John Hitt stepped down as University of Central Florida’s president in June 2018, having served 26 years at its helm. He received an honorary doctorate from Austin College during Commencement 2018 in recognition of his leadership and legacy at UCF and his role in advancing higher education. Martha Halsted Hitt ’60, John’s wife of more than 50 years and partner at UCF, joined him for the return to Austin College.
Jim Jarratt wrote of a visit with Beth and Larry Francell in summer 2017 in Fort Davis, Texas. “Beth said it best,” Jim wrote, “when she commented, ‘It is amazing to me, the two of you don’t see one another or talk with one another for over 50 years, and yet you speak of classmates, professors, and events—and the memories make you smile and laugh. Austin College must have been a special place.’” Jim wrote that ’Roos are a small community with a very large footprint and encouraged alumni to “reach out to a classmate you haven’t seen.” He feels both will benefit.
Robert Criswell was highlighted in the Wise County Messenger in June 2018, recounting 50-plus years as a teacher, coach, athletic director, principal, and superintendent in Texas schools in Denison, Vega, Happy, Dalhart, Rankin, Westbrook, Jonesboro, and finally Paradise. He was superintendent of Paradise ISD from 1999 until his retirement in 2009. Since then, however, he has trained three superintendents there and filled the role himself between hires. Criswell expects his retirement to “take” this time, but, of it all, he said, “It’s been a joy.”
David Dean retired in 2018 after 25 years as managing director of Chappell Dean Consultants, a health care industry consulting firm serving over 100 hospitals across Australia and New Zealand. He continues to live in Australia.
Edward “Ned” Preston moved to Burlington, Vermont, in June 2018 with his husband, Ben Smith, upon Ben’s retirement. Ned retired from his teaching role in the English Department at Howard University in 2012.
Byron Boston worked his third Super Bowl in February 2018 as line judge for the officiating crew. He began working toward these career high points many years ago, beginning his officiating work in peewee football and slowly moving up until he advanced to the NFL in 1995. There, the game is fast, the stakes are high, and concentration is key, he says. He also has been director of football officials for the Southland Conference for over a decade. He and his wife, Carolyn, live in Humble, Texas.
Phillip Diehl received the annual Al Kreuzer Memorial Award during the Industry Council for Tangible Assets meeting at the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in Denver, Colorado, in August 2017. He and two colleagues were recognized for devoted work with the anti-counterfeiting task force. Diehl, president of U.S. Money Reserve, served as the 35th director of the U.S. Mint. He was named chair of the ICTA board in 2016.
Susie Barnwell Fowler is an artist known as the Shade Tree Potter. From 2000 to 2011, she hosted concerts on her property to highlight art openings at her Spicewood, Texas, studio and property. In 2011, however, a wildfire interrupted a concert—and destroyed her home, her art collection, and the exhibit pieces for sale. She since has organized concerts, but now they are benefits—for flood victims, Hurricane Harvey survivors, and, in 2018, a school in the U.S. Virgin Islands devastated by Hurricane Irma. She is rebuilding emotionally and artistically and had her first new showings in 2018. See the Shadetreepotter Website.
John Griffin was reappointed by Governor Greg Abbott to the Texas Diabetes Council in 2018 for a term that expires February 1, 2019. The council addresses issues affecting people with diabetes in Texas and advises the Texas Senate and House on legislation needed to develop and maintain a statewide system of quality education services for individuals with diabetes and the health care professionals who treat them. John is the managing partner of Marek, Griffin & Knaupp law firm. He previously served as chair of the Board of the American Diabetes Association and now serves as chair of the association’s legislative and regulatory subcommittee. He also is a board member of the American Diabetes Association Research Foundation.
Jeffrey Phillips became the first director of Hanover College’s engineering program in 2018, possessing expertise in global energy and mechanical engineering as well as a commitment to the liberal arts. For the past 10 years, he led research and development programs in advanced fossil and renewable power generation for the Electric Power Research Institute in Charlotte, North Carolina. In addition to past corporate positions, Phillips also has served as an adjunct instructor of engineering at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and as a guest lecturer in energy-related engineering at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Lehigh University, and Georgia Institute of Technology. He is a 2011 Austin College Distinguished Alumnus.
