January 28, 2021

Dispatches January 2021

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Trish (Johnson) Evans [LibArts] has published her first novel this past October. “Katy’s Ghost” is about a former teacher, haunted by a phantom, who learns to move beyond fear and toward acceptance.


Amata C. Radewagen [LibArts], delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives representing American Samoa, was named to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in January 2020.


Debra B. Davenport [CFA, GradCFA ’81] was elected to the Board of Directors of the Phoenix Conservatory of Music in Phoenix. She is currently the CEO of Brand Urbanity and the Davenport Institute, LLC, with offices in Scottsdale and Los Angeles.


Annette (Radaich) Walker [SciEng] is president of City of Hope Orange County, a cancer research and treatment center in Newport Beach, California. 


Chemin Bernard [SFTV] was awarded Emeritus Member Status by the Casting Society of America in September 2020 for her “remarkable contributions to the organization, the profession, and the art of casting.” She gave Jada Pinkett Smith her first lead role on “Moe’s World” and casted Terrence Howard in “Tall Hopes.”

Mike Dunlap [LibArts], former head coach of LMU men’s basketball, was hired as assistant coach by the NBA Milwaukee Bucks in November 2020.


Scott Stanley [SciEng, GradSciEng ’84] was named to the National Science Board, the governing body of the National Science Foundation, which supports research and education in nonmusical fields in science and engineering. Stanley is vice president of technology of Techno Planet, an aerospace engineering firm that he co-founded in 2008. He was appointed by President Trump.


Lynell George [LibArts] has written a new book titled “A Handful of Earth, A Handful of Sky: The World of Octavia E. Butler.” The book is published by Angel City Press, located in Los Angeles. On Dec. 2, she received the Distinguished Journalist Award from the Los Angeles chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.


Kim O’Neill [SciEng] has been appointed assistant dean of Kutztown University’s College of Business in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. She took the post in August 2019. O’Neill previously worked at the University of Washington, Bothell.


Roger Memos [GradSFTV] directed and coproduced his first documentary, “Marsha Hunt’s Sweet Adversity,” a 10-year project, which will have its television premiere on the Turner Classic Movies Channel Dec. 11. An actor who was blacklisted in the 1950s, Hunt, now 103 years old, went on to work for humanitarian causes during the next five decades.


Angela Clarke-Louque [GradEd], who is a professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Technology at California State University, San Bernardino, gave a speech at the Riverside County Office of Education’s Parent Engagement Virtual Summit on May 25, 2020. 


Denise Contis [LibArts] was named EVP and Head of Content for Primetime at CNBC in September 2019. She is in charge of CNBC’s primetime content, production and development. 


Lorcan Barnes [LibArts] purchased Lester Consulting Group, which provides management and fundraising counsel to nonprofits, after working for 24 years as president of Catholic high schools in Dayton, Ohio, and Sacramento. He and his wife, Patti, who have lived in Sacramento since 2004, have three grown sons: Jimmy, 26, Jack, 23 and Pat, 21.

Thomas Delaney [LibArts, LLS ’92] was elected president of the California Judge Association, effective in September 2020. Delaney is currently the association’s vice president and chair of the judicial outreach committee. He is also secretary of the California Latino Judges Association. Delaney was appointed to the bench in 2014 by then-Gov. Jerry Brown.


Don Hagedorn [BCLA] self-published his first novel through Amazon in August. “Ellie Says It’s Safe! A Guide Dog’s Journey Through Life” follows a guide dog puppy from birth to a match with a recent college graduate. Their continuing life story illustrates how lives of visually impaired people are improved through the love and courage of guide dogs.


Matthew Airey [GradBusAdm], who has worked in technology, finance and consulting, published a book in August titled “Steadfast Awareness: Reflections and Life’s Takeaways.”


Christiana Daisy [SciEng, GradBusAdm ’03] was appointed as Executive Manager of Engineering/Assistant General Manager at Inland Empire Utilities Agency, which is headquartered in Chino, California, in October 2019.


Maria Lourdes (Lou) Calanche [LibArts] was named to the five-member L.A. Police Commission by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in August 2020, pending approval by the City Council.


Louis Bronstein [LibArts] is assistant director of Federal Government Relations for the University of California, Irvine, where he is responsible for coordinating and implementing the university’s federal relations activities and serving as an advocate for the university on federal issues. Before to joining UCI, he served over 12 years with the County of Orange as a policy advisor to former Orange County Supervisor Bill Campbell [SciEng ’64]and as the manager of Government Relations for John Wayne Airport. 

Shonda Buchanan [LibArts, GradLibArts ’03], literary editor for the Harriet Tubman Press, wrote “Black Indian,” her memoir of her family’s African American heritage and American Indian roots. The book was published in 2019 by Wayne State University Press.

Heather Buchta [CFA] has written a young adult novel called “Beyond the Break,” which was published by Penguin Teen, imprint of Penguin Random House.

Christian Ehlers [LibArts, LLS ’01] was named a Red Cross Neil Allgood Award winner by the Los Angeles Region American Red Cross in June 2020.


Caroline McBride [LibArts] published her debut romantic comedy novel, “Four Seasons at Angelino’s” in July 2020 (Post Hill Press). The book is influenced by her career as a publicist and her personal escapades around the world.


Tamara LaSeon Bass [CFA] is writer, star and co-director of a new film released in early January 2021 called “If Not Now, When?” Among other projects, she was writer, director and executive producer in 2015 for several episodes of “All That Matters.”

