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Focus on Alumni - Class Notes - 2024

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Former OCU golfer Susie Maxwell Berning (BS ’64) is a World Golf Hall of Famer and three-time winner of the U.S. Women’s Open who was honorably invited to the USGA Reunion of Champions earlier this year.  

Barbara McAlister (BM ’64), Cherokee Nation voice instructor, has been recognized as a 2023 Cultural Capital Fellow. The $10,000 award from the First Peoples Fund recognizes artists and culture bearers working to advance Native history, ancestral knowledge and storytelling through art and culture.

The Choctaw Nation recently recognized Muriel Hazel Wright (HDHL ’64), a former teacher, historian and editor who served as secretary of the Choctaw Committee and editor of the Chronicles of Oklahoma. 

Citizen Potawatomi Nation Tribal Chairman John “Rocky” Barrett (BS ’67) was selected as an honoree for the Oklahoma Hall of Fame earlier this year. He also received the Leadership Award from the International Economic Development Council and was appointed to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame Board of Directors.  

Charles Hunter (BA ’67) was named to the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame’s 2023 induction class. “Big Game” Hunter earned the nickname after scoring 55 points in a single game as an OCU freshman.  

Jane Jayroe Gamble (BM ’69; HD ’11) was named to OKC Friday’s 2023 list of the Most Powerful People in Oklahoma City. She is a trustee of OCU, founder of Esther Women OKC and serves as the board president of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic. 


Dee Morales (BA ’72) was inducted into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame in May. She covered national news for a five-state region for World News Tonight and Good Morning America as well as being an award-winning reporter and Emmy nominee.

John Kennedy (BA ’76), founder of Irish Realty, was honored with a Santa Fe Family Life Center’s Lifetime Achievement Award in September. He earned his master’s degree from Harvard, receiving the Spirit Award for his work in public service, and served as Oklahoma’s secretary of state from 1991-94. Currently, he serves as vice chair of the Oklahoma National Memorial and Museum.  

Man in blue shirt
John Kennedy

Mark McClellan (JD ’78) serves as director of Hispanic programs and professor of missions at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas. Before working at SBU, he was a U.S. Army infantry captain and trial lawyer. He earned his master’s degree in divinity and his Doctor of Philosophy in theology from SBU. 


Rick McCormick (MA ’81), a real estate agent with EXP Realty West, was included this year on Oklahoma Magazine’s Top Real Estate Agents list. He also is a successful basketball coach at the collegiate and professional level, being named National Coach of the Year.  

Forbes Advisor included Emmanuel Edem (JD ’82, HD Laws ’98) on its Best Personal Injury Lawyers in Oklahoma City list. He is on the OCU board of trustees and serves as chair of the School of Law executive board. Edem formerly served as president of the Civil Justice Foundation and an adjunct professor at OCU’s School of Law. 

Chief Onyechi Ikpeazu (JD ’82) is the lead counsel to the Labour Party presidential candidate in Nigeria. He served in the Supreme Court of Nigeria as a barrister and solicitor, and as chairman of the Onitsha Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association. He was the governor of Nigeria for four years. 

Brad Krieger (JD ’82), Tony Shinn (MBA ’84), previous law school Dean Jim Roth (JD ’94), and law school Dean David Holt (JD ’09) were all included in 405 Magazine’s “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Leaders.” The article highlighted examples of each individual going above and beyond in their work within this important area of focus.

Ross Plourde (JD ’82) was named to the 2023 “Oklahoma Super Lawyers” list, recognizing the state’s top five percent of Oklahoma attorneys.

Doug Fuller (MBA ’83) and Cameron McLain (MBA ’89) were nominated to return as directors of the Reserve Petroleum Co. board. Fuller has been a director on the RPC board since 2000 and is the president and chief executive officer of Quail Creek Bank. McLain is president and chief executive officer of RPC along with serving as exploration manager of the company.  

John Dorman (JD ’84) was recently appointed to serve as interim council for Jones, Oklahoma, and currently works at Spencer Fane, LLP. Previously, he practiced law for the cities of Edmond, Broken Arrow, Tulsa and Stillwater, where he served as city attorney for 18 years.  

Joel Bieber (JD ’86) was recently named one of the top five personal injury attorneys in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The Joel Bieber Firm is based in Virginia with offices in five additional states. Bieber is a founding member of the North American Brain Injury Society and a member of the American Association of Justice.  

Janie Simms Hipp (JD ’84) served as commencement speaker for the University of Connecticut College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources in May. She was nominated by President Joe Biden to be general counsel of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, making her the first Native American woman in the post. She also has received the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award from President Barack Obama for her work in volunteer service. 

Victor “Vic” Albert (JD ’86) joined the Porter Hedges firm in Oklahoma City as a new partner in the employment section of the litigation practice group. He has tried more than 70 cases in state and federal courts in Oklahoma and was named a leading lawyer in labor and employment by Chambers USA.  

