Alumni Class Notes & Club Highlights


Robert “Bob” Muir ’55 and Gail Hendrickson ’59 Muir moved to Lutheran Hillside Village in Peoria, Illinois, in October 2016. They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on Aug. 31, 2017. Shortly thereafter, in September 2017, Bob was recognized for 12 years of service as a pro bono attorney for the indigent. He was honored by Marquis Who’s Who Top Lawyers as a “Hero for Justice for his extraordinary commitment and dedication to the mission and clients of Prairie State Legal Services.”


Seth H. Moseley III ’59 completed the Honor Flight from Midway to Washington, D.C.,on Aug. 9, 2017. Seth served for four years in the U.S. Air Force. He received letters from the mayor of Chicago and Chicago football coaches. He and his wife, Karen E. Kreinheder ’57 Moseley, celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on Aug. 17, 2017.


Judy ’61 and Alan Pretzel ’60 are proud their Valpo family legacy has continued with their grandchildren — Jake Morrison ’17 and current Valpo students Claire ’21 and Brad Van Wagoner ’20.


Jack Foote ’61 co-founded and served as CFO of Cline, Foote, and Gable Inc. in Chicago for 25 years prior to his retirement. He founded the nonprofit Beautiful Savior Charities 10 years ago, with a community outreach mission dedicated to helping the children and families at the Banner- Diamond Children’s Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona.


Carol Halter ’65, missionary to the Chinese people, went on a United States missionary trip with many notable highlights. She visited Living Senior Lutheran Church in Tualatin, Oregon, where she shared mission pictures with pre-school classes and sang “Jesus Loves Me” in Chinese with a class of 5-year-old children. Carol also spoke to groups of students at Concordia University, Nebraska, and Concordia University, Portland, and traveled to the Lutheran Church of the Holy Spirit in San Francisco, where she spoke at their 10th Annual Mission Conference. Carol’s journey took her to many other places, where she shared with grade school and high school classes, women’s groups, adult Bible classes, and senior citizen groups.

Joni Lundin ’65 McNamara recently retired as owner/director of “GEM Puppet Productions/Ark-Angel Puppets.” For more than 35 years, she actively performed her own original plays with her company in schools, churches, and businesses. Joni has traveled around the world and lived in Africa and Europe. She and her husband, Robert, have two children and five grandchildren and currently reside in Wyoming. Robert, a retired pastor, now serves as a hospital chaplain.


Steve Brophy ’66, ’69 J.D. was honored on May 13, 2017, by the Selective Service System for 20 years of voluntary service as the Fairfax, Virginia, deputy chairman of the Selective Service System local office. Steve served in the Air Force JAG Corps for two years, the Navy for five years, and the United States Coast Guard for 35 years. He has 62 years of federal service.

Frederick Stutz ’66, Ph.D., retired after teaching college geography for 50 years. Frederick taught at Northwestern University, Michigan State University,
and San Diego State University. He has published six bestselling college textbooks and has done contract work for five U.S. government agencies. Two of Frederick’s children are full-time pastors, and he operates a campus ministry at both San Diego State University and the University of California. Frederick plays either golf or tennis each day in San Diego. He is thankful for his time at Valpo, which he considers “the best years of [his] life!”


Michael E. Fryzel ’67 was recently awarded the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland by Poland’s President Andrzej Duda. The award is given to an individual living outside of Poland for distinguished service to the Polish community. Michael, a Polish American, was cited for his efforts in promoting and expanding financial services for Polish Americans across the United States. He was appointed by President George W. Bush to be the chairman of the National Credit Union Administration, has served as director of the Illinois Department of Financial Institutions,and was a member of President Trump’s transition team. Michael earned his MBA from the University of Chicago executive program and a J.D. from Loyola University of Chicago. Currently, he serves as an attorney and financial services consultant with offices in Chicago.


Gail Ramshaw ’68 is one of the preeminent writers of liturgy in the church. She previously served as president of the North American Academy of Liturgy (NAAL). Gail is a recipient of the Berkah Award from NAAL and was honored with the Christus Rex Award from the Institute of Liturgical Studies at Valparaiso University.


Chuck Boerger ’69 was inducted into Concordia University’s Athletic Hall of Fame in June 2017 in recognition of his contributions as the head basketball and baseball coach. Chuck served on the Ann Arbor campus from 1981 to 1991. He and his wife, Jane Deterding ’72 Boerger, are both retired teachers. They have 11 grandchildren and currently reside in Anchorage, Alaska.


