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Vernon T. Hitchcock, BS ’40, Santa Rosa, Calif., has been an airline pilot for Naval Air Transport Service, Southwest Airlines and TWA; was an attorney for 42 school districts; was an executive director with Libya Aviation Co.; and still manages the family farm. He has five children, 11 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.


Roy G. Creech, MS ’53, PhD ’60, Starkville, Miss., moved from Penn State University to Mississippi State University in 1972. There he served as professor and head of the Department of Agronomy from 1972 to 1989. From 1989 until he retired in 2004, he served as professor and head emeritus of the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences.

Jervis E. Thomas, BS ’56, Greenville, Ohio, married Roma Hicks on May 29. His previous wife, Lois Jean Thomas, died in 2009.

Richard (Dick) E. Geyer, BS ’58, Mount Airy, Md., was inducted into the Purdue ROTC Hall of Fame on April 17.


Ralph E. Neill, BS ’62, Corning, Iowa, was inducted into the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association Hall of Fame.

George A. Somkuti, MS ’63, PhD ’66, Lansdale, Pa., was the 2009 recipient of the Outstanding Food Science Award from Purdue’s Department of Food Science for his career-long research on the enzymology and molecular biology of dairy fermentation bacteria. In October 2009, he also received the Honorary Membership Award from the Hungarian Society for Microbiology in recognition of his research. He is a research chemist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service.

Robert L. (Bob) Thompson, MS ’69, PhD ’74, Washington, D.C., retired this year from the University of Illinois, where he held the Gardner Endowed Chair in Agricultural Policy for the last six years. The university’s College of Agricultural, Consumer & Environmental Sciences this year honored him with the Faculty Award for Global Impact. The USDA Economists Group also honored him with its Bruce Gardner Award “for an academic who has made outstanding contributions to the economics of USDA policies and programs while serving in some capacity at USDA” (he was an assistant secretary for economics from 1985 to 1987). Thompson, dean of Purdue Agriculture from 1987 to 1993, intends to stay active on the speaking circuit and engaged in the future agricultural policy debate. He and his wife, Karen, plan to split their time between Washington, D.C., and Bethany Beach, Del.


Homer Ousley Jr., BS ’70, MS ’72, Mentone, Ind., received the Kosciusko Soil and Water Conservation District Northern Indiana Master Farmer of the Year Award for being a dedicated Indiana agriculture leader for nearly 40 years. He is the crop manager of one of Indiana’s largest farms, which includes 8,000 acres of crops, 700 acres of forages, several hundred acres of pasture and hay, and 1,200 acres of forest. Ousley has used natural resource conservation methods such as no-till farming, filter strips, tree planting, erosion prevention, environmental enhancement, and more to preserve soil and waterways for future generations.

Donald B. Villwock, BS ’72, Edwardsport, Ind., received an honorary doctorate of business from Vincennes University at the May 1 commencement ceremonies.

Thomas G. Gillespie, BS ’75, DVM ’79, Rensselaer, Ind., was named 2010 Swine Practitioner of the Year by the American Association of Swine Veterinarians. The award is given to the swine practitioner demonstrating an unusual degree of proficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of veterinary service to clients. Gillespie is owner and founder of Rensselaer Swine Services PC and Jasper Swine Pharm. Inc. in Rensselaer. He is board certified by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, with a specialization in swine health management. He is a 2009 graduate of the Executive Veterinary Program in swine health management.

Steven K. Hopkins, BS ’78, Harrisburg, S.D., and his wife, Ruth, BS ’79, traveled to Israel in January as part of a Holy Land tour group with friends from Westfield, Ind.

Abdoulaye Niang, MS ’79, PhD ’80, Bamako, Mali, is president and founder of the Niang Abdoulaye Foundation.

Mike H. Wilson, ag certificate ’79, Allendale, Ill., recently toured agriculture production in Morocco as part of the Environmental Respect Award Program’s World Tour as the national ERA winner from the United States.


Mary Beth Adams, BS ’80, MS ’82, Elkins, W.Va., in November was named a fellow of the Soil Science Society of America, the highest recognition the society bestows.

Thomas M. Sliwa, BS ’81, Phoenix, Ariz., after an unexpected end to a 25-year career in landscape architecture/planning in February 2007 (economy dictated), is pursuing a graduate degree in elementary education online from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix. He expects to graduate in December.

