News and notes received between July and December 2022. Submit yours to the CSU Alumni Association to be included in an upcoming issue.
Bob (B.S., ’59) and Gerri (CERT, ’59) Sweeney purchased the Gilpin County Weekly Register-Call newspaper. At 160 years old, it’s the oldest newspaper in Colorado.
John (B.S., ’68) and Carolyn (B.S., ’69) Schoenbauer are retired in Englewood, Florida, where they most recently survived Hurricane Ian. Their home was virtually undamaged, but the surrounding area sustained major losses and there were nearly 100 fatalities.
Carol Marie (B.A., ’68) and Stephen Hector Johnson (B.S., ’68) welcomed their first granddaughter and fourth grandchild on July 22, 2022. They are retired in Dillon, Colorado, where Steve exhibits photography.
Frank Kelly (B.A., ’72) has officially been retired for 20 years as a math teacher in Colorado.
Mimi Hillen (B.F.A., ’74) was awarded the Designer of Distinction for the Colorado Chapter of Interior Designers by the American Society of Interior Designers. The award is presented to a professional ASID member for significant and continuous contribution to the chapter.
Jeanne Darneille (M.Ed., ’75) is currently the assistant secretary for women’s prisons in the Washington Department of Corrections. Darneille had previously served as a state senator for Washington’s 27th district, and on June 10, 2022, she was awarded the Champion for Justice Award to honor her work toward reforming the juvenile justice system and addressing the conditions of incarceration and reentry for individuals affected by the adult justice system.
David Tracy (B.A., ’77) became a grandfather in 2019 to twin boys, Owen and Wyatt Hale of Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. Since his retirement from the Rocky Mountain News and Denver Post in 2006, he has spent his retirement writing, gardening, and playing golf in Mexico with his wife of 23 years, Lupita Fauvet.
Daniel Genova (B.F.A., ’80) moved with his family to Bloomingburg in upstate New York after living and working as a professional artist in Brooklyn for almost 40 years. He plans to continue his work as an artist, expand his studio, raise some farm animals, and possibly open an artist retreat.
Michael Beaudette (B.F.A., ’81) was appointed senior vice president of Professional Printers in Columbia, South Carolina, where he was vice president of sales from 2000-22. Beaudette also served 27 years as an infantry officer on active duty and in the U.S. Army Reserve deployed to Iraq. He retired as lieutenant colonel in 2008. He and his wife, Elizabeth, are recent grandparents.
James Davis (B.S., ’81) has been employed by La Plata County since 2001 and has served as the director of public works and county engineer since 2006. Before then, he worked as a development consultant in the private sector in Florida and Arizona. Married for 44 years to Karla, he has two sons, Miles and Hunter, and welcomed his first grandson last year. He lives near Durango, Colorado, where he runs a small cow-calf operation and tends his garden, orchard, and bees.
Jay Sage (B.S., ’81), along with Douglas County Commissioner Abe Laydon (B.A., ’98), and public relations and marketing communications expert Michelle Ellis (B.A., ’99) celebrated support from Douglas County voters in the November election to approve the continuation of the sales tax to protect parks, trails, open space, and historic preservation.
Dr. Muhammad Afzal (Ph.D., ’85) received a meritorious award from the World Organization for Animal Health for his contribution to diagnosis and control of animal diseases in Pakistan. Afzal served in Pakistan’s veterinary sector for more than 40 years and held many high-level positions, including chief veterinary officer and chairman of the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council. He currently leads the animal health sector team of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations for Pakistan. Afzal’s biggest research successes include a poultry vaccine he developed in 1987 and leading Pakistan’s bird flu control efforts in 2005 and 2006.
Carol Stormer (B.S., ’86) is a lifelong occupational health care provider who has been listed in Marquis Who’s Who in America 2020. Stormer is proud to have improved patient quality of life throughout her career.
Anita Tjan (B.S., ’86) was selected by the U.S. Department of State for a 10-month fellowship training teachers and teaching English in Erzurum, Turkey, at Atatürk University. She is one of 200 U.S. citizens selected for the 2022-23 English Language Fellow Program, a public diplomacy and cultural exchange, and is excited to practice the CSU value of giving back to the world.
Mike Williams (B.S., ’86) is a senior shareholder at Senn Visciano Canges PC, and is celebrating his 33rd year of practice. Williams was recently selected as a fellow of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, based on outstanding legal ability, experience, contribution to the profession, and highest standards of professional and ethical conduct in real estate law.
