May 21, 2021
In the World

May Passing Of Light

Faculty, Staff, and Alumni News

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

Faculty & Staff Corner

Wittenberg production “Spring Awakenings” was nominated for Best Ensemble for its 2020 production, while Debbie Henderson and Jimmy Humphries were nominated for Arts Educator of the Year in the Dayton Regional 2020 Awards. The public submitted nominees and voted for favorites through Dec. 31 at, and winners were announced in January. Krissy Brown ’13, who works for the Springfield Arts Council, was named the Arts Educator of the Decade. Community theatre productions, student productions, and college productions were all included in the voting with eligibility for productions which opened between 2011 and Sept. 30, 2020.

Nancy Woehrle, associate professor of psychology, has agreed to serve as the director of the Honors Program beginning with the academic year 2021-2022. Woehrle brings extensive experience to the program having directed nine honors theses and several honors contracts. Additionally, honors projects in her research lab have resulted in student authorships on peer-reviewed journal articles and presentations at regional and national conferences. Over the past seven years, her research work has given 18 students an opportunity to present a paper at a scholarly conference, and nine students authorship on publications in scholarly journals. As a member of the Faculty Executive Board and the director of the neuroscience program at Wittenberg, Woehrle also has substantial experience with institution-wide issues and cross-disciplinary conversations.

Alumni Achievement

Champaign County native Daniel L. Bey ‘08 has been named a partner with the Martin, Browne, Hull & Harper law firm, which has offices in Urbana and Springfield. Bey, a title agent for First American Title Insurance Company through Martin Browne’s title agency, Bankers’ Title, graduated from Graham High School and Wittenberg University before obtaining both his J.D. and LL.M. from Ohio Northern University College of Law. His local practice areas include real property transactions, utility right-of-way negotiations, estate planning and probate, corporate and business transactions, and litigation.

Jeffrey Knapp ‘87 was recently appointed chief executive officer at DNAtrix, a leader in the development of oncolytic viruses for cancer therapy. Knapp joins the company with more than 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. Before joining DNAtrix, he served as chief operating officer at Aimmune Therapeutics where he was responsible for preparing the company's first asset for approval and commercial launch in the United States and Europe as a treatment for children and adolescents with peanut allergies. Knapp, who graduated from Wittenberg with a degree in biology and a minor in business administration, also held several executive and senior management positions in biopharmaceutical companies at similar stages of growth.

Kimberly Jo Lawless ‘88 has joined Bethany College in West Virginia as an assistant professor of social work. With an MSW and an M.A. in English from West Virginia University and a B.A. in English from Wittenberg, Lawless is a licensed graduate social worker and has been a vocational counselor at West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services, a therapist at Wellspring Family Services, and an adjunct instructor at Bethany College.

Rhonda Grizzell ‘93, a community-response bureau commander with the Columbus Division of Police, was recently named Reynoldsburg’s deputy chief of police. A 25-year veteran of the Columbus Police Division (CPD), she is only the city’s second deputy chief. The post became vacant in June when former deputy chief Curtis Baker was promoted to chief. The position was created in 2018 after the department was restructured.  

Grizzell has worked for the city of Columbus since 1994 when she started as a patrol officer. During her tenure, she served in a variety of positions, including patrol bureau commander, property crimes bureau commander, training bureau commander, and more than a decade as a patrol officer. She also has served as commander of the CPD’s community-response bureau, which oversees community policing initiatives, including school resource and community liaison officers, recruiting and a new youth services unit. 

Johnny Pryor ‘99 has joined the Lilly Endowment as program director in education after previously serving as assistant vice chancellor in the division of student affairs at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. He also served for eight years as assistant dean for student affairs at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis and as senior assistant director of Career Services at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. He also directed the Office of Post-Graduate Studies at Butler University. He earned his B.A. in English at Wittenberg and J.D. at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law in Bloomington.

William Vollrath ‘71 recently published a collection of 55 poems titled “My Third Eye Is Blurry: Collected Poems by William Vollrath.” The Charlottesville poet tackles the meaning of life and the human experience in this collection about the journey of life published by Highland Park Poetry. With a bachelor’s degree in political science from Wittenberg and a master’s in journalism from The Ohio State University, Vollrath retired to Charlottesville after 30 years in advertising and financial services and jobs ranging from bartending to gravedigging to substitute teaching to real estate appraisal. His work has appeared in The Prairie Light Review, Rockford Review, Highland Park Poetry, Your Daily Poem, Voices on the Wind, Echo World and other publications.

Bret Nye ‘11 was recently promoted to community editor and head of the news department for the Advertiser-Tribune in Tiffin, Ohio. Nye, who studied journalism and creative writing at Wittenberg before earning a master’s degree in creative writing at Miami University and a M.F.A. from the University of Notre Dame, where he specialized in prose writing and teaching undergraduates. Nye joins his brother Matt, sports editor, on the newspaper staff.