Phi Sigma Epsilon, now Phi Sigma Kappa, held a 50-year reunion for 12 members of the spring 1968 pledge class on the outer banks of North Carolina in Sept.2018. Members included two pastors,two lawyers, two railroad executives, a doctor, an engineer, a bank vice president,a college dean, a real estate magnate, and a government operative. A decision was made to not wait another 50 years for a reunion.


Paul Norby ’72 retired on Aug. 1, 2018, after 44 years of work in the planning profession. Paul thanks Valpo for helping him to uncover his passion to become a city planner, a passion he never lost. Paul retired from his position as the director of the City- County Planning Board in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where his work included downtown revitalization, upgrades in the Arts District, preservation of historic sites and farmland, and the creation of master plans for greenways and public art. Looking to the future, Paul plans to incorporate travel, recreation, volunteer work, and quality time with his grandchildren into his retirement schedule.


Professor Marie Failinger ’73, ’76 two books of essays by Lutheran theologians and law professors, Lutheran Theology and Secular Law: The Work of the Modern State (Routledge, April, 2018); and On Secular Governance: Lutheran Perspectives on Secular Legal Issues (Eerdmans, 2016). Currently the Devitt Professor of Law at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, she co-founded two projects: The Infinity Project, seeking gender equity on the federal courts in the Eighth Circuit, and the American Association of Law Schools Section on Women in Legal Education Oral History Task Force. Outside of work she serves on several nonprofit boards and committees and spends time with her four grandsons.


Christine Driessnack ’74 Hillesheim serves as the regional director for Joni and Friends, an international disability ministry. Christine and her husband, Rick, reside in Charlotte, N.C. They have three grown sons and three grandchildren. In summer 2017, Chris and her husband traveled to Hungary; Austria; the Czech Republic; and Wittenberg, Germany; for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

Elizabeth Fanslau ’74 Christopherson retired from Christ Lutheran Church after 33 years as the organist and choir director. Entering a new phase of music ministry, Elizabeth joined the handbell choir of her home congregation, St. Mark Lutheran in Chesterland, Ohio, and fills in as a substitute organist to congregations in her area. Elizabeth and her husband, a retired letter carrier of 50 years, enjoy traveling across the United States.


Bob Buhle ’75 recently retired as Centier Bank senior partner. Bob joined Centier in 1987 as its first compliance officer, was quickly promoted to regional manager of retail branches, and became part of senior management in 1989.

Miriam Sammetinger ’75 Bredesen and her husband, Tom, recently sold their “farmette” in northern Wisconsin and bought a home in Sun City Center, Florida. Miriam and Tom still summer in Wisconsin and spend a few weeks each winter in Central America distributing eyeglasses with the Lions Club.

Charles Smith ’75 and his wife, Connie, retired and reside in St. Petersburg, Florida, where they enjoy relaxation, tennis, travel, and visits from the grandchildren.


Christal Fasse ’76 Daehnert works in  private practice as a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst. Christal published a children’s picture book, “Kelly Finds a Way,” geared for 4- to 8-year-olds. This fun and exciting story encourages curiosity and resiliency and reveals the importance of loving and supportive relationships in the development of these essential life skills.

Thomas “Tom” Wielgos ’76 was named senior vice president-complex manager by Wells Fargo Advisors. In this position, Tom is responsible for a team of 35 financial advisors and 19 support staff in the Oak Brook and Hinsdale, Illinois, branches. Tom has served as a financial services professional for nearly 40 years, with the past 25 in management. He spent more than 30 years with Morgan Stanley’s Naperville, Illinois, office, but most recently, he was a brokerage director for MassMutual Illinois.

Phi Delta Theta held their 31st annual golf outing in July 2018, with 20 golfers, all Valpo alumni, in attendance.


Michael Gregory ’77 founded Michael Gregory Consulting LLC after retiring from the federal government in 2011. He has written 11 books, more than 30 articles, and given more than 325 presentations around the globe. His latest book is Business Valuation and the IRS: Five Books in One.

John Plagens ’77, professor of English at Japan Lutheran College in Tokyo, and
Kit Nagel ’78, professor of international business at Concordia-Irvine, have been friends since their Valpo days. In May 2018, they put together a global business master class in Japan.

Stan Scheumann ’77 serves as the president of the board of directors for the Lutheran Camp Association, which owns Camp Arcadia, a Lutheran retreat center in Arcadia, Michigan. Camp Arcadia has served individuals, teens, and families since 1922, offering unique “vacations with God” along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Many Valpo alumni attend Camp Arcadia each summer.


