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VCU and the School of Education 
lead the way with groundbreaking 
programs designed to help future 
teachers thrive 


rjg^g,* r 

After graduating more than 5'6oo 
students in 2007 — with crowds filling the Alltel Pavilion at the 
Virginia Commonwealth University Stuart C. Siegel Center 
in December and the Richmond Coliseum in May — VCU set 
an enrollment record for the 2007-08 academic year when it 
welcomed more than 31,000 students to campus. The number 
includes the largest freshman class in university history — 3,850 
undergraduates — and I.IOO international students. 




^ vZJ I L\3 

8 > Nurturing the next generation 

Innovative teacher-training programs designed to 
prepare future educators make the grade at Virginia 
Commonwealth University's School of Education. 

14 > First Fridays 

In seven years, this festive arts event has revitalized 
downtown Richmond, Va., with VCU students 
and alumni enjoying the results. 

l8 > For the love of VCU 

For School of Business alumni Tom and Vickie Snead, 
co -chairs of the recently completed Campaign for 
VCU, all roads lead back to their alma mater. 

22 > Alumni Stars 

VCU honors alumni for their professional success 
and humanitarian, university and community service 


2 > Circa 

Student enrollment: 2008. 

5 > University news 

Noteworthy news and research at VCU. 

20 > The big picture 

VCU opens the Monroe Park Campus Addition 
for classes. 

24 > Face to face 

VCU icon Grace E. Harris, Ph.D., reflects on her 
university career. 

25 > My college town 

After 80 years, Richmonders continue to embrace 
the Byrd Theatre's unique character. 

26 > Alumni connections 

The latest news from the alumni association. 

30 > Class notes 

Updates from alumni, faculty, staff and friends. 

37 > Then and now 

VCU expands its dining options to satisfy 
the growing student population. 

38 > Datebook 

Upcoming university and alumni events. 

39 > Circa 

Student enrollment: 1947- 

Why join your VCU alumni association? 

Since arriving in January, each day brings 
new discoveries about the critical role Virginia 
Commonwealth University plays in education and 
economic development, locally and globally. While 
I was aware of our reputation as a transformational 
university, conversations with students, alumni and 
faculty have helped me understand even more about 
the history, depth and breadth of the university's 
impact and contributions. 

The most frequent question I am asked is, "Why did 
you join VCU?" I am sharing my response with you in 
hopes that it might prompt you to reflect on your 
decision to be an active, dues-paying member of one 
of our alumni associations, or (in the unfortunate 
case that you have not yet joined or have allowed your 
membership to lapse) consider how you may choose 
to contribute your talent, passion and commitment 
as an alumni association member. 

So. why did I join VCU? 

■ To support higher education. I believe that higher education is the key that unlocks doors 
to opportunities. This is particularly true at VCU where many students are the first in their 
families to receive college degrees. I view higher education as a means to address society s 
greatest challenges rather than as a competing resource priority. 

■ To grow, intellectually and culturally, by partnering with other volunteers and staff in a focused, 
positive alumni environment. 

• To contribute to a responsive and effective alumni program that reflects the quality and value 
of our alumni and university. 

To invest my cognitive, temporal and financial resources in support of alumni and the future 
of a great university. 

■ To explore the many opportunities for alumni programs to have a positive impact on and 
make a positive contribution to others' lives. 

Active, dues-paying members of our alumni associations have the opportunity to share and realize 
these goals through their support and participation. I invite you to join us. 

I feel privileged and honored to be offered the chance to join the VCU family and look forward 
to trying to add value to your alumni programs as your alumni executive. 

Yours for VCU. 

Gordon A. McDougall 

Assistant Vice President. University Alumni Relations 

P.S. 1 look forward to meeting you and hearing your thoughts and ideas about your alumni 
program. In the meantime, please feel free to contact me if I maybe of any assistance. Go Rams! 

On the cover 

1 Cover and feature story illustrations 

1 for "Nurturing the Next Generation" 

J by Katie McBride (B.F.A. '04/A) 

Spring 2008 • Volume 13, Number 2 

www.vcu-mcvalurani. or ff 

Assistant Vice President. 
University Alumni Relations 

Gordon A. McDougall 

Executive Director, 

VCU Alumni Association 

Diane Stout-Brown (B.S.W. '8o/SW) 


Kristen Caldwell (B.S. '94./MC) 

Trina Lambert 

Linda George 


£cfrYor/&/:Jennifer Carmean (B.S. '98/H&S). 
Kelli Craig, Teri Dunnivant, Erin Egan, 
Polly Roberts, Melanie Irvin Solaimani 
(B.S. '96/MC), Kim Witt 

Design: Pamela Arnold (B.F.A. '87/A), Nathan 
Hanger (B.S. 'Ol/MC), Haley Hollenbach 
(B.FA. '01/A), Katie McBride (B.F.A. '04./A), 
Matthew Phillips (M.F.A. '87/A), Shannon 

Photography: VCU Libraries — Special 
Collections and Archives, Allen Jones 
(B.F.A. '82/A; M.F.A. '92/A), Tom Kojcsich, 
Matthew Phillips (M.F.A. '87/A), Jennifer 

Production: Jessica Foster 

Shafer Court Connections is published 
semiannually by the Office of Alumni Relations 
and VCU Creative Services for Virginia 
Commonwealth University's alumni, faculty, 
staff and friends. Opinions expressed in this 
magazine do not necessarily represent those 
of the university or magazine staff. 

Send address changes to the Office of Alumni 
Relations, Virginia Commonwealth University, 
924 W. Franklin St., P.O. Box 843044, 
Richmond, VA 23284-3044; telephone 
(804) 828-2586-, 

Letters to the editor should be sent to Shafer 
Court Connections. Virginia Commonwealth 
University, 827 W. Franklin St.. P.O. Box 
842041, Richmond, VA23284-2041, ore-mail Please include your 
name, address and a daytime phone number; 
anonymous letters will not be published. Letters 
may be edited for clarity or space. 

Contributions of articles, photos and 
artwork are welcome; however. Shafer Court 
Connections accepts no responsibility for 
unsolicited items. 

© 2008, Virginia Commonwealth University. 
An equal opportunity, affirmative action university. 071005-02 

4 I VCU Shafer Court Connections 

University news 

News, research and administrative 
changes at Virginia Commonwealth 
University. For the latest updates, 
visit the Web at 

VCU Jazz Orchestra makes history 

Antonio Garcia saw something special 
in this year's VCU Jazz Orchestra I. Garcia, 
the director of VCU Jazz Studies, wasn't the 
only one. 

The l8-member big-band group joined 
29 other organizations from around the 
world in performing at the 6lst annual 
Midwest Clinic, held Dec. l8-22, 2007, in 
Chicago. The Jazz Orchestra I becomes the 
first VCU student ensemble selected for the 
international band and orchestra conference 
and the first university jazz band in Virginia 
ever slated to perform. 

For the first time in his 20-year teaching 
career, Garcia submitted music from a univer- 
sity group to the clinics selection committee. 
The return of nearly all the members of the 
2006 Jazz Orchestra I and a strong incoming 
freshman class influenced his decision. 

"I knew what we were up against and I felt 
like this was the year to do it, " Garcia says. "The 
band is at a real peak and the challenge is to con- 
tinue to rise. 

In addition to the live performance, which 
drew a crowd of I.OOO, the Midwest Clinic's 
Web site will broadcast excerpts from the per- 
formance for the following year. Hear two VCU 
Jazz selections at 
/jazz_archive.asp # virginia. 

Trip abroad expands partnerships 

In November, VCU President Eugene P. 
Trani, Ph.D., returned from meetings with 
four universities in England and Russia with 
strengthened partnerships. 

In England, VCU signed a formal partner- 
ship agreement with Harris Manchester College 
of the University of Oxford. 

During meetings at Moscow State University, 
VCU's relationship was expanded from programs 
between the VCU L. Douglas Wilder School for 
Government and Public Affairs and Moscow 
State's Department of Political History to the rest 
of Moscow State University, including medicine 
and history. The trip also resulted in plans to 
establish a partnership between Clare College, 
Cambridge University and VCU's Wilder School. 

VCU's partnerships have been established to 
internationalize VCU's campuses and include 
universities in Qatar, India, Mexico, England, 
Russia, China, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Ireland, 
Australia and South Africa. 

Engineering adds new M.S. track 

In response to a growing interest in nuclear 
energy for future electrical production, the 
VCU School of Engineering has added a 
nuclear engineering track to its master's degree 

The program, which started in the fall of 
2007. already enrolls 25 students and has been 
sponsored by Dominion. Students will earn a 
non-thesis Master of Science in Engineering 
with a nuclear engineering track. 

Nuclear power accounts for about 20 percent 
of the electricity produced in the U.S., and there 
is a renewed global interest in such a source 
of energy, according to Dominion. 

The nuclear engineering track will provide 
the nuclear industry with a new generation 
of nuclear engineers to support this demand. 

Students make a cliff 


in Africa 

Last November, the VCU community raised 
nearly $50,000 to help build a child development 
center for the children of Ghana. Organized and 
coordinated by Chris Burnside, former assistant 
dean of student affairs in VCU's School of the Arts, 

benefit and cel- 
ebration featured 
three nights of 
performances, a 
v silent auction and 

an African market. 
"It's a small mir- 
v ' M acle!" says Randi 

Buerlein, assistant 
director of field 
instruction for the 
VCU School of 
- Social Work. 
Buerlein has led groups of VCU students, alumni 
and supporters to Ghana for years. Since 2002, 

she and her students have supported the work of 
Sovereign Global Mission, a nongovernmental orga- 
nization that serves homeless street children and 
rural children who can't afford to go to school. 

FOR AFRICA'S success allowed organizers to 
donate $30,000 directly to construction of the 
child development center, which will serve as a 
combination school and orphanage for impover- 
ished children in Ghana. 

Nearly two dozen people from VCU traveled to 
Ghana in late December to help with construction 
of the center, which opened this spring. In addition, 
the VCU group taught women about health, dis- 
ease prevention and nutrition, passed out clothing 
and helped to serve food during Sunday commu- 
nity feedings. 

Money raised by FOR AFRICA will also be used 
to sponsor children at the school through the pur- 
chase of books and uniforms. Additional proceeds 
from the benefit will be set aside to sustain the 
effort in the future. ■ •:■' m 

[university news] 

VCU co-hosts Capitol Hill event 

More than 80 people joined VCU and 
Virginia Tech representatives for ajan. 28 recep- 
tion on Capitol Hill. The annual event, held 
prior to the president's State of the Union 
address, gives university leaders a chance to 
meet with House and Senate leaders as the new 
congressional year kicks off. VCU President 
Eugene P. Trani, Ph.D., and Virginia Tech 
President Charles W. Steger, Ph.D., addressed 
the crowd, as did each congressional member. 

Third dental building takes shape 

VCU broke ground in October 2007 on a 
new, $20 million addition to the VCU School 
of Dentistry. 

The four-story building, named in honor of 
VCU alumnus and former VCU Rector W. 
Baxter Perkinson Jr. (D.D.S. '70/D), will house 
research laboratories, classrooms, conference 
facilities, dental clinics and faculty offices, and 
connect the school's existing Wood and Lyons 

Slated to open in summer 2009, the 
55,O00-square-foot W. Baxter Perkinson, Jr. 
Building will increase the school's laboratory 
space, enabling faculty members to expand 
their research in oral cancer. In an entirely 
new venture, dentistry and engineering faculty 
will collaborate on research in dental bioen- 

VCU makes AARP's 2007 'best' list 

For the third consecutive year, AARP has 
named VCU one of the "Best Employers for 
Workers over 50" in the U.S. 

VCU ranked No. 30 on AARP's list of the 
top 5° employers nationwide for fairness of 
policies and practices toward older workers. 

VCU Brandcenter 

The VCU Adcenter, which has become one of the leading graduate advertising programs 
in the country by adapting to the ever-changing advertising industry, is evolving again. 

The Adcenter — ranked the No. 1 graduate advertising program in the country by Creativity 
magazine in 2005 and one of the world's 60 Best Design Schools by BusinessWeek maga- 
zine in 2007 — has changed its name to the VCU Brandcenter. In addition, the Brandcenter 
has moved into a striking new home. 

"Today's advertising industry has evolved 
into the business of developing a brand's total 
communication, influencing everything from 
strategic plans and message content to the 
creation of advertising, the retail environment, 
packaging, Web sites, word-of-mouth messaging 
and public relations," says Rick Boyko, director 
of the VCU Brandcenter, founded in 1996. "It is 
this change in marketing communications that 
drove us to put brand building front and center 
in everything we do." 

The VCU Brandcenter's new home — a his- 
toric 27,000-square-foot building in VCU's new 
Monroe Park Campus Addition — was designed 
by the internationally renowned architect Clive 
Wilkinson, who's designed spaces for Google, 
Disney, Wolfgang Puck and advertising agencies 
such as TBWA/Chiat/Day (Los Angeles), Mother 
(London) and JWT (New York). For this project, 
he partnered with Richmond-based Baskervill. 

Cindy Andrews, executive director of human 
resources for VCU, says older workers are an 
integral part of the VCU workforce. 

"VCU ensures that older workers not only 
have the right resources to thrive in the work- 
place, but that they have the flexibility they 
need," Andrews says. "Most of the benefits that 
AARP has cited for this award are also available 
to our younger workers at VCU, but they can be 

Faculty hnnnr.s 

Professor, Department of Psychology 

. . State Council of Higher Education for 
Virginia 2008 Outstanding Faculty Award 

Professor and chair, Department 

of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 

. . Virginia Outstanding Scientist of 2008 

Associate director, School of World Studies 

. . Fulbright Scholar grant, 2007-08 

Professor emerita, Schoolbf Education 

.,-. Fulbright Scholar grant, 2007-08 

CJ Shafer Court Connections 

particularly beneficial for workers who are over 
the age of 50." 

Dean ends 16-year tenure in June 

Frank R. Baskind, Ph.D., dean and profes- 
sor in the VCU School of Social Work, will end 
a 16-year tenure as dean in June. 

Baskind will remain a distinguished faculty 
member in the VCU School of Social Work and 
will engage in special projects for the university. 

Under Baskind's leadership, the School of 
Social Work's reach has grown throughout the 
state and region. The school developed a com- 
munity-based Head Start program in Richmond 
and significantly expanded the Master of Social 
Work program in Northern Virginia. 

U.S. supports stem cell research 

The VCU Life Sciences Survey is the first poll 
to reflect the discovery reported internationally in 
November 2007 that human skin cells can be used 
to create stem cells or their near equivalents. 

Three-quarters of the U.S. public supports 
stem cell research that does not involve human 
embryos. According to the survey, majorities of 
nearly all groups in society, including those with 
differing beliefs about abortion and religious com- 
mitment, favor non-embryonic stem cell research. 

The findings are part of a nationwide survey 
conducted by VCU last November via telephone 
with 1,000 adults. To read more about the sur- 
vey findings, visit 
/survey2 007.pdf. 

Grant funds study on hearing loss 

VCU will use a federal grant to determine how 
disabilities that are present at birth affect how 
physicians identify, evaluate and treat hearing loss 
in infants and young children. Research studies of 
children with hearing loss typically have excluded 
those who have additional health problems. 

The two-year, $300,000 grant from 
the National Center for Birth Defects and 
Developmental Disabilities at the Centers for 
Disease Control and Prevention will fund a 
research project that will result in a statewide 
picture of the number o f children born with both 
hearing loss and other disabilities. Researchers 
also will assess the impact of hearing loss and 
other disabilities on the child and the family. 

The study will be implemented collaboratively 
by the Partnership for People with Disabilities 
and the Virginia Department of Health. 

FDA approves WoundStat's use 

A lightweight, granular dressing compound 
developed by VCU researchers that quickly 
stems high-pressure bleeding in moderate to 
severe wounds has received FDA approval and 
will soon be used in combat. 

VCU researchers have been studying the 
compound — WoundStat — and say federal 
approval is good news for soldiers and civilians 
alike, since the product is easy to carry and can 
be applied on the spot. 

The patent-pending technology behind 
WoundStat is the result of more than three years 
of study and development by researchers in the 
VCU Reanimation Engineering Shock Center. 
VCU licensed the technology behind WoundStat 
to TraumaCure Inc. of Bethesda, Md. 

Both U.S. military and foreign military allies 
have expressed interest in the new product, but 
WoundStat's benefits may extend far beyond the 
battlefield to natural disasters such as earthquakes. 

Along with VCURES Associate Director Kevin 
Ward, VCURES researchers Robert Diegelmann, 
Ph.D., of the Department of Biochemistry and 
Molecular Biology, and Gary Bowlin, Ph.D., of 
the Department of Biomedical Engineering, are 
the inventors of the WoundStat technology. 

