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Check out our January and February editions of Class Notes! Please submit your own Class Note via our online form. We’ll feature you in the next email edition, online, in College of Charleston Magazine, and possibly even on our social media channels on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Here are just a few highlights from the January and February editions.

January and February 2018


H. Biemann Othersen, Jr. of Charleston, SC, was awarded a Doctorate of Humane Letters from the College of Charleston during the December commencement ceremonies. The honorary degree was given in recognition of his lifetime service to the field of pediatric surgery. Dr. Othersen was the first pediatric surgeon in South Carolina and chaired the department of pediatric surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina.


Jack Hinson is Distinguished Professor Emeritus for the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Dr. Hinson earned his master's degree from the University of South Carolina, and his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University. He spent several years at the National Institutes of Health and U.S. Food and Drug Administration before going to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He and his wife, Joanne, live in Little Rock, AR, and have two sons, Edward and Richard.


Vic Rawl of Charleston, SC, has joined the law firm, Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani, in an of-counsel capacity. He is a former 9th Circuit Court judge and is chairman of Charleston County Council.


Bruce Stender and Jeannette Oldland Stender '74 recently celebrated 44 years of marriage. Mr. Stender volunteers as a firefighter and EMT for Broad River Volunteer Fire Department, where Mrs. Stender is president of the department's Auxiliary. Mr. Stender served 30 years as a marine biologist with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, and Mrs. Stender is a retired physical education teacher. They live in Bat Cave, NC.


Karen Luhrs has retired as guidance director from the Charleston County School District after 43 years of service. Ms. Luhrs is currently teaching at The Citadel in the Evening College Master's Program in School Counseling.


Robert Holt is Vice President, Medical Affairs at Horizon Pharma USA, Inc. Dr. Holt earned his doctorate in pharmacology from the Medical University of South Carolina, and his M.B.A. from Northwestern University. He and his wife, Nancy, live in Sunset Beach, NC.


Martha Boatwright Boone of Roswell, GA, has published a novel entitled, The Big Free, about her first six months as a general surgery intern. Dr. Boone is a Urologist and earned her medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina. She has been named a Top Doc in Atlanta for five years.

Claire Haltiwanger Holley of Raleigh, NC, is Executive Director of the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association (NCVMA). In July, the association won the Best in the Business Award during the American Veterinary Medical Association's Annual Convention in Indianapolis, for a public relations campaign initiated to raise awareness of veterinary medicine and animal health.


Mike Pinsky earned his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law, and is a Partner at Hayward Parker O'Leary & Pinsky in Middletown, NY. He and his wife, Debbie Dunn Pinsky '80, have one son, Joshua.


Cheryll Novak Woods-Flowers (M.S. '99) is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker United in Mount Pleasant, SC. She has been appointed by the Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina to the Lieutenant Governor's Council on Aging, and by the Governor of South Carolina to the Disabilities Board of Charleston County.


Fred Blumer of Atlanta, is co-founder and CEO of Vehcon and an industry thought leader in the application of telematics in automotive insurance and maintenance industries. He is a graduate of the Harvard Business School, and a former Research Fellow at Kyoto University. He earned his J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1985.


John Tiller has been named a Local Litigation Star by Benchmark Litigation in the areas of product liability and securities. Mr. Tiller leads Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd's insurance defense practice group in Charleston, SC.

Glenn Murray is Director of Audit and Advisory Services at the University of South Carolina. Mr. Murray is a certified public accountant and a certified internal auditor. He and his wife, Carole, live in Little Mountain, SC, and have two sons, Benjamin and William.


Skipper Ott owned Ott Construction Company, Inc. for 21 years. He then worked for The Citadel from 2007 to 2017, and is now employed by the Medical University of South Carolina in the carpentry shop. Mr. Ott started Skipper Ott Ministries, LLC in 2015 and assists people with home repair needs, and is also a deacon at Northbridge Baptist Church in Charleston, SC.

Lucia Rowland Owens of Lexington, VA, has semi-retired after 26 years, and closed her store, Sunday's Child, to create a mobile pop-up shop, The Garden Fairy Muse. Ms. Owens was the grand marshal in Lexington's 2017 Downtown Christmas Parade, recognizing for her years of community support and service.


Brian Rutenberg lives in New York City, and is author of Clear Seeing Place, which takes the reader behind the studio door to explore the making of a painter in intimate detail. Brimming with the joy of process and a love of art history, Mr. Rutenberg reveals the places, people, and experiences that led to the paintings for which he is well known today. Clear Seeing Place has been selected as one of the Best Books of 2017 by Kirkus Reviews.

Jenny Freeman Sparks of Virginia Beach, VA, is an Organizer for Downsize Designs, a moving and relocation company which serves the southeastern Virginia area.


