Class Notes

We love to hear from alumni and so do your classmates!

When you submit a Class Note, we celebrate your exciting news by sharing it on this website. Your submission may also be shared in the UNC Asheville Magazine, which all alumni are eligible to receive for free. Update your contact information to ensure you receive the next copy and visit the benefits page to learn more about what you receive for being part of the alumni family!

Check this page throughout the year to see updates from your classmates!






  • Dr. Zollie Stevenson, Jr. retired as vice president for academic affairs/chief academic officer and tenured associate professor of psychology from Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas on Jan.1, 2020. He also was honored at the Annual Living Legends Banquet at the College.



  • Richard White retired from UNC Asheville’s Information Technology Services Department after 40 years of state service on March 31, 2020.



  • Dede Allen is celebrating her 26th year at the University of Alaska Anchorage as the associate director of athletics and senior woman administrator.



  • Larry Hill has been appointed chief finance officer (CFO) for Vaya Health.



  • Marc Pendley has worked in the finance department as an accounting manager in the Town of Collierville, Tennessee for 25 years.



  • Tate Lyda and Li Jun welcomed a baby boy, Mason Rockford-Ji Lyda, on Jan. 20, 2020.



  • Andrew Digh, associate professor of computer science at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, was the 2019 recipient of the Joe and Jean Hendricks Excellence in Teaching Award.



  • Mike Shildt, coach for the St. Louis Cardinals, was selected as the National League Manager of the year.
  • Kat Mellen Charron has received a 2019-20 fellowship from the National Humanities Center, and will spend the year working on her second monograph, “Possibility Thinkers”: Women and Rural Black Power in North Carolina.
  • Lee Haywood joined the WWAY Stormtrack 3 Weather Team in Wilmington, North Carolina.



  • Paige Richardson Counts was named Caldwell County public information officer in August 2019. In her new role, she handles all public relations and marketing activities for county government agencies and oversees the county’s PEG (public, education, government) channel.



  • Shannon Knupp was hired as the vice president of human resources for Forever 21.
  • Lori Bailey has been hired as the executive director for The Nantahala Health Foundation.



  • Willow Walker (Janice A. Sitton) was appointed as the member services coordinator for the Brevard/Transylvania County Chamber of Commerce. 



  • Shannon Davis published a new book, co-authored with Theodore N. Greenstein, titled Why Who Cleans Counts: What Housework Tells Us About American Family Life. 
  • Dano Holcomb and Julie Holcomb, co-owners of the Root Down food truck, were featured on CNN’s “Wander Musts – Best Food Trucks in the South” segment.
  • Dr. Douglas B. Palmer was elected as the 27th President of Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Missouri. 



  • Marissa Rowe was promoted to the new executive director for the Indiana Education Savings Authority



  • Kenya Edwards made the 2019 Top Producers List for the Atlanta REALTORS Association.
  • Amanda Gramer Patterson and her husband, Michael, welcomed a son, Lincoln, in March 2019.



  • Crystal Rattazzi Davidson started Casual Confections LLC, an online custom bakery located in Matthews, North Carolina. 
  • Trisha Burnett has been hired as the internal audit director by the Buncombe County Commissioners.



  • Christine G. Wyman, a resident in Bracewell’s Washington, D.C., office, was promoted to senior principal. 



  • Anelle Ammons attended the International Society of Arboriculture Institution and has now passed the certification exam and achieved ISA Certified Arborist.
  • Jeremy Shrader, of Carruthers & Roth, P.A. in Greensboro, North Carolina, was selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2019 for the practice area of Real Estate Law.
  • Douglas Davidson was accepted into the Critics Choice Association.



  • Sonsera Kiger was promoted to listener and donor services manager at 88.5 WFDD, North Carolina’s flagship public radio station, based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
  •  Aaron Rembert has been hired as the chief operating officer for the Athletes Lab LLC in Maiden, North Carolina.



  • Ian Dennis, the owner of Denizens Plush, was featured in an article by YES! Weekly and in the “Island of Misfit Toys” show at Dye Pretty Salon and Art Gallery located at 621 N. Trade St. in Winston-Salem.
  • James Pearson was appointed as the new director of Stetson University’s Homer and Dolly Hand Art Center. 



  • Shannon Lamoureux Waddell and David Waddell established a true partnership, through their new home rental business, Bigfoot Living LLC.



  • Emily Keith was hired as the managing director of VIP engagement at Politico in June 2019.
  • Rachel Ann Brothers and Nathan Brothers welcomed their third son, Peter, on May 26, 2019. 
  • Harry Johnson and his wife Kreth Ball-Johnson welcomed their son George Henry Johnson into the world on Aug. 29, 2019.



  • Luiza DeCamargo joined the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts as a development officer for foundation and government relations.
  • Anna Wilson serves as a field research manager at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. 
  • Jenny Stanley accepted a position as a field botanist for the Virginia Natural Heritage Program.



  • Sara Greene recently began her role with Capital One in Richmond, Virginia on the campus recruiting team. 
  • Lindsey Prather married her long-time partner Eric Ernst on January 31, 2020, at the Buncombe County Courthouse.
  • Eric Valdes has started a new business called Asheville Vehicle Outfitters, which builds adventure vehicles for camping and overlanding.
  • Ben Alexander is the new principal at Valley Springs Middle School.
  • Megan Scott and John Becker worked together on the 2019 edition of Joy of Cooking, which was released on November 12, 2019. The new Joy of Cooking features more than 4,000 time-honored favorites and 600 new recipes. 



  • Janet Schafer was promoted to budget manager for Gaston County.
  • Sam Riddle accepted a position as a budget analyst for Buncombe County.



