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Class Notes - Spring 2015

By Terp Staff

Jeff Miller


Alex Shinksy ’14 was selected in the fourth round of the Major League Soccer SuperDraft in January by the Chicago Fire. During his senior year at UMD, he helped the team to a 13-6-3 record and was named to the All-Big Ten Conference men’s soccer first team.

Krzysztof Franaszek ’13 is one of 30 recipients of a Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. He will receive up to $90,000 to attend Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he wants to combine basic science, clinical and commercial insights to create new therapeutics for previously unmanageable diseases. Born in Poland, Krzysztof immigrated to the United States when his parents took up postdoctoral research positions near D.C. Krzysztof graduated a year early from UMD with dual degrees in cell biology and economics. While an undergraduate, he was a Presidential Scholarship recipient, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Research fellow, ambulance EMT at the Branchville Volunteer Fire Company and a lightweight rower.

Suyan Hu M.B.A. ’10 has joined Clutch Group, an organization dedicated to helping companies tackle complex legal, risk and compliance issues, as a director in its Washington, D.C., headquarters. Previously, she was a senior consultant at Gallup Consulting.


Bowen Frazer

Andrea Majanik Bowen ’08 and Melanie Somjen Frazer were married March 28 at St. Stephen and the Incarnation Episcopal Church in Washington. Bowen is the executive director of Garden State Equality, an advocacy group for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights in Montclair, N.J.

Mark Hagerott Ph.D. ’08 has been appointed chancellor of the North Dakota University System. He is a deputy director and distinguished professor at the Naval Academy Center for Cyber Security Studies and has held high ranks on U.S. Navy warships throughout his life. He earned a bachelor’s degree at the Naval Academy and a master’s degree at Oxford University before coming to UMD. Hagerott also has ties to North Dakota, as he grew up on a farm there, where his father continues to work.

M. Dianne Leveridge M.E. ’08, Ph.D. ’14 is the new director of Technical Programs for Academic Affairs for the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. Since retiring from Lexmark International Inc., Leveridge has been serving as director of Project Lead the Way, a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program affiliated with the University of Kentucky that focuses on K-12 students.

Rodolfo Tello Abanto

Rodolfo Tello Abanto M.A.A. ’07 has written “Social Safeguards: Avoiding the Unintended Impacts of Development,” which addresses the unintended social impacts of projects in developing countries and points out the need to carry out significant improvements in the way international financial institutions implement their safeguard policies. He holds a doctorate in anthropology from American University.

Ken Weaver M.F.A. ’07 has been named beer editor at All About Beer magazine.

George Ashton

George Ashton M.B.A. ’06 has been named to Washington Business Journal’s list of “40 Under 40” top professionals in the region. He is co-founder and chief financial officer of Sol Systems. It offers a first-of-its-kind renewable energy credit finance platform to make solar energy more affordable.

Zvi Band ’06 was named to Washingtonian Magazine’s biannual ranking of the Most Important People in Digital Washington. He and Tony Cappaert co-founded Contactually, a cloud-based contact-management company, and Band gathers the city’s entrepreneurs at his monthly DC Tech Meetups.

Nishil Patel ’06 has been promoted to vice president and treasurer at Chesapeake Lodging Trust. Patel joined the Trust in 2010.

Joseph Natale ’05 has been promoted to vice president of food and beverage at Menin Hospitality, a South Florida-based luxury hospitality management company. He served as vice president of operations for the past five years at the company.

Vicki Brick

Vicki Brick ’04 is the new CEO of Brick Bodies Fitness Services, replacing her father, C. Victor Brick, who is becoming more active in the family’s Planet Fitness expansion efforts. Previously, she was vice president of brand management and general manager of the company’s new Brick Bodies location in Padonia, Md.; membership grew from less than 4,000 members at the original site to almost 12,000 at the new location. In March, Brick was named a top executive by Smart CEO.

Fast Company magazine in March ranked InVenture, a nonprofit co-founded by Tom Schumacher ’04 to provide financial identities and access to underserved populations in India and Africa, the world’s 13th most innovative company. He’s also a portfolio manager and business adviser at USAID.

Joe Zalis ’04 has been named North America sales director, accounts receivable finance, at PrimeRevenue. He most recently served as director of deal origination for Finacity Corp.