Edgar Cruz (BM ’86) held a concert in July at the Sheerer History Museum in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Cruz has played throughout the U.S., Europe and South America and headlines the Chet Atkins Guitar Festival every summer. The Oklahoma Gazette has named him Oklahoma’s Top Performing Artist and Acoustic Guitarist.

General Ret. David Goldfein (MBA ’87) received the Distinguished Graduate Award from the United States Air Force Academy this summer. He serves as chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force in President Joe Biden’s administration. Goldfein graduated from the U.S. Air Force Weapons School and has over 4,200 hours as a command pilot through flying combat missions in numerous operations, including Desert Shield and Desert Storm.  

Richard Worley (BS ’87) recently was named acting commissioner of the Baltimore Police Department that he first joined in 1998 as a police officer trainee. He was promoted to Sergeant in 2003, then Lieutenant in 2008, and continued moving up the ranks until being promoted to acting commissioner in June.  

Meeghan De Cagna (BA ’89), chief community and learning officer for the American Physiological Society, recently accepted an APEX Award for excellence in graphic design, editorial content and overall communications excellence on behalf of her organization.  

Agnelo Fernandes (MBA ’89), chief executive officer of Cote Family Companies, was named to the executive committee of Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International. He has led the development and launch of hotels and resorts across North America and Asia and held senior executive positions in the hospitality industry with numerous hotel brands.  

Lynne McGuire (JD ’89) is a new special judge in District 21 representing Cleveland County. She has served as an Oklahoma County special judge in the family law division since 2009, including working with the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office and the Oklahoma District Attorney’s Office. She also was president and chief executive officer of Oklahoma Lawyers for Children, a nonprofit organization that represents abused or neglected children in court proceedings.  


Ramona Tumblin-Rucker (MBA ’90) was named director of design/build and construction management at M Property Services in Missouri where she will utilize her more than 30 years of project management experience in healthcare, academic and corporate industries.

Fred Brent (BS ’91) superintendent of the Georgetown, Texas, Independent School District, recently retired and now serves as chief of staff for Sport Clips Haircuts, where he works with leadership to manage internal operating systems and community connectedness.

Mark Hasting (MBA ’91) was promoted to president and chief commerce and operating officer of Blain’s Farm and Fleet, a nationwide retailer. Previously, he spent more than 20 years at Target and also served as a regional vice president at Starbucks.

Tony Scott (JD ’91), will serve as the 2023-24 president of the Oklahoma City Estate Planning Council, which represents multidisciplinary professionals engaged in the practice of estate planning within Oklahoma. Active members include certified public accountants, attorneys, trust officers and chartered life underwriters/chartered financial consultants/certified financial planners. 

Greg Andrews (BA ’92) was named director of dining services, food and nutrition last year at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, Texas, where he has overseen the opening of the late-night bistro and renovating the medical center’s Chick-Fil-A. While in this position, he has increased food service retention by 65% with his team of 200 members and 13 managers.

Amy Staab (JD ’93) was announced as a Point of Light inductee this year for the Thomas More Prep-Marian School in Kansas, an award given to honor those who have given significant service to the school. She currently serves as a board member for Ellis Credit Union, First Care Clinic and Hays Community Theatre. 

Rafe Hall (JD ’94) was appointed to serve as district judge for the 3rd Judicial District, which includes Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa and Tillman counties in Oklahoma.

Matthew Myers (MBA ’94), owner of Switchgrass Capital, earned a Pivot Award in the real estate developer category at the 2023 Commercial Real Estate Summit held in Omaha, Nebraska.

Jim Roth (JD ’94) was featured in the June issue of Oklahoma Magazine in the “Closing Thoughts” profile, where he spoke about his experiences as Oklahoma’s first openly LGBTQ+ elected official, his public service work and the hope and joy he received from working with OCU law students. 

Jeff Tebow (MBA ’94) was elected second vice president of the American Quarter Horse Association executive committee. He previously served as the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Racing Association president and is on their board. 

Rene Gutteridge (BA ’95) presented at ReaderCon, an expansion of the annual WriterCon writing conference in Oklahoma City of which Gutteridge is a co-director.

Graphic designer Bryan Dahlvang (BFA ’97) created the official design for the 2023 Paseo Arts Festival merchandise.

Stephani Logue (JD ’97), associate judge of the North Texas Child Protection Court, was honored with the 26th Patsy Baggett Service Award by the Wichita County Child Welfare Board for her work and commitment to the well-being and safety of area children. 

Chris Miciotto (JD ’97) was named a top attorney in Northwest Louisiana for his work in the areas of auto and truck accidents, workers compensation, criminal defense and social security disability. 

