The Alumni Hall of Fame celebrates and honors the accomplishments of our most distinguished graduates. These are individuals who exemplify the spirit of GCU and have made significant contributions to the university and as humanitarians to our society. Feel their inspiration as you take the next steps in your lives after GCU.
Read more about this year's inductees:
College of Education, Class of 1973
Calvin Baker has come a long way during his 42-year career in education. He has been superintendent for one of Arizona’s top three school districts, Vail School District, located in Vail, AZ, for over 26 years. His leadership roles include president of both the statewide superintendents group and the Arizona School Administrators Association. Baker has been recognized as Arizona Superintendent of the Year and Mentor of the Year by the Arizona Daily Star. Baker has also been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Pima County Metropolitan Education Commission.
Dr. Stephen Hall
College of Science, Engineering and Technology, Class of 1990
Dr. Stephen Hall has extensive experience in molecular medicine and biomedical engineering and has founded several life science companies. He invented a vaccine technology that resulted in novel vaccines for several diseases. In addition, he developed a class of biomaterials that are being used to treat a number of diseases, including cancer and hereditary muscle diseases. Dr. Hall has held faculty positions where he taught, served as a thesis advisor and mentored graduate students. He holds a doctorate in biological sciences from Purdue University and has completed post-doctoral training in molecular and structural biology at The Scripps Research Institute.
College of Fine Arts and Production, Class of 1998
Michael Kary is a professor for the College of Fine Arts and Production at Grand Canyon University. For the last 17 years, Kary has worked as a professional actor and writer in New York, Los Angeles, San Diego and Phoenix. Kary has performed in and around New York City, most notably as an original cast member for the musical, “Fame on 42nd Street.” Kary is also co-founder of Nobody in Particular, an award-winning production company with whom he has written and produced three television pilots, “Deal With It,” “Little League” and “Surviving Out of Doors with Louis.”
Colangelo College of Business, Class of 1972
Mitchell Laird is the owner and president of the law firm, Laird & Associates, P.C. He is also the owner and CEO of MCL Enterprises, Inc., the largest Burger King franchise in Arizona. He serves as the CEO of Canyon Institute, a non-profit organization that awards grants and gifts to Christian non-profit organizations. Laird is a member of the Arizona Bar Association, Maricopa County Bar Association and the Christian Legal Society, and serves on the board of directors of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce. In 2013, he was appointed as one of five commissioners to the Arizona Clean Elections Commission.
Horacio Llamas Grey
Basketball Student-Athlete, 1994-96
Horacio Llamas Grey is an assistant coach with the Pioneros de Quintana Roo, a professional basketball team based in Cancun, Mexico. As a student-athlete at Grand Canyon University, he was named NCAA Division II Player of the Year. Llamas also earned First Team All-California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) honors, when he helped GCU win the CCAA Postseason Championship Tournament and a spot in the NCAA Division II Regionals. Llamas played basketball professionally for 17 years, including two seasons in the NBA with the Phoenix Suns. He made NBA history, being the first Mexican-born player to appear in a regular season game.
Dr. Timothy Sieges
College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Class of 1975
Dr. Timothy Sieges is the clinical director of counseling ministries for Wycliffe Bible Translators, an international mission organization that translates and delivers Scripture to people around the world. Since 1987, Dr. Sieges’ work at Wycliffe has included counseling, consulting, leading workshops and seminars, conducting post-trauma debriefings and supporting the work of missionaries around the globe. Dr. Sieges traces his passion for God’s Word, world missions and service to the Body of Christ to his undergraduate experience at Grand Canyon University.
College of Nursing and Health Care Professions, Class of 2010 and 2014
Maggie Kigen is a registered nurse at Maryvale Hospital in Phoenix and also owns Eldama Ravine Children’s Home, an orphanage in her home country of Kenya. Kigen felt God’s call on her heart to start an orphanage, which now has about 30 children. She also takes frequent mission trips. On her next trip she will be traveling to Kenya to help educate nurses in the area as well as visit her orphanage. In addition to volunteering to help those who are less fortunate, Kigen is very active in her local community and church.
Dr. James White
College of Theology, Class of 1985
James White is the director of Alpha and Omega Ministries, a Christian apologetics organization based in Phoenix. White is also an elder of the Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church and a professor, having taught Greek, Systematic Theology and various topics in the field of apologetics. White has also authored and contributed to more than 24 books and is an accomplished debater. He has engaged in more than 140 moderated public debates around the world in locations such as Sydney, Australia, as well as mosques in Toronto, London and South Africa.
