Alumni honor Williams upon her retirement

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					Alumni honor Williams
upon her retirement
                    A 22-Year Legacy
                      Director of development and alumni relations, Mary
                      Lou Elder Williams ’69, MAT ’72 (right), shown with
                      Kit Waters ’78, president-elect of the UM National
                      Alumni Association, retired March 1 after more than
                      22 years of service to her alma mater. During home-
                      coming in February, she was recognized on a number
                      of occasions for her exemplary work in helping thou-
                      sands of alumni to maintain and to strengthen con-
                      nections to Montevallo and for her dedication to the
           6        Traditions to Treasure
                      The return of College Night musicals to the Palmer
                      Auditorium stage was one of many celebrations that
                      occurred at homecoming in February. At right, the
                      Purple Side revels in a “PV” before a full house in
                      Palmer Hall. The homecoming theme, “Treasure the
                      Tradition,” brought together alumni from the 1930s to
                      2007 to experience a weekend of class reunions, infor-
                      mal “catch-up” sessions, the annual awards luncheon,
                      departmental open houses, the 12th annual art auction
                      and Bloch Party, the Purple and Gold men’s basketball
                      game — and the 90th College Night.                             6

           8        A Call to Lead
                      Karen Kelly (left), a 1980 graduate who earned a bach-
                      elor of business administration degree in accounting, was
                      installed as president of the 21,000-member National
                      Alumni Association at homecoming in February. She
                      accepts the president’s gavel from Melanie Poole ’86,
                      outgoing Alumni Association president, at the annual
                      homecoming business meeting and awards luncheon.
                      Kelly, who has served the UMNAA in a number of
                      capacities over the years, shares her vision for the organi-
                      zation as she begins her two-year term.                        8

                     4    President’s Message                      18 Montevallo Profile
                     10   Sports                                   20 Reunion Photos
                     11   On Campus                                23 Guest Essay
                     12   Class Notes

2   Montevallo Today u Spring 2008
                                                                                                                                             Cynthia K. Shackelford
                                                                                                                                             205-665-6230 • 205-665-6224 (FAX)

                                                                                                                                             Associate Editor
                                                                                                                                             Diane Kennedy-Jackson
On the cover: Mary Lou Williams ’69, MAT ’72, who retired as UM’s director of devel-                                               
opment and alumni relations March 1, was presented a bronze bowl by the board of                                                             205-665-6227 • 205-665-6224 (FAX)
directors of the National Alumni Association to commemorate her many years of service
to alumni and to the university in general. Art professor Ted Metz was commissioned by                                                       Class Notes Editor
the board of the UMNAA to design the piece as a retirement gift for Williams. (Please see                                                    Marsha Littleton
story on Page 5).                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                             205-665-6230 • 205-665-6224 (FAX)

Photo by Matt Orton                                                                                                                          Photographers
                                                                                                                                             Matt Orton
                                                                                                                                             Andrea Graves ’10
                                                                                                                                             Rachel Hendrix ’08

                                                                                                                                             Contributing Editors
                                                                                                                                             Mary Lou Elder Williams ’69
                                                                                                                                             Racheal B. Banks ’99

                                                                                                                                             UMNAA President
                                                                                                                                             Karen Kelly ’80

                                                                                                                                             Kit Waters ’78

                                                                                                                                             Melanie Poole ’86

                                                                                                                                             Alumni Council
                                                                                                                                             Paul Doran ’68

                                                                                                                                             Admissions Representative
                                                                                                                                             Lynn Gurganus ’83

                                                                                                                                             Faculty Representative
                                                                                                                                             Carolyn Miller Kirby

                                                                                                                                             SGA President
                                                                                                                                             Daniel McBrayer ’08

                                                                                                                                             UMNAA Vice Presidents
                                                                                                                                             Matt Fridy ’98
                                                                                                                                             Jane Glover ’72
                                                                                                                                             Tracy Payne ’94
                                                                                                                                             Barbara Sloan ’72
                                                                                                                                             DeAnna Smith ’99
                                                                                                                                             Karen Willette ’87
                                                                                                                                             Virginia Young ’84

                                                                                                                                             Members at Large
                                                                                                                                             Barbara Bonfield ’58
                                                                                                                                             Virginia Bunn ’64
Graduates of the Class of 1958, Barbara Goldstein Bonfield (center), Lois Swindal Hayes (left) and                                           Sandi Falkenhagen ’68
Margaret Ann Shotts Edmonds, present Philip C. Williams, Montevallo’s president, with a “big check” rep-                                     Ann N. Griffin ’76
resenting a gift of $12,235 to the Class of 1958 Scholarship fund. The gift was made at the annual business                                  Bruce Higdon ’66
meeting and awards luncheon at homecoming in February. Those making the presentation were joined at the                                      Wadia Josof ’79
luncheon by a large number of their classmates who were celebrating their 50th reunion.                                                      Evan Major ’66
                                                                                                                                             Mike Malone ’69
                                                                                                                                             Jeannine McElroy ’53
                                                                                                                                             Mike Meadows ’79
Photo by Matt Orton
                                                                                                                                             Cynthia Medley ’88
                                                                                                                                             Walt Merrell ’97
                                                                                                                                             Jim Methvin ’73
                                                                                                                                             Norma Nabors ’50
MONTEVALLO TODAY Vol. XCVIII, No. 2 Spring 2008                                                                                              Laurl Self ’94
Montevallo Today (ISSN 1052-3634) is published four times a year, in December, March, June and September, by the University
of Montevallo, Alumni Relations/Public Relations, Reynolds Hall, Highland St., Montevallo, AL 35115. Periodicals postage                     Ex-Officio
paid at Montevallo, AL, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER, send address changes to Montevallo Today,
                                                                                                                                             Philip C. Williams
Station 6215, P.O. Box 6000, Montevallo, AL 35115. Text, photographs and graphic images included in this publication may not
be reproduced in any form for any purpose without written permission from the editor. The University of Montevallo does not
                                                                                                                                             Mary Lou Elder Williams ’69
discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age or disability in employment or in the provision of services.   Racheal B. Banks ’99
    President’s Message
   President’s Message
    By Philip C. Williams

Back in Palmer Auditorium or . . .                                                                    and never start punching or kicking each

things our nation’s leaders                                                                              One of my staff members observed
                                                                                                      that it might be the very fact of physical
could learn from College Night                                                                        closeness that allowed for such a high
                                                                                                      degree of competitive energy. Upon hear-
                                                                                                      ing that remark, I pondered whether
   College Night 2008 marked a glorious return to Palmer
                                                                                                      College Night might be one of the finest
Auditorium. I confess that I had not fully understood the alumni who
                                                                                                      examples of civil discourse in the world
told me how important it was for College Night to happen there.
                                                                                                      today. Could it be, I wondered, that our
Yes, I understood the importance of experiencing a College Night
                                                                                                      students have learned the magical art
performance in the very same venue where decades of Purple and
                                                                                                      of competing — using music and words
Gold rehearsals had occurred, and where so many victories and losses
                                                                              Philip C. Williams      — within a spirit of love and mutual
had been celebrated and shared. Yes, I understood the importance of
                                                                                                      respect? What a novel idea!
architecture to the performing arts, and the difference between experi-
encing musical comedy under a proscenium arch as opposed to under            This magical combination of competition and respect plays out
a basketball goal. But no, I had not fully understood the magic of        over the course of Homecoming in a variety of ways. Purple and
Palmer Auditorium.                                                        Gold alumni playfully tease each other, yet each can recount times
                                                                          when the opposing side probably had the better program. Ribbons
   What brought the concept home to me was walking into the lobby
                                                                          find their way around trees all over the Main Quad, and somehow
at 6:45 p.m. on Thursday evening, just as the Purple and Gold cheer-
                                                                          the quantity of purple and gold seems to balance. If one tree has a bit
leading squads were facing off. Unlike football or basketball, where
                                                                          more Purple, the next one has a bit more Gold.
each team’s cheerleaders eye the opposing squad from a distance;
these Purple and Gold cheerleaders were shouting at each other from          Here at Montevallo, our students have mastered the art of disagree-
a distance of about three feet at a decibel level somewhere between       ing without becoming disagreeable. If only our nation’s leaders could
“Manhattan jackhammer” and “Space Shuttle launch.” How can it             master that same art! What a wonderful world this could be . . . (I feel
be (I wondered, given all the racket) that they never lose their cool     a song coming on . . .)

                                                                                                          “One of my staff mem-
                                                                                                          bers observed that it
                                                                                                          might be the very fact
                                                                                                          of physical closeness
                                                                                                          that allowed for such a
                                                                                                          high degree of competi-
                                                                                                          tive energy. Upon hear-
                                                                                                          ing that remark, I pon-
                                                                                                          dered whether College
                                                                                                          Night might be one of
                                                                                                          the finest examples of
                                                                                                          civil discourse in the
                                                                                                          world today.”

