In June of 1992, I left Boston for France with everything in front of me. For the next two months, I would be an au pair to Hugo and Olga Boyer’s daughter, Élodie, at their country estate near Paris. The position came to me through my advisor at Boston University, where I’d just finished a master’s degree in French and where Hugo would join the faculty in the fall. As Olga explained to my advisor, who asked me if I was interested, she and Hugo needed a jeune fille to help Élodie practice her English and to watch her mornings while Hugo worked on his book and Olga prepared the house for their departure. I would have a large, sunny room on the top floor and my afternoons and most of the weekends off. “Paris, with all of its delights, is only a brief train ride away,” Olga wrote to me in French, her hand- writing large and baroque. “Élodie is an easy child, and her father and I are not monsters.” With the money I’d make, I could spend a third month in Paris and then see how I might stay on in France, where I believed I was meant to live.

Excerpt from THE BALCONY ©2018 by Jane Delury. Used with permission.

The Day Mary Oliver Died

I want to live losing
track of time. No more
Mondays or hump-days. No
months separated as tidily
as eggs in a carton. Years,
no longer designated by
numbers but moments, as in,
this was the day the sun
rose red and ready
to scorch mist from
fields of wildflowers. That
week the rooster abandoned
his voice and refused to crow.
That year my uncle began
his journey back to dust.
The months you spent
unbreaking a heart you
did not break, the distance
between us measured
in inches and breath instead
of years used up and years yet
left. There is only now, only this
trembling, this glorious here,
this touching of hands.

Christine Lincoln

All In The Family


Frank van Vliet, MBA ’08
Wendy van Vliet, B.A. ’08
Drew van Vliet, B.A. ’11
Elise Smith, B.S. ’18

The van Vliet clan—Frank, Wendy, Drew and Elise, with Elise’s daughter Matilda and son Merrick—in the outdoor chapel at Davidsonville United Methodist Church, where Wendy is lead pastor.

The van Vliets all have a ready sense of humor and share, among other things, a commitment to service and to family. And four of them—father Frank van Vliet, MBA ’08, mother Wendy van Vliet, B.A. ’08, son Drew van Vliet, B.A. ’11, and daughter Elise Smith, B.S. ’18—have something else in common: they’ve all earned degrees from the University of Baltimore.

The van Vliet’s alumni legacy begins with Frank, executive in residence and holder of the G. Maxwell Armor Chair and Professorship in the Merrick School of Business. Frank began his career as a sales and marketing executive in his native Ontario, Canada, where he and Wendy met and married 38 years ago. (The couple’s oldest son, Chris, still lives in Canada.) As he was offered new opportunities the family relocated to New York and then to Baltimore, where Frank joined the Baltimore AirCoil Company.

He chose to attend UB when his company offered to sponsor his MBA. During his program, Merrick professor Tigi Mersha asked Frank if he was interested in becoming an adjunct. For the last seven years he’s taught courses in marketing, strategic planning and entrepreneurship.

“I was in the right place at the right time—teaching is the most fun I’ve ever had,” he says. This fall he debuts a new online course in digital marketing and social media, which dovetails well with his other venture: running a small sales and marketing consulting firm, SalesBrewers LLC.

Frank is also an instructor in UB’s Second Chance program, in which incarcerated men at Jessup Correctional Institute are earning their undergraduate degrees. He was recently awarded the University System of Maryland Board of Regents Faculty Award for excellence in public service for his work in the program.

Drew and Wendy’s UB stories are intertwined—Wendy, who is lead pastor at Davidsonville United Methodist Church, decided to register for classes while on a campus visit with her son. “I was waiting for Drew and a counselor came out and said, ‘Are you my next appointment?’” Wendy recalls. At the time she had a three-year degree from a Canadian university; Canada has a different higher educational system than the United States.

Wendy’s Canadian degree is in computer sciences, and she worked as a program analyst there. “But I had also been involved in volunteer organizations and knew I was called to serve,” she says. “The counselor showed me how my credits could transfer so I could complete my undergraduate degree to U.S. standards and prepare for seminary.”

Wendy says she had some self-doubt about returning to school. “I had to learn to be a learner again, and I wanted to be an A student,” she recalls. “I found that my professors held me accountable, but also provided feedback and resources so I knew what was expected.”

When Drew (the funniest member of the family, according to the others) and Wendy selected their courses, they unknowingly registered for the same psychology class. “My mother sat right up front and I sat in the back,” Drew, a sales development manager at cybersecurity firm Tenable, says. “It took the professor pretty much the whole semester to figure it out.” After reaping the benefits of studying together, the two later registered for the same art history class.

Drew decided to transfer to UB after beginning his degree at the University of Maryland, College Park. “I discovered I didn’t enjoy classes in lecture halls with 300 other students,” he recalls. He was working full time in retail management during his time at UB, and says he appreciated not only the “vibe of being right in the city with older, more experienced classmates, but the flexibility of having online and evening options for classes.”

When she enrolled at UB, Elise had completed her associate’s degree and was also working full-time; she is a benefits manager at defense contractor AVIAN, Inc.

“I wanted to enhance my career but was a little uncertain about juggling everything,” the mother of five recalls. “My father reminded me of the story of eating an elephant, taking it just a little bit at a time.” Elise completed her business degree entirely online, and was even able to travel to Thailand on a study abroad program for an upper-level marketing course. “I didn’t expect that to happen and it was one of the coolest things I did—especially since I was able to share it with my Dad, who came along as a faculty member,” she says.

