University of Memphis Magazine
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Spring 2011 Features


Making headlines
Reason to celebrate
Blind ambition
All in the family
Smart money
Remembering a legend

Development News
The Columns: Alumni Review
Internships key to stronger Mid-South workforce


Ken Lindsay (BBA) was recognized as one of the “Legends of the PGA” by the Professional Golfers Association of America. Lindsay, who served as president of the PGA from 1997-98, is a PGA Master Professional who spent 31 years as general manager and director of golf at Colonial Country Club in Jackson, Miss. He also is a member of the PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame.


David S. Kennedy (BS, JD ’70) was honored by colleagues and staff for 30 years of service as a bankruptcy judge for the Western District of Tennessee.


W. David Dickson (JD) co-edited the book On Seas Contested: The Seven Great Navies of the Second World War, published by the U.S. Naval Institute. The naval historian lives in Hernando, Miss.

Glen Reid
Glen Reid
Glen Reid (BBA, JD ’71) of Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs was named among “Lawyers of the Year for 2011” by Best Lawyers. Reid is managing partner of the firm’s Memphis office and a member of its Intellectual Property Protection and Litigation Service Team.

Don Valdez (BS, JD ’75) retired from the law firm of Decker, Jones, McMackin, McClane, Hall & Bates in Fort Worth, Texas. He is completing his term as chair of the Entertainment and Sports Law Section of the State Bar of Texas. Valdez was voted the 2010 Top Entertainment Attorney by Fort Worth Magazine.


Dr. Mark V. Smith
Dr. Mark V. Smith
Dr. Mark V. Smith (MEd, EdD ’79), Distinguished Service Professor of Education at Rhodes College, received a Meritorious Service Award from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Jane Bray Nelson (MS) received the American Association of Physics Teachers Distinguished Service Citation in recognition of her service to the organization. She has taught numerous AP science classes and was teacher-director of University High School at Research Park, a science and technology magnet school in Orange County, Fla. Nelson was inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame in 2002.


Marty Belz (BBA), president and CEO of Peabody Hotel Group, received the CFHLA Charles Andrews Memorial Hospitality Award for Community Leadership.

Michael Less (JD), senior partner in Less, Getz & Lipman, received the Don L. Smith Lifetime Achievement Award for the Advancement of Tennessee Construction Law from the Tennessee Association of Construction Counsel.

D. Mike Pennington (BA) retired after 25 years with ArvinMeritor Inc., a global manufacturer of components and systems for commercial vehicles. Most recently he served as senior director of global marketing communications and industry relations. Pennington has established PenNotes LLC, a strategic communications, counsel and services firm, to serve clients in the global trucking and truck equipment industry. He is based in Amelia Island, Fla. 


Dr. Charles E. Garrett Jr. (BSEd, MEd ’81), superintendent of the New Albany (Miss.) School District, was selected the 2011 Mississippi Superintendent of the Year by the American Association of School Administrators.

Joe Walker
Joe Walker
Joe Walker (JD) was named trusts and estates “Lawyer of the Year” in Memphis in the 2011 Best Lawyers in America. He also was appointed to the Asset Protection Committee of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel for 2011-12.


John R. Cannon Jr.
John R. Cannon Jr.
John R. Cannon Jr. (JD) is 2011 president of the Memphis Bar Association. He is a partner in the law firm of Shuttleworth Williams.

Bernice Donald (BA, JD ’79), U.S. District Court judge for the Western District of Tennessee, was nominated by President Obama to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Donald also received the 2011 Spirit of Excellence Award from the American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession.


Donna Fields (JD), Shelby County Circuit Court judge, received the Frances Grant Loring and Marion Griffin Award for outstanding achievement in the legal profession from the Association for Women Attorneys.


Vandella Brown
Vandella Brown
Vandella Brown (BA) received the Illinois Library Association’s 2010 Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial/DEMCO Award in recognition of her outstanding service to libraries and librarians in Illinois. She was instrumental in developing the Illinois State Library’s Diversity Program, which presents some 40 programs a year. Her work with the ILA’s Cultural and Racial Diversity Committee helped broaden its reach, awareness and membership.