Steven Pounders was honored with a 2017 Dallas Historical Society Award for Excellence in Community Service in the area of Health/ Science. A Dallas native, Pounders has practiced medicine in the city for nearly 30 years. Medical director of the Resource Center of Dallas, he is a primary care physician credentialed with the HIV Academy of Medicine and has specialized in HIV care since his medical school days. In 2016, the physician received the Kuchling Humanitarian Award at the Dallas Black Tie Dinner for his long-term and compassionate care for the LGBTQ community.
Marilya Veteto-Reese is a professor of German at Northern Arizona University and has co-translated (English to German) the 2009 book Navajo Live, a coming-of-age story that includes issues of Native water rights, racism, and life in two disparate worlds. She said German tourists often visit the Hopi and Navajo Nations near Flagstaff so she and a colleague thought it would be enlightening to offer a well received novel to counter some of the erroneous, preconceived notions tourists sometimes bring.
Bill Courtney, president and CEO of ClarkDietrich Building Systems for more than 30 years, was the 2018 recipient of the Order of the Wolf Award from AD Building Materials, North America’s largest buying group for materials. The award recognizes an individual “defined as strong, persevering, passionate, independent, impactful, and beneficial to the industry at large.” Courtney helped transform his company from a 20-person construction products company into the nation’s largest producer of cold-formed steel framing materials with facilities spanning the U.S.
Chris Elliott was inducted into the Commerce (Texas) ISD Hall of Honor in September 2018. Today he is a shareholder in the Austin law firm of Graves Dougherty Hearon & Moody, a firm of 68 lawyers handling cases of probate litigation, personal injury litigation, and commercial/business litigation. He also has served on the boards of Austin Habitat for Humanity and the Capital Area AIDS Legal Project. He is a former chair of the Travis County Democratic Party and a member of the advisory committee of the Mexic-Arte Museum in Austin.
Squire Booker was appointed in 2018 to the Eberly Distinguished Chair in Science, one of the highest honors awarded to faculty members in the Penn State Eberly College of Science. He is a Professor of Chemistry and of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Penn State and investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He has received many honors for his work.
Michael Kingan has been named Southern Connecticut State University’s Vice President for Institutional Advancement, overseeing development, alumni relations, communications and marketing, and the SCSU Foundation. He most recently served in a similar position at The University of Texas at Arlington and has more than 25 years of experience in the field, including at the Universities of Michigan, Washington, Iowa, and New Mexico. He was the first Chief Advancement Officer at the Singapore American School.
Thomas Andrew Smith is a senior account executive for TranzVia and started a new business in May 2018 in Frisco, Texas, called Hard Smoke BBQ.
Michelle Frymire has been named Executive Vice President and CFO of Carlson Wagonlit Travel, an international business travel management company. She has more than 25 years of experience in finance, 14 of those within the airline industry.
Charles David Mee returned to Collin County to practice law in April 2018 after spending a year as a Special Prosecutor for the State of Texas, working along the Mexican border to target drug cartels and human smugglers.
Dr. Kimberley Redmond-Carr was named the principal of Heroes Elementary School at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in fall 2018. She has more than 25 years of experience in education, having worked for the Department of Defense Education Activity Americas since 2000. She has been involved in work in the organization’s Europe South district. Kimberley and her husband, Brian, have four children.
Eva-Maria Anger received a Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree from the University of Southern California in August 2018 and has joined the faculty of The University of Texas- Rio Grande Valley as a clinical assistant professor in Occupational Therapy. She lives in Harlingen, Texas, with her husband, Scott Clark ’91, who is co-managing partner of the law firm Adams & Graham, LLP.
Thomas Newsom was appointed Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Texas A&M University–Commerce in May 2018. He had most recently been president of Mesalands Community College in New Mexico. He and his wife, Vicky, a fifthgrade teacher in McKinney, have three children, including Will ’21.
Katherine Swarts is writing a Christian devotional, Where Light Dawns: Sunday Afternoon Devotionals of Hope for Hurting Hearts, to be released in 2019. Planned as the first in a series, each selection includes original poetry and seeks to offer “hope and strength for Christians with mental-health issues.”
