About Alumni


Don Orlich ’53, Ed.D. ’63, Pullman, Wash., co-wrote the 11th edition of the textbook “Teaching Strategies: A Guide to Effective Instruction.” He is a professor emeritus at Washington State University and has published more than 100 professional papers.


Ethel MacDonald

Ethel MacDonald ’61, M.A. ’81, ’03, Missoula, was featured on CNN in February for her avid tour-cycling adventures. The former English and French teacher told the network that she has probably covered more than 10,000 miles across Europe and North America since she took up her hobby in 2003. “Usually my trips are close to 1,000 miles in three to four weeks,” MacDonald told CNN. “I’ve been doing it for 13 years, and I’ve done at least one trip a year and often two. It would easily be closer to 13 or 14,000.”

Felicia Londre
Felicia Hardison Londré ’62, Kansas City, Mo., is a professor of theater at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She was selected as the special guest scholar for the sixth annual Tennessee Williams Institute, an immersive symposium offered during the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival in Massachusetts this fall. Londré is a theater historian in Shakespearean dramaturgy, as well as 19th- and 20th-century American, French and Russian theater history. She has published morethan 60 scholarly articles, 25 journalistic publications, 100 book and theater reviews and 14 books.

Keith Law standing next to a photo of the inventor of basketball
Keith Law ’64, Mount Vernon, Ill., played for the Griz basketball team on Dec. 1,1962, against the University of Kansas Jayhawks in Lawrence. On Dec. 19, 2015, he returned to Lawrence to watch the Griz take on the Jayhawks for the second time. “It was great to have been a part of both University of Montana basketball trips to Kansas,” he writes. “The bad news is we are 0-2.” Keith is pictured here in front of a portrait of James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, which hangs in the Naismith Room in the Allen Fieldhouse on the KU campus.
Blaine Ackley

Blaine Ackley ’65 poses in his Griz gear with his wife, Fran Beebe, at Guanahacabibes National Park in the Pinar Del Rios Province at the western tip of Cuba. The couple participated in the Oceanic Society’s SEE Turtles program, a 10-day ecotourism excursion in which they assisted researchers who help green sea turtles lay their eggs.

Elizabeth Loeffler Rhoads ’65, M.A. ’66, Kennett Square, Penn., is happily retired and living in a continuing care retirement community. She’s still actively engaged as a Rotarian, serves as president of her residents’ association and sings with Delaware ChoralArts.

John Wilson playing his trumpet

John Wilson ’66, Hamilton, relocated to the Bitterroot Valley after playing the trumpet in the United States Navy Band and as a freelance musician for 40 years in Washington, D.C. “In 1966, at the age of 21, I left for Washington, D.C, to play trumpet in the United States Navy Band,” he told the Ravalli Republic. “I soon realized that my training and musical experiences in (his hometown of) Great Falls and Missoula were top-notch. I’ve always been grateful for the very talented teachers and musicians who taught me so much.”


Book cover reading Beaver’s Fire: A Regional Portfolio (1970-2010) by George Venn

George Venn M.F.A. ’70, La Grande, Ore., is an award-winning poet, writer, literary historian, editor, linguist and educator who’s published nearly a dozen works, including his latest, “Beaver’s Fire: A Regional Portfolio (1970-2010).”

Susan Ballou Lohrmeyer ’72, Clarkston, Wash., retired from the Clarkston school district after teaching kindergarten for 24 years. 

Tom Cordingley

Tom Cordingley ’73, Helena, received the 2016 David C. Bryant Outstanding Service Award from the American Association of Community Theatre. The award recognizes his three decades of involvement with Helena’s Grandstreet Theatre, including as an actor, technician, board president and managing director. 