Kathy Tuberville
Kathy Tuberville
Kathy Tuberville (BSEd, MS ’82) was named coordinator of academic internships at the U of M. She has 14 years of college-level teaching and administration experience in the areas of business, career services and internships. Tuberville is a doctoral candidate in organizational leadership from Northcentral University in Prescott Valley, Ariz.


Randy McPherson (BSEd, MS ’84, EdD ’93), counselor at Trezevant Career and Technology Center, was named the nation’s high school counselor of the year. The award, presented by the American School Counselor Association, included a trip to Washington, D.C., for a black-tie gala and meetings with Congress.


Rita Phillips White (BSEd, MEd ’94) was honored at the White House as one of 62 National Distinguished Principals. She is principal of Riverwood Elementary in Cordova.


John Bobango (JD) was included in the 2011 Best Lawyers in America.

Jeff Ezekiel (BBA, MBA ’01) was named senior vice president of LEDIC Management Group.


Dr. R. Maurice Hollingsworth
Dr. R. Maurice Hollingsworth
Dr. R. Maurice Hollingsworth (BBA) was elected president of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico. He joined the staff of First Baptist Church of Las Cruces in January 2006. Hollingsworth earned an MDiv and a PhD in New Testament from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. After completing his doctorate, he and his family served as Southern Baptist missionaries in Taipei, Taiwan, where he taught at Taiwan Baptist Seminary. Later Hollingsworth served in Jackson, Tenn. He also is the New Mexico trustee for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.


Gregory Duckett (JD), senior vice president and corporate counsel for Baptist Memorial Health Care, was elected vice chair of the Tennessee Board of Regents.

Walter Roop
Walter Roop
Walter Roop (BBA), president of Roop Financial Services Inc., was selected as one of Memphis Magazine’s 2010 Five Star Wealth Managers. This is the third year he has received the honor.


Dr. Jeffrey Hamsley (BBA, MS ’94, EdD ’00) was certified by the International Academy of Behavioral Medicine, Counseling and Psychotherapy Inc. as a Diplomate in Professional Coaching. Hamsley also holds Diplomates in Professional Counseling and Chemical Dependency Counseling from IABMCP. A former adjunct professor in counseling, educational psychology and research at the U of M, he now is in private practice. 


Amy J. Amundsen
Amy J. Amundsen
Amy J. Amundsen (JD), a Memphis divorce attorney, was selected a Fellow of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

Howard Caplan (JD) was selected as a Florida Super Lawyer in the area of business law. He also was re-elected as a Legal Elite by Florida Trend, also in business law. Caplan is president of Jewish Family and Community Services Inc. in Jacksonville.

Alan Crone
Alan Crone
Alan Crone (BA, JD ’90), a partner at Kramer & Crone, was named a Super Lawyer in the area of employment and labor law.

Valerie Smith Hight (BBA, MS ’09) was promoted to corporate sales executive with the Memphis Redbirds, where she has worked since 2007.

Dan Overbey (BBA), president and CEO of BankUnited Investment Services, was re-installed as advisory board chair for the Bank Insurance & Securities Association. He lives in Miami.

Denise V. Pratt
Denise V. Pratt
Denise V. Pratt (JD) opened a family law practice in Houston after graduating from the U of M. She was appointed to the Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners in 2007. In November Pratt was elected a judge of the Harris County Family District Court.


Daniel Eugene Smith (BA), a sales representative with Kowa Pharmaceuticals of America Inc., received the company’s 2010 President’s Circle of Excellence Award for top sales performance. He has 13 years of pharmaceutical sales experience. Smith lives in Tuscaloosa, Ala., with his wife, Cara Lynn Smith, and stepdaughter, Cassidy Sunshine Teague. He is the son of Dr. R. Eugene Smith, retired U of M vice president of business and finance, and Anne Smith.


Amy Weirich (JD) was appointed Shelby County’s first female district attorney by Gov. Bill Haslam. Weirich had been an assistant district attorney for almost 20 years before being appointed the county’s first female deputy district attorney last August.


