Alumni News and Notes

March 21, 2013

Beatrice "Bee" Caldwell Oldfield, BS '40, of Dallas, has authored Brace Yourself: A Letter to Those Approaching 90, with Coping Clues from One Who's Been There (CreateSpace 2012 - 116 pages). She writes, "I thought it might be helpful to some of those getting really old if they knew ahead of time what to expect and how to prepare for it, as I didn't. I think it would have been a lot easier for me if I had." Oldfield has dedicated the profits to White Rock Center of Hope, a Dallas resale shop and multi-church charitable organization.


Frank Boggs, BA '48, has now enjoyed 60 years in the music ministry. He is director of the 100-voice Georgia Festival Chorus and continues to do solo work. During the week of April 5-14, 2013, he will take the chorus on an "Alpine Adventure." They will sing concerts in the cathedrals in Salzburg, Austria; Zurich, Switzerland; and the Castle Neuschwanstein in Bavaria, Germany. In addition, they will sing five concerts in the Atlanta area. Learn more at


Dr. Gene Williams, AB '49, is a full-time evangelist who has led more than 1,400 multi-day revivals and Bible conferences in the U.S. and more than 135 revival crusades abroad. He is chairman of the board of Concern for the World, the largest evangelistic association in the world. More than 36,000 people gave their lives to Christ during the past year through the total ministry of Gene Williams Evangelistic Association. Also an author and trustee of The International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, Williams was formerly president of Luther Rice Seminary. He was elected to the "Hall of Faith" of Southern Baptist Evangelists in 2008. Contact at 2065 Woodlawn Rd., Covington, GA 30014 or


In her recently published book I'll Be Seeing You: A Wife's Journey with her Husband's Alzheimer's (CreateSpace, 2012 - 224 pages), Deane Dobson Johnson, '52, of Waco, documents the day-to-day journey she has shared with her husband, Hon. Joe N. Johnson, BM '56, JD '64, as his memory has faded and the winter of life has approached. Her book is a powerful testament of love, commitment and the art of growing old. Deane has set up a website,, so that anyone on a similar journey can find support.


Billy, BA '53, and Sarah Pitschmann Williamson, BA '53, of Rochester, Minn., celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary with their entire family (19 total) in Lake City, Minn., on Dec. 27, 2012. Their three sons are all Baylor graduates: Richard, BA '76, David, BS '80, MBA '81, and Daniel, BBA '89. They also have a daughter, Gail. Billy served as a pastor and chaplain, including two stints as Baptist chaplain at the Mayo Clinic, until his retirement in 1993. Among her many acts of service in church life, Sarah assisted in starting ESL classes at Emmanuel Baptist Church in 1968 and continues to volunteer there today. The extended Williamson family received the First Families of Baylor award in 1991. At that time, 29 family members from three generations had graduated from or attended Baylor. Since then, several fourth-generation Williamsons have become Baylorites. "There will be more to come!" writes Sarah.


Wake Forest University's Divinity School announced its first endowed chair in 2012, named for Marilyn McNeely Dunn, BM '56, BA '57, and her husband: The James and Marilyn Dunn Chair of Baptist Studies. Dr. Bill J. Leonard is the first holder of the chair. Dr. Harvey Cox spoke at the inauguration of the chair; he occupied the first endowed religion chair in any divinity school in the U.S. at Harvard, also endowed by Baptist laypersons. Contact the Dunns at 1199 Hayes Forest Dr., Winston-Salem, NC 27106 or

Rev. Paul Powell, BA '56, of Tyler, Texas, was recently honored with the East Texas Area Council Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Citizen Good Turn Award. Powell is the dean emeritus of Baylor's George W. Truett Theological Seminary and also a former chair of Baylor's Board of Regents. He served as president of the Robert M. Rogers Foundation of Tyler and retired in 1998 as president and CEO of the annuity board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Powell has served as pastor for several churches in Texas, holds five honorary doctorates and has authored 43 books.


The family of Grady Nutt, BA '57, Hee Haw's "Prime Minister of Humor," has launched a website in his memory. The noted storyteller was famous for his spontaneous comedy routines on the top-rated TV show. In 1981, NBC aired "The Grady Nutt Show," starring Nutt as a minister who was always involved in some kind of funny crisis. On Nov. 23, 1982, Nutt was killed in a plane crash. On the 30th anniversary of his passing, Nutt's family is sharing many classic Grady Nutt stories, TV and radio clips on

Edith Tindall Towns, '57, writes, "On Dec. 15, my grandson, David Sharpe, '12, graduated and was added to my growing family of Baylorites: my grandmother Myrtle Looney Smith (early 1900s), my aunt Edith Irene Smith Knapp, BA '38, my mother Mary Frances Smith Tindall (1930s), myself, and my daughter, Tamera Elizabeth Storey Arrington, JD '82. We were/are all proud alumni -- five generations and growing!" Contact at 2010 Ira Young Dr. #1103, Temple, TX 76504.


Dr. Preston Dyer, BA '60, and wife Dr. Genie Dyer, BA '59, retired Baylor professors in the field of marriage and family life, will be keynote speakers for a Better Marriages seminar, "Love Talks: Making the Best of Both Easy and Tough Conversations," on Saturday, April 20, at Collin College Preston Ridge Conference Center, 9700 Wade Blvd., Frisco, TX. For more information, visit


Jeffrey Bearden, BA '63, of Amarillo, was inducted into the Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame on Feb. 10. A former coach at San Jacinto Christian Academy in Amarillo, his girls' basketball team won four state championships in the past six years, including the 2012 TAPPS title. During his 48-year career, he has coached in 12 school districts across West Texas and the Panhandle. Perhaps the most notable player coached by Bearden is Baylor and NFL alumnus Dennis Gentry, BSEd '85. Bearden has been named one of America's "Outstanding Secondary Educators" and is a two-time Small Private School Coach of the Year.


John E. Miller, BA '67, a contracts management consultant for, writes, "In December my article, 'Contract Legalese Reduction Tips,' was published in the National Contract Management Association's Contract Management Magazine. The article can be seen at" Contact at or 202 Yoalana St., Boerne, TX 78006.


Gary E. Baker, BA '68, JD '70, has retired after 34 years as counsel in the law department of Exxon Mobil Corporation. After graduating from Baylor Law School, Baker received an LLM in international law from the University of Michigan Law School and served as a judge advocate and assistant professor at the Air Force Academy before joining Exxon Mobil. Contact Gary and his wife, Susan Key Baker, BSN '69, at 15418 Wilkshire Ct., Houston, TX 77069 or

Dr. Dennis Myers, BA '68, of Waco, was appointed to the Nursing Facility Administrators Advisory Committee by Texas Gov. Rick Perry. The committee advises the Texas Health and Human Services Commission board on licensing and regulation of nursing facility administrators. Myers is the Dorothy Barfield Kronzer Endowed Professor in Family Studies, specializing in social work and gerontology, and chair of the Gerontology Initiative in Baylor's School of Social Work.