   4   Montevallo Today u Spring 2008
Williams’ legacy spans two decades
   At homecoming in February, alumni and friends had an oppor-
tunity to express their gratitude — and best wishes — to Mary Lou
Elder Williams ’69, MAT ’72, who retired as director of development
and alumni relations March 1 after more than 22 years of service to
her alma mater.
   At gatherings across campus during homecoming weekend —
from the alumni board meeting to College Night — Williams was
lauded for her exemplary service, loyalty, professional expertise and
her ability to make friends for Montevallo.
    Melanie Poole ’86, outgoing president of the UM National Alumni
Association, said the directors of the UMNAA wished to present her
with a special gift as a token of their appreciation — and on behalf of
all alumni.
   “The alumni board of directors commissioned Ted (Metz) to
design a special bronze bowl for Mary Lou’s retirement gift. It is
inscribed:                                                                                                   Mary Lou Williams ’69, MAT ’72, who
                                                                                                             retired March 1 as director of develop-
Mary Lou Williams                                                                                            ment and alumni relations, responds to
Director of                                                                                                  a standing ovation at College Night in
                                                                                                             February. With her are from left: Dan
Development and
                                                                                                             McBrayer, SGA president; Zach Banks
Alumni Relations
                                                                                                             and Kelsey Sherrer, Purple leaders; and
University of                                                                                                Melissa Harbison and Jeff Walker, Gold
Montevallo                                                                                                   leaders. Williams served as a member
                                                                                                             of the College Night Committee for
1985-2008                                                                                                    many years. She also was a member of
                                                                                                             the Purple Side when she was a student
“Years Rich and                                                                                              at Montevallo. At left, she applauds
Fruitful.”                                                                                                   recipients of awards presented by the
                                                                                                             UM National Alumni Association at
   Metz, a profes-                                                                                           homecoming.
sor of art at UM, is
a widely renowned      Kit Waters ’78 (left), president-elect of the UM
sculptor. His sculp-   National Alumni Association, adjusts a corsage          Williams has served in numerous leadership roles for events across
ture “Becoming,”       for Mary Lou Williams ’69, MAT ’72, director of      campus. She was chair of UM’s Centennial Celebration Committee,
near Main Quad, is     development and alumni relations. Williams retired   Founders’ Day Committee and the Women’s Day Committee. She
a campus landmark.     March 1 after more than 22 years of service to       was vice chair of the Inauguration Committee when Dr. Philip C.
                       Montevallo.                                          Williams became UM’s president in 2006. A member of the Second
   The phrase in the                                                        Century Commission, she has served on the Hallie Farmer and Dancy
inscription, “Years Rich and Fruitful,” was taken from Montevallo’s         Lectures committees and is a member of the Montevallo branch of
Alma Mater.                                                                 the American Association of University Women. She also has advised
                                                                            the Chi Omega sorority on campus. In 1998, Elite Night was dedi-
   At College Night, the audience in Palmer Hall gave her a standing
                                                                            cated to her.
ovation during a special tribute recognizing her years of service to
UM and to the College Night Committee, of which she was a mem-                 A Rotarian, Williams has served on the membership task force of
ber for many years.                                                         the Higher Education Partnership for a number of years.
    In the September 1985 issue of Montevallo Today, the newly hired           She is a member of the Alabama chapter of the National Society
alumni director spoke about her goals and objectives for the future,        of Fund-Raising Executives and was awarded certification by the
most of which have been realized. On a more personal note, she said         NSFRE in 1990. She received the Certified Fund-Raising Executive
she felt a sense of security in returning to her old campus. She said       designation at that same time. She has been active in the United Way
this sense of belonging could only enhance her duties as the new            of Central Alabama, the YMCA of Shelby County and the Alabama
alumni affairs director.                                                    Association of Women Deans, Administrators and Counselors.
   “It happens every morning when I come under those gates. I                  She and her husband, Joe, are members of University Baptist
get that little feeling — kind of like a safety net — that you get          Church. They have two daughters, Beth and Scottie. The most recent
when you’re in college,” she said. Recently, she said that feeling has      addition to the family is Mary Elizabeth House, born Jan. 18 to Beth
remained with her during her years at Montevallo.                           and her husband Michael.

                                                                                                              Montevallo Today u Spring 2008   5
       Treasure the Tradition:
       Homecoming highlights

                                                      Dr. Robert M. McChesney, president emeritus of UM,
                                                      responds to the unveiling of a portrait which will be
                                                      displayed in the board room of Calkins Hall, along
       Betty Walker (left) and Cathy Jo Wheeler,      with those of other former presidents of Montevallo.
       both members of the Class of 1975, chat at     With him is his wife, Laraine, and Montevallo Master
       the 12th annual alumni art auction in Bloch    Rachel DiCarlo. Dr. McChesney retired in 2006 after
       Hall Gallery.                                  14 years of service to the University.

       At right, Martha Hale of Helena, mother of 2008 Distinguished Alumna Award winner, Rebecca Luker
       ’84 sits in a chair that was given to Luker by the UM National Alumni Association. With her is 2007
       Distinguished Alumnus Award winner, Patrick Evans ’88, and outgoing UMNAA president, Melanie
       Poole ’86. Luker, who is performing on Broadway, was unable to attend homecoming activities.

       See class reunion photos beginning on Page 20.

Homecoming: A Tradition to Treasure
   Centered around the theme “Treasure the Tradition,” home-                                                                      Recipients of awards
coming Feb. 8-9 offered alumni opportunities to sample events and                                                                 presented by the UM
activities that have become permanent items on the agenda — class                                                                 National Alumni
reunions, College Night, the annual awards luncheon, the 12th                                                                     Association at home-
                                                                                                                                  coming included
                       annual alumni art auction, men’s College Night
                                                                                                                                  Yvonne Anderson
                       basketball game and departmental open houses,                                                              Sterling ’58 (center)
                       to name a few.                                                                                             and Amos Snead ’02
                                                                                                                                  (right). Distinguished
                           Alumni who received awards presented by
                                                                                                                                  Alumna Award win-
                       the UM National Alumni Association were
                                                                                                                                  ner Rebecca Luker
                       Rebecca Luker ’84, recipient of the 2008                                                                   ’84, who was unable
                       Distinguished Alumna Award; Yvonne Anderson                                                                to attend the ceremo-
Sterling ’58, recipient of the Nathalie Molton Gibbons Alumni                                                                     ny, was represented
Achievement Award; and Amos Snead ’02, winner of the Nathalie                                                                     by her friend, Stanley
Molton Gibbons Young Achievers’ Award.                                                                                            M. Nelson ’75 of
    The Purple Side claimed a “PV” Saturday evening at the 90th
College Night. With the announcement of the secret phrase, “This              sworn in at the annual awards luncheon and business meeting. Out-
is only the beginning,” members celebrated their 46th College Night           going directors were honored for their service to the UMNAA.
victory on the stage of a sold-out Palmer Auditorium. College Night              Homecoming also featured the annual “Swing into Spring” event
was dedicated to Dr. Jon Smith, assistant professor of English and            on Friday, featuring a back-to-class theme. Several members of the
vice chair of the College Night Committee. Rachel DiCarlo was                 Montevallo faculty were guest speakers.
named Ms. University of Montevallo. Nick Ramsland claimed the
title of Mr. University of Montevallo. They were elected in campus-             The Class of 1958 presented the University with a “big check” for
wide voting and were recognized at College Night productions Friday           $12,235 to begin a scholarship fund.
and Saturday evenings.                                                           On Saturday morning at the alumni coffee, Dr. Robert M.
   Mary Lou Williams ’69, MAT ’72 received a standing ovation                 McChesney and his wife, Laraine, were greeted by scores of alumni
from the crowd in Palmer when she was brought to the stage for rec-           and members of the University community prior to a ceremony that
ognition of her 22 years of service to Montevallo. She retired March          included the unveiling of McChesney’s portrait that will hang in the
1. She also was recognized at the annual awards luncheon and busi-            board room of Calkins Hall along with portraits of UM’s 12 other
ness meeting. (See Page 5 for more information).                              former presidents. McChesney retired as president in 2006 with 14
                                                                              years of service in that office. Upon his retirement, he was granted the
   New members of the board of directors of the UMNAA were                    rank of emeritus president and professor of political science.

   6   Montevallo Today u Spring 2008
Top, from left: UM President Philip C. Williams and his wife, Sandra, greet Mary Louise Rice Dabbs ’56 at the president’s open house. Betty Gottler ’72
(left) and Mary Casey ’74 welcome Martha M. Griffin ’38 to the family and consumer sciences open house. For the Gold Side’s College Night show, Blaine
Horton, as the devil, dances before Camp Fairhope campers. Second row, from left: Purple Side leaders Kelsey Sherrer and Zach Banks and Gold Side lead-
ers Melissa Harbison and Jeff Walker applaud Dr. Jon Smith, assistant professor of English, to whom College Night was dedicated. Mr. and Ms. University of
Montevallo, Nick Ramsland and Rachel DiCarlo, acknowledge applause from the Palmer stage. Purple Show actors run a scene from their D.C.-oriented set.

More about UMNAA award winners . . .
    The 2008 Distinguished Alumna Award winner, Rebecca                            Yvonne Anderson Sterling, recipient of the 2008 Nathalie
Luker, is currently starring in the Broadway production of Mary                Molton Gibbons Alumni Achievement Award, earned her under-
Poppins in the role of Mrs. Banks. She has been referred to as “the                          graduate degree from Alabama College in 1958. She
most beautiful voice on Broadway.”                                                           has a master’s degree in education from the University
    Luker earned a bachelor of music degree from Montevallo                                  of Alabama.
in 1984. Upon graduation she moved to New York City, already                                    She began teaching in Cullman in 1958 and taught
signed by an agent.                                                                          in Oneonta, Tuscaloosa and Cape Canaveral, Fla.,
                       Luker made her Broadway debut in The                                  although most of her time was spent teaching in the
                   Phantom of the Opera as understudy to Sarah                               Cullman schools. She retired since 1990. In 1965 she
             Justin Adderholt ’09

                   Brightman in the role of Christine, eventually              was elected as Oneonta Outstanding Educator. In 1973, she was
             Hand-tinting by

                   becoming Brightman’s replacement. Additional                selected as the Teacher of America. She remains active in education
                   Broadway roles include Lily in The Secret                   and community endeavors. A resident of Cullman, Sterling and her
                   Garden, Magnolia in Show Boat, Maria Rainer                 late husband, Willie, have a grown son.
                   in The Sound of Music, Marian Paroo in The                       The 2008 recipient of the Nathalie Molton Gibbons Young
Music Man, Claudia in Nine and her current role of Winifred                    Achievers’ Award, Amos B. Snead, is assistant vice president on
Banks in Mary Poppins.                                                                        the food, health and nutrition practice at FD Dittus
    She is the recipient of three Tony Award nominations, includ-                             Communications in Washington, D.C.
ing those in 1995 and 2000 for Best Actress in a Musical for                                       Snead, who earned a B.A. in political science
Show Boat and The Music Man, respectively, and in 2007 for Best                               from UM in 2002, began his career at FD Dittus
Featured Actress in a Musical for Mary Poppins.                                               that year. In 2003 he accepted a position as press
    Her television appearances include Matlock, Law & Order:                                  assistant for the House Committee on Energy and
Special Victims Unit and the Hallmark movie Cupid and Cate.                                   Commerce. In 2005 he moved to the office of U.S.
    Luker’s career also includes a lengthy list of recording credits,          Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), where he served as communications
including the 2004 solo recording, “Leaving Home.”                             director. In 2006 he became press secretary for the Office of the
    In 2001, Luker was inducted into the Alabama Stage and                     House Republican Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). After almost five years
Screen Hall of Fame.                                                           on Capitol Hill, Snead returned to FD Dittus in January 2008.
    Luker, who lives in New York City, has been a member of                         In 2007, Snead was named by PR News to its “15 to Watch
Actors’ Equity since 1985. She is married to Danny Burstein and                Under 30” list, which honors 15 budding, under 30, public rela-
has two stepsons, Alex and Zach.                                               tions leaders and creative practitioners in the PR industry.