  • Suzanne Hunt has been named NWI’s 2019 Emerging Wellness Professional of the Year. She also serves as the Chair of the Emerging Wellness Professionals Task Force and the Chair of the Campus Partnerships Subcommittee (within the EWP Task Force). Hunt is a well-being consultant, and an undergraduate public health instructor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, as well as an assistant professor at the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine. She is a Certified Wellness Practitioner (CWP) through the National Wellness Institute and a Certified Health Coach & Weight Management Specialist through the American Council on Exercise.
  • Tom Rees has been hired as the assistant women’s tennis coach at Kansas State University.
  • Madelyn Anderson has joined Ten Atoms as a manager, bringing along client Molly Burch ‘12. Anderson has been managing Burch since 2018. 
  • Molly Burch debuted her album, Please Be Mine, and she is now on a U.S. Tour with Jackie Cohen and Brian Lopez.
  • Ryan Dull, a Major League Baseball pitcher, was called up to play for the New York Yankees.
  • Caitlin Halloran Edwards was promoted to associate director of alumni & parent engagement at Swarthmore College.


  • Rebekah David accepted a position as a UX designer at Amazon in Seattle, Washington.



  • Brendan Hoyer is the chief financial officer of Symmetry Financial Group.
  • Candice Jordan was recently promoted to planetarium administrator at the Schiele Museum of Natural History.
  • Kyle Ponder was promoted to retail care specialist at HomeTrust Bank.
  • Daniel Arnon was selected to participate in the Charles Bronfman IPF ATID Conveners Summit 2019.



  • Ruth Cumberland gained experience at the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, University of Georgia, Smithsonian, and National Ecological Observatory Network. She plans to pursue an M.S. degree next.
  • Kelly Kurc is a licensed realtor in the Asheville area, specializing in historical and vintage homes.
  • Jeremy Gower completed Officer Training School on September 26, 2019, and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Air Force in Montgomery, Alabama.
  • Lisa Riggsbee recently received YMCA of the USA 30 under 30 recognition for work in community health, mobile medical unit, and chronic disease prevention.
  • Stephanie Watkins-Cruz was recently selected by the National Housing Conference as one of 30 young professionals across the country to attend the Urban Institute: Foundations of the Future of Housing Conference in Chicago, Illinois.
  • Chloe Gagin celebrated one year as an economist at the Internal Revenue Service in November 2019.
  • Juliana Grassia was accepted into the Master of Arts in Museum Studies program at Johns Hopkins University.



  • Katherine Calhoun Cutshall, an archivist in the North Carolina Room at Pack Memorial Library, was appointed by Governor Roy Cooper to serve on the State Historical Records Advisory Board. The board is the central advisory board for historical records planning and project assistance in the state and is responsible for assuring the objectives of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission are implemented on the state level.
  • Karly Hartzman is a guitarist in the band Wednesday, which released their new album, “I Was Trying To Describe You To Someone” on  February 7 via Orindal Records. The band Wednesday is made up of entirely UNCA alumni, Karly Hartzman on vocals and Guitar, Margo Schultz ’18  on bass, Daniel Gorham ’19 on guitar, Alan Miller on drums, and Xandy Chelmis on lap steel.
  • Lauren McClure and Ben McClure welcomed their first child, Kiera Fallon, into the world on September 4, 2019.
  • John Armstrong filed for his own LLC in July and he now owns a production company called MarketStrong Productions LLC. John is also currently working as a freelance studio manager for a local production company called ScrewUP TV Productions LLC. 



  • Amy Castle completed Pathway to Practice in the summer of 2019 and has obtained her teacher licensure.
  • Madeline Delp was featured on for her efforts to be the first woman in a wheelchair to compete for Miss USA. She placed in the top 10 at the Miss North Carolina USA pageant and was named Miss Congeniality, and she served as the grand marshal for the Asheville Holiday Parade. 
  • Kayla Dunn recently accepted a position as the event coordinator at Cabarrus Arena and Events Center.
  • Christa Mullis had a paper published in the peer-reviewed journal, The Canadian Journal of Disability Studies.
  • Audra Goforth recently left Asheville, NC (working as an editor at AVLtoday), moving to St. Petersburg, Florida, to accept the role of social media coordinator at WTSP 10 News.



  • Allie Snyder has been honored with the title of 2020 Buncombe County’s Beginning Teacher of the Year by NCAAT (The North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching) and is one of three beginning teachers of the year for the Western North Carolina region. Snyder currently works for Weaverville Elementary.
  • Melody Hager was chosen to be a part of the North Carolina Azalea Festival Queen’s Court and will be representing Iredell County in her capacity as Miss Statesville 2020 within the Miss America Organization. 
  • Felix Stith has been named the Toe-Cane Watershed coordinator with Blue Ridge Resource Conservation & Development. 
  • Shawn Winebrenner accepted the position of visual arts teacher at Asheville Primary School in July of 2019. 
  • Ty Higginbotham accepted a position as a CIRA research associate / AWT development meteorologist at the Aviation Weather Center in Kansas City, Missouri.



  • Jason Rafferty will be attending the University of Georgia’s Master of Fine Arts program in the fall with a teaching assistantship, scholarship, and full-ride tuition coverage. His partner, Sally Garner ‘14, received a full-ride offer and prestigious scholarship for the Master of Fine Arts program at Georgia State University in Atlanta. 
  • Zachary Tuggle was promoted to a meteorological analyst at CyberData Technologies in Sterling, Virginia.
  • Morgan Rulevich has been selected to lead Converse College (soon to be Converse University in Fall 2021) Valkyrie’s Swim Program. Rulevich’s Graduate Assistant is fellow UNCA alumna, Emma Nelson ‘19, who is pursuing her Master’s in Education.

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