Jimmy Colloton ‘11 was recently promoted to associate head coach of the U.S. Naval Academy’s Women's Basketball team. During his first six seasons, the program has shown itself to be one of the top defensive teams in the Patriot League as it finished first in steals and was named among the Top 50 in the nation five separate times, while holding opponents to 59.8 points or less, each and every year. He was a student assistant coach at Wittenberg and a grad assistant and interim assistant coach at Indiana University before joining the Naval Academy.
Dave Huml ’91 was recently promoted from chief operating officer to chief executive officer of The Tennant Company, a leading force in the production and distribution of cleaning solutions. In this new role that begins in March, Huml will provide oversight for regional sales, service-based organizations, various operations departments and join the company’s board of directors. He will also help implement the company’s new enterprise strategy. Huml earned his bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg and his master’s in business administration from the University of Minnesota. 

Andrew Francis ‘15 has joined SPF Water Engineering in Boise, Idaho, as a hydrogeologist. He has almost four years of experience working in groundwater resources with a focus on hydrogeologic conceptualization and geospatial analysis. Francis has an undergraduate degree in geology from Wittenberg University and a master’s in hydrogeology from Illinois State University.

History major Adam Matthews '11, a doctoral candidate in history at Columbia University in New York, has been working on what is called a "Medievalist Toolkit." Working as intermediaries for rehabilitation programs and organizations, his research group is sourcing reliable work from the academic world and distilling it into quick reference materials for non-experts with the primary resource so far being a website that is currently in development at

“We hope to develop seminars and training modules that could be beneficial for social workers, police departments, teachers, nurses, and other first responders,” said Matthews, who designed and taught an undergraduate course titled “Pre-Colonial Mesoamerican Societies & Cultures, ca. 1500 BCE—1521 CE” (Fall 2019) as part of the Teaching Scholars Program at Columbia. “We also are considering the possibility of a lecture series in the prison system (though that too is in the planning stage). As intermediaries, it is our hope that by presenting the resources academics can offer to activists, we can then relay lessons from their experiences into the academy and classroom.”

Matthews received his master’s degree from Western Michigan University in 2013. His research focuses on the legal, documentary, and liturgical practices of medieval Catalonia and southern France during the ninth through eleventh centuries.

We Raise Foundation recently selected Derrick Braziel ’09, as the 2020 Richard E. Herman Leadership Award honoree.

The Leadership Award recognizes the commitment and service of one leader interrupting the cycles of poverty, violence, and inequality in the United States, whether through their professional work or as a volunteer. Selected by a panel of ministry practitioners, all with passion for and expertise related to alleviating poverty, violence, and inequality, Braziel received a cash award and an invitation to gather with other inspired emerging leaders to network, learn and reflect, hosted and paid for by We Raise Foundation.

Co-founder of MORTAR in Cincinnati, Ohio, along with fellow Wittenberg graduate William Thomas ’08, Braziel is the development director of the nonprofit organization that aims to create diverse communities by enabling historically marginalized entrepreneurs, most of whom are in Black and minority populations, to access the resources needed to start and run successful businesses. In his position, Braziel supports MORTAR by deepening relationships with various community stakeholders while providing opportunities for external partners to support local entrepreneurs and their ideas.

Braziel was named a 2019 Fellow by the Obama Foundation Fellowship, which supports outstanding civic innovators—leaders who are working with their communities to create transformational change and addressing some of the world’s most pressing problems.

Ashley Belkofer ’21 of Powell, Ohio, was this year’s recipient of the Presidential Award. Established in 2006, the Presidential Award, is given annually to a senior art student whose work represents the highest conceptual and technical achievements of the art students in the graduating class. Pieces are chosen by the Office of the President in consultation with the faculty members of art department and become part of Wittenberg's permanent collection to be displayed at the president's house or somewhere else on campus. Belkofer, an art major with a concentration in graphic design, is featured on the art department page along with other art seniors here

Students Featured in Nursing Publication

It was recently announced that seven of Wittenberg’s senior BSN nursing students will be published in the Nursing 2021 journal in an article title "Student Voices: Our Understanding of Culture."

Students to be published include RN to BSN students Chloe Beaver, RN, who will be working at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio; Stephanie Bidwill, RN, who will be working for Mercy Health – Springfield Regional Medical Center in Springfield, Ohio; Alyssa Hallauer, RN, who will be working at Oakwood Village Senior Living in Springfield, Ohio; Paige Kopp, RN, who will be working Mercy Health – Springfield Regional Medical Center in Springfield, Ohio; Dalton Perkins, RN, who will be working at Mercy Health – Springfield Regional Medical Center in Springfield, Ohio; Cameron Rice, RN, who will be working at Miami Valley Hospital South in Centerville, Ohio; and Lexie Weithman, RN, recent Student Nurse Apprentice at Mercy Health – Springfield Regional Medical Center, Springfield, Ohio, who will be working at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio; and Wittenberg Professor of Nursing Cherie R. Rebar, PhD, MBA, RN, COI.

Parkhurst Partners in Program

Global public health organization NSF International sponsors a new initiative called the Checked by NSF program. Parkhurst Dining, which handles all the culinary options on the Wittenberg campus, is the first and only contract dining company in North America that has successfully completed the Phase 1 and Phase 2 requirements for the Checked by NSF™ program. The distinction reflects that Parkhurst has taken the necessary steps to minimize the risk of COVID-19 among our customers, guests, and employees.

The Checked by NSF™ program offers businesses independent verification of COVID-19 preventive measures, providing reassurance that the highest level of procedures and protocols is implemented.

Recitation Hall
University Communications Staff
Staff Report

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.

Back to top