Class notes

News and updates about your J-School classmates

Fall 2016 Edition


Rich Clarkson, j’55, was honored Oct. 18 at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Clarkson received the Missouri Honor Medal, which is awarded to recipients to honor their distinguished service in journalism. Get the details.


Ronald Yates, j’69, wrote The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles, which was published in May. It is the second book in his Finding Billy Battles trilogy. He lives in Murrieta, California.


Bill Farmer, j’75, the voice of familiar cartoon characters, was a judge on an episode of "Cake Wars," which aired on Nov. 7, 2016. Read the KU Alumni Association story.  

Thomas Bolitho, j’76, is president of Bolitho Media Service in Ada, Oklahoma.

Sheila Jones Floodman McAllister, j’76, l’79, is an attorney at Floodman Family Law in Wichita, Kansas.

Thomas Scott Cadden Jr., j’76, is currently the public information section supervisor/ACI liaison for Arizona Game and Fish in Phoenix, Arizona.

Martha Schiller Johnson, j’77, is a financial advisor at CoreNorth Capital Planning in Wichita.

Bill French, j’77, retired more than a year ago after 37 years in sales and marketing in the technology field.  French spent his entire career in Tulsa and was employed by IBM, EMC and Cisco. He now spends his time golfing and managing the family farm and ranch in Stafford County, Kansas.

Carol Hudler, j’77, has been named chief operating officer of Cumberland Region Tomorrow, a private, nonprofit, citizen-based regional organization created to improve growth planning in the greater Nashville, Tennessee, area.

Marcia Kelley, j'77, c'95, has had a career involving both journalism and writing in a number of capacities including reporter to station manager at several Midwest radio stations and technical writer for various industries including real estate, nonprofit, education, security, medical, energy and defense (government). She also has enjoyed a freelance writing career for articles, website content and, most recently, in books. This year, she published two books: "Stay Safe on Campus" and "How to Graduate Debt-Free!" available on Amazon.

Calvin Wiebe, j’78, g’84, is executive director of institutional advancement at Barton Community College Foundation.

Jerry Seib, j’78, is executive Washington editor and chief commentator at The Wall Street Journal in Washington, D.C., where he has worked for nearly four decades.

Gary Bedore, j’79, joined The Kansas City Star in August to cover KU basketball. He was a sports reporter at the Lawrence Journal-World for more than 35 years. Read the story.

Carol Hunter, j’79, has been named executive editor of The Des Moines Register. Read the story.

Holly Ann Cadden Soptick, j’79, is currently a writer and proofreader for Keypath Education in Lenexa, Kansas.

Steve South, j’79, is president and general manager at NBC affiliate KSN in Wichita, Kansas. Read the story.

Karen Wenderott Vicker, j’79, is an account executive in business development at CBS Radio in Dallas, where she lives with her husband, Timothy.


Kelly Irvin, j'80, retired after 22 years as public relations manager for the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department. Author of more than a dozen published novels, Kelly has signed a four-book contract with HarperCollins Christian Publishing for a series of Amish romance novels.

Stacie Remmele Wells, j’82, a personal historian at Voices in Time.

Timothy W. Cadden, j’83, is vice president and equity partner at Carter-Waters Construction Materials with offices in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. He also serves on the Kansas Contractors Association Board and the American Concrete Paving Association Board of Directors.

Tim Sharp, j’83, is a reference editor at Purch in Ogden, Utah, where he lives with his husband, Gage Church.

Marcie Jacobs, c’84, j’84, is president and chief story starter at StoryClub Games. She and her husband, Steve, live in Charleston, South Carolina.

Jim McCrossen, j’84, was one of eight journalism teachers from across the country to receive the National Scholastic Press Association’s Pioneer Award this year. McCrossen teaches at Blue Valley Northwest High School in Overland Park, Kansas. Read the story.

Gary Smith, j’84, lives in Lawrence, where he’s a global street photographer and owns East Village PhotoArts. His latest book, Goma: The Poetry of Everyday Life on the Streets of the Most Miserable Place on Earth, is a collection of essays and photos taken during a three-week excursion to Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Read the story.

