On April 25, 2023, Cooper Lee White was born making Sharon Reeve White ’66 a great grandmother and Elaine White Harmon ’95 a great aunt.
James (Jim) Newton ’71 — founder of KidLinks, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit — is celebrating the March 2023 completion of 40 years of therapeutic music services benefitting kids dealing with special medical and emotional challenges.
La Gina Fairbetter ’76 — a painter, muralist, and sculptor — received the Distinguished Artist Award on June 3, 2023, from the Center for Contemporary Arts for her artistic influence and years teaching generations of artists at Texas Tech University. (Pictured with current McMurry art major, Lauren Scott.)
Wes Bell ’77 is the executive director of Kirbyville Housing Authority and Rural Homeless Network. He is currently developing “Veterans Village” and “Home Safe” in Kirbyville, a community of “Tiny Homes” for homeless Vets and other homeless individuals.
Francisco Javier “Harvey” Oaxaca Sr. ’77 started McMurry in 1973, during McMurry’s 50th year anniversary. He was recently elected Board President for the “Baptist Immigration Services” in McKinney, Texas. Dr. Francisco Javier “Harvey” Oaxaca Jr. ’01 attended McMurry during McMurry’s 75th year anniversary (1997). Harvey serves as the executive Director of the Northwest Section of the Boulder Valley School District (Colorado). This year, they both are proud to support McMurry University during its 100th year celebration. ¡Ala Cumba!
Max Burkhead ’84 is an 8th grade math teacher in Fort Worth and a real estate agent with DFW Realtors of Texas. Max has two grown sons and three amazing grandsons.
On November 13, 2022, St. John Missionary Baptist Church in Little Rock, Arkansas, installed Earnest C. Merritt ’84 as its new Pastor.
Jeff “Butch” Bearden ’86, former professional wrestler Class of 2015 Southern Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame, released a wrestling memoir, The Man Behind the Makeup: The Professional Wrestling Life and Times of Jeff Bearden, Who Wrestled as Giant Warrior, Big Tiger Steele, Colossus the Gladiator, and Butch Masters, on November 1, 2022. The book is available for purchase online at Amazon.
Congratulations to Randall White ’86 who recently became the Vice President of Administration/CFO at Community College of Denver!
Congratulations to Jose Ortiz ’88 and Maria Ortiz ’88 , who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on May 27, 2023.
Congratulations to Susan Nix ’88 who received the Higher Education Award from the Texas Council for the Social Studies at the TCSS Conference in Denton, Texas, in October 2022, for her consistent support for social studies and participation in the organization for over 25 years. Nix earned an M.Ed. and Ed.D. from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, and currently works at Lubbock Christian University as an adjunct professor in the Department of Education.
Luann Cockerell-Akin ’89 began a new role in October 2022 as executive director of Wisteria Place Assisted Living and Memory Care and became the executive director of Wisteria Pace Independent Living in April 2023. She loves serving the senior community in Abilene and the surrounding areas. Amid these amazing career achievements, she became a grandmother in November 2022.
Jeff Matsler ’89 earned the distinction of being identified as a Healthcare Ethics Consultant-Certified on November 30, 2022. Jeff is a member of the McMurry Alumni Association Board of Directors and was the featured speaker at McMurry’s Baccalaureate ceremony.
Jennifer Sledge Hancock ’94 was elected to serve on the board of the World Scout Foundation.
This past year Shannon Ward Montoya ’96 worked full-time with her personal training business while studying to become a realtor. She is now a licensed real estate agent. In both of her businesses, her job is to listen to the needs of her clients, cater to those needs, stay organized, and communicate well. Fitness training will continue to be a passion of hers but now she can also help her clients buy or sell their homes with the same commitment and passion.
Christina (Tina) Sharpling ’96 celebrated 25 years at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) on May 27, 2023. Tina is currently the HRIS manager in the Office of Human Resources and coworkers surprised her with a Mickey Mouse-themed party. McMurry alumna and UTD employee, Aricia Grant ’92, was able to join the festivities.
Alice Savage Tuckness ’96 rediscovered her passion after being given the opportunity to teach music at Mountain Valley Elementary School in Canyon Lake, Texas, last year. She was recently named the Comal ISD District Teacher of the Year! Congratulations, Alice. Thanks for all you do for your students and your community.
Daniel Alexander ’97 has been appointed by California Governor Gavin Newsom to serve as a Judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Daniel has served as a senior appellate court Attorney at the Second District Court of Appeal since 2017.
Congratulations to Clint Cypert ’98 who was named Executive Director of Operations for Allen Independent School District in May 2023. This is Clint’s 25th year in education. His previous administrative roles include Director of Student Services at Frisco ISD, Assistant Principal at Frisco Heritage and Centennial High Schools, and he is a former winner of the TASSP Region 10 Assistant Principal of the Year award. Clint was also a Teacher and Coach for Midlothian ISD, Kress ISD, and Amarillo ISD.
Mouser Electronics, Inc., the authorized global distributor with the newest semiconductors and electronic components has been honored with the 2022 Milestone award from its valued partner Amphenol Corporation. The award was presented to the Mouser team, including McMurry alumna Adrianne Kincade ’00, who was recognized for her excellence and dedication in the mutual success between Mouser and Amphenol.