Rob Spencer
Rob Spencer ’73, Kalispell, owns and operates the Drum Den, a shop that specializes in drums, percussion instruments and accessories. In January, he signed as an endorser/artist performer for the Chicago Drum Company during the 2017 National Association of Music Merchants Convention in California.
Nancy Wells ’73, Norwood, Colo., was selected as the Colorado Science Teacher of the Year for 2016.
John Barker

John Barker ’74, Seattle, has designed parks, open-space restoration projects, gardens, playgrounds, trails, multifamily and commercial developments, public streetscapes, neighborhood parks, community plans and waterfront parks all over Washington since establishing his design firm, Barker Landscape Architects, in 1989. In 2011, he started a construction firm, Forrest Gardens, and has since completed millions of dollars’ worth of design and construction in the Seattle area. 

Mary Farlan Murphy ’75, Gardiner, received both the Montana Preservation Alliance’s 2016 Historic Preservation Excellence Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement and the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office’s Preserve Wyoming Award for Lifetime Achievement in recognition of her 30-year career with the National Park Service. Before she retired in 2015, Mary served as the branch chief of Concessions Facility Management in Yellowstone National Park. Throughout her tenure, she ensured the preservation of historic structures for the enjoyment of future generations. Mary is active in the American Association of University Women, serves on the Livingston Community Closet board of directors and has recently joined the Montana Preservation Alliance board of directors.

Rick Newby ’76, Helena, published “Theodore Waddell: My Montana” in March. The book celebrates the life and career of the Billings-born contemporary painter and sculptor who taught in UM’s art department from 1968 to 1976. Several contributors to the collection also are UM alumni, including Paul Zarzyski M.F.A. ’76, and Patrick Zentz M.F.A. ’74.

Patrick G. Darbro ’77, Bozeman, will retire at the end of the school year after teaching English and coaching at Bozeman High School for 26 years. He plans to continue teaching drivers’ education in the winter but will spend the rest of the seasons in Polson, “where the lake is great and the golf is just as good!”


Bill Crasper

Bill Crapser ’80, Cheyenne, Wyo., is the president of the National Association of State Foresters. Wyoming’s state forester since 2003, Bill has decades of experience with wildfire issues, community forestry, forest stewardship and other matters involving America’s trees and forests. His priority for his year as president will be to promote ways state foresters can work with all entities to improve forest management across federal, state and privately owned lands. 

Will Silverman ’80, M.P.A. ’94, Missoula, contributed two poems to a newly published anthology titled “Just a Little More Time: 56 Authors on Love and Loss.” Will attributes his continued love and appreciation of the written word to time spent studying under Richard Hugo at UM.

Ron Stief

Ron Stief ’80, Washington, D.C., is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and serves as the executive director of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, an interfaith organization of more than 325 religious organizations committed to ending U.S.-sponsored torture. He speaks widely at college campuses, interfaith events and coalition actions to end torture. He has been interviewed by CNN, HuffPost Live, The New York Times, Religion News Service, The Washington Post, National Catholic Reporter and many other national publications.

Ralph Beer M.F.A. ’81, Helena, published “Jackson Creek Road,” a collection of essays and short stories about how life in central Montana has changed over the past century. He’s published two other books, “The Blind Corral” and “In These Hills,” and teaches at Carroll College. 

Mark Calhoun ’85, Spokane Valley, Wash., was appointed as the Spokane Valley city manager last fall. 

Thomas Jones and family

Thomas Jones ’86, Portland, Ore., celebrated 30 years as a software engineer at the Standard Insurance Co. in Portland. His wife, Barb Bode Jones ’86, is going on 16 years as the director/teacher of Dove Christian Preschool in Portland. Their daughter, Mariah Jones B.F.A. ’16, graduated from UM 30 years after her parents and works in Missoula. Their son, Samuel, carries on the Griz tradition as he wraps up his freshman year at UM. The family is pictured here enjoying Family Weekend 2016.

Robert Dundas ’88, Fresno, Calif., is a professor in the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences at California State University, Fresno. He has published widely in paleontology, focusing on the study of ice age mammals of North America. During his time at Fresno State, he has brought in $1.8 million in grant and contract funding, with a particular emphasis on support for students’ field work, museum collections-based research and bench science. Robert also serves as the interim dean of the university’s College of Science and Mathematics.


