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Spring 2015

Alumnus composition performed at UNESCO anniversary 

When the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) celebrated its 70th anniversary, the orchestra played a composition by Steven Traugh, BA ’71, Percussion Performance, MA ’75, Music Composition. His work, “Fanfare and Dance for the 21st Century” premiered in March in Oceanside, Calif., at a performance by the MiraCosta College Orchestra and Percussion Ensemble. The piece was inspired by and dedicated to Traugh’s professor and mentor Phil Faini, a former dean in the College of Creative Arts. Since his graduation, Traugh has played at the Today show, the World’s Fair in Spokane, Wash., and a U.S. State Department goodwill tour of nine countries. 

“My education at WVU prepared me well for the many opportunities that came my way when I moved to Los Angeles after graduation.” — Steven Traugh
Woman sitting next to pool
Brian Persinger

Alumna swimmer is back in the pool as Masters champ 

This winter, Janet Bieno McDonough, BA ’80, Journalism and Communications, was back in the WVU natatorium for the first time in 35 years since she represented WVU at several national championships. The former swim team co-captain still has strong connections to the University and to swimming. Two years ago, she joined U.S. Masters Swimming and has set four National Senior Games records, five National Masters YMCA records and represented Team USA at the 2014 World Games to bring home three silver medals. 

“While at the World Games in Montreal this past summer, I was receiving and sending text messages to my WVU lifetime friends daily and sharing the experience. [In media interviews] I always mention my college swimming career at WVU as an important part of my roots and know WVU has been a part of my success in life both in and out of the pool.”


Harry Raisor, BS, MA ’61, College Station, Texas, recently retired as reserve deputy director for the Brazos County constables. He is a retired major with the U.S. Air Force, where he enlisted after graduating from WVU. He spent 22 years as a pilot, traveling all over the world. 


William “Bill” Switzer, BS, St. Louis, Mo., is a retired captain in the U.S. Navy. He flew 150 combat missions in Vietnam and flew with the Blue Angels. He retired as the federal security director of the Missouri Transportation Security Administration after 13 years of service. 


John L. Buracchio, BS, Wheeling, W.Va., is a retired pharmacist. 


David J. Bailey, BA, Jacksonville Beach, Fla., is president and CEO of The Nemours Foundation, a nonprofit children’s health organization, which provides family-centered care in children’s hospitals in Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Florida … John Holmes, BS, MS ’74, PhD ’77, was awarded the U.S. Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award at the Pentagon in November for his groundbreaking contributions in stealth technology. He is a senior scientist with the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division. 


Joseph W. Dumire, BS, Thomas, W.Va., retired after working for Canaan Valley Resort, as well as working 18 years in commercial banking and 20 years with a local housing agency. 


Ellen S. Cappellanti, BA, JD ’80, has been elected the first female managing member of law firm Jackson Kelly. She has been with the firm for more than 30 years and focuses her practice on assisting clients in a wide variety of commercial transactions, including financings, leasings, acquisitions and real estate development projects … Paula Cornell Lichiello, BS, Forest, Va., is associate dean of graduate studies at Lynchburg College where she teaches graduate courses in educational leadership on campus. She is past president of Women Education Leaders in Virginia and chair of the Membership Committee for the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools. 


Valerie Nieman, BS, Greensboro, N.C., had her second poetry collection, Hotel Worthy, published by Press 53 in March 2015. She was a 2013-14 North Carolina Arts Council poetry fellow, and has received an National Education Association creative writing fellowship as well as major grants in West Virginia and Kentucky. Her awards include the Greg Grummer, Nazim Hikmet and Byron Herbert Reece poetry prizes. Nieman is the author of three novels: Blood Clay, Neena Gathering and a novel about the Rust Belt of the 1970s. 


Natalie Ames, MSW, EdD ’98, Raleigh, N.C., is an associate professor in the Department of Social Work at North Carolina State University. She recently published a book, Writing Clearly for Clients & Colleagues: The Human Service Practitioner’s Guide


Hany J. Farran, PhD, Pomona, Calif., is retiring as a professor of civil and structural engineering after 30 years at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. William V. Weaver, MA, Ringgold, Ga., is the vocational education specialist at the Hamilton County Juvenile Detention Center/Juvenile Court in Chattanooga, Tenn. ... Frank R. Yoke, BS, Gilbert, Ariz., is director of development for the Grand Canyon Council Inc. Boy Scouts of America located in Phoenix. 


