A. Spring 2016 Class Notes


BILLBOARD MAGAZINE’S TOP TUNE “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” Roberta Flack


ON CAMPUS Don Titus H.J. Huisman establishes The Sickle Cell Center on the Health Sciences Campus.

IN THE NEWS President Richard M. Nixon makes an unprecedented eight-day visit to the People’s Republic of China and meets with Mao Zedong. The Pioneer 10 spacecraft is launched from Cape Kennedy, to be the first man-made satellite to leave the solar system. Atari kicks off the first generation of video games with the release of their seminal arcade version of Pong, the first game to achieve commercial success. 


Dr. Philip Roberts (MD ’62) received the Lamartine Hardman Cup award from the Medical Association of Georgia. After working in private practice in Albany for a decade, Roberts joined the Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in 1990 and became the medical director of the Phoebe Cancer Center before retiring in December 2014.


Dr. Steven Bentley (MD ’78) published A License to Heal: Random Memories of an ER Doctor, an intriguing compilation of emergency room stories. Bentley’s career spans more than 30 years in various North Carolina emergency departments.

Dr. Arthur Fleischer (MD ’76), medical director of ultrasound, Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair Professor of Radiology and OB/GYN, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, joined The Expert Network, an invitation-only service for distinguished professionals.

Dr. John S. Harvey (MD ’78) was sworn in as president of the Medical Association of Georgia on Oct. 17, 2015. The ceremony was in concert with the organizations 161st House of Delegates meeting. Harvey has cared for his patients in the Atlanta area for over 30 years.

Dr. Michael Lam (MD ’76) is a board-certified cardiologist with Owensboro Health’s One Health Medical Group, in Madisonville, Kentucky.

Dr. Jim Vaught (PhD ’77), International Society for Biological & Environmental Repositories president and founding member, joined the Scientific Advisory Board of CloudLIMS. Vaught is currently a senior research fellow at the International Prevention Research Institute (Lyon) and a consultant for a number of international biobanking activities.


Dr. Steven L. Carpenter (MD ’88) was advanced by the American College of Physicians to the level of Master, the highest designation given by the organization. Carpenter is currently chair of the Department of Internal Medicine for Mercer University School of Medicine’s Savannah campus; professor of medicine at Mercer University School of Medicine; and clinical assistant professor at the Medical College of Georgia.

Dr. William Durrett (MD ’85), owner of the Pain & Brain Center at Aiken Neurosciences and Pain Management in Aiken, South Carolina, will be published in the Leading Physicians of the World as a new member of the International Association of HealthCare Professionals.

Susan Grant (BSN ’83), senior executive for nursing at Royal Oak, Michigan-based Beaumont Health, was appointed executive vice president and chief nursing officer.

Dr. Mary Jane Hamilton (BSN ’82), dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, was selected as the Augusta University College of Nursing Phoebe Kandel Rohrer Distinguished Alumna and Presidential Alumna award recipient. The Texas House of Representatives also honored Hamilton in March with a resolution congratulating her for receiving this award and for her achievements in the nursing profession.

Dr. Michael Makowski (MFRI ’88), partner with Tomoka Eye Associates in Daytona, Florida, received the University of Central Florida Alumni Association and College of Medicine Professional Achievement Award. An ophthalmologist, Makowski’s focus is on cataract surgery, glaucoma, oculoplastics and corneal transplant.

Vice Adm. Matthew Nathan (MD ’81), Navy surgeon general and chief, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, retired during an official ceremony at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Dec. 7, 2015.

Dr. Clyde Lanford “Lanny” Smith (MD ’89), general medicine and primary care, received the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s 2015 Latino Achievement Award in recognition for his contribution to advancing exceptional care for the Latino community.

Joe Vignati (BA, Political Science ’87) was appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal to the Juvenile Justice State Advisory Group. Vignati is the deputy commissioner of the Division of Community Services for the Department of Juvenile Justice. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Augusta University and a master’s degree in
public administration from Georgia
State University.


Dr. Marilyn Hockenberry (PhD ’92), Bessie Baker Professor of Nursing at Duke University School of Nursing, was appointed associate dean for research for the Office of Research Affairs.

Dale Inglett (BFA ’98), associate professor of art in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at Alfred University in Alfred, New York, received a New York State Council on the Arts and the Arts Council of the Southern Finger Lakes grant.