Ken Blanchard College of Business, Class of 1981
Stephen Barnes has been in the financial services industry for 30 years, thriving through four major market declines. A chartered financial analyst and certified financial planner, he owns Barnes Investing Advisory Inc., Phoenix, where he specializes in portfolio management and supervision. Barnes writes about and discusses financial topics for media outlets and professional associations, and is a member of the Desert Schools Federal Credit Union Board of Directors, the CFA Institute and the Financial Planning Association.
D. Samuel Coffman
College of Arts and Sciences, Class of 1980
Samuel Coffman, an employment law attorney at Dickinson Wright/Mariscal Weeks of Phoenix, uses his degree to help those who cannot afford or otherwise cannot access legal services. He is a longtime board member of two nonprofits, Uplift Ministry, providing free Christian counseling to teens and at-risk families, and Helping Hands for Single Moms, helping single mothers obtain financial independence through college education. Coffman has been recognized by Best Lawyers in Arizona, Best Lawyers in America and Arizona's Finest Lawyers.
College of Nursing and Health Care Professions, Class of 1984
Michelle Gilman has contributed significantly to regional programs focusing on improved patient outcomes through innovative delivery systems. Gilman is director of education and founder of the Learning Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center, Phoenix. Her background is in intensive-care nursing, organ-donor recovery, hospice and adult education. Gilman was instrumental in implementing the first Arizona nursing education/practice partnership model with GCU and currently leads development of a nursing simulation center and American Heart Association training center.
College of Fine Arts and Production, Classes of 2004 and 2008
Nick Halonen believes God has called him to be a role model for teenagers. For 10 years, he has been the choir director at Phoenix's Trevor G. Browne High, a socio-economically disadvantaged school, where he also offers emotional support and encouragement. Students chose Halonen as 2013 Teacher of the Year, and staff named him Employee of the Year in 2009. He is an assistant director of the Phoenix Children's Chorus and, with his wife, GCU alumna Keslie Kattau Halonen, leads worship at Spirit Song United Methodist Church in Peoria.
Dr. Paul F. Kinnison
College of Theology, Class of 1978
Dr. Paul Kinnison has done some grand things in his life: He was pastor of Grand Canyon Baptist Church in Grand Canyon National Park and has taught at GCU. Today, as associate pastor of First Baptist Church, Sun City West, he focuses on Christian discipleship, pastoral care and mission ministries. A graduate of three institutions of higher learning, Kinnison has studied the needs of people in physical, emotional and spiritual crises, and worked with families grappling with domestic violence, grief and death.
Basketball Student-Athlete, Class of 2011
Sam Murphy is easily the most "decorated" student-athlete in the history of GCU women's basketball. Murphy was named Pacific West Conference Freshman of the Year during her inaugural college season; PacWest Player of the Year twice; First-Team All-PacWest four times; and Daktronics First-Team All-American. Murphy was honored as PacWest Female Scholar Athlete of the Year three times and an Academic All American twice. In 2013, she was selected to the NCAA Division II 40th Anniversary Tribute Team. Currently, Murphy is finishing a physician's assistance program at Midwestern University in Glendale, AZ.
College of Education, Class of 1988
Natalie Wilcox learned to care for the heart of every child in her sphere of influence during her education at GCU. Wilcox, principal at Echo Mountain Primary School in Phoenix, has worked with orphans in Mexico and Romania, and is involved in programs that meet the needs of less-fortunate children. She has been a principal for 14 years and previously taught grades 5-8 for 10 years. Wilcox was named Arizona's Gifted Principal of the Year in 2006, and has taught at GCU and Arizona State University, among other institutions.
Cynthia Mote Elliott
College of Nursing Inductee
2008 Master of Science in Nursing, 2006 Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN)
Cynthia Mote Elliott, BSN, MSN, FNP-C graduated from Grand Canyon University with her Bachelors of Science in Nursing in 2006 and her Masters of Science in Nursing as a Family Nurse Practitioner in 2008. After graduation, Cindy and a colleague from Tucson took a leap of faith to open their own Nurse Run clinic: Abundant Health Family Practice. Abundant Health Family Practice has a foundation based in Christ centered leadership and service where all walks of life are welcome. The mission is to promote the health and well-being of families by meeting the healthcare needs of those in the local Tucson community and surrounding areas.