Elise points out that the van Vliets have another UB legacy: her fifth child, Merrick’s, name was inspired by the business school. “I was pregnant with him during the journey, so we decided it was appropriate,” she says.

Frank reflects on how his family’s different educational goals and experiences reflect larger trends: “I didn’t need to get my MBA, but it opened new doors for me. And for my students—many of them may have 7 or 8 career changes, not jobs, but entire career changes—in the course of their working lives. So it’s great that their educational options are constantly morphing, and that UB is, too”

Paula Novash is managing editor of the magazine.

If you are a UB legacy family and would like to share your story, contact the Office of Alumni Relations at 410.837.6131 or

A Very Special Delivery

Matt Scassero and the team from UMD’s A. James Clark School of Engineering guide the transplant delivery drone through the stages of its historic journey.

In the early hours of April 19, a single drone aircraft flew over Baltimore City destined for the University of Maryland Medical Center. The drone carried time-sensitive, life-saving cargo: a donated kidney. For the patient, a 44-year-old former nurse at The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs who had been on dialysis for eight years, her successful kidney operation represented a second chance. But the debut of the medical-delivery drone is proving to be a historic milestone.

Director of the University of Maryland’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UMD UAS) Test Site Matthew Scassero, M.P.A., ’17, has been involved in the development of this special delivery since its inception. “It all started with a phone call,” Scassero recalls, when two and a half years ago, renowned transplant surgeon Dr. Joseph Scalea contacted him to ask if it was possible to send organs for donation using a drone.

Scassero says he barely blinked before responding. “Even without looking at all the technology regulations or how long it was going to take, my instinct was to say yes,” he recalls.

Scalea reached out to the UMD UAS due to its reputation for cutting-edge drone technology. Still, flying an organ directly to a patient had never been attempted before, and would require extensive problem solving.

In organ donation, “Time is of the essence,” explains Anahita Masoumi, MBA ’15. Masoumi became chief administrative officer and executive director of the Transplant Institute at the University of Chicago in early 2019, after years in the field as both a medical administrator and a transplant nurse. “The success of organ transplants is strongly influenced by the amount of time the organ is out of the organ donor’s body and kept on ice. For every six hours a kidney is out of the donor’s body, the long-term outcome of the kidney declines,” she explains.

Using delivery drones could transform lives, realized Scassero. “So the mission became about that big target: How many more patients can we save?” Scassero says.

In order to make Dr. Scalea’s vision a reality, Scassero drew on his considerable experience—from his early career in the Navy and nonprofit work, all the way through earning his M.P.A. from UB. Multiple groups needed to be connected, from engineering and aviation experts to transplant physicians to the Living Legacy Foundation (an organization that facilitates organ donation and transplantation in Maryland hospitals).

“They made it happen. My biggest job as director is to take credit for what they accomplish,” Scassero jokes.

Step one for the team involved inventing a durable, temperature-controlled vessel with the capability to communicate the condition of the kidney to the ground team. Next, they needed to determine the best way to pilot the drone, all while negotiating for use of airspace with the Federal Aviation Administration.

The successful April delivery was a one-time demonstration of what is possible, not yet a fully implemented system. “Transplant professionals are realistic that use of drones will require a period of development and adjustment, but all agree this is the future,” says Masoumi. She praises drone technology for its potential to ship other critical lifesaving medical supplies, such as equipment, medications and blood.

To Scassero, this flight was a demonstration not only of technology, but of effective public administration skills he strengthened through his experience at UB. “This is policy being flowed down through the technical approaches, the regulatory approaches, and taking something from an idea to a solution that will be part of the healthcare system one day,” he explains. “Every single person we proposed the idea to, their first response was ‘yes.’ That helped us with big problems we had, like flying over the city. People wanted to make this happen.”

To Scassero, one moment of the historic night stands out, “being there both on launch and recovery and seeing the nurses waiting on the roof. When you see those people cheering and faces lighting up, that’s the moment you realize, wow, this is something big.”

Tim Paggi, M.F.A. ’15, is a writer based in Baltimore.

The Right Place To Be: Tokyo Direkston, B.A. ’13, M.S. ’16

Tokyo Direkston outside the Downtown Day Services Center (the spire of New York Avenue Presbyterian Church is reflected to the right).


  • B.A., M.S., University of Baltimore
  • Leads center for adults experiencing homelessness
  • Activist and visionary

Tokyo Direkston, B.A. ’13, M.S. ’16, is the homeless services site and program manager for the Downtown Day Services Center in the District of Columbia, an organization that supports adults who are experiencing homelessness. “It’s right where I’m supposed to be,” she says.

The Center is a bright, upbeat space, housed in the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in the business district. “I want our guests to feel welcome and have a sense of normalcy,” Direkston continues. “I know what they are going through to survive.”

Direkston can appreciate her guests’ struggles because she’s been there: for a decade she was homeless and addicted to crack cocaine. She recently acknowledged 20 years of sobriety. “Every day I remember something I thought about when I was homeless, something that was especially hard for me. It helps me serve our guests better,” she explains.

