothoracic surgeon, established New Mexico’s first and only heart transplant program in 1987; when health issues forced career change, earned board certification in then-emerging field of hospice and palliative medicine C U R T I S N . S E S S L E R , M . D . (H.S.’85/M):

Orhan Muren Distinguished Professor of Medicine at VCU, past president of American College of Chest Physicians, 2018 recipient of American Association of Critical-Care Nurses’ Pioneering


Winter 2019




Spirit Award; with VCU School of Nursing colleagues, created Richmond AgitationSedation Scale, used worldwide to improve management of pain, sedation and delirium in the critically ill D O M E N I C S I C A , M . D . (M.D.’75/M;

H.S.’78/M): VCU professor of nephrology, recognized by Richmond Magazine numerous times, including in 2018, as one of the top nephrologists in the area; past president of the American Society of Hypertension; recipient of 2009 MCV Physicians Distinguished Clinician Award PAT R I C K S T OV E R , P H . D . (Ph.D.’90/M):

Courtesy Professor, Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University; past president of the American Society of Nutrition; elected to the National Academy of Sciences and fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science; received ASN’s Osborne and Mendel Award for outstanding basic research accomplishments in nutrition P E R C Y WO O T T O N , M . D . (M.D.’57/M;

H.S.’60/M; H.S.’63/M): Retired VCU associate professor and cardiologist who was in private practice with Cardiovascular Associates of Virginia; fellow of the American College of Physicians and American College of Cardiology; past president of the American Medical Association, Richmond Academy of Medicine and Medical Society of Virginia



» In 2018, E M I L I E B O N OV I T C H (B.S.’14/D)

became the youngest president of the Virginia Dental Hygienists’ Association. In this role, she works to improve dental hygienists’ impact on public health, such as by supporting recent legislation that allows hygienists to offer mobile programs to reach more patients. She volunteers with the American Dental Hygienists’ Association and supported a VCU Giving Tuesday project to raise money to help dental hygiene students enhance their learning through networking and conference attendance. She stays in contact with patients through her full-time work as a dental hygienist.

» M I T C H E L L B . M I L L E R , M . D . (H.S.’82/M),

discovered that caring for three generations of families “has been rewarding well beyond [my] hopes and expectations.” He has practiced in the Virginia Beach community for his 37-year career and has advocated for colleagues and patients. He has been president of the Virginia Academy of Family Physicians and the Medical Society of Virginia. He recalls leading more than 3,000 physicians in a 2004 march in Richmond along Grace Street to the Virginia Capitol to seek legislative changes to address problems with medical liability. Miller was named Virginia Family Physician of the Year in 2018.

S T E V E WO R L E Y (B.S.’72/B; M.S.’74/B):

Retired CEO and president of Louisiana Children’s Medical Center, which includes Children’s Hospital, New Orleans; past chair of Louisiana Hospital Association, Metropolitan Hospital Council of New Orleans and board chair of Child Health Corporation of America, member of the Children’s Hospitals International Executive Forum S T E P H E N YA N G , M . D . (M.D.’84/M;

H.S.’94/M): Cardiothoracic surgeon, professor of surgery and oncology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and The Johns Hopkins Hospital; inaugural recipient in 2008 of the Arthur B. and Patricia B. Modell Professor of Thoracic Surgery; co-editor of the 2004 book “Current Therapy in Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery” J O E Z A N G A , M . D . (H.S.’74/M): Retired chief

of pediatrics at Columbus (Georgia) Regional Healthcare System; past president of the American Academy of Pediatrics; former VCU professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine; now serving as a court-appointed special advocate for children in foster care and chairing Columbus Rotary’s Community Coalition to End Human Trafficking


VCU Alumni





M .D.,


PH .D.

(M.D.’90/M; Ph.D.’91/M; H.S.’96/M; M.S.H.A.’97/HP; H.L.D.’08), led the implementation of electronic health records while serving as undersecretary for health in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. As CEO of the Veterans Health Administration, he was the senior-most physician in federal government, responsible for more than 7.2 million patients. Now president of clinical services and chief medical officer at Nashville, Tennessee-based HCA Healthcare, he uses big data and AI to create a learning health system and improve patient safety worldwide.

» For the majority of her 45-year career

in health care, K AT H A R I N E M . W E B B (M.S.W.’73/SW) served as senior vice president of the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association, where she worked to improve safety and quality of care through advocacy. Her proudest achievements involve taking part in efforts to expand access to health care for all Virginians. She worked with grassroots organizations to establish the Child Health Insurance Program, which provides insurance to more than 100,000 children and almost 5,000 pregnant women who are not eligible for Medicaid.




» As chief deputy to the Medicaid Program

in Virginia, K A R E N K I M S E Y (Cert.’96/HP; M.S.W.’96/SW) helped develop and launch the state’s Medicaid expansion benefit, which brought health insurance to more than 250,000 people as of April 2019. She recalls the thrill of seeing the first ad letting people know the benefit would be available. “There are so many stories of individuals whose lives are being touched” by the benefit, she says. “I am so grateful that many of these individuals, some of whom are caregivers for family members, will now be eligible to receive health coverage for themselves.”



Photo Allen Jones, University Marketing





M .D.,

PH .D.

(M.D.’95/M; Ph.D.’00/M; H.S.’02/M), co-surgeon-in-chief at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, is best known for leading the team that separated conjoined twins Maria and Teresa Tapia in a 2011 surgery. The surgery was arranged through the World Pediatric Project. Lanning has volunteered with the group for years, traveling abroad to perform general and thoracic surgery on children in need and bringing children with particularly complex conditions to Richmond for treatment. He serves as the organization’s medical director and on its board.

B R AC K E N (M.H.A.’77/HP; H.L.D.’11) served as chairman and CEO of HCA Healthcare in Nashville, Tennessee, one of the world’s largest operators of health care facilities, from 2009-14. Bracken’s tenure at the top of the organization was the culmination of over three decades of work with HCA, where he used his deep understanding of hospital management to help steer HCA through the challenges of a changing industry. He restructured the company’s focus on patient quality and safety and also led the company through an initial public offering of stock that remains one of the largest in history. At the time of his retirement, HCA operated 165 hospitals and 115 free-standing surgery centers in 20 states and the United Kingdom. Bracken now sits on the board of CVS Health Corp. and became the first chair of its Medical Affairs Committee upon its formation in 2016. Bracken’s contributions to VCU include the Richard M. Bracken Leadership Award, which has recognized student leaders since 2006. He received the university’s highest honor, an honorary doctorate in 2011. He and his wife, Judith, established the Richard M. Bracken Chair, the first endowed chair in VCU’s Department of Health Administration, in 2012. The HCA Distinguished Executive in Residence Professorship in the College of Health Professions was created in 2014 by HCA in tribute to Bracken.


» VA L E R I E

J A C K S O N (B.S.’71/B) was among the early African American women to earn an M.B.A. from the prestigious Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She already had experience breaking new ground at that point in her life. She and her two brothers were the first African American students to attend Henrico High School in Richmond, Virginia, in 1963. She was also one of the first African Americans to work as a telephone operator at the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Co. Jackson went on to become the first African American account executive at Grey Advertising in New York City and the first African American regional marketing supervisor at TWA’s corporate headquarters in New York. For 19 years, she has been the awardwinning host of Atlanta’s NPR shows “Between the Lines” and “Valerie Jackson in Conversation,” featuring guests such as Sanjay Gupta, M.D., former President Jimmy Carter, author Toni Morrison and musician Wynton Marsalis. In 2003, Jackson was appointed to the board of the Georgia Commission on Women, and she has received Atlanta’s highest citizen award, the Phoenix Award. She shared 26 years of marriage and work with the late Maynard H. Jackson Jr., the first African American mayor of Atlanta. She is partner in Jackmont Hospitality, one of the most awarded licensed franchisees of TGI Fridays.

Winter 2019





T H O M A S G . S N E A D J R . (B.S.’76/B; H.L.D.’12) helped shape the health insurance industry in the Southeast. He worked his way up to chairman and CEO of Trigon HealthCare in 2000 and served as CEO of Anthem/Wellpoint Inc. Southeast Region from 2002 until his retirement in 2006. He recalls with pride the “years and years of work” to achieve career milestones such as leading the team that took Trigon public and overseeing the Trigon-Anthem merger. Snead recalls standing on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange when Trigon’s IPO was completed. “Hearing the bell ring was very rewarding,” he says. He most values, however, positive responses he’s received from former colleagues and employees. “When they say, ‘We want to thank you for all those years we worked together, that was some of the most meaningful time in our careers,’ it’s sort of like being a parent; it’s special,” he says. Having grown up on a tobacco farm, Snead is vividly aware of the difference his studies made in his life. Without VCU, he says, “Lord knows where I’d be and what I might not have done.” Snead was rector of the VCU Board of Visitors, served on the VCU Health System Authority Board and is chair of the board of the School of Business Foundation. The School of Business’s Snead Hall is named in honor of Snead and his wife, VICKIE (B.S.’76/B), who together co-chaired the Campaign for VCU, at the time the most ambitious capital campaign in the university’s history. At VCU, the couple focus on supporting Massey Cancer Center, VCU Athletics and the School of Business. Snead sits on the board of directors for Atlantic Union Bankshares Corp. and Tredegar Corp. and is active in community organizations, including the Virginia Historical Society and the Community Foundation for Greater Richmond.


VCU Alumni


» N A N C Y E V E R E T T (B.S.’78/B; H.L.D.’06)

established her investment expertise in top roles with Lombard Odier Investment Management, an arm of a private Swiss bank; BlackRock, based in New York City; and Promark Global Advisors, the asset management branch of General Motors, where she oversaw billions of dollars in G.M.’s domestic pension funds and other assets. From 2005-10, Everett was CEO and chief investment officer at General Motors Asset Management (which became Promark), where she was known for her skill at managing risk and protecting the portfolio against market declines. She kept pensions well-funded through a time when unforgiving financial markets caused many other funds to suffer large declines. Previously, she served for 26 years with the Virginia Retirement System, including four years as chief investment officer. In 2015, she became CEO and chief investment officer of the newly formed VCU Investment Management Co., an independent 501(c)(3) foundation that advises the university and its affiliated foundations on the management of assets. VCIMCO’s primary objective lines up well with Everett’s skills and experience: to maximize long-term real return commensurate with the risk tolerance of the VCU entities under its umbrella. “I am honored to be a part of this important milestone in VCU’s evolution,” Everett says. “The creation of the VCU Investment Management Co. represents industry best practices in the financial stewardship of the university’s assets. Our role is to work with VCU and its affiliates to provide the financial stability necessary to fulfill its mission and to help it grow and prosper for generations to come.”


» W.


(D.D.S.’70/D), discovered a lifelong interest in dentistry as a pediatric patient at the Medical College of Virginia, a predecessor to VCU, where discounted treatments allowed him to obtain much-needed work. Fascination and respect for his treatment inspired him to pursue the profession. He took an accelerated path that allowed him to enter the School of Dentistry without an undergraduate degree, become a dentist at 25 “and the rest is history.” Perkinson founded Virginia Family Dentistry in 1974. Now the largest practice in the state, the business has 15 locations and continues to grow. Born into a poor family, Perkinson never stopped marveling at the success of his dream. “I was meant to be a dentist, and I just couldn’t believe that I was being paid to do something that I love to do so much,” he says. When VCU Alumni was created as an umbrella organization for all university alumni, Perkinson was its first president. He also served as rector and member on the VCU Board of Visitors and as vice chairman of the VCU Health System Authority Board. About 10 years after becoming a dentist, Perkinson took a class on watercolor with his wife, Elaine, and discovered a second life’s work. He is an accomplished watercolorist, but notes that, though he has had two very good careers, “I’ve never sold a painting for personal gain.” Instead, his art has benefited charitable causes. As a philanthropist, Perkinson has supported both arts and dentistry and has been recognized through namings such as the W. Baxter Perkinson, Jr. Building at the VCU School of Dentistry and the Baxter Perkinson Center for the Arts in Chesterfield County, Virginia, which broke ground in June 2019.


» The lifelong devotion of



(M.S.W.’74/SW; Ph.D.’89/E), to helping children in foster care is apparent throughout her career. After completing her undergraduate degree, she became a foster care caseworker at Lorain County Children’s Services in Ohio. She later held positions as a juvenile probation officer in Syracuse, New York, as a social worker handling foster care and adoptions for the Richmond (Virginia) Department of Social Services and in a local mental health clinic in what is now the Richmond Behavioral Health System. She began teaching at the VCU School of Social Work in 1977 and retired almost 32 years later as senior associate dean. Her research and scholarship remained focused on children, families and family caregiving. After retiring, she began volunteering with youth aging out of foster care through the Great Expectations program at John Tyler Community College in Chester, Virginia. Harrigan says, “Looking back, I realize that I have gone full circle,” returning to work tied to the foundations of her original interest in social work. The local, immigrant and refugee youth she tutors often write in their coursework about their experiences with social workers. Harrigan says this reinforced her dedication to social work education. She established the Fostering Success Scholarship for VCU social work students committed to a career working with children, youth and families. Of the students who have received the scholarship so far, she adds, “I believe each will become leaders in the careers they carve out in the coming years. I am proud that these social workers will carry on my commitment to fostering the success of new generations to come.” HARRIGAN,

PH .D.

» Songwriter and singer R I C H A R D



(B.F.A.’75/A) won the 1978 Grammy Award for best country song for writing “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue,” first performed by Crystal Gayle. The song was also nominated for song of the year, a double nomination that wasn’t repeated again until Billy Ray Cyrus earned both nods in 1993. That’s just one highlight of his long songwriting career, which took off in 1976 when Gayle released Leigh’s “I’ll Get Over You.” That song was Leigh’s first No. 1 hit. Since then, he’s written or co-written nine No. 1 singles and earned seven Song of the Year nominations and three Grammy nominations. His songs have carried others to greatness as well. Five songs Leigh has written have earned the performing artists Grammy Awards in categories including Best Performance, Record of the Year and Vocal Event. Besides his two hits with Gayle, Leigh co-wrote well-known songs such as “The Greatest Man I Never Knew” and “Cold Day in July.” His songs have been recorded by artists including Martina McBride, Conway Twitty, Perry Como, Alabama, Tammy Wynette and the Dixie Chicks. Leigh says one of the proudest moments of his life came when he learned the legendary Ray Charles would record his song “It Ain’t Gonna Worry My Mind.” He was elected in 1994 to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, an honor only about 200 people have received. In 2015, he became one of only five people to have received the Legacy Award from SESAC, an invitation-only performing rights organization. Leigh’s career came full circle at that moment, as Gayle, alongside country music star Reba McEntire, presented him with the award recognizing his life’s work.

