December 21, 2011


Texas State Representative Rafael Anchia received a 2011 Ohtli recognition award at a ceremony in San Antonio last June, the highest acknowledgement conferred by the Mexican government to honor members of the Mexican, Mexican-American and Latin communities abroad. He is a partner in the law firm Haynes and Boone LLP in Dallas.

Laura Claycomb, an international opera star based in Italy, returned to Dallas in April 2011 to make her Dallas Opera debut as Gilda in “Rigoletto.” Conducting was Pietro Rizzo ’96, ’97.

David Metzler has been named managing shareholder of Cowles & Thompson law firm in Dallas.


Jeffrey Scott Brewer is president, director and CEO of New York-based nonprofit Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International Inc. Previously he was executive chair of Kickstart International, a nonprofit that helps poverty-stricken populations, mainly in Africa, become self-sufficient. In 1995 he co-founded City-Search, the online city guide providing information about businesses in U.S. cities, and in 1998 co-founded, a successful “pay-per-click” and “pay-for-placement” search advertising system.

Jennifer Grant is a journalist and mother of three whose book, Love You More: The Divine Surprise of Adopting My Daughter (Thomas Nelson, August 2011), tells of her family’s decision to adopt, the strenuous search for their daughter, Mia, and adjustments to life as a multicultural family. Included are resources and tips for prospective adoptive parents.

Harrison Long received the 2010-11 Distinguished Teaching Award from the College of the Arts at Georgia’s Kennesaw State University, where he is associate professor of theatre and performance studies and coordinates the acting concentration. The National Endowment for the Arts accepted a grant proposal he co-authored to support the 2011-12 KSU production “Splittin’ the Raft,” a retelling of the Huck Finn story.

Stephanie M. Murdock has been promoted to lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy. A public affairs officer with 12 years of military service, she is assigned to Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.


Amy Chang has been an executive assistant for five years at Travelport, a travel technology company based in Parsippany, NJ. She lives in Bloomfield.

Lisa Gentry Decker is celebrating 20 years with the executive search firm Lucas Group, where she is executive senior partner, placing accounting and finance professionals in Denver. She has been married 12 years to Ray Decker and has two children, ages 10 and 7.

Mindy Tucker Fletcher announces the birth of Caleb Cash April 29, 2011, in San Diego. Lisa Schilling Henry (M.A. ’96, Ph.D. ’99) is chair of the Anthropology Department at the University of North Texas in Denton. She has been teaching at UNT since 2001, along with her husband, Doug Henry ’96 (Ph.D. ’00). They have two children: Riley, 5, and Will, 3.


Capt. David A. Alpar (M.M. ’96) has conducted the U.S. Air Force Band of Liberty to the 2010 Air Force Media Award for Outstanding Recording of a Single Work, “Gardens of Stone,” and Outstanding Recording of an Original Work, “Symphony #1.”

Country music star Jack Ingram was last June’s guest artist at the St. David’s Round Rock Express Summer Concert Series presented by Dell.

Christy LeMire enjoys national attention as co-host of the PBS series “Ebert Presents At the Movies.” She is the film critic for The Associated Press based in Los Angeles and was listed among the 100 Most Beautiful Faces of 2008 on the Annual Independent Critics List.

Leif Wennerstrom, an SMU swimming star, is in remission from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma but still fights cancer. Using his swimming talent to raise money for cancer research, he was among 200 participants June 11, 2011, in the first Swim Across America event, held in Dallas at Lake Ray Hubbard to benefit the Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center. He and others formed Team Mustang to swim in honor of all SMU alumni who have battled cancer.


Michael C. Sanders is one of the founding partners of Borrego Sanders Willyard LLP, a Houston law firm specializing in oil and gas litigation and transactions.


Kate Haulman is assistant professor of history at American University in Washington, D.C. Her new book is The Politics of Fashion in Eighteenth-Century America (University of North Carolina Press, 2011).

Rob Johnson was senior political adviser to Newt Gingrich as the former House Speaker explored whether to run for president. Rob managed Rick Perry’s 2010 re-election campaign for Texas governor.

Amy Swanson married Peter Sillan in December 2010 in Connecticut, where they live. She is vice president of marketing strategy for Time Warner Global Media Group in New York City.

Ellen Sharp Tuthill (M.A., M.B.A. ’98) traveled with her husband to Ethiopia in March 2011 to serve orphans and HIV widows.

Gregory Dean Watts has written a short comedy script, “Momfia,” accepted into the 2011 Beverly Hills Film Festival. The script also won the short comedy category in the 2010 Woods Hole Film Festival and the 2010 Indie Gathering Film Festival in Cleveland.


Carol Apelt joined CRAFT | Media/Digital last March, a multichannel communications consulting firm in Washington, D.C., as director of operations and business development. She also serves the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as administrative officer for the D.C. Disaster Medical Assistance Team, part of the nation’s National Disaster Medical System.

Josh Gregory captained the SMU men’s golf team in 1996-97. Now he has returned to SMU as men’s golf coach after leading Augusta State University to two straight NCAA men’s golf titles.

Elizabeth Tomek Hernandez and her husband, Ruben, announce the birth of Zachary Allen, May 18, 2011; big brother is Aaron. Elizabeth is director of the Texas office of The Pivot Group, a political communications company.

Cooper Smith Koch was named a top 40 Under Forty by Dallas Business Journal in June. As principal of the Cooper Smith Agency, he has led his company from its 2002 beginning to today’s prominence in product placement, managing his clients’ relationship with production companies for “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” DIY Network and HGTV series and programs on the Food Network, A&E, TLC and PBS. His agency also works with national showcase homes, including Idea House in Southern Living and Esquire magazine’s Ultimate Bachelor Pad.


Tim W. Jackson established the Coral Reef Preservation Fund in April 2011 from his home in the Cayman Islands. He reports that we risk losing not only the reefs’ beauty but also the food, jobs, medicines and other resources healthy reefs provide. He is donating to the fund a portion of the proceeds of all copies of his literary novel Mangrove Underground (The Chenault Publishing Group, December 2010) purchased through

Gabe Reed was the master promoter of the Mötley Crüe South American tour in May 2011, part of the 30th anniversary world tour, with shows in Santiago, Chile; Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Czarina Reyes (M.L.A. ’01) announces the birth of daughter Sophia Czarina June 14, 2011.


John Keehler is a Dallas Business Journal 40 Under Forty honoree in the June 24-30, 2011, edition. At Click Here, where he is principal, digital strategy, he leads a team setting the direction for their clients’ brands in the digital space. They design websites, social media, online advertising and mobile experiences.

Dr. Maria Luby Prodanovic-Nutis and her husband, Dr. Mario Nutis, welcomed son Nicolas in December 2010. They live in El Paso, where she practices pediatrics and volunteers with the Junior League.

Catherine Coates Walts and her husband, Cameron, announce the birth of their first child, William Jack, Aug. 21, 2011, in Atlanta, GA.