Curtis Horton ’90, Fort Worth, Texas, conducts Military & First Responder Appreciation Days at Archery Pro Shops in the Fort Worth area. He is one of a handful of people to earn the highest certifications from both the National Field Archery Association and USA Archery. At age 72, he continues to coach and train archery champions.

Poems Across the Big Sky II: An Anthology of Montana Poets

Seven UM alumni 

Hannah Bissell ’09, Bigfork; Zan Bockes M.F.A. ’90, Missoula; David Allan Cates ’79, M.F.A. ’92, Missoula; Sally Cobau M.F.A. ’96, Dillon;  Carla Homstad ’82, M.A. ’87, Stevensville; Karin Schalm M.F.A. ’96, M.A., M.S. ’98, Missoula; and current Montana Poet Laureate Michael Earl Craig ’94, M.F.A. ’99, Livingston – are featured in “Poems Across the Big Sky II: An Anthology of Montana Poets,” which is available at select Montana bookstores and on Amazon.

Doug Brimeyer

Doug Brimeyer ’91, Jackson, Wyo., is deputy chief of the Wildlife Division for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. He served as the Jackson-Pinedale regional wildlife management coordinator for the past three years and as the Jackson regional wildlife biologist for the previous 18 years. Doug has been employed by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department for 26 years.

Dan Snedigar and Anne Holub

Dan Snedigar ’99 and Anne Holub M.F.A., ’03, Billings, were married Sept. 4, 2016, in Billings. Dan practices law at Patten, Peterman, Bekkedahl & Green, PLLC, and Anne is a copywriter at Kinetic Agency and also freelances.

Ed Morgan M.S. ’91, Juneau, Alaska, is a regional forester for the Alaska Region of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. He is married to Jodi Hastings ’90.

Don Graves

Don Graves ’92, Martinez, Calif., is the program coordinator for Contra Costa County’s Independent Living Skills Program, which helps young adults transition out of the foster care system. “Our vision is to move every youth from stagnation to motivation, from limitations to possibilities, from dependency to self-sufficiency, from the past to the future,” he says. Don, who played defensive back for the Grizzlies and graduated with a degree in sociology, credits his time at UM for much of his career success. “I use my leadership skills that I honed while playing football, and I bring that to my day-to-day work,” he says. 

Anne Lear Whitson ’92, Gilbert, Ariz., works in client relations-construction defects for the Carpenter Hazlewood Delgado and Bolen law firm. With offices in Arizona, Texas, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and California, CHDB is a full-service homeowners’ association and construction defect law firm. Anne enjoys her travels promoting the firm’s construction defect law services to condominium and high-rise clients throughout the region.

Martha Williams

Martha Williams J.D. ’94, Helena, is the new director of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Before Gov. Steve Bullock named her to the post, she taught law courses on the environment, wildlife, public lands and natural resources at the Alexander Blewett III School of Law at UM. She previously was the U.S. Department of Interior’s deputy solicitor and before that, an attorney for FWP.

Commander Matthew Barr ’96, Arlington, Va., has served in the U.S. Navy for 20 years, which included a tour of duty in Iraq. He has accumulated more than 2,590 flight hours during his career, and he now works at the Pentagon on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations. He’s married to Tara Truchot Barr ’96. 

Leon Slater M.M. ’97, Missoula, was selected to represent Montana in School Band and Orchestra Magazine’s 2016 “50 Directors Who Make a Difference” feature, which highlights music educators from every state. Leon has taught music education for 20 years, including the past eight years as the Hellgate High School band director. He’s also an active trumpet performer with Salsa Loca, the Big Sky Mudflaps and the Soul City Brass Band.

Trevor Laboski

Trevor Laboski ’98, M.Ed. ’04, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is the director of Mont’Kiara International School. He previously served as executive regional director for Missoula County Public Schools. 

Bear LeVangie ’98, Petersham, Mass., is a business development and technical specialist for BioForest Technologies, which specializes in innovative product development and forest protection strategies. An International Society of Arboriculture certified arborist, she’s a strong advocate for women in arboriculture and the co-founder and lead instructor of the Women’s Tree Climbing Workshop. 