» As one of the U.S. Postal Service’s top

doctors at the time, Y V O N N E C R I S S M I T H V E A L , M . D . (M.D.’62/M), was in charge of protecting postal workers during the 2001 anthrax attacks. From her earliest years, she knew she wanted to be a doctor. She grew up watching her grandmother care for neighbors, but it wasn’t until her grandmother’s death that Veal discovered a licensed practical nurse certificate in her grandmother’s family Bible. “That is why people were always coming to her house when they were sick or having a baby,” she says. In 1957, she was the fifth African American student and the third African American woman to enroll in what was then known as the Medical College of Virginia. She made a career in public health roles and spent two dozen years with the Postal Service, where she was responsible for the occupational health and safety of more than 80,000 postal workers throughout New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Veal received the USPS National Medical Directors Award in 1997 and 2002 in recognition of her leadership. In 1989, she became the second female leader of the National Medical Association board of trustees. She became president of the National Medical Association in 1995, leading the largest and oldest national organization representing the interests of more than 50,000 African American physicians and the patients they serve. Veal was included in the National Institute of Health’s “Changing the Face of Medicine” exhibit, which was on display at the National Library of Medicine from 2003-05. She retired in 2009 as senior medical director for the Eastern region of the U.S. Postal Service. Winter 2019





R I C H A R D T. “ D I C K ” R O B E R T S O N

(B.S.’67/MC; H.L.D.’05) is considered one of the architects of the business of TV as we know it. He began his career in 1965 as a salesman for Richmond, Virginia-based WRVA-TV. This led to a 40-year career that includes 17 years as president of Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution and established him as one of the most powerful and innovative executives in the industry. Robertson was involved in the sale and launch of hundreds of TV series and specials. He took an even more active role for more than 100 series and movie packages, many of which had a major cultural impact, such as “Friends,” “The People’s Court” and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” He was inducted into the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame in 1997 and the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame in 2003. He serves on the board of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Foundation. In 2013, VCU’s School of Mass Communications was renamed the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture. Robertson chaired VCU’s Partners for Progress campaign from 1992-99, which raised $167.8 million, including a gift he made to name the Richard T. Robertson Alumni House on VCU’s Monroe Park Campus. He served on the VCU Board of Visitors, VCU’s Institute for Contemporary Art advisory board and the VCU Brandcenter’s board of directors. Robertson is chair emeritus of the Robertson School’s advisory board and has spoken at VCU’s Commencement. He is the recipient of the Edward A. Wayne Medal, which honors outstanding contributions or exemplary service to the university, and received VCU’s highest honor, an honorary doctorate, in 2005. 40

VCU Alumni







(B.S.’80/E) was one of the first true legends to emerge from VCU basketball. He continues to hold school records in scoring, field goals and minutes per game. After leading the Rams to their first postseason appearance in 1977-78, Henderson was picked in the third round of the 1978 NBA draft by the San Antonio Spurs. He played 871 games in the NBA over 13 seasons for teams including the Seattle SuperSonics, the New York Knicks, the Philadelphia 76ers, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Houston Rockets. He went on to win three NBA championships: with the Boston Celtics in 1981 and 1984 and with the Detroit Pistons in 1990. During the 1984 NBA Finals, playing against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 2, Henderson stole a pass and tied the game. The Celtics went on to win in overtime, and the play became a part of Henderson’s mythology and claim to fame. Henderson is also known for making a layup in the last seconds of Game 4 of the 1990 NBA Finals, assuring his team’s victory. “I had a chance to play with and against a lot of great players,” he said in a video interview with VCU Athletics. “It was a lot of fun. But you know, in pro sports, it only lasts for a little while. … After 13 years, your body begins to wear.” He was the first Ram to have his jersey retired and was inducted into the inaugural VCU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1989 and the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 2012. After his retirement from the NBA, Henderson settled in Pennsylvania with his family, where he and his wife ran a real estate business and raised three children. His son, Gerald Henderson Jr., followed in his father’s footsteps and played eight seasons in the NBA after being drafted by the Charlotte Bobcats.


M A R I LY N TAV E N N E R (B.S.’83/N; M.H.A.’89/HP; H.L.D.’07) started in 1981 as a nurse at Johnston-Willis Hospital in Richmond, Virginia, and worked her way up to the highest positions in the American health care system. By 1993, she was CEO of the hospital and, in 2001, was named president of HCA’s Central Atlantic Division. She served from 2003-05 as group president for HCA in Nashville, Tennessee, where she set the vision for the development of freestanding outpatient services nationwide. As secretary of health and human resources for Virginia from 2006-10, Tavenner was responsible for administering the state’s Medicaid program as well as services for mental health, public health, aging, disabilities, social services and children’s services. In a further rise to the national level, she became principal deputy administrator and then acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This made her the person ultimately responsible for overseeing health care coverage for 100 million Americans. Tavenner headed up the agency that administers Medicare and worked with states on their Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance programs. She played a major role in the rollout of the Affordable Care Act after its passage in 2010. She was confirmed as administrator in 2013. Tavenner shifted from working in government in 2015 to join America’s Health Insurance Plans, a political advocacy and trade association of health insurance companies, where she became president and CEO. She has been a board member of the American Hospital Association and president of the Virginia Hospital Association. She retired in 2018 and now serves on the VCU Health System Authority Board.



I R A C O L B Y, D . S .W. (M.S.W.’75/SW), became politically active at a young age, volunteering for a neighbor’s city council campaign. This led to a lifetime of politically informed social work. An internationally recognized expert in the field, Colby advocates for justice in human services at all levels, from public policy to social work education. His early work included social work and education as well as organizing a homeless shelter program in Arlington, Texas, and directing a volunteer project to encourage voter registration among people with lower incomes. As his career progressed, he focused more on social work education, first at Ferrum College, followed by the University of Texas at Arlington, the University of Central Florida in Orlando and at the University of Houston. He continued to work on programs to better his surrounding communities, focused on areas such as substance abuse prevention and treatment, educational and training opportunities for rural and minority students, and programs to support mothers and children. While at the University of Houston, he launched the Spanish Speaking Scholarship Program, which was used as a model for the state of Texas in 2008. A professor emeritus at the University of Houston, he retired after 15 years as dean of its Graduate College of Social Work. He has written extensively, with some of his textbooks considered classics in the profession, such as “Introduction to Social Work: The People’s Profession.” Colby’s long editorial career includes being a consulting editor for the Journal of Social Work Education. The National Association of Social Workers elected him a Social Work Pioneer, and he served as president of the Council on Social Work Education.



JUDITH G O DWI N (B.F.A.’52/A; Hon.D.F.A.’89) had her first solo art exhibit in 1950, showing work influenced by the methods of her friend, the influential modern dancer and choreographer Martha Graham. She is known for painting in the form of Abstract Expressionism, which became popular in the 1940s and ’50s and is characterized by strong brushstrokes and a sense of spontaneity. The field has been described as a boys’ club, and Godwin recalls encountering disparagement of women’s work. “At the time it was suggested that women couldn’t paint, that they couldn’t produce such strong work,” she says. “We proved them wrong.” An irrepressible spirit, Godwin is known at VCU for persuading the dean of the arts program to allow women to wear pants in the campus cafeteria. As an artist, her career spans decades. “I have a strong belief in my work and pursue it constantly,” Godwin writes in her artist statement. Now 89, Godwin still participates in shows and is represented by the Berry Campbell Gallery. Her art is in significant public and private collections, including the Guggenheim Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Godwin made enough of an impression during the heydey of Abstract Expressionism to be included in shows alongside men, and she’s now a particular draw in shows honoring the women who contributed to the scene, such as 2016’s “Women of Abstract Expressionism,” which opened at the Denver Art Museum and traveled to locations including the Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the Palm Springs (Florida) Art Museum. “Finally. Exclamation point. It’s wonderful. Finally women are getting recognition,” Godwin says.


» G R E G O R Y E N A S , P H . D . (Ph.D.’82/M), is one of only a few biostatisticians to rise to a leadership position within regulatory affairs for pharmaceuticals. To get new medicines approved by regulatory agencies, Enas explains, companies have to work at the intersection of technology, research and development, life sciences and law to establish “substantial evidence” showing that the new product deserves market authorization. “My experience demonstrates that statistician leaders bring a unique negotiating ability with health authorities at critical milestones; for example, getting approval for a drug development program design that can deliver robust evidence in a more timely and less wasteful manner than traditional development options,” he says. He served almost 30 years with Eli Lilly, starting in 1982 as a senior statistician. He retired in 2011 as senior director of U.S. regulatory affairs for Lilly Research Laboratories. Enas recalls the satisfying challenge of leading a group effort to deliver and persuasively communicate key evidence to the FDA. He also remains proud of his work on the nontechnical side of leadership, including recruiting, hiring and developing world-class staff members and seeing many of them go on to make significant contributions and obtain leadership positions of their own. Over the course of his career with Lilly, he oversaw regulatory strategy for the company’s endocrine, skeletal, antiviral and infectious diseases therapeutic areas and its Diabetes Business Unit. He is a fellow of the American Statistical Association and helps leaders build and scale for-profit and not-for-profit ventures. He continued consulting on regulatory affairs strategy after retirement. Winter 2019






(M.D.’74/M), retired from the U.S. Air Force as a brigadier general and was the first female physician to achieve this rank. She received a commission through the Health Professions Scholarship Program in 1973 to join the Air Force while in medical school. Over the course of her military career, she was awarded more than 15 service medals and ribbons, including the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal and Humanitarian Service Medal. She is a leading researcher and medical oncologist for the treatment of breast, colorectal and pancreatic cancers and other gastrointestinal malignancies. Mitchell is clinical professor of medicine and medical oncology at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. She is director of diversity for her department and associate director for diversity services at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center. She leads the Jefferson Cancer Network’s Gastrointestinal Cancer Working Group, which offers clinical and translational science opportunities to physicians throughout the network. She was named in 2016 to a panel of experts advising Vice President Joe Biden’s National Cancer Moonshot Initiative, and in 2015, she served as president of the National Medical Association. She received the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Control Award for her significant commitment to research, education and diversity. In 2017, she became an honorary member of the American Society for Radiation Oncology for her work in combined modality treatment, using chemotherapy and radiation therapy techniques to provide cancer patients with the best possible treatment. 42

VCU Alumni


» As NASA’s chief health and medical officer,

(M.D.’79/M; M.P.H.’96/M), led the team of health care professionals that watched over the astronauts who built and operated the International Space Station and flew the space shuttle during its final years. Williams didn’t start his career planning for this unusual outcome. He served as a general surgeon and a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force and commanded a field hospital during the first Gulf War in 1990. “That toughened me up,” he says. “It prepared me to succeed everywhere I went.” It also led to unexpected opportunities, such as discussing the medical care of soldiers on network morning shows. While still part of the U.S. Air Force, he joined NASA as the director of the Office of Health Affairs as a special assignment. Williams later became the second person to hold NASA’s top medical position. During his tenure, he encouraged research on specific issues such as the discovery of increased farsightedness because of optic nerve swelling after astronauts return from space. He also led the organization through concerns about the effects of high radiation exposure on astronauts, which carries risks such as cancer, cataracts and acute radiation sickness. From 2002-17, he produced ethics policies to address these risks to astronaut health, fostered efforts to understand the effects of space flight on the human body and helped secure health care for astronauts when they return to Earth. He remains active as a senior aviation medical examiner for the Federal Aviation Administration and is now director of the Three Rivers Health District in Virginia, where he leads 10 public health departments. RICHARD S . WILLIAMS, M .D.


» When


(M.S.’80/H&S; Ph.D.’86/M), headed into a postdoctoral position with pharmaceutical company Smith, Kline & French in 1986, it was an unusual choice. “In fact, it was frowned upon at the time,” he says. “The university track was the norm.” He chose to remain in industry, gaining a front-row seat on the biotech revolution. Hoke says that while he learned critical thinking and data interpretation during his Ph.D. training, it was his time at Smith, Kline & French that introduced him to the field of drug discovery, which became the focus of his career. He enjoyed the improvisation involved in breaking new ground. In his early days in industry, Hoke recalls, some past experience working construction even came into play. “I built my company’s tissue culture rooms — literally, out of two-by-fours,” he says. From Ph.D. research on mitochondrial proteins, Hoke transitioned to roles including chief science officer of Avant Diagnostics in Gaithersburg, Maryland, which makes products to assist in cancer treatment, and CEO of Theranostics Health in nearby Rockville, which makes diagnostics for breast cancer. He now consults with companies and health care organizations such as Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond, Virginia, where he’s helping improve treatment with a molecular diagnostics approach to diabetic ulcers. Hoke emphasizes that the same disease in each individual isn’t the same on the molecular level, and often multiple therapeutic strategies are needed. This fact has formed the basis of a life philosophy. “One size doesn’t fit all in treating disease,” he says. The creative directions he’s taken in his career show that “one size doesn’t fit all” applies to life as well.

Meet the next generation of power players. R E A L - L I F E I N S P I R AT I O N

» Noted forensic pathologist



(H.S.’73/M; H.S.’74/M), completed her residency in pathology and a fellowship in forensic pathology at VCU. From 1975-2008, as assistant chief medical examiner and later Virginia’s chief medical examiner, the commonwealth’s highest position in forensic medicine, she administered and set policy for a statewide regionalized medical examiner system and performed medicolegal autopsies. She established fatality review teams for child abuse and infant mortality, intimate partner violence and maternal mortality and participated in the National Violent Death Reporting System. Under her leadership, Virginia created a forensic epidemiologist position, one of two in the U.S. at the time, to promote the public health mission of the medical examiner system. She began consulting on the National Crime Information Center’s unidentified person and missing person files in 1983 and served on multiple National Academy of Science committees, one of which produced “Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward,” which recommended landmark changes in all forensic disciplines. She taught courses as co-director of the Virginia Institute of Forensic Science and Medicine. As professor and chair of VCU’s legal medicine department, she directed the forensic pathology fellowship program that has produced chief medical examiners in multiple states, cities and counties. She served as a reviewer for and on the board of The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology and is past president of the National Association of Medical Examiners and a fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. FA R I N E L L I F I E R R O , M . D .

» PA M

E L (B.S.’83/MC; H.L.D.’16) became the first female chief marketing officer of the NBA, from 2014 until she retired as executive vice president in 2019. El was poised to make a mark from the beginning. She joined the NBA after holding executive-level positions with Nationwide and State Farm Insurance. She had even worked with the NBA before, while at Nationwide, having established marketing partnerships between the insurance company and the NBA and WNBA. She was at a high point in her career, having earned Advertising Age’s 100 Most Influential Women award in 2012. At the time she joined, the NBA had not had a chief marketing officer since Rick Welts left the post in 1999. El took responsibility for media planning and buying, market research and customer data strategy. She helped the NBA reach more fans globally and worked to strengthen the brands of the NBA, WNBA and NBA G League, the organization’s official minor league, worldwide. Despite the apparent differences between insurance and sports entertainment, El saw the switch as seamless. “The products, fans and consumers feel very different on the surface, but it all comes down to emotion,” she says. “All brands are trying to accomplish the same thing with marketing efforts: connecting emotionally to consumers. The NBA seeks to do the same thing. We emotionally connect with our core and our casual fans. Forming an emotional connection with consumers, that’s the dream.” Since stepping back from her role in the NBA, El has not shied away from taking on additional responsibilities, continuing to provide marketing and branding consulting for the NBA. Gov. Ralph Northam appointed her to the VCU Board of Visitors in June 2019.

We love feedback We make our best effort to collect and present accurate information about alumni, but the ultimate source is YOU. Do you know of a notable graduate who deserves to be featured? Do you see a detail out of place? Did you read in this issue about someone who inspired you? Let us know at or update your information at We love hearing from alumni!

Winter 2019



Kimberly Seamon (left) and Stephen D. Lenett, M.D. Photo Desiree Charity

Closing the gap to create opportunity School of Medicine alumnus funds scholarship to benefit students and residents of rural southwest Virginia By Julie Young


imberly Seamon’s course load during her second year in the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine included self-taught lessons in personal finance and debt management. “I had taken out loans at the beginning of the semester and wasn’t sure if the amount was going to be enough to get me through the end of the semester into the next school year,” she says. Seamon, 24, received a lifeline in January 2019 when she learned about the Stephen D. and Benjamin P. Lenett Scholarship. The scholarship is specifically designated for students from the southwest corner of Virginia, where employment, education, wealth and health care trail far behind the rest of Virginia. The scholarship is awarded annually to one or more medical students based on academic merit and financial need. “It was awesome that a scholarship was created specifically for students from that area,” she says. Seamon, from Martinsville, Virginia, received the renewable scholarship. “I was like, ‘Oh wow, this is perfect,’” she says. Stephen D. Lenett, M.D. (M.D.’75/M; H.S.’78/M), a native of Wytheville in southwestern Virginia, established the scholarship in 2017 as a joint legacy for him and his son, Benjamin. The younger Lenett died in 2014 at 34 from injuries sustained in a 2009 car crash. The gift supports the School of Medicine’s ongoing 1838 Scholarship Campaign, established in 2013 to celebrate the year in which the Medical College of Virginia was founded. Lenett, who has practiced emergency medicine in the Richmond area for 38 years, says he wants to help ease the financial burden on medical students.


