Mary Dorcas Love and husband Charles Love ’55, who met as students at WCU, celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in 2014.
Baxter Wood MAEd ’63 and Clevie Luckadoo ’68 received the Knight Commander’s Accolade, the highest award given by Kappa Alpha fraternity, during the Delta Alpha chapter’s 50th anniversary held in August 2014 in Asheville. A lifelong educator, Wood formerly taught in Virginia. He is the retired director of WCU’s A.K. Hinds University Center. Luckadoo retired in 2009 after a long career in the automotive industry.
William Coffey MAEd, who races in a classic 1971 Datsun 240 ZR, was recently inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Southeast Division Solo 1 of the Sports Car Club of America. Before his retirement in 1998 after 37 years of teaching, Coffey served as department chair in physical education and director of the Wellness Center at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Florida. Above, after racing in the Tail of the Dragon Hill Climb near Robbinsville, Coffey meets the “dragon.”
The national music education organization Music For All Inc. honored Bob Buckner, retired director of the WCU Pride of the Mountains Marching Band, for his career of 45 years devoted to teaching and directing bands. Buckner, who served as WCU’s athletic bands director for two decades, was featured in “Forty to Forty: Educators Who Have Made A Difference,” an online publication of Music for All Inc. Buckner retired in 2011 and continues to be active in the band world, serving as a drill writer, consultant and teacher of online courses.
Al Kesler, Steve Armstrong and Ken Allen ’82 are visiting inmates at several Georgia prisons through the Kairos Prison Ministry organization. They discovered the WCU connection they had in common a short time after joining the ministry. The ministry, based in Atlanta, is an ecumenical Christian organization active in 35 states and nine countries. Kesler, Armstrong and Allen are serving at Phillips State Prison in Buford, Hayes State Prison in Trion and Walker State Prison in Rock Spring.
TD Bank has promoted Donald R. Mincey of Tampa, Florida, to senior vice president and regional director for commercial real estate operations in Florida. Mincey has 39 years of experience in banking and lending. He joined TD Bank in 2008.
Michael C. Tuggle has written a thriller, “Aztec Midnight,” about the undercurrents of Mexican drug cartels and the militias who oppose them. Tuggle’s fantasy, science fiction and literary stories have appeared in Kzine, Bewildering Stories, Mystic Signals, Fabula Argentea and Fiction 365. His latest work is published by Novel Fox.
After living in California for 37 years, Sue Guy returned to North Carolina to become the human resources manager at the Greensboro headquarters of Disaster One. Other WCU alumni at the firm are Mark Klamerus MCM ’09, branch manager in Wilmington; Tyler Smith ’15, a restoration technician in Wilmington; and Kaleigh Reddick ’15, project coordinator in Greensboro. Disaster One provides professional restoration services for a variety of emergencies, from water and storm damage to the total reconstruction of buildings after major fires.
Diana Jones (above, right) and husband Chuck, who also attended WCU, are co-owners of a new winery that garnered more than 100 awards in its first year of operation. Jones, her husband, and her sister and brother-in-law Ronnie and Raymond vonDrehle, celebrated the grand opening of Jones vonDrehle Vineyards and Winery in Thurmond in May 2014. Among the winery’s recent honors was the 2014 Wine Grower of Excellence award from the North Carolina Winegrowers Association.
Critically acclaimed soprano Jacquelyn Culpepper (above, left) returned to campus for a special performance, “An Appalachian Songbook: North Carolina in Word, Music and Song” held in January, with pianist Philip Bush and poet Kathryn Stripling Byer. Culpepper has performed for audiences across the United States, Europe, South America, the Caribbean and Asia in more than 85 roles in opera and oratorio and solo concert tours. She is a member of the faculty at Davidson College.
Georgia Tech football coach Paul Johnson (above, left) was honored with a special commendation from the Georgia House of Representatives. The legislature passed a resolution in March praising Johnson for leading Georgia Tech to an 11-3 record for the 2014 season and being named the Atlantic Coast Conference’s “Coach of the Year,” an honor he has won three times. Johnson also had successful coaching careers at Georgia Southern University and the U.S. Naval Academy. Pictured with Johnson are Linda Hughes, staff member at Georgia House of Representatives during the 2015 legislative session who also attended WCU, and Joe Hamilton, former Georgia Tech quarterback who now is a recruiting assistant for the Yellow Jackets football team.