Hock Chye Tan (MBA ’97) was appointed as a non-executive independent director of Aseana Properties Limited, a developer in Malaysia, as well as the organization’s audit committee.

“Maestra,” a documentary co-written by Neil Berkeley (BA ’98) about the La Maestra all-woman conducting competition in Paris, was favorably reviewed in the Hollywood Reporter.

Jana Etheridge (MBA ’98), a director at Capital One, was named as governance chair of the Texas Women’s Foundation executive committee. The foundation’s goal is to make social and economic changes for women in Texas. 

Todd Hensley (MBA ’98) was appointed as chief revenue officer for CUB Ventures/CDLLife, a truck driver recruitment and marketing firm.

Allen Karns (BA ’98), a professor at Vanderbilt University, will be a guest speaker at the 2023 Internet2 Technology Exchange in Minnesota. 

Michael McClintock (JD ’98) was named to the Best Lawyers’ 2024 Oklahoma City Lawyers of the Year list for construction litigation. He previously served as chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. He also was an officer in the U.S. Navy.

Jagdish Rajan (MBA ’98) has been named as the first-ever chief technology officer for Del Grande Dealer Group, a car dealership company based out of Northern California. At DGDG, he leads a nine-person information technology team and provides transactional and analytical reporting services for the group. He previously worked as chief technology officer for Reputation.com and senior vice president at ResponseLogix.

Kerry Ann Schultz-Battle (BS ’98, BA ’98), an attorney and member of Florida’s judicial nominating committee, was named a recipient of the North Platte (Nebraska) Public Schools Foundation’s 2023 Distinguished Alumni award. 

Christy Burcham (BA ’99) was promoted to vice president of education and training for Bernina, a Swiss-owned manufacturer of sewing machines and embroidery software.

Jennifer Grigsby (MBA ’99) was appointed to the board of directors of Superior Plus Corp., a distributor of propane, compressed natural gas, renewable energy and related products and services. She previously served as secretary of economic administration for the State of Oklahoma. She is a member of the National Association of Certified Directors and maintains certified public accountant and chartered global management accountant designations.

Music professors Jan McDaniel, conductor of OCU’s Opera and Music Theater Company, and Catherine McDaniel, associate professor of voice, were guest performers at Christian Morren’s (MM ’99) vocal recital at Cameron University in Lawton.

Neelima Parasker (MS ’99), president and chief executive officer of SnapIT Solutions, a women-owned technology solutions company, was appointed this year to the Kansas Board of Regents.

Janet Peery (BA ’99), chief executive officer of the YWCA in Oklahoma City, gave the keynote address at the Journal Record’s 2023 Woman of the Year ceremony. 

The Choctaw Nation recently recognized Amy Pierce 
(JD ’99), Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma District Court judge, who was the first full-time district court judge for the judicial branch of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.  

Carroll County in Georgia appointed Nathaniel Smith (JD ’99) as chief magistrate judge for the Carroll County Magistrate Court.

Attorney Courtney Warmington (JD ’99) was elected assistant secretary for the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.


Former U.S. Air Force cyberspace officer retired Lt. Col. Jason Huff (BS ’00) was named chief operating officer for security operations at Cyemptive Technologies, a cybersecurity provider for business and government. He was a cyberspace officer in the U.S. Air Force, where he served for 23 years. He previously was the chief information officer of NATO Special Operations Forces headquarters.

Diana Ferguson (JD ’00) was named one of the 2023 Honors Recipients by the American Society of Landscape Architects. She is currently an attorney and lobbyist at Rutledge Ecenia in Florida. Previously, she served the Florida Association of Counties as the legislative staff attorney.  

Forbes Advisor included Darren Tawwater (JD ’00) on its Best Personal Injury Lawyers in Oklahoma City list. He is a member of the American Association for Justice and the Oklahoma Association for Justice.  

Soprano Sarah Coburn (BM ’01) is the new goodwill ambassador for Tulsa Opera’s 75th anniversary season. 

The Rev. Kristie Grimaud (MLA ’01) is the new pastor at Ramona United Methodist Church in California. She previously served as a pastor at Chapel of the Hills and an associate pastor at Foothills United Methodist Church. 

Ryan Jackson (JD ’01), a veteran Washington, D.C., lobbyist with previous high-ranking roles in both the U.S. Senate and Environmental Protection Agency, joined the American Chemistry Council as vice president of federal affairs.

Brian Ruttman (BSB ’01), superintendent and chief executive officer of Moore Norman Technology Center; Margaret Creighton (BS ’02, MBA ’06), president and chief executive officer of Positive Tomorrows; and Rachel Cope (BA ’08), founder and chief executive officer of 84 Hospitality Group, were among this year’s honorees of the Journal Record’s Most Admired CEOs. 