Elaina Glaser Barron received her Doctor of Ministry degree in Christian leadership in May 2018 from B.H. Carroll Theological Institute in Arlington, Texas. A conference and college event speaker, she lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband, Jon, and two children. She also is a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Stacy Jacob and three colleagues from Slippery Rock University Student Affairs in Higher Education Program have published a book, Complex Cases in Student Aairs: Preparing Early Career Professionals for Practice. The book provides insights on how problems in student affairs might be addressed through the application of relevant theory/research and practical considerations of professional practice. It features 22 original cases, representing a variety of institution types and a diverse set of populations.
Jenny King joined UT Southwestern Medical Center as Director of Public Affairs in October 2017, just in time to help the hospital celebrate 75 years of service in the community. She previously was the chief advancement officer for VolunteerNow (USA) in Dallas.
Tina Hudson Dodson is in her second pre-retirement phase after officially retiring in January 2015, having worked more than 33 years in higher education. In 2012, she opened a real estate brokerage with her husband and recently she became interested in cryptocurrency trading. Tina is now an independent affiliate with a program that provides education, information, tools, webinars, and trading signals for crypto traders. Contact her at TinaDodson@TinaDodson.com.
Melissa Chapman Weber has been promoted to Professional Development Manager for Events and Promo Connect at Promotional Products Association International (PPAI). She previously was Regional Relations Manager for the 15,000 member trade association and has been with PPAI since 2007.
Amy Allen Parker is director of Children’s Ministries and Outreach at First Presbyterian Church of Colleyville, Texas.
Jennifer O’Brien recently became a research specialist for Spring Branch ISD. She also wanted to advise her friends of the sad news that her boyfriend Johnny Soto, with whom she had lived for seven years, died in November 2017 from cancer.
Melinda Massie closed her professional organizing business after eight years to begin a new business in early 2018 as a performing arts marketing coach. She uses her performing, entrepreneurial, advertising, and public relations skills to teach performers and performing arts organizations how to market themselves.
Keisha Rowe Nunn was appointed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott to the Texas State Independent Living Council for a 2017-2019 term. This council develops the State Plan for Independent Living and serves as a resource to state and local organizations on independent living and related issues for persons with disabilities. Keisha is the director for the Office for Independence Services at Texas Health and Human Services Commission and lives in Pflugerville.
Brian Taylor joined Genetech, a global leader in the biotechnology field, as Clinical Specialist for Southern California and Hawaii. In his position, Brian represents the company’s newly FDA-approved, first-in-class hemophilia medication. Brian has worked in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries in Southern California for 15 years. He continues to pursue his passion for writing and has published several short fiction stories, essays, and columns under the pen name Taylor Garcia. Brian lives in San Diego with his wife and two sons.
Jodi Beneavidez is director of academic advising and college placement at Prestonwood Christian Academy in Plano, Texas.
Chandini Kumar Portteus was honored as a member of the Dallas Business Journal “40 Under 40” leaders in March 2018. According to the article, she “stood out to judges for her impressive career” working to battle cancer. She began her career as a clinical researcher at UT Southwestern Medical Center, then was named the chief mission officer at Susan G. Komen. She was recruited to the Livestrong Foundation, where in nine months she was able to increase fundraising and expand cancer services. She then moved to serve as president and CEO of Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer, where she continues to make substantial fundraising strides.
Theodore “TJ” Roberts recently began health insurance sales, specializing in helping individuals and families, the self-employed, and small businesses to find affordable health care. Since college he has worked in the college bookstore business and in sales for jewelry manufacturers. He likes the idea that his new line of work can be helpful to families.
P. Lindley Bain is included in Super Lawyers 2018 Texas Rising Stars, Up-and-Coming 100: Texas Rising Stars, and Up-and-Coming 50: 2018 Women Texas Rising Stars. She is a board-certified family law attorney in the Austin office of GoransonBain Ausley, focusing on financially complex divorces and high-conflict custody matters. She has been named a Texas Rising Star by Thomson Reuters for nine consecutive years.
Katherine Craft completed an M.F.A. at The University of Texas at Austin, and while there, co-wrote a narrative film titled June, which was named a finalist for the 2018 Student Academy Award in the category of Narrative (Domestic Film Schools). The story is about a young Chinese woman’s experiences as she attends her husband’s college graduation in America in the 1960s. The short film is the Sacramento Asian Pacific Film Festival winner, a finalist for the 2018 BAFTA Student Film Awards supported by Global Student Accommodation, and the AT&T InspirASIAN Award. Katherine is awriter at BBH Los Angeles, developing ideas for scripted and unscripted shows for television.