Ben Gorelick

Benjamin A. Gorelick ’01 has joined the New York office of Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP. He practices in the area of transactional real estate. Gorelick also serves on the board for Playworks of Greater Newark/Greater New York, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the health and well-being of children by increasing opportunities for physical activity and safe, meaningful playtime. He earned his juris doctor degree from New England School of Law-Boston.

Robert J. Harbeson M.Arch. ’01 has been promoted to commercial studio manager at DeStefano Architects PLLC, a firm based in Portsmouth, N.H. He joined the company in 2003 and is vice chair for the board of directors for Great Bay Kids Company, treasurer on the board of directors for Area Home Care and Family Services and an active member of the New Hampshire Lodging and Restaurant Association.

John Kaminski M.S. ’01, Ph.D. ’04 has been appointed chief agronomy officer at GreenSight Agronomics, a provider of drone-based turfgrass management technology. He is an assistant professor of turfgrass science and director of the Golf Course Turfgrass Management program at Penn State.

Philip Lovell

Philip Lovell M.S. ’01 received the Outstanding Technical Contribution award at the 29th annual Black Engineer of the Year Award Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Global Competitiveness Conference in Washington, D.C. A mechanical engineer at Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, he has had many technical roles in programs such as Agile Beam Radar, F-22, the Joint Strike Fighter and STARLite. He has written 18 publications and received four new technologies and 19 trade secret awards. He is an active mentor to younger engineers.

NewsBusters managing editor Ken Shepherd ’01 was a nominee for “Nonprofit Blogger of the Year” at the Conservative Political Action Conference’s Blog Bash. Shepherd has been with the Media Research Center since he started as an intern in 1998. He lives in New Carrollton, Md., with his wife, Laura, and his children, Mercy and Abraham. Read Ken’s blog here.

Hubbard Radio, Washington, D.C., has elevated longtime sales manager Jeffrey Wolinsky ’00 to director of federal and national sales for WTOP and Federal News Radio. For the past 15 years, Wolinsky has worked with hundreds of local and national companies on creative media concepts and execution. He is the 2013 Winner of the Radio Wayne National Sales Manager of the Year award presented by Radio Ink Magazine.


Michael Berger ’99 of RBC Wealth Management in New York City ranked No. 9 on On Wall Street’s new annual ranking of the top 10 regional advisors under age 40. “I started basically from zero. I remember cold calling people at their kitchen tables,” Berger says. “To go from that to having a business that is based on referrals, and the people I deal with recommend me—in that respect I’m very proud of that.”

Amiel Sawdaye ’99 has been promoted to vice president of amateur and international scouting of the Boston Red Sox. He began his career with the team as an intern in 2002.

Kyle Cerminara ’99 has been appointed to the board of directors of Ballantyne Strong, Inc., a provider of digital technology services, products and solutions. He is CEO, co-founder and partner of Fundamental Global Investors. At UMD, he was a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, an NCAA Academic All-American and co-captain of the men’s varsity tennis team.

Del. Dereck Davis ’89, M.P.P. ’99 is running for the congressional seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.), who is running for U.S. Senate. The Prince George’s County Democrat is chairman of Maryland’s House Economic Matters Committee and works as the deputy director for the Office of Community Relations in Prince George’s County government.

Jewelry designer Erin Pelicano ’99 has launched an e-commerce site so consumers can now purchase directly from her. She launched her Etsy shop in 2011 and now offers her handcrafted creations at

Michael Rectanus ’99 has been promoted to associate at the Baltimore office of Dewberry, a professional services firm. He is a member of the American Society of Highway Engineers and the American Society of Civil Engineers. He is a licensed professional engineer in Maryland.

Debra BenAvram ’98, CEO of ASPEN (the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition), has been named to Washington Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” list. Since taking the reins eight years ago of the association, which raises awareness about patient malnutrition, she raised its annual revenue from $3 million to $5 million and established Malnutrition Awareness Week.

Roy Schwartz ’98, M.B.A. ’01 has been named to Washington Business Journal’s list of “40 Under 40” top professionals in the region. He is chief revenue officer at Politico, one of the fastest growing companies in media. He’s also a member of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism’s Board of Visitors.

Tax attorney Michael Fellerman ’97 has joined Shulman Rogers as a shareholder and member of the firm’s business and financial services and real estate practices. He came to the D.C. firm from Linowes and Blocher LLP.