VCU Alumni

“From what I read, $200,000 in debt is nothing these days, and that’s hard to imagine,” he says. According to the VCU School of Medicine, only 49 students of 207 from its Class of 2018 graduated debt-free, and the average amount for those with debt was $202,297. Lenett also wants to increase the number of doctors in his home region. “I would hope that the student or students, whoever receives it, would perhaps feel that they would want to return to the southwest Virginia area [to practice],” Lenett says. Seamon, who is co-president of the medical school’s Red Cross chapter, hopes to specialize in obstetrics and gynecology and says her goal is to educate women, especially those living in rural areas where health care education and resources are lacking. “I have a different outlook on things since I am from such a small community,” Seamon says. “I think it would be a great opportunity to be able to practice in one of those places because I think a lot of the population there doesn’t get the same exposure to things that people in bigger cities do. “It would be great to bring everything that I’ve learned at school back to where I’m from, or somewhere similar, to be able to teach people and empower them” to make decisions about their health care.

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

“I don’t receive any help from my parents; sometimes that makes me question if I should be at school. Scholarships take some of the weight off financially, but it’s also nice to know that someone wants to help me to keep going, to keep doing well and to give back to my community.”

Zaiendae Smith School of the Arts Class of 2021

VCU is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution.

With a gift to support scholarships at Virginia Commonwealth University, you can make a college degree accessible for all students. Learn more about Zaiendae and the Invest in Me initiative at

Photo Desirée Charity (B.S.’17/MC)


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

Jay Davenport, vice president of development and alumni relations (left), and Andrew Hobson (B.S.’12/En) (far right), chair of the VCU Alumni Outreach and Engagement Committee, with 10 Under 10 recipients Jennifer Shannon, Pharm.D., BCPS (left), E. Taylor Doctor, Joshua Son, Othman Khunji, Alan Keesee, Lynzee Chelland, Adele McClure, Whitney Mari Headen and Elaine Genise Williams. Elliot Roth not pictured.

VCU celebrates its top 10 graduates of the past decade VCU Alumni recognized 10 graduates of the past decade in November at the 10 Under 10 awards. The awards celebrate alumni who have earned their first VCU degree within the past 10 years and who have enjoyed remarkable professional success, made important contributions to their community and/or loyally supported the university. The following alumni were recognized at the private ceremony. Read more about their achievements at

Lynzee Chelland (B.S.’09/H&S)

Adele McClure (B.S.’11/B)

A cigar flavorist at Richmond, Virginia-based Altria Group Inc., where she champions the company’s diversity and inclusion initiatives

Executive director of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus and a member of the 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 list in the law and policy category

E. Taylor Doctor (B.A.’11/H&S)

Elliot Roth (B.S.’15/En; Cert.’15/DVC)

Director of programs for the National Black Justice Coalition in Washington, D.C., where he manages the public policy agenda and acts as a liaison to stakeholders and politicians

Founder of Spira Inc., a Los Angeles-based food technology company that creates ingredients for food companies from spirulina microalgae

Whitney Mari Headen (B.S.’09/B)

An entrepreneur and patient advocate who’s changing pharmacy care in Georgia, including developing a nationally recognized transition-of-care program

Co-founder of 19th & Park Inc., a New York City-based creative marketing agency that provides multimedia services for brands such as Colgate, McDonald’s, Apple and Nike

Alan Keesee (M.H.A.’09/HP) President and CEO of Capital Regional Medical Center in Tallahassee, Florida, where he oversees 1,400 employees and 380 medical staff

Othman Khunji (M.F.A.’15/A) Bahraini artist and interdisciplinary designer who has worked with organizations such as Brown University and King’s College London


VCU Alumni

Jennifer Shannon, Pharm.D., BCPS (Pharm.D.’09/P)

Joshua Son (M.U.R.P.’14/GPA) Senior planner for the Richmond, Virginia, Department of Planning and Development Review and promoter of active urban communities through Breakaway RVA and Upswing

Elaine Genise Williams (B.S.’17/SW) Program director of RVA Thrives and co-founder of Change the World RVA, which addresses the needs of Richmond, Virginia-area high school and college students facing homelessness


Baldacci headlines author luncheon

Tour elevates the alumni experience

Save the date for the Monroe Scholars Book and Author Luncheon on May 20, 2020. Alumnus and bestselling author David Baldacci (B.A.’83/H&S; H.L.D.’01), who spoke at the inaugural luncheon in 2011, returns for its 10th anniversary. He will talk about one of his recently published books and his experiences in the field of writing followed by an autograph reception with books available for purchase. The luncheon supports VCU Alumni’s Monroe Scholars Book Award program, which provides an award and a $1,000 scholarship to high school students who meet the criteria of leadership and scholarship and who enroll at VCU. Follow VCU Alumni on Facebook for more event details in the new year.

VCU Alumni embarked on a yearlong tour in January 2019 to bring new opportunities and programming to alumni. The 19-city tour started in Richmond, Virginia, and wound its way across the country with a final stop in Seattle on Nov. 1. Each tour stop featured events ranging from cultural excursions to family-friendly outings to industry networking sessions and social events that gave alumni a chance to engage with other alumni in new ways. View photos from the tour at

VCUA board welcomes new members VCU Alumni voted eight new members onto the board of governors at its May annual meeting. Steve Andrews, Ph.D. (Ph.D.’87/H&S) Kavitha Chunchu, M.D. (B.S.’02/H&S; M.D.’06/M) Rodney A. Harry (B.S.’90/H&S) Beth Lucchesi (M.B.A.’15/B) Rebecca Perdue (B.S.’92/HP) DaNika Robinson, Ed.D. (B.A.’11/H&S; M.P.A.’15/GPA; Ed.D.’18/E) • Keisha Sowers (B.A.’99/A) • Faith Wilkerson, D.Ed. (B.S.’03/MC; M.Ed.’05/E; D.Ed.’15/E) • • • • • •

Top left: VCU professor-led lecture in Richmond, Virginia, on the opioid crisis. Top right: Arts and entertainment industry discussion in LA. Bottom: VCU fans taking over the Today Plaza in New York City.

VOLUNTEER RAISE YOUR HAND! Whether you have an hour to spare or you want to commit on a deeper level, you have lots of opportunities to get involved in service to VCU in a meaningful way. Donate your time and talent to VCU-related causes you care about.

VO L U N T E E R . VC U . E D U

Winter 2019



Reunion Weekend • April 5-7, 2019 Thank you to everyone who came to campus to celebrate at the African-American Alumni Council and MCV Campus reunions. The fun-filled weekend included campus tours, school visits and more than a few parties.


union MCV Campus Re 20 20 , -19 April 17 AA AC Reunion April 24-26, 2020


Photo 1 Jud Froelich; Photo 2 School of Dentistry; Photo 3 Skip Rowland Photography; Photo 4 Jesse Peters; Photo 5 Jacob Medley

MCV Campus Reunion



More than 1,100 alumni and guests returned to campus to connect, celebrate and reflect. This year’s Reunion Weekend celebrated alumni from graduating classes ending in 4 or 9 as well as grand alumni and dental hygiene alumni. Along with campuswide events such as the VCU Libraries’ Then and Now tour, a tour of the Children’s Pavilion at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU and the MCVAA President’s Reception, individual schools filled out the weekend with activities for their respective alumni. View more photos: MCVAA events and class parties for the schools of Dentistry and Nursing



Ellen Byrne, D.D.S., Ph.D. (B.S.’77/P; D.D.S.’83/D; Cert.’91/D; Ph.D.’91/M) (center), president of the MCV Alumni Association of VCU, meets the newest MCVAA student scholars at the president’s reception. 2 Members of the School of Dentistry’s Class of 1994 have fun catching up. 3 Alumni from the School of Medicine’s Class of 1984 mark their 35-year reunion. 4 School of Nursing alumni return to campus for a tour of the school’s laboratory spaces. 5 Members of the School of Pharmacy’s Class of 1989 mark 20 years since graduating. 1


VCU Alumni

School of Medicine class parties and events School of Pharmacy class parties and events

ALUMNICONNECTIONS AAAC Reunion In addition to celebrating the 45th anniversary of the Theta Rho Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. and the Phi Delta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., alumni attending VCU Alumni’s AfricanAmerican Alumni Council Reunion enjoyed a variety of activities throughout the weekend, including a special reception honoring former AAAC presidents, the Old School/ New School Block Party and an epic dance party at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. View more photos:


Photos Desirée Charity (B.S.’17/MC)




1 Freida Sanders Thompson (left), Gloria Candy Hagans, Donita Harper (B.S.’86/B), Tina Plenty Robinson (B.S.’87/ H&S) and Greg Daye attend a reception honoring past presidents of the AAAC. 2 Alumni spend an epic night dancing at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. 3 Marilyn Day (B.S.’77/E; M.Ed.’79/E) and Gail Robinson (M.P.A.’82/GPA), one of the first AAAC presidents, enjoy a reception. 4 Tracy James (B.S.’87/H&S) (left), Jackie Bynum (B.S.’83/H&S), Eleanor Foddrell (B.S.’82/B) and Perry Fuller catch up during Reunion Weekend.

Alumni selected for Recent Graduate Council The VCU Office of Alumni Relations announces the inaugural Recent Graduate Council. Council members help alumni who graduated within the past 10 years connect with one another, and the university, in new and exciting ways. The following members serve a two-year term. Learn more at Marilynn Abraham (Cert.’15/HP) Ricardo Adams (B.A.’14/H&S) Daniel Brisker (B.S.’09/H&S) Ebony Campbell (M.S.’14/B) Andrew Coulomb (B.A.’11/H&S) Javon Davis (B.S.’14/GPA; B.A.’14/ GPA; Cert.’15/GPA; M.P.A.’16/GPA) Wesley Dawson (B.A.’14/H&S) Summer Griffin (B.A.’16/GPA) Jewlyus Grigsby (B.S.’17/H&S)

Ryan Hall (M.Ed.’09/E) Katherine Higgins (B.S.’14/H&S) Britney Jefferson (B.S.’13/H&S) Brian Jeffries (B.S.’18/B) Jediah Jones (M.S.’11/H&S) Stephanie Joyner (B.S.’13/H&S) Bruce MacConnell (B.S.’18/H&S) Chase Peak (B.M.’11/A) Timothy Pierce, Pharm.D. (B.I.S.’11/ H&S; Pharm.D.’15/P)

Saher Randhawa (B.S.’14/H&S) Rachel Rodney (B.S.’11/B) Emily Schindler (B.A.’10/A) Trevon Straughter (B.S.’16/H&S) Vikhyath Veeramachaneni (B.A.’14/H&S) Ashley Williams (B.S.’16/H&S) Debrielle Williams (B.S.’13/H&S) Jennifer Winnagle (B.S.’06/B; M.S.’08/E)

Winter 2019



1950s Dolores Morgan (B.S.’58/HP) moved in September 2018 to an independent-living senior residence near Three Rivers, Calif., where her daughter, Wendy Ballew, lives.

1960s Rita Gulliksen (B.M.’68/A; M.M.’69/A) is music director and organist of Manakin Episcopal Church in Midlothian, Va., and has a private piano studio. L Keith Towne, M.D. (M.D.’69/M; H.S.’70/M), has retired as an internist. Louise Wright (B.S.’64/B) has published three books: “The Boarders at Hawk’s Nest,” “This Can’t Be Happening” and “The Other Side of Tragedy.”

1970s John Butterworth IV, M.D. (M.D.’79/M), received in October 2018 the Medical Society of Virginia’s Clarence Holland, M.D., Award, named for Clarence Holland, M.D. (M.D.’62/M) L, and given in recognition of outstanding contributions to the field of political advocacy for the commonwealth’s physicians. Anne Cooper-Chen, Ph.D. (M.S.’79/MC), retired from Ohio University and moved back to Virginia after 33 years in Athens, Ohio. L Jacqueline Craven (B.S.’73/E) published “Secret Formulas and Techniques of the Masters,” with Brick Road Poetry Press, which traces a writer’s search for hidden messages in her mother’s surrealistic paintings. She lives in upstate New York and Cocoa Beach, Fla. Paul DiPasquale (M.F.A.’77/A) attended a ribboncutting at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Va., to celebrate its acquisition of his sculpture “King Neptune,” which served as the preliminary model for the King Neptune statue in Virginia Beach. Darlene Fishman, Ed.D. (B.S.’71/N), retired from nursing education in July 2018 after 40 years of service. She holds an Ed.D. in educational leadership from California State University in Fullerton, Calif. L Jay Gehrig, M.D. (M.D.’78/M), retired as a full-time nephrologist for the Permanente Medical Group at Kaiser Sacramento in California after 32 years. He now works part time for Southern California Permanente Medical Group at Kaiser San Diego as a hospitalist. Jon Grubbs (M.P.A.’77/GPA) retired in September 2018 after 41 years in local government management in Virginia and Kentucky. He relocated to Sarasota, Fla.


VCU Alumni

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

Russ Hanchin (B.F.A.’73/A) retired in June 2017 after more than 35 years in graphic design and advertising-related positions. He is now pursuing jazz guitar, performing in clubs, restaurants and other venues around Richmond, Va. Diane Hice (B.S.’70/N) earned a master’s in nursing education from Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, N.M., at age 70. Adele Johnson (B.S.’75/GPA) was named executive director of the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia in Richmond after serving as its interim executive director for more than a year. Carole H.S. Miles, Ed.D. (M.A.E.’71/A), is retired and working part time as an artist and designer. James W. Patterson, M.D. (M.D.’72/M; H.S.’76/M), received the 2018 Founders’ Award at the annual meeting of the American Society of Dermatopathology in Chicago, in recognition of his original and significant contributions to the field. Geraldine Scalia (B.F.A.’73/A) had artwork accepted for “Better With Age,” a senior art show at the Manhattan Borough President’s Maggi Peyton Gallery in New York City. Joan Cashion Smith (B.S.’71/B) recently retired after 30 years at Chesterfield County (Va.) Public Schools as COE coordinator at Manchester High School. L Karyn Gunther Smith (B.F.A.’71/A) received the Denis Diderot A.I.R. grant in summer 2018 and spent a month at the artist’s residency in eastern France.

