Grad Notes

Compiled by Emily Grant and Grace Morris

Due to the volume of submissions we are not able to confirm that we have received your note. Please be patient. It can sometimes take a few months for a note to appear in the magazine after it has been submitted.


Willaim Wiebold (PhD ’78) of Columbia, Mo., was selected to the American Society of Agronomy’s 2011 class of Fellows. Michael Richardson (PhD ’91) of Fayetteville, Ark., was selected to the American Society of Agronomy’s 2011 class of Fellows. Cathleen C. Williams (MS ’91) of Baton Rouge, La., was named winner of the Land O’Lakes/Purina LLC Teaching Award in Dairy Production. Williams is an associate professor in the LSU AgCenter School of Animal Sciences. Donna Garren (PhD ’96) of Woodbridge, Va., is the new vice president of regulatory and technical affairs for the American Frozen Food Institute.

Arts & Sciences

Russell Eisenman (MS ’63, PhD ’66) of Edinburg, Texas, is associate professor of psychology at the University of Texas-Pan American. His most recently published book, Creativity, Mental Illness and Crime, came out in a second edition. Thomas Housley (PhD ’74) of West Lafayette, Ind., retired from Purdue University. He was a professor in the agronomy department for 35 years, and the American Society of Agronomy recognized him in 2007 as the Agronomic Resident Educator of the Year for his work with undergraduates and with Indiana high school teachers and students. David A. Garfinkel (AB ’73, MPA ’75) of Jacksonville, Fla., was recognized among the 2011 list of “Florida Super Lawyers,” an honor recognizing only 5 percent of Florida attorneys. Richard Reardon (MS ’78, PhD ’81) completed a term as associate vice president and Coeur d’Alene Center executive officer for the University of Idaho and returned to his position as associate dean of the College of Letters, Arts & Social Sciences. Jann Adams (MS ’81, PhD ’84) retired after 27 years of teaching statistics and research methods. She taught at Middle Tennessee State University and 21 years at the College of Idaho, where she is now an emerita professor of psychology. Steven John Elliott-Gower (MA ’86, PhD ’89) of Athens was appointed interim director of the center for excellence in teaching and learning at Georgia College. He remains director of the honors program. Jon Mehlferber (MFA ’88, PhD ’93) of Clarkesville, Ga., was awarded tenure and promoted to the rank of associate professor at North Georgia College & State University. Kristi Kiick (MS ’91) was named deputy dean of the University of Delaware’s College of Engineering. Kiick is a professor of materials science and engineering. John Wright (MFA ’95) of Manitowoc, Wis., was named associate dean at the University of Wisconsin-Manitowoc. He has been teaching there since 2004. Karen Salyer McElmurray (PhD ’97) of Milledgeville won the Chaffin Award for Appalachian writing from Morehead State University for her debut novel, Strange Birds in the Tree of Heaven. Her most recent novel, The Motel of the Stars, was named an Editor’s Pick by the Oxford American. McElmurray is an assistant professor in creative writing at Georgia College and State University and serves as creative nonfiction editor for Arts and Letters. Kelly Carolyn Gordon (PhD ’01) of Brevard, N.C., earned a certificate from the management development program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and was elected vice president of professional development for the Association for Theatre in Higher Education. Gordon is the coordinator of Theatre Studies at Brevard College. Mark Pearson (PhD ’05) wrote a story called “The Short History of an Ear,” which was featured in an anthology called The Best American Sports Writing 2011. Kellie McHugh (MM ’11) of Athens participated in the “Schumann Liederfest,” a three-week intensive study program focusing on the work of Robert Schumann in Zwickau, Germany. McHugh studied language and vocal diction with German master vocalists and was given many opportunities to perform.


John C. Patterson (AB ’75, MBA ’79) of Ogden, Utah, was named city manager of the Casper City Council. Patterson previously served as city manager of West Valley City, Utah, for 11 years. Charles L. Guilbeau (BBA ’82, MMR ’83) is vice president of consumer strategy and insights for Anheuser-Busch InBev in St. Louis. Jeff Sherman (PhD ’90) of Bogart was named vice president of worldwide sales for Block Engineering, a leading developer of MEMS, laser and FTIR spectroscopy sensors. Michael Thrasher (BBA ’04, MAcc ’04) was promoted to manager in the personal financial services practice at Bennett Thrasher PC, the fourth largest Atlanta-based, full-service accounting, audit and consulting firm. Susan Dowdy (BBA ’99, MAcc ’05) was promoted to manager in the tax department at Bennett Thrasher PC, the fourth largest Atlanta-based, full-service accounting, audit and consulting firm. Debbie Storey (AB ’80, MBA ’06) of Dallas, Texas, was appointed senior vice president-talent development and chief diversity officer for AT&T Services Inc. Larry Nedrow (MBA ’09) was named vice president of member development for a company called AFFLINK.