Research report 

Online magazine showcases the scope of VCU's research program 

gazine snowcasing 
the scope of VCU's nearly $230 million research program across both of its campuses. 

The inaugural issue includes two in-depth features, one on cardiac-related research at the 
VCU Pauley Heart Center; and the second, an overview of the research being conducted in 
the field of homeland security, including using insects as reconnaissance agents. 

Additionally, readers learn about the latest in cancer research, the global impact of the 
media and fashion industry on body image and how VCU is taking research from the laboratory 
bench to the patient's bedside. 

VCU Across the Spectrum is available at 

Genes play an important role in risk for drug abuse and dependence 

dependence on legal substances like alcohol and nicotine, according to a study led by Kenneth 
S. Kendler, M.D., a professor of psychiatry and human genetics in VCU's School of Medicine. 
Additionally, caffeine addiction appears to be genetically independent of all the others. 

Supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, researchers examined the 
degree to which genetic and environmental risk factors for dependence were shared 
between illicit and the more commonly used licit psychoactive drugs among men and women. 
Heritability was estimated to be more than 70 percent for cocaine, cannabis and nicotine 
abuse and dependence, nearly 60 percent for alcohol and around 35 percent for caffeine. 

These findings may guide efforts by researchers to use molecular genetic tools to localize 
genes that influence risk for psychoactive drug abuse or dependence. 

VCU establishes the Center for Clinical and Translational Research 

nee and medicine to work across campuses to create new therapies 
„. .d get them to patients quickly. 

Through the center, researchers from the schools of Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, 
Education, Engineering, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy and Social Work, as well as VCU Life 
Sciences and the College of Humanities and Sciences, will have the opportunity to collabo- 
rate across disciplines and strengthen VCU's research infrastructure. 

The center, directed by John Clore, M.D., a professor in the VCU School of Medicine, will 
be supported in part by a National Institutes of Health initiative. The NIH last year began to 
expand its currently funded infrastructure to build a national consortium of academic health 
centers to more broadly support clinical and translational science research. By 2012, the 

Frontal crash tests predict driver fatality risk in cars but not in trucks 

recent VCU study. 

The study, co-authored by David Harless and George Hoffer, both professors of eco- 
nomics at VCU's School of Business, examined the frontal crash-test ratings that vehicles 
received from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and .compared them to 
fatality rates in the vehicles. It also compared a smaller sample of test ratings given by the 
— ivately funded Insurance Institute for Highway Safety with the vehicles' fatality rates. 

The results indicate that the crash tests held by NHTSA and the IIHS are successful in 
predicting real-world crash outcomes for passenger cars. However, the ratirigs for trucks did 
not match real-world outcomes. For example, in the case of both NHTSA and IIHS, trucks 
that received the worst possible crash-test rating had on average lower driver fatality rat 
lan trucks that received the best possible crash-test rating. 




Innovative training programs designed to prepare and support teachers earn high marks 

by Erin Egan 

Lauree Morgan (B.S. '05/H&S; M.T. '05/E) felt confident when, 
as a first -year biology teacher, her principal at Hermitage High 
School in Richmond, Va., asked his new teachers to create lesson 
plans for the entire semester. While her fellow first-years groaned 
about the amount of work that lay ahead of them, Morgan smiled 
to herself. As part of her teacher education training in Virginia 
Commonwealth University's School of Education. Morgan was 
required to come up with a viable portfolio of lesson plans. She was 
ready for the assignment. 

"All my lesson plans were done.'' Morgan says. With a few tweaks, 
she was good to go. 

VCU and the School of Education work to ensure all education 
graduates feel as prepared in the classroom as Morgan does. The 
university and the school, along with faculty from various disci- 
plines, have implemented several innovative and instructive programs 

to better train and support today's education students to become 
tomorrow's brightest teachers. 

Dedicated, quality educators are always in demand, but soon the 
need will grow. Because of teacher attrition and retirement and 
increased student enrollment, it's estimated that in the next decade 
U.S. schools will need between 2 million and 2-5 million new teachers, 
according to the National Commission on Teaching and America's 
Future. Many of these teaching vacancies will be in the sciences. 

Focused on staying ahead of the curve, VCU is committed to meet- 
ing the demand for excellent teachers in the sciences and all subjects. 

"There is nothing more important to our country's future 
than providing a quality education for all children," says School 
of Education Dean BeverlyJ. Warren, Ed.D., Ph.D.. FACSM. "That 
means we must prepare competent and highly qualified teachers and 
school leaders who are capable of meeting the needs of all children. 

Spring 2008 I 9 

"There is nothing 
more important 
to our country's 

future than 
a quality 

for all 


- School of Education 
Dean Beverly J. Warren 
Ed.D., Ph.D., FACSM 

Laying a more solid foundation 

Teacher training begins appropriately enough in the 
classroom. Aside from preparing students to pass the 
necessary stan- 
dardized exami- 
nations, Jacqueline 
Ph.D., (B.S. '89/E; 
M.Ed. '99/E) , an 
assistant professor 
of science education in 
the School of Education's 
Department of Teaching 
and Learning, makes sure 
her students know their 
subject inside and out and 
are proficient in the latest 
technology, from software 
to hardware. She wants 
them to be ready for 
anything in case they go into a school that As an assistant professor 

is not the most up-to-date. In terms of i» the VCU School of 

Education's Department 
technology, "some schools have caught f Teaching and Learning, 
up fast, others not so fast." she says. Jacqueline McDonnough, 

,, , , , Ph.D. (above right), makes 

so students must learn to be . . ™ 

sure her students stay 

flexible and be able to on top of current trends 
teach no matter what and incorporate them into 
their lesson plans. 

the facilities are like. 

For example, McDonnough says, "one student had 
to do a chemistry lab virtually because the school lab 
was 50 years out of date." 

In addition to being techno-sawy, McDonnough's students 
write numerous practical — not theoretical — lesson plans. 
She exposes her students to different curricula and encourages them 
to be aware of current trends and news stories and incorporate them 
in their lessons. "I try to hammer home that the world is changing 
rapidly and science teachers need to be ready to incorporate those 
changes into their instruction," McDonnough says. 

Eve O'Connor (B.S. '03/H&S; M.T. '06/E) says that message 
came through loud and clear. O'Connor teaches biology at Atlee High 
School in Mechanicsville, Va., and is pursuing her master's in biology 
atVCU. "Dr. McDonnough instilled in us that science is a process and 
constantly changing," O'Connor says. "We have to stay up on it." 

VCU education students examine and debate the hot topics of the 
day, including stem cells, genetics and the environment. Not only 
are these subjects relevant, but more kids are interested in them, 
especially at the high school level. 

Morgan says those discussions helped her when she was teaching 
evolution and her students balked at the topic. Because she had 
talked the issue over with her fellow teachers in training, "I felt 

comfortable talking about it with my students without getting 
emotional," Morgan says. 

O'Connor sometimes puts a lesson on hold if a news event relates 
to her class. "My students like to talk about current things," she says. 
"I break it down for them. Then they may hear about it later and 
it will click." 

Keeping teachers in the classroom 

Both of these young teachers see themselves staying in the field for 
the long haul. That's good news for the education profession. Hiring 
quality teachers may be difficult, but retaining them is even more of a 
challenge. According to the National Commission on Teaching and 
America's Future, up to one-third of all teachers leave the profession 
within the first three years and an astounding 50 percent are no 
longer teaching by the fifth year. This is especially true in high- 
need schools. 

Terry Dozier, Ed.D., director of the Center for Teacher Leadership 
at the VCU School of Education, is closely acquainted with these 
statistics. She also chairs the Metropolitan Education Training 
Alliance, or META, a partnership between VCU and the four local 
school districts — Richmond and Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico 
counties. The partnership identifies training needs of these local 
school systems and works to meet those needs. 

VCU's School of Education was awarded a $5-9 million five-year 
grant to develop and retain teachers by improving student learning 
and supporting teachers for the first two years of their careers. Under 
this U.S. Department of Education grant, awarded in 2004, several 
META Teacher Development and Retention Project goals are already 
producing positive results. 

The first grant objective was to redesign the major for elementary 
teachers at VCU. Prior to getting this grant, about 70 percent of ele- 
mentary education students at VCU majored in psychology. Psychology 
is a fine degree, Dozier says, but it doesn't help a person teach math, 
science, social studies and English. The new interdisciplinary major, 
liberal studies for early and elementary education, or LSEE, is evenly 
balanced among the four core subjects. "That's going to strengthen 
the content knowledge of elementary teachers because now they are 
going to have a balanced content preparation," Dozier says. 

Robert Fisher, Ph.D., directs the Extended Teacher Preparation 
Program in the College of Humanities and Sciences. An associate 
professor of biology, he's one of many VCU faculty members involved 
in the grant to make sure its goals are being met. In his role as director 
of teacher education, Fisher has seen the number of students enrolled 
in the LSEE major expand from 200 just 18 months ago to close 
to 5°° today. He believes that the redesigned major will furnish new 
teachers with the knowledge to connect with each of their students 
and succeed in the classroom. 

"We want to give pre-teachers enough depth so they'll have enough 
experience to pick up on what excites their students, whether it's math, 
science or history," Fisher says. 

Pairing students with role models 

Working in the classroom with teachers gives students that extra 
edge of real-world experience. At VCU, the Clinical Faculty 
Placement Program, part of the META grant, ensures that the 
student-teacher partnership isn't left to chance. Dozier created the 
placement program because she heard faculty members mention that 
the student-teacher match wasn't always a good fit. In the past, 
VCU relied on the school systems to place its student teachers and 
the process was often hit or miss. The Clinical Faculty Placement 
Program identifies excellent teachers who want to work with student 
teachers and trains them to do so. 

"That's been a huge step forward," Dozier says. "It's a win-win for 
everybody because we ensure that our students are placed with the best 
teachers and the school systems no longer have the burden of trying 
to find placements." 

ToryHendelman(B.A. '06/H&S; Cert. '06/H&S) teaches eighth- 
grade language arts at Liberty Middle School in Ashland, Va. He says 
the placement program primed him for his own classroom. "It was 
a positive experience," he says. "The first two weeks I just observed [the 
other teacher], which was great. You're not expected to teach right 
away so it eases you into it." 

The program results in better prepared teachers, and the school 
divisions are taking note. In fact, the four local school divisions hire 
more than 90 percent of VCU teacher education graduates each year. 
The program not only helps student teachers, it's also a successful 
retention tool for experienced teachers. "You're honoring their 
knowledge, skill and experience," Dozier says. You're saying to them, 
You have something of value and we see you as equal partners 
in preparing future teachers. " 

The Clinical Faculty Placement Program matches experienced educators with 
student teachers such as Tory Hendelman (above), an eighth-grade language 
arts instructor at Liberty Middle School in Ashland, Va., and prepares them 
to lead their own classrooms. 

Spring 2008 [ 11 

Supporting up-and-coming teachers 

The Beginning Teacher Adviser Program, the last piece of the 
META grant puzzle, offers yet another opportunity for experienced 
teachers to share their knowledge and a unique way to support teachers 
throughout the community who are just embarking on their careers. 
Previously, a mentoring system was the standard. A new teacher would 
be paired with another teacher in the same school at the same grade 
level and check in with him or her from time to time. Under the new 
program, a highly trained beginning teacher adviser works with IO to 
15 new teachers exclusively for two years. The advisers provide practical 
and emotional support to their new teachers so that they become 
the best teachers they can be as quickly as they can. "It's really focused 
on instruction." Dozier says, "not just helping them survive, but 
thrive, in those first two years." 

Zorion Rinaldi III is in his first full year of teaching world history 
and government at John Marshall High School in Richmond, Va. 
Mr. Z, as he's known to his students, meets with his adviser at least 
a few times a month. "It's been wonderful for me." he says. "I just go 
to her with my questions and she has all the answers." 

Mr. Z's adviser has made him aware of additional tests he can take 
to qualify for teaching special education. "She introduces me to things 
I didn't even know I needed to know," he says. Prior to teaching full 
time, Mr. Z worked as a substitute. He sees the advising program 
as a welcome advantage. "It's nice to have the support system there." 
he says. 

Not surprisingly, the program is highly competitive and selective. 
In the first pilot stage, 220 teachers applied for 12 slots. "We have the 
best of the best." Dozier says. The program is now in its second pilot 
stage in the highest-need schools in the four local school districts. 

"We believe that rigorous preparation of school personnel culmi- 
nating in a closely supervised and meaningful capstone experience, 
as well as ongoing professional support for young professionals, are 
critical components to ensure that we provide and retain good teach- 
ers and school leaders in all schools, particularly those located in our 
most challenged environments," Warren says. 

■<^ '*i 

In 2007, VCU received a grant from 
the Howard Hughes Medical Institute 
that will fund five new videos for 
"Secrets of the Sequence" (right), 
a series of free videos and lesson 
plans covering various scientific 
topics available to teachers nation- 
wide. The grant also will finance 
additional courses for VCU's Summer 
Workshop Series (far right), a 
continuing education program 
for teachers, begun in the 
2001-02 academic year. 

Offering extra educational resources 

Central Virginia schools will soon have even more resources, thanks 
to a prestigious grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute that 
VCU received in 2007. The $750,000, five-year grant will help 
develop programs for students in the region to increase proficiency 
in math and science, enhance research and life sciences knowledge 
for K-I2 science teachers and expand an already successful series 
of Web-based life sciences videos and lessons for teachers and 
students nationwide. 

"The grant allows us to do some things that we very much want 
to do." says Richard Rezba. Ph.D., director of VCU's Center for Life 
Sciences Education and program director for the grant. 

The HHMI grant has several components, including the produc- 
tion of five new videos for "Secrets of the Sequence," a series of free 
videos and lesson plans covering topics such as anatomy, biotechnology, 
botany, forensic science and genetics. Teachers can download the 
videos from a Web site ( and use 
the eight- to IO-minute films in their classrooms. "They've got a lot 
of punch," Rezba says, "and are very easy for a teacher to infuse into 
their existing lessons." 

"[The Summer Workshop Series course] really 

formalized my knowledge and filled 
in the gaps of my education." 

David Allen, King George High School teacher 

"Secrets of the Sequence" began in 2001-02 and since then nearly 
70,000 copies of the videos have been downloaded. The five new topics 
will include family health history, student research, human health and 
performance, biological complexity and systems biology. 

The HHMI grant also will fund development of additional summer 
teacher workshops. VCU started its Summer Workshop Series for 
teachers in 2002 with one course and 16 local teachers. The series has 
grown exponentially since then. 

"Each of the last two years we've had more than IOO teachers from 
IO different states taking any of seven different courses," Rezba says. 
When the program originated, the courses were all science-related. 
The model has been so successful that courses in art, economics and 
foreign language are now offered. 

Each Summer Workshop Series course offers intensive instruction 
for one week in June or July. A follow-up independent study 
application occurs in the fall in order for teachers to receive final 
credit; teachers must provide evidence that they are using what they 
learned in their classrooms. 

David Allen teaches earth science, biology, geology and marine 
biology at King George High School in King George, Va. He took 
"Entomology: Terrestrial and Aquatic Insects" for credit in 2007- 
Allen loved the experience and was impressed with his instructors, 
whom he calls top notch. "It really formalized my knowledge and filled 
in the gaps of my education," he says. "I want to do it again for fun — 
even if I don't get the credit." 

Allen's reaction is typical of summer workshop participants. Ninety- 
five percent of teacher participants choose the highest rating for these 
courses and have since 2002. Rezba says. "We have a nice, successful 
model of recognizing that teachers today don't have the time or 
finances to come to a university and spend a summer," he says. "They 
need to come here, work hard for a week, then take what they've 
learned and apply it." 

Collaborating on program creation 

The ultimate goal of the HHMI grant is to expose students and 
teachers to the concepts of systems biology, an approach in which 
all the molecular interactions in a system — pathway, organelle, cell, 
organism or ecosystem — are examined to understand function. 
Systems biology is being incorporated in VCU's undergraduate and 
graduate curriculum through another HHMI grant awarded in 2006. 
That $1.5 million grant is headed by Gregory Buck, Ph.D., director 
of VCU's Center for the Study of Biological Complexity. "I've bought 
in to the idea that systems biology is what students need to know how 
to do," Buck says. "It's competitive for our students and our country." 

Some of the best scientists in the world are supported by the Howard 
Hughes Medical Institute, Buck says. So VCU is in good company. 
"The image of a scientist is one with his head in a beaker," he says. 
"That's not entirely accurate." Buck says it may surprise people 
to know that there are a lot of scientists, including many at VCU, 
who are very interested in students and creating programs specifically 
for them. 

What impresses Fisher about the grants and programs being imple- 
mented at VCU is the cooperation across the university. "It's exciting 
to see the partnerships that are taking place between the different units 
within VCU — the College of Humanities and Sciences and the School 
of Education, and VCU and the community," he says. 

