Fall 2012 Class Notes



JANET (NAIDL) SILER (BA) is a retired anesthesiologist and has been a member of the Burlington County Medical Reserve Corps since 2007. She was named the organization’s 2010 Volunteer of the Year. Her volunteer assignments have included flu clinics, a homeless count, a Red Cross shelter for flood victims and more. She also has served as a chaplain’s aide at Virtua Hospital, as a community member on an oncology research board, and assists with family genealogy research in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.


DELLE WILLETT (BA) is planning an alumni reunion at Homecoming for all past members of USD’s cheer/spirit/dance teams.


AGNES WEST-KOHLER (BA) writes, “I’m loving being back in San Diego!” She has participated in a second session with USD’s University of the Third Age and is involved with the choir and the office at St. Paul’s Cathedral. “All three children have been to visit and I’ve been to visit them, too, in New York; Helena, Mont.; and San Francisco.”


ARDEL NELSON (BA) retired as a professor of management and chair of the management department at American River College due to a medical disability.



RICHARD GARDNER (BS) is an urgent care physician as part of the VCMC network, affiliated with the University of California, Los Angeles. He also has been involved in sleep medicine since receiving board certification in 2007. Previously, he was a solo practice physician in Moorpark, Calif., for 25 years.


TIMOTHY HERMSEN (BA, MS ’75) and his wife, Mary (Kennedy) ’72, celebrated their 38th wedding anniversary on Feb. 1, 2012.


HEATHER WISHIK (JD) co-authored three chapters in a new book by Martin N. Davidson titled, The End of Diversity as We Know It: Why Managing Diversity Fails and How Leveraging Difference Can Succeed, which was published in 2011.



FATHER HENRY RODRIGUEZ (BA) is pastor of St. Jude Shrine of the West, a community organizer with the San Diego Organizing Project, a police and fire department chaplain, and former FBI chaplain.


DONNA (HAFF) SKAHILL (BA) and her husband, Vince ’83, joined the Peace Corps and planned to travel to Micronesia/Palau in June 2012 to teach for three years.


JACQUELINE (FARNAN) AKERBLOM (BBA) relocated from San Jose, Calif., in February 2012 to become the Southern California managing partner at Grant Thornton LLP, responsible for the firm’s Los Angeles, Irvine and San Diego offices.
VICTOR TORRES (BA, JD ’88) was recognized as Attorney of the Year by San Diego La Raza Lawyers in October 2011. He also was awarded the Pro Bono Service Award by Legal Services Corporation for his work with California Rural Legal Assistance. Victor is the 2011-12 treasurer for the San Diego County Board of Directors and he is the spokesperson for El Grupo, a coalition of human rights organizations in San Diego’s North County.


MATT McGOWAN (BA) and his wife, Jacinta, have a 7-year-old daughter who is learning piano and participating in school drama performances. Matt is a devout Nichiren Shoshu Buddhist.
ROBERTO SANTILLAN (MA) is a guidance counselor for the Bullhead City Elementary School District in Arizona. He has accepted a school psychologist position in the district for the 2012-13 school year.


MONICA VAN DER WERF (BBA) earned an MBA in finance from San Diego State University. She lives with her 13-year-old daughter in Phoenix and says they just returned from an adventure in Uganda. She is a contracts administrator for San Diego’s Genesis Healthcare Partners, a multispecialty group of 30 physicians. She is also on the board of directors for Efforts to Educate the Needy Children of Uganda.


ROBERTO RODRIGUEZ (BA, MA ’92) recently celebrated his 25-year anniversary as a high school teacher. He is vice president of the Sweetwater Education Association. “My passion as an advocate for public education has led me to run for office,” he says. “I am a candidate for the Palomar College Governing Board.”



DIANA (DUDOIT) RAICHE (MA) graduated from The Catholic University of America in May 2011 with a PhD in religious education/catechetics. She served as visiting assistant professor of theology in the School of Ministry at the University of Dallas for 2011-12 and was recently appointed assistant professor of theology (a tenure-track position) for the 2012-13 academic year. From 2003 to 2011, she was executive director of the department of religious education at the National Catholic Educational Association.


