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Oklahoma City University to Honor Distinguished Alumni
The Oklahoma City University Alumni Association will honor several outstanding alumni during Homecoming weekend festivities next month. The annual Distinguished Alumni and Athletic Hall of Fame Awards Dinner will be held Nov. 6 at the Devon Boathouse, Home of OCU Rowing and Canoe/Kayak, at 616 S.E. 6th St. This year’s honorees are law alumnus Carl Alexandre, business alumnus Frank Bruno, music alumnus Edgar Cruz, honors alumnus John Fletcher, dance/arts management alumnus Stephen Kovash, arts and sciences alumna Angela Monson, nursing alumna Marla Peixotto-Smith, religion alumna Ekaterina “Katya” Marsakova Zoubkova and athletic hall of fame inductee Coach Phil McSpadden. The event will begin with a 6 p.m. reception. The dinner and awards ceremony begin at 7 p.m. Alexandre, ’84, is the director of the Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training for the U.S. Department of Justice. He provides strategic guidance for the development and implementation of Rule of Law initiatives designed to increase judicial andprosecutorial capabilities of emerging democracies and developing countries and leads a staff of resident and intermittent legal advisors posted in 35 countries around the globe. Alexandre previously served as the senior resident legal advisor in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where he supervised a team of Department of Justice attorneys, local jurists and support personnel offering a variety of technical assistance to Haiti’s justice sector institutions, trained and mentored Hatian judges and prosecutors at all levels of the justice system and established model prosecutor offices in several of Haiti’s judicial districts. He has been a career member of the Senior Executive Service since 2001. Alexandre also served as a senior trial attorney in the child exploitation section of the criminal division of the Department of Justice and as a state prosecutor in Oklahoma. Alexandre will present “Promoting the Rule of Law Around the World – The Work of the Department of Justice” Nov. 4 at the Oklahoma City University School of Law. His presentation will begin at 5 p.m. in the Homsey Family Moot Courtroom. The event is co-sponsored by the Federal Bar Association, Criminal Law Association American Constitution Society, Federalist Society, International Human Rights Law Association, the Black Law Students Association and the Military, International and National Security Law Association. Bruno, ’50, was a member of the OCU football team,lettering for four years, and has already been inducted into the OCU Sports Hall of Fame. Bruno entered the U.S. Navy in 1943, serving during WWII on the USS Mt. Olympus as Yeoman 2nd Class. After graduating from OCU, Bruno was recalled by the U.S. Navy for the Korean War and served on the Administrative Flag in Yokosuka Japan for nine months. In 1952, Bruno joined his brother, James Bruno, and mother, Sylva Bruno, at the mattress and furniture store they had started a year earlier in Oklahoma City. Together, the trio founded Bruno’s Home Furnishings. Frank Bruno’s wife, Xochitl Bruno, worked full time at the store for the next 49 years and their three children have all worked in the business as officers and directors. Bruno is retiring after 59 years in the business. Cruz, ’86, began playing guitar and bass under the influence of classic rock in 1976. While attending OCU, Cruz played string bass for the OCU Orchestra. Cruz established his independent record label, E.C.I. Recordings in 1987, and began his official recording career in 1989. For the past 20 years he has performed as a touring artist with the Oklahoma Arts Council. He is an annual headliner at the prestigious Chet Atkins Festival each July in Nashville. The festival is the largest gathering of great guitarists from around the world. For the past 15 years, Cruz has toured internationally in France, Italy, England, Mexico, the Caribbean and Peru. Cruz released his first recording of original compositions in 2007, titled “Pieces of Edgar.” In 2009, his “Bohemian Rhapsody” video received more than 10 million hits on YouTube. Cruz performs more than 200 concerts annually and offers an incredible live repertoire of “The Greatest Hits of the Guitar.” Cruz has made 16 CDs and two DVDs that cover moods form Latin, classical, international, rock, jazz,mariachi, romantic, Christmas and originals. Fletcher, ’99, graduated from OCU with a double major in English and theatre. He starred in a number of OCU productions including“Three Viewings,” “Private Lives” and “All’s Well that Ends Well.” He also spent a year in OCU’s touring children’s theatre troupe, the Let’s Pretend Players. Fletcher’s abiding interests in theatre scholarship led him to the PhD program in theatre historiography at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. In 2005, he accepted his current position as assistant professor of theatre history and women’s and gender studies at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Fletcher