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November 22, 2019
In the World

November's Passing of Light

Faculty, Staff, and Alumni News

The following selections were compiled by Cindy Holbrook 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

Ed Hasecke ’97, professor of political science, has been named the interim director of the Susan Hirt Hagen Center. Hasecke, who was recently appointed as the first director of the Research Institute at the Hagen Center, has collaborated with the center on numerous community-centered projects and partnered with the Springfield City Schools to conduct a multi-year study of afterschool tutoring in Clark County. He was on the Board of Directors for the Community Alliance for Youth, an initiative of the Hagen Center funded by a federal grant, and recently created, fielded, and analyzed a survey of parents in Springfield about their use and satisfaction with different out-of-school programs. This past summer, he created with summer internship students, the Engage Springfield dashboard and website (, a project funded by the Hagen Center and 10 sponsoring community groups.

Hasecke, who currently serves on the Steering Committee for the Community Health Assessment conducted by the Clark County Combined Health District, has served on the Board of Leadership Clark County, heading a session for the Leadership Academy every year since 2008 on servant leadership, and has served on the Snyder Park Planning Group that worked on a plan to reimagine the space that was formerly the golf course.

Mike Mattison, associate professor of English and director of both the Writing Center and the Oral Communication Center, has accepted the position of associate provost for undergraduate curricular development and academic support services. Mattison brings a wealth of experience to this position working with student success programs across the institution – from the Writing Center to the First-Year Seminar, to summer orientation, collaborations with COMPASS, and beyond. 

His experience working with the General Education Assessment Committee will also provide a solid foundation for understanding the University's ongoing efforts to ensure that Wittenberg is adequately assessing student learning in the general education curriculum and thinking critically about student learning outcomes more broadly.

Wittenberg faculty member Amber Burgett, associate professor of biology, has accepted the position of director of general education. Burgett has significant experience in issues related to general education, including serving as a member of the General Education Advisory Committee for the past three years.

Justin B. Houseknecht, professor of chemistry and department chair, is the lead editor of Active Learning in Organic Chemistry: Implementation and Analysis, a book that was recently published by ACS Symposium Series.

Dave Finster, professor emeritus of chemistry, received the American Chemical Society Division of Chemical Health and Safety (CHAS) Fellows Award at the organization’s annual meeting in August in recognition of his continuous, active service to CHAS. 

Assistant Professor of Art Elena Dahl was one of 44 artists whose work was selected by the Cincinnati-based nonprofit arts organization FotoFocus for inclusion in a juried group exhibition. AutoUpdate, which examines technology’s impact on photography and video, was on display until Nov. 16, 2019, at The Carnegie in Northern Kentucky.

After more than 25 years of research and writing on Bosnia, Keith Doubt, professor of sociology and chair of the department of sociology, is convinced that the Bosnian society is resilient, despite a war and genocide. His latest book, Ethnic and National Identity in Bosnia-Herzegovina: Kinship and Solidarity in a Polyethnic Society examines the kinship relations that cut across ethnic and national identities.

EAS Turns 50

Wittenberg’s East Asian Studies (EAS) program is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. A series of activities will be held in honor of its half-century of teaching excellence, scholarly success, and global outreach. Programming included an EAS tea; a joint colloquium featuring H. Orth Hirt Professor of History Emeritus James Huffman titled Down and Out in Meiji Japan: Lessons from the Urban Slums; an EAS alumni dinner; “Ghost Stories”, a lecture by Yuling Huang titled 20th Century Art and its Politics in China to be presented during the spring semester; the East Asian Festival in January, and Chinese dancing by Emily Wilcox, also during the spring semester.

EAS faculty members have also been busy this past academic year publishing dozens of scholarly works, including books, articles, chapters, reviews, media pieces, and other analytical articles. Additionally, EAS members gave 17 conference presentations, taught two master classes, gave 13 invited lectures, five performances, organized eight off-campus events, carried out substantial consulting work and community service, and held many positions of professional responsibility and leadership both on and off Wittenberg’s campus.