Teaching is often called the hardest job in the world. Hopefully, 
with generous grant funding and faculty commitment and dedication, 
the resources VCU offers its future teachers will make the job a bit 
easier. At the very least, these programs will ensure that future educators 
are prepared when they leave their university classrooms and walk into 
their own. 

Erin Egan is a contributing writer for Shajer Court Connections. 



Seven years after the inaugural First Fridays event, Christina Newton still marvels 
at the throngs of people who spill onto Broad Street on the first Friday of each month. 

"I'm always shocked at how many people are on the street — and in the street, 
blocking traffic," says Newton, the organizer and marketing director for the monthly 
artwalk program she helped found in downtown Richmond, Va. 

The success of First Fridays shouldn't surprise her, Newton says. The idea origi- 
nated in 2000 when the five existing galleries on Broad Street pooled their resources. 
The galleries were already holding individual openings on the first Friday of every month, 
but nothing was coordinated. Newton knew that artwalk programs were popular in other 
cities and suggested that Richmond start one of its own. 

"I knew that Charlottesville had First Friday openings and Fredericksburg and 
Washington, D.C.," she says. "It was kind of like, we have to be able to do something in 
Richmond with our amazing arts community." 

With the support of Artspace, where Newton worked at the time, the five 
galleries, the Richmond Public Library, the Virginia Fire and Police Museum, the 
Valentine Richmond History Center, and The Black History Museum and Cultural 
Center of Virginia formed a steering committee. The group put together a scheduled 
artwalk on the first Friday of every month, called "First Fridays On and Off Broad" 
from October to June. "That was really where we got our start," Newton says. "Just 
formalizing what was already happening and joining forces." 

Concept takes off 

The idea was an immediate hit, with nine venues participating and 17.OOO people 
attending in 2001-02. The next year, the nonprofit organization Curated Culture 
was formed to oversee First Fridays with Newton at the helm. Since then, First Fridays 
has more than tripled in size with 30 diverse sites participating. These locations 
include galleries, restaurants, shops and cultural venues, such as The Black History 
Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia, Theatre IV and the Richmond Public Library. 

Sculptor Roberley Bell of New York recently showed her series "Flower Blobs" (left and right) at ada Gallery. 




Large crowds spill into venues such as 
1708 Gallery, ada Gallery and Quirk Gallery 
to soak up art on First Fridays. 

Attendance rates vary, but it's estimated that between 2,000 and 5-000 people turn out 
for First Fridays, which since 2007 occurs monthly. 

The success of First Fridays has encouraged numerous new businesses, including restau- 
rants and coffee shops, to open in the downtown area. That has had a huge impact on the program, 
Newton says. "You can come downtown, you can have dinner, you can have a drink, you can go see 
the openings, go to the theater and see a performance," she says. "It's not just coming down, seeing 
one show and leaving as much as it used to be." 

It wasn't too long ago that downtown Richmond was more deserted than 
a destination. Today, people feel safer about heading to the area and First 
Fridays has helped change that mindset. "We feel that we have made a 
gigantic dent in economic development and community development 
particularly for downtown," Newton says. 

Curated Culture has worked with the Richmond Police Department 
to enhance the experience for visitors. In the past year, more police offi- 
cers have patrolled the area during the artwalks and bright work lights now 
illuminate the neighborhood, especially parking lots. "One of the early 
problems we had was a perception of safety downtown," Newton says. "Now 
the problem is more I can't find parking!' Things have really changed." 

Opportunities abound 

First Fridays was already in full swing when longtime 
Richmond native Kathy Emerson opened Quirk Gallery two 
years ago two doors down from 1708 Gallery, a leader in 
the city's art scene, and near six other galleries. "First 
Fridays is a lot busier than in the past," she says. "It has 
certainly grown immeasurably." 

Quirk has a line out the door on First Fridays. The 
crowd buzzes with excitement and crosses all demographics 

Today, more than 30 diverse sites - including 
galleries, restaurants, shops and cultural 
venues — open their doors for First Fridays 
every month. 


from VCU students to suburban families. While the event has seen 
steady growth, it has seemed organic in its expansion, Emerson says. 
"When you have an arts community, it feeds off itself," she adds. 
"It's a very healthy thing for Richmond. It's busy, bustling and full 
of visitors." 

Given Quirk's proximity to VCU, the gallery has a close 
relationship with the university's craft and material studies depart- 
ment. Quirk shows artwork of VCU graduates, students and some 
faculty. Other galleries do the same. 

"Students have a future here," 
Sally Bowring (M.F.A. '83/A) 
says. Bowring has taught in the 
VCU painting and printmaking 
department for 23 years and has 
worked in the university's Anderson 
Gallery. "They are supposed to be 
professional artists when they leave 
here — and they can be," she says. 

Bowring familiarizes her 
students with many of the down- 
town galleries and encourages them 
to go to First Fridays. "It's like being 
in art heaven," she says. 

The success of First Fridays amazes and delights Bowring. 

People line up to get into galleries!" she says. "You'd think 

they were giving away free paintings." But the overwhelming 

response comes as no surprise. "This is a visual arts town," 

"When you have 
an arts community, 
it feeds off itself. 
[First Fridays] is a 
very healthy thing 
for Richmond. It's 
busy, bustling and 
full of visitors." 

— Kathy Emerson, co-director 
of Quirk Gallery 

Bowring says. "Other mediums might struggle but not visual 
arts. It's fabulous." 

Andras Bality (B.F.A. '86/A) is another Richmond native 
and a celebrated local artist whose paintings have been shown in New 
York and Hungary, as well as in galleries on First Fridays. As a kid, 
he remembers downtown as a vibrant place. First Fridays has brought 
needed life back to the area. "It's meant a lot to me to see Broad 
Street reborn," he says. 

As a member of the Richmond arts community for more than 
20 years, Bality is pleasantly surprised to see how the First Fridays 
crowd has expanded. "It used to be those who knew the artists," he 
says. "Now it's people outside of the arts community. It's so exciting 
that so many Richmonders are drawn to the art." 

Performers engage 

Visitors come to First Fridays to experience art, but music 
and live performances also draw big audiences. Taylor Barnett 
(B.M. '02/A; M.M. '04/A) has been at VCU for the past 10 years 
as an undergraduate and graduate student and, since 2004, as an 
adjunct professor of music. He has seen First Fridays evolve first- 
hand, performing on the trumpet with the No B.S. Brass Band at 
several of the monthly events. 

"I think it's fantastic," Barnett says of First Fridays. "It might 
be one of the coolest artistic things in Richmond. When I'm playing 
there it makes me feel like I'm in a bigger city." 

Barnett tells a story of what he says epitomizes First Fridays. 
At the October 2007 event, Barnett's band was playing Michael 

16 I VCU Shafer Court Connections 

' ,7J 


'■;■' 'VI J 

Jackson's "Thriller." the band's big finale. As they were playing, a 
young guy walked by and began dancing a la Jackson. The interaction 
between the crowd and the band was infectious. People cheered and 
the band loved the impromptu performance. 

The spontaneity of the event is what makes it so enjoyable for 
spectators and performers. "First Fridays is different every time," 
Barnett says. "It's multimedia, which is perfect for our music. It 
helps to have people engage." 

Barnett encourages his students to attend First Fridays because 
the crowd has an understanding of what's on display. "You're playing 
to people who appreciate the art and the music," he says. "They get it. 
And it makes them feel good." 

Barnett is just waiting for organizers to close down Broad Street 
to the hordes of First Fridays attendees as the event continues to grow. 
"I'm looking forward to more revitalization," he says. "There is so 
much stuff going on." 

Now the trick is to get as many people downtown on other nights 
of the week and not just on First Fridays. 

"We've got the people here, we've got the arts and culture here, 
we've got the businesses," Newton says. What's still needed are more retail 
shops such as dry cleaners and grocery stores, businesses that make up a 
viable, 24/7 neighborhood. "That will take us to the next step," she says. 
"And I won't be so surprised when I see people on the street." 

For more information about First Fridays, including a schedule and list of partici- 
pating venues, visit 

Erin Egan is a contributing writer for Shafer Court Connections. 

In an effort to encourage more people to come 
downtown at times other than First Fridays, Curated 
Culture has launched another monthly program called 
Second Saturdays. First Fridays is a great event with a fun, 
party atmosphere, but because of the huge crowds it's 
often difficult for serious art lovers to view the work. The 
idea behind Second Saturdays is to give people a 
quieter, more intimate experience at the galleries. 
"People can talk with the gallery owners and directors 
about the art and really see the work," says Christina 
Newton, organizer and marketing director of the event. 

Some participating venues have scheduled activ- 
ities on Second Saturdays. One gallery may have an 
artist talk or there may be a musician playing at the 
Richmond Public Library. Curated Culture also is con- 
sidering the idea of offering guided tours for groups 
interested in a more personal experience at the venues. 

Second Saturdays is part of a plan to inform the 
community that downtown is a lively place on other days 
of the week. Newton says more development on the 
program is expected in spring 2008. But she is hopeful 
the word will get out and draw a larger audience. 

"I think the continued developments downtown will 
bring more businesses and encourage people to think 
of downtown as a destination other than just on First 
Fridays," Newton says. 

For the latest information on. Second Saturdays, 

by Melanie Irvin Solaimani 



After visiting a buddy at Virginia Commonwealth University, l8-year-old Tom Snead Jr. (B.S. 76/B) knew he was 
ready to say goodbye to the Halifax County, Va., tobacco farm he called home. He yearned for the big city. 

In sleepy Chester, Va., Vickie Miller (B.S. 76/B) followed the advice of her mother, Mildred, and enrolled at VCU, 
instead of attending Richard Bland Community College. 

Tom and Vickie were trailblazers — they both were the first in their families to attend college. 

At VCU, they fell in love with their university and with each other, marrying three weeks after graduation. 

More than 30 years later, they say, they are still reaping the benefits of their education. And they are still blazing new trails. 

"Here we were [after graduation], poor as church mice," Tom says. "When we look back, we never could imagine being 
where we are today, and it all started at VCU." 

The fall of 1972 was a blur as both students 
adjusted to college life. Their paths crossed 
one December day in the Hibbs dining hall. 
Vickie spotted Tom and asked a hallmate 
about him. Her friend invited Tom to a "party" 
(actually four boys and four girls) the next night 
at their place in Rhoads Hall. 

After the 10 p.m. curfew at Rhoads, they 
moved to Tom's dorm, Chalkley House, which 
had 24-hour coed visitation in the lobby, to 
continue their intense conversation. 

The next morning, Vickie rolled out of 
bed, late for her 8 a.m. class. She pulled 
on clothes and scurried to Hibbs. As she 
sat down, she looked across the room and 
directly at ... Tom Snead. Neither knew they 
shared a class. She slid down, hoping he 
wouldn't see her. 

"I was certain if he saw me like this, he 
would never call me again," she says. 

She didn't need to worry. Two nights 
later, they had their first "real" date, and 
they've been inseparable since. 

Soon they were thriving in the class- 
room, too — Vickie pursuing a marketing 
degree and Tom focusing on accounting. 
The couple worked throughout college 
and took summer classes. 

"I've been here 39 years and I've taught 
about 16,000 students. There are not a lot 
of students you can remember from day 
one. I remember them [Tom and Vickie]," 
says economics professor George Hoffer. 
"They were bright, young and energetic." 

Vickie earned a scholarship from Miller 
& Rhoads and landed a job there. She rose 

through the ranks, eventually becoming 
vice president for merchandise planning 
and stock control. 

As a self-described "long-haired hippie" 
student, Tom was hired by VCU alumnus 
Donald B. Dodson (B.S. 64/B) as an "office 
boy" at Peat Marwick Mitchell. "It was great 
discipline, learning to allocate your time 
for working, studying, going to class. And 
it offered peer pressure," Tom says. "Here 
were all of these young, successful people, 
and I really wanted to be one of them." 

Another VCU alumna, Phyllis Cothran 
(B.S. '71/B), recruited Tom for a job at 
Blue Cross and Blue Shield. After helping 
take the company (then Trigon) public, he 
retired in 2006 as president and CEO of 
the Southeast Region for WellPoint Inc. 

I think if people would just come back and look, 
that would invite involvement right there. 
It feels good to 

Now both retired, they stay plugged into 
their community and their alma mater. 

In 2003, VCU President Eugene P. Tram, 
Ph.D., invited the Sneads to dinner. He asked 
them to serve as co-chairs of the $330.5 
million Campaign for VCU. 

The Sneads were honored to be asked, 
they say, but nervous, too. 

"I told Tom, 'This could be the biggest 
embarrassment of our lives or the most 
wonderful moment.' And it was one of the 
most wonderful," Vickie says. 

Under the leadership of the Sneads and 
Charlotte and Jim Roberts representing 
the MCV Campus, the Campaign for VCU 
raised $410.3 million, including $160 million 
for the Monroe Park Campus. 

With the campaign complete, Vickie and 
Tom are back to enjoying life as alumni, 
attending as many men's basketball games 
as possible and otherwise staying involved. 
On the first day of classes this spring, they 
greeted students in the new home of the 
School of Business, Snead Hall. 

"It is so humbling to have a building 
named after you while you are still alive," 
Tom says. 

Hoffer is among the many who think the 
Sneads are quite worthy. "They are the 
epitome of what VCU stands for," he says. 

"It is so heartwarming to now see how they 
have given back to their university." 

Among their other community commit- 
ments, Tom serves on the VCU Board of 
Visitors and the board of directors for the 
VCU Health System. He also is a found- 
ing trustee of the VCU School of Business 
Foundation Board. Vickie is a member of the 
Massey Cancer Center Advisory Board and 
the VCU Alumni Association Board. 

"Vickie Snead's participation in the VCU 
Alumni Association is nothing less than 
inspirational. Vickie embodies the variety 
of ways an individual can make a lasting 
impact on her fellow alumni," says VCUAA 
President Dan Massey (B.S. '92/ B). "Vickie's 
goal is to take an active role in expanding and 
promoting the excitement of VCU with all 
alumni, and her reward is having a front-row 
seat to see it come to fruition. This opportu- 
nity exists for all alumni who want to make 
a difference." 

The Sneads heartily agree, say- 
ing all it will take for alumni to 
want to get involved is a cam- 
pus visit. 

"It's a whole new VCU," 
Vickie says. "It's just so great 
to see the kids on campus, 
to see how the campus has 

grown. I think if people would just come 
back and look, that would invite involvement 
right there. It feels good to give back." 

Give back however possible - big or 
small, time or resources, Tom agrees. 

"When you get to an age and stage in your 
life and your career, you think, 'Gosh how did 
I get here?' Then you start reflecting back on 
what made all of this possible," Tom says. "And 
it all comes back to VCU." 

Melame Irvin Solmmani (B.S. g6/MC) is a contributing 
writer jor Shajer Court Connections. 

is. LJ 



CONCRETE COLLABORATION > The January 2008 opening of the $228 
million Monroe Park Campus Addition finally answers an age-old question: Is 
two of something really better than one? Virginia Commonwealth University's 
new II-acre residential campus, located east of Belvidere Street, brings together 
two schools — Business and Engineering — in one joint space designed to 
foster greater collaboration among their students. The 125,000-square-foot 
School of Business — named Snead Hall — and the School of Engineering's 
115,000-square-foot East Hall share an atrium and career center, while 
providing students and faculty with innovative facilities such as enhanced 
laboratory and research space and a team-building room . And , the new da Vinci 
Center — housed in East Hall's Pauley Pavilion — creates a central location 
where the schools of the Arts, Business and Engineering will partner on product 
design and development. With a projected enrollment increase of 2,000 
students in business and engineering, the innovative complex moves two schools 
into one cohesive complex. The final outcome? Unlimited opportunities. 


11| i 




I recognizes alumni 
or success and service 

At Virginia Commonwealth University's Commencement in May, the alumni 
associations will honor 14 of the university's most accomplished alumni. 

The now-annual event honors VCU alumni who have enjoyed notable 
professional success or who have made significant humanitarian, university 
or community service contributions. Honorees are selected through faculty 
recommendations and alumni committees from across the university. 

"Recognizing and honoring these Alumni Stars for their outstanding 
achievements is a marvelous way to highlight our graduates and the breadth 
and depth of their leadership and contributions," says Gordon McDougall, 
assistant vice president for university alumni relations. "The Alumni Stars 
program is a distinctive opportunity to assemble alumni leaders with their 
peers, before a universitywide audience, to celebrate alumni leadership, 
pride and unity." 

