Class Notes

News and updates from Pacific University alumni


Ben L. Guthrie and his wife, Marie E. (Fischbeck) Guthrie, are celebrating their 59th anniversary this summer. After Pacific, he earned a master’s degree at the University of New Mexico, where the couple met. He retired in 1990 after 30 years with the Washington State Department of Health. Ben and Marie live in Hoodsport, Wash., and have three children, six grandchildren, and six (going on eight) great-grandchildren.


Maurice Dorsett OD and his son Marshall Dorsett were named Optometrist of the Year 27 years apart by the South Dakota Optometric Society. It is believed to be the only time a father and son have both won the award. Maurice won the award in 1983, and Marshall received it in 2010. They practiced together for several years.


Judge Robert Hight retired from the Sacramento Supreme Court, where he served the past two years as the presiding judge. He now works part-time for JAMS, doing civil mediation and arbitration. He and his wife Mary enjoy their leisure time traveling and spending time with their three grandchildren.

Mary (Lay) Schuster and her former graduate student Amy Propen will publish their second book, Rhetoric and Communication Perspectives on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, in 2017 through Routledge Publishing. Mary is a professor at the University of Minnesota. She and Amy have published Victim Advocacy in the Courtroom, as well as four articles.


Bruce Bishop ’68 and Peter Gianninin ’68 were first-semester roommates in Mac Hall in Fall 1964, after arriving in Forest Grove from southern California. In March, the pair had a mini-reunion in Tucson, Ariz., where they visited Biosphere 2. They are looking forward to reuniting with more alumni as they sign their names into the Golden Guard Sidewalk at their 50th reunion during Homecoming in 2018.


Brian Douglass is gathering stories about Pacific’s squirrels. As a student, Douglass helped reintroduce squirrels to the Forest Grove Campus, and he’s delighted to see their popularity today. Meet up with Brian at Homecoming, Oct. 6-8, and read more online about his project.


William A. Ausmus Jr. has retired as a professor of communication studies at California Polytechnic State University, following a 30-year career at three different universities. He is currently a full-time novelist writing under the pen name William Russell Sheridan. His first novel, The Adamantine Heart, is available online.


Michael Hudson published Three Seconds of Black, a new book offering behind-the-scenes insights into television broadcasting. The fictional piece draws on his experiences as a black college student in the 1970s, his early career in television in Southern California, and other life experiences. The book was edited by Michael Leighton ‘78, who is the current editor of the Portland Observer. Hudson is retired from a successful career in human resources and labor relations with the Los Angeles Unified School District. He also is a member of the Pacific University Board of Trustees.


Lee Ingham has retired as a material specialist with Saudi Aramco. He and his wife Jackie are back in the United States, “snowbirding” between Austin, Texas, and Sisters, Ore.


George L. Adams III OD is employed part time at The Wright Eye Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., which he joined in 2015. He retired from active duty in the U.S. Army in 2008 and from civil service at Fort Carson, Colo., in 2015.

Russ Blunck is the sports information director for the University of Hawai’i at Hilo. He previously worked at Point Loma Nazarene University, Western Oregon University and, most recently, at his alma mater Pacific.

Steven Miller OD, Brian Van Dusen OD, Kres Pedersen OD and Mark Kirstein OD, all members of the optometry class of 1982, reunited at the American Academy of Optometry Conference in Anaheim, Calif., in November 2015.


Janet Leasher ’83, OD ’86 recently was honored by The National Academies of Practice with a medallion of honor and induction as a Distinguished Practitioner and Fellow. She was one of only seven optometrists in the nation inducted in 2017. She is a professor at Nova Southeastern University’s College of Optometry, where she teaches, serves as a preceptor, and is director of outreach for the college.

Donald P. Schmidt Jr. will retire in June after 33 years of teaching physical education and health. He and his wife, Angela, are living in Newberg, Ore., and look forward to exploring local wineries. He also enjoys reconnecting with baseball teammates and being an avid and frustrated golfer.


John Olson recently released his first book, Nitsokan / His Dream, under the pen name Johan Pursnipen. It is available online.


Kathy Koch is the customer service director for the Portland Water Bureau, overseeing 110 employees and nine departments. Over the years, she has worked with a variety of Pacific alumni. She has been married for more than 26 years and hopes her high school-age son will consider Pacific soon.


