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class notes archive > summer 2005

Class Notes


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Doug Mayo Dr. G. Douglas Mayo (BS), retired faculty member and former director of the Center for Instructional Service and Research at the U of M, received the 2004 Traces Award from the University of Memphis Association of Retirees (UMAR). The Traces Award recognizes continued professional, scholarly and civic achievement by U of M retirees. Mayo was instrumental in establishing the Heritage Room, a museum that displays historical items from the University.


Joe Walk (BS, MA '57) received the Jefferson Award from the American Institute for Public Service. He was honored for his efforts to achieve recognition for Memphis police officers killed in the line of duty. Walk also has published 15 books, including histories of African Americans in city government, the Highland Heights neighborhood and Treadwell High School.


Margaret P. Ridings (BS, MAT '76), personnel director for the city of Millington, received the Personnel Achievement Award from the Tennessee Personnel Management Association. She also was appointed to the State Workforce Development Board by Gov. Phil Bredesen.


Tommy Horton (BA) is editor of Cotton Farming magazine. He previously worked in the communications department of the National Cotton Council.

Don Randolph (BSEd), superintendent of Marshall County (Miss.) Schools, was inducted into the Northwest Mississippi Community College Sports Hall of Fame. Randolph has been a teacher, coach and administrator for 36 years. He played basketball at Northwest before transferring to the U of M, where he lettered for two years.


Michael T. Ledbetter (BS, MS '70) is dean of the College of Science and Mathematics at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He earned a PhD in oceanography from the University of Rhode Island and held faculty positions at the University of Georgia and San Jose State University. Ledbetter also served with the National Science Foundation for two years. He and his wife, Marilyn, have been married for 33 years.

Ann S. Utterback (BA, MA '71) was honored by the National Press Club for her two books, Broadcasting Through Crisis and the fourth edition of Broadcast Voice Handbook. Utterback is a broadcast voice specialist and stress reduction counselor based in Washington, D.C., where she works with television and radio networks, the Voice of America, the Pentagon Channel and other broadcasting companies.


Judge Robert L. "Butch" Childers (BBA, JD '74) was appointed to a second term on the American Bar Association's Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs.

Elizabeth B. Tate (BA), chair/CEO of Signet Inc., was named one of the Top 10 Women in Business by Memphis Woman magazine. Signet produces corporate logo merchandise and apparel.

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Charles Burkett (BBA), president of First Tennessee financial services, was named Economic Educator of the Year by the Department of Economics in the U of M's Fogelman College of Business and Economics. Burkett was honored for his initiatives in integrating economic education and financial literacy into local K-12 schools.

Marion FowlkesMarion L. Fowlkes (BSET), principal of Fowlkes and Associates Architects Inc., was elected to the board of directors of the American Institute of Architects. He is the first Nashville architect to hold a seat on the AIA's national board.


Linda Booth Garner (BSEd) retired from the Wilson County School System after 30 years of service. She and her husband, Dale, now live in Wheeler, Texas, where they own and operate Da'lin Kennels. They are breeders and trainers of field and bench champion German Shorthair Pointer dogs and provide full-service and custom wild quail hunts and training for all pointing breeds.

Gloria Poppelreiter Lewis (BSEd, MEd '80) held a book signing in Memphis this spring for her novel Rain on Red Clay. The book is set in northeastern Arkansas during World War I. Lewis is a former director of short courses in the Continuing Education Department at the U of M. She lives in Santa Fe with her husband and is working on her next novel.

Judge Brenda J. Waggoner (MA), a Knox County General Sessions Court judge, received East Tennessee State University 's Outstanding Alumna Award. She earned her bachelor's degree in 1971 from ETSU, where she lettered in basketball and volleyball. Waggoner was a middle school teacher and basketball coach before earning a law degree from the University of Tennessee.

C. Barry Ward (JD), a member of the Glankler Brown law firm, completed a course to become a listed mediator.


Elizabeth "Betty" Buchignani (BSEd) was named principal of the elementary school at Immaculate Conception Cathedral School.