Jean Fulghum Peat, j’85, directs stewardship and donor communications at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Foundation. She recently received the first place PRISM Award from the Kansas City chapter of the Public Relations Society of America for a publication she produced while serving as director of communication at KU’s Cancer Center.

Karen Luthi Hardeman, j’86, is manager of production at YellowFan Studios, Sprint’s new in-house advertising agency. A former Emmy-winning television producer, Hardeman was previously marketing communications and events manager for the company.

Bill Horner III, j’86, retired in June as publisher and editor of The Sanford (N.C.) Herald. Under his leadership, The Herald was recognized four times in the last five years with the General Excellence prize (three first-place finishes, one third-place finish) in the small daily newspaper division of the North Carolina Press Association news and editorial competition. Horner worked at The Herald for nearly 31 years, the last 18 of which he served as publisher.

Rob Karwath, j’86, president and CEO of North Coast Communications in Duluth, Minnesota, has become an adjunct instructor for the University of Minnesota Duluth, developing and teaching courses on communications and business. North Coast Communications celebrated its five-year anniversary in April.

Bridget Huerter Richards, j’87, is senior vice president of advancement services at Children’s Hospital Colorado Foundation in Aurora, Colorado.

Nate Bukaty, j'88, was a contestant, along with his family, on "Family Feud." Bukaty is the play-by-play announcer for Sporting Kansas City and host of The Border Patrol show on WHB-AM 810 radio in Kansas City. 

Sally Buzbee, j’88, was named executive editor and senior vice president of The Associated Press. Read the story.

Timothy Savage, j’88, has published his first novel, "Davey's Savior," which explores questions of faith and virtue through the story of a fugitive hiding in a California beach town with his 4-year-old son. The book is available on Amazon.

Donna Kirk-Swaffer, j’89, has been communications manager at United Way of Greater Topeka since June 2015.


Laura Woodward Garrison, j’90, is vice president of Home Depot Inc.

Matthew Spett, j’91, is creative director for Ogilvy and Mather in Atlanta, Georgia.

Tai Takahashi, j’91, is assistant news director for KGW-TV in Portland, Oregon.

Mindi Berke, j’92, is an excellence partner at ALPHAEON Corporation in Irvine, California.

Sara Fotovich Beane, j’93, is a freelance reporter for The Kansas City Star, writing for the 913 Magazine and Olathe News sections. She is also the owner of Beanes-Talk Media, a freelance writing and public relations business. She also was a speaker at J-School Generations in October.

Eric Nelson, j’93, and Colleen McCain Nelson, j’97, accepted new positions at The Kansas City Star. Colleen covered the presidential race for the Wall Street Journal, and Eric was head of digital content for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. Read more about their new positions at The Star. 

Julie Ann Throne, j’93, is an ambassador for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

Nicole Abbott Spachman, j’94, is an enrollment specialist at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City. She and her husband, Matthew, live in Kansas City.

Scott Collin, j’94, is vice president and chief creative officer at Influent50 in Washington, D.C. He also was a guest speaker at J-School Generations in October.

Kristi Klepper Ernsting, j’94, g’00, is a public relations consultant at Compass Communications. She lives in Overland Park with Andrew, j’88, a brand communications principal at DLR Group, and their sons, Jake and Drew.

Gerry Fey, j’96, manages creative services at Central Wholesalers in Laurel, Maryland.

Susan Schmidt Henderson, j’96, is director of marketing and communications at the National Association of Professional Surplus Lines Offices in Kansas City.

Stephen Martino, c’95, j’96, is senior vice president and chief compliance officer at MGM Resorts International in Las Vegas, where he makes his home.

Carrie Williams Jordan, j’97, a freelance copy editor and proofreader.

Lesli Humphries, j’98, makes her home in Austin, Texas, where she works for KTBC Fox 7.

Jennifer Smith, j’98, is a CT technologist at the Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center in Wichita, Kansas. In April 2016, she was elevated to the role of president of the Kansas Society of Radiologic Technologists, and she represented the organization at the American Society of Radiologic Technologists House of Delegates’ meeting in June 2016 in Las Vegas.


Christopher T. Borniger, j'01, was elected to partnership with the firm Morris, Laing, Evans, Brock & Kennedy, Chtd. The firm has offices in Wichita and Topeka; West Palm Beach, Florida.; Chicago; and Cleveland. Chris focuses his practice in the areas of civil litigation, financial services, bankruptcy, real estate, and title. He also recently joined the board of directors of Harry Hynes Memorial Hospice, a nonprofit hospice based in Wichita.

Seth Jones, j’01, is editor-in-chief of Golfdom magazine and Athletic Turf.

Annie Hendricks Rogers, j’01, is an attorney at Parman & Easterday in Overland Park, Kansas.

Chris Gregory, j’02, is the director of marketing and public relations at the KU Edwards Campus.

Mark Hansen, c’02, j’02, is a senior editor at Neiman Inc. in Wilmette, Illinois.

Michelle Li, j'02, has accepted a job at KING-TV in Seattle.

Aaron Dawson, j’03, is a commercial lender at NBKC Bank in Overland Park, where he lives with Christie Zemula Dawson, d’03, g’05.

Douglas Donahoo, j’03, lives in Austin,Texas, where he’s brand manager at KXAN.

Blair Lawrence Tyson, j’04, directs marketing and communications at KidsTLC.

Ellen Angelotti, j’05, married Chris Kamke, and they have a new daughter, Quinn Jean Kamke. Ellen works as counsel at Raymond James Financial in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Adrienne Rosel Bulinski, j'05 and Miss Kansas 2005, has recently released her debut novel "Blood Sweat & Tiaras," a story of triumph over tragedy, available on Amazon. 

Erica Stein Ashlock, j’05, is a senior account executive at Dstillery in Chicago.

Erica Benson, j’06, who teaches at Blue Valley North High School in Overland Park, Kansas, was awarded a fellowship by the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation of Alexandria, Virginia, in its 25th annual fellowship competition. The fellowship will fund up to $24,000 of Benson’s course of study toward a master’s degree.

Lauren Erickson, c’06, j’06, lives in Lawrence, where she’s interim director of Marketing Communications at KU.

Kevin Goldstein, j’06, is now senior account executive for marketing products at in Atlanta, Georgia.

Alexis Zayas, j’06, is staff director of the Office of Administrative Adjudication at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington, D.C. Previously, she was an attorney advisor for the Federal Communications Commission in the Media Bureau. She received her law degree from KU in 2009.

Alissa Bauer, j’07, directs marketing and communications at the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence.

Carlos Centeno, j'07, is currently Asia Emergency Officer for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Regional Bureau in Bangkok, Thailand, overseeing emergency response to offices in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bhutan, Cambodia, Nepal, Indonesia, Philippines, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Vanuatu.

Ashley Chitwood, j’07, is vice president of marketing at Alliant International University in San Diego.

Whitney Novak, j’07, l’14, is a law clerk for the U.S. District Court in Kansas City.

Rahul Sharma, j’07, is associate director of development for the YMCA of Florida's First Coast in Jacksonville, Florida. 

Katie Cevera, j’08, pursued a bachelor of nursing degree from Mount Carmel College of Nursing's 13-month Second Degree Accelerated Program in Columbus, Ohio, and is now an emergency room nurse in Columbus. She is also looking to start freelance editing.

Nathan Gill, j’08, is a publicist at University of Colorado Anschutz with a beat in cannabinoid research. He previously did public relations for Purdue University, the United States Department of Transportation and KU. He also freelances and is a former intern of the Iola (Kan.) Register.

Rachel Smith Karwas, j’08, lives in Houston, where she’s assistant director of alumni regional outreach at the Association of Rice Alumni.

Cassandra Boyle, j’10, earned an MBA from Baker University in 2012 and currently works at Lake Charles College Prep, a charter school in Lake Charles, Louisiana, teaching Math Essentials and Financial Math while going back to school to obtain a teaching license.

Niki Thiessen Maloney, c’10, j’10, manages communications at Stormont Vail Health in Topeka, where she lives with her husband, Joe.

Abbey McLaughlin, j'10 is marketing coordinator for Madame Tussauds Las Vegas, a division of the Merlin Entertainments brand.

Andrew Posch, j’11, is reputation manager at Sullivan Higdon & Sink in Kansas City.

Michael Holtz, j’11, is now the Beijing bureau chief for the Christian Science Monitor.

Brenna Malmberg, j’11, is a writer/editor for Houzz in Palo Alto, California.

Morgan Province, j’11, worked at Altria group for five years before moving to Zagreb, Croatia, where her husband will serve as a foreign service officer.

Sarah Plake, j’12, recently started a new job as an anchor/reporter with KSHB-TV in Kansas City. She previously worked from 2012-2015 as a reporter with WIBW in Topeka.

Margaret Hull-Tietz, c’13, j’13, directs operations for KU softball. She played for the university from 2010 to ’13 and earned All-America honors. Maggie and her husband, Kevin, d’11, live in Lawrence.

Meredith Chait, c’14, j’14, has received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Award. She’s spending a year in Ventspils, Latvia, where she’s teaching English and coaching ice hockey.

Kate Shelton, j’14, is a page designer and occasionally writes feature stories at the Ottawa Herald in Ottawa, Kansas. She lives in Ottawa with her fiancé, Christopher Shupert. The couple is planning a 2017 wedding.

Ashleigh Lee, j’14, is an alumni relations consultant at Pennington & Company in Lawrence.

Nikki Wentling, j’14, is now a reporter with Stars and Stripes at the newspaper's Washington, D.C., bureau. She previously was the city hall reporter with the Lawrence Journal-World, and before that she was the military reporter at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock.

Follow the Dallas Morning News on  Facebook  and  Twitter . Follow Hannah Wise on  Twitter .

Follow the Dallas Morning News on Facebook and Twitter.
Follow Hannah Wise on Twitter.

J-School alumna reports live amid police shootings in Dallas 

As a breaking news reporter for the Dallas Morning News, Hannah Wise was assigned to broadcast the rally and march during the Dallas protests in July. She had been live for about two hours when shots rang out, sirens started to blare and people starting running and taking cover. Wise, a 2014 J-School graduate, covered the scene with Facebook Live.

Hannah recounted the events and how she and her editors approached her coverage in this story on Poynter the following day. During the chaos, Wise told the audience that she was going to “stay live for as long as I can, unless my editors tell me to get off.” After the shots were fired, Wise was live for about a half-hour before her phone died.

A few days later, Wise reached out to her mentors at the J-School to share her coverage and some words of appreciation:

"I wanted to shoot y'all a quick note to say thank you for all that you prepared me for during my four years at KU. 

Over the past four days I have had to make a lot of split-second decisions, some of those while under gunfire and broadcasting live. But in all of that I have felt secure that I've made the right choice, or at least a right choice that I can back up with my editors and with the public. My main contributions to the shooting coverage have been these stories:" 
Tick-tock | Officer under fire | Lives matter | Full coverage

Minami Levonowich, j'15, will play professional golf on the LPGA Japan tour.

Ellen Leinwetter, j’16, is a reporter, anchor and producer with KQ2 in St. Joseph, Missouri, covering local, regional and national news in addition to anchoring and producing the weekend newscasts.

Erin Meyer, j’16, accepted a position in the Sports Information Department at Wake Forest University. She spent the summer as an intern in media relations with the Kansas City Royals.

Morgan Cormack, j’16, accepted a position as a producer at KCTV-KSMO in Kansas City.

Madeline Farber, j’16, is a full-time trending news reporter for

Shannon McGraw, j’16, is a communications specialist for Travois in Kansas City, Missouri.

Madeline Martin, j’16, coordinates product marketing at Go Local Interactive in Overland Park.

Michael Portman, j’16, is an assignment editor for KCTV-5 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Jourdaine Smallwood, j’16, is a team leader with the Boys and Girls Club of Kansas City.

Meagan Stice, j’16, makes her home in Kansas City, where she’s a learning consultant at Cerner.