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Matt Marett ’05 joins McTeague Higbee law firm

McTeague Higbee — a law firm dedicated to advocating and protecting the rights of Maine’s working people — recently announced that Matt Marett ’05 has joined its team.

Matt Marett

“We at McTeague Higbee are thrilled to welcome Matt to our team,” managing partner Kevin Noonan said in a news release. “All of us have had the opportunity to work with Matt over several years. Matt is a tough advocate and will be able to quickly roll up his sleeves and help fight for the rights of our clients.”

Marett has more than nine years of experience handling a variety of different legal matters, and is a litigator well versed in the complexity of the Workers’ Compensation process.

He will work in McTeague Higbee’s Workers’ Compensation division and handle complicated bodily injury claims.

While at Wabash, Marett was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha, the Pre-Law Society, The Bachelor, Young Democrats, Alpha Phi Omega and Wabash Crew. He majored in psychology and minored in English and speech.

Marett earned his law degree from the Florida Coastal School of Law in 2010, graduating with cum laude honors in the top 5% of his class.


Clay Koehler ’08 appointed as Centier Bank’s assistant VP of Small Business Banking

Clay Koehler

Michael E. Schrage, Chairman and CEO of Centier Bank, recently announced the appointment of Clay Koehler ‘08 to assistant vice president of Small Business Banking in the Lafayette area.

Koehler started at Centier in October 2020. He is a seasoned financial advisor, with experience working several years in small business/private banking.

“I am passionate about helping small businesses in the Greater Lafayette area and bringing excitement to the team,” Koehler said in a news release. “It’s important to me that clients receive the best financial tools they need to be successful, and I’m committed to providing them with what they need.”

While at Wabash, Koehler majored in political science and minored in history. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in business administration from Purdue University.


Houston Mills ’85 featured in exhibit honoring Black aviators

Houston Mills ’85, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and Vice President of Flight Operations for UPS, will be featured in a special exhibit in Louisville in honor of Black History Month.

Houston Mills ’85, Vice President of Flight Operations for UPS, speaks to the press after piloting the first shipment of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to Louisville.

Bowman Field, Louisville’s general aviation airport and one of the nation’s longest continuously operating airports, will host the exhibit, “The Sky’s the Limit: A Celebration of the History of Black Achievement in Aviation,” until Feb. 28.

The attraction will showcase specific members of the Black aviation community, along with their achievements, according a news release from the Regional Airport Authority. It will highlight how these men and women got their start in aviation, adversities they experienced, and the ways they overcame those obstacles to rise to greatness.

“The Louisville Regional Airport Authority is excited to open this exhibit celebrating Black History Month,” said Dan Mann, executive director of the Louisville Regional Airport Authority. “It showcases the extraordinary achievements of these Black men and women from the early days of aviation through the age of space travel, including efforts today to introduce our young people to the opportunities in aviation. We hope the stories of these pioneers and leaders inspire a new generation of aviation professionals.”

Mills, a former board chair of the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, told WDRB.com that the exhibit is well-timed.

“Our community has just experienced difficult reminders about social justice and equity, so this year’s Black History Month is particularly important,” Mills said. “It’s fantastic that the LRAA is showcasing these inspirational aviation heroes and the great things that happen when opportunities are available for people of all races.”

Houston Mills (front) ’85, and Vice President of Flight Operations for UPS, with co-pilot Neal Newell.

Over the last year, Mills has been making headlines for his aviation work.

In December, he piloted the first shipment of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport. From there, the vaccines were distributed to all parts of the country, with frontline health care workers expected to be among the first group this week to receive doses.

“I was very humbled and honored to have been selected to be the pilot of this first flight,” said Mills, who co-piloted a Boeing 757 airliner with Neal Newell, a former U.S. Air Force F-16 pilot. “What this flight represents is the beginning of the end. This historic moment is about hope.”

Over the Super Bowl weekend, Mills was also featured in a short story CBS Sports ran recognizing contributions by essential service workers during the pandemic.

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE

As a first-generation college student from Indianapolis, Mills was an English literature major and political science minor, pursuing a pre-law degree at Wabash College. He was recruited to the College to play basketball by longtime coach Mac Petty H’82.

During his time at Wabash, Mills also joined Lambda Chi Alpha, Sphinx Club, and was actively involved with the Malcolm X Institute.


Clayton Highum ’16 hired as McGowan Insurance Group’s account executive

Clayton Highum

Clayton Highum ’16, was recently hired as the commercial account executive for McGowan Insurance Group located in Indianapolis.

Highum previously served in commercial underwriting and production at FCCI Insurance Group.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from Wabash College, where he majored in rhetoric and minored in economics. As a student, Highum was a member of the varsity swimming and diving team, Business Sequence, 1832 Society and Student Senate, among other activities and societies.


