Class Notes from Winter 2009-10

November 30, 2009


Pastor and former Baylor regent Eleazar "Charles" Maciel, BA '52, has been honored for 25 years of service at Iglesia Bautista Ambler in Abilene, Texas. He and his wife, Elva, recently celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary. Their son, René Maciel, MSED '91, is president of Baptist University of the Americas in San Antonio.


Texas City ISD's Foundation for the Future recently inducted L.G. Dupre into its 2009 Hall of Honor. Dupre, an all-state basketball player and member of the Texas City High School's championship basketball team, played football at Baylor from 1952-54, where he became an all-American. In 1955, he was drafted 27th overall by the Baltimore Colts and later was chosen by Tom Landry in the 1960 expansion draft to be on the first Dallas Cowboys football team. After he retired from football, he worked for General Electric. He passed away in 2001.


Founded in 1984 by Gil Stricklin, BA '57, Marketplace Ministries is celebrating its 25th anniversary. MM provides on-site chaplains to more than 400 corporations worldwide, from Fortune 500 companies to family-owned businesses. Still headed by Stricklin, the service also counts among its executive leaders three other Baylor Bears: Dan Truitt, PhD '93, vice president of international ministries; Art Stricklin, BA '83, vice president of public relations; and Ann Stricklin, BA '58, executive vice president of organizational projects.


James R. Daniel, BBA '62, was part of the 25th Class of Inductees into The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools' Wall of Fame honored on Oct. 22. Born and raised in Oklahoma City, Daniel attended Baylor University on an academic/athletic scholarship, then went on to graduate school at SMU. Daniel began his banking career in 1958 and is currently Vice Chairman of BancFirst Corporation. He also serves on the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention in Nashville and is a proud board member of the Baylor University Letterman's Association, among his many civic and charitable activities.


The Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia presented artist and educator Dugald MacArthur, MA '63, with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 15th Annual Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre on Oct. 5. MacArthur is credited with helping spark Philadelphia's theatrical renaissance. After extensive professional training, MacArthur worked in theater as an actor, director and lecturer, and he also led Temple University's Graduate Theatre Department. He now serves as a director, consultant and board member at Lantern Theatre Company.


Sharline Garrison Freeman, BA '64, of Pecan Gap, Texas has been named executive director of the Northeast Texas Children's Museum in Commerce, Texas.

David Hennessee, BBA '64, recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the San Antonio Business Journal. Hennessee is CFO of Holt CAT, a Caterpillar dealer in San Antonio. A 30-year Holt employee, Hennessee has helped the company experience 20 years of continuous growth, making it one of the largest used-equipment dealers in the world. His wife is Carolyn Anderson Hennessee, BSHE '65.


Lawrence Elkins, BS '66, has been named to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame. In 1963 and '64, he achieved consensus All-Southwest Conference and All-American status, leading the nation as a junior with 70 catches for 873 yards and eight touchdowns. Elkins played four years with the Houston Oilers. (Also named this year was Baylor women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey, who led the Lady Bears to the 2005 national title.) The induction ceremony will be on Feb. 8, 2010, in the Ferrell Center.


Elem Eley, BM '75, has been busy performing and teaching in the U.S. and Europe. This year, Eley has performed with the Springfield Symphony in Missouri, with Oratorio Singers of Westfield, N.J., and with Princeton Pro Musica. Over the summer, Eley enjoyed his second University fellowship at Vienna's University of Music and Performing Arts. He is a professional baritone and Professor of Voice at Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, N.J., where he has taught since 1987.


Responding to a recent Baylor Proud post on 2002 graduate Kelly Williams' fight against cancer, Kathryn Thurmond, BBA '76, wrote in to share the story of her battle with the disease:
"In 1981, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lymphoma with a grapefruit-sized tumor in my chest that had spread to my lungs. I was told that I would not be able to have children after the chemo. I had a year and a half of aggressive chemo, surgeries and radiation treatments to survive the Hodgkin's Disease. In November 1983, I gave birth to my daughter, Elissa, after ignoring my doctor's advice to have an abortion. My miracle baby followed her Mom and Dad's footsteps to Baylor, and I subsequently also had a son who is equally as precious to me. The Hodgkin's has not returned; however, I recently developed an early stage of breast cancer as a result of the radiation I had years ago. As I complete another series of radiation treatments after a lumpectomy, I'm proud to say that I am a two-time cancer survivor!"


Dr. Kevin Hall, BA '77, teaches religion at Oklahoma Baptist University, where in July he was elected by his peers to serve as chair of OBU's Faculty Council during the 2009-10 academic year. Hall follows in the footsteps of last year's Faculty Council chair, Dr. Craig Walker, BBA '83, another Bear. The '09-'10 OBU Faculty Council also includes two other Bears in Dr. Jerry Faught, PhD '95, and Dr. Kristen Todd, BM '89.


Dr. K. Edward "Ed" Oppermann, BS '78, of Crosby, Texas, was named a Houston Business Journal Healthcare Hero Award Honoree in Dentistry for 2009. In 2005, he received the Presidential Unit Citation Award from President George W. Bush for service with the U.S. Coast Guard during Hurricane Katrina. In addition to dentistry, he is an aircraft commander in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and an Angel Flight pilot.


Carol Pitts Diedrichs, BA '80, dean of libraries and the William T. Young Endowed Chair at the University of Kentucky Libraries, has announced she will resign that position Jan. 4, 2010, to become director of the Ohio State University Libraries. Considered the ultimate practitioner/scholar in her field, Diedrichs has written and spoken extensively on issues in acquisitions, serials, electronic resources, preservation, collection development, technical services organization and scholarly communication. In 2008, she received the Ross Atkinson Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing her extraordinary service to the field of library science in the U.S.

The University of Tennessee at Martin named certified public accountant and internal auditor Mary Franklin Geddie, BBA '80, as the Alexander Thompson Arnold (ATA) Assistant Professor of Accounting, Information Systems and Internal Controls. Geddie earned an MBA from Eastern Illinois University and is currently completing her Ph.D. from the University of Houston.

Paul Kruse, JD '80, CEO and president of Blue Bell Creameries, has been named Person of the Year by the Blinn College Ex-Students Association.


Dr. Mark Adickes, BBA '84, orthopedic surgeon and a co-medical director of the Memorial Hermann Sports Medicine Institute in Houston, is hosting a new Fox Sports Houston television series, "Athlete 360," a 30-minute program dedicated to all aspects of sports medicine. Each of the show's nine episodes, which air from September through December, features the story of a well-known athlete. In October, Adickes also performed successful knee surgery on Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III.

Monica Martinez, BA '84, a nationally recognized education expert, has been named president of New Tech Network. Based in Napa, Calif., NTN is a school development organization that supports the start-up and development of 21st-century high schools.

Jennie McClaren, BBA '84, has been promoted to Life Care Centers of America's senior vice president of human resources. She had previously been vice president of people development. She will oversee the human resource function for the Cleveland, Tenn.-based company. Life Care operates more than 220 nursing, subacute and Alzheimer's centers in 28 states. McClaren resides in Ooltewah, Tenn.


Travelong has announced Bill Miller, BBA '85, of Colleyville, Texas, as its new senior vice president, strategic partnerships. Miller has 22 years of experience in the travel industry, including with American Airlines, Travelocity, and most recently, Travel Guard.


Temple-Inland chairman and chief executive officer Doyle R. Simons, BBA '86, has been selected as this year's RISI North American CEO of the Year for the forest products industry. RISI (Resource Information Systems, Inc.), a leading information provider for the global forest products industry, presented the award on September 15 at the 24th North American Forest Products Conference in San Diego, Calif.

Judge Greg Willis, BBA '86, announced on Oct. 12 his campaign for Collin County District Attorney. The County Court at Law Judge resigned his bench and is seeking to fill the seat of current District Attorney John Roach, who recently announced that he was not seeking re-election. In April, Willis was awarded the Patriot Award by the Employers Support for the Guard and Reserve, a Department of Defense organization that promotes a culture of employers who support and value the military service of their employees.


During his inaugural celebration on October 3, Dr. Samuel W. "Dub" Oliver, BSED '87, was sworn in as president of East Texas Baptist University in Marshall. Formerly VP of Student Life at Baylor, Oliver became acting president at ETBU on June 1. Former Baylor Provost Dr. J. Randall O'Brien, now president of Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tenn., gave the Inaugural Charge.


Ann E. Smith, BSED '88, MSED '90, is the new principal at Golbow Elementary in Katy ISD, just outside of Houston.


Casper, Wyo., attorney Rin Karns, BA '90, has been elected commissioner of the Wyoming State Bar to represent the Seventh Judicial District. An associate with Brown, Drew & Massey, LLP, Karns will serve a three-year term. In 2006, she graduated with honors from the University of Wyoming College of Law.

Michael Johnson, BBA '90, was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame on August 12 in Chicago. The four-time Olympic gold medalist and eight-time world champion set the world record in the 200 and 400 meters. Johnson still holds the world record in the 400 meters--a time of 43.18 set in 1999.

Timothy A. Weeks, BA '90, has released Goldie's Search for Silver, the final book in a whimsical trilogy, capturing the images and culture along the Gulf Coast through the eyes of Goldie the mullet. The trilogy, which began with The Wise Mullet of Cook Bayou, followed by Ul' Middler Saves the Day, is for readers of all ages. More than 20,000 of the books have been sold. Weeks has worked as a freelance journalist in Europe during the past 10 years and winters in Panama City, Fla.

Orian Williams, BA '90, co-produced One Fast Move or I'm Gone: Kerouac's Big Sur, a documentary exploring author Jack Kerouac's life at the cabin in the Big Sur woods, the Beat haunts of San Francisco and New York City for an unflinching look at the compelling events on which the book is based. The movie opened in theaters nationwide in October, and a companion CD/DVD has also been released.


W. Gregory Looser, BA '91, JD '94, has been named senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer at Pride International, one of the world's largest offshore drilling companies. He currently serves as Director of the Texas General Counsel Forum Statewide Board and Houston Board.

Texas Governor Rick Perry named Jeff Rose, BBA '91, as a Travis County district civil court judge on Oct. 2. As Attorney General Greg Abbott's deputy first assistant for the past three years, Rose helped manage the 4,200-employee agency and oversaw the consumer protection and public health divisions. Rose joined the agency in 2003 as chief of civil litigation and is a former partner with the Strasburger & Price law firm in Dallas and Austin. He resides in Austin.


Juli Caskey Noeldner, BSED '92, is the new principal at Mayde Creek Elementary in Katy ISD outside Houston. She has spent her entire career at Mayde Creek, beginning as a first grade teacher and later serving as K-5 reading specialist and assistant principal.


Carlos Colón-Quintana, MM '93, has received an ASCAPLUS AWARD, designated for non-commercial composers, from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. "The award is not for one composition, but a recognition for the amount of perforemances my music is generating," explains Colón-Quintana. "However, the main piece that has been generating some performances and attention is my musical requiem, Las Lamentaciones de Rufina Amaya, written for the victims of a massacre in El Salvador." On November 6, Colón-Quintana conducted the Salvadoran premiere of the piece in San Salvador at the Catholic University, where the chorus of the National Opera performed his work. To see a previous performance of the piece at Baylor's Armstrong Browning Library, visit:

Atmos Energy Corporation, the country's largest natural-gas-only distributor, has promoted Christopher T. Forsythe, BBA '93, from director, financial reporting, to vice president and controller. Forsythe, who resides in Frisco, Texas, joined Atmos Energy in June 2003; prior to that he was a senior manager with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in the firm's audit and business advisory services group, where he began his career. He is a member of the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants.

George Gaston, BBA '93, has been named a 2009 healthcare Up & Comer by Modern Healthcare Magazine. He is CEO of Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital in Houston. He and his wife, Mary-Robin Gaston, BSED '94, BA '94, reside in Sugar Land, Texas.

Law firm Cozen O'Connor has promoted Jason S. Schulze, BA '93, to shareholder. Schulze, of Houston, focuses his practice on subrogation and recovery. He has tried more than 35 cases to jury verdict, and has handled several appeals before various appellate courts in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.


Tyler Cooper, BBA '94, is a preventative medicine physician and CEO of Cooper Aerobics Enterprises in Dallas. In the October issue of Dallas Child magazine, the Coopers (including wife Angie, sons Clark, 3, and Lang, 1) were featured for making healthy living a family affair. Read about the Coopers at


Christi Harper, BA '95, of Brentwood, Tenn., released her first solo album, "Hear," in September. The Kingwood, Texas, native has toured as a background vocalist with Christian recording artist David Phelps, BM '92. She is a speech pathologist at the renowned Bill Wilkerson Center for Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. For more information, visit

Brian Haynes, BSED '95, recently spoke at the D6 Conference in Frisco, Texas. The associate pastor at Kingsland Baptist Church in Katy, Texas, Haynes is involved in the Legacy Milestones strategy--a plan to connect church and home with the purpose to equip future generations for the Christian walk. Haynes is also the author of the new book, Shift: What It Takes to Finally Reach Families Today. Visit his blog at

Mike Wright, BA '95, VP and general manager of KBTX-TV in Bryan/College Station, Texas, has been inducted into the 2009 Hall of Honor by the Blinn College Ex-Students Association.
Physical Therapist Laura R. Walter, MPT '95, DPT '08, has joined Professional Physical Therapy Services (PPTS) based at Clarke County Hospital in Osceola, Iowa.


Fashion designer Lori Thompson Coulter, BBA '97, is president and CEO of Lori Coulter Made-to-Order Swimwear, based in St. Louis. Her TrueMeasure swimwear became popular in 2003. Coulter's creations can be found at select Macy's locations and other retailers. Her work has been featured in a variety of publications, from BusinessWeek to O Magazine. She resides in St. Louis with her husband, Kelly, and their son Devin. Her Web site is '98 Hot Springs, Ark., native and actor Christopher J. Hanke, BA '98, made his network TV debut as Ryan Abbott in the new CBS medical drama "Three Rivers." Hanke's character Abbott is "the inexperienced new transplant coordinator who arranges the intricately choreographed process of quickly and carefully transporting organs from donor to patient." Hanke's performances on and off-Broadway have drawn critical acclaim.


Jennifer Burggraaf, BSFCS '99, received the Best Kitchen Award in the recent 2009 Parade of Homes in Central Austin with a focus on ultra-green, ultra-urban designs. She and husband, Dave Burggraaf, BA '99, MBA '03, also welcomed the arrival of Jake David Burggraaf on May 16.

Former football standout Justin Snow, BA '99, MSCD '03, is now in his 10th season with the Indianapolis Colts. Since signing with the Colts as a deep snapper, Snow's team has reached the playoffs eight times, winning it all in 2007.

Dr. Martha Wafer, BA '99, is Minden, La.'s, newest physician. She has established her practice in family medicine at 102 Monroe Street, Suite B, in Minden, just east of Shreveport. Wafer attended medical school at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and attended Louisiana State University Medical School in Shreveport for her residency. Originally from Dallas, Wafer is also an ordained minister.


Brett Gardner, MBA '01, has been named Director of Sales and Marketing for Becker Avionic Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of the Germany-based Becker Flugfunkwerk GmbH, an avionics technology leader.


In August, San Anto Cultural Arts held its third annual photography workshop exhibit at the Guadalupe Street Coffee House San Antonio. Led by local artist Mark Menjivar, BA '02, the exhibit presented a group of individuals who participated in the "210 in Focus: Fotos from the Westside" and their works produced during the weeklong photography workshop.

Jason Dumois, BBA '02, and A.J. Conyers, BBA '06, are already putting the lessons they learned at Baylor to the test in starting, "an innovative job-search site targeted to sales professionals." Even better, they're helping fellow Bears take that step into business, having hired six Baylor interns in the first year. Thankful for their Baylor educations, the duo plans on hiring more Baylor students in the future. Visit their Web site at

Dallas-based trial and appellate firm Godwin Ronquillo PC welcomes new associate G. Edel Cuadra, JD '02. Cuadra joins the firm as a member of the labor and employment division. In his practice, he counsels clients on workplace issues including compliance, best practices, internal investigations, policies and procedures, and human resources guidelines.

Ryan Horvath, BA '02, and Leslie Temple Horvath, BSED '05, were united in marriage in Maui, Hawaii, on May 30. At Baylor, Leslie was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, and Ryan was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. He is also a graduate of Oklahoma City University School of Law. The couple lives in Dallas. Daniel Horvath, BA '09, and Garrett Horvath (currently a Baylor freshman), both of Keller, Texas, served as best men.


Roland A. Goertz, M.D., MBA '03, FAAFP, a family physician in Waco, has been chosen president-elect of the American Academy of Family Physicians, which represents almost 95,000 physicians and medical students nationwide. Previously, he served three years as a member of the AAFP Board of Directors. As president-elect, Goertz will advocate on behalf of family physicians and patients nationwide to inspire positive change in the U.S. health care system. For the past 12 years, Goertz has served as chief executive officer of the three foundations that oversee all operations of the Waco Family Practice Center, which operates one of the oldest family medicine residency programs west of the Mississippi River. Goertz also holds an appointment as associate clinical professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas.


Artist Jennifer Moreman, BFA '04, had her work on display at Galleria Lazzara in Houston this summer, in addition to more recent exhibits in Salado, Tyler, Addison, Dallas and Las Colinas, where she won a contest to have her art on permanent display at the NYLO Hotel. Moreman lives in Tyler where she works on her art full-time. See her work at


Chris Alexander, BSFCS '05, works full-time for Michael J. Siller Interiors and part-time for Deborah Goolsby Interiors. His design talents allow him to work with high-end residential clients in Texas, California, Mexico and England. Chris has also designed his own rug collection with Hokanson Custom Carpets, creating a collection of custom rugs inspired by Japanese kimonos. The new Alexander Collection has been shown in Hokanson showrooms in New York, Los Angeles, Houston and Chicago. See Chris' work at, and

Third-year teacher Julia Alford, BFA '05, has joined the Rockdale [Texas] High School staff, teaching sophomore English, freshman MAPS (Mapping Academic and Personal Success) and One-Act Play. Before teaching in Hemphill and Livingston, Texas, Alford worked as an actress and a model in New York City. She has done work on PBS and been in some off-Broadway plays. Originally from Groveton, Texas, Alford now resides in College Station.

Cody Cortez, BBA '05, and Amy Stoneham Cortez, BA '06, were married June 13 in Houston.

Julie Merritt Lee, MDiv '05, has been welcomed as new pastor of Providence Baptist Church in Hendersonville, N.C.

Oil painter Sally Pryor Taylor, BFA '05, hosted her first solo exhibit in "Cattle, Studies in Silence and Cuba," at the Filter Building on White Rock Lake in Dallas. The show included 40 works that she has painted since January in her Continental Gin Building studio in Deep Ellum. Taylor painted the Traditions Mural in Baylor's Student Union Building in 2004. See more of her work at

Daniel Southerland, BMED '05, has joined the Whitehouse [Texas] High School Wildcat Band staff, teaching baritone and tuba. He formerly worked with band programs in Frankston and Denton. He and his wife, Le'Anne Layton Southerland, BBA '05, reside in Whitehouse.


Kristi Schubert, BA '06, has joined the litigation group of Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP, the oldest and one of the most recognized firms in Delaware. She is a graduate of the Boston University School of Law.

Former Lady Bear Sophia Young, BSED '06, helped lead the WNBA's San Antonio Silver Spurs to the playoffs for the third time in the past four seasons. A key cog in Baylor's 2005 national championship team, the three-time all star ranked in the top 20 in 24 statistical categories this past season, including fifth in points per game (18.2). She shares some Baylor memories on her official Web site,


Dana Wallace, MSED '07, is the new Director of Communications and Marketing for Meridian Technology Center in Stillwater, Okla. Wallace worked in Marketing and Communications at Baylor from 2003 to 2007 as a communications specialist and as a writer and editor. Most recently, Wallace served her undergraduate alma mater, Oklahoma City University, in the mass communication in international administration department. Previously, Wallace was a news anchor and reporter in Wichita Falls, Texas.


Kathryn E. Boatman, JD '08, has joined Bracewell & Giuliani LLP's appellate section as an associate. Her practice focuses on appeals and original proceedings in state and federal appellate courts. She also works with trial counsel by formulating pre-trial strategy, writing dispositive motions, preparing jury charges, and preserving error at trial. Prior to entering private practice, Boatman served as a Law Clerk to Justice Dale Wainwright, Texas Supreme Court.

Corby Weyler, BA '08, has been appointed English Language Arts teacher at Jasper High School, in Jasper, Texas.

Former Baylor All-American Jason Smith, BSED '08, signed a five-year deal reportedly worth as much as $62 million with the NFL's St. Louis Rams. Smith, the No. 2 overall pick in this spring's NFL Draft, is now starting on the Rams' offensive line.


Former English teacher Michelle Grose, MA '09, has been hired as director of public information for the Clover School District in Clover, South Carolina. As the new spokesperson, Grose is in charge of online and print publications, keeping the public up to date on school matters and working with the media.

First-year teacher Katie Davis, BA '09, is the youngest teacher at Nolanville Elementary in Killeen ISD in Killeen, Texas. Davis is currently part of Baylor's Strickland Scholar program, a fast-track elementary education program that will allow her to earn her teacher's certification and a master's degree in curriculum instruction by August 2010.

In mid-August, Kendal Volz (Boston Red Sox, ninth round) became the fourth Baylor junior to sign a pro contract this year, joining Aaron Miller (Los Angeles Dodgers, first round), Shaver Hansen (Seattle Mariners, sixth round) and Dustin Dickerson (Florida Marlins, sixth round).

Senior nursing student Rachel Mintz Sitler wed Paul Sitler in a ceremony on Aug. 8 in the Air Force Academy Chapel in Colorado Springs, Colo. The Sitlers are both members of the Air Force ROTC program and plan on entering the Air Force upon graduation. They live in Dallas.

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