Spring 2017 Class Notes

cross at USD


PEGGY THOMPSON (BA) has been traveling and cruising, spoiling her grandchildren and preparing for her son’s wedding. “Yes, I have one more to marry,” she says. “Still coordinating weddings at my church and added being a mentor to couples.”


ELOISA THOMPSON (BA) remembers being assigned a big sister as a freshman. “So helpful, especially when English was a foreign language,” she says.


MARIA TERESA CARRASCO DE PIETROK (BA) retired in 2013 from A-dec, the largest dental equipment manufacturer in the United States, where she was Central and Eastern European territory manager. “I had the opportunity to successfully open the market for A-dec in 16 countries during Soviet times,” she says. “I received an ‘order’ from the Czech Dental Association for my contribution in introducing infection control to Czech dentistry.” In 2003, the Russian Dental Association honored her contribution to Russian dentistry. Since retiring, Maria enjoys traveling with her husband, Luke, their daughters, Karina and Rochella, and their four grandchildren, ages 12 to 16. They live in Portland, Ore., where she is a board member for Portland Piano International and the European American Art Council of the Portland Art Museum.

ELLISSIA FAGIN (BA) retired after 46 years in education as a teacher, school counselor and elementary counseling specialist in the District of Columbia and Virginia. She has received many awards, including American Counselor of the Year and the Virginia Counselors Association Van Hoose Career and Service Award. “I am enjoying retirement with my husband of two years, traveling, reading, singing in my church choir and serving on various counseling boards,” she says.

RICHARD GRAY (BA) reports that he is retired from federal service with the Department of State as part of the diplomatic corps and lives in Palm Springs, Calif. “Our three grown children have given us five grandkids — three in California and two in Brazil,” he adds. “It will be fun to revisit USD after so many years since 1966 graduation. I’m very thankful for being prepared by USD for an exciting life on four continents and various countries and cultures.”


LAWRENCE LACOMBE (BA) reports that he serves and supports Loyola High School, the Newman Club of Los Angeles, Verbum Dei High School, the Knights of Columbus Hollywood Council 2406, the Holy Name Society Union and Saint Vincent DePaul Society of Los Angeles. He adds that he donates to the USD Robert Brower Memorial Scholarship Endowment.


ROSEMARY MASTERSON JOHNSTON (BA, MA ’90) and Walt Johnston ’68 are retired and enjoying traveling, volunteering on several boards and spending time with their four adult children and nine grandchildren, all of whom live in San Diego. They are working on the USD alumni history video project, now in its sixth year.


SUSAN REDELINGS (BA) writes, “I’m retired, spoiling my grandchildren and loving life.”


MAUREEN CLARK (BA) lives in Tucson, Ariz., where she is a forensic accountant. She earned a Master of Accounting at the University of Arizona in 2000.

CARLA DEMAYO-RUIZ (BA) lives in Richmond, Va., with Joe, her husband of 37 years. She is a leadership development coach with Luck Companies and InnerWill Leadership Institute.

GARY WALSWICK (BBA) writes, “Where did 40 years go? Married the lovely Rosanne Stehly, who works the front office at a dental practice and tutors high school kids.” Their son, Mike, manages a granite business in San Diego; daughter Erica is a manager at Bank of America and married an engineer; and daughter Emma graduated with a degree in psychology and is traveling in Ireland, “where all redheads should go!” Gary says. “I finally escaped the title industry and got back into real estate, working commercial industrial for Keller Williams. I’m doing a good job staying ahead of Father Time, which isn’t easy at 62! Cheers!”


ROB KASHEY (BA) returned from Japan and Korea, where he taught English as a Second Language for 17 years, and then taught at Edmonds Community College in Washington for eight years. “I love to fish, hike and write poetry,” he says. “I was a literature major, religious studies minor and still find both fascinating. I’ve had some success at writing and am published in journals, magazines, anthologies in print and online under the pen name Rayn Roberts.” Rob has several books of poetry found at Poetic Matrix, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Powell Books. “I would very much like to hear from other USD alumni; maybe reconnect with old friends. Life is good.”


LINDA DUBROOF (JD) says that her husband, Tom, retired as a two-star admiral and they have moved to Naples, Fla., where they have a small consulting firm and play a lot of tennis.


JANET HEATH (BA) is in the information technology department at Optum, a division of UnitedHealth Group in Orange County. “When I’m not working, you can find me out on the golf course!” Janet says.


FRAN POLITO ALGYA (BBA), her husband, Chris, and daughter, Annie, have moved back to California. They have a son at the University of Arizona, a daughter at San Diego State University and their youngest daughter is a freshman at San Marcos High School. “Looking forward to rekindling old friendships!” Fran says.


