Editor’s Note: The following class notes reflect news about Ball State alumni that was received and processed during the Spring 2022 semester and published in our Summer 2022 print issue of Ball State University Alumni magazine.
Reunited 50 Years Later
The R. Wayne Estopinal College of Architecture and Planning celebrated the 50th anniversary of its first graduating class from the college. Delayed a year by the pandemic, 15 of the 34 1971 graduates (pictured here) were able to visit Ball State for three days in April. The group toured the building and campus, had dinner with President Geoffrey S. Mearns, gave presentations, listened to thesis presentations from current students, and reconnected with each other and the college.
Gary Crask, ’67, Bloomington, Ind., is the co-writer/producer/director and actor for Spirits of St. Paul. The film depicts the gangster era in St. Paul, Minn., in the 1920s and 30s and won three film festival awards. Spirits of St. Paul can be streamed on Amazon Prime. Mr. Crask also has several books to his credit.
Michael Holtz, ’71, Boulder, Colo., was awarded the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning 2022 Distinguished Alumnus Award for his contributions in the fields of energy, renewable energy, and sustainable architectural design and research. Mr. Holtz also received the 1983 Distinguished Alumni Award from Ball State and the 2001 Distinguished Alumnus Award from the R. Wayne Estopinal College of Architecture and Planning. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and a Fellow of the American Solar Energy Society.
Peter J Nye, ’72, Kirksville, Mo., published a feature in the Winter issue of Humanities Magazine titled, “The Fastest Man on Two Wheels: Meet Major Taylor, the Trailblazing International Superstar of Cycling.” The article highlights Major Taylor, an Indianapolis native, a pioneer Black athlete in professional sports, who won three national cycling championships in the late 1980s.
Lifelong Muncie resident Carl Kizer Jr., ’73, in January was presented with the 2022 Muncie-Delaware County Chamber of Commerce Legacy Award. Mr. Kizer, owner of Kizer’s Carpet Care, was recognized for his extraordinary, sustained, and positive contributions to the Muncie-Delaware County community at large.
Gary F. Scharnhorst, MA ’73, Albuquerque, N.M., published The Life of Mark Twain: The Final Years 1891-1910. This publication is the last of a three-volume biography series that chronicles the life of Samuel Clemens. Mr. Scharnhorst is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of New Mexico. He is the author or editor of more than 50 books to date.
Robert Joseph “Joe” Barr, ’74, Tijeras, N.M., and his wife, Marilyn, ’67, founded and have grown a business called Desert Plastics. Among their product lines is Wild Life Toy Box, the largest manufacturer of animal enrichment toys in the United States. Their products are sold mainly to zoos and wildlife sanctuaries.
Timothy J. Treon, ’74, Hilton Head, S.C., is an avid runner, winning multiple awards in track for his state, the United States, and was even world-ranked from 2016 to 2020. In 2022, Mr. Treon achieved All-American status in four events.
They say the friends you make in college are the ones you keep for a lifetime. This saying certainly holds true for John “Tim” English, ’72, Fishers, Ind.; Doug Jarrett, ’72, Muncie, Mark Miller, ’72, Bluffton, Ind.; Steve Wagner, ’73, Littleton, Colo.; and Dean Eshelman, ’74, Kokomo, Ind. The “Ball State Gang,” who met in Williams Hall, celebrated their first New Year’s together in 1972 and have continued that tradition ever since. This year made their 50th year, except for Mr. Eshelman, who passed in 2016; his wife Jennifer carries on the practice. They all made sure to sport their Ball State gear. They are pictured with their wives: Anne Wagner, Jennifer Eshleman, Anita English, Kathy Miller, and Joyce Jarrett.
Jay R. Puckett, ’85, Brownsburg, Ind., was promoted to Senior Vice President and Senior Lending Officer for Hendricks County Bank and Trust Company. Mr. Puckett joined the bank in 2018 and has more than 35 years of lending experience.
Tracy A. Dunn, ’87, Parrish, Fla., retired after 33 years working in the federal government for the uniformed corps, NOAA. This agency investigates violations of living marine resource laws and regulations.
Blake A. Blanch, ’94, Carmel, Ind., was named Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Kittle Property Group, Inc. His new role oversees all of the company’s finance, compliance, and information technology departments.