Becky (Kurtz) James has been named vice president of operations at Conversa. She will manage client success operations, including onboarding, professional service, customer service and support needs. She joined Conversa after a 17-year stint at WebMD Health Services, where she held senior positions in program and project management, technology and client delivery.


Sergio Guzman ’93, OD ’96 celebrated 20 years in his optometric practice in his hometown of Elko, Nev., where he lives with his wife Georgia, son Aiden, and daughter Olivia.


Mike Rushfeldt is a purchasing manager in the Procurement and Contracts Department at TriMet. He previously worked as a senior buyer in the department.


Blake Timm received the 2017 Warren Berg Award from the College Sports Information Directors of America. The award is presented annually to a CoSIDA College Division member who has made outstanding contributions and brought dignity and prestige to the profession. Timm is currently an assistant commissioner for the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. He was Pacific’s sports information director from 1999 to 2015.


Julie (Thorne) Holcomb published Moral Commerce: Quakers and the Transatlantic Boycott of the Slave Labor Economy through Cornell University Press.


Kelly Garrett published her debut novel, The Last to Die. It is a young adult mystery published through Poisoned Pen Press.


Audrey (Fields) Grube OD and her husband Thomas J. Grube welcomed daughter Cecilia Maria Audrey on Dec. 1, 2016. She joins sister Annabelle, 5, and brother Thomas, 3. Audrey is loving being a stay-at-home mother.


Russ Meeuf published Rebellious Bodies: Stardom, Citizenship and the New Body Politics.


Chester Carson received the 2017 Unsung Heroes of Energy Efficiency Award from the Alliance to Save Energy. Carson is a professional staff member for the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. His work focuses on energy efficiency, building codes, appliance standards, climate change, biomass, wind, solar and rural energy. Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska presented the award.

Rob DeCou completed Race Across America, a two-week 3,000-mile bike race, through which he raised $40,000 for brain cancer research. Watch his journey online.

Josie (Vu) Lewis and Jared Lewis welcomed son Carter Jaxon Lewis on June 28, 2016, in Portland. Carter is perfecting his “Blue Steel” look.


Mark Saito recently released his debut album, Live What You Love. Based in Hawai‘i, he has shared the stage with many well known Hawai’i recording artists and opened for global artists, including Pat Monahan and his band Train, Chris Isaak, Alice Cooper, Orianthi, Richie Sambora, Keith Urban, Matt Nathanson and One Republic.


Molly Voelz Fischer completed a post-doctoral fellowship in applied neuroscience, focusing on concurrent physical and cognitive performance enhancement. She recently began working as an aerospace physiologist at the Air Force Research Laboratory.

Christian Henry’s short film From Salem to the Salon was nominated for Best Short Film at the Portland Indie Film Awards. The film highlights the woman who inspired and helped pass the Oregon Natural Hair Act of 2013.

Mel J. Yeates is assistant editor at DDNews, a pharma, biotech and life sciences magazine.


Jess Hamlet graduated from Mary Baldwin University in Staunton, Va., with a master of fine arts degree in Shakespeare & Performance. She has begun her doctoral studies in the Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies at the University of Alabama.

Alexia (Barton) Proulx and her husband Gabe welcomed son Ashton Evan Proulx, on Oct. 20, 2016. He weighted 7 pounds, 4 ounces. Alexia is working part-time as a physician assistant at a family practice in New York.

Jamie Zerndt MFA had his book The Korean Word for Butterfly reviewed in Publisher’s Weekly and has sold the film rights to the book. He also gained local attention after his 5-year-old son encouraged him to hide $100 bills in local copies of his book. A previous short story, This Jerkwater Life, was chosen as an Editor’s Pick in Amazon’s Kindle Singles store. Zerndt teaches in the English Language Institute at Pacific University.


Aubrey Aalona-Ortiz and Clellen Aalona ’11 welcomed Aurelia Kau‘iwaiohaokalama Aalona, on March 22, 2017. She was 6 pounds, 9 ounces, and measured 21 inches.

Sara Allender and Brian O’Donnell were married Sept. 18, 2016. Fellow alumni Kristen Mathis, Lindsey Costley, Wyeth Yogi, John Duro, Anna McGeehan, Alex Prigge, Alyssa Tallent, Nick Mast, Kihei Castillo, Aubrey Nera-Carvalho, Summer Zimmerman and Kevin Butler, all class of 2009, were in attendance.

