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Class Notes

Class Notes include professional accomplishments, awards, retirements, weddings, obituaries and other news about Western Washington University alumni; they’re gathered from published reports and communication from alumni themselves.

If you have an update you’d like us to share in Class Notes, please email it to window@wwu.edu. Tell us what’s new with you, and we’ll publish it in the next edition and online.

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Class Notes (General)

Eric Johnson - 1981

Eric Johnson, B.A., recreation, recently retired as executive director of the Washington State Association of Counties, which he led since 2008.  

Eleanor Lycan Ward - 1953

Eleanor Lycan Ward, 93, a retired teacher in the Tumwater School District who later operated a deli and coffee shop with her husband for several years, on April 19, 2024. 

Dana Robinson Slote - 1997

Dana Robinson Slote, B.A., communication, became the director of media relations for the University of Washington. Previously, Dana led communications for the Seattle City Council and state Senate Democratic Caucus. 

Mariah Sebastiani - 2021

Mariah Sebastiani, English - creative writing and literature, recently completed her graduate degree in literary studies with a specialization in teaching at Central Washington University. Mariah was president of the Graduate Student Association at Central, taught English 101 as a graduate assistant, and spoke at the graduate commencement ceremony. 

Regina Maria Castillo - 1991

Regina Maria Castillo, B.A., political science, is representative of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Uzbekistan. Previously, Regina represented UNICEF in Croatia and Paraguay, and she directed UNAIDS in the countries of Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru.  

Nick Quinlan - 2013

Nick Quinlan, B.A., business - management, was recently named the executive director of Washington Business Week, which hosts programs for high school students to learn business and professional skills. Previously, Nick was the chief operating officer of Major League Hacking, which runs programs for high school and college students learning technical skills. 

Laura Arntson - 1978

Laura Arntson, B.A., Fairhaven interdisciplinary concentration and music performance, recently completed a Ph.D. in public health from Oregon State University. Laura worked in international development for over 20 years. A chapter of her dissertation on child fever care-seeking in The Gambia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea is published in the recent Malaria Journal. She also holds a Masters in Music, a Ph.D. in folklore/ethnomusicology, and a Master of Public Health.

Maggie Macdonald - 2007

Maggie Macdonald, B.A., English literature, became vice president at Orchestra, where she's in charge of legal operations across eight public relation agencies. 

Pat Connally - 2004

Pat Connally, B.A., political science and French, wrote and directed "Christmas Mittens," a holiday-themed children's play at his local community theatre. 

Elisabeth Jarrard - 2005

Elisabeth Jarrard, B.A., psychology, recently became the executive director of Jubilee Women's Center in Seattle, which provides programs and services to empower women experiencing poverty. Previously, Elisabeth held several leadership roles at Compass Housing Alliance. 

Brian Ross Fairbrother - 1977

Brian Ross Fairbrother, BAE, social studies - elementary, retired after 32 years of teaching and coaching in the Shelton School District and six years in North Thurston Public Schools. Brian was inducted into the 2024 Shelton School District and Community Hall of Fame for starting the Shelton High School Soccer Programs, and for coaching the varsity teams for 27 years (boys program) and 15 years (girls program).

Rick Sherman - 1987

Rick Sherman, BAE, physical education - secondary, is a Farm to School analyst for the Oregon Department of Education and the co-host of the "Farm to School" podcast, exploring locally grown food pathways into schools and all things related to school gardens. 

John Southard - 1998

John Southard, B.S., environmental policy and assessment, was recently sworn in as the deputy chief of the Sequim Police Department. Southard has worked with Sequim PD since 2007. Previously, he was a dive officer and research scientist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and served 20 years in the U.S. Army National Guard. 

Ryan Pike - 2007

Ryan Pike, M.Ed., educational administration, will be the principal this fall at Columbia Middle School in Moses Lake. Ryan was previously the principal of two elementary schools in Moses Lake and has also worked in the Anacortes and Stanwood-Camano school districts. 

Tom Simon - 1998

Tom Simon, M.S. geography, owns Synthos, LLC, a geographic information systems and mapping consulting firm in Seattle. 

Giles Rhodenhiser - 2011

Attorney Giles Rhodenhiser, B.A., politics, philosophy, economics, joined the law firm of Phelps Dunbar LLP in Raleigh, North Carolina. Giles graduated from the North Carolina School of Law and previously served as a judicial law clerk for the state of North Carolina. 

Robin Modlin - 1974

Robin Modlin, B.A., psychology and Fairhaven interdisciplinary concentration, has a new memoir out, "Love, Courage, and Miracles," about being the mother of a daughter who was born with cystic fibrosis and later received a lung transplant, and the journey it took her on. 

Lucy Blanco-Maratita - 1995

Lucy Blanco-Maratita, B.A., Fairhaven interdisciplinary concentration - law and diversity, is an assistant attorney general in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, serving in the Civil Division. 

Greg Meier - 2008

Greg Meier, B.A., communication, became the head men's basketball coach at Central Arizona College in Coolidge, Arizona. 

Matt Galley - 2003

Matt Galley, M.Ed., secondary school administration, and '05 and '14, administrative certificates, is the superintendent of Nooksack Valley School District in northern Whatcom County. Matt has worked in Nooksack schools since 1999 as a teacher, coach and principal before becoming superintendent in 2021. He was also selected by Whatcom County to serve on the Whatcom Racial Equity Commission.