Stan Cobbs, longtime Kerr County resident and community volunteer, at left, was honored in February as 2016 Volunteer of the Year by Schreiner University. At the awards dinner, he was introduced as a “super volunteer who shares his time and wisdom with local organizations from Red Cross to Habitat for Humanity to the Hill Country Arts Foundation and the Chamber of Commerce and, of course, Schreiner University.” Stan’s contributions to Schreiner span nearly four decades. In the ’70s, he became head of the development program at Mo Ranch and became involved with Schreiner through the Hill Country College Fund campaign. He has been active in that effort since then, and served a term as chair of the campaign. In 1992, Stan became the director of Church Relations at Schreiner, a position he held until his retirement in 2001. In addition to his continuing efforts on behalf of the Hill Country College Fund, he has helped recruit new students, and “continued to faithfully respond when we put out last minute calls for volunteers.” His current service includes membership on the Church Relations Advisory Board.
John C. Hitt was honored this spring for 25 years of service as president of the University of Central Florida—and now he’s moving forward in year 26. He and his wife, Martha (Halsted) ’60, joined the UCF family in March 1992. The university made remarkable strides under John’s leadership. Read more about John Hitt.
Laurie Robinson Coker has collaborated with Texas watercolor artist Mickey Archer on a new book, Rhymes and Reason, featuring Mickey’s art and Laurie’s poetry. The book is available through the artist’s website.
Harry F. Wistrand, emeritus professor of biology at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, was the 2017 alumnus inductee of Austin College’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter. After graduating from Austin College, he earned a master’s degree in biology and behavioral ecology at the University of North Texas, under a National Science Foundation graduate traineeship. In 1973, he earned a Ph.D. in zoology and genetics at Arizona State University. The following year, Dr. Wistrand held a postdoctoral fellowship at Yale University. In 1974, he began his nearly 40-year career at Agnes Scott College. In addition to teaching courses in molecular genetics and evolutionary biology, Harry served in various positions of leadership, including associate dean of the college, several stints as chair of the Biology Department, and the founding co-director of the Environmental and Sustainability Studies Program and the Program in Public Health. He also offered several courses in
the Galapagos Islands, as well as courses in Japan, China, and Turkey. Dr. Wistrand retired in 2011.
Wade Cottingham and Robert Rothbard ’78 have produced and released their second album of original music, Fifty, Fifty, Fifty, by their band The Rothbard Cottingham Bandwagon. The musicians have not played “live” together since their days in college. The tracks for their new materials were recorded more than 600 hundred miles apart. Cottingham mixed and mastered the music, on which Robert plays handpans as well as hand percussion, drums, and electronic input. Wade plays piano, keyboards, and the rest of the instruments and provides the vocals.
Sallie Sampsell Watson was installed as the general presbyter of Mission Presbytery in a commissioning service at First Presbyterian Church of McAllen in October 2016. A number of ’Roos were in attendance, as pictured, left to right: Sarah Demarest Allen ’03 and children, Austin College Parents Rom & Jean Johnson, Michelle Vetters ’88, Sallie Sampsell Watson ’78, John Williams ’84, Frank Seaman ’59, John Brantley ’00, Bill Clark ’83, Joshua Sutherlun ’01, and Rev. Edward Sansom “San” Williams ’69.
“Chico” Aleman (MA ’85) marked his 35th year at Sherman High School and his 33rd as head coach of the boys soccer program last fall. He was a freshman at Sherman High when the school’s soccer program began in 1976 and was away only to earn his teaching degrees. Returning to Sherman High as teacher and coach, he later began work on a doctoral degree at University of Guadalajara and took one year off from coaching to earn a master’s degree in Mexico (the educational agency there would not recognize his Austin College master’s degree). He completed his second master’s degree and last year, earned his doctorate in holistic education. He and his wife, Malina, a physical education teacher, have two children.
Pamela Allen is a lead faculty area chair in the College of Counseling Psychology and Social Sciences for University of Phoenix. After graduating from Austin College with a degree in psychology, she earned a master’s degree in counseling psychology at Texas Woman’s University and a doctoral degree in management and organizational leadership from University of Phoenix. In addition to University of Phoenix, she is a faculty member for three online universities. She has worked with a research team to publish numerous articles and present her work at tier-one conferences across the country. She also is an executive life coach and has her own business, Another Level Life Coach. She lives in Houston, Texas, where she sings in her church choir, continuing her singing from Austin College where she was in concert choir and took part in a European tour. A former country and western dance champion, she also enjoys a good triple two-step and country waltz.
