CLASS Notes 


Robert Gold ’56, Jacksonville, Fla., has published the “Colonial City Murder Mystery” series. The series includes “Dead to Rights,” set in Savannah in 1766 and now in print; “Cut of the Cross,” set in St. Augustine in 1788 and published in May 2016; and “Dead and Gone,” set in New Orleans in 1799-1800 and to be published in late summer 2016. After graduating with his M.A. from BGSU, Gold earned a Ph.D. in Latin American history at the University of Iowa. He was a professor of history for more than 20 years, a museum and preservation board executive director for a decade, a historian with many publications, a newspaper columnist and a writer on a variety of subjects.


Pauline Furman ’73, ’75, Bingham Farms, Mich., received a Michigan Chronicle’s Men and Women of Excellence Award. This award celebrates African-American men and women in southeast Michigan who have inspired others through vision and leadership, exceptional achievements and participation in community service.

Thomas Melecki ’75, ’76, Austin, Texas, retired after a 39-year career in higher education, financial aid and student loans. He founded College Affordability Solutions, a consulting practice providing strategies to help families optimize higher education affordability.

Robin (Ralston) Hilgenberg ’79, Land O’ Lakes, Fla., retired after 35 years from the Hillsborough County school district, where she was a physical educator. She also retired from the Pasco County school district where she coached the Land O’ Lakes High School girls’ swim team for 14 years. She will continue coaching for an area swim club.

The sky is the limit

Maribeth Sembach Rahe’s childhood was anything but settled. She moved to a different city or attended a different school almost every year. Perhaps that’s why she learned early that she had to follow her own North Star in life to achieve success — something she urged newly minted graduates at the May 2016 Commencement to do as well. In addition to her personal resolve, she also had the encouragement of her mother.

“I was always a dreamer about what I could be,” Rahe, a 1970 alumna, told BGSU graduates. “My mother drilled into my head how fortunate I was that I could do anything I set out to do — as opposed to her generation when options were very limited for women.”

Rahe went on to prove her mother correct. Referred to as the first woman to shatter the “glass ceiling,” she has had a distinguished career in financial services and in 1997 was named one of five top female executives in the Fortune 500 by Forbes magazine. Vanity Fair in 1998 featured her as one of America’s most influential women, placing her among such prominent women as Supreme Court Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sandra Day O’Connor, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and a number of congresswomen, governors, civic and business leaders and other professionals.

In honor of her achievements, BGSU presented Rahe an honorary doctorate of business administration. Rahe has served since 2003 as chief executive officer and president of Fort Washington Investment Advisers, a wholly owned subsidiary of Western and Southern Financial Group, based in Cincinnati. Under Rahe’s leadership, Fort Washington is now the largest money manager of institutional resources in the Cincinnati region and employs more than 100 investment and support professionals. Before joining Fort Washington, she was president and a board member of United States Trust Company of New York. She also served as vice chair of the board of The Harris Bank of Chicago and has held various positions at JP Morgan in London and New York.

The White House tops graduate’s customer list

The next time the news cameras are rolling from inside the White House, focus on the floor. The elegant carpet that President Barack Obama is standing on has a Falcon imprint on it. There’s no visible logo, no orange and brown threads, but Michael Ruggeri ’78 leads the company that produced the distinctive piece of floor covering, as well as many others.

Ruggeri’s Michigan-based Scott Group Custom Carpets has carved out a unique niche as the leading producer of high-end, one-of-a-kind, ultra-premium carpets. The firm has created a variety of rugs for the White House, including the prestigious Oval Office rug for two different administrations. Scott Group has also produced luxury floor coverings for other rooms in the White House as well as serving the business jet market, super yachts, and the high-end corporate and residential sectors.

Ruggeri has been a part of the Scott Group for 36 years, joining the company shortly after graduating from BGSU, where he had studied selling and sales management and retailing. Ruggeri’s younger brother Rich, a 1983 BGSU graduate with a degree in marketing and communications, joined the company about five years later. Michael and Rich Ruggeri and a third partner were able to purchase Scott Group in 1997 and grew the company from 50 employees to 225.


Gerry Smith ’80, Urbana, Ill., is senior vice president and market president for First State Bank in Champaign, Ill.