Wanda Fowler MPA ’91 MSA ’98 is the 2015-16 Wells Fargo Principal of the Year at Morehead City Primary School. It is the second time Fowler has won the honor. She also was Principal of the Year at White Oak Elementary, a school she served for eight years.
Dean Sprinkle MA became president of Wytheville (Virginia) Community College on July 1. Sprinkle previously was senior vice president of instruction at Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro.
Keith Corzine, assistant vice chancellor for campus services, won the prestigious Paul A. Reid Distinguished Service Award for Administrative Staff for 2015. In presenting the award at the annual faculty and staff awards convocation held April 24, Chancellor David O. Belcher said: “Under his watch, WCU has seen major campus expansion and improvement in residence and dining facilities, shaping the look and feel of the university and improving the experience of every student. Keith accomplishes this while maintaining an objective perspective focused on meeting the needs of everyone and being a champion for the rights of the disability community.”
Jan Wall MAEd ’84 won the 2015 Nancy S. Frazier Distinguished Teacher Award at Northwest Elementary in Arcadia. She has served as the school’s speech-language pathologist for the past 30 years.
Lifelong friends Gary Transou (left) of Little River, South Carolina, and Scott Flowe ’85 (right) of Matthews enjoy proving their WCU pride by donning purple shirts and caps when they play golf together. “WCU was a great school for both of us. We still talk about our Catamount days,” says Flowe. For the past 20 years, the two have traveled to Lake Lure for the annual “Big I” invitational tournament, named for Independence High School, another school that they both attended. Transou is a manager at Federal Express and Flowe is regional sales manager for ITW Pro Brands. Flowe’s son is Reid Flowe ’14.
Dianne Barrett Gray, president of Hospice and Healthcare Communications of Naples, Florida, is the associate producer of a new documentary, “The True Cost.” The film examines global issues related to the clothing and fashion industries and the lives of the people, from designers to factory workers, who are involved in the production of garments.
Col. Lista Caraway has retired from the U.S. Air Force after 27 years of service as a nurse. Caraway traveled all over the world during her career. Her duties ranged from obstetrical nursing and managing family health clinics to caring for wounded soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. She is retaining her nursing license and volunteers at Hulbert Field Air Force Base in Okaloosa County, Florida.
Jack W. Guffey has been elected chairman of the board of directors of the Tree Care Industry Association Foundation, a national organization dedicated to advancing education and professional development in the industry. Guffey, president of Carolina Tree Care Inc. of Concord, also serves on the board of directors of the Carolinas Medical Center-Northeast Foundation.
Lorrie Jones-Hartley is serving as the director of review programs and services at the Carolinas Center for Medical Excellence of Cary. Jones-Hartley has more than 30 years of experience in health care in the areas of patient safety, accreditation and regulatory affairs, clinical quality and case management. She previously was vice president of quality and safety at Mission Health in Asheville.
While serving in Afghanistan, U.S. Army Col. Elizabeth Lohse MSN, MS ’08 (right) and 1st Lt. Christoper Killen ’09 (left) placed a memento of WCU at Bagram Air Force Base. The purple bumper sticker joined dozens of other reminders of home, from college stickers to advertisements for favorite restaurants, that military personnel left on the doors of the base’s Greene Bean Coffee Shoppe. Lohse, a nurse practitioner with a career of 30 years in the Army, has returned home. She planned to retire in the summer. Killen, a physician’s assistant, was expected to complete his deployment in June. The two met for the first time while working at an aid station in Bagram.
Western Carolina Community Action of Brevard has appointed Chris Powell Parker as the new director of the Silvermont Opportunity Center for senior citizens. A native of Transylvania County, Parker has more than 20 years experience working with older adults. She also teaches water fitness classes at the Brevard Racquet Club. She and her husband Dennis have two daughters.