EMILY SCHELL (BA, EdD ’03) is the executive director of the California International Studies Project (CISP), which is one of nine California Subject Matter Projects led by the University of California Office of the President. CISP’s statewide office, located at San Diego State University’s College of Education, oversees a professional development network for educators in six regions of California. CISP inspires and supports the development of global competence in PK-12 students.

DENISE WEBSTER (BBA) says that for the past 30 years, she has been raising her two children, James and Mia, focusing on a professional career in health and nutrition, traveling, engaging in public speaking and enjoying time with her family.


CHRIS CARR (BBA) reports that he lives in Seattle and has been happily married to his wife, Jackie, for 26 years. “We’re the proud parents of Alaya (attending Barnard College School of Columbia) and Jaylen, a high school senior,” he says. “Currently working at Starbucks as the EVP, Licensed Stores Americas.”

JANET SHARIF (BBA) writes, “Since Oct. 1, 2011 (the date of our 25th reunion), my life has been forever changed as I reconnected with Michael DiTommaso ’86. We are living together in Orange County raising a blended family.”


BILL PARROTT (BBA) published his first investment book, Up the Income Ladder: Generate More Income in Retirement, which is available on Amazon.com.


STEFANIE FILIPAN (BBA) owns and operates Stevens Steak and Seafood House restaurant in Commerce, Calif.


GABRIELLE BRANT FREEMAN (BA) reports that her first book of poetry, When She Was Bad, was published by Press 53 in October 2016.

SCOTT MAXWELL (BBA) says that he and his wife, Carol, are proud to announce the birth of their first grandchild, Xavier Scott Maxwell.


NICOLE ALEXANDER (BA) is an attorney and the director of business and professional business development at McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney and Carpenter. Nicole is married and has two stepdaughters.

NICOLE ANTHONY (BA) has practiced law for 15 years as a workers compensation defense attorney. She reports that she currently works for AIG and lives in Laguna Niguel, Calif., with her husband, Sean, and their children, Jack, 11, and Sophia, 9.

LARRY PEREZ (MEd) is the director for the Center of Student Involvement at Barry University in Miami.


LAURA (CLARK) FEE (BA) reports that she celebrated the sacrament of marriage on June 11, 2016, when she married Joseph Fee at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in El Cajon, Calif. Bridesmaids included fellow alumnae Suzie (Tweedy) Martin, Julie (Lindgren) Blake and Karen Clark.


PETER FAISST (LLM) is head of legal, Europe and Africa, for Trina Solar Group, a global leader in photovoltaic modules, solutions and services.

SHERI ANN FORBES (JD) is a senior deputy attorney for the Nevada Attorney General’s Office in the Bureau of Consumer Protection, Mortgage Fraud Unit.

VICTORIA RAMIREZ (BA, JD ’02) reports that she recently celebrated 11 years as a deputy public defender and five years with her husband. “Enjoying raising fur babies Piggy, Mammas and Chubs,” she says.

BRIAN ROSARIO (BBA) was named head coach for women’s basketball at Chandler-Gilbert Community College in Chandler, Ariz.


JENNIFER MOLNAR (JD) returned to Baker & McKenzie as a partner in the North American tax practice, adding 16 years of experience providing tax planning and transactional advice to multinational corporations. She handles tax planning for international acquisitions, dispositions, reorganizations, joint ventures, Subpart F planning and restructurings, and she counsels clients on tax issues related to structuring, negotiating, documenting and reporting complex transactions. Jennifer was an associate at the firm from 2001 to 2006.


HILARY ANDAYA (BA) teaches at ISF Academy in Hong Kong.

MICHAEL SPENCER (BA) accepted a position as a network designer at the U.S. Navy Network Design facility embedded at SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific. He also reports that in May 2016, he and his wife, Jennifer, welcomed their first child, a daughter named Caroline Maria.


DOLLY CHARLES DICKEY (BA) writes, “I am in my 12th year of teaching English at Southwest High School. I am married and have an adorable son.”

ANGELA MITCHELL (BA) has been living in New Orleans for the past 12 years, which she says is “the best city in the world.” She is an ER physician at Tulane Hospital. Angela just returned from a medical trip to Peru and is planning a surgical trip to Uganda.


JASMINA FINELLI-STIPANIC (LLM) has been regional general counsel (Europe, Middle East and Africa) for five years for a U.S. exploration mining company. She has managed a variety of legal issues, particularly compliance matters, and has traveled extensively in her work, particularly to African countries such as Mali, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone. Jasmina has developed extensive knowledge on how to manage legal affairs in Africa.