Kenneth Going ’82, Northport, N.Y., is global head of the vendor management office for Estee-Lauder companies.

Marisella Veiga ’83, St. Augustine, Fla., released her book, “We Carry Our Homes with Us: A Cuban American Memoir,” published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press.

George Moore ’84, Glen Allen, Va., is senior vice president for HHHunt Communities, an award-winning developer of master planned communities. He oversees community development, sales of new home lots, and marketing efforts for existing and planned communities.

Suzanne (Young) Cordatos ’85, Colchester, Conn., serves in international admissions for Sacred Heart University. She has published two books, a middle- grade novel, “The Lost Crown of Apollo,” and a picture book, “Willard the Dragon: Sneeze-Fire.”

Thomas Ahlersmeyer ’89, Fort Wayne, Ind., was among the Class of 2015 inductees to the Kent City Schools Hall of Fame. The hall of fame recognizes graduates of Theodore Roosevelt High School and others who have made exceptional achievements in his/her field or unique contributions to the Kent community.

Get out of your comfort zone

Holly Horn’s ‘83 career path did not follow the expected route for someone with a bachelor’s degree in education. It has spanned various businesses and organizations, including politics, education, health care, consulting and finance – and that is okay, she says.

At the May 2016 Commencement, Horn spoke to graduates from the colleges of Business Administration and Education and Human Development about being open to the unknown, the unplanned.

“If someone asked me 30-some years ago what I was going to do with my life, it doesn’t look anything like it does today,” said Horn, a 1983 graduate. “Get out of your comfort zone. It has made all the difference for me in my life journey. Expose yourself to new people, new experiences, new ideas; take risks, push yourself to expand your consciousness.”

In 1988, she completed a master of health administration degree from George Washington University School of Business in Washington, D.C., and pursued a career in health care. She then joined the national health care strategy and business development consulting practice of Ernst & Young, where she assisted hospital systems across the country in expanding their services and improving operations for patients.

Today, Horn works in the municipal finance industry in New York City for Assured Guaranty. In her role as chief surveillance officer of public finance, she is responsible for monitoring a $360 billion insured portfolio and has represented the firm in several high-profile distressed credit negotiations.

BGSU Firelands helped build confidence

D. Craig Rathbun ‘83 has had success on multiple levels since graduating from Bowling Green State University in 1983. After earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration, he joined then Ernst & Whinney’s (now Ernst & Young) Management Consulting Group, specializing in production and operations. He later joined his family’s business, Venture Packaging, in Monroeville, Ohio, as operations manager. In 1999, as a partner in Encore Plastics, together with his siblings Tim and Jodi and friend John Wilson, he grew a startup company from seven employees to more than 300 within three manufacturing facilities. Encore manufactures paint sundry products for national retailers such as Lowe’s, Menards, Sherwin-Williams and Walmart. In 2009, the partners financed a renewable energy company called SUREnergy to find alternative ways to reduce Encore Plastics’ carbon footprint. Today, SUREnergy has evolved into providing grant writing, sourcing, installation, maintenance and consulting services to several national and international companies.

But it all started at BGSU Firelands.

“We have something in common,” Rathbun told the Class of 2016 on May 7 during a commencement ceremony at the Huron, Ohio, campus. “Beginning in 1979, I took classes at Firelands for two years. I then graduated in 1983 with my bachelor’s. A few months after I graduated, I was working for one of the largest accounting firms in the nation. Firelands gave me the opportunity to mature without the outside influences that often distract young students. It helped me build my confidence and made me feel like I belonged to something greater than myself.”

BGSU was a launching pad for university president

When Dr. Dean Bresciani ’85 graduated from Bowling Green State University 31 years ago, he never imagined that one day he would be giving a commencement speech to a new class of Falcon alumni. But during the May 2016 Commencement, the president of North Dakota State University (NDSU) had the opportunity to do just that.

“Bowling Green has been a big part of preparing me for the opportunity to work in higher education my entire career, now as the president of a top-100-ranked research university,” he told graduates. “The 30-second version of my words today is to, just for a minute, stop and think about the launching pad this place can be for you.”