Steve Gerse ’78 recently retired from the practice of entertainment law. Steve is the founder and president of Himalayan Joy Home, a home for abandoned and at-risk baby girls in India. Himalayan Joy Home has secured a permanent facility and has taken in four girls ages 1 to 4.

Lynn Nestrojil ’78 Kaufman is married and lives in Oregon, Illinois. Recently retired from teaching, Lynn spends her time cooking and working on her food blog, Lynnie’s Kitchen.


Dayna Limperes ’79 Guido published “The Parental Tool Box for Parents and Clinicians.” She lives in Asheville, North Carolina, and wrote the book with her husband, Jim, with whom she works and plays.

Peter Haas ’79 co-authored the book “Applied Policy Research: Concepts and Cases” (2nd Ed.), which was recently published by Routledge. It updates and expands upon the first edition of the textbook, published in 1998. In August 2017, Peter retired from San Jose State University (SJSU), where he taught for 30 years. Most recently, he served as the education director at the Mineta Transportation Institute and as a professor in the School of Global Innovation and Leadership at SJSU.

Beth Eser ’79 Wrobel was honored at the Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce’s Salute to Leadership event Jan. 18 as the 2017 Distinguished Community Leader.The Distinguished Community Leader award is the highest honor bestowed upon an individual by the chamber and is given to a person who demonstrates leadership, prowess in promoting and developing business, and community involvement. Beth is the CEO of HealthLinc Inc.,
a health care group that operates 10 clinics in five counties.


Chuck Baldwin ’80 appeared on the 2018 list of BTI Client Service All-Stars in recognition of client service exceeding all others. He also received the International Law Office’s 2018 Client Choice Award. Client Choice recognizes those law firm partners around the world that stand apart for the excellent client care they provide and the quality of their service. Chuck, who was recently re-elected as managing director for Ogletree Deakins, is the exclusive winner in the employment and benefits category for Indiana. He is an active member of the Indianapolis community, serving as chair of the board of directors for the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and previously selected as an Indiana Chamber “Volunteer of the Year.”


Michael Langer ’81 J.D. of the law firm Langer & Langer in Valparaiso, Indiana, was recognized as one of 10 Best Family Law Attorneys for Client Satisfaction for the third year. The American Institute of Family Law publishes an annual list of the top 10 family law attorneys in each state.


Ken Miller ’82 retired from the Cook County adult probation department after 31 and one-half years of service. He is now employed at Lyons Township High School in La Grange, Illinois. Ken and his wife, Raelynn, are the proud parents of two Valpo graduates, Rachael ’15 and Doug ’17.


Paul Christian Chambers ’83 is currently enjoying retirement in his hometown of Garland, Texas. Paul continues to review films at, and he and his wife are members of the Ascension Lutheran Church in Garland, Texas. Prior to retirement, Paul was a broadcast news anchor for more than 30 years, including 17 years at CNN, Atlanta.

Christine Eid ’83 Kreuger serves as the director of Christian education at Cross View Lutheran in Edina, Minnesota. Christine received the national 2017 Master DCE award. This award is given biennially to one recipient nominated and chosen by a selection committee composed of DCE peers.

Sigma Tau Gamma alumni from the classes of 1983–1987 have gathered regularly during the past several summers in the South Haven, Michigan area, catching up with one another and reminiscing about old times. The group’s most recent event was held on Aug. 20, 2017.

Stephen Spaulding ’83 retired from the Corps of Engineers of Kansas City, Missouri, in January 2017, after more than 40 years of working for the federal government in various locations. Stephen’s wife, Deborah Spaulding ’83, retired from teaching more than 20 years at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas. The couple moved to Grand Island, Nebraska, and are currently living on the former homestead of Deborah’s grandparents.


Katharine Donaldson ’84 is an advanced practice nurse for maternity services and coordinator of perinatal supportive and palliative care at Capital Health Medical Center-Hopewell in Pennington, New Jersey. Katharine is a member of the New Jersey Maternal Mortality Case Review Team. She received two awards in 2017 from Capital Health System: Excellence in Nursing Practice and the Martin Epstein Award for Humanitarian Service (first nurse recipient) for her work with families who have experienced a pregnancy loss, stillbirth, or newborn death. Katharine was a finalist for the 2017 March of Dimes New Jersey Chapter Nurse of the Year Award in the Women’s Health category. In May 2018, she received the Alumni Award for Clinical Excellence from the University of Pennsylvania, where she completed her master’s degree. Katharine was appointed to the National Certification Corporation’s panel of perinatal/neonatal safety experts to create a sub-specialty certification examination for perinatal/neonatal quality and safety. She plans to begin studies for her doctor of nursing practice fall 2019.