Phil McManus MBA ’91 has achieved certification from the American Culinary Federation as a culinary administrator. McManus, who has taken classes in artisan breadmaking and dessert buffets at the San Francisco Baking Institute, also completed training to be an approved certification evaluator for ACF competitions.
Katie Knobloch Hiland and husband Bruce have moved to The Villages in Sumter County, Florida, to enjoy retirement. Hiland was employed by the Federal Bureau of Prisons at the Federal Correctional Complex in Pollock, Louisiana, for 25 years.
Amye Wilson and Paul “Adrian” Burks ’13 were married Jan. 16 in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. They live in Statesville, where Wilson is a marketing and event coordinator for the City of Statesville and Burks is a police captain.
Asheville attorney Jacqueline Grant served as the moderator for a March 28 forum at WCU featuring three North Carolina Supreme Court justices, who discussed how their college studies prepared them for their careers. Grant is president of the 28th Judicial District Bar Association and a partner in the law firm Roberts & Stevens. An active community advocate, she has served on the board of directors of local organizations ranging from the YWCA and Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Western North Carolina to the City of Asheville’s task force on sustainable economic development.
Candance Van Vleet received her doctorate in health administration at the Medical University of South Carolina in May. Van Vleet, who serves as the president of the WCU Emergency Medical Care Alumni Association, also holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Winston-Salem State University and an MBA from Elon University. She is the trauma outreach coordinator at the Duke Trauma Center in Durham.
Matt Henley MA ’95, assistant director of WCU athletic bands, has been elected president of the Big T Club, the athletic booster club at Tuscola High School in Waynesville. Henley is a 1987 graduate of Tuscola and his son is a freshman at the school.
Justice Parrott has been appointed as director of the nurse anesthesia program at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. The university educates and trains health care professionals for service in the military medical corps at home and abroad.
Colleen A. Vasconcellos, associate professor of history at the University of West Georgia, is the author of a new book, “Slavery, Childhood, and Abolition in Jamaica, 1788-1838,” published in May by the University of Georgia Press.
Charlotte native and longtime health advocate Shannon Emmanual has been named community health director for the American Heart Association. Emmanual was director of community support and partnerships for the YMCA of Greater Charlotte for the past eight years.
Alison Dale Francis has been elected president of the School Nutrition Association of North Carolina. Francis, the school nutrition director for Haywood County Schools in Waynesville, also serves as a preceptor for the dietetic internship program at WCU. She lives in Asheville with her husband, Josh, and their 15-year-old son.
David M. Bickford Jr. is the southeast regional sales manager for ITW Medical Products of Coeur Inc., makers of disposable products for the medical imaging market. ITW Medical is a major manufacturer of fluid delivery medical devices used in MRI, CT scan, interventional radiology and cardiac catheterization. Bickford lives with his wife and daughter in Charlotte.
Robin Pate (right), president-elect of the board of directors of the WCU Alumni Association, was among university representatives recently invited to Knoxville, Tennessee, to meet Travel Channel host Jack Maxwell (center) Maxwell was in Knoxville to help raise funds for the Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and to promote his new television series, “Booze Traveler.” Also attending were senior Luke Ball (left), whose family owns Asheville Distillery, and Steve Morse (in background), director of WCU’s hospitality and tourism program. 1998
Ed Foster joined Keller Williams Triad in Kernersville as a real estate agent in May. Foster and wife Pamela, a Greensboro attorney, have
two sons, ages 19 and 15.
When James Phillips MSA ’07 started his career in public education, he often talked with his mother Dorcas Phillips ’09 about his struggles and successes. Their conversations inspired Dorcas Phillips to pursue her degree at WCU so that she also could become a teacher. She recently completed her third year on the faculty at Andrews Elementary School. James Phillips now serves as principal at Swain West Elementary in Bryson City.
Kenneth “K.C.” Culler is the sports information director at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte.
Cannon School in Concord hired former Carolina Panther Brad Hoover as head football coach. Hoover, a starting fullback in the 2004 Super Bowl, played 10 seasons with the Panthers before leaving the team in 2009. A member of the
WCU Athletics Hall of Fame, he was a two-time All-Southern Conference selection as a Catamount.