Russell Rhoads (BBA, MS ’94) is an instructor for the Options Institute at the Chicago Board Options Exchange. He also is a financial author with Wiley Publishing. His two latest books are Option Spread Trading — A Comprehensive Guide to Strategies and Tactics and Trading VIX Derivatives – A Guide to Trading VIX Futures, Options and ETNs, due out in August.


Greg Broy (BA), associate director of communications for the American Cancer Society, earned the Accreditation in Public Relations certification.

Letitia Robertson (BBA) joined BRIDGES as vice president of Bridge Builders.

Dwight Vick (MPA) published Drugs and Alcohol in the 21st Century: Theory, Behavior and Policy. He is an assistant professor of public administration and graduate coordinator of political science programs at West Texas A&M University.


Glenn Knight (BBA) was promoted to sales manager with Montblanc North America in Dallas. Headquartered in Hamburg, Germany, Montblanc produces fine writing instruments, timepieces, leather goods, jewelry, eyewear and fragrances.  


Kirk Caraway
Kirk Caraway
Kirk Caraway (BA, JD ’97), a partner in Allen, Summers, Simpson, Lillie & Gresham, was named a “Mid-South Rising Star” in the field of labor and employment law by Law & Politics for the third consecutive year. He also was elected secretary of the Memphis Bar Association. Caraway will serve as an officer of the MBA for four years, culminating with a term as president in 2013-14.

Chuck Cloud
Chuck Cloud
Chuck Cloud (BA), a financial adviser with Edward Jones in Humboldt, Tenn., was named a principal with the firm’s holding company, The Jones Financial Companies. Only 26 of the firm’s 40,000 associates were chosen for this honor.


Mary W. Sharp (BPS) was named 2010 Realtor of the Year by the Memphis Area Association of Realtors.

Dr. Thomas Alex Washington (MA) received the Gerald Ludd Award at the 2011 National African-American MSM Leadership Conference on HIV/AIDS and Other Health Disparities. Washington is an associate professor of social work and research fellow at California State University Long Beach. He has volunteered and worked in HIV/AIDS prevention, services and research for 10 years.


Dr. Mary McDonald (EdD), superintendent of schools for the Catholic Diocese of Memphis, was inducted into the Society of Entrepreneurs.

Bryant C. Witt
Bryant C. Witt
Bryant C. Witt (JD) joined the Nashville law office of Hall Booth Smith & Slover. He previously chaired the health care practice group at Miller & Martin.


Estelle Winsett (JD), assistant dean for law career services with the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, was appointed to the Memphis Bar Association board of directors.


Caroline Wilson Boswell (JD) and Ross Allan Boswell (BBA ’95, JD ’98) welcomed the birth of Ross Allan “Bo” Boswell Jr. on Aug. 6, 2010. He joined sisters Cecilia and Landry.

Craig C. Conley (JD), a shareholder in Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, received the Sam A. Myar Jr. Memorial Award from the Memphis Bar Association. The award recognizes a young attorney who has provided outstanding service to the Memphis and Shelby County legal profession and community.


Brandon Cooper (BBA) was promoted to first vice president and relationship manager for Trustmark Bank’s Memphis region.


Elian Levatino (BBA) is a branch operations manager for Benchmark Wealth Management.

John Truebger (BM) is an audio/multimedia engineer at Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester. Along with his recording duties for undergraduate and graduate students at Eastman, he also records the performances of the Rochester Philharmonic and Rochester Jazz orchestras. Truebger has written specifications for the recording equipment for a new recording control room, recital/chamber hall and rehearsal hall at Eastman.


Dr. Kathryn T. Gines (MA, PhD ’03) and Dr. Donna-Dale L. Marcano (PhD ’04) co-edited Convergences: Black Feminism and Continental Philosophy, published by SUNY Press. Gines is an assistant professor of philosophy at Penn State University; Marcano is an assistant professor of philosophy at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn.

Stephen J. Lepp
Stephen J. Lepp
Stephen J. Lepp (MBA) was promoted to the rank of captain in the Navy. He is assigned to the Navy Reserve Forces Command in Norfolk, Va., as assistant deputy chief for Navy Reserve Manpower and Personnel.