Daily, an average of 150 people access Center resources that include meals, laundry services, computers, case managers, peer specialists and harm reduction specialists. Direkston is concerned with every little detail, making sure everyone hears “We’re so glad you’re here,” when they enter, and that each receives fresh towels and hygiene kits, as well as privacy, for showers. “We treat people with dignity and respect,” she says.

Direkston grew up in the Philadelphia area and was living in New York when she was recruited by a DC-area program to teach carpentry skills to former inmates. “I didn’t want to move away from friends and family,” she recalls. “But I had the qualifications in construction, and they wanted more women, especially women of color, in nontraditional roles, so they persuaded me.”

Direkston liked the work, but she was lonely. One weekend, she says, “I made some bad decisions and tried crack cocaine. That’s where my life took a different path. It took me five years to admit I had a problem, and another five to decide to do something about it.”

Her own experience with hitting rock bottom gives her a greater understanding of others’ struggles. “You have to stop for you. If you do it for me, then I’m the problem and I’m the reason you begin using again,” she explains. After going through a recovery program, Direkston settled in Maryland and went back to school, eventually transitioning from construction management to human services.

She credits her then-partner, who has since passed away, with helping her believe she could be successful in higher education. “I was told for years that I wasn’t smart enough, and that’s hard to overcome. I’d come home from class and cry, ‘I can’t do this.’ And then I’d wind up getting an A. After a while she would just look at me and say, ‘You got this.’”

Direkston says she loved her experience attending UB. “I call it my big girl school,” she says. “My professors expected a lot, but they supported me, too.” One of her goals is to teach, but, she says, “I don’t just want to teach, I want to teach at UB.”

In Direkston’s vision of the future, she’s developing a Baltimore nonprofit to tackle homelessness. “I just want a city block of abandoned homes,” she says, where she would renovate a few houses at a time with the hands-on help of those who would eventually live there. She’d also build a commercial kitchen to provide food service training. With her combined background in construction, human services and developing programs, she’s more than ready to begin. For now, though, Direkston spends her commutes strategizing about how to better provide for the Center’s guests.

Direkston shares that 20 years ago, she attended a 12-step meeting in a historic sanctuary known for its social justice mission—the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, where the Center is located today. “How is that for a clear message from a higher power?” Direkston says with a laugh. “Now I have a job here I love. There are more things I need to do—but I know my starting point for that next step is here.”

Paula Novash is managing editor of the magazine.

Moving Forward Together

Kari Lindemann, M.A. ’09, used to compete in triathlons. When she was UB’s assistant director of annual giving, she would often arrive at the office on a bike or fresh off of a training run. Ten years ago her colleague Bill Cole, M.A. ’96, then associate vice president of institutional advancement, told her about a new nonprofit called Back on My Feet (BoMF). The group, which organizes runs with residents in transitional homeless and addiction and treatment facilities, was encouraging him to become a volunteer.

“Bill had small children at the time, and it was hard for him to make a 5:30 a.m. run. He said, ‘You should give it a try and let me know what you think,’” Lindemann recalls.

Lindemann signed up, attended orientation and joined a run with volunteers and members of BoMF at The Baltimore Station, a homeless shelter and residential treatment program in South Baltimore. Soon she was running four times a week and helping to plan events.

“I saw our members working hard, transforming their lives and breaking the cycle they had been in,” says Lindemann, who now lives in Newark, Delaware. “I created personal bonds with a lot of members and volunteers—ultimately it was my central community in Baltimore.” Now Lindemann is the national marketing director for BoMF, which has 13 chapters in U.S. cities that include Baltimore, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Dallas and New York.

Here’s how the program works: participants begin by joining groups for early morning runs (or walks) three times a week, perhaps initially covering just a few city blocks. Gradually they advance to longer distances (over 400 have run marathons), while making commitments to set personalized running and professional goals.

After participating on two morning runs, members get a free pair of new shoes and new running clothes. If they continue for a 30-day period with 90 percent attendance, they can join the group’s “Next Steps” program, which gives them access to resources such as financial literacy training and resume building. They may also receive financial aid for transportation, housing costs, books for school, GED classes, etc.

Lauren Lake, B.A. ’13, J.D. ’16, has also seen how BoMF helps its members move forward. Lake is an associate in the litigation practice at Gordon Feinblatt in Baltimore. A cross-country runner, she began volunteering for BoMF during her senior year of high school. Lake planned to work in publishing until her experiences with the organization showed her how participants’ lives could be improved by things like legal expungement clinics.

“Our executive director at the time was a lawyer, and she was able to help navigate many difficult situations for our members,” Lake recalls. “That made me realize how valuable that skill set and knowledge is. Whether you’re working in a nonprofit or on a nonprofit board—which is something that a lot of attorneys do—there are so many ways to give back.”

Both Lindemann and Lake say that setting and achieving incremental goals in their running practices has led to improvements in other areas of their lives. BoMF staff and volunteers hope that participating in the program can similarly motivate members who may be struggling. It doesn’t always work; people may relapse and try again. But at 5:30 a.m. as CEOs, college students and young and retired professionals run alongside members through the streets of Baltimore, they’re all just focusing on putting one foot in front of the other.

“The organization is an amazing equalizer and provides a wonderful, supportive safety net,” Lake says. “When times are tough, you’re going to have people who are there to catch up with you and check in to make sure everything is okay. No matter where you are and what you’re doing, if you run those miles side by side, you’ve accomplished something together.”

