Wright State honors 11 outstanding alumni

Photo of President Hopkins speaking at a podium

Wright State President David R. Hopkins recognized 11 alumni who have gone on to make exceptional contributions to their professional fields while giving back to their communities.

Eleven Wright State University alumni were honored on Saturday, Feb. 11, at the 12th annual College Outstanding Alumni Awards Luncheon at the Wright State University Nutter Center. During the ceremony, each college recognizes former students who have gone on to make exceptional contributions to their professional fields while giving back to their communities.

The recipients of the 2012 College Outstanding Alumni Awards are:

Dominic J. Bagnoli, ’90 M.D.
Boonshoft School of Medicine

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, ’78 M.A.
Wright State University Graduate School

Gerald L. Freisthler (Gerry), ’79 B.S.
College of Engineering and Computer Science

Jeffrey C. Hoagland (Jeff), ’00 M.U.A.
College of Liberal Arts

LaShaunta’ L. Jones, ’03 B.S.Ed.
College of Education and Human Services

Nelda C. Martinez, ’78 B.S.N., ’82 M.S.
Wright State University–Miami Valley College of Nursing and Health

Adia “Dr. Dia” McClellan Winfrey, ’08 Psy.D.
School of Professional Psychology

William H. Pohlman, ’76 B.S.B.
Raj Soin College of Business

Vivian E. von Gruenigen, ’91 M.D.
Boonshoft School of Medicine

Randall P. Wagner, M.D., ’80 B.S.
College of Science and Mathematics

Alan E. Wolters, ’88 A.A., ’90 B.S.B.
Lake Campus


Details about each individual honoree follow.


Dominic J. Bagnoli, ’90 M.D.
Boonshoft School of Medicine

Photo of Dominic J Bagnoli

Dominic J. Bagnoli won the award from the Boonshoft School of Medicine.

Dominic J. Bagnoli received his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1990 from Wright State University’s Boonshoft School of Medicine. He completed his internship and residency at the Akron General Medical Center. Bagnoli also holds a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University.

Bagnoli currently serves as chairman and chief executive officer of Emergency Medicine Physicians in Canton, Ohio. He is a board certified diplomate of the American Board of Emergency Medicine, a fellow in the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a fellow in the American Academy of Emergency Medicine.

Bagnoli has received numerous industry awards for his success as an entrepreneur and business visionary, including the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and recognition by the Harvard Business Club of Northwest Ohio for outstanding entrepreneurship.

Under Bagnoli’s leadership, Emergency Medicine Physicians has been designated as one of the Weatherhead 100 Fastest Growing Companies and Best Employer in Ohio, and listed on Modern Healthcare’s Best Places to Work in Healthcare in the United States for the last four years.

Bagnoli and his wife, Vivian von Gruenigen, M.D., are both supporters of the Boonshoft School of Medicine, and they recently endowed a scholarship for medical students.


Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, ’78 M.A.
Wright State University Graduate School

Photo of Chitra Divakaruni

Chitra Divakaruni won the award from the Wright State University Graduate School.

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is an award-winning author, poet, and teacher of writing. Her work has been published in over 50 magazines, including The Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker, and in more than 50 anthologies. Her books have been translated into 29 languages, and several of them have been bestsellers, both nationally and internationally.

Born in Kolkata, India, Divakaruni came to the United States for her graduate studies, receiving a master’s degree in English from Wright State University and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

To pay for her education, Divakaruni held many odd jobs, including babysitting, selling merchandise in an Indian boutique, slicing bread in a bakery and washing instruments in a science lab.

She teaches in the nationally ranked creative writing program at the University of Houston, where she is the Betty and Gene McDavid Professor of Creative Writing.

Divakaruni is the recipient of an American Book Award, a Light of India Award, a PEN Josephine Miles Award, an Allen Ginsberg poetry prize and two Pushcart prizes, among others. Her latest novel, One Amazing Thing, was the 2011 choice for Gulf Coast Reads, a Houston Region One Book program. Two of her books, The Mistress of Spices and Sister of My Heart, were made into movies. Mistress of Spices was shortlisted for the Orange Prize in England.

Divakaruni believes in the importance of giving back to her community. She serves on the Advisory Board of Maitri in the San Francisco Bay Area and of Daya in Houston. Both are organizations that help South Asian or South Asian American women who find themselves in abusive or domestic violence situations. She has also served on the board of Pratham, an organization that helps educate underprivileged children in India, and is currently on their Emeritus Board.


Gerald L. Freisthler (Gerry), ’79 B.S.
College of Engineering and Computer Science

Photo of Gerald L. Freisthler

Gerald L. Freisthler won the award from the College of Engineering and Computer Science.

Gerald L. Freisthler graduated from Wright State University in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science in Systems Engineering. In 1994, he received a Master of Science in Engineering Management from the University of Dayton.

Freisthler is executive director of the Aeronautical Systems Center, Air Force Materiel Command, at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. As the center’s senior civilian, he assists in leading the Air Force’s center of excellence for development and acquisition of aeronautical systems. The center is responsible for the management of more than 556 Air Force, joint and international programs; executes an annual budget of $23 billion; and employs a workforce of approximately 10,000 people at WPAFB and 38 other locations worldwide.

Freisthler started his career in 1976, working for General Motors. After six years of engineering and production supervisory positions at General Motors, he entered federal service at WPAFB.

In 1997, Freisthler was selected as deputy program director for the $70 billion F-22 Advanced Tactical Fighter Program, leading the program from development into production. He transferred to the Pentagon in 2001, where he served as deputy program executive officer for airlift and trainers, and then as chief of execution and financial management. In 2002, he was transferred to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, first serving as the SPO director for joint air-to-surface standoff missile and small diameter bomb, then becoming the first director of the 308th Air-to-Ground Munitions Systems Wing. His final assignment at Eglin was as the Air Armament Center’s director of engineering and acquisition excellence.


Jeffrey C. Hoagland (Jeff), ’00 M.U.A.
College of Liberal Arts

Photo of Jeff Hoagland

Jeffrey Hoagland won the award from the College of Liberal Arts.

Jeffrey Hoagland graduated from Wright State University in 2000 with a Master of Urban Administration. He is currently president and CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition. The coalition is the Dayton region’s economic development organization and principal public advocate.

After graduating from the University of Dayton in 1991 with a Bachelor of Science in political science, Hoagland worked in the Montgomery County Community and Economic Development Office for six years. In 1995, he left Montgomery County and joined the City of Kettering, where he served in various roles including community development administrator, economic development manager, and assistant city manager. In 2004, he was hired by the City of Vandalia for the position of city manager, a role he held until joining the Dayton Development Coalition in 2010 as executive vice president of operations. Hoagland assumed the role of president and CEO in June 2011.

Hoagland is actively involved throughout the Dayton region. He currently serves as president of the board of the Montgomery County Arts and Cultural District, and devotes his time to the NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Development Association, the Dayton Chamber of Commerce Legislative Affairs Committee, the Montgomery County Workforce Investment Board, and the Wright State University MPA Advisory Board. Hoagland is also a member of the Dayton Rotary and the Greater Dayton Mayors and Managers Association. He is frequently a guest lecturer in government classes at the University of Dayton and Wright State University. Hoagland and his wife, Jennifer, are also active with Catholic Social Services.


LaShaunta’ L. Jones, ’03 B.S.Ed.
College of Education and Human Services

Photo of LaShaunta Jones

LaShaunta' L. Jones won the award from the College of Education and Human Services.

LaShaunta’ L. Jones earned a Bachelor of Science in middle childhood education, with a concentration in athletic training, from Wright State University in 2003. She also completed an M.B.A. from the University of Phoenix in 2008.

Jones joined Central State University in 2002 as an intern for the Marauder men’s basketball program. She volunteered her time and services to the Marauder Athletic Department until she was hired in 2005 as the assistant athletic trainer and academic advisor. Jones provided medical coverage for both the men’s and women’s track programs, as well as the men’s basketball program and the football program, which had returned to play after nine years of being inactive.

In 2007, Jones became one of the first female head athletic trainers to work for a historically black college and university. She was appointed the Marauder senior women’s administrator in 2008. She oversees daily operations for the athletic training department; supervises the treatment and care of Marauder student-athletes; and serves as the on-site drug testing coordinator for the National Center for Drug Free Sports at Central State University. Jones is also an adjunct professor in Central State’s health, physical education and recreation department, as well as an approved clinical instructor for Cedarville University and Wright State University.

Jones is a volunteer/certified instructor for the American Red Cross-Greater Dayton Chapter. She is certified by the National Athletic Trainers Association Board of Certification; licensed by the Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Athletic Training Board; and is an active member of both the National and Ohio Athletic Trainers Associations.


Nelda C. Martinez, ’78 B.S.N., ’82 M.S.
Wright State University–Miami Valley College of Nursing and Health

Photo of Nelda C. Martinez

Nelda Martinez won the award from the College of Nursing and Health.

