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February 3, 2020
In the World

January's Passing of Light

Faculty, Staff, and Alumni News

The following selections were compiled by Cindy Holbrook in University Communication over the past month through the sharing of information or actual story submissions. Feel free to send your story to Correction needed? Please contact Cindy Holbrook at Thank you!

Faculty Corner

It was recently announced that Yu Bin, professor of political science, is this year’s Laatsch Faculty Scholar.

Named for Melvin Henry Laatsch (1905-1974), professor emeritus of political science, this endowment was funded during the Defining Moments Campaign by a group of scholars and friends in recognition of the important influence Laatsch had on hundreds of students during his 30-year Wittenberg career. Names and accomplishments of potential recipients are submitted to the provost each year by political science department faculty and are based on excellence in scholarship and teaching by one of their colleagues.

Bin, who joined the Wittenberg faculty in 1991, teaches courses in international relations and comparative politics and contributes substantially to interdisciplinary programs such as International Studies, the Russian and Central Eurasian Program, and East Asian Studies. He is the author and co-author of six books and more than 150 book chapters and articles in journals including World Politics, Strategic Review, China and Eurasia Forum Quarterly, Asia Policy, Asian Survey, Comparative Connections, International Journal of Korean Studies, Journal of Chinese Political Science, Harvard International Review, and Asian Thought and Society.

Travis Proctor, assistant professor of religion, was recently awarded the 2020 Lautenschlager Award for Theological Promise, an early career research award from the Research Center for International and Interdisciplinary Theology at Heidelberg. He also won a prestigious sabbatical grant from the Louisville Institute to fund a year of research.

Proctor specializes in religions of the ancient Mediterranean with a focus on histories of Christian cultures in the ancient world (ca. 50-500 CE). His research draws on perspectives from cultural studies, gender studies, and the environmental humanities to demonstrate how the histories of religious cultures have continuing significance for society today.

Bob Welker, professor emeritus of education at Wittenberg for 23 years and a Clark County resident, was among those recently designated as luminaries for their community efforts by the Board of Clark County Commissioners.

Welker, who worked with community leaders to create the Springfield Promise Neighborhood in the 110 block of the Lincoln Elementary attendance zone, has been dedicated to the children of Springfield and Clark County. He recently retired after nearly a decade as Springfield Promise Neighborhood executive director and now works part-time on resources for the organization, which works to increase learning opportunities for children and advocate for practices and resources that will aid the well-being of families. In 2017, the project expanded to include three other elementary schools, Perrin Woods, Fulton, and Kenwood Elementary schools.

Alumni Achievement

Sarah Matesich Schwab ‘08, a Granville, Ohio, native, recently took over as president and chief operating officer of her family’s 91-year-old Matesich Distributing Company.

Now 33, Schwab graduated from Newark Catholic High School before earning her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education at Wittenberg. A former admission counselor, she started working at the bottom of her family’s beer distribution company in 2012 to learn all that she could.

“Although I didn’t end up in the field I studied, my liberal arts education at Wittenberg has been invaluable as I navigate running our family business,” she said. “I really just needed an opportunity to prove myself, and I was willing to do everything from the bottom up. It took about two years with many conversations with my father, and then our management team, when the opportunity presented itself.”

Michelle Sherrill ’85, who graduated with a degree in business, has taken a position as a commercial loan officer for the new Vandalia-Butler Minster Bank. Sherrill, who resides in Vandalia with husband Mike and their four children, brings more than 27 years of lending, banking, and real estate experience to Minster Bank. She most recently served as a contract manager for a nationally known real estate company.

With offices in Minster, New Bremen, St. Marys, Wapakoneta, Sidney, Troy and Vandalia, Minster Bank has assets totaling more than $500 million and has been serving the communities of West Central Ohio since 1914.

Scott Collins ’88 has been appointed as the chief revenue officer for HireRight, a leading provider of global employment background checks, drug testing, education verification, and electronic Form I-9 and E-Verify solutions.

