Class notes/In memoriam


Joel Rudinger, ’64, professor emeritus at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, was honored for 45 years of continuous service in spring 2014. He is the poet laureate of Huron, Ohio, and he is working on his memoirs from his years as a working Alaskan and UAF student from 1960-1964.


Edward T. Martin, ’73 — “I want to share a website with everyone: During my senior year at UAF I volunteered to join the Peace Corps. I served as a volunteer in Afghanistan and later the Fiji Islands. I traveled extensively in India three times, researching the evidence that young Jesus spent years in India studying Hinduism and Buddhism. My first book, King of Travelers,Jesus’ Lost Years in India, is the basis for a movie which Paul Davids (of Roswell fame) and I filmed in India. P.S. I miss my friend Patrick B. Cole.”

Gordon Betts,’74,’75, retired in March 2014 from New York State Parks and Recreation after more than 37 years as manager of Selkirk Shores State Park. He started his own business, Dragon Catchers, as a licensed nuisance wildlife control operator.

Barry Epstein, ’76, self-published a photo-autobiography eBook, Jersey Boy, in November 2013.

Steven M. Casey, ’78 — “I graduated in 1978 with a criminal justice degree. I have been a Texas master police officer for 33 years. I have been a police chief in two cities and a fire chief in one. I am currently the Bell County,Texas, fire marshal and deputy emergency management coordinator for the county, thanks to my UAF degree.”

Laird Jones. Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

Laird Jones, ’78, was elected to serve as vice president of the National Johnson O’Malley Association Board of Directors during its 2014 conference. He is vocational training and resource center manager for the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska and has been employed there since 2007.


Vic Dull, ’80, ’91, ’99, ’04, along with his wife, Aigul Aubanova, wrote a book, Dignity, What’s That Sam?, set in Salem, Ore. Andrew, a 12-year-old runaway, is befriended by a homeless man who teaches him the definition of dignity. The authors are planning a sequel wherein Andrew learns about the law of attraction and how he begins applying the concept to turn his life around. Read more at

Joan L. Hurlbut, ’81,’91,’93, co-authored her 10th book, Teenage Suicide: A Cultural Tragedy of Adolescence, with Phyllis Head Wood and Benjamin B. Keyes in March 2012. It can be purchased on Amazon.

Michael Balen, ’84 — “It’s been 30 years since I graduated — essentially a lifetime. I graduated UAF full of enthusiasm and ignorance. Somehow,I found my way and have had a seriously great ride getting to my current perch.

“Post-graduation, I went underground — literally — at the Grant Mine just outside of Fairbanks on the flanks of Ester Dome. Several years later, I found my way to the U.S. Bureau of Mines in Anchorage where I worked with a bunch of really great people and spent countless hours in helicopters chasing elusive mineral deposits all over Alaska.

“I’ve migrated through a career that involved the U.S. Forest Service, mine reclamation, firefighting, transportation system management and now, construction management, where I oddly find myself in Las Vegas, Nev., working to bring home a $120 million program of work to construct new public infrastructure in the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area just 40 miles from ‘The Strip.’

“I have many fond and now distant memories of UAF, and find it hard to believe that so much time has passed; so much has changed, yet so much has stayed the same. It’s all been a thrilling adventure, and I’d not trade any of it for anything. UAF was the start — the seed well planted — that sprouted many branches and has led to places and experiences unimagined in 1984. I still proudly display my UAF alumni ties wherever I can and am more than happy to give credit to the people from my past: Scott Huang, Sukumar Bandopadhyay, Paul Metz, Lucy Trant, Don Triplehorn and many others.”

Rose Schreier Welton, ’84 — “I retired from the Alaska State Library in Juneau (in December 2013) after 23 years as a catalog librarian.”

Linda Thomas, ’87, was appointed to Northrim BanCorp’s board of directors in April 2014. She is chief operations officer and vice president for the Alaskan Brewing Co.


Kelly Drew. UAF photo by Todd Paris.
UAF photo by Todd Paris.

Kelly Drew, ’81, received the Sidney A. McNairy Jr. Mentoring Award in June from the National Institutes of Health’s Institutional Development Awards program. The award recognizes scientists who demonstrate research productivity through publications,presentations and successful mentoring of students and trainees. Kelly teaches in UAF’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Read more about the award at

David Kingsland

David Kingsland, ’88, ’94, was named National Distinguished Principal for 2014 by the Alaska Association of Elementary School Principals, nominated and selected by his fellow principals through a statewide search process. He has been the principal of William H. Seward Elementary School in Seward for 14 years and was previously assistant principal in Shishmaref and a teacher at Davis-Ramoth School in Selawik as well as at Head Start in Fairbanks and Circle School in Circle, Alaska.