Megan Harrington ’99, M.B.A. ’00, Los Angeles, is the lead producer on a full-length documentary film on retired Lady Griz basketball coach Robin Selvig. “The House That Rob Built,” which will be distributed by MontanaPBS, is tentatively set for release in spring 2018. Visit www.thehousethatrobbuiltmovie.com for more information.


Cameron Cole ’00, South Jordan, Utah, is a wealth adviser for Key Private Bank customers in Utah. He delivers comprehensive, personalized advice to individuals and families to address their wealth planning needs. 

Brooke Brown M.A. ’01, Campton, N.H., is the Pemigewasset district ranger for the White Mountain National Forest. She has more than 14 years of experience with the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service as an archaeologist and tribal liaison.

Selden S. Frisbee II ’01, Nashville, Tenn., conducts manager due diligence, oversight and reporting, and oversees investment analytics for Diversified Trust’s private equity funds. 

Seth Kantner ’01, Kotzebue, Alaska, published “Swallowed by the Great Land: And Other Dispatches From Alaska’s Frontier,” a collection of essays chronicling life in northwest Alaska.  

Cory Myers ’01, Sioux Falls, S.D., was promoted to news director of the Argus Leader. He’s worked at the news organization as a photographer, writer and editor for more than a decade. 

Aaron Murphy ’01, Washington, D.C., was named U.S. Sen. Jon Tester’s chief of staff in December. He joins fellow UM grads Dayna Swanson ’93, M.P.A. ’95; Dylan Laslovich ’08, M.A. ’10; and Marnee Banks ’09 as the senator’s senior staff. 

Brad Robertson

Brad Robertson ’01, Fairview, Ore., is a detective for the Fairview Police Department. He served on the East Metro Gang Enforcement team for four years and was directly involved in solving dozens of gang-related homicides. He’s been a detective on the East County Major Crimes Team since 2010. He was the Fairview Police Officer of the Year in 2010 and 2012 and won the Distinguished Service Award in 2013 for solving a complicated “stranger danger” homicide case. He also sits on the boards of the Oregon Homicide Investigators Association and the Oregon Coalition of Police and Sheriffs and is president of the Fairview Police Officers Association. 

Cody Hutchinson ’02, Havelock, N.C., is the district ranger of the Croatan National Forest in North Carolina. Cody, who oversees 25 employees at the 160,000-acre forest, also has worked as a silviculturist, small-sales forester, firefighter and acting district ranger on the Arapaho and Roosevelt national forests in Colorado, the Black Hills National Forest in South Dakota, and the Nebraska National Forests and Grasslands. 

Katie Rose Ranta ’02, J.D. ’08, Great Falls, is a trial attorney and appellate advocate with the Faure Holden law firm. She litigates on behalf of clients throughout Montana in areas such as employment law, insurance defense, premises and products liability, and general civil litigation.

Gabe Hess

Gabe Hess ’03, Denver,  is the chief technology officer of Havenly, an online interior design platform that operates a private marketplace of interior designers and facilitates an engaging design process, making beautiful decor  convenient and accessible for clients.

Sharma Shields M.F.A. ’04, Spokane, Wash., won the 2016 Washington State Book Award in fiction for her debut novel, “The Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac.” Shields’ first book, a story collection titled “Favorite Monsters,” won the 2011 Autumn House Fiction Prize. She also is the co-founder of the nonprofit literary press and arts organization Scablands Books.  

Christina Sonsire J.D. ’04, Elmira, N.Y., became the first woman soccer player inducted into the Georgetown University Hall of Fame. Sonsire, now an attorney at the Ziff Law Firm, was a striker and midfielder from 1994 to 1997, team captain and a four-year starter. She graduated as the team’s all-time leader in goals, assists and total points. She’s currently ranked sixth all-time in goals scored at Georgetown, with 26; sixth in assists, with 18; and sixth in points scored, with 70.

Luke Savage J.D. ’05, Sidney, is the Richland County Justice of the Peace. 

Kyle Simpson ’06, Washington, Penn., is an assistant professor of music at Washington & Jefferson College. He released his first professional studio album, “Something In Between,” last fall with the Kyle Simpson Jazz Collective. 