Steve Coomes ’79 named to Extensia Financial’s Board of Directors

Extensia Financial, a credit union service organization focused on commercial real estate, recently announced that Steve Coomes ’79 will be one of four new leaders joining its Board of Directors.

Steve Coomes

Coomes is a retired financial services and operational leader with more than 30 years of financial institutions experience, most notably in the credit union environment.

“Extensia Financial is excited about the collective talent these industry leaders will add to our company’s Board of Directors,” Sundip Patel, Chief Executive Officer, said in a news release. “Their combined expertise in corporate strategy, credit union operations and growth, and financial institutions leadership will be of great value as AVANA Companies and Extensia navigate a planned trajectory of significant growth.”

Coomes was the president and CEO of United SA Federal Credit Union in San Antonio, Texas, and retired in 2014.

He has a master’s degree in finance from Butler University and a bachelor’s degree from Wabash College, where he majored in biology and was a member of Alpha Phi Omega. He also holds the Certified Chief Executive Designation from the Credit Union Executives Society of Madison, Wisconsin.


Jacob Burnett ’15 selected as an Executive Editor for University of Pennsylvania Law Review

Jacob Burnett

Jacob Burnett ’15, a Wabash Rhodes Scholar and political science major, has been selected to serve as an Executive Editor for Volume 170 of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review – the oldest and one of the most cited law journals in the country.

“If I had to capture what it is like to work with The University of Pennsylvania Law Review in one word, it would be: exciting,” Burnett said. “The Journal publishes some of the most groundbreaking legal scholarship that scholars, practitioners, and students are producing.”

Burnett, who is currently attending the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School and works as a research and teaching assistant, previously served as an Associate Editor for The Journal and was selected to serve in the new role after submitting a written application to the outgoing board.

“I applied for the position specifically because I enjoy working directly on Law Review pieces, and as an Executive Editor, I believed I would thrive when working directly with authors and incoming Associate Editors,” he said. “The substantive scholarship is fundamental to the success of the Journal, and I hope to play a key role in ensuring that the Law Review publishes well-edited, thoughtful, and excellent pieces.”

Burnett, a native of Mishawaka, Indiana, was active at Wabash College through Moot Court, Student Senate, The Bachelor, Wabash College Democrats and Pre-Law Society, among other activities and organizations. He was also a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Psi Chi and Lambda Pi Eta honor societies.

Jacob Burnett gets a congratulatory hug from Visiting Assistant Professor of Theater Jessie Mills during a reception in 2014 to celebrate Burnett being named a Rhodes Scholar.

In 2014, Burnett was one of 32 students in the nation to be named a Rhodes Scholar.

He graduated from the University of Oxford with a master’s degree in global governance and diplomacy and criminology and criminal justice.

“Growing up in poverty and watching my mom do God’s work to lead my family through class oppression has always inspired me to work hard and keep moving forward,” Burnett said. “My journey is one that could not have happened without her, who I look to for strength and tenacity.”

The alumnus said he’s thankful for the Wabash professors he had who were integral to his success.

“Specifically, Professor Scott Himsel and Dr. Robert Horton wrote me letters of recommendation for my law school application process,” Burnett said. “They have always been great mentors to me and have guided me along my journey.

“Without Wabash, I don’t know if I would be where I am today! It taught me how to be excellent at what I do and to have fun along the way with amazing colleagues and friends.”


Francisco Huerta ’14 selected as a Distinguished Teacher

Francisco Huerta ’14, a ninth-grade world history and reading teacher within the Noble Network of Charter Schools, was recently selected as one of 14 new educators to join into its Distinguished Teacher program.

Francisco Huerta

The Noble Network of Charter Schools includes 18 nonprofit charter public schools that prepare roughly 12,000 students for college success each year with excellent teaching, rigorous academics, and comprehensive wraparound supports.

“This is the highest honor that an educator can receive within our network,” Huerta, an Eli Lilly Scholar who majored in psychology and minored in religion and economics, told Wabash Magazine.

The Distinguished Teacher program provides an industry-changing approach to celebrating and rewarding teachers who are achieving an exceptional impact with students, according to a news release. Among other benefits, each winner receives $10,000 annually for as long as they remain teachers at Noble. 

“We launched the Distinguished Teacher program in 2018 following years of prior research on how to best identify, celebrate, reward, and learn from Noble’s most impactful educators,” Constance Jones, CEO of Noble, said in the release. “This year, we’re delighted to announce 14 truly outstanding teachers who both cultivate and lead transformational classroom spaces that empower our students to live exemplary lives.”

Distinguished Teachers applied for the program by submitting written narratives and a portfolio of artifacts including comprehensive data. Finalists then participated in classroom observations and debriefs, student surveys, a panel interview, and reference checks over the course of several months.

“The final round was an hour-long panel interview akin to the Wabash Senior Comprehensive Exam,” Huerta said. “It was an incredibly stressful process.”