Kirk Melhuish ’84 celebrated his 30th anniversary with WSB Radio in Atlanta, a multiple Marconi Award–winning station. He has been the station’s only full-time meteorologist since July 1987,was inducted into the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame, and holds the broadcast meteorology certification from both the National Weather Association and the American Meteorological Society. Kirk forecasts on air and across all digital platforms via audio and blogs. He also had a small voice role
in the Atlanta-filmed movie “Baby Driver,” playing himself.


Greg Evans ’85 was named president and CEO of Merchants Financial Group Inc. Greg has been with the Merchants organization for more than 27 years. From 1989 to 2007, he served in the marketing department, the last five years as senior vice president of marketing. In 2007, Greg was named regional president for Hampton, Cannon Falls, and Red Wing when Merchants Bank acquired those locations. In 2013, he became president of the Winona market and chief banking officer, providing leadership for all Merchants Bank locations.


Gayle Renken ’87 is the principal of St. Timothy’s Christian Academy in San Jose, California. In 2017, Gayle was selected as the ELEA Principal of the Year and granted the National Distinguished Principal award by the National Association of Elementary School Principals. These honors are bestowed upon principals of schools where programs are designed to meet both the academic and social needs of all students and where there are firmly established community ties with parents and local business organizations.


Kelly Wood ’89 Mitchell, Indiana state treasurer, and LTC Robert Kirtland ’91,lead soldiers’ counsel, Fort Knox, Kentucky, graduated from the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, on July 27, 2018 with masters’ degrees in strategic studies. The rigorous two-year course of study combines in-residence and distance learning to develop senior military officers from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, as well as senior foreign military officers and civilian officials from a variety of federal and state agencies, to serve in strategic-level command and staff positions worldwide.


Greg Herker ’90 serves as the Fab Lab Program Director at Palmer Hamilton, where he leads their efforts in delivering turn-key Fab Lab/Makerspace solutions to K–12 schools across the U.S. Greg currently serves as the board chairman of the United States Fab Lab Network; has consulted on Fab Lab development through the National Science Foundation; and assisted numerous educational programs from K-12 through post-secondary in their Fab Lab programs, including delivering presentations on Fab Lab/Makerspace Programs in education at MIT, Stanford, the Association for Career and Technical Education, the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association, and the National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers, among others. He is also heavily engaged with the National Coalition of Certification Centers in developing training and curriculum for educators to leverage in the Fab Labs & Makerspaces. In addition to holding a degree in business and communication from Valparaiso University, Greg is a distinguished graduate of the Dale Carnegie — Sales Advantage Program, is a certified GrowthWheel business advisor, is certified in business incubation management through the International Business Innovation Association, and is a 2016 graduate of Leadership Racine.


Laura Annis ’91 Clay won a 2018 Author Academy Award for her supernatural mystery novel “Demontown.”


Jeffrey Clymer ’92 J.D. was sworn into his new position as Porter County Superior Court Judge in November 2017. Jeffrey was previously an adjunct professor of law at Valparaiso University Law School and was selected to complete the final year of Judge Bill Alexa’s term. He is an experienced mediator with a background in both civil and criminal law.

Dan Wilburn ’92 was recognized by Forbes as one of the 2018 Best-In-State Wealth Advisors. This inaugural list assessed advisors on a variety of criteria, including client retention data, community involvement, and years of experience. Dan is currently an advisor at LPL Financial. He has been providing financial services for more than 25 years to hundreds of clients in Northwest Indiana.


Matthew Fifolt ’93 is an assistant professor in the health care organization and policy department in the school of public health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In March 2018, Matthew was awarded the 2018 Centennial Award for Excellence from The American Association of College Registrars and Admissions Officers. The honor is bestowed upon an individual who has made a contribution to or influenced the higher education community in a notable and positive manner.


Maria Pallick ’95 Brewer was sworn in September 2017 as the new ambassador to Sierra Leone. During her career with the U.S. State Department, Maria has served in many locations overseas, including Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Pakistan.