                                                                                                                       Montevallo Today u Spring 2008   7
Q&A:                                          Karen Kelly
                                              National Alumni Association lead

Editor’s note: Karen Kelly, a 1980 graduate with a bachelor of busi-       What are your thoughts about involving younger
ness administration degree in accounting, was installed as president
of the UM National Alumni Association at homecoming in February.
                                                                           alumni in the work of the Association?
She recently took time with the Montevallo Today staff to answer           You know, every time someone asks me about younger alumni, I
questions about various aspects of her new position.                       have to think for a minute to realize I’m not one of them anymore!
                                                                           Seriously, it is vital to involve young alumni in the work of the
What are some of your goals as president?                                  Association. It sounds like a cliché, but it the truth is, today’s young
My goals will be evolving over the coming weeks. Of course, we             alumni are tomorrow’s alumni leaders – and quite honestly, some of
want to maintain connections with as many of the 20,000-plus UM            the younger alumni are already serving as today’s leaders. Their ener-
alumni of all ages and stages of life as possible, and we are explor-      gy, enthusiasm, and commitment broaden and strengthen the organi-
                                                                           zation. Besides that, their ideas are vital to the Association’s ability to
                                                                           maintain connections in the world of electronic communication and
                                                                           instant everything.

                                                                           How often do you plan to visit Montevallo during
                                                                           your term in office?
                                                                           Judging from things on my calendar already, I’m looking forward to
                                                                           being on campus several times a month — for campus-wide events,
                                                                           alumni activities, Strategic Planning Committee meetings, other meet-
                                                                           ings, commencement, theater and concerts . . .

                                                                           Why were you willing to accept the responsibility of
                                                                           Alumni Association president?
                                                                           I love the University of Montevallo and believe in its unique mis-
Karen Kelly ’80 (right) accepts the president’s gavel from Melanie Poole   sion in our state. I want to do what I can to be sure that current
’86, outgoing president of the UM National Alumni Association. Kelly was   and future students have opportunities equivalent to, or even better
installed as president of the UMNAA at homecoming in February.             than, the outstanding opportunities I had during my days in school.
                                                                           In addition, involvement in the Alumni Association has given me the
ing some exciting ideas for enhancing our ability to do so. As most        opportunity to know, work with, and learn from alumni of several
readers know, the Office of Development and Alumni Relations will          generations, older and younger – people and relationships I’ll treasure
have some new faces over the next few months due to retirement of          for the rest of my life.
key leaders, and of course this impacts the Alumni Association. The
board members and I will welcome those selected to work with us            What other leadership roles have you held in the
and will do all that we can to make the transitions successful. In addi-
                                                                           Alumni Association?
tion, Melanie Poole and I are currently representing the alumni on
the University Strategic Planning Committee, chaired by Dr. Williams.      I’ve been a class representative for the Campaign for Montevallo
That work should be completed this summer. I expect this strategic         for many years and co-chaired the campaign with my mom, Ann
plan will help us identify and prioritize some additional opportunities    Kimbrough Kelly, ’57, in 2001-2002. I served two terms as a mem-
for alumni to support UM in achieving its mission.                         ber-at-large on the Alumni Board, two terms as vice president of
                                                                           finance and most recently as president-elect.
If you had a theme for your tenure as president of
the Alumni Association, what would that be?                                Do you have any immediate plans for changes with-
                                                                           in the Association?
I really liked this year’s Homecoming theme, so I think I would
just add to it. Something like, “treasure the tradition, build for the     The Association’s by-laws were revised in 2007, and I was a part of
future.”                                                                   that process, so I’m not anticipating major changes in structure. Of

   8   Montevallo Today u Spring 2008
der seeks to strenghten connections

      course we are always looking for ways to involve more alumni       Karen Kelly
      and better serve the university.                                   ’80, newly
                                                                         installed presi-
      What are you looking forward to most as UM                         dent of the UM
                                                                         National Alumni
      NAA president?                                                     Association, is
                                                                         shown in front
      The opportunity to meet and work with more people who are
                                                                         of Reynolds Hall,
      part of the university community – faculty, staff, students, as
      well as alumni. Montevallo people are special, and when we         for the office of
      get together, we often work hard, but we have fun too. I have      development and
      thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to know and learn from          alumni relations.
      people that I would not have connected with if I had not got-      Kelly, who began
      ten involved as a volunteer for UM.                                a two-year term
                                                                         as UMNAA presi-
      Did you know who was the president of the                          dent in February,
                                                                         expects to spend
      Alumni Association when you were a student                         much time in
      at the University?                                                 Reynolds and in
                                                                         other university
      Believe it or not, I did. Remember, my mom is an alumna,           facilities during her
      and I grew up in Montevallo. Emily Pendleton of Montevallo         time in office.
      was president when I arrived on campus, and Neal Shirley fol-
      lowed her. I was an Alumni Honors Scholarship recipient, so I
      was appreciative of the National Alumni Association from the
                                                                         Did your Mom or either of your parents, actu-
      What are some of your fondest memories of                          ally, have any influence on your decision to
      your time at Montevallo?                                           take on this role?
      Like others before me, I could fill a book. College Night          Actually, they both did, but not in the way you might think.
      tops my list — I’ll never forget hearing SGA President Dave        When I was asked to consider serving as president of the
      Richardson calmly say, “We found the rain,” as the Purple          UMNAA, they were supportive, but did not tell me what they
      side erupted in joy on Palmer stage. Teachers who knew my          thought I should do. However, throughout my life, both of my
      name and whether or not I was in class on any given day; the       parents served as leaders for organizations and entities they
      life lessons they taught in addition to their academic subjects.   believed in, and both served the University of Montevallo.
      Weekends in Main Dormitory — me, the kids who had week-            In addition to our work with the Campaign for Montevallo,
      end jobs and the out-of-state students — we made our own           Mother was a student leader at Alabama College, served sever-
      fun. The senior roommates who welcomed me as a sophomore           al terms on the UMNAA board both as a member at large and
      transfer student and helped me find my place on campus, even       as an officer, was a class representative and helped plan and
      though adding a third person to their dormitory room was           host several class reunions. Though not a UM alumnus, Daddy
      probably not what they had planned. Alpha Gamma Delta              was a long-time member and chairman of the UM Foundation
      activities and the unforgettable alumnae advisers who helped       Board, president of the Montevallo Golf Club (a joint effort
      us grow into responsible women. Spring afternoons on the           between the city and the university) and was inducted into the
      Quad or at the college lake. The many uses of the Main fire        UM Athletic Hall of Fame for his contributions as a friend of
      escape. Frito chile pies at Sonic and late night (or early morn-   the athletic department. My parents let me find my own way
      ing) grilled cheese sandwiches at Waffle House in Alabaster.       to the University of Montevallo and my own role as a leader,
      The friendships that began on campus and have lasted a life-       but I’m pleased to share their passion for this place and to fol-
      time and so much more!                                             low in their footsteps!

                                                                                                        Montevallo Today u Spring 2008   9
UM names O’Brien
head volleyball coach
   Katie O’Brien, head volleyball coach at Piedmont College in
                                                                         Soccer standout drafted
Demorest, Ga., will take the helm of the University of Montevallo’s      mmSoccer standout Melford James Jr., a goalkeeper for the Falcons,
volleyball program in late March. O’Brien’s selection as UM’s head       was selected by the Chicago Fire in the 2008 Major League Soccer
volleyball coach was announced by Jim Herlihy, Montevallo’s director     Supplemental Draft. He is the first Montevallo player to be drafted
of athletics.                                                            for a major-league soccer professional team.