Rodney Moore is an accomplished attorney serving the energy industry and co-managing partner in the Dallas office of Weil, Gotshal & Manges, splitting his time between the firm’s Dallas and Houston offices. He has been named to the American City Business Journal’s Who’s Who in Energy 2016-2017 list for the Houston market. He has been recognized in the publication for four consecutive years. His professional accolades also include recognition in The Best Lawyers in America for corporate and mergers & acquisitions law, and as a Texas Super Lawyer by Texas Monthly magazine. Last year, he was named an MVP in Energy by Law360 in recognition of his work on more than $30 billion in energy transactions for the past year. He also was recognized as a leading lawyer in Energy: Oil & Gas (Transactional) by Chambers USA 2014.
Brent Thomas Williams, University of Arkansas associate professor of rehabilitation education and research, received an Educator of the Year Award from Langston University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at its annual Social Justice Symposium in November 2016. The award recognized his service to social justice, his mentoring of doctoral students, work with the Arkansas PROMISE project, and other efforts in the rehabilitation field.
Jeff and Jill Grobowsky Bergus ’95 do a booming business each day at their Lockhart Smokehouse, located in Dallas’ Bishop Arts District. But when their water meter was stolen last winter, no water meant no operating restrooms, which meant no business could be done. Rather than waste the 1,000 pounds of smoked meat and food that had been prepared, the restaurant owners got creative and came up with a plan: Feed the homeless. With the help of The Stewpot and The Bridge Homeless Recovery Center, some 700 people had some true Texas barbecue that day. Water and business-as-usual were restored the next day. The couple also own a Plano location and recently announced the opening of a third location in Arlington at the new Texas Rangers complex, Texas Live! Among many recognitions, the Dallas restaurant was included this spring in the Texas Monthly listing of “The Top 50 Barbecue Joints in Texas.”
Thomas Ortiz and Patrick Miller ’90 were invited by the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas to travel to Havana, Cuba, in February as members of the delegation to the Cuban Episcopal Church. Thomas represented the Episcopal Health Foundation as a member of its board. Patrick is rector of St. Mark’s Church in Houston, where he lives with his wife, Allison, and their two children. Thomas lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, Halley, and their two daughters, who attend “a wonderful small liberal college in Sherman, Texas,” where Grace is a rising senior and Sarah is a rising sophomore.
Javier Cardenas became Chief of Staff Elect at Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato, Minnesota, in January. He is chair of the Credentials Committee, sits on the Delegate Credentialing Committee for Mayo Clinic, and is in his second term on the Hospital Board of Directors. He has enjoyed his work as an obstetrician and gynecologist with Mayo Clinic Health System for the past five years. He was honored as the 2016 Educator of the Year by the University of Minnesota Residency Program of Mayo Clinic in Mankato. He also is completing his PADI Scuba Certification and having fun skiing and sledding in the cold with his wife, Courtney, and three children.
Bobby Hardin retired from Bank of America in December 2016 after 25 years of service. He began his career immediately after college in Dallas with what was originally NationsBank, before becoming Bank of America. He later earned his Executive MBA from The University of Texas at Dallas in 2003. He joined Ernst & Young in January 2017 as an executive director in financial services. He lives in Highland Village, Texas, with his wife, Hillary. They have a son, Taylor, and a daughter, Sydney, who is now attending Austin College.
Erin Camp Redden, director of accountability and instructional support for Caddo Parish Public Schools in Shreveport, Louisiana, was selected to serve in her district seat for the statewide professional organization of Louisiana Association of School Executives (LASE). LASE serves to protect and promote the education interests throughout the state and nation while providing a strong professional leadership with schools and districts.
Members of the Class of 1967 celebrated the 50th anniversary of their graduation during Austin College’s Commencement 2017. Sixty-five alumni were presented anniversary medallions from President Marjorie Hass as their official induction into the Golden ’Roo Society (alumni of 50-plus years). The new inductees and Golden ’Roos from previous classes enjoyed a number of special events and reminiscences throughout the weekend.
Adam Reed has formed Red Reed Carter PLLC, a litigation firm in Dallas, Texas. His practice concentrates on representing both plaintiffs and defendants in tort and commercial litigation, with an emphasis on matters involving the transportation, hospitality, and bar and nightclub industries. Adam lives in Dallas with his wife, Jennifer, and son, Michael, 7.