Travis Alber ’96 has been promoted to SVP, user experience at Saatchi Wellness, an advertising agency in New York City that focuses on health and wellness products. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, Aaron, and four-year-old son, Emerson.


Jennifer Baker-Trinity ’99 recently accepted a position as program director for Resource Development, a joint position with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Augsburg Fortress, a division of 1517 Media. In this role, Jennifer works to develop worship resources for the church and teaches about worship and worship-related resources in the ELCA. She currently serves as interim director of the Institute of Liturgical Studies at Valparaiso University with co-director Brian Johnson, assistant vice president for mission and ministry. Jennifer and her spouse, Nathan Baker-Trinity ’00, currently live in the Twin Cities with their three elementary-age children. Nathan, an ELCA Pastor, serves as a chaplain in a memory- care facility.

Frank Dale ’99, ’03 MALS publicly launched a sales deal management software company named Costello in Indianapolis in September 2017, developing his career in the entrepreneurial world. A deal management platform that aligns sales representatives, managers, and vice presidents, Costello helps representatives consistently follow sales methodology, gives managers visibility into the quality of each deal, and shows leaders what’s working and what’s not. Prior to Costello, Frank served as the chief executive officer and president of Compendium, an Indianapolis-based content marketing platform that helps organizations capture and create original content in a branded hub for distribution to marketing channels. He speaks regularly about leadership, digital marketing,
and entrepreneurship.

Glenn Jaffe ’99 was recently re-elected as the senior vice president of the North Carolina Chiropractic Association (NCCA). This is Glenn’s fifth year of service on the board, having previously served as vice president, secretary, and treasurer. He will also serve as the legislative chair for the NCCA again in 2018.

Dorothy “Dottie” Parson ’99 McDermott, J.D., recently joined Jackson Lewis P.C., one of the country’s preeminent workplace law firms, in their Indianapolis office as a principal. Her practice focuses on the representation of employers in workplace law matters, including preventive counseling. Dottie previously served at Ogletree Deakins, where she represented employers in the full spectrum of labor and employment law matters.

Tanya Smutka ’99 is a member of the biology faculty at Inver Hills Community College in the Twin Cities, and she was nominated for both the student-elected Faculty of the Year and the faculty-elected Faculty of the Year awards for the 2017–2018 academic year. Tanya is actively involved in the Minnesota State College Faculty union, serving as a chapter grievance representative and a member of the Emerging Leaders program 2017–2018 and as a chapter president and a member of the statewide Meet and Confer committee 2018¬2019.


To Colleen and Mark Williams ’99: Charlotte Isolde Williams, born July 28, 2017. Charlotte joins big brother Elliot.


Jeff Conrad ’00 was recently promoted to associate head softball coach at the University of North Florida (UNF). He previously served as an assistant coach at the University of Central Florida (UCF). During this time, the UCF staff was named the 2015 American Athletic Conference Coaching Staff of the Year as well as the 2015 NFCA Mideast Region Coaching Staff of the Year. Jeff set offensive school records at UCF and UNF while serving as the hitting coach. He currently resides in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.


Katie Stuckemeyer ’01 Berler married Melissa Berler on July 29, 2017, in Evanston, Illinois. They reside in Evanston, where Katie works for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Melissa is a therapist.

Stacy Gherardi ’01, assistant professor of social work at New Mexico State University, was recently assigned fellow Valpo grad Bethany Garling ’14 as her graduate assistant. Stacy has been impressed by Bethany’s work and has enjoyed sharing the Valpo connection.

Eric Muller ’01 was recently appointed as the Commander of the U.S. Air Force’s 21st Operational Weather Squadron (OWS) at Kapaun Air Station, Germany. The 21 OWS consists of 160 military personnel providing weather support to three combatant commanders and North Atlantic Treaty Organization operating in and throughout Europe and Africa. This area of operations encompasses a third of the globe and spans three continents, 104 nations, and 51 million square miles. The squadron provides timely, accurate, and relevant weather information in support of manned and unmanned flight operations, Army support operations, resource protection, and nuclear deterrence operations for various Air Force, Army, and Navy missions.


To Suzanne Lanzafame ’01 Fante and Jonatas Fante: Cristiano Lanzafame Fante, born Sept. 10, 2017. Cristiano joins brothers Leonardo and Alessandro.