1980s Liz Walker Bryant (B.S.’83/MC; M.S.’04/MC) launched Liz Bryant Business Etiquette in Richmond, Va., offering interactive group trainings in professional etiquette. L Susan Coleman (B.S.’86/B) is a certified life coach, speaker and trainer, specializing in professional and organizational development. S. Cox (B.S.’86/B) is president of VATX Consulting in San Antonio. William Dexter, M.D. (M.D.’86/M), received the 2018 Citation Award from the American College of Sports Medicine for his outstanding performance as a sports medicine practitioner, including his research on academic integrity, concussion management, injury epidemiology and more. Tracey Dunn (B.S.’82/E) was reappointed in 2018 under Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to serve a second four-year term as a member of the Advisory Board of Physician Assistants within the Board of Medicine. Penelope Duvall, M.D. (M.D.’81/M), practices telepsychiatry for a mental health clinic in Georgia after working for 15 years in prison psychiatry. L

Thomas Eichler, M.D. (M.D.’87/M; H.S.’92/M), is president-elect of the board of directors of the American Society for Radiation Oncology, which is the world’s largest radiation oncology society. L Katherine Fornili, D.N.P. (B.S.’82/N; M.P.H.’95/M), earned a doctorate in nursing practice in 2016 from the University of Maryland School of Nursing in Baltimore. She is a registered nurse, a certified addictions registered nurse and a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. James Genus Jr. (B.M.’87/A) was ranked among top electric bass players in the 66th annual DownBeat Critics Poll, compiled by DownBeat, a magazine that covers jazz and blues music. A. Hugh Greene (M.H.A.’84/HP) retired from Baptist Health of Northeast Florida in June 2019 after 18 years as CEO and president. During his career, Greene founded JaxCare, a program for the working uninsured and was the 2014 national winner of Modern Healthcare magazine’s Community Leader Award. Ronald Greene (B.S.’86/MC) edits investigative articles for Reuters and teaches graduate writing at Johns Hopkins University. He returned to the VCU Robertson School in November 2018 to give a talk on his book, “Shots on the Bridge: Police Violence and Cover-Up in the Wake of Katrina.” Harold Greenwald (B.M.’82/A), graduate programs coordinator in the VCU School of Medicine’s Graduate Education Office, completed 35 years of service at the university. He received the VCU President’s Award for Service Excellence in October 2018. June Guillot (M.B.A.’86/B) retired Jan. 3, 2017, from Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield after almost 30 years of employment. Kathy Kenna (B.S.’85/HP) has retired from practicing physical therapy and is now in a tenure-track teaching position in biology and serves as the certified athletic trainer for Columbia College in Sonora, Calif. Erik Laursen, Ph.D. (M.Ed.’86/E; Ph.D.’96/E), published “Intentional Responsive Adult Practices: Supporting Kids to Not Only Overcome Adversity but to Thrive.” Randolph Merrick, M.D. (M.D.’85/M), was honored as a 2018 Unsung Hero by the Virginia Health Care Foundation in recognition of his work with the Orange County Free Clinic in Orange, Va. L Mitchell Miller, M.D. (H.S.’82/M), was named Virginia Family Physician of the Year by the Virginia Academy of Family Physicians. Carol Olson (B.S.’89/H&S) is executive director of James House, a sexual and domestic violence agency in Prince George County, Va.; president of the Virginia Center for Public Press, the nonprofit that holds the license for WRIR 97.3 FM; and president of the Virginia Art Therapy Association.

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Benjamin Z. Stallings, M.D. (M.D.’98/M), was installed as the 171st president of MedChi, the Maryland State Medical Society. He is director of the Department of Imaging and the chief radiation safety officer at Doctors Community Hospital in Lanham, Md., and president and CEO of Diagnostic Imaging and Diagnostic Imaging Associates.

Charles Glass, M.D. (M.D.’98/M; H.S.’01/M) L, received the Yale School of Medicine’s 2018 Departmental Award for Excellence in Teaching Ambulatory Care Internal Medicine to Medical Students. He competes in trail running races. His wife, Emmanuelle Delmas-Glass (M.A.’99/A), is the collections data manager for the Yale Center for British Art.

Jaron M. Terry, APR (B.S.’81/MC; M.S.’86/MC), is president of Jaron Terry Communications Ltd. In 2016, she was inducted into the Public Relations Society of America’s College of Fellows and serves, at the national level, on PRSA’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Jessica Gordon, Ph.D. (B.A.’96/H&S; M.A.’00/H&S; Ph.D.’17/H&S), co-founded with Lucas Fritz (B.M.’11/A) The Broadberry Entertainment Group, which books entertainment in the Richmond, Va., area.

A. Troy Thomas (B.S.’86/MC) won two National Capital Chesapeake Bay Regional Emmy Awards for his company’s PBS documentary, “Liberty & Slavery: The Paradox of America’s Founding Fathers.” His production company, Inertia Films, was founded in 1993. Christobel Wetsel (M.S.W.’85/SW) retired in June 2017 from Region 10 Community Services Board in Charlottesville, Va. She returned to work the following November in an as-needed position, serving in four residential programs.

1990s Lawrence Becker (B.S.’90/B; M.B.A.’00/B) plans to retire from the U.S. Army in 2019, after 32 years of service. Karen Bernhard (M.S.’95/E) was listed as an inventor on a patent filed by her employer, Capital One, for systems and methods for an attribute generator tool workflow, which would be useful for computerized decision-making about finance. Frank Blondino, Ph.D. (B.S.’91/P; Ph.D.’95/P), was listed as an inventor on a patent assigned to Kaléo, a pharmaceutical company based in Richmond, Va. The patent concerns devices and methods for delivering opioid antagonists, such as naloxone, which are drugs that block the effects of opioids and are often used to reverse overdoses. L Martin Blum (B.S.’93/B) is business development manager at EDC, a contractor in Midlothian, Va., specializing in retail construction. William Cole Jr. (M.B.A.’95/B) retired Dec. 31, 2018, as executive director of audit and compliance services for VCU, after seven years of service. L Keith Cummings (M.F.A.’96/A) retired from Pennsylvania State University after 20 years and is a lecturer at Longwood University in Farmville, Va. Elizabeth Day, Ph.D. (B.S.’95/N; M.S.’01/N), received a Ph.D. in nursing from the University of Phoenix in August 2018. She won an award for nurse faculty of the year from the University of Phoenix School of Nursing in Fresno, Calif. L

L Life Member Society

Michael Jones (B.S.’97/GPA; Cert.’01/GPA; M.S.’05/ GPA) founded Major Security Consulting and Design LLC in Midlothian, Va. The firm focuses on security consulting, design, operations and training. Adam Larrabee (M.M.’98/A) played jazz guitar with 16-time Grammy-winning banjoist Béla Fleck at one of the nightly concerts held during the Blue Ridge Banjo Camp in Brevard, N.C., in August 2018. Roblyn Lewter, Ph.D. (B.S.’97/H&S), was selected as one of the founding members of USA Today’s I Survived It Facebook group. She is a practicing clinician who helps group members with issues including mental health, trauma and cultural differences. Robert D. Michaux (B.S.’96/H&S) has joined the law firm Christian & Barton LLP in Richmond, Va., as counsel. His legal practice focuses on intellectual property matters and commercial litigation disputes. Eleanor Mitchell (B.S.’95/N) retired as a neonatal nurse. Martha Mock, Ph.D. (M.Ed.’92/E), received the Leadership in Inclusive Higher Education Award at the 2018 State of the Art Conference on Postsecondary Education and Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities. Mock is a clinical professor in the Warner School of Education at the University of Rochester (N.Y.). Keith Morse (B.S.’90/GPA) retired after 21 years with the New York City Police Department. He served on the Manhattan South Task Force and participated in the 9/11 rescue effort. L Julia Pfaff (M.F.A.’93/A) was selected for a 2019-20 professional fellowship from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Va. Michele Ravera (B.S.’91/MC) celebrated five years with KUNR Public Radio in Reno, Nev., and nine with Reno Media Group as a program host and radio producer. She was promoted to part-time faculty at the University of Nevada at Reno for her work at KUNR. Arun Sanyal, M.D. (H.S.’90/M), professor in the Department of Internal Medicine in the VCU School of Medicine and education core director in the VCU Center for Clinical and Translational Research, received the 2018 Distinguished Achievement Award from the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. The award recognizes his 30 years of research.

Winter 2019


Take an adventure

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! Check out full trip details and book your next adventure at

with your fellow Rams!

2020 TRIPS FEB. 18-MARCH 1 ����������������Circumnavigation of New Zealand APRIL 2-13 ���������������������������Japan in Bloom APRIL 23-MAY 1 ������������������Spain Andalucía MAY 2-20 ����������������������������Flavors of Northern Italy JUNE 7-15 ����������������������������Ancient Empires – Amalfi Coast JULY 12-22 ���������������������������Gaelic Inspiration – Ireland JULY 19-27 ��������������������������Cruise the Rhine River – Europe

JULY 21-31 ���������������������������42nd “Passion Play”

Oberammergau JULY 30-AUG. 10 ������������������Forests and Fjords of Alaska AUG. 15-23 ��������������������������Paris – Art, Culture, People SEPT. 13-28 �������������������������Journey to South Africa OCT. 10-18 ��������������������������Rivieras and Islands: France,

Italy and Spain OCT. 15-25 ��������������������������Adriatic Awakening –

Eastern Mediterranean


Kimberly Schmitt, Pharm.D. (Pharm.D.’99/P), is living in Japan at Naval Air Facility Atsugi until 2021, where she volunteers as a pharmacist for the military base clinic. Gia Sharp (B.F.A.’95/A) opened an interior design firm in fall 2018. William Simpson Jr. (M.B.A.’98/B) and his wife, Terri, moved in 2013 to St. Simons Island, Ga., where they sell real estate for DeLoach Sotheby’s International Realty. Simpson retired in 2016 after a 32-year career in the pharmaceutical industry. Rebecca O. Sinclair, M.D. (M.D.’98/M), received the Medical Society of Virginia Foundation’s 2018 Salute to Service Award for Outstanding Service to the Uninsured and Underserved for her work as the medical director with the Prince William (Va.) Area Free Clinic. Sinclair helped develop the county’s only free medical and dental program that provides comprehensive care to low-income, uninsured residents. L William C. Smith (B.S.’91/B) was appointed chief of police for the Richmond (Va.) Police Department in July 2019. In 2018, he was appointed deputy chief and acting chief of police. Richard Szucs, M.D. (H.S.’90/M), was installed in October 2018 as president of the Medical Society of Virginia, the largest physician organization in the commonwealth. L Steven Taylor (B.A.’91/H&S) left his job of 26 years in spring 2017 to start an artisan chocolate company in Chester, Va., which helps people freed from human trafficking. The company uses a fair-trade importer from Haiti and offers manufacturing training and food preparation training to survivors of trafficking. Nicholas Tinker (M.S.W.’93/SW) served as campaign manager for the Cristina McNeil for Congress campaign in Idaho. Steven Wasilewski, D.S. (M.S.O.T.’98/HP), completed the Army-Baylor doctoral program for occupational therapists in 2010. He retired as an active-duty U.S. Army occupational therapist in 2017 and now works as a certified hand therapist at Fredericksburg Orthopaedic Associates.

2000s Michel Aboutanos, M.D. (H.S.’00/M), VCU trauma center director, was appointed to a second three-year term on the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Emergency Medical Services Advisory Board, where he will continue to lead the Trauma System Oversight and Management Committee. Suzanne Britt (M.S.H.A.’09/HP), director of the Children’s Pavilion at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, joined the board of Sportable, a

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nonprofit in Richmond, Va., that provides adaptive sports and recreation opportunities to people with physical and visual disabilities. Mickael Broth (B.F.A.’05/A) was featured in the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s fall 2018 arts preview, with a particular focus on his 13-foot sculpture “Perfect Bound,” which was installed in front of the Hull Street Library in Richmond, Va., in fall 2018. Jordan Bruner (B.F.A.’06/A) created a film included in the New York Times’ “Conception” series. It was selected for an International Motion Award by American Illustration and was shown in November 2018 at the American Illustration Party in New York City. John Bullard (B.M.’05/A) was invited by 16-time Grammy-winning banjoist Béla Fleck to play classical banjo at the closing concert of the Blue Ridge Banjo Camp in Brevard, N.C., in August 2018. Nathaniel Cain (B.S.’04/En) was listed as an inventor on a patent that concerns copolymers, assigned to his employer, Afton Chemical Corp. John Calderon (B.F.A.’04/A) was nominated for the 2018 Emmy Award for Outstanding Production Design for a Variety, Reality or Reality-Competition Series for his work as art director for “Bill Nye Saves the World.” Nancy Campbell (B.I.S.’02/H&S) retired from VCU. She worked in the Department of Painting and Printmaking and in the dean’s office in the School of the Arts, in the Department of History in the College of Humanities and Sciences and at the Center for Biological Complexity in VCU Life Sciences. Jarrod Chalkley (B.S.’01/En) was listed as an inventor on a patent for a manufacturing system designed to automatically fill containers. Scott Clark (B.M.’04/A) received a four-star review in the August 2018 issue of DownBeat, a magazine that covers jazz and blues music, for his latest album “ToNow.” Robert Cowgill (M.B.A.’09/B) joined the board of Sportable, a nonprofit in Richmond, Va., that provides adaptive sports and recreation opportunities to people with physical and visual disabilities. Lily Cox-Richard (M.F.A.’08/A) was selected for a 2019-20 professional fellowship from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Va. Danielle Crawford (B.S.’00/En) filed a patent with several co-inventors for an additive assembly for an electronic vaping device.

Alan Dow, M.D. (H.S.’04/M; M.S.H.A.’05/HP), was named president of University Health Services Professional Education Programs, VCU Health’s continuing education organization that provides professional development for physicians and other health care professionals in Virginia and beyond. Suzanna Fields (M.F.A.’01/A) was selected for Style Weekly’s list of Women in the Arts 2018, which honors top female artists in the Richmond, Va., region. Stephanie Goldberg, M.D. (M.D.’03/M; H.S.’10/M), serves on the Association of American Medical Colleges Council of Faculty and Academic Societies Administrative Board. Justin Greene, Ph.D. (B.A.’04/H&S; M.A.’09/H&S; Ph.D.’18/H&S), is visiting assistant professor of rhetoric at Hampden-Sydney College in Hampden Sydney, Va. Tate Hanyok (B.F.A.’02/A) received the prize for best comedy feature screenplay at the Austin (Texas) Film Festival. Whitney Headen (B.S.’09/B) was featured in Essence Magazine about the launch of her startup, The Life Currency, an online community aimed at helping young women navigate finances, career and personal development. Sara Hendon Heisler (M.H.A.’08/HP) joined OrthoVirginia in Richmond, Va., as general counsel. Zachary Hernandez (B.A.’16/H&S) joined S.L. Nusbaum Realty Co. as a sales and leasing associate. Carrie Herzke, M.D. (M.D.’04/M), was profiled in the 2018 Top Hospitalists issue of American College of Physicians Hospitalist magazine. She is director of clinical operations for the hospitalist program at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where she is also associate vice chair for inpatient operations. Iris Holliday (M.S.’00/MC) joined the board of UMFS, a nonprofit in Richmond, Va., that provides programs to meet the needs of high-risk children and parents. Oscar Holmes IV (B.S.’02/H&S) co-authored “Transforming Research on Diversity and Firm Performance: a dynamic capabilities perspective,” which was published in the Academy of Management Annals and won one of 2018’s Bright Idea Awards from the New Jersey Policy Research Organization Foundation and the Stillman School of Business at Seton Hall University. L

Melanie Davis (M.Ed.’04/E) joined Neumann and Dunn Real Estate in Henrico, Va.

Emre Kartari (B.M.’00/A) drummed in the debut “ICA Sessions” in October 2018 at the VCU Institute for Contemporary Art, where his ensemble, Yeni Nostalji, performed Turkish-influenced music.

Bol Gai Deng (B.A.’08/GPA) published “Bol Gai Deng: Legacy of an African Freedom Fighter,” which tells his life story, including his escape from slave traders, becoming a U.S. citizen and attempting to become president of his home country, South Sudan.

Tammy Johnson Lee (B.S.’03/GPA) was awarded the Virginia Juvenile Justice Association’s 2018 Meritorious Award in the area of community service. She is a human resource specialist and background investigator with the state Department of Juvenile Justice.

