Jump to main content

Alumni Notes



Follow along on Twitter @UNCBearsAlumni to read more alumni news and notes

Editor’s Note: Alumni Notes items are submitted by alumni and are not verified by the editors. While we welcome alumni news, UNC Magazine is not responsible for the information contained in these submissions.

December 19, 2020

  • Extended Notes

    Bob Blasi

    Alumnus and Former Coach Celebrates 90

    Congratulations to lifelong UNC Bear Robert “Bob” Blasi MA ’57. Coach Blasi served as the Head Coach of the UNC Bears Football team 1966–1984, during which the Bears won five Division II Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference titles, celebrated a 10-0 season in 1969, and made their first Division II playoff appearance in 1980. He earned a UNC Honored Alumni Award and is a member of the UNC Athletics Hall of Fame and Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. Coach Blasi is pictured here at his 90th birthday celebration wearing the 1969 commemorative team cap.

    40 under 40

    Alumni Receive 40UnderForty for Regional Service

    Four UNC alumni received the 2020 BizWest Media 40UnderForty award to recognize their professional accomplishment and strong commitment to community service. Congratulations to:

    • Bianca Fisher BS ’07, Greeley Downtown Development Authority
    • Kara Harbison MA ’05, Poudre Valley School District
    • Allie Steg Haskett BA ’03, University of Northern Colorado
    • Janese Younger BS ’11, First Bank
  • 1960s

    Donald Tanner, BA ’62, Richardson, Texas, rounded out a successful career working and leading businesses across the Rocky Mountain and Southwest region. Now retired, he has served on several boards and commissions including past service on the Richardson Methodist Hospital Board in Richardson, Texas and current service with the Collin County Health Care Advisory Foundation, which administers funds for county indigent health Services. 

    Eileen Volpe BA ’64, MA ’78, Greeley, Colo., is publishing a book of poetry titled Independant Thoughts From California and Colorado. It contains approximately 350 poems in six categories: states, animals, politics, religion, holidays and U.S wars.

  • 1970s

    Donald Benjamin BA ’70, MA ’78, Cedaredge, Colo., just published a new mystery novel, The Road to Lavender. Set in western Colorado, it’s the story of a deadly treasure hunt and the plucky courage of a determined young woman. It is available through Amazon.com. 

    Jean Patton BA ’70, MA ’72, Lafayette, Colo., retired in December 2019 from The Nature Conservancy, where she was the communications manager for the national program LANDFIRE (a partnership with the U.S. Department of the Interior and the USDA Forest Service).

    Edward Bingham BA ’71, Livermore, Colo., retired from the Denver Police Department as a Captain in 2005. In 2020, he published three fiction books, Snow Stalker, Broken Justice, and Final Justice which are available on Amazon. 

    Roger Dudley BA ’71, Denver, Colo., retired from the Denver Public Library in 2019 and received the Rosenstock Lifetime Achievement Award from the Denver Posse of Westerners that same year. 

    Charles West BM ’71, Centreville, Va., was elected to honorary membership in the International Clarinet Association, which will be conferred in Ft. Worth, Texas in 2021. 

    Kent Corkran BA ’72, MA ’73, King City, Ore., retired after 44 years with the federal government.

    Blues Bland BA ’76, Plymouth, Minn., is a playwright and a member of The Playwright’s Center. Before being canceled because of the pandemic, his one act play “Causality” was chosen to be presented in the 2020 Minnesota Fringe Festival.

    Richard Jordan BS ’76, Monument, Colo., a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), retired from Lockheed Martin after 31 years. 

    Daniel Townsend BA ’78, MA ’80, Ludington, Mich., retired after 42 years as a professional geologist.

    Mary Jo Drew BA ’79, Loveland, Colo., is being honored with the President’s Award by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) for her mentoring of early career blood banking physicians. The AABB is the leading international blood banking professional association.

  • 1980s

    Dorna Schroeter MA ’81, Rhinebeck, N.Y., published the story of velcro the first in the children’s series, How an Idea from Nature Changed Our World. The Story of EcoMachines will be printed this summer. The stories support the Next Generation Science Standards.

    Lisbeth Palmer BS ’82, Las Vegas, Nev., was recently named the executive director for the Nevada Senior Games Inc, an official state member of the National Senior Games Association.

    Kimberly McCord MME ’85, DME ’99, Shelton, Conn., is the author of Teaching the Postsecondary Music Student with Disabilities.  She is also an adjunct professor at New York University.

  • 1990s

    Douglas Birdsall BA ’91, MA ’10, Greeley, Colo., became a sergeant with the Greeley Police Department in 2018, and is currently the supervisor for the Gang Unit.   