Edie Vardsveen Cusack is the Founder of the College of Charleston's REACH Program, and works with universities to build inclusive programs for young adults with mild intellectual disabilities. Ms. Cusack was thanked by the City of Charleston by proclaiming December 3, 2017, as Edie Cusack Day. The date coincided with the United Nation's International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Erik Kreutner and Katie Steele Kreutner (M.A.T. '01) work at Mason Preparatory School in Charleston, SC. Mr. Kreutner earned his master's in education administration from the University of South Carolina in 2010 and is Head of School at Mason Prep. Mrs. Kreuter is a first grade teacher. They have two children: Mary Clare and Owen.


Duffy Lee Baehr is celebrating her 13th year as owner of Baehr Feet Shoe Boutique in Spartanburg, SC. The store specializes in designer shoes and accessories in the latest trends and in classic styles.

John Price is Business Development Manager for McCrory Construction in Spartanburg, SC. He and his wife, Laura, have three children, Caroline, J.C., and Sam.


Keelin Love, a Realtor with Lois Lane Properties in Charleston, SC, is now one of 39 real estate agents in South Carolina to be certified as an International Property Specialist, awarded by the National Association of Realtors for completing specialized training devoted to international real estate practices.


Michelle Cooper is President of the Institute for Higher Education Policy in Washington, D.C., a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing access and success for underserved students in post-secondary education around the world. Ms. Cooper was the featured speaker during the College's Winter Commencement ceremonies on December 16, 2017.

Kevin Hamilton of North Charleston, SC, plays bass for Ranky Tanky, a Charleston-based jazz group that celebrates Gullah music and culture by infusing the music of the Georgia and South Carolina sea islands with jazz, gospel, and R&B. The group has played Norway's Moldejazz, Lincoln Center, and Carnegie Hall.

Catherine Cook LaCour joined her Blackbaud colleagues in ringing the NASDAQ opening bell in New York City on Giving Tuesday in November. Mrs. LaCour was recently tapped as Global Marketing Head at Blackbaud in Charleston, SC. She serves on the College of Charleston Graduate School Advisory Board, and is a distinguished fellow with the Liberty Fellowship (a part of The Aspen Institute Global Leadership Network).


Laura Murray Tobin is Area Manager, Water and Environment, at the engineering consulting firm, WSP, in Greenwood Village, CO. Mrs. Tobin earned a master's degree in environmental science from the University of Virginia. She and her husband, Robert, have two daughters: Ava and Caroline.


Rhett Brown, of Greenville, SC, is a Broker Associate for Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, C. Dan Joyner Realtors.


Jennifer Barnes Miotke is a professional matchmaker and president of One on One Matchmaking in Marietta, GA. She and her husband, David, welcomed thier first child, Madeleine Rhett, in May of 2014.

Clay Ross, of Brooklyn, NY, is vocalist and guitarist for Ranky Tanky, a Charleston-based jazz group that celebrates Gullah music and culture by infusing the music of Georgia and South Carolina sea islands with jazz, gospel, and R&B. The group will perform in June at Cistern Yard during Charleston's Spoleto Fesitival USA.

Chris Swetckie was named the South Carolina Arts Education Association Elementary Principal of the Year. Mr. Swetckie serves as the principal of Howe Hall Arts Infused Magnet School located in Goose Creek, SC.

Marsha Vaughan is a Senior Registered Client Associate at Raymond James in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. She and her husband, John Dickerson, have three children, Katherine, Camden and James.

Sharon Wade is a Special Education Teacher at Sanders-Clyde Creative Arts School in Charleston, SC. Ms. Wade earned her master's in education from Lesley University in 2008.


Catherine Sandlin Dority is Director of Marketing at the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. She was awarded the Order of the Silver Crescent, South Carolina's highest civilian award, for her 20 years of significant local contributions, leadership, volunteerism, and influence.

Johnny Lloyd is a Major in the Georgia Air National Guard and was previously an active duty Army logistics officer and Iraq War veteran. He works for Alliance Careers and lives in Ball Ground, GA.

Heather McLaine Sumner is a Substance Abuse Counselor at the William J. McCord Adolescent Treatment Facility in Orangeburg, SC. She earned her M.A. in clinical mental health counseling from Webster University. She and her husband, Thomas, have two children, Thomas and Olivia.


Brian Leman recently moved back to Charleston after earning his D.V.M. from St. Georges University in 2010. He is president of Dorchester Veterinary Hospital in North Charleston, SC.

Sebastian Zutant is owner of Primrose Wine Bar in Washington, D.C. He has received many awards for the wine programs in his restaurants, including a James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine Program.


Faith Corbo Arifian and husband, Andrew, are proud to announce the birth of Ella Arifian, in April 2017. Dr. Arifian is account manager at Alzo International and earned both her M.B.A. and her Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Connecticut. The family resides in Roxbury, CT.

