Class Notes

March 2014

Sheila Pree Bright


The National Black Arts Festival will honor Atlanta photographer Sheila Pree Bright (M.F.A.’03) March 20 at its annual benefit event Fine Art + Fashion. The event recognizes artists who have a positive impact on global fashion, as well as a strong connection to the arts and culture of the African Diaspora. Bright’s series of photographs, titled “Suburbia,” were on view at Barrington Hall in Roswell, Ga. last month, and her project 1960 Who?, consisting of 14 large-scale portraits of Freedom Riders and members of the Atlanta Student Movement, were installed on walls in downtown Atlanta and the Old Fourth Ward last year.

Dhanfu E. Elston

Ph.D. '11

Dhanfu E. Elston (Ph.D. ’11) will serve in an executive leadership role as co-director of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) African-American Knowledge Community (AAKC). The AAKC increases members’ awareness of, knowledge about, and appreciation for issues unique to African-American professionals working in higher education and student affairs. Currently, Elston serves as co-chairperson of the NASPA Historically Black College and University Council. He is a past recipient of Georgia State’sUniversity MLK Torch of Peace Award.

Andrew Edwards

B.S. '11

Criminal justice graduate Andrew L. Edwards (B.S.’11) owns and operates Red Fox Security LLC. It is one of the only minority-owned private investigation and security companies in the state of Georgia.

Lynne Rice Westbrook

Community and In-Home Behavioral Health Treatment  (Routledge June 2014)
1996 M.S.

Lynne Rice Westbrook (M.S. ’96), LPC, NBCC, CHP, is a licensed professional counselor in Georgia who has spent many years providing community and in-home based counseling and behavioral health services for those in need of mental health and substance abuse treatment. Recently she completed an academic textbook and professional reference being published in June 2014 through Routledge Publishing. This book examines the impact that the environment can have on the comfort level, perception, ability to concentrate,connect and general mindset of consumers during treatment.

Rona Simmons

MBA '75

Rona Simmons (MBA ’75), who retired from a 30-year career in business in 2011, announces the release of “The Quiet Room” a historical novel set in Evansville, Ind., a town generations of her family called home. Growing up in a military family with its constant duty rotations, Rona was denied the luxury of establishing roots and the comfort of the familiar, but she gained the invaluable opportunity to live abroad and experience diverse cultures. Her previous works include a ghostwritten biography of a prominent Atlanta businessman, a collection of short stories compiled from interviews of family and friends from the early to mid 1900s, articles for a local magazine and a horticultural journal, and flash fiction broadcast on internet radio.Rona now lives with her husband and (she swears) the last member of a passel of cats outside Atlanta on eight pine-studded acres. Though still fascinated by her German-Midwest American heritage, Rona is busy exploring her father’s side of the family for a new novel set in Boston. The book was recently reviewed in PointsNorth Magazine.

Loraine McMurray DiSalvo

Loraine McMurray DiSalvo
B.A., 1994

Loraine McMurray DiSalvo (B.A. 94) was selected for inclusion in the 2014 Georgia Super Lawyers list. This is an honor given to only the top 5 percent of attorneys in the state, and selection is based on an intensive process which includes peer review, information provided by candidates, and an in house research program. In addition, her firm, Morgan & DiSalvo, P.C. was recently listed by U.S. News & World Report as one of the Tier 1 Best Law Firms in the practice area of Trusts & Estates.

David Damiani

David Damiani was promoted to Chief Financial Officer of Balentine in January 2014
B.B.A'93, M.S.05

Partner David Damiani (B.B.A.’93, M.S.’05), CFA, was promoted to Chief Financial Officer of Balentine in January 2014. David also joined the management committee. In his role as CFO, David will oversee all financial operations of the firm.

Sara Lane

B.A. '03

Sara Lane (B.A.’03) has been hired for the newly created position of director at Visit Tybee, the tourism marketing entity for Tybee Island, Ga. Lane has previously served in a variety of business-to-business positions in the Atlanta area. Lane’s tourism career began with marketing positions at the Georgia Aquarium and the Marietta Welcome Center and Visitors Bureau.