    Robin Brewer MA ’91, EDD ’98, Greeley, Colo., retired after 19 years at UNC in the School of Special Education. She is now supporting teachers of students with significant support needs throughout Colorado.

    George Teal BA ’92, Castle Rock, Colo., won the Republican party nomination in June 2020 for the primary election for Douglas County Commissioner, District 2.

    Mark McCarthy BA ’93, Greeley, Colo., has authored his first book, Untangling My Kite, a culinary memoir that gives the reader a look at the underworld of restaurant cooking and correctional food service. 

    Peter Marcell MA ’94, Austin, Texas, was hired as the director of Learning and Development of Workforce Technology at USAA. In his new role he is creating a learning center of excellence to support USAA’s mission of being the provider of choice to the military community.

    Elizabeth Ruthmansdorfer BA ’95, Oak Creek, Wis., has established the law firm of Ruthmansdorfer Law Group, S.C. in South Milwaukee, Wisc. She also recently authored her first book, The Mommy Club: A Journey of God’s Will

    Rhett Polka BA ’96, Windsor, Colo., is the owner of One80 Physical Therapy and was issued a United States patent for the physical therapy system that he uses in his clinics in Loveland, Windsor and Highlands Ranch, Colo.. A native of Loveland, Polka opened One80 Physical Therapy in 2005 and has been growing the model ever since. He has been sought after by NFL players, division I athletes, division I strength coaches, CrossFit Open World Champions, Radio City Rockettes and Olympic athletes from across the U.S.

    Lois Flagstad PhD ’97, Miami, N. M., retired after 37 years in higher education. She served students, most recently, as vice president of Student Affairs in Minnesota, Colorado, Nebraska, Lithuania, and South Dakota.   

    Jill Lliteras MA ’97, Erie, Colo., has recently been given the honor of being selected as the Colorado National Distinguished Principal of the Year for 2020. Currently the principal of Prairie Ridge Elementary School, she has guided several participatory processes to clarify school mission and vision, laying the groundwork for focused goals that align to increase student achievement. At the center of these efforts has been her passion for collaboration and creative teamwork as a pathway to helping students meet their academic goals in an environment that balances high expectation with high levels of targeted support. Lliteras has leveraged this approach to lead the turnaround success of two struggling schools, both of which were successfully moved from Priority Improvement status to Performance Status in just one years’ time.

    Matthew Means BM ’97, Reno, Nev., was recently appointed Inaugural Dean of the University of Nevada-Reno Honors College. While a student at UNC, Means served on the university’s Board of Trustees.

  • 2000s

    Jennifer Yentes BA ’00, Omaha, Neb., in spring 2020, was promoted to associate professor with tenure at the University of Nebraska-Omaha in the Department of Biomechanics. 

    Nicholas Sunday BS ’03, Avon, Colo., recently helped create, and became vice president of the Colorado Amusement and Music Operators (CAMO). In addition to being General manager of Alpine Vending & Video, Inc, and a contributor to the Stern Operators Council (SOC).

    Lincoln Hayes BA ’07, West New York, N.J., wrote a science fiction TV pilot script Librarians of the Jules Verne. It was an official selection into the Tagore International Film Festival.   

  • 2010s

    Letisha Brown BA ’10, Blacksburg, Va., has been promoted to the rank of assistant professor of sociology at Virginia Tech. She has recently published article in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

    Samantha Fox-Kantor BA ’13, MA ’15, Denver, Colo., serves as the nightside assignment editor for KDVR-FOX31 Denver and Channel 2. She recently won two Heartland Emmy Awards for team coverage of the 2019 Bomb Cyclone and I-70 inferno crash. Fox-Kantor also celebrated her marriage to husband Robert Kantor in September.

    Kelsey Eickelman BA ’15, Highlands Ranch, Colo., graduated from the University of South Florida (Morsani College of Medicine) with a master’s degree in physician assistant studies. She is currently working at an internal medicine practice in Orlando, FL. 

    Cameron Smith BM ’17 Glasgow, United Kingdom is studying at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, recently earning a Master’s of Music in cello performance and pursing additional study for the Master’s of Arts course in chamber music and composition. Smith has performed alongside the Scottish Ensemble, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and twice selected to peform in the Rosin Chamber Music Festival.

    Christopher Mullen PhD ’18, Fort Collins, Colo., was appointed as the Executive Director of The Workforce Institute in July. It’s a think tank that helps organizations drive performance by addressing human capital management issues that affect both hourly and salaried employees.   

    Chloe LaMar BA ’19, Erie, Colo., just graduated Summa Cum Laude from Regis University with her master’s degree in Criminology.