Olivia “Libby” Eddy, ’92 — “Appointed interim university registrar at UAF in September 2012. Assumed the position on a permanent basis in January 2013.”

Ben Grossmann, ’95, was nominated for an Academy Award in visual effects, along with three others, for Star Trek into Darkness, at the 2014 Oscars. (Designers of Gravity won the category.) Grossmann won an Oscar for Hugo in 2012.

Patricia Humphrey, ’95 — “I will be the chair of the Faculty Senate at Georgia Southern University for 2014–2015. I am also now the chair of the southeastern section of the Mathematical Association of America (Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee) until 2017.”

Jillian Swope, ’97 — “Fellow lifetime alumni association member Jack Fletcher, ’96, ’98, and I are excited to announce the arrival of our first kiddo and future UAF alumnus. Jackson Parrish Fletcher was born on Dec. 21, 2013, in Colorado Springs, Colo. ‘Little Bear’ is back home, doing well and has been practicing his ‘U-A-F!’ arms for Nanook hockey games next year.

I recently presented research with my father, Bob Swope, R.N., at the Transcultural Nursing Society’s 39th Annual International Conference in Albuquerque, N.M., on cultural considerations in high-risk obstetrical air medical transports to improve global neonatal and maternal patient outcomes. Bob is a graduate of that other school in Anchorage (you know, the one with the subpar hockey team) but always cheers for the Nanooks.”

Cameron Wohlford, ’97, is senior project manager for the new engineering facility project and the Margaret Murie Building project on the Fairbanks campus. The Murie Building, completed in late spring 2013, was recognized for design merit by the Alaska Chapter of the American Institute of Architects in March 2014. The award distinguishes new construction with exceptional design. The Murie Building was credited for fitting in well with the campus setting and for outstanding use of interior glass.

Valarie Kingsland, ’99, graduated with a master’s degree in library and information science from San Jose State University in May 2014. She received the Ken Haycock Award for exceptional professional promise from the university’s School of Library and Information Science and was the student speaker at the SLIS graduation ceremony. In addition, she served two years as president of SLISConnect (the school’s joint association for students and alumni) and maintained a 4.0 cumulative GPA in her master’s program.


Joe Hardenbrook, ’02, worked with Christopher Quist at the LUNCH Café and Eatery [but was not a partner, as previously published]. Joe is co-founder of Northern Adventure Tours with Jake Hamburg, matriculate. Joe’s wife, Anna Sorensen, ’06 [not Sorenson as previously published], is administrative director for the Northern Alaska Environmental Center.

Digger Stolz, ’04, published a novel, Keepin’ On Keepin’ On. This book concludes the lively Appalachian Trail adventure begun in Stumbling Thru. To learn more about the series and its author, visit

Lorna Shaw

Lorna Shaw, ’96, ’05, was named Business Leader of the Year by the School of Management in April 2014. She is the external affairs manager of Sumitomo Metal Mining Pogo, where she oversees community, public and government affairs. She is involved in several community organizations, including this magazine’s advisory board.


Christopher Lubken, ’99, ’03, was one of only 10 Wyoming teachers to receive a 2014 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. Teachers are nominated by the public, and a blue-ribbon panel of past awards recipients selects the annual winners. Christopher teaches marching, concert, jazz and steel drum bands at Campbell County High School in Gillette. Read more about his award at


Jean Potter on the Fairbanks campus in the 1940s.  Photo courtesy of Jean’s daughter, Sandy Chelnov.
Jean Potter on the Fairbanks campus in the 1940s. Photo courtesy of Jean’s daughter, Sandy Chelnov.

Colleen Mondor, ’96, ’99, gave a presentation on the book The Flying North in September 2013 in Haines, Alaska, at a joint conference by the Museums of Alaska and Alaska Historical Society. The Flying North was written by Jean Potter and originally published in 1945. It was reissued by Shorefast Editions (where Colleen is a partner) in 2013. Read Colleen’s article about the presentation and book at


Scott Legge. Photo courtesy of Macalester College.
Photo courtesy of Macalester College.

Scott Legge, ’02, is an associate professor in the anthropology department at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minn. He received his PhD from UAF, his MA from Southern Illinois University and his BA from Purdue. He joined the Macalester faculty in 2008. Scott is a biological anthropologist with research interests in human and nonhuman primate skeletal biology and dentition, as well as historic and pre-contact archaeology of North America.