Dr. Thomas R. Kelley (MD ’91) was named chief of quality and clinical transformation at Orlando Health. Kelley is a practicing primary care physician and continues to see patients in his Longwood, Florida, office.

Dr. W. Curt LaFrance Jr. (MD ’95) has published his second and third books, Taking Control of Your Seizures: Workbook (with Dr. Joel M. Reiter, Dr. Donna Andrews and Charlotte Reiter) and Treating Nonepileptic Seizures: Therapist Guide (with Dr. Jeffrey Peter Wincze). LaFrance is director of neuropsychiatry and behavioral neurology at Rhode Island Hospital and associate professor of psychiatry and neurology at Alpert Medical School, Brown University.

Dr. Kenneth Peavy (DFRI ’90), periodontist in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, offers advanced gum recession treatment using the Chao Pinhole Surgical Technique, a revolutionary method for treating gum recession and an alternative to gum-grafting techniques of the past with less invasive procedures.

Dr. Christopher Shaffer (MEd ’98), dean of university libraries at Troy University, was one of only 10 librarians in the United States selected to receive the 2015 I Love My Librarian Award. The New York Public Library and The New York Times are co-sponsors of the award, which is administered by the American Library Association.

Dr. Larry Weddle (DFRI ’99), owner of Weddle Orthodontics in Westminster, Colorado, has launched a new, more patient-friendly website: drweddle.com/treatment/early-treatment.


Dr. Robert Carey (MD ’00), urologic surgeon and head of Sarasota Memorial’s Robotic Uro-Gyn Epicenter, was ranked among the best in Florida for prostate removal in ProPublica’s first-ever Surgeon Scorecard. Carey is the highest-rated surgeon with the lowest adjusted complication rates in the state in his subspecialty.

Dr. Garett Seeba (DMD ’09) completed his oral and maxillofacial surgery residency in June 2015 at Louisiana State University, New Orleans. He now is in group private practice in Webster, Texas.

Dr. Stephanie M. Simonson (MD ’02), radiologist at Cambria Somerset Radiology in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, will be published in the Leading Physicians of the World as a new member of the International Association of HealthCare Professionals.

Dr. Matthew J. Socha (PhD ’09) was named assistant professor of biology at The University of Scranton in Scranton, Pennsylvania.


Dr. Abiodun Akinwuntan (MPH ’12) was named dean of the University of Kansas School of Health Professions in Kansas City, Kansas, effective Jan. 18, 2016. Akinwuntan served as associate dean for research in the College of Allied Health Sciences and professor of physical therapy, ophthalmology and neurology at Augusta University between 2005 and 2015.

Dr. Lauren Bowersox (MFRI ’15) joined Atlanta West Dentistry in Marietta, Georgia. Bowersox is one of the youngest dentists in the country to receive a Mastership with International Congress of Oral Implantologists. This year, she was recognized as the Outstanding Table Clinician during the annual Thomas P. Hinman Dental Meeting.

Mary Christina Elder (MHS ’14) and Paul Joseph Formella were married on Sept. 26, 2015, in Lenoir City, Tennessee. Elder is employed as an occupational therapist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
in Boston.

Sean Matthews (BA, History ’15) was
named director of women’s basketball operations at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina.

Ashlyn Thomas (MHS ’15) married Brett DeLoach on Nov. 14, 2015, at DeMott Vineyards at Gin Creek, Hartsfield, Georgia. Thomas is an occupational therapist for the Pierce County and Brantley County school systems.

Dr. Rebekah Thomas (MPA ’13) has joined the Georgia Campus of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Suwanee, Georgia, as an assistant professor in the Physician Assistant Studies Program. Thomas graduated in 2008 from Drake University with a Doctorate of Pharmacy and then completed two years of general and specialty pharmacy residency training at Grady Health Systems in Atlanta.

Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry
Share your story
Our best stories often come from suggestions from the campus community.

A stroke can change your life in an instant.

At Augusta University, we treat the most severe and complex patients with skilled, responsive stroke care. Located in the heart of the Stroke Belt, AU Health is the first hospital in Georgia to earn Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center status. Make an appointment to meet our specialists.

Request an Appointment

Readers’ Picks

For nearly 200 years, Augusta University and its legacy institutions have been centers of learning and drivers of discovery and innovation in Augusta, the state of Georgia and beyond. Our community of alumni, students, faculty and friends are amazing people living incredible lives and making invaluable contributions to our world.

We are pleased to publish four magazines in which we get to tell their stories: