Class Notes Summer 2012

July 9, 2012



Lucille Kistler Baresch, BA '40, of Waco, a teacher in the 1930s and '40s and a missionary to Peru in the 1960s and '70s, celebrated her 100th birthday with family and friends on March 24. Also enjoying the party were some of her former students from Alexander, Perry and Riesel, now in their mid-eighties, who had "Miss Kistler" as their first or fourth grade teacher, as well as in high school. In addition to the local former students, several co-teachers and students from Baresch's time at Colegio Maria Alvarado in Lima, Peru, were able to attend the celebration. This was a boarding school, so the students and teachers spent all of their days, evenings and weekends together like one big family. All of the students in attendance, as well as the many who sent greeting cards from around the world, spoke of the wonderful influence "Miss Lucille" had on their lives.

Bon Ava Barnes Moore, BA '45, and her husband, A.W. Moore, of Pearl, Miss., celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary on June 1. "We now have two great-grandsons," she writes.

Dr. Dick Ellis, BS '49, MD '52, of Fort Worth, was featured in the March 2012 edition of Tarrant County Physician: Journal of the Tarrant County Medical Society. The Fort Worth Business Press honored Ellis, one of their 22 HealthCare Heroes 2012, with an Advocacy in Medicine Award. Ellis was Tarrant County's first pediatric surgeon and continues to consult, advise and speak out for improved medical services for the area. As former president-elect for Cook Children's Medical Center's staff, Ellis is a longtime advocate for his young patients and their families, for medicine in general, for pediatric subspecialists in particular, and for Cook's Children's Medical Center. Contact at 2501 Museum Way, Fort Worth, TX 76107 or

Martha Rogers, BS '57, of Houston, writes, "After two successful series with Charisma media, I signed a new contract for three more historical novels in 2012 and 2013. I also signed a contract with B&H
publishers for an eBook to be released in July of 2013." Visit for more info.

"Coach" Royce, BS '61, and Dr. Syntha Traughber West, BA '61, of Tyler, Texas, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary Oct. 29, 2011. Syntha was head twirler for the Baylor Golden Wave Band and Ms. Texas Senior America 2008. Royce played football at Baylor and for the Denver Broncos. He is a member of the Gordon Wood Football Hall of Fame. They have two sons and six grandsons. Contact at 12446 Chapman Rd., Tyler, TX 75708 or

C21 Commercial --Judge Fite Company, under the direction of Larry Harbour, BBA '62, of Plano, Texas, was named the No. 2 Century 21 Commercial Company in the nation for 2011 at the recent C21 Global Convention held in New Orleans. Harbour's group was previously No. 1 in the nation in 2010. Contact at or (214) 423-3078.

Samuel L. Porter Jr., BM '65, MM '72, was appointed senior organist of First Presbyterian Church in Hattiesburg, Miss. He is an adjunct professor of organ at the University of Southern Mississippi. Contact at 818 Hillendale Dr., Hattiesburg, MS 39402.

In April, the Phoenix-based Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust announced the appointment of Dr. Judy Jolley Mohraz, BA '66, MA '68, to its board of trustees. Mohraz will continue as president and CEO of Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, an organization she has led since its inception in 2000. Previously, Mohraz served as president of Goucher College (Baltimore) for six years and in a range of leadership positions over 20 years at SMU. She also serves on the boards of the Council on Foundations, Civic Ventures, Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University, and Greater Phoenix Leadership. As a presidential appointee to the Board of Visitors of the United States Naval Academy, she co-chaired a special committee to investigate cheating at the Academy. Since it began awarding grants in 2000, Piper Trust has invested $290 million in local nonprofits and programs.

Dr. Marilyn Beaird, BA '69, has retired after 38 years in education. After Baylor, she earned two master's degrees and a doctorate at the University of North Texas. Her work experience includes teaching and serving as an administrator in Christian and public education and teaching at the university level. She retired from Lewisville [Texas] ISD as the library supervisor, overseeing more than 66 librarians at 64 campuses. Contact at


The Foundation of the American Board of Trial Advocates presented its highest honor, the Mark P. Robinson Lifetime Achievement Award, to Lewis R. Sifford, BA '71, JD '72, of Dallas. The award is given in recognition of a lifetime of service to the legal profession and preservation of the right to trial by jury guaranteed by the seventh amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Contact at


John Shepelwich, BA '72, and his wife, Katie, recently moved from Virginia to Carmel, Ind., where John is director of corporate communications for MISO Energy. He has managed communications and marketing in the electric utility industry for about 30 years after a number of years in broadcast journalism. After all received graduate-level degrees, their three children are undertaking careers in various parts of the country. Contact at 720 S. Rangeline Rd. #205, Carmel, IN 46032 or

In his first book, If I Can, Y-Y-You Can!, Neal Jeffrey, BBA '75, of Highland Village, Texas, shares six Bible-based principles that helped him realize his dreams of becoming a college and NFL quarterback, a successful minister, and a nationally-known motivational speaker despite his stuttering. Jeffrey holds a master of divinity degree from Southwestern Seminary and has served as an associate pastor for more than 25 years at Prestonwood Baptist Church. He and his wife, Sheila Tibbals Jeffrey, BSEd '75, have three grown children and two grandchildren. Contact at

After 37 years of music ministry in Texas, New Mexico, Washington and Oregon, Bobby Watkins, BMEd '76, retired from full-time vocational work in order to pursue international volunteer ministry. Watkins served 10 years as worship strategist of the Northwest Baptist Convention and 27 years in the local church. When not in Eastern Europe, he is a worship consultant and also is chaplain to the Spokane Indians (minor league team in the Texas Rangers' system). His wife, Sharon Barnhill Watkins, BMEd '72, is a vision specialist. "Now we are busier than ever. Working until HE calls us home!" writes Bobby. Contact at 5705 N. Hermosa Ct., Otis Orchards, WA 99027 or

Sally Masters, BSEd '80, recently accepted the position of associate director of academic advising at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh. In addition, she married Chris Zingler at 11:11 a.m. on 11/11/11.

The Interscholastic League Press Conference awarded the Edith Fox King Award to Lisa Lowry Schwartz, BA '80, in Austin on April 29. The award recognizes advisers who have made significant contributions to Texas scholastic journalism. Schwartz is co-owner of the Houston/European office of Balfour Yearbooks. She and her husband, Bill (a former BU student), have two children: Brittany, BA '08, and Cody. Contact at 13303 Pebblebrook Dr., Houston, TX 77079 or

Flinging their green and gold afar, Debbie Rudolph Piscacek, BSEd '81, of Waco, her brother Jim, and their parents Bette and Warren Rudolph (Alumni by Choice) cruised the Caribbean to celebrate Jim's 50th birthday. Jim attended Baylor from 1980-82 before transferring to Texas A&M. Debbie writes, "Thanks to Baylor's recent athletics success, our shirts were a big hit on the streets of Cozumel! Sic 'em!"

Sean Gallagher, BBA '84, of Denver, represented two U.S. Secret Service agents in the U.S. Supreme Court on March 21. At issue is whether Secret Service agents protecting the Vice President may be personally sued for money damages for an alleged First Amendment retaliatory arrest. Gallagher handles commercial and constitutional litigation for the national law firm Polsinelli Shughart. He is married to Lisa McCool Gallagher, BA '84. Their son, Rory, and daughter, Caitlin, are current Baylor students.

Alumnus by Choice Douglas K. Rackley, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, delivered an educational presentation at the Sustain SC 2012 Conference and Expo held in Greenville, S.C., in March. Rackley's presentation focused on sustainable strategies, features and products in the design of a data and logistics center for a local college. He served as the project architect and LEED administrator for this project, which is pursuing LEED Silver Certification. Rackley transferred from Baylor in 1982 to study architecture at Washington University in St. Louis, later earning a master's of architecture from Clemson. He is a registered architect and senior project architect/sustainable coordinator with Freeman & Major Architects in Greenville, S.C. Contact at

Geoffrey A. Long, BBA '86, JD '89, has joined the Houston office of the law firm of Thompson & Knight LLP as a partner in the corporate and securities practice group. Long has more than 20 years of buy and sell-side transactional experience across a wide range of industries. He is chairman of the board of directors of the Houston Downtown Alliance. His recent honors include being recognized in The Best Lawyers in America. Long joins the firm from Bracewell & Giuliani LLP, where he began his career as an associate in 1989 before being named partner in 1997.

Dick L. Dixon, BBA '87, has been named chief financial officer of Scott & White Healthcare (SWHC), located in Temple, Texas. SWHC is one of the most recognized fully integrated healthcare systems in the nation and is the fifth largest group practice in the country. Dixon has more than 24 years of experience in healthcare finance. He and his wife, Sandy, live in Temple and have two sons: Brett, BBA '10, and Matt, currently studying accounting at Baylor. Contact Dick at

Maj. Gen. David A. Rubenstein, MHA '89, commanding general of the U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School, and chief of the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps, is a recent recipient of the Gold Medal Award, which is the American College of Healthcare Executives' highest honor. ACHE is an international professional society of more than 40,000 healthcare executives who lead hospitals, healthcare systems and other healthcare organizations.
The award recognizes Fellows of the American College of Healthcare Executives who best exemplify leadership contributing to the improvement of healthcare services and community health.

As the commander of the AMEDDC&S, he leads the Army's largest civilian-accredited service school and the Army's center for developing and improving battlefield medical doctrine and organizations. He is responsible for providing 315 programs (from one-week functional courses to multi-year master's and doctoral programs) with 2,357 military and civilian staff and executing a $150 million budget to educate and train more than 37,000 military and civilian students annually.

Rubenstein also serves as the chief of the Army's Medical Service Corps, comprised of 4,500 Active and 5,500 Reserve Army Officers. He is responsible for the recruitment, development, retention, and best utilization of this diverse group of professionals around the world in support of the Army Medical Department's mission.

Jeff Brown, BBA '91, resides in Mandeville, La., where he and wife Susan Dean Brown, BS '91, homeschool their four children. Jeffrey (18) accepted a tennis scholarship to the University of Louisville. James, a high school sophomore, just received his driver's license. Elizabeth (14) is in eighth grade, and Rebekah (8) just started second grade. Jeff has been promoted to vice president of training and development for Pamlab Inc., based in Covington, La., where he has worked for the past 20 years. Contact at 101 Bigner Road, Mandeville, LA 70471 or

Dr. Colleen Donowho Lindsey, BSEd '91, MSEd '92, received her doctoral degree in gifted education from the University of New Orleans. She returned to New Orleans with her parents (Rick and Priscilla Donowho), husband (Darrell Lindsey), and children (Katie, 11; Justin, 9; Meredith, 8) for graduation in May. It was her children's first trip back to New Orleans since they moved because of Hurricane Katrina. Lindsey teaches in North East ISD in San Antonio. Contact at

Joy Jennings, BBA '91, was recently promoted to vice president of marketing services at Idea Grove, a marketing and public relations firm in Dallas. She primarily serves B2B clients in the technology, telecom and healthcare fields. Contact at

Mark Wilson, MBA '92, joined Westminster Theological Seminary, Glenside, Pa., as chief financial officer in Dec. 2011. Wilson is married to Nathalie Delest Wilson, MBA '92, and they have three sons: Max (12), Luke (10) and Benjamin (6). Contact at

Becky Wade, BBA '93, of Dallas, is an author, and her first novel for the Christian market, My Stubborn Heart, was published by Bethany House Publishers in May. My Stubborn Heart is a fun, modern, heartwarming and inspirational love story. The book's fictional heroine, Kate Donovan, is also a Baylor alumna.

Russ Frank, BA '94, vice president and special assistant to the president of Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, was recently recognized by the Junior Chamber International Texas (Texas Jaycees) as one of five Outstanding Young Texans. This award honors influential Texans age 40 and under who have distinguished themselves professionally and in their community. Given annually since 1950, past winners include President George H. W. Bush, Joel Osteen, Dan Rather and Henry G. Cisneros. Contact Frank at 4530 Hummingbird St., Houston, TX 77035, or

From left above, Susan Richter Kennedy, BA '93, MS '94; Andrea Miller Gatlin, BA '93, MS '94; Stephanie Teale Sanchez, MS '94; Cindy Armstrong (formerly Pruett), MS '94; Shawnie Maffett Fesyk, BA '93, MS '94. These grad school friends enjoyed throwing a baby shower in honor of Sanchez's first child in February in Scottsdale, Ariz. All are speech-language pathologists and look forward to yearly trips together. Contact Gatlin at

Chuck Pope, BA '94, is currently serving as a foreign service officer in Afghanistan. His wife, Heather Grant, also a foreign service officer, is serving in Moscow and caring for their three small children. This fall the family will be reunited with a tandem assignment to Tanzania. His family recently purchased and reopened the Monroe Bay Inn Bed & Breakfast in Colonial Beach, Va., which is located on the Potomac River near Washington, D.C. "All Bears visiting the Northern Neck of Virginia are cordially invited to drop by and stay awhile," he writes. Contact at
Adrian Escalante, BBA '96, writes, "On March 17, a group of Baylor grads and their families came together for a picnic at Cottonwood Creek Park in Irving, Texas. We reminisced about our time at Baylor and celebrated the success of the men's and women's basketball teams. Later that evening, the Baylor men advanced to the 2012 Sweet 16." Pictured from left to right below are: Jerome Rose, BBA '97, Trent Hughes, BA '98, Escalante, Lenroy Malone, BS '97, Robin Jones, BA '91, and Lesley Regaldo, BSEd '92. Contact at

Dr. Kenyatta Gilbert, BA '96, of Rockville, Md., has been promoted to the rank of associate professor with tenure at Howard University School of Divinity in Washington, D.C. Contact at

Dr. M. Nicholas Coppola, MHA '97, is the recipient of the 2011 Army-Baylor Distinguished Alumni Award. Additionally, Coppola's textbook, Leadership for Health Professionals: Theory, Skills and Applications, was recently selected for a second edition print by Jones & Bartlett Learning. His textbook is currently used by more than 100 degree programs across the United States. Coppola retired from the Army as a lieutenant colonel in 2008. He is currently a program director and associate professor at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. Contact at 4701 116th St., Lubbock, TX 79424.

Chris Penny, BBA '98, of Grapevine, Texas, recently joined The Cooperative Purchasing Network as vice president of sales. Penny leads a team that provides sales and services to more than 20,000 public sector agencies in all 50 states. Contact at

Jeff Pusch, BA '99, received his doctorate in English from the University of Southern Mississippi on Dec. 16, 2011. He teaches composition as an adjunct instructor and works in the Office of the Provost in a research capacity at USM. Contact at

Michael Skaggs, MSEd '99, was recently promoted to the role of chief administrator at Trinity Christian Academy in Willow Park, Texas, where he has served as secondary principal since 2000. Contact at

Jeffrey Creecy, BA '00, resides at 14332 Montfort Dr. Apt. 3401, Dallas, TX 75254. His email address is

Laura A. Cadena, MDiv '01, served as co-chair of Bridge-O-Rama, West Dallas's celebration of the opening of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge over the Trinity River. The bridge connects Singleton Boulevard in West Dallas to the Woodall Rodgers Freeway in downtown Dallas. For more information, visit

Major Steve Sheridan, MHA '04, has been equipping U.S. military members to win the war on debt for the past 10 years both stateside and overseas (Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait). He is the proud new author of Waging War On Debt. In addition to writing his book, he has also formed Mission Wealthy Warriors to give away copies of his book, thus giving soldiers and veterans the tools to eliminate debt and create wealth. See and for more details.

Christopher L. Small, BA '04, was recently conferred with a doctorate of philosophy in educational leadership and administration from Florida State University. He is a spring 2001 initiate of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., and is in his fourth year as assistant principal for curriculum and instruction at Nims Middle School in Tallahassee, Fla.


April Mollerberg, MBA '05, married Keith Rowsey on Dec. 17, 2011, in Fort Riley, Kan. The couple resides in Manhattan, Kan. Contact at

Andrew Smith, BBA '05, has joined the firm Lee & Desenberg PLLC as an associate attorney. The Houston-based business law firm specializes in the areas of general business, tax, estate planning and franchising.
Capt. John Boswell, BA '06, was commissioned as a U.S. Air Force Intelligence Officer through Baylor Air Force ROTC in 2007. He was recently awarded the Bronze Star Medal for Meritorious Service for his deployment to Afghanistan during 2010-11. The decoration cites that, while deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, he supported a Joint Task Force as the Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance liaison officer for combat operations "ensuring mission success against numerous high value targets of national significance." Boswell is currently stationed at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, and will move soon to take a new assignment at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea (South Korea).

Ryan D. Schoch, MSEd '07, of Lafayette, Ind., has recently taken a position as clinical project manager at MED Institute, Inc., a Cook Medical, Inc. company. He manages global clinical research trials that use medical devices to endovascularly treat patients with abdominal aortic or iliac aneurysms. Previously, his work focused on nutritional research to improve health and human performance at Purdue and Baylor. Schoch and his wife of six years, Karmen, have a 3-year-old son, Drew. Contact at 3070 Bardsdell St., Lafayette, IN 47909 or

Brett Burchett, BBA '08, of Dallas, writes, "A group of Baylor grads couldn't make Homecoming this year due to a work trip. Instead, we met Evander Holyfield (above) during our off time and got him to do a 'Sic 'em Bears' with us to cheer the Bears on right before the Mizzou game!"

Amanda Clark, BSEd '08, married Andrew Miller on Nov. 5, 2011, in Dallas. Amanda teaches biology in Plano ISD, and Andrew is an engineer with Halliburton. The couple has made their home in Pampa, Texas.

Former Baylor all-girl squad head cheerleader Laura Puckett, BA '08, and Baylor quarterback Blake Szymanski, BBA '09, were married April 14 in Dallas.

Adriana Soliz, BA '08, married Aaron R. Palacios, BSECE '06, on Sept. 4, 2010, in Corpus Christi, Texas. Aaron works as a microwave transmission engineer for Communication Infrastructure Corporation, and Adriana is currently pursuing a master's degree in biochemistry at Texas State University. The couple resides in San Marcos.

Kristina Rossi Holcomb, BA '09, and husband Tyler reside in Waco, where Kristina is the project manager for PRUF LED, an LED lighting manufacturer. Tyler is a head coach and teacher at Reicher Catholic High School. They celebrated three years of marriage this June. Contact at

Farrah Najmuddin, BA '09, married Brennan Lang on Jan. 6 in Houston. Farrah is pursuing her juris doctorate at the University of Houston Law Center, and Brennan is pursuing his medical doctorate at Baylor College of Medicine.

Grant Thornhill, BA '09, a current student at Baylor Law School, had his undergraduate essay "An Exploration of Teeth in Riders in the Chariot" chosen for publication in the recent Volume 69: Issue 4 of The Explicator, a scholarly, literary journal published by Taylor and Francis. Thornhill's work was chosen from thousands of entries submitted each year.

Stephen Variames, BM '09, has been accepted into the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music, which claims one of the United States' most comprehensive opera training programs. He will pursue an artist diploma as an opera coach participant under full scholarship. An Allen [Texas] High School graduate, Variames also received his master's of music in vocal coaching from the University of Oklahoma City.

Emily Stone, BS '10, writes, "I'm BAYLOR PROUD to share in the tradition of being an All University Sing Chair (2010) for Kappa Alpha Theta with my younger sister Abigail Stone (a Baylor senior). I could not be more proud of all of her hard work and determination over the past year! Sic 'em, Sing!"

Jason McElvaney, EMBA '11, of Austin, has opened McElvaney Public Affairs (MPA). McElvaney is a legislative and public affairs specialist with more than 20 years of experience in public policy, government relations, public relations, community outreach and grassroots marketing in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. He has played a key role in numerous high-impact policy campaigns and legislative efforts. MPA provides services at the local, state and federal levels in government relations/lobbying, grassroots advocacy, communications and strategic and political counsel. Please visit

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