Golden Bethune-Hill 

Schoot of Nursing - Professional Achievement 
Bethune-Hill received her Master of Science 
degree from the School of Nursing in 1985- As 
executive vice president and administrator of 
Riverside Regional Medical Center in Newport 
News, Va., she is the highest-ranking black 
woman in the history of Riverside Hospital 
System. Prior to joining Riverside, she was senior vice president of 
patient care services at Centra Health Care and led the organization 
to Magnet status, nursing's highest recognition. + 

Donwan Harrell 

School of the Arts - Professional Achievement 
Harrell received his Bachelor of Fine Arts 
degree from the School of the Arts in 1992. 
The Murfreesboro, N.C., native, who spent 
endless weekends and summers as a youth work- 
ing with his mother's Singer sewing machine, is 
the president and creative director of Kemistre 
8 LLC. Based in New York City, Kemistre 8 houses the Akademiks 
brand, a line of urban clothing popular with hip-hop music fans, as 
well as PRPS jeans, which are sported by professional athletes. * 

Mark Crabtree 

School of Dentistry - Community Service/ 
Professional Achievement/University Service 
Crabtree received his Doctor of Dental Surgery 
degree in 1985 from the School of Dentistry. 
As president of the Piedmont Virginia Dental 
Health Foundation, he spearheaded the orga- 
nization's effort to bring a dental clinic to serve 
low-income individuals in Martinsville, Va. Begun in 2006, the 
Community Dental Clinic preceptorship program is staffed by 
fourth-year VCU dentistry students. * 

Sheila Hill-Christian 

College of Humanities and Sciences - Professional Achievement 
Hill- Christian earned her Bachelor of Arts 
degree from the College of Humanities and 
Sciences in 1981. As chief administrative 
officer for the city of Richmond, she is respon- 
sible for the day-to-day management of city 
departments and agencies. With 16 years of 
management experience to her credit, Hill-Christian has worked 
in various capacities for the state lottery and in housing and trans- 
portation for the city government. + 

John Cragin 

School of Social Work - Professional Achievement 
Cragin received his Master of Social Work 
degree from the School of Social Work in 1979- 
He serves as senior director of Commonwealth 
Care for Boston Medical Center's Health- 
NetPlan. As Massachusetts' largest and only 
statewide Commonwealth Care program — a 
state-subsidized insurance program for the previously uninsured 
— HealthNet provides its 75- 000 members with free or low-cost 
health services. + 

Stephen Offenbacher 

School of Medicine, Basic Health Sciences - 
Professional Achievement 

Offenbacher received his Doctor of Dental 
Surgery from the School of Dentistry in 197^ and 
his doctorate in biochemistry in 1977 from the 
School of Medicine. An international expert in 
periodontal disease, his work has been continu- 
ously funded by the National Institutes of Health. He is a distinguished 
professor in the School of Dentistry, Department of Periodontology, 
at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. * 

22 I VCU Shafer Court Connections 


Mary Perkinson 

School of Engineering - Professional Achievement/ 
University Service 

Perkinson received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from 
the School of the Arts in 1991 and her second 
VCU degree, a Bachelor of Science from the 
School of Engineering, in2003- She works as an 
engineer with Northrop Grumman in Newport 
News, Va. In 2004, she received the company's Model of Excellence 
Award for her work in helping improve retention and provide a 
more supportive environment for entry-level employees. * 

Thomas Silvestri 

School of Business - Professional Achievement/ 
University Service 

Silvestri received his Master of Business 
Administration from the School of Business in 
1986. He began his career with Media General 
Inc. as a copy editor at the Richmond Times- 
Dispatch, the city's daily newspaper, and now 
serves as its publisher. Silvestri recently finished a two-year stint as 
president of the VCU School of Business Alumni Board and will 
become chairman of Leadership Metro Richmond in late 2008. * 

Jonathan Perlin 

School of Medicine - Humanitarian Achievement/ 
Professional Achievement 

Perlin earned two degrees from the School of 
Medicine, a doctorate in pharmacology and 
toxicology in I99 1 an d a medical degree in 
1992. In 1997. he earned a master's degree 
from the School of Allied Health Professions. 
After serving as undersecretary of health in the U.S. Department of 
Veterans Affairs, Perlin was appointed in 2006 by HCA as its chief 
medical officer and president of its clinical services group. + 

^^ Patricia Slattum 

School of Pharmacy - Community Service/ 
University Service 

Slattum received two degrees from the School 
of Pharmacy: a bachelor's in 1982 and a doc- 
torate in 1992. She also earned a certificate in 
gerontology from the School of Allied Health 
Professions in 1992. As an associate professor 
in VCU's pharmacy school, Slattum focuses her research on the 
effect of medications on cognitive functioning in older adults. She 
was selected as the school's 2005 Teacher of the Year. * 

Mark Raper 

School of Mass Communications - Community Service/ 
Professional Achievement 

Raper received a Bachelor of Science degree in 
1982 from the School of Mass Communications. 
Under Raper's leadership as chairman and 
CEO, CRT/tanaka has become one of the 
largest and most decorated independent public 
relations firms in the country. Based in Richmond, Va. , with offices 
in New York, Los Angeles and Norfolk, Va., the company has twice 
been named the "Best PR Agency to Work for in America." * 

Robert Wittman 

L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public 
Affairs - Professional Achievement 
Wittman received his doctorate in 2002 
from the College of Humanities and Sciences. 
From 2005 to 2007, he served in the 
Virginia House of Delegates before voters 
in the state's First District chose him as their 
U.S. representative. When not on Capitol Hill. Wittman works as 
an environmental health specialist for local health departments 
in Virginia's Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula areas. + 

Cathy Saunders 

School of Allied Health Professions - Professional 
Achievement/University Service 

Saunders earned her Bachelor of Social Work 
degree in 1976 from the School of Social Work 
and in 1982 received a Master ot Science degree 
from the School of Allied Health Professions. A 
real estate agent with Long and Foster Realtors, 
Saunders doubles as a professional gerontologist and has served as 
past president of the Greater Richmond Alzheimer's Association 
and as vice chair of the Virginia Alzheimer's Commission. * 

Patricia Wright 

School of Education - Professional Achievement 
Wright received her Master of Education from 
the School of Education in 1984. A 33-year 
veteran in the education profession as a teacher 
and administrator, Wright serves as a member 
of the National Governor's Association Task 
Force on Graduation and Dropout Rates. She 
also is the chief deputy superintendent of public instruction with 
the Virginia Department of Education, appointed by Gov. Tim 
Kaine in 2006. * 

• * 

To read more about these Alumni Stars, go online to 

[face to face] 

a university 



Meeting Grace E. Harris for the first time, her gentle voice belies a strong, confident demeanor that has served her 
well throughout her 40-year career at Virginia Commonwealth University. She has held positions as social work pro- 
fessor, dean of the School of Social Work and vice provost for continuing studies and public service. When Harris 
retired in 1999 as tne provost and vice president for academic affairs, she had twice served as acting president of the 
university, in 1995 and 1998. Currently, she is a distinguished professor in the Center for Public Policy and head 
of the Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute. 

Harris' many roles at VCU required determination and resolve, yet she carries herself with all the poise and 
dignity her name suggests. In December 2007, VCU dedicated the former School of Business building in her honor, 
a tribute that humbles her. "It's not just the name on the building, it's the recognition that I did make contributions," 
Harris says. But at the same time, she admits that "the name on the building is very nice. Very nice indeed." 

Harris recently sat down to talk about her storied career. 

How did your VCU career begin and how 
has it shaped who you've become? Elaine 
Rothenberg was the associate dean of the 
School of Social Work and I had known her 
through some community work. She recruited 
me to come and teach. The university seemed 
appealing and was something different. 

I've often said that I didn't plan any of this. 
A lot of it happened because of opportunities 
that I decided to take advantage of. I think it's 
a willingness to try new things and a kind of 
spirit that I ve always had of believing that it 
was OK to change and try new things. 

What obstacles have you had to overcome 
over the course of your career? Making 
certain that the people with whom I worked 
respected my ability and my credentials 
and supported my goals. There were always 
people who did respect my goals and ambitions 
and supported me — not only within the uni- 
versity, but my family and friends and other 
professionals outside the university. I've had a 
very, very positive support system throughout 
my career that continues to this day. 

What has been the biggest change to the 
university during your tenure? The growth 
in so many ways — not only physically, but 
in terms of programs and outreach in the 
community. Programmatically, we've seen 
many new interdisciplinary programs, the 
emphasis on life sciences and tremendous 
growth in international education. We've 
reached people from other parts of the state 
as well as other parts of the country who 
were not attending VCU when I first came 
here. It was very much a university that had 
local ties but had not expanded to the national 
and international level that it has today. 

Is there one accomplishment that stands 
out in your career? As an administrator 
I've been able to work with so many people, 
especially faculty when I was provost. I believe 
the Office of the Provost really became a 
place where faculty and students could feel 
comfortable and talk about their issues, 
and that I had some impact on policies 
and procedures that made a difference in 
their lives. 

The other piece of what I've done that I'm 
proud of has been involving others in helping 
define VCU as a university that is very much 
a part of the community. With Dr. Trani's 
leadership, I was able to support many of the 
initiatives he had in mind and played a role in 
making sure that faculty, students, community 
representatives and other administrators were 
involved in the process. 

What would you like your legacy to be? 
Commitment to education, to service, a belief 
in those things as values. A commitment to 
sharing one's knowledge with others, and a 
willingness to explore new ways of thinking 
and doing things. 

As a teacher and administrator, I always 
thought it was important to make sure we 
provide the best educational experience for the 
students. The building is certainly symbolic 
of that in the sense that it is a building for 
teaching and learning. And I taught in that 
building. That's nice to remember. 

Intermew conducted by Enn Egan, a contributing writer 
forShajer Court Connections. 

24 I VCU Shafer Court Connections 


■ -£ '", j-"i-:»"»"*"i^ipi<y 

: ; 


;". $£, .$p 





A unique individual, 







~-i i 


_J Theatre 
r580 year! 

i/ Po/iy Roberts 

4 V 

In a time when "new" means better and 
strip mall stores come and go as quickly as 
the next Starbucks arrives, Carytown's his- 
toric Byrd Theatre still finds its seats full, an 
organist playing the Wurlitzer on Saturday 
nights and an eclectic crowd taking in an 
affordable show. 

As the vintage movie palace nears its 
8oth birthday in December, Richmonders 
continue to embrace the Byrd's unique char- 
acter and French Empire-inspired decor - 
not to mention its discount $1.99 features. 

Like many Richmond couples, Philip 
Perrine (B.F.A. 93/A) and his girlfriend often 
frequent the Byrd Theatre on date night. 
But unlike the occasional moviegoer, they've 
seen a movie at the Byrd nearly every week 
for 10 years and counting. 

"The Byrd is a real treat," Perrine says. "It's 
not just inexpensive entertainment. It's a trip 
back in time. There is no substitute for style, 
and the Byrd has it in spades." 

It also invokes a sense of nostalgia for those 
who have grown up at the Byrd Theatre. 

"People that remember being taken to the 
Byrd as a child can later go back when they 
start dating, and later on when they have 
kids of their own," says Todd Schall -Vess, the 
Byrd's general manager. "People come full 
circle - three to four generations." 

Countless couples tell Schall-Vess that 
the Byrd has served as the milestone for 
each step of their relationship: the first date, 
the proposal and for some - including at 
least two in 2008 — the wedding. 

"It's sort of like the Byrd has been part of 
their whole life," he says. 

No doubt that many of those couples 
include Virginia Commonwealth University 
students, who Schall-Vess says bring a youth- 
ful energy to the Byrd. 

"Because of our proximity to VCU, we've 
always had an important relationship with 
the university," he says. "It became more for- 
mal when we became home of the French 
Film Festival." 

Recognized as the largest French film 
festival in the country, the three-day event — 
founded in 1993 - brought more than 20,000 
patrons to the Byrd this past March. 

"The French delegation always raves about 
what an elegant venue it is," says Jennifer 
Gore (B.A. 97 /H&S), assistant director of the 
VCU French Film Festival. "For some direc- 
tors, their films have their North American 
premiere at the Byrd, so they're thrilled for it 
to be in such a beautiful theater." 

The Byrd continues to expand its offer- 
ings - hosting concerts, comedians and 
other film festivals - as well as its role 

in the community. It has already staked 
its claim in one of Richmond's newest 
traditions, Carytown's New Year's Eve, 
by serving as the location where the 
ball rises before a crowd of more than 
3,000 revelers. 

"We like to think that we're right at the heart 
of everything that happens in Richmond," 
Schall-Vess says. 

For many people, the Byrd Theatre is. 
Although Perrine recently moved from the 
Carytown area, he returns each week for 
a visit to the Byrd. 

"That's a habit I'm not willing to give up," 
he says. "The Byrd is my hometown the- 
ater. It is a fixture in my life." 

As a fixture in Richmond, the Byrd has 
proved its mass appeal to generation 
after generation. And while it may join 
the masses for an annual party or put on 
a concert or two, its primary role remains 
the same. 

"We want to be a vintage movie the- 
ater that gives a sampling of other things," 
Schall-Vess says. "It's difficult to be an inde- 
pendent movie theater in a business that's 
ruled by change. But it's possible because 
the Byrd is such a unique individual." 

Polly Roberts is a contributing writer for Shafer Court 

Spring 2008 I 25 


^"n Alumni 


News, highlights and event photos from the 
Virginia Commonwealth University Alumni Association 
and the African-American Alumni Council. 

Alumni associations launch new Web site 

Have you seen the new Web site for the VCU Alumni Association 
and the MCV Alumni Association of VCU? 

Go to and check out the latest news and 
information about your alma mater. The new site features: 

• A career center. 

• Calendar of events, online membership and event registration. 

• Alumni magazines. 

• University and alumni association news and information. 

• Popular links. 

Currently, the site is available to all users with no registration pro- 
cess. Some features will be added soon, including a searchable alumni 
directory, permanent e-mail forwarding, a business card exchange, 
personal Web pages and social networking. After June "^O, 2008, 
the site will be restricted to registered users only, with some features 
— including the career center and online directory — available only to 
active dues-paying members. 

Thousands take part in alumni survey 

More than 4,000 VCU alumni made their voices heard by 
completing our recent alumni survey. We are poring over the results 
to determine how we can adapt the VCU Alumni Association to bet- 
ter meet your needs and expectations. We will share the results with 
you soon. 

In the meantime, if you'd like to offer additional feedback, we'd 
love to hear from you! E-mail 

Board member makes UK connections 

Last fall, VCU Alumni Association Board member Patricia Green 

(M.S.W. '74/SW) traveled to Kent, England, home of the British 
Committee for Jamestown 2007. Her aim was to strengthen VCU's 
profile abroad, particularly in the United Kingdom, where VCU 
already enjoys a strong alumni presence. 

"Kent, England, is much more than a community with architec- 
tural reminders of Jamestown and Williamsburg. It is also the home 
of the British Committee for Jamestown 2007 and the burial site 
for Virginia's Pocahontas," Green says. "Just as important, VCU has 
an ambassador' in Kent, Alex King." 

During her visit, Green met with King, deputy leader of the Kent 
County Council and chairman of thejamestown UK Foundation Ltd., 
to discuss a unique academic 
partnership. Plans are under 
way to form an alliance 
between the University of 
Kent and the VCU School 
of Social Work, and King is 
integral to this development. 

His office arranged for 
Green to meet with alumnus 
Jonathan Fish (B.S. '93/B) 
while in the U.K. Fish has 
fond memories of VCU 
and his Richmond stay, 
including a summer intern- 
ship at McGuireWoods. He is 
now a successful technology 
investor and strategy consul- 
tant in London. 

"Making connections with 
alumni across the pond 
broadens the university's reach and creates a unique opportunity 
to solidify its mission globally," Green says. 

Calling all APB members 

Did you serve on the Activities Programming Board as a stu- 
dent? If so, we'd like to get your input as VCU moves forward 
in planning future celebrations and special events. Please 
e-mail Cynthia Schmidt, director of University Marketing, 

VCU Alumni Association board member 
Patricia Green meets with VCU alumnus 
Jonathan Fish while in the U.K. to pursue 
an academic partnership with the University 
of Kent. 

26 I VCU Shafer Court Connections 

[alumni connections] 

Emeriti group takes shape 

More than 60 alumni and friend 

attended the Oct. 12, 2007, VCU' A 

Association Emeriti Directors Rece, 

at the Scott House. 

Alumni who have served as mer 

of the board of directors of either 

Richmond Professional Institute or the President Eugene P. Trani, Ph.D. Dan Massey 

VCU alumni associations were invited to (B.S. '92/B), current president of the VCU 

join this new group of emeriti directors Alumni Association, also spoke, updat- 

photo by Marsha Grossman 

and asked to return to campus to hear 

the former leaders on the increasingly 

rks and a university update from VCU responsible role of the association. 

Fete welcomes awardees 

The VCU Alumni Association hosted an 
Oct. 13, 2007, barbecue for more than 130 
students and parents during VCU's Fall Fest. 