Joseph Hsiao

The Flying Biscuit Cafe - Candler Park & Midtown
B.A. '06

Joseph Hsiao is the owner and operator for The Flying Biscuit Café at Candler Park and Midtown, also known as the two “original” locations. He and his brother/business partner, Matthew, oversee the operations of the company. The Flying Biscuit Café is an Atlanta institution and is well known for its unique Southern fare; serving breakfast, lunch and dinner all day. The Flying Biscuit Café has won numerous awards and has been featured in USA Today, Rachael Ray Magazine, Gourmet Magazine and The New York Times.

Wendy S. Wilmoth

B.A. '92

Wendy S. Wilmoth (B.A.’92) has been appointed Director of Learning Resources at Georgia Piedmont Technical College. Previously she was Director of Library Services at Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College. She earned her master’s and doctoral degrees at Valdosta State University.

February 2014

Leigh F. Cummings

Leigh Cummings (’02) Named a 2014 Super Lawyer
J.D. '02

Leigh F. Cummings (J.D. ’02), has been named a 2014 Super Lawyer by Super Lawyers magazine. Leigh is a partner at the Atlanta-based family law firm of Warner, Bates, McGough, McGinnis & Portnoy. Super Lawyers are the top five percent of attorneys in the state of Georgia.

Nicole Gossett


Nicole Gossett (B.B.A.’01) recently joined Decosimo, a Top 100 accounting and business advisory firm, as a valuation services manager with the Decosimo Advisory Services practice group. A certified valuation analyst, Gossett has performed valuation and litigation support services in the areas of financial reporting, healthcare regulatory, family law, commercial litigation, economic damages and forensic accounting.

Robin Zorn

(Ed.S. ’98)

Robin Zorn (Ed.S. ’98) was named the 2014 School Counselor of the Year by the American School Counselor Association. Zorn is a school counselor at M.H. Mason Jr. Elementary School in Duluth, Ga.

Keith Daniel

MBA '92

Keith Daniel (MBA ’92) has been named senior vice president, transmission policy for Georgia Transmission Corporation (GTC). Daniel has been with GTC since 1988 and has served in various capacities, most recently as vice president of transmission policy. In his new role, Daniel will continue to direct transmission policy for the corporation and coordinate with external organizations, including the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Mary Vickers

(M.Tax. '96)

Mary Vickers (M.Tax. ’96) has been promoted to vice president of tax for Cox Enterprises. Vickers is responsible for managing the corporate income tax function for Cox Enterprises and its subsidiaries. She most recently served as Cox’s assistant vice president of tax where she led the company’s state tax and audit functions and was responsible for tax planning for acquisitions and divestitures. Vickers joined Cox Enterprises in 1998 as a senior tax specialist and has held the roles of assistant tax manager, tax manager, director of tax and assistant vice president of tax. She previously worked for Turner Broadcasting System and in the Atlanta offices of Deloitte and PwC.

January 2014

Todd Atwood

B.A. '94

Todd Atwood (B.A. ’94), a 20-year veteran of the corporate banking and finance community, has joined AmWINS Group as the firm’s Chief Information Officer and will lead the Charlotte, N.C.-based company’s global information technology team. Prior to joining AmWINS, Atwood served as a Senior Vice President and Chief Architect Executive at Bank of America.

Bryson Payne

Dr. Bryson Payne (Ph.D. '04)
Ph.D. '04

Bryson Payne (Ph.D. ’04) has been named Department Head of Computer Science and Information Systems in the Mike Cottrell College of Business at the University of North Georgia. A 15-year veteran of the University System of Georgia and Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP®), Payne recently published an article in CIO magazine and is currently under contract writing the book “Teach Your Kids to Code,” to appear early 2015 from No Starch Press. He lives in Dahlonega, Ga., with his wife Beverly and two sons, Alex and Max.

Amit B. Singh

M.S. '91

Amit B. Singh (M.S. ’91) was recently hired as the new vice president of academic affairs at Clark State Community College in Springfield, Ohio. Singh is currently the dean of academic affairs/chief academic officer at Cuyahoga Community College’s Western Campus in Parma, Ohio. He will begin his new position March 17.

Patricia L. Doss

M.S. '87

Patricia L. Doss (M.S. ’87) recently published a book titled “Enough Rope.” It’s a forensic thriller and draws upon her experience as a graduate intern at the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office while working on her degree in criminal justice at Georgia State.