BARBARA McNAIR (MA) has served as executive director of the East County Council on Aging, and as chair and vice chair of the Catholic Charities Foster Grandparent Program Advisory Council for San Diego and Imperial counties since 1992. She also has been president of Pug Rescue of San Diego County since 1996. Last year, Pug Rescue celebrated 20 years of service and received proclamations from both the San Diego County Board of Supervisors and the Office of the Mayor of the City of San Diego. Barbara and her partner recently returned from an 11-day cruise in the Southern Caribbean, where they celebrated their 10th anniversary.
KRISTIN INGRAO RUDE (BA) has been married for 16 years and has two children: a son, 4, and a daughter, 2. Kristin is the owner and center director of FasTracKids Preschool in Del Mar, Calif.
MARINA (CLINE) SMALLEY (BBA) writes, “2011 was a big year for the Smalley family.” On May 10, 2011, they welcomed Isabella Sofia into the world and in late September, the family relocated to Houston.


SUSAN NUGENT (BA) teaches fourth grade at Pepper Drive Elementary in El Cajon, Calif., where she also is working with master gardeners to bring native habitat to the school. Susan has seven beautiful grandchildren and recently celebrated her 35th wedding anniversary.
BRIAN POWERS (BA) and his wife, Elizabeth, welcomed a new baby, Primrose Christine, on Jan. 23, 2011.


SCOTT CARR (BBA) and his wife, Heather Rosing, welcomed their first child, Archer Preston, on Aug. 15, 2011, in San Diego. Scott reports that mother and son are doing well, and requests any alumni who work at Starbucks, The Coffee Bean, or any other establishment that serves caffeine to please contact him immediately.
KEVIN SCHULTZ (BA) is preparing to depart on his second patrol as commanding officer of the nuclear ballistic missile submarine, USS Alabama, homeported in Bangor, Wash. “No, I don’t have a Jack Russell Terrier,” he writes. “Yes, I do get questions about the movie ‘Crimson Tide’ from just about everybody who visits the boat.” Schultz lives in Bremerton, Wash., with his wife, Amy, and their two sons, Brian and Greg. “We love the Pacific Northwest environment, especially hiking, snowshoeing and kayaking. Back in November 2011, I had the privilege to visit USD and talk to the NROTC midshipmen about my career in the submarine force. It was great to see USD and how much the campus has changed.”


MICHELLE (MAROOT) DIEBERT (BA, MEd ’98) and her husband, Stan, have twin sons, Rocky and Max, who were born on July 13, 2011.
LAURA HOFFMAN ROPPE (JD) and her husband, Brad ’95, graduated from USD’s School of Law together. Laura is now a singer-songwriter; in December 2011 she was named No. 5 on Billboard’s Best of 2011 chart for the top 50 emerging artists in the world. In March 2012, her book, Rocking the Pink, became available at all bookstores (both online and brick-and-mortar). Her website is www.lauraroppe.com.


KELLY (KREISLE) BURKE (BBA) and her husband, Ashley, welcomed their second child, Evan James, on Nov. 30, 2011. The family lives in Orange County, Calif.
ASHRAF KASTO (BA) is an emergency room (ER) doctor at Sharp Grossmont Emergency Room, the largest and busiest ER in San Diego County.


JEFF CHAPMAN (BA) and his wife, Lisa Nicola ’98, live in the Los Angeles community of Eagle Rock, and they recently welcomed their second child, Ryder. Jeff is the director of an environmental education center in East Los Angeles.
ANGELA (KIGGINS) Di’LORENZO (BA) works in the legal field of the film and television industry.
BRIAN SANCHEZ (BA) owns a non-medical in-home care company in Orange County and Los Angeles County.


CHRISTINA (SMITH) GIBSON (BBA) and her husband, Lee, welcomed a daughter, Emma, on Jan. 24, 2012, in England.
NICOLE (NICKOLOFF) HUMPHRY (BA) and her husband, Tim, own and operate Humphry’s in San Clemente, Calif. They offer specialty sandwiches, salads, wraps, burgers and brew. Nicole is a fourth-generation restaurateur and is looking forward to opening more locations with her husband. The couple lives in San Clemente with their sons, Cole, 9, and Bryce, 7.
SHERI ANN FORBES MURRAY (JD) joined the Nevada Attorney General’s Office on March 19, 2012, where she is in the Bureau of Consumer Protection and is working to redress the mortgage fraud cases that have contributed to Nevada’s high foreclosure rate.
J. KENT THURSTON (MBA) is the owner and chef of three restaurants in Palm Beach, Fla.: Cucina Dell’Arte, Nick & Johnnie’s and Cha Cha’s, “a tapas place partly inspired by time spent at Olé Madrid in the Gaslamp, where I met my wife, Trish, while attending USD!”