Mark P. Harner, BA '69, MBA '90, has been promoted to senior vice president and senior manager - special credits & OREO for Central Pacific Bank. The bank is a $4.1 billion, Honolulu-based, full-service commercial bank with 34 branches throughout the islands of Hawaii. Contact at 2611 Ala Wai Blvd. #705, Honolulu, HI 96815 or

Texas Gov. Rick Perry appointed Ernest "Ernie" Kuehne Jr., JD '69, of Dallas, to serve on the University of North Texas (UNT) System Board of Regents. Kuehne is an attorney and serves as president and board chairman of Kuehne Oil Company.


Dr. Janis (John) Briga, BS '70, has published his novel, If I Should Die, in which he uses a science fiction format to reconcile scientific facts with the existence of God (CreateSpace 2012 - 310 pages). He obtained his master's and doctorate of philosophy degrees from Bowling Green State University. Briga is a licensed psychologist living in Connecticut with his wife, three collies, three horses, three chickens and three cats. Contact at or 241 Jones Hollow Rd., Marlborough, CT 06447.

Larry Dagley, BBA '70, and his wife, Norma, owners of Circle Hardware in Waco since 2012, have become part of the Do It Best cooperative, which will let their store get products from Waco's Do It Best regional service center. With this partnership, the Dagley family has been able to expand the store's square footage along with its product line. The store was established in 1945. Dagley, a Waco native, formerly served as CFO for public energy companies in Houston.

In his book God Is Alive and Well: The Future of Religion in America (Gallup Books, 2012 - 220 pages), Frank Newport, BA '70, Gallup editor-in-chief and one of the nation's leading public opinion analysts, provides a new evidence-based perspective on Americans' religious beliefs and practices, while offering predictions about religion's future in the U.S. The book dissects religion's important relationship with politics and suggests that Americans may increasingly come to recognize that religion is good for their well-being and health.


Hon. Stephen B. Ables, BA '71, JD '73, of Kerrville, Texas, was reappointed by Gov. Rick Perry as presiding judge of the Sixth Administrative Judicial Region for a term to expire in 2016. Ables was formerly judge of the 216th District Court in Kerr, Kendall, Gillespie and Bandera counties.

Louis D. Kaiser, JD '71, and his colleagues have announced the formation of a new law firm, Kaiser Holahan LLC, with offices in Hartland, Wisc. The team, including Kaiser's son Michael, has practiced at this location as Kaiser Law Offices for nine years. Kaiser has provided professional services for more than 40 years in Hartland and Southeastern Wisconsin.

Margaret Barrett Shannon, BA '71, was recently appointed to the board of directors for Quanta Services, Inc. Shannon brings more than three decades of experience in corporate governance, public company requirements and the energy industry. She served as vice president and general counsel of BJ Services Company, an international oilfield services company, from 1994 to 2010. Shannon also serves on the board of directors of Matador Resources Company, an exploration and production company. She is active in several not-for-profit organizations in Houston.


The Atlanta-based Cooperative Baptist Fellowship nominated Suzii Youngblood Paynter, BA '72, director of Texas Baptists' Christian Life Commission, as the CBF's next executive coordinator, succeeding Dr. Daniel Vestal, BA '66, MA '68. Paynter has served as director of public policy in Austin for the Baptist General Convention of Texas ethics agency since 2001, and she has been director of the Christian Life Commission since 2006. She also heads the BGCT Advocacy Care Center, which includes community ministry and chaplaincy. In her role with the CLC, Paynter spearheaded efforts for the Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger, which helps fund some CBF economic development initiatives. Paynter characterized her nomination as "absolutely a milestone for Baptist women in ministry." Her husband, Dr. Roger Paynter, BA '72, is pastor of First Baptist Church in Austin.

George Snell, BA '72, JD '72, has been appointed to the advisory board of the Institute for Energy Law. Also, he recently joined the Steptoe & Johnson PLLC where he will focus his practice on energy law, particularly in oil and gas title options, in the firm's Houston office. For more than 30 years, Snell has prepared thousands of opinions for energy companies across the country. He is a nationally known author and public speaker and has had many of his works published in leading legal and industry publications. Snell had maintained a private practice in Amarillo, Texas, since 1972.


Vassar "Skip" Holman, BA '73, has compiled Encountering and Experiencing God Daily Journal: How God Speaks to Me, a guide for journaling about one's spiritual walk. Suzanne Sample Graham, BA '75, of Practical Photography and Publishing, published the book, available at Holman is minister of discipleship at Northeast Baptist Church in San Antonio and works in customer service for Blackaby Ministries International. His wife, Marilyn Browning Holman, BA '73, teaches seventh grade reading at Alamo Heights Junior School.


Dr. Ray Perryman, BS '74, gave his 29th annual Economic Outlook on Jan. 17 at the Tyler Economic Development Council and Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce's Quarterly Membership Luncheon. He is president and CEO of The Perryman Group, a Waco-based economic research and analysis firm.


Bob Hart, BS '75, was one of 156 participants who set a Guinness World Record Penny Farthing (high wheel bicycle) Stack on July 21, 2012, in Findlay, Ohio. Hart is beginning his sixth year as city manager of Kennedale, Texas, and serves as an adjunct faculty member in the graduate public administration program at UT-Arlington. Contact at or P.O. Box 856, Kennedale, TX 76060.

Godfrey Sullivan, BBA '75, of Saratoga, Calif., chairman and CEO of data analytics firm Splunk., Inc., was featured in the Feb. 4 issue of Fortune magazine. The company, which went public in April 2012, creates software for IT departments and can claim Facebook, Staples and the U.S. Defense Department among its customers. Sullivan is a Waco native.


Carol Smalley Mills, BSEd '76, of Belton, Texas, was named Distinguished Baylor Woman of Central Texas and honored at the Central Texas Baylor Scholarship Brunch in Temple in February. She is vice president of First Advisors Inc. in Austin and is an investment partner in Killeen Holdings Partnership. In 2010, she served as director of Killeen ISD Education Foundation. From 2006-08, she was executive director of the Belton Economic Development Corporation. She and husband Billy Mills, BSEd '76, have two sons and two grandchildren.

Cathy Raevsky, BA '76, is the new director of the Butte County [Calif] Department of Public Health, as of March 4. She has served for the last 12 years as the health officer for the Kent County, Mich., health department. Prior to that she worked as the deputy director of health for Merced County, Calif. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology.


Dr. Preston Foster, BA '77, of San Antonio, trained in liver transplantation and practiced in Chicago for about 15 years. In 2000 he moved back to Texas and founded the Liver Transplantation Program at the Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital. In 2012, this liver transplant program achieved the best one-year patient survival of any adult program in the United States. Contact at

Michael Hyatt, BA '77, of Franklin, Tenn., authored Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World - A Step-by-Step Guide For Anyone With Something To Say or Sell (Thomas Nelson 2012 - 288 pages). He is launching Platform University, a service that explores the concepts outlined in his book at a much deeper level through specialized classes, tutorials and actionable lessons. Considered one of the top business bloggers in the world, Hyatt's goal is to help people get their messages heard and to have a greater impact. He was CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishing for six years and is now the company's chairman.


James Val Fulcher, JD '78, of Teague, Texas, writes, "As assistant scoutmaster with Boy Scouts of America Troop 70, my son, Chris, and I attended the 2012 Baylor University Merit Badge College with our troop. Thank you, Baylor, for this fine program each year! We always enjoy it." Contact at

Louan Gideon, BA '78, of Swannanoa, N.C., has published her first eBook, entitled: That's A Wrap! 29 Easy & Elegant Head-Wrapping Styles for the Tressless Chemo Babe. Using photos taken throughout the author's cancer diagnosis and treatment, Gideon teaches step-by-step head-wrapping plans while sharing her own inspirational journey through chemotherapy and beyond. Contact at

Dr. Gregory Smith, BS '78, moved back to Denver this year after being vice president and senior associate dean of medicine at Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee. He is now president and chief medical officer of OccMed Colorado. Smith is also completing his third doctorate in Old Testament and Hebrew through B.H. Carroll Theological Institute in Arlington, Texas. He is regional dean of medicine at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, as well as teaching professor at Golden Gate Baptist Seminary's Rocky Mountain Campus. He is married to Melinda Jones Smith, BBA '79, and has three children and three granddaughters, all in Colorado. Contact at


Kendra Bunch, BSEd '79, of Corsicana, Texas, has joined the Century 21 Marrs & Associates firm as a sales associate. She will specialize in residential, commercial, farm and ranch and Richland Chambers Lake property sales in the Navarro County area. Bunch previously taught for 18 years in Corsicana ISD.

Pamela Pridemore Groves, BSEd '79, writes, "After 33 wonderful years teaching in Arlington ISD, I retired this past year. Visited my daughter in North Carolina and remodeled my home. Looking forward to more travel and finding a second career for this chapter. I am a huge Baylor fan!" Contact at 2727 Westgate Dr., Arlington, TX 76015 or


Jackson Walker LLP attorney M. Keith Branyon, BBA '81, JD '83, was selected among the 2012 Fort Worth "Top Attorneys" by Fort Worth, Texas magazine. The list was published in the December issue. Branyon, a partner in the firm, was chosen by his peers as best in the field of probate, estate & trust. He has a particular emphasis on the taxation of individuals, estates and trusts and all types of transfer taxes.

Angelina County District Attorney Clyde Herrington, JD '81, of Lufkin, Texas, recently retired from the position. He will continue practicing law part-time in private practice.

Linda Trotter, BS '81, of Franklin, Tenn., writes, "I'm so proud of my daughter, Heather, who applied for Single Choice Early Decision for admittance to the Baylor Freshman Class of 2013. Baylor is her dream university, and she accompanied me to the football season opener."


Texas Gov. Rick Perry has re-appointed Barbara Calhoun Cargill, BSEd '82, of The Woodlands, Texas, as chairwoman of the State Board of Education for a term to expire Feb. 1, 2015. The board and education commissioner oversee the state's public school system. A former teacher, Cargill is founder and director of Wonders of the Woodlands (WOW!) Science Camp. She has served as chairwoman of the SBOE since her appointment in July 2011. Cargill received a master's degree in science education from Texas Woman's University.

Jack Duffy, MBA '82, a Fort Worth trial lawyer, recently released a new book about the JFK assassination titled The Man From 2063 (Tate Publishing, 2012 - 276 pages). The novel is based on 40 years of research and actual historical events surrounding Kennedy's death on Nov. 22, 1963.

Dr. Jerry Tarver, BS '82, of Essex Junction, Vt., sent in a photo of his watch party for the Baylor-SMU football game. Included are his wife, Laury (who attended Baylor from 1979-81), and his daughter, Annie, who will be in Baylor's class of 2018. He writes, "Vermont is now represented in the Baylor student body. Vermont was the only state last year not represented."

After 29 years with Pampa [Texas] ISD, most recently as lead speech-language pathologist, Susan Sneed Alexander, BS '82, recently accepted a position as education specialist for assistive technology at Region 16 Education Service Center in Amarillo. Contact at or 1901 Lea, Pampa, TX 79065.

Lana Shannon Shadwick, BS '82, was announced as assistant county attorney for County Attorney J.D. Lambright in Montgomery County, Texas. She will head the Child and Adult Protective Services section in her new appointment. Shadwick served as an associate judge in Harris County Family Court and as an attorney in the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services' Office of General Counsel.

Atascosa County Attorney Lucinda Price Vickers, BA '82, JD '84, received the Humanitarian Award from Jourdanton [Texas] Hermann Sons Lodge 310 on Nov. 8, 2012. With a specialty in family law, she has served tirelessly for many years in the legal profession, and her real passion is for needy children and broken marriages. She moved to Pleasanton, Texas, in 1986 and married Joe Vickers that same year. They have one daughter, Mary Jane.


Anne Uhrbrock Clutterbuck, BA '83, was appointed to the board of managers for Harris Health System. She is a former Houston City Council member where she served as chair of the Budget and Fiscal Affairs Committee, Houston Mayor Pro Tem and director of the Houston-Galveston Area Council.

Texas-based national optometric alliance Vision Source announced that Jim Greenwood, BBA '83, of Frisco, Texas, assumed the position of president and chief operating officer, effective Jan. 7. Greenwood joins the executive team after serving as CEO of Concentra for more than five years. His career in healthcare started in 1993 when he joined Concentra's predecessor company as chief financial officer. Greenwood helped lead Concentra through a time of significant growth and innovative transformation for its national medical practice that now includes more than 1,500 affiliated primary care physicians and physical therapists. Greenwood serves on the board of directors for Epic Health Services, Inc., and the Baylor University Healthcare Administration Program's Advisory Council.

Sherry Claypool Kuehl, BA '83, of Leawood, Kan., has had her book and blog Snarky in the Suburbs optioned by ABC for film and television rights. The project is in development at ABC Studios. Kuehl currently has two books out: Snarky in the Suburbs: Back to School and Four Seasons of Snarky. Her next book, Snarky and the Suburbs: Two Weeks in Texas, comes out this summer.

Hon. Richard Miller, JD '83, of Harker Heights, Texas, retired Jan. 31 after five terms as Bell County Attorney, having overseen office operations for two decades. Previously he was a police officer in Dallas for 12 years, chief of police for the Killeen Police Department for three years in the late 1970s, and had a brief stint as police chief in Denton.


Texas Gov. Rick Perry has reappointed Deeia D. Beck, BBA '84, MBA '85, JD '94, of Austin, to the Office of Public Insurance Counsel for a term to expire Feb. 1, 2015. The office represents the interests of insurance consumers in regulatory matters relating to insurance rates, rules and forms. Beck has held the office since her appointment in 2008. She is a member of the State Bar of Texas, Tarrant and Travis County Bar associations, American Association for Justice, and National Association of Insurance Commissioners, and a life fellow of the Texas and Tarrant County Bar foundations.

Brownsville, Texas, native Cary Copenhaver Montalvo, BS '84, has been named CEO of Solara Hospital Harlingen-Brownsville. She has more than 25 years of experience in the health care industry and has served in various leadership roles, including system vice president of operations for Valley Baptist Health System. Montalvo holds a master's degree in health care administration from Trinity University in San Antonio. She is a member of the American Society of Clinical Pathologists, the Clinical Lab Management Association, and the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Dr. W. Roy Smythe, BS '84, of Belton, Texas, was appointed to the Texas Medical Board by Gov. Rick Perry. He is chairman of surgery and medical director for Scott and White Healthcare's Office of Innovation, and a professor and chair of surgery at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine.


Michael Avant, BBA '85, of Houston, has recently taken the position of CFO for the Apex Heritage Group. Prior to this he spent 19 years with the Friedkin Companies as a vice president. Apex is a Houston-based, privately held oil and gas and real estate investment company. Contact at

John K. Evans, MHA '85, has been appointed the president and CEO of Vermont Information Technology Leaders, Inc., a non-profit organization that operates the statewide health information exchange. Evans has experience in developing and implementing health information exchanges around the country, having worked as a consultant to the industry since 2006.

Penni Rush Groves, BA '85, JD '89, is now general counsel at Missouri State University in Springfield, Mo. Groves assumed the permanent position after serving as interim general counsel since 2011. Prior to that, Groves served as Missouri State's legal counsel from 2004-11. She has practiced law for 23 years.

Texas State Senator Ken Paxton, BBA '85, MBA '86, of McKinney, who represents Senate District 8, has named Steve Roddy, BA '85, of New Braunfels, Texas, as his chief of staff. Paxton (pictured), a practicing attorney from McKinney, was first elected to the Texas Senate in 2012 after serving five terms in the Texas House of Representatives. Senate District 8 includes portions of Collin and Dallas counties, including Allen, Dallas, Fairview, Frisco, Lucas, McKinney, Murphy, Parker, Plano, Richardson, Sachse, St. Paul and Wylie. Prior to joining Paxton's office, Roddy served as associate director of policy and planning of the Texas Health Services Authority, a nonprofit corporation created by the Texas Legislature in 2007 to coordinate the development of Texas electronic health information exchange. He performed public policy consulting services following his tenure from 2004-09 as chief of staff for State Senator Jane Nelson. 

Dr. R. Hal Ritter Jr., PhD '85, of Waco, has authored Diggin' Up Worms: Boys will be Boys (Tate Publishing, 2012 - 64 pages), a collection of stories from his childhood, told from his perspective as a 10-year-old, learning about life and God. He is also second author of a textbook, Ethical Practice in Grief Counseling (Springer, 2009 - 420 pages).


Paula K. Barnes, MM '87, legal administrator for Burr & Forman LLP's Nashville office, has been named president-elect of the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA), which includes 10,000 members worldwide who are involved in the management of law firms, corporate legal departments and government legal agencies. Barnes joined Burr & Forman when its Nashville office opened in 2006 and has more than 13 years of experience as a legal administrator. Her ALA résumé includes both chapter and regional leadership positions.


The Washington Department of Veterans Affairs has announced the appointment of Maj. Gary Condra, MHA '88, of Puyallup, Wash., as deputy director. A 20-year veteran of the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps, he joined WDVA in June 1998 as associate superintendent of the Washington Soldiers Home in Orting, Wash. Prior to this newest appointment, Condra served as the WDVA CFO.

Dr. Lee Mulcahy, BA '88, exhibited his artwork at the Universitat der Kunst Berlin in Germany in January, the R2 gallery at Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities in Carbondale, Colo., in February, and Aspen, Colorado's Red Brick Center for the Arts in March. Contact at 53 Forge, Aspen, CO 81611.

Judge Don Willett, BBA '88, writes, "I'm Baylor's lone statewide-elected official and thankfully won re-election in 2012 to the Texas Supreme Court, scoring the largest vote total in Texas history. (Apparently it helps to run unopposed.) It's an unfathomable privilege to serve 26 million Texans and our glorious Lone Star State. I still live in Austin (the other nation's capital) with my cherubic bride and three wee Willetts. Folks can follow me on Twitter @JusticeWillett, like me on Facebook at and also check out" Contact at 5717 Republic of Texas Blvd., Austin, TX 78735 or


Phil Lakin Jr., BBA '89, MBA '99, was recently named Tulsan of the Year by TulsaPeople Magazine of Tulsa, Okla. As CEO of the Tulsa Community Foundation, where he has served since 1999, Lakin oversees a collection of more than 1,000 charitable funds totaling approximately $3.5 billion, making the foundation the largest of its kind in the nation. As a private citizen, Lakin spearheaded the successful effort to privatize the cash-strapped Tulsa Zoo and Living Museum, a step that many feel ensured its long-term survival. As a first-term member of the city council, he has been instrumental in repairing council relations with the mayor's office even as he has championed initiatives to make Tulsa both safer and more beautiful. And as a dedicated husband and father, he makes it a priority to model the type of philanthropic generosity he hopes his three sons will inherit. An avid hiker and climber, Lakin has scaled all of the more than 50 14,000-foot peaks in Colorado. He credits his time in Baylor's Chamber of Commerce with helping shape his approach to public service. "'Anything for Baylor' was our motto," Lakin said in a TulsaPeople interview. "We were to do everything in humility, so that nobody would see us working. If we were going to paint something, we'd paint at night. If we were going to scrub the sidewalks, we'd do it at night. And we weren't supposed to tell anybody what we did. It was all about service without recognition."

L. Brad Taylor, BBA '89, of Tulsa, was appointed by Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin as the presiding judge of the Oklahoma Workers' Compensation Court, effective Jan 1. Before his appointment to the court by Fallin, Taylor was an associate with the Tulsa law firm of Perrine, McGivern, Redemann, Berry & Taylor. He received a law degree from the University of Tulsa.


Staci Willis Hines, BS '90, along with husband A.W. Hines, recently completed renovations to historic Hamilton House located at 1521 Austin Avenue in Waco. This elegant venue will house Hines' antique store, Covet Antiques and Treasures, as well as the relocated upscale clothing boutique Prefontaine, owned by Revekah Kim-Echols, BA '00. Opening is scheduled for late March 2013. Contact at

Laura Phillips Powers, BBA '90, of The Woodlands, Texas, writes, "This is how my son, Sam, and my nephew, Josh, represented us at Pine Cove Family Camp theme night, 'B is for Bluffs!' GO BEARS!"

Orian Williams, BA '90, of West Hollywood, Calif., is a producer for the film Big Sur, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, in late January. Based on the life of author Jack Kerouac, the movie stars Kate Bosworth, Josh Lucas and Jean-Marc Barr. Williams' other projects include a producer credit on the 2007 critically acclaimed film Control.