RC Cone

RC Cone ’07, Bend, Ore., co-wrote and directed “The Accord,” a documentary about the turbulent relationship between an Icelandic surfer and the cold North Atlantic wind. It premiered last May at the Telluride Mountain Film Festival in Colorado. The 18-minute film has earned numerous awards at film festivals across the globe, including the Grand Prize award at the Kendal Mountain Film Festival in England. RC also has worked on adventure documentaries for outdoor companies including Patagonia, Orvis and Howler Bros.

Adam Hammatt J.D., M.P.A. ’07, Whitefish, is the new city manager for Whitefish. He returned to his home state with 10 years of experience in local government, most recently serving as village administrator in Kimberly, Wisc. 

Tyler Huggins

Tyler Huggins ’07, Denver, is the CEO and co-founder of Emergy Labs, a progressive materials company focused on deriving useful porous carbon materials from wastewater sources. In December, he was selected as one of the first innovators to participate in the Chain Reaction Innovations program through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory. Tyler and his business partner have developed a process that uses a biological organism cultivated in brewery wastewater to create the carbon-based materials needed to make energy storage cells, including those used in cars. Their two-year term at Chain Reactions is designed to help them bring this technology to market. 

Joshua Meek and family

Joshua Meek ’07, M.S. ’13, Olympia, Wash., is a natural resources specialist for the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and provides technical advice to small forest landowners in western Washington. With an academic education that includes degrees in forestry and education, along with his work experience in several other state and federal forestry positions, Josh guides landowners through Washington’s complex rules for harvesting timber, building forest roads, thinning for forest health and wildfire prevention, and other forest work. His dad, Joe ’84, Helena, recently retired from the State of Montana after a career working on groundwater issues for the Department of Environmental Quality. Joe now spends his time fishing, kayaking Montana rivers and supporting backcountry trail crews with his pack stock. Josh’s mom, Theresa ’82 continues to teach second grade in the Helena Public Schools.

Denice Swanke M.P.A. ’07, Healy, Alaska, is the deputy superintendent of Denali National Park and Preserve. She previously served as the superintendent of the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument in southeast Montana. 

Theresa Williams

Theresa Williams ’07, Missoula, is the coordinator of Reaching Home: Missoula’s 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness, a city-county initiative administered by United Way of Missoula County. Williams, a mental health provider for the Missoula County Detention Facility and Western Montana Mental Health Center, has coordinated the community’s jail diversion program since 2014.

Katie Chappell

Katie Chappell ’08, Helena, is a nurse in the Internal Medicine Department at St. Peter’s Medical Group. She graduated with a doctorate in nursing practice from the University of Arizona in December. She is a member of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and serves on committees for UA’s College of Nursing Rural Health Professions Program.

Ann Piersall ’08, Bishop, Calif., is the deputy air pollution control officer for the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District. Before joining the agency in 2015, Ann conducted research on glaciology, snow science and water resources in central Asia as a Fulbright scholar. She also worked for the U.S. Forest Service and as a field researcher, ski patroller and wilderness ranger. 

Chris D’Angelo ’09, Washington, D.C., writes about political and environmental issues for The Huffington Post.

Sarah Fitzgerald M.B.A. ’09, Missoula, is director of the New Market Tax Credit lending program for the Montana & Idaho CDC. She previously worked as a business consultant for new businesses and as an education and community building consultant for nonprofits, as well as a backpacking and river guide and environmental educator. 

Corey Regini working in a brewery

Corey Regini ’09, Missoula, was featured in a Matador Network article titled “These 10 Women Are Changing the Craft Beer Industry in the United States.” Corey is the lead brewer at the Northside KettleHouse Brewing Co. taproom in Missoula. She also founded the Montana chapter of the Pink Boots Society, which provides support networks, scholarships and educational programs for female beer professionals. (Photo by Green Door Photography)

Waganesh Zeleke

Waganesh Zeleke M.A. ’09, Ed.S. ’10, Ed.D. ’13, Gibsonia, Penn., is an assistant professor in the Department of Counseling, Psychology and Special Education at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. She also has worked as a practicing clinician, consultant and parenting educator with a focus on autism, at-risk children, parenting and international adoption in both her native Ethiopia and the U.S. 