Art Clayton has been named the chief prosecutor of the Intimate Partner Violence Unit at the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office. This felony-level unit prosecutes homicides, aggravated assaults, sexual assaults, burglaries, strangulations, and assaultive conduct between intimate partners. Art, who has been a prosecutor since 1999 and with the Tarrant County office since 2003, recently has prosecuted several high-profile cases. He and his wife, Elizabeth, have two children, Lily Kate and Arthur.
Steven Barnes was installed as associate pastor for children, youth, and families at Northminster Presbyterian Church in Roswell, Georgia, in December 2016. Pictured with Steven, Rev. Katy Walters ’07, left, and Rev. Camille LeBron ’98, took part in the installation commission.
Brandy Baxter-Thompson is now a named partner in the Calloway Norris Burdette Weber & Baxter-Thompson law firm in Dallas. She is board certified in estate planning and probate. Brandy earned her law degree from Texas Wesleyan University School of Law (now Texas A&M University School of Law), graduating in the top 15 percent of her class. She served two years on Law Review and was elected as editor. She operated her own law practice before joining her current firm in 2012.
Amanda Jester, a partner and member of the board of directors of the law firm of Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, was named to the Ambulatory M&A Advisor annual “Leading Lawyers” list in January. She represents private equity funds, hospitals, emergency care centers, surgery centers, physician and dental practices, and specialized service providers in mergers, acquisitions, and joint ventures. The firm has offices in Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee; Birmingham, Alabama; and Austin, Texas. Amanda earned her J.D. degree at University of Chicago Law.
Chandini Kumar Portteus was named in March as president and CEO of Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer (WOKC), a Dallas-based nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness and funding for pediatric cancer research. She served in 2015 as president and CEO for the Livestrong Foundation after 10 years as the chief mission officer at the Susan G. Komen Global Headquarters. During her tenure at Komen, she led international fundraising efforts and programming spanning more than 125 domestic affiliates in over 30 countries. In the WOKC position announcement, Chandini said she is pleased to join the fight against pediatric cancer and leverage her former work in the effort to find a cure for cancer. She also is principal and CEO of CP & Associates—Portteus Consulting group, a management consulting firm.
Travis Stein was included in the February issue of PRINT+PROMO, a commercial printing industry publication, in the feature “Under 40.” The article was described within the issue as presenting the “young talent behind the rejuvenation” of the print industry. At 38, Travis is principal of The Odee Company in Dallas. He has been with the company since 2001 when then-owner of the company, Buzz Tatom, selected him when seeking a young college graduate who had played football and had given his best on the field in the face of adversity—something with which the owner particularly identified. Travis began a six-month training program on the presses that led to a sales position after three months, and in 2011, he had the opportunity to become a co-owner. In 2016, he started a B2C (business to consumer) called CanvasKick, featuring the popular Artist Series. Before taking on that more demanding role, he said he had enjoyed golf, fishing, and college football Saturdays in support of his Fighting ’Roos. He and wife, Megan, had their first son, Henry, in 2012, and Edward was born in 2016, so enjoying his wife and sons now consumes his time outside the office.
Austin College has provided transformational education for generations of students since its founding in 1849. An initial bequest from Emily Austin, sister of Texas leader Stephen F. Austin, helped lay the financial foundation for the College. Her legacy gift, and those of numerous donors who have followed, ensures Austin College’s place among today’s acclaimed colleges. The John D. and Sara Bernice Moseley Covenant Society acknowledges the College’s friends who have named Austin College as beneficiary in their legacy plans. Through their future estate gifts, the members of this special society will ensure the future financial well-being of the College. From one generation to another, Austin College remains grateful that so many families have entrusted it with these special gifts.
To learn more, contact Suzanne Crouch, CFRE, Associate Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of Estate Planning, at 415.686.6965.
Amanda Newton Kisselle left her position as executive director of admission at Austin College on June 30, after 12 years of recruiting new ’Roos, to become director of college counseling at Casady School in Oklahoma City. She can be reached by email. Amanda looks forward to spending many weekends in Sherman, where her husband, Keith Kisselle, continues his work as associate professor of biology and environmental science at Austin College.
Mike Carlson graduated from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in May 2016, earning a master’s degree in public affairs. He studied economic policy, focusing on international macroeconomics and finance. At graduation, he received the school’s prestigious Stoke’s Prize in recognition of academic achievement and public service leadership, an award similar to Austin College’s Kidd Medal, which Michael received. After graduation from Princeton, Mike worked briefly at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a think tank in Washington, D.C., where he focused on financial regulatory reform. In January 2017, he began work as an international economist at the U.S. Treasury in the office of international banking and securities markets. Before attending the Wilson School, Mike spent four years at the Federal Reserve Bank in Washington, D.C., first as a research assistant in the international banking section and then as a financial analyst in the stress testing group. Mike is the son of proud parents John ’79 and Jean Beck Carlson ’82 and the grandson of Mary and the late A.J. “Jack” Carlson, who taught history at Austin College from 1962 until his retirement in 1994 when he was named emeritus professor.