Emily Krueger ’02 was named chief operating officer for 16 Tech Community Corporation, where she will help lead the development of 16 Tech, a 60-acre innovation community for scientific research, technology innovation, entrepreneurial activity, and talent attraction in Indianapolis. Emily spent her early career working for former U.S. Senator Richard G. Lugar in a variety of Capitol Hill and campaign positions. In 2013, she joined LDI as chief of staff and was named vice president of administration in 2015. Emily is active in the community, using her fundraising and communications expertise to benefit a number of local nonprofit organizations focused on health and education.

Josh Messner ’02, along with fellow Valpo alumni Sally Jacob ’02 MessnerPaul Friesen-Carper ’04, Laura Potratz ’05,Luke Tegtmeier ’05, and Sophie Hunt ’05, took part in a chorale service of holy communion on July 23, 2017, as part of the Elm Ensemble. The Elm Ensemble is directed by Sally and Josh and has involved those in the Valpo family in every project it has done. Josh, Sally, Paul, Laura, Luke, and Sophia were all members of either or both the Valparaiso University Chorale and the Kantorei during their time at Valpo. Sally, Paul, Luke, and Laura are professional musicians.


To Anna and Justin Freiberg ’02: Theodore James Scott Freiberg, born May 15, 2017.


Caleb Kimmel ’03 is the CEO of World Baseball Academy, working alongside Kristen Peterson ’03 Kimmel, marketing director of World Baseball Academy, and Ron Howard ’05, community development manager of OPS. Under their leadership, the World Baseball Academy formed a long- term, strategic partnership with Lutheran Health Network to transform the 26-acre sports facility known as The ASH Centre. The heart and soul of this partnership is the expansion of an at-risk youth mentoring program to reach more than 1,000 area youth annually using baseball as a leadership development platform.

Ben Nicol ’03 received the 2017 William D. Jenkins Outstanding Foundation Award from the North-American Interfraternity Conference Foundation. He has served as the chief executive officer of the Phi Kappa Psi Foundation since 2012. Ben was initiated into Phi Kappa Psi at Valpo and joined the Phi Kappa Psi Foundation in 2004 as assistant director of development. His approach to nonprofit management involves the cultivation of personal relationships with each donor, with increased in-person meetings to strengthen connections. Ben also holds a variety of volunteer positions, including secretary of his chapter’s house corporation.


To Julia Peters ’03 Brown and Bruce Brown: Sullivan McLean Brown, born Dec. 17, 2017.

To Kathy Cooksey ’03 and Patrick Jonsson: Axel Otis Bengt Makani Cooksey, born Jan. 28, 2018.

To Gwendolyn and Brian Niec ’03: Chael Eivyn Niec, born Feb. 8, 2018. Chael joins sister Channing.


Michael Sjoding ’04, M.D., was promoted to assistant professor of internal medicine, pulmonary and critical care medicine, at the University of Michigan. Michael received a five-year career development award grant from the National Institute of Health and a separate grant from the National Science Foundation to study computer-based computational approaches to improve medical diagnosis of acute respiratory diseases.

Karen Wallace ’04 Ottenweller and Mike Ottenweller ’04 are raising their three boys in Anchorage, Alaska. Mike works for the National Weather Service, and Karen stays home with their boys, who are 6, 4, and 1. Recently, a Valpo sweatshirt came in handy to provide warmth for their oldest on the beach while they dipnetted for salmon at the Kenai River.


To Eric Brauer ’04, ’05 M.S. and Meredith Brauer: Beau Isaac Brauer and Adeline Faith Brauer. They join sister Audrey. Eric was named the 2017 Southtown Baseball Coach of the Year after leading his varsity baseball team to the Illinois High School State Finals. The team became the ninth in state history to win 40 games in a single season, finishing their season with a 40-2 record and placing third in the state finals.

To Emily Boedecker ’08 Perino and Eric Perino ’04: Abigail Jane Perino, born November 2017.


Kelly Linebrink ’05 David is the recipient of the Lutheran Education Association’s 2018 Distinguished Lutheran Elementary Teacher award. Kelly teaches third grade at Zion Lutheran School in Georgetown, Texas, where she is co-leader of the garden club and National Junior Honor Society, assists the coach of long jump in track, and is currently writing a third grade math curriculum for public schools. Prior to Zion, Kelly served at two other Lutheran schools in Texas, Immanuel Lutheran and Salem Lutheran.

Matthew Ries ’05 received his Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of South Florida in August 2016. His research focused on the practices and attributes
of sustainable U.S. urban water utilities. Matthew is the chief technical officer at
the Water Environment Federation near Washington, D.C., where he has worked since 2005. During his doctoral studies, Matthew was also a senior research fellow at the Patel College of Global Sustainability at the University of South Florida. Matthew lives in Falls Church, Virginia, with his wife,Lora Grandrath ’03, ’06 J.D. Ries, and their children, Alexandria and William.