To date, says Lindemann, BoMF members’ achievements add up to more than 6,500 jobs and homes. “Our members have the capacity to achieve the extraordinary, but sometimes they just need a hand up to do it,” she says. “Celebrating with them as they succeed in running a certain distance, getting a degree, getting promoted or starting their own business is incredibly rewarding. Seeing their self-confidence grow, to see them realize they can achieve, all while the volunteers are cheering them on, that’s really magical.”  

Jared Brey is a writer based in Philadelphia.


*Class notes featured were received from June 1, 2018 through May 31, 2019.


Richard G. Lubinski, B.S. ’70, was elected Region III Vice President for the Association of Energy Engineers for 2019.

Nathaniel C. Fick Jr., J.D. ’75, received the third annual Dean’s Award at the Law Alumni Association Dinner in May for his contributions to the UB School of Law and the legal community.


John C. Wilson, M.A. ’80, and Robert Hitz

John C. Wilson, M.A. ’80, and Robert Hitz were married in August 2018 in Pikesville, Maryland.

Wendy G. Rothstein, J.D. ’82, was elected Judge of the Court of Common Pleas in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, in November 2017.

Raymond J. Brusca, J.D. ’84, retired in December 2018 after a 38-year career, most recently as the chief human resources officer for Techtronic Industries, a manufacturer of power tools and vacuum cleaners. Ray and his wife will split their time between homes in Naples, Florida and Nantucket, Massachusetts.

Daniel J. Clifford, J.D. ’84, was appointed in 2018 by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania as vice chair of the Supreme Court Domestic Relations Procedural Rules Committee for a three-year term.

Michael, Peter, and Kathleen O’Neill

Siblings and law school graduates Kathleen O’Neill, J.D. ’81, head of the Civilian Personnel Law and Special Projects Section in the Office of Counsel at the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), Michael O’Neill, J.D. ’82, general counsel and chief legal officer for Avnet, a global technology company, and
Peter O’Neill, J.D. ’84, a partner at Murnane and O’Neill, a general practice firm in Glen Burnie, Maryland, participated in a panel discussion hosted by the Law Career and Development Office in November 2018 about forging their own career paths. They noted that although they grew up together and attended the School of Law around the same time, their personal experiences led them on their own distinct paths in the legal field. They encouraged students to always be willing to work hard and try something new.

John J. Varley, J.D. ’84, was named senior vice president/chief administrative officer and general counsel at ExpressJet Airlines in January 2019. Previously, he was senior vice president and general counsel at Virgin America.

Raymond L. Bolger, B.A. ’86, had his book, Operation Devil Horns: The Takedown of MS-13, published in October 2018.

Joseph F. Clocker, M.P.A. ’87, retired in December 2018 as director of parole and probation at the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services after 41 years of service.

George L. Salis, M.A. ’88, was promoted in 2018 to principal economist and tax policy advisor at Vertex, Inc., a global tax software and technology company. He is also a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School Executive Certification Program in Trade Policy and Comparative Tax Policy and Administration.

George F. Shevlin IV, J.D. ’88, joined American International Group as vice president, government affairs in June 2018.


R. Steven Redding, J.D. ’90, was appointed circuit court judge of the 23rd Judicial Circuit by West Virginia governor Jim Justice in February 2018. He was elected to retain the position in May 2018.

Philip P. Lloyd, B.S. ’91, is the information technology program manager for the Ordnance Information System (OIS) for the U.S. Navy at the Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP). He has been with NAVSUP for 19 years.

Jill P. Carter, J.D. ’92, was elected to the Maryland State Senate, representing Legislative District 41, in November 2018.

Catherine Fischer, B.S. ’92, married Robert W. Vincent of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in July 2018.

Valentine A. Brown, J.D. ’95, received the Cheryl Bryson Leadership Award, which recognizes significant professional development, leadership and mentoring contributions by a lawyer to women in the legal profession, from the Duane Morris Women’s Impact Network for Success (WINS) in October 2018. Brown was selected for her work as an advocate and mentor to women at Duane Morris and beyond.

David C. Jordan, MBA ’95, joined Stevenson University as vice president of Human Resources and Title IX coordinator in January.

Charles J. Acquisto, J.D. ’96, was named partner at the Law Offices of Stephenson, Acquisto & Colman in Burbank, California, in June 2018.

Greg Derwart, M.A. ’96, joined Maller Wealth Advisors in Hunt Valley, Maryland, as chief operating officer in January.

David A. Weiskopf, J.D. ’96, was appointed county attorney for St. Mary’s County (Maryland) in December 2018.

Claude de Vastey-Jones, J.D. ’98, joined Carney, Kelehan, Bresler, Bennett & Scherr, LLP, in Columbia, Maryland, in January.

Melissa M. Boyd, J.D. ’99, spoke at the 11th Annual Montgomery Bar Association Family Law Section Toby L. Dickman Seminar in Pennsylvania on November 9, 2018. The seminar focused on the legal steps to make it through the custody battle process as efficiently as possible, with the main goal being the relief of any unnecessary suffering for the child involved. Speaking at the seminar with Boyd was fellow School of Law graduate, the Honorable Daniel J. Clifford, J.D. ’84.