Tom Thompson MAT ’10 kicked an extra point for the ’Roos in 2009, and at 61, became the oldest player to play in a college varsity football game. He scored again with his book Kick Start, written with Alice Sullivan, which was updated and revised this year. The book, which tells his story of stamina, determination, and overcoming the odds, is available at Amazon and 91kick.com. Tom said he had no real plan as an adult, and his lifestyle led to divorce, financial stress, and physical injuries. However, his life intersected with and was influenced by an assortment of fascinating characters, including martial arts champion and legend Chuck Norris, Elvis and Priscilla Presley, and U.S. President George W. Bush. And in time, Tom found his faith, his purpose, and his soul mate. “My life began to have purpose when I became more concerned about what I was giving than what I was getting,” he said. “By doing so, I received far more than I ever could have gotten on my own.” Tom has continued his relationship with Austin College as an adjunct faculty member in the Leadership Studies program and as an assistant football coach. His daughter, Rachel, continues the Austin College legacy.
Marian Fields is earning her Master of Fine Arts degree in playwriting at Columbia University, where she is the School of the Arts Dean’s Fellowship recipient for the playwriting Class of 2018. She also is the founder of the video series “Black And Making It” and Bible & Penn Productions. But you won’t find Marian’s name among her current credits. She works under the artistic pseudonym Ayvaunn Penn. That pseudonym became a bit more well-known after her latest production, King David: The Original Musicless Musical—which she wrote and directed—hit the stage at Columbia University in March. Marian earned a master’s degree in theatre at Louisiana Tech University, with a double concentration in acting and playwriting. At Louisiana Tech, she was honored with the 2015 Lula Mae Sciro Award of the Year for Theatre Excellence and the 2015 Arthur W. Stone Playwright of the Year Award. An inductee of Alpha Psi Omega national theatre honor society and a member of the Dramatist Guild of America, her interest in writing also takes other forms. She is the author of Ephemeral Moments, a book of poetry and short stories exploring issues such as domestic abuse, struggles of faith, and contemporary love.
Ashley Jones joined Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas last year as an Artist-in-Residence: Art Therapist, working as a member of the Arts in Medicine team to offer art therapy opportunities tailored to patients and the health care system. The goal of her work is to engage patients, at their bedsides or in small group settings, in the creative process as an antidote to the pain, anxiety, and boredom often associated with a hospital stay or diagnosis of a serious illness. Her work also includes staff education and development of the Arts in Medicine programs. She runs an open art studio five days a week for patients, caregivers, families, and staff members. She also facilitates expressive therapy groups on topics like anger and frustration, to relaxation and self-care. Ashley took private art lessons throughout middle school and high school, completed majors in art and psychology at Austin College, and earned a master’s degree in art therapy at Florida State University.
Brittnay Connor was named the 2017 Teacher of the Year at Jerry R. Junkins Elementary School in Dallas ISD, where she teaches bilingual kindergarten. This was her first year in Dallas ISD, having previously been a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Cali, Colombia. She also heads Project Comeback, a community engagement opportunity for parents, students, and teachers to come together and revitalize the neighborhood in which they live, work, and teach. Brittnay is pictured in her classroom on the first day of school last fall.
Alex Ocañas began working for Austin College in December 2015, serving as coordinator of the Center for Environmental Studies. She worked extensively with students in Thinking Green projects and coordinated the Sneed Prairie field trip program, handling arrangements and scheduling with area elementary school teachers and training Austin College’s student leaders. During her time on campus, the Sneed field trip program celebrated reaching 10,000 children to participate in the field trips. Alex also completed a greenhouse gas emission inventory annually for the campus. She left the College in June to begin a master’s degree program at the University of Montana. Her degree will be in resource conservation, with a focus in international conservation and development. Pictured, Alex teaches a group of children at Sneed Prairie for a field trip and learning experience.
Grant Marcinko began working for Austin College upon graduation, serving as a development officer and reunion giving coordinator in Institutional Advancement. He leaves the position this month to move to Washington, D.C., to pursue a master’s degree at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.
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