ALEXIS PETERSON (Paralegal Certificate) expected to graduate with an MBA in project management in December 2016.

T.J. ROSSI (MBA) reports that he is running Monarch Green, competing in athletic events and enjoying his niece.


JOHN VALENCIA (BBA) is the vice chancellor for workforce and organizational development for the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District in San Diego’s East County. As the chief education officer for the district, John oversees community and workforce education, marketing and communications, information systems, research, planning and institutional effectiveness, and the foundation for Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges. “I am thrilled for my new role!” John says. “I found my love for education during my time at USD. From the incredible faculty and staff to the robust curriculum, I owe a great deal of gratitude for my success to USD.”


REBECCA DURAN-OJEDA (BSN) works full time as a nurse practitioner/nurse midwife at Borrego Health.

RYAN LITTLE (JD) joined the faculty of the United States Military Academy at West Point. A major in the U.S. Army JAG Corps, Ryan led one of the military’s largest prosecution offices. Highlights of Ryan’s military career to date include serving as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division and deploying to Mosul, Iraq, with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment.


EMILY DOSCH (BA) is a practicing attorney with Daniel P. Costello & Associates in Chicago.

STEVE GONZALEZ (BA, BAcc ’06) is the assistant controller at a restaurant group in Miami Beach, Fla. “Followed my dream of (working in the) restaurant business after graduating as an accountant,” he says. “Sorry Big 4.”

MATTHEW HAYWARD (BBA) reports that he has been married to his wife, Kelly, since 2010 and they have two boys: Greyson, 3, and Paxton, 1. The family lives in Orange County, Calif.

VANESSA PERRY (BA) completed a PhD in rehabilitation counseling and administration at East Carolina University. She is now an assistant professor of practice at the University of Arizona.

KELLY SAUNDERS (BA) celebrated the birth of her second child, Lucy Regina Saunders, on June 22, 2016.


DARCIE McCLELLAND DESCALZO (BA) is an assistant professor of biology at El Camino College in Torrance, Calif.

ALICIA MASSEI (BBA) bought a house with her fiancé in March 2016.

PAT O’SHEA (BA) served in two combat tours to Afghanistan, worked as an assistant store manager at Macy’s and is now the Southern California sales representative for Lutron Electronics.


MIKE BOROUGHS (BAcc) and fellow alumnus Paul Misleh founded Fortis Capital Management to provide financial planning and wealth management to individuals, families and small businesses.

RACHEL (MAUPIN) SULLIVAN (BBA) reports that she and Evan Sullivan were married on March 28, 2015, in Turks and Caicos. The couple lives in Kansas City, Mo., where Evan practices law and Rachel is a family physician who practices bioidentical hormone replacement therapy at BioBalance Health.


BRAD GRUMBLEY (JD) founded a nonprofit law firm and reports that he has been working to close the civil justice gap.

RICHARD MAGALE (BBA) works at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems in San Diego. He is an MBA student at San Diego State University and is planning to form and launch a 501c(3) nonprofit organization locally.

JAMES REILLY (MSN) recently completed a one-year fellowship at The Joint Commission in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., and was promoted to the rank of commander in the U.S. Navy.

CASEY SORRELL (BA) reports that she married Brian Kalmenson ’09 in March 2016. Both had their USD roommates as maid of honor and best man, respectively.

GILLIAN VAN DER SCHAAF (BBA) moved to Seattle to pursue an MBA at the University of Washington.


INNA ZOZULYAK (MSGL) started Accountable Hiring, a new venture that uses Talent Solutions SaaS to help companies make deeply informed hiring decisions quickly and at minimal cost.


JAMES ARNDT (BA) reports, “Got married last spring and purchased a second house with my beautiful wife!”

ALEXANDRA BOLIN (BBA) is a process manager with the 777x engineering design program at The Boeing Company in Seattle.

CONOR CAWLEY (BA) is a writer and comedian. He works at Tech.Co, where he writes articles and hosts events for startups and entrepreneurs around the country. His background in comedy ranges from stand-up to sketch, and he runs a popular stand-up show in Chicago called Rat Pack Comedy. In his spare time, he says he “thinks about how to properly pronounce the word ‘colloquially.’”

KELSEY CHASE (BA, JD ’14) and Cameron Bohn ’12 met as undergraduates at USD and plan to marry in July 2017. Kelsey is an attorney in San Diego and Cami teaches second grade in San Diego.