David F. Katz, J.D. ’99, joined the Atlanta, Georgia, law office of Adams and Reese in February. He specializes in the area of privacy law and compliance, data security, information governance, vendor management, corporate governance, crisis management, regulatory compliance and ethics.

John M. Putman, B.A. ’99, joined Vintun, LLC, in Columbia, Maryland, as a senior consultant in September 2018.


Joseph H. D. Solomon, J.D. ’00, assumed command of the United States Coast Guard’s Maritime Law Enforcement Academy (MLEA) in North Charleston, South Carolina. As MLEA’s commanding officer, Captain Solomon also serves as a member of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Accreditation Board.

Suzanne C. Johnson, B.A. ’01, J.D. ’04, was named and sworn in as clerk of the Maryland Court of Appeals in December 2018.

Christopher G. Marasco, B.S. ’02, joined Revere Bank in Ellicott City, Maryland, as senior vice president in June 2018.

Shelby A. Kinnaird, M.A. ’03, recently had two books published.
The Diabetic Cookbook for Electric Pressure Cookers: Instant Healthy Meals for Managing Diabetes was published in March. The Pocket Carbohydrate Counter Guide for Diabetes: Simple Nutritional Strategies to Lower Your Blood Sugar was published in June 2018.

Berke Attila, MBA ’04, a budget analyst with the City of Baltimore, was included on The Daily Record’s 2018 Very Important Professionals List as a Successful Professional Under 40.

Matthew F. Penater, J.D. ’05, LL.M. ’06, and Ashley E. (Wagner) Penater, J.D. ’10, welcomed a baby boy in January 2018. Matthew opened The Penater Law Firm, LLC, located in Lutherville, Maryland, a few months later in May.

Lauren R. Quesada, B.S. ’05, was promoted to marketing manager at OneBlood, an organization in Florida that encourages blood donation, in October 2018.

Simone J. Christian, B.S. ’07, M.A. ’10, is an instructional designer at Notre Dame of Maryland University in Baltimore.

Benjamin A. Kelley, J.D. ’07, was named partner at Ballard Spahr, effective July 2018. Kelley is also a member of the firm’s Real Estate Department and is co-leader of the Insurance Company and Institutional Investments Team.

Katherine M. Noonan, J.D. ’07, a real estate attorney with Ballard Spahr, served as lead writer for the 2018 update to the Building Owners and Managers Association’s Green Lease Guide: A Guide for Landlords and Tenants to Collaborate on Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Practices.

LaNette N. Parson, M.S. ’07, published her book, Chasing the Skinny: Transforming My Life Despite Adversity, in August 2018.

Paul T. Sellers, B.S. ’07, joined Masters Title & Escrow in Towson, Maryland, as an account executive in August 2018.

Christopher D. Wright, J.D. ’07 joined the Law Offices of Evan K. Thalenberg, P.A. as an attorney in January.

Philip A. Dacey, J.D. ’08, was elected to an at-large seat on the Frederick County (Maryland) Council in November 2018.

Marie K. Thomas, B.A. ’08, M.A. ’13, is the director of creative services for Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland. Thomas manages all of Washington College’s graphic design projects in addition to developing and implementing strategic communication and marketing plans for undergraduate admissions.

John A. Butler, M.A. ’09, J.D. ’14, joined the Baltimore office of Tydings & Rosenberg LLP as an associate in October 2018.

Abioye E. Mosheim, J.D. ’09, became the assistant general counsel at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in January 2018. She is also a government member of the Freedom of Information Act Committee at the U.S. National Archives and Record Commission.

Jonathan P. Novak, J.D. ’09, joined the Dallas, Texas, law firm of Fears Nachawati in October 2018. His focus is on litigation related to the opioid epidemic. He played a key role in the 2017 investigation featured in The Washington Post and on CBS’ 60 Minutes that exposed how opioid distributors lobbied several members of Congress to limit the authority of the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Dawn M. South, J.D. ’09, established DeBoerSouth, PLLC, a family law firm in Richmond, Virginia, in February.

Alicia D. Stewart, J.D. ’09, was elected partner at Niles, Barton & Wilmer, LLP, in Baltimore, in January.

Matthew J. Youssef, J.D. ’09, was elected partner at Niles, Barton & Wilmer, LLP, in Baltimore, in January.


Heather M. Arbogast, J.D. ’10, was elected partner in January at McGuireWoods in Baltimore.

Andrew N. Illuminati, J.D. ’10, joined Webb, Cornbrooks, Wilber, Vorhis, Douse, Leslie & Mathers, LLP, in Salisbury, Maryland, in January as an associate attorney. His practice focuses on criminal defense and civil litigation.

Kevin A. Fields, M.P.A. ’11, a Roman Catholic priest, serves as parochial vicar of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Rockville, Maryland.

Lynette M. Lewis, B.A. ’12, M.S. ’16, is attending Ashford University in California seeking her doctorate in Human Services. She is also a published author of 11 books.

Molly M. Martin, M.P.A. ’13, was named senior director of program operations for the Arc Northern Chesapeake Region in October 2018.

Regina T. Boyce, M.P.A. ’14

Regina T. Boyce, M.P.A. ’14, was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in November 2018 to represent District 43. The 15-year Waverly resident has served the N/NE Baltimore community as an advocate and community leader and credits “knowledge that works” for allowing her to represent and work for Baltimore City and state residents in Annapolis.

