Class News

Shortly before her death Dr. Ruth Couch ‘58 completed “The Noble Heritage of Harvey C. Couch School,” a history on this community school located in Calhoun, Ark. Dr. Couch has a great interest in preserving the history of community schools that have now been consolidated into larger districts. Dr. Couch passed away July 26, 2014.

Dr. Keith Lusby was inducted to the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame at the 2014 ceremony. Pictured from left are Rosemary Lusby, Dr. Lusby ‘70, and Dr. Jeff Miller, chair of the SAU Agriculture Department.

Dr. Richard Britt ’72 is the new superintendent at Columbia Christian School in Magnolia.

Ed Choate ’77 and Delta Dental of Arkansas were awarded the Business of the Year Award in Category III by Arkansas Business.

Edgar Lee ’85 was reappointed to the Southern Arkansas University Board of Trustees. His appointment expires January 14, 2019.

Catherine (Christie) Cook ’80 has been appointed by Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe to the Arkansas Local Police and Fire Retirement System Board of Trustees. The appointment will extend until January 2018.

Grant Marshall ’81 has been selected to serve on the Board of Trustees for S.A.Y.S. of Magnolia.

Michael Campbell ’88 was named head of sales and marketing for Learning Bird, Inc., an online learning resource designed for K-12 students. Campbell will lead sales and product marketing, branding, advertising, e-commerce, events and public relations for the company. Learning Bird’s offices are in Montreal.

Don McDonald ’89 was recently named one of the 2014 Top 400 Financial Advisers by the Financial Times. The honor is given to financial advisers who show excellence as professionals for high net-worth clients. An employee at Merrill Lynch for 25 years, he has clients with $1 million to $10 million or more in investable assets. He is a certified investment management analyst and chartered retirement planning counselor.

Todd Adams ‘98 (Former Student) is chief pilot for Arkansas Children’s Hospital Angel One. A recent addition to the department, Adams joined Angel One last October from the Arkansas Army National Guard where he served as a full-time standardization instructor pilot. Adams’ background includes both rotorcraft and medical roots. He learned to fly helicopters in the National Guard while attending SAU. He graduated with a B.S. in biological science as part of a pre-med program. He also became an E.M.T. while in college.

Patrick Beeson ’91 has been honored for his 15 years of service to EMC Corporation. Beeson is a senior solutions architect developing software solutions for high-end storage computers.

Candi Bailey ’06, head volleyball coach for Magnolia High School, has been named as a member of the Arkansas High School Coaches Association All-Star West staff.

Ellie (Mullins) Baker ’02 is the new executive director of the Magnolia-Columbia County Chamber of Commerce.

Stephen Kelley ’01 was announced VP and CFO of Smittys Supply, Inc. Kelley earned a bachelor’s of business administration in Accounting at SAU and later obtained his CPA license in Texas.

Whitney (Burns) Turner ’06 was recently promoted to director of Nursing Services at the Green House Cottages of Wentworth Place in Magnolia.

Brandon Stout ’05 was named New Agent of the Year from Southern Farm Bureau. Brandon was top out of all new agents representing Southern Farm Bureau Life in its 11-state operating territory. Brandon attended SAU from 1999-2005. He represents Louisiana Farm Bureau Mutual, Southern Farm Bureau Casualty, and Southern Farm Bureau Life in their Bossier Parish office.

Genese Lavalais ’04 was awarded the Professional Promise Award by the National Association of Academics Advisors for Athletics. Lavalais is the assistant director of Athletics for Academics at Jackson State University. She is currently working with the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA) Advancement Institute and the NCAA Region 6 Post Graduate Scholarship Committee. She has served as the chair of N4A Life Skills Committee, as well as participating in the NCAA Leadership Institute in 2012 and 2013, and the N4A Professional Development Institute (PDI).

Jonathan Gosdin ’03, head coach for the Genoa Central Dragons, won his second Baseball State Championship title with the Genoa Central Dragons. His first state championship was in 2012. Gosdin was also named the 2014 Coach of the Year by the Texarkana Gazette.

Melissa Watson ’99 and friend, Kimberly Gibson ’04, and Della Miller Faulkner ’03 of Baton Rouge enjoyed dinner with Ceil Bridges, director of Alumni Relations.

Jennifer (Pinkston) Weldon ‘03 (Former Student) was named chief financial officer for Highlands Medical Center (HMC) in Sparta, effective July 1, 2014. With 10 years of hospital accounting experience, including seven in management, she brings a proven track record to her new position. She earned her bachelor’s in business administration with an emphasis in accounting from SAU. Weldon is in the process of completing her MBA at Washington State University, with plans to graduate in October.

Friends and Former Students
John Bland (Former Coach) has been named the new head football coach at Mississippi College in Clinton. Mississippi College’s athletic program is moving from NCAA Division III to Division II and will be a member of the Gulf South Conference (GSC). Bland coached Division II football at SAU for seven years. He was an assistant coach from 1994-99 and was promoted to head coach for the 2000 season. While with the Muleriders, the offense broke several school and conference records and led the GSC in scoring in 1998 and 1999. In 1997, SAU won the GSC and were ranked 10th in the country.

Denise Neill (Former Employee) has been named interim provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of Houston-Victoria. Neill began her nursing career at SAU. She is the wife of Lance Neill ’01.

Doug Waterfield (Former Employee), department chair of art and art history at the University of Nebraska at Kearney will be presenting his painting series, “Doomtown,” in the main rotunda of the headquarters of the United Nations in Vienna, Austria from August 25–29, 2014. Waterfield will be traveling to Vienna to give a talk on his paintings as well. “We are very excited to feature Doug Waterfield’s unique artwork collection as part of a week-long exhibition to observe the International Day against Nuclear Tests on 29 August,” said Thomas Mützelburg, public information officer for the CTBTO Preparatory Commission.

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