Kay RobilioJudge Kay Spalding Robilio (BA, JD '81) received the Jefferson Award from the American Institute for Public Service. The Circuit Court judge was honored for her role in recognizing and resolving the problem of emotional abuse. A strong advocate for women and children, she consistently works to improve the public's trust of the judiciary.


Hayden Lait (JD) was elected president of the American College of Civil Trial Mediators. He has been in private law practice since 1975, and began to focus on mediation in 1995.

Jerry Stokes (BA), an attorney with the firm of Stokes, Wilson and Wright, was appointed a Circuit Court judge.


Steve M. Wherry (BA), president of Cardinal Machinery, was elected to the board of directors of the American Machine Tool Distributors Association.


Sam L. Crain Jr. (BA, JD '83) is a member of Burch, Porter & Johnson, where he practices commercial litigation, labor and employment law and insurance defense.

Dr. Virginia Laycock McLaughlin (EdD) is dean and chancellor professor of education in the School of Education at William and Mary.

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Frank B. Maier III (BPS) was named director of sales and marketing for the Community Information Network. He is married to the former Virginia L. Vandeventer.


Lillian Kinney (BA) joined Enterprise National Bank as vice president in the executive banking division. She previously worked in the private banking division at National Bank of Commerce.


Steve BraunSteve Braun (BBA, MS '88) was appointed vice president of Internet and channel marketing for Clarke American of San Antonio. He leads the company's e-commerce and e-business activities and creates Internet marketing strategies.


Joe Lackie (BSEd) of WMC-FM100 received the Presidential Award for Sales Excellence, which honors the Infinity Broadcasting's top 40 account executives.


Sandy Fletchall (MPA), occupational therapist with Capabilities for Living Inc., is the first therapist in the country to be chosen a Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association with the designation of Innovative Occupation-Based Practitioner/Educator: Catastrophic Injuries. She also is the first Tennessean in the last 25 years to be chosen as a Fellow of the Occupational Therapy Association.

Billy M. Pullen (MA), an English teacher at Germantown High School, was named 2005 West Tennessee Teacher of the Year. He also is a playwright and served as a session host for the 16th Annual Southern Festival of Books last fall.

Ward Mayer (BBA), a managing director and financial advisor for Morgan Keegan & Co. Inc., received the Accredited Wealth Management Advisor designation from the College of Financial Planning, a continuing education provider for financial services professionals. Mayer has been with Morgan Keegan for 17 years.


John K. Fockler (JD) is an attorney concentrating his practice in elder law.

Anna Olswanger (MA) has written the children's book Shlemiel Crooks, based on a botched robbery of her grandparents' wine and liquor store in 1919. Olswanger, who lives in Fairlawn, N.J., also conducts writing workshops and promotes books by Jewish authors.

Juanda F. Rayner (BA) is recruiting coordinator for the MBA Career Management Center at the Goizueta Business School at Emory University.

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Ginger Morgan (BA) is executive director of the Memphis and Shelby County Humane Society. She also owns a pet-themed store called Pete's Treats.

Dan Robinson (BBA) was named regional manager of the Memphis Area Teachers Credit Union. He oversees seven MATCU branch locations.

Rorie Trammel (BBA, MS '90) was promoted to senior vice president for development and community relations for YMCA of Memphis & the Mid-South.

Jan Young (BSN) was named executive director of the Assisi Foundation of Memphis. She had been programs officer and acting director at the grant-making organization since last fall. Young holds the rank of colonel in the Air National Guard and has a doctorate from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.


Jon Albright (BBA) is president-elect of the Memphis Area Association of Realtors.

Sandra D. Clifton (BBA) was promoted to tax manager at Reynolds, Bone & Griesbeck.

Jeff HulonJeff Hulon (BSEE) was named a "modern-day technology leader" by U.S. Black Engineer and Information Technology magazine. He oversees electric reliability for Entergy Corp.'s largest electric utility, which serves more than 1 million customers in Louisiana. Hulon is responsible for the construction of large projects and coordinates emergency power restoration efforts.


Jeff Autry (BBA) is vice president of human resources for A S Hospitality.

Carla Robbins (JD) is assistant general counsel with Methodist Healthcare.