Winter 2019



Renee Letourneau (B.S.’02/GPA; M.S.’04/GPA) worked with Prince William County (Va.) police as a police officer for 12 years. She served on patrol for six years, a short time as a detective in the physical abuse unit and five years in the forensic services section. Michael McClure, Ph.D. (M.S.’07/En; Ph.D.’11/En), assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the VCU College of Engineering, received a $500,000 Defense Medical Research and Development Neuromusculoskeletal Injuries Rehabilitation Research Award through the U.S. Department of Defense to develop a strategy that could allow a patient to regain use of a severely damaged muscle. He has collaborated on the work with Jonathan E. Isaacs, M.D. (M.D.’96/M; H.S.’01/M), professor and chair of the division of hand surgery in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery in the VCU School of Medicine. Tamika Murrell (B.S.’04/En) was listed as an inventor on a patent for a manufacturing system designed to automatically fill containers. Michael-Birch Pierce (B.F.A.’07/A) was featured in the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch for his internationally recognized free-motion embroidered portraits.

J. Patrick Whitaker, Ph.D. (M.Ed.’01/E), joined Neumann and Dunn Real Estate in Henrico, Va. Courtney White (B.F.A.’03/A) is expanding production capabilities for her Henrico, Va., brewery, Intermission Beer Co. The company is beginning distribution in the Richmond, Va., region.

2010s Omar Abubaker, Ph.D., D.M.D. (Cert.’16/M), professor in the VCU School of Dentistry and chair of oral and maxillofacial surgery, was appointed to the newly formed Virginia Governor’s Advisory Commission on Opioids and Addiction. Feras Almomani (B.S.’14/B) joined Shaheen, Ruth, Martin and Fonville Real Estate in Richmond, Va. Tom Bannard (M.B.A.’16/B), coordinator and co-founder of Rams in Recovery, which assists VCU students recovering from addictive behaviors, was appointed to the newly formed Virginia Governor’s Advisory Commission on Opioids and Addiction. Allison Bills (B.F.A.’16/A) is a photographer at NASAJohnson Space Center in Houston.

Todd Pillion, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’01/D), who represents the 4th District in the Virginia House of Delegates, was appointed by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to the newly formed Governor’s Advisory Commission on Opioids and Addiction.

Kayla Diggs Brody (B.S.’10/H&S; Cert.’12/GPA; M.P.H.’12/M; Cert.’16/E) launched Richmond Mural Tours, a small business that offers guided walking tours of the murals in the Jackson Ward district in Richmond, Va.

Ted “Trey” Pollard III (B.M.’05/A) released his debut album, “Antiphone,” through Spacebomb Records, of which he is co-owner along with Matthew E. White (B.M.’05/A).

Elizabeth Bruce (B.F.A.’17/A) had designs featured in Gypsy Sport’s New York Fashion Week collection, which Vogue named one of the top 10 collections at the event.

Meg Price (B.G.S.’98/H&S) joined Shaheen, Ruth, Martin and Fonville Real Estate in Richmond, Va.

Anne Bujold (M.F.A.’18/A) was a collaborative member in the start of the Society of Inclusive Blacksmiths, a community dedicated to creating working spaces that are safe for women, people of color, trans people, those who identify as queer and anyone who doesn’t fit the dominant demographic of blacksmiths.

Frankie Moore Purdie (B.F.A.’08/A) has been promoted to captain in the Ordnance Corps in the U.S. Army, where she has served for more than nine years. L Gaurav “G” Shrestha (B.S.’03/B) was named a partner with Virginia Asset Management, a financial advisory firm in Richmond, Va. L Eleanor Smith (B.F.A.’06/A) was featured in The New York Times for “Body Comes Apart,” a dance and spoken-word duet she performed with collaborator Molly Lieber. The piece debuted at New York Live Arts in New York City in March 2019. Sayaka Suzuki (M.F.A.’05/A) was featured in the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch’s fall 2018 arts preview, with a particular focus on a fellowship she received from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Edward “Toby” Whitaker (B.M.’01/A) is an adjunct instructor of jazz in the Department of Music in the VCU School of the Arts, where he teaches jazz orchestra and small jazz ensemble.


VCU Alumni

Amarise Carreras (B.F.A.’18/A) was selected for a 2019-20 undergraduate fellowship from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Va. Mahari Chabwera (B.F.A.’17/A) was selected for a 2019-20 professional fellowship from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Va. Christina Wing Chow (B.F.A.’14/A) was featured in “Fresh Paint: Murals Inspired by the Story of Virginia,” an exhibit at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture. Joseph Clatterbuck (B.S.’12/En) was listed as an inventor on a patent for corrosion-control methods for corrosion-aggressive solutions. Sean Collins-Smith (B.A.’10/A; B.S.’10/MC; M.S.’12/ MC) received the prize for best drama TV pilot for “Lifers Anonymous” at the Austin (Texas) Film Festival.

Crystal Douglas (B.S.’18/MC) is a graphic designer for Colab, a website design and development company based in Richmond, Va. Zack Forbes (B.A.’17/A) teaches at Fairview International School in Malaysia as a brass and theory teacher. He plays trumpet in the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre Band. Lucas Fritz (B.M.’11/A) co-founded with Jessica Gordon, Ph.D. (B.A.’96/H&S; M.A.’00/H&S; Ph.D.’17/H&S), The Broadberry Entertainment Group, which books live entertainment in the Richmond, Va., area. Patrick Harkin (M.F.A.’17/A) was selected for a 201920 professional fellowship from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Va. Lindsey Hendrick (M.S.’18/LS) is a biologist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where she is assigned to the Science Information and Analysis Branch of the Biological and Economic Analysis Division. In this role, she assesses the quality of data submitted by organizations that have applied to register a pesticide with the EPA. Stephanie Joyner (B.S.’13/WS) is executive director of the Pinal County Historical Society in Florence, Ariz. Savannah Knoop (M.F.A.’16/A) is played by Kristen Stewart in the indie movie “Jeremiah Terminator LeRoy,” which tells the story of a literary hoax in which Knoop assisted author Laura Albert in creating the persona JT LeRoy. Amelia Blair Langford (B.F.A.’12/A) was featured in “Fresh Paint: Murals Inspired by the Story of Virginia,” an exhibit at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture. Randi Lee (B.S.’10/MC) was promoted from patient services representative to bookkeeper at Richmond (Va.) Allergy and Asthma. Paul Liberti (B.A.’10/H&S; M.T.’14/E) joined Exit First Realty as a Realtor. Kelly Lockeman, Ph.D. (Ph.D.’12/E), was a 2018 recipient of a $7,500 grant from the Section for Medical Education Scholarship Research and Evaluation for a study with co-investigators at the University of Colorado-Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colo. She also was accepted as a workshop facilitator in the Medical Education Research Certificate Program. Adele McClure (B.S.’11/B) was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list in the category of law and policy. The listing cited her work on the Arlington (Va.) 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness. L Ashley McCuistion (B.S.’14/WS) was featured in Archaeology Magazine for her work leading a project to create a 3D-printed model of the Fairfield Plantation in southeastern Virginia.

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CLASSNOTES New releases

Alumni and faculty books Racism and isolation JEFFREY BLOUNT

In “The Emancipation of Evan Walls,” the main character fears the birth of his first child because of his memories of racism and isolation in the 1960s. Blount (B.S.’81/MC) explores questions surrounding school integration and being caught between cultures. By opening up about his experiences to his wife, Evan finds an opportunity to heal from his traumatic life story and to repair a dead spot that has lingered in his marriage.

Richmond’s public art MICKAEL BROTH

Broth (B.F.A.’05/A), known as The Night Owl, is a graffiti artist turned muralist. He catalogs the rich collection of public art in Richmond, Virginia, in “Murals of Richmond.” The book includes 300 full-color photos. For the accompanying text, Broth tracked down 70 muralists, including one as far away as Hong Kong, to get their insights on the city and their work.

Poetry and photography CHRISTINE SLOAN STODDARD

Salvadoran American writer and interdisciplinary artist Stoddard (B.A.’12/H&S; Cert.’12/ DVC) investigates issues surrounding women’s bodies and states of being in “Belladonna Magic: Spells in the Form of Poetry and Photography.” Founding editor of Quail Bell Magazine, Stoddard has published work in outlets including Ms. Magazine and Bustle. Here, she produces “an invitation and an offering”

to the reader, connecting her photography and poetry in ways that leave space to include the reader's personal exploration.

Bringing life to dragons URSULA K. LE GUIN AND CHARLES VESS

Le Guin’s Earthsea novels have been released in a vibrant new form, “The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition.” Vess (B.F.A.’74/A) worked closely with the author to produce more than 55 illustrations and completed the final one after the author’s death in 2018. Le Guin’s favorite plant, a small thistle, was included in the drawing as a tribute.

Highly anticipated essays TRESSIE MCMILLAN COTTOM

“Thick: And Other Essays” has appeared on 2019 must-read lists in Entertainment Weekly, Bustle, Buzzfeed and more, and an excerpt was published in Time Magazine. Cottom, assistant professor of sociology in the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences, also appeared on “The Daily Show.” Her debut essay collection explores the political, social and personal from the perspective of a modern black American feminist, covering a range of topics from beauty to money.


In “A Little Child Shall Lead Them: A Documentary Account of the Struggle for School Desegregation in Prince Edward County,

Virginia,” contemporaneous court cases, government documents, personal and scholarly writing, speeches and journalism come together to represent the voices and viewpoints of the county’s battle for and against educational equality in the aftermath of Brown v. Board of Education. Daugherity, associate professor in the Department of History in the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences, is also the author of “Keep On Keeping On: The NAACP and the Implementation of Brown v. Board of Education in Virginia.”

Improving race relations CHARLES NATHANIEL SMITH

In “Diversity: A Reality for America, Racism Still Its Nightmare,” Smith (B.S.’76/H&S; M.S.’80/ HP) proposes that if the public school system in America focused on race differently, white Americans and African Americans could interact and relate to one another in a more positive, significant way. The book touches on similar themes in the military.

Join the alumni book club Read, learn and build community in the new year as part of the VCU Alumni Lifelong Learning Virtual Book Club. Joining the book club is completely free; you just have to get a copy of the book to enjoy. Learn more and sign up today at

Winter 2019



Commission, which is responsible for projects such as setting direction for memorializing the history of the Shockoe Bottom neighborhood as the area where enslaved Africans were brought hundreds of years ago.

Missing an issue? Read past editions of the magazine online at

Esmel Meeks (B.S.’10/B) was honored as one of the 2018 Top 40 Under 40 by Inside Business: The Hampton Roads (Va.) Business Journal. The award honors people in the region who are successful in their careers and involved in the community. Patricia Mehle (B.S.’12/B) has been working with the gig-economy app TaskRabbit, owned by IKEA, since December 2017, in a role focused primarily on the acquisition of Taskers in new markets. Ander Mikalson (M.F.A.’12/A) composed “Score for the Big Bang,” a musical piece that was performed publicly for the first time in October 2018 by more than 80 singers at Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Richmond, Va. Austin “Auz” Miles (B.F.A.’17/A) was featured in “Fresh Paint: Murals Inspired by the Story of Virginia,” an exhibit at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture. Sarah Gannett Millard (B.S.’13/MC) joined Circle S studio in Richmond, Va., as a digital project manager. Caelynn Miller-Keyes (B.S.’17/MC) reigned as Miss North Carolina USA until October 2018. She was first runner-up in the Miss USA pageant in May 2018. She appeared in the most recent season of ABC’s “The Bachelor,” which premiered in January 2019. Haley Mulder (B.S.’16/H&S; M.S.’18/H&S) received the 2018 Educational Research Award from the Society of Forensic Toxicologists for her master’s research on the products used in electronic cigarettes. Barrett W.R. Peters, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’11/D; M.S.D.’13/D; Cert.’13/D), has been elected president of the Virginia Society of Pediatric Dentistry. He maintains a full-time private practice in Charlottesville, Va., and serves as an affiliate professor in the VCU Department of Pediatric Dentistry. L Ryan Rinn (Cert.’11/GPA; M.U.R.P.’12/GPA) was appointed to the Richmond (Va.) History and Culture


VCU Alumni

Alexandria Ritchie (B.S.’18/En) formed DuraSafe LLC with Hilton Bennet (B.S.’16/En; Cert.’16/DVC; M.P.I.’18/DVC), Haejung “Katelyn” Shin (B.S.’18/ H&S) and several VCU students. The company is developing the EpiNavigator, a medical device designed to improve the accuracy of epidural placements. Leigh Suggs (M.F.A.’15/A) was featured in the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s fall 2018 arts preview, with a focus on a CultureWorks grant she received from the city of Richmond, Va., and a six-month residency she completed at Quirk Gallery in Richmond. Matt Taylert (M.D.A.’18/B) is a consultant with UDig, a consulting company based in Richmond, Va., that specializes in business problems involving digital solutions, data and engineering. Alicia Tetteh (B.S.W.’10/SW), founder of Building Endurance PLLC, a mental health and therapy organization, launched the company’s first mental health-focused mobile app, ATTUNE, which connects consumers to mental health and wellness providers. Peter Vincenti (B.M.’18/A) is a full-time strings and choral teacher for beginner to intermediate students at Elko Middle School in Sandston, Va. Charlotte Rene Woods (M.S.’18/MC) is a reporter for Richmond (Va.) BizSense. Sara Yaseen (B.A.’17/H&S) started a career in grassroots and field organizing as a fellow with the Democratic Party of Virginia during the 2016 presidential election and later interned at Environment Virginia. She currently works as Virginia organizing manager at Need to Impeach.

Faculty and staff Peter F. Buckley, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine, was named chair-elect of the Council of Deans of the Association of American Medical Colleges. He will serve on the AAMC’s 17-member board of directors, which provides strategic and fiduciary oversight for the association. Tressie McMillan Cottom, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Sociology in the College of Humanities and Sciences, ranked No. 113 on the 2019 Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings, which recognize education scholars who move ideas from academic journals into the national conversation. Henry J. Donahue, Ph.D., College of Engineering professor, has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Paula Ferrada, M.D., professor of surgery and director of the Surgical Critical Care Fellowship Program in the VCU School of Medicine and medical director of the Surgical and Trauma Intensive Care Unit in VCU Health System, was elected chair of the Young Fellows Association of the American College of Surgeons and secretary of the Panamerican Trauma Society. Antonio Garcia, professor of music and director of jazz studies in the Department of Music in the School of the Arts, had a number of jazz chord charts published by UNC Jazz Press, including compositions “Song for Everyone (Ingoma Yabantu)” for jazz combo with vocalist; “N’Awlins Medley” for jazz trombone quartet with optional drums; “Mango Criollo” and “A Friendly Exchange” for jazz combo; and arrangement “Que Bueno Baila Usted” for a cappella jazz choir. Alex Krist, M.D., professor of family medicine in the School of Medicine, was elected a member of the National Academy of Medicine, considered one of the highest honors in the fields of medicine and health. Karen McIntyre, assistant professor of multimedia journalism at the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture in the College of Humanities and Sciences, collaborated with Google to create a feature for Google Assistant that highlights news articles that offer constructive solutions for issues of widespread social significance. Patrick Nana-Sinkam, M.D., professor of medicine in the School of Medicine and chair of the school’s Division of Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine, has been elected a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation. NanaSinkam is the only Virginia physician-scientist to be elected this year and the 13th VCU faculty member to hold membership. Damian Pitt, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the Urban and Regional Studies and Planning program in the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs and a Translational Research Fellow through the Wilder School’s Office of Public Policy Outreach in the Center for Public Policy, was named to the Virginia Solar Energy Development and Energy Storage Authority, a 15-member board appointed by the governor. Rex Richardson, professor of trumpet in the Department of Music in the School of the Arts, has been named International Tutor in Trumpet at the JAM MUSIC LAB, a private music conservatory in Vienna. Richardson carries out his new responsibilities over the course of multiday visits while continuing to teach at VCU. Mishka Terplan, M.D., professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the School of Medicine and director of the Motivate clinic, an outpatient VCU Health clinic designed to help patients struggling with addiction, was appointed to the Virginia Governor’s Advisory Commission on Opioids and Addiction.

