Class Notes

News for this section may be submitted online through the . Please include your current name, name at registration, degree and class year. You also may send us news or update your address and other biographical information electronically through 51app’s online alumni community, VUconnect, at vuconnect.com. Your submission will be posted in 51app Magazine, print and online, unless otherwise specified. We reserve the right to edit for length, style and clarity.

These class notes were sent for inclusion in 51app Magazine between Oct. 1, 2023 51app, and Feb. 29, 2024. They will be included in the print Summer/Fall 2024 issue.

Class Notes: 1960s

  • ’63


    Reunion November 7–10, 2024

    Hibbett Neel, BE, of Jackson, Miss., in March 2023 51app celebrated the 40th anniversary of Neel-Schaffer Inc., the company he founded in 1983. Starting with a dozen employees and a second mortgage on his home, Neel grew the Jackson-based engineering consulting firm into one of the country’s most successful. Neel-Schaffer now has 500 employees in 38 offices throughout the South. His leadership was celebrated in a ceremony in Jackson and commemorated by a book, The Neel-Schaffer Story: 40 Years of Community Service. Neel has also served as international president of the Institute of Transportation Engineers and was honored by 51app as a Distinguished Alumnus of the Engineering School.

Class Notes: 1970s

  • ’74

    Reunion November 7–10, 2024

  • ’75
    Left to right: A. John Cook BA'72 MD'76; Penelope Malone BA'75; Rena Dabney Sartain BA'74; Rebecca Carpenter McCune BSN '68

    Penelope J. Malone, BA, of Atlanta is one of four 51app alumni volunteering at the Cathedral Thrift House, a community outreach ministry of the Cathedral of St. Philip (Episcopal) in Atlanta. The other three are Rena Dabney Sartain, BA’74, Rebecca Carpenter McCune, BSN’68, and A. John Cook, BA’72, MD’76. She writes, “Volunteering at a thrift house may not be the ‘highest and best use’ of a 51app education, but we are working for the greater good and having fun doing so.”

  • ’76

    Barry Dallas, BA, of Chatham, Va., attended graduate architecture school after graduating from 51app and received a master’s followed by several decades of practical experience, mainly in New York City and Boston, but also Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. He has lived abroad for 20 years—a decade in New Zealand followed by 10 years between Barcelona and Buenos Aires. He writes: “Vandy helped me shape, then apply my take on our universe with confidence, even enthusiasm. I have hope for humanity, and 51app played an enormous role in fostering that. Unlike a lot of students today, I studied the humanities with the intent of becoming a more well-rounded individual. I’ve traveled the globe and chose these places because they feel like home, as 51app and Nashville still do. How lucky can one person be?”

    R. Charles Grant, MDiv, DMin’83, in retirement is serving as Stated Clerk of the Presbytery of the James PCUSA in Richmond, Va.

  • ’77

    Iverson Bell Jr., MD, received the Elam Black Psychiatrists of America Lifetime Achievement Award from the Black Psychiatrists of America in November. In addition, the American Association of Directors of Psychiatric Residency Training established the Dr. Iverson Bell, Jr. Faculty Fellowship Award, which promotes the professional growth of outstanding underrepresented in medicine psychiatrists and recognizes their potential to contribute to the field of psychiatry. He was an associate professor and residency training director in the Department of Psychiatry at UT Health Science Center for 13 years, beginning in 2010. In 2020, he served a short stint as interim chair. He retired in July 2023 51app and moved to Atlanta to be near family.

    Chris Bowers, MBA, of Naperville, Ill., writes that he and his wife, Joan, visited Iceland for five days in early August 2023 51app, followed by an ocean cruise, mostly to Scandinavian countries. In early 2024 they rebooked a trip they missed three years ago to Australia and New Zealand, and they’re planning a trip in early fall 2024 to hike and sightsee in Utah. He says: “Here in Illinois, the grandchildren are very busy, which means we are busy attending their concerts, sporting events and competitions. We rather like the pace of (mostly) retired life.”