Chris Melody Fields Figueredo became the first LatinX executive director of the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center (BISC) and BISC Foundation in June 2018, “at a time,” she said, “when ballot measures are at the intersection of many of our country’s most pressing issues.”
Lindsey S. Lumsford Drake with Drake Law has been elected to membership in the Fellows of the TexasBar Foundation. Fellows are selected for outstanding professional achievements and demonstrated commitment to improvement of the justice system in Texas. Selection is restricted to members of the State Bar of Texas, and each year, one-third of one percent of members are invited to become fellows. Once selected, they must be elected by the Texas Bar Foundation Board of Trustees.
Holly Hull Miori graduated with her master’s degree in public affairs in summer 2018 from The University of Texas at Dallas, where she serves as the Director of Development and Alumni Relations for the Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies and the School of Arts and Humanities. She also holds a master’s degree in Theological Studies from TCU and is a certified fundraising executive (CFRE).
James Clayton “Clay” King earned a Ph.D. in statistics from Baylor University in May 2018, with the dissertation “Applications of Bayesian Quantile Regression and Sample Size Determination.” Clay received a master’s degree in Education from Baylor in 2008 and a master’s degree from Texas A&M Central Texas in 2013.
Miles Vaughn was named the director of soccer operations at the University of Maryland in February 2018. He was previously the director of operations at the Bethesda Soccer Club, where he managed all club facilities, including schedules and venues for 80 teams. He also managed equipment, registration, sponsorships, and travel. Miles held a similar position at the Baton Rouge Soccer Club, where he had previously acted as Director of Development. He also coached youth teams at Baton Rouge and was an assistant coach at Catholic High School, which ranked top in Louisiana.
Joseph Helsing earned a master’s degree in Computer Science in 2013 and completed his doctorate in Computer Science and Engineering in spring 2018. Both degrees are from the University of North Texas, where he has accepted a lecturer position.
Jeff Ridenour is a scenic designer based in New York City, primarily designing for theatre and opera. He and his work were featured in a number of media outlets in fall 2017 while he worked on a University of Missouri-Kansas City production of the opera Hansel and Gretel. The sets and costumes were created of paper. He has worked with the director of opera at UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance on at least a dozen productions.
Whitney Russell is human resources administrator/ payroll specialist at James Edward and Companies in Houston, Texas. She received her master’s degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Angelo State University in 2017.
Lauren Wheeler earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing at Oklahoma City University’s Kramer School of Nursing in spring 2018 and has been licensed as a registered nurse (RN). She moved to Fargo, North Dakota, in September 2018 to work as an RN at Sanford Medical Center on the medical/specialty unit.
Charlotte Wright was accepted in fall 2016 for the Japanese Teaching and Exchange (JET) Program, the only teaching exchange program managed by the government of Japan. She said she is loving teaching English to high schoolers and soaking in the local culture and customs while doing some traveling around the country. Currently her commitment is through July 2019 but could extend to 2021.
Katie Barber is a graduate assistant at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, where she is completing a master’s degree in industrial organizational psychology, finishing in May 2019, and an MBA, finishing in December 2019.
Cassi Tullier Donovan is completing a master’s degree in social work at The University of Texas at Arlington.
Amy Glazier is a graduate teaching assistant at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she is in the Ph.D. program in physics and astronomy.
Ganesh Maniam completed an MBA in Health Organization Management in August 2018 from Texas Tech University Rawls College of Business. He then began his second year of medical school at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine, with an expected graduation date of May 2021. His acceptance to this MD/MBA dual-degree program was through the Austin College Gateways Program.
Marina “Mimi” Sams is an executive assistant for Public Policy Holding Company in Washington, D.C. In October 2017, she was named the executive director of the Lone Star Outdoor News Foundation. She’s keeping her day job; the Lone Star job is a volunteer role for an organization working to bring more people into the world of hunting and fishing. Mimi is an international sportswoman who has hunted and fished on three continents. She is a member of Dallas Safari Club and Safari Club International.