   “We are very excited that Katie O’Brien will be                          The Brampton, Ontario,
joining the University of Montevallo,” Herlihy said.                     native was the 54th choice
“She is an outstanding coach and educator who                            overall in the fourth round of
brings an overwhelming desire to succeed and has                         the MLS supplemental draft,
been associated with winning programs as a student-                      which immediately followed
athlete, assistant coach and as a head coach. We are                     the MLS super draft.
confident that she will continue the strong tradition                       James established numer-
of volleyball here at Montevallo.”                                       ous goalkeeping records in his
   O’Brien will take over a youthful Montevallo team that finished       two seasons at Montevallo. He
11-27 overall and 4-8 in Gulf South Conference play a year ago, but      owns single-season records for
returns its entire roster for the fall season.                           victories (17), shutouts (11)
                                                                         and minutes played (2,088).
    Volleyball coach at Piedmont for eight seasons, O’Brien guided the   He also set a school and Gulf
Lady Lions to their first-ever NCAA Division III national tournament     South Conference record for
in November. With a career record of 182-109, O’Brien led her team       consecutive scoreless minutes (514). He achieved all this in just two
to two Great South Athletic Conference Tournament Championships,         seasons at UM. James transferred to Montevallo after competing for
in 2001 and in 2007. She was voted GSAC Coach of the Year in             two seasons at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.
2005 and in 2007.
                                                                         Women golfers set school record
    O’Brien, who also serves as Piedmont’s senior women’s admin-
istrator, has mentored 36 Academic All-Conference honorees, 22             UM’s Lady Falcon golf team shot a school record 306 in the sec-
All-Conference selections, 12 Freshmen All-Conference picks, three       ond round, en route to a second-place team finish at the Buffalo Wild
GSAC Freshmen-of-the-Year selections, one league Player of the Year      Wings Invitational held in mid-march at Timberline Golf Club.
and two tournament MVPs.
                                                                             Birmingham-Southern College won the team competition, posting
    Coach O’Brien’s players also are known for their successes in        a two-round score of 627. UM was next at 637, while the University
the classroom. During her career at Piedmont, her teams’ cumula-         of Mobile (651) finished third. Individually, Morgan Bell was the top
tive grade-point average was 3.26. The 2006 season saw O’Brien’s         finisher for Montevallo, placing third with a score of 155 (79-76).
team earn the American Volleyball Coaches Association’s (AVCA)
GamePlan Academic Team Award as the squad carried a 3.42 cumu-           UM soccer team finishes at No. 4
lative GPA.                                                                 UM’s men’s soccer team moved all the way up to No. 4 in the
    O’Brien received her bachelor of science degree in sports, health,   final NSCAA/adidas NCAA Division II national rankings poll for
leisure and physical studies from the University of Iowa in 1999. She    the 2007 season. The four participants in the national semifinals
has a master’s degree in public administration from Piedmont.            occupy the first four spots. National champion Franklin Pierce
                                                                         (17-2-4) is No. 1. Lincoln Memorial University (20-4-1) is No. 2, and
   Prior to beginning her coaching career, she was a standout volley-    Midwestern State University in Texas (18-3-2) is No. 3.
ball player at Iowa. She is currently ranked 14th on the Iowa career
blocks list and is 13th in career attack percentage.                        It was a record-breaking season for the Falcons. UM won the
                                                                         program’s first-ever NCAA Division II South Region Championship,
   In 2005, O’Brien married Freddie Chapman. They live in                established a school single-season team record for victories (18) and
Clarkesville, Ga.                                                        concluded the 2007 season with a record of 18-4-2 overall.

   10   Montevallo Today u Spring 2008
        On Campus
  On Campus
                                                                            Alumni Reunion Band
                                                                            to get together April 26
                                                                            to share music, memories
                                                                               On Saturday, April 26, the department of music will host the UM
                                                                            Alumni Reunion Band. Members of the Wind Ensemble, past and
                                                                            present, are invited to come home and join former Wind Ensemble
                                                                            director Spencer Shaw for a day of sharing music and memories.
                                                                               UM director of bands, Dr. Joseph P. Ardovino, is organizing this
                                                                            event as a way for alumni of the UM band programs to reminisce
                                                                            and reconnect with each other. Dr. Ardovino explained, “It’s been a
                                                                            long time since we’ve done anything like this,
                                                                            and I felt that this would be a good time to
UM’s College of Education presented a number of special awards dur-         get everyone together again. I’m looking
ing Homecoming week on campus. Recipients included from left: Rene          forward to seeing all the talented musi-
Day, who earned the Ruth Stovall Distinguished Alumna Award in family       cians who have played in my bands
and consumer science; Stephen Ricks, outstanding alumnus award for the      as well under the directors who came
Regional Inservice Center and the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology
                                                                            before me at UM. It’s going to be a
Initiative (AMSTI); Peggy Chappell, recipient of the Bill Fancher Staff
                                                                            great day!”
Excellence Award; Toni Leo, outstanding alumna in kinesiology; Jenifer
Moore, Bill Ernest Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award; Richard          Regardless of major or degree
Barlow, outstanding alumnus in instructional leadership; Amy Rooker,        obtained, any alumnus who has partici-
outstanding alumna in elementary/collaborative education; and Susan Seng,
                                                                            pated in Wind Ensemble is invited and
outstanding alumna in counseling.
                                                                            encouraged to participate in this event.
                                                                               The conductor of the Alumni Reunion

      Young alumni plan                                                     Band for rehearsals and the performance will be             be
                                                                            Spencer Shaw. He was the director of the UM Wind Ensemble from

    silent auction in April                                                 1975 to 1988 and is a favorite among Montevallo alumni. He is an
                                                                            active trombonist in the community and was a charter member of
                                                                            the Montevallo Community Band. He has directed the Birmingham
       “Bids, Bands & Beverages.” That’s the name of an                     Community Band for the past three years.
    upcoming event that will be hosted by the Junior Board of                  Registration will be at 9 a.m., and rehearsals will run throughout
    Directors of the UM National Alumni Association.                        the day on Saturday, April 26. A special reunion dinner is planned
       The silent auction, which will include such items as spa             at 5 p.m. in the Anna Irvin Dining Hall. The day will conclude with
    packages and event tickets, will be held April 10 from 6-9              a concert for friends, families and community members in the newly
    p.m. at The Wine Loft at 2200 1st Ave. N. in Birmingham.                reopened Palmer Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. A photographer will be on
                                                                            hand to capture memories, and each participant will receive a T-shirt
       The Hunter Lawley band will perform, and food will be                commemorating the reunion event.
    provided at no cost. A cash bar will be available.
                                                                               Music department alumni wishing to register for this event may
       Proceeds from the event will benefit the University.                 do so by downloading, completing and sending in the registration
        “Bids, Bands & Beverages” is open to all alumni and                 form available on the UM music department website (http://www.
    friends.                                                       For additional information or to register
                                                                            by telephone or email, please contact the department of music at
       For additional information, interested persons may con-              205-665-6670 or via email at Current music
    tact the Alumni Office at 205-665-6215 or banksrb@monte-                students will be sending out invitations to potential participants and                                                              making personal phone calls to many alumni. Registration deadline is
                                                                            April 1.

                                                                                                                 Montevallo Today u Spring 2008   11
 Class Notes
       Class Notes
  Compiled by Marsha Littleton

’27                                     Ark., recently was dedicated
                                        and named in honor of Delores
Louise Brooks Rushing                   Brumfield “Dolly” White,
celebrated her 101st birth-             professor emerita of physical
day in November with family             education at HSU.
and friends. She resides at the
Wiregrass Nursing Home in               ’59
                                        Harvey Fleming and his wife,
’44                                     Mary Gene Averyt Fleming
                                        ’59, are retired and living in
Julia Vernon Keller resides             Pensacola, Fla. They are the most
in LaGrange, Ga., where she             senior surviving members of four      Montevallo classmates and friends get together at a retirement reception
has played piano at First Baptist       generations of a Montevallo           at Troy University honoring Dr. Doug Patterson. They are from left:
Church on the Square since              family. Their daughter, Lynn          Fred Crawford, Andy Meginniss, Jack Hawkins, Bruce Higdon, Bob
1947. In 2003 she made a CD of          Fleming Graham ’83, who               Rollins, Dr. Patterson, Dan McCrimmon and John Schmidt.
hymn arrangements as a gift to          works in UM’s office of graduate
her church family.                      studies, and her husband, Karl
                                        Lynn Graham ’83, manager
                                                                              Alumni salute Doug Patterson
’49                                     of the CVS store in Montevallo,         A recent retirement luncheon at Troy University turned into an
                                        are the parents of Eugenia            impromptu reunion of Montevallo alumni.
Price Pendergrass Hicks
cruised the Mediterranean in            Elizabeth Graham ’11, an                 More than 350 persons assembled in Sartain Hall at Troy in
October and reported a “won-            early childhood education major.      December to honor Dr. Doug Patterson ’67, M.Ed. ’71, senior
derful adventure.”                      Eugenia Morrow Averyt                 vice chancellor for administration, on the occasion of his retire-
                                        ’32, Mary Gene’s mother, who,         ment from full-time duty at Troy University. Included in the audi-
’53                                     according to Harvey, “started it      ence of well-wishers were several of his Montevallo classmates,
                                        all,” was a teacher for almost 40     including Fred Crawford ’68, M.Ed. ’72, Bruce Higdon ’66, Dan
Lillian Hunt Chaney has                 years in Dallas and Clarke coun-
retired as professor of manage-                                               McCrimmon ’67, Andy Meginniss ’68, Bob Rollins ’68 and John
                                        ties. Harvey writes that there are    Schmidt ’69, also a senior administrator at Troy University.
ment and distinguished professor        a number of other relatives who
of office management at The             have been students at Alabama             Two other Montevallo alumni played a major role in Dr.
University of Memphis. She con-         College/University of Montevallo      Patterson’s special day. Dr. Jack Hawkins Jr. ’67, M.Ed. ’71, chan-
tinues her writing and speaking         through the years dating back         cellor of Troy University has shared a special relationship with
activities and has co-authored          to the original Alabama Girls’        Patterson since their undergraduate days, as Hawkins noted in
two books on business etiquette.        Industrial School.                    his remarks. They entered the U.S. Marine Corps together and
                                                                              worked together beginning at the Alabama Institute for Deaf and
’54                                     ’60                                   Blind in 1979 and starting at Troy in 1989. “Doug Patterson has
The softball field at Henderson                                               been my right hand,” Dr. Hawkins said. “We have complemented
                                        James Findley was received
State University in Arkadelphia,                                              each other. The bottom line is that 45 years of a personal and pro-
                                        posthumously into the Alabama
                                                                              fessional relationship with Doug Patterson have taught me that he
                                                                              will outwork you, outwit you and outlast you.”
                                                   Delores Brumfield
                                                   “Dolly” White ’54,            Another Montevallo alumna on the dais for the celebra-
                                                   professor emerita          tion was Patterson’s wife, Lise ’73, who recently retired as an
                                                   of physical educa-         art teacher in the Troy City School System. In his remarks, Dr.
                                                   tion at Henderson
                                                                              Patterson thanked his wife and family — son Chris and daughters
                                                   State University in
                                                                              Lauren and Natalie — for supporting his career at AIDB and Troy
                                                   Arkadelphia, Ark., is
                                                   shown at the unveil-       University.
                                                   ing of a sign designat-      Patterson earned his Ph.D. from the University of Alabama.
                                                   ing the naming of the
                                                                              He worked at Jefferson State Community College before joining
                                                   Henderson State softball
                                                   field in her honor.
                                                                              Hawkins at AIDB.

