Alumni CLASnotes Fall 2005

Alumni Notes

Updates from CLASmates

Linguistics Alumna Becomes the Apprentice

Kendra Todd, Winner of Apprentice 3
Kendra Todd, winner of NBC's Apprentice 3
(photo Courtesy of GioAlma)

UF linguistics graduate Kendra Todd heard the famous words “You’re hired” during the final episode in May of Apprentice 3, the 18-week reality-television show on NBC.

The 27-year-old real estate broker earned a $250,000 a year position in Donald Trump’s organization and a Pontiac Solstice car that was waiting outside the Manhattan studio.

Todd was chosen over 37-year-old Iowa businesswoman Tana Goertz. Given a choice between a position managing Trump’s Miss Universe Pageant and a job overseeing the renovation of a 68,000-square-foot mansion on six oceanfront acres in Palm Beach, Todd chose the renovation project.

Originally from Virginia Beach, Todd graduated from UF in 2000 with honors, earning a degree in linguistics. She went on to co-found ( in Boynton Beach. The company is a real-estate investment and marketing firm specializing in condominium conversions and land acquisitions.

“The major you choose in college doesn’t define your career path,” says Todd. “I chose linguistics and it has made me a better communicator, and I’ve gained a better world view from a well-rounded education.”

This is the third season of Trump’s highly-rated reality program, which pits aspiring young business people from across the country in competitive sales, advertising and marketing tasks, each week dismissing one contestant with Trump’s catch phrase “You’re fired.”

Graham Promotes New Center

Former Senator Bob Graham
Former U.S. Senator Bob Graham answers
questions regarding theproposed Bob Graham
Center at UF. (photo by Jane Dominguez)

Retired US Senator Bob Graham held an open forum on campus in July with more than 100 faculty, staff and students to discuss the proposed Bob Graham Center at UF.

Senator Graham is working with UF and the University of Miami to create two centers that will initially focus on public leadership, the Americas and national security. The specific mission of the Graham Center at UF will be to provide students with the broad training necessary for careers in the public sector. Research on public policies and the policymaking process will be conducted, as well as promoting the public discussion of important policy issues facing the state, nation, and the world.
Other proposed components include new degree programs and certificates in public policy and public affairs, a Statesman-in-Residence Program and a leadership institute.

Graham is a native of Miami Lakes and earned a bachelor’s degree in history from UF in 1959. He retired from the US Senate in January after serving for 18 years and also served as Florida’s governor for two terms from 1979 to 1987.

Distinguished Alumnus

Byong Man Ahn receives a UF DistinguishedAlumnus Award at the CLAS Spring 2005Commencement
Byong Man Ahn receives a UF Distinguished
Alumnus Award at the CLAS Spring 2005
Commencement. (photo Courtesy of
University Photography)

Byong Man Ahn received a UF Distinguished Alumnus Award at the CLAS Spring 2005 Commencement on April 30. Ahn is recognized as a national leader in South Korea and throughout the world for his innovative approach to language instruction and research in area studies. The 1974 political science PhD graduate’s distinguished 40-year career is marked by his in-depth studies of government, economics and culture.

Born in Seoul, Korea, Ahn earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in law from Seoul National University in 1964 and 1967, respectively. He taught at Myong-Ji University in Seoul from 1967–1970 and was a Fulbright Scholar in 1970 in Korea.

He entered UF and finished his doctoral degree in three years, maintaining a perfect 4.0 grade point average. After returning to Korea in 1975, he became a professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, one of the premier institutions of higher education in Korea. He has served as dean of student affairs, vice president and dean of the Graduate School and president. Ahn is the first president elected to serve a second four-year term.

Ahn has served as president of the Korean University Presidents Association, the Association for Public Administration, the Korean Fulbright Alumni Association and the Korean Gator Club.

In addition to receiving his award, Ahn was the keynote speaker for the college’s graduate commencement ceremony.

Clas Alumnus Joins UF Board of Trustees

Courtney Cunningham
Courtney Cunningham (photo Courtesy of
Courtney Cunningham)

Courtney Cunningham is the newest member of the UF Board of Trustees. The 1983 political science alumnus joined the board when Albert Thweatt resigned in February. Cunningham is a founding partner of Barreto Cunningham May Dudley and Maloy, a corporate and public affairs firm in Coral Gables where he specializes in finance, housing, transportation and corrections issues.

Cunningham has served as chief of staff of the Miami-Dade County Commission’s Office of the Chairperson. He also has worked as an officer and investment banker with a top Wall Street firm and as a senior investment banker for Miami-Dade County and the Miami-Dade County Housing Finance Authority.