JAYMIE GONZAGA (MA) is an adjunct counselor at Miramar, Palomar and Mira Costa community colleges. Jaymie teaches college success skills at the schools as well.
CHARLES SCHEIN (BBA) writes that his wife, Monica (Escobedo) ’00, is busy taking care of their three boys — ages 3, 6 and 8 — while he attends Loma Linda University Dental School (Class of 2015).
MELISSA (MERIWETHER) SIPOWICZ (BA) and her husband, Tim, proudly welcomed another daughter, Mila Kate, on Nov. 15, 2011. Big sister Meg Rorie was born on March 15, 2010.


BRETT BANDUCCI (BA, MA ’09) returned to California in July 2011 after spending two years teaching history at the International School of Panama in Panama City, Panama. He is now working at a private day school in Irvine, Calif.
JUSTIN PEEK (BA) and his wife, Denise ’01, have been living in Carlsbad, Calif., since 2004 and are the proud parents of two young girls: Ryan Elizabeth, 2; and London 
Kathleen, 6 months. Justin and Denise both joined the North County San Diego Alumni Group recently.
MICHELLE (RICHMAN) SU (BA) and her husband, Kevin, welcomed their second child, Colin Alexander, on Nov. 28, 2011.
CHRISTINE MOTSCHMAN WANNER (BA, BBA ’01) moved to Washington, D.C., after earning a master’s degree in nursing from the University of California, San Francisco. She is a pediatric, neonatal and pediatric cardiac intensive care nurse at Children’s National Medical in the critical care float pool. She also volunteers as a pediatric intensive care nurse during her vacations with International Children’s Heart Foundation (www.babyheart.org), which provides free heart surgeries for children with congenital heart disease and teaches local nurses, doctors 
and health care professionals how to care for these patients. This work has taken her to Nasiriyah, Iraq (July 2011 and January 2012); Guayaquil, Ecuador (December 2012); Al Najaf, Iraq (February 2012); and Benghazi, Libya (March 2012). Christine will be volunteering with ICHF again starting in mid-November 2012.


JESSICA DeVREEZE (BA) transitioned from her job at USAID, Office of Iraq Reconstruction, in Washington, D.C., to manager of business development at the Justice Institute of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.
ROBERT PINTARIC (BA) and his wife, Elizabeth, welcomed their first child, Leah Hoffmann, into the world on July 15, 2011. They live in Monterey, Calif.
TARA (HAMILTON) SHIROFF (BA) recently joined the law firm of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith as an associate. She practices in all areas of civil litigation, including commercial litigation, product and premises liability, and insurance defense. Tara has spent her legal career defending insurance companies, businesses, casinos, hospitals, nursing professionals and physicians. Since 2006, she has been the legal consultant for the CBS television series “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and since 2009, she has served as lead legal consultant for “Drop Dead Diva.” (See story on page 22.)


