George Halversen celebrated his 90th birthday with a roundup western party in Las Vegas, March 18. Bluegrass music, cowboy magic and a Marilyn Monroe impersonator entertained the guests. His motto: “Stay well, have fun and enjoy life.” Happy birthday from the Hilltop, George.

Following a 14-year stint teaching in La Grange, Ill., Natalie Cohen Bogg moved to Los Angeles and worked in sales at Weight Watchers International and then as a wardrobe consultant for Bullocks Wilshire, Saks First Avenue and Nordstrom. Natalie returned to the teaching profession in 2004 as a special education teacher at Pomona Unified School District in Pomona, Calif., where she assists and places teenagers with individualized education plans into paid part-time work experiences. Thank you for your inspiring efforts, Natalie.

We couldn’t wait to share this tale of alumni romance with our readers. Aleta You and Bob Villa ’71 married 53 years after meeting at Bradley. After graduation, Aleta married the boy back home and became an Air Force pilot’s wife for 29 years; she has two children and two granddaughters. She also earned her doctorate in education from Arizona State University and was a professor at Incarnate Word College. Aleta worked as a senior administrator at Princeton University and at Rutgers University before retiring in 2013. Bob served Bradley as an admissions counselor and as director of alumni giving. He began his Air Force career as a C-141 pilot in Vietnam and after serving 21 years, he started a commercial aviation career before his retirement in 2013. He is a widower with three daughters and five grandchildren. In Aleta’s words, “As I believed the promises in the Bible, God is faithful and brought to pass the desires of my heart. God is the ultimate matchmaker!” (see bells & rattles)

Raymond James Financial Inc. named Michael Reik as a director in its Kansas City, Mo., office. In his 25-year career in public education, he has served Missouri public schools in leadership positions, most recently as superintendent of schools for Platte County R-3.

After a 45-year career in intercollegiate athletics, Steve Weller retired as director of athletics and recreation at Parker University in Dallas. He now serves as an educational aide in the special education department of a local elementary school. Steve is also in his 28th season working for Major League Baseball as an official scorer for the Texas Rangers.

After 38 years as a teacher and administrator at Illinois Central College, Janice Frye Kinsinger retired in 2017. She now teaches leadership at Bethel Lutheran High School in Morton, Ill. Janice also earned her doctorate in community college leadership from Ferris State University in December 2022. Congratulations on your achievement, Janice.

Michigan State University appointed Craig “Kwesi” Brookins, Ph.D. associate provost for University Outreach and Engagement, effective Jan. 1, 2023. Previously, he served as vice provost for University Outreach and Engagement and director of the Center for Family and Community Engagement at North Carolina State University. We wish Kwesi the best in his new role.

The Cyber AB appointed Deborah Taylor Moore as a full voting director to its governing board. Moore is senior partner and vice president of global cybersecurity within IBM Consulting, the professional services arm of IBM Corporation.

Usually, we’re announcing the nuptials of alumni in our pages — this alum brings wedded bliss into her own home! Dawn Archibald Hendon is a chaplain and wedding officiant based out of San Diego, Calif. Her business offers a suite of marriage related services, including the use of her backyard chapel. Never one to forget her home state roots, she also officiates weddings in Illinois.

Barton Malow, a construction company based in a northern suburb of Detroit, announced the promotion of Larry Arndt ’89 M.S. ’96 to vice president of Barton Malow Builders. He will lead Barton Malow’s South Region, which includes all Florida operations.

The Drug Enforcement Administration promoted Sheila Lyons Dix to Special Agent-in-Charge of Chicago’s Field Office, making her the highest-ranking federal drug official in Chicago and the first woman to hold that title. She joined the DEA in 1992 and served assignments in Mexico City, Kabul, Afghanistan and Phoenix before returning to her hometown of Chicago. Congratulations and stay safe!

Gilbane Building Company announced the hiring of Jeff Janicek as a senior project executive and health care market leader for the Chicago business unit. In 37 years of experience in the Midwest construction industry, he has led numerous projects for healthcare clients, including Silver Cross Hospital, Advocate Aurora Health, Lurie Children’s Hospital, Rush University Medical Center and Northwestern Medicine.