Randall Rolf (B.A., ’87) has been promoted to director of U.S. operations with the a2 Milk Co., a dairy nutrition company headquartered in Sydney, Australia, with operations in Australia, Canada, China, New Zealand, and the United States.
Craig Capp (B.S., ’88) was recently appointed by IBM to lead a national data, AI, and automation team for signature clients in financial services, including Bank of America and State Farm Insurance. Earlier, he led strategic national partnerships and was business executive leader for cloud software sales for IBM. While at CSU, Capp was president of the College of Business Council and played on the varsity baseball team. He is a lifetime member of the Alumni Association and serves as an alumni ambassador for Admissions.
William Morrow (B.S., ’88) departed the Air Force Safety Center in November to take up a position as safety manager with the Defense Health Agency in Falls Church, Virginia.
Michelle Eccellente Stevenson (B.A., ’92) exhibited a solo abstract art show at the Janet F. Harte Public Library’s Noel McArdle Gallery in Corpus Christi, Texas. Her artwork can be found on social media @MESStudioArt.
Michael Ortmeier (B.A., ’93) started a new position as a broadcast director with TeamPeople at Volant Media, Washington, D.C., directing live news bulletins for the D.C. bureau of Afghanistan International and Iran International. He’s excited to be working as an international broadcaster in the nation’s capital, and he and his wife are looking forward to exploring the Eastern Seaboard and doing some deep historical dives.
Richard Thomas II (B.S., ’93) is assistant dean of advising and career services at Colorado Mountain College, where he works to create a viable and sustainable advising program and career services experience for more than 5,100 students across the institution’s 11 college campus locations.
Christina Boyd II (B.A., ’94) has been named one of the top producers at Merrill Lynch. She ranked 21st nationwide and is one of only two women in Minnesota to reach this bar.
Matt Heap (B.A., ’94) retired as the chief and deputy director of the Colorado Division of Gaming after 28 years of service. He accepted a position with GeoComply as the senior director of compliance last June.
Meshell LaBaun (B.S., ’00) earned her Ph.D. in management from Sullivan University. LaBaun’s dissertation was “Placement of a School Certifying Official and Its Impact on Employee Satisfaction and Affective Commitment.” She holds the position of president of the Kentucky Association of Veteran Education Certifying Officials.
Jena Questen (D.V.M., ’01) runs Aspen Park Vet Hospital in Conifer, Colorado, and has been named the Colorado Small Business Person of the Year for 2022 by the U.S. Small Business Administration. She is the only certified aquatic veterinarian in the state of Colorado and the 21st person in the world to achieve the certification.
Lesley Struc (B.A., ’01) celebrated 15 years as the local history archivist at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery in 2022. Her career has been focused on providing connections to the community’s extensive local history resources through preservation, digitization, exhibits, programs, and community engagement.
Robert Richardson (Ph.D., ’02) has been appointed chief economist at the U.S. Department of the Interior and says that he would not have achieved this milestone were it not for the foundation of his education at CSU.
Jason Elmore (B.A., ’03), a 19-year Air Force veteran and former CSU ROTC cadet working in Irving, Texas, established Veteran Custom Woodworx, a self-owned and -operated business focusing on wood flags, concealment cabinets, and epoxy and laser projects. He gives 10% of all proceeds to charities each month and prides himself on making things for local businesses and donating items for auctions and veterans’ causes. A recent experience donating a kidney to his mother-in-law (who also attended CSU) inspired him to support the National Kidney Foundation.
Lara Conley (B.S., ’04) has been named director of proposals at Flatiron’s North American business across the U.S. and Canada. Founded in Boulder in 1947 and now headquartered in Broomfield, Colorado, Flatiron builds roads, bridges, rail, airports, dams, industrial, water, and underground projects from common to complex large-scale jobs.
Sara L. Weisenbach (Ph.D., ’05) has been named chief of neuropsychology at McLean Hospital in Boston. She is a board-certified clinical neuropsychologist and a clinical translational researcher. Her career has been based on improving the quality of clinical care for individuals with cognitive and psychiatric concerns through clinical care and innovation, cutting-edge research, education and mentorship, and service to the fields of neuropsychology and geriatric psychiatry.
Maj. Danielle Anderson (B.S., ’09) works for NASA as a physical therapist leading musculoskeletal and sports medicine services for the Astronaut Corps. In October, she helped the strength, conditioning, and rehabilitation team reacclimate astronauts to gravity after they returned from a 170-day mission aboard the International Space Station, commanded by fellow alum Dr. Kjell Lindgren (M.S., ’96).