Ouida Word Dickey (EdD ’66) of Rome was recognized by the Georgia Council on Economic Education with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her devotion to education and her impact at Berry College. Dickey spent 43 years at Berry as a professor in the business department and an academic administrator. Sheryl Bryant Vogt (BSEd ’68, MEd ’69, EdS ’73) of Athens was named to the Georgia Historical Records Advisory Board by Gov. Nathan Deal. Robin Bohannon (BSEd ’72, MEd ’73) of Augusta was reappointed to the state board of examiners for speech-language pathology and audiology. Mickey Dillard (BSEd ’71, MEd ’78) of Dillard Realty is affiliated with Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty. Dillard has been active with Dillard Realty since its opening in 1976. Fred Sanderson (BSEd ’72, EdS ’86) of Roswell retired from the position of superintendent for Cobb County schools in July. Doric Capsis (MEd ’87) of East Williston, N.Y., was presented the Allen Dawson Memorial Award for contributions to the sport of track and field by the Nassau County Track Coaches Association. Steven W. Smith (BSEd ’86, MEd ’91, MBA ’10) of Atlanta was named deputy superintendent/chief of staff of the Atlanta Public Schools with executive control over all district areas. Keith J. Anderson (PhD ’92) was recognized as a Fellow of the American College Health Association. Anderson has been a staff psychologist at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute since 1994. Allen Fort (EdS ’92) of Valdosta was appointed superintendent of Quitman County’s school system. Fort previously served as a principal of Gordon Central High School. Will Schofield (BSEd ’86, MEd ’92, EdS ’94) is Hall County superintendent of schools. He also raises dairy calves on the 12 acres of land surrounding his home. Sharon Horne (MEd ’94, PhD ’98) was named a Fellow of the American Psychological Association. Horne is an associate professor in counseling psychology and an affiliate faculty member of the Center for Research on Women at the University of Memphis. J. Ross Peters (MEd ’96) of Atlanta was named high school principal at the Westminster Schools in Buckhead. Peters previously served as upper school director for the Hawken School in Cleveland, Ohio. Kevin M. Oliver (PhD ’99) was promoted to associate professor with tenure in the department of curriculum and instruction at North Carolina State University. Robert “Bob” Heaberlin (EdD ’00) of Newnan was named Georgia’s 2011 National Distinguished Principal by the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the U.S. Department of Education. Heaberlin is the principal of Lee Middle School in Coweta County. Ryan Beckwith (MEd ’03) was named the new athletic director of Bakersfield College in California. Lee Newman (BMus ’01, MMEd ’03) is the new director of the concert and marching band program at Norcross High School. His wife, Katie Newman (BS ’03), also took a new job as the guard instructor for Pope High School in Pickens County. Adam Tribble (BSEd ’02, MEd ’03) of Tuscaloosa, Ala., joined the University of Alabama coaching staff as an assistant coach. Selena Blankenship (BSHE ’89, MEd ’05, PhD ’09) of Athens was named principal of Hilsman Middle School. Ryan Fox (MEd ’07, PhD ’11) of Marietta won more than $18,000 during a two-night run on “Jeopardy!” Fox beat two other contestants on the quiz show’s July 26 episode and was invited back the next day.  Robbie Latimore (EdD ’09) of Americus was inducted as an honorary member in the South Georgia Technical College’s chapter of the National Technical Honor Society. Ron Newcomb (AB ’71, MA ’78, EdD ’11) was named interim president of Chattahoochee Technical College. Newcomb is the provost and executive vice president of the college. Bryant Odom (BSEd ’02, MS ’11) of Madison, Wis., was named assistant men’s golf coach for the University of Wisconsin golf team. Odom is a former UGA All-American and All-SEC performer. Jamie R. Riley (PhD ’11) of Farmville, Va., was named director of diversity and inclusion at Longwood University.

Forestry & Natural Resources

Lenise Lago (BSFR ’83, MFR ’85) of Washington, D.C., became the deputy chief of business operations for the U.S. Forest Service Department of Agriculture. Lago previously served as the deputy regional forester in the Pacific Northwest region. Emily Jo Williams (BSFR ’83, MS ’86) of Eatonton joined the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Southeast Region in Atlanta as chief of migratory birds. Williams is responsible for migratory bird-related programs, permitting and coordination.

Journalism & Mass Communication

John C. Futch (ABJ ’68, MA ’81) of Long Beach, Calif., was appointed news/content editor at the Press-Telegram. Hanna Elise Horwitz Norton (ABJ ’94, MMC ’98, PhD ’01) of Russellville, Ark., was promoted to assistant vice president for academic affairs at Arkansas Tech. Norton previously served as head of the Arkansas Tech department of speech, theatre and journalism.