Kristine (Kris) S. Medic, BS ’82, Columbus, Ind., is president of the Indiana Arborist Association, a chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture. The IAA promotes the use of best practices in the planting, maintenance and preservation of trees. Medic is principal of Groundsmith Consulting, providing arborist consulting and sustainable landscape management for institutional properties. She is a board-certified master arborist.

Carolynn S. Leaman, BS ’85, Milwaukee, Wis., started a one-woman business, Celadon LLC, in 2007. The consulting company helps public- and private-sector clients bring sustainable, eco-friendly design into urban development. Celadon LLC won the 2009 Business Journal of Milwaukee’s Green Award for Best For-Profit Small Business.

Raymond M. Slay, PhD ’88, Gaithersburg, Md., is employed at the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority under the assistant secretary of preparedness and response in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He is responsible for the management of federal government contracts supporting late-stage development of medical countermeasures for anthrax that are destined for the Strategic National Stockpile.

James R. Prough, BS ’89, Yorktown, Ind., after 15 years in the grain business in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin has founded JP2 Risk Management Inc. The business specializes in crop insurance and grain marketing for clients in Illinois and Indiana. Jim and his wife, Jean, continue to support Ducks Unlimited as state officers and participate on DU national merc handise committees.


Grace (Ju) Miller, PhD ’90, Marion, Ind. recently joined the faculty at Indiana Wesleyan University’s Department of Biology as an associate professor. Previously she taught for two years in Morocco and was director of the ECHO Seed Bank in Fort Myers, Fla. Before that, she was an associate professor at Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., for 11 years. She and her husband, Garth (Purdue BSME ’86), have two children, Zea and Noah.

Yunchang Jeffrey Bor, PhD ’93, Taiwan, is head of the Department of Economics at Chinese Culture University.

Kent A. Liechty, BS ’93, Berne, Ind., has been named president and CEO of First Bank of Berne. The bank has assets of more than $415 million and operates eight offices in Berne, Decatur, Bluffton and Portland (Indiana), and Van Wert, Ohio.

Gina (Smith) Silverthorn, BS ’94, Cutler, Ind., has joined Elanco Companion Animal Health (a subsidiary of Eli Lilly and Company) as an executive sales representative for veterinarians in northern Indiana.

Kimberly (Darville) Horton, BS ’96, Oak Harbor, Wash., moved to Washington in 2009 with her husband and started her career as a park ranger at Deception Pass State Park on Whidbey Island.

Ingrid M. Hively Kohlhagen, BS ’98, Monroe, Ind., and her husband, Bradley S. Kohlhagen, BS ’97, welcomed the birth of their daughter, Bree Marilla, on May 4. They also have a 1-year-old son, Bo Thomas.

Valerie Taulman Sloneker, BS ’98, Noblesville, Ind., and her husband, Mark A. Sloneker, BS ’97, MS ’07, welcomed the birth of their daughter, Avery Grace, on March 8.


William P. Santelik, BS ’01, Arlington Heights, Ill., has been certified as a professional wetland scientist by the Society of Wetland Scientists.

Kyle D. Bymaster, BS ’02, New Richmond, Ind., and his wife, Abi, announce the birth of their son, Cooper Douglas Bymaster, on March 27. They also have a daughter, Karly.

Krista A. (Echterling) Emmons, BS ’02, Martinsville, Ind., and her husband, Derek J. Emmons, had a baby girl, Madeline Rose, on Nov. 23.


Max William “Bill” Fryback, BS ’42, Bluffton, Ind., passed away Feb. 9. He had served as Bluffton’s mayor and as a city councilman. He is survived by his wife, Dottie.

Morrill T. Vittum, PhD ’44, Clifton Springs, N.Y., died March 15, two months short of his 91st birthday.

William L. Porter, MS ’58, Perkasie, Pa., died March 4.

Lt. Gen. Jim Record, BS ’61, Tucson, Ariz., an Air Force three-star general, passed away Dec. 22.

Stanley E. Curtis, BS ’64, MS ’66, PhD ’68, Urbana, Ill., died April 25.

Charles E. Curtis, PhD ’66, Fresno, Calif., passed away Dec. 23. He is survived by his wife, Charlene.

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