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Class Notes: Summer 2020

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Ed Donchey (BSBA ’54) of Corona, California, is retired after 55 years in the life insurance and estate planning business in New York and Los Angeles. Ed was on the DU basketball team for the 1952­–53 and 1953–54 seasons.


John Broadwell (BSBA ’64) of Seneca, South Carolina, published his first book last fall. “My Friends Wouldn’t Let Me” is the fictional story of a young man who loses the use of his legs in an auto accident, and his determination to get his life back.


Albert White (BSBA ’68) of Silver Spring, Maryland, is the author of “Race for the Net,” a book about an African American-owned company’s role in the creation of the internet. Albert worked with alumnus Emmit McHenry (BA ’66) at Emmit’s Network Solutions, a technology consulting company that helped develop the modern internet.


Jim Sanderson (JD ’69) has joined the Denver office of law firm Welborn Sullivan Meck & Tooley. Jim is an environmental lawyer with experience in air- and water-quality permitting and compliance, regulation development for air and water, solid and hazardous waste management, public lands law, mine land reclamation, environmental reviews and due diligence, and environmental litigation.


Carol Tomé (MBA ’81) in March was named CEO of UPS. She has been a member of the UPS board of directors since 2003 and serves as the chairperson of its audit committee. Carol previously spent 18 years at the Home Depot as an executive vice president.


Mark Weinberg (MSJA ’84) of Port Orange, Florida, is court administrator of Florida’s Seventh Judicial Circuit. He received the National Association for Court Management’s Award of Merit at the association’s 2019 annual conference in Las Vegas.


Tim Houghton (PhD ’85) is a poet whose seventh book, “Where the Lighthouse Begins,” was published in March by the Irish press Salmon Poetry.

Jennifer Noyes (BA ’85) in June became vice provost of academic operations at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Jennifer previously served the school as associate dean for operations and staff at the College of Letters & Science.


Betsy (Webb) Johnston (MSW ’89) of Bozeman, Montana, is the author of “Gaku’s Question: How Can Everyday People Create Peace? 108 Global Responses for Creating Peace Every Day.”  


Debra Crew (BA ’93) became president of alcoholic beverage company Diageo North America — whose brands include Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, J&B, Smirnoff, Ketel One, Captain Morgan, Tanqueray and Guinness — on July 1. Debra previously was president and CEO of Reynolds American.


Kyle Torke (PhD ’94) of Colorado Springs recently published “Hiking the Grand Mesa,” his seventh book and the second in a series of children’s adventures. The book was illustrated by Kyle’s mother, Barbara Torke.

Ken Utzinger (MA ’94) of Fort Worth, Texas, received his doctor of physical therapy degree from the University of Saint Augustine for Health Sciences in December 2019, at age 70. Ken also retired for the third time and started his fourth career. He hopes to run his 70th marathon while he is still 70 years old.


Ali Mageehon (BA ’96, PhD ’04) of Roseburg, Oregon, is vice president of instruction at Southwestern Oregon Community College. She is one of 40 leaders selected for the 2020­–21 class of the Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship, which prepares leaders to serve as the next generation of community college presidents who will transform institutions to achieve higher and more equitable levels of student success. 

Julie Rosen (JD ’96) has joined the Denver office of law firm Welborn Sullivan Meck & Tooley. Julie is an environmental lawyer with experience in air- and water-quality permitting and compliance, regulation development for air and water, solid and hazardous waste management, public lands law, mine land reclamation, environmental reviews and due diligence, and environmental litigation.


Shawna (Hickman) Ervin (BA ’97) is a poet whose first book of poetry, “Mother Lines,” was recently published by Finishing Line Press. Shawna is studying creative writing in graduate school at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. 

Dr. Andrew Nearn (MAcc ’97) recently celebrated his fifth anniversary as director of pediatrics at Christ Community Health Services, a federally qualified health center in one of the most underserved neighborhoods of his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. His patient base is composed primarily of underinsured and uninsured Memphians, as well as refugees from around the world. In 2004, Andrew left the accounting profession to attend medical school at the University of Tennessee and pursue training in pediatrics.


Matthew Branaugh (BA ’98) of Newport, Maine, earned his juris doctor with honors from DU’s Sturm College of Law in May. Matt is content editor with Christianity Today’s Church Law & Tax family of publications and plans to provide in-house legal counsel upon becoming licensed to practice.


Martin Garnar (MLIS ’00) will be the next director of the Amherst College Library as of August 2020. Martin previously served as dean of the Kraemer Family Library at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs and the head of reference and instruction at the Dayton Memorial Library of Regis University. A longtime adjunct for the DU library and information science program, he received the Ruth Murray Underhill Teaching Award from DU in 2014.

Kasey McCreight (BS ’00) is a family physician in the St. Thomas More Hospital’s physician group family medicine office in Canon City, Colorado.


Victoria (Tori) Donovan (JD ’01) of Denver has joined the national corporate practice group at law firm Kutak Rock.

Davinia (Blohm) Lyon (MT ’01) in March joined Denver-based TaxOps as a partner in corporate tax. Davinia previously worked at Jacobs Engineering, which merged with CH2M in December 2017.

Jon Roitman (MS, MCRM ’01) of Livingston, New Jersey, in May was named COO at United Airlines.


Summer Belden (MBA ’05) of St. Louis has joined Bunge Limited as senior director, executive compensation. 


Dan Kelly (BA ’08) of Minneapolis is founder and senior partner at the Negotiator Guru, an advisory firm for Salesforce contract negotiation. In March, Inc. magazine named the company No. 15 on its inaugural Inc. 5000 Series: Midwest list, a ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.


Riley Smith (BA ’10) has joined North Carolina law firm Poyner Spruill as an associate in the construction practice group.


Heather Golden (MA ’11) received her doctorate degree in higher education administration from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, in May.  

Katherine Gessner (MBA ’11) of Massillon, Ohio, is president of Massillon Cable Television. She was named one of Cablefax magazine’s most powerful women in cable in November 2019.

Nicole Perkins (MAS ’11) works in Rabat, Morocco, as the country representative for the Global Green Growth Institute, an intergovernmental treaty-based organization providing technical advisory services to member governments on their transition to a low-carbon, inclusive economy. She lives in Morocco with her husband and two children.


Dr. Matthew Avey (BS ’15) has joined the staff at Sonntag Family Dental in Pueblo, Colorado. Matthew has a degree from the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine and has been practicing dentistry since 2017.

Krystal Kirby (MSW ’15) is a therapist at the Bryan Counseling Center in Lincoln, Nebraska, where she provides therapy to adolescents, young adults and adults with a wide range of conditions such as anxiety, depression, mood disorders, relationship concerns, low self-esteem and emerging life stressors. Krystal specializes in working with LGBTQ adolescents to help foster growth and change in an accepting environment.

Rebecca Moon (BSBA ’15) owns the Moonbeam Clothiers boutique in Colorado Springs.


David Bernot (BM ’16) is a jazz saxophone player who in February received a Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award, including a cash scholarship, for his big band piece “To Kill the Beast.”

Poupeh Missaghi (PhD ’16) of Brooklyn, New York, is an Iranian writer, translator and teacher whose first novel, “Trans(re)lating House One,” was published by Coffee House Press in February 2020.


Brandi Homan (PhD ’17) of Aurora, Colorado, is an author whose 2019 novel, “Burn Fragments” (CLASH Books) won the 2020 Colorado Book Award for literary fiction.


Ashley Cornelius (MA ’18) of Colorado Springs is a poet who co-directs Poetry 719, a community poetry organization that uplifts and celebrates voices of marginalized communities and people of color.

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