Working behind the scenes on NBC’s broadcast of the Winter Olympics from Sochi, Russia, were WCU communication program alumni Roger Cote ’13 (left) and Jarrett Frazier ’12 (right) and senior communication major Monica Papworth (center). Frazier, a Sylva native, worked for NBC as a temporary employee at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, and now is employed full time in the network’s video controls area. Newland native Cote worked in the same area in Sochi as a temporary NBC employee. Raised in Waxhaw, Papworth was fulfilling the internship requirement for her WCU degree and provided support for NBC’s production staff.
When she retired from elementary school teaching in 1989, Glenda Colleen Gambill of Charlotte began to write children’s books. Gambill’s first work, “Ringo, the Amazing Cat,” was published in 2001 and became the featured book during a Rolling Reader Event held in Melbourne, Fla. Her second book, “Alex’s Birthday Surprises,” published in 2007, contains many of her own illustrations. A Weaverville native, Gambill taught for 25 years in schools in Florida, South Carolina and Texas.
No football coach in North Carolina history can match the record of Bob Colvin MAEd ’69, the former coach at Robbinsville High School who led his teams to 11 state titles. Colvin will be enshrined in the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame during the 51st annual banquet in May at the Raleigh Convention Center. Those inducted into the Class of 2014 also include the late Bob Waters, former WCU football coach who died in 1989.
Jim Beddingfield recently completed a two-year term as president of the 35th Infantry (Cacti) Regiment Association Inc., a national organization for U.S. Army veterans. Since joining in 2000, Beddingfield has served in several elected offices for the organization. He coordinated the construction of a monument dedicated in July 2013 in Fort Benning, Ga., which reflects the history and service of the 35th from World War II to Afghanistan. Now retired from the U.S. Department of Labor, Beddingfield is a member of the Georgia State Bar and is admitted to practice in state and federal courts, including the Georgia Supreme Court of Georgia and the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. His wife is Elizabeth Hawkins Beddingfield ’68 MAEd ’71.
Members of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity spanning five decades gathered at the home of Bill Hannon at The Point on Lake Norman for a weekend retreat in January. The 23 brothers and alumni who attended came from 10 North Carolina cities, as well as Florida and Georgia. They ranged in age from 20 to 68 years. The Pikes discussed goals for social, philanthropic and university events, recruitment planning and efforts to integrate the fraternity into the fabric of WCU alumni life.
After completing his career of 32 years in the airline industry, artist Lindsey Moore is focusing on painting, drawing and designing. Moore’s work has been exhibited at Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Tryon. He has a studio at his home in Columbus and does set design work for the Tryon Little Theater. He also serves as an instructor with Tryon Painters and Sculptors.
Joe D’Alessandris MAEd ’79, former Catamount football captain who is the offensive line coach for the San Diego Chargers, made his first trip to the National Football League playoffs this year. D’Alessandris’s career of 37 years has included collegiate coaching positions at WCU, Livingston, Memphis, Chattanooga, Samford, Texas A&M, Pittsburgh, Duke and Georgia Tech, as well as in the Canadian Football League, before he joined the NFL coaching ranks. He was an offensive guard at WCU from 1973 to 1976.
Former Western Carolina football coach Kent Briggs MAEd ’81 is the new coach of the football program at Cherokee High School. Briggs, former assistant coach at Smoky Mountain High School in Sylva, is the founder and director of the DB Connection camp, which provides online and in-person defensive back training for coaches and players.
Craig Wagner and his WCU classmates Kim Wimmer ’82 and Bill Owen ’81 opted for careers in the travel industry when they graduated. Since 1986, the three have been working together, first in Winston-Salem for Piedmont Airlines, and since 1989 for U.S. Airways. They will relocate to Dallas in 2015 to continue their careers together as employees of American Airlines.
Gina Sasser has joined the Charlotte law firm of Charles G. Monnett II and Associates to specialize in medical malpractice case management. Sasser has 25 years of experience in risk management for hospital staff members and physicians at the Saint Joseph’s Health Care System, Emory Healthcare and other medical facilities in Atlanta.