Collins, who received a bachelor’s degree in finance from Wittenberg University and an MBA with high honors from the University of Notre Dame, joins HireRight from Equifax, where he served as senior vice president and general manager of banking and lending and corporate chief client officer. In his role as HireRight’s chief revenue officer, Collins will leverage his experience to drive all revenue-generation strategy and execution for the organization.

Brett Jarrell ’95, who received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Wittenberg University, has helped develop the world’s only dual-cell technology to create and produce anti-aging skincare products through the Serucell Corporation, a cosmeceutical company based in Huntington, West Virginia.

Jarrell, who practices emergency medicine in Ashland, Kentucky, and oversees all aspects of quality control for Serucell, received his master’s degree in biology from Marshall University and his medical degree from the Marshall University School of Medicine. He completed his residency at West Virginia University and is board-certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine.

Jarrell has served as a clinical instructor of emergency medicine at the Marshall School of Medicine, president of the West Virginia chapter of the American College of Emergency Medicine and he has published a number of peer-reviewed journal articles on stroke research.

Michael Beamish ‘70, who graduated from Wittenberg University with a bachelor’s degree in education, was the voice of the city of Troy during his 26 years of political service — the last 16 of those years as Troy’s mayor.

Beamish, a native of Springfield, also served as the announcer at Troy High School football games. After graduating from Wittenberg, he was hired as a special education teacher at Heywood Elementary in 1970.

Chris Baker ’03 has been named the new president and CEO by The Board of Directors of the Delaware County Foundation. He began his new role Jan. 6, 2020 joining the Delaware County Foundation after being the executive director of the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation. He previously held senior positions with the Boy Scouts of America in Spokane, Washington, Portland, Oregon and Springfield, Ohio.

Payton Marshall ’17 was recently hired as a morning reporter at Dayton 24/7. An Ohio native, she was a cheerleader in high school as well as in college during her days at Wittenberg. After completing her freshman year of collegiate studies at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles, California, Marshall transferred to Wittenberg her sophomore year, graduating cum laude with a B.A. in theatre and dance.

Brenda Shaw ‘89, who earned her bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from Wittenberg University, has been promoted to chief development officer at the Lowcountry Food Bank. Previously, she was director of fundraising and corporate relations.

Megan Shroy ’07, founder and president of Approach Marketing, was recently named Future 50 Class of 2020 in Columbus CEO. Shroy, a business major at Wittenberg, started her career in Chicago at global public relations agency Golin through its internship program, where she was selected from a pool of 500 people and later offered a job on the agency’s largest account, McDonald’s. She founded Approach Marketing, a public relations and marketing agency with about 20 employees in 2010.

Shroy and her team support nonprofits through volunteerism, fundraisers, sponsorships and donations of services. She has also donated nearly $20,000 to support granting local wishes through the Make-A-Wish Women Inspiring Strength and Hope initiative.

The Siegfried Group, LLP recently added Mark King ‘10, CPA, to its Chicago Market as a manager. King earned his bachelor’s degree in business management and financial economics from Wittenberg and his master’s in accounting from Miami University

King recently attended Siegfried's orientation program, which introduced him to the firm's culture, business model, and work, giving new employees a way to learn more about the company, meet members of Siegfried's leadership and operations teams, and become acquainted with their new colleagues.

Jim Bridge ’92, letterwinner as a tight end on the Tiger football team, has been named offensive line coach for the University of Memphis’ football team. He spent four seasons from 2016-19 on head coach David Cutcliffe's staff at Duke, where he served in the same role as offensive line coach the last two campaigns (2018-19). In the 2016 and 2017 seasons, Bridge oversaw the team's tight ends and also coordinated Duke's special teams’ unit. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, he earned a master's degree from Bowling Green in sports administration in 1994.