Roy Sexton ’95 appointed as treasurer to the LMA Board of Directors

Roy Sexton ’95 has been appointed as treasurer of the 2021 Legal Marketing Association (LMA) Board of Directors. LMA represents thousands of legal marketing and business development professionals in 48 U.S. states and 24 countries.

Roy Sexton

“Being on the LMA Board of Directors is the apex of one’s volunteer leadership within the Legal Marketing Association and is significant in advancing the legal marketing profession as a whole,” LMA Executive Director Danielle Holland said in a news release.

Sexton, director of marketing at Clark Hill Law, has nearly 20 years of experience in marketing, communications, business development and strategic planning.

He has been heavily involved in the LMA as a regional and international leader and serves on numerous nonprofit boards and committees including the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Ann Arbor, Royal Starr Film Festival, Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit and encoremichigan.com.  

“I am honored to serve on the 2021 LMA Board of Directors, and I look forward to the opportunity to help guide the association’s important work,” Sexton said in the release. “LMA will continue to provide outstanding programming and opportunities for professional development and networking to our members and advocate for our profession, locally, regionally and internationally.”

While at Wabash College, Sexton majored in English and theater and was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha and involved with the Wabash Theater, the Bachelor and Student Senate.

Sexton’s LMA appointment became effective January 1, 2021.


Mike Raters ’85 named Mt. Vernon Middle School interim principal

Mike Raters ’85, Wabash’s former Dean of Students and history major, was recently named Mt. Vernon Middle School’s new interim principal.

Mike Raters ’85

Raters starts his contract on Jan. 19 and will serve in the role for the remainder of the school year.

Jack Parker, Mt. Vernon superintendent, told the Greenfield Daily Reporter that he chose Raters as interim principal because of his collaborative leadership approach and track record of building success in organizations he serves.

“He empowers his team to succeed individually, which furthers the sense of community and collective success,” Parker said. “We are looking forward to seeing the positive impact Mr. Raters will have with Mt. Vernon Middle School staff and students.”

Raters leads student affairs and athletics as an associate vice president at Scott Healy & Associates, which recruits for university leadership positions. He’s also a partner and director of education and government projects for Bridge Builder Strategies, LLC.

He previously taught leadership as an adjunct professor at Butler University and was also the dean of students at Wabash College from 2008 to 2019. Before that, he taught at Franklin Central High School and Scecina Memorial High School in Indianapolis.

“I am fortunate to be joining a community of educators and staff that are exceptionally dedicated and, most importantly, student-centered,” Raters told the newspaper. “I am eager to work with them to learn how I can be supportive of their efforts, help advance their teaching and further the leadership of the student body.” 


Reunited After Nearly 30 Years

Last semester, Wabash’s Advancement Office received an unexpected letter from a woman in Hamilton, Montana. It was addressed to “whomever can help” and contained photos of a 1970 class ring.

“I have a class ring from your College, ‘Class of 70,’” the note from Delores Meuchel stated. “The initials G.A.J. are engraved on the inside …  I would like to return it to the owner.”

Aaron Selby ’06, director of annual giving and advancement services, got to work and began tracking down the ring’s owner. He examined the attached photos and noticed Delta Tau Delta’s letters featured. From there, Selby used the Wabash Alumni Directory to look up members of the Class of 1970 who had those initials and were brothers of the fraternity.

“This search quickly identified one person and I reached out to Gregory A. Jackson of Helena, Montana, to see if this was his ring,” Selby recalled. “After talking with Greg by phone, he informed me that he believed this was his class ring and was amazed.”

Jackson’s ring had been missing for 28 years.

Greg Jackon's '70 Wabash class ring
It took 28 years, but Greg Jackson ’70 was reunited with his Wabash class ring.

“Anytime I would open a box or go through things again, I would look to see if I might somehow find it, but it never surfaced,” Jackson said of the ring, which went missing after a separation and move. “It has a special meaning to me and I was heartbroken when it disappeared.

“Over the years I always held out the hope that maybe it would show up.”

And it’s a good thing Jackson never lost that hope.

Selby put Jackson in contact with Meuchel, who lived about 150 miles away.

Meuchel told Jackson that she had purchased a “box of junk” from a garage sale in Elliston, Montana, about 20 miles from Helena. The box was full of aluminum cans, pull tabs and a ring.

“She was mildly intrigued and put it in a jewelry box where it sat for a couple of years,” Jackson said. “She was going through the jewelry box fairly recently and thought maybe she could see who the ring belonged to.”

The ring was eventually mailed and returned back to Jackson around Thanksgiving.

“It’s crazy to think that my ring made a journey around the state of Montana and back to me after all this time,” the Wabash alumnus said.

Jackson, who works as an attorney, said he’s thankful for Meuchel taking the time to track him down and for the College officials who helped facilitate the reunion.

“Graduating from Wabash is a big deal,” Jackson said. “To have that piece of my life back is just absolutely phenomenal. I can’t express enough appreciation.”