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Class Notes, fall 2023

A tree with bright orange leaves in front of a HokieStone building.
Fall on Virginia Tech’s campus. Photo by Christina Franusich for Virginia Tech.

Alumni, we want to hear what you’ve been doing. Mail career, wedding, birth, and death news to Class Notes, Virginia Tech Alumni Association, Holtzman Alumni Center, 901 Prices Fork Road, Blacksburg, VA 24061; email the news to; or submit the news online, where photos may also be uploaded for consideration.


Frank A. Gourley Jr., Charleston, W.Va., stays busy in retirement. He coordinates a 44-bed community garden, makes improvements to his 70-acre family farm near Smith Mountain Lake, plays pickleball three times a week, hosts an art group biweekly in his backyard studio-shop, plays guitar in a weekly jam group, coordinates a weekly breakfast group, travels (Kenya and Alaska-Yukon this year), showed wood furniture in two juried exhibitions recently, and participated in three craft shows this year. He is currently working on his third family-related book.  


Michael E. Guy, Marion, Va., published a book of essays, "Standing on a Spinning Ball."  


Christopher J. "Kit" Utz, Naples, Fla., retired from teaching and coaching at the Community School of Naples after 26 years. He continues in the athletic department as the "Voice of the Seahawks.”


Bevlee A. Watford, Blacksburg, Va., who has been a Virginia Tech faculty member since 1992, was selected by President Joe Biden to serve on the National Science Board.


Susan H. Hilleary, Marshall, Va., was named Fauquier County High School Teacher of the Year for 2022-23.  


Thomas A. Dingus, Pulaski, Va., was honored with the U.S. Government Award for Safety Engineering Excellence at the 27th Enhanced Safety of Vehicles conference this spring in Yokahoma, Japan.


Matthew R. Heffernan, Spartanburg, S.C., is vice president, broadcast hub services with Nexstar Media Group Inc.   


Mary S. Mayes, Ames, Iowa, received the 2023 Professional and Scientific Research Award from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University.  


Patrick J. Ryan, Spring, Texas, was appointed chief technology officer to support continued development of ABS as a maritime technology leader.  


Marshall R. Eichfeld, Midlothian, Va., is a senior engineer in the Alternative Project Delivery Division of the Virginia Department of Transportation.


Jason D. Colvin, Springfield, Va., is vice president, strategy and marketing at Newbridge Marketing Group.

Erin C. Poff, Salem, Va., joined the Virginia Tech Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science as director of finance and administration.   


Andrew W. Newland, Charlottesville, Va., is principal at ADTEK Engineers Inc.                     

Ashleigh W. Garnes, Blacksburg, Va., general manager of Meridian Waste, was named to Waste 360s 40 under 40 awards list.  

Children:  Ashleigh W. Garnes and Matthew Jon Chandler ’14, Blacksburg, Va., a son, 2/4/23.  


Christopher Aaron Noble, Blacksburg, Va., is head of the Virginia Tech Department of Mining and Minerals Engineering.                   


Children: Ashley Morgan Clifton, Bunker Hill, W. VA., a son, 11/19/22.  


Children: Emily E. Preisendan Chandler, Hamilton, Va., and Matt Chandler ’14, 4/25/20.  


Frances B. Keene, Blacksburg, Va., is Virginia Tech's vice president for Student Affairs.   


Wedding: Rachel A. Dougherty and Justin Peter Larkin ’21, Fairfax, Va., 9/17/22.  


Cody L. Santmyer, Blacksburg, Va., a financial planning analyst with Agili, earned Certified Financial Planner designation.  

Blake R. Seydel, Austin, Texas., a musician based in Austin, Texas, released his debut album, “Blake Robert” on March 31. The album is available on all platforms.

Wedding: Jordan Bray and Austin Fox, Blacklick, Ohio, 10/9/21.

Wedding: Taylor Young Hinton and Bryce Hinton, Hagerstown, Maryland, 3/20/23.


Wedding: Samantha Richard Dean and Dwight Dean, South Hill, Virginia, 10/1/22.


Evan I. Abramoff, Blacksburg, Va., joined SOSH Architects as a project coordinator.                    


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