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Alumni Notes: Spring 2015


Don Nutt, BA ’50, and Ruth Ann (Yocum) Nutt, ’50, served as grand marshals of the Festival of Lights Parade on Dec. 6 in Baldwin City.


David Balke, AB ’71, was recognized on the 2014-2015 Assembly Wall of Honor by the Inter-agency Assessment Assembly for his voluntary and advisory service toward the open source reporting and commentary on national issues and concerns. He was the sole inductee and was recognized on the 10-year mark of his retirement from federal service. Balke received post-graduate certifications from government contracted facilities, universities and colleges in the St. Louis and Washington, D.C. areas. He is the author of many guides, including “Ode to a Chair,” and “Cowboys and Christians in Chaos,” which are still used in selected training sessions. The induction ceremony is scheduled for this spring.

Connie (Fothergill) Deel, ’79, MLA ’98, is the chief human resources officer at Baker University. She recently was honored for 20 years of service to Baker.

Cheryl Brown Henderson, ’72, was the featured speaker at the Albany State University Martin Luther King Jr. convocation in January. She was one of the plaintiffs in the historic Supreme Court ruling in Brown vs. the Board of Education.

Gary Irick, BS ’79, is an associate professor and chair of the business and economics department at Baker. He was recently honored for 25 years of service.

Fred Wightman, AB ’70, and his wife, Randi Wightman, BS ’71, were recently inducted into the Tulsa (Okla.) Historical Society’s Hall of Fame.


Phil Hannon, BS ’86, is the head baseball coach at Baker University. He was recently honored for 15 years of service at Baker.


David Albright, MBA ’99, is a financial operations analyst for the Boeing Co. and lives in San Antonio.

Mary Larson Diaz, MSM ’96, is a research executive at Mulberry South in Leawood, Kan.

Darryl Forte, MSM ’97, was named the Kansas City Star’s area newsmaker of the year for 2014. He is the Kansas City (Mo.) police chief.

Bryan Harris, BS ’93, is a golf professional at Rheinblick Golf Course in Germany.

Cody Howard, BA ’97, is the communications coordinator for the University of Kansas School of Engineering in Lawrence, Kan. He and his wife, Christine Metz Howard, welcomed their first daughter, Julia Rose, to their family on Jan. 18, 2015.

Stacie (Ervin) Prosser, BA ’92, is the new publisher of the Kansas City Business Journal, where she has worked for 18 years. She had been the advertising director since 2012.

Pat Richard, BS ’91, is the head football coach at Oak Grove (Mo.) High School, which won the Missouri Class 3 state football championship in the fall. He was recognized as the Time Warner Cable SportsChannel Missouri Coach of the Year for his efforts.

Robert Villafranca, BA ’95, works for the Texas Department of Public Safety and lives in Mission, Texas.

Jeff Sims, BS ’95, MLA ’98, is the head football coach at Garden City (Kan.) Community College. He previously was the director of player personnel at the University of Indiana.


Adam Barry, BS ’09, is a business analyst at Amobee and lives in San Diego.

Melissa Berry, BS ’05, is a data scientist for The College Board and lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Jason Bessey, BS ’03, and his wife, Lauren, have joined the hospital and family medicine practice of Family Health Specialists of Lee’s Summit, Mo. He received his medical degree from Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences and completed his family medicine residency at Goppert Trinity.

Jon Boyd, BS ’00, is the resident refuge manager at the Baker Wetlands. He was recently honored for 10 years of service at Baker.

William Gladhart, MBA ’09, owns Will Gladhart Consulting LLC, which provides cloud-based, video e-learning workforce training solutions and digital media marketing services to businesses in the Kansas City area and nationally, including Pfizer, Hillyard, Morton Salt, Merck, Anheuser-Busch and Pepsi.

Barkley Hoover, BSN ’04, is a registered nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu.

Sarah Kettler, BA ’09, is a compliance coordinator at Kansas Virtual Academy in Olathe, Kan.

Paul McQuiston, BA ’05, is the communications manager for Cambridge in America and lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Jon Michaels, MBA ’09, is the general sales manager at For Rent Media Solutions and lives in Louisville, Ky.

Matt Mills, BS ’08, MBA ’12, is the director of finance for Baker University’s School of Professional and Graduate Studies and School of Education and director of internal audit. He was recently honored for five years of service at Baker.

Anthony Nguyen, BS ’04, is an assistant women’s tennis coach at Purdue University. He previously was the men’s and women’s tennis coach at Niagara, where he was the first coach in the conference to win both the men’s and women’s tennis coach of the year awards.

Britt (Strick) Sherer, BS ’07, teaches social studies at Shawnee Mission North High School in Overland Park, Kan. She is the varsity assistant girls soccer coach and the junior varsity boys soccer coach at Shawnee Mission East High School. She and her husband, Brandon, welcomed their first son, Joey, to the family on Dec. 26, 2013.