The Washington County (Virginia) board of supervisors 
appointed Brandon Snodgrass (JD ’01) as its county attorney. In his 21 years of experience, he has served as an attorney for Smyth-Washington Industrial Facilities Authority and practiced in federal and state courts in Southwest Virginia.  

Kendal Huber Tawwater (JD ’01) was sworn in as a municipal judge for the City of Oklahoma City Municipal Court. She previously served as barrister of Luther Bohanon American Inn of Court XXIII and a senior administrative law judge for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. She is a member of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma and the Bar Associations of Oklahoma and Oklahoma County.  

Carrie Burnsed (JD ’02) joined the Day Pitney firm in Connecticut in the healthcare, life sciences and technology practice. She has served as a statewide legal referral for Oklahoma Assisted Living Association and Oklahoma Association of Healthcare Providers. 

Kyle Coker (BS ’03) is part of the newly formed RWS Entertainment Group, an entertainment design and casting agency. He has worked as a casting director at Binder Casting and Donna DeSeta Casting and as a freelance writer, director and producer.  

Melissa Handke (JD ’03) was appointed to serve as district attorney for the 20th Judicial District, which includes Carter, Johnston, Love, Marshall and Murray counties. She was the first assistant district attorney for the 20th Judicial District before her appointment and has more than 20 years of experience working in all areas of law. 

Georgie Kastama (BS ’03), first vice president and the Bank Secrecy Act officer for MidFirst Bank, was a panelist for the “Reviewing Past SARs to Strengthen Future Ones” discussion at the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists AML and Financial Crime Conference in September. At MidFirst Bank, she oversees financial crimes risk management programs and is a certified anti-money laundering specialist and certified fraud examiner.  

Aamir Mahmood (MBA ’03), vice president—Americas for MicroPort CRM, helped announce his company’s launch of a new pacemaker. He is on the board of directors at Leman Micro Devices and Aceco Valves. He also is a member of YPO, a global community of chief executives.  

Trish Coleman Byars (JD ’04) was appointed to the 97th Judicial District Court in Archer, Clay and Montague counties in Texas. She previously served as the president of the 46th Judicial District Bar Association and a member of Texas City Attorneys Association and the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association.  

Melissa Ford (BPA ’04) was appointed as associate vice president for advancement at Park University in Missouri. She previously served as director of philanthropic giving for the School of Science and Engineering at the University of Missouri—Kansas City. 

Kyle Kanable (JD ’04) was selected as the Greene County (Missouri) Circuit Court family court commissioner. He previously had his own law firm, specializing in family law and criminal defense while serving as a guardian ad litem. 

Ericka McPherson (JD ’04) was recently appointed as the executive director of Covenant Choice, a provider of captive insurance solutions and healthcare benefits. She previously served as the executive director of Oklahoma Families for Affordable Healthcare. 

Kimberly Schafer (BPA ’04) was selected to be a member of the International Dance Council CID. She’s currently an adjunct professor of dance at Marymount Manhattan and Collaborative Arts Project 21 while serving as a director for Celebrity Cruise Lines.  

Colin Spreier (BS/MS ’04) was named an audit partner for the Grant Thornton firm in Dallas. He has been working with Grant Thornton since 2019 when he joined as a managing director.

Beau Jennings and The Tigers, which includes bassist and sound engineer Michael Trepagnier (BA ’04), released their new single “People in This Town.” He previously worked as the house engineer at Looking Glass Studios and has worked with artists such as Coldplay, Counting Crows and Philip Glass. He opened his own recording studio, Cardinal Song, in 2020.    

Schuyler Adkins (MM ’05) was named principal of Westside Elementary in Claremore, Oklahoma. He has worked in education for 17 years from elementary to college levels. He is the former assistant principal at Claremont Elementary School.  

Allesan Armstrong (BA ’05, JD ’09) has been appointed as director of academic success programs for the University of Akron School of Law. She is a member of the Order of Barristers and previously taught at Park University. 

Mirna Abyad Baloul (MBA/JD ’05), president, COO and board secretary of Spacee, was nominated among 50 of the most innovative leaders in the artificial intelligence industry and was featured in an issue of Dallas Innovates magazine. Under her direction, Spacee developed two new products, Hovertouch and Deming, where she is responsible for global operations and works toward the advancement of the company’s computer vision- and AI-powered technology. 

Kate Dodoo (JD ’05) has been tapped to lead the appellate group at McAfee and Taft. She previously served as an assistant chief counsel in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Office of the principal leading advisor, and the assistant city attorney for the City of Enid.  

Christi Jeffreys (BA ’05, MA ’11) has begun her new role as senior director of development at SSM Health St. Anthony Foundation and is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Association of Healthcare Philanthropy.  