Conrado Gempesaw, MS, Newark, Del., is president of St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y. He recently was honored by the Davao City Council for his professional and personal successes. 


Timothy Muscaro, DDS, Tampa, Fla., completed a medical mission to Haiti in 2014. He and his team donned their WVU scrubs while providing services to people in the area … Kim Ferris Rubenstein, Ambler, Pa., is executive director of “Be a Part of the Conversation,” a nonprofit, substance abuse awareness and education program in eastern Pennsylvania.


Nanette Heide, BS, BS ’87, Long Branch, N.J., received the Cheryl Bryson Leadership Award from Duane Morris Women’s Initiative. The award is presented to a female attorney who has made significant contributions to the professional development and advancement of women lawyers. She focuses on corporate and securities transactions and general corporate counseling.


Jeff Boehm, BA, Martinsburg, W.Va., is president of Howard Shockey & Sons Inc., a commercial construction company in Winchester, Va. He is a member of the board of directors of the Eastern Panhandle Community Foundation, and Associated Builders and Contractors of Virginia. His wife, Denise Hatfield Boehm, BS, owns and operates anythingcreative and has provided writing, editing and design services for clients since 1995. The couple has two children, Samuel Boehm, BA ’14, and Madison … Glenn Robinette, BA, JD ’90, Lexington, S.C., recently retired from the practice of law in Maryland and West Virginia. He and his family now live in South Carolina where he coaches cross country track at White Knoll High School.


Samuel D. Marsh, BS, Charleston, W.Va., is an attorney at Kay Casto & Chaney where he represents businesses and individuals in white-collar criminal defense cases and civil litigation matters.


Susan Aspey, BS, Washington, D.C., is senior vice president of public affairs at Cengage Learning … Doug Smith, BS, Pittsburgh, Pa., is transportation planning director for the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission where he will be responsible for advancing the continued process of improving transportation planning for the region.


Robert Richards, RBA, Mingo Junction, Ohio, is director of Ohio Virtual Learning Academy in the Harrison Hills City School District.


Lori M. Bequette, BA, MA ’02, PhD ’03, Huntersville, N.C., is provost of Carolinas College of Health Sciences in Charlotte … Jamie Drowley, DDS, Alexandria, Va., joined the Air Force upon graduation from dental school where she specialized in orthodontics. She recently wrote a book, Call Sign Karma (under pen name Jamie Rae), an adult contemporary romance novel.


Cori Begg, BFA, Pittsburgh, Pa., is director of alumni relations and communications at Chatham University. She was named one of Pittsburgh Magazine’s 40 Under 40 for her overall impact on the Pittsburgh region.


Donald J. Vogt Jr., BSBA, Bayonne, N.J., is chief financial officer for 902 Brewing Inc. His career as an accountant started at a start-up IT government consulting company in Morgantown. He also was an auditor for the sixth largest accounting firm in the U.S., an assistant controller for a publicly traded petroleum transportation company and an AVP at a Fortune 500 financial company.


Eric Kruse, BS, Thorndale, Pa., owns IC Bidding ( which provides a unique platform to bring independent contractors and companies together, allowing independent contractors to find jobs and projects close to them and bid on those projects … B. David Ridpath, EdD, The Plains, Ohio, is on sabbatical as a visiting professor and Fulbright Scholar at the University of Bayreuth in Germany. He is conducting research on European sports club/development models to determine if a similar mode can be developed in the U.S. … John F. Walko, BS, Abingdon, Pa., joined the firm of Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin and presented a continuing legal education course on Pennsylvania’s criminal homicide laws to attorneys serving as mock jurors for the 2015 High School Mock Trial District Competition at the Montgomery County Courthouse.


Robert M. Allender, BSBA, MS ’05, Orlando, Fla., has two children, Robbie and Allie … Zachary Dulli, BFA, is CEO of the National Council for Geographic Education, a national membership association for geography educators in the United States.


Erica J. Tuckwiller, BS, Daniels, W.Va., is a practicing pediatric physician at Beckley Pediatric Associates in Beckley. She and her husband, Brandon, BS ’05, who met during medical school, have two daughters.


Brandon Workman, BS, BS ’06, finished his residency at Charleston Area Medical Center and is a practicing psychiatrist physician at Raleigh Psychiatric Services in Beckley. He and his wife, Erica, BS ’04, have two daughters, Jayden and Rylee.