Jeff Miller

Joseph Miller, 5, of Arlington, Va., enjoys a snowy afternoon 
in his Terp gear. He is the son of Jeff Miller ’97 and his wife, Theresa, who also have a second son, James, 6. Jeff works for the federal government.

Craig Scanlon ’97 has been promoted to vice president, Slingshot for Polaris. He’s worked at the company since 2004, rising through a variety of off-road vehicle (ORV) line management and sales positions prior to taking his first director’s job in 2010.

The National Association of Home Builders has promoted Lakisha Woods ’97 to chief marketing officer. She spent 10 years as the organization’s vice president of publishing and affinity programs.

Kelly Sartorius ’96 has been named the new senior director of development for the College of Engineering at the University of Arkansas. Sartorius spent nearly four years with Washington University, and prior to that, eight years with the Kansas State University Foundation and the K-State College of Engineering.

Kipkoech Chepkoit

Kipkoech Chepkoit M.S. ’93, Ph.D. ’99, chief geotechnical engineer at Hanson Professional Services, recently celebrated five years at the firm’s St. Louis regional office. He manages projects that require geotechnical exploration, report preparation and calculating, analyzing and designing soil-structure interaction.

Keith A. Goldan ’93 has been appointed senior vice president and chief financial officer of Fibrocell Science, a cell therapy company focused on developing treatments for rare and serious skin and connective tissue diseases. He most recently served in the same role at NuPathe, and before then was CFO and a member of the board of directors of PuriCore, and vice president and CFO of Biosyn Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company.

President Obama has nominated Kathleen H. Hicks M.P.M. ’93 for membership on the National Commission on the Future of the Army. She is senior vice president, Kissinger Chair, and director of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Previously, she was principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, and for strategy, plans, and forces.

Robert Ranzenbach M.S. ’93, Ph.D. ’95 has joined the Quantum Sail Design Group as vice president of engineering and design. He is an aerodynamic engineer with more than 30 years of experience related to sailing and motoryachts, conventional and high-speed naval vessels, automobiles, airplanes, underwater bodies and dynamically loaded, flexible membrane structures.

Andrew Sears Ph.D. ’93 will become the new dean of Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technologies in July. He is an expert in human-computing interaction and information technology. He has served as dean of the Rochester Institute of Technology’s B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences since August 2011.

Kevin Lynch ’92 has joined Cantor Fitzgerald Wealth Partners, LLC, an affiliate of Cantor Fitzgerald & Co. serving the private wealth management market, in Michigan. Lynch previously served as first vice president in the Morgan Stanley Credit Union Group.

University of Florida (UF) law professor Kathryn Russell-Brown Ph.D. ’92 was nominated this year for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work for “Little Melba and Her Big Trombone,” her debut biography children’s picture book about the late Melba Liston, a jazz musician and pioneer trombonist and arranger. Russell-Brown is also director of UF’s Center for the Study of Race and Relations at the Levin College of Law and has written several academic books.

Leon A. Gaumond Jr. ’91 is the new town administrator of Sturbridge, Mass. He previously served as the West Boylston administrator.

“Africa in Florida: Five Hundred Years of African Presence in the Sunshine State,” co-edited by Amanda B. Carlson ’91 and Robin Poyner, features essays and art exploring the numerous African and African-influenced cultures that have been a part of the state’s history. It focuses on how Africans, both free and enslaved, asserted themselves as explorers, farmers, slave owners, artists and more.

Robert H. Morro M.S. ’91 has been named vice president for facilities management at Villanova University. He previously served as associate vice president for that unit. Morro arrived at Villanova in 2002, following 20 years in the Navy Civil Engineer Corps.

Renee Roth M.Ed. ’91, a third-grade science teacher at Tulip Grove Elementary School in Bowie, Md., has been named the 2015 Prince George’s County Teacher of the Year. She has worked in the county’s public schools for 30 years.

Scott Ralls M.A. ’90, Ph.D. ’97 has been appointed the next president of Northern Virginia Community College, effective in September. He has served as CEO of the North Carolina Community College System since May 2008. Before that, he was president of Craven Community College in New Bern and Havelock, N.C., from 2002-08, and he was vice president for economic and workforce development for the North Carolina Community College System from 1999-2000.


