Ball State University hosted its annual Alumni & Benefactors Recognition Dinner on Oct. 21 at the Scheumann Indoor Practice Facility. The event was a wonderful opportunity for the University to celebrate its alumni, donors, and friends for their generosity and devotion. “Your achievements and your philanthropic investments are another demonstration of what makes our University distinctive,” Ball State President Geoffrey S. Mearns told the crowd that night. “You personify what makes our University so very special.” Editor’s Note: The following class notes reflect news about Ball State alumni that were received and processed during the Fall 2022 semester and published in our Spring 2023 print issue of Ball State University Alumni magazine.
Ball State University hosted its annual Alumni & Benefactors Recognition Dinner on Oct. 21 at the Scheumann Indoor Practice Facility. The event was a wonderful opportunity for the University to celebrate its alumni, donors, and friends for their generosity and devotion. “Your achievements and your philanthropic investments are another demonstration of what makes our University distinctive,” Ball State President Geoffrey S. Mearns told the crowd that night. “You personify what makes our University so very special.”
Editor’s Note: The following class notes reflect news about Ball State alumni that were received and processed during the Fall 2022 semester and published in our Spring 2023 print issue of Ball State University Alumni magazine.
Following their respective graduations, Gloria McCarthy Woolley, ’53, of Napa, Calif., and Chella Heaton Gonsalves, ’56, of Modesto, Calif., both relocated to California to work as art teachers at Modesto High School, where they both taught for many years. Since they first connected as sorority sisters at Ball State, they have worked as successful professional artists and remained close friends.
Norman Ross, ’62, Goshen, Ind., authored the best-selling book “Saints or Quacks” on the chiropractic profession. He was nearing the completion of his second book, “Chasing Squirrels,” about the notable Wilk vs. AMA trials of 1987, when he passed away in 2022.
Roy A. Weaver, ’68 MAE ’71, Muncie, co-authored “Running Against the Grain: The Story of Philadelphia Eagle and Movie Star Timmy Brown.” Dr. Weaver retired in 2020 as interim dean of Teachers College at Ball State. In 2021, he received the Teachers College Career Achievement Award and the Ball State University Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award.
Ralph Stuckman, EDD ’70, Celina, Ohio, designed artworks to be displayed in the Paradigm Gallery within the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. His works include resins and alcohol inks with unusual shapes. Mr. Stuckman was an educator working in a public school as superintendent and professor at Wright State University-Lake Campus. Art has been a passion for many years, and he recently stepped down as chairman of the Lake Area Arts Group.
Raymond Roberson, MA ’73, Houston, published “Presidential Maxims: Excellence in Leadership (Volume 1).” The work contains information about the first 19 Presidents of the United States and their life experiences. The book aims to shed light on the division of the United States and the contributions of presidential leadership in hopes of bringing about change in communities and the country.
Shiela R. Rawlins Snider, ’74 BAR ’74, Franklin, Ind., is the first woman to graduate from Ball State University’s School of Architecture and the first Indiana woman to be elevated to Fellow by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). She continues her streak of many firsts by being the first woman to be honored with the Gold Medal Award for the AIA.
Jerry Cook, ’77, and Linda Cook, ’78, The Villages, Fla., accidentally found a nationwide audience with their YouTube channel, “The Villages Florida Newcomers”—which they created to keep their three military sons informed of their retirement adventures. They now have over 50,000 subscribers and 11 million views of their videos chronicling their day trips, biking, kayaking, fishing, crafts, and more. The Cooks taught in public schools in Indiana for over 30 years before their retirement.
Gary Vance, ’77 BAR ’77, Carmel, Ind., received an American Institute of Architects (AIA) Indiana Design Award for his children’s book series “Kid Architect.” This series is also the subject of a Ball State University Immersive Learning project involving students in the Emerging Media Design and Development graduate program.
Ron Fisher, ’79 BAR ’79, Indianapolis, received the Edward D. Pierre Award for his impact over his career, including strategic planning, master planning, engineering, and architectural projects at Indianapolis Public Schools. The award is named for architect Edward D. Pierre, a crusader for the welfare of children, decent housing for all, and progressive urban planning. Mr. Fisher is principal and chief operations officer at Schmidt Associates. He was on the design team for the NCAA Headquarters and Hall of Champions and worked on five different residence hall projects at Ball State.