Bresciani became North Dakota State’s president in 2010. During his tenure, NDSU has reached the elite “Research University/Very High Research” tier of the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education and holds similar standings in National Science Foundation rankings. Before joining NDSU, Bresciani held a vice president role at Texas A&M University from 2004 to 2008, and was a full professor there in the Department of Educational Administration through 2010. He served in similar roles at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1998 to 2004.

ESPN’s Jay Crawford encourages graduates to chase their dreams

When Jason “Jay” Crawford ‘87 sat in the sea of graduates in 1987, he took commencement speaker Fred Rogers’ words to heart: respect yourself and respect others.  

“He was a television host we all grew up with, and the advice ‘Mister Rogers’ gave us still resonates with me 29 years later,” Crawford said. “It was that nugget of advice that I was able to take from my own college commencement and really put to use.”

Crawford received a Bachelor of Arts in radio, television and film from the University. He started working at ESPN in 2003 and is the co-host of the network’s flagship show, “SportsCenter,” handling the midday duties. His professional achievements include winning four regional Emmy Awards, the Best Sportscaster Kentucky AP Award and three SPJ Best Sports Program Awards.

Crawford addressed graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences during the May 2016 Commencement at the Stroh Center.

“I’ve wildly exceeded the dreams of an 18-year-old freshman when I stood and told my speech class I’m here to learn how to be a television sports anchor,” Crawford told the graduates before concluding his speech with the chorus from the ESPN theme. “My dreams came true, and now it’s your turn. Be naïve enough to chase your dreams, be persistent enough to never stop.”


Rachel Dilley ’91, Marysville, Ohio, received the Rose Vormelker Scholarship from Kent State University’s School of Library and Information Science. Selected by faculty, the scholarship is awarded to a student who shows the most promise in the field of special librarianship.

Andrew French ’92
, Vandalia, Ohio, is chief of the appellate division for the Montgomery County prosecutor’s office.

Arlene Hill ’92, ’01, Washington, D.C., is assistant dean at American University’s Kogod School of Business. She has completed coursework toward her Ph.D. in business psychology, which included a study abroad experience in Indonesia.

Peter Segaard ’92, Oak Harbor, Ohio, is a professional surveyor for the Maumee firm of DGL Consulting Engineers LLC.

Eric Fulcomer ’95, Rockford, Ill., is the 18th president of Rockford University. His previous position at the university was vice president for enrollment management.

Lillian Schumacher ’95, ’05, Tiffin, Ohio, is the sixth president of Tiffin University and the first woman to serve in this capacity in the university’s 128-year history. She previously served the university as interim president and vice president of academic affairs.

Sean Whyte ’96, Dallas, joined the law firm of Gardere Wynee Sewell LLP as a partner in the firm’s Dallas office. He also serves as co-vice chair of the Law Day Committee for the Dallas Bar Association.

Christopher Blough ’97, Ashland, Ohio, is president and CEO of Mennonite Mutual Insurance Company of Orrville, Ohio, and its affiliate, Mennonite Mutual Aid Society.

Cheri Budzynski ’98, ’01, Grand Rapids, Ohio, is a partner in the law firm of Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick LLP and president of the Toledo Women’s Bar Association.


Karen Craigo ’00, Springfield, Mo., released two collections of poetry, “No More Milk” and “Passing Through Humansville.” She currently teaches writing.

Jaime Nosse ’00, Montville, Ohio, is the customer service director for Event Source, where she is responsible for overseeing the inside sales team, including all regional design center staff.

Andrea Meinardi ’01, Canal Winchester, Ohio, is the lead client audit partner at the Columbus, Ohio, office of Crowe Horwath LLP.

Pamela Richardon ’01, New Wilmington, Pa., is an associate professor of mathematics at Westminster College. She served on the Undergraduate Student Activities and Chapters committee for the Mathematical Association of America conference in Seattle.

Katherine (Ryan) Nowak ’03, ’04, Hilliard, Ohio, was selected as Ohio’s 2016 National Distinguished Principal at the middle level. This award, presented by the National Association of Elementary School Principals, recognizes outstanding leadership and a commitment to creating successful learning communities. She is principal of Hayes Intermediate School in Grove City, Ohio.