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Rob Tregenza, Ph.D., professor and program director in cinema in the School of the Arts, and Kirk Kjeldsen, professor of cinema, released “Gavagai,” which was called one of the best films of 2018 by Richard Brody, a film critic for The New Yorker magazine. Allen Yee, M.D., assistant clinical professor in the department of emergency medicine in the VCU School of Medicine and the operational medical director for Chesterfield County (Va.) Fire and EMS, was appointed to the Virginia Governor’s Advisory Commission on Opioids and Addiction.

Marriages Amanda Zack Lopez (B.S.’14/MC; M.S.’15/MC) married Max Lopez (B.A.’13/H&S) on March 25, 2018. Tara Labons (Tyler) Unger (B.S.’15/H&S) married Luke Raymond Unger on Jan. 23, 2018.


Leola A. Glenn (B.S.’46/N), of Suffolk, Va., March 12, 2019.

Francis G. Burns, M.D. (M.D.’56/M; H.S.’64/M; H.S.’64/M), of Virginia Beach, Va., Feb. 15, 2019.

Sarah R. Hill (A.S.’49/HP), of Jacksonville Beach, Fla., Oct. 17, 2018.

Phyllis A. Burton (B.S.’57/N), of Trent Woods, N.C., Jan. 5, 2019.

Claire C. Hines (B.S.’48/HP), of North Chesterfield, Va., Jan. 19, 2019.

Julia F. Campbell (B.S.’54/N) March 27, 2019.

Artis D. Johnson, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’45/D), of Wilson, N.C., May 10, 2019. Pauline W. Manson (B.S.’49/N), of Newport News, Va., Feb. 6, 2019. Loretta J. McWilliams (B.S.’44/N), of Richmond, Va., Feb. 14, 2019. Edith M. Moses (B.S.’47/P), of Mineral, Va., Dec. 6, 2018. Thomas G. Potterfield, M.D. (M.D.’46/M), of Charleston, W.Va., Jan. 18, 2019. Eva M. Scott (B.S.’47/P), of Amelia Court House, Va., March 28, 2019. Mary O. Smith (B.F.A.’47/A), of Henrico, Va., Feb. 19, 2019.

Michael Alao (B.S.’99/B) and Katy Glasgow welcomed daughter Lily Alao on Dec. 5, 2018.

Thelma D. Spellman (B.S.’45/N), of Hampton, Va., Jan. 28, 2019.

Katie (B.S.’10/B) and Joey (B.S.’12/WS) Buzby, welcomed Everett Joseph on May 29, 2019.

Bernard H. Spivak, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’43/D), of New York, Sept. 1, 2018. Della D. Tolson (B.S.’48/N), of Raleigh, N.C., April 13, 2019.


1930s Jean B. Kivlighan (B.S.’34/N), of Bridgewater, Va., Sept. 4, 2018.

1940s Florence B. Brannon (B.F.A.’42/A), of Pilot Mountain, N.C., Jan. 9, 2019.

Dorothy S. Wagoner (B.S.’45/N), of Greensboro, N.C., April 3, 2019. Laura L. White (B.S.’48/N), of Berryville, Va., Sept. 30, 2018. Walter K. Yates, M.D. (M.D.’47/M), of Huntington, W.Va., Oct. 7, 2018.

1950s Thomas W. Armstrong, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’51/D), of Culpeper, Va., Jan. 29, 2019.

Harry J. Carver (B.S.’58/B), of Arlington, Va., May 11, 2019. Frances T. Cobb (B.F.A.’53/A), of Virginia Beach, Va., Feb. 8, 2019. William A. Coleman, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’51/D), of Lynchburg, Va., Feb. 8, 2019. Mary E. Copeland (B.S.’53/HP), of Suffolk, Va., Dec. 21, 2018. Charles R. Daniel, M.D. (M.D.’56/M), of Beckley, W.Va., Sept. 22, 2018. William T. Doyle (B.S.’59/P), of South Hill, Va., Sept. 28, 2018. Roy L. Earp, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’59/D), of Wrightsville Beach, N.C., Sept. 27, 2018. Sarah M. Feely (B.S.’56/HP), of Lookout Mountain, Ga., March 17, 2019. William P. Fletcher, M.D. (M.D.’53/M), of Rockingham, Va., Sept. 7, 2018. Edna M. Fogarty (Cert.’54), of Rockford, Mich., Nov. 25, 2018. Margaret G. Ford (B.S.’53/HP), of Richmond, Va., Feb. 8, 2019. Hunter A. Grumbles (M.H.A.’52/HP), of Cary, N.C., April 12, 2019. Robert F. Haden, M.D. (M.D.’57/M), of Friendswood, Texas, Oct. 11, 2018. Vondelear A. Haggins (Dipl.’54/N), of Albuquerque, N.M., Sept. 8, 2018. June A. Harding (B.F.A.’59/A), of Deer Isle, Maine, March 22, 2019. Helen L. Hargis (B.S.’51/P), of Wytheville, Va., Sept. 6, 2018.

Doris M. Brostrom (Cert.’46), of Annandale, N.J., Dec. 23, 2018.

Joyce A. Bain (A.S.’55/HP), of Henrico, Va., May 14, 2019.

Mary-Catherine Calvert (‘48/A), of Free Union, Va., Nov. 6, 2018.

Hampton R. Bates, M.D. (M.D.’57/M; H.S.’62/M; H.S.’58/M), of Richmond, Va., Jan. 20, 2019.

John Y. Embrey, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’43/D), of Fredericksburg, Va., April 7, 2019.

Yvonne M. Bennett (Dipl.’58/N), of Hampton, Va., Dec. 28, 2018.

Doris R. Estelle (B.S.’47/HP), of New Orleans, Feb. 13, 2019.

William O. Bevilaqua (B.F.A.’50/A), of Mechanicsville, Va., Feb. 8, 2019.

Natalie W. Hill (A.S.’51/HP), of Vestavia Hills, Ala., Oct. 9, 2018.

William W. Farley, M.D. (M.D.’43/M), of Raleigh, N.C., Sept. 7, 2018.

Robert L. Binda, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’59/D), of Crimora, Va., Nov. 22, 2018.

Mirabeau L. Hughes (B.S.’59/P), of Fredericksburg, Va., Dec. 6, 2018.

Virginia M. Fratrick (B.S.’47/N), of Estero, Fla., April 23, 2019.

Melvin H. Burke, M.D. (H.S.’55/M), of Williamsburg, Va., Sept. 12, 2018.

Edward C. Irby, M.D. (M.D.’53/M; H.S.’57/M), of Richmond, Va., Dec. 8, 2018.

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Alice B. Hatcher (A.S.’54/HP), of Moon, Va., Feb. 17, 2019. Edward R. Heinz (B.S.’56/B), of Richmond, Va., Aug. 29, 2018. Doris A. Hill (B.S.’50) Dec. 28, 2018.

Winter 2019



Howard S. Kerpelman (B.S.’54/P), of Yorktown, Va., May 2, 2019.

Robert L. Motyca, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’56/D), of Virginia Beach, Va., April 27, 2019.

Robert F. Schnabel, M.D. (M.D.’51/M), of Minneapolis, Minn., Jan. 5, 2019.

Charles D. King, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’56/D), of Clintwood, Va., Jan. 24, 2019.

Jean H. Muncy (Cert.’49/N; B.S.’51/N), of Jefferson City, Tenn., March 19, 2019.

Polly G. Scott (B.S.’58/HP), of Rockingham, Va., March 26, 2019.

Hubert E. Kiser, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’57/D), of Martinsville, Va., Oct. 26, 2018.

Edwin A. Myrick (B.S.’50/P), of Roanoke, Va., Jan. 21, 2019.

Sallie A. Scott (Dipl.’56/N), of League City, Texas, Dec. 1, 2018.

Paul R. Kleykamp, M.D. (M.D.’52/M), of Greenup, Ky., Dec. 4, 2018.

Mary C. Northrop (B.S.’58/N), of Wilmington, N.C., Sept. 3, 2018.

Shirley K. Scott (Dipl.’50/N), of Washington, D.C., Dec. 8, 2018.

Cary D. Mangum (B.S.’58/N), of Williamsburg, Va., Jan. 2, 2019.

Kathryn S. Novak (B.S.’50/P), of Chesapeake, Va., Feb. 4, 2019.

James A. Selph, M.D. (B.S.’53/P; M.D.’57/M; H.S.’62/M; H.S.’58/M), of Richmond, Va., Feb. 23, 2019.

William R. Mauck, M.D. (M.D.’56/M; H.S.’62/M), of Henrico, Va., April 28, 2019.

Eugene H. Payne (B.S.’59), of Greenville, S.C., Nov. 27, 2018.

Billie W. Shank (B.S.’58/E), of Chesterfield, Va., Oct. 28, 2018.

J.H. McCoy, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’57/D), of Greenville, N.C., Feb. 27, 2019.

Robert M. Phillips, M.D. (M.D.’51/M), of Huntsville, Ala., Dec. 19, 2018.

Carl T. Smith (B.F.A.’58/A), of Greer, S.C., Jan. 1, 2019.

Leroy S. McDaniel, M.D. (M.D.’53/M; H.S.’54/M), Richmond, Va., Sept. 13, 2018.

Harry G. Plunkett (B.S.’53/P; M.D.’65/M), of Virginia Beach, Va., March 31, 2019.

Frederick A. Smith (B.S.’53/B), of Glen Allen, Va., Jan. 2, 2019.

Erma M. McGuire, M.D. (M.D.’51/M; H.S.’52/M), of Pearisburg, Va., Nov. 5, 2018.

Irma Jeanne W. Pugh (B.S.’57/HP), of Winchester, Va., April 6, 2019.

Helen L. Smith (B.F.A.’51/A), of Richmond, Va., Jan. 17, 2019.

Frances W. McNew (B.S.’52/N), of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, Feb. 4, 2019.

Robert W. Rorrer (B.S.’57/P), of Lexington, Va., April 4, 2019.

Clarence W. Taylor, M.D. (M.D.’55/M), of Shawsville, Va., April 25, 2019.

Hattie P. Meredith (B.S.’51/H&S), of Roanoke, Va., May 17, 2019.

Peggy Rosenberger (B.S.’52/N), of Cotuit, Mass., Oct. 19, 2018.

Harding L. Thomas, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’50/D), of Culpeper, Va., April 27, 2019.

Roy A. Moon (B.S.’50/P), of Mechanicsville, Va., Oct. 4, 2018.

Paul H. Schellenberg, M.D. (M.D.’54/M; H.S.’55/M), of Virginia Beach, Va., Oct. 17, 2018.

J. Vergara (B.S.’57/B), of Hopewell, Va., March 24, 2019.

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 da Vinci Center 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 University College

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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William C. Watkins, M.D. (H.S.’59/M), of Camden, S.C., Jan. 18, 2019.

William R. Garnett (B.S.’69/P), of Richmond, Va., Feb. 18, 2019.

Alice J. Morgan (M.S.W.’67/SW), of Alexandria, Va., Nov. 4, 2018.

Sue H. Wickers (B.S.’58/HP), of Danville, Va., Nov. 2, 2018.

Sterling M. Giannotti (B.S.’61/B), of Richmond, Va., March 29, 2019.

Marilyn G. Morgan (B.F.A.’66/A), of Midlothian, Va., May 8, 2019.

Armistead M. Williams, M.D. (H.S.’58/M), of Richmond, Va., Oct. 25, 2018.

Virginia B. Grabbe (B.S.’69/H&S), of Orangevale, Calif., Jan. 26, 2019.

Barbara H. Muller (B.S.’62/P), of Duluth, Ga., Dec. 20, 2018.

Thomas C. Wilson, M.D. (M.D.’54/M), of Beckley, W.Va., Oct. 9, 2018.

Joyce M. Grantham (B.S.’68/B), of Lawrenceville, Ga., Feb. 14, 2019.

Harold E. North (M.F.A.’67/A), of North Chesterfield, Va., Jan. 21, 2019.

Stuart B. White, M.D. (M.D.’57/M), of Blackstone, Va., March 30, 2019.

Asbury W. Hadder (B.S.’61/H&S), of Henrico, Va., May 1, 2019.

George Orlove, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’63/D), of Chevy Chase, Md., Dec. 7, 2018.

Robert W. Woodhouse, M.D. (M.D.’58/M), of Henrico, Va., Dec. 6, 2018.

H.B. Harrell (B.F.A.’62/A), of Wakefield, Va., Oct. 9, 2018.

Walter D. Padow, M.D. (M.D.’64/M), of Plantation, Fla., Oct. 2, 2018.

Betsy W. York (Dipl.’53/N), of Thomasville, N.C., Feb. 17, 2019.

Ashby T. Harris, M.D. (H.S.’67/M), of Dallas, March 2, 2019.

Joseph C. Parker. M.D. (M.D.’62/M), of Louisville, Ky., May 3, 2019.

Nellie V. Harry (B.S.’69/E; M.Ed.’79/E), of Richmond, Va., Jan. 17, 2019.

Walter E. Pendleton (B.M.’68/A), of North Chesterfield, Va., Oct. 1, 2018.

Robert E. Hendry, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’61/D), of Fort Myers, Fla., May 6, 2019.

Nancy R. Pinkston (B.S.’63/N), of Ringgold, Ga., March 14, 2019.

Charles R. Horne (B.S.’66/B; B.S.’70/B), of North Dinwiddie, Va., Nov. 2, 2018.

Sammie L. Porter (B.S.’69/P), of Clover, S.C., Nov. 4, 2018.

1960s Barbara J. Anderson (B.S.’68/E), of Richmond, Va., Sept. 23, 2018. Clarence E. Barrack (B.S.’62/E), of Lancaster, Va., Feb. 27, 2019. Nancy G. Bazzrea (B.S.’65/HP), of Mechanicsville, Va., Nov. 1, 2018.

Emily C. Hughes (B.S.’66/E; M.Ed.’72/E), of Richmond, Va., Feb. 14, 2019. F.E. Johns (B.S.’62/MC), of Henrico, Va., May 8, 2019.

William R. Proffit, D.D.S., Ph.D. (Ph.D.‘62/M), of Chapel Hill, N.C., Sept. 30, 2018. Patricia B. Revere (B.S.’63/HP; M.A.’89/A), of Midlothian, Va., Dec. 22, 2018.

Katherine W. Bredbenner (Cert.’66/HP), of Towson, Md., Sept. 22, 2018.

Joseph B. Johnson, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’62/D), of Oxford, Fla., Sept. 18, 2018.

Thelma M. Capps (B.S.’61/P), of Virginia Beach, Va., March 10, 2019.

Robert H. Keller, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’62/D), of Reedville, Va., March 23, 2019.

James E. Cobb (B.S.’69/H&S), of Glen Allen, Va., Dec. 1, 2018.

Elizabeth K. Kennedy (B.M.’67/A), of Williamsburg, Va., Jan. 5, 2019.

Ruth P. Coffman (B.S.’68/E), of Mount Pleasant, S.C., Sept. 13, 2018.

Bruce A. Ketner, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’61/D), of Salisbury, N.C., Dec. 24, 2018.

Gerald D. Connors, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’65/D), of Houston, Dec. 21, 2018.

Kyle F. Kiesau, M.D. (M.D.’67/M), of Mill Spring, N.C., May 12, 2019.

Nelson L. St. Clair (M.H.A.’61/HP), of Williamsburg, Va., Nov. 6, 2018.

Blanton W. Cooper (B.S.’65/B), of Bossier City, La., Nov. 19, 2018.

Charles R. Lamb, M.D. (H.S.’64/M), of Chester, Va., Nov. 18, 2018.

Laurence D. Schwartz, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’64/D; H.S.’66/D), of Biscayne Park, Fla., Feb. 8, 2019. L

James B. Corbin (B.S.’65/P), of Martinsville, Va., Feb. 24, 2019.

