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Alumni Class Notes

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1978

Tim Hardee has been named the president and executive director of the South Carolina Technical College System, which includes 16 schools located across the state and two other statewide programs. He is a graduate of Leadership South Carolina and the South Carolina Economic Developers Program. Hardee also serves on the South Carolina Workforce Development board.

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1984

John Gardner has been elected mayor of Aynor, S.C. He is the chief financial officer for Horry County Schools.

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1988

John Faidley, head golf professional the last 16 years at Forsyth Country Club in Winston-Salem, N.C., was named the golf professional of the year by the Carolinas PGA.

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1992

Sachin “Sunny” Gupta is the co-founder, president and CEO of Apptio, a leading provider of cloud-based technology business management software for managing information technology.

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1994

David Maningding has joined SunTrust Mortgage as a producing sales manager for the Charleston region. He has 19 years of mortgage industry experience.

Sarah Loudin Thomas, who oversees fundraising and communications for a Christian children’s home in Black Mountain, N.C., has written her third novel, A Tapestry of Secrets. Her previous novels are Miracle in a Dry Season and Until the Harvest. She also has written for the publications Mountain Homes Southern Style, Now & Then and The Asheville Citizen-Times.

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1995

Michele Olds is the senior vice president of Nationstar Mortgage, where she manages the master servicing division. She serves as treasurer on the Structured Finance Industry Group (SFIG) board of directors and is on the SFIG executive committee.

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1997

Brian Batten, Ph.D., has been promoted to an associate at Dewberry’s office in Richmond, Va. He is a senior coastal scientist and project manager with the firm’s resilience solutions group and leads the sea level rise (SLR) practice. Batten has more than 20 years of experience in coastal marine sciences and is an expert in coastal hazards, including coastal flooding, coastal erosion and SLR. He earned a doctorate in coastal oceanography and a master’s degree in marine environmental science from Stony Brook University. 

Bill Langfitt was promoted to senior vice president of CresCom Bank and will continue to serve as a commercial loan officer in the Myrtle Beach market.

Regina Treadwell-Pertell has been appointed principal of Conway Middle School.

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1998

Stu Riddle has been named head coach of the men’s soccer program at Northern Kentucky University. He previously served for four years as the men’s head soccer coach at the University of Buffalo. Riddle also was the head coach at Western Michigan University for four years. He holds a master’s degree in public service administration from Evansville University. 

Brent Whalen was promoted to logistics branch manager for the U.S. Navy’s Submarine Combat Control Systems.

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1999

Michelle Ruthenberg studied traditional ecological knowledge of the Makushi people and the potential of local wisdom to guide conservation initiatives in Guyana as part of a master’s degree course in Miami University’s global field program. She is director of dive safety and special projects at Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach.

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2001

Kathy Grannis Allen was named the managing director of the airline industry public relations and communication division of Airlines for America, an industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines. She previously served as the senior director for media relations.

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2002

Brandi Wyatt Biehl is the co-executive officer of Sea Turtle Recovery, where she provides long-term care for aquatic amphibians.

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2003

Dale Ketola has been named the director of instruction and club fitting at the Golf Performance Center at Grande Dunes. He also is the director of the Myrtle Beach chapter of the South Carolina Junior Golf Association Hootie & the Blowfish Chapter Series.

Richard McGonnigal was appointed director of sales and marketing, overseeing sales, catering, public relations and reservations for the 291-room Four Seasons Hotel in Austin, Texas. He transitions from an 11-year career with Hyatt Hotels. He is a member of the American Society of Association Executives, Meeting Planners International and the Professional Convention Management Association.

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2004

Charles Johns IV was recently named the Carolinas PGA section merchandiser of the year. He is the general manager of sports turf and golf course operations at The General James Hackler Course at Coastal Carolina University.

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2005

Lucas Bohn conducts a one-man comedy show, Lesson Plans to Late Night, which is about his transition from elementary school teacher to national touring comedian. He has shared the stage with Dave Chappelle, Jimmy Fallon and Kevin Hart. In 2013, Bohn was nominated for “Comedian of the Year” by Campus Activities Magazine

Chris Sessions has been appointed associate director of sales at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa. He previously was the associate director of sales at the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

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2006

Brian Dowis is a full-time faculty member at Georgia Southern University, where he teaches taxation. He previously taught accounting and taxation at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Fla., and worked for Ernst & Young in Charlotte, N.C. Dowis earned a master’s degree from Clemson University and a doctorate from Louisiana Tech University.

Jessica Howle married Ryan West on Oct. 15, 2016, in Hartsville, S.C. She is a teacher at Bishopville Primary School.

Colin Stevens has been named the head boys’ basketball coach at Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach. 

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2008

Frances Farrar and Frank Fields Jr. were married on Dec. 3, 2016, at North United Methodist Church in North, S.C. She works with the Columbia Children’s Theatre and the S.C. Shakespeare Company as an educator and company member. 

Stephanie Kozikowski is a third-grade teacher in her hometown at Shelburne (Vt.) Community School.

