Class Notes: Winter 2020


Jay Cimino (BS ’60) of Colorado Springs is president and CEO of Phil Long Dealerships. He was inducted into the Colorado Business Hall of Fame in January 2020.


JeanAnn (Ellerbrock) Fitzgerald (BFA ’65) of Reno, Nevada, authored the ebook “Water — Dehydration Causes Disease.”


Gary Tobey (JD ’72) of Centennial, Colorado, was inducted into the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame in October 2019 for his aviation service, which includes 188 combat missions as a carrier-based Navy attack pilot over North Vietnam and 35 years as a Civil Air Patrol search-and-rescue pilot and commander.


Jake Hoeschler (JD ’73) of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, is a former collegiate and professional skier. He was inducted into the Colorado Snowsports Hall of Fame in 2019.

Charles “Charlie” Ledbetter (JD ’73) of Denver authored “Unexpected Conversations With Teenagers—A Spiritual Journey With Young Minds,” a memoir relating stories from his 33 years teaching a Sunday school class for teenagers. Charlie is a member of Hope United Methodist Church in Greenwood Village, where he also served as church historian and received the Sam Day Award for outstanding volunteer service to his church.


Kevin Clair (BSBA ’74) of Vail, Colorado, was honored in October with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Colorado Restaurant Association. Kevin opened the Vail restaurant Sweet Basil in 1977, after spending a year in France as an apprentice cook at two Michelin three-star restaurants. Kevin also owns or co-owns Montauk Seafood Grill, Zino Ristorante and Mountain Standard. He was the first president of the Vail Restaurant Association and was a founder of the Taste of Vail. 

Jill Meltzer (BA ’74) of Northbrook, Illinois, is an audiologist who has been involved in tinnitus-related research and therapy for more than 30 years. In June, she was elected chair of the American Tinnitus Association, a national nonprofit organization committed to improving the lives of people who live with the condition. 

Truxton “Trux” Simmons (MA ’74) of Centennial, Colorado, was inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers of Colorado Hall of Fame in October. Trux was a writer, producer and director for KRMA-TV in Denver for 23 years and created many award-winning television programs for the Rocky Mountain PBS Network. 

James White (PhD ’74) of Colorado Springs is the author of “Fly-Fishing the Arctic Circle to Tasmania: A Preacher’s Adventures and Reflections.” James, minister emeritus of First Congregational Church in Colorado Springs, wrote the book about his experiences fly-fishing around the world.


Steven Eichberg (BSBA ’76) of Plymouth, Massachusetts, in November was named a member of the board of directors for the Lymphoma Research Foundation. Steven, who is a lymphoma survivor, also is part of the Lymphoma Support Network, where he provides one-to-one peer support for people with lymphoma and their caregivers.


Dorothy Hargrove (MA ’77, MBA ’85) in September was named deputy city manager of Englewood, Colorado. Dorothy previously served Englewood as director of library services; director of parks, recreation and library; and interim city manager.


Bob DeSalvio (BSBA ’78) of Lexington, Massachusetts, is president of Wynn Resorts’ Encore Boston Harbor, a $2.6 billion gaming resort that opened in June 2019. Bob has been with Wynn since 2014. He previously served as president of Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem in Pennsylvania.


Michael Hettich (MA ’79) of Black Mountain, North Carolina, recently published “To Start an Orchard” (Press 53), a book of poetry. Michael taught English and creative writing at the community college and college level for 28 years and has published more than a dozen books.


Stephen Wessler (BSBA ’80) in May joined the Denver office of real estate firm CBRE as a senior vice president. Stephen previously served as director in the affordable housing group of Hunt Mortgage Group.


Dianne Briscoe (JD ’83) was selected as a Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scouts of Colorado for the class of 2019. Dianne retired as a Denver County Court judge in January 2019 and continues to serve others through her volunteer activities.


Douglas Towne (BA ’84) of Phoenix, Arizona, won the badminton mixed doubles at the 2019 National Senior Games in the 55–59 age division and was silver medalist in men’s doubles and singles.


Dan Mulreany (BA ’85) of Columbia, Maryland, is lead purchasing agent with the National Cancer Institute, which is part of the National Institutes of Health.