Todd Lamb (JD ’05) has been appointed as president of the University of Central Oklahoma. He previously served as the state’s lieutenant governor and an Oklahoma state senator. Additionally, he was a special agent for the U.S. Secret Service from 1998 to 2002, a member of the national joint terrorism task force and an investigative lead of the 9/11 inquiries.  

Man in glasses and yellow and white striped tie
Todd Lamb

Salvador Ontiveros (BA ’06, MBA ’09) was named to the Journal Record’s Achievers Under 40 list this year. He is a current commissioner for the Oklahoma City Arts Commission and a member of the Leadership Oklahoma City Signature Class 40 as well as serving as president and chief executive officer of Oklahoma's Latino Community Development Agency. 

Man smiling
Salvador Ontiveros

Eric Nelson (JD ’05) was appointed as a district judge in Iowa, where he previously served in the State of Iowa Public Defender’s Office and as a member of the Iowa Supreme Court Grievance Commission. He is a current member of the Iowa Judges Association and 4th Bar Association. 

Holly Ray (BS ’06) was promoted to curator of birds for the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden, where she will oversee all species of birds, working to manage day-to-day operations and to support the zoo’s conservation efforts that affect endangered bird species. She also serves as program coordinator for the species survival plan for Chilean flamingos and is on the committee for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Saving Animals from Extinction program for Andean Highland flamingos.

Hank Stampfl (BM ’06) recently performed with celebrity chef Pamela Morgan in a cabaret show in New York. He founded Revel Rouge in 2016 and previously worked with the Plaza Hotel New York, Bloomingdale’s, the Real Housewives of New York and many more. 

John Ratliff (JD ’07) was appointed as city manager of Lawton, previously working as city attorney. In his role as city manager, he will oversee day-to-day operations and makes sure to deliver essential services to the city. 

John Stratton (JD ’07) joined the Stange Law Firm, a divorce and family law firm, as a senior associate attorney. He previously worked as a volunteer attorney for Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma and as a solo practitioner at his own firm.

Daniel Shackle (JD ’08) was appointed as commissioner of the Department of Local Government Finance in Indiana. He previously served the DLGF as their chief of staff and general counsel and also worked as the chief legal officer and leader of the fraud and security enforcement division for the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.  

Sheena Thompson (BS ’08, MS ’09), previously department chair and associate professor of kinesiology at Midland College in Texas, was a finalist for the Dr. Stan Jacobs Teaching Excellence Award. She recently moved to Dallas College, where she now serves as the department chair of Kinesiology.  

Aaron Brown (BM ’09) is directing the 4th Wall Theatre Company’s production of “Fairview” in Houston. He is currently the co-head of musical theatre: director of student relations, production and new work at Texas State University. He previously served as co-coordinator of musical theatre at Sam Houston University. 

The University of Texas at Austin promoted Amanda Cochran-McCall (JD ’09) to vice president for legal affairs and general counsel. As vice president, she serves as chief legal officer and chief ethics officer for the university. She previously worked at the Texas Attorney General’s Office, where she managed and directed 12 civil litigation divisions.

Stuart Hene (JD ’09) was re-elected to the Tyler City Council in Texas. He is co-founder and partner at Tarry and Hene, PLLC, president of Prestige Energy Consultants and board member for St. Paul Children’s Services. 

Law Dean David Holt (JD ’09) was named president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors for 2025-26. He was elected as mayor of Oklahoma City in 2018, becoming the first Native American mayor of Oklahoma City, and was re-elected in 2022. He was named one of TIME’s “100 Next” most influential people in 2023. 

Rick McKee (BM ’09) arranged and scored “Un Monde Qui S’Illumine” for Disneyland Paris’ “Disney D-Light” evening illumination. The score was recorded at Abbey Road Studios, Studio One and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra before final mixing by McKee. 

Ewa Płonka (MM ’09) performed in October in the title role of the Dallas Opera’s production of “Tosca.” She has her undergraduate degree from Julliard and has performed in concerts around the world.


Justin Briggs (MBA ’10) joined Prime Movers Lab, a company that invests in scientific startups, as the resident biologist and life sciences partner. He was previously an operator at several companies dealing in biotech, nanotech, robotics and software. 

Kaitlyn Fitzgerald (BS ’10) was promoted to vice president of organ operations for LifeGift, a non-profit organ and tissue donation organization in Texas. In this role, she leads the planning, development, execution, evaluation and strategic direction of clinical organ operations by implementing nationally recognized best practices and designs. 

Kari Hoffhines (JD ’10) was elected to the executive committee of Crowe and Dunlevy, where she is the director of the Oklahoma City office, a member of the firm’s real estate and banking and financial practice groups and a member of the firm’s wind energy team.

Nissy Mathew (BS ’10) joined the family medicine department at Variety Care, a community health center.

Chaz Wolcott (BPA ’10) joined the University of Cincinnati College–Conservatory of Music as a professor of musical theater after several years of work on Broadway, television, film, the Penn State Musical Theatre and various other organizations. 