Congratulations to Denise Cox-Carrell ’01 who graduated with a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary in May 2023.
Derek Wuthrich ’02 and Cheyenne Oldham Wuthrich ’02 celebrated their 20th anniversary on June 14, 2023. Derek was a member of the baseball team, and Cheyenne was on the track team. They met for the first time at Indian Relays when Derek came to watch. Doc Hadley decided they were a perfect match when he found out the two wanted to meet. He even predicted their kids would be short, fast, strong, and really smart. Their daughter, Zihna, is exactly that! They’re both looking forward to the next 20!
Sarah Ingram-Tetens ’04 has been a healthcare Interior Designer since 2007. She worked her way up to Senior Interior Designer and was promoted to Design Director last year. She runs the Healthcare Interiors Department at Baskervill, a multidisciplinary architecture firm in Orlando, Florida.
Derrick Adams ’05 has been named the Head Football Coach at Trinity-Cedar Hill Trinity Leadership Cedar Hill, Texas.
Jessica Gladman Matthews ’05 and her husband, Mike, welcomed their third baby, Addison, to their crew this spring. Big brothers Cade (4) and Reed (2) are so in love with their newest addition.
Laura Logan-Spaulding ’06 and her husband, David, will celebrate their 10-year anniversary in October of 2023.
Frances Arias ’07 was promoted to the role of vice president and chief operating officer of The Green Beret Foundation in May. Frances has been a part of Green Beret Foundation since 2015, serving in many different areas before being promoted to her newest role with the foundation, even earning the distinction of HillVets LEAD Protégé. Frances serves as a member of the Forbes Nonprofit council and is a George W. Bush Institute Veterans Leadership Program Scholar.
Benjamin Stephens ’10 was recently promoted to Associate Customer Success Manager at Amplify Education. He supports school districts in ensuring that their student growth exceeds expectations through their catalogue of educational programs.
Dustin West ’10 started a new job as Director of Upward Bound in Abilene. Upward Bound assists low-income, first-generation students in preparing for college academically and financially.
In September 2022, Chrissa Wylie ’10 received a master’s degree in English from Grand Canyon University and became an English teacher at Hamlin Collegiate High School in Hamlin, Texas.
Blake Fuller ’11 is moving on from being an instruction specialist at Mann Middle School to being Ward Elementary School’s new principal for the 2023-2024 school year. Blake is excited to continue the growth in Ward Elementary and be someone who will serve all students.
After earning his 300th career win on his ninth-year as Odessa College’s head softball coach, Jeff Jackson ’11, has been hired as the head softball coach for Stephen F. Austin. Congratulations, Coach Jackson!
Lindsey Lowry Sobehrad ’11 is the new Principal of Honey Elementary School in Lubbock ISD. She previously served as the Assistant Principal of Honey for the past three years. Her youngest son, James, arrived in the fall, and she and her husband, Lane, will celebrate 10 years of marriage in June. A lot of wonderful things going on in the Sobehrad’s world!
On January 9, 2023, Miranda Priddy-Shackelford ’13 started at Friends University as the Campus Ministries Coordinator.
Lewis Lopez ’16 earned a Master of Science in cybersecurity at the University of Tulsa. He was recently promoted to Cybersecurity Engineering Manager at Boeing overseeing US AWACS and KC-46 programs.
Garrett Woods ’17 recently landed a new job as an elementary music teacher at Smith Elementary in Mesquite ISD. He and his wife, Kendra, also just celebrated seven years of marriage.
Jordan Goodnature ’18 has had an eventful 2023. She got married, bought a house, adopted Mr. Winston (the most adorable pug), and is expecting her first baby in November.
Quintin Gorman Jr. ’18, a PhD candidate at Rice University, was chosen for the American Sociological Association’s 2023-2024 Minority Fellowship Program. Quintin is one of only six fellows selected from PhD candidates at graduate schools across the U.S. Congratulations, Quintin!
Congratulations to Jessica Gryder ’20 who graduated with a Master of Fine Arts from Stephen F. Austin State University.
After Bethany Malcolm-Shoemaker ’20 completed her bachelor’s degree in exercise science and human performance at McMurry, she continued her education at Abilene Christian, earning a master’s in occupational therapy, and eventually becoming an occupational therapist (OTR) in acute care. Bethany married Heath Shoemaker on September 3, 2022.
Cameo White ’21 began a new role as graphic designer for McMurry’s Marketing Office in January 2023. On October 21, 2023, she and Ben Splain will get married on the third anniversary of the day they met.
Abilene Young Professionals (AYP), an Abilene Chamber of Commerce program, included Ben Hudman ’22 on their 2023 list of Top 20 Under 40 for the difference he’s making in the Abilene community. Ben was the youngest on the list at 23-year-old. He is the CEO of Hudman Investment Group LLC, 325 Guys Construction, and Doc’s Bar & Grill.
Tabitha Wilson ’23 graduated during McMurry’s Centennial Commencement in May with a bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts. She recently landed her newest role as McMurry’s assistant director for alumni engagement, so you’re going to see and hear a lot more from her!