Freshman recipients ol presidential, pro- 
vost and dean's scholarships and their parents, 
as well as alumni parents and their currently 
enrolled students, attended the event. 

VCUAA President Dan Massey (B.S. '92/ 
B) welcomed the crowd, and board members 
Donna Dalton (M.Ed. OO/E), Stephanie 
Holt (B.S. '74/E), David Dennier (B.S. 
'75/B), Peter Blake (B.A. '80/H&S; M.S. 
•88/MC) and Shirley McDaniel (B.G.S. '99/ 
H&S) spoke about the importance of remain- 
ing involved with VCU after graduation. 

Fans rally at 'Hoops' event 

The VCU Alumni Association "Hoops "event, 
held Feb. 2 during the weeklong homecoming 
celebration, drew 
more than 30O 
attendees. Pre- 
game fun included 
best-dressed fan 
and trivia contests 
plus appearances 
by Rodney the 
Ram, the VCU 
cheerleaders and 
the dance team. 
Athletic Director 
Norwood Teague 
pumped up the crowd as they headed into the 
Alltel Pavilion at the Stuart C. Siegel Center, 
where the Rams shut out Towson in a 65-42 
win before a crowd of 7,59°- 

Richard Patrick Proffitt (right), recipient of the Legacy 
Scholarship, with his parents. Pamela and Richard. 

VCUAA taps legacy scholar 

Richard Patrick Proffitt, a 15-year-old 
first-year engineering student from 
Richmond, Va., received the inaugural VCU 
Alumni Association Legacy Scholarship, 
a $1,000 award, which will be given to two 
students annually. 

Proffitt was home-schooled, completed 27 
semester hours of dual-enrollment credit 
at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College 
and then followed in the footsteps of his sister 
Kate, a Goldwater Scholar, to enter the VCU 
School of Engineering in the fall of 2007- 

Proffitt is the son of alumni Pamela 
Proffitt (B.S. '7I/H&S; M.Ed. '79/E) and 
Richard Fowler (M.B.A. '78/B). Both par- 
ents became lifetime members of the VCU 
Alumni Association in January 2005- 

The Legacy Scholarship is available to the 
dependents of active, dues-paying mem- 
bers of the VCU Alumni Association. For 
an application or additional information, 
visit and click on 
"Join" and then "Benefits." 

The Hoops' event draws 
spirit-clad Rams fans. 


Crowder (B.S.G. '86/H&S), Ernest Evans and wife, 
ms (B.S.G. '87/H&S), and Ben Brown (B.S. 
5 'fK/¥tY' an ; n vthe Emeriti Directors ReceDtion. 

VCUAA emeriti directors 

Peggy C. Adams 
Peter H. Aiken, Ph.D. 
Beth W. Ayers 
Kathleen B. Barrett 
Sally L. Bowring 
David B. Bradley 
BY. Brown 
Marika L. Byrd 
Edward G. Canada Jr. 
Rejena G. Carreras 
Linnie S. Carter 
Ann Chenoweth 
Donna E. Coghill 
Claire A. Collins 
John R. Cook 
O.William Coon III 
Gale Lee Crowder 
William L. Davis 
Sherran E. Deems 
Randolph D. Eley Jr. 
Frederick D. Facka 
Eleanor Rumae Foddrell 
Marilyn Garlick 
William M. Ginther 
Robert E. Henley Jr. 
Andrew C. Hulcher 
Mary-Ellen A. Kendall 
Hugh D. Keogh 
Thomas R. King Jr. 
Thomas B. Lawrence 
Juanita B. Leatherberry 

James C. Lester 
Robert Lindholm 
M. Kenneth Magill, Ph.D. 
Connie E. McHale 
Thomas L. Mountcastle 
Carol O. Negus 
Dick Nelson 
David S. Norris 
Jan R. Parrish 
Sharon E. Peterson 
Timothy S. Pfohl 
Thomas E. Phillips Jr. 
Joan F. Rexinger 
John G. Slaughter 
Anthony E. Smith 
E. Garrison Steffey Jr. 
J. Southall Stone 
Jacqueline T. Thornton 
Susan M. Trulove 
Bruce A. Twyman 
Linda B. Vines 
Jean von Schilling, Ph.D. 
Michael L. Wade 
Dana R. Ward 
Linda M. Warren 
Norman P. Wash 
Michael D. Whitlow 
Robert Paul Wiedemer 
Jerome L. Williams 
Charles H. Wood 
William H. Young IV 

Spring 2008 I 27 

[alumni connections] 

VCU fans show their Rams spirit at pre-game receptions 

Rams fans turned out in Northern Virginia 
and Hampton Roads to cheer on the men's 
basketball team in their run for the Colonial 
Athletic Association championship title. 

Alumni joined the VCU Hampton Roads 
Area Alumni Chapter Jan. 19 at the Ted 
Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk, 
Va.. for pre-game and halftime events, 
as the VCU Rams took on state rival Old 
Dominion University Monarchs. Junior 
Eric Maynor and senior Jamal Shuler com- 
bined for 52 points and VCU silenced a 
sold-out Constant Center crowd of 8,424 

with a stunning early run on the way to a 
78-68 victory — the Rams' first in Norfolk 
since 2004. 

On Jan. 29, the VCU D.C. Metro Area 
Alumni Chapter hosted a pre-game social 
at Brion's Grille in Fairfax, Va., before 
the VCU Rams took on the George Mason 
University Patriots. The game was billed as an 
opportunity for the Rams to separate them- 
selves from GMU; however, GMU, the CAA 
preseason No. I pick, used a 20-4 burst mid- 
way through the second half to take control, 
winning the game, 63-5!- 

Graduation celebration 

Graduates celebrated their achievements 
with family and friends at the winter 2007 
Commencement breakfast. The event, spon- 
sored and staffed by members of the VCU 
Alumni Association, was held Dec. 9, 2007, 
at the University Student Commons. 

RPI alumni dedicate sculpture at reunion 

In April, at the Richmond Professional 
Institute reunion, alumni gathered to 
dedicate "Tableith," an RPI commemo- 
rative sculpture being built to the west 
of Ginter House. 

Created by artist Charles Ponticello 

(M.F.A. '94/A), the sculpture consists of 

51 cast discs — each representing a year 

in RPI's life — stacked atop one another 

and spiraling upward. 

"This has been quite the collaborative effort," Ponticello says. "RPI 

alumni spent several months gathering specific material required for 

this work of art. Each corresponding disc is inscribed with information 

that highlights achievements, events and hallmarks in RPI's history. 

"The sculptural aspect embodies numerous potential meanings. The 
text adds intrigue and coloration from a distance. ... The viewer finds 
an abundance of information referencing the historic past of RPI." 

Charles Ponticello 

RPI alumni raised $40,000 to build and install the monument, and 
many alumni honored former faculty members with their donations. 

• Kathleen Burke Barrett (B.S. '71/B; M.S. '73/B): "Dr. Colin 
Bushway inspired my interest in international business affairs 
and I will remember him always." 

• B. Forace Hill (B.S. '60/H&S; M.S. '70/AHP): "Lois Washer was 
a wonderful adviser and had a great influence on many students 
who passed through her door." 

• Martha Coleman Myers (B.A. 46/A): "I owe to [Dr. Alice Davis] 
the path I have taken in life. She was supportive and encouraged 
not just in words, but in character and action." 

• Alice Newman Murphy (B.F.A. '55/A): "Hazel Mundy was an 
enthusiastic teacher who exuded confidence and passed it on to 
all her students gladly. To be in her fashion class was exciting." 

• Ashlin Wyatt Smith (B.F.A. '55/A; M.F.A. 60/A): "Theresa Pollak 
was my guiding light and greatest critic in my graduate studies in 
the School of Arts at RPI." 

RPI sculpture donors 

Barry and Elaine Ackman 
David Alexick 
Shirley Arrington 
Gwynn Epps August 
Bedros Bandazian 
Edgar Barnhill 
Kathleen Barrett 
June Bass 
Frances Beringer 
William O. and Sarah 

Jean B. Biscoe 
Arlene Blaha 
Ben Henry 

Blankenship Jr. 
Charles Boardman 
Henry Boshen 
Betty Bowles 
John E. Bowles 
Bobby Buchanan 

Lawrence Bussard 
Anne S. Butler 
Mary Grace Cain 
Mary Catherine Calvert 
Rejena Carreras 
Hilton E. Carter 
Maureen Cassada 
Edward W. Coffman 
W.E. Cross Jr. 
Jo Lynne DeMary 
Marie Dimatties 
W. Lester Duty 
James T. Francis 
Harry B.F. Franklin 
Jeanne Frayser 
Jeanne A. Gill 
Harmon Gordon 
Joan Gossage 
Gail Grandis 
Gretchen Grimaud 

Geri Jones Grindle 
Nancy and W. Roy 

Robert L. Groves 
Janice Haag 
John T. Hardy Jr. 
Dennis Heaster 
B. Forace Hill 
Robert Hill 
Stephanie Holt 
Eugene Hunt 
Inge Windmueller 

Shelly Benhein Janus 
Barbara Jones 
John William Jordan 
John D. Lambert 
Ann K. Leake 
James C. and 

Katherine Lester 

Bernard Levey 
Robert F. and Lois 

Gustkey Lindholm 
William W. Little 
Earl Locklear 
Betsy Lottman 
H. Joseph Lowenthal 
Kenneth and Cheri 

Mary Lee Maiden 
Frances S. Mallon 
William McCracken 
John McLean 
Robert Meacham 
Alice C. Newman 

Martha Coleman Myers 
Carol Negus 
William Charles Nelson 
Dave Norris 

William R. O'Connell Jr. 
Raymond Pace 
Ambrose Parker 
John L. Patterson 
Eugene Payne 
Edward Peeples 
Elizabeth Pendleton 
Ann L. Perkins 
Ronald and Mary 

Gardner Phillips 
Barbara Cox Polen 
Anthony Punccinelli 
Richard C. Ramsburg 
E. Harris Reade 
Mary Jane Sale 
Mary G. Saunders 
John Jay Schwartz 
Arline M. Shafer 
Norma Simpson 

Ashlin Wyatt Smith 
George Stone 
Alice Taylor 
Grace Walker Taylor 
Rosemary Tennant 
Gene Monahan Thomas 
Sam Treger 
Margaret Uberti 
Susie Van Pool 
Thomas W Walton 
Norman Wash 
Fred Wayne 
G. Harrison Whitten 
Marsden Williams 
Peggy Fowler Williams 
McCauley F. Willis 
Mary and John Wilson 
Nancy Witt 
Elizabeth Wright 

t's a great time 
oka member: 

Membership in the VCU Alumni Ass. 

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use of university gyms and pools, equipment rentals 
and Outdoor Adventure Program trips (reduced fee). 

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sponsored events. 

* Discount on VCU merchandise at campus bookstores. 

* Discount on tickets to VCU Athletics home events. 

* Discount on event or meeting space rentals in the 
Richard T. Robertson Alumni House (life members only). 

* Discounts on alumni association-sponsored events. 

* VCU Alumni Association MasterCard. 

* Participation in chapters. 

* Group rates on medical insurance, life insurance 
and long-term care insurance. 

» Customized VCU apparel. 

Start your annual membership in the VCU Alumni Association or African-American Alumni Council (includes 
VCUAA membership) today for just $35, or think big with a lifetime membership for $350 (payment plans available). 
VCUAA and AAAC membership dues help support the alumni associations, which are funded by private donations. 

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Commonwealth University 


ass notes 

Send information about your professional and personal 
accomplishments to Or, mail your news 
to Shafer Court Connections. Virginia Commonwealth University, 
827 W. Franklin St., P.O. Box 842041, Richmond, VA 23284-2041. 


Donald Blake (B.S.68/E). president of Blake Management 
Group in Richmond, Va., was reappointed to a second 
four-year term on thej. Sargeant Reynolds Community 
College board and a second three-year term on the 
Family Foundation of Virginia board. 

Robin Eddy (B.S. 67/ E), marketing coordinator at Clarke 
County High School and career and technical admin- 
istrator for Clarke County Public Schools, has been 
named to The Barns of Rose Hill Board of Directors. 

Charles Wood (B.S m/B) lives in Lake Wylie, S.C., 
where he works as general manager of Anchor Self 


Lynne Cannoy (B.F.A. '72/A} authored and chaired the 
IOth anniversary exhibit of the Pittsburgh Society of 
Illustrators, honoring the city's 250th anniversary. 

Stephen G. Carroll, CPA* (B.S.'79/B) is a partner at 
Harris, Hardy andjohnstone P.C. in Richmond, Va., 
and serves on the School of Business Alumni Board. 

Don Goff (B.S 77/H&S) received his M.S. in Management 
from Albertus Magnus College in 2002 and is assistant 
director at Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport. 

Stephen Hill* (B.F.A. '79/A) lives in Manassas, Va.. and 
is a visual information specialist for the Marine Corps. 

Rob Hunter (B.S. '78/H&S), editor of "Ceramics in 
America.'' was inducted as a Fellow of the Society 
of Antiquaries of London. 

William E. Johnson (B.S. '75/B) is director of finance 
for the city of Colonial Heights. Va. 

Jody L. Korman (B.S. '79/ B), an associate broker with ReMax 
Commonwealth in Richmond, Va., earned the profes- 
sional designation of Certified Residential Specialist. 

Elizabeth Lankes (B.F.A. '76/A) is the art director for 
ASIS International and received an award from the 
Washington Metropolitan Art Director's Club for a 
layout in the ASIS magazine, Security Management. 

Marcus Rediker, Ph.D.* (B.A. 77/H&S) published "The 
Slave Ship: A Human History" in October 2007- 

Christine Saum (B.F.A. '79/A) is a 2008 Loeb Fellow 
at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. 

Robert T. Sparkman (B.S. '76/ B) lives in Montclair, Va., 
where he works for the NAVSEA Headquarters Fast Attack 
and Trident Nuclear Submarine Program Office. 

Mary Skudlarek Sudzina, Ph.D.* (B.S. '70/E) was 

promoted to professor emerita of education 

psychology at the University of Dayton. 
Alice Talmadge* (B.S. 75/MC) is a business systems 

specialist with Dominion Resources Services. 
Howard Taylor* (B.S. '78/H&S) retired in April 2007 

after 28 years serving as a criminal justice practitioner. 
George W. Thomas (M.S. 75/B) received his D.Min. 

in Leadership at Liberty University in December 

2007. He is currently an associate pastor and lives 

in Chesapeake, Va. 
Bill Warren (B.S.'78/MC) is vice president of public 

affairs for Walt Disney Corp. 


SETTING THE STAGE. Though he won't be seen on the big screen, 
Jeremy Conway (B.F.A. '78/A) plays a pivotal role in the much antici- 
pated "Sex and the City: The Movie," which hits theaters this May. 

"When I'm working on a movie, I'm doing all the stuff I want to do," 
says Conway, the movie's production designer. 

Over the years, Conway has enjoyed a distinguished career of 
designing sets for theater, TV, movies and even the Olympic Games. 

"I happened to be at the right place at the right time," he says of the 
opportunity to design sets for the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. 
That experience led to a steady gig, with Conway designing sets for 
the following four summer and winter games. 

His most recognizable job, however, was as production designer 
for the hit HBO series "Sex and the City." 

Set in New York City, the cable show followed the lives of four 
women in the late 1990s and tackled many socially relevant issues not 
previously discussed on TV. 

Conway designed many of the sets during the show's six seasons as 
well as the four main characters' apartments - focal points throughout 
the series. Now, he's bringing his New York City designs to the big screen 
and sharing his behind-the-scenes insights with VCU students. 

In 2006, at the invitation of associate professor Elizabeth Hopper, 
Conway brought "Sex and the City" to VCU theater students through 
a master class. 

"I met with a lot of students interested in design," he says. "Over the 
week, we broke down a typical script and they presented their ideas 
of how it should look — only in Richmond, Va." 

The VCU Department of Theatre's "guest artists" program gives 
alumni the opportunity to share their real-world experiences with 

30 , VCU Shafer Court Connections 

students. In addition to deconstructing "Sex and the City" set designs, 
Conway spoke about how he got his start. 

After graduation, Conway headed to New York City, working ini- 
tially as a freelance art director. He's also served as the set designer 
and art director for "Late Night with David Letterman" and lent his 
creative talents to the movies "School of Rock," "Up Close and Per- 
sonal" and "Jacob's Ladder." His designs for the NBC News Olympics 
studio earned him two Emmy awards, in 2000 and 2002, and he's 
received other Emmy nominations for his TV work. 

Maybe "Sex and the City: The Movie" will earn him the next award 
to put on his shelf. 


Neal Azrolan {M.S. "ai/H&S) lives in Newtown, Pa., and is 
employed by Merck & Co. Inc., determining publica- 
tion strategies and creating manuscripts for Merck's 
clinical trials of its HIV drug ISENTRESS. 