Michelle Holman Nietert, BSEd '92, has expanded her counseling center in Allen, Texas, opening two satellites in Melissa and Wylie, Texas, and attained a free counseling grant for Collin County residents. The new umbrella Community Counseling Associates launched the last quarter of 2012. Contact at

T. Richard Roberson Jr., BA '92, has joined Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP as counsel in the firm's Jackson, Miss., office. He previously served as special assistant to the executive director/chief of staff/deputy administrator for the Division of Medicaid in the Governor's Office. Roberson will focus his practice on representing clients in the healthcare industry. He has a law degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law.

Randy Simon, BA '92, has joined the Idaho Chapter of AARP as the associate state director of communications. In this position, he will provide strategic communications, issues management and outreach. Simon had previously worked at Gallatin Public Affairs after working for a decade as a journalist in New Mexico and Idaho.


Texas Gov. Rick Perry has appointed Bradley S. Hart, BA '93, of Humble, as judge of the 230th Judicial District Court in Harris County for a term to expire at the next general election. Hart, an assistant district attorney for Harris County, is a member of the State Bar of Texas, Houston Bar Association and Texas District and County Attorneys Association, an administrative board member of First Methodist Houston Downtown, and a volunteer for the Sam Houston Area Council Boy Scouts of America. He is also a past administrator for Henderson County Teen Court and a past volunteer for Child Advocates Inc.

Todd J. Liles, BBA '93, JD '96, has been elected partner at Fort Worth-based Cantey Hager, LLP. His practice area focuses on title insurance litigation, real estate litigation and general commercial litigation in state and federal courts throughout Texas. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas and the American Bar Association and is admitted to practice in the U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Southern and Eastern Districts of Texas.


Mark Fisher, BS '94, completed his doctorate in nursing science with a minor in communication from Indiana University School of Nursing in Indianapolis. His dissertation research project was entitled "A brief intervention to improve emotion-focused communication between newly licensed pediatric nurses and parents." Contact at or OUHSC College of Nursing, 1100 N. Stonewall Ave., #433, Oklahoma City, OK 73117.

Charles S. "Chuck" Pope, BA '94, has recently been nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to be appointed a Foreign Service Officer, Consular Officer and Secretary in the Diplomatic Service of the United States of America. After finishing a tour in Afghanistan, he is now the U.S. Agency for International Development's Director of the Office of Acquisition and Assistance in Tanzania, where he is in charge of a procurement portfolio in excess of $1 billion. Joining him in Dar es Salaam are his wife, Heather, daughters Kyra (6) and Kalyn (4), and son Kael (2). Chuck and his family look forward to seeing any other Bears in Dar. Contact at Unit 2140, Box 134, DPO, AE 09846-0134 or


Criminal defense attorney Brandon Hudson, BA '95, of Daniel & Hudson in San Antonio, was included in the selection of Texas Rising Stars by Super Lawyers magazine for the second year in a row. The Super Lawyers selection process seeks to find the most outstanding attorneys who have earned a high degree of peer recognition and who demonstrate high ethical standards with a degree of achievement in their field of practice.


Elizabeth Bartheld, BA '97, of Washington, D.C., has become vice president of government affairs for the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA). Bartheld oversees all AF&PA federal and state government affairs, the political action committee, and grassroots activities. She joins AF&PA from Oklahoma Congressman John Sullivan's office, where she served as chief of staff for nearly a decade. Bartheld holds a degree in psychology and political science from Baylor and an MBA from the University of Maryland.

Dennis C. Chen, MBA '97, earned a doctorate of philosophy in business administration from the University of Kentucky in August 2012. He is currently an assistant professor of management and international business at Belmont University in Nashville.

Stephanie Dooley Nelson, JD '97, has joined the Dallas-based appellate law firm Hankinson LLP. She had been a partner at Carrington, Coleman, Sloman & Blumenthal in Dallas where she handled a variety of appellate matters, including jurisdictional challenges, mandamus petitions and interlocutory accelerated appeals. From 2004-09, Nelson was named to the Texas Rising Stars list by the publishers of Texas Super Lawyers magazine.

Katie Harvey Lackey, BBA '97, has been elected partner at Fort Worth-based Cantey Hager, LLP. Her practice areas include appellate, commercial litigation, family law and litigation. She joined Cantey Hanger's general litigation section after having graduated from Texas Wesleyan University School of Law in 2005. Lackey is a member of the State Bar of Texas and Tarrant County Young Lawyers Association, admitted to practice in the U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Western Districts of Texas, and a Barrister member of the Eldon B. Mahon Inn of Court.

Mark Slough, MBA '97, JD '97, of Dallas, was appointed president and CEO of CES Performance in October. He will oversee all strategic decision-making, operations, events and facilities and will lead the effort to expand CES into new vertical markets. CES will operate their training facilities in partnership with The Methodist Center for Sports Medicine out of the Houston Amateur Sports Park that also serves as the training location of the Houston Dynamo.

Shawn Wagner, MHA '97, of Marquette, Mich., was hired as the new vice president of operations for HeartCare Midwest. Within his position, he will oversee day-to-day operations of the organization's practice locations and lead strategic planning, growth and strength efforts. Wagner formerly served as chief operating officer for Upper Michigan Cardiovascular Associates.


Jason Attas, BA '98, of Waco, has joined KW Commercial Central Texas, which is the specialized commercial division of Keller Williams Realty, as the associate director. He previously worked at JS Peevey Co. and was involved in marketing downtown property.

N. Andrew Bagley, MA '98, received unanimous support from the council members representing the portion of the city served by the West Helena [Arkansas] Housing Authority and was appointed to its board of directors. Bagley, a life-long resident of Phillips County, teaches U.S. history and political science at Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas.

Ryan Harding, BBA '98, has been named partner at Husch Blackwell LLP in Jefferson City, Mo. He joined the firm in 2008 and maintains an active litigation practice with an emphasis on governmental compliance, investigations and litigation, and healthcare litigation. In addition to serving as lead counsel in numerous federal, state and administrative bench trials, Harding has successfully first-chaired multiple jury trials in federal and state court. He was named a 2012 Missouri Lawyers Weekly "Up & Coming Lawyer." He has also dedicated a number of hours to pro bono work and was named to the Missouri Pro Bono Wall of Fame in 2011.

In December 2012, Greg Nors, BA '98, of West, Texas, was named the Hillsboro Post Office postmaster after 18 years in mail service. He has worked in cities all across Central Texas.

On Dec. 15, 2012, Kevin Rutherford, MS '98, of Longview, Texas, received his doctor of education degree in supervision, curriculum and instruction-higher education from Texas A&M-Commerce.


Kristen Eppner Ethridge, BA '99, of Flower Mound, Texas, has written a novel, Saving Gracie (Love Inspired, 2013 - 224 pages). When Gracie Garcia's ESL school is threatened by real-estate developer Jake Peoples, Gracie hopes that getting him to attend a class will change his mind. But a lesson in love was something neither one signed up for. Contact at

Stuart Hughes, BA '99, was announced as assistant county attorney for County Attorney J.D. Lambright in Montgomery County, Texas. He joined the litigation section to defend the county in state and federal court. Hughes has been in private practice the past three years, but he spent six years prior to that in the district attorney's offices in Walker and Montgomery counties.