Jack Leasure is the head boys’ basketball coach at his alma mater McQuaid Jesuit High School in Rochester, N.Y. The Knights played in the 2016 Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach in December 2016. As a member of the Chanticleer men’s basketball program, Leasure finished his career with 411 3-pointers, which is still good for 10th on the NCAA’s all-time list. 

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2009

Susan Scarce has been named development officer for the Conway Medical Center Foundation. She previously served as marketing and social media manager for Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday. Scarce also is a member of the Chanticleer Athletic Foundation board of directors.

Andrew Thompson graduated summa cum laude from North-western University, where he earned a master’s degree in global studies and international affairs.

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2010

Maranie Staab, an independent photographer/journalist, recently spent five weeks in the Middle East taking photos of Syrian refugees in Jordan and Iraq. In June, several of her photos from the Zaatari Refugee Camp were on display during a public art installation at the 2016 Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival in Pittsburgh, Pa.

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2011

Roosevelt Corbett has been named program director and professional development coordinator at WINGS for Kids, an Atlanta-based education program that teaches children how to behave well, make good decisions and build healthy relationships.

David Duran was recently named youth pastor at Christ United Methodist Church in Myrtle Beach. He oversees both the middle school and high school programs.

Amy Haggard was recently named administrative specialist in the Office of Alumni Relations at Coastal Carolina University. She is pursuing a master’s degree in student affairs in higher education from Colorado State University. 

Cyprian Hedrick has been signed by San Antonio FC as a defender for the 2017 United Soccer League season.  

Meredith Kirk was named to Golf Digest’s 2017 list of “Best Young Teachers” in America. She is the lead instructor at the Dustin Johnson Golf School in Myrtle Beach as well as the Myrtle Beach golf ambassador with Founders Group International. 

Josh Norman, a cornerback with the Washington Redskins, became the first former Chanticleer football player to have his number honored. A plaque bearing his name and No. 24 is displayed in Brooks Stadium.

Anthony Raffa has signed a professional basketball contract with Acea Virtus Roma of the Italian Serie A2 League. He has also played on professional teams in France, Iran and Qatar.

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2012

Alyson Boltz is engaged to be married to Erich Iberle. She works for NCGS Corporation in Charleston.

Emily Brockway played the title role in the Syracuse Stage/Department of Drama co-production of Mary Poppins. Now based in New York City, she has worked for Disney Cruise Lines and at theaters around the country. 

Mary Cathryn Eberly married Brad Bundrick in March 2017, in Farmville, S.C. She is a fiscal analyst with the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education.

Jason Flanagan and Santuan Stanley ’13 have started n.W.o. (new weight room order), a human performance training company in Murrells Inlet. 

Andrae Jacobs is in his second year as a business, finance and information technology education instructor at Richmond Senior High School in Rockingham, N.C., where he also is the linebackers coach and special teams coordinator for the football team. 

Kathryn Mann has joined the English department faculty at Francis Marion University.

Kayla Martin married Evan Carillo in April 2017, in Austin, Texas. She earned a master’s degree in advertising from the University of Texas at Austin in 2015.

Blair Wheeler has been hired as the outdoor marketing specialist at Sweeney, a full-service marketing and public relations agency headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. He supports outdoor retail and consumer industry accounts in multiple areas and works out of the agency’s Wilmington, N.C., office. He previously served as Hurley Surf Club’s global marketing manager.

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2013

Jessica Dennison is a physical therapist assistant at Emerge Ortho of Raleigh, N.C.

Spencer Lange has been named coach of Endicott College’s new women’s track and field program, which will officially begin as a varsity sport in Fall 2017. Lange has been the head coach of Endicott’s cross country program the past two years.

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2014

Jonathan Kinsey and Kristina Lewis were engaged on Jan. 7, 2017, in Banner Elk, N.C. They will be married on Oct. 20, 2018, in South Carolina.

Deborah Tollison is engaged to Brad Yarborough. She is a life enrichment leader at Brightwater, a continuing care retirement community in Myrtle Beach.

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2015

Aaron Aiken recently signed as a quarterback with the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League.

Joseph Beattie graduated into the fleet of the U.S. Coast Guard in July 2016. He will utilize his marine science degree during his assignment on the fast patrol cutter Sea Horse out of Portsmouth, Va.

Darbie Kelley is an inside sales consultant for the Charlotte Hornets. 

Austin Kerr has signed to play professional baseball with the Schaumburg (Ill.) Boomers of the Independent Frontier League. 

Shelby Manekin is a member of the Los Angeles Chargers Dance Team.

Joan Medvar and Jim Swanton are engaged to be married. She is employed at Cornell Medclaim in Millburn, N.J., and he is a financial adviser for Edward Jones in Bridgewater, N.J.

Geordan Miller was recently named a junior syndicated analyst at CresCom Bank’s 48th Avenue office in North Myrtle Beach.

LeAna Norman is pursuing a certificate in clinical psychology at Fielding Graduate University. She has been invited to present her research results at a forensic psychology conference in San Diego, Calif.