  12   Montevallo Today u Spring 2008
High School Sports Hall of Fame       ’73                                    analyst with Mars Petcare, a          ’80
recently. With an overall record                                             division of Mars Candy Co.
of 259-117, he coached the            After working with federal civil                                             Barbara J. Belisle M.A.,
Holtville High School basketball      service for 33 years, Phyllis          ’77                                   retired English teacher and night
team to four consecutive Final        Kay Ferguson of Pensacola                                                    manager at UM’s Carmichael
                                      retired and treated herself to a       Angela Spelce Dietz and hus-          Library, has written two books
Four appearances including the
                                      trip to Tahiti and Bora Bora with      band Gerry have moved to South        and, more recently, a booklet
1996 state championship. He
                                      a group of friends.                    Carolina where Angela says            detailing her integrating into
also coached football, tennis,
                                                                             she is still quilting. She has also   Montevallo High School in
softball and track at Holtville.      After 17 years of service,             received a degree in automated        1967. She also is working on a
                                      Gordon Welch has resigned              computer-aided drafting.
’62                                   his position as music minister
                                                                                                                   children’s book and a grammar
                                                                             After working with Southern           usage handbook.
After 45 years as organist at First   at First Baptist Church in Selma
                                      to become the teacher certifica-       Company Services Inc. for 27          Paul McDonald teaches English
Baptist Church in Columbia,
                                      tion officer for the department        years, Katherine Nelems               in Jakarta, Indonesia.
S.C., Martha Hardy Hayes
                                      of education at Judson College         Marino is office manager at
was awarded the title of organist
                                                                             the Birmingham office of the          Tim Ray M.Ed. ’81 has
emerita upon her recent retire-       in Marion. His wife, Elaine
                                                                             Girl Scouts of North-Central          been selected Alabama State
ment. Nationally certified in         Carter Welch ’73, is secretary
                                                                             Alabama. She had served as a          Elementary Physical Education
music education, she retired as a     to the director of nursing at
                                                                             Girl Scout volunteer in various       Teacher of the Year. In his
music teacher two years ago. She      Vaughan Hospital in Selma.
                                                                             roles for 13 years.                   28-year career at Montevallo
writes that she enjoys traveling
                                      ’76                                                                          Elementary School, he has intro-
and visiting her family.                                                     Shirley Owens is a self-              duced several non-traditional
                                      Edward Pendergrass and his             employed Reading First con-           lessons including rope climbing,
’63                                   wife, Melanie, have relocated to       sultant in Long Beach, Calif.,        hiking, canoeing and kayaking.
L. Michael Hill, H.G.M.               Columbia, Tenn., to be near their      providing professional develop-
                                      daughters in Nashville. Edward         ment for teachers in private and      Tammy Richardson M.Ed.
Jopson professor of biology
                                      is a senior cost and inventory         parochial schools.                    ’84, former volleyball coach at
emeritus at Bridgewater College,
Va., recently was elected gover-
nor of the Shenandoah Valley
Company of the Jamestowne
                                      UM graduate heads RIAA’s anti-piracy fight
Society, a group tracing ancestry        Variety. Billboard. The Associated Press. Music        investigations. “I am delighted to have this oppor-
to the original Jamestowne set-       Internet sites. All have carried the news that former     tunity to head the West Coast office in the RIAA’s
tlers. In addition, he is working     FBI official Kathy Green Leodler ’77 will direct the      efforts to tackle physical and online piracy. The
on the Manual of the Virginia         Recording Industry Association of America’s west-         proliferation of music piracy and counterfeiting of
Flora, to be published in 2010.                              ern region anti-piracy unit.       American-made products as a whole is a world-
                                                             The western region is com-         wide issue with enormous impact to the nation’s
’69                                                          prised of 11 states and Guam.      overall economic well being,” she said.
                                                             Leodler began her new posi-
C. Elaine Toney Peterson                                                                            “The RIAA’s West Coast office is committed to
                                                             tion in December.
retired after teaching third grade                                                              the development of strong partnerships with law
                                                             She is responsible for the man-
for 37 years and is an adjunct                                                                  enforcement, local governments and the private sec-
                                                             agement of investigations relat-
professor of education at the                                                                   tor to identify, investigate and bring to justice those
                                                             ed to the illegal manufacture,
College of Wooster in Ohio.                                                                     individuals and organizations who unlawfully prey
                                                             duplication and distribution
                                                                                                upon the music industry for their ill-gotten finan-
                                      of counterfeit, pirated, bootleg and digital-format
’70                                   sound recordings.
                                                                                                cial gain,” said Leodler.

Susan Patridge Clark and                                                                           Leodler received her bachelor of science degree
                                         Leodler, a Birmingham native, came to the
her husband, Mack, have relo-                                                                   from Montevallo with honors in education. She is
                                      RIAA with 23 years of leadership and operational
cated from Mobile to Centreville                                                                a former recipient of the Nathalie Molton Gibbons
                                      experience as a special agent with the FBI. In her
after Mack’s retirement from                                                                    Alumni Achievement Award. She was active in Chi
                                      most recent role as the acting special agent in
the University of Mobile. Susan                                                                 Omega sorority as a student at UM.
                                      charge of the FBI’s office in San Diego, she man-
teaches in the Bibb County            aged a multi-million dollar budget and a 500-per-            The Montevallo graduate is a member of many
schools.                              son staff. Previously, she served in several different    professional associations, including the American
                                      senior leadership posts for the FBI, including assis-     Society for Industrial Security International,
’72                                   tant special agent in charge and supervisory special      California Association of Hostage Negotiators,
Janice Clark Rhodes and hus-          agent.                                                    Federal Law Enforcement Officers’ Association,
band Steve reside in Ellenwood,                                                                 International Cargo Security Council, and Society
                                         As director of investigations for the western          of Former FBI Special Agents.
Ga. She writes that she is enjoy-
                                      region, Leodler oversees all anti-piracy RIAA oper-
ing her grandchildren and look-
                                      ations in the western United States and assists law          She lives in San Diego and Long Beach. Married
ing forward to a new job soon.
                                      enforcement authorities engaged in music-piracy           to Paul R. Leodler, she has two daughters.

                                                                                                                    Montevallo Today u Spring 2008   13
Pelham High School, has been             Hall Psychiatric Facility, a          ’91                                   Basketball Final Four media
named to the Alabama High                residential school for mentally ill                                         coordination committee.
School Sports Hall of Fame. In           adolescents.                          Melissa Eppers Fahrney
her 26-year coaching career at                                                 recently received certification as    ’98
Pelham, she took the Panthers to         ’89                                   a professional life coach and a
                                                                               Heartmath provider. Melissa and       Melba Johnson-Shanks
two state championships and col-
                                         Elizabeth Daily Holsombeck            her family reside in Frisco, Colo.    works as a guidance counselor
lected 1,140 victories.
                                         M.S. ’90 of Hoover has served                                               with Bessemer city schools and
’81                                      as a speech pathologist at            ’93                                   part time as an associate licensed
                                         Kennedy Elementary School                                                                   counselor with
Gary Wayne Bradford is an                in Pell City for 10 years. Her        Frank Buck Ed.S., curriculum                          an agency in
intelligence research specialist         husband, Buddy, has opened a          supervisor for the Talladega city                     Fairfield. She is
with the U.S. Marshals Service           restaurant in Montevallo.                              school system,                       working toward
in Birmingham. He and his wife,                                                                 has authored Get                     her license in
Sydney Marie, have two sons.             ’90                                                    Organized! Time                      professional
                                                                                                Management for                       counseling. She
                                         James “Bo” Brown, pastor of
’83                                                                                             Leaders. The                         and her husband
                                         Community Baptist Church in                            book targets the     have an 11-month-old son.
Roger Crawford of Pinson                 Maylene, recently received the                         particular needs
is president of Fontaine Parts           Troy L. Morrison Leadership/                           of those in the      Kelly Robinson Woods and
Connection, a new com-                   Church Health Award in recog-         field of education.                   husband Josh have relocated to
pany launched by Fontaine                nition of his leadership as a bivo-                                         Florence where Josh is direc-
International-North America, a           cational pastor. The award was        ’95                                   tor of university relations at the
leading fifth wheel manufacturer.        given by the Alabama Baptist                                                University of North Alabama.
The new company will provide             State Convention.                     Judith Amanda Driggers, a             Kelly plans to teach elementary
parts, maintenance training, tools                                             freelance artist, has relocated to    education in the area.
                                         Mark Eiland of Mobile has             the Birmingham area. She writes
and support for the Fontaine
                                         joined the Hancock Bank of
International product line.                                                    that she enjoys oil painting, and     ’99
                                                        Alabama wealth         while she does some portrait
’84                                                     management             work, she prefers painting nature     Robert Burdette M.Ed., boys
                                                        group as vice          and landscapes.                       basketball coach at Calera High
Michelle Barsanti resides in                            president for                                                School, recently won his 500th
Panama City, Fla., where she                            the company’s          After working in social services      game as a head coach, marking
is an addiction counselor for                           Alabama trust          for 10 years, Jennifer Sims           a milestone in a career span-
Unlimited Path. She has three                           division. He will      has changed career paths and is       ning 22 years and netting four
daughters and two grandchil-                            serve customers        teaching special education and        state championships. Less than
dren.                                    in the Mobile and Eastern Shore       coaching. She and her partner         a month later, Calera principal
                                         area.                                 foster two boys and are in the        Ken Mobley Ed.S. ’98 present-
James Purcell M.Ed. has                                                        process of adopting a baby girl.      ed Robert with a plaque com-
been named director of the               Charles Quinn, director of
                                                                                                                     memorating the name change of
Arkansas Department of Higher            instrumental music at Middle          ’96                                   the Calera High Gymnasium to
Education. He had served as              Georgia College and a prolific
                                                                               Billy R. Herron and his wife,         the Robert Burdette Gymnasium.
executive director for state sys-        composer, was the conductor of
tem research with the Oklahoma           the 20th annual Chilton County        Bethany M. Herron ’97, have           Jennifer Laughlin is a recruit-
State Regents for Higher                 Honor Band, held recently at          relocated to Ft. Wayne, Ind., to      er for Travel Nurse Solutions,
Education. James and his wife,           Thorsby High School.                  start a marriage ministry team.       a medical staffing company.
Sandra Lester Purcell ’82,                                                     Billy will also host the morning                      In 2007, she
M.Ed. ’84, have one daughter.            Susan Seng M.Ed., Ed.S.               show on STAR 88.3.                                    was selected
                                         ’04, Shelby County Board of
                                                                               Racheal Luccasen M.Ed. ’00                            as a Recruiter
’87                                      Education’s testing and guid-
                                                                               recently received a doctorate                         of the Year
                                         ance supervisor, recently was
After 20 years of active duty ser-                                             degree in education with a spe-                       by Healthcare
                                         named Counselor Supervisor of
vice, Rachel Pierce Meek has                                                   cialization in organizational lead-                   Traveler, a maga-
                                         the Year by the Alabama School
retired as director of intelligence                                            ership. She teaches at Vestavia                       zine for health-
                                         Counselor Association.
for the capabilities integration                                               Hills Elementary Central.             care travel professionals.
directorate of the Air Armament          After teaching special education
Center at Eglin AFB in Florida.          for 13 years, Wanda Russell           DeWayne Peevy has been                ’00
                                         Stewart is teaching basic edu-        promoted to director of media
                                                                               relations for the Southeastern        Trish Keegan of Jacksonville,
’88                                      cation in Pasco County, Fla.,                                               Fla., recently received her doctor
                                         where she and her family reside.      Conference. In addition, he is
Rhea Harris M.Ed. ’95 resides                                                  on the board of the Basketball        of physical therapy degree from
                                         Her husband, Bobby, is a loss                                               the University of St. Augustine
in Chattanooga, Tenn., where             prevention manager for K-Mart         Writers Association and serves
she is a teacher at Cumberland                                                 on the NCAA Division I Men’s          for Health Sciences.
                                         in Tampa.