WINDUS FERNANDEZ BRINKKORD (BA) and her husband, Kurt, adopted two babies who are siblings, just eleven months apart in age.
BASIL CONSIDINE (BA) has been awarded a fellowship to conduct ethnographic research on the island of Mauritius. He is currently a doctoral student in musicology at Boston University.
EMILY COONFIELD (MEd) is a PhD student in the educational leadership and policy studies program at the University of Kansas and is currently writing her dissertation. She teaches the fifth grade at Eugene Ware Elementary School in Kansas City, Kan., and is a beginning teacher-mentor. Emily was recently nominated Kansas Star Teacher of the Year. She and her fiancé, Daniel Lalich, a cytopathology fellow at the University of Kansas Medical Center, live in Kansas City.
BONNIE ANN DOWD (EdD) was appointed by the Board of Trustees of the San Diego Community College District as the new executive vice chancellor for business services. She brings 22 years of experience as a faculty member and administrator in California community colleges, and served most recently as vice president of finance and administrative services. Bonnie taught business at Palomar College for 16 years and now holds faculty emeritus status. She also is president of the California Community Colleges’ Association of Chief Business Officials.
RYAN HAMILTON (BBA) says his exotic car dealership, Celebrity Cars Las Vegas, is inside the Palazzo Hotel on the Las Vegas strip. He also has an Italian restaurant, Dal Toro, which is part of the facility. His website is www.celebritycarslasvegas.com.
VANESSA (VITELA) JACOBS (BA) moved across the country after graduation with her husband-to-be, Mike. They were married at USD in November 2006 and are now raising their 4-year-old twin daughters and new baby daughter, 19 months, in Chula Vista, Calif.
KATE NASMAN REIDEL (BS) and her husband, Chris, welcomed a baby boy, Lincoln Vedder, on Nov. 8, 2010. The family lives in Yorba Linda, Calif. Kate works for Fontaney Woods in Orange County.
RYAN STACK (BA, JD ’06) and his wife, Heather (Barnes) ’04, welcomed their second daughter, Madelyn Mae, into the world on April 22, 2012. Madelyn weighed 8 pounds, 1 ounce, and was 20.5 inches long.
COURTNEY CRUMMEL SUMMERS (BA, MA ’04) joined Consuro Managed Technology in Fort Worth, Texas, as marketing director. Most recently, she was a senior account executive for Concussion, an advertising agency. At Consuro, she is in charge of marketing, advertising, public relations and partner relations for the company.


MELISSA (HERRERA) KUDO (BA) married Ross Kudo in Kauai, Hawaii, on Sept. 10, 2011. USD alumni in attendance or in the wedding party were Natalia Clark, Sarah (Gillis) McPherson and Lisa (Roehl) Walle. Melissa and Ross live in San Diego.
DANIELLE (DEBLIEUX) McCONNELL (BA) and her husband, Brian, were married on Oct. 29, 2011, at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Huntington Beach, Calif., followed by a reception at SeaCliff Country Club. Danielle has worked for The Walt Disney Company for 13 years and is currently manager of global documentation. She and Brian live in Anaheim, Calif., across from Angel Stadium. “Go Toreros!” she writes.
STEVE PIRO (BA) is an energy efficiency consultant in Bali, Indonesia, with Synergy Carbon, a company he founded three years ago.
TAYLOR ERICKSON WORTMAN (BA, MA ’06) and her husband, Jeremy Wortman, were married on Feb. 19, 2011, by USD’s Monsignor Dan Dillabough in Taylor’s hometown of Big Sky, Mont. The ceremony was outdoors on a snowy hill. Taylor’s maid of honor was Beth Brandsford, a floor mate from Founders Hall. Taylor teaches middle school and plans to begin work on her PhD in educational leadership.


SAMIN VALI BERINGER (JD) opened The Beringer Law Firm in Carlsbad, Calif., specializing in a range of family law matters, including divorce, annulment, child support, child custody, visitation and domestic violence. “After spending several years working for some of the largest family law firms in San Diego County, I realized that the ‘big firm’ method of operation would never allow me to give my clients and their cases the time and attention they deserved,” she says. “By opening my own firm, I gave myself the freedom and flexibility to treat each case as though it was my own, and to give each client the individualized attention they deserve.” Beringer is licensed to practice in California state and federal courts.
JENNA BIAGINI (BA) returned to San Diego in January 2012. “I’m thrilled to be home,” she says. She lives in Golden Hill and has joined the development team for TKF, a nonprofit organization that works to stop violence.
KRISTOPHER CARTER (BA) is a general medical officer and aviation medical examiner in the United States Navy, currently stationed at MCAS Miramar. He graduated from Western University of Health Sciences with a doctorate of osteopathy in 2010 and completed an obstetrics and gynecology internship at Balboa Naval Hospital in 2011. When he completes his term at MCAS Miramar, he plans to complete a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Balboa.
JONATHAN BANNON MAHER (BBA) is a candidate for the United States Senate in New Jersey. He recently wrote a book, The Destiny of Humanity, and sent it to the leaders of every country in the world.
JONATHAN NOWLING (BA) and his wife, Nicole, were married in the fall of 2011. Jonathan also plans to start his own business.
JOSEPH TONEY (BA) accepted a new position as a budget and policy analyst with the City of Long Beach.