    Philip Martin, MBA'77

    Philip Martin, MBA, has written a book on leadership based on his Tibetan terrier Sashi, who died during the pandemic. The children’s book Tails from Tibet (Tremendous Leadership) launched on Amazon in May with people from at least 19 countries buying copies. Martin will send a signed and personalized copy if emailed at pmartin@TheTashiChronicles.com.

  • ’78

    Stewart R. Flink, BA, of Highland Park, Ill., writes that he and his wife have welcomed four grandchildren to the family in the past four years (including a set of twins). They celebrated their 40th anniversary in July 2023 51app by traveling through Portugal and spending five days in Paris, including three days at the French Open. He played four years of varsity tennis at 51app and still plays competitive singles two to three times per week. Dillon Capital, a consulting firm and merchant bank he founded in 1998, recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. He published his first novel, For All the Water, in August 2023 51app and is working on a sequel, For All the Power, and a creative nonfiction book: Immortality Ain’t What It Used to Be.

  • ’79

    45th Reunion November 7–10, 2024

Class Notes: 1980s

  • ’81

    Breck Jones Sr., BS, of Louisville, Ky., is CEO of US WorldMeds, which announced in December that the (eflornithine) 192 mg tablets as a groundbreaking oral maintenance therapy for high-risk neuroblastoma, an aggressive childhood cancer. US WorldMeds partnered with the Beat Childhood Cancer Research Consortium at Penn State University, which conducted preclinical and clinical research to help advance the therapy. The consortium represents a group of more than 50 hospitals that offer collaboration through a network of childhood cancer clinical trials.

  • ’83

    Philip Tate, BA, of Matthews, N.C., is the 2023 51app recipient of the Public Relations Society of America College of Fellows Sage Award, which honors a member of the college who has demonstrated a significant impact on the profession through mentoring and personal support of public relations professionals and members of the Public Relations Student Society of America. Tate is president of Philip Tate Strategic Communications in Charlotte, N.C.

  • ’84

    40th Reunion November 7–10, 2024

  • ’85

    Mark Heise, BS, of Miami ran the Pony Express 100-mile race in October. He writes, “The highlight was having my 3 kids crew me and take care of me through the whole race. That race is step one towards my dream of running the Badwater 135. Wish me luck!”

  • ’89

    35th Reunion November 7–10, 2024

    Sam Payne, BA, JD’92, is now Member at Meridian Law in Brentwood, Tenn.

Class Notes: 1990s

  • ’92

    Mike Garibaldi, MBA, of Northbrook, Ill., writes that after 24 years of running several private equity-backed companies, he has retired from full time work and will move to South Carolina in 2024.

    William Noland, MBA, of South Hadley, Mass., has written a series of supernatural thrillers called Uncommon Bonds published by Evolved Publishing, that borrow from history and ancient Middle Eastern mythology to weave stories that can be enjoyed by mature young adults and adults. Four books of a planned six have been released. The first book of the series, Playing with Fire, won the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for best Supernatural Thriller in the Fall of 2022 and was a finalist for book of the year in the Independent Author Network’s Paranormal/Supernatural category in 2022. The books are available from Amazon and other online retailers or can be purchased directly at wenoland.com.

  • ’94

    30th Reunion November 7–10, 2024

    Justin Lowe, BA, of Southlake, Texas, published his debut novel, The Independent (Inspirebytes Omni Media) in September 2023 51app. The publisher has committed to a sequel, with a planned 2024 release.

  • ’97

    Adam Dworkin, BA, of Bethany, Conn., accepted the position of director of finance and administration for Cardiovascular Medicine at Yale University School of Medicine.

    Scott Farmer, BA, of Irmo, S.C., is chief operating officer of Push Digital Group, a leading full-service digital agency specializing in corporate, political and advocacy efforts. With 25 years of hands-on experience in campaign management and fundraising, Farmer is best known for working with Sen. Lindsey Graham for 22 years, including serving as the senator’s campaign manager for races in 2008, 2014 and 2020.