Aaron Cohn (LLB ’38) of Columbus, Ga., retired at the end of September. He was the nation’s longest serving juvenile court judge. Dean Covington Jr. (JD ’65) of Rome joined McDonald Wealth Management, a financial services firm specializing in investment, insurance and estate planning. Neil Gordon (JD ’79) is the president of the National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees. Michael A. Morris (BSEd ’73, MEd ’74, JD ’79) was elected to Athens First Bank & Trust’s advisory board of directors. Morris is a senior partner with the law firm of Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley P.C. David McDade (ABJ ’79, JD ’82) of Douglasville was elected president of the Georgia District Attorneys Association. The association represents all 49 elected district attorneys in the state. William A. “Bill” Gillon (JD ’83) of Germantown, Tenn., was elected to serve as the chairman of the board for Agricenter International. Gillon is the Cotton Board president and chief executive officer. Ginny Looney (JD ’85) accepted a clerk job with the Georgia Supreme Court. Looney previously served as Atlanta’s ethics officer at City Hall. Donna Musil (ABJ ’81, JD ’85) won the Clews Center for the Arts Artists-in-Residency fellowship to spend a month at the Chateau de la Napoule in France in October. Musil was one of eight artists to receive this fellowship. Greg Sapp (AB ’83, JD ’86) of Savannah was appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal as the new Chatham County State Court judge. Donna Avans Seagraves (JD ’87) of Athens was appointed to the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council by Gov. Nathan Deal. Joe Frank Harris Jr. (BBA ’86, JD ’89) of Cartersville was named permanent president of the Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce by the chamber’s board of directors. John Doughty Cole (JD ’91) of Charlotte, N.C., is a member at the law firm Nexsen Pruet. He and his wife, Susan Cole (AB ’89), have three children. Amy Lambert Smith (JD ’95) of Kathleen was appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal to fill the Houston County state solicitor post. Smith is the chief assistant district attorney for Houston County. Ramona Murphy Bartos (MHP ’02, JD ’02) of Rincon was selected as deputy state historic preservation officer and administrator of the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office in Raleigh. Elizabeth Allgood Blalock (AB ’00, JD ’03) of Atlanta was promoted to general counsel for the Georgia Conservancy, an Atlanta-based environmental nonprofit organization. Blalock previously served as manager for the Conservancy’s Coastal Georgia Land Conservation Initiative. Ashley Marsh Tyndal (BBA ’04, MAcc ’06, JD ’07) and Chris Tyndal (AB ’03) of Atlanta celebrated the birth of their daughter, McClendon Bridges Tyndal, on Aug. 11. Ernest L. “Chip” Beaton IV (JD ’08) of St. Simons Island is an associate with the firm Hall, Booth, Smith & Slover P.C. in Brunswick. Efrain Poloche (JD ’08) of Atlanta associated with the firm Seyfarth Shaw LLP and celebrated the birth of his son, Cameron Cristiano, on July 18 with his wife Katie. Meghan Ryan Noblett (AB ’06, JD ’09) of Alpharetta married Andrew Mark Noblett on July 10, 2010.

Social Work

Linda Cunningham (MSW ’95) joined the guidance department at St. Bernard School. Rachelle “Shelly” Hutchinson (MSW ’00), owner and founder of the Social Empowerment Center, received the Outstanding Field Instructor-Gwinnett Award from UGA’s School of Social Work for her role as field practicum supervisor for BSW and MSW student interns from UGA.

Veterinary Medicine

Dale Bjorling (MS ’82) of Madison, Wis., was named associate dean for research and graduate training at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine. Margaret Baxter (DVM ’86) sold her practice, The Vets Animal Hospital, in Windsor, Colo., to move back to Athens with her husband, Gary Baxter (MS ’88). Baxter has owned and operated her practice since 1996. Gary Baxter (MS ’88) resigned as a faculty member at the Colorado State University veterinary teaching hospital to become the hospital director at the vet school at UGA. Rebecca Babcock (BSA ’94, DVM ’98) and Karen Donovan (DVM ’04) opened Red Barn Veterinary Hospital, a fully computerized veterinary hospital that focuses on quality medicine and surgery in Dahlonega. Amy Belew (DVM ’99) of Marietta is Cobb County Animal Control’s first full-time veterinarian. The county commissioners approved the new position in February, and Belew started in June. Karen Donovan (DVM ’04) and Rebecca Babcock (BSA ’94, DVM ’98) opened Red Barn Veterinary Hospital, a fully computerized veterinary hospital that focuses on quality medicine and surgery in Dahlonega.