Symphony Thompson organized a drive to feed the homeless in the Myrtle Beach area during Thanksgiving and Christmas 2016. She received help from CCU students and alumni.

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2016

Kaitlin Eriksen was named a 2016 National Club Softball Association first team All-American as an outfielder. This fall, she will be teaching physical education at Johnsonville (S.C.) Middle School. She has also been named the Johnsonville High School junior varsity softball coach. 

Angelica Mourges is a teacher at Maison des Enfant de Dieu, an orphanage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

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Alumni Profile - Tracy Bailey

Alumni Profile

Tracy Bailey • The power of reading

By Monica Trepiccione

Meghan Laffin ’14 is quickly making a name for herself at CBS News, just as she did at Coastal Carolina University.

Tracy Bailey ’09 believes that children should be free to aspire to be whatever they want to be, regardless of race, gender or socioeconomic class. As the founder and CEO of Freedom Readers, a nonprofit organization devoted to improving the reading skills in low-income communities, Bailey is putting her beliefs into action.

A South Carolina native, Bailey majored in English education at the College of Charleston and went on to earn a master’s degree in secondary education from Coastal Carolina University in 2009 and a Ph.D. in education with a specialization in language and literacy from the University of South Carolina in 2013. 

As her final project for the master’s program at CCU, Bailey created a program designed to teach small groups of children about Civil War heroes. While raising her two children, she realized that other kids deserved the love and education that she was giving her own.

Feeling inspired by her project and her desire to give back to children, Bailey approached her pastor for advice about how to apply her ideas to help the community. She began by restructuring the project to focus on reading rather than history, and she recruited volunteers from her church to assist with tutoring. Freedom Readers was born.

“Once you learn to read, you are forever free,” wrote Frederick Douglass. This principle reflects the basic goals of Freedom Readers, which provides one-to-one volunteer-based literacy tutoring and free books. The organization serves more than a dozen communities in Horry, Georgetown and Richland counties. The young scholars in the program meet with their tutors in weekly sessions of eight to 14 weeks, depending on the season of the year.

Bailey says her impetus to start Freedom Readers can also be traced to the example her family set for her. After seeing her parents serve their community, she was instilled with a similar desire, one that is shared by her husband Issac Bailey, an award-winning writer and columnist. Bailey has already identified this same attitude in her daughter, Lyric, who one day hopes to start her own charitable organization.

“By helping youngsters form healthy relationships with adult tutors who help them with their reading skills, we are opening doors for the future and broadening horizons,” Bailey says. “We are reading them into academic and lifelong freedom.”

At the end of every reading session, the children are offered a book to take home. In 2016, Freedom Readers distributed more than 6,600 books. The books are received through donation from bookstores, nonprofit organizations and community book drives.

One Freedom Readers location partners with SOS Healthcare, a local nonprofit that works with autistic people in the community. Through this program, autistic adults are given the opportunity to tutor a child in Freedom Readers.

Bailey also works as a curriculum and implementation manager with Achieve 3000, an international digital reading program. In her spare time, she likes to run marathons, visit national parks and, of course, read. 

Monica Trepiccione is a student writer in the Office of University Communication.

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Alumni Profile - Kristin Etzkorn, M.D.

Alumni Profile

Kristin Etzkorn, M.D.

Growing up in Springfield, Ill., Kristin Etzkorn ’05 had no doubts about where she was going to college. She went on family vacations to the Myrtle Beach area throughout her childhood and attended summer soccer camps at Coastal Carolina University, where her aunt worked in the Department of Athletics. 

“The choice was very easy,” says Etzkorn, a rheumatologist who practices in Murrells Inlet and Myrtle Beach. 

When she arrived on campus in fall of 2001, her plan was to study pharmacy, but she ultimately decided to switch to medicine. 

“Coastal gave me a great overall education that prepared me well for medical school,” she says. 

One of Etzkorn’s favorite classes was organic chemistry, one of the most difficult courses in the curriculum, according to many students. “Professor David Evans taught organic chemistry. He was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about his area of expertise. He made it exciting for us to learn and was a great influence on me.”

After graduating from CCU in 2005, she spent four years at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine followed by a residency in internal medicine at the University of Tennessee in Memphis. Then she conducted a two-year fellowship for her specialty in rheumatology at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta. 

Her education completed, she was eager to begin her medical practice on the Grand Strand, which she now considered “home.” Her parents had retired to the area when she was studying at CCU, and her husband, Jeremy Church, was born and raised in Surfside Beach. 

Etzkorn joined Carolina Rheumatology and Neurology Associates in Myrtle Beach and Murrells Inlet in 2014. She specializes in treating such conditions as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, lupus and uveitis. 

Though most of her free time is taken up by her 18-month-old daughter Addison, Etzkorn loves coming back to visit campus. “I try to get back as often as I can for events like Homecoming,” she says, “and I’m blown away by the fact that it’s always more beautiful than the last time I visited. I have great memories of CCU and gratitude for the education I got there. I am where I want to be with my career and excited to be back in the area to raise our child.”

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