class notes


JIM MILLER ’72 is a project manager for German fisheries consulting firm COFAD. His career spans 40 years and at 74, he still manages projects in Africa. When he is not in Africa, Miller, his wife Zeinabou and their two sons live in Graysville, Tenn.

DENNIS KAAN ’77 retired in Oct. 2020 after a 14-year second career in the aerospace and defense industry, the last five years as a director of proposal management with Sierra Nevada Corporation. Dennis retired from the U.S. Air Force in 2006 after a 29-year career as a KC-135 and KC-10 aerial refueling aircraft pilot, and served as a commander at the squadron, group and wing levels. Dennis and his wife of 40 years, Betty, live in Loveland, Colo.

RALPH S. FOSTER JR. ’79 (below) retired in July as assistant vice president for University Outreach and Public Service and CEU officer with more than 31 years of service to Auburn University. During his tenure, Foster spearheaded the university’s first comprehensive policies for noncredit professional CEU certifications, assisted in developing sections of the university’s faculty handbook and Auburn Bulletin related to outreach and more. His most significant contribution to Auburn University was his effort to obtain the institution’s prestigious Carnegie Foundation Community Engagement Classification. Foster organized the university’s Carnegie Community Engagement application, which led to Auburn’s first classification in 2010 and its subsequent reclassification in 2020. He was awarded emeritus status by President Jay Gogue in recognition of his career contributions to Auburn.


MIKE WILLIAMS, SR. ’84 celebrated 25 years as a professor of history at Dallas Baptist University, a liberal arts university affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas. After 15 years as dean of humanities and social sciences at DBU, Williams returned to the classroom full-time in 2011. He subsequently was named Professor of the Year for the second time by the faculty for 2012-2013 and was selected 2013 Educator of the Year (universities and colleges) by the Oak Cliff Chamber of Commerce. His most recent book, an edited work titled “More Witnesses to the Baptist Heritage: Twenty- Four Other Baptists Every Christian Should Know,” is currently in production at Mercer University Press.

AL YORK ’88 celebrated 25 years at McKinney York Architects, where he has been a principal since 1998. York’s award-winning projects include small-scale residences, cultural and academic institutions and revitalized urban structures. Some of his most notable projects are the African American Cultural and Heritage Facility and the Leander Transit Facility. He lives in Austin, Texas
with his wife SHARON FLEMING ’88 and their three children.


BRENDA VROON ’91 was named executive director of the Nashville Dolphins, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that provides year round swim instruction, training, competition, social activities and travel at no cost to children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Vroon has previously served as a lead instructor for the Future and Junior Dolphin classes for several years.

NEAL REID ’98 recently was hired as a communications editor in the Office of Communications and Marketing at Auburn University. A published writer for more than 20 years and former media relations manager at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the Ladies Professional Golf Association, Reid helps the university’s communications office tell great Auburn stories and garner publicity and media coverage.

CORLETTE STEWART BURNS ’99 was selected as the first executive director of Birmingham Sister Cities’ Board of Directors. The 501(c)3 nonprofit organization was established in 1982 to cultivate global cooperation, promote cultural understanding and facilitate economic development between greater Birmingham and cities around the world. As executive director, Stewart Burns (pictured below) will promote cross-cultural student and adult exchanges, business collaborations, tech and medical innovations, and equal access to education in all of the communities the organization serves.

LEE MILLER ’99 was the recipient of the 2019-2020 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing in a Talk, Entertainment News or Morning Show at the 2020 Daytime Emmy Awards for his work on TODAY with Hoda & Jenna. Miller has worked in production at TODAY since graduating from Auburn and has directed the 10 a.m. hour of TODAY for the past five years. He
lives in Hoboken, N.J. with his wife ASHLEY (DEITCHMAN) ’02 and their two children.


APRIL OWEN ’02 won the award in the Austin Under 40 “Sports, Wellness and Fitness” category by a panel of judges after five rounds of consideration. A clinical psychologist and gender therapist, Owen worked with national, state and county government agencies for years before opening her own private practice in 2013 to provide therapy to transgender and nonbinary youths and adults.

and husband Edward Swanson celebrated the birth of their daughter, Lucille Ann Swanson, on Sept. 16, 2020. Lucy joins big sister Carolyn.

NATALIE CRAWFORD ’04 was named to the Austin Under 40 list in the “Medicine and Healthcare” category. A reproductive endocrinologist board certified in obstetrics, gynecology, reproductive endocrinology and infertility, Crawford is cofounder and director of patient experience at Fora Fertility, a boutique fertility practice. She also serves as a
clinical assistant professor of women’s health at the University of Texas Dell Medical School.

CHARLENE LEBLEU ’04 was elevated to full professor of landscape architeture at Auburn. Lebleu’s primary areas of interest
and research have been focused on coastal planning and design and water quality issues, especially related to low-impact
development design. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), and a Fellow of the American Society
of Landscape Architects (FASLA). LeBleu is a fellow and past president of the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA). She is the former editor-in-chief of
Landscape Journal, the official journal of landscape architecture.

ABBY LYLE CLAWSON ’04 was nominated for an Emmy for her work (pictured above) in the category of Outstanding Period
and Character Design. Her recent resume includes the shows “Ratched,” “Hollywood,” “Bright” and the Academy Award winner
for makeup, “Vice.”

LACEY HEATH ’05 was named a partner with Mauldin & Jenkins. Heath is a certified public Accountant in Alabama and is a
member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Alabama Society of Certified Public Accountants.
JEREMY THOMPSON ’05 and his wife, Jessica Lea Thompson, celebrated the birth of their first child, Alexander Scott Thompson,
on Sept. 23, 2020.


JESSICA JEAN RAMSPECK ’10 and her husband Brad Douglas celebrated the birth of their daughter, Emerson Parker Douglas, on Feb. 9, 2020.

EMILY WINKELMAN ’13 married Caleb Thomas on Oct. 3, 2020 in Nashville, Tenn.

JAVIERE MITCHELL ’15 moved on to a new career with the U.S. Army Reserve as a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear specialist (CBRN). The former Auburn football player had considered a career in the military before the pull of collegiate athletics took over, but he is now putting his degree in kinesiology to good use. Spc. Mitchell may be part of a different team now, but sees the
similarities in both.

DANIELLE GUY ’16 graduated from Vanderbilt University’s Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program’s intensivist focus with her Master of Science in nursing. She currently works as a critical care nurse practitioner at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and is pursuing her doctorate in nursing practice at Vanderbilt University.