Frank H. Lansinger (B.S.’65/B), of Newport News, Va., Oct. 5, 2018.

Hershel C. Shackelford (B.S.’64/B), of Gloucester Point, Va., Nov. 29, 2018.

Beverley A. Crosby (B.S.’66/B), of North Chesterfield, Va., April 9, 2019.

David G. Lawrence (B.S.’60/P), of Chesapeake, Va., Dec. 16, 2018.

George R. Shearin (’65/A), of Chesterfield, Va., Nov. 15, 2018.

Alice V. Crowder (B.A.’69/H&S), of Glen Allen, Va., Sept. 8, 2018.

H.T. Mann, M.D. (M.D.’69/M), of Amesbury, Mass., April 4, 2019.

Carles L. Spangler (B.F.A.’66/A), of Newport News, Va., Nov. 6, 2018.

Richard T. Deaton, M.D. (M.D.’64/M), of Portsmouth, Va., Nov. 26, 2018.

James Q. Marchant (‘69/H&S), of Midlothian, Va., May 9, 2019.

Richard G. Steele (M.S.’67/E), of North Chesterfield, Va., Sept. 14, 2018. L

James S. Edmonson (B.A.’66/H&S; M.Ed.’73/E), of Henrico, Va., Aug. 30, 2018.

Margaret I. Meador (‘62/A), of Lacey Spring, Va., Sept. 2, 2018. L

Anne T. Terrell (B.S.’63/B), of Chesterfield, Va., April 30, 2019.

Cotesworth P. Fishburne, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’63/D), of Rock Hill, S.C., April 10, 2019.

Steven A. Meeks, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’62/D), of Sumter, S.C., March 8, 2019.

John T. Thios (M.S.’67/H&S), of Colonial Heights, Va., Oct. 11, 2018.

John E. Flournoy, M.D. (B.S.’61/P; M.D.’66/M), of Morehead City, N.C., Dec. 9, 2018.

Mathilda S. Merker (B.S.’65/N; M.S.’75/N), of Catonsville, Md., March 9, 2019.

James W. Thrasher, M.D. (M.D.’65/M), of Little River, S.C., May 8, 2019.

L Life Member Society

Arthur D. Robinson (B.S.’62/P), of Greenville, S.C., March 17, 2019. Esther M. Rose (B.S.’69/H&S), of Bristol, Va., March 16, 2019. Robert K. Rosenberg, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’65/D), of McLean, Va., Oct. 8, 2018. Rassul S. Saber, M.D. (H.S.’66/M), of East Lansing, Mich., Aug. 23, 2019.

Winter 2019



Share your good and exciting news! Drop us a line at Or, update your information and view archived and expanded class notes at James L. Towe, M.D. (M.D.’62/M), of Round Hill, Va., Oct. 24, 2018.

Lenora M. Bradley (B.S.’79/H&S), of Richmond, Va., Jan. 21, 2019.

Carol S. Townes (B.S.’63/H&S), of Mechanicsville, Va., Oct. 28, 2018.

Margaret W. Brazil (M.Ed.’75/E), of Mechanicsville, Va., Oct. 26, 2018.

Stephen E. Van Cleef (A.S.’67/En), of Midlothian, Va., Nov. 24, 2018.

Nancy L. Carper (B.S.’70/N), of Winchester, Va., Nov. 28, 2018.

Robert M. Webb (B.S.’69/MC), of Chicago, Jan. 15, 2019.

Diana D. Carr, M.D. (M.D.’75/M; M.S.’75/M), of Sebring, Fla., Oct. 17, 2018.

Tureman G. Weaver, M.D. (H.S.’60/M), of Richmond, Va., Jan. 25, 2019.

Shirley L. Castelvecchi (M.S.’72/HP), of Kingsport, Tenn., Jan. 10, 2019.

Patricia J. Wegman (B.M.E.’69/A), of North Chesterfield, Va., March 21, 2019.

Stewart W. Chapman (B.S.’75/P), of Bedford, Va., Feb. 6, 2019.

Gary R. West (B.S.’63/B), of Youngstown, Ohio, Sept. 11, 2018.

James R. Chinn (B.S.’73/GPA), of Kalispell, Mont., Oct. 15, 2018.

Charles A. White (B.S.’69/H&S), of Sandston, Va., Nov. 4, 2018.

Mildred E. Coton (M.S.W.’74/SW), of Tampa, Fla., Nov. 3, 2018.

Stuart P. White (B.F.A.’61/A), of Manakin-Sabot, Va., Jan. 19, 2019. Benjamin E. Wiggins, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’61/D), of Portsmouth, Va., May 11, 2019.

Mary J. Craddock (B.S.’74/E), of Charlottesville, Va., Nov. 7, 2018. Lois B. Crane (B.S.’75/H&S), of Coronado, Calif., Dec. 8, 2018.

Stephen F. Hansen, M.D. (M.D.’74/M), of San Diego, Nov. 6, 2018. L Eunice B. Harden (B.S.’72/E), of Richmond, Va., Jan. 6, 2019. Rosalynd L. Harris (B.S.’70/SW), of Chesapeake, Va., Jan. 14, 2019. David J. Hedges, M.D. (M.D.’79/M), of Blacksburg, Va., Sept. 17, 2018. Clyde E. Henderson (M.S.’71/HP), of Sophia, N.C., April 8, 2019. Barnard C. Hickok (B.S.’79/E), of Richmond, Va., Feb. 23, 2019. Rebecca E. Hill (B.F.A.’75/A), of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, Aug. 28, 2018. Erica L. Jorgensen (B.F.A.’76/A), of Moorestown, N.J., Jan. 16, 2019. Richard B. Kernaghan (M.H.A.’70/HP), of Birmingham, Ala., March 8, 2019. George A. Kirchner, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’70/D), of Allentown, Pa., April 20, 2019. Eugene L. Kleiderer (B.F.A.’77/A), of San Pedro, Calif., Sept. 21, 2018. Donna M. Knicely (B.S.’77/E), of Richmond, Va., Oct. 7, 2018. Richard L. Lande, M.D. (H.S.’74/M), of Houston, Oct. 29, 2018. Kenneth J. Lee (B.S.’71/B), of Richmond, Va., Oct. 30, 2018.

William D. Crockett, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’76/D), of Richmond, Va., March 9, 2019.

Deborah A. Lenker (B.S.’74/E), of Newport, N.C., Jan. 23, 2019.

Gary L. Crumpton (B.G.S.’75/B; Cert.’86/B), of Quinton, Va., March 26, 2019.

Martha K. Lequeux (B.S.’77/H&S), of University Park, Md., Sept. 10, 2018.

Rose M. Dortmundt (B.S.W.’78/SW), of Locust Grove, Ark., Feb. 5, 2019.

Gilliam M. Lewis (M.S.’75/HP), of Roanoke, Va., April 30, 2019.

Michael P. Fling (B.S.’72/E), of Jeffersonton, Va., Nov. 30, 2018.

Allen E. Lumpkin (B.S.’77/P), of Keysville, Va., Oct. 15, 2018.

Benjamin W. Foster, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’70/D), of Suffolk, Va., Oct. 23, 2018.

Christine Maccioli (B.S.’75/N; M.S.’88/N), of Fairfax, Va., Dec. 9, 2018.


Thomas R. Fulghum (M.Ed.’72/E), of Midlothian, Va., May 10, 2019.

Leaonead E. Mallory (B.S.’76/E), of North Chesterfield, Va., Nov. 10, 2018.

Michael A. Abbott, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’78/D), of Roanoke, Va., March 23, 2019. L

Carroll S. Gallagher, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’78/D), of Mount Pleasant, S.C., Sept. 19, 2018.

Richard L. Martin (B.S.’72/SW), of Appomattox, Va., Dec. 19, 2018.

Mary A. Allen (B.A.’76/H&S), of Washington, D.C., Dec. 30, 2018.

Frank W. Gibson (M.S.’71/H&S), of Towson, Md., Dec. 27, 2018.

Norma B. Nelson (M.S.W.’79/SW), of Surprise, Ariz., Nov. 28, 2018.

Patricia M. Barker (B.S.’77/HP), of Midlothian, Va., Jan. 16, 2019.

Patricia C. Glass (B.S.’75/E), of Annandale, Va., Feb. 11, 2019.

Melanie L. North (B.S.’77/MC), of Pompton Lakes, N.J., May 12, 2019.

Margaret P. Bemiss (B.S.’78/H&S), of Richmond, Va., Oct. 15, 2018.

Joel C. Goldstein, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’74/D), of Alexandria, Va., Feb. 18, 2019.

Patricia F. Nuckols (B.S.’78/H&S), of Largo, Fla., March 28, 2019.

Harry E. Boggs, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’76/D), of Chesapeake, Va., Jan. 31, 2019.

Luella P. Hall (M.S.W.’72/SW), of Richmond, Va., March 2, 2019.

Edward J. Ramsey, M.D. (M.D.’73/M), of Henrico, Va., Oct. 25, 2018.

Robert E. Willey (B.S.’60/P), of Strasburg, Va., Sept. 15, 2018. Paul I. Winig, M.D. (H.S.’68/M), of Dedham, Mass., Sept. 9, 2018. John B. Woodruff (B.S.’69/B), of Snellville, Ga., May 13, 2019. James W. Wotring, M.D. (M.D.’61/M; H.S.’65/M), of Richmond, Va., Jan. 20, 2019.


VCU Alumni

L Life Member Society


Ruth P. Reiss (B.S.’76/HP), of Hampton, Va., Jan. 21, 2019.

Fred H. Campbell (B.S.’82/H&S), of Richmond, Va., Aug. 29, 2018.

Allyn D. Jinks (B.S.’86/B), of North Chesterfield, Va., Sept. 2, 2018.

William L. Roach (M.H.A.’72/HP), of Victoria, Va., Oct. 3, 2018.

Sara E. Chase (B.S.W.’89/SW), of Richmond, Va., March 5, 2019.

Donna E. Johnson (B.S.’80/B), of Glen Allen, Va., April 14, 2019.

Neal E. Roth (M.B.A.’78/B), of Canonsburg, Pa., April 1, 2019.

Janet O. Cobb (B.S.’89/B), of Glen Allen, Va., Dec. 9, 2018.

Karen I. Jones (M.Ed.’82/E), of Chesapeake, Va., March 2, 2019.

Donald G. Ruecroft (B.S.’72/H&S), of North Chesterfield, Va., Dec. 27, 2018.

Amy A. Costello (B.S.’88/H&S), of Manassas, Va., Sept. 4, 2018. L

Mark W. King, M.D. (M.D.’81/M), of Washington, D.C., Dec. 28, 2018.

Margaret C. St. Clair (M.Ed.’75/E), of Richmond, Va., Aug. 30, 2018.

Virginia M. Dalton (B.G.S.’82/H&S), of Midlothian, Va., Feb. 2, 2019.

Julie L. Kiser (B.S.’88/N), of Roanoke, Va., Sept. 26, 2018. L

Wayne D. Sale (B.S.’74/B), of Glen Allen, Va., Feb. 12, 2019.

Keith W. Davis (M.S.W.’82/SW), of Jarratt, Va., Dec. 13, 2018.

Theodore W. Mabry (B.S.’82/B), of Lynchburg, Va., Jan. 20, 2019.

Paul A. Scott, M.D. (M.D.’75/M), of Ocean City, Md., Dec. 30, 2018.

Doris M. DeLong (M.S.W.’81/SW), of Roanoke, Va., Feb. 7, 2019.

Claudia N. MacSwain (M.B.A.’82/B; M.Acc.’84/B), of Glen Allen, Va., Nov. 9, 2018.

Curtis E. Schweitzer, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’73/D), of Raleigh, N.C., April 7, 2019.

Barry L. Ellis (M.M.’84/A), of Platteville, Wisc., Oct. 20, 2018. L

Erlyne M. Mangum (B.S.’89/H&S), of Glen Allen, Va., Feb. 9, 2019.

Bernard E. Seay (B.S.’73/B), of Bridgewater, Va., Nov. 13, 2018.

Lillie A. Estes (B.S.’84/GPA) Richmond, Va., Jan. 31, 2019.

Thomas E. Marfing, M.D. (M.D.’80/M), of Winchester, Va., Sept. 25, 2018.

William L. Smith, Ph.D. (Ph.D.’79/M), of Wirtz, Va., Oct. 31, 2018.

Patricia T. Folds (M.S.W.’86/SW; Cert.‘87/HP), of Lanexa, Va., Sept. 15, 2018.

Stuart D. Martin, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’80/D), of Midlothian, Va., April 19, 2019.

Amy J. Southard (B.F.A.’78/A), of White Stone, Va., Jan. 24, 2019.

Charles L. Friend (B.S.’81/GPA; M.A.’09/GPA), of Richmond, Va., Oct. 23, 2018.

Duncan M. Mills (M.S.’85/GPA), of Crestview, Fla., Feb. 6, 2019.

Elizabeth O. Spencer-Allen, M.D. (M.D.’79/M), of Hazard, Ky., Sept. 10, 2018.

Susan E. Furey (M.S.W.’84/SW), of Geneva, N.Y., Oct. 19, 2018.

Marcia L. Mock (B.S.’87/B), of Louisville, Ky., Dec. 1, 2018.

Victor J. Tricarico, M.D. (M.D.’74/M), of Center Valley, Pa., Dec. 13, 2018.

Gordon J. Gammon (B.S.’84/H&S), of Maidens, Va., Jan. 11, 2019.

John T. Moorman (B.F.A.’86/A), of Lynchburg, Va., Sept. 21, 2018.

Thomas B. Vassar, Ph.D. (Ph.D.’75/M), of King George, Va., Nov. 14, 2018.

Barbara S. Hyman (M.Ed.’80/E), of Rockville, Va., Nov. 10, 2018.

Ike A. Nooe III (M.S.’82/B), of Camden, S.C., Aug. 30, 2018.

David M. Walrond (B.S.’78/MC), of Troutville, Va., Feb. 18, 2019. L

Paul V. Jackson, M.D. (B.S.’87/H&S; M.D.’91/M; H.S.’94/M; M.Ed.’08/E), of Midlothian, Va., Dec. 28, 2018.

Dana G. Norman (B.S.’82/N), of San Benito, Texas, March 18, 2019.

Elaine G. Walton (B.S.’74/H&S), of Pleasant Hill, N.C., Jan. 20, 2019.

Sue H. Jewell (M.Ed.’87/E), of Glen Allen, Va., Nov. 15, 2018.

Margaret J. North (B.A.’87/H&S), of Henrico, Va., April 20, 2019.

Helen E. Wiggins (B.S.’72/H&S), of Shallotte, N.C., Nov. 1, 2018. Thomas E. Witty, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’71/D), of Hayes, Va., April 14, 2019. Dennis W. Wrenn (M.Ed.’74/E), of Midlothian, Va., April 12, 2019.

1980s Cheryl G. Alexander (M.B.A.’84/B), of Wayland, Mass., Oct. 12, 2018. Peter B. Anderson, M.D. (H.S.’82/M), of Newport News, Va., Nov. 24, 2018. Clara T. Banks (M.S.’86/HP), of Richmond, Va., April 6, 2019. Mary P. Blalock (M.S.’87/N), of Newport News, Va., April 13, 2019.

L Life Member Society

Do you own a business? Let us know, and we’ll send you an exclusive window decal to display your Ram pride. Get your decal today! »

Winter 2019



Mary C. Pollard (B.S.’89/N), of Midlothian, Va., May 9, 2019.

Eleanor P. Geurkink (M.S.’92/HP), of Carol Stream, Ill., Sept. 17, 2018.

Bernetta R. Quinn (B.S.’84/GPA), of Petersburg, Va., Jan. 17, 2019.