John “Chaz” Weber ’05 joined Tucker Ellis LLP in January 2018 as counsel in the firm’s finance practice group. John represents regional and national banks and other capital providers on sophisticated financing transactions. He is experienced in a wide array of secured transactions and has particular expertise in the financing of hospitality properties. John also regularly represents financial institutions and corporate borrowers on asset-based, cash flow, acquisition, and other commercial transactions. He previously worked at Jones Day, where he concentrated his practice on real estate finance.


Madeline Orling ’06 Connolly was appointed as associate circuit court judge for the 22nd judicial district in Missouri. Madeline previously served as an attorney at Tucker Ellis, defending companies in mass tort and product liability civil litigation matters.

Her experience also includes a five-year position as assistant circuit attorney in St. Louis, Missouri, where she tried more than 40 criminal cases.

Jon Rogers ’06 J.D. was selected to Michiana’s 2018 40 Under 40 class. This program highlights 40 of the area’s “most talented and dedicated” young professionals who excel in their careers and engage in
the community.


To Stephanie Hart ’06 Buchs and Joshua Buchs ’06: Abigail Kay Buchs, born July 17, 2017. Abigail joins sisters Katherine (5) and Elizabeth (3).


Katie Nemec ’07 Bruce started a new job in March 2018 as a communications manager at a nonprofit trade association, Steel Tank Institute/Steel Plate Fabricators Association. Katie works in a 12-person office in a northwest suburb of Chicago, and her boss also happens to be a Valpo grad, Wayne Geyer ’77. Katie and Bruce are learning from one another as they pursue their common goal of service to their members and the industry, making steel the preferred tank construction material. It is Katie’s belief that Valpo contributed to this creation of two service-minded individuals.

Mark Koschmann ’07 graduated from Saint Louis University in May with a Ph.D. in American studies. His dissertation title was “Finding Their Footing in the Changing City: Protestant and Catholic Congregations Adapt to the New Urban Environment in Post–World War II Chicago.” He passed his oral defense and written dissertation with distinction. Currently, Mark serves as the Fiechtner Chair of Christian Outreach at Concordia University, St. Paul, Minnesota.

Sean McGinnis ’07, Rachel Christiansen ’07 Taube, and Cate Valentine ’15 Lewis, all graduates of the social work program, are making a difference in their communities by teaching Youth Mental Health First Aid. The program is designed to help people recognize signs and symptoms of mental health concerns and educate them on how to connect those in need with professional support.

Joanna Spaulding ’07 recently moved to Omaha, Nebraska, from the Los Angeles area, where she worked as a genetics counselor in a private clinic for eight years. Joanna continues her work in genetics by educating others about the diversity of genetic disease and the importance of genetic testing at the Human Genetics Laboratory of the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.


To Kristine Nelson ’07 Humphrey and Nate Humphrey: Elise Humphrey, born in October 2017. She joins sister Grace and brother Andrew. In 2015, Kristine began working at Mott Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan, as a pediatric critical care RN, covering four units.

To Lauren Corey ’07 Kennedy and Taylor Kennedy: Jackson William Kennedy, born on Aug. 31, 2018, He joins sister Ella Jane.

To Laura Springmire ’07 Venstrom and Luke Venstrom ’07: Claire Venstrom, born in September 2017. Claire joins brothers Samuel and Reid.


Becca Crocker ’08 Cavin and Matt Cavin ’08 now live in Auckland, New Zealand. Matt is the managing consultant, Australasia for global financial services company MasterCard, while Becca is senior intellectual property counsel for the international medical device company Fisher & Paykel Healthcare. Their move was recently documented on an episode of House Hunters International. Becca and Matt, along with their toddler daughter, Felicity, are loving exploring in the land of sheep and hobbits!

Caitlin S. Schroeder ’08 joined Jackson Lewis P.C. as an associate in the firm’s Indianapolis office. Her practice focuses on representing management in employment litigation and providing advice and counsel on employment issues. Caitlin’s experience also includes counseling attorneys in the areas of ethics and professional responsibility. She co-authors a monthly ethics column in the Indiana State Bar Association magazine, Res Gestae.

Prior to joining Jackson Lewis, Caitlin gained legal experience working on all types of employment matters as a law clerk for the Honorable William T. Lawrence in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. Following her clerkship, she gained extensive litigation experience as an associate in the litigation department of a national, general practice firm.