   14   Montevallo Today u Spring 2008
’01                                  Gene Twilley and wife Laura           Shreveport, La., and now reside    at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in
                                     Harris Twilley ’04 reside in          in Bossier City, La. Stacie        Birmingham. LeKindra Saxton
Jessica Batting Reinhardt            Philadelphia where Laura is an        Gulley ’99, M.Ed. ’03 served as    Mitchell ’03 served as matron
M.Ed. ’06 and husband Billy          interactive designer for cloth-       matron of honor. Dawn teaches      of honor, and Cathi Hatten ’04
have relocated to Wetumpka           ing retailer Anthropologie, and       fifth grade in Shreveport, and     was a bridesmaid. The Remberts
where Billy recently accepted        Gene is an education specialist       Kevin is a staff sergeant in the   honeymooned in Honolulu and
the position of minister of stu-     with Allstate Insurance Co. Gene      Air Force stationed at Barksdale   now reside in Midfield where
dents at Mountain View Baptist       has finished additional personal      AFB.                               DeMeshia is a social service case
Church. Jessica teaches math         education and has completed                                              worker.
at Montevallo High School but        the Pennsylvania state licensing      ’01
hopes to find a job in Elmore        exam for personal lines insurance                                        Births
County for the next school year.                                           Amanda Causey and Brian
                                                                           Killough were married Oct. 6 in    ’94
’02                                  ’05                                   a beachside ceremony on Inlet
                                                                           Beach, Fla. Matron of honor was    Raleshia Nix Burke and hus-
Mary Rodgers has received            After retiring from UM in 2006,       Mary-Pat Wade Sikes ’01 and        band Ronny celebrated the birth
her master’s degree in library       Priscilla “Penny” Cummings            Meredith Bird Milstead ’03         of their first child, Ronny James
and information studies from         Allen began serving as a volun-       was a bridesmaid. After a hon-     “R.J.” Todd Burke Jr., Jan. 1.
the University of Alabama. She       teer firefighter with Pea Ridge       eymoon trip to the Bahamas, the    The Burkes reside in Oxford
is the library media specialist at   Fire and Rescue. She has com-         Killoughs reside in Montgomery.    where Raleshia is an optometrist
Chelsea High School.                 pleted courses for Emergency                                             for Wal-Mart Vision Centers Inc.
                                     Medical Technician-Basic and is
’03                                  a nationally registered and state
Kristen Covington recently           licensed EMT-B.
                                     Gene Twilley ’03 and his wife,
received a master of arts degree
                                     Laura Harris Twilley ’04, live in
in English from Mississippi State
University and is now a lecturer
in the engineering department        ’06
                                     Amy Johnson is stage manager
Misty Gardner M.S. ’07 of            with Birmingham’s Magic City
Alabaster is the speech thera-       Actors Theatre for the produc-
pist at Vincent Elementary and                                                                                Ronny James “R.J.” Todd Burke Jr.
                                     tion of Steel Magnolias. She also
Middle schools. She recently         has been elected to the board
received a “One Classroom at                                               Amanda Causey ’01 and Brian        Ronald Comer and his wife,
                                     of the Montevallo Main Street                                            Sarah Brown Comer, announce
a Time” grant from CBS 42 in                                               Killough were married Oct. 6.
                                     Players.                                                                 the birth of their son, James
Birmingham, an award for out-
standing service.                    ’07                                   ’05                                Anthony Comer, Dec. 7. The
                                                                                                              family resides in Huntsville
Stephanie Comer Newton, a            Holly Lockhart is teaching            Lauren Ferlisi and William         where Ronald is a sales project
publicist with publisher Thomas      music at Calera Elementary            Walton were married Sept. 15.      manager for Theatrical Lighting
Nelson Inc., recently completed      School.                               The Waltons reside in Vail,        Systems.
the Deborah Norville national                                              Colo., where Lauren works with
book tour for her new title          Danielle Warren is pursuing a         a spa and William is a chef.       ’96
Thank You Power. It was the          master of arts degree in history
                                     at the University of Alabama at       DeMeshia Woods married             Treneé Koblas Bain and
third book in 2007 with which                                              Greg Rembert II July 15, 2006,
                                     Birmingham.                                                              husband R. David Bain III
Stephanie worked that reached
                                                                                                              ’96 welcomed the birth of their
the New York Times’ Best Sellers     Donny Wilson is a junior                                                 second son, Thomas Clark
List.                                graphic designer with Document                                           Bain, April 25, 2007. Tom was
                                     and Brokers Inc. in Alabaster.                                           welcomed to the Bain home in
                                                                                                              Mobile by brother Robert, 6,
                                     Weddings                                                                 and sister Sophie, 4.
                                     ’99                                                                      ’98
                                     Dawn Fant and Kevin Poch                                                 Jamie Scroggins Culver M.A.
                                     were married May 26 in                                                   ’02 and husband Shane Culver
                                                                                                              announce the birth of their son,
                                     Stephanie Comer Newton ’03 (left)
                                     recently finished a national book                                        DeMeshia Woods ’05 and Greg
                                     tour with Deborah Norville, nation-                                      Rembert II were married July 15,
                                     ally known broadcast celebrity.                                          2006. They live in Midfield.

                                                                                                               Montevallo Today u Spring 2008   15
Draven Pierce, Dec. 6, 2006. The        Will in the Dockery home in             ware architect for SunGard, and      Deaths
family resides in Sylacauga.            Northport. Jamie Lyn was                Courtney is a stay-at-home mom.
                                        employed at the Hoover Public                                                ’24
                                        Library prior to becoming a stay-       ’01
                                        at-home mom, and Jeff recently                                               Minnie Holman Vaughn, 104,
                                                                                Heather Andrews Latiri and           of Birmingham died Nov. 23. She
                                        completed commercial pilot
                                                                                husband Omar welcomed the            was a teacher in Birmingham and
                                                                                birth of their first child, Helena   Athens schools for many years.
                                                                                Kara Latiri, Jan. 1. The fam-
                                                                                ily resides in Silver Spring, Md.    ’32
                                        Aimee Carroll Beddingfield              Heather is a communication
                                        and husband Nathan celebrated           specialist for Computer Science      Merle Brown Donaldson, 95,
                                        the birth of a son, Randal              Corp. in Falls Church, Va.,          of Jasper died Nov. 15. She was
                                        Griffin Beddingfield, Aug. 9.           and Omar is a kit production         a retired teacher.
                                        He was welcomed to the family           technician for Thermo-Fischer
                                        home in Southside by big sister         Industries in Rockville, Md.
                                        Katherine Henley, 2. Aimee is a                                              Annie Dora “Dody” Wells
        Draven Pierce Culver            stay-at-home mom, and Nathan                                                 Jennings, 94, of Pell City
                                        is an engineer for AT&T in                                                   died Jan. 28. She lived most of
                                        Birmingham.                                                                  her life in Piedmont and was a
                                                                                                                     teacher for 34 years. In 1971
                                                                                                                     she was the first inductee into
                                                                                                                     the Jacksonville State University
                                                                                                                     Teacher Hall of Fame in the sec-
                                                                                                                     ondary school division.