Governor Jeb Bush tapped Cunningham to lead the transition team for the Florida Department of Labor. In 1997, he was appointed by Governor Lawton Chiles to the Florida Elections Commission and was by reappointed by Governor Bush in 2000. Bush named Cunningham General Counsel for the 1995 Florida Republican Convention and selected him to serve on the Board of Directors of the Liberty City Charter School.

Cunningham also holds a law degree from UF and is a member of the Florida Bar and the UF Foundation Board of Directors.

A Bridge for Gannon

Michael Gannon
Michale Gannon (photo by Jane

UF Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of History Michael Gannon will be honored on September 3 in St. Augustine when a bridge on the grounds of the Mission of Nombre de Dios will be named after him.

Gannon served as the mission’s director from 1962–1967. Under his leadership, the Prince of Peace Church was established in 1965 and the Great Cross, which stands 200 feet tall and weights 70 tons, was erected in 1966 on the grounds. The bridge, also built at that time, connects the two areas and will be named the Michael Gannon Bridge.

The mission traces its origins to the founding of St. Augustine, America’s oldest city, in 1565. On September 8, 1565, the Spanish landed and proclaimed the site for Spain and the Church.

Gannon received his PhD in history from UF in 1962 and began teaching at UF in 1967. He officially retired in 1998, although he continues to write articles and give lectures around the state.

The bridge dedication will take place on the bridge at noon following a Founder’s Day celebration and Mass. The mission is located at 27 Ocean Avenue in St. Augustine. For more information, contact or (800) 342-6529.


Glimmering Girls by Merrill Joan Gerber
Glimmering Girls by
Merrill Joan Gerber

Merrill Joan Gerber (BA, English) teaches fiction writing at the California Institute of Technology. She recently published Glimmering Girls: A Novel of the Fifties, which is set at UF in the 1950s. She is also the author of Anna Passes On, The Kingdom of Brooklyn, and King of the World.


Frederick L. Coolidge (BA, Psychology; MA, 1970; PhD, 1974) is a psychology professor at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, where he recently received the annual Outstanding Research Award from the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. His work on the evolution of cognition involves applications of current cognitive models to explain changes in the archaeological record. He received Fulbright Fellowships to India in 1987 and 1992.


Bernard Lewis (BS, Chemistry) retired from the US Air Force in 2004 after serving as a dental officer for 24 years. He graduated from the Emory University School of Dentistry in 1980 and practiced in Dover, Delaware. The Academy of General Dentistry awarded him a fellowship in 1994 and a mastership in 2002.


You Can Do It!, featuring E. Faith Ivery
You Can Do It!,
featuring E. Faith

E. Faith Ivery (BA, Psychology) earned an MA from the University of Denver in 1980 and an EdD from the University of Northern Colorado in 1992. She is president of Educational Advisory Services, Incorporated, which specializes in designing education plans for adult learners to complete college degrees, and is the author of How to Earn a College Degree: When You Think You are Too Old, Too Busy, Too Broke, Too Scared. She also wrote a chapter in You Can Do It: The Merit Badge Handbook for Grown-Up Girls, a project started by Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas—who was on Flight 93 that went down over Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001—which was completed after her death in her honor. The book has garnered national media attention from such celebrities as Maria Shriver and Oprah Winfrey.


Rey Palma (BA, Political Science) is now serving in his fifth year as the Osceola County Florida Procurement Services Director. He was recently recertified as a Certified Professional Procurement Buyer (CPPB) by the National Institute of Government and is a candidate for Certified Professional Public Officer (CPPO) in 2005. Palma is a member of the Hispanic Business Initiative Forum of Central Florida and has received national recognition from the Procurement Department as an “Outstanding Accredited Agency.” He also earned an MA in public administration from UF in 1980.


Rodney E. Dillon, Jr. (MA, History) is co-owner and vice-president of Past Perfect Florida History, Incorporated in Boynton Beach. The company specializes in retail sales and wholesale distribution of books on Florida topics and by Florida authors. It also offers historical research and consulting services, lectures and tours on Florida subjects for corporate and convention groups.


Elizabeth Kirkley Best (PhD, Psychology) is the director of the Shoah Education Project, which educates the public on the history of and the lessons that can be learned from the Holocaust. She has taught at UF, the University of North Florida, the University of Toledo, North Eastern Ohio University, and the University of Tennessee, and specializes in the area of perinatal bereavement.

Michele Brown Bru (BS, Computer Science) has been home schooling her three children for the past six years. Previously, she worked as a computer systems consultant for Sybase in California and also worked in computer research and development programs for the US Navy after serving four years as an officer.