Tammy R. Adair (BBA, JD '90) was named president of Direct General Corporation. She joined Direct in 2002 as executive vice president. Adair also has more than 10 years of experience as a founding partner in a Memphis-based law firm.

Scott Baer (BA) published Appalachian Spring: A Novel, a modern story set in Tennessee and North Carolina.

Richard Feltus (BBA) is vice president and manager of the residential construction-lending group at Independent Bank.

Christopher T. Holmes (BBA) is North Region president of Trustmark National Bank. Previously he was a senior accountant at Ernst & Young.

David Terry (BFA) joined Disciple Design, a division of Thompson & Co., as art director and designer.


Judith Johnson (BA) is founder and principal of Judith Johnson & Associates, a historic preservation consulting firm. She also is a realtor in Crye-Leike's Midtown office.

Kathleen Woodruff Wickham (MA, EdD '99) was promoted to associate professor and granted tenure at the University of Mississippi, where she has taught journalism since 1999. She is chair of the Professional Freedom and Responsibilities Committee of the Newspaper Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications and a member of the Professional Development Committee of the Society of Professional Journalists. Wickham has written a math curriculum for journalists for the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association based on her 2003 book Math Tools for Journalists.

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Susan A. Helms (BPS, MALS '04) received the Memphis Business Journal's Health Care Hero Award in the category of community health.

Donna Pope (BBA, MBA '91), corporate director of staffing services for Methodist Healthcare, was appointed to a committee on the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools.

William C. Rhodes (MBA) was promoted to president and CEO of AutoZone. He has been with AutoZone since 1994.


Ed BryantEdward L. Bryant (BA) was named senior adviser for public affairs for Pfizer Inc.'s St. Louis laboratories. He serves as the principal media contact for Pfizer St. Louis. Bryant had been director of communications and community engagement for the St. Louis Regional Health Commission.

Dr. Catherine Hayes-Crawford
(BA, BSN '95) is an assistant professor of nursing at Delta State University. She lives in Leland, Miss.

Tom McCraw (BBA) joined FedEx Express as a financial analyst.

John David Willis (BS), an Air Force lieutenant colonel, was a national finalist for the 2005-06 White House Fellows Program.


Dr. Natalie Person (MS, PhD '94), associate professor of psychology at Rhodes College, received a grant from the Office of Naval Research to conduct an in-depth study of expert human tutors over a three-year period. Knowledge gained from the study has the potential to improve existing tutoring programs and promote the design of more effective intelligent tutoring systems. Person received the 2003 Clarence Day Award for Outstanding Research and/or Creativity, Rhodes' highest faculty research honor.

Lt. Cmdr. Mark Wheeler (BA) is resource and requirements officer for the Navy Enterprise Resource Planing (ERP) Program, a $1 billion major acquisition program. Navy ERP provides a standard set of tools to Navy organizations that facilitates business process re-engineering and provides interoperable data elements for acquisition, financial, maintenance and logistics operations. Wheeler currently is assigned to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations in Washington, D.C.


Susan M. Clark (JD), an attorney with Burch, Porter & Johnson, is president of the Memphis Bar Association.

Belinda Rimer (BA) is a programs coordinator with the Wings Cancer Foundation.

Glenn E. Rogers Jr. (BSEd) was named assistant to the director of admissions at Memphis University School in addition to his duties as teacher and coach. Rogers played two years in the National Football League as a defensive back for the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers and spent seven years playing professional football in Canada.

Angela Wilson (BBA) is administrator of Memphis Gastroenterology Group.


Brad (BBA, MBA '97) and Dr. Mary (BS '94, MA '96, EdS '97) McCollum announced the birth of their daughter, Rachel Ann McCollum, on June 20, 2004.

Stephanie Murphy Toussaint (BA) earned a law degree from Texas Wesleyan School of Law. She is a staff attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division.

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Bobby King (BA, MA '96) is a marketing manager for the U of M. He had been associate director of advertising and media relations for Southwest Tennessee Community College. Prior to that, King had been coordinator of news and public relations for the Memphis and Shelby County Public Library.

