classNOTES

2000

Bradley Wayne Northington MBA married Kelly Virginia Davis in July in Taylors, S.C. Northington is manager of Internet technology finance for Bi-Lo corporate offices in Mauldin, S.C.

2003

Mitch Hall became defensive line coach at Newberry College, in Newberry, S.C., for the 2009 season. Hall came to Newberry after serving as the defensive coordinator at North Greenville University and coaching running backs and tight ends at Presbyterian College. He was a graduate assistant at WCU in 2003-04 and played for special teams at the university from 1998 until 2002.

Stephanie Hunter MBA married Kevin Lee Cooke in the summer. The Cookes live in Fletcher.

Jason Whaley, a former offensive lineman for the Catamounts, and Kristin Munn ’04, who met Whaley as a volunteer athletic trainer, married in August in Florida.

2004

Vladimir Grebenyuk MBA founded and pastors the nondenominational Chosen Generation Church in Asheville, a “church for all nations” that focuses on helping members discover their God-given gifts. Services are translated into Russian, with Grebenyuk hoping to eventually expand the number of languages translated.

Erica Nicole Leathers lives in California and has released an album of country music.

Gary Lewallen has made a movie based on his father and the early days of NASCAR. “Red Dirt Rising” is the fictionalized account of Jimmie Lewallen’s racing career and its effect on his family. Jimmie Lewallen started racing in the 1930s and continued after he returned from World War II. Like many drivers, he also illegally hauled white liquor. Jimmie Lewallen raced throughout the Southeast and was at the meeting when the organization of NASCAR was first formed. Gary Lewallen raised $600,000 to fund the project and served as executive producer. Lewallen, a native of Archdale, is retired as chief with the Archdale Police Department after 34 years of service.

2005

Andrew Craft is band director at Wilkes County Schools.

Johnathan Lee Fayssoux married Andrea Marie Vizina. Fayssoux was a member of Delta Sigma Phi and is employed by Metromont Corp. in Charlotte. He and his bride reside in Gastonia.

Tad Kepley of the Lexington Police Department was promoted to major, second-in-command to the chief of police. Kepley has trained at the FBI Academy and taught basic law enforcement training at Davidson Community College. Kepley’s father, Robert H. Kepley, also served the Lexington Police Department, retiring as a major.

Joel Queen MFA ’09 is program coordinator and instructor at the Oconaluftee Institute for Cultural Arts in Cherokee. Queen, a master potter, has pieces in the collections of the Smithsonian and the British Museum. The institute opened in 2009 and is a joint endeavor of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Southwestern Community College and WCU.

2006

Gary Takacs is media manager with the Lynchburg, Va., nature center and a freelance arts and entertainment writer. Takacs is in the process of application to the Navy for a position as a commissioned officer. He is pictured in Italy, where he visited recently with his wife, Colby.

2007

Blaine Johnston won two recent sculpture competitions. A panel of artists and educators chose two steel pieces, titled “Box #3” and “Box #4” as winners in a contest sponsored by the Jackson County Green Energy Park. “Box #4,” which resembles a giant abstract spider, is installed at the park. Johnston also won first place in the Caldwell Art Council’s 2009 Sculpture Celebration for a wooden piece titled “5 Times,” a 15-foot-tall chair (at left). Johnston operates Red F Studios in Waynesville, and his wife, Melody Johnston MAEd ’09, teaches third grade at North Canton Elementary School.

Kyle McCurry, program director and afternoon host at classic rock station WNGZ-FM in upstate Elmira, N.Y., completed a series of interviews with classic rock musicians for a radio celebration of the 60th birthday of Paul Rodgers, lead singer and songwriter for Bad Company. Speaking to them about Rodgers’ influence and his place in the music world, McCurry interviewed, among others, Johnny Van Zant of Lynyrd Skynyrd; Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac; Bill Wyman, formerly of the Rolling Stones; Joe Elliott of Def Leppard; and Joe Perry of Aerosmith. The interviews are included in McCurry’s show “Classic Rock Insider,” which began as “The Interview Series” when he hosted the midday shift and served as station manager at WWCU-FM, WCU’s student-run radio station.

Benjamin J. Pendry is vice president of advancement for the North-American Interfraternity Conference, an international trade organization. At WCU, Pendry joined Sigma Chi Fraternity, serving in numerous roles, including chapter president.

Emily Anne Seay married Michael Chad Inman in April in Swannanoa and is a fifth-grade teacher at Etowah Elementary School in Henderson County.

Donnie Wilson is new head coach of the Asheboro Copperheads, a Coastal Plain League baseball team. Wilson played outfield for the Catamounts and helped lead the team to the Southern Conference regular season title and a berth in the NCAA tournament.

2008

Tad Daggerhart MA won an Annenberg Graduate Fellowship to continue his studies in the writing program at the University of Southern California Film School.

Jeneane Nicole Efird and Jason Lee Beaver were married in June in Shelby. Efird is the kitchen and bath designer at Walker Woodworking in Shelby. Beaver is an employee of Servo South.

In addition to flight attendant Sheila Dail ’73 (profiled in the fall 2009 issue of the magazine), another WCU alumnus was onboard U.S. Airways Flight 1549 in January 2009, when Capt. Chesley Sullenberger made an emergency landing on the Hudson River. Brad Williams MPM was in seat 1F and said the 155 survivors – everyone onboard – are alive today thanks to “the crew of that flight and the grace of God.” That two WCU alumni were on the plane “proves that while the world is small, the WCU alumni base is extensive,” Williams said.

Lakshmi Lakshminarasimha MBA, Shankar Balasubramanian MBA and Janani Ramaswamy MBA ’07 work for the small business consulting firm Angarai International Inc. in Maryland. The magazine Inc., on a list that ranks fast-growing small businesses, rated Angarai 330 out of 5,000 in the United States.

2009

Wells Gordon MM, a string and electric bass musician, has accepted a music faculty position at Elizabeth City State University. Gordon teaches classes in music technology and recording arts.

A film made by Asheville resident Aaron Putnam for his senior thesis in WCU’s motion picture and television production program was selected to screen at an annual international film festival in Spain last October. Located on the Costa Brava south of Barcelona, Sitges International Film Festival of Catalonia is considered the most important festival for fantasy, science fiction and horror films. Putnam’s film, “Strigoii,” is about a town attacked nightly by a fierce creature, and three people who must decide whether to let a purported friend who is trapped outside into their house.