Class Notes November 2016

We’re always happy to share good news passed on to us by our alumni. To have your information included in our class notes, please contact Caitlin Hanbury at or 804-827-0862.


Darrell Griffin, M.D.* (B.S.’71/H&S; M.D.’75/M), retired from Florida State University in December 2015. He continues to work part time with pediatric house staff at the University of Florida residency program in Penscola, Florida.

Diana Woodcock (B.S.’74/H&S; M.F.A.’04/H&S) has been promoted to associate professor at VCU’s branch campus in Qatar, where she has been teaching since 2014. She is a Ph.D. candidate at Lancaster University, studying creative writing and poetry.


Deborah Brown, M.D. (B.S.’81/H&S; M.D.’85/M), joined Kaniksu Health Services in Laclede, Idaho, in June 2016.

Dorothy Fillmore (M.A.’84/H&S), associate director of academic operations in the Department of Psychology in the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences, was awarded the President’s Inclusive Excellence Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of more than 30 years of advocacy both at VCU and in the Richmond community.

Randy Glasscock** (B.A.’87/H&S), co-founded and serves as president of PFLAG Provo/Utah County and also organized the Utah County Safety Net for homeless youth.

John Hoppenthaler (M.F.A.’88/H&S) won the Brockman-Campbell Book Award from the North Carolina Poetry Society for his book “Domestic Garden,” a collection of poetry written on the remnants of the American dream.

Deborah Hudson* (B.S.’89/MC), after a 20-year career in marketing and communications in Richmond, Va., moved to Charlotte, N.C., where she got her North Carolina real estate broker’s license and joined the real estate firm of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices-Carolinas.

Pamela Knox, Ph.D. (M.S.’82/H&S; Ph.D.’85/H&S), moved from the associate vice chancellor for academic affairs with the Tennessee Board of Regent to the associate chief academic officer for the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.
Richard Mason* (B.S.’83/H&S) was named board president of the Greater New York Councils of the Boy Scouts of America, which serves nearly 47,000 youth in New York City’s five boroughs.

John Morgan (B.S.’88/H&S; B.S.’96/N) moved to New Orleans in 2014 and is working as a RN in the float pool at Ochsner Medical Center’s main campus. He plays guitar and sings in two bands: Blue Biscuit, a blues and R&B band, and Hallelujah Hatrack, a Grateful Dead cover band.


Matthew Bartholomew, M.D. (B.S.’92/H&S; M.D.’97/M), received the Carnegie Medal for his efforts that saved a woman from drowning in a frozen retention pond in February 2015. The medal recognizes individuals who risk their lives to save, or attempt to save, the lives of others.

Michael F. Bolling (B.S.’94/H&S; M.T.’94/E) was named executive director of CodeRVA, a new regional high school in Richmond, Va., focused on computer science and coding. Bolling was previously director of mathematics and governor’s schools for the Virginia Department of Education.

Sonja Nesbit (B.A.’94/H&S) left an appointment with the Obama administration where she served as deputy assistant secretary for legislation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to join Arent Fox LLP as senior government relations director. Her new role focuses on federal legislation on health care and tax issues.


Prue Cormie (B.I.S.’04/H&S) spoke at a TEDxPerth event. Her talk, “A New Contender in the Fight Against Cancer,” explored new research indicating exercise might make cancer treatments more tolerable and effective.

Robert “Jason” Cottrell, Ph.D. (B.S.’01/H&S; M.Ed.’02/E) completed his dissertation, “The Role of a University College on Student Engagement,” at the University of Virginia. He also accepted a position in the Office of Postsecondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education where he will serve in the area of institutional services as an education research scientist.

Lawrence Dowler (B.S.’08/H&S) has been elected to serve as chairman of the International Association of Emergency Managers Certified Emergency Manager Commission for 2017.

Amber J. Esseiva (B.A.’09/H&S) is the curatorial assistant at the Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU. She has worked in several art institutions in Richmond, including the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the VCU School of the Arts’ Anderson Gallery. In 2012, she was a guest curator at VCUQatar in Doha, Qatar. Esseiva received her M.A. in 2015 from the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, where she curated and co-curated numerous exhibits, cofounded the interdisciplinary curatorial journal aCCeSsions and was appointed the curator of the 2014 M.F.A. graduate thesis exhibition.

Desiree Raught (B.A.’07/H&S) received the 2016 Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching from Teach for America for her work as a high school English teacher in Washington, D.C.

Jackie Slemaker (B.S.’06/H&S; M.Ed.’09/E) was named Virginia’s elementary school counselor of the year by the Virginia School Counseling Association. She was also named an American School Counseling Association semi-finalist and will represent Virginia as a nominee for national school counselor of the year in February 2017.


Erica Bernstein* (M.A.’12/H&S) was appointed director of outreach for The Chlorine Institute, where she assists in planning and executing CI’s emergency-preparedness training activities and supports the Product Stewardship Issue Team.
Jerry Mizey (B.S.’16/H&S) is a graduate student at George Mason University. He is studying applied developmental psychology.

Alexsis Rodgers (B.S.’13/MC) received the 2016 Rising Star Award from the Richmond chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, which recognizes PR professionals with fewer than five years of experience who are doing outstanding work in their field. She is the policy director for Virginia Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam.