Jack Peel (BBA) was inducted into the Northwest Mississippi Community College Sports Hall of Fame. Peel played baseball at Northwest before transferring to the U of M. He played professionally with the Chicago White Sox and Texas Rangers organizations. Peel served as assistant coach for the Tiger baseball team, then worked for FedEx Corp. for 10 years after earning his degree. For the last three years he has been an assistant baseball coach at Lyon College in Batesville, Ark.


Craig Cowart (JD) is a partner with the law firm of Lewis Fisher Henderson Claxton & Mulroy.

JoyceAnn Gardner (BFA) had a drawing/collage from her Gulf Coast Series exhibited at the Piney Woods Juried Art Exhibit and Competition in May. The event was part of the Arts Day Festival in Laurel, Miss.


Jeff Brightwell (BA), Tiger baseball play-by-play announcer, was named one of three College Baseball TV/Radio Broadcasters of the Month for April by the College Baseball Foundation. He was recognized for creating innovative ways to involve coaches and players in the broadcasts and increase listenership. Brightwell also is the voice of Lady Tiger basketball.

Cynthia Miller Davis (MS) is pursuing a doctorate in ministry at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. She also is serving as pastor of Friendship United Methodist Church in Millington, Tenn.

Daren Davis (BS) was promoted to first vice president for information technology at Morgan Keegan & Co. Inc.

Rebecca M. Miller (BA, MA '98, JD '01) is an associate with the Crone & Mason law firm.


Randy Engel (MS) was promoted to senior vice president of the commercial and multi-family lending division of 1st Trust Bank.

Charles D. Hamlett (MBA, JD '00) is an associate with the law firm of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell and Berkowitz.

Gilda G. Lewis (MBA) is director of marketing and communications for the Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South.

Alonzo Weaver (MBA) was named vice president of customer operations for Memphis Light, Gas and Water.

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Angela Hamblen (BA) was promoted to program director of bereavement and psycho-social services at Baptist Trinity Hospice.

Varissa Smith-Richardson (BSEd) is a 2004 TOTAL (Tipton Organized to Advance Leadership) class member. She is assistant principal of Munford (Tenn.) Elementary School.

C.H. Sullivan IV (BBA) is a 2004 TOTAL (Tipton Organized to Advance Leadership) class member. He is a loan officer with Patriot Bank in Covington, Tenn.


Jae HendersonJean "Jae" Henderson (BA) is assistant director of community affairs for Clear Channel Radio. She also is head writer of Put it in Writing professional writing service, head writer and assistant producer for the television show Deltavision, co-founder of a collegiate planning Web site and voice talent for Studio Center Worldwide Audio.


Beth SimkaninBeth Bilbrey Simkanin (BA) was named 2004 Professional of the Year by the Memphis chapter of Public Relations Society of America. Simkanin received the PRSA Silver Quill Award for outstanding leadership skills in the public relations profession and contributions to the chapter. She is a sales manager for the magazine publisher Spiderweb Inc.

Amy Markham Thomas (BA) was promoted to account supervisor at Thompson & Berry Public Relations.


Keli Allsbrooks Rutherford (BA) earned master's and education specialist degrees from Austin Peay State University. Rutherford is a school psychologist with the Houston County Schools and coaches the Austin Peay pom squad. She and her husband, Josh W. Rutherford, live in Clarksville, Tenn.

Marty Wood (BA) is vice president of sales for NovaCopy Inc.


Keith Ellis (BA) earned a master's degree in higher education administration from the University of Kansas. He is assistant director for student activities at the University of Kentucky.


Jennifer Beiter (BBA) is a sales associate with NovaCopy Inc.

Gwyn R. Fisher (JD) is marketing/communications coordinator for the law firm of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz.

Lauren Stephens (BA) was promoted to sales and marketing manager for First South Credit Union.


Allison Barron (BA) joined McNeely Pigott & Fox Public Relations as a spring intern.

Maria Capalad-Combs (BA) joined the marketing team at Grand Casino Tunica.

Shalishah Franklin (BA) was promoted to account coordinator at Chandler Ehrlich Inc.

Jamie Rugel (BBA) is special projects manager with The Orpheum Theatre.

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