Jennifer L. Burroughs, J.D. ’14, and Jeffrey Toppe, J.D. ’14, helped coach the University of Baltimore’s Black Law Student Association’s Moot Court Team for two recent competitions. The team took first place in the Thurgood Marshall Moot Court Competition held in Annapolis in February and advanced to the national competition in Little Rock, Arkansas, in March.

Katherine M. Furek, M.P.A. ’14, was hired as the assistant district attorney for Hale County, Alabama, in January.

Elizabeth A. Paige, B.A. ’14, M.A. ’17, won a prestigious Newman Civic Fellow Award in March. The award honors student leaders dedicated to creating lasting change and building a better world. Paige, a current student in UB’s School of Law, was recognized for her work to establish a food pantry on campus, as well as her commitment to ensuring access, equity and inclusion for all UB students.

Darryl L. Tarver, J.D. ’14

Darryl L. Tarver, J.D. ’14, is the chair of Maryland Legal Aid’s (MLA) Equal Justice Associates, a group of young lawyers who support MLA through fundraising, advocacy and pro bono legal work for low-income clients. Tarver recently received a 2019 Leadership in Law: Generation J.D. award from The Daily Record and notes “At UB, I not only got a great legal education, but I also built lasting relationships through my volunteer work. Both of those are key components of what I’ve been able to accomplish early on in my career.”

Juarez R. Lee-Shelton, B.A. ’15, M.A. ’18, is a historian, writer and transit professional in Baltimore. He also began teaching Constitutional Law at St. Frances Academy in Baltimore in January.

Michelle Richardson, B.S. ’1

Sean E. DeSchepper, B.S. ’15, is a distribution designer at Shah and Associates in Forest Hill, Maryland.
He also reports he was recently married and moved into a new home. 

Michelle Richardson, B.S. ’15, assignment desk editor at ABC7-WJLA in Washington, D.C., and her news team won an Emmy award in June. The Emmy was presented for their coverage of the June 28, 2018 Capital Gazette shooting in Annapolis. Richardson said, “The grit and tenacity our team showed that day was to honor our colleagues, and this Emmy is dedicated to the five journalists we lost that day.”

Lauren S. Ellison, J.D. ’16, joined Tydings & Rosenberg LLP as an associate in December 2018.

Clayton D. Zook, M.S. ’16, was promoted to technology coordinator at Towson University in July 2018.

Ashley E. Plack, MBA ’17, founded Strategist Marketing in February 2018. It is a digital consulting firm based in Baltimore and a Google Partner agency.

Tova Z. Brody, J.D. ’18, joined Council Baradel as an associate in its family law practice in December 2018.

Bethany D. Graham, M.P.A. ’18, began a full-time position as an entry-level analyst with the U.S. Government Accountability Office in February.

Bryana K. Spann, J.D. ’18, served as a law clerk to the Senate Judiciary Committee during the September 2018 congressional confirmation hearings for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