Scott Poland, ’81, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received the American Psychological Association Division 16 School Psychology Career Award. He is the author of six books and numerous chapters on school crises and suicide prevention. Currently, he is a professor and director of the Suicide and Violence Prevention Office at Nova Southeastern University.
Shawn Wright-Browner, ’86, Indianapolis, was honored with the Tom Paul Outstanding Director of the Year Award during the Indiana Association of Career and Technical Education Districts (IACTED) State Conference. The award honors exemplary career and technical education (CTE) administrators for their knowledge, leadership, and commitment to the CTE field. Ms. Wright-Browner is the director of the J. Everett Light Career Center in Indianapolis.
Lori Goss-Reaves, ’88, Indianapolis, a licensed clinical social worker and professor at Indiana Wesleyan University, published “Kiss Lori for Me: A Vietnam Corpsman’s Sacrifice, His Widow’s Undying Love, and Their Daughter’s Quest to Find the Truth.” The best-selling book about loss and grief gathers the oral histories of four men who served with Dr. Goss-Reaves’ father, who was killed in Vietnam.
Bryan Keller, ’90, Defiance, Ohio, of Keller Logistics Group, was announced as a regional winner of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award. A panel of independent judges selected Mr. Keller on entrepreneurial spirit, purpose, growth, and impact of their work.
Robert A. DiDonato, ’93, Hartland, Wis., a private wealth advisor with Ameriprise Financial in Brookfield, Wis., was named to the list of “Best-in-State Wealth Advisors” published by Forbes magazine. The list recognizes financial advisors who have demonstrated high ethical standards, professionalism, and success in the business.
Jeffrey A. Echols, ’93 BAR ‘93, Indianapolis, is the host of “Context & Clarity,” a daily Facebook LIVE conversation that supports a community of small firm architects. Over the last two years, it has grown to include a daily Clubhouse room, a podcast, and a weekly simulcast that streams out to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitch, Twitter, and YouTube, and has featured guests such as author and social commentator Roxane Gay and Robert Ivy, CEO of the American Institute of Architects. Mr. Echols also teaches at CAP: Indy.
James A. “Andy” Pierce, ’93, Chicago, was named coordinator of underwriting sales for WDCB 90.9 FM Radio, Chicago’s home for jazz and blues. He guides the station’s initiatives to help local arts organizations and the business community access public radio to engage larger audiences.
Heidi B. Spahn, ’94, Pittsboro, Ind., was selected to receive the Honorary American FFA Degree, the Future Farmers of America’s highest honor. This award is given to individuals that advance the agricultural education of youths. Ms. Spahn received the award along with a plaque and a medal during the annual FFA Convention and Expo.
David J. Ulbrich, MA ’96, Montpelier, Vt., was published in an anthology of papers from a history conference held in Singapore in 2019 called “From Far East to Asia Pacific: Great Powers and Grand Strategy, 1900-1954.”
Mr. Ulbrich is a professor of American history at Norwich University.
In addition to being a therapist in Los Angeles specializing in anxiety, depression, self-esteem, and mindfulness, Kavita K. Ajmere, MA ’96 MA ’00, Studio City, Calif., is a co-host of the podcast “Dear Katie: Survivor Stories,” in which host, Katie Koestner and her guests discuss sexual violence and the journey from trauma to healing.
Eric B. Yazel, MA ’99, Borden, Ind., was named chief medical director for Indiana Emergency Medical Services (EMS) by Indiana Department of Homeland Security executive director Steve Cox. Dr. Yazel is also an emergency room doctor, chief medical officer at LifeSpring Health Systems University, and a member of the addiction resources and education group Clark County Cares.
Marta Stephens, ’01, Muncie, a longtime member of the Muncie Arts Guild (MAG), assisted in creating and publishing “Through Artists’ Eyes: Celebrating 70 Years with the Muncie Artists Guild.” The book highlights MAG members—many of whom are Ball State alums or retired faculty/staff—their artwork, and the group’s involvement in the Community. The group created and donated a mural of Beneficence on display in the Atrium of the Art and Journalism building, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the University.
Jason E. Guinn, ’02, Frisco, Texas, published a new novel, “The Wretched,” the first of a series titled “Lucifer Chronicles,” which is described as a dark interpretation of the mythology of Heaven and Hell.
