Old Oregon

Do you ever wish we printed more notes from your class? Your classmates feel that way, too. Submit a class note online, e-mail your news to quarterly[at]uoregon[dot]edu, or mail it to Editor, Oregon Quarterly, 5228 University of Oregon, Eugene OR 97403-5228.

Indicates UOAA Member (green) 


Going Global: A 2016 graduate joins the United Nations

Alyssa Goessler

Call it an occupational hazard: Alyssa Goessler developed a lingering headache during her first few weeks at the United Nations, the result of switching constantly between the English and Arabic languages. Small price to pay to land your dream job.

Goessler, BA ’16, was recently hired as an administrative assistant in the office of Jordan, called the Permanent Mission of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to the United Nations. She helps with communications and scheduling, and also tracks the day-to-day business of the international body.

“I still feel like I have stars in my eyes,” Goessler says. “I keep telling myself, ‘OK, you made it, kid, now it’s time for the real work.’”

The UN was the perfect destination for someone who, as a student, was known to “geek out”—her words—on the details of treaties and accords. Goessler majored in general social sciences, zeroing in on courses about foreign policy, economic development, and globalization.

Headaches notwithstanding, Goessler is also reaping the rewards of studying Arabic as a minor. She did it on a lark but grew to love the language, polishing her fluency and immersing herself in the culture during a semester abroad in Jordan. She found the studies “almost meditative.”

That background made Goessler a good fit for her current position. Now she’s getting to know the other staffers, and they’re getting to know her.

Her coworkers have discovered, for example, that the way to help Goessler handle the stress of deadlines is to ply her with food. Treats magically appear on her desk and colleagues back from lunch routinely present an extra sandwich.

“Food hospitality is a huge thing in the Middle East and that holds true in my office,” Goessler says. “It’s another part of Middle Eastern culture that I love learning about here.”


David Rankin, BS ’60, MS ’68, and Dianne McKrola Rankin, BS ’60, MS ’69, were announced as Oregon’s 2016 Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year. They have owned their 194-acre forestland just outside of Florence for 43 years.

Susan Greenlund Phinney, BS ’63, moved to Seattle right after graduation and spent 44 wildly wonderful years writing ad copy for Nordstrom; 28 years as a reporter, editor, and feature writer at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer; and a stint of corporate PR. Retired for 10 years, she loves traveling, spending time at a cabin in the San Juan Islands, and volunteering for writing projects.

Former UO School of Journalism dean Everette E. Dennis, BS ’64, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dennis is currently the dean and CEO of Northwestern University in Qatar; at Northwestern’s home campus, he is a professor in the Medill School of Journalism.  

Ginger Leaming, BA ’65, has published her second novel Never Done (The Wild Rose Press, 2017). An historical fiction piece inspired by the life of her great-grandmother, the story takes place in southwestern Colorado c.1885 to the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918.

Harry F. Noller, PhD ’65, received the prestigious 2017 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. 

Ron Wigginton, MFA ’68, recently published Cloud Of Uncertainty (Land Studio, 2016) containing a series of his paintings. The book’s preface is written by Peter Ruddick, whom he met at the School of Architecture and Allied Arts in 1965, and its introduction is by Peter Clothier, an art critic and writer living in Los Angeles.

Joe M. Fischer, BS ’60, MFA ’63, delivered a portrait of “Tracker,” a Keeshond breed dog, to his owner Kiran Kramer of Clatskanie, Oregon. 

Tracker portrait


A former Los Angeles Times editor, John Gottberg Anderson, BA ’71, is now a full-time freelance travel writer living in Bend. The North American Travel Journalists Association honored him in 2016 and 2017 with its Gold Award for best self-illustrated travel story.  

Albert A. Menashe, BS ’71, cofounder and shareholder of Gevurtz Menashe Larson & Howe law firm in Portland, was awarded the Classic Wines Auction Koerner Rombauer Award for Service. The award recognizes individuals, who consistently serve, fund, and support the Classic Wines Auction and its benefiting charities. 

David Walter Hercher, BA ’77, began serving as the judge of the US Bankruptcy Court in Oregon in January. Since 1989, he has been a partner at Miller Nash Graham & Dunn, Portland. 

On March 18, the Bamasaaba Cultural Institution hosted the launching of a new book by James E. Lassiter, MS ’75, PhD ’83, Circumcision and Coffee in Uganda: Bamasaaba Responses to Incursion, Colonialism, and Nationalism 1840–1962. The book is an account of the prehistory and cultural history of the Bamasaaba (Bagisu) ethnic group of eastern Uganda.