Summer Owens (BBA) wrote the book Life After Birth: A Memoir of Survival and Success as a Teenage Mother. A mother at 15, she went on to earn an MBA from Belhaven College and is a senior marketing specialist with FedEx Corp.

Elizabeth Yarbrough
Elizabeth Yarbrough
Elizabeth Yarbrough (JD) joined the law firm of Butler, Sevier, Hinsley & Reid as an associate attorney. She focuses her practice on domestic relations matters, including collaborative divorce and mediation as well as traditional litigation-based advocacy. Yarbrough is listed by the Supreme Court of Tennessee as a family mediator and has been trained in collaborative divorce advocacy.


Carole Choate Blankenship (DMA) presented a paper at the International Paul Bowles Conference in Lisbon, Portugal. She also performed songs by Bowles, an expatriate composer, author and translator who lived much of his life in Morocco. The conference, held at the University of Lisbon, celebrated Bowles’100th birthday.

Griffin H. Bridgers (BBA) is an associate attorney with the firm of Stewart, Shortridge & Fitzke in Denver.

Marcus Matthews (BA) a doctoral candidate in higher and adult education at the U of M and coordinator of The Teen Appeal newspaper, published the book I Am Not the Father: Narratives of Men Falsely Accused of Paternity.

Eric Robertson (BA) was named project leader for Greater Memphis Neighborhoods, a revitalization initiative. He had been chief administrative officer for the Memphis City Center Commission.


Elizabeth Daggett (BA) is assistant professor of art and director for the Center for Outreach in the Development of the Arts at Rhodes College. She teaches courses in digital photography and digital art, documentary filmmaking and experimental filmmaking. Daggett earned her MFA from the University of North Texas.

Shon Johnson (JD), an associate with Black McLaren Jones Ryland & Griffee, was elected president of the Young Lawyers Division of the Memphis Bar Association.

Jeremiah Jones (BBA) was named branch manager of First Citizens National Bank’s Atoka (Tenn.) Financial Center.

Renee Robinson (PhD) is chair and associate professor of communication in the Department of Communication at Saint Xavier University in Chicago.


Tyler Williams (MS) was promoted to assistant vice president of Jeff Davis Bank & Trust Co. in Lake Charles, La. He had been the bank’s marketing director.


Megan E. Arthur (JD) joined the law firm of Shea Moskovitz & McGhee as an associate.


Amber Floyd
Amber Floyd
Amber Floyd (BSEd, JD ’10) joined the Memphis office of Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs, where she focuses her legal practice in the area of commercial litigation.

Ben Ledsinger (MSCE) of SSR Ellers received the Jack B. Humphreys Young Member Award from the Tennessee Section of the Institute of Transportation Engineers.


Christopher Myles Jackson (MM) was chosen to perform in a master class with retired New York Philharmonic bassoonist Leonard Hindell at the International Double Reed Society Conference. He also attended the Imani Winds Chamber Music Institute in New York City and the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival in South Africa. Jackson is a DMA candidate at the U of M.

Rev. Frank A. Thomas (PhD) co-edited Preaching with Sacred Fire: An Anthology of African-American Sermons, 1750 to the Present. The book contains selections from Frederick Douglass, Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Gardner Taylor, among others.


David Dick (DMA) was appointed principal trombone of the Regina Symphony Orchestra in Saskatchewan, Canada. He also is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Regina.

Ann Marie Gideon (BFA) was nominated for a Suzi Bass Award, the Atlanta professional theatre award, in her first season with the Georgia Shakespeare Festival. She was nominated for her performance as Bianca in Shrew: The Musical.

Heather Kraus (MSCE) of SSR Ellers received the Young Engineer Award from the Tennessee Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Mikah Meyer (BM) made his professional international debut as the alto soloist in Handel’s Messiah for l’Orchestre Symphonique de Longueuil in Montreal.


Dana Avant (MSN) is administrative director for neurosurgical, orthopedics and oncology at Methodist University Hospital.

Brenda Garner (MSN), a clinical faculty member in the Loewenberg School of Nursing, received her certification through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

Amanda Ray
Amanda Ray
Amanda Ray (JD) joined the litigation section of Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel of Chattanooga. She focuses her practice on general civil litigation.
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