Bridget Baxter ’10, Missoula, launched Moxie Nosh, which produces nut butters made without added sugars or hydrogenated oils, last April. She teamed up with students in UM’s School of Business Administration to develop a business plan for the almond and cashew butters that are seasoned with coconut oil, sea salt and spices. Moxie Nosh is available at farmers markets across Montana and in select grocery stores. 

Ruben Michael Ceballos

Ruben Michael Ceballos Ph.D. ’10, Fayetteville, Ark., is an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Arkansas and the principle investigator for the institution’s Food, Energy, Water and Ecosystems Resources Research Coordination Network. The project, funded by a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, aims to develop a bioscience network of scientists in the United States and Southeast Asia.

Kevin Cotner

Kevin Cotner ’10, Missoula, is an assistant vice president and commercial loan officer for Stockman Bank Missoula. His responsibilities include developing and servicing commercial and construction loans, and assisting clients with their lending and credit needs.

Misty Rego ’10, Clarkston, Wash., published “Fever Dreams,” a collection of short stories, essays and poems, under the pseudonym C.M. Daniels. “Fever Dreams” is available on Amazon, and half the proceeds benefit the Asotin County Library Foundation. 

Dianne Rice

Dianne Rice ’10, J.D. ’16, Missoula, specializes in complex marital dissolution and family law as an associate attorney at the P. Mars Scott P.C. law firm. 

Adam Moreno

Adam Moreno M.S. ’11, Cupertino, Calif., is a forest ecologist currently completing a NASA-sponsored research fellowship at the Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley. Moreno hopes to use NASA’s Pleiades supercomputer and data from the space agency’s satellite system to develop a model for forecasting when forests are on the verge of catastrophic collapse. “The hope is that this system can become a global system that can predict any kind of nature disturbance in any ecosystem all over the world,” he told the La Grande Observer.

Nate Warner

Nate Warner ’11, Mill Valley, Calif., is the founder and CEO of Delete, a California-based company that helps people donate, recycle or sustainably dispose of their unwanted electronics, clothes, furniture and other items. Warner publically launched the company in November after securing $1.25 million in venture capital. 

Kelsey Wandke ’12, Helena, joined the Montana Automobile Dealers Association as director of dealer operations after serving 10 years in the U.S. Army, with her most recent duty assignment as a logistics officer at Fort Bragg, N.C.

Beryl Clark ’13, Seattle, is completing a draft of “Dust Mounthead,” a novel written in verse, as part of a 2016-17 Made at Hugo House fellowship. The novel will explore the relationships in a family unit of religious outsiders, specifically focusing on the young daughter’s point of view in a culture and people whose distance provokes hurt, rebellion and, sometimes, kindness. Hugo House is a nonprofit community writing center named for Richard Hugo, the nationally renowned poet and past professor and director of UM’s Creative Writing Program. 

Michael Dax M.A. ’13, Santa Fe, N.M., is the New Mexico outreach representative for the Defenders of Wildlife national outreach team. He previously worked for the Montana Wilderness Association. 

Brittany Schroeder ’13, Tacoma, Wash., scored the first-ever soccer goal in the semi-professional Northwest Premier League as a member of the South Sound FC women’s soccer team. Brittany, who ran track at UM, also is a graduate student at Seattle University and wants to be a nurse practitioner.

Mara Menahan illustratingAn illustration by Mara Menahan

Mara Menahan ’15, Washington, D.C., finished serving as the U.S. Botanic Garden’s first modern in-house botanical illustrator in March. The Truman Scholar spent the year-and-a-half assignment illustrating the conservatory’s floral diversity, converting sketchbook drawing into watercolor renderings and assembling them into more than 200 plates. (Photo captions: Mara Menahan hand-illustrates the Amorphophallus titanum, commonly known as a corpse flower, at the U.S. Botanic Garden. Also pictured is Menahan’s illustration of the coffea arabica flower.)