Alumni Notes

October 21, 2013

Alumni Tribute

Remembering trailblazing alumna Patricia Carrigan

Alumna and former MSU Trustee Patricia Carrigan, (B ’50) died on June 19, 2013. Carrigan taught in Battle Creek and Willow Run public schools and served as the director of research and evaluation for the Ann Arbor public school district before moving on to corporate human resources in 1973. Carrigan became the first woman appointed to manage a General Motors assembly plant, and was later recognized nationally for her work in labor relations.

Carrigan was the first woman elected to MSU’s Board of Trustees and the first to chair the board, serving from 1971 to 1979. She received the university’s Distinguished Alumna Award in 1988.

More Alumni News


Kathleen Bieschke, PhD, ’91, (Counseling Psychology), became department head for Educational Psychology, Counseling and Special Education in the College of Education at Penn State University as of July 1. Through Bieschke’s new role, she will oversee two undergraduate, four master’s and four doctoral programs. Last year, Bieschke served as the administrative fellow to the interim executive vice president and provost at PSU.

Alex J. Bowers, PhD ’07, (K-12 Educational Administration), received the 2012 Jack A. Culbertson Award from the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA). The award goes to an outstanding junior scholar in the field of educational administration. Bowers also received the 2012 American Educational Research Association (AERA) Emerging Scholar Award for Division A (Administration, Organization and Leadership). He currently is an associate professor of education leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Dr. Timothy Gordon, MA ’95, (Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education), began his appointment as the dean of students at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in July 2013. Prior, Gordon served as associate dean of students and alumni services at the Northwestern University School of Continuing Studies. Gordon was also recognized by the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) as a Diamond Honoree for his professional contributions to student affairs.

Governor Rick Snyder recently named Sara Grivetti, MA ’06 (Rehabilitation Counseling), to the Michigan Statewide Independent Living Council. Grivetti is CEO of Disability Network/Michigan. Her public policy work has focused on health care, disability and transportation issues, and she has a variety of experience working in both public and private sector settings.

K-12 Educational Administration alumnus Matthew Militello, MA ’97, PhD, ’04, held a book launch for his third book, Principal 2.0: Technology and Educational Leadership, at the 2013 AERA conference in San Francisco. Militello’s book is written especially for school leaders to better engage with technology. He currently is an associate professor in North Carolina State University’s Leadership, Policy and Adult and Higher Education department.

After a long career in K-12 teaching and administration, Janice Nelson BA ’62 (Arts and Letters), worked for seven years at Concordia University in Ann Arbor, Mich. She has spent the past four years at Concordia University Irvine, California as the dean of the School of Education.

Veronica O’Connor, BA ’64 (Elementary Education), serves as treasurer of the Greater NY Spartan Club and recently became president for the Michigan State University Alumni Association International Board. She is a retired Pelham Schools teacher and guidance counselor.

Ashley Smeltzer, BS ’08, (Kinesiology), was named head women’s field hockey coach at Shenandoah University in February 2013. Previously, she spent five years working as an assistant coach at the University of Rochester. In addition to collegiate coaching, Smeltzer has worked in various roles with the USA Field Hockey Futures Program since 2009.

The Lansing City Market welcomed Colleen Synk, BS ‘12, (Kinesiology-Health Promotion), as nutrition specialist. Synk will be responsible for coordinating special programming, education days and nutrition outreach with the Greater Lansing community.

Paula Turocy, MA, ’84, (Health and Physical Education-Sports Medicine), received the Caruthers Service Award in January 2013 from the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education. Turocy is an associate professor and former chair of athletic training at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.


Clarence Underwood

Clarence Underwood, Jr., BS ’61, MS ’65, PhD, ’82 (Health and Physical Education, Higher Education), received the 2013 Professional Achievement Award from the MSU Department of Kinesiology. The award is given in recognition of alumni who have made significant contributions to the field of kinesiology.

John Welty, MA ’67, (College Personnel Work), retired after serving 22 years as president of Fresno State University. During his tenure, the university enhanced academic and athletic departments, increased fundraising efforts and strengthened community involvement. In retirement, Welty will continue to serve as a trustee professor at the Palm Desert campus of CSU San Bernardino.