Alumni Life

Spring 2015: Class Notes

Alumni Association MemberThe little sunburst denotes an Alumni Association member.

Spring 2015: 1940s

Alumni Association MemberMartin Gordon, MD, St. Louis, Mo., created a new mobile app, “Plants4cures,” only available on iPad, which enables healthcare workers and others to find herbal remedies for medical conditions and ailments. A gastroenterologist, Gordon was a clinical professor of medicine at Yale School of Medicine. He is now CEO of Medical Films LLC. 

Spring 2015: 1960s

Susan (Niederpruem) Fitzpatrick, South Burlington, Vt., sold the online website, to national competitor Netchemia of Kansas City in February 2014., which she designed, developed and co-owned with her husband, James Fitzpatrick ’67, helps school districts hire educators, and helps teachers find jobs. The site garnered more than 16 million visits in 2013. 


Alumni Association MemberDouglas Burns, Fort Mill, S.C., a principal with Peterson Associates announced that his firm joined forces with national planning, architecture and interior design firm KSQ Architects, which specializes in higher education, K–12 schools and multifamily design. The Charlotte office will be known as KSQ/Peterson. 

H. Ritchey Hollenbaugh, JD, Columbus, Ohio, is listed in the 2015 edition of Best Lawyers in America. Hollenbaugh, an attorney with Carlile Patchen & Murphy LLP, was named for Commercial Litigation, Criminal Defense: White Collar and Ethics and Professional Responsibility Law and has been listed in Best Lawyers since 2012. 

Spring 2015: 1970s

Darlene Clark Hine, MA, PhD ’75, Chicago, Ill., was named a 2013 National Humanities Medal Winner. Hine is a Board of Trustees Professor of African-American Studies and Professor of History at Northwestern University. Her scholarship in African-American history, especially on African-American women, has made her a leader in the humanities in the United States and around the world. 


Alumni Association MemberLafayette Tolliver, Toledo, Ohio, exhibited a selection of photographs at the Uumbaji Gallery in October 2014. Tolliver worked as a photographer for the Chestnut Burr and the Daily Kent Stater. The exhibit, titled Coming of Age at Kent 1967–71: A pictorial of black student life, included 24 images from his collection, which he donated to Special Collections and Archives at Kent State University in 2014.


Todd Raskin, Chagrin Falls, Ohio, is named for Civil Rights law in the 2015 edition of Best Lawyers in America. Raskin, an attorney with Mazanec, Raskin, Raskin & Ryder Co. LPA, has consistently appeared on the list and also was selected as 2013 “Lawyer of The Year” by Best Lawyers for Civil Rights law in Cleveland. 


Alumni Association MemberRuth (Potisuk) Ludwick, MSN ’81, PhD ’93, Kent, Ohio, was inducted as a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing in October 2014. Ludwick was recognized for her leadership related to standards for the nursing care of the aging population and the preparation of nurses here and internationally. 


Douglas Bailey, MBA, Panama City Beach, Fla., joined Digital Guardian by Verdasys, the leading provider of advanced security software for companies dealing with internal and external threats to their data. As chief strategy officer, Bailey is responsible for business strategy and go-to-market planning. 

Alumni Association MemberLarry Griffin, Wadsworth, Ohio, retired after a 35-year career with the Akron Area YMCA. He also joined Lighthouse Counsel as a senior consultant and will work with nonprofits to increase mission awareness and philanthropic support.


Roberta (Young) Brofman, Cleveland, Ohio, joined the Visiting Nurse Association of Ohio as the chief strategy officer, charged with the management and implementation of its strategic plan, as well as oversight of clinical and operational programs. 


Alumni Association MemberWayne Dawson, Cleveland, Ohio, co-anchor of Fox 8’s News in the Morning, was awarded the Chuck Heaton Award by the Press Club of Cleveland’s Cleveland Journalism Hall of Fame in November 2014. 

Spring 2015: 1980s

Angelique Walker-Smith, Indianapolis, Ind., serves as national (senior) associate for African-American church engagement at Bread for the World, a Washington, D.C.–based collective Christian voice that urges our nation’s political leaders to end hunger in our country and worldwide. 