                                                                                        Helena Kara Latiri
                                                                                                                     Jennie Jefferies Howle
                                                                                Amy Wilkerson Raines and             Randolph, 94, died Nov. 16.
                                                                                her husband, Sam, announce           An attorney, she worked for 39
       Laurel Elizabeth Schmitz                                                 the birth of their second child,     years with the Securities and
                                                                                Amber, March 1, 2007. Big            Exchange Commission. She
Shawna Cox Schmitz and her
                                                                                brother Shawn welcomed               retired in 1976.
husband, Davis Schmitz ’92 of           Randal Griffin Beddingfield, born       Amber to the Raines home in
Huntsville announce the birth of        Aug. 9, is shown with his big sister,
their daughter, Laurel Elizabeth,       Katherine Henley, 2.
                                                                                Birmingham.                          ’35
Jan. 26. Big brothers are Carter,                                                                                    Ruth Liveakos, 92, of Tupelo,
                                        Rick Casey and his wife,
7, and John Michael, 3.                                                                                              Miss., died Feb. 4. A teacher for
                                        Courtney Paquay Casey, of
                                                                                                                     50 years, she finished her career
                                        Birmingham celebrated the birth
’99                                                                                                                  at Tupelo High School where the
                                        of their daughter, Hayden Elise,
                                                                                                                     performing arts center bears her
Jamie Lyn Morris Dockery                Nov. 6. Rick is a senior soft-
                                                                                                                     name. A scholarship at UM was
and husband Jeff welcomed
                                                                                                                     established in her honor.
the birth of a daughter, Erin
Elizabeth Dockery, April 2,
2007. Erin joins big brother
                                                                                                                     Aidalu Butenschon Ford of
                                                                                                                     Bessemer died Feb. 4.
                                                                                                                     Aeolian McRee Reese of
                                                                                                                     Macon, Ga., died Nov. 30. She
                                                                                Ben Watson ’06 holds his daughter,
                                                                                Caroline Elizabeth, who was born
                                                                                                                     was a retired public health labo-
                                                                                Jan. 16. The baby’s mom is Sara      ratory director.
                                                                                Edwards Watson ’05.
                                                                                                                     Maurine Dobbs Bates of
                                                                                Sara Edwards Watson and              Birmingham died June 6 at the
                                                                                husband Ben Watson ’06 of            home of her son, Charles Earl
Erin Elizabeth Dockery, who was                                                 Thorsby celebrated the birth         Bates ’62 and his wife, Lois
born April 2, 2007, is shown with                                               of their daughter, Caroline          Strickland Bates ’61. She was
her big brother, Will.                          Hayden Elise Casey              Elizabeth, Jan. 16.                  an elementary school teacher in

  16   Montevallo Today u Spring 2008
Chelsea and Shelby County for        died July 4. She was a retired      an appraiser with Volkert &          15. His career was in the fields
most of her career.                  registered nurse and lunchroom      Associates.                          of education and public health.
                                     manager. Survivors who are                                               Other survivors who are UM
’41                                  UM alums include Virginia           ’75                                  alums include their son, Paul J.
                                     Fancher ’70 and Louis M.                                                 Dabbs ’87, and daughter Adele
Bettina Pearson Higdon                                                   Brenda Hobbs Lewis of
                                     Fancher ’75.                                                             Dabbs Bryant ’86.
Burns M.A. ’60, 87, died Feb.                                            Hoover died Jan. 29.
14. In 1973 she retired from
                                     ’47                                 Elsie Mae Grice Wilson               ’57
teaching in the Cullman County
                                                                         M.Ed., 71, of Gadsden died Oct.
schools, then retired in 1983 as     Henry Evelyn Wilson, 82,                                                 To Margaret Jacobs Pope of
                                                                         30. She was a teacher with 30
director of the Cullman County       of Fort Payne died Jan. 16. She                                          Jacksonville on the death of her
                                                                         years of service.
Public Library System.               was retired from the Alabama                                             mother, Vintura Harris Jacobs.
                                     Department of Pensions and                                               She and her husband were
Fannie Mae Moore Stoddard
                                                                         ’76                                  owners of Jacobs Flowers and
of Atlanta died Jan. 14. She
                                                                         Larry Elmer Frazier, 74, of          Growers in Goodwater for 50
was a retired psychometrist          ’52                                 Madison died Dec. 21. He was         years.
at Jackson State Community
                                                                         a retired general manager of
College.                             Betty Joyce Smith Owens,
                                                                         eastern test operations for Wyle     ’58
                                     77, of Vestavia Hills died Dec.
                                                                         Laboratories in Huntsville and a
’42                                  29. She worked in retail sales at                                        To Sandra Ward Lott of
                                                                         member of the Alabama Senior
                                     McRae’s department store until                                           Montevallo on the death of her
The alumni office has been noti-                                         Citizens’ Hall of Fame.
                                     her retirement.                                                          brother, Larry Fern Ward Jr.,
fied that Helen Clisby Fuller
                                                                                                              Jan. 16. He served as a marketer
Biscoe died Oct. 7, 2002.            ’53                                 ’82                                  with the Alabama Symphony
Hilda K. Johnson, 87, of                                                 Katherine M. Rozendale, 47,          Orchestra.
                                     Mary Anne Blackwell
Camden died Jan. 6. She was a                                            of Birmingham died Jan. 29. She
                                     Anderson, 76, of Camden died
retired teacher and a homemaker.                                         was a certified paralegal and a      ’70
                                     Jan. 12. She had worked in the
                                                                         legal assistant for Bradley, Arant
Marie Nichols of Mobile died         field of child welfare.                                                  To Melvina Pritchett Phillips
                                                                         Rose and White for more than
Nov. 10. She was a retired teach-                                                                             of New Hope on the death
                                     ’54                                 20 years.
er from Murphy High School.                                                                                   of her husband, Micah Rand
                                                                                                              Phillips. He was a construction
                                     Annelle Roe Dennis of               ’99
’44                                  Clanton died Aug. 25. She taught
                                                                                                              supervisor with Burleson Pool
                                                                         Susie Garrett Beasley, 44, of        and had attended UM.
Virginia Smith Carroll, 86, of       private piano lessons and played
                                                                         Alabaster died Nov. 25. She was
Hartselle died Dec. 10.              the organ in churches throughout
                                                                         an elementary school teacher.
                                     Chilton County. Survivors who
Helen Elaine Botsford Orser,         are Montevallo alums include                                             To Gilda Stubben on the
                                                                         Robert Jeremy Lespi M.A.
86, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., died   Dwight David Dennis ’79 and                                              recent death of her father, Emil
                                                                         ’01, 30, died Dec. 28. He had
Jan. 7. She taught home econom-      Diane Dennis ’86.                                                        Stubben, of Tuscaloosa. After
                                                                         taught at the college level for
ics in the Lee County school sys-                                                                             caring for her father for the last
                                                                         a number of years including
tem for more than 20 years.          ’62                                 several semesters in France. He
                                                                                                              six months of his life, Gilda has
                                                                                                              come out of retirement and is
Helen Cannon Thompson,               The alumni office has been noti-    was teaching freshman composi-
                                                                                                              teaching at Huxford Elementary
85, of Alexander City died Jan.      fied that Katherine B. Huey of      tion and creative writing at the
                                                                                                              School in Escambia Co.
31. She was a social worker for      Hueytown died in October.           University of Alabama at the
several agencies in Alabama and                                          time of his death. In his memory,    To William S. Cobb, profes-
retired from Russell Corp. with      ’71                                 the Montevallo Literary Festival     sor of English and writer-in-
36 years of service.                                                     will host the Robert Jeremy          residence emeritus at UM, on
                                     Benjamin H. Rountree, 59, of        Lespi Poetry Fellowship to honor     the death of his father, Edwin
’45                                  Mansfield, Ohio, died Jan. 7. He    and promote excellence in stu-       Sledge Cobb, of Demopolis. He
                                     was the dean of technology and      dent poetry at UM. Additional        was a retired automobile and
Jean B. McGaw, 83, of                workforce development at North      information on this fellowship is    implement dealer. Also surviving
Nashville, Tenn., has died. After    Central State College.              available by contacting Samantha     is Loretta Douglas Cobb ’67,
serving in the Army during                                               Webb in the English department.      Bill’s wife and emerita director
World War II, she worked for         ’72                                                                      of Montevallo’s Harbert Writing
many years in dietary manage-
                                     Gary Dilmore, 59, of                Condolences                          Center.
ment at Vanderbilt Hospital.
                                     Birmingham died Jan. 13. He
                                     and his father formed The
                                                                         ’56                                  To UM president Philip C.
’46                                                                                                           Williams and his family on
                                     Dilmore Group, a commer-            To Mary Louise Rice Dabbs            the death of his father, William
Dorothy Elizabeth McCalley           cial appraisal company. At the      M.A. ’62 of Montgomery on the        Williams, Jan. 28 in Roanoke
Fancher of Greenbelt, Md.,           time of his death, Gary was         death of her husband, Billy, Feb.    Rapids, N.C.

                                                                                                               Montevallo Today u Spring 2008   17
Your name: DeAnna McCarley Smith                             and I always make time to vacation each year. It is a really
                                                             important time for rest and renewal for me. Our most
Year graduated from UM and degree received: 1999 -           recent travels include Boston, Disney World, Annapolis
Bachelor of business administration with a concentration     and Washington DC.
in accounting
                                                             What is the best advice you have received?
Your home: Calera                                            While growing up, my Mom and Dad encouraged me,
                                                             reminding me always that I could be anything I wanted to
Your hometown: Morris                                        be if I was willing to work hard.