Todd Vasos is the new chief operating officer of Dollar General Corp., a chain of more than 10,000 variety stores in 40 states. Vasos will be responsible for store operations, merchandizing and supply chain. He previously was executive vice president and chief operating officer at Longs Drugs, a California-based pharmacy chain acquired by CVS in 2008. He also held leadership positions at Eckerd Drug and Phar-Mor Food and Drug. Dollar General Corp. is headquartered in Goodlettsville, Tenn.
Two WCU alumni with long careers in public service in Charlotte have retired. Richard Johnson and Samuel Patterson are enjoying time with their families and in the great outdoors after more than 25 years with the Charlotte Fire Department.
Althia Ellis is the author of a new book, “Coming of Age at the Focal Point: How Senior Centers Enhance Quality of Life for Older Adults,” published by Tate Publishing and Enterprises. Ellis, who is studying for her doctorate at Florida Atlantic University, also is the author of “The Kids Roadmap to Business Ownership.” She is president of Thompson-Ellis Consulting of Davie, Fla.
Phil McManus MBA ’91 earned a certified executive pastry chef degree from the American Culinary Federation. McManus is one of only 365 individuals in the U.S. who hold the degree. He is head of the culinary arts department at Dabney S. Lancaster Community College in Clifton Forge, Va. His wife is WCU alumna Julia Durham McManus ’90.
Rich Price is serving as the new economic development director for Jackson County. Price, who grew up in Western North Carolina, previously was director of casino marketing for Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Resort for 12 years. In his new position, he reports to Chuck Wooten ’73, the retired vice chancellor for administration and finance at WCU who now serves as county manager for Jackson County.
Lisa Sprouse is the new director of the McDowell County Department of Social Services. Sprouse has worked for 17 years at the DSS and has been in the interim director’s position since August 2013. She also served Hospice of McDowell County for four years. In her new position, she oversees a department of 100 employees.
Mark Warwick is general manager of Henderson County radio station WTZQ AM. He first came to Hendersonville in 1987 as an acting intern at Flat Rock Playhouse and has been a professional actor for 10 years.
The longtime efforts of Sharon Beard to advance workplace safety, especially for low-income workers in hazardous occupations, have won national recognition. Beard received the prestigious Lorin Kerr Award from the American Public Health Association during the association’s annual meeting held in November 2013 in Boston. She began her career more than 20 years ago working in the environmental restoration and industrial hygiene and safety departments at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River site. Later, while in graduate school at Tufts University, she became involved with community engagement efforts in some of the blighted neighborhoods of Boston. Beard was cited for creating a minority workers training program in occupational safety that has become a national model. She is an industrial hygienist in the worker education and training program of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park.
Dottie Brunette retired in December 2013 after a career of 27 years as Jackson County librarian. A Sylva native, Brunette was formerly a librarian at Hunter Library at WCU and at the Macon County and Cashiers branches of the Fontana Regional Library system. At the Sylva library she oversaw the construction of new library facilities in the vacated county courthouse building, a community effort that gave new life to a historic structure and received widespread praise.
Gov. Pat McCrory appointed Mitchell Powell MS ’94 to a four-year term on the Western North Carolina Public Lands Council. The council oversees the state’s park, parkways and forests and promotes the protection, preservation and sustainability of the region’s natural and economic resources. Powell is co-owner and operator of Powell Industries of Waynesville.
Geno Segers is in the cast for the second season of “Banshee,” an original drama series on the Cinemax network. Segers plays Chayton Littlestone, the mighty leader of a Kinaho Tribe in the fictional small town of Banshee, Pa. A former Catamount football player, Segers played for America National Rugby League before launching his stage and television career. While living in New Zealand and playing rugby, his rich bass voice and commanding physical presence (he is 6 feet, 4 inches tall) led to work as a voice artist and the role of Mufasa in an Australian stage adaptation of “The Lion King.” Segers is best known for his role as Mason Makoola in “Pair of Kings,” a comedy that aired on the Disney Channel, and as co-host of “Fort Boyard: Ultimate Challenge” on Disney XD for two seasons. “Banshee” airs on Friday nights on Cinemax.
Krissy Mabry is a member of the CNN bureau team based in Washington, D.C., that won an Emmy Award for its live coverage of election night 2012. The Emmy was presented to CNN in October 2013 at an awards ceremony held in New York City. A Sylva native, Mabry is a supervising manager in the network’s broadcast engineering and systems technology division.