Alumni News

Rakesh Tondon ’01 

Featured by Nasdaq as a "Face of Entrepreneurship," Rakesh Tondon is co-founder and CEO of Le Tote, a clothing rental subscription service. The New York Times recently reported that Le Tote will acquire the department store chain Lord & Taylor. 

Isaac Ligocki ’06

Currently a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Ian Hamilton in the Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology at The Ohio State University, Isaac Ligocki will become an assistant professor of animal behavior in the Department of Biology at Millersville University of Pennsylvania, in January of 2020.

Charles Painter ’69

Charles Painter was recently inducted into the Ohio Tennis Coaches Hall of Fame. Currently the head tennis coach at Archbishop Alter High School with 765 career wins, Painter was formerly the head tennis coach at Wright State University from 1989-99 and posted 150 victories. Painter, who was also honored by the Dayton Agonis Club with the Don Donoher/Mike Kelly Coach of the Year Award in 2018, lives in Dayton with his wife, Karen, of 43 years.

Jamie Daugherty-Weaver ’08

Jamie Daugherty-Weaver was recently hired as a marketing specialist for the Sweet Manufacturing Company. Daugherty-Weaver will be responsible for all areas of the company’s marketing and advertising, including design and content creation for advertisements, website, social media, and company literature, as well as managing trade shows, corporate events, and product launches.

Amy Taylor ’93

Truth Initiative was proud to recognize the promotion of alumna Amy Taylor. Taylor was recently promoted to chief of community engagement from senior vice president of community and youth engagement. In this expanded role, Taylor will build on earlier successes by further growing the organization’s advocacy efforts and developing new coalitions. Taylor joined Truth Initiative in 2016 from Planned Parenthood Federation of America, where she was most recently the chief external relations officer.

Cady Breslin ‘14, Lindsay Konkel ‘06, Taylor Owens ‘18 and Brian Ringholz ‘14

Several Wittenberg alumni are pursuing graduate work in conservation, wildlife, and ecosystems through Miami University’s Global Field Program. This past summer, Cady Breslin studied Borneo's primate denizens, including the orangutan, and developed new ways to engage communities worldwide in primate conservation in Borneo. Breslin is a program leader and naturalist at California Woods Nature Preserve, and currently lives in Cincinnati, Ohio. Lindsay Konkel recently studied ongoing research projects, including radio tracking, cheetah conservation, and ecosystem management, as well as the design of school and community programs in Namibia, this past summer. Konkel is a fourth-grade math and science teacher at Mason Elementary School, and lives in Lebanon, Ohio. Taylor Owens studied coral reefs, manatees, howler monkeys, jaguars and other wildlife while learning the methods communities are using to sustain them in Belize this summer. Owens is a volunteer at Cox Arboretum and lives in Urbana, Ohio. Lastly, Brian Ringholz studied desert and marine landscapes through ecological and social field methods in Baja. Ringholz, a science teacher at Lake High School, lives in Perrysburg, Ohio.

Luke Dennis ’00

The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Greater Dayton Region Chapter released the winners for the 2019 National Philanthropy Day® (NPD) at a luncheon on Nov. 15 at The University of Dayton Marriot. Wittenberg graduate Luke Dennis, class of 2000, received the Outstanding Fundraising Professional Award. The NPD luncheon recognized individuals and organizations for their contributions to countless charities and causes in the Dayton community. Across North America, more than 100 AFP chapters and nearly 50,000 people will participate in NPD events.

Kristina McFarland Brannon ’06

Kristina McFarland Brannon has been chosen as the Human Resources Excellence 2019 Future Leader Winner by Columbus CEO.  Brannon graduated from Wittenberg in 2006 with a BA in Early Education.  After working a decade in the education field, she decided to take her career in a different direction. A manager at the Primrose School of Pickerington, she made the switch to human relations at Summit Orthopedic Home Care. A company of 350 employees, Summit provides in-home health care in the areas of orthopedics, neurology, cardiovascular care, infusion services and assisted living. As Summit’s human resources coordinator, Brannon takes care of recruiting and conducting interviews, onboarding and orientation, employee relations and conflict management.

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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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