Capital University Celebrates Faculty and Alumni

Posted by Janna Conley |

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

News-Alumni-Faculty-Awards-2013During Alumni Weekend 2013, Capital University will recognize members of its distinguished faculty at the Professors Hall of Honor Induction Ceremony and Reception on Friday, April 19, and its most dedicated alumni on Saturday, April 20, at the 2013 Alumni Awards.

The Capital University Professors Hall of Honor was created to recognize individuals, both living and deceased, who served Capital University with distinction during extensive careers of classroom teaching. More than 80 former members of Capital’s faculty have been inducted since the inception of the Professors Hall of Honor in 1992. The 2013 inductees include Steven A. Esposito, associate professor of communication; Joyce T. Hathaway, professor of English; Victor Showalter, professor of biology; and John E. Sullivan, professor of law.

The event will begin with a reception at 11 am, followed by the Induction Ceremony at 11:30. Both are free and open to the public. Following the ceremony, a luncheon will be held for $10 per person. Those wishing to attend can register online through the Capital University Alumni Community website or by calling 1-866-544-6180. 

Steve Esposito joined the Capital faculty in fall 1995, teaching courses in video production, broadcast announcing and news writing, media management, mass media, documentary film and oral communication. His research focused on media content, and his research projects included TV news coverage of the O.J. Simpson trial; the Oklahoma City bombing trial of Timothy McVeigh; the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky investigation; network TV news coverage of the death of John F. Kennedy Jr.; and the evolution of “relationship” news.

He served as director of Capital’s radio-television program and was executive producer of Skyline Columbus, an award-winning student-produced cable access program. He also developed Tuttle Vision, a closed-circuit promotional program for Tuttle Mall. In October 2004, Esposito was appointed interim assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and in April 2004, Capital presented Esposito with the President’s Award of Distinction, honoring his outstanding dedication to his students and the University. He passed away in January 2005 after a two-and-a-half-year battle with cancer.

In Joyce Hathaway’s 31 years as a member of the Capital English department, she became acquainted with students across the disciplines as they wrote their way through English 101, better known as freshman comp. She also taught grammar, survey of American literature and – her favorite – Southern American writers, exposing students to authors such as Thomas Jefferson, Flannery O’Conner, Mark Twain and William Faulkner. For several semesters, Hathaway co-taught a course on Jewish literature and Jewish religious traditions with Dr. Alice Schimpf.

Hathaway's dissertation was titled The Ases of Appalachian Culture and Oral Tradition in Teaching Literature to Adolescents. At the time, many Appalachian migrants were settling in Columbus and facing discrimination. Her dissertation was an attempt to get teachers to better understand these children, their backgrounds and how to teach them more effectively.

Hathaway has been a member of the National Council of Teachers of English and a Southern writers group out of the University of Mississippi. She also is a longtime member of The Book Group, a monthly book club for Capital faculty.

Vic Showalter joined the Capital faculty in 1977, teaching Science and Technology in Society, physical and environmental geology, oceanography, atmospheric science, ecology and science teaching methods.

Exceptionally active in scholarly projects through professional organizations, national and regional conference presentations, research, and course material development, Showalter twice was honored with the O’Haus Award for Innovation in College Science Teaching. He was a named a Fellow by both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Ohio Academy of Science. Showalter also received the STAR Award from the National Science Teachers Association. Showalter retired from Capital’s biology department in 1996.

John E. Sullivan, a World War II veteran, joined the law faculty of Franklin University Law School, which later became Capital University Law School, in 1953 and was an energetic, determined and steadying force in the growth of the Law School.

He served as acting dean in 1959-60 and as academic dean in 1965-66, when the Law School moved from Franklin’s YMCA location to Capital University in Bexley. Sullivan taught criminal law, torts and consumer law. Deeply respected by his students, he was selected by the student body three times as Professor of the Year.

During his career, Sullivan also served as a legal consultant to the Ohio State Department of Education and to the Ohio Municipal League, took a sabbatical to serve as an assistant county prosecutor for Franklin County and co-authored a handbook for the Ohio Mayor’s Court. The annual John E. Sullivan Lecture was created in 1978 and named in honor of his 25 years of service to the Law School, his tireless commitment to teaching and legal education, and his deep personal interest in his students.

He received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Capital in 1987. At the time Sullivan assumed professor emeritus status in 1988, he had taught nearly 90 percent of all living graduates of the Franklin University and Capital University law schools. He died August 31, 2011.

Annual Alumni Awards

Capital’s annual Alumni Awards pay tribute to the dedication and achievements of individuals who claim Capital as their alma mater. Each year, Capital’s Alumni Advisory Board seeks nominations for the Alumni Achievement Award, the Alumni Distinguished Service Award, and the Young Alumni Achievement Award, which are then selected from the submissions. The achievement awards recognize unique and significant success in the recipient’s field, and the Distinguished Service Award honors those who have dedicated countless hours in support of furthering their vocation or organizations in the community.  

The Alumni Awards event on Saturday, April 20, includes a reception at 11:30 am, followed by the Awards Luncheon at noon. The cost of attendance is $10 per person, and reservations can be made online at the Capital University Alumni Community website or by calling 1-866-544-6180.

This year's award winners are:  

  • Michelle Brenwald-Johnson ’96 Jack L. Haar ’64, winners of the Alumni Distinguished Service Award;  
  • Mark H. Zangmeister ’54 (deceased) and Ann Zimpfer Russell ’67, winners of the Alumni Achievement Award; and  
  • Matt Billingslea '01, winner of the Young Alumni Award 


Matt Billingslea (’01)

Since his graduation from Capital, Matt Billingslea has been putting his double major in Jazz Studies and Music Industry to good use. After spending several years in Denver, Colo., playing, touring and recording with a variety of rock, pop, punk, country and jazz bands, he made a move to Nashville, where he has performed and recorded with various up-and-coming artists, including Jimmy Wayne, Mindy McCready and Josh Thompson. In spring 2008, a call came from Lady Antebellum. Relatively unknown at the time, Lady A would go on to release multiple number-one singles, sell out arenas, and win a variety of awards– including multiple Grammy Awards. Matt also co-wrote Wanted You More, a top-20 single on Lady A’s third album, Own The Night 


Most recently, Matt has subbed for new artists, Thompson Square and David Nail, worked with country artist Gary Allan, headlining the Country Throwdown Tour and preparing for the release of Gary’s 10th album, Set You FreeMatt now is the drummer for international country/pop star, Taylor Swift. After months of rehearsals and international promo, Taylor and the band are currently out on the Red Tour, playing arenas and stadiums around the world.  

Michelle Brenwald-Johnson (’96) 

Michelle Brenwald-Johnson is a partner in the law firm of Klenda, Mitchell, Austerman & Zuercher, LLC (KMAZ) in Wichita, Kansas. Her reputation as a rising star in the Kansas legal community is backed by a history of work representing plaintiffs in complex personal injury and wrongful death actions. She serves as a mentor and trainer to the firm’s young litigation attorneys. 


Michelle’s dedication to service in the community parallels her success in the legal field. Since 2000, she has devoted countless hours to the cause of supporting conditions and opportunities for disadvantaged women and mothers, primarily through involvement with Dress for Success Wichita. An affiliate of the national Dress for Success organization, DFSW’s primary mission is to provide disadvantaged women reentering the workforce with interview and appropriate office clothing. She has served on the organization’s board, as a committee member for its annual fundraising events, and most importantly, has provided free legal consultation to DFSW’s clients. In 2011, she organized and managed KMAZ’s 40 Forty Project. Marking the firm’s 40th anniversary, its attorneys and staff undertook and completed 40 community volunteer service projects in the span of the anniversary year—a investment of more than 5,000 of service into the community and raising nearly $50,000 in support of the partner projects.   


Jack L. Haar, Ph.D. (’64)

Jack Haar is a professor emeritus of anatomy and neurobiology at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Medical College of Virginia. Over the course of 40 years at his institution, he has received numerous awards for his teaching, developed a MD/PhD program at the school’s medical center to enable students to pursue paths as physician-scientists, and has been actively involved in research and publication in the fields of embryology, hematopoiesis, electron microscopy, immunohistochemistry, and cell migration—a pursuit that he continues even in his retirement. He also served as dean of the graduate school for six years, where he secured federal funding to develop and institute a Preparing Future Faculty in the Professions program, which later was modeled in other areas of the university. He taught more than 8,000 graduate students over the course of his career.


Beyond his work in education, Jack has created a ripple effect in the communities around him. In the summer 2008, he rode his bicycle 4,000 miles across America in 60 days, and called it “Ride for Jim” in honor of Dr. James D. Popp, a deceased graduate of the School of Medicine who had also been Jack’s research technician. In the years since, Ride for Jim has grown into an annual event, raising funds to support students who wish to pursue cancer research.


Dr. Mark H. Zangmeister (’54)

Over the course of his long career, Mark Zangmeister was a celebrated member of the central Ohio medical community and was the first true oncologist in private practice at a community hospital. He served with distinction in the Mount Carmel Health System in various roles — clinical physician, the Department of Medicine chair, director of medical education, and founding member of the Cancer Activities Committee and chaired what is now known as the Oncology Conference. He was recognized on several occasions as both Physician of the Year and Teacher of the Year. 

Mark passed away in 2001, but his work and his character have endured beyond his lifetime. In 2007, Mid Ohio Oncology/Hematology, Inc., Mark’s private practice group, opened a new facility named in his honor, and the doctors that learned from and worked with him continue to carry his legacy with them.


Ann Zimpfer Russell (’67)

Ann Russell is a longtime advocate for Capital and its alumni. It’s little wonder given her extensive experiences with the university—her father, Paul E. Zimpfer (’32), was a biology professor at Capital for 42 years and during her undergraduate studies, she was a four-year member of the Chapel Choir, which included memorable tours to Asia and Northern Europe.  

Following her time as a student, she spent time in the field of education, teaching English, speech, and interpersonal communication. In 1988, Ann became the director of communications at Trinity Lutheran Seminary. During her long career at Trinity, she advanced the cause of the Lutheran church and used her skills to draw the community closer to the seminary. Ann created a planned giving program for the seminary and took on the role of associate director of development for planned giving. Her professional associations include occasional board service with the Religious Communications Association, Association of Lutheran Development Executives, Lutheran Planned Giving of Ohio, Oesterlen Services for Youth, the Bexley Chamber of Commerce, Bexley Women’s Club and Capital’s Alumni Advisory Board.


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