SHANNEN CRAVENS (BA) successfully defended her thesis at the end of July 2016, earning her PhD in molecular biophysics from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She is now a postdoctoral researcher at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. Shannen is funded by a competitive NIH IRACDA fellowship, which provides her with training and opportunities for teaching at undergraduate institutions.

BROOKE DAWSON (BBA) is a real estate agent in the Southern California beach area with Team Noah Grassi at RE/MAX Coastal. “Helping buy and sell a slice of San Diego paradise!” she says.

JOEL DAY (MA) graduated in 2015 with a PhD in international affairs from the University of Denver and was recently appointed executive director for the City of San Diego, where he oversees the Human Relations Commission and International Affairs Board and advises the mayor and city council on human rights, inclusion and global engagement. Joel and his wife, Lauren, welcomed the arrival of their first child, Robert Adlai Day, in 2015.

VIVIEN FRANCIS (MA) is the founder and CEO of PilloveTalk, a line of pillowcases with empowering words and affirmations.

ALLYSON KENNETT (BA) earned a master’s degree in English literature from Queen Mary University of London a year after graduation. Allyson reports that she and her husband got married and they welcomed a baby girl in 2014 and a baby boy in December 2015. Allyson is a visiting professor teaching English.

STEPHANIE (WOOD) LANGUIS (BA) reports that she married Matt Languis in September 2015. Matt is a WCC athlete from the University of San Francisco. The wedding was held in Sonoma, Calif., with many Gamma Phi Beta friends Steph met in school. Steph and Matt live in Brooklyn, N.Y.

ELLEN LEONARD (MBA) writes, “Loving life in NYC. Working in ophthalmology specialty sales for Bausch & Lomb.”

ALEXANDER ONTIVEROS (BBA) is director of business development at a national security firm. “My degree was pivotal in equipping me with the tools to perform and become a successful leader at my company,” he says.

LARISA PATRICK (BA) is an executive assistant in the biology department at USD and she is pursuing a law degree at California Western School of Law in San Diego.

WILLIAM SCHMIDT (BA) is a writer. He worked as a journalist for a time, and is currently employed at classy.org. “I have a freelance career, too, where I write for Thrillist, Huff Post, San Diego Magazine, and numerous small clients,” he says.

ASIA SIMONELLI (BBA, IMBA ’11) writes, “In July 2016, I decided to take a break from the corporate world and take a solo backpacking trip to South America. So far, I’ve volunteered with the children of Quito and have built bamboo houses for those affected by the earthquake in Ecuador earlier this year. I don’t know how long I’ll be traveling, but I can already tell it has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Sometimes you need to take a step back and make sure you’re on the right path. Listen to your heart and do something that is not only good for you, but that is also good for the larger community!”

BRI WANLASS (BA) was a plenary speaker at the Sixth Biennial Palliative Care Conference in Kampala, Uganda, in 2015. She presented her research on health surveillance for palliative care providers in Uganda and she recently completed a Master of Science in global health at the University of Notre Dame.

CASEY WILKINS (BBA) reports that he married Kelsi (Myers) Wilkins ’11 in January 2016. “Living in Seattle; working for Microsoft,” says Casey.

KELSI (MYERS) WILKINS (BBA) reports that she lives and works in Kirkland, Wash., with her husband, Casey Wilkins ’11, who she married in January 2016.


CRAIG FOXHOVEN (BA) is starting a beverage distribution business for Guayaki Yerba Mate in North America.

KENDALL GILMORE (BA) writes, “After graduating, I moved to Seattle for two years and am now back in Southern California working as an event planner!”

TINA MEDINA (MA) reports, “After dedicating 12 years to public education, I have changed careers in order to more specifically support youth and peacebuilding. I am the new program officer for WorldLink at (USD’s) Institute for Peace and Justice.”

ANGELICA SLEIMAN (MEd) is an associate principal in the Chula Vista Elementary School District. She is also in her third year of the PhD program in leadership studies at USD.


VIRGINIA BAUMAN-FOOTE (BA) writes, “I enjoyed some nice hiking trips this summer to both Glacier Park and Yosemite.”

BIANCA HARO (BA) is a third-year PhD student in UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. “After my PhD, I hope to be in a tenure-track position, mentor students of color and dismantle the barriers that deny the access of higher education to first-generation, low income and underrepresented students,” she says.

RYAN KLINT (MSGL, MS-SCM ’16) graduated in 2016 from the MS-SCM program while working for Engility Corp. supporting the U.S. Navy.

JESSICA McCARTHY (BA, BA ’14) writes, “After completing a year of service with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Scranton, Pa., I am currently pursuing a master’s in theology and ministry at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.”

