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Class Notes: Summer 2021


John Manesis (BA ’62) has published a collection of cat poems, “Tails & Tales.”


Gill Robinson Hickman

Gill Robinson Hickman (BA ’70) is the recipient of the Nautilus Book Award for her coauthored book, “When Leaders Face Personal Crisis: The Human Side of Leadership.” Gill is professor emerita of leadership studies at the Jepson School of Leadership Studies, University of Richmond.


Allan Goldstein (BA ’71), along with his brother, has published a memoir, “Fred and Me: a Willowbrook Survivor’s Story.”


Waldron “Tom” Sawyer Jr. (BA ’72) was awarded an honorary doctorate of business administration from Husson University in Bangor, Maine. The degree recognizes Tom’s 34 years of service to the university.


Charles Ledbetter (JD ’73) recently authored his second nonfiction memoir, “A Teenager Goes to Washington—My Summer as a Congressional Intern—1966. ”The book covers his experiences among powerful people and institutions in the nation’s capital during the turbulent 1960s.


Christine “Cricket” Evans Kelly (BA ’75), a retired partner with William Blair & Co., serves on several boards and consults with clients on capital strategies, raises and the impact of capital alternatives on their businesses.


Gary Griffin (BS ’79) has been hired as the national SBA sales manager for Patriot National Bancorp. He brings over 30 years of small business administration and leadership experience to the post.

Michael Hettich (MA ’79) published a new book of poems, “The Mica Mine,” which won the Lena Shull Book Award from the North Carolina Poetry Society. He has published 12 full-length books of poetry.


Don Zancanella (MA ’84) has published a novel, “Concord.” Don also has authored “Western Electric” and has won the John S. Simmons/Iowa Short Fiction Award and an O. Henry Prize.

Douglas Towne (BA ’84) recently celebrated his 10-year anniversary as editor of the 80-page magazine he co-founded, Arizona Contractor & Community.


Dennis Neilander (JD ‘87) has joined the board of directors for Esports Technologies, a global provider in advanced esports wagering products. Dennis is the former chairman of the Nevada State Gaming Control Board.


Sonja Wendt

Sonja Wendt (MCIS ’88) is an award-winning author of a children’s book series, “Cultivating Compassion in Children.” She has published four books in the series, addressing such topics as inclusion, understanding disabilities, the natural process of aging, bullying, acceptance and seeing beauty from different perspectives.


Annie Dawid (PhD ’89) has published her fifth book, “Put Off My Sackcloth: Essays.”


Ray Obuch (Center)

Ray Obuch (MCIS ’94) was honored in 2019 for 40 years of federal service, from U.S. Forest Service firefighter to energy program data manager for the U.S. Geological Survey.


James Mosley (JD ’96) was appointed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to the Texas School Safety Center Board. James is the judge of the 316th District Court serving Hutchinson County, Texas.

Linda Purdy (JD ’96) is the new division president for TRI Pointe Homes Colorado. Linda previously was vice president of land acquisition at TRI Pointe Homes Colorado and brings over 25 years of residential acquisition and development experience to her new role.


Amy Going Haworth

Amy Going Haworth (BA ’93, MBA ’98) leads the employee experience practice for global technology company Citrix. Amy published a children’s book, “Feet, Head … Go to Bed,” to help tired kids fall asleep with mindfulness and ease the stress of bedtime for caregivers.

Matt Pettinger

Matt Pettinger (attd. ’98–’00), who played hockey for the Pioneers and went on to play over 400 games with the Washington Capitals, Tampa Bay Lightning and Vancouver Canucks, will be inducted this year into the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame.


Catherine “Trina” Sjoberg

Catherine “Trina” Sjoberg (JD ’99) has joined Winthrop & Weinstine, a real estate development and transactions practice. Trina is a board-certified real property law specialist with 20-plus years of experience.


