Class Notes September 2016



Janis P. Terpenny* (B.S.’79/H&S) joined Penn State in September 2015 as the Peter and Angela Dal Pezzo Department Head of the Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering. She previously was the Joseph Walkup Professor and chair of the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering at Iowa State University, where she also served as director of Iowa State’s Center of e-Design and as the technical lead of the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute’s Advanced Manufacturing Enterprise Area.



Katherine Bassard, Ph.D.* (B.S.’86/H&S), began her new role at VCU Dec. 1, 2015, as senior vice provost for faculty affairs. She has been at VCU since 1999 and previously served as chair of the Department of English and associate dean in the College of Humanities and Sciences. She also edited the first anthology of the autobiographical writings of Peter Randolph, a 19th-century former slave from Prince George County, Va., who became a prominent abolitionist, pastor and community leader.

Jeffrey Blount (B.S.’81/MC) was inducted into the 2016 Virginia Communications Hall of Fame in April for his work as an Emmy award-winning TV director of 32 years, public speaker and award-winning author and scriptwriter. As director at NBC News, Blount oversees the Washington control room coverage for the “Nightly News,” election nights, special reports and major events. Blount also directed a decade of “Meet the Press” and has directed “The Today Show,” “The Sunday Today Show” and “The Chris Matthews Show.”



Roger Brown (B.S.’93/H&S) was promoted to director of the Organ Center at the United Network for Organ Sharing. He was previously one of two assistant directors of the center since 2009. As director, Brown is responsible for the leadership and direction of all areas of the center, from overseeing daily operations to maintaining performance metrics and quality improvement initiatives. He has worked in the center in positions of increased responsibility for 20 years, and his efforts have played a key role in UNOS’ recent milestone of coordinating 500,000 deceased donor transplants nationwide.

Kristen Caldwell** (B.S.’94/MC) joined VCU’s Development and Alumni Communications office in 2015 as associate director of development and alumni marketing and communications. She previously worked as an assistant creative director and managing editor in VCU’s University Marketing office.

Cade Martin (B.G.S.’90/H&S) completed a photography project for the New York Philharmonic’s 2016 Biennial Season “Let’s Play.” The image features French-hornist Leelane Sterrett as a pied-piper set in the forest charming a group of carousel horses toward her. Martin also was named one of the Lürzer’s Archive’s 200 best advertising photographers in the world. Lürzer’s Archive is a bimonthly advertising magazine founded in 1980, which established its 200 Best lists in 2011.

Keith Parker (B.A.’90/A; M.U.R.P.’93/H&S) was appointed by President Obama to the National Infrastructure Advisory Council. Parker is general manager and CEO of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, the nation’s ninth-largest transit system, which includes heavy rail, bus and paratransit services. He was honored by VCU Alumni in November 2015 as one of its Alumni Stars.

Cmdr. Darian Rice, M.D., Ph.D. (B.S.’94/H&S), a cardiothoracic anesthesiologist at the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, Va., received the 2015 Hero of Military Medicine Award for the Navy. The Heroes of Military Medicine Awards honor outstanding contributions by individuals who have distinguished themselves through excellence and selfless dedication to advancing military medicine and enhancing the lives and health of wounded, ill and injured service members, veterans and their families. During deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, or while assigned as a flight surgeon and working with NASA, Rice has used his knowledge and experience to apply it toward the operational environment, which has improved outcomes, with 99 percent survival rates in Afghanistan. As chief of cardiothoracic anesthesia at NMCP, Rice leads a team of up to five other anesthesiologists who provide care to patients undergoing heart or lung surgery.

Ayn Welleford, Ph.D.** (M.S.’94/AHP; Ph.D.’98/H&S), associate professor and chair of the Department of Gerontology in the VCU School of Allied Health Professions, was honored in October 2015 as a Valentine Richmond History Maker for her work with the Greater Richmond Age Wave, a collaboration of public and private organizations, businesses and individuals, including older adults, working to prepare for the opportunities and challenges of the region’s growing aging population. The annual Richmond History Makers Program, sponsored by The Valentine, pays tribute to everyday citizens and outstanding organizations that make significant contributions to the greater Richmond region.



Nancy W. Beasley (M.S.’00/MC) had her book “The Little Lion” adapted for the stage by Swift Creek Mill Playhouse in Chesterfield, Va. “The Little Lion,” set in Lithuania during World War II, chronicles the struggle of a Jewish Family to survive the Holocaust and the story of Laibale Gillman, a teenage boy known as the little lion, who never stopped fighting for freedom.

Greg Greenberg (M.S.’06/MC), Charles Hodges (M.S.’09/MC) and Mollie B. Partesotti (M.S.’09/MC) with Media Arts Lab in Los Angeles worked on the “Shot on iPhone 6” campaign for Apple, which won the Outdoor Lions Grand Prix at the 2015 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. The award is one of the most prestigious honors in the advertising industry.

Arcelia “C.C.” Jackson (B.S.’07/GPA; B.A.’07/H&S) was named director of financial aid at South Carolina State University. Jackson has worked in financial aid departments for more than a decade and is a member of the Virginia Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.