Carol Guerrero-Murphy (MA ’86, PhD ’89) of Louisville, Colorado, is a poet whose second book of verse, “Chained Dog Dreams,” was published by Finishing Line Press in November 2019. Carol was a professor of literature and writing for more than 20 years at Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado. She now teaches in the Adams State Prison College Program. 


Sheri Johnson (BA ’87) of Leawood, Kansas, is vice president of marketing at McCownGordon Construction. In July she received the Arthur E. Lowell Award, the highest honor given by Kansas City International Association of Business Communicators. 

Jerome Kolbo (MSW ’87) in July 2019 was appointed director of the School of Social Work at the University of Southern Mississippi. Jerome also is a professor at the school.


Eleanor Pepi Downey (PhD ’88) in August was named director of the University of Wyoming College of Health Sciences’ Division of Social Work. Eleanor is an associate professor emerita at Colorado State University and a licensed master social worker.

Herb Rackliff (BA ’88) in June was appointed general manager at Park Hyatt Beaver Creek in Beaver Creek, Colorado. Herb has worked for Hyatt for more than 30 years, most recently as general manager at Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 


Damian Arguello (BSBA ’90, JD ’04) of Westminster, Colorado, founded Colorado Insurance Law Center. In July 2019, he received the 2019 Monte Pascoe Civic Leadership Award. Damian also is an adjunct professor of insurance law at DU’s Sturm College of Law.


Megan McMorrow (BSBA ’91, MBA ’94) of Arlington, Virginia, co-founded 3MC Swimming, a collaborative consulting business that helps competitive swimmers navigate the college recruiting process. Megan, who also sells real estate in northern Virginia, draws on her lifelong experience in swimming, including swimming for DU from 1987–91 and being the parent of a 2020 swimming recruit.


Wendy Terrien (MBA ’94) of Highlands Ranch, Colorado, is an author whose latest YA fantasy title, “The Forge of Bonds,” will be published Feb. 25 by Camashea Press.  


Scott Terry (BA ’96) of Chicago is senior production business affairs manager at the Annex ad agency, where he works with brands such as Coca Cola and Mike’s Hard Lemonade. Scott was selected two years ago as a judge for the Shorty Awards and was recently selected to be a judge for the Webby Awards. 


Millie Hamner (PhD ’97) of Frisco, Colorado, joined the Keystone Policy Center as a senior policy director. Millie, who served as a Colorado state representative from 2011–18, manages initiatives in Keystone’s education and government work.


Patricia Aaron (MFA ’99) of Greenwood Village, Colorado, is a visual artist who in fall 2019 had work on display at Space ANNEX, Encaustic Museum of Art, the Arvada Center and the Greenwood Village Open Studio Tour.

Laura Lee Cornelison (BM ’99) married Christopher Beran on Sept. 6, 2019, in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. Laura Lee is a senior branch office administrator with Edward Jones.

Jane Bendle Lucero (JD ’99) in August joined the Denver-based Wilson Elser law firm, where she specializes in personal injury law.

Valerie Senz (BBA ’99) in June was named senior vice president of supply chain and procurement at New York-based BJG Electronics.

Lorie Zapf (MSS ’99) in June was named president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County. Lorie previously served two terms on the San Diego city council.


Jannine Mohr (JD ’00) of Loveland, Colorado, in June was promoted to deputy general counsel at Colorado State University. Jannine previously served as an attorney in the school’s office of the general counsel.


Brett Stringer (BA ’01) in July took over as principal at South High School in Minneapolis. Brett previously was principal at Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale, Colorado.


John Capelo (BSBA ’02) runs the Capelo’s Barbecue food truck in San Francisco and plans to open a restaurant soon in the Bay Area. 


Tera (Meges) Chmura (BSBA ’04) of Royalton, Ohio, started an e-commerce company, H-Bomb Ties, which sells bow ties and neckties for children and adults. Tera and her husband started the business as an employment opportunity for their son, Harrison, who has Down syndrome and autism; they hope to employ other individuals with special needs in the future.

Tiffani Lennon (JD ’04) of Cherry Hills Village, Colorado, in June was named executive director of Colorado Center on Law and Policy, a nonprofit that aims to advance the health, security and well-being of low-income Coloradans through research, education, advocacy and litigation. Tiffani previously was president and CEO of Ray of Hope Cancer Foundation in Denver.