Greg Boothroyd is the new chairman of the board of directors of the Greater Haywood Chamber of Commerce. Boothroyd, previously the chamber’s membership chair, led a campaign that resulted in 140 new members and more than $160,000 in revenue and in-kind gifts. He is married to Jennie Boothroyd ’94.
Anita Bumgarner MA ’02 is general manager of North Carolina’s new Bass Pro Shops store in Cary. Bumgarner joined Bass Pro Shops in 2010 to manage a store in Denham Springs, La. She previously was a manager for Home Depot stores. In Cary, she will lead a team of more than 200 store associates.
Steven Roten, associate professor of theatre at Meredith College, appeared on the ABC drama “Nashville.” Roten got the role by auditioning through The Finncannon Casting agency in Wilmington, and was on the set in Nashville, Tenn., for more than two days. In an episode that aired Jan. 22, he played the tour promoter who tells Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) that her concert has been canceled. Roten joined the Meredith College faculty in 2003 and is coordinator of the college’s theatre program.
Rachel Miller is executive director of DayStay HBC Inc., a North Carolina-licensed and certified day care program in Candler. The agency provides personal care and socialization for persons with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or other conditions and who can no longer live independently.
Amanda Osborne is the new executive director of The Friends of the Greenville (S.C.) Zoo. Osborne will lead the organization as it raises funds to implement the zoo’s 20-year master plan. She is a certified fundraising executive (international-level) and has held positions at Family Services of the Piedmont, the Girl Scouts and Victory Junction Gang Camp. She comes to the Greenville Zoo from the Muscular Dystrophy Association, where she was area director for Greensboro/Winston-Salem.
“Course of Empire: Post Industrial Cities,” an exhibit of photography by Dan Lobdell MA was recently on display at the Lancaster, Pa., campus of the Harrisburg Area Community College system. Over the past 18 months, Lobdell has been photographing late 19th- and early 20th-century building facades in what is known as the “Rust Belt,” including Buffalo, N.Y.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; and Cleveland, Ohio.
The Greensboro firm Kacey Myers Interior Design is the 2013 Choice award winner for interior design businesses in the Triad area of Greensboro, Winston-Salem and High Point. The firm’s owner, Kimberly “Kacey” Mercer Myers, is a member of the American Society of Interior Designers and specializes in customer residential and commercial interior design and space planning.
Former Carolina Panthers fullback Brad Hoover is the new head football coach at Marvin Ridge High School in Waxhaw. Hoover coached last season for Union Academy in Union County, leading the team to a 6-6 record, which tied for best in the school’s history. Hoover, who will be the fourth football coach at Marvin Ridge school in six years, played for the Panthers for nine years.
John Scott Jr. is Texas Tech’s new defensive line coach. A four-year letterman when he was a student at WCU, Scott is in his second season at Texas Tech. Prior to joining the Red Raiders, Scott was special teams coordinator and defensive line coach for three seasons at Georgia Southern in Statesboro. He was part of three Georgia Southern teams that advanced to the semifinals of the Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs and mentored two All-Americans, Brent Russell and Roderick Tinsley. Scott was the defensive ends and outside linebackers coach for two seasons (2006-07) and defensive line coach for one season (2008) at WCU. After graduating from WCU, he played three years of professional football, including two years with the Greensboro Prowlers of the Arena Football League 2. A native of Greer, S.C., Scott is married to WCU alumna Stephanie McKoy Scott.
Zeb Martin has been promoted to a market leader position at BB&T. He is responsible for the bank’s branch locations in south Asheville and Fletcher.
Luke Brown, Salisbury High School’s new principal, was among the outstanding community leaders named by the Salisbury Post as “Top Ten to Watch.” Brown previously served as assistant principal at Trinity High School in Randolph and was Randolph County’s assistant principal of the year for 2012-13. He also was the band director at East Randolph High School for eight years.
Angela Johnson Ramsey of Statesville and her husband Adam have a second son, William Roy Ramsey, born July 30, 2013.
