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Kevin Vixie

As mathematician and researcher, Kevin Vixie is at the forefront of research in geometric measure theory. Through the findings of his team at Washington State University, he hopes to advance applications of these theories and develop new methods to extract information from sophisticated data. As Kevin describes it, “my corner of the universe concerns challenges faced by scientists and analysts due to the increasingly overwhelming data sets they are presented with.”

At the university, Kevin and a research partner have also created the Data Challenge Cooperative to develop a sustainable interdisciplinary research and education environment.

Kevin joined the university’s mathematics department from Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he founded his first research team. Kevin’s work has been published extensively and he also is a frequent presenter at conferences and workshops.

Like many original thinkers, Kevin has broad interests and experiences. In addition to his current deeper focus on geometric analysis, he has studied and worked in many other areas, including laser physics, physical oceanography, micro-circulation physiology, various areas of engineering, violin performance, elementary education and design and construction of things from bookshelves to buildings.

Kevin has also quietly adopted the role of humanitarian. In addition to funding a mathematics library and student book fund at Walla Walla University, he has helped Walla Walla students secure internships at Los Alamos and admission into the Washington State University graduate program.

He has a special interest in helping talented students facing difficult situations, a scenario he faced as a college student. During his high school and college years he lost both his parents to illness. He says he was able to overcome these obstacles with the support of two college professors.

Kevin balances his busy professional life with time spent with his wife Beata, their son, Levi, and dog, Obi.



Alan Coffey

With an annual circulation of 62 million, there’s a good chance a Coffey Communications publication has reached your mailbox or even your computer screen. As the chief executive officer of Coffey Communications, Alan Coffey has developed the company into a leading health care publisher known in the industry for focusing solely on health care.

Coffey Communications produces publications, websites, and other communications products and services used by hospitals and health plan companies in 42 states. In recent years, Alan’s entrepreneurial and competitive spirit has driven the company’s growth in expanded product lines, including an online planning and production tool for clients, a Web services division, and a suite of Web products that include a health information library, a health provider directory, an e-Newsletter and more. Coffey Communications is based in Walla Walla and employs 160 people.

Alan takes great pride in continuing the growth of the company founded by his parents. Cecil and Barbara Coffey launched Coffey Communications in 1975 as an advertising and marketing agency. In 1983, the company began focusing on custom health care publishing after Cecil saw the need for an authoritative health publication that hospitals could easily customize for their own communities. 

Alan has worked in the family business since its early days, taking leave only after graduating from Walla Walla University to attend law school in San Diego. Alan’s sister, Jane, is now the company’s chief operating officer and his mother is semi-retired. Alan assumed the role of CEO after his father’s death in 1992.   

As a leader, Alan’s generous and supportive spirit fosters employee teamwork and a sense of family throughout the company. Coffey Communications
is known for the loyalty of its employees, many who are WWU alumni.

When Alan isn’t at the office, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Sherilee (Goerlitz), a 1991 communication graduate, and stepson, Seth Chapman.

DeLona Lang Bell

If there is anyone who has a passion for her work, it is DeLona Lang Bell. DeLona’s grasp and understanding of the power of words and visuals has driven her success in the fields of marketing and communication.

Whether it is an advertisement for Providence’s Medical Group maternity services or an annual report for a multimillion dollar corporation, her work excels in both communication messaging and business strategy. In 2008 alone, her work received top awards in three national and international industry competitions. However, DeLona would be the first to give credit to her creative team at CM Bell, the company she and her husband, Michael, founded in 1997. The company, based in College Place, offers services in marketing, communication, and business technology.

DeLona’s clients are primarily from the fields of education and health care, causes she is devoted to. When consulting with clients, she brings years of her own on-the-ground experience in marketing, planning and communication positions for Hewlett-Packard, Providence Medical Group, and Walla Walla University, one of her first employers and the place she now considers a family tradition.

Just last year the Alumni Association honored DeLona’s mother, Joyce, as one of the Alumni of the Year. DeLona’s father, Melvin, was a WWU professor and administrator for many years.

DeLona and her husband, Michael, married while they were students. Today, their son, Christian, is a history student, and their youngest son, Miles-Erik, will be a Walla Walla University freshman next year, following in the footsteps of his parents and more than 20 relatives who are Walla Walla alumni.

DeLona’s gratitude to her alma mater has inspired her to be a tireless advocate for Christian education. Currently, she is serving on the boards of WWU and Independent Colleges of Washington.

Rick Schmactenberg

In the world of printing technology, Rick Schmactenberg is leading innovation as a senior executive at Xerox Corporation.

In 2007 Rick was named senior vice president of Consumables Development and Manufacturing Group.  He is responsible for research development and global manufacturing of Xerographic and Solid Ink consumables. Rick oversees the development of toner, photoreceptors, intermediate transfer belts, print cartridges, xerographic charging devices, fusers, solid ink print heads and inks.
 
All together, Rick is responsible for seven research and development centers and 20 manufacturing plants located on nine sites in seven countries.

Rick stepped into this position following his success as a vice president
of worldwide manufacturing for Xerox Office Group, where he was responsible for quality, cost and delivery of general office printers and multi-function devices.

In 2003 Rick was named a Xerox Research Fellow, and he holds numerous patents and manufacturing trade secrets.

Rick established his track record at Tektronix, where he received the
“Manufacturing Technology Leadership Award” for his work on commercialization and high-volume manufacturing of Solid Ink print heads.  At Tektronix, the success of his team developing of color printer products led to the purchase of their division by Xerox in 2000.

With Rick on the road much of the time, his wife, Debbie (Reynolds), a 1980 nursing graduate, and the couple’s children, Stefan and Jennifer, keep the home fires burning in Aloha, Ore.

Gary Patterson

A faithful servant of God, Gary Patterson has always answered the call to where he is needed most.  In his 45 years of ministry, he has led congregations, served as a church and health care administrator, and even ran a summer camp.

Gary is a noted leader not only for the scope of his service, but also for his inspiring leadership style. "Gary has always been a leader fully alive," says one of his former colleagues.  "He has combined a natural zest for life and high energy with excellent communication skills throughout his distinguished career."

Gary has served as a president of two conferences—Georgia Cumberland and Pennsylvania—and in two General Conference positions, first as an administrative assistant to the president of the North American Division, and then as General Field Secretary. In this role, Gary was joined by his wife, Rae, in traveling extensively to promote world mission.

He retired in 1998 from the General Conference, but was called by Adventist Health System in Florida to serve as a vice-president in the Home Health Division.  After his second retirement from Adventist Health in 2003, the health system asked Gary to develop a chaplain education program sponsored jointly by Andrews University and Florida Hospital. In recent years, Gary has traveled to Adventist campuses recruiting potential students.

No stranger to campuses or youth ministry, Gary has served as pastor of the campus churches of Walla Walla University and Southern Adventist University. He was also youth director of the Upper Columbia Conference.

Now retired, Gary and Rae recently completed writing a minister's handbook. Home base for the couple is in Virginia, where they live close to their daughter, Cynthia, and her family. Son Jeff has followed in his father’s footsteps and is a minister in Atlanta.

Page maintained by Alumni | Last update on June 1, 2018