Christine Hiatt (BBA ’01) has been promoted to chief operating officer for Resolute Capital Partners in San Francisco. She was previously vice president of real estate and dispositions. Christine has more than 30 years of experience in banking, mortgage lending, real estate, sales training and IT staffing.

Rhonda Morehead (JD ’01) has joined The Weld Trust as director of communications. Rhonda has nearly 20 years of relationship-management and leadership experience with financial institutions.


Doug Benevento

Doug Benevento (JD ’02) has joined the law firm of Faegre Drinker as counsel for the environment and energy practice team in Denver. Doug is a former Colorado health department director and the former No. 2 leader of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


Justin Kidd (BA ’03) has been appointed Marion County justice of the peace by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown. Justin will preside over the Marion County Justice Court. Previously, he was senior assistant attorney general with the Oregon Department of Justice.


Justin Yost

Justin Yost (BSBA ’05) has been named vice president, relationship director and investment specialist for Avantis Investors. Josh previously served as vice president at Dimensional Fund Advisors. He also held positions at USAA, First Data, Scottrade and Lipper.


Janiece Mackey (BA ’06, PhD ’20) received an award from the Black Voices for Black Justice Fund for her work in advancing racial justice. Janiece has built a career of servant leadership on enlisting youth of color in activism and civic engagement. She created the nonprofit Young Aspiring Americans for Social and Political Activism (YAASPA). 


Todd Unger (BA ’07) took a main anchor job at KXXV, the ABC affiliate in Waco, Texas. Previously, Todd was the lead reporter at WFAA in Dallas-Fort Worth and worked in Omaha and Albuquerque.


Mikela Sutrina

Mikela Sutrina (BA ’08) has been promoted to partner in the law firm Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP.  Mikela is based in the firm’s Chicago office and focuses her practice on labor and employment law. 


Josh Amos

Josh Amos (JD ’09) has been promoted to partner at McDermott Stuart & Ward LLP in Denver. One of the state’s leading marijuana defense attorneys, Josh previously worked as a Colorado state public defender and senior deputy public defender for Arapahoe County.

Brad Boyle

Brad Boyle (BSBA ’09) joined Task Project Management as a senior project manager, focused on planning and constructing real estate solutions for the firm’s clients.


Kara Franker (JD ’10) was appointed chief executive officer of Visit Estes Park, where she will lead the strategic planning and execution of all operations.

Brigette Nelson (BFA ’10) is the owner and operator of The Garden City Projects, a shop and community art space in Garden City, Idaho. A multifaceted artist, Brigette creates art from recycled materials.


Rafael Hernandez

Rafael Hernandez (MBA ’12) was promoted to major in the Army National Guard. An armor officer with 18 years of service, he currently serves as the squadron executive officer for 3rd Squadron, 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment. In addition, Rafael is an account executive in the Fort Worth Office of Residential Care Facilities for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.


Harper Grace St. Amour

Joseph St. Amour (BSCPE ’13) and Taylor (Sutcliffe) St. Amour (BS ’13) welcomed their first child, Harper Grace, born Jan. 3, 2021. The family resides in Nashville, Tennessee, where Taylor is completing her residency at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in general surgery.


Thomas Lee Morgan (PhD ’14) has been named the first director of inclusive teaching at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut. Thomas joined SHU in August 2020 as an assistant professor in the College of Education. Previously he was an assistant professor at the University of Northern Colorado.


Mitch Ritz (BSBA ’17) has been named regional vice president for Transamerica and will support financial intermediaries in Oregon and Montana. He is a chartered retirement plans specialist through the College for Financial Planning.


Andy Sotter (MA ’18) has been named to the Town Square Community Center board of directors in Green Lake, Wisconsin. Andy is a history teacher at Berlin High School and co-owner of Avrom Farm Store. As a board member, he will serve as a voice for the area’s growing group of young professionals.


Nadia Khansa (MA ’19) recently published a collection of Middle Eastern poetry, “Breathing in Spring.” The collection offers a story of trauma and a journey toward healing.

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