Timothy Campbell (JD ’11) joined Hall Booth Smith’s Oklahoma City law office, where he focuses on medical malpractice, health care, professional liability, bad faith defense and general liability. 

Holly Clouse (JD ’11) has been selected to be the probate commissioner for the Greene County Circuit Court in Missouri.

Nathaniel Harding’s (MBA ’11) Cortado Ventures helped start The Verge, a nonprofit supporting Oklahoma City’s entrepreneurial community by offering mentorship opportunities and tax benefits. 

Lisa Hargis (BS ’11) joined SSM Health Medical Group as an advanced practice registered nurse and certified nurse practitioner. 

Scott Taylor (MBA ’11) was named vice president of operations for Safe-Way Garage Doors, a company based around the manufacturing and distribution of overhead garage doors, headquartered in Indiana. 

Tenor Robert Watson (BM ’11) made his Santa Fe Opera debut as the prince in Dvorak’s “Rusalka” and his Lyric Opera of Chicago debut as Erik in Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman” to rave reviews. 

Former OCU wrestler Nicole Woody-Tyson (BA ’11) was inducted into the Anne Arundel County Sports Hall of Fame in Annapolis, Maryland, in October. She was one of four athletes awarded this honor for 2023. She currently serves as an assistant coach of women’s wrestling at King University. During her time at OCU, she was a four-time All-American, three-time World Class Wrestling Association national finalist and winner of the 2011 WCWA championship.

Marriya Wright (BS ’11, MS ’12), dean of Allied Health and Nursing at South Puget Sound Community College in Washington, recently was honored with the DAISY Award recognizing the hard work nurses do and the care they provide to patients and families. 

Belinda Allyn (BM ’12) and Jessie Peltier (BPA ’16) are cast members in the national touring company for “Frozen,” that performed in 2023 at the Civic Center Music Hall in Oklahoma City, as well as other parts of North America.

Phil Busey Jr. (MLA ’12) was named president of Delaware Resource Group of Oklahoma with Phil Busey Sr. (BA ’74, JD ’77) staying as chairman. 

Deonna Marie Cattledge (BM ’12) presented the world premiere of her one-woman show, “The Deonna Marie Experience: From the Crack House to the Opera House, Blooming Through Brokenness” at Factory Obscura in downtown Oklahoma City. She is currently touring with National Public Radio’s “The Moth.”

Brian Cowing (BM ’12) is starring in the Children’s Theater of Madison’s production of “Peter Pan” as Mr. Smee in Madison, Wisconsin. Cowing also is currently serving as interim director of the theater.

Former OCU wrestlers Michaela Hutchison (BS ’12), Brittany Delgado (BS ’13), and Emily Webster (BS ’15) were featured in one of the three National Wrestling Hall of Fame’s Oklahoma-themed exhibits at the 2023 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in Tulsa. 

Soprano Marlen Nahhas (BM ’12) performed in Eureka Chamber Music’s “A Night at the Opera” in California this past November.

Marcus Sams (BA ’12) won best interior designer in 405 Magazine with his firm, Studio Merge. He serves as principal designer and managing partner of the Oklahoma City-based company.

Composer/producer Or Kribos (BM ’13, MM ’15) is founder of Or Kribos Music and cofounder of ARB4 while currently collaborating with media and video game partners including Riot Games, Warner Chappell, Universal, BMG, Amphibious Zoo, Sonoton and Megatrax. 

Ben Lanham (BPA ’13) was in the cast of “Bad Cinderella” on Broadway, performing as part of the ensemble.

Marisa Macella (BFA ’13) was named executive director of the Steep Theatre in Chicago after serving as senior manager for fundraising events for the Lyric Opera of Chicago. 

Evelyn Bollenbach Schaefer (MBA ’13) has been named executive director of Keep Oklahoma Beautiful. She previously served as executive director of the Oklahoma City Community College Foundation.

Jared Snedden (JD ’13) joined the Stange Law Firm in Oklahoma City as a senior associate attorney. The firm is a multi-location firm with a focus on divorce and family law. 

Benjamin Rivera (BS ’14) performed in the ensemble of Broadway’s “New York, New York.”

Jeff Sherwood (BFA ’14) joined Michigan Tech as an assistant professor of visual and performing arts.

Clay Taylor (JD ’14), principal lobbyist of Taylor Capital Group, and Adam Rainbolt (MBA ’12), BancFirst’s insurance senior vice president, were ranked two and four respectively on the OKC Friday’s “Most Powerful Young Professionals” list. 

English and film studies professor James Cooper (MFA ’15) spoke at Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City’s National Voter Registration Day and Constitution and Citizenship Day celebration.