Elizabeth Wall-Bassett, associate professor of nutrition science at East Carolina University, is directing an ECU program, “Seeds to Snacks,” featured in the newsletter of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The program educates children in Boys and Girls Clubs about healthy food choices. Wall-Bassett is a member of the WCU Alumni Association board of directors.
Nate Edwards is the general manager of the Hattiesburg (Mississippi) American, a newspaper owned by Gannett Company Inc. Edwards, who started his career in Web design and networking, has helped several newspapers transition to the digital era. The Southern Newspaper Publishers Association selected him for its NextGen program designed for up-and-coming young executives shaping the future. He and wife Michelle have a 7-year-old son.
In 2009, registered nurse Angela Lee (at right, with family) founded a company, Blessed Beginnings, to provide in-home consultations for breastfeeding mothers of newborns. Since that time, the business has grown to include childbirth classes and overnight care services and serves more than 500 families in nine Tennessee counties. Lee and her husband Jesse have two children and live in Nashville, Tennessee.
Kyle Lomax, son of David Lomax ’69 and Linda Lomax ’69, is serving as the international projects manager for Water to Wine, a nonprofit aid organization that provides clean water projects for people in need. The organization has sponsored projects in 17 countries. Water to Wine was featured on the CNN network’s “Heroes” program in 2012.
Rupsi Burman MBA is an information technology project manager and business analyst at the Port of Long Beach, California, one of the world’s busiest seaports. After hours, Burman is pursuing her passion to raise awareness about domestic violence. Though never a victim herself, she has established a nonprofit organization, Hope In Life Foundation, to help
lead women to violence-free lives
and is a frequent public speaker in
James W. Thomas, founding artistic director of the Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre of Mars Hill, has received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, North Carolina’s highest honor for achievement and service. Thomas, who served as a faculty member at Mars Hill College for 38 years, was praised for his instrumental role in the growth of the college’s theater arts major and for the transformation of an old church building on campus into the Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre.
Jeremy Brooks is designing menswear for Belk Inc. in Charlotte and traveling to Paris, London and New York City each year to attend shows and shop for samples. Brooks creates prints and graphic T-shirt designs for the Belk’s Private Brands division. As a student, he assisted with the design and layout for a variety of university publications while working at the WCU Print Shop.
Billy Roland of Bryson City has been named marketing operations manager at Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino and Hotel. Roland began his career at Harrah’s in 2003 as VIP coordinator and has served as a manager of the total rewards and events and promotions departments.
William Womack and Andrea Calhoun Womack have a daughter, Elizabeth “Libby” Claire, born Nov. 8, 2014. He is a senior project manager with Apple Rock Displays in Greensboro and she is director of social work at Alamance
Health Care Center.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission promoted Catherine Kennedy ’12 to senior wildlife assistance biologist for northern Florida. In her new position, Kennedy is based at the University of Florida in Gainesville. She previously was the wildlife assistance biologist for the state’s northwestern region out of Panama City, Florida. Prior to joining the wildlife commission, she was an avian field ecologist at the University of Georgia. She earned two bachelor’s degrees at WCU, in anthropology and biology.
Wade Livingston MAEd ’06 interviewed the best-selling author and Navy SEAL Eric Greitens for a story in the April issue of Missouri Life magazine. Livingston is completing a graduate degree in journalism at the University of Missouri.
Christopher Edmonds, media content manager at the Greenville television station WNCT-TV, was selected for the “Circle of Excellence” by Media General, owner of the station. Edmonds won an all-expenses-paid trip to Cancun, Mexico.
Diane Hall earned her master’s degree in counseling psychology in December 2014 at Northwestern Oklahoma State University.
Jennifer Lowrance, a fire inspector and investigator for the Catawba County Emergency Services in Newton, is conducting research on the topic of depression. She currently is preparing a presentation on stress, anxiety and depression among first responders.
Luzene Hill MFA ’12 is one of only 19 artists in the nation selected for the prestigious First Peoples Fund’s Artist In Business Leadership fellowship program for 2015. The program supports the work of indigenous artists producing innovative work through $5,000 awards. It will help fund a project of Hill’s focusing on Cherokee syllabary, culture and language preservation. Additionally, Hill was among five Native American artists named contemporary art fellows by the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art of Indianapolis, Indiana this year. An exhibit opening there in November will showcase her work.