Richard Ammon, EdD, Dodgeville, Wis., is dean of Business, Management and General Studies at Southwest Tech … Arden Stevens, BS, Henrico, Va., works in sales and cheers for the Mountaineers from the Richmond area. She and her husband, Neil, have three sons, Tunstall, Peter and Waid.


Brandon J. Lucki, BS, JD ’11, is an associate attorney at Burns White in Pittsburgh where he focuses on due diligences review, title curative measures and certified title opinions for clients operating in the coal, oil and gas industries.


Stephanie Williams, BS, Uniontown, Pa., earned a master’s degree in nursing from Carlow University of Pittsburgh.


Morgan Billups, MS, Chattanooga, Tenn., was named the Southern League of Professional Baseball’s Woman of Excellence award winner … Erika Bragg, BS, Spencer, W.Va., is an accountant with Gibbons & Kawash Certified Public Accountants.



Gavin Westin to Katherine Lauren Billings, BA ’07 … Chase to James and Lauren Cooper Jr., BS ’08, Statesville, N.C. ... Audley to Brian, BA ’08, MA ’12, and Mary Elliott, PharmD ’11 … Lena Rose to Carolyn and Andrew C. Facemire, BS ’07, Raleigh, N.C. … Annabel Elise to David, BS ’06, and Hannah, BS ’07, Gwinn Francis, Jane Lew, W.Va. … Evan Gonsorcik Stephens to Gerry Stephens and Victoria Gonsorcik, BA ’96, Somerville, N.J. … Sloane Alexandra to Chad, DDS ’06, and Lyndsey, BS ’03, Lawson, Daniels, W.Va. … Jackson David to Michael Mandeville, BA ’05, MA ’08, Raeford, N.C. … Madeline Leigh to Justin Weber, EMBA ’14, Califon, N.J. … Miles Deion to Jeanette and Douglas Taylor, BA ’05, North Las Vegas, Nev. … Noah to Mark Wilson, MD ’97, Saint Clairsville, Ohio. … Saige Marie to Forrest, MFA ’14, and Kristy Conroy, Morgantown, W.Va.


Ashley M. Baker, BS ’14, Northern Cambria, Pa., Sept. 2, 2014.
W. Gerald “Jerry” Blaney, University benefactor, Chalk Hill, Pa., March 12, 2015.
William “Bill” Bonsall, MS ’50, Morgantown, W.Va., Feb. 21, 2015.
Patrick B. Gallagher , BSBA ’59, Littleton, Colo., Jan. 1, 2015.
Virginia R. Haller, BA ’41, MS ’61, Trinity, Fla., Dec. 26, 2013.
Donald K. Hubbard, BS ’52, Winchester, Ky., April 26, 2014.
Eleanor Watson Jenkins, BA ’97, MA ’88, PhD ’06, Lilburn, Ga., Jan. 17, 2014.
David John, BS ’59, Oldsmar, Fla., June 22, 2014.
Taylor Jones, BS ’09, Vienna, W.Va., May 13, 2014.
Charles E. Lawall, BSBA ’43, Sun City West, Ariz., Dec. 21, 2014.
Barbara J. Lease, MS ’71, Cape Coral, Fla., Jan. 20, 2015.
Hiroki Shibata, BS ’87, Japan, Jan. 26, 2015.
Thomas W. Turner, BS ’50, Penhook, Va., Jan. 17, 2015.

Class Notes Archive

Fall 2014

Get to know West Virginia's Teacher of the Year and an alumnus who's on the hunt for missing money.

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Fall 2015

Discover The Monticola yearbook online and send in your union announcements, along with the rest of your news.

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Fall 2016

Catch up with your fellow alumni who reported in this issue from 1967 to 2016. Don't see anyone from your year? Send us a class note!

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Fall 2017

We love hearing form you. Share what you're up to with your fellow Mountaineers.

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Spring 2015

Meet Masters swim champion Janet Bieno McDonough and composer Steven Traugh among many other fellow alums.

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Spring 2016

Catch up with fellow alumni through the years and find out where you can get your very own "Let's Go" flag to take with you on your travels.

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Spring 2017

Here is where we celebrate the accomplishments of your fellow alumni, welcome new Mountaineers to the world and bid farewell to those who've passed on.

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Summer 2016

This issue we mark personal milestones and mourn the death of longtime alumni leader Stephen L. Douglas.

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Summer 2017

We've shared WVU news with you, now tell us your news!

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