Charles S. Smith, ’94, Indianapolis, was appointed to the Defense Trial Counsel of the Indiana Board of Directors. Mr. Smith is a Schultz & Pogue, LLP partner specializing in personal injury defense, insurance coverage, product liability, and construction litigation.
Elizabeth Rowray, ’96, is the new President and CEO of the Muncie-Delaware County Chamber of Commerce and the Chief Economic Development Officer of the Delaware Advancement Corporation. Ms. Rowray also represents District 35 of the Indiana House of Representatives.
Chantel M. Sparks, ’96, Bargersville, Ind., started her journey at Indiana Members Credit Union in 1993. Ms. Sparks held various positions within the organization and was recently promoted to vice president of human resources.
Kristina S. Ball, AA ’00, released her third book titled, Screaming in Autopilot, a collection of poetry exploring childhood trauma, heartache, alcoholism, and recovery. She has also penned two children’s books.
Amy Brin, ’00, was appointed to the National Institutes of Health’s National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council. She is the executive director and CEO of the Child Neurology Foundation. Ms. Brin is a board-certified pediatric advanced practice nurse and a published author and a public speaker. “My time at Ball State remains one of my most fruitful life experiences,” said Ms. Brin, who earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Communications.
Michael A. Guillen, ’00, Monroe, N.Y., was promoted to Art Director of News Features at the New York Post. Mr. Guillen has been with the publication since 2011 as a senior features designer.
Cecily Fox, ’08, Noblesville, Ind.; Naomi Leeman, ’08, Solomons, Md.; and Josh Perkins, ’08, Muncie, Landscape Architecture majors from the class of 2008, have all started businesses in landscape design. Ms. Fox designs and produces fresh-cut floral arrangements for Sweet Peas Flower Farm. Perkins’ endeavor, Plant Studio Landscape, focuses on residential and commercial landscaping. Leeman and her husband, Brad, brought to the market a playset (SwingSesh) that seamlessly combines a home gym with a playground to allow adults to work out while the kids play.
Lindsey Martin Ford, ’08 MS ’11, Brevard, N.C., is the lead registered dietitian at Skyterra Wellness Retreat in Brevard, where she works alongside three other Ball State graduates near the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Alexander M. Beeman, ’09 MS ’11, Anderson, Ind., was elevated to shareholder status at Reminger, Co., LPA. Mr. Beeman works out of the Indianapolis office, focusing on general liability litigation, worker’s compensation, insurance/bad faith liability, trucking and transportation, and probate.
Karen L. Fisher, MAR ’12, Fort Wayne, Ind., was made partner at Barton-Coe-Vilamaa Architects & Engineers.
Former law clerk Payne R. Horning, ’15, Marcellus, N.Y., was named an associate at Barclay Damon after being admitted to the New York State Bar. Mr. Horning will be working out of their Syracuse office.
Ashley VanSickle, MAE ’18, Loves Park, Ill., was one of five awarded the prestigious Golden Apple Award that recognizes teachers for making a difference in their communities and their commitment to educational excellence. VanSickle teaches seventh and eighth grade Social Studies at Harlem Middle School in Loves Park.
Walker Humphrey, ’22, Muncie, will celebrate the publication of his first book, He Never Complained: Stories of an Everyday Man, this Summer from MT Publishing. He will pursue his master’s degree in Library Science this Fall.
Alumnus Elected NAEPB President
How does Jeffrey Mittman represent Ball State University’s enduring value of social responsibility? A prime example is his recent election as president of the National Association for the Employment for People Who Are Blind (NAEPB).
Mr. Mittman, MA ’11 MBA ’13, the president and CEO of Bosma Enterprises in Indianapolis, feels an obligation to strengthen and maximize opportunities for people who are blind or visually impaired.
“These opportunities are within the areas of public policy, business relations, and employment,” Mr. Mittman said. Communities are then impacted when these individuals can participate within their neighborhoods and make financial contributions, he added.
Mr. Mittman said his time as a Ball State student provided him with a sound foundation for his professional and organizational obligations. He earned a Master of Art in Executive Development for Public Service and a Master of Business Administration, sharpening his skills in business operations, strategic planning, and finance.
Mr. Mittman said his favorite Ball State class was statistics, because he loved the variety of stories that could be told with numbers. Now he’s helping shape others’ stories by influencing the policies and actions that affect the employment of people who are blind or visually impaired.