Darrell Farewell recently became a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) through The Institute of Internal Auditors. Mr. Farewell is assistant Vice President and Senior Internal Auditor for BB&T in Winston-Salem, NC. He obtained his M.B.A. with a concentration in finance from Waynesburg University.

Cary Ann Hearst is a folk/roots rock musician for Shovels & Rope, and performs with bandmate and husband, Michael Trent. In April they hosted the High Water Festival, in North Charleston, SC.

Ellis Roberts has founded the law firm, Monoc Roberts LLC, in Charleston, SC, and will continue representing clients in personal injury and wrongful death cases.


Julia Royall has been named a Master Teacher by the South Carolina Independent School Association. The Master Teacher program recognizes teachers who exhibit best practices in the classroom and a willingness for collaboration. Ms. Royall teaches French at Mason Preparatory School in Charleston, SC.


Jackson Ewing is the Director of Asian Sustainability for the Asia Society Policy Institute in New York, leading projects on environmental cooperation, responsible resource development, and international climate change policy. He was a featured panelist at the Asia-Pacific Carbon Forum in Bangkok, Thailand in December. Dr. Ewing holds a doctorate in environmental security and a master's degree in international relations from Bond University.

William Gordon has been named Preschool Principal of the Year from Nobel Learning Communities. Mr. Gordon is Principal of Chesterbrook Academy Preschool in Charlotte, NC, and earned his master's in educational psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Courtney Romanac Bahr is a Librarian at The Ensworth School in Nashville, Tenn. Mrs. Bahr earned her master's in information science from Florida State University in 2012. She and her husband, Christian, have two daughters: Salem and Celia.

Mariah Hay, of Salt Lake City, recently received the Women Tech Council Award for Product Excellence, and was recognized as one of four influential women in Utah's tech industry. Ms. Hay is Vice President of Product at Pluralsight, where she directs product design for the enterprise technology platform.

Emily Fisher Obrovac is a Teacher for Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools in Gahanna, Ohio. Ms. Obrovac earned her M.Ed in curriculum and instruction from Ohio Dominican University. She and her husband, Brett, have one son, Ellis, and three daughters, Findley, Evelyn, and Adelaide.

Amanda Merkey Rowe is an Education Major Account Manager at Cintas Corporation. She and her husband, Robert, and daughter, Avery, live in Chapin, SC.


Caroline Carpenter Bende and her husband, Andras, announce the birth of their son, Quinn, on January 3, 2018. The Bende family lives in Holly Hill, SC. Mrs. Bende serves on the College of Charleston Alumni Association Board of Directors.

John Moye (M.B.A. '12) has been elected to serve on the Isle of Palms City Council. He is a manager of partner client success with Wonderlic, Inc., which helps organizations identify the best job applicants quickly.

Taylor Vecsey has joined the Times Review Media Group on Long Island, NY, as Web Editor, overseeing digital operations for the company's news websites. She is also the founding editor of East Hampton Patch, and has contributed reporting to the New York Post, The Mail on Sunday, and East magazine.


Travis Larimer and wife, Brianna, announce the birth of their son, Rowan Wesley, on August 18, 2017. Mr. Larimer is the Senior Manager of Employment Compliance at Levi Strauss & Co. in San Francisco.

Michelle Mapp (M.P.A.), Chief Executive Officer of the SC Community Loan Fund, was a panelist for the Charleston Power Breakfast Series in December, which touched on the data and context behind Charleston's regional transformation.

Bryan Mayer earned a master of divinity degree in theology from Fuller Theological Seminary in 2016. He and his family live in Pasadena, CA.


Josh Cockrell and wife, Brooke, announce the birth of their daughter, Stella Kathryn, on November 12, 2017. Mr. Cockrell is director, economic development at Infinity Global Solutions, LLC. in Jacksonville, FL. He earned his master's degree in public policy from Jacksonville University in 2016.


Eva Elmer (M.P.A.), of Savannah, GA, is Director of Outreach and Communications for the Chatham County Safety Net Planning Council.

Matthew Foote is a Commercial Insurance Advisor for HUB International, a leading North American insurance brokerage that provides a variety of insurance products and services across numerous industries. He and his wife, Katie, reside on Johns Island, SC.

Monika Franczyk Gulizzi is a Solutions Manager at INFORM GmbH in Atlanta. The company assists other companies with resource optimization and productivity improvement through specialized software and agile forecasting.

Timothy Pakron moved to Jackson, MS, to begin work on his book, The Mississippi Vegan Cookbook, which will feature Cajun, Creole, and southern recipes made with local, seasonal, and wild ingredients. He plans to publish the book by fall 2018.

Dana Soady was admitted into the United Scenic Artists Local USA 829 Union as an Art Department Coordinator. Ms. Soady is a freelance film professional and resides in Brooklyn, NY.


Gordy Casasco is the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Lead at Huge, Inc., a full service digital agency headquartered in Brooklyn, NY.