Matthew Kurland has joined Agracel as its Chief Financial Officer. Prior to being named CFO at Agracel, he gained more than 25 years of accounting and finance experience while working for industry leading domestic and international companies in the real estate, property management, corporate retail and commercial banking sectors.

Metal Exchanges Corp. named Matt Rohm as the company’s new chief operating officer. He previously served as its chief financial officer and held financial leadership positions for many companies over the past two decades.

Damon Shaw joined the product management team at Haws Corporation as the director of Global Product Line – Emergency Equipment.

We recently learned Heather Fischer Wolbeck ’96 M.A. ’04 opened a new restaurant in Peoria this spring. As a Type-1 diabetic, Heather spent years honing tasty alternative dishes for her dietary needs and then specialized in working as a personal chef for those with dietary restrictions. The Queen of Squash held its grand opening at the end of April. Congratulations on the new venture, Heather!

What an achieavement. JD and Elizabeth Ferries-Rowe ’98 celebrated 25 years of marriage last August. He serves as vice president for Campus Operations at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School and coaches speech and debate. Elizabeth is the director of Women’s Services and an OBGYN at Sydney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital; she also serves as associate professor at Indiana University School of Medicine. She chairs the Indiana Section of American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and is editor-in-chief of publications for the Society for Academic Specialists in General Obstetrics and Gynecology. They have three children and reside in Indianapolis.

Brian Sluga authored “The Shriek I Do Remember,” published in the December 2022 issue of Conquer magazine.

Jamaal Buchanan has joined the Chicago law firm of Corboy & Demetrio as an associate attorney. He practices in all areas of personal injury law.

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center named Brigitte Grant MBA as its vice chancellor for advancement. Most recently, Grant was instrumental in the completion of a $500 million campaign at the University of Texas Health Center in Houston, including the establishment of over 100 new endowments and a transformational gift of $25 million.

Eriksson Engineering Associates, Ltd. promoted Ben Ahring to principal. He started as a senior project manager at EEA in 2016 and will continue to serve as EEA’s Chicago office manager. His work focuses on public work projects for park districts, municipalities and school districts. Congratulations!

Kenway Consulting in Chicago has promoted Amy Malave Wilkins to chief operating officer, leading the company’s day-to-day operations. She joined Kenway in 2011 as a management consultant and most recently worked as the managing director of client delivery.

Blinn College named Brandon Colvin as its new assistant athletic director. He has worked for the past two decades in junior colleges in both coaching and sports administration.

Joe Fiore serves as business development manager at the Medical University of South Carolina/Zucker Institute of Innovation Commercialization.

Doug Valentine joined the faculty at Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo. as assistant professor of sociology and anthropology after earning his doctorate in sociology from the University of Missouri. He has taught part time at Bradley since Doug and his wife, Chandra Avina Valentine ’10, live in Columbia, Mo., with their sons, Hollis and Simon.

We’ve heard several times over the past decade about former Braves outside hitter Caitlin Staib-Lipinski coaching volleyball at various levels. We were excited to learn Riverside-Brookfield High School named her head girls volleyball coach. We’re proud of you, Caitlin!

Caroline Koncz earned her doctorate in art history at The Ohio State University. She is now an assistant professor of art history at Angelo State University in Texas. We wish her the best in this new role!

Max Murphy re-signed with the Winnipeg Goldeyes after an award-winning campaign with the minor league baseball team last season. He earned 2022 American Association Player of the Year honors, leading the league with 31 home runs, 97 runs batted in and 242 total bases. Congratulations to Max!

Coastal Carolina University named Michael Bianchina assistant cross country and track coach. He previously served in a similar role at Radford University, and was a prominent member of Bradley’s cross country and track teams. Our Bradley cross country alums continue to run faster and farther even after graduation!

The Learning Guild’s 30 Under 30 list for 2022 cited Mimi Phung as a young professional who embodies the knowledge, skills, and drive needed by today’s modern learning leaders. The 30 Under 30 cohort, which features members from the U.S. and across the globe, attended the Learning 2022 Conference in Orlando last November. Keep up the great work, Mimi!

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