Richard Schanche, BFA ’78, has created art from Minneapolis to Anchorage where he has several galleries showing his work. In May, he held an Art in the Courtyard event in McMinnville where he and two other artists displayed their work.


Kevin McCarey, MA ’80, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Grays Reef National Marine Sanctuary, Savannah, Georgia, for his work as an oceanographer, filmmaker, author, and teacher of environmental filmmaking. His most recent book is Oceans Apart: The Wanderings of a Young Mariner (The Glencannon Press, 2016).

John A. Heldt, BS ’85, published his tenth novel, Hannah’s Moon, in February.



Frank Burkhartsmeyer, MBA ’90, has been named CFO of Northwest Natural. He previously served as the president and CEO of Avangrid Renewables, as well as senior vice president of finance at Iberdrola Renewables US.

Doug Turner, BS ’90, who serves as the director of operations for Diversified Trust, in Tennesee, has been named principal. He was previously senior vice president.

Karey Maltzahn, BS ’95, has recently been named the head of feature production at visual effects company Digital Domain Studios in Los Angeles. Karey previously had been a VFX producer on such movies as Captain America: Civil War, Antman, Guardians of the Galaxy, and The Fate of the Furious.

Brett Campbell, MS ’96, is coauthor with Bill Alves of Lou Harrison: American Musical Maverick (Indiana University Press, 2017), a biography of the Portland-born composer who became one of the pioneers of world music. Campbell is also a former School of Journalism and Communication instructor, Flux magazine faculty adviser, and Oregon Quarterly assistant editor.

Jason Lewis-Berry, BA ’99, a former official at the US Department of State, was appointed as economic and jobs policy advisor to Oregon governor Kate Brown. Previously, he worked for a humanitarian relief organization and as a consultant on homeland security and disaster preparedness.


Seth Ehlinger, BArch ’02, joined Ascent Architecture and Interiors in Bend as a design professional. He has 15 years of experience in the design and construction industries. Previously, he was a licensed general contractor operating his own design-build company.

Mary Elizabeth Madden, BS ’02, graduated in December 2016 with a master’s degree in public and international affairs from Virginia Tech. A diplomat since 2003, she currently works as the deputy economic counselor at the US embassy in Ankara, Turkey.

Leesa Mayfield, MArch ’05, owner of Leesa Mayfield Architecture, was the speaker for the Sterling Women of Winchester, Virginia luncheon on February 14. Mayfield has served on numerous boards and her architectural focus is residential design.

Tyler R. Elliott, MA ’09, JD ’09, launched a new financial planning firm, Watershed Wealth Planning LLC, in Portland. He began his career as a bankruptcy attorney, and then shifted to a financial planning focus. WWP will specialize in planning for legal, medical, tech, and other professionals who are members of generations X and Y.


Quinn Evans Architects announced that Lauren Strauss, MArch ’16, has joined as staff designer in their Detroit, Michigan office. Strauss is a year-five Challenge Detroit Fellow focusing on community impact projects. Strauss is currently working on the renovation of the historic Crapo Building in Bay City, Michigan.


In Memoriam: Alex Tizon


His peers respected his dig-deep reporting, his storytelling prowess, and his commitment to shining light onto the overlooked and misunderstood—even within his own life. He was with the Seattle Times for 17 years, during which he shared a 1997 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. He was Seattle bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times and won a 2015 Oregon Book Award for his memoir, Big Little Man: In Search of My Asian Self. But to his interns and students, Alex Tizon was a down-home guy who shared with them the drudge and glory of journalism, and urged them to keep on, despite their qualms. A mentor for many, a north star for some, a quiet pioneer to others—may his legacy live long. 

Alex Tizon

Joseph Spencer Miller, BS ‘43, died Jan. 4 in Bethesda, Md. A long-time fixture on Capitol Hill, he became known as the dean of Washington lobbyists specializing in Pacific Northwest issues, representing such clients as the Western Forest Industries Association, Port of Portland, and Association of Oregon and California Land Grant Counties. His 2008 memoir, The Wicked Wine of Democracy, was published by the University of Washington Press. 

Willard Ross Yates, BA ’48, MA ’49, died on January 25. He served in the US Army and later worked as a faculty member at several different colleges—receiving prestigious awards for his work and professorship. He was an accomplished author and enjoyed running in his free time. 

Michael G. Callahan, BS ’51, MS ’53, died December 14. He served in the Army in Korea. After graduating from UO, where he pledged Phi Kappa Psi, he moved to San Mateo and taught at Hillsdale High School, Cañada College, and the College of San Mateo. After retirement, he and his wife Olga Eide Callahan, BA ’53, enjoyed traveling throughout Europe.