Rose Christ has joined Cozen O'Connor Public Strategies in New York City as Government Relations Principal. She was named one of “New York City's Rising Stars in 2014” by City & State magazine in their 40 Under 40 list.

Kristin Tunstall Cuadrado earned an M.B.A. from Strayer University in 2015, and is working in federal receivables at Verizon's corporate offices in North Charleston, SC. She and her husband, Franklin, have two children, Jason and Faith.

Denise Killeen is a Communications and Data Associate for the Westchester Children's Association in White Plains, NY. She earned an executive education certificate in nonprofit management from Fordham University in 2015.

Jennifer Timms earned her MFA in sound design from Boston University in 2015 and a technical intern certificate in sound from the Yale School of Drama in 2012. She has authored a book titled Acoustics for theatre Professionals in a Modern Age and currently works as a freelance sound designer, engineer and theatre technician in Boston for numerous production companies.

Daniel Walker is an Enterprise Client Director at IBM Watson Health in Atlanta. He and Colette Bernstein were married on May 13, 2017.


Alison Coppola, a first-grade teacher at North Charleston Creative Arts, has been named the 2017-2018 Teacher of the Year.

Jessica Mitsch, of Raleigh, NC, is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Momentum Learning, Inc. The company serves the tech and business community in the Triangle area by providing relevant skills training.

Jan Gambardella Morris and husband, Scott, announce the birth of their son, Clifton Ronald, on September 14, 2017. Mrs. Morris is a Marketing Project Manager for the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. Clifton joins big sister, Mary.

Erika Selheim is earning her diploma from Wine & Spirits Education Trust, specializing in wine. Ms. Selheim is a Sommelier at The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort.

Allison Stone is Chief Hydrographic Survey Technician at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration in Norfolk, VA.

Sarah Sweeney is a Clinical Research Specialist at the University of Maryland, Baltimore Department of Psychiatry. She was awarded the Public Health Social Work Leadership Scholar (2015) while completing a dual masters program in public health and social work at the University of Maryland, Baltimore in May of 2017.


Evan Berke is an Associate Field Producer at TMZ, and has recently hosted and produced the Headliners Ball at Bowery Electric in New York City. Mr. Berke is also the resident host of the PechaKucha NYC Chapter, which puts on monthly storytelling events by a diverse group of creatives from around the world. He studied at The Second City in Chicago and has most recently co-produced a new standup comedy album.

Chris Lee was awarded the Mission Lexington Caring and Sharing Award for 2016-2017. Mission Lexington is a dental office in Lexington, KY, that provides dental care to the underprivileged and uninsured. Dr. Lee earned his D.M.D. from the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry in May 2016.

Alicia Petit is an associate at The Chakeris Law Firm in Charleston, SC. She earned her J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law in May 2016.


Sarah Thomas is the Health and Fitness Coordinator at BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, in Columbia, SC. She and Marlin Brown were married on March 12, 2016.

Andrew Duggan (MS '13) of Charleston, SC, has joined Moore Beauston & Woodham, LLP, as a Senior Accountant and Certified Public Accountant.

Sara Levin is Vice President, Institutional Cross Asset Solutions at WallachBeth Capital in New York City.

Emily Rogers is Program Manager at Silver Knights Enrichment in Farifax, VA. She is completing her M.P.A. at George Mason University in third party governance and expects to graduate in 2020.

Barbie Kolar Schreiner (M.P.A.) is serving as Senior Development Officer for the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, as well as the mid-Atlantic region of the United States for the College of Charleston.

Amanda Durham married Craig Turner on November 19, 2017, and is a paralegal in the Charleston County Attorney's Office. Mrs. Turner earned the title of advanced certified paralegal with the National Association of Legal Assistants in 2014, South Carolina certified paralegal in July 2016, and was appointed a board member of the South Carolina Board of Paralegal Certification in January 2016.


Master Bines has joined Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Southern Coast Real Estate as an Associate at the West Ashley location in Charleston, SC.

Brandon Brooks, of Charleston, SC, is creator of JYVE, a music app which connects music venues with musicians, enabling venue managers to book artists efficiently and allowing artists to introduce themselves to venue managers.

Michael Mason earned the designation of Naval Aviator at a ceremony in Milton, FL, in September. Ensign Mason has been assigned to Helicopter Squadron West in San Diego where he will fly MH-60S helicopters. He was pinned with heirloom wings belonging to his grandfather, a career naval aviator, by his father, a former flight surgeon for a Marine Corps helicopter squadron.


Lydia Campbell was a participating artist at The Southern, a contemporary art gallery in Charleston, SC. Her artwork is primarily in watercolor and graphite drawings based upon photographs she has taken of people and places in her life. The exhibit was entitled Get Well Soon, and embraced art as a source of happiness, light-heartedness, and joy.