Class Notes

Dale Kennington
Dale Kennington


Dr. Michael B.A. Oldstone (Class of ’54, biology) presented a lecture at UA on the Zika virus. Oldstone, a UA visiting professor since 2009, is a National Academy of Sciences member and a professor and head of the viral-immunobiology laboratory at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California.

Dale Kennington (Class of ’56, art history and design) exhibited a selection of her paintings at The University of Alabama Gallery in downtown Tuscaloosa during February and March. Kennington, a contemporary realist, returned to UA for the exhibit’s opening.


Mary Jane Pickens Skinner (Class of ’63, MA, history) gifted a piano in memory of Lista Eddins, a piano and vocal instructor at UA, to the School of Music. The piano is a 1905 Mehlin grand. Mary lives in Daphne with her husband, Donald (Class of ’57, chemistry).

Carroll Watson (Class of ’65, geography) was elected president of the Alabama Chapter of the Appraisal Institute for 2016. She was appointed to the Alabama Real Estate Appraisers Board last year.


Gary Blume (Class of ’74, biology) received the Roderick Beddow Lifetime Award from the Alabama Criminal Defense Lawyers Association for lifetime achievement in the field of criminal defense. He continues to practice law in Northport, Alabama, with his wife, Nettie Cohen Blume.

Robert Abernathy (Class of ‘76. chemistry) presented the 2015 Helen Crow Mills (‘59) and John Carroll Mills (‘55) Lecture on campus. Robert is chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Halyard Health Inc.

Debra Bowling (Class of ’77, MS, criminal justice) received the 2015 Georgia Author of the Year Award for first novels for her book The Memory of Flight. The award is given annually by the Georgia Writers Association.

Donald McCants (Class of ’76, history) is actively involved in singing with the Over the Mountain Festival Choir and continues to make good use of the choral musical skills he learned as a member of The University of Alabama Choral Union.


Dr. Winifred Bragg (Class of ’80, microbiology) released a new book, KnockOutPain Secrets to Maintain a Healthy Back.

Kimberly Denham-Huddleston (Class of ’81, psychology), an alumni Crimsonette, retired from Honda in 2014. Her daughter, Erica, graduated cum laude from Jacksonville State University and recently got married. Erica won Miss Congeniality at the 2013 Miss Alabama United States pageant as Miss Etowah County. Kimberly lives in Glencoe with her husband, Tommy.

F. Shelton Waldrep Jr. (Class of ‘82, English, class of ‘87 MFA, creative writing) published his book Future Nostalgia: Performing David Bowie. It was favorably reviewed by the Los Angeles Review of Books and others.


Robert Owen Riggs Jr. (Class of ’93, history) is the chief of staff for Hawaii State Senator Mike Gabbard. He lives in Oahu, Hawaii, with his wife, Ali, and their three daughters.


Gregory Powell (Class of ’04, MFA, creative writing) wrote a new play, Ruby’s Harmonicas and Pianos, Incorporated. A stage reading of the play was held at the Theatre Downtown in Birmingham in April. This is the first of a cycle of seven plays he is writing that address voting rights, civil rights, unions, religious lethargy, and reconciliation in the 20th century. He just started writing the fourth, Fire in My Bones, which addresses the genesis of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. His first collection of poetry was also published in April.

Dr. Angela Jill Cooley (Class of ’05/’11, MA/PhD, history) is a finalist for the Scholarship and Reference Award, given by the James Beard Foundation, for her book To Live and Dine in Dixie: The Evolution of Urban Food Culture in the Jim Crow South, published by the University of Georgia Press in 2015.


Dr. Ismenia Sales de Souza (Class of ’07, PhD, Spanish) is an associate professor of Spanish and Portuguese and director of research at the United States Air Force Academy. She is the recipient of several awards including the Air Force Academy Outstanding Academy Educator Award, the Robert F. McDermott Award for Research Excellence, Civilian of the Quarter, and others.

Leinda Royals (Class of ’11, biology) is the owner and editor of DA-SH Magazine, a Christian lifestyle magazine that publishes testimonies and true stories.

Carley Fernandez (Class of ’13, political science), Ryan Jones (Class of ’14, biology), and Margaret Holland (Class of ’15, psychology) were selected as National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellows. They were among 2,000 fellows selected from nearly 17,000 applicants. Fellowships include a three-year annual stipend of $34,000 along with a $12,000 cost-of-education allowance for the pursuit of research-based master’s or doctoral degrees.


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