Nelda C. Martinez earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Wright State University in 1978, and Master of Science in Rehabilitation/Community Health Nursing in 1982. Martinez was the first Hispanic American to graduate from both of these degree programs at Wright State. This distinction as the first Hispanic American student continued as she went on to complete her Ph.D. in nursing at The Ohio State University.

Martinez has taught nursing at Purdue University, The University of Texas (UT) Health Science Center in San Antonio, and UT–El Paso, where she served as associate professor and senior research fellow at the National Institutes of Health Hispanic Health Disparities Research Center. She was also the first director of the Center for Nursing Research and Evaluation.

Currently serving as dean and professor of nursing at UT–Brownsville, Martinez has also served as an instructor/clinical assistant professor at Wright State’s Boonshoft School of Medicine and the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.

In recognition of her service, Martinez received the National Distinguished Service Award from the American Association of Diabetes Educators and the National Distinguished Recognition Award by the Diabetes Education and Research Foundation. She is also the recipient of the Faculty/Staff Recognition Award and the Faculty Advisor and Service Recognition Award at Purdue University for her support of minority students in the School of Nursing and the establishment of the first Latino Student Union. She was honored with the Faculty Mentorship Award at UT–El Paso for her work with migrant students along the U.S.-Mexico border. In 2011, Martinez received the Research in Minority Health Award by the Southern Nursing Research Society.


Adia “Dr. Dia” McClellan Winfrey, ’08 Psy.D.
School of Professional Psychology

Photo of Adia "Dr. Dia" McClellan Winfrey

Adia "Dr. Dia" McClellan Winfrey won the award from the School of Professional Psychology.

Adia “Dr. Dia” Winfrey earned her Doctor of Psychology from Wright State University’s School of Professional Psychology in 2008. As a first-year doctoral student, she recognized the utility of integrating elements of hip hop culture with psychology. Her dissertation, Healing Young People thru Empowerment (H.Y.P.E.): A Hip-Hop Therapy Program for Black Adolescent Males, was one of the first to positively showcase hip hop culture.

As a pre-doctoral intern, Winfrey piloted the H.Y.P.E. curriculum for addressing emotional management, healthy relationships, and goal attainment through hip hop and psychological theories. She developed an accompanying curriculum workbook and wrote H.Y.P.E.: Healing Young People thru Empowerment, published by African-American Images in 2009.

H.Y.P.E. has been implemented with youth through the Wisconsin Department of Juvenile Corrections, the City of Kissimmee, Florida, Parks and Recreation Department, several counties throughout the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice, and several therapy offices, classrooms and community centers around the country. Winfrey has trained thousands of professionals and speaks nationally about the positive power of hip hop.

Winfrey promotes the internationally renowned H.Y.P.E. curriculum through her company Elevating Us, LLC. Within the last year, she has been featured on NPR, in JET Magazine, and endorsed by nationally syndicated radio personalities Tom Joyner and Michael Baisden. In 2011, she founded The H.Y.P.E. Movement mentoring program for high school students in Stone Mountain, Georgia.

A graduate of Wilberforce University, Winfrey is currently developing the Let’s Get H.Y.P.E. Hip Hop Empowerment college course and completing her second book, The H.Y.P.E. Life Pyramid, Teen Edition.


William H. Pohlman, ’76 B.S.B.
Raj Soin College of Business

Photo of William Pohlmand

William Pohlman won the award from the Raj Soin College of Business.

William H. Pohlman majored in accounting at Wright State University, graduating in 1976 with a Bachelor of Science in Business.

After graduation, Pohlman joined the accountancy department of the local wealth management firm, CH Dean. Recognizing an unmet need in the firm’s business focus, he left Dean to begin his own accounting firm at a time of great economic uncertainty. He convinced Doug Talmage to come along with him, and five years later, recruited Vicki Prenger as well. Both are Wright State graduates.

Pohlman is a partner in the firm of Pohlman & Talmage CPAs, Inc. He has 35 years of experience working with the medical and professional community in the areas of accounting, tax, financial planning and retirement plan administration. He attained his CPA certificate in 1979, and became a Certified Financial Planner and a member of the College of Financial Planning in 1989.

Pohlman has mentored, advised and guided numerous Wright State students through his involvement with the Department of Accountancy in the Raj Soin College of Business. During Pohlman & Talmage’s 20 years in business, they have hired 18 interns and seven graduates from Wright State.