DNAtrix, a leader in the development of oncolytic viruses for cancer therapy recently, has announced that Jeffrey Knapp ‘87 has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer and to the Board of Directors. Knapp, who holds a holds a B.A. in biology with a minor in business administration from Wittenberg University, joins DNAtrix with over 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, including 20 in executive management. He has developed and executed strategies supporting clinical development, regulatory approval, and commercial launch of multiple products across a diverse array of therapeutic areas. Previously, Knapp held several executive and senior management positions in biopharmaceutical companies at similar stages of growth.

Chris Horrell ‘07, former sales director for Love Beets, is now leading Fort Lauderdale-based produce company Farm Direct Supply as its general manager. His education includes a bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University and the food science executive program at the USC Marshall School of Business. With more than 10 years of experience in the produce business and leadership roles within sales and marketing at several companies, Horrell has worked tirelessly toward what he views as the future of produce. He was a 2019 recipient of the Produce Business Top 40 Under 40. 

Cassie McLean ’19 was named as the recipient of the John D. Morgan Scholarship from Omicron Delta Kappa recently. McLean served as president of the Wittenberg Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa, treasurer of the American International Association, and vice president of the National Alliance of Mental Illness on campus. She graduated with honors from Wittenberg University, earning a degree in psychology with minors in neuroscience and biology. McLean volunteered at a variety of organizations including the Rocking Horse Center, Oesterlen Youth Services, and a local elementary school in Springfield. After setting her goal to become an occupational therapist, she dedicated her undergraduate studies to researching her chosen field. In her senior honors thesis, she investigated the correlation between therapeutic alliance and patient progress in pediatric occupational therapy. After graduation, McLean decided to continue her studies and began a clinical doctorate in occupational therapy at The Ohio State University. She hopes to work in the field of neurorehabilitation upon completing her doctoral degree.

City and State New York, one of the most respected media companies in New York state, has named David Little ‘79 to its list of the 100 most powerful people in public education. The Education Power 100 list honors the 100 most influential leaders in education, including elected and appointed officials, school superintendents and heads of advocacy organizations and unions.

Little is the executive director of the Rural Schools Association of New York State and the director of the Rural Schools Program at Cornell University. He previously served for 17 years as legal counsel in the New York State Assembly and Senate, before serving 15 years as director of governmental relations for the New York State School Boards Association. Little, who lives in Brunswick, New York, is a former county legislator, and served for 10 years as president of the Brittonkill Board of Education. He also served as a regional planning commissioner and as chair of the national Conference of State Association Legislative Staff.

The Rev. Andrea Cheeseman Curry ’05, who earned a BA in art in psychology, will be a featured author in the upcoming book Speaking Truth: Women Raising Their Voices in Prayer to be released on Feb. 18 from Abingdon Press.

Currently serving Trinity United Methodist Church in Bowling Green, Ohio, Curry is the senior pastor of a growing congregation in a college town where she lives with her husband William. They are in the process of adopting their first child.

The Springfield, Ohio Alumnae Association of Alpha Xi Delta recently received the 2018-2019 Ruth Simmons James Alumnae Association Excellence Award at the national convention this past summer in Seattle, Washington. The award is given to alumnae chapters for excelling in the areas of sisterhood, leadership, knowledge, and experience.

Cindy Holbrook
Cindy Holbrook
Senior Communications Assistant

About Wittenberg

Wittenberg's curriculum has centered on the liberal arts as an education that develops the individual's capacity to think, read, and communicate with precision, understanding, and imagination. We are dedicated to active, engaged learning in the core disciplines of the arts and sciences and in pre-professional education grounded in the liberal arts. Known for the quality of our faculty and their teaching, Wittenberg has more Ohio Professors of the Year than any four-year institution in the state. The university has also been recognized nationally for excellence in community service, sustainability, and intercollegiate athletics. Located among the beautiful rolling hills and hollows of Springfield, Ohio, Wittenberg offers more than 100 majors, minors and special programs, enviable student-faculty research opportunities, a unique student success center, service and study options close to home and abroad, a stellar athletics tradition, and successful career preparation.

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