Ben Medina, MBA '99, is now city administrator for Rio Hondo, Texas. He took the job in December 2012 after serving more than 20 years as Brownsville's planning director.

Eric Shephard, MFA '99, was recently named executive director of the Waco Civic Theatre after 13 years as artistic director of Killeen's Vive Les Arts Theatre. His background includes acting at the Zachary Scott Theatre, Austin Playhouse and Hyde Park Theatre, all in Austin; the Actors' Theatre in Louisville, Ky.; and a Tifton, Ga., community theater. Shephard also has directed shows in Indiana and has taught at Central Texas College and the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.


Rev. Dr. Neal R. Jones, PsyD '00, was officially installed as the minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia, S.C., on Jan. 27. He has been serving as the congregation's minister for the last eight years and has recently earned ministerial standing with the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, the denomination to which the UUCC belongs.

The Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented (TAGT) selected Amy McNamara, BSEd '00, of Waco, as the 2012 TAGT State Teacher of the Gifted for her outstanding efforts as a leader in the field of gifted education. A teacher at Midway ISD, McNamara is currently working on a master's degree in educational psychology with an emphasis in gifted and talented at Baylor.

Josh Van Manen, BBA '00, has been promoted to lead Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank's sponsor-leveraged finance group as a managing director. The group focuses on companies with EBITDA of $10 million to $75 million. Van Manen has worked for Fifth Third Bank for more than 12 years in Chicago and Denver.


Josh Borderud, BA '01, MA '03, JD '09, has joined the firm of Pakis, Giotes, Page & Burleson, P.C. in Waco after three years serving as an assistant county and district attorney in Milam County. Josh and his wife, Jennifer Hughes Borderud, BA '00, MA '03, a librarian with Baylor University Libraries, live in Waco with their son.

Anissa K. Lopez, BBA '01, is excited to be back in higher education at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio as assistant director of annual giving. She also holds a master of nonprofit administration degree from Our Lady of the Lake.

Sara Dobson Mitchell, BA '01, was elected to the partnership of Jackson Walker LLP. Working in the labor and employment division of the Dallas office, Mitchell represents clients in employment litigation in federal and state courts and related proceedings. She has also represented employers before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. Department of Labor, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, and state agencies. Mitchell's non-litigation practice includes advising and counseling employers regarding legal compliance and risk management on a variety of employment and human resources issues.


LCG Associates, Inc., a national investment consulting firm headquartered in Atlanta, elected Britt L. Bentley, BBA '02, to senior vice president. Bentley is now a principal of the firm and has lead consultant responsibilities. Additionally, he conducts capital market and asset class research, investment manager due diligence and special topical studies. He also serves on LCG's Risk Management Committee. Bentley is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charterholder, an active member of the CFA Institute and CFA Society of Atlanta, and also a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) charterholder. 

Shelby Hoebeke Ellzey, BBA '02, of Plano, Texas, was appointed to the Texas Board of Nursing by Gov. Rick Perry. The board ensures that licensed nurses in Texas meet the necessary requirements to practice; it also oversees accreditation of schools of nursing. Ellzey is a homemaker and former sales representative of Heart's Desire in Frisco.

Josh Grider, BA '02, of Nashville, a country music singer/songwriter, recently was featured on season two of the nationally syndicated docu-reality show Troubadour, TX, which reaches 22 million households.

Andy Nick, BBA '02, has relocated from Dallas to San Francisco. Nick is a director for Cogent Partners, a private equity-focused investment bank adding a new office in San Francisco to expand relationships with clients in the Western U.S. and Canada. Nick joined Cogent Partners from Citigroup in 2008. He holds an MBA from Harvard. He is married to Robin Brooks Nick, BSEd '02.

David Paavola, BBA '02, has joined Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP in its Columbia, S.C., office. He practices in the areas of business litigation, pharmaceutical and medical device litigation, and products liability. Before joining the firm, he served internships with the Hon. Henry F. Floyd, former U.S. District Judge, District of South Carolina, and the Hon. Margaret B. Seymour, U.S. District Judge, District of South Carolina. Paavola earned his juris doctorate, magna cum laude, in 2012 from the University of South Carolina School of Law.

Sarah Arnold Roberts, BBA '02, who recruits industry for the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce, has been recognized in a list of the top "40 under 40" young professionals in economic development by Development Counsellors International, a New York firm that specializes in the field. Roberts joined the Waco Chamber team in 2003.

Alcides Rodriguez, BM '02, of Atlanta, was a featured guest artist on clarinet at SUNY Potsdam's Crane School of Music in February. He is currently the bass clarinetist with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Rodriguez received his master's degree in music performance from Northwestern University and began his musical training in 1987, in the Youth Symphony Orchestra of his hometown, Guanare, Venezuela.

Tyler B. Sellers, BS '02, MSEd '05, was selected as dean of students for East Texas Baptist University in Marshall, Texas, effective March 7. Previously, he was associate dean and director of student activities at Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas, and was assistant director of student involvement for activities at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala.

Jason Weigand, BA '02, joined Atlanta-based Berman Fink Van Horn P.C. as a litigation associate in December 2012. His areas of focus include business litigation, non-compete, trade secret and unfair competition litigation, and real estate litigation. Weigand was formerly an associate attorney at an Am Law 100 firm in Chicago, clerked at the 24th Judicial District Court in Louisiana and held several public policy positions in Washington, D.C. He is a graduate of Wake Forest School of Law.


Jeff Byington, BBA '03, of Hutto, Texas, writes, "Thirty years after the original idea flashed into my imagination, I have self-published my first 30-page children's book, entitled Zero and One, a story of friendship, cooperation, choices, love and forgiveness." Contact at

Quilling, Selander, Lownds, Winslett & Moser in Dallas announced that Hudson Jobe, JD '03, a shareholder in the firm, has obtained board certification in business bankruptcy law from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He joined Quilling, Selander in 2004.

John Knicely, BA '03, anchored his final show at KMOV of St. Louis on Oct. 4, 2012, and is now the morning anchor at Seattle's CBS affiliate, KIRO. He had been at KMOV since 2009 after working at CBS 11 in Dallas/Fort Worth.

Travis Shamburger, BBA '03, MAcc '03, married Courtney Foster on May 19, 2012, at First Baptist Church in Plano, Texas. Travis is a CPA and works as a senior manager with KPMG, LLP in Dallas.

Dr. John S. Vassar, PhD '03, has been appointed the interim provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at LSU Shreveport. In his role, Vassar is responsible for coordinating the academic work of the campus and overseeing implementation of a variety of new academic programs. Vassar joined the LSU Shreveport faculty in 2000 and has taught philosophy, history and religious studies at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Vassar has served as chair of the Department of Fine Arts, Foreign Languages, and Humanities since 2004.