In “Sport and the Shaping of Italian American Identity,” Gerald Gems Ph.D. ’89 traces the experience of the Italian immigrant and illustrates the ways in which sports helped Italian Americans adapt to a new culture, assert pride in an ethnic identity, and even achieve social advancement. A professor in the Health and Physical Education Department at North Central College in Naperville, Ill., Gems is also the author of numerous books, including “The Athletic Crusade: Sport and American Cultural Imperialism.”

Lynn Fitrell ’88 received the 2015 St. Mary’s County Lifetime Achievement Award. Among her achievements was serving as the first director of the Women’s Center in the county even as she interned and worked full-time in Annapolis, including as executive assistant to the governor and program director for the Governor’s Office on Volunteerism. Fitrell also oversaw the erecting of the Maryland Monument to the Veterans of World War ll. She served many years on the St. Mary’s County Commission for Women and the State Commission for Women.

Allen Larson ’88, associate professor of communications at Penn State New Kensington, received the Alumni/Student Award for Excellence in Teaching and has been named a 2015 Penn State Teaching Fellow by the Penn State Alumni Association. Larson, who joined the campus faculty in 2004, serves as coordinator of the campus’ digital communications lab and as co-coordinator of the communications program. He teaches courses in mass media, cinema, television production, public relations, speech and writing.

Dave Kasper

DC United General Manager Dave Kasper ’87, who has overseen player personnel decisions for the MLS club since 2002, has been appointed vice president of soccer operations. He is a former forward on UMD’s soccer team.

Alan Spurgin M.B.A. ’87 has joined the board of directors of the Florida Venture Forum, a statewide support organization for venture capitalists and entrepreneurs. He is senior vice president and group manager at Bridge Bank.

Stephen Tolbert ’87 has been named president of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Services’ state, local and education division. Tolbert was the former senior vice president of SRA International and the former CEO of Global Systems & Strategies.

Catherine Kling Ph.D. ’86 became the first female Iowa State University faculty member to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Kling is a Charles F. Curtiss distinguished professor of agriculture and life sciences at Iowa State. She is a professor of economics and the director of the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at the university. The academy elected 84 new members and 21 foreign associates in recognition of their achievements in original research.

James MacDougall ’86 has joined the leadership team of Digitus Biometrics, an innovator in physical data center security, as executive vice president of global sales and marketing. He previously served as VAZATA’s sales vice president and Digital Realty’s sales director for their federal solutions, as well as leading Qwest Communications’ enterprise data center sales team.

Sarah Lawrence College has appointed Kanwal Singh ’86 as its next dean, effective Aug. 1. Currently the associate dean of the college, Singh earned her master’s and doctorate in theoretical physics at the University of California at Berkeley. She has taught at Middlebury College, Wellesley College and Eugene Lang College.

Steve Hogan ’85 was named vice president, global sustainment for Northrop Grumman’s Technical Services sector. Hogan joined the company in 2003 and has held a number of executive positions in program leadership, capture, risk management, logistics, sustainment and advanced development. Prior to joining Northrop Grumman, Hogan supported U.S. Navy technology and weapons systems development.

Leslie Gromis Baker ’82 has been appointed co-chair and managing director of the state and federal government relations practice at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney. Based in Pittsburgh, she brings more than 25 years of experience in both government and politics to the firm, working in the White House under George H.W. Bush and most recently serving as chief of staff to former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett. She was previously affiliated with Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney from 2006–13.

Michael Elliot

Michael Elliot M.Arch. ’82 is an agent with newly launched Ravenel Associates Real Estate in Charleston, S.C. He is an architect, realtor, licensed South Carolina residential builder and entrepreneur.

Mindy Michaels Roth ’82, a founding partner at Britcher, Leone & Roth, LLC in Glen Rock, has been named by New Jersey Super Lawyers magazine as among the top attorneys in New Jersey for 2015. Each year, no more than five percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor. She leads the firm’s personal injury practice and has been named to the Super Lawyers ranking for six consecutive years.

GovConExec magazine named David Wajsgras ’82 to the annual Wash100 list of the most influential leaders in the world of government contracting. Wajsgras was senior vice president and chief financial officer of Raytheon since 2006. On March 2, he became president of Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services, the company’s global cyber and security services business.

Michael D. Mallinoff ’81 has been appointed county administrator of Charles County, Md. In this role, he is responsible for planning, directing and reviewing all county government operations, and for supervising department actions, personnel matters, budgetary and fiscal procedures, and routine administrative actions. He spent nearly two decades working for the city of Annapolis, serving as its first city manager.

