2004 Program Distinguished Alumni

College of Liberal Arts graduates exhibit many fascinating paths to success. Each year we celebrate the accomplishments of our alumni at an Outstanding Alumni Awards Ceremony.


Marjorie Baker, Ph.D.

'72 B.A. Sociology

Dr. Baker obtained her M.S.W. and Ph.D. in social work from Ohio State University in 1984 and 1995, respectively. Her research interests focus on gerontology and health care, the effects of forgiveness on health and mental health, minority perspectives and service delivery to vulnerable populations. Dr. Baker was named Social Worker of the Year in 2001 by the National Association of Social Workers for both the Dayton Region and the state of Ohio; being the first WSU social work faculty member to receive this honor. She serves as a member on six different boards at the local, state, and national levels, and is a member of seven professional associations.

Sandra Castle

'83 B.A. Social Work, '96 M.A. Rehabilitation Counseling

In 1985, Sandra became a probation officer with Clark County Juvenile Court; returning to foster care working at Choice Inc. in Dayton (1987-89) to further her education. In 1998, Ms. Castle completed the Cultural Bridges Justice Institute training. Her education and training have been utilized by Sandy in her position as coordinator of mental health services and the mental health team for Community Services for the Deaf, which is funded by the Family Service Association of Dayton.

Tamara Combs-McNew

'83 B. A. Communication, '94 M.S. Counseling

Tammy serves as the Organizational Development and Training Director for Montgomery County in Ohio. She is responsible for adult learning, cultural change, and performance improvement initiatives. She also markets and manages the Madison Lakes Learning and Conference Center located in the Madison Lakes Park just west of downtown Dayton.

Byron J. Crews

'93 B.A. English, '97 M.A. English

Byron has been teaching in the Department of English since 1998 and is also a professional short fiction writer, serving as a research assistant for Sudden Fiction. He appeared in Wright State 's production of Halfway Diner and has directed music for theatrical productions at the University of Florida and San Francisco 's Magic Theatre.

Byron's first play, Remote Control, was staged at Wright State's Herbst Theatre in November 2003 and described by Stuart McDowell, Chair of the Theatre Department, as a “marvelous mirror of the mayhem of our modern world.”

Susan D'Aloia

'91 B.F.A. Theatre Arts

Susan has stage managed productions for several professional companies locally, including Dayton Opera, The Human Race Theater Company, and Victoria Theatre.

Suzy Bassani introduced her to The Muse Machine in 1992, and as a result, Susan staged managed 10 consecutive musicals for the organization and joined the staff on a full-time basis in October 1992, assuming the role of executive director in 2002. She is a member of the Rotary Club of Dayton and was in the Leadership Dayton Class of 2003.

Darrell Gill, M.D.

'85 B.A. Philosophy

Darrell Gill completed an M.A. in philosophy at the University of Cincinnati and then completed his medical studies at the Iowa College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery.

Since completing his residency training in family medicine and emergency room medicine in Cleveland, he has been working as an emergency room physician and clinical instructor at University Hospital in Cleveland. He plays jazz and blues piano, holds a patent on a medical instrument and plans to open his own medical clinic.

Karen J. Hunt

'89 MA History

Karen J. Hunt, director of the John Hope Franklin Collection of African and African American Documentation and African American resource librarian at Duke University and a 1989 Wright State University graduate (MA History), is the Outstanding Alumni Award winner from the College of Liberal Arts.

The John Hope Franklin Collection is a repository for African and African American studies and an educational outreach division of the Rare Book, Manuscript and Special Collections Library at Duke University. Named after distinguished historian John Hope Franklin, the collection collects, preserves and promotes materials on the history of Africa and people of African descent. While a Wright State student in 1986, Hunt decided to join the Peace Corps. She served in Kenya, East Africa, until 1988. Since leaving Wright State, Hunt has worked for the National Archives and Record Administration in Washington, D.C., and as corporate records manager for Northern State Power in Minneapolis. She later was a manuscripts assistant at the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan, assistant university archivist at the College of William and Mary, and an associate professor, systems archivist, and director of the Department of Archives and Special Collections at California State University, Dominguez Hills.