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In Memoriam

Morton D. Goldman, B.S. ’67 

James C. Porter, B.S. ’67 

Ronald L. Spahn, LL.B. ’67 

David E. Baker, LL.B. ’68 

Phillip A. Borgmeier, B.S. ’68 

William C. Bowers, B.S. ’68 

Michael M. Goodman, J.D. ’68 

John S. Houser, B.S. ’68 

James P. Legory, J.D. ’68 

John L. Meehan, B.S. ’68 

William H. Seiple, B.S. ’68 

Austin X. Wallace, B.S. ’68 

Melvyn E. Fowler, B.S. ’69 

Robert T. Richardson, B.S. ’69 

Bernard J. Smink, B.S. ’69 

Worthington B. Hubbard, B.S. ’70

Michael Jabo Jr., J.D. ’70 

Deacon Michael J. Kulas, B.S. ’70 

Robert E. Lyston, B.S.’70 

Michael J. Mazzuca, B.S. ’70 

Charles M. Preston, J.D. ’70 

Alan M. Wolf Jr., J.D. ’70

Richard G. Daniels, B.A. ’71 

Mark J. Einstein, B.S. ’71 

Barry L. Smith, B.A. ’71 

Thomas P. Weinhold, B.S. ’71

Richard J. Widmyer, B.S. ’71 

Raynor L. Ayers, B.S. ’72 

Jerry W. Friedman, B.S. ’72 

Chris E. Jensen, B.S. ’72 

Joseph J. Norris, B.S.’72 

Thomas L. Townsend, B.S. ’72 

Donald A. Dunbar, J.D. ’73 

Joseph E. Nalley, B.S. ’73 

Donald P. Scarborough, B.S. ’73 

Michael C. Zotos, B.S. ’73 

Randy Appel, J.D. ’74 

Joseph P. Dangleis, B.S. ’74 

Vella R. Potash, J.D. ’74 

Harry C. Weiskittel III, J.D. ’74 

James W. Grap, B.S. ’75 

Richard L. Marsh, B.S. ’75 

Roger Lee Pickens, J.D. ’75

Calvin L. Blades, B.S. ’76 

Timmerman Daugherty, J.D. ’76 

Gary G. Everngam, J.D. ’76 

Laura H. Foster, J.D. ’76

Joseph L. Borowy, B.S. ’77 

Roland M. Gardner, J.D. ’77

Kathleen E. Hawkins, B.S. ’77, J.D. ’81 

Paul R. Holland III, M.S. ’77 

John R. Polyniak, B.S ’77 

Samuel G. Puleo, J.D. ’77 

Thomas C. Truscott, B.S. ’77 

Randall Carroll Jr., J.D. ’78

John R. Getz, J.D. ’78 

Michael J. McNelly, B.S. ’78 

Thomas K. Baxter, J.D. ’79 

James G. Beach III, J.D. ’79 

Walter N. Chitwood, M.P.A. ’79 

Jeffrey A. Cohen, J.D. ’79 

Stephen C. Hosea, J.D. ’79 

Audrey T. Bates, B.A. ’80  

Karl K. Kaste, M.S. ’81 

Dave R. West, J.D. ’81  

Nicolette T. Hunter, J.D. ’82

Tyrone T. Carroll Sr., B.S. ’83 

Catherine Crawford, B.A. ’85 

Dorothy G. Harvey, M.P.A. ’85 

Patricia A. Marshall, B.S. ’85 

Earl G. Page, B.S. ’85 

Louis A. Boulmetis, M.S. ’86 

Robert M. Foster, MBA ’86 

Beverly Hague, B.S. ’86

Edward T. Pinder, J.D. ’86  

James D. Williamson, MBA ’86 

Rex S. Caldwell III, J.D. ’87 

Robert E. Buttles, MBA ’88 

Michael W. Dailey, B.S. ’88 

Frederick A. Gantz, M.A. ’88

Anna M. Ugarte, B.A. ’89 

Patricia C. Wilkins, CERT ’89 

Kathryn D. Sousha, B.S. ’90

William T. Beach, MBA ’92 

Donald D. Lochary, M.A. ’92

Dennis G. Olver, J.D. ’92 

Diane Taylor, MBA ’92 

Michael E. Donoho, CERT ’93 

Brooks B. Gracie III, J.D. ’93 

Brian E. Roark, B.S. ’96, MBA ’99

Arnetta R. Robinson, B.A. ’96 

Richard A. Gallagher, B.A. ’97 

Keith P. White, M.P.A. ’98 

Theodore D. Marsh Jr., B.A. ’99

Matthew D. Wiley, MBA ’99

Julia Amos, J.D. ’01 

John T. Daverin, B.S. ’01 

Madonna Helen Parent-Ross, B.A.’02, M.A. ’03

Channing K. Burke, B.A.’03 

Jennifer Dietrich Merryman, J.D. ’07 

James J. Roberts III, MBA ’07 

Marguerite C. (Brooks) Underdue, B.S. ’07

Jerome J. Deinlein Jr., B.A. ’08, J.D. ’12

Brendon B. Kok, J.D. ’09 

Donald M. Lumpkins, J.D. ’09, M.P.A. ’14

Shivani K. Aghera, J.D. ’14 

Andrew E. Drake, B.A. ’15 

Michael C. Brook, J.D. ’16 

Jeffrey R. Borneman, M.A. ’17



Dr. Catherine Gira, a beloved member of the University of Baltimore community for more than 25 years, passed away in March at age 86. Gira joined UB in 1965 as a professor of English. Later she became dean of the College of Liberal Arts, then provost. Gira was the inaugural recipient of the Yale Gordon Endowed Chair for Teaching Excellence, among many other accomplishments.

“We’re all better for having known her,” UB Provost Darlene Smith, B.S. ’78, MBA ’80, says, adding that she felt fortunate to have Gira as a mentor. “Catherine had an uncanny ability to ask the right questions. She was an effective listener and wonderful at guiding you to navigate your own path.”

Along with Baltimore attorney and philanthropist LeRoy Hoffberger, Gira founded UB’s Hoffberger Center for Professional Ethics in 1987 to promote ethics across the curriculum. UB professor Fred Guy, director of the Hoffberger Center and a longtime colleague of Gira’s, says “Catherine combined assets and virtues that might be a contradiction in someone else. She harmonized a steel will with kindness and empathy—and she always wanted our students to know what was valuable about them, valuable about an education and valuable about being at UB.”  

In 1991 Gira was named president of Frostburg State University, a post she held for 15 years. Alexander Giles, J.D.’97, is a Baltimore litigator who specializes in maritime law. He met Gira when he was a member of Frostburg’s student government association (SGA) and ultimately worked closely with Gira when he served as the SGA president.

“Catherine was a consensus builder who very much valued the student perspective,” Giles recalls. He says Gira was instrumental in his attending UB law school, and they stayed close as part of a regular lunch group.  “I had a wonderful time with Catherine, driving to those lunches,” he says. “She had a great sense of humor, and she was very dedicated to staying in regular contact with her many groups of friends and former colleagues.”

Adds Smith, “Hers was an unconventional path to becoming a university president and, at the time, the only woman president in the University System of Maryland. Catherine was such a respected scholar, teacher, and advisor—and incredibly successful at them all.”

Read a special poem dedicated to Dr. Gira by Kendra Kopelke, associate professor.

Adventures in Leadership: Christie Fisher, MBA ’06

Christie Fisher with huskies in Alaska and on a mountaintop in Greenland.