TINA (NOVAK) BURGESS (BA) and her husband, Dan, were married in July 2011. Tina joined RE/MAX in November 2011.
DETGEN (BANNIGAN) GREEFF (BA) was accepted into Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and plans to begin a two-year master’s degree in international affairs in September 2012.
JASPER MALLARD (BBA) moved to Santa Barbara, Calif., and is a financial advisor with PlanMember Securities, where he specializes in retirement planning for nonprofits and school districts.
SERENA PECK McKINNEY (BA) married her husband, Ben, on Aug. 14, 2010. They live in the same Dana Point, Calif., neighborhood as fellow alumna Adriana (Rios) Collins and her husband. Serena has been an English teacher and ASB director for five years at a middle school in Irvine, Calif. “This year was especially rewarding because I was honored as Teacher of the Year!” she writes.
SARAH WHITAKER (DNSc) lives in Memphis, Tenn., where she is starting up a new nursing program at Concorde Career College. She also is involved with the Medical Reserve Corps for Shelby County, Tenn. “For fun, I belong to the Grande Krewe of Phoenix, which is part of Carnival Memphis, supporting children’s charities,” she says.


REGINA (PEREZ) KUTCHES (BA) and her husband, Chris, were married on Nov. 11, 2011, in Santa Rosa, Calif. They bought a home in the area and report that they are the “proud parents of two dogs and two cats.”
BENJAMIN LEE (BA) is a youth minister in Los Angeles at St. Philip the Apostle Church. He is a speaker, community developer and worship leader in the Los Angeles Archdiocese and the Orange County Diocese. Benjamin is also studying full time for a BFA in graphic design/interactive design at Art Center College in Pasadena, Calif., and expects to be completed in the fall of 2013.
DIEGO MANZETTI (LLM) joined Chartis in May 2011 as head of legal for the Italian branch. Previously, he was an associate for the United Kingdom law firm, Norton Rose.
BRIAN McCARTHY (BA) has a new job with Allergan in Irvine, Calif. His previous employer, Biogen Idec in San Diego, closed its facility in June 2011. “I have been very fortunate with this new opportunity,” he says.
TWILA NOBLE (MSN) writes, “Morning sunrise across the high desert with views of mesas, buttes and hoodoos … Horses in the quad of the high school. These are the images I see now every day. And people who are varying shades of color, some tall, and some not so tall, speaking Hopi, Navajo, Spanish, Tagalog, Farsi and some other languages I can’t identify.” Twila left San Diego in January 2012 to work as an adult nurse practitioner at Tuba City Regional Healthcare Corporation. “My job is very satisfying. The benefits are remarkable. And the life experience is unmatchable. I would recommend it for anyone who wants immersion in a different culture, and for anyone who wants to make a difference. Thank you, USD, for preparing me for this fascinating and fulfilling work.”


EMILY D’AMICO (BAcc, MS ’11) recently accepted a position with Northwestern Mutual Financial Network as vice president of finance for the San Diego Group.
AMY EPSTEN (BAcc) and Daniel Magness ’08 were married on Dec. 11, 2010.
KRISTEN FORD (BA) works in human resources in Carlsbad, Calif., while she’s in graduate school earning a master’s degree from Pepperdine in clinical psychology with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy.
LAUREN (GYLLENBORG) GOLDEN (BA) and her husband, Justin, are overjoyed to announce the arrival of their first baby, Daphne Elise, on April 2, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. Lauren is the alumni director of Notre Dame de Sion School.
JOANNA PETERS (BA) is a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology with a neuropsychology concentration in the cognitive behavioral therapy track, Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Yeshiva University.


BRITTANY (WHITE) STRUCK (BA) completed a master’s degree in marine affairs at the University of Rhode Island in May 2011. She works for the National Marine Fisheries Service in the Protected Resources Division in Long Beach, Calif. Brittany’s team works under the Endangered Species Act, managing and protecting threatened and endangered steelhead trout.

