Class Notes

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Bill Dove, ‘56, wrote to the Office of Alumni Relations that at 82, he is doing well. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina, and enjoys his horses. He is an active artist, and some of his work can be seen at

Gates Scoville, ‘57, annually presents a cadet with The Pearson Saber in memory of Maj. John R. Pearson, his friend and former company commander. Scoville shared some of the history with us this year. Pearson, whose nickname was “Peaches,” and Scoville both grew up in Thomasville, Georgia. Pearson was commissioned in Infantry, then went to Korea as a general’s aide. He was then assigned as the commanding officer of Company B, the Honor Company of the Old Guard. His company preceded JFK’s car in the inaugural parade. He was killed near Pleiku, Republic of Vietnam, in August 1966 while leading a Special Forces unit. Major Pearson is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.


Robert Scott Denson, ‘78, retired in September, following 32 years serving Whitfield County as a firefighter and another 10 years as a volunteer. He continues to substitute teach for the high schools in Whitfield County, where he often tells students about how wonderful UNG is and encourages them to consider UNG. He also plans to travel more.

Preston Jones
Preston Jones, ‘82, was appointed director of the Engineering Directorate at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, in March. Jones, who earned his bachelor’s degree in physics at UNG, previously served as the deputy director. He now leads the organization’s 1,200 civil service and 1,100 support contractor personnel. They are responsible for designing, analyzing, testing and operating flight hardware and software associated with space transportation, spacecraft systems, science instruments and payloads under development at Marshall. That includes providing critical support to SLS – the most powerful rocket ever built, able to carry astronauts in NASA’s Orion spacecraft on deep space missions, including to an asteroid and ultimately to Mars. The directorate’s responsibilities also include managing NASA Marshall’s Payload Operations Integration Center – the command post for scientific research activities aboard the International Space Station.

Maj. General William K. Gayler
Maj. Gen. William K. Gayler, ‘88, assumed command of the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence (USAACE) and Fort Rucker in April. Gayler’s most recent assignment was deputy commanding general, US Army Europe. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business from UNG and holds two master’s degrees, one in military arts and sciences and one in national security strategy. He is a graduate of the Command and General Staff College and the National War College. Gayler has led combat aviation units around the world; his deployments include Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom and multiple deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In this new role, Gayler also serves as the Army Aviation Branch chief. He is responsible for training approximately 20,000 aviation students per year.

Brig. Gen. Ronald T. Stephens, ‘86, is now deputy commander of Regional Health Command-Pacific at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington. He was promoted in March and most recently served as commander of Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg.

Mary Cushing Owens, ‘80, serves as an alumni officer with the UNG Alumni Association.

Mike Masters and Tim Brashere
A couple of UNG grads flying together! Mike Masters, ‘82, and Tim Brashere, ‘85, shared this photo of the two of them on a flight to Madera, Mexico.

Sen. Steve Gooch, ‘93, was recognized by James Magazine as a 2016 Legislator of the Year. Gooch was elected in 2010 and represents District 51 in north Georgia. Gooch was elected as the Majority Whip of the Senate Majority Caucus in 2014. Prior to serving as the Senate Majority Whip, he served as the secretary of the Senate Majority Caucus and as chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. He currently serves on the Finance Committee, Appropriations Committee, and Regulated Industries Committee; he is ex officio of the Rules Committee and is vice chairman of the Transportation Committee. In 2011, Gov. Deal appointed Gooch to the Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Overview Committee. He currently serves as executive director for the Lumpkin County Development Authority.

Steven Neff, ‘95, was spotted at the Georgia Capitol this year. Neff is a lobbyist with the Neff Group.


Cliff M. Ward, ‘02, received a promotion to vice president of Metro Appraisals in February. Ward has a business administration degree from the University of North Georgia, a management degree from Georgia Southern University, and is pursuing additional education in accounting through UNG.


Caitlin Cole, ‘12, is a biology teacher at Kings Mountain High School in Cleveland County, North Carolina. Cole is in her third year of teaching. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree at UNG and a master’s degree from East Carolina University.

Capt. Wesley Albritton and Capt. Jazmine Rosales
Capt. Wesley Albritton, ‘11, and Capt. Jazmine Rosales, ‘10, both graduates of UNG’s nursing program, are pictured when Wesley took command of the Medical Company at Weed Hospital, Fort Irwin, California.

Lori Hayes
Lori A. Hayes, ‘13, was named library manager for the Braselton Library in February. Hayes earned a bachelor’s degree from UNG and is currently enrolled in a Master’s of Library Information Science program through Valdosta State University. Since 2006, she has been the assistant manager at the library.