Mark Nussbaum ’03
, Chagrin Falls, Ohio, is the chief operating officer of Cleveland Clinic’s Marymount Hospital. He is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the hospital and for ensuring that the hospital’s activities align with Cleveland Clinic’s strategic objectives.

Ashley Baker ’04, ’07
, Athens, Ga., is assistant athletics director at Xavier University of Louisiana. She founded Ash B. Consulting LLC to provide athletes and young professionals with relevant, relatable and accessible information to pursue their personal and professional goals.

Jason Clapp ’04, Morrow, Ohio, is the collaboration and office technology manager for 84.51°. In this role, he is responsible for managing the team that delivers and supports network desktop and audiovisual technologies.

Erin (Ford) Kauppila ’04, Coatesville, Pa., received a doctorate of education in innovation and leadership from Wilmington University.

Meredith Clark-Wiltz ’06, Franklin, Ind., is assistant professor of history at Franklin College. She received the 2016 Faculty Steering Committee Distinguished Service Award for her outstanding service to the college.

Nick Kaplan ’07, Toledo, Ohio, associate professor of Spanish at Siena Heights University, Adrian, Mich., was honored by the university with the Sister Jean Cecile Hunt Outstanding Advisor Award.

Colleen Verbus ’07, Astoria, N.Y., is the marketing services specialist for Ticketmaster, supporting theatre and arts clients.

Gregory Shepherd ’08, Brooklyn, N.Y., is a New York City firefighter and certified first responder. He is the first West Indian firefighter in the history of his company.

Cameron Tanner ’08, Portland, Ore., is pursuing his doctoral degree in higher, adult and lifelong education at Michigan State University. He received the highest fellowship awarded in the College of Education.

Chad Bronowski ’09, Onalaska, Texas, earned a master of education in administration from Lamar University and received his EC-12 principal certification.

Timothy Bruno ’09, Toledo, Ohio, is performing in a summer 2016 production of Giacomo Puccini’s “La bohème” for the Wolf Trap Opera in Vienna, Va.

Alison Kemp ’09, Warren, Ohio, received her master of public health degree from the University of Utah and has joined the Peace Corps as a health volunteer in Swaziland.


Kristen Zajac ’10, Wickliffe, Ohio, is pursuing a master of library and information science at Kent State University and serving as a children’s associate at the Euclid Public Library. She received the Alumni and Friends Council Endowed Minority Scholarship from Kent State’s School of Library and Information Science.

Nicholas Vanderpool ’13, West Chester, Ohio, is the personal lines underwriter to commercial lines for The Cincinnati Insurance Company.

Alexa (Johnson) Ritchie ’14, Irvine, Calif., received a master of science in mechanical and aerospace engineering from the University of California, Irvine.

Golden Falcons

The deep bonds shared by Bowling Green State University alumni were honored at the second Golden Falcons induction ceremony June 28, 2016. Golden Falcons are alumni who have been graduates for 50 or more years. BGSU welcomed 53 Golden Falcons to campus and inducted them as Golden Falcons with a medallion crafted exclusively for this group of esteemed alumni. Six inductees from 2015 also attended. The 2017 reunion and ceremony is scheduled for May 9, 2017.


Alumni Summer College


Falcons of all ages attended classes taught by BGSU faculty, stayed in residence halls, and enjoyed excursions to local attractions during the inaugural Alumni Summer College. Visit for information on Alumni Summer College and numerous Falcon events on campus and across the country. Make plans now to attend Alumni Summer College 2017 on May 10-12, 2017.

Sebo honored by ROTC

J. Robert Sebo ’58, ’13 (Hon.) was inducted into the 2016 inaugural class of the U.S. Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corp (ROTC) Hall of Fame. The ceremony was held June 10 at the United States Army Cadet Command at Fort Knox, Ky. The Hall of Fame induction is awarded to alumni whose character and distinguished service epitomize the qualities the Army ROTC embodies. A permanent record of Sebo’s service and accomplishments will be added to the Hall of Fame. Dr. Sebo was also inducted as a

Golden Falcon on June 28 at the BGSU Golden Falcons induction ceremony.
Major General (ret.) Niles Fulwyler ‘52, who had a very distinguished career with the United States Army, was also posthumously inducted into the ROTC Hall of Fame.