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Class notes: January 2021

Catch up with all the latest and greatest news from CHS alumni.
aerial view of the VCU logo on campus

1970s

Erin Reeve (B.S.’78/H&S; B.S.’81/N) earned an M.S.N. in nursing education in 2014 from Chamberlain College of Nursing and an MSN in leadership and management in 2018 from Walden University.

1980s

Dale Brumfield (B.F.A.’82/A; M.F.A.’15/H&S) has published his 11th book, “Railroaded: the true stories of the first 100 people executed in Virginia’s electric chair.” The book examines Virginia’s use of the electric chair from 1908 to 1920 as a form of “legal lynching.” Using digital databases, newspapers, court records and gubernatorial papers, Brumfield researched the forgotten stories of these first 99 men and one woman to face death in what was a new form of execution; of these, 87 were Black and only 13 White. Many were also young, uneducated and/or intellectually disabled. VCU associate professor Bill Oglesby wrote the foreword.

Ronnie Greene (B.S.'86/MC) has signed a contract with Chicago Review Press for his third book, “Heart of Atlanta,” a nonfiction narrative exploration of momentous civil rights events in Atlanta and the nation in 1964. Publication is tentatively scheduled for fall 2021. Greene's most recent book is “Shots on the Bridge: Police Violence and Cover-up in the Wake of Katrina,” published in 2015.

Jodi Mailander Farrell (B.S.’87/H&S) has been appointed vice president of development at The Everglades Foundation, an environmental nonprofit. She will spearhead the organization’s major fundraising initiatives and help expand the organization’s philanthropic donor base. Farrell, a former journalist with the Miami Herald and Palm Beach Post, most recently was vice president of advancement at the Adrienne Arsht Center.

Lesley Shure, M.D. (B.S.’81/H&S; M.D.’95/M; H.S.’96/M,) who completed her undergraduate degree as Leslie Suher, changed the spelling to Lesley Shure and completed her M.D. as Lesley Padilla has returned to Lesley Shure.

1990s

Stacey S. Cofield, Ph.D. (Cert.’98/H&S; Ph.D.’03/M), has been appointed the associate dean for recruitment, retention and diversity in the Graduate School of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She is also an associate professor of public health.

James Denvil (B.A.’96/H&S), was promoted to counsel at global law firm Hogan Lovells in January 2021. He practices in the areas of global regulatory and intellectual property and media and technology (privacy and cybersecurity) in Washington, D.C. He advises clients on a range of technology and data issues, including global privacy governance, incident preparedness and response, workforce monitoring, electronic contracting, digital advertising and public policy initiatives supporting innovative information use and sharing practices.

2000s

Altimese Curry (B.S.’07/MC) has joined forces with Girls For A Change to launch a scholarship for African American girls in the community. Curry, who runs The Ezer Agency communications firm, said her goal is to pay it forward and support future leaders. The scholarships range from $1,000-$10,000 per year. “As an African American woman who had to struggle through school financially, I know personally the stress it brings,” Curry said in an interview with WWBT. “My goal is to alleviate a little bit of that anxiety, especially during this time in our history, and I request that other women of color entrepreneurs join me.”

John Crandall (B.A.'06/H&S) is the head wrestling coach at Alhambra High School in Phoenix.

Veronica Sikka, M.D., Ph.D. (B.S.’01/H&S; M.H.A.’03/HP; M.D.’09/M; Ph.D.’09/HP; H.S.’12/M), was named the 2020 University of Central Florida College of Medicine’s Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year. She received the award for her excellence in teaching, research and service as an associate professor of emergency medicine.

2010s

Gabby Beckford (B.S.’17/H&S) won a Lonely Planet Best in Travel picks for 2021 for her platform Packs Light, dedicated to serving the Black travel, female and Gen Z travel communities. Her content emphasizes once-in-a-lifetime experiences, safety as a solo woman, and seizing opportunity, notably in the $70,000-plus in study abroad scholarships she was awarded during her time at VCU; she now coaches her followers on how to win such awards.

LaJuana Chambers Lawson (B.A.’10/H&S; M.P.A.’12/GPA) was featured on a list of “12 Black, Queer Entrepreneurs” published by Forbes magazine. Lawson discussed her secrets for success in the article, which highlighted her project management firm, Tacit Growth Strategies LLC.

Ranya Chakra (B.A.'12/H&S; B.S.'12/LS; M.D.'16/M) is a pediatrician in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and is married with a baby boy.

the letters b.l.m. projected onto the robert e. lee statue on monument avenue in richmond

Work by artists Alex Criqui (B.A.’16/H&S) and Dustin Klein was the cover photo of National Geographic’s “Year in Pictures” issue and featured in the New York Times. Both images are part of the team’s “Reclaiming the Monument” project that projects images of African Americans on the pedestal of the Robert E. Lee monument in Richmond, Virginia.

The cover photo of National Geographic shows an image of George Floyd on the pedestal and “BLM” on the statue. The photo in the New York Times shows an image of Breonna Taylor on the pedestal and “BLM” on the statue. The photo appeared in its Oct. 15, 2020, magazine, ranking the monument No. 1 on its list of “The 25 Most Influential Works of American Protest Art Since World War II.”

The artists have been projecting images on the monument since the spring. Other images include those of Marcus-David Peters, Harriet Tubman, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., James Baldwin, Angela Davis and Frederick Douglass. In a Q&A with VCU News, Criqui said their project “seemed like a unique way that we could contribute that would be appropriate for two white men in a Black-led movement, and a way that we could help our city further reclaim that space. … We want to use our work as a way of bringing people together and creating positivity.”

Pete Hanley (B.S.'13/H&S) is a dentist in Chester, Va.


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