CODY TESCHER (BA) reports, “Sad to no longer be working with USD football, but excited for my new opportunity at UC Davis. Look forward to coming back to Torero Stadium in 2018!”

SOPHIE VOGEL (MA) worked as an academic advocate for South Bay Community Services in Chula Vista, Calif., before graduating from USD. In the fall of 2016, she moved to Redlands, Calif., to begin her Doctorate of Education in leadership for educational justice. She is in her second year of study and works as a program specialist at Building a Generation in Redlands.


BRENDAN GEE (BS/BA) began studies toward a Master of Advanced Studies degree in wireless embedded systems at the University of California, San Diego.

LaPORCHA INGRAM (MA) works at California State University, San Marcos, in the areas of student life, student affairs and student leadership.

KYREN LYNCH (BBA) is an assistant merchandiser at N.A. Gucci corporate.

GABRIELLE MARTINEZ (BBA) is a full-time legal researcher for a company that provides labor law products to businesses around the United States. She plans to attend law school next year.

RACHEL OLINGER (MA) is an associate marriage and family therapist at Lowry & Associates, a private practice in Oak Park, Ill. Rachel provides therapeutic services for children, adolescents and adults.

JESUS SANCHEZ (MA) directs the volunteer programs at San Diego LGBT Pride and is the vice president of the board of Gay Men’s Spiritual Retreat.

WAYNE SMITH (BS/BA) got his pilot’s license and has been working at GKN Aerospace for nearly a year.


KELLY BIRCH (BA) has been working as a psychoeducational coach at a private institute where children and adolescents are treated for a range of language and learning disabilities. Kelly is also applying to doctoral programs in clinical psychology.

JACK GARRETT (MBA) has a new consulting position in Philadelphia in which he provides real estate, design and construction advice to nonprofit organizations with capital programs east of the Mississippi.

JENNA OWENS (BS/BA) works for Clarity Design Inc., where she designs optical equipment intended for use in developing countries.


LUCIA REYES BENNETT ’62 (BSN) passed away in October of 2016 at the age of 93. A graduate of what was then known as the San Diego College for Women, Lucia was honored as a Golden Torero in 2012. She had a long career as a nurse, and was commissioned in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps in 1950. She was married to her late husband, Francis Bridgeman Bennett ’62 (JD), for 51 years. Five of their six children are graduates of USD: Brigid Bennett ’80 (BA); the Honorable Francis Bennett II ’87 (BBA), ’90 (JD); Josephine Bennett ’81 (BBA), who served as president of the Alumni Association from 2009-2011; Mercedes Bennett ’79 (BA); and Monica Bennett ’85 (BA).

PATRICIA M. HOWE passed away peacefully on April 13, 2016 with her loved ones at her side. Her outstanding career in finance made her a pioneer for women in the marketplace; in fact, she was the first woman partner of a major New York Stock Exchange firm. In 1976, she was named one of the 100 top corporate women in the U.S. by BusinessWeek magazine. She was a member of the San Diego College for Women’s board of trustees from 1969-1972, and continued her service on the board of the University of San Diego from 1972-2010. She is survived by many nieces, nephews and cousins, including nieces Shannon Smith ’86 (BS, BBA) and Megan Evers ’93 (BA).

FATHER OWEN J. MULLEN, University Chaplin, passed away in his home in October 2016. He served in many roles during two separate tenures at USD, from 1981 to 1989 and from 2004 to 2016. He is probably most well known for his relationships with student-athletes — as chaplain to the football, baseball and men’s basketball teams — and with members of Greek Life, through his role as chapter chaplain and national president of Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity. As a retired colonel in the Army, Mullen also had strong connections to NROTC students and military-connected students. In May 2014, he celebrated his 50th anniversary as a priest with a Golden Jubilee Mass in Founders Chapel. As a treasured member of the university, Father Mullen’s warmth and sense of humor left an indelible mark on all who knew him. He will be missed by the entire community.

RUFUS CALHOUN YOUNG ’65 (JD) passed away on June 16, 2016. He received a BA in social science from SDSU, a JD from USD’s School of Law and an LLM, environmental law with highest honors, from George Washington University. Rufus served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1965 to 1987, including as Assistant Chief of Staff, Staff Judge Advocate, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego. Military awards included the Navy Commendation medal. After retiring from the Marine Corps, he was a senior deputy city attorney for the city of San Jose and an attorney for Burke, Williams & Sorenson in Los Angeles, where he concluded his professional career in 2014. He was a frequent lecturer on environmental law topics and an ardent environmentalist. Survivors include his wife, Carole; daughters Cathy Peltz and Marilyn Ritchie; and seven grandchildren.

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