Alumni Association MemberLawrence Matika, MBA, DBA ’88, Barrington, R.I., was appointed to the Advisory Council to Veterans’ Affairs by the Governor of Rhode Island. Matika is a U.S. Army veteran of the Vietnam War.


Alumni Association MemberGlenn Peterson, Vermilion, Ohio, retired in May 2013 from the Ohio State Highway Patrol after 30 years, five posts, and two promotions. He has been Vermilion High School Athletic Booster President for five years, referees high school football and umpires high school baseball games. 


James Wible, Painesville, Ohio, was promoted to director of attraction development at PGAV Destinations, a St. Louis–based firm that is a global leader in the planning and design of unique destinations such as Sea World, Busch Gardens and Universal Studios. Wible will focus on design leadership, mentoring designers and sculpting PGAV’s overall design processes. 


Kimberly Taylor, Cleveland Heights, Ohio, received a doctor of education degree with a major in leadership studies from Ashland University in May 2014. Her dissertation, “My Brother’s Keeper,” is a qualitative study of the African-American male learner in the public school setting. She is the principal of Caledonia Elementary School in East Cleveland. 

Spring 2015: 1990s

Mary Jane Santos, MLS, Delaware, Ohio, was recognized as 2014 Librarian of the Year by the Ohio Library Council. As director of the Delaware County District Library, Santos developed partnerships with schools, other libraries, higher education institutions, law enforcement and businesses that strengthen the library’s importance in the community.


Richard Fabritius, Smyrna, Ga., was elected for a fifth term to the General Council board of directors for Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity. Fabritius will serve a two-year term as general council president of the board. 


Scott Kraynak, Grand Canyon, Ariz., wrote, “As a park ranger at the Grand Canyon, I have built an environmental education center, given presentations at Taiwan’s national parks and was President Obama’s guide to the canyon. The book I co-authored with my brother, Animal Crackers, was admitted into New York Comic Con in October. It’s a children’s book for adults, showing what it would look like if wildlife treated people like people treat animals.”

Alumni Association MemberCharles Nieman, PhD, Wexford, Pa., accepted a position as director of international initiatives at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. 

Susan Skoczen, Fairport Harbor, Ohio, a jewelry maker and assistant professor of fine arts at Indiana University Kokomo, received the Pamela Morris Thomford Award for Excellence in Metals in the Best of 2014 Ohio Designer Craftsmen’s show at the Ohio Craft Museum, Columbus. 

Robert Slaby, Mobile, Ala., was appointed as the 2014–2015 president of the Alabama Society of CPAs Mobile Chapter. He is a manager with Wilkins Miller Hieronymus LLC, an accounting and advisory firm with offices in Mobile and Fairhope, Alabama. 

Spring 2015: 2000s


Derek Conrad, Tuscarawas, Ohio, passed the exam administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He is a staff accountant for Rea & Associates Inc., a regional CPA and consulting firm and is on the firm’s government services team. 


Katy (Watts) Klettlinger, MLIS ’06, Crestline, Ohio, joined the State Library of Ohio as library consultant within the department of library programs and development. She will help libraries with space planning, digitization and strategic planning. 

Alumni Association MemberSara Sampson, MLIS, Columbus, Ohio, was appointed assistant dean for information services, law library director and senior lecturer at Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. 


Julie Mujic, MA, PhD ’12, Milford, Conn., was among 28 full-time professors chosen from across the United States to attend a 2014 conference in Chicago titled, “The Creation of the Modern American City: Chicago from 1830 to 1910,” which was hosted by the Council of Independent Colleges. Mujic, a history professor at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut, teaches U.S. history survey courses and upper-level electives focusing on 19th-century U.S. history.

David Rubens, Akron, Ohio, joined The University of Akron Wayne College as director of athletics. He previously worked there as assistant men’s basketball coach for several years. 


Joshua Berns, Galena, Ohio, joined the Ohio-based law firm of Weston Hurd LLP, Columbus office, as an associate. He will focus his practice on commercial, civil and general litigation, as well as insurance coverage and insurance defense matters. 