Bob Scott, retired executive officer of the WCU campus police, was elected mayor of Franklin. Scott, a law enforcement instructor, is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and several North Carolina Justice Academy programs. Prior to his career in law enforcement, he was a longtime newspaper reporter and photographer and a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve.
In his role as executive director of the Jackson County Department on Aging in Sylva, Eddie Wells reports that he often sees WCU students, faculty and staff members assisting with programs serving the county’s senior citizens. The volunteers help with activities ranging from events at the local senior center to helping deliver firewood and building wheelchair ramps for homebound citizens.
Former women’s tennis team captain Kristin Munn, new assistant at Florida’s Boca Grande Club, had an opportunity to display her playing skills at the club’s annual tennis ball and silent auction held in January. The auction and tennis tournament are major fundraising activities for the organization to benefit animal rescue and adoption. Munn worked in Colorado, Rhode Island and North Carolina before going to Boca Grande.
Shon Rowser is playing the placekicker position for the Erie Explosion, a pro-indoor football team that won the Continental Indoor Football League championship in 2013. Rowser was on the Catamount football team from 2001-04 and is best remembered for his successful onside kick in WCU’s come-from-behind victory over Appalachian State in the fall of 2004. He has played for Erie for four seasons.
Brantley Smith and his business partner Calvin Stiles at Lincolnton’s Ride-A-Bike Bicycle Shop are making and selling customized wheels. Their brand, No Gas Wheels, caters primarily to North Carolina residents who are intermediate-level riders. Longtime friends, Brantley and Stiles worked together at the shop when they were teenagers. Smith returned after graduating from WCU and purchased the business in 2011. He rode cross-country with friends while a WCU student, traveling from California to New Hampshire, and still rides up to 100 miles a week.
Three former members of the men’s golf team – Keith Tyburski ’06, head golf coach at Colgate University; Gorham Bradley, director of the Catamount Club at WCU; and Tim Eckberg, head golf coach at Cardinal Stritch University – met on the golf course again almost 10 years after they last played together. All were on hand to coach their respective teams at the annual Hummingbird Intercollegiate tournament held in November at the Country Club of Sapphire Valley. Twelve teams participated in the 36-hole, stroke-play event.
Monika Woodard, a student at St. Thomas University School of Law in Miami, Fla., is serving as a judicial legal intern for The Hon. James Lawrence King of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Florida. While in law school, Woodward has served as articles editor for the St. Thomas Law Review and is a competing member of the Moot Court (appellate advocacy) honor board. She serves on the board of governors of the law student division of the Florida Bar Association. She received the St. Thomas Law Review Scribes award for an article she wrote and presented a paper, “Ghosts Have Rights, Too? Third Party Invocation into Forum Selection Clauses,” at the International Contracts Symposium held in Miami, Fla., in February.
After he finished his graduate studies at WCU, Asheville physician Dr. Len Cruz ME established an Internet conferencing company, the Asheville Jung Center, with Dr. Steve Buser. Following that venture, they acquired a book publishing company, Chiron Publications. Ryan Deegan ’10 joined the team two years ago to serve as executive director of the center and operations manager of the publishing company.
Carrie Vickery, a family law attorney in Winston-Salem, was having lunch with Al Andrews, a fellow attorney, last fall when he told her that he needed a kidney transplant. Vickery didn’t hesitate. “Do you want one of mine?” she asked. Weeks of testing followed to determine compatibility and evaluate her health status. Then more weeks followed of meetings with social workers, nephrologists and other physicians to prepare her for surgery. “Instead of being nervous, as I imagine most people would be leading up to a major surgery, Carrie was excited and counting down the days,” said her husband Phillip “Skip” Skipper ’07. The transplant surgery took place in mid-December 2013 and Vickery was back at work Jan. 2. She reports that both she and Andrews are doing fine and both have normal kidney levels.
Linda V. Gillman earned a doctorate in philosophy from Sofia University in Palo Alto, Calif. Gillman’s doctoral dissertation has been published and she is now at work on a general-audience book based on her research. She serves as the chief results officer of The Compassion Project of California in Sacramento.