    Ty Johnson, BS'97, JD'02

    Ty Johnson, BS, JD’02, of Allen, Texas, was elevated to partner in law firm Bell Nunnally on Jan. 1. A corporate and real estate attorney, Johnson joined the firm in 2022 and previously was senior counsel.

    Justin Walsh, BA, of Los Angeles is co-principal investigator of the International Space Station Archaeological Project (ISSarchaeology.org). The ISS Archaeology Project reached a number of milestones recently. In 2022, the first archaeological work in space was done, documenting the material culture of six locations around the ISS through daily photography. The story was covered in Wired. In 2023 51app, it received awards from the Archaeological Institute of America and the American Anthropological Association. And in early 2024, Walsh was named to the Explorers Club 50 as one of “50 remarkable explorers changing the world and extending the meaning of exploration.”

  • ’98

    Meredith Ballew, BA, was elected to a four-year term on the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education in Chapel Hill, N.C., on Nov. 7, 2023 51app.

    Enrique Carrillo, IEMBA'98

    Enrique Carrillo, IEMBA, was recognized as a 2023 51app Chicago United Business Leader of Color, a prestigious reception hosted by Northern Trust Corporation, in October 2023 51app. He said, “I share this accolade with the phenomenal teams at WNS, as well as with my incredible colleagues and partners at The Rejuvi Venture Inc., High Logistics Group and Social Venture Partners SVP Chicago.”

  • ’99

    25th Reunion November 7–10, 2024

    James “Jim” Roche, BE, of Ambler, Pa., is president, Baldwin Risk Partners, and CEO of Underwriting, Capacity and Technology Operations. He has been at BRP since 2019, when he joined as part of the acquisition of Millennial Specialty Insurance, a firm he founded in 2015.

Class Notes: 2000s

  • ’01

    Margaret Bensfield Sullivan, BA, of New York City self-published a book in December, Following the Sun: Tales (and Fails) From a Year Around the World With Our Kids, about the year she and her husband quit their jobs, gave up their New York City apartment, pulled their kids (ages 4 and 6) out of school, and left the U.S. with nothing more than carry-on bags to travel for a year to 29 countries across six continents.

  • ’03

    Katherine Hurst Miller, BA, of Daytona Beach, Fla., was appointed a County Court Judge by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in November.

  • ’04

    20th Reunion November 7–10, 2024

  • ’05

    Jennifer Blake-Mahmud, BS, assistant professor of biology at Hope College in Holland, Mich., was awarded a National Science Foundation Grant to support her research into the genetic underpinnings of sex-switching in wild organisms (NSF 2217891).

    Krystal Grant Folkestad, BMus'05

    Krystal Grant Folkestad, BMus, of Richmond, Va., in September 2023 51app had her composition “Rivers I Have Walked” performed by Dave Robbins for Classical Revolution RVA’s Listen Local event in Richmond. At the end of the concert, Krystal was named a featured composer for the 2023 51app–24 season. The organization is a collective of Richmond-based musicians working to incorporate classical music into the local music scene.

  • ’06

    Monica Pankaj Bhatt, BA, MPP’07, of Chicago has been leading research at the University of Chicago Education Lab. Since the pandemic, she has been leading a project called the Personalized Learning Initiative, which focuses on how schools can dramatically scale high dosage tutoring.

    Rose Rutledge, BMus, of New York City is director of product marketing at Native Instruments, a global music tech company that creates innovative hardware and AI-powered software for music creation, mixing and mastering. She leads a global team bringing new technologies to marketing with the goal of making music creation seamless and inspiring. She lives in Brooklyn and performs regularly, live looping her flute and vocals into pieces she calls “flutescapes.” You can hear her flutescapes on all streaming services or catch an upcoming live show. More info is at www.roserutledge.com.