George Kirkham, BS ’54, died on January 23 at age 85. He worked for the US Forest Service and Corps of Engineers in Montana, New Mexico, and Washington. He also had a passion for county projects that helped better the communities of which he was part.

Caldon R. Norman, MEd ’55, a wounded WWII POW (Bronze Star, Purple Heart), a passionate educator and an enthusiastic golfer, died in Portland on January 29. He served as an elementary school principal at six Portland public schools and was president of both the Portland and the Oregon Elementary School Principals Association.

Marie Elizabeth Keller Squires, BS ’58, died February 20. She was a member of the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority. She and her husband Skip, BS ’58, (who served as The Duck mascot at the ’58 Rose Bowl) were regular donors to the College of Education, establishing a scholarship in their names. She worked for many years at Gresham High School.

Walter Pirie Buehning, MMus ’59, DMA ’71, died September 26. He served in the B Co., 321st Signal Battalion in Frankfurt, Germany. After his return he taught music at a variety of places, including the University of Calgary. 

Dale Michael (Joe) Simpson, BS ’61, died March 28. Dale served several years in the US Army making films—one of his films won General Film of the Year. After his discharge, Dale worked for several advertising agencies before his retirement in 2001.

Gordon Jones, BA ’62, died on January 15. He had a career serving as the CEO of the Colorado Coors Family Foundation, and later was the president of the La Mesa Historical Society from 2002 to 2010, where he helped landmark several historical houses. 

Rosalie Brandon, BS ’63, died March 8. She had an accomplished career as a theater director at the Storefront Actors Theater in Portland. Later in life, she worked as a residential realtor. She was UO’s ’61 homecoming queen and helped organize one of her class reunions.

John William Campbell, who attended the UO 1962–65, died April 8. He served as a Green Beret in the US Army for 22 years, including serving three tours in Viet Nam. He was a member of the VFW in Pasadena, and enjoyed watching sports–especially the Ravens and the Orioles. 

Jeffrey Stuart Stangland, BS ’65, died on March 28. He founded Stangland Construction Co. in Eugene, and specialized in custom homes. After retirement, he rebuilt a Model A Ford, sailed around the San Juan Islands with his family, and traveled across the country with his wife in an Airstream trailer. 

Grant (Nick) G. Nicolai, BS ’68, died September 21. He was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity and had a 20-year career in the US Air Force. He achieved a master’s degree and the rank of colonel after spending two tours in Viet Nam as a fighter pilot. Following retirement from the Air Force, he was a corporate jet pilot for Net Jets.

Sara Ann Glassow Whittaker, BS ’70, died October 8. She was a valedictorian at Marshfield High School and graduated Phi Beta Kappa at UO. As the owner of Whittaker Claims, an insurance claims company specializing in arson, she was often called upon to serve as an expert witness in California courts.

Valerie Wheeler, PhD ’74, died January 16. She was professor emerita of anthropology at California State University Sacramento. She researched various topics in her field, and had a variety of artistic hobbies including photography. She was also given the high honor from the Sacramento State Faculty Senate to present the Livingston Lecture in 2003. 

Linda T. Crimson, MFA ’77, died April 14. She had a passion for planting flowers and gardening, and was a talented artist. She casted her sculptures into bronze, carved stones, and painted watercolors. She and her husband also painted 100 murals across the United States.

Katie (Leech) Gordon, BS ’98, died March 8. She had her own dentistry practice in her hometown of Toledo, Oregon, where she and her husband, Chad Gordon, raised two daughters. She loved planning adventurous trips with her family and cheering from the sidelines of her daughters’ games.

Shannon O’Leary, MS ’04, PhD ’08, and Adam Clausen, PhD ’07, died on December 26. Both well known in the physics community of Portland, the couple had a son, Felix. O’Leary worked as an assistant professor at Lewis and Clark College and Clausen worked at Kolisch Hartwell, a Portland law firm. 

Bruce Darling, an accounting instructor, died February 14. He ran his own accounting practice since 1980 and taught several classes each term at UO, Northwest Christian University, and Lane Community College. Building model trains and playing competitive chess were a few of the activities he enjoyed in his free time.


What can tunes and the tasty treats tell us about making good experiences better?

Thousands of Velella velella, jellyfish relatives, washed ashore on Oregon beaches in April, and now are littering beaches in New Zealand.

Alumnus Edgardo Simone is a successful composer and orchestrator of Hollywood blockbusters, including the Spider-Man and Men in Black franchises