Rudolph Burwell* (B.S. '86/ MC) has been promoted 
to colonel in the U.S. Army and will be working at the 
Pentagon as the chief of planning support for Army 
Public Affairs. 

Sergio R. Bustos* (B.S m/MC) published his first book, 
"Miami's Criminal Past — Uncovered,'' which he co- 
authored with a colleague at The Miami Herald. 

Kathy H. Catlett* (B.S. 'ao/B; Cert. '89/B) is assistant vice 
president with Wachovia Insurance Services. 

Anthony Earles (B.S. '85/H&S; M.S. 'fl7/H&S) is an evidence 
specialist with Maui's Criminal Investigation Division. 

William Flynn (B.F.A 8l/A), president and founder of 
Franklin Street Marketing, announced the opening 
of the company's new office — a 7. 3^0 -square -foot 
Baskervill-designed building in Richmond, Va. 

Ronnie Greene* (B.S. 86/MC), an urban affairs editor 
at The Miami Herald, is finishing his first book. "Night 
Fire: Big Oil. Poison Air, and One Woman's Fight to 
Save Her Town," which will be published this year. 

Tim Gresham* (B.S. 84/MC), president and CEO of 
Prevent Blindness Mid-Atlantic, was recently elected to 
the Powhatan County School Board in Powhatan, Va. 

Gail P. Hardy (B S '33/H&S) was recently appointed 
Connecticut's first African-American state's attorney. 

Paul J. Hussar, Ph.D. (B.S.87/H&S) recently returned 
after two years serving as the regional security officer at 
the U.S. Embassy in Cotonou, Benin. He is currently 
assigned as a special agent at Diplomatic Security's 
world headquarters and lives in Spotsylvania, Va. 

Michael J. Kent (B.S.'89/MC), solution content devel- 
oper at Electronic Data Systems in Houston, recently 
achieved the first level of proposal management certifi- 
cation from the Association for Proposal Management 

Jim 'Gusto' Mattocks* (M.S. '86/AMP; M.PA. 96/M&S) 
has retired from the Virginia Health Department and 
moved to Greensboro, N.C. He will receive a philoso- 
phy degree from the University of North Carolina at 
Greensboro this spring. 

Marcy McDonald* (B.F.A. 82/A) received her M.A. in 
English and American Studies, with a concentration in 
digital media, from the University of Virginia in 2005. 
She was recently promoted to director of academic 
content at The Teaching Co. 

Rhonda Patricia Keyes Pleasants (B.S . aa/B) earned 
a Master of Disaster Science from the University of 
Richmond and was promoted to assistant professor 
at John Tyler Community College. 

Cindy Reagan (B.S "ao/B) is senior lead software 
application developer for the Enterprise Information 
Systems project at Texas A&M University. 

Barbie Wilson Roundtree (B.S. '87/ B) is a program 

technician for The Improvement Association in 
Emporia, Va. 

Daniel Rudge* (M.U.R.P.'ea/H&S) was recently named as 
the first manager of strategic planning for die Department 
of Rail and Public Transportation. 

Michael A. Scruggs {B.S. 'si/MO M.S. '37/M&S) directs 
the public sector division of Microsoft's U.S. Pursuit 
Services team and is in his second term as president of 
the National Capital Area Chapter of the Association 
of Proposal Management Professionals. He was awarded 
the Steven Shipley Award in June 2007 by the chapter. 

Benjamin D. Sillmon III* (B.S '36/ B) is a financial 
adviser with Mullins, Gordon, Norman and Hill 
Financial Consulting and Wealth Management 
of Wachovia Securities in Richmond, Va. 

and Jeffrey Blount (B.S. '81/MC) graduated' four years apart and with different 
degrees but found themselves in the same field — broadcast journalism — where they've 
been able to pool their respective talents. 

After receiving his art degree, Cortina took a part-time film editor position at WTVR 
in Richmond, Va. Three years later, he headed for Washington, D.C., and landed a job 
at NBC News. 

Blount narrowly missed working with Cortina when he got a job after graduation as 
a director at WTVR. Blount eventually made his way north to the nation's capital as well, 
getting a job at WRC, the NBC affiliate where Cortina worked. 

"Joe and I became very good friends working at WRC," Blount says. "He was moving 
up the ladder and I was just starting out." 

The pair first started working together on "Meet the Press," where Blount served as 
Cortina's associate director. When Cortina left NBC, Blount took over as director of the 
political newscast. He also currently directs "The Chris Matthews Show" and the Washington 
portions of "NBC Nightly News." 

Soon after leaving NBC, Cortina started his own company, Cortina Productions, a media 
design firm that works in film, video, interactive exhibits and on the Web. When he had 
the opportunity to produce a media project for the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Ky, 
Cortina called on Blount "to bring an eloquence to the story." 

"He respects my outlook and recognizes that I can capture his vision in words," Blount 
says. "He pulled me in right from the beginning. I was passionate about Muhammad Ali and 
what he meant historically to the African-American community." 

The Ali Center opened in 2005 and serves as a testimonial to Ali's life as a boxer and a 
humanitarian. Cortina produced, while Blount wrote the scripts for, more than 30 digital 
videos and a dozen interactive displays. 

"It was the culmination of our professional friendship while strengthening our personal 
friendship," Blount says. 

The duo's most recent collaboration involves writing a script for the "Newseum 4-D 
Experience," an interactive museum in Washington, D.C., dedicated to the history and tech- 
nology of news reporting. 

Who knows what the next project will be for the talented pair, but one thing they're sure 
of is that there will be plenty of opportunities to work together again. 

"It is such a pleasure to collaborate with someone who is so creative and brings in other 
points of view," Cortina says. 

Blount agrees. 

"It is a huge help for me professionally to have these outside influences," he says. "I give 
him a reliable talent of writing and it is special to me that he looks to me for that." 

Jeffrey Blount arid Jc 

■•■^: : SI1;'1 

VCU Alumni Association 

VCU A A officers 

C. Dandridge Massey (B.S. '92/B), president 
Donna M. Dalton (M.Ed. bo/E), president-elect 
Patricia E. Green (M.S.W. '74/SW), secretary 
Kenneth "Ken" A. Thomas (B.S. WB), treasurer 
Jo Lynne S. DeMary (M.Ed. '72/E), immediate 

past president 
Thomas H. Beatty (B.A.'93/H&S), officer- 

at- large 

School alumni board chairs 
Steven B. Brincefield, C.P.M., (M.S. '74/B), 

School of Business 
Stephanie L. Holt (B.S. '74/H&S), School 

of Education 
Mary E. Perkinson (B.F.A. '9i/A ; B.S. '03/En), 

School of Engineering 

Board of Directors 

Term expiring 2008 

Elizabeth J. Moran (M.P.A. 'Oo/GPA) 
Jacqueline Tunstall-Bynum (B.S. '82/H&S) 

Term expiring 2009 

Robert A. Almond (B.S. '74/E; M.S. '85/E) 
Peter A. Blake (B.A. '80/H&S; M.S. '88/MC) 
Suzette P. Denslow (B.S. '79/H&S) 

Charles H. Smith (M.P.A. 81/H&S) is currently sailing aboard 
a Military Sealift Command replenishment ship as the 
third cargo mate, where he supervises flight deck opera- 
tions during underway replenishment with Navy ships. 

Michael Stock (B.S. 96/MC) is the area director for 
the Richmond/Capital Region of the Fellowship 
of Christian Athletes. 

David A. Stosch, CPA (B.S. '82/ B: M.Tax. 84/B) is a prin- 
cipal at Stosch, Dacey & George P.C. and serves on the 
School of Business Alumni Board. 

Mike Wade (B.S. '06/H&S; M.S. 90/AHP) was awarded 
Caron's Law Enforcement Professional Award for his 
efforts in fighting chemical and alcohol dependency 
through education, prevention and treatment. 

Todd Woofenden (B.A. '86/H&S) is the author of 
"Hunters of the Steel Sharks: The Submarine Chasers 
ofWWl," published in December 2006 by Signal Light 


Rebecca Shelton Askew (M.P.A. '94/H&S) lives in 
Chesterfield Co.. Va.. with her husband Rodney 
Askew (B.S 93/E) and their two children. She 
is a senior policy analyst with the Department 
of Agriculture and Consumer Services. 

Lesley Howson Bruno (B.S '99/MC) is director of com- 
munications at George Washington University's School 
of Education. 

Susan Ciconte (B.S. 93/H&S) is employed by Hennepin 
County. Minn. , where she determines eligibility for 
new and current public assistance clients. 

Jennings D. Dawson III 'B.S. 95/B) is chief financial 
officer of the MCV Foundation. 

Irvin "Jack" Farmer (B.S. 69/B), presidential 

William R. O'Connell Jr. (B.E.M. '55/A) 
Thomas A. Silvestri (M.B.A. '86/B) 
Patricia I. Wright (M.Ed. '84/E) 

Term expiring 2010 

Rejena G. Carreras (B.F.A. '70/A; M.A.E. 

William L. Davis (B.S. '74/B; M.S. '79/H&S) 
David R. Dennier (B.S. "75/ B) 
Gary M. Inman (M.A. '93/A) 
Stephen H. Jones (B.S. '75/B) 
Shirley R. McDaniel (B.G.S. WH&S) 
Mary E. Perkinson (B.F.A. '91/A; B.S. '03/En) 
John J. Schwartz (B.S. '69/B) 
Vickie M. Snead (B.S. '76/B) 

African-American Alumni 

Franklin Wallace (B.F.A. '87/A), president 
Joseph Tyner (M.S. '92/B), treasurer 
Mary Francis (B.S. '95/H&S), secretary 
Rodney Harry (B.S. '90/H&S), parliamentarian 
Edward Robinson Jr. (B.G.S. 'oo/H&S; 
M.S.W. '03/SW), VCUAA representative 

Young Alumni Council 

Gaurav "G" Shrestha (B.S. 03/B) 

Evelyn Frasure (B.A. 97/I-I&S) recently earned an LL.M. 
in Environmental Law at George Washington University 
and is serving as a major-select judge advocate at the 
U.S. Air Force's Environmental Law Headquarters 
in Washington, D.C. 

James "Jim" Gleason (MM. 95/A) lives with his wife. 
Dana, in Apalachin, N.Y., where he teaches music 
and serves as minister of music in a United Methodist 
church. He also recently performed as a tenor soloist 
with New York's "Basically Bach" ensemble and will 
play Thomas Jefferson in a 2008 performance 
of "1776." 

Melody King* (B.S. 93/ B) is the controller for The 
Federal Club, an Arnold Palmer Signature golf 
course in Hanover County, Va. She is also southeast 
regional director for the American Society of Women 
Accountants and president of the local chapter for 

Jennifer Lewis Kuchno (B.S. '93/H&S; MX '93/E) was 
selected as a 2007-08 Rotary Ambassadorial Cultural 
Scholar in Quito, Ecuador, where she is studying the 
Spanish language and Ecuadorian culture and serving 
as a bilingual translator. 

Keith W. Laskey {B.A. 92/H&S) is a program executive 
at the UJA-Federation of New York. 

Karen Betardo Lee (B.A. '94/M&S) lives in Frederick, 
Md. , and is the educational outreach director with 
Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic. 

James A. McGee* (M.S. 96/H&S) recently retired 
from the FBI and is currently serving on the faculty 
in the University of Southern Mississippi School of 
Health's Department of Human Performance and 
Recreation. Center for Spectator Sport Security 

Brand! Hunter McKeating (B.S. '99/H&S) is employed 
byT. Rowe Price's Retirement Plan Services where she 
manages 4-Ol(k) client relationships. 

Mark Moskal (B.S. 92/MC) lives in Seattle where he is 
employed as executive creative director at Ascentium. 

David Renner (B.S. '97/H&S) is senior pastor at New 
Hope Community Baptist Church in Ashland, Va., 
and works in sales for Southern RV. 

Prudence Roberts-Milligan (B.S. '94/MC; M.S. bo/MC) 
is a senior account executive at Pulsar Advertising 
in Richmond. Va. 

Ramin Saadat* (M.A. 94/A) is teaching in Yorba Linda, 

Kelli Miller Stacy (B.S. '91/MQ is a freelance medical 
writer and editor in Atlanta and passed the certification 
exam for the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences in 
October 2007. 

Kathy Lee Storie (B.S. '92/H&S) works for United Space 
Alliance, a prime contractor to NASA for the space 
shuttle and Ares programs. 

Amy Strite (M.S.W. 90/SW) has been promoted to exec- 
utive director of Children's Health Involving Parents 
of Greater Richmond. 

Doug Sutton (B.F A. 90/A) has launched MoveMyMom 
LLC, which arranges and project manages relocations 
. to aid boomers with their parents' transitions. 

Holly Womack Walker (B.S. vl/MC) is a PR and mar- 
keting specialist at John Tyler Community College. 

Eric Williams (B.G.S. 95/M&S) was recently appointed 
director of the Multicultural Academic Opportunities 
Program at Virginia Tech. 


Robert Washington Anderson (B.S. 03/MC), 
a photographer at WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C, 
was awarded a regional Emmy Award in June for 
his work on a weather story. "Our Newsroom is 

Kim Baranowski (M.F.A. bo/A) is participating in 
a two-month expedition to Antarctica to work with 
scientists and install sculptures. 

Chris Beauregard* (B.F.A. bs/A) will receive a master's 
degree from Carnegie Mellon University this spring. 

Robert A. Blackwood IV (B.F.A. 02/A) is the manager 
of Bear Forge in Brevard. N.C. 

Rachel Wine Buhse (B.S. 06/MC) is an assistant PR 
specialist with VCU Health System. 

Tami F. Carsillo (MX 04/E) is a legislative education and 
development media specialist for the Virginia House 
of Delegates. 

Rochelle Y. Clarke (B.S.'oo/B) is the director of infor- 
mation systems technology for VCU. 

Janet L. Clements (M.Ed. bo/E), chief deputy coordi- 
nator of the Virginia Department of Emergency 
Management, has been appointed to the Virginia 
Public Safety Memorial Commission. 

Angela Erale (B.S. 04/MC) is a first lieutenant and com- 
munications platoon leader in the U.S. Army and was 
recently deployed to Iraq. 

Lisa Figueroa (B.S. 07/MC) is a senior producer with 

Christian K. Finkbeiner (B.S. bi/MC) is employed as a 
copy editor and page designer at The Progress- Index 
in Petersburg, Va. 

Louis Florio* (M.S. 04/H&S) has been called as pastor 
to Messiah Lutheran Church in Mechanicsville, Va. 

Stuart Glaser (B.S 04/B) is a project manager for 
DATAllegro Inc. 

Dan Grazier (B.S. bo/MC) is a first lieutenant in the 
U.S. Marine Corps and recently served in Iraq. 

32 I VCU Shafer Court Connections 

[class notes] 

Toni D. Green (B.A. 05/H&S) is pursuing a master's 
degree in education, with a concentration in curri- 
culum and instruction, while teaching for Henrico 
County Public Schools. 

Jovan M. Hackley (B.S. 05/MC) is employed by the 
Virginia Association of Realtors as a marketing manager. 

Altimese Hamlin (B.S 07/MC) is employed as a payroll 
specialist at Paychex in Georgia. 

Brent Harrison (B.S- 04/MC) is a corporate communications 
manager at Surgical Information Systems in Atlanta. 

Jennifer Henson (B.A. 02/H&S) graduated from 
the Wake Forest University School of Law in 2007 
and is working for Anderson, Jones and Gengo as 
an associate in their personal injury and real estate 

Steve Hertzler (B.S. OO/En) is a patent attorney with 
Nixon Peabody LLP in Washington, D.C. 

Travis A. Holmes (BS.O6/M&S) graduated from the U.S. 
Coast Guard Recruit Training Center in Cape May, N.J. 

Jeremy Hughes (B S. OO/B) is president of Hughes 
Logsdon Contracting Group Inc., in Arlington, Va. 

Jeremy L. Jones (B.S 03/B) lives in Houston where he 
works in higher education and is working on two book 
projects to be released in 2008. 

LaToya Jones (B S Oi/B) is senior external QC special- 
ist for Bostwick Laboratories in Glen Allen. Va. 

Demetrios J. Melis (B.S. '03/H&S; M.P.A. 05/GPA) was 

promoted to assistant director of investigations with the 
Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational 
Regulation, where he oversees the Northern Virginia 
Field Division. 

Derek Meyer {B.S. 07/MC) was selected to produce 
a 50-second film as a finalist for the Coca-Cola 
Refreshing Filmmaker's Award. He is pursuing an 
M.F.A. in filmmaking at Florida State L'niversity. 

Matthew Ryan Murphy {B.S. O6/B) is a manufacturer's 
representative with S.E. Burks Sales Co. in 
Richmond, Va. 

Tim Niemczyk (B.S 03/En) is a senior systems engineer with 
Technology Management Group in King George, Va. 

Leslie Orebaugh {B.S. O6/H&S) is a forensic scientist 
trainee with the Virginia Department of Forensic 

Science. Upon completion of the training program 
in May 2008, she will be a forensic biology examiner. 

Christina Powell (B.S 02/MC) is employed as a produc- 
tion designer for RTC Relationship Marketing in 
Washington, D.C. 

Margaret Rogliano (B.S. 05/B) is a recruiter for 
LandAmerica Financial Group in Richmond, Va. 

Katie Hertel Sanner (B.S.'cWMC) received the Rising 
Star Award from the D.C. chapter of Society 
of Marketing Professional Services. 

Tuana Z. Smith (B S. 06/En) is an Army knowledge 
leader intern/IT management specialist with the 
Department of the Army in Arlington, Va. 

Jahn Torres (B.S. Oi/En) is a mechanical design engineer 
at Sensata Technologies Inc. in Massachusetts. 

Travis Townsend (M.F.A. OO/A) received third-place 
recognition in the National Young Sculptors Competition. 
Townsend has also been accepted into a two-person 
exhibit at Second Street Gallery in October 2008 
and a solo show at the Southwest School of Art and 
Craft in San Antonio, Texas. 


BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS. Lifetime athlete Kristen Lessig 

(B.S. '05/E) and physical education teacher Jenni Yocco (B.S. '05/E) 
share a love of sports and a commitment to bringing their passion to 
everyone around them. 

Together they founded Sportable, a nonprofit organization focused 
on providing recreation and sports opportunities for individuals with 
physical disabilities in the Greater Richmond area. 

"We feel like everybody should have the right to play sports," Yocco 
says. "We're charged with putting activities out there and doing what- 
ever we can to make people aware of who we are." 

Lessig and Yocco research how to modify sports and bring in coaches 
when necessary. Through Sportable, they offer biweekly clinics in 
power wheelchair soccer, tennis and basketball, as well as organize 
other recreational outings including kayaking, skiing and rock climbing. 

"You learn a lot when you participate in sports," says Lessig, who 
works full time as a therapeutic recreation specialist in the spinal cord 
injury unit at the Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical 
Center. "That's what is most beneficial in the long run 
— cooperative communication and socialization." 

In addition to her job as a P.E. teacher, Yocco aisp 
works part time as a recreational therapist at Poplar 
Springs Hospital. But she found a common thread with 
Lessig when, as VCU students, they attended a March 
2005 therapeutic recreation conference that showed 
them the possibilities of adaptive sports and recreation. 

The idea for Sportable was born. 

"We thought, 'We have to bring this to Richmond,'" 
Lessig says. 

Eight months later, they hosted Spprtable's first clinic. 
Today, Sportable enjoys 65 members ages 5 and older. 

"This opens up a door for them," Lessig says. "The 
goal is for independence. Activity changes their lives," . 

Yocco recalls the transformation of one middle school student with 
muscular dystrophy who began playing power soccer through Sportable. 

"In gym class, he was able to get out of his chair but he wasn't into 
sports," she says. "Now he's a star on the court. He's awesome at it and 
his self-esteem rose. Finding his niche is what he needed." 

Local athletes view Sportable as the go-to source for adaptive 
sports and recreation. Thanks to their requests, the organization plans 
to introduce quad rugby, fencing and sled hockey in 2009- 

Lessig and Yocco also dream of sending a team to the Paralympics 
one day. 

"We all have the innate desire to compete," Lessig says. "There's 
a misconception that people with disabilities don't want to and/often- 
times, they just get the medal for participating. But in Sportable, they 
find someone they're competitive with who has that instinct, too. That's 
what it's really all about." 

To learn more about Sportable, or to support the organization or one 
of its athletes, visit 



~ • >«■■ 


■ ■r 

Did you 'know?. 

Virginia Commonwealth University counts among its alun 
bestselling authors and on- and off-screen TV talents. He 
university's notable graduates. 
David Baldacci (B.A.'83/H&S), author of "Absolute Power," "The Collectors," "Simple 

and numerous other New York Times bestsellers. 
Jay Fitzgerald (B.S. '75/E), international swimming coach and Olympic trainer. 
Stephen Furst (B.F.A. '76/A), TV producer and actor, whose well-known characters ir 

Flounder from the hit comedy classic "National Lampoon's Animal House," Dr. Elliot Axelrbd 

in the long-running TV drama "St. Elsewhere" and Vir in the Warner Bros. seienee-fic t: - 

"Babylon 5." 
Anita M. Josey-Herring (B.A. '82/H&S), associate judge, Superior Cour 

of Columbia. 
Sheri Reynolds (M.F.A. '92/H&S), author of four critically acclaimed novels, including "Rapture 

of Canaan," which was selected by Oprah Winfrey for her book club. 
Thomas E. Robbins (B.S. '59/MQ, author of "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues," "Another Roadside 

Attraction" and other underground classics. 
Richard T. Robertson (B.A. '67/B), senior adviser to the Warner Bros. 

Allison Varmer (B.S. 04/En) and Alex Vaughan were 
married in November 2006. Varmer is a process engi- 
neer in the Innovation Center at DuPont Teijin Films. 

Gay Donna Vandergriff* (M.B.A. 02/B) is a marketing 

professor at the Henrico Campus of Strayer University. 
Lindsey Ward (B.S. O6/MC) is a news reporter at WCAV 

in Charlottesville, Va. 
Donna-Jo Webster* (B.S. 06/MC) was named branch 

manager of the Cochrane-Rockville Library, in 

Rockville, Va. 
Adam Welch (M.F.A. 03/A) is assistant director 

at Greenwich House Pottery in New York. 
Adam Whitney (B.F.A. 06/A) is the metals coordinator 

at Penland School of Crafts. 
Kendra Williams-Giles (B.S. bo/B) is the human 

resources manager for a nonprofit credit union 

in Northern Virginia. 
Nathan Winslow (B S Ol/En) has published four 

patents and works for Biomet Inc. in Indiana. 
Karmen Yu (B.S. Ol/En) is a project manager at Capital 

One in Richmond. Va. 

Faculty and staff 

Dan Currier (M,F A. 07/A), a photography and film 
adjunct professor at VCU, was interviewed on National 
Public Radio with David Brancaccio about his thesis 
film. "Labeled." which focuses on the North Carolina 
Eugenics program of the 1950s. 

Tyler Darden, a communication arts faculty member, 
was awarded the Gold Medal for Art Direction by the 
New York Society of Illustrators in 2007 and 2008. 

Susie Ganch will have her work featured in the Japan 
Jewelry Biennial. 

Sonali Gulati. an assistant professor in VCU's photography 
and film department, has been accepted to screen her 
film, "24 frames per day." at the Slamdance Film Festival 
in Park City, Utah. 

Arthur Hash is showing in the Society of Arts and Crafts 
exhibit, "From Minimal to Bling: Contemporary Studio 
Jewelry," in Boston and is slated for a solo show at the 
Shelbourne Museum in June/July 2008. His work was 
also featured in "500 Brooches," published by Lark 
Books, and in an advertisement 
for the Sienna Gallery in American Craft magazine. 

Tarne Kendell Hudson, an adjunct instructor in the 
School of Education, competed in the Ilth annual 
World Championships of Performing Arts in Los 
Angeles. She won gold medals in spokesmodeling and 
comic acting; silver medals in classical acting, Broad- 

way singing and variety singing*, and bronze medals in 
country singing and an open vocal category. 

Sterling Hundley (B.F.A. 9&/A), a faculty member in the 
communication arts department, received two gold med- 
als from the New York Society of Illustrators in 2008. 

Todd Raviotta (B.F.A. 'Ol/A: M.F.A. 04/A), a photography 
and film adjunct professor at VCU, has been selected 
to present his film, "At the River," at the Outfest Film 
Festival 25th Anniversary Program. 

Jack Wax's "Surviving on the Quality of Listening" 
was selected as a finalist in the Bombay Sapphire Prize 
2008. the world's largest annual award for artists. 
designers and architects working with glass. 


Gerty Fernandez (B.S. 03/En} and Shawn Johnson 
(B.S. 02/En) were married in December 2006 and 
currently reside in Washington. D.C. Fernandez is 
employed as a mechanical engineer at the Federal 
Energy Regulatory Commission and Johnson is an 
electrical engineer with the Department of Defense. 


Loney G. Nunemaker Jr.* (B.S. '64/ MC) and his wife, Olga, 
welcomed their second child, Emily Claire, in May. 

Sandra Parker (B.S. '89/ MC) gave birth to a baby boy, 
Parker Michael Sancilio, in May. 


Aimee T.H. Kessler* (B.A. '96/H&S) welcomed the birth 
of her first child, Leia Eden Rose, in February 2007. 

Mary Beth Joachim Long (B S. 91/MC) and her husband 
welcomed their first child, Ada Hilliard, on Aug. I. 2007- 

Cindy (Shaub) Murray* (B.S. '95/H&S) gave birth to 
a daughter, Grace Anne, on July 23, 2007- She lives 
in Locust Grove, Va. with her husband, Pete Murray 
(B.A '95/H&S). 


Christel Spiers Laxton (B.S. 04/En) and her husband, 
Larry, welcomed a son, Liam Eli, in March 2006. 


Elizabeth C. Mitchell (B.F.A. 42/A), of Lynchburg. Va., 

April 29, 2007. 
Jeane Boehling O'Brien (48/SW), of Richmond, Va.. 

May 30. 2007, at age 80. 


John R. Booth (Cert. '50/B; B.S. '52/B), of Petersburg, Va.. 

Jan. 7, 2008, at age 80. 
John Joseph Erdman* (B.S 59/B), June 29. 2007. 

at age 73. He retired from AMF in 1989, where he 

worked in human resources, specializing in labor 

William R. Gaines (B.F.A. 50/A), of Cape Canaveral, 

Fla.. Oct. 21. 2007, at age 80. 
Oscar S. Hastings Jr., (B.S.'52/B), of Midlothian, Va., 

Nov. 22. 2007. 
William F. Heywood (B.F.A. '52/A), of Richmond, Va., 

March 9, 2007, at age 79. 

Planned Hivin ; 

RECOGNIZING ESTATE DONORS. Virginia Commonwealth University is fortunate 
to have many generous and loyal alumni and friends. Gifts from our donors profoundly affect 
the university, our students and our faculty, 

The VCU Heritage Society is a special group of alumni and friends who have included 
VCU in their estate plans. These gifts include charitable remainder trusts, charitable gift 
annuities, charitable lead trusts, life insurance and bequests. 

Members of the society have the opportunity to share in the university's success through 
special publications and correspondence as well as invitations to presidential and campus 
events. Donors should speak with a tax adviser about the possibility of specific tax benefits. 

For information on how you might make a bequest to VCU, please contact Thomas Burke, 
executive director of the VCU Foundation, at (804) 828-3958 or 

34 ! VCU Shafer Court Connections 

Anne Wilson Houmes (B.S.'55/H&S), of Richmond, 
Va., May 31. 2007, at age 81. 

Betty Moss (Cert.'53/A). of Richmond, Va.. Dec. 28, 2007. 

Ann B. Tubbs (B.S.51/SW), of Dutton. Va., Sept. 19, 
2OO7, at age 85. 

James "Jim" Kirk Ward (BRA 55/A), ofTrinity, N.C., 
June 30, 2007. at age 74. Averaging more than 20 
points a game in the 1954 an J *955 seasons, Ward 
was a building block for VCU's basketball program. 

Fred Andrew Williams (B.S. '57/ E). of Richmond, Va., 
Dec. 31, 2007, at age 81. Williams had retired after 
more than 40 years serving the City of Richmond in a 
variety of positions, including bureau chief of recre- 
ation and acting director of recreation and parks. 


Christi Biswanger (B.F.A. 68/A), ofCazenovia, N.Y., 
Jan. 12. 2007. 

William Edwin Clarke Sr. (M.S.W.'60/SW), 
of Midlothian. Va.. June IO, 2007. at age 85. 

William Howard Crone (B.S. WB), of Richmond. Va., 

June II, 2007. at age 69. 
Ralph H. Gardner (B.S. WW&S). of Richmond. Va.. 

June 21, 2007. 

Elizabeth Houseman (B.S. 67/E; M.Ed. '78/E). Oct. 12, 2007, 
at age 75 She served as a sixth-grade teacher in Virginia's 
Hanover and Henrico counties for 28 years. 

Leah T. Robinson* (B.S 63/H&S; M.S. ta/H&S; PkD. 74/ 
H&S), of Virginia Beach, Va., Dec. 6, 2007, at age 79. 

Robert Hitter Shackelford Jr. (B.S. 67/B: M.P.A. '91/ 
H&S). of Newtown, Va.. July 7- 2007, at age 61. He was 
a retired assistant commissioner for the Department of 
Mental Health and Retardation, as well as a part-time 
employee for the Virginia Department of Veterans 
Services andJ.M. Fogg Farms. 

Rebecca M. Tarumoto (B.S. 67/B). of Carmel by the Sea. 
Calif., Oct. 29, 2007, at age 62. 

Mary Rosalie West (B.S 67/E), of Richmond, Va., Jan. 
8, 2008, at age 63. 


Kathryn Furgurson Atkins (M.Ed. '78/E), of Richmond, 
Va., Jan. IO, 2008. at age 57. 

Leona L Bailey (M.Ed. '79/E). of Richmond, Va., Apri] 
8. 2007. 

Doris L. Bazzichi (B.FA.'74/A), ofRichmond, Va., Oct. 

3. 2007, at age 82. 

Thomas Head Clarke (B.M.E. 71/A), July 1, 2007, at age 
59- He served as choir director at both New Bridge and 
Black Creek Baptist churches. 

Evelyn P. Collins (B.S. '79/H&S), of Emporia, Va.. Nov. 
12, 2007, at age 61. 

Florence C. Davis (M.Ed. '79/E), ofRichmond, Va., Jan. 

4, 2008, at age 79. 

Anthony J. DeMary Sr.* (MS '75/B), of Midlothian, 
Va., Nov. 12, 2007, at age 60. 

Richard G. Engels* (B.A '72/H&S), ofRichmond. Va., 
Dec. I, 2007. 

Jeffrey L. Fetta (BF A.'75/A), ofRichmond. Va.. Nov. 
21. 2007, at age 59. 

Ruth Helen Chambers Little (M.Ed. '74/E), of 
Tappahannock, Va., June 22, 2007, at age 85. She was 
formerly a high school and elementary school teacher 
and reading supervisor for Essex County Public Schools. 

Frank B. Lotts Jr. (B.A 71/H&S), ofRichmond. Va., 
Nov. 16, 2007. at age 63. 

Virginia Talley Mitchell (B.S '74/H&S), of Mechanicsville, 
Va., Sept. 13, 2007, at age 55. 

Phyllis Moyer (M.S.W. 76/SW), of Mechanicsville. Va.. 
Nov. 6, 2007, at age 60. 

Peggy C. Adams 

New i 

Michael S. Hancock 


ime members 

Patricia A. Prout 

Ann L. Ahearn 

Stephen C. Harvey 

William C. Prout 

Daniel J. Arbogast 

Virginia W. Harvey 

Jodi B. Reid 

Carlton J. Bagley Jr. 

Jodie L. Hayob 

Michele F. Richards 

Jean Clary Bagley 

Katherine R. Hendrixson 

Scott S. Richards 

Melanie B. Becker 

Dr. Betty A. Howe 

Shawn R. Sampson 

Janice F. Bell 

John W. Johnson II 

Ellis A. Sasser 

Stewart W. Bell 

Dale Christina Kalkofen 

, Ed.D. 

Georgeann Schmied 

Joanne L. Bluhm 

Paige L. Larson 

Harry E. Seals 

Bonnie J. Burton 

Calvin B. LaSmith 

Louise Seals 

T.Neal Burton II 

Caroline M. Lee 

Pamela A. Somma 

Alison L. Cain 

Shruti A. Manek 

Alison C. Spencer 

Diane A. Chandler 

Robert E. Marchant, Ph.D. 

Paul T. Steucke 

Donna M. Dalton 

Anne G. Marean 

Dr. Marjorie Anne Stuckle 

Jeanne E. Decker, Ph.D. 

Kenneth W. Martin 

Brian Taylor 

Deborah P. Ellis 

Ashleigh K. McCabe 

Lisa L. Taylor 

Monique Farrington 

Jeanmarie McGowan 

Dee Thomas 

Germaine S. Fauntleroy, Ph.D. 

Neil C. McLaughlin III 

Norman R. Tingle Jr., M.D. 

Amy R. Frith 

Pamela S. McLaughlin 

Mary Ellen Tisdale 

Edward R. Gammon 

Amy Rybar Menefee 

Laura A. Travis 

Gary W. Garland 

Andrew R. Merchant 

Lonni E. Trykowski 

Montrese L. Garner-Sampson 

Bruce M. Miller 

Claudia Duck Tucker 

Donald J. Gee 

Donald L. Newcomb 

Jeffrey D. Vaughan 

Scott Gibbs 

Judy K. Newcomb 

Mark P. Vergnano 

Rose E. Gilliam 

Thomas P. Oakley 

Robert C. Vogler 

Martin W. Goehle 

William R. O'Connell Jr. 


Robert Paul Wiedemer 

James W. Gruenhagen 

Erin O'Toole-Lyon 

Patricia 1. Wright, Ed.D. 

Linda K. Gruenhagen 

Stephen H. Parham 

Iwanna Zawhorodny 

Serita V. Hamilton-Edloe 

Joshua Pretlow III 

Daisy Liu Zhang, Ph.D. 

List includes individuals who joined the VCU Alumni Assoc 

ation or the African-American 

Alumni Council as lifetime members between July 1, 2007, an 

d Dec. 31, 2007. 

James C.L. Muzik (B.S.'78/H&S), of Richmond. Va., 
Dec. 23. 2007, at age 6l. 

Martha Hill Newell (B.FA '79/A). of Mechanicsville, 
Va., Nov. I, 2007, at age 52- 

Karen Stumpf Nuckols (BS.'79/B), ofRichmond, Va., 

Jan. 5. 2008. at age 57. 
Brenda S. Quinby (M A.'78/A; M.S.'93/AMP), ofRichmond, 

Va., Oct. 2. 2007, at age 60. 
Eleanor S. Sturgis (B.S/77/H&S: M.Ed.'so/E), ofEastville. 

Va.. Feb. 2. 2008. 
Nancy D. Truitt (B.F.A. 79/A), of Annandale, Va.. Oct. 

5. 2007, at age 52. 
Margaret Reid Watkins (M.Ed. 79/E). ofRichmond. 

Va., Sept. 9, 2007, at age 58. 
Douglas C. Watson* (B.S. '75/B), ofRichmond, Va.. 

Sept, 25. 2007. at age 60. 
Margaret Edith Wingfield (B.F.A. '76/A), of San Francisco. 

Calif., Dec. 27, 2007. at age 52. 


Virginia S. Daughtrey (B.S 86/ E) , ofRichmond, Va., 

Nov. 3, 2007, at age 67. 
Frederick D. German (B.S.'83/H&S), ofRichmond, Va., 

Oct. I, 2007, at age 52. 

Martha M. Hall (M A. ei/H&S), of Farnham, Va., Sept. 
29, 2007, at age 60. 


Carlton C. Candler (M.T.'94/E), ofNewYork, N.Y.. 

Jan. 6, 2008, at age 46. 
Hylan Q. Carter Jr. (Cert 97/H&S), ofRichmond. Va., 

Oct. I, 2007. at age 59. 

Mary C. Dunn (B.S. 92/H&S). of McLean. Va., Sept. 22. 
2007. at age 40. 

Anita R. Foster (B.S.W. '96/SVV; M.S.W. gs/SW), of 
Richmond, Va., Dec. 30, 2007, at age 48. 

Charles P. Liesfeld (BS. 95/B). ofRichmond. Va., 
Sept. 8, 2007, at age 52. 

Courtney L. Sheap (B.A 90/H&S), of North Wales. Pa.. 
Sept. 9. 2007, at age 44. 

Martha M. Shelton (B.S.WMC), of Chester. Va.. Oct. 
I. 2007, at age 37. 

Paul E.Smith (B.A. 92/H&S), of River Edge. N.J.. Oct. 
6, 2007, at age 37. 

Catherine S. Turner (Cert '90/B: M.S.'07/B). of Maidens. 
Va., Sept. 2. 2007, at age 55. 

Michael Lance Wieringo (B.F.A. WA), of Durham, N.C., 
Aug. 12. 2007, at age 44- He was a comic artist who 
drew for "Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze." "Robin," 
"Superman" and "Spiderman." as well as DC Comics' 
"The Flash" and Marvel Comics' "The Fantastic Four." 
In 1999- Wieringo also created his own comic, "Tellos," 
with comic-book writer and friend Todd DeZago. 

Spring 2008 I 35 

■?':■ Alumni are identified by degree, year 
and college or school. 

College and schools 

H&S College of Humanities and Sciences 

A School of the Arts 

AHP School of Allied Health Professions 

B School of Business 

D School of Dentistry 

E School of Education 

En School of Engineering 

GPA L Douglas Wilder School 

of Government and. Public Affairs 

GS Graduate School 

LS VCU Life Sciences 

M School of Medicine 

MC School of Mass Communications 

N School of Nursing 

P School of Pharmacy 

SW School of Social Work 

WS School of World Studies 


A.S. Associate Degree 

Cert. Certificate 

B.F.A. Bachelor of Fine Arts 

B.G.S. Bachelor of General Studies 

B.I.S. Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies 

B.M. Bachelor of Music 

B.M.E. Bachelor of Music Education 

B.S. Bachelor of Science 

B.S.W. Bachelor of Social Work 

D.D.S. Doctor of Dental Surgery 

D.N. A. P. Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice 

D.P.A. Doctor of Public Administration 

D.P.T. Doctor of Physical Therapy 

M.A. Master of Arts 

M.Acc. Master of Accountancy 

M.A.E. Master of Art Education 

M.B.A. Master of Business Administration 

M.Bin. Master of Bioinformatics 

M.D. Doctor of Medicine 

M.Ed. Master of Education 

M.Env. Master of Environmental Studies 

M.F.A. Master of Fine Arts 

M.H.A. Master of Health Administration 

M.I.S. Master of Interdisciplinary Studies 

M.M. Master of Music 

M.M.E. Master of Music Education 

M.P.A. Master of Public Administration 

M.P.H. Master of Public Health 

M.P.S. Master of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 

M.S. Master of Science 

M.S.A.T. Master of Science in Athletic Training 

M.S.D. Master of Science in Dentistry 

M.S.H.A. Master of Science in Health 


M.S.N.A. Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia 

M.S.O.T. Master of Science in Occupational 


M.S.W Master of Social Work 

MX Master of Teaching 

M.Tax. Master of Taxation 

M.U.R.P. Master of Urban and Regional Planning 

O.T.D. Post-professional Occupational 

Therapy Doctorate 

Pharm.D. Doctor of Pharmacy 

Ph.D. Doctor of Philosophy 

* Member of the VCU Alumni Association . 

Mary M. Willis (B.G.S. 97/H&S), of Richmond, Va.. Oct. 
I. 2007, at age 38. 


Eric J. Clark (B.I.S. 03/H&S), of Richmond. Va.. Oct. 1, 
2007, at age 30. 

Mudiwa S. Dotson (B.S.W. '07/SW), of Richmond. Va.. 

Dec. I. 2007, at age 24. 
Sue S. Keener (B.S. 02/B). of Richmond, Va.. Oct. 9. 

2007. at age 55. 
Juston L. Rose* (B.S.06/B), of Richmond, Va., Sept., 

21, 2007. at age 24. 

Deborah M. Smith (B.S. 03/H&S). of Richmond. Va., 
Sept. 8, 2007. at age 31. 

Antonina Vitale (M.S.W 06/SW). of Gloucester, Va., 
June 2, 2007, at age 66. 

Faculty and staff 

William Dobbie, of Richmond, Va., Sept. 7, 2007, 
at age 67- He graduated from St. Lawrence University 
in 1963 with a B.A. in English and went on to earn 
master's degrees from Columbia University and 
California State University and a Doctor of Education 
degree from the University of Virginia. He came to 
VCU in 1978 as an assistant dean for student services 
in the College of Humanities and Sciences, a position 
he held until 1983. He returned to VCU in 1985 and 
worked for 12 years in the financial aid office. 

W. Avon Drake, Ph.D.. associate professor of politi- 
cal science in VCU's L. Douglas Wilder School of 
Government and Public Affairs, March 14. 2008, 
at age 6l. Drake joined VCU in 1986 as an assistant 
professor of political science and director of African- 
American studies, a role in which he continued until 
1993. He served as an associate professor of political 
science until his retirement injanuary 2008. Drake 
co-authored "Affirmative Action and the Stalled 
Quest lor Black Progress," which received the annual 
Outstanding Book Award from the National 
Conference of Black Political Scientists in 1997. 

Francis Merrill Foster Sr.. of Richmond, Va.,Jan. 
6, 2008. Foster practiced dentistry in thejackson 
Ward neighborhood of Richmond from 1948 until his 
retirement in 1989 an d served as an assistant professor 
of general practice dentistry at VCU. 

John Mahoney. of Richmond. Va., Dec. 23, 2007. 
An associate professor, he joined the VCU Department 
of Psychology in rg7l . He had served on the VCU 
Libraries Advisory Committee, the College of Humanities 
and Sciences Faculty Council and the college's honors 
board. The college has established a scholarship in 
Mahoney's name. Contributions to the scholarship fund 
can be made online at 

Paul D. Minton, of Roanoke, Va., July IO, 2007, at age 
88. Minton was a retired professor of statistics at VCU 
and Southern Methodist University, as well as the for- 
mer dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at VCU. 

Christina Turner, of Richmond. Va., Jan. 13. 2008. 
An associate professor of anthropology, she joined 
VCU in 1994 and helped in the establishment of the 
School of World Studies in 2003. She was a Fulbright 
Scholar and editor of the Middle Atlantic Council of 
Latin American Studies Essays from 2003 to 2006. 
She and her husband. Brian, served as Peace Corps 
volunteers in Paraguay from 1984 to 1986. The School 
of World Studies has established the Dr. Christina 
Turner Writing Award. Contributions to the fund can 
be made online at 

Friends of VCU 

Virginia Clare Hobson. of Dover, N.H., July 4, 
2007. at age 81. A supporter of VCU. Hobson taught 
kindergarten at Woodland School in Gurnee, 111., 
until her retirement. 


Shafer Court Connections wel- 
comes updates on job changes, 
marriages, relocations — whatever is 
newsworthy. Help us keep track of 
you by sending your news to: 

Show spirit! 

VCU black and gold 

Quality polos, Tommy Hilfiger 
apparel, sweatshirts, oxfords, 
outerwear, hats, ladiesapparel, 
bags and fan packs are now 
available online. Buy for your- 
self or give to a friend; shop 
the Virginia Commonwealth 
University merchandise store 

VCU Alumni Association mem- 
bers receive 10 percent off all 
orders. Call (804) 828-2586 to 
get your online promotion code. 

The online merchandise store 
is brought to you by a part- 
nership between VCU Alumni 
Association and Campus 
Casuals by Club Colors. 

University food measures 

*Upper Cut 

[then and now] 

by Kelli Craig 

above the rest 

Restaurant-inspired dining centers are surfacing on campuses the upstairs, students can choose from stir-fry, sushi, fresh salads, 
across the country, including here at Virginia Commonwealth turkey burgers or pizza. Shafer also offers an inclusive vegetarian 
University. But many alumni haven't forgotten about cafeteria-style menu, something Hibbs did not. For a few more meal swipes, or extra 

eateries, which cemented their own place in college history. 

Lois Lindholm (B.F.A. '54/A) says she loved the food served in 
the cafeteria — located in the basement of Founders Hall along Franklin 
Street — during her college years at Richmond Professional Institute, 
now VCU. 

That's if she could recognize it. 

"All the food was really Southern and the ladies behind the counter 
used to laugh at me because I didn't know what it was," says Lindholm, 
who considers herself a Yankee. Over the years she came to love the 
popular Southern side dish of grits, a staple at every meal. 

The dimly lit dining center moved to the first floor of the Hibbs 

money, students can dine on crab cakes, calamari or steak — options 
known as Upper Cuts. 

"We wanted to create a beautiful facility with state-of-the-art 
equipment and 'Upper Cut' options so that students would reflect 
on their student-life dining experiences as great ones," says 
Diane Reynolds (B.S. '79/B; M.B.A. '04/B), director of VCU's 
Department of Business Services, which oversees university dining. 

From Founders to Hibbs and now Shafer Court, VCU's dining 
options have expanded through the years to satisfy the growing student 

The choices and food variety have come a long way since Lindholm's 

Building in the fall of 1967, The university saw the need for more days of fried chicken and grilled cheese. She even remember 


space — with the growing enrollment — and more food options. 

When Christal Holmes (B.S. '05/B), an admissions coun- 
selor with the VCU Office of Undergraduate Admissions, was a VCU 
student, she says "the dining rooms were set up much like those 
in a high school cafeteria — l° n g tables with chairs squeezed 
together side by side." 

The longevity of Hibbs spanned more than three decades. But as 
college campuses changed, so did the dining, and VCU wanted 
to be at the forefront of the new trends. 

The newest VCU dining facility, Shafer Court Dinin 
Center, opened in the fall of 2OO4. The $18 million, 
56,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility contains 
Market 8lO, a large dining area, located on the second 
floor atop a spiraling staircase. 

The award-winning design represents the next step 
in college dining, marche. This cutting-edge, market- 
style concept brings the kitchen in front of the students 
to individual kiosks, providing for made-to-order dishes. 

VCU student Courtney McCullough, 19, lives in 
Ackell Residence Center and isn't required to have a mea 
plan but does. The sophomore sees "the Shaf as a great meet 
ing place for friends. 

"I get excited about beef brisket day," McCullough says. 

Other than the food, Shafer has a different ambience than past 
VCU dining centers. Holmes says. 

Compared to Founders' basement and the first floor of the old 
Hibbs Building, Market 8lO offers brightly colored walls and surround- 
ing windows that allow for more natural light. Wandering around 

VCU dining evolves with societal trends and students' ever-changing taste buds. 

[then] In the early 1970s, students lined up for cafeteria-style meals at the dining 
center located in the Hibbs Buildipg. 

[now] Today, a myriad of different fare — including vegetarian, Mongolian and Ameri 
— are created and served in front of the students at the award-wining, 56,000-sqi 
foot Shafer Court Dining Center. 

extra for the iced tea. 

"But it was worth it," she says. "I remember the iced tea was wonderful 
absolutely wonderful. We used to get two glasses at a time." 

Kelli Craig is a contributing writer for Shafer Court 

op photo: Special Collections and Archives, VCU Libraries; Bottom photo: Robert Benson 

Spring 2O08 I 37 


Mark your calendars for these Virginia Commonwealth University 
and VCU Alumni Association events. For more alumni activities, 
go to or, or visit for campus happenings. 


May 9-18 

Master of Fine Arts Thesis Exhibition, 
Round 2 

Anderson Gallery 

May IO 

VCU Music: Greater Richmond Bands 

W.E. Singleton Center for the Performing Arts 


May 17 

Spring Commencement 

Alumni Stars reception* 

Snead Hall 

Commencement Breakfast* 
Location TBD 
(804) 828-2586 

Spring Commencement 
Richmond Coliseum 

May 22 

VCUAA Board of Directors Meeting* 

University Student Commons 
(804) 828-2856 


African-American Alumni Council 

Robertson Alumni House 


June 4-13 

Alumni Campus Abroad Trip: French 


June 14 

African-American Alumni Council 

Robertson Alumni House 


July 2-15 

Alumni Campus Abroad Trip: Ukraine 
on the Dnieper River* 



Sept. 13 

The Daedalus Quartet 

W.E. Singleton Center for the Performing Arts 

Sept. 17-29 

Alumni Campus Abroad Trip: China 


The Daedalus Quartet 

Sept. 16 

26th Opening Faculty Address and Convocation 

Hermes A. Kontos Medical Sciences Building 


Oct. 20-24 

Friends of the Library Annual Book Sale 

James Branch Cabell Library 

Friends of the Library Annual Book Sale 

Oct. 24-26 
Fall Fest 

Various events/locations 

Oct. 25 

Awadagin Pratt, piano 

W.E. Singleton Center for the Performing Arts 
(804) 828-1169 

*VCUAA events 

38 ! VCU Shafer Court Connections 


Student enrollment: 1947 

Grove Avenue Baptist Church served 
as the location for the 1947 Richmond Professional Institute 
commencement where Provost Henry H. Hibbs, Ph.D., 
addressed fewer than 250 graduates. In the midst of a spike 
in enrollment, RPI grew from 450 full-time students in 
1940 to I.IOO in 1952. By RPFs June i960 commencement 
ceremony, more than 400 students graduated from what is 
now Virginia Commonwealth University. 





/ Web site at 

for all alumni news, events, online membership and more! 



Virginia Commonwealth University 

Office of Alumni Relations 

924 West Franklin Street 

P.O. Box 843044 

Richmond, Virginia 23284-3044 

Address Service Requested 

Non-profit Organization 

U.S. Postage Paid 

Permit No. 869