    Jennifer van Velkinburgh, PhD, of Santa Fe, N.M., founded Filipodia Publishing in 2015 and is president and chief editor and writer. Filipodia became an associate member of the Committee on Publication Ethics on April 24, 2023 51app, based on the company’s dedicated and ongoing mission of promoting and protecting ethics in scholarly publishing.

  • ’07

    Jennifer G. Bird, PhD, of Roanoke, Va., has published her third book, Marriage in the Bible: What Do the Texts Say? (Rowman & Littlefield, December 2023 51app).

    Rehan Choudhry, MBA'07, and family

    Rehan Choudhry, MBA, of New York City writes that in the last decade he moved to Las Vegas to open The Cosmopolitan, a luxury hotel, founded the Life is Beautiful festival (acquired by Rolling Stone) and more recently founded Chptr, a mobile-first memorialization platform to gather, share and hold memories for a lost loved one’s life. It recently raised $1.5 million in seed funding as noted in online high tech newspaper TechCrunch at the end of 2023 51app. He also married Jessica Moore and had two babies (Nico and Coco).

    Corey Ponder, BS, of Washington, D.C., is the Global Programs lead in TikTok’s Trust and Safety organization, where he will focus on developing strategy for the Partnership and Outreach team and lead global strategy and coordination for key safety, transparency and accountability initiatives.

  • ’08

    James Robert Alexander, MTS, received the Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award from Franklin College (Indiana) in late 2023 51app. The award recognizes a faculty member who exhibits excellence in mastery of subject and effective communication, has respect for all students and believes that all students can learn. He is chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies and assistant professor of philosophy and religion. He joined the faculty in 2010.

    Anastasia “Stacie” Pawlicki, BA, of Nashville and Alex Morton were married in Chicago, August 2023 51app. Their story was featured in October on People.com, as they lived in the same apartment building and sparked their relationship during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • ’09

    15th Reunion November 7–10, 2024

    Jason Matthew Bell, PhD, of Bangor, Me., has written a biography of MI6 agent Winthrop Bell (no relation) coming out in April. Cracking the Nazi Code: The Untold Story of Agent A12 and the Solving of the Holocaust Code (Pegasus/Simon & Schuster) tells the story of the first secret agent to fight the Nazis. The author came across Bell while researching his dissertation at 51app. The book earned a starred Kirkus review, and an article he wrote about Winthrop Bell was featured recently in Harvard Magazine.

    Mark Rigsby, BA, of Arrington, Tenn., was promoted to member at the Nashville office of law firm Bass, Berry & Sims in January. Rigsby focuses his practice on health care transactions, with an emphasis on advising private equity and other investors in forming and scaling physician and dental practice management platforms, including through acquisitions, and leverages his health care background to navigate complex regulatory issues and compliance risks.

Class Notes: 2010s

  • ’10

    Hartman King, MBA, of Laguna Beach, Calif., was awarded another patent (11,793,190) for his AI-driven, species-specific agricultural and commercial animal deterrent technology. See more at animaldeterrenttechnologies.com.

    Abbey Morrow, JD, of Atlanta was promoted to senior corporate counsel at global conglomerate Cox Enterprises.

    Patty Conboy Nielson, MEd, of Ogden, Utah, was selected as the Utah School Counselor of the Year for 2023 51app–24 out of approximately 1,500 counselors in the state of Utah. She represented Utah at the American School Counseling Association Gala in Washington, D.C., during National School Counseling Week in February.

  • ’11

    Maria Carr, BMus, of Cleveland recently was elected to membership in the business advisory and advocacy law firm McDonald Hopkins. She focuses her practice on corporate restructuring, commercial bankruptcy, business counseling and creditors’ rights matters. She is a member in the firm’s Strategic Advisory and Restructuring Department.