Dana Smith, MAEd ’07, is a preschool teacher at Puls Elementary School in Attica, Kan.

Linda Sutton, MBA ’94, has retired as director of student activities at Kansas City Kansas Community College. She had been at KCKCC since 1984, starting in the business office.

Charisse Symmonds, ’05, is a general practitioner in internal medicine and is a doctor at Internal Medicine Associates of Ottawa (Kan.). She earned her doctorate in medicine from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences.

Bob Turner, MSSL ’03, is the principal at Central Elementary School in Lyons, Kan.

Autumn Wilgers, BSN ’04, is certified with the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and is a health-care provider at McPherson (Kan.) Hospital. Wilgers has experience as an emergency room nurse and in a family practice setting, specializing in preventive care and health maintenance as well as pediatrics and managing diabetes.

Kirbee Yost, BA ’09, is an attorney for the Denver Probate Court and lives in Denver.


Stacy Bennett, MBA ’10, has joined Commerce Bank in St. Joseph, Mo., as a business banking representative in commercial lending. He has more than 17 years of lending experience.

Mack Brown, BS ’10, is the special teams coordinator and tight ends coach at Missouri State.

Erin Carlile, BSN ’07, has joined the Flint Hills Community Health Center in Emporia, Kan., as a nurse practitioner.

Dustin Cates, MSSL ’10, is the artistic director for the Heartland Men’s Chorus in Kansas City, Mo.

Chase Coburn, BS ’05, MSM ’10, works in Lenexa, Kan., for PRA Health Sciences, compiling audits to ensure pharmaceutical research is conducted following government guidelines. He also is a volunteer fireman in Baldwin City, Kan.

Jenny Deneault, MAEd ’14, is a third-grade teacher at Soderstrom Elementary School in Lindsborg, Kan.

Evan Durnal, BS ’05, is a senior chemist at MRIGlobal in Kansas City, Mo. He recently co-founded, a comprehensive database designed to allow scientists, first responders and others to quickly research and choose equipment to be used for the detection and identification of chemical, biological, radiological and explosive threats.

Haley Epperson, BS ’13, teaches fourth grade at Spring Hill (Kan.) Elementary School. She received the district’s Horizon Award for first-year teaching excellence. Only 32 educators from across the state earn this distinction, including 16 secondary teachers.

Casey Gleue, BS ’12, is a medical student at the University of Kansas School of Medicine.

Meredith Hodges, BS ’12, is the study abroad advisor at Emporia (Kan.) State University, where she is a dual master’s candidate in art therapy counseling and clinical counseling. She has traveled to Canada to recruit prospective students, had interned abroad in the Bahamas at the Bahamas Association for the Physically Disabled. She plans to study abroad in Italy this summer.

Sherece Huddlin, BS ’14, is a first-grade teacher at Randolph Elementary School in Topeka, Kan.

Todd Johnston, BA ’14, is an assistant basketball coach at Missouri Southern in Joplin, Mo.

Adam Kenne, BS ’10, is the business development manager at Marathon Solutions Inc.

Kayla S. Kohn, BS ’14, recently graduated from the Basic Air Force Photojournalist Course at the Defense Information School in Fort George G. Mead, Md. The course trains selected enlisted personnel in the principles, techniques and skills required to perform the duties and functions of public affairs specialists.

Breezy Mangan, BSN ’11, married Derek LaForge Sept. 6, 2014, in Independence, Mo. She is a pediatric psychiatric nurse at Crittenton Children’s Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Kayla Morse, BSN ’14, is the health-care liaison nurse at Brookdale Shawnee in Shawnee, Kan.

Stephanie Nelson, BS ’14, is a residential counselor at Family Resources Inc.

John Phillipp, BBA ’04, MBA ’10, was recently named chief executive officer at the Shoshone-Bannock Gaming Operation, and Hotel and Event Center in Fort Hall, Idaho.

Gentry Sauder, MAEd ’13, and Scott Peltier, MAEd ’09, were married Nov. 1, in Wichita, Kan. Gentry is a sixth-grade English teacher in Andover, Kan., and Scott is a seventh- and eighth-grade science teacher in Haysville, Kan.

Marci Solander, MBA ’14, is the executive officer for the Kansas National Guard.

Ashley Srna, BSN ’14, is a registered nurse at Mercy Regional Health Center in Manhattan, Kan.

Donald Stith, BBM ’12, has joined CBE Companies as director of operations. He was previously at Sheridan Healthcorp.

Tige Stone, MSSL ’10, and Jennifer Taylor were married July 12, 2014, in Wichita, Kan. Tige is the principal of Colwich Elementary School in Wichita.

Garrett Walke BBA ’10, has joined Brookridge Golf and Fitness in Overland Park, Kan., as the head golf professional.

Justin Whittaker, BA ’10, is a professional improvisational comedian working in the Kansas City area.

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