Franchesca McDowell (BBA ’15), post producer of Hungryman Productions, NYC, is part of the team working on a new campaign for Noodles and Co. with the goal of showing consumers the diversity of the company’s menu. 

Daxx Jayroe (BM Musical Theater ’16) played Sildat in Oklahoma City Repertory Theater’s “Superstitions.”

Gulfport Energy Corporation recently named Michael Hodges (MS ’17) executive vice president and chief financial officer. He was enrolled in OCU’s first cohort of the Master’s in Energy Management at Meinders School of Business while working at Sandridge Energy.

Heather Levy (MFA ’17) released her book “Hurt for Me,” which is set in Oklahoma City and follows single mother, Rae Dixon, as she and detective Dayton Clearwater try to solve murders occurring around her secret underground business.

Public Service Company of Oklahoma announced Jonathan Wynn (MS ’17) as the new external affairs manager for a nine-county area including McAlester, Okmulgee, Okemah and Wilburton. Wynn will work to build relationships to enhance the business and handle public and community affairs.

Kaleb Benda (BM ’18) is the new music director of the Oklahoma Christian University Chamber Orchestra. He also serves as music director for the Oklahoma Chamber Symphony, assistant conductor of the Enid Symphony Orchestra and band director at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. 

Quincy Chapman (MS ’18) is the newly elected president of the Project Management Institute’s Northern Utah Chapter while serving as executive director of programs at Cyrq Energy. In these roles, he collaborates closely with boards and senior leadership of organizations as well as start-ups to improve oversight, accountability and transparency. He also owns his own business, Quinch William, LLC, which is a media company specializing in product development. 

Man smiling
Quincy Chapman

Aimee Majoue (JD ’18) joined the Oklahoma City office of Steptoe and Johnson PLLC as a part of the firm’s litigation department as an associate. 

Amanda Rodriguez (MBA ’18) was named to the Citizens Bank of Edmond board of directors. She works at Accenture, where she provides thought leadership and expertise to solve critical business issues in the oil and gas industry while previously serving as the State of Oklahoma’s chief financial officer. She also managed internal audit and accounting at Chesapeake Energy.

Frederico Marques Teixeira (BM ’18) recently earned his master’s degree at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, where he organized the ljudOljud Music Festival, and has accepted a fellowship in composition to pursue his doctorate at the University of Minnesota. 

Sarah Pool Wilhelm (MM ’18) is the newly named associate music director for the North American tour of “Come From Away.” 

Nash Carey (BA ’19) recently opened Sanctuary Comics and Games store and ministry. He founded the store with the goal of creating a safe space for people to explore Christianity through an intersection of religion, comic books and fantasy games. 

Blackwelder Brass alumnus Andrew Carrillo (MM ’19, BM ’17) is the newly appointed principal trombone with the Tulsa Symphony. 

Joe Charlton (BS/BM ’19) won the principal horn position with the Dallas Winds, America’s premier windband located in North Texas. 

Ethan Zambrano (BS ’19, MA ’22) was promoted to director of annual giving for the Office of University Advancement at OCU and also teaches dance at Ascend Dance Studios. Previously, he taught at Harding Fine Arts Academy and held an internship in fundraising and development at Make-A-Wish Oklahoma.

Young man smiling
Ethan Zambrano


Emily Carpenter Duncan (BM ’20), instructor of harp and academic specialist at OCU, has accepted an appointment as principal harpist with the Fort Smith Symphony.

Cassi Gardner (BM ’20) has booked the role of Marina in Houston Grand Opera’s Opera To Go production of “Katie, the Strongest of the Strong!” 

Teddy Edgar (BM ’20) is starring as Guiseppe Zangara, the attempted assassin of President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt, in Lyric Stage Boston’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Assassins” as his debut for the Lyric Stage.

MaKenzi Fox (BBA ’20) recently released her children’s book “The Day Cara Cut Her Bangs” and was profiled on the Write Any Genre blog site, where she spoke about her life, business pursuits, interests, hobbies and inspirations. 

Celina James (BM ’20) made her New York City debut in “Both Sides Now,” a combination of her interests in musical theatre and popular songs, at the Green Room 42.

Jordan Knapick (BM ’20) performed a mixed concert of classical musical theatre and classic songs in Mooresville, North Carolina, with a share of the profits benefitting the YMCA Central Carolinas.

Kaiden Maines (BFA ’20) became director of the Waxahachie High School drama department in Texas, returning to her alma mater after graduating in 2016 with several theatre awards. 

Marina Quintanilla (BA ’20) was named to the first cohort of the American Choral Directors Association’s New Canon 
Project, which aims at commissioning new works by Black and Latinx composers for the classroom. 

Hallie Schmidt (BM ’20) co-founded Olympia Opera Theatre, the first new opera company that Thurston County in Washington has had in decades. She also earned first place at the Seattle Opera Guild’s 2023 Singer Development Awards. 