Curtis R. Griffith (M.S.’90/B), of Richmond, Va., Oct. 21, 2018.

George T. Rowe, M.D. (M.S.’84/M; M.D.’88/M; H.S.’91/M), of Ashland, Va., April 18, 2019.

Diane M. Grimes (B.S.’91/HP), of Winchester, Va., April 5, 2019.

Charles M. Rullman (M.S.’87/HP), of Emporia, Va., Jan. 29, 2019.

Deborah G. Hankins (M.Ed.’91/E), of Ashland, Ky., Nov. 20, 2018.

Cessar L. Scott (M.S.’83/E), of Richmond, Va., April 28, 2019.

Anemarie L. Hess (M.S.’99/H&S), of Richmond, Va., Oct. 18, 2018.

Cornelius D. Scott (B.S.’84/B), of Evanston, Ill., Jan. 23, 2019.

David R. Hetrick (B.F.A.’91/A), of Tampa, Fla., Jan. 10, 2019.

Robin S. Selby (M.S.W.’81/SW), of Henrico, Va., March 6, 2019.

Renee B. Huber (B.S.’91/B), of Montpelier, Va., April 2, 2019.

Dale H. Singleton (B.A.’85/H&S), of Midlothian, Va., April 11, 2019.

Margaret A. Jacobus (M.S.W.’91/SW), of Onalaska, Wisc., Nov. 29, 2018.

Richard M. Slough (B.S.’89/GPA), of Sandston, Va., Dec. 19, 2018. Lorna J. Snook (B.S.’85/B), of Mechanicsville, Va., Nov. 15, 2018. Beverly Tys-Berson (M.S.W.’81/SW), of Indianapolis, Ind., Nov. 1, 2018. William L. Wagner (B.S.’82/HP; Cert.’81/HP), of West Bend, Iowa, Nov. 23, 2018. Helen S. West (M.S.W.’84/SW), of Anderson, S.C., Jan. 18, 2019. Samuel R. Ward, M.D. (M.D.’89/M), of Erie, Pa., Dec. 29, 2018. L Ella D. Youngblood, M.D. (M.D.’80/M; H.S.’81/M; H.S.’83/M), of Roanoke, Va., April 11, 2019.

Peggy L. Kellam (M.S.W.’90/SW), of Exmore, Va., May 6, 2019. Amy L. Kidd (B.S.’92/B), of Colonial Heights, Va., Jan. 3, 2019. Clemmie H. Kirk (B.S.’96/N), of Suffolk, Va., Nov. 12, 2018. Lisa A. Levene (B.S.’90/E), of Richmond, Va., Sept. 16, 2018. Suzanne M. Magill (B.A.’96/H&S), of North Chesterfield, Va., Sept. 2, 2018. Page C. Martin (B.S.’93/B), of Chester, Va., March 25, 2019. Bruce M. Moore (M.H.A.’96/HP), of New Orleans, La., April 18, 2019. Brenda R. Nash (B.G.S.’92/H&S), of Mechanicsville, Va., Jan. 1, 2019.

Trina E. Wallace (M.T.’98/E), of Midlothian, Va., Nov. 29, 2018.

2000s Cecilia A. Augustine (M.S.W.’07/SW), of Charlottesville, Va., Dec. 3, 2018. Andrew G. Campo (B.A.’08/GPA), of Henrico, Va., Oct. 9, 2018. James K. Elliott (B.S.’00/BM.B.A.’10/B), of Moseley, Va., March 29, 2019. Bernard Greene (B.G.S.’00/H&S; M.S.W.’04/SW), of Richmond, Va., March 7, 2019. L Sebastian I. Herrera (B.S.’03/En), of Waynesboro, Va., March 31, 2019. Jessica D. Holmstrom (B.S.’08/H&S), of Glen Allen, Va., Jan. 12, 2019. Kathryn E. Kasper (M.P.A.’06/GPA), of Alexandria, Ohio, Oct. 23, 2018. Sarah S. Keatley (B.S.’06/N), of Williamsburg, Va., May 2, 2019. Brian M. Marsden (B.S.’02/N), of North Chesterfield, Va., May 1, 2019. Elizabeth N. Morgan (B.F.A.’05/A), of Fairfax, Va., Jan. 8, 2019. L Celia A. Ryan (M.S.H.A.’01/HP), of Oakland, Calif., Dec. 22, 2018. Heather M. Temple (B.S.’03/HP), of Henrico, Va., Dec. 4, 2018. Eric Walz (B.M.’08/A), of Austin, Texas, May 5, 2019. Samantha J. White (B.S.’02/B), of Henrico, Va., Dec. 17, 2018.


Ryan P. Nealon (B.F.A.’98/A), of Hampton, Va., Oct. 28, 2018.

Vicki F. Armentrout (M.Ed.’90/E), of Mechanicsville, Va., Feb. 12, 2019.

Michael J. Petro (B.S.’94/H&S), of Spotsylvania, Va., Jan. 31, 2019.

Jean C. Bilhartz (M.I.S.’94/H&S), of Richmond, Va., Feb. 9, 2019.

Donna P. Sarver (B.S.’91/B), of South Prince George, Va., Sept. 17, 2018.


Susan M. Booker (B.A.’91/H&S), of Richmond, Va., Oct. 24, 2018. L

David A. Savedge (B.G.S.’92/H&S), of Midlothian, Va., Sept. 7, 2018.

John D. Byers (B.S.’17/B), of Great Falls, Va., March 17, 2019.

Barbara B. Carper (B.S.’91/N), of Henrico, Va., Nov. 1, 2018.

Frank J. Shortall (B.S.’96/B), of Glen Allen, Va., Jan. 25, 2019. L

Steven J. Depue (B.S.’10/H&S; B.S.’10/H&S), of North Chesterfield, Va., April 4, 2019

Maria J. Clark (B.S.’92/B), of Washington, D.C., Nov. 16, 2018.

Jason A. Simpkins (B.S.’97/GPA), of Richmond, Va., Feb. 9, 2019.

Suzanne A. Fairman (B.S.’11/B), of Richmond, Va., May 11, 2019.

Derek R. Findlay (M.S.W.’94/SW), of Midlothian, Va., March 23, 2019.

L.P. Tucker (M.P.A.’92/GPA), of Glen Allen, Va., Feb. 3, 2019.

Malissa A. Grose (B.S.’13/H&S), of Yorktown, Va., Dec. 27, 2018.

Diane T. Flowers (M.I.S.’92/H&S), of South Chesterfield, Va., Feb. 10, 2019.

Samuel C. Turner (B.F.A.’90/A), of Winchester, Va., Jan. 27, 2019.

Kathleen H. Holt (B.I.S.’10/H&S), of Midlothian, Va., April 21, 2019.

Tammy R. Gettings (B.S.’95/N), of Chester, Va., Dec. 8, 2018.

Diane A. Van Landingham (B.S.’91/N; M.S.’97/N), of Mechanicsville, Va., Sept. 7, 2018.

Antonio M. Johnson (B.S.’12/En), of Baton Rouge, La., Dec. 4, 2018.


VCU Alumni

Mona M. Williams (M.I.S.’06/A), of Lynchburg, Va., Nov. 24, 2018.

L Life Member Society



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.

IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT James E. Williams (B.S.’84/GPA; M.S.’96/GPA) TREASURER Linda M. Warren (B.S.’75/B) ENGAGEMENT COMMITTEE CHAIR Andrew Hobson (B.S.’12/En) 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 Steve Andrews, Ph.D. (Ph.D.’87/H&S) Kavitha Chunchu, M.D. (B.S.’02/H&S; M.D.’06/M) Lynda Gillespie, Ph.D. (Ph.D.’01/E) Rodney A. Harry (B.S.’90/H&S) 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) Kenneth W. Kolb, Pharm.D. (Pharm.D.’82/P) Beth Lucchesi (M.B.A.’15/B) Timmy Nguyen (B.S.’11/B) Rebecca Perdue (B.S.’92/HP) DaNika Robinson, Ed.D. (B.A.’11/H&S; M.P.A.’15/GPA; Ed.D.’18/E) Keisha Sowers (B.A.’99/A) Joseph R. Stemmle (B.S.’13/B) Dan Walsh (M.B.A.’02/B)

Faith Wilkerson, Ed.D. (B.S.’03/MC; M.Ed.’05/E; Ed.D.’15/E)

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)

Winter 2019



Paul D. Koors, M.D. (M.D.’12/M), of Bethel, Conn., Aug. 28, 2018. Amber D. Lutz (B.S.’10/H&S), of Westford, Mass., Feb. 15, 2019. Brandon P. Perdue (B.S.’14/B), of North Chesterfield, Va., Sept. 9, 2018. Jeffrey B. Petraco (B.S.’14/N; M.S.’18/N), of Henrico, Va., Nov. 13, 2018.

Faculty and staff Louis S. Harris, Ph.D., who served on the School of Medicine faculty for 44 years, died June 10, 2019. He helped lead the rise of the school’s Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology into national prominence, serving as department chair for two decades and overseeing National Institutes of Health grants focused on research in drug abuse. Harris and his family supported VCU, including the schools of Medicine, Education, Dentistry and the Arts, the colleges of Engineering and Humanities and Sciences, the Honors College, the Institute for Contemporary Art and the the MCV Foundation, of which he served on the board and remained an honorary lifetime trustee. In 2010, Harris and his wife, Ruth, funded the first endowed professorship in VCU’s School of Education. The couple also created the Charles Allan Harris Merit Scholarship to support film and photography students in the School of the Arts. Michael Lee Hess, M.D. (H.S.’75/M), a longtime cardiologist, died April 13, 2019. He performed work with pioneering cardiothoracic surgeon Richard Lower, M.D., in the early days of cardiac transplantation; created in 1981 the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation, today the world’s leading scientific society of transplantation physicians and surgeons that also operates the International Registry for Heart and Lung Transplantation; and in 2013 started the cardio-oncology program at VCU Health. Hess completed his fellowship in cardiology at VCU. After serving two years in the U.S. Navy as a clinical cardiologist, he joined the VCU faculty in 1975, becoming a professor of cardiology and physiology. He retired in 2017, the same year the Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation published a special issue dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the first human heart transplant, with Hess co-authoring the first chapter. Paule Marshall, a celebrated voice in African American literature and a professor emeritus of English died Aug. 12, 2019. Marshall was the author of nine books, including her classic debut novel, “Brown Girl, Brownstones” (1959), a coming-of-age story set in Brooklyn during the Great Depression and World War II. Marshall joined VCU’s faculty in 1984, following a two-year stint as a writer-in-residence. In “Triangular Road,” she described being hired by VCU, having previously taught at presti-


VCU Alumni

gious institutions such as Yale, Columbia University, the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and the University of California at Berkeley. She taught at VCU until 1994, when she joined the faculty of New York University. She held the Helen Gould Sheppard Chair of Literature and Culture at NYU and was a member of the NYU Creative Writing Program faculty. She was the recipient of numerous awards, notably a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1961 and a MacArthur Fellowship in 1992. She received the John Dos Passos Prize for Literature in 1989. In 1994, the New York Public Library honored her as a Library Lion. And she received a lifetime achievement award in 2009 from the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards. Edward H. Peeples Jr., Ph.D. (B.S.’57/E), a longtime civil rights advocate and VCU professor, died Sept. 7, 2019. Peeples was emeritus associate professor of preventive medicine and community health at VCU. He conducted extensive research in issues of social justice and was a civil rights advocate who was involved in a variety of human rights reforms in Virginia and elsewhere in the South. Peeples received his bachelor’s degree from Richmond Professional Institute, where was a member of the basketball team. He later received a master’s degree in human relations (intergroup relations) from the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. in sociology with a concentration in medical behavioral science from the University of Kentucky. He taught at the Medical College of Virginia and RPI beginning in 1963, left to focus on his Ph.D., and then returned to teach at the newly formed VCU in 1968. Peeples retired from his teaching position in 1995. He was the first scholar in residence of VCU’s honors program, and he played an active role in the development of the university’s library system. He pushed for VCU to create African American studies courses and worked toward the equal treatment of women. Peeples’ memoir, “Scalawag: A White Southerner’s Journey through Segregation to Human Rights Activism,” was published in 2014. VCU Alumni created the Edward H. Peeples Jr. Award for Social Justice to honor alumni for leadership in combating inequality and social injustice. L

Friends Phoebe Hall, who served parts of two terms on the VCU Board of Visitors, died Jan. 4, 2019. Hall was co-founder, CEO and senior partner of Hall & Hall PLC, a law firm she started with her husband, Franklin “Frank” P. Hall. She first joined VCU’s board in 2015 when then-Gov. Terry McAuliffe appointed her to serve the unexpired term of her late husband. She was reappointed to a second four-year term in June 2018. Hall was elected to serve two terms as rector in 2017-18 and 2018-19. She was the recipient of numerous honors and awards for her professional and volunteer contributions and was an active supporter of a host of charitable causes, including the Alzheimer’s

Association, VCU Massey Cancer Center and Wills for Seniors. In 2018, she created the Phoebe P. Hall Endowed HIGHER Ground Leadership Fund in VCU's Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute. True Farr Luck, known for her volunteerism and philanthropy across the Richmond, Va., region, died Sept. 28, 2019. A longtime supporter of VCU, she and her husband, Charles S. Luck III, generously served as a catalyst for the family to be engaged across the university. True Luck played an important volunteer role as an active member of the VCU Institute for Contemporary Art’s campaign committee. Her personal involvement and the $2 million gift she and her husband made provided inspiration for others to follow suit in supporting this key university priority. The ICA’s True Farr Luck Gallery is home to a series of site-specific commissions. A cancer survivor, Luck was devoted to raising awareness of and support for VCU Massey Cancer Center. In 2015, the couple and their family made a commitment to endow a $1.5 million chair in cancer research at Massey: The Harrigan, Haw and Luck Families Chair in Cancer Research. The couple also provided support for the growth and development of the VCU Rice Rivers Center, providing both financial gifts as well as hardscape materials to maintain and improve the property. Other benefactions include support of the Pauley Heart Center and the Black and Gold Academy at the VCU School of Business. In 2016, True and Charlie Luck were awarded the Edward A. Wayne Medal, which honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions or provided exemplary services to VCU. C. Kenneth Wright (H.L.D.’11), a longtime businessman and philanthropist, died Aug. 15, 2019. Wright and his late wife, Dianne, were among the university’s largest donors, contributing more than $50 million. In 1999, the Wrights donated the building that had been the headquarters of Kenneth Wright’s business and was later renovated to become home of the VCU Brandcenter. The Wrights created the Dianne Harris Wright Professorship for Gynecologic Oncology Research; created a cardiology scholars endowment within the School of Medicine; gave the initial gift to create the Eugene P. Trani Scholars Program; established the Wright Engineering Access Scholarship Program in the College of Engineering; and made a $10.5 million gift to the School of Engineering Foundation that was recognized in the naming of the microelectronics lab as the C. Kenneth and Dianne Harris Wright Virginia Microelectronics Center. Wright and the C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Foundation made a $16 million gift in 2015 to name the C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research. The Wright Center is the first federally funded center of its kind in Virginia and is known nationally for turning innovative science into lifesaving care. Wright was president and owner of Wright Properties and Wright Investments. He also was the retired chairman of Rent-A-Car Co. Inc., an Avis franchise he operated for more than 45 years.

L Life Member Society


Check out more university and alumni events at and

Photo Desiree Charity (B.S.’17/MC)

Black and gold in Brooklyn The Atlantic 10 Men’s Basketball Championship returns to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, March 11-15, 2020, and so does VCU. Catch all the A-10 action as VCU storms the Big Apple and plans rallies for Ram fans to support our team in the tournament. Follow VCU Alumni on social media and check and your email inbox for details.

Winter 2019


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