Geoff Hale ’77 is a healer — a grape doctor — for wine orchards that make delicious cabernets and pinots along California’s northern and central coasts. He works as a consultant to vineyards, wineries, and farms to harvest healthy grapes. 

Grant and Michelle Senner had always planned to give back to their alma mater — but neither envisioned making a major gift before age 40. 

However, the Senners recently gave $280,000 in endowed funds to the University of Arizona Foundation in support of the Arizona Health Sciences Center’s precision health program. 

“The talent and drive are here,” Grant Senner says of the UA’s targeted research in precision health. “We knew the time was right to support this groundbreaking program, which is vital for the University’s trajectory and the future of precision care.” 

When Pamela Hickey ’75 and Dennys McCoy ’75 met at Tucson’s Catalina High School, they quickly found that they had more in common than their lunch hour. “We were the only people we knew who knew the credits of writers for comedy shows,” says McCoy. 

The pair began writing jokes and plays together. Later, they both attended the University of Arizona. Hickey earned a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and English literature, while McCoy earned his bachelor’s in creative writing. 

When UA students gaze beyond graduation day, they might imagine themselves developing revolutionary software or the next global coffeehouse sensation. Their future visions might not include spinning brushes, wheel polish, or HotShine Carnauba Shield, but one alumnus is working to change that.

In 1980, when he was 28 years old, Rufus Glasper became the director of financial planning and budgeting for the Chicago Public Schools. “I oversaw a $2 billion budget in a system with 46,000 employees and 600,000 students,” he recalls. “I thought life couldn’t get any better. I thought that this is the pinnacle of my career.”

Ken Pisani’s career has bounced from graphic design to stand-up comedy to television writing, producing, and directing, all before returning to his passion: comic books. 

After more than two decades in the entertainment industry, Pisani turned his efforts to making a comic book and started writing Colonus, a futuristic tale of a dead Earth and colonies on Mars and Venus. The dark sci-fi comic became a hit, winning the 2013 Geekie award for Best Comic Book/Graphic Novel, and will be published by Dark Horse Comics. 

Pamela Ross loves medicine and can’t imagine being anything other than a doctor and a healer. As a board-certified doctor of adult and pediatric emergency medicine, she spent 17 years in the University of Virginia Health System in various roles, from treating patients in the ER to serving as a hospital administrator. 

After serving many years on the front lines of healthcare, Ross realized there was more to be done and not all questions were being answered by Western medical systems. “I wanted to address gaps in the way that current-day medicine treats patients,” she says. 

Jon Gandomi, a 2004 graduate with a degree in international affairs with honors, works at the intersection of war and peace. As a field representative in the U.S. Embassy in Kampala, Uganda, he coordinates with U.S. Special Forces in the region in their efforts to find and arrest warlord Joseph Kony, the head of the Lord’s Resistance Army or LRA. This requires both fortitude and diplomacy, especially considering the gravity of the concern.

Turki Faisal Al Rasheed received his bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering from the University of Arizona in 1981, followed by master’s and doctoral degrees from universities in Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom. Today, he is a prominent agribusiness leader, a champion of democratic processes and voting rights in the Middle East, and a proud alumnus of the UA who actively represents the University in the Gulf region. 


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