Lane Powell Jordan

Lane Jordan - High Resolution
B.A. '80

Lane Powell Jordan (B.A.’ 80) recently published her 5th book,”12 Steps to Becoming a More Organized Woman,” with Hendrickson publishers. In her new book, Jordan shares  information to make your life more productive, balanced and satisfying.

Stephanie Roberts (B.A. ’93)

Stephanie Roberts
B.A. '93

Stephanie Roberts (B.A. ’93) a paralegal at Bryan Cave LLP in Atlanta, has been named the winner of the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Employee of the Year Award in the Large Company category. Roberts has worked with Bryan Cave, a leading business and litigation firm with global reach, for 16 years.

December 2013

Matt Sailor

B.A. '07
M.F.A. '13

Matt Sailor (B.A. ’07, M.F.A. ’13) has been awarded a prestigious National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Creative Writing Fellowship. NEA Creative Writing Fellowships provide assistance to published writers that enable them to set aside time for writing, research, travel and general career advancement. NEA fellowships are highly competitive. The NEA received more than 1,300 eligible manuscripts in this round. Successful manuscripts are selected through an anonymous, panel-review process for which the sole review criteria is artistic excellence and merit. The NEA will support 38 fellowships in prose (fiction and creative nonfiction). The 38 fellows range in age from 27 to 60 and hail from 18 states around the country.

John M. Dyer

MBA '87

John M. Dyer (MBA ’87) has been named president and chief executive officer of Cox Enterprises, Inc., effective Jan 1. A 36-year Cox veteran, Dyer will be responsible for the company’s four major subsidiaries: Cox Communications, Manheim, Cox Media Group and AutoTrader Group, as well as corporate functions including financial operations, human resources and administration. Dyer serves on Cox Enterprises’ board of directors and its executive strategy committee and he also is a member of the Georgia State University Foundation Board of Trustees and the Marcus Autism Board of Trustees.

Mark Miller

MBA '08
M.H.A. '09

Mark Miller (MBA ’08, M.H.A ’09) has been named the new Chief Operating Officer of Largo Medical Center in Largo, Fla. Miller comes to Largo Medical Center from Northside Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla., where he is the Chief Operating Officer. While at Georgia State, he was awarded the R.J. Knobel Scholarship for academic achievement by the faculty.

Sandra Coffey Hofmann

Women in Technology Recognizes Sandy Hofmann with WIT Legacy Award
B.S. '74

The Atlanta-based nonprofit association Women in Technology (WIT) announced that Sandy Hofmann (B.S. ’74), Former CIO and Chief People Officer, MAPICS and Chair, TiE Atlanta Council of Board Advisors, is the recipient of WIT’s Legacy Award. The WIT Legacy Award was created to recognize extraordinary individuals who have inspired others and provided significant impact to the technology community, particularly in support and development of female professionals, over the course of their career.

Natasha Stark

B.A. '92, M.P.A. '96

Natasha Stark (B.A ’92, M.P.A. ’96) achieved certification as a Certified Research Administrator in May 2013. She is currently employed as a sponsored programs officer in the Office of Sponsored Proposals and Awards at Georgia State University.

Patricia Schiffman

B.A. '76
M.A. '78

Patricia Schiffman (B.A. ’76, M.A.’78) recently opened her own business, Little Green Apples, which specializes in developing custom databases for clients using FileMaker Pro.

Charles R. Major III

B.B.A. '03

Charles R. Major III (B.B.A. ’03) recently transitioned to a new role as Institutional Fixed Income Salesperson at an Investment Banking firm in Atlanta.

Bryan D Benak

B.B.A. '89
B.B.A. 1989

Bryan D. Benak (B.B.A. ’89) has recently been named Vice President and General Manager of U.S. Operations for Service Experts LLC. He previously served five years as vice president of the South Region for the company. Service Experts is the nations largest residential HVAC contractor with more than 70 locations.

Carol Springer Sargent

Ph.D. '09

Dr. Carol Springer Sargent (Ph.D. ’09) was appointed as Associate Editor of Accounting Education: An International Journal.

Nneka Logan

M.A. '06, Ph.D. 13

Nneka Logan (M.A. ’06, Ph.D. ’13) has been appointed an assistant professor in the Department of Communication at Virginia Tech’s College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.