Artist Sally Jacobs MFA had a solo exhibition this spring at New York City’s Prince Street Gallery. Jacobs, who teaches painting and drawing at Cleveland Community College in Shelby, is a figurative painter who lived and worked as a painter in Florence, Italy, for 10 years. She is the recipient of the Premio Prize from the Leo Fortham studios in Florence and the North Carolina Regional Artist Grant. Jacobs has had numerous exhibitions in Italy, Connecticut, Mississippi, South Carolina and North Carolina.
“Where All Light Tends To Go,” a book by David Joy MA ’09, is scheduled to be released in 2014 by New York publisher G.P. Putnam’s Sons, Penguin Group. The novel is set in the Appalachian Mountains and is the coming-of-age story of a young man’s journey to overcome his family legacy of drug problems and violence. A Charlotte native, Joy lives in Webster and is the business manager of the Cashiers Historical Society. “Where All Light Tends to Go” is his debut novel.
Emily Soto has moved from California to New York to pursue an international career in fashion photography. Soto got her start in 2007 when photos she took of a friend who needed shots for a modeling portfolio quickly led to more clients. Within three years, she quit her full-time job as a Medicare account representative at a hospital to focus on her newfound career. Soto’s images have been published in magazines including Glamaholic, Coco (Canada), Tantalum, SYN (United Kingdom), Practical Photography (United Kingdom), Eco Brides (Australia), Dark Beauty, Thrifty Hunter and Papercut. Her work also has appeared on the websites of Vogue Italia, People Magazine, MTV, US Today, Huffington Post, US Weekly and OK Magazine.
Brodie Lowe, English teacher and wrestling coach at SouthLake Christian Academy in Huntersville, is writing a series of books for middle-school-age children called “Shudders.” The first installment was “Werewolf on My Street,” published in 2012. “How I Became a Monster” followed in November 2013. In addition to writing books, he is partnering with his brother Cody in “Three Count,” a feature-length movie filmed in Lincolnton that they hope to submit to film festivals. The brothers are writing, directing and producing the film.
The Country Club of Salisbury has hired Pamela Holm to be the club’s food and beverage manager. Holm comes to Salisbury from Cape Fear Country Club in Wilmington, where she was food and beverage supervisor for three years.
Katelan Suzanne Price MA ’12 has earned her license as a certified public accountant. Price, who recently purchased a home in Jacksonville, is the internal auditor for Onslow County Public Schools.
Aaron D’Innocenzi, afternoon drive time radio disc jockey at Whistle 100 in Greenville, S.C., whose on-air name is Aaron Michael, graduated from WCU in 2010, not 2003 as reported in Class Notes in the Winter 2014 issue. It turns out there is an alumnus who is named Aaron Michael ’03.
Briton Bennett is currently living in Washington, D.C., and working as a digital communications consultant and strategist for nonprofit organizations. When not working, Bennett enjoys playing guitar and singing at clubs on open-mic nights, skiing, cooking and hiking. “Nothing compares to WCU and Western North Carolina,” he says.
Three former basketball stars at WCU are now playing professionally in other countries. Harouna Mutomba is a shooting guard for the London Lightning in the United Kingdom. During his senior season, Mutomba averaged 14 points and six rebounds a game, earning Southern Conference all-tournament team honors. The Toronto native is the nephew of former NBA great Dikembe Mutomba, who last played for the Houston Rockets before his retirement. Mutomba’s former teammate Richie Gordon now plays forward for Angers in France. Gordon was the league’s player of the month for December 2013 and January. Corey Muirhead ’06 is forward for BK Pardubice in the Czech Republic’s Mattoni National Basketball League.
Jonathan Cobrda portrayed Frosty the Snowman in a musical version of the classic story in December at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh. The show was part of the Storybook Theatre, a series for family audiences that is a collaboration between Marbles Kids Museum and the Duke Energy Center.
Former Catamount men’s golfer Steven Smith, a native of Kirknewton, U.K., plans to return to the U.S. to become play professionally. Smith told the Edinburgh (Scotland) News in an interview in November 2013 that he hopes to relocate to the Orlando, Fla., area because the National Golfers Association’s winter series is played there. Smith was the 2011 runner-up in the Lothians Golf Association championship in Gullane, Scotland. He played two seasons at Herior Watt University in Edinburgh, which is near St. Andrews, before transferring to WCU.