regularly participates in national and international conferences, currently serving as the second vice president of the Mid-America Theatre Conference. He has published in journals including Text and Performance Quarterly, Ecumenica and Theatre Topics, as well as in anthologies such as Theatre Historiography: Critical Interventions. Kovash, ’04, serves as the national acquisition manager for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Research and Development where he oversees a program of $20 million in grants and contracts designed to develop a scientific basis for environmental decision making. He is a certified federal mediator and facilitator and previously served as a program analyst for the EPA’s Office of International Activities in Washington, D.C. In 2007, Kovash followed a life-long dream to overhaul the feel of an art gallery and opened Istvan Gallery in Oklahoma City with the vision of an atmosphere designed to be comfortable for art collectors as well as viewers. He serves as owner and manager of the gallery and features the work of emerging and established Oklahoma artists. Kovash is a graduate of Leadership Oklahoma City Class XXVI and is a board member and past president of the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition. He also has earned black belts in aikido, jiu jitsu and karate. Monson, ’76, was elected chair of the Oklahoma City School Board last year. She has been engaged in activities related to health care policy for 28 years and currently serves as associate provost for the Office of Community Partnerships and Health Policy at the Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center. She also serves as an adjunct associate professor in the department of family and preventive medicine. She is a member of the OU Medical Center Board of Trustees and of the Oklahoma City/County Board of Health. Monson was a member of the Oklahoma State Senate from 1993 until November 2005 and of the Oklahoma House of Representatives from November 1990 until her election to the Senate. She was the primary sponsor or co-sponsor for much of the legislation pertaining to health care coverage, financing and delivery systems in Oklahoma and was one of the chief architects of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, the state’s Medicaid Agency. As a community activist, Monson has worked with elementary schools, churches and other community organizations providing technical support and assistance to many after-school programs and other related initiatives. Peixotto-Smith, ’06, earned her Masters in Nursing Degree from OCU’s Kramer School of nursing. She is retired as director of emergency services, outpatient services and the transplant program at St. Anthony Hospital. Peixotto-Smith also served on the Governors Council for trauma Legislation and Emergency Preparedness. She continues to serve on the Oklahoma State board of Health Traumatic Brain Injury Council and outreach programs,such as the largest feeding program in Tulsa with trinity Episcopal Parish. Peixotto-Smith teaches part-time for Oklahoma City University. She said herlife has been enriched by attending OCU, not only helping her re-tool from an acute-care nurse to a nurse educator, but also pointing her to serve in the science and art of nursing wherever she is called. Zoubkova, ’95, learned about OCU through St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City. A native of Ulyanovsk, Russia, she transferred to OCU in 1994 and decided to become a pastor. After graduating from OCU, Zoubkova attended the Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City and then returned to Russia to begin serving a church in Pervouralsk, Siberia. Her husband’s job later took her to Tyumen, Siberia, where there was no United Methodist Church so Zoubkova became a social worker and started a local church. Today, she serves as pastor of the Tyumen United Methodist Church of the Salvation and is the only female pastor in the region. Her church is involved in humanitarian aid to former orphans now in prison and to orphans in Usalka and Uspenka. She also conducts a prison ministry prisoners and guards. This year’s OCU Athletic Hall of Fame inductee OCU Softball Coach Phil McSpadden has built the nation’s best small-college softball program and the most storied program in the NAIA. At OCU, he has captured eight national championships and was a 2007 NAIA hall of famer. He has been recognized as national coach of the year by the National Fastpitch Coaches association three times, NAIA coach of the year eight times, region coach of the year once and is a three-time Sooner Athletic Conference coach of the year. McSpadden has coached 36 players who became all-Americans, 20 NAIA scholar-athletes, five NAIA players of the year, two NAIA pitcher of the year, three NAIA catcher of the year and three four-time all-Americans. During 23years at OCU, McSpadden has a 1,222 – 296 record (.805 winning percentage). Tickets are $30 each and can be purchased by calling (405) 208-7787 or e-mailing rsvp@okcu.edu.