Pohlman & Talmage supports a scholarship awarded each year to two accountancy students and one financial services student. In addition, Pohlman has personally endowed a scholarship to support accounting students.

Pohlman is a member of the American Institute of CPAs (with the designation of Personal Financial Specialist) and the Ohio Society of CPAs. He has served as chair of the Board of Trustees of the Montgomery County Unit of the American Cancer Society and is currently chair of the Wright State University Foundation Board of Trustees.


Vivian E. von Gruenigen, ’91 M.D.
Boonshoft School of Medicine

Photo of Vivian E. von Gruenigen

Vivian E. von Gruenigen won the award from the Boonshoft School of Medicine.

Vivian E. von Gruenigen received her Doctor of Medicine in 1991 from Wright State University’s Boonshoft School of Medicine. She completed her residency at Summa Akron City Hospital, followed by a fellowship at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. She also holds a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University.

von Gruenigen currently serves as system medical director for women’s health services at Summa Health System and chairs the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Summa Akron City and St. Thomas Hospitals. She is a recognized expert in gynecologic oncology.

She was previously director of robotic surgery at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio, and an associate professor in the Department of Reproductive Biology at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

von Gruenigen was named one of the Best Doctors in America by the Consumer’s Research Council of America, as well as one of America’s Top Oncologists by Cleveland Magazine. She is the author of over 100 journal articles and abstracts and is an editorial board member at Gynecologic Oncology. A board examiner for the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, she is preparing the 2012 written board examination in gynecologic oncology.

She is currently the principal investigator for two National Cancer Institute-funded gynecologic oncology group clinical trials. Her research has been funded by the government, as well as the Lance Armstrong Foundation, the American Cancer Society, and the Summa Foundation. An active member of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists, von Gruenigen teaches at Case Western Reserve University and the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine.


Randall P. Wagner, M.D., ’80 B.S.
College of Science and Mathematics

Photo of Randall P. Wagner

Randall P. Wagner won the award from the College of Science and Mathematics.

Randall P. Wagner enrolled at Wright State University in 1976, immediately after being discharged from the United States Navy, where he served as a hospital corpsman with the Marines. Wagner majored in physics and was a departmental scholar for most of his undergraduate years. He was also in the departmental honors program, graduating in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science.

In 1984, Wagner earned his M.D. at the Vanderbilt School of Medicine, where he spent an additional three years as a resident in internal medicine. At Vanderbilt, he met his wife, Debra, who was also a resident in internal medicine.

The Wagners took a “gap year” to volunteer at a bush hospital in Kenya, where they served as medical directors. While their work was extraordinarily gratifying, they witnessed the devastation of the AIDS epidemic as it spread from Nairobi into rural Africa.

After returning to the United States, Wagner spent four years as a fellow in pulmonary diseases and critical care medicine at Boston University, where he wrote and published a number of book chapters and peer review papers dealing with the pulmonary and immunologic consequences of HIV infection. He then moved to the National Institutes of Health as a research fellow in the laboratory of immunology, extending the research he had started in Boston.

In 1995, Wagner joined the faculty at the George Washington University School of Medicine. Though he was largely involved in patient care, teaching and research, he also held a number of directorships and was co-investigator on eight clinical trials.

In 1999, Wagner left academics for Washington Adventist Hospital. In 2007, he became the first chairman of a newly formed Department of Critical Care Medicine and was given the Physician RISES Award the following year. Last year, he became the vice president and chief medical officer for Washington Adventist Hospital.


Alan E. Wolters, ’88 A.A., ’90 B.S.B.
Lake Campus

Photo of Alan Wolters

Alan E. Wolters won the award from Lake Campus.

Alan E. Wolters graduated from Wright State University–Lake Campus in 1988, with an associate degree in business administration. In December 1990, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Wright State, graduating summa cum laude.

In 2000, Wolters became a partner at Moorman, Harting & Co. in Celina, Ohio. That same year, he obtained his securities and insurance license to become a financial advisor. Wolters helped Moorman, Harting & Co. establish Moorman, Harting Financial Services. Both companies have grown considerably in size and staff. Moorman, Harting & Co. has hired Wright State graduates to fill approximately 75 percent of their staffing needs over the last 10 years.

Active in his local community, Wolters served as the township fiscal officer of Marion Township in Mercer County for 12 years. He is a past parish council president of his church and has served as president of the parish’s finance committee for over 15 years. As both a Sons of the Legion member and Knights of Columbus member, Wolters has volunteered his time to serve as a youth softball coach.

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