Murphy McCaleb, ’06, published his first book in March 2014 with Ashgate Publishing. Embodied Knowledge in Ensemble Performance explores how musicians work together through playing their instruments to create unique and creative performances. Murphy received his doctorate in performance studies from Birmingham Conservatoire (Birmingham City University, U.K.) in March 2012. A bass trombonist, Murphy has recorded on multiple classical and folk CDs, the most recent being contemporary ensemble Decibel’s My Broken Machines. Murphy manages staff and lectures in the creative industries department at Kidderminster College, U.K. He teaches music theory, listening skills, music and society, and professional development for musicians.

Adam W. Baxter, ’07, joined Northrim Bank in March 2014 as assistant vice president, lending quality assurance officer. Before that he was a credit analyst at Denali State Bank.

Richard David, ’07, works for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Alaska District’s Northern Area. Read more about him at

Penny Gage, ’08 — “After graduation, I served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Nicaragua from 2009–2011. I worked for the Rasmuson Foundation and the Alaska State Senate before returning to graduate school in 2012. In May 2014 I graduated from Georgetown University’s master of science in foreign service program. I’m currently working at Statoil (a Norwegian oil and gas company) in their D.C. international and federal government affairs office.”

Sheena Cummings, ’10, earned her Certified Fundraising Executive designation in spring 2014 from the Association of Fundraising Professionals. There are only 31 CFREs in Alaska. She is the marketing assistant for the Breast Cancer Detection Center of Alaska.

Emerson Eads, ’11, ’13, wrote and conducted his own opera, The Color of Gold, staged by New York stage director Cindy Oxberry, in March 2014 for Opera Fairbanks, featuring Fairbanks opera star Jaimie-Rose Guarrine. In January and February 2014 he starred in Anchorage Opera’s Cambiale di Matrimonio.

Ed King, ’12 — “After graduating with my master’s in economics, I started working for the State of Alaska Department of Revenue. A year later, I moved up from economist to policy analyst. I just moved up again to work with the commercial group at the Department of Natural Resources. Meanwhile, I was awarded a Denali Award for exceptional service and was named one of Alaska’s Top 40 Under 40. It’s been a good year!”

Megan (Lindbergh) Carpenter, ’13 — “Shortly after graduation, I moved to Texas with my husband, Matthew Carpenter. I’m now working for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Rehabilitation Programs Division as a case manager.”

Cole Vanderbilt, ’13 — “Got a good job, bought a new car and threw a 300 game (in practice, but hey, it’s still something).”

Jan Stitt


Jan Sanders Stitt, aka Raven — “I was awarded first place for my painting Mendenhall Glacier by the juror Daniel Keys in the Great Alaskan Plein Air Retreat painting competition in June. Another of my paintings was selected by the juror Mark Mehaffrey for the Alaska Watercolor Society’s show that will be exhibited in Anchorage’s Blue Holloman Gallery in September. More paintings can be seen at”

Nanook Memory

Ernest Kaiser attended classes and worked at UAF in the 1960s. This is his recollection of the 1967 Fairbanks flood.

“On a nice August morning, from my home atop Ester Dome, I could see the rising flood waters and decided to drive to the university power plant, just to make sure it was safe. The university had become the shelter for about 5, 000 people who had been flooded out. When I got to the power plant, I found the power plant superintendent, Jerry English. We walked out the railroad siding area of the power plant to check the water level under a small rail span over a small stream. We checked the level and thought it was a bit high but not a danger to anything yet. We checked it a cup of coffee later and found it had risen almost 6 inches; at that rate of rise, it would soon be spilling into the rail coal grate at the plant and flood the lower level. If that happened, it would shut down all electrical power, heating and water to the 5, 000 refugees, as well as the entire campus. We had to build a dike around the coal delivery area, and build it quickly.

“I commandeered a bulldozer from a contractor working on the campus and had it begin a dirt dike around the entire area. Jerry moved two coal cars over the grates to supply coal to the plant for an unknown duration. I also called the military to bring sand bags and pumps. We had a response from Fort Wainwright with a 6X truck with sand bags. We called for volunteers and had about 50 people filling and stacking sand bags on the dirt dike we had started. By 6 p.m., the water had risen to the dike and was still rising. Jerry and I went into the lower level of the power plant and found the two wells in the utilidor between the power plant and the maintenance shops were flowing water into the utilidor at a very high rate. We installed pumps in the power plant and began pumping the water into the space inside our dike. We could not pump farther, but now we had to keep the water below the coal delivery grates while still pumping the water out of the power plant’s lower level. We needed more pumps, and the Army brought some by helicopter. We set them up and attempted to control the water in the basement and behind the dike. The water in the power plant basement rose to within 6 inches of flooding electric pumps vital to the operation of the boilers. Had the water gone that much farther, we would have lost.

“This condition went on for more than 72 hours when the floodwaters finally began to abate. Except for the volunteers filling and stacking sandbags, not many people found out how close to real disaster we came.”


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