  • MBA, University of Baltimore
  • Chief of Staff, Commerce
    CPU Team, Microsoft
  • Board Secretary and
    Director of GEaR
  • Global Adventurer

Whether she is mushing a team of huskies in Alaska, speeding down the track at 150 mph at drag racing school or figuring out how to bathe in a bucket in a remote village in Greenland, Christie Fisher, MBA ’06, makes the most of her time away from her corporate executive position.

Fisher has a history of forging her own path. A native of the Seattle area, she was a pioneer in the world of online MBAs, enrolling in the University of Baltimore’s program in 2004 when online degrees were not as widely known or respected. She knew that earning a business degree would open up doors in her career, but says “I didn’t want to go get an MBA to become a high-finance Wall Street-type of person. I was looking to build my business acumen, find ways to give back, those kinds of things.” During her second year at UB, Fisher was hired by Microsoft.

For conferences and to conduct trainings, Fisher traveled to such exotic places as Thailand, the south of France, Ireland and Prague. “That really started in me the desire to explore and have adventures,” she says. After a couple of beach vacations in Hawaii and Mexico, “I realized I’m much more of an adventurous traveler, and to travel with purpose is even better.” With that goal in mind, she planned a trip to Scotland and Iceland for her 40th birthday.

In Iceland, Fisher made a fateful connection: she met a team of explorers with an organization called Global Exploration and Recovery (GEaR), who were traveling to Greenland to find the remains of three WWII servicemen who had disappeared in 1942. (The amazing story of the U.S. military cargo plane crash, followed by the subsequent crashes of two other planes sent on rescue missions, was the subject of the bestselling book, Frozen in Time, by Mitchell Zuckoff.) Several search missions have attempted to find the final crash site; all have failed so far.

 Fisher thought, “I wish I could be a part of something like that.” In fact, she was ideally positioned to do so. “Microsoft has this amazing commitment to philanthropy and giving back,” she explains. The company provides support to employees who volunteer time or donate money to nonprofits.

The first order of business was finding out if GEaR was a nonprofit. They were not, but expressed interest. “I thought, ‘Well, here’s my in,’” says Fisher. Armed with her MBA skills, she had created a 501(C)3 at the barn where she rides horses. She offered to help turn GEaR into a nonprofit. Over the next few years, Fisher’s role grew from informal business consultant to include fundraising and
expedition planning.

Last summer, Fisher accompanied the GEaR team on a second expedition to Greenland, where she coordinated basecamp operations and communications. During the three-week trip, Fisher lived with a local family in a small Inuit village with a population of 250. As part of her preparation, she traveled to Alaska for a two-person overnight mushing expedition to acclimate herself to the cold and solitude.

Once in Greenland, Fisher found her biggest challenges included trying to buy cold medicine when she couldn’t speak or read Greenlandic, hiking while avoiding polar bears and figuring out how to bathe in a house with no running water. While the GEaR expedition did not uncover the WWII wreckage, it was a success in other ways. Through social media, Fisher connected with a teacher in the Wisconsin hometown of one of the missing men, and later traveled to the school to give students her firsthand account of the expedition. Fisher also wrote three articles about her experience for her local paper.

Christie Fisher with huskies in Alaska and on a mountaintop in Greenland

She also came back with stronger leadership skills. “I find that I can be a better leader for my organization by taking those breaks and learning about myself in very different circumstances,” she says. “There is something universal about leadership, whether you’re doing it in Alaska or in Greenland or in the boardroom. And I think the more varied your experiences are with developing your own leadership style, the more effective you are.”

Abigail Green, M.A. ’01, is a writer based in Baltimore.

Read additional articles Christie wrote about her adventures.

The Advantages of Being Prepared

As a law clerk for Baltimore Circuit Judge Julie R. Rubin, Adanna Smith, J.D. ’19, routinely juggles the preparation of as many as 16 hearings in a week. “We do significant work to give the judge as much information as possible on the cases she has scheduled,” Smith explains.

She has seen the advantages of being prepared in her own life, Smith says, from as far back as elementary school when she was a regular participant in oratorical competitions. And at UB, she further developed her ability to gather and synthesize reams of information while pursuing another goal: competing in Moot Court competitions.

In Moot Court, law students gain experience at litigation by preparing substantive briefs and arguing before a judge. And here’s a twist: the students don’t know which side of the case they are representing until they are taking part in the competition. “We write a 35-page brief and develop arguments for one side—and at the same time, look for weak spots to counter it,” Smith says.

Smith has clearly mastered these challenges: she won Best Oral Advocate at the National Black Law Students Association’s Thurgood Marshall Moot Court Competition in March, as well as first place and Best Oral Advocate at the regional competition in February. She says that her Moot Court experience has honed skills that will help her with her goals moving forward.

“UB did a wonderful job of helping me become well versed in legal authority, and my professors always encouraged me to pursue out-of-the-classroom experiences,” she says. “I know that if I prep enough, I am able to solve any problem.”

Smith was able to participate in Moot Court thanks to alumni generously supporting the School of Law Annual Giving Fund. Your gift to the school, college, or program of your choice through the Annual Fund provides opportunities for UB students to participate in a variety of activities. By supporting these programs, you make it possible for students to pursue their dreams and benefit our society in myriad ways.

To invest in UB students, visit or send your gift in the postage paid envelope included in this magazine.

For more information, contact
the Office of Philanthropy
at 410.837.6217 or