Carl B. Garcia (BA, Political Science) is the financial manager for Wakefern Food Corporation, headquartered in Elizabeth, New Jersey, where he has worked for the past 15 years. He also earned an MBA in accounting and finance from Marymount University and an MS in food marketing from St. Joseph’s University. Garcia recently became the 540th worldwide recipient of the Certified Project Manager designation from Stanford University. His wife Debra Kigin Garcia (BA, Psychology, 1982) is the director of sales for Oracle Corporation. They reside in Princeton Junction, New Jersey with their two sons.

Johanna “Jan” Furlow Kaiser (BA, Speech Pathology/Audiology) is a registered nurse and works as a nurse and office manager for a high-risk obstetrics clinic in Aurora, Colorado. She previously served eight years as a nurse for the US Air Force, stationed in South Dakota and Athens, Greece.


Karl Miller (BA, History) is director of corporate risk for Jarden Corporation. He earned an MA from Florida Atlantic University, and from 1995 to 2003 he served as vice president of Coral Springs Improvement District. A freelance writer in his spare time, Miller has had work published in numerous commercial and literary periodicals.

Russell Silverglate (BA, Political Science) is now a pastor and the director of community life at Spanish River Church in Boca Raton. He received a Master of Divinity from Reformed Theological Seminary in 2004. Silverglate earned a law degree from the UF Levin College of Law in 1988 and practiced securities arbitration law in south Florida until February 2005 as a partner in Dickenson Murphy Rex and Sloan.


Steven Glass (BS, Psychology) is portfolio manager and general partner of STG Capital, an investment management firm based in New York City, which manages more than $200 million. Prior to founding STG, Glass worked at various investment firms including Kingdon Capital Management, Credit Suisse First Boston and Deutsche Bank Securities. He has a master’s degree in international management, with high honors, from The American Graduate School of International Management.


Richard A. Hujber (BA, Political Science) has served as an immigration attorney and advisor to the US Department of Justice, Miami Immigration Court and the Board of Immigration Appeals. He recently opened his own immigration law office in Boca Raton. The son of Hungarian immigrants, he is fluent in Hungarian and Spanish and is a member of the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association. Hujber also is the chairman of the Immigration Committee for the South Palm Beach County Bar Association.

Michael Napoleone (BA, Criminal Justice) became a shareholder in Richman Greer Weil Brumbaugh Mirabito & Christensen, P.A. in West Palm Beach in January, where he practices commercial litigation with an emphasis on non-competition agreements, business disputes and civil appeals. He and his wife Cynthia (BS, Business Administration, 1991) welcomed the birth of their first child, Christopher Giovanni Napoleone, on May 22.

Contentious Republicans by James Sanders
Contentious Republicans
by James Sanders

James Sanders (BA, History) is an assistant professor of history at Utah State University in Logan, Utah. He recently published his first book, Contentious Republicans: Popular Politics, Race, and Class in Nineteenth Century Latin America through Duke University Press. In 2004 he received the James Alexander Robinson Prize for the best article in the Hispanic American Historical Review.


Michael D. Cohen (PhD, Political Science) recently founded Cohen Research Group, a political polling and market research firm based in Washington, DC. He is working on his first book with Rowan and Littlefield publishers on national issue campaigns. He began his career in public opinion as a graduate assistant at the UF Bureau of Economic and Business Research. Cohen worked for three years at a Republican polling firm—Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates—and for five years at The Gallup Organization as a senior research director. He is married to Lisa Herzog Cohen (BA, Political Science, 1997) who is a stay-at-home mom to their two future Gators, Jessica, 4, and Ryan, 1.


Louise “Busy” Kislig Shires Byerly (BA, Geography) is currently serving as executive director of the Conservation Trust for Florida, Incorporated, a non-profit land trust. She married Alachua County Commissioner Mike Byerly on March 11.


Robert Harrell (BA, History) holds a Master of Divinity degree from Emory University and is the associate pastor of Christ the King Lutheran Church in Cumming, Georgia.


Daniel Mixson (PhD, Physics), who graduated in May 2005, has accepted a position as a physics instructor with the Naval Academy Prep School in Rhode Island. Mixson received the 2004 Charles F. Hooper, Jr. Memorial Award, which is given annually to a senior graduate student in physics at UF who has shown distinction in research and teaching.

Keep in Touch with CLAS

We want to hear from you!
Send your update to: Editor, PO Box 117300, Gainesville FL 32611. Please include your degree (BA, MA, PhD, etc.), major/minor, graduation date and e-mail address if you have one. Photos are welcome too!

You can also e-mail your update to or visit to fill out an online update form.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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Tuesday, 17-May-2016 11:23:06 EDT