Ken Blanchard College of Business Inductee
2008 Executive Master of Business Administration
Melissa Holdaway is the co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Arizona Charter Academy where she oversees the accounting, human resources, marketing, facilities, strategic planning, legal, community development and technology. She is a veteran in the charter school industry with almost 20 years of leadership experience in for-profit and non-profit enterprises, with the last 12 years in charter school operations and management. Arizona Charter Academy has received numerous awards including one of the Valley’s “Best Place to Work” from Phoenix Business Journal, Top 25 Workplaces for Women, and has been recognized as one of Arizona’s Most Admired Companies for the last three years by AZ Business Magazine. Melissa holds an Executive MBA from Grand Canyon University and in 2010 was appointed by the Governor to the Commission for Postsecondary Education. Melissa serves as Commissioner for the General Plan Commission for the city of Surprise, Chairs the Arizona State Charter Association Advisory Board Business Committee and serves on the West Valley Youth Leadership Council.
College of Theology Inductee
1981 Bachelor of Arts in Bible
Steve Laube, a literary agent and president of The Steve Laube Agency, has been in the book industry for over 32 years, first as a bookstore manager where he was awarded the National Store of the Year in 1989 by the Christian Booksellers Association. He then spent over a decade with Bethany House Publishers rising to the position of editorial director of non-fiction and was named the Editor of the Year in 2002. He later became an agent and has represented over 800 new books and was named Agent of the Year in 2009. His office is in Phoenix, Arizona.
Glenn M. Ramey
College of Arts and Sciences Inductee
1959 Bachelor of Arts in English
Pastor Glenn M. Ramey transferred to Grand Canyon College in 1957. During his time at GCC, he served as president of the campus ministerial association and was co-editor of GCC’s literary magazine, Shadows. In 1966, Pastor Ramey was called to assume the pastorate of West Dunlap Baptist Church, a former mission of the First Southern Baptist Church of Glendale (now Cross-Connection International Fellowship). He would spend the next four decades there. Through the 60s and into the new millennium, Pastor Ramey served a faithful, committed group of believers at the little church on the corner of Dunlap and 39th Avenue in Phoenix. He has spearheaded, with the help of his church, the ministry to Burmese refugees in his community. What started with just one Burmese refugee has grown into a full church with its own pastor and services, and members in the hundreds.
College of Education Inductee
1988 Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
Kimberly Rimbey, a 1988 GCU graduate, is passionate about equipping teachers to maximize their potential for impacting student learning. A recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, Kim has authored many publications, gleaning from her years as a kindergarten and first-grade teacher, elementary mathematics coach, district mathematics coordinator, and a sought-after professional developer. Currently, Kim works for the Rodel Charitable Foundation of Arizona, whose aim is to raise student achievement at schools in high-poverty communities. Presently a Ph.D. Candidate, Kim plans to graduate from ASU this May with a Ph.D. in Mathematics Education.
College of Fine Arts and Production Inductee
2006 Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance
American soprano Amber Wagner is a winner of the 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Grand Finals and was featured in the documentary film “The Audition” which opened to audiences nationwide in 2009. Chosen by OPERA NEWS as one of twenty-five artists poised to break out and become a major force in classical music in the coming decade, Amber Wagner begins the 2012/13 season with a return to the Metropolitan Opera as Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera conducted by Fabio Luisi. This past season, Amber Wagner triumphed in the title role in Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos at Lyric Opera of Chicago, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. Highlights from past operatic seasons included Ms. Wagner’s European debut with the Prague State Opera performing Brangäne in Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde with conductor Jan Latham Koenig and performances with Lyric Opera of Chicago as Elsa in Lohengrin conducted by Sir Andrew Davis.
1986-88 GCU Men’s Head Basketball Coach
Paul Westphal Men’s Basketball Coach (1986-88) In just two seasons as head coach of the Grand Canyon men’s basketball program, Paul Westphal took a short-term stay and made longterm impact. Paul’s Grand Canyon basketball teams won more games in a two-year span than any other consecutive years in school history. The 1987-88 season was record-setting, wining the schools’ third NAIA National title and tying the record for most national championships by a single school. The #11 seed in the 32-team field, most figured the Antelopes wouldn’t be around long. But on March 22, 1988 they had completed their improbable run with an 88-86 overtime win over Auburn University-Montgomery at Kansas City’s Kemper Arena. Grand Canyon set a new NAIA scoring record for points in a season (4,093) and averaged 95.2 points per