Hunt has published numerous articles and presented on the John Hope Franklin collection, the future of archiving and on 19th century physician and abolitionist Sarah Parker Remond.

Mary Leal

'79 B.A. Sociology, '03 M.A. Applied Behavioral Science

Commander Mary Leal joined the Dayton Police Department in 1982, performing a variety of duties including those of a patrol officer and detective, as well as those involved with communication and conflict management. Due to injuries received in the line of duty, Mary retired on disability in 1989 but continued to teach in a variety of forums. In July 2003, she was appointed the first commander of the new Criminal Justice Training Academy at the Greene County Career Center.

David Pettegrew

'98 B.A. Greek and Anthropology

David has been involved in archaeological projects in Greece since 1998, including the Ohio State University Excavations at Isthmia, the Eastern Korinthia Archaeology Survey, the Australian Paliochora-Kythera Survey and a project near Larnaka in Cyprus. He has delivered conference papers and published articles about rural farmsteads and country life in Greece during the Classical and Roman periods.

Rev. Marya Lynn Rutherford

'00 M.U.A.

Marya Rutherford is a graduate of the city of Dayton 's Neighborhood Leadership Institute, the Development Training Institute for Leadership and Management in Community-based Development (Baltimore), and Harvard University Divinity School 's Summer Leadership for Community and Economic Development (Boston). Marya is currently vice president of community development at Provident Bank, and is also an associate minister at Philips Temple CME church, responsible for pastoral care. Marya sits on a number of community boards including the Community Action Partnership Board of Trustees and Advisory Council, the West Area YMCA, the Community Bankers group, the Individual Development Account Program Advisory Board, and the Community Roundtable.

Lynn Marie Simonelli

'91 B.A. Anthropology, '02 M.A. Public History

After graduation, Lynn Marie went on to work for the Dayton Museum of Natural History as an assistant curator of anthropology. In 2000, she was appointed as curator of anthropology at the renamed Boonshoft Museum of Discovery. She has worked on the museum's compliance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, on museum exhibits, and she conducts field archaeological research in the Dayton area.

Marilyn K. Smith

'83 B.M. Music History and Literature

While at Wright State , Marilyn studied voice, piano, and harpsichord; later spending 12 summers at Oberlin College as a harpsichordist at the Baroque Performance Institute. Since graduation, Ms. Smith's life has centered around performing on the harpsichord and volunteering for various arts organizations in Dayton ; including holding board positions with the Dayton opera Guild, the Dayton Bach Society, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra (DPO), and the Dayton Philharmonic Volunteer Association. Marilyn was instrumental in raising a great deal of funds for the (DPO) orchestra and for scholarships to young musicians in the area.

Michael Solomine

'78 B.A. Political Science

Michael Solomine earned his J.D. from Northwest University in 1981, having served on law review for the Journal of Criminal Law, and was a research assistant to Professor John Heinz. The Ohio State Bar Association honored him with the Legal Education Committee Award in 2003. Michael is the sole author of four books, and co-author of numerous books and articles, including Constitutional Litigation in Federal and State Courts with WSU Professor Emeritus James L. Walker.

Sally Struthers

'81 B.A. Art & Art History and Classics

Dr. Sally Struthers is the Dean of the Fine and Performing Arts Division at Sinclair Community College . She received her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in the history of art from The Ohio State University. Sally has been honored numerous times for excellent teaching and has developed and taught traditional courses, as well as non-traditional delivery forms such as video and web-based media.

Colette Thompson Stockum

'83 B.A. Modern Languages

Colette used her language skills for many years; first as a translator and copy editor for TV Guide, and then as a senior editor at Time-Life. In 2002, she decided to go into teaching and started at the Dayton Academy, teaching Spanish to first, second, and third graders and opening up the world of another language and culture to inner-city children.

She went to back to school full time for a M.Ed. degree and is now teaching Spanish in kindergarten through sixth grade at Patterson-Kennedy Elementary School.