The Berea College Alumni Association enjoys hearing from Bereans from all over the world. The “Class Notes” section of Berea College magazine reports verifiable news you wish to share with your alumni friends and associates: careers, weddings, retirements, births, and other items of importance to our alumni. Please include your class year and name used while attending Berea. Notes may be edited for style and length. While we will make every effort to put your information into the next issue of BCM, some delays may occur. We appreciate your understanding.

Submit class notes and photographs here or via email:

Tap or click on the arrows beside each year below to display Class Notes and photos.


Joyce Minnix Bolender completed her Cambodian son’s story of surviving Pol Pot’s Cambodia at age 10 with his brother, titled “It’s Time to Tell My Story.” She also has published “The Letters From Death Row” by Bernard Bolender, put together after his execution. Both can be bought through her at her home address. (2410 Willow Walk Drive, Roanoke, VA 24017). She hopes to make it to homecoming this year.


Dr. Betty Hyatt Olinger addressed the 77 mid-year graduates at the Mid-year Recognition ceremony in Phelps Stokes Chapel in December. Read more.


Vicki Perdue Vance has completed tours of Asia, Australia, South and Central America, New Zealand, Austria and South Africa and has just published a novel entitled “In Search of Other Suns.” She is writing under the pseudonym J.V. Lane. The novel is historical fiction, and it’s available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.


Damon Farmer completed a large exterior mural in downtown Harrodsburg, Ky. The 45-foot long painting, on College Street very near Fort Harrod State Park, was commissioned by Mercer County Tourism as a part of preparing the town for this year’s 250th anniversary celebration. Read more.


Sumit Ganguly will be moving to the Hoover Institution at Stanford University this September, after serving on the faculty of Indiana University, Bloomington for two decades. At Hoover, he will be directing the Strengthening the US-India Relationship Program


Dr. Anthony Hackney received a Fulbright Award, being named the Fulbright-Saastamoinen Distinguished Chair in Health Sciences at the medical school of the University of Eastern Finland for 2023-24. He is a professor at the University of North Carolina.

Book cover for The Leadership Strategy of Jesus

Dr. Rich Halcombe published his first book “The Leadership Strategy of Jesus.” With more than 30 years of leadership experience, this book guides the reader to accomplish increasing kingdom results in their own lives. Dr. Halcombe’s first leadership position was as assistant director in dorm maintenance at Berea College, where he also helped start and lead a Bible study in the Fireside Room. You can order his book through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and wherever books are sold.


Vanessa Armstrong received a 2023 Director’s Award for Excellence in Judiciary Services. Read more.


Stanley Blackmon and Ulysea Blackmon ’90 were featured in The Birmingham Times “You
Had Me at Hello.” The special highlights married couples and the love that binds them. Read


Steve Thompson retired as a public school principal after 31 years as an educator. He now works as an administrator in a private school. Christine Thompson ’95 is a career art educator in McDonough, Ga. They have four adult children.


Sarwat Chowdhury, Ph.D. (economics major) moved back to the U.S. after working at the United Nations for 15 years. Her duty stations included New York, Bangladesh, Vietnam, South Korea and Papua New Guinea, and she traveled to more than 45 countries while working for the UN. In her last post, Chowdhury served as chief economist for UNDP in Papua New Guinea before deciding to return to the U.S. with her family. She now teaches sustainability studies at the University of California, Irvine.


Kes Murphy discusses coaching high school girls’ basketball at Notre Dame in northern Kentucky. His team was one of two undefeated teams in mid-December. Read more.

Photo of Stefanie Manes and her family in matching shirts

Stefanie Wilson Manes and Jared Manes ’05 celebrated the adoption of their third son, Zachary Ryder Manes on Nov. 6, 2023. Zachary joined their family through foster care in 2018 at just 8 months old. They have two other children, Daniel, age 13 and Eli, age 11. Stefanie works as the philanthropy coordinator at Hospice Care Plus in Richmond, Ky., and Jared has worked for the VA Medical Center since 2010. The couple live in Berea, Ky.

Zachary Hess, wearing his regalia with his wife and two daughters

Zachary Hess graduated with his doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from Eastern Kentucky University in December 2023.


BIRTH: a son, Kade Weston Galloway, born to  Mary Rush Galloway, executive director of Individual Philanthropy, and Kelvin Galloway ’06, on Oct. 2, 2023. Kade was seven pounds, eight ounces and 19.5 inches. He joins big sister Mackenna Page (aka Princess Elsa), and the whole family is feeling blessed.

Justin Lee was promoted to senior designer and technical director at Lightborne Communications in Cincinnati. Last year, Lee produced concert graphics for Wynnona Judd, Zac Brown Band and  Missy Elliott, whose show was recently named one of The Best Concerts of 2023 by Variety Magazine.


RoseMarie Goble McCandless received her doctor of philosophy in education leadership from the University of the Cumberlands in October 2023.

Portrait of Monic Quarles smiling in her wedding dress

MARRIED: Monica Johnson Quarles to Javon Quarles, on March 11, 2023, at Tandem Friends School in Charlottesville, Va. Tandem Friends School is also Monica’s alma mater and current employer (where she is a school counselor). She also has been competing as a professional strongwoman since the summer of 2017. She obtained her pro card in fall 2019 and has competed all over the U.S.

Monica Quarles lifting a heavy barbell above her head during a competition

Monica Johnson Quarles competed in the Official Strongman Games Dec. 1-3, 2023, in Charleston, W.Va. She competed in the Open Women’s category and finished ninth in the world. Pictured is Johnson pressing a 215-pound wagon wheel.


Jennifer Strong earned a second bachelor of arts degree in homeland security and emergency management from Mount Vernon Nazarene University in October 2022.

Photo of Debra Bulluck holding an award

Debra M. Bulluck received the Violence Free Minnesota (VFMN) Alice O. Lynch Inspire Award for 2023. Read more.

DJ Gene Sweeney and his wife pose for a selfie

DJ Gene Sweeney has been married since 2012. He and his wife welcomed a baby girl in March 2024. He is currently a special education teacher.

Baby Hargis

BIRTH: a son, Shepherd Owen Hargis, born to Kelsey Crim Hargis, ETS counselor, and John Hargis ’09, on April 9, 2023. He was born weighing eight pounds and measuring 20 inches. His big brother, Sullivan, has met his lifelong best friend.

Portrait of the three Riley children

BIRTH: a daughter, Kennedy Monroe Combs, born to Samantha Combs and Kyle Combs on July 8, 2023.

Portrait of Baby Combs sitting in large, round pink chair, smiling

BIRTH: a son, Lincoln Koty Riley, born to Tessa Riley and Koty Riley, on Nov. 17, 2023. They share he’s the sweetest baby and his older sister, Blakely, and older brother, London, are so in love with him as well!

Graphic of Noah Hughes and the Centre College logo

Noah Creigh Hughes has been named the assistant athletic director for communication at Centre College. Hughes comes to Centre following a successful tenure as director of athletics communications at Spalding University, where he spent the last academic year.

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