Andrew Abraham (JD ’21) joined the newly opened Gilson Daub law firm in Oklahoma City as a trial attorney. He previously worked as a civil defense attorney at McAtee and Woods and interned at Farha Law.

Littleton “Taz” Ellett (JD ’21) joined the Hall Estill firm’s Oklahoma City office, where his primary practice area will be litigation. He previously served as a judicial clerk for the Honorable Gary Lumpkin in the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals.

Cierra Foster (BS ’21) was named an assistant coach of the Olentangy Orange girls wrestling program in Ohio. During her time at OCU, she was a three-time NAIA All-American and is currently competing at the USA Wrestling national level.

Clayton Garner (BM ’21, MM ’23) has been appointed adjunct instructor of percussion and drumline director at Southern Nazarene University. He also serves as percussion director at Putnam City High School and percussion ensemble director at Oklahoma Homeschool Bands and Strings.

Brianna Kaleen (BM ’21) and Chris Richie (BM ’22) both performed in Times Square in the Playbill and Prudential’s Stages on Broadway concert, chosen as two of four finalists from more than 400 original contestants. Kaleen won the $10,000 prize in September, previously performing as Little Inez in the national tour of “Hairspray.”

Madeline Powell (BM ’21) had her national tour debut as Eliza Doolittle in “My Fair Lady” this year. Previously, she performed nationally on Oprah, the Rachel Ray Show and Disney’s Corey In the House along with numerous professional sporting events.

Michael Power Jr. (JD ’21) joined the McAfee and Taft firm’s aviation group as a transactional attorney. Prior to this position, Power served as assistant general counsel for the Chickasaw Nation Chamber of Commerce.

Former OCU golfer Natalie Gough (BS ’22) was named a co-winner of the 2023 Everett Dobson Award by the Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame. 

Chance Ingalls (BM ’22) is performing as part of the featured ensemble in his national tour debut in “Annie” 
for a 48-city run. 

Gabriella “Ella” Lofton (BS ’22) was named assistant coach of the Carleton College volleyball team in Minnesota. She previously served as the director of events and athletic inclusivity, equity and diversity initiatives for the Carleton Knights. She ranks in the top-five players in OCU volleyball history.  

Kate Morton (BM ’22), performed with the professional Montana-based opera company Intermountain Opera Bozeman, for “Wheels of Harmony,” which features all Native American performers touring rural and tribal schools, including Morton’s hometown of Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

Anna Schmidt (BS ’22) was awarded the Norton Rose Fulbright Outstanding First-Year Student Award at Baylor University’s School of Law for the 2022-2023 academic year. 

Young woman smiling
Anna Schmidt

Colton Sprenkle (MM ’22) was hired as an elementary music teacher in the Carthage School District in Missouri. He also recently performed at the Pittsburg Festival of the Arts in Kansas.

Zouhair Talbi (BS ’22) finished fifth in his debut marathon—the Boston Marathon in April, and then in July of this year, he and his fiancée, Elizabeth Heffernan, who attended OCU, won their respective divisions in the John Carson 2-Mile Road Race in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, with Talbi setting the course record.

Danny Phan Tran (MS ’22) joined SSM Health Medical Group as a digestive tract specialist. 

Alexis Benitez (JD ’23) has been named assistant district attorney in Carter County, the same county where she grew up in Healdton. 

Vivian Cooper (BM ’23) is the new assistant band director at Ousley Junior High in Arlington, Texas. 

Connor Curtis (JD ’23) and Jacob Patton (JD ’23) joined the McAfee and Taft law firm, with both joining as trial lawyers.

Collin Ellsbury (BM/BA ’23) performed as a guest solo vocalist with the Karl L. King Municipal Band in his hometown of Fort Dodge, Iowa, to sing selections from “Man of La Mancha.” He also was selected as a national Phi Kappa Phi Fellow. The $8,500 fellowship began this fall, as he undertakes study for his master’s in vocal performance and pedagogy at New York University.

Amanda Gonzalez (BS ’23) has been named development officer for OCU's Office of University Advancement. She previously served as the coordinator of alumni engagement and strategic communication for the Office of Alumni Affairs at the university.

Young woman with dark hair smiling
Amanda Gonzalez

Colby Karcher (JD ’23) joined the Phillips Murrah law firm as a litigation attorney. During his time at OCU, he was a merit scholar and on the dean’s and faculty honor roll. He also was a member of the Law Review and Phi Delt Phi Honor Society.

William McClendon (JD ’23) was one of three people to be awarded a rural law practice grant from the Kansas Farm Bureau Legal Donation as he begins his career practicing law in Kansas.

Paul Nguyen (BM ’23) has been appointed band director at Putnam City Schools’ Kenneth Cooper Middle School. 

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