Colby Elliott (MAC ’05) of Groton, Massachusetts, owns audiobook production company Last Word Audio, which received a 2019 Gold ENnie medal for Best Electronic Book. The ENnies are annual awards given in the tabletop role-playing industry.

Adam Wallenstein (BA ’05, MBA ’07) and his brother Michael Wallenstein (BSBA ’08, MS ’09) are co-presidents of Neptune Plumbing, a three-generation family business in Bedford Falls, Ohio. In July, Adam and Michael received the Ernst Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the east central region of the United States.


Liz Fazio Hale (JD ’06, LLM ’08) of Houston is assistant manager at the Gulf Coast Authority, where she assists in the management of five facilities that provide domestic and industrial wastewater treatment.


Brittany (Branscom) Novotny (BM ’07) of Pratt, Kansas, is co-executive director of the Vernon Filley Art Museum. In August, she was appointed to the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission, which is focused on measuring, promoting, supporting and expanding Kansas’ creative industry to grow the state’s economy and foster creative industry-related jobs.  

Wade Rosen (BSBA ’07) of Golden, Colorado, in June was appointed a non-executive director at life sciences company Collagen Solutions. Wade previously launched startups Wishlist and Thrivepass.

Meghan Saleebey (JD ’07) of Denver in September was appointed as a district court judge in the 19th Judicial District. Meghan has served as a district court magistrate in the district since 2018. 

Joseph Teipel (BA ’07) in June was named executive director of the Chaffee County Community Foundation in his hometown of Buena Vista, Colorado. Joseph previously was executive director at Re:Vision, a food-oriented nonprofit in Denver’s Westwood neighborhood.


Bethany Mickahail (PhD ’10) is a dissertation advisor at the College of Management & Technology at Walden University in Minneapolis. She is co-editor of “Effective and Creative Leadership in Diverse Workforces: Improving Organizational Performance and Culture in the Workplace” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019).


Kara Franker (JD ’11) in June was appointed senior vice president of marketing and communications at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau in Florida. Kara also serves as editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Weddings South Florida and The Caribbean and Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida.


Blake Morgan (BA ’12) was honored in September as one of San Diego Metro’s 2019 40 Under 40. Blake is a development partner at Morgan Holdings, which builds affordable housing in Southern California and major cities across the country.


Tara Cappel (BSBA ’13) of Los Angeles founded For the Love of Travel, a travel company that caters to young professionals from ages 25 to 39. Tara’s sister Makayla Cappel (BA, BSBA ’14) is the company’s partnership and group curator.


Rachel Crocker (MA ’14) of Laramie, Wyoming, in September was appointed director of the Albany County Public Library.

Lisa Ginder (BA ’14) of Fort Collins, Colorado, is a former Pioneers swimmer who in August 2019 was hired as an assistant coach for Colorado State University’s women’s swimming and diving team. Lisa previously was an assistant coach at Fordham University.

Jonathan Marquez (MT ’14) of Denver in September was appointed to the board of trustees for his undergraduate alma mater, Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado. 

Taylor Martin (MM ’14) is assistant conductor of the Colorado Symphony Chorus. In December, he conducted two performances of Handel’s “Messiah” at Denver’s Boettcher Concert Hall.

AlBaraa Taibah (MBA ’14) of Saudi Arabia is the author of “The Modern Shepherd: Leadership Lessons From the Desert,” a book on leadership based on his brief time working as a shepherd.

Andrew Wood (JD ’14) of Littleton, Colorado, joined lobbying firm Colorado Legislative Strategies in November. Andrew previously served as policy director for the Colorado House of Representatives Majority Office; he also serves at the board level for the Denver Young Democrats.


Brandi Homan (PhD ’17) of Aurora, Colorado, is an author whose debut novel, “Burn Fortune,” was published in May 2019 by Clash Books. In summer and fall 2019, Brandi was artist in residence in the Hinge Arts Program at Springboard for the Arts in Fergus Falls, Minnesota.


Taylor Sienkiewicz (BA ’18) is a reporter at Colorado’s Summit Daily newspaper, where she covers business, real estate, the ski industry and the town governments of Breckenridge and Silverthorne. 


Andre Shinyashiki (BSBA ’19) is a former Pioneers soccer standout who now plays with the Colorado Rapids. In October, he was named the 2019 AT&T MLS Rookie of the Year. 


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