David Perks (M.S.’02/MC), creative director and founder of The Perks Agency, has moved his company to Blacksburg, Va. The advertising agency opened its doors in April 2015 with a range of regional clients such as Campus Automotive, IST Research, Valley Landscaping and Glavé Kocen Gallery. Perks has created award-winning work for iconic brands such as the U.S. Marine Corps, Orkin Pest Control and others throughout his career at global and regional advertising agencies.



Ameya Chumble (B.A.’14/H&S; B.S.’14/H&S), a second-year student in the VCU School of Medicine, led a team of classmates in organizing Richmond’s first Camp Cardiac, a weeklong day camp for high school students interested in entering the medical field. From obtaining CPR certification and learning suturing techniques to hearing case studies and observing a live surgery, the high school students spent an action-packed week on VCU’s campus. Camp Cardiac was so successful that VCU is now eligible to host its sister camp, Camp Neuro.

William Gilbert* (B.A.’15/MC) joined NBC12 in Richmond, Va., as a news content specialist. He also works in VCU’s Development and Alumni Communications office as a videographer.

Joseph “Fitz” Maro (M.S.’13/MC), an innovation strategist with 360i New York, won the inaugural Campaign US Fearless Thinker contest in June 2015, which posed the question: “If you had a floor at Cannes, what industry-changing idea would you share?” Maro’s winning video used Paul McCartney as an example of an industry icon who is always changing, and Maro argued that advertising must constantly embrace new technologies through remixing and collaboration. He won a week in France at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity.

Hailey Spencer (M.S.’14/MC), an instructor in the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture in the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences, rappelled down 25 stories from the roof of the SunTrust Center in downtown Richmond, Va., as part of a Special Olympics of Virginia fundraiser. Spencer taught a service-learning course that involved students developing public relations solutions for the Special Olympics of Virginia, creating strategies to encourage millennials to volunteer.

Matt Spicer (M.S.’10/MC) and Jessica Sartoretto (M.S.’13/MC) with Media Arts Lab in Los Angeles worked on the “Shot on iPhone 6” campaign for Apple, which won the Outdoor Lions Grand Prix at the 2015 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. The award is one of the most prestigious honors in the advertising industry.

Eric Stanley (B.I.S.’14/H&S) released a self-titled EP in July 2015 featuring the mesmerizing and hypnotic single “Voltaire.”

Margaret X. “Mei” Yang (B.S.’11/H&S) has joined the Richmond, Va., law firm Christian & Barton LLP as an attorney focusing on corporate and public finance matters. She is fluent in Japanese and Mandarin Chinese and is a member of the Virginia State Bar, the Bar Association of the City of Richmond and the Virginia Bar Association.


Faculty and staff

June Nicholson, professor and director of graduate studies in the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture in the College of Humanities and Sciences, was inducted into the 2016 Virginia Communications Hall of Fame in April for her work with the Urban Journalism Workshop at VCU. She is also active in the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, an academic organization for educators in journalism and mass communications.


In memoriam


Mansfield M. Elmore (B.S.’59/H&S; M.S.’68/AHP), of Sanford, N.C., Jan. 28, 2016, at age 90.



Kenneth W. Angel (B.S.’69/H&S; M.H.A.’73/AHP), of Richmond, Va., May 28, 2015.

Michael L. Greenberg (B.S.’66/H&S), of Henrico, Va., Jan. 9, 2016, at age 76.

William M. Lee (M.S.’64/H&S), of Bokeelia, Fla., Sept. 15, 2015.

Thomas E. Lindfors (B.S.’66/H&S), of Williamsburg, Va., Sept. 26, 2015.

Emma C. Matheny (B.S.’62/H&S), of Fairmont, W.Va., June 5, 1999.

Elsie E. Parsons (B.S.’62/H&S), of Blacksburg, Va., Feb. 26, 2015, at age 80.

Marvin W. Troutman (M.S.’66/H&S), of Hacienda Heights, Calif., Feb. 5, 2000, at age 76.



Deborah M. Harden (B.S.’74/H&S), of Wilson, N.C., March 30, 2015, at age 62.

Rebecca H. Thomas* (B.S.’73/H&S), of Midlothian, Va., May 26, 2015.

Lee H. Westermann (B.S.’77/H&S), of West Point, Va., Nov. 1, 2014, at age 65.



Wayde Glover (M.I.S.’89/H&S), of Sandston, Va., May 18, 2015, at age 63.

Paul J. Pishko (B.A.’80/H&S), of Henrico, Va., May 20, 2015, at age 60.



Shelby Leasburg Earehart (B.A.’90/H&S), of Oilville, Va., Jan.10, 2015.

Andrew L. Zilius (B.A.’93/H&S), of Richmond, Va., June 1, 2015.



Eric D. Claud Jr. (B.A.’10/H&S), of Williamsburg, Va., May 31, 2015.

Eric L. Johnson (B.A.’13/H&S), of Gum Spring, Va., May 23, 2015, at age 27.


*Member of the alumni association

**Life member of the alumni association


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