Lorrie Norrington ’81 has joined LivingSocial as a board observer and a senior advisor to President and CEO Gautam Thakar. Norrington has held senior positions at eBay, including president of eBay Marketplaces, where she led all eBay businesses in 39 countries, and at Intuit, where she led the Quicken and QuickBooks brands and later became an executive vice president.

Paul J. Sekhri ’81 has been appointed to the board of directors for Enumeral Biomedical Holdings. He is president and chief executive officer of Lycera, and he also serves on its board of directors. He has also served in senior leadership positions at pharmaceutical companies including Novartis, Teva and Sanofi.

Roxanne Taylor ’80, Accenture’s chief marketing and communications officer, served as a mentor in the Fortune/U.S. State Department Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership. For two weeks this spring, she mentored the founder and chief executive officer of a travel and hotel company in China.

Microbiologist Marianne Walch ’80 is the new science and restoration coordinator for the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays, where she began as the center’s new science and restoration coordinator. She last worked in the Delaware Department of Transportation’s stormwater quality monitoring programs for 13 years. She has a doctoral degree in environmental microbiology from Harvard University.


Randy Day M.S. ’79 has been promoted to president of Perdue Foods. He joined Perdue Farms in 1980 and most recently served as executive vice president of supply chain for Perdue Foods. Day also serves on the National Chicken Council Board of Directors.

Steve Cooker ’77 is on Washingtonian Magazine’s biannual ranking of the Most Important People in Digital Washington. He is executive vice president of Monster Worldwide’s Monster Government Solutions, which builds systems the government uses to find and hire people, and he recently launched initiatives to boost veteran employment and attract cybersecurity experts to federal agencies.

Robyn Quinter ’77 received the highest honor from the Maryland Coalition of Families for Children’s Mental Health, the prestigious Jan Yocum dé Calderon Advocacy Award, celebrating her decade of volunteer work to support children’s mental health initiatives. President of Quinter Design, she served as president of the foundation’s board of directors for six years and four more on the board. Since 2008, Quinter has been a member of the Citizens Advisory Board of John L. Gildner Regional Institute for Children and Adolescents, a Rockville residential treatment center for children with emotional disabilities, and she devotes time and effort to several other non-profit organizations.

Marten L. denBoer M.S. ’76, Ph.D. ’79, who for the past seven years has served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, has been elected provost of DePaul University in Chicago. A physicist by training, he will become DePaul’s chief academic officer July 1.

Donald A. Denkhaus M.B.A. ’70 has been appointed to the board of directors of Catalyst Pharmaceutical Partners. He is a senior financial executive and CPA with 40 years of broad-based business experience.


Thomas F. Monteleone ’68, M.A. ’73 published his 27th novel, “Submerged,” this spring. A thriller in the tradition of Ken Follett and Robert Ludlum, it chronicles the unique history of the U-5001, a Nazi secret weapon that could have changed the course of World War II. The novel is also the story of two men who become inextricably connected to the boat when it’s recently found at the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay.


Racehorse trainer King Leatherbury ’56 has been elected to the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in the contemporary category. He will be inducted on Aug. 7. Leatherbury, a Baltimore native, won his first race at Florida’s Sunshine Park (now Tampa Bay Downs) in 1959 and currently ranks fourth all time with 6,454 wins. He has won 52 training titles in Maryland (26 each at Pimlico and Laurel) and four at Delaware Park, with career purse earnings of $62,910,371.


Steve Byrnes

Longtime NASCAR on FOX anchor Steve Byrnes ’81 died April 21 at the age of 56. He had been diagnosed with head and neck cancer in September. Byrnes was born in Chicago and raised in New Carrollton, Md. He played football for one year at James Madison University before transferring to UMD. His first on-air job was at WCIV-TV in Charleston, S.C., in 1982, after commencing his television career as weekend sports producer at WJLA-TV in D.C. He hosted “Darrell Waltrip’s Racers” on TNN, worked as a pit road reporter for CBS, WTBS and TNN, and hosted a variety of NASCAR programs for the History Channel and TNN, for which he moved to Charlotte in 1985 and remained in the area ever since. He joined FOX Sports in 2001, hosting and reporting for multiple NASCAR programs and serving as a pit road reporter for NASCAR on FOX’s broadcast of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races from 2001–14. Most recently, he was the play-by-play announcer for FOX Sports 1 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, and was co-host of “NASCAR Race Hub” for the network. Byrnes is survived by his wife of 22 years, Karen; son Bryson, 12; parents Jerry and Claire; siblings Betsy and Dan; and three nieces and nephews.