Kristoffer Grahnke ’09 died on July 24, 2017, three years after being diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Kris earned his bachelor’s degree in education from Valpo in 2009 and his master’s degree in education from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2013, specializing in behavior intervention. From 2014 to 2016, he taught special education at Whitman Post Elementary School in Rockton, Illinois. Kris wrote about his experience with ALS in his blog “Gronks Finding Grace” and became involved in ALS advocacy and fundraising. The ALS Association honored him with its Iron Horse Courage Award at the IronHorse Ball in Chicago in the winter of 2016.

Sandra Heyboer ’09 Hladik wrote an article titled “Hypoglycemia and chronic kidney disease,” which was published in the April 2018 issue of American Nurse Today. Sandra resides in Carol Stream, Illinois.

Brynn Horne ’09 married Joseph “Jed” Edmund Hadley III in Milwaukee on Nov. 25, 2017. Katie Brennan ’09 Kuehn was her matron of honor and Reva Johnson ’09 was a bridesmaid. Brynn and Jed live in Washington, D.C., where Brynn serves as vice president of conferences at the American Frozen Food Institute and Jed works for KPMG as a project manager.

Patrick Lay ’09 completed his MFA in comics in July 2017 at California College of the Arts in San Francisco, the first fully accredited school in the United States to create a graduate degree in comics. He publishes a webcomic on Tumblr and sells his works on his website,


Mandy Chalk ’10 was awarded the Outstanding New Professional award from the Purdue Academic Advising Association at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. This honor is in recognition of Mandy’s dedication, hard work, and desire to encourage her students. She has served as an academic advisor in exploratory studies at Purdue since 2010. Mandy also serves on Purdue’s Career Advising Council. Prior to Purdue, she was the associate director of career services for the Ivy Tech Community College campuses in Michigan City and Valparaiso, Indiana.

James Strasburg ’10 co-wrote a piece titled “Billy Graham: Cold Warrior for God,” which was published by the New York Times on Feb. 23, 2018.


To Jessica and Phil LaBrash ’10: Ruth, born May 30, 2017.


Timothy Ager ’12 currently serves as an assistant professor of sports management at Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee.


To Kathleen Parilac ’12 Ford and Russ Ford ’13: William Thomas Ford, born in July. Russ was awarded the MassMutual Foundation’s 2017 Community Service Golf Award, granting $10,000 to Chosen Ministries, an organization for which Russ sits on the board. In November, Russ was featured as a guest on the podcast “Sharpen: The Podcast for Young Professionals,” hosted by Kirby Green, where he spoke on the topic of generosity.


Ryan Broekhoff ’13, former Valpo basketball player, was drafted to the Dallas Mavericks in July of 2018. Ryan joins the NBA after playing the last five years internationally, including the last three years for Lokomotiv Kuban on the VTB United League, the top tier of professional basketball in Russia.


Alfredo Estrada ’15 J.D. received the Trailblazer/Abriendo Caminos Award at the Indiana State Bar Association’s annual awards luncheon on Aug. 20, 2017, in recognition of his dedication to helping pave the way for the advancement of other Latino attorneys. Alfredo is an associate attorney at the Merrillville firm Burke Costanza & Carberry, where he serves as co-chair of the firm’s immigration practice group and is a member of the firm’s litigation practice group.

Rhea J. Torman ’15 joined Swanson, Martin & Bell LLP as an associate in their Chicago office. Rhea will focus on asbestos litigation, toxic tort litigation, product liability, and medical negligence and health care. She was previously an associate at Galvano & Xanthakis in New York City.


Abigail Hedlin ’16 Wolfgram and Joshua Wolfgram ’16 were married on May 28, 2017. Joshua proposed to Abigail in the Chapel of the Resurrection in March 2016 with the help of the Friday Morning Prayer Band. They were married in Abigail’s hometown of New Lenox, Illinois, by her father and Joshua’s grandfather. The Friday Morning Prayer Band played at their reception. Abigail and Joshua currently live in Arlington, Virginia, and are thankful for their many Valpo memories.

Joseph Egan ’16 and Laura Trude Egan were married on Oct. 13, 2018, in Grand Forks, North Dakota, with several Valpo alumni in attendance.


To Jacob Smutz ’16 and Sarah Drozdowski ’14: Jerzy (George) Adam Smutz, born Nov. 11, 2018.