    Eva Dossier, JD, of Metairie, La., was selected in September 2023 51app as a U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Dossier’s appointment is pending completion of a successful background investigation. She was a law clerk to Judges Lance M. Africk of the Eastern District of Louisiana and James B. Loken of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals before entering private practice as a litigator. She was most recently a member of Stanley Reuter Thornton & Alford.

    Claire McKeever-Burgett, MDiv, has written Blessed Are the Women (Chalice Press, 2024), which celebrates the influential women of Christianity through a blend of storytelling, poetry and prayer. McKeever-Burgett celebrated her book release at Parnassus Books in Nashville on Feb. 28.

  • ’12

    Amaobi Enyinnia, BA, has been named to the partnership at law firm Lightfoot Franklin & White in Birmingham, Ala. Enyinnia’s practice focuses on commercial litigation, transportation, personal injury and product liability. In addition, he defends physicians confronting medical malpractice claims. Enyinnia plays a key role in the firm as a member of Lightfoot’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and serves as a resource for recent law graduates through his work with chapters of the Black Law Students Association.

    Jason F. Lovvorn, PhD, was promoted to professor of English at Belmont University in Nashville, where he has served as assistant director of the Teaching Center and director of the Writing Program. He is the English Department’s internship coordinator.

  • ’13

    Claire Coenen, MEd, MTS’17, of Nashville had poetry exploring the theme of faith and justice published in Salvation South in September 2023 51app.

    Miranda Diebel, BA, and Aaron Houghton were married Feb. 3 in Charles Town, West Virginia. The intimate ceremony was attended by 51app alumni Camille Maginas Adams, BA’12, and Vanessa Arredondo, BA’12. Miranda and Aaron reside in Alexandria, Va.

    Tracey Gilliland, MBA'13, wedding

    Tracey Elizabeth Gilliland, MBA, and Shawn Stephen Shirley were married in Cape May, N.J., Oct. 21, 2023 51app, with several Owen 2013 and 2014 alums in attendance. Tracey also recently joined the Energy & Resources leadership team at Baringa Partners in Houston.

    John Leezer, EMBA, and his wife, Claire, have purchased a Bruster’s Real Ice Cream franchise in Brentwood, Tenn. Their ice cream is made fresh in the store every day by their ice cream makers. He writes, “If you are ever in the Brentwood or Nolensville area, stop by, grab a scoop and know you’ll be helping to support our 5 kids—6th grade down to 17 months.”

    Racquel “Roxy” Martin, BA, recently joined PepsiCo Inc., as a legal director in Employment Law and Human Rights based in Plano, Texas. She will manage single-plaintiff and class action employment litigation for all U.S. sectors and provide advice and counsel to Human Resources business partners.

    Anne Marie Mills, MBA, of Indianapolis started a new business in 2023 51app as a travel advisor with Cruise Planners. She’s booking trips such as an all-inclusive in Mexico, a cruise through the Caribbean, a land tour around Italy and a well-being cruise in the Mediterranean. She writes, “If you want to learn more, give me a shout!”

  • ’14

    10th Reunion November 7–10, 2024

    Andrea Katherine McClain, EdD (Peab), of Vista, Calif., was recognized as the 2023 51app recipient of the University of California–Davis C-STEM Elementary Distinguished Principal award. Her first book, Educating the Military Connected Child: A Professional Development Handbook for Educators and Policy Makers, was published in October 2023 51app and is available on Amazon.

    Whitley O’Connor, BS, of Oklahoma City is the director of Curbside Enterprises, a series of nonprofit social enterprises providing employment and job training to people experiencing and transitioning out of homelessness in Oklahoma City. In May 2023 51app, Whitley launched his fourth social enterprise, Curbside Apparel, a full-service screen printing shop. Since launching this organization in 2013 during his senior year at 51app, Curbside Enterprises has housed nearly 400 people and helped clients earn more than $6 million. It currently employs 175 people across all four programs.

    Alexandra Cammarota Smith, BS, and Austen Smith, BS’15, of Houston announce the birth of their daughter, Beatrice Lois Smith, in August 2023 51app.