Buddy Roogow ’71, M.A. ’73, the longtime Maryland Lottery director who left to run the D.C. Lottery in 2009, died unexpectedly April 11 after suffering an aneurysm, according to The Baltimore Sun. He was 65. Roogow grew up in Allentown, Pa., before moving to Baltimore when he was 12. He graduated from Baltimore City College in 1967 and earned additional degrees from UMD and started his career as an urban planning consultant for a private firm. From 1988-91, he worked as the county administrative officer in Howard County before moving into state government. He served as deputy chief of staff for former Govs. William Donald Schaefer and Parris N. Glendening, until the latter appointed him director of the Maryland Lottery in 1996. Under Roogow, the Maryland agency experienced 12 consecutive years of record-breaking sales and shepherded casinos into Maryland before he left for the D.C. Lottery in 2009. In 2012, he was named president of the North American Association of State & Provincial Lotteries. Roogow knew all of his employees’ names and their personal stories. He frequently called employees who were out sick or on maternity leave, and often interacted with lottery players. He was known to carry a lottery ticket to give away to people. He is survived by his wife, Billie; children Caroline, Robyn and David; brother Alan; and five grandchildren.

Monica Letzring

Monica Letzring M.A. ’60, Ph.D. ’62, former chair of the undergraduate English department at Temple University, died May 10 in her birthplace of Cavalier, N.D. She was 80. A longtime resident of the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia, Letzring joined Temple’s faculty after graduating from UMD. Her field was 18th century British literature. She served at Temple for 37 years, during which time she was elected chair of her department and appointed dean and director of several Temple programs abroad. After teaching English for three years in Rome, she led the campus there from 1989 to 1991. After that, she served as director of the university’s London program, and shortly before her retirement in 2002, traveled to Japan to teach at the campus in Tokyo. Letzring was an active board member for over 10 years of Historic RittenhouseTown. She also served as chair of its history committee for six years, edited its journal for two and frequently worked in the village gardens. Letzring moved back to North Dakota several years after her retirement. She is survived by her siblings, Richard Letzring and Geraldine Kaercher; her sister, Joyce Bliderman; and many nieces and nephews.

LeRoy Battle

LeRoy Battle M.Ed. ’61, one of the famed Tuskegee Airmen of World War II, died March 30, according to The Capital newspaper. The Harwood, Md., resident was 93. Battle was born in Harlem and grew up in New York City. A drummer, he won a philharmonic scholarship and attended the Juilliard School of Music. After getting a degree in music from Morgan State College and a degree in education from UMD, he worked as a jazz musician in New York, performing with notables such as Billie Holiday and Pearl Bailey. After he was drafted in 1943, he worked his way up in rank to second lieutenant in the Tuskegee Airmen, the all-black air squadron formally known as the 332nd Fighter Group and the 477th Bombardment Group of the U.S. Army Air Forces. In 1945, after being honorably discharged, he became a graduate assistant at the then-Morgan State Teacher’s College in the music department. In 1950, he began working for Prince George’s County Public Schools and was a teacher, band director, guidance counselor and vice principal. He was the lead and drummer in the jazz/swing quartet Roy Battle and the Altones from 1950-2002. Battle was also a drummer in the Washington Redskins Marching Band for 17 years. He was most recently a motivational speaker for the Tuskegee Airmen’s Speaker’s Bureau. Battle was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007, a Governor’s Citation in 2012 and the United States Department of Education’s Bridge Builder award in 1997. He also wrote two books, “Easier Said” and “And the Beat Goes On.” He was predeceased by his wife of 56 years, Alice Holt-Battle. He is survived by three children and five grandchildren.