Sarah Lund-Goldstein, MLIS ’09, Kent, Ohio, started an archives consulting firm in Kent called Institutionalized: Archives and Records Management Specialists. The company focuses on corporate and organizational history. It also works on general digitization needs and oral histories/testimonials. Follow @CorpArchivists on Twitter.


Sarah Burris, MFA, MLIS ’13, Panama City, Fla., works at the information desk in the Bay County Public Library in Panama City, Florida. 


Sasha Griffin, MLIS, Decorah, Iowa, is university archivist and a special collections librarian at Denison University. 

Spring 2015: 2010s

Amanda Kelley, Dunmore, Pa., wrote, “I work as a beat reporter covering the Pocono Mountain region of Pennsylvania for WNEP-TV. I also will be marrying alumnus Ken Brown in June 2015. We met at Kent State University in 2006.” 


Antoinette Comer, Beaver Falls, Pa., starred in the production of Dreamgirls at Portland Center Stage, Portland’s largest theater company and one of the largest regional theaters in the United States. Comer has also performed with the national tour of Mamma Mia! (Lisa), as well as in Dreamgirls, Hairspray and The Jungle Book.

Stephen Cox, MLIS, Cincinnati, Ohio, wrote, “I accepted a position as program coordinator at Mount St. Joseph University. I will maintain a federally funded database designed to track the success of STEM students as they interview for internships, co-ops and post-graduation employment.” 

Ryan Shackelford, Ravenna, Ohio, is the director of emergency management for Portage County. The Portage County Emergency Management Agency assists local jurisdictions in managing responses to both natural (tornado, flood, blizzard) and technological (HAZMAT or nuclear) disasters. 

Ana Sigler, Tallmadge, Ohio, serves with the Peace Corps in Togo. She participated in a bike tour to train local women on proper nutrition. Sigler has also worked with six villages to assess their needs and, based on the results, is developing an educational garden. 


Bridgette Billingslea, MLIS, MS ’13, Cleveland, Ohio, was promoted to patient access supervisor at the University Hospitals of Cleveland. She supervises 10 clinical and administrative staff members at four outpatient ambulatory medical centers throughout Northeast Ohio. 

Brittany Kinney, MSA ’13, Copley, Ohio, was promoted to senior staff accountant with Walthall CPAs, a leading regional CPA and business advisory firm.


Dale Dunford, Ravenna, Ohio, joined the commercial diving team at EnviroScience Inc. in Stow, Ohio. Dunford served four years in the Marine Corps and was awarded the Purple Heart in 2007. For EnviroScience, he travels across the country to aid in train derailments (and other disaster relief), restoration projects and mussel surveys.

Jasen Sokol, MA, Avon Lake, Ohio, rappelled 22 stories off the PNC Center in downtown Akron in an event called Over the Edge to raise awareness and support for Hattie Larlham, a nonprofit organization that provides services to children and adults with developmental disabilities. Sokol is the host of the Jasen Sokol Show on 1590 WAKR Akron. 

Spring 2015: Losses


Alumni Association MemberThe little sunburst denotes an Alumni Association member.