Fort Worth, Texas magazine named Jackson Walker LLP attorney Jay K. Wieser, BBA '03, among its 2012 Fort Worth "Top Attorneys." The list was published in the December issue. Wieser was chosen by his peers in the category of "Attorneys Under Five Years in Practice - Civil Litigation." His practice principally focuses on complex commercial litigation related matters. He has won significant bench and jury trials involving commercial disputes, consumer claims and collection matters.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Baylor Wortham, BBA '03, JD '05, was assigned as a federal prosecutor to the Beaumont office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas in December. Wortham is the son of Bob Wortham, JD '74, the former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas (1981-93). Baylor is married to Lindsay Salter Wortham, BSEd '04, and is the father of Baylor Wortham II. Wortham started his career in 2006 as an assistant district attorney with the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office. In 2009, he was appointed as a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District, primarily prosecuting violent crime in Port Arthur, Texas, under Operation Time Machine, a Project Safe Neighborhood initiative.


Hans Christianson, BA '04, of Dunmore, Penn., published his first novella, Motley 1973, in January 2013. It is available for purchase as an ebook exclusively through Amazon's Kindle Store. Contact at

Joshua DeVere (JD) Hill, BBA '04, is currently on a 38-month mission in Burundi, Africa, the world's second poorest nation. He established Gitega International Academy (GIA), Burundi's first private Christian boarding school, in September 2012, and works as the volunteer headmaster. GIA is already widely considered the best secondary school in Burundi. Learn more at or contact at

Stanley Scott, BFA '04, has been invited to teach a drawing and printmaking summer workshop at Anderson Ranch ( in Snowmass, Colo., on June 3-7, 2013. The workshop is titled "Finding Your Mark" and will guide artists to explore ways of making and applying strategies to bridge the connection between heart and hand. Contact at or 1929 W. Plum St., Fort Collins, CO 80521.


Daniel Lee Colston, MM '05, MM '08, received his doctorate of musical arts from the Peabody Institute of John Hopkins University in Baltimore. He holds master's degrees in violin and viola performance.

Joseph DeWoody, BBA '05, MBA '06, of Fort Worth, managing member of Castle Energy Management, LLC, has been granted official recognition as a Certified Minerals Manager (CMM) by the National Association of Royalty Owners.

Jeffrey Chadwick, BSEd '05, joined Winstead, a business law firm, in November as an associate its wealth preservation practice group, working out of Winstead's offices in Houston and The Woodlands. He was formerly an associate with Williams Mullen in Richmond, Va. Chadwick is a member of the Virginia State Bar and took the Texas Bar Exam in February.

Justin Kailer, BFA '05, has moved to 2901 Barton Skyway #2006, Austin, TX 78746. Contact at

Texas State Representative Jeff Leach, BA '05, was assigned to the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence, House Committee on Urban Affairs, and House Committee on Rules and Resolutions for the 83rd Session of the Texas House of Representatives. The former Baylor student body president and graduate of SMU law school currently practices at the law firm of Looper, Reed, & McGraw PC.

A. Erica Sands, BBA '05, married John Bartsch on Nov. 18, 2012, in Foresthill, Calif. Erica works as a customer programs manager for Hitachi Data Systems, and John is a scout for the Arizona Diamondbacks. The couple resides in Rocklin, Calif., and they are expecting their first child in September 2013. Contact at


Jill Anderson, BA '06, has moved to Selma, Ala., to serve as the tourism director of Selma and Dallas County. The former journalism major previously worked in Waco for Heart of Texas Council of Governments and most recently as a public relations officer the Methodist Children's Home.

Joseph Barrett, BA '06, pastor of Central Baptist Church in Italy, Texas, authored a collection of sermons from Mark's gospel entitled Jesus in a Strange Land (The Bread & Wine, 2012 - 116 pages) which follows the chronology of Jesus and his road to the cross.

Caitilin Espinosa, BA '06, joined Houston's KRIV FOX 26 as meteorologist of FOX 26 Morning News on Oct. 14, 2012. Prior to the move, Espinosa served as weather anchor for KIII-TV in Corpus Christi and as a weather anchor for KVEO-TV in Brownsville.

J. David Giddens, JD '06, was announced as an associate for national labor and employment law firm Fisher & Phillips LLP in Dallas on Nov. 11, 2012. Previously, Giddens practiced law with a public education governmental law firm in Dallas.

Anne Palamara, BA '06, and Patrick Smith, BBA '09, MAcc '09, were united in marriage in Arlington Hall at Lee Park, Dallas, on Sept. 8, 2012. Anne is the director of foundation and government relations at the Dallas Museum of Art, while Patrick is a CPA and business process and controls senior at Oldcastle Building Envelope in Dallas.

Jeana Smith, BBA '06, and Justin Grimes were married in Krum, Texas, on Dec. 22, 2012. Jeana is employed by Guidestone Financial Resources in Dallas as a relationship representative in insurance marketing.


Carter Cochran, BA '07, joined Alicia Mathis in marriage on Oct. 6, 2012. Carter is an Aflac insurance agent in Madisonville, La.

Nick Kabani, BBA '07, has been promoted to manager within the tax department of Houston-based accounting firm Gainer Donnelly LLP. He is a certified public accountant with more than seven years experience in tax preparation, review and planning, focusing on both personal and corporate tax.

David Pershall, BM '07, was recently featured in Opera News' section "Soundbites," which spotlights up-and-coming singers and conductors in the world of opera. He has been a resident artist at Virginia Opera, gone on to study at Yale University's Drama School, and is married to Kathleen Horn Pershall, MM '06. David returned to Texas to perform at Dallas Opera in February.

Courtney Ross, BSN '07, married Kenneth Peterson on Feb. 11, 2012. Courtney works in the emergency room at Baylor University Medical Center, and Kenneth works for the city of Grand Prairie. They reside in Mansfield, Texas. Contact at

LTJG Douglas (D.J.) Spence, BA '07, has completed his training to become a weapon systems officer in the F/A-18F Super Hornet for the U.S. Navy. He is assigned to NAF Atsugi, Japan, onboard the USS George Washington. He received his commission through Officer Candidate School on June 26, 2009, and was designated a naval flight officer following training at NAS Pensacola, Fla., and NAS Lemoore, Calif.

Daniel Youngblood, BA '07, has been named sports editor of the Abilene Reporter-News. Youngblood joined the Reporter-News sports staff in 2007. He and his wife Jessica have a 15-month-old son, Gavin.


Christine Bolaños, BA '08, of Hutto, Texas, is a full-time reporter for the Taylor Daily Press and freelance writer for the national publication Latina Style Magazine ( The latest magazine issue features two stories of her stories, including one on Olympic medalist Marlen Esparza. Bolaños has also been regularly covering the landmark Texas school finance trial in Austin since it began on Oct. 22, 2012.