Rex J. Snodgrass M.S. ’60, Ph.D. ’63 died Feb. 22 at his Asheville, N.C., home. He was 80. The son of the late Raymond and Helen Snodgrass, he was raised in Paducah, Ky.; Dayton, Ohio; and Arlington, Va. Snodgrass was an alumnus of Harvard College, before earning advanced degrees in physics at UMD. He spent a postdoctoral year at the Sorbonne in Paris. As an experimental physicist, he worked at the National Bureau of Standards, University of Connecticut and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Snodgrass loved sports, especially playing tennis, sailing, and skiing. After retirement, he enjoyed teaching classes at the College for Seniors at UNC Asheville in cosmology and physics. Theology was another area of study; he was a member and frequent teacher of the Pressure Points Sunday school class at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church. He is survived by his wife, Denise; son, Ryan; daughter, Heather Murphy; sister, Jill Over; two grandchildren and many friends and extended family.

K Gill

Kenneth K. Gill ’56, former president of a family-owned electrical engineering and construction firm, died March 6, according to The Baltimore Sun. He was 92. The son of Earl G. Gill Sr., an electrical engineer, and Margaret K. Gill, a homemaker, Kenneth Karfgin Gill was born in Baltimore and raised in the city’s Lake Montebello neighborhood. After graduating from City College in 1940, he planned to study dentistry but switched to engineering. He was studying electrical engineering at UMD when World War II broke out. He was drafted into the Army two days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and was sent to Fort Monmouth, N.J., where he joined the Signal Corps. Gill served in the Pacific and was discharged at war’s end with the rank of lieutenant. He then joined the family business, Gill-Simpson Inc., and rose from chief estimator to vice president and, finally, president. Although he became semiretired at 80, Gill continued coming to work until fully retiring in 2011. Gill lived for years in Northwood and in 1970 moved to Stoneleigh. In recent years, he was a resident of Edenwald. He was a member of the Country Club of Maryland and Grace United Methodist Church. His wife of 66 years, the former Irma Jean “Irmie” Holzer, died in 2010. Gill is survived by a son, Michael W. Gill of Baltimore; a daughter, Jennifer C. Guy of Clarksville; and five grandchildren. Another son, Kenneth K. Gill Jr., died in 2013.

Ronald John “Mr. B” Brooks ’55 of Port Chester, N.Y., died March 18 at age 82. Brooks came to UMD on a basketball scholarship, although baseball was his stronger sport. After graduation, he served as an Air Force jet pilot and was stationed in Ann Arbor, Mich. He and his wife, Isabelle, married in 1966 and moved to Bethesda, Md. He then opened Brooks Advertising in D.C. and became president of the Downtown Jaycees. As an avid Terps fan, Brooks started the Terps on the Shore Golf Tournament, which benefitted a variety of local charities for 17 years. In his later years, he could be found in his son John’s Crabcake Factory in Ocean City, Md., sipping on Mountain Dew and mingling with customers. John Brooks called him the “heart and soul” of the restaurant. Brooks is survived by his wife; sons John and Ronald; daughter Suzee Nolan; niece Patti Pound; and seven grandchildren.

A. James Clark

A. James Clark ’50, an accomplished engineer, entrepreneur and philanthropist who was the namesake of UMD’s engineering school, died March 20 at age 87. Born in Richmond, Va., Clark and his family moved to Bethesda, Md., when he was 6. He was a 1945 graduate of the old Devitt Preparatory School in Washington and earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering at UMD. He was hired after college by the George Hyman Construction Co. and was named its president in 1969. His leadership and vision transformed it into one of the largest construction companies in the nation, Clark Construction Group. They built more than 1,200 projects in the Washington metro area during his tenure, according to The Washington Post, including FedEx Field, Verizon Center, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian and the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, and many others nationwide. Clark gave generously to universities, medical facilities and other organizations that helped veterans, the homeless and the disadvantaged. In 1994, he donated $15 million to name the A. James Clark School of Engineering. In 2005, he established a $30 million gift to the A. James Clark Scholarship Endowment to provide financial aid for Clark School undergraduates. Most recently, Clark donated $15 million to support the construction of A. James Clark Hall, slated to open in 2017. Clark served on a number of corporate boards and was a strong supporter of the Republican Party. An avid outdoorsman, he enjoyed golfing, fishing, and hunting with family, friends and colleagues. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Alice Bratton Clark; two sons, Paul and A. James (Brad); a daughter, Courtney Clark Pastrick; and 10 grandchildren.

Maryland Today is produced by the Office of Marketing and Communications for the University of Maryland community on weekdays during the academic year, except for university holidays.