Marion Shank ’39, Medina, Ohio, 2011

Nathan Rickoff ’48, Pensacola, Fla., 2014

Leonard Houx ’49, Tulsa, Okla., 2012

Robert Carney ’49, Reno, Nev., 2011

Clarence Ott ’49, High Point, N.C., 2014

Gordon Reichwein ’49, Cleveland, Ohio, 2013

Dorothy Hackney ’50, Buffalo, N.Y., 2012

Neil Davis ’51, MA ’56, Lakewood, Ohio, 2012

Richard Lieser ’51, Canton, Ohio, 2014

Alumni Association MemberCharles Taylor ’51, Goshen, Ind., 2014

John Yohe, MEd ’51, Kent, Ohio, 2014

Nickschinski Nickols ’52, Rocky River, Ohio, 2009

Marita Bricker, MA ’53, West Palm Beach, Fla., 2014

Richard Wright ’53, Columbus, Ohio, 2012

Marvin Dronzek ’54, East Greenwich, R.I., 2014

Robert Palmquist ’55, North Fort Myers, Fla., 2012

Gladys Harland ’56, Massillon, Ohio, 2012

John Rottenborn ’56, Salem, Ohio, 2014

James Stygles ’56, Natick, Mass., 2009

Eric Widen ’56, Marietta, Ga., 2011

John Heaps ’57, Black Mountain, N.C., 2014

Larry Mahaffey ’58, Woodland Hills, Calif., 2011

David Van Dusen ’58, Akron, Ohio, 2014

Alumni Association MemberDick Bazley ’59, Brevard, N.C., 2009

Richard Irvin ’59, American Canyon, Calif., 2014

Americo Betori ’60, Chardon, Ohio, 2013

George Morris, MEd ’60, Brunswick, Ohio, 2011

Alumni Association MemberChuck Rodgers ’60, Owego, N.Y., 2014

Bob Burley ’61, Canton, Ohio, 2014

Judith (Suty) Stewart ’61, Woodland Hills, Calif., 2012

Alumni Association MemberJames Duncan ’62, Brookhaven, Miss., 2014

Alumni Association MemberBruce Collins ’63, Cape Canaveral, Fla., 2014

Marie (Smith) Buchman ’64, Champlin, Minn., 2012

Alumni Association MemberSherill (Barkalow) Zucchero, MA ’65, Oceanside, Calif., 2014

Karen Erwin, MEd ’66, North Canton, Ohio, 2012

Sharyn Glock ’66, Canal Fulton, Ohio, 2013

Edward Musbach ’66, Carlsbad, Calif., 2013

Art Rundle, MEd ’66, Columbia Station, Ohio, 2014

Shari (Bissler) Brady ’67, Marion, Ohio, 2011

Lawrence Lane ’67, Saint Marys, Ohio, 2014

Margery Watson, MEd ’67, Clifton Park, N.Y., 2013

Ronald Lampman ’68, Moultrie, Ga., 2012

Robert Nemunaitis ’68, Chesterland, Ohio, 2013

Karen (Watkins) Johnson ’69, Eastlake, Ohio, 2012

Miriam Keys ’69, East Liverpool, Ohio, 2014

Richard Carlton ’70, BSE ’74, Renton, Wash., 2014

Kathleen Cotman ’70, Euclid, Ohio, 2014

Alumni Association MemberCarole (Teminsky) Barbato ’71, MA ’75, PhD ’94, Youngstown, Ohio, 2014

Dennis Bydash ’71, Brecksville, Ohio, 2013

Alumni Association MemberJames Hillibish ’71, Canton, Ohio, 2014

Alumni Association MemberMike Dragomier ’72, MA ’94, Canton, Ohio, 2014

Lois (Miltner) Hyatt ’72, Elyria, Ohio, 2013

Donald Miller ’72, Seattle, Wash., 2011

David Sampson ’72, Chillicothe, Ohio, 2013

Thomas Daniels ’73, Richmond, Ohio, 2013

William Fischer ’73, Lake Worth, Fla., 2011

Clifford Peach ’73, Rogersville, Tenn., 2012

Richard Rufener ’73, MEd ’78, Ravenna, Ohio, 2014

Rick Miller ’74, Barberton, Ohio, 2012

John Cahill ’76, Geneva, Ill., 2013

Laura (Sapatka) Putnat ’77, Mentor, Ohio, 2014

Stanley Lukianowicz ’79, Painesville, Ohio, 2014

Marty Martinek, MEd ’81, Youngstown, Ohio, 2012

Greg Christakis ’83, Abingdon, Md., 2012

Harry Decker ’83, North Ridgeville, Ohio, 2012

Terri Hardesty ’84, Akron, Ohio, 2013

Leo Karatjas ’86, Canton, Ohio, 2011

Janet Toedtman, MLS ’86, Dayton, Ohio, 2010

Linda Nelis ’87, Peoria, Ariz., 2011

Margot Terry ’87, Fairfax Station, Va., 2011

Joan (Wagner) Brucker MLS ’90, Yellow Springs, Ohio, 2009

Pamela Buzzard ’90, East Pittsburgh, Pa., 2012

Louis Dobos, MLS ’92, Stow, Ohio, 2013

Shirley (Boyd) Yeager ’95, Lisbon, Ohio, 2012

Marsha Phillips ’01, Salem, Ohio, 2011

Elizabeth Gonos ’14, Kent, Ohio, 2014


Elmer Bjerregaard ’56, Professor Emeritus of Architecture and Environmental Design, Aurora, Ohio, 2014