Dr. Alessandra L. Gonzalez, MA '08, PhD '12, has authored Islamic Feminism in Kuwait: The Politics and Paradoxes (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013 - 264 pages). This book highlights the voices of cultural elites in the oil-rich State of Kuwait, where a modern suffrage movement began when women were given their political rights in 2005. The result is a new brand of feminism, one born out of a traditional and culturally conservative climate, which gives Islamic Feminists in Kuwait the edge they need to soar to new heights. Gonzalez is a Research Fellow at Baylor's Institute for the Studies of Religion (ISR). She is the principal investigator of the Islamic Social Attitudes Survey Project, a study conducted in conjunction with ISR on Islamic religiosity and social attitudes, including women's rights attitudes in the Arab Gulf Region.

Former Baylor football letterman Ricky Hasoon, BBA '08, married Adrianna Rosales on Dec. 15, 2012. in Houston. Ricky's brother, Jamal Hasoon, BA '10, served as best man. Ricky recently finished his MBA at the University of Houston and works for Apache Corp., while Adrianna is a teacher with Alvin ISD. Her youngest sister, Anja, is a current member of the Baylor women's soccer team.

Engaged couple Obinna Okongwu, BA '08, and Tutu Adewuyi, BA '10, have started a wedding videography company called Cakewalk Films, which serves Texas and destination weddings. They completed a wedding highlight video for fellow Bears Rachel Tyler, BS '10, and Brian Duncan, '10. That video and others can be seen at

Brenda Kay Hafer, BA '08, of Buies Creek, N.C., was ordained to the Gospel ministry on Jan. 20 by the First Baptist Church of Southern Pines, N.C.

Noah Mortel, BBA '08, of Houston, has launched a dating website,, exclusive to college students with a .edu email address. He is also creator of, which he describes as a "college Craigslist;" it is also exclusive to college students with a .edu email address.

Dr. Dwayne Nicely, PhD '08, assistant professor of mathematics at Ohio University - Chillicothe, won the Baker Fund Award, a competitive research grant from Ohio University, and is utilizing it for a study focused on student success in college. The study, "A word on word problems: How improving reading comprehension can improve performance on mathematical word problems," is designed to make mathematical reasoning less stressful and, consequently, more reasonable, for students. The research is being conducted from Sept. 2012 to April 2013.

Star Tiko-Okoye, BA '08, writes, "Upon graduating as a University Scholar, I set out towards Asia. Thanks to the ongoing Baylor program, I spent two amazing years teaching and living in Bangkok, Thailand. From there, I headed to Philadelphia, where I am currently working on my MD/MPH. Still, no matter how far away I may find myself from that beautiful Texas sky, I still bleed green and gold, and the carillon bells of Pat Neff will always lead me home. Sic 'em!" Contact at

Linden Tracey, BS '08, of Little Elm, Texas, successfully passed the electrical Principles and Practice of Engineering exam and became a registered professional electrical engineer in the state of Texas on Dec. 12, 2012.


Skyler Renschler Baty, BA '09, was announced as a business development manager for Interior Architects in the Dallas office. She is responsible for overall client services and relationship management. Previously, Baty was the director of business development with architecture firm Merriman Associates/Architects, Inc. She is also the co-founder of the Urban Armadillos, a non-profit organization benefiting downtown Dallas.


Steven Hardt, JD '10, of Austin, married Abby Allford on Feb. 16, 2012. Steven works as in-house counsel for Taylor Engineering Group, LLC, and Abby is currently practicing law in both Oklahoma and Texas.

Brian McFall, BA '10, of Grand Junction, Colo., is currently working as a territory sales representative for McLane Company.

Matthew Nigg, BS '10, earned a master's degree from Korea University in February.

Natasha Vahalik, MSCD '10, married Kyle Ferguson on Oct. 6, 2012, in Victoria, Texas. Natasha is pursuing a career in speech pathology in Arizona.

Waco Flying Service began operating as a one-airplane, one-instructor flight school in 2009. The success of Parker Woodruff, BBA '10, and Aaron Dabney, BA '03, MSEd '09, attracted Clark Brooks, BSAS '10, who purchased the company in Dec. 2010. Brooks and his father, Joe Brooks, built the first new facility on the Waco Regional Airport in nearly two decades, along with an aviation fuel farm. The new Waco Flying Service facility offers aircraft storage, a full range of fixed base operator services and its flight school, which has six aircraft. Contact at or (254) 752-4100.

Brian Watson, BA '10, has moved to Baton Rouge, La., to begin the doctoral program in political science at Louisiana State University.


Denise Ashley, BA '11, of Conway, Ark., married Stephen Alex Baughn on Dec. 22, 2012. Both Denise and Stephen are currently students at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences as 2015 MD candidates.

Richard Duke, BBA '11, has been named editor of the Log Cabin Democrat, a daily newspaper in Conway, Ark. He has 16 years of experience in publishing, working in various roles for the Benton Courier, the Cabot Star-Herald and the Pine Bluff Commercial.

Lauren Guynes, BA '11, formerly of Red Oak, Texas, married David Belt on June 1, 2012. She is employed at GE Capital. The couple resides in Dallas.

Billy McMahon, BA '11, and Tara Oetken, BA '11, were married Dec. 22, 2012, in Kingwood, Texas. Tara is a first-year medical student at the Baylor College of Medicine. Billy is a volunteer coordinator for the Alzheimer's Association of Houston and is working on his master's of divinity at Southern Methodist University, Perkins School of Theology.

Kiersten Light, BA '11, and Luke Prochnow, BA '11, were married June 9, 2012, in Austin. The couple has made their home in Rogers, Ark.

Ryan Luna, BBA '11, and Genesis Devine, BA '11, of Houston, were married Dec. 15, 2012, in Montgomery, Texas. The couple is attending law school at South Texas College of Law. Luna is the son of Cherry Martin, BS '78, grandson of Paul Martin, BBA '55, JD '56, and Betty Lou Martin, BM '56. Devine is the daughter of Texas Supreme Court Justice John Devine.

Thomas Reed, BA '11, MS '12, and Amanda Molleur, BA '11, were married Aug. 18, 2012. The couple met during their freshman year at Baylor and now lives in Austin. Thomas' groom cake at the wedding was "green velvet" in the shape of the interlocking BU. "That Good Old Baylor Line" was sung as they cut the cake, and photographer Taylor Warren Lord, BA '09, snapped a shot of all the Baylor Bears in attendance on their wedding day. Thomas works as a speech language pathologist, and Amanda is a marketing coordinator.

Andrew Brenneman, MAcc '11, and Nina McAllister, BA '12, were married July 21, 2012, in Austin. The couple now resides in Houston.

With the help of Word First Ministries and Rudy's BBQ, former Baylor All-American Ekpe Udoh, BSEd '11, gave away 200 turkey and trimming kits at Thanksgiving to the first 200 families that arrived at Word First Ministries in Oklahoma City. Udoh's hometown is nearby Edmond. He is now in his third season in the NBA, coming off the bench for the Milwaukee Bucks.


Johann Porisch, BBA '12, of San Antonio, is now an account executive for Entertainment Evolution, an entertainment marketing, management and consulting company. He gained valuable experience at Baylor in the entertainment field having served as the producer for All-University Sing and founder of Uproar Concert Promotions.

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