Charles Lee participated in Miami University’s Earth Expeditions global field course in the Amazon, where he studied avian and tropical ecology. He is an outreach coordinator at the Honolulu Zoo and took the graduate course in pursuit of his master’s degree from Miami University’s Global Field Program.

Jonathan ‘09, OD ‘13 and Suzanne (Wells) Mather ‘10 welcomed Eliana Mather on Nov. 2, 2016. She weighed 6 pounds, 10 ounces and joins big brother Ezra.

Deirdre Lillian Matt is completing a 12-month cardiopulmonary residency program at the Ann Arbor Veterans’ Affairs Health System, preparing to become a board certified cardiopulmonary specialist. She looks forward to expanding her experience in treating cardiac and pulmonary patients as a physical therapist, teaching patients and students, and conducting research. She previously spent seven years practicing acute care at Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, Wash.

Chelesa Mayer PT has joined colleagues Sara Hopkins ND, LAc, and Jessica Sweet ND, LAc, in opening The Ren Clinic, an integrative medicine clinic in Northeast Portland.

LeAnna Nash ’09 and Frankie Guros ’09 have moved to San Francisco and started jobs at Facebook.

Mark Truax has been promoted to vice president in the Denver office of Pac/West, where he oversees the company’s Rocky Mountain presence. He most recently was the senior director of political affairs for the company and opened the Denver office in 2013. Pac/West is owned by fellow Pacific alumni Paul ’78 and Nancy Phillips ’77, MAT ’82.


Suzanne Denker MHA is an administrative officer for the Pathology & Laboratory Service at the Portland VA Healthcare System.

Eddie Lau PharmD and Garland Ng PharmD opened Feel Good Compounders, a compounding pharmacy in San Mateo County, Calif. After just two years of business, the pharmacy recently expanded from a 600-square-foot office to a 2,800-square-foot facility. They are enjoying serving a local community of humans and pets.

Collin Weigel completed his PhD in economics at the University of Arizona and is working on a post-doc at Johns Hopkins University. He is a fellow at The Center for Behavioral and Experimental Agri-Environmental Research, or CBEAR.


Elaine Charpentier-Phillipi is the executive director of Business Education Compact, a nonprofit organization building sustainable partnerships between local businesses and schools in the Portland area.

Jen Keller OD is now part owner of Vision Source Eye Clinics of Park Rapids and Walker, Minn., where she provides one-on-one consultations to patients.


Chelsey Chamberlain received a Rising Star honor from the College Sports Information Directors of America. The award recognizes a member with 10 or fewer years of service for their dedication, energy, service, and enthusiasm for the profession. Chamberlain, a four-time All-Northwest Conference softball standout at Pacific, began her professional career at Pacific and is now an associate director of athletics communications at the University of New Mexico.


Anya Dvirnak PA was awarded a specialty credential in emergency medicine from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. She practices at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, Md.


Keely Craig ’14 and Chris Reimer ’14 were married Dec. 17, 2016, at the Belle Chapel in Snohomish, Wash. In attendance were several fellow Pacific alumni, including Nick Rudella ’14, Michael Hargitt ’14, Allison Clark ’13, Lauren Berthold ’14, Kariann Penttila ’14, Ashleigh Pilkerton ’14, Rachel Palmer ’14, Victor Wilson ’14, Kelsey Shaw ’14, Whitney (Nelson) Thomas ’11, PA ’15, Sarah Palmer ’14, Mattie Huffman ’14, Anna Richardson ’14, PT ’18, Jordyn Nelson ’14, PharmD ’16 and Mason Nakama ’14.

Samantha Mulholland works at Sherwood Safeway. She previously was with Open Bible Learning Center.

Jenna Stevens and Hannah Cameron were married Oct. 1, 2016, in Newberg with Pacific alumni and faculty attending. Bevin McCarthy, who works in the Pacific University Center for Civic Engagement, officiated.


Stephanie Spriggs is an operations specialist at Northwest Community Credit Union.

Tommy Yates ’15 and Ariana Emde ’16 are living in California, where Tommy is completing Western University of Health Science’s Doctor of Podiatric Medicine Program and Ariana is working as a physical therapy aid and planning to pursue her physical therapy degree, also at Western. They are looking forward to years of residencies and rotations together and hoping to eventually return to Portland to give back to a community that had a profound effect on their educations. They enjoy an adventurous lifestyle and their rescued 3-year-old pitbull-mix, Chief.


Kambria Phillips welcomed son Finnley Schmidt on Sept. 11, 2016.

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