Leslie Elliot McPeters (right), clinical research nurse at Mission Hospital in Asheville, married her high school sweetheart, Steven McPeters, on Jan. 26.
Donnie Wilson (right) is living in Huntington Beach, California, and working in the sales and advertising department of Fox Sports West in Los Angeles. Wilson and wife Megan were married in August 2014 in Newport Beach, California. She is an account executive with Xerox.
Grayson Bowen MFA was the workshop leader for “Healing Arts Night” held in March in the Student Union at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Bowen is currently pursuing a master’s degree in art therapy at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.
Cody Walker has been promoted to vice president of Hibernia Bank of New Orleans, Louisiana. Walker, who joined the bank in 2012, is studying for an MBA degree at Tulane University.
Aaron D’Innocenzi, whose on-air name is Aaron Michael, has been promoted to the position of music director of the country music station WSSL-FM 100.5 in Greenville, South Carolina. As a student, D’Innocenzi was recognized by the Broadcast Education Association for his outstanding on-air work through the university’s radio station, WWCU-FM Power 90.5.
Former member of the WCU Pride of the Mountains Marching Band, Ryan “Andy” Reed is working as a living history interpreter at Bennett Place State Historic Site in Durham. Reed recently narrated a short documentary about Bennett Place, the site where Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston and Union Gen. William T. Sherman signed surrender papers for the Southern armies.
Jessica Humphrey is attending graduate school in musical theatre at San Diego State University, where she performed the part of Cosette in the university’s production of “Les Miserables.” A native of Dallas, Texas, Humphrey formerly lived in New York City.
Prudential Financial recently selected Romie D. Patel as the firm’s First-Year Advisor of the Year for North Carolina. Patel previously was assistant director of admissions at WCU.
Jarrett Frazier was one of the associate producers of NBC’s XXII Olympic Winter Games sports coverage who won a 2015 Emmy award for “outstanding new approaches.” The award was presented at a special ceremony held May 5 at New York City’s Lincoln Center. Frazier, a member of the sports production staff at the NBC television network in Stamford, Connecticut, worked as a photographer in the Office of Communications and Public Relations while attending WCU. Hired by NBC after assisting at the Summer Olympics in London, he also traveled to Russia to work for the network at the Winter Games in Sochi. For his many accomplishments since graduating, Frazier received the Young Alumnus Award during Homecoming ceremonies in October 2014.
Blaire Minter Hammond (left) and husband Nick Hammond ’11 are happily settled in Portsmouth, Virginia, where they enjoy stand-up paddleboarding and other water sports on the Elizabeth River. Nick Hammond is an environmental health and safety specialist working on a midtown tunnel project for the city. Blaire Hammond is pursing her master’s degree in human resources through WCU’s online degree program. “We love to think back on our four years at WCU and the amazing memories we created there,” she writes. The couple met for the first time in an American history course at WCU which, coincidentally, was titled “Turning Points.”
The March issue of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News featured Brandon Blakely as one of 41 influential people in the U.S. bicycle industry under age 35. Blakely, a professional downhill racer and full-time engineer at Cane Creek Cycling Components in Fletcher, has been instrumental in the development of new suspension products.
Carson Williams has returned to his hometown of Hickory to be the band director at Hickory High School. A former member of the WCU Pride of the Mountains Marching Band, Williams also was a staff member in the Provost’s Office at WCU.
Tyler Cook has released a novel, “The One,” an upbeat story of love, heartbreak and moving on. Cook also is the author of “A Guide to Historic Dillsboro,” which commemorates the historic town’s 125th anniversary. “The One” is his first work of fiction.
Joshua Vaught MBA, director of operations at Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino and Hotel in Murphy, was selected for “40 Under 40,” Global Gaming Business Magazine’s list of top young casino professionals in the U.S. Vaught, winner of the 2014 Emerging Leadership scholarship award from the Global Gaming Expo, joined Harrah’s in 2004 as a member of the impressment team and quickly rose through the supervisory ranks, serving as a relief game manager, transportation manager and casino manager. He is a native of Cherokee County.