Brian Brueggeman, ’03, Fort Wayne, Ind., was promoted to partner in audit assurance services at Crowe LLP, one of the largest accounting, consulting, and technology firms in the U.S. He has been with the firm for over 19 years and is based out of the Fort Wayne office.
Kionna L. Walker, ’06, Indianapolis, associate architect at Meticulous Design + Architecture and founder of Next Great Architects, a teaching studio that introduces architecture to children as early as kindergarten, received the Walter S. Blackburn Award from the American Institute of Architects Indiana (AIA). The Walker S. Blackburn Award, named in memory of another 2006 Ball State graduate, honors architects devoted to giving back to their communities.
Hoosier Films co-founder and CEO Meredith McGriff, ’07 BFA ’07, Bloomington, Ind., piloted a new program bringing Indiana films to theaters across the state. Each month, Hoosier Films will provide a feature film or collection of short films to be screened at participating venues. So far, six Indiana theaters have signed up to participate in this monthly series, including Kan-Kan Cinema & Brasserie in Indianapolis; Fort Wayne Cinema Center in Fort Wayne; Strand Theatre in Shelbyville; WNIN Old National Public Theatre in Evansville; Historic Tivoli Theatre in Spencer; and Goshen Theater in Goshen.
Bryant Haines, ’09, Harrisonburg, Va., was promoted to defensive coordinator/linebackers coach for the James Madison University football program. At Ball State, Mr. Haines was an All-Mid-American Conference (MAC) performer at linebacker and was on the watch list for the Dick Butkus Award in 2008, presented yearly to the nation’s most outstanding linebacker.
Andrew P. Quinn, ’10, Anderson, Ind., and Joseph Vella, MA ’12, Indianapolis, founded Bayonet Media and are celebrating its 10th year. The successful visual storytelling and content creation firm has worked with national and regional clients such as Maker’s Mark, Speedway, Food Network, First National Bank, and many others.
Kalyn A. Long, ’11, Zionsville, Ind., joined Borshoff, an award-winning creative and PR agency, as account director. Ms. Long serves as the PR account lead for client accounts, creates strategic communications plans, and provides senior PR and crisis communications counsel.
Drew Morden, ’12, Kingsburg, Calif., is the head brewmaster at AL. Ringling Brewing Co. Making use of his biochemistry degree, Mr. Morden is exceptionally skilled in developing enzymes. Inspired by his mother, who has Celiac disease, Mr. Morden adds a gluten-removing enzyme to every beer he develops.
Ashley Thornberry, ’13 MAR ’15, Indianapolis, was awarded the Tony Costello Young Architect Award from the American Institute of Architects Indiana (AIA). This award, named after the Irving Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Architecture at Ball State, was created to recognize proficiency and exceptional accomplishments in the profession by a licensed architect who has been a member in good standing of AIA Indiana for a minimum of three years and is 40 years or younger. Ms. Thornbury is a project architect at StudioAxis.
Annaelise “Annie” M. Vest, MA ’13, Owasso, Okla., was appointed by the firm Freese and Nichols to lead its hazard mitigation and disaster recovery planning services and to support clients in identifying and pursuing mitigation funding solutions through her in-depth knowledge of FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, Building Resilient Infrastructure, Communities, and Flood Mitigation Assistance programs.
Christian Okitondo, MA ’17, Athens, Ga., published a motivational memoir, “The Champion in You,” relating his life in the Congo, his journey to Ball State, to where he is today, in the Ph.D. program in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Georgia.
The National Hemophilia Foundation has welcomed two Ball State graduates to its staff—Riley Breen, ’18, Abington, Md., and Chloe Fellwock, ’22, Indianapolis. As a development specialist, Ms. Breen focuses on strategy and logistics for major nationwide fundraising events. Ms. Fellwock works as a communications assistant, assisting the patient advocacy organization in raising awareness for inheritable blood and bleeding disorders. Both have sought careers in the nonprofit space thanks to a passion for service, community, and giving back to others.
Sophie J. Sergi, ’22, Fishers, Ind., joined The Sergi Group at RE/MAX At the Crossing in Indianapolis. The Sergi Group has over 30 years of residential real estate experience.