D.J. Mitchell [LibArts] published his first nonfiction book, “The Soul of an Addict: Unlocking the Complex Nature of Addiction.” The book is written for nonaddicts who want to better understand addiction. Mitchell’s LMU degree was in theological studies, and he analyzes addiction in terms of its similarity to religion in the life of the addict.


Father Roland Berngeh [GradEd], who was born in Cameroon, was named parochial vicar in January 2021 of 10 churches in the Diocese of Portland, in Maine.


Candice Kelsey [GradLibArts] is a writer whose first book of poetry, “Still I Am Pushing,” was published this past March by Finishing Line Press. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three children.


Lisa Donohue [GradBusAdm], chief marketing officer of CycleBar, an indoor cyclying franchise fitness company, was interviewed in Authority Magazine in August 2020 about her ideas about leadership and her career path in the fitness industry.


Jacob Padrón [CFA] was named to the advisory council of the New England Foundation for the Arts in December 2019. He is the founder and artistic director of The Sol Project, which produces the work of Latinx playwrights.


W. Jameson McFadden [LibArts], president of Wellington Shields & Co., was elected to the Flowers Foods, Inc. board of directors, a post that will take effect Jan. 4, 2021.

Sami Strinz-Ward [LibArts], who led the LMU softball program as head coach for five successful seasons, was named head softball coach at Texas Tech University in October 2020. As coach, her teams won a total of 138 games, and she was named West Coast Conference Coach of the Year three times. As a player at LMU, Strinz-Ward was named PCSC Player of the Year in 2003, leading the Lions to the league’s inaugural championship.


Bishop Moses Chikwe [GradEd], auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Owerri in southeastern Nigeria, was released unharmed, along with his driver, five days after he was kidnapped on Dec. 27, 2020. Chikwe spent 15 years in Southern California while studying for a master’s degree at LMU and a doctorate in education, working at parishes in San Diego and Los Angeles.

Maximilian Fetaz [BusAdm] was named a shareholder in the Las Vegas office of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. He practices in the firm’s litigation department and represents clients in state and federal courts.

Annalisa (Gross) Schwartz [LibArts, GradEd ’09] took the post of principal of Paularino Elementary School In the Newport-Mesa Unified School District in July 2020. She has been an educator for 15 years and previously was interim principal at Whittier Elementary School.


Allison (Nassour) Leanos [BusAdm, GradBusAdm ’09] began a new job in November with the City of Hope, in Duarte, California. As manager of social media, Leanos is responsible for developing and overseeing the social media strategy of the organization, including its research and cancer care.

Suzanne Zurfluh [GradBusAdm] was hired in October 2020 as director of design and trend at Emser Tile, a company that produces products in the tile and natural stone industry that is headquartered in Los Angeles.


Tanya Ortiz Franklin [GradEd] was elected this past November to the Board of Education of the Los Angeles Unified School District. She represents District 7, which includes South L.A. neighborhoods east of the 110 freeway as well as much of the South Bay.


Megan (Cardwell) Godfrey [GradEd] won reelection to the Arkansas House of Representatives in the election held on Nov. 3, 2020. She was first elected in 2018. She is an educator who has taught English as a second language to students.

Daniel Takeshi Krause [GradLibArts] published his first novel, “Remembering Dismembrance: A Critical Compendium,” with What Books Press, located in Topanga, California. He is a senior lecturer in the LMU Department of English.


Jason Johnson [GradEd] was named superintendent of the Hermosa Beach City School District this past May. His term began on July 1, 2020. Johnson left his position as principal of Lincoln Elementary School in the Redondo Beach Unified School District. He also was a special education teacher and an assistant principal in that school district and also served as director of the Redondo Beach Teachers Association.

Zach LaGuardia [CFA] founded Kits with Kindness, which is based in Riverside, California, and donates goods, including masks, in bags to homeless people throughout the Inland California area. He is the director of ticketing and sales at California Baptist University, also in Riverside.

Nick Malvoin [GradEd], currently vice-president of the Board of Education of the Los Angeles Unified School District, was re-elected as the member for District 4, representing West Los Angeles and the West San Fernando Valley.


Sara Vlasach [GradBusAdm] has been hired by Emetry, a software company based in Napa, California, as senior director of product marketing.


Kelly (Fitzpatrick) Gonez [GradEd] was re-elected to the seven-member Board of Education for the L.A. Unified School District on November 3. She represents District 6, which encompasses most of the East San Fernando Valley.


Hallie Spoor [CFA], now a singer/songwriter based in Brooklyn, New York, released a video for her song “City Angels.” She wrote the song after experiencing a lonely day in New York during the COVID-19 pandemic. Spoor asked friends and family members to send her nostalgic photos and video clips that she could use in the video.

Nate Townsend [SFTV] directed a documentary about suicide and suicide prevention titled “Wake Up,” which made its premiere at the St. Louis International Film Festival in July 2020.


Kaila Patrick [LibArts] has been hired by Howard & Howard, a law firm based in Royal Oak, Michigan. Patrick began working with the firm as a summer associate in 2019 and will work in the firm’s Las Vegas office on business and corporate law.


Jon Harguindeguy [CFA] is program director at Awaken Arts in Los Angeles. The organization uses the arts as healing tool for people who have been through traumatic experiences.

The names of alumni who have passed away may be found on our In Memoriam page.