Jack “Lee” Vogler (B.A.’10/H&S) was sworn into a second term on the Danville (Va.) City Council.

Audrey Walls (B.A.’10/H&S; M.F.A.’13/H&S), donor relations coordinator in the VCU Office of Development and Alumni Relations, was named a VCU Visiting Writer. She was previously nominated for a 2015 Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net 2014 and Best New Poets 2013.

Faculty and staff

Karen Rader, Ph.D., director of the Science, Technology and Society program and professor in the Department of History in the College of Humanities and Sciences, received the Media Ecology Association’s 2016 Lewis Mumford Award for Outstanding Scholarship in the Ecology of Technics for the book “Life on Display: Revolutionizing U.S. Museums of Science and Natural History in the Twentieth Century.”

In memoriam


Carolyn Bass (B.S.’47/H&S; M.S.’67/H&S), of Manassas, Va., Dec. 19, 2015, at age 90.
Margaret Dowd (’48/H&S; M.P.A.’79/GPA; B.S.’73/H&S), of Richmond, Va., Aug. 4, 2016, at age 92.
Gladys Hughes (B.S.’42/H&S), of Douglasville, Ga., Aug. 23, 2015, at age 96.
Frances Jones (B.S.’47/H&S), of Onancock, Va., April 16, 2015, at age 93.
Selma Polon (M.S.’47/H&S), of Los Angeles, Oct. 19, 2010.


Owen Baird (B.S.’50/H&S), of Doswell, Va., Sept. 20, 2014, at age 94.
Claude Burrows (B.S.’59/H&S), of Richmond, Va., May 27, 2016, at age 83.
Phyllis Cartwright (B.S.’51/H&S), of Mechanicsville, Va., Feb. 8, 2016, at age 86.
Faye Forbes** (B.S.’54/H&S), of Fuquay-Varina, N.C., June 24, 2016, at age 84.


John Farago (M.S.’68/H&S), of Midlothian, Va., Aug. 26, 2013.
Horace Hanshaw (B.A.’69/H&S), of Henrico, Va., April 12, 2016.
Alice Milton (M.S.’66/H&S), of Richmond, Va., Aug. 6, 2016, at age 89.
Susan Newton (B.S.’69/H&S), of Mechanicsville, Va., Nov. 1, 2014, at age 68.
William Taylor, Ph.D. (M.S.’64/H&S), of Great Falls, Mont., June 16, 2016, at age 85.
James Windsor (M.S.’63/H&S), of Williamsburg, Va., April 3, 2016.
Phillip Woodson Sr. (A.A.’65/GPA; B.S.’68/H&S), of Richmond, Va., April 4, 2016, at age 93.


John Boswell (B.S.’78/H&S), of Washington, D.C., April 26, 2016, at age 65.
Sandra Kotarides (B.S.’76/H&S; M.Ed.’78/E), of Tryon, N.C., May 26, 2016, at age 66.
Martin Maples (B.S.’75/H&S; M.S.’77/AHP), of Shawsville, Va., Dec. 8, 2012.
Helen Morrissett (B.S.’74/H&S; M.Ed.’85/E), of King George, Va., Feb. 20, 2015, at age 82.
Bruce Twyman (B.S.’74/H&S), of Richmond, Va., June 3, 2016, at age 65. He served as the first president of the VCU Alumni African-American Alumni Council.
Peter Walker** (B.S.’71/H&S), of Virginia Beach, Va., May 24, 2016, at age 67.
Gregory Wheal (B.A.’76/H&S), of Midlothian, Va., Aug. 3, 2016, at age 65.


Rose Adams (B.G.S.’83/H&S; M.Ed.’97/E), of Henrico, Va., June 17, 2016, at age 68.
John Davis (B.S.’85/H&S), of Charlottesville, Va., March 11, 2016, at age 55.
Mary Reidelbach (B.S.’86/H&S; M.S.’91/H&S), of Richmond, Va., May 20, 2016, at age 51.
Paul Schneider (B.A.’83/H&S), of Franklin Lakes, N.J., March 10, 2016, at age 60.
Charles Shaver Jr. (B.A.’81/H&S), of Midlothian, Va., April 4, 2016, at age 67.


Dean Boutin (B.G.S.’94/H&S), of Bumpass, Va., July 25, 2016, at age 46.
Edwin Land (B.A.’94/H&S), of Petersburg, Va., Sept. 2, 2016, at age 69.


Katherine Dorsk (B.S.’04/H&S), of Richmond, Va., July 31, 2016, at age 36.
Reena Jadav (B.S.’08/H&S; M.S.’11/B), of Mechanicsville, Va., Sept. 4, 2016, at age 30.
Joseph Lundy III (B.S.’01/H&S), of Richmond, Va., Aug. 8, 2016, at age 39.


Benjamin Meade (B.S.’13/H&S), of Louisa, Va., May 11, 2016, at age 33.
Corey Randall* (B.S.’16/H&S), of Fredericksburg, Va., April 15, 2016, at age 22.
John Richardson (B.A.’11/H&S), of Dillsburg, Penn., Sept. 4, 2016, at age 30.
Chelsea Wagner (B.A.’16/H&S), of Hampton, Va., Nov. 25, 2015, at age 22.

* Member of VCU Alumni
** Life member of VCU Alumni