Zubaida Bai (M.B.A., ’10) has been named president and CEO of the Grameen Foundation. The foundation is a leader in providing access to information and resources with a mission to create a world without poverty and hunger. She is the first woman and the first Indian American to lead the organization.
Michael Czaja (Ph.D., ’12) conducted a 32-day public administration project in Portugal as a U.S. Department of State Fulbright Specialist. Portugal’s Agency for Integrated Rural Fire Management will use the project’s results to develop a communication strategy and engagement initiatives promoting system implementation. Czaja holds an affiliate appointment in the Warner College of Natural Resources Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources. He and his wife, Jeanne Schorsch, live in Kindsbach, Germany.
Jack Muth (D.V.M., Ph.D., ’12) is the new public medical and education director for Dakin’s Pet Health Center in Springfield, Massachusetts. Dr. Muth most recently served as an associate veterinarian at Hampden Veterinary Clinic, Belchertown Veterinary Hospital, Canterbury Tails Veterinary Clinic in Massachusetts, and a number of hospitals and clinics in Michigan and New York.
Vimal Patel (B.A., ’13) has joined the New York Times education desk, where he will focus on free speech issues. He has written about higher education for more than seven years at The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Pasamon Pechrasuwan (M.E., ’13) has completed eight years of employment at Frost & Sullivan, a global growth consulting company. After his short stint as a civil/structural engineer for the Lungmen Nuclear Powerplant project at Black & Veatch, he found himself in a different role for the management consultant industry. He currently holds a position as principal consultant and associate fellow in the Energy, Environment, and Industrial Business unit, based in Bangkok, Thailand.
Gracie Swanberg (B.S., ’14), after receiving her degree in health and exercise science from CSU, completed medical school at Rocky Vista University and has entered residency at the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita Family Medicine Residency Program at Ascension Via Christi in Wichita, Kansas.
Lauren Gunn-Sandell (B.S., ’16) and Jake Gunn (B.A., ’15) celebrated their marriage in May 2022. They also just purchased their first home together in Denver and look forward to incorporating décor that brings back memories of their time spent in Fort Collins and as students at CSU. Lauren graduated with her M.P.H. in epidemiology from CU-Anschutz in May 2022 and will be working as a clinical researcher with the department of biostatistics.
Julia Freedman (B.S., ’21) has been admitted to the highly competitive Marshall University Physician Assistant program, class of 2024.
Isabella Wells (B.S., ’22) graduated from the College of Agricultural Sciences with a degree in animal sciences and a minor in criminology and criminal justice. She moved to Edinburgh, Scotland, in September to pursue a master’s degree in applied animal behavior and welfare at the University of Edinburgh.
Unlikely duo still listening, learning after three decades
By Kate Hawthorne Jeracki
Going to a university like CSU provides the opportunity to meet new people and make lasting friendships. For Janice Williams, her brief stay on campus in 1990-92 created a lifelong bond with a very special mentor.
“My freshman and sophomore years in college, I attended Colorado State University,” the reporter-turned-consultant posted recently on her Facebook page. “While there, I participated in a new mentoring program that paired incoming freshmen of color with faculty/staff at the University. I was paired with Dr. Daniel Tyler, a professor of history. We hit it off from the beginning … just the kindness and understanding he showed toward me when I needed it most.”
Like many students, Williams, who grew up in Denver, ultimately felt CSU was too big for her, and finished her degree at a smaller, Historically Black College in North Carolina.
“When I decided to transfer, I remember having a conversation with Dr. Tyler and him telling me although he didn’t want me to leave, he understood and would always be an ear to listen for me,” she wrote. “That was over 30 years ago, and he is still listening and encouraging me. Whenever I’m home, and he’s not busy writing his next book, we try to grab coffee and a chat. 2023 has been a growing season for me, and I once again needed my mentor and friend, and he was right there. It was as if we never skipped a beat.”
Although the faculty/student pairing program no longer exists, CSU students can take advantage of peer mentoring programs through the student cultural centers, such as the Black/African American Cultural Center and the Native American Cultural Center, and Key Communities within the Division of Student Affairs. Peer mentors are trained to help those new to campus, especially first-generation, transfer, and students of color, get oriented to university life to help them succeed in and out of the classroom.
“CSU has had peer mentoring since before I came to campus 37 years ago,” said Blanche Hughes, vice president for student affairs. “When I was head of Black Student Services, most of my staff were peer mentors. I saw what a difference they made to the students they mentored. And some of them also are still in touch with their mentees, decades later.