Please tell us about your family. Married to an Auburn       Do you have a favorite motto? If so, what is it?
      alum, Chris, who loves Montevallo and College          “Real love stories never have endings.” — Richard Bach
       Night as much as I do. We have three dogs —
       Windsor (a yorkie), Guinness (a mix) and Envy (a      What’s new?
     retired greyhound). Most of all, we love to spend       We recently helped start a new Sunday School class for
time with our three nephews (Keegan, 6; Riley, 5; and        young married couples at our church, Alabaster First
Brady, 9 months) and our niece Karley, 10.                   United Methodist. We also just booked reservations to go
                                                             to Napa with friends in May. While we are there, Chris
What is your profession? Assistant controller for            will “test-drive” his dream job, working with a winemak-
Community Newspaper Holdings Inc., overseeing the            er for two days at a Sonoma vineyard.
corporate office accounting function for a company with
newspapers in more than 200 communities across the           Please tell us about your educational foundation.
country.                                                     Dedicated faculty members of the College of Business
                                                             devoted countless hours to preparing me for a successful
What is the last book you read, and who is the author?       career in accounting. However, in the years since gradu-
Hard Fighting Soldier by Chette Williams, chaplain of the    ation, I’ve truly seen the heart of the faculty — taking
Auburn University football team.                             time now to offer career guidance and to foster life-long
                                                             friendships. The Montevallo community is truly a fam-
What awards/honors have you received? Is there a most        ily for students and alumni. The first day I arrived on
significant honor? If so, please tell us about it.           campus, my parents met Bubba, a UM police officer
The most significant honor I have received was the           who offered to “keep an eye on me” for them. He would
Algernon Sydney Sullivan award I received as a senior at     watch out for me for more than four years. Even after
Montevallo. The award is described as a national recogni-    graduation when I would return to campus, I would look
tion for spirit, compassion, honesty, humanitarianism and    him up and let him know how my family and I were
depth of character in addition to achievement and scholar-   doing. Because of these experiences, when I drive into
ship. What an amazing feeling to be recognized for help-     Montevallo, I still feel like I am coming home. Maybe
ing others. Plus the University made sure my family knew     that is why I can’t say no when approached to donate
about the award so everyone in my family was there and       my time or money to UM. As vice president of finance
beaming with pride!                                          on the Alumni Board, I’ve had the opportunity to make
                                                             new Montevallo friendships that span many years of UM
What is your secret for success?                             experiences. It is such a pleasure to hear others’ cherished
Work hard, but remember to play hard too. My husband         stories of UM.
                                      Alabama College Society
                                      Top, left: Augusta Lovelady ’47 (center); Ann Mathison
                                      Davis ’48 (left) and Doris McKoy Parkman ’45. Top, right:
                                      from left (front): Dolly Brumfield White ’54, Myrt Salter
                                      ’54, Della Dobbins Scott ’53, Jeannine A. McElroy ’53,
                                      Anne Sparks ’53, Julie Tatum ’54, Dora Frost Smith ’50,
                                      Jeannette Brewster ’54 and Bettie McDonald Martin ’51;
                                      second row: Joyce Blake ’51, Bobbye K. Lightfoot ’52,
                                      Delyn F. Rouze ’52, Margaret Utley ’52, Wanda Beasley
                                      ’52 and Betty C Glasscock ’53. Photo at left: from left
                                      (front): Mary Nell Glasscock ’57, Ann Kimbrough Kelly ’57,
                                      Barbara Bradford ’56, Shirley Shepard Chalkley ’56, Sue
                                      Henderson Vance ’56, Edna Whitehead ’56, Miriam Finch
                                      ’56, Jo Fuller ’56, Mary Louise Dabbs ’56, Trudy DeLoach
                                      ’56 and Sarah Mooneyham ’56; second row: Carolyn B.
                                      Knowles ’57, Vera S. Cox ’56, Anita Ray Giordano ’56, Lela
                                      Poythress ’56, Joyce Greathouse and Roberta Dobbs

                                                      Class of 1958
                                                      From left (front): Shirley Pike Corcoran,
                                                      Amelia Frost Lum, Nina Johnson, Dennye
                                                      Harper and Anne Dean Brazier; sec-
                                                      ond row: Sandra Ward Lott, Charlotte
                                                      Donnenwirth, Bonnie R. Strickland, Emily
                                                      Pollard Hammond, Patricia Jones Chason
                                                      and Orpha Sue McDonald; third row:
                                                      Ann Ellis Edwards, Mary K. Price, Beverly
                                                      Fundaburk, Carolyn Broadaway Ewing
                                                      and Faye Carmichael; fourth row: Yvonne
                                                      A. Sterling, Sherry R. Flowers, Marcella S.
                                                      Anderson and Martha Lindsey Partridge;
                                                      fifth row: Lois Swindal Hayes, Barbara
                                                      Goldstein Bonfield, Margaret Ann Shotts
                                                      Edmonds and Sadera Wallace Moore

20   Montevallo Today u Spring 2008
Class of 1968
From left (front): Mickey Green, Billie Dodson, Diane Ray, Gail Donaldson Helms, Marion Hope Formby, Sarah Wyatt Hallman, Judy Morgan Fuller, Mary
Evelyn Cook Edwards, Janice Tarrant Malone and Fred Crawford; second row: Suzanne Durham, Andy Meginniss, Dianne Smith, Mark Riggins, Pat Giles
Richeson, Paul Doran and Pat Ray

                                                                                                                 Class of 1978
                                                                                                                 From left (front): Kit Waters,
                                                                                                                 Sharon Putnam Phelps, Donna
                                                                                                                 Thompson Allen and Nedra Smith
                                                                                                                 McMullin; second row: BJ Chaltin
                                                                                                                 Snead, Peggy Rayfield Atkinson,
                                                                                                                 Darlene Findley Chavels and Laine
                                                                                                                 Spruiell; third row: Julee Knox
                                                                                                                 Cannon, Phyllis Evans McClure,
                                                                                                                 Debbie Durham Fain, Donna
                                                                                                                 Hermecz, Clifton Slaten and
                                                                                                                 Melody Putman Izard

                                                                                                                Montevallo Today u Spring 2008   21
Class of 1988
From left (front): Laurie Middaugh, James Jones, Ellen Lupinacci and Bill Shaw; second row: Joe B. Hill, Patrick Evans, Vickie Rumrill and Tim Lupinacci

Young Alumni
Young alumni — those who graduated 10 or fewer years ago, gathered at a local restaurant during homecoming for their annual social event. Talk inevitably
turned to one of the cornerstones of homecoming — College Night. A number of former College Night leaders were on hand for the get-together.

    22   Montevallo Today u Spring 2008
 Guest Essay
  Guest Essay
  By Dr. Sally Bennett Bell and Dr. Sherry G. Ford

Professors make a case for COMS
    Professors of communication studies (COMS) are often challenged
to make a case for what they teach. People hold many misconceptions
about the nature of the discipline. When we say we teach COMS,
people often mistake our discipline for other majors. Comments
usually go something like this: “Oh, so you teach people how to be
on the news?” or “I always wanted to learn sign language” or even
“Speech? I hated that class.” Just to clarify, we are not mass com-
munication nor are we communication science and disorders, and we
teach much more than “just speeches.” Our discipline is unique in
its versatility. The COMS major offers the freedom and curriculum
that will allow for a large variety of career options. We train people
to write, to speak, to create effective and ethical arguments, to think
critically as engaged citizens and to foster more fulfilling and suc-
cessful interpersonal relationships with others in both the private and
public spheres.
   Communication studies began as a formal discipline in the early
20th century when communication scholars and rhetoricians broke
away from theater and English departments. Here at UM, the major
                                                                          Photos by Rachel Hendrix ’08

was formerly known as speech. In 2000, the faculty decided to update
the name to reflect the evolution of the discipline formally changing
the name to communication studies. The discipline entails many dif-
ferent areas of scholarship including intrapersonal communication,
interpersonal communication (which focuses on communication
patterns in families, small groups, friendships, and romantic partner-
ships), rhetoric (focuses on public address in many forms including
visual images, speeches, essays, etc.), persuasion, organizational com-
munication, health communication, gender communication and more.                                         Dr. Sally Bennett Bell (right) and Dr. Sherry G. Ford are both assistant
                                                                                                         professors of communications studies at UM. Dr. Bell, who came to UM in
    A common misconception people have regarding COMS is that                                            2002, received her bachelor of arts degree fro the University of Kentucky
public speaking is the only material the major teaches. We offer                                         and her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Memphis. Dr. Ford,
two “public speaking” courses; however, this is only a small part of                                     who has been a faculty member at UM since 2003, earned her B.A. from
                                                                                                         Jacksonville State University, her M.A. from Montevallo and her Ph.D. from
the required courses for COMS majors. The COMS faculty at the
                                                                                                         Louisiana State University.
University of Montevallo consists of three scholars, each with his/her
own area of expertise. Dr. Sally Bennett Bell has a primarily rhetori-                                   from the common perception of communication as monologue to
cal track teaching courses in rhetorical criticism and also health and                                   recognizing its beautiful complexity and interactive, dialogic nature.
gender communication. Dr. Sherry Ford teaches the interpersonal                                          Although messages and their meanings are at the heart of COMS,
courses and special topics courses such as nonverbal, intercultural and                                  one cannot truly understand a message if one does not understand the
conflict management. She also teaches a required methods course that                                     messenger, the situation surrounding the message and the intended
trains students to read and produce scholarly research. Ray Ozley                                        receiver of that message.
focuses on organizational communication teaching courses on small
                                                                                                             Finally, we come to the last, but often most pervasive myth, at
groups, training and development and communication theory.
                                                                                                         least on a college campus — COMS is the easy major. If developing
    All too often, people assume that because they have been able to                                     knowledge and understanding of a discipline’s historical roots, theo-
talk since the age of two, they can communicate effectively. To us,                                      retical foundations, methodological standards and practical applica-
this common sentiment is like asserting that because you can tell the                                    tions can accurately be labeled as “easy,” then perhaps COMS is an
difference between a tree and a flower, you understand botany, or                                        easy major. Seems more likely that what is often confused with easi-
because you can count to 10, you understand math, or even being                                          ness may actually be a sense of practicality. Course content so often
able to read means you understand the essence of literature. In our                                      relates to daily, lived experience, and thus seems “easy” in compari-
program, we work to dispel this “myth of mastery” right away by                                          son to some other programs of study. Really, if communication itself
exposing students to the various components that comprise real com-                                      and the study of communication were so easy, wouldn’t we all be bet-
munication. We encourage our majors to shift their thinking away                                         ter at it?

                                                                                                                                                Montevallo Today u Spring 2008   23
“PV ’08”. The signs tell the story as College
Night Purple Side leaders Zach Banks and
Kelsey Sherrer (center) lead the celebration
from the Palmer stage shortly after the an-
nouncement of the winning phrase, “This is
just the beginning.” The 2008 Purple victory
at homecoming was the 46th for the side.

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