Alice Darr, Professor Emerita of Counseling, Kent, Ohio, 2014 


Photo by Melissa Olson

Artist, metalsmith, designer, teacher 

Atlanta, Georgia

In 2009 Brenda Oros Smith ’84 was diagnosed with a 99 percent–blocked left carotid artery. After a successful surgery, she moved forward with plans for a jewelry-making business. “The recession wasn’t the best time to start, but I wasn’t going to wait,” she says.

Smith—a former creative director with experience in advertising—turned her talents to designing with fine gemstones, a passion she discovered after taking classes in silver and goldsmithing. 

Her jewelry designs have won awards, and her high-end pieces have been worn by celebrities and exhibited at the Forbes Gallery in New York City and the Smithsonian. She also sells custom-made pieces through her website at

Smith’s Four Peaks Amethyst ring, acquired by the Smithsonian Institution for its national gem collection, features an amethyst mined from the Four Peaks range in Arizona. She is currently working on another piece with freshwater pearls from the Tennessee River for the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History.

Smith’s Four Peaks Amethyst ring (shown here Photo by John Parrish), acquired by the Smithsonian Institution for its national gem collection, features an amethyst mined from the Four Peaks range in Arizona. She is currently working on another piece with freshwater pearls from the Tennessee River for the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History.

We asked her how to design a stellar second act. 

6 Encore Career Tips
  1. Follow your passion. What do you enjoy and value? When does time seem to stand still for you?
  2. Find your people. Take classes and join organizations; get some mentors.
  3. Focus on your strengths and what matters most to you.
  4. Press through doubts. If things don’t work out at first, give them time.
  5. Pursue creative satisfaction and purpose ahead of success and profits. 
  6. Remember life is short. Spend more time doing what you enjoy.


Jeff Smith ’99 Director of Government Affairs  and General Counsel at Professional Independent Agents Association of Ohio Columbus, Ohio

Director of Government Affairs and General Counsel at Professional Independent Agents Association of Ohio

Columbus, Ohio 

Running 26.2 miles is a challenge, but in October Jeff Smith ’99 completed his quest to run a marathon in all 50 states by finishing the 2014 Newport Marathon in Rhode Island. 

After his brother, Nic Smith ’01, was diagnosed with lymphoma and a law school professor died from leukemia, Smith raised money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society by running the 2003 San Diego Marathon in their honor. Since then, he has logged more than 1,336 miles in every state, plus Washington, D.C. 

Smith has become one of an elite group of runners who can run a marathon in under three hours (his best time is 2:59:53). 

We asked him what it takes to make the most of multiple marathons. 

Maximize a Marathon:
  • Pick a training plan at least 18 weeks prior to the race. 
  • Join a running group and visit your local running specialty store for advice, proper shoes and clothes. 
  • Don’t miss a practice run unless you are injured. 
  • Scale back your mileage two weeks before the race begins. Get extra rest, maintain a healthy diet and decide on a race strategy.
  • Start slow and stick to your race plan. Don’t head out too fast and hit “the wall.” 
  • Smile and enjoy the experience. Embrace the moment late in the race when you realize you are going to finish.
  • Rest, refuel and celebrate with family and friends afterwards!

Eric Meek, MFA ’03 (Painted Post, New York)

Eric Meek, MFA ’03 (Painted Post, New York), who manages the hot glass programs at the Corning Museum of Glass in upstate New York, designed and created the glass trophy for major NASCAR races held at Watkins Glen International. His design gives a nod to both the racetrack and the Finger Lakes region. When viewed from the top, the blue core reveals the outline of the racetrack; from the side it looks like a waterfall. Watch a video about the trophy’s creation below.