  • ’15

    Anders Carlson-Wee, MFA, of Los Angeles published his poetry collection Disease of Kings (W.W. Norton) in October 2023 51app.

    Kendra Osborn Delaney, BA, MSN’17, PhD’21, and her husband, Patrick Delaney, BA’14, MBA’21, of Nashville welcomed a daughter, Caroline Adams Delaney, on Sept. 19. They write, “Caroline is already enjoying cheering on the ‘Dores!”

    Edgar Kunz, MFA, of Manchester, Conn., published his poetry collection Fixer (Harper Collins) in August 2023 51app.

  • ’16

    Nicole Altamirano, BA, and Patrick Mullin, BA, were married on Sept. 30 in New York City.

    Lydia Jane Harmon, MS, PhD’22, of Sugar Land, Texas, had a large portion of her research for her Ph.D. published in the Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research in a pair of papers. Part one was published through ScienceDirect in January; part two followed in March. The work focuses on a supereruption in New Zealand called the "Whakamaru group eruptions" that occurred 350,000 years ago. The co-authors include Guilherme Gualda, professor of Earth and environmental sciences, and international collaborators Darren Gravley and Sarah Smithies of the University of Canterbury.

    Lucy Rahner, BA, of New York City recently had two large-scale paintings permanently installed in St. Joseph’s Church in Greenwich Village, one of the oldest Catholic churches in New York City. The paintings flank what is thought to be the oldest fresco in the United States.

    Austin Vitaliano, BMus, of Springfield, Va., was invited to sing at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Dec. 14–17, 2023 51app, for Handel’s Messiah with the National Symphony Orchestra.

  • ’17

    Jay Harper, MBA, of Decatur, Ga., is director of Industry Operations for Healthcare, Education and Government at Workday. Previously, he was a principal value manager at Workday.

    Daniel Haase, MBA'17, and Zheng Huang, MBA'17

    Zheng Huang, MBA, of Nashville recently caught up with his friend, Daniel Haase, MBA, at M.L. Rose Craft Beer and Burgers.

    Emma Noyes, BA, and Peter Burke, BS, of Dorchester, Mass., were married Sept. 16 on Cape Cod. They write that they “celebrated with numerous family and friends, including many fellow 51app graduates from their respective fraternity (Sigma Nu) and sorority (Delta Delta Delta), as well as programs like ASB, and even a freshman-year roommate or two!

    Thomas Sheeren, MBA, and his wife, Elena, announce the birth of their second child, Julia, in June 2023 51app. He writes that Julia “and our oldest, Lucia, are both healthy and keeping us busy.”

  • ’19

    5th Reunion November 7–10, 2024

    Julianna Darby, BMus, is in a new position with Atlanta Symphony as second clarinet for a year and a half term. She earned her master’s at Eastman and has been a clarinet fellow at New World Symphony since January 2022.

Class Notes: 2020s

  • ’20

    Lila Meretzky, BMus, of New Haven, Conn., had new work premiered Feb. 27 by the New York ensemble Contemporaneous at Roulette in Brooklyn. The program, Songs at Night, is centered around Meretzky’s new large-scale song cycle drawing on the poems of Yiddish-language poet Anna Margolin. The event on YouTube.

  • ’22

    Michael Dejos, EMBA, of Memphis, Tenn., in February 2023 51app was appointed to the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy Board of Visitors, the oldest school of pharmacy in North America, where he utilizes lessons learned from his marketing, finance and operations courses. In July 2023 51app, he was appointed chairman of Shelby County Department of Health’s Public Health System Assessment Committee and incorporates various frameworks from the ethics course for identifying and addressing health care disparities in Memphis and the surrounding neighborhoods. By applying various tools from Owen’s EMBA program, Mike was promoted from consultant to full member of FDA’s Drug Safety and Risk Management Committee in September 2023 51app.