JOHN VANDERVEEN ‘09 (MBA) and his wife, Erin, an assistant director of university events and promotions at USD, are overjoyed to announce the birth of their daughter, Audrey Marie, on April 16. She was 7 pounds, 1 ounce and 20.5 inches. Audrey joins proud big brother, William, who is almost 3. “Welcome to the world, Audrey!,” say the proud parents.



STEPHAN DUPOURQUE (JD) has become owner of Amtech Litigation Technologies, an e-discovery litigation services provider in San Diego.
STEPHANIE LEUNG (BBA) recently moved from New York City to San Francisco and was promoted to project manager at Insight Express.
CHRISTOPHER LIEPMAN (BA) is pursuing a master’s degree in accounting and finance at the London School of Economics and Political Science.


GIBRAN CHAVEZ-GUDINO (BA) finished his first year of graduate study at Harvard Divinity School.
ALLISON (VanDeGINSTE) McCLINTICK (MA) completed her master’s degree at USD and then returned to her home state, Michigan, with her husband and daughter for his Marine recruiting duty. Motivated by her work with wounded Marines from Afghanistan at Miramar, she is concentrating on empowering others to make the most of their lives through coaching and leadership training programs. In Michigan, she started FlightLead Leader Development, leadership coaching for professional women, and has a life coaching business for teen girls. Allison was a guest speaker at a women’s conference in Lansing, Mich., in February 2012, she’s been featured on local radio twice, and has been hired to train vice presidents of the country’s largest credit union on leadership and change management. Allison is also in Stanford University’s Strategic Decision and Risk Management program, an executive development program offered on campus and via the Internet. “USD changed my life,” she says.
CAREY MOELLER (BBA) writes, “After graduating in May 2011, I moved around the U.S. for a little while, enjoying new places and beginning to look for a job. I had been in a long-distance relationship for quite a while, so I finally decided to settle down and eliminate the distance.” Carey works for Bacardi USA and reports that she and her boyfriend just bought a house in Allen, Texas.
MICHAEL NALAN (JD) joined the professional liability practice group at Klinedinst PC. While at USD, Michael served as comments editor and associates editor, social relations, on the San Diego Law Review Board, and as an associate member on the San Diego Moot Court Board. During law school, he also spent many hours with USD’s legal clinics assisting low-income individuals in small claims and civil litigation cases.
GABBY OBEJI (BA) lives in San Francisco, where she is a marketing development manager for Coca-Cola. She says there are a lot of USD alumni living in the area.
CAPT. JON WILKINS (MS) recently received the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for outstanding performance as course manager and primary instructor of the Rapid Response Planning Process Primer, Expeditionary Warfare Group, Pacific, San Diego, Calif. Jon consumed volumes of publications and endured countless learning hours to master the process of fire support coordination as well as the Marine Corps planning process, tremendously impacting the unit’s competencies. His efforts resulted in comprehensive instruction for 26 courses and to more than 670 students. His mentoring and superb knowledge led to his selection as the 2011 Expeditionary Warfare Training Group Pacific Marine Officer Instructor of the Year.

In Memoriam

CHRISTOPHER D. BURCH ’01 (BA) passed away in his sleep on June 18, 2012, in Alexandria, Va. He was 33. A San Diego native, he moved to Sacramento after graduation to work as a fellow for the California State Legislature, then earned his law degree from William and Mary Law School in Williamsburg, Va. Chris interned at the White House and for the last three years worked in the Office of the General Counsel for the Department of Defense. He was an avid traveler and is survived by his parents, girlfriend, a large family and many friends.
LORI MURRAY ’83 (BBA) passed away on May 3, 2012.
MIKE RAMIREZ ’79 (BBA) passed away on April 22, 2012 at the age of 56, after fighting a valiant battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). He leaves behind his wife, Maureen ’81 (BBA), and two children. The family rallied together with friends in hopes of finding a cure for ALS by forming “Team Godfather,” which to date has raised more than $350,000 toward that cause.
JUDITH ANN (STRICKLAND) STUTZ ’76 (JD) died of cancer on April 19, 2011, at age 64. Following graduation, she served as the first attorney clients’ rights advocate for the San Diego Regional Center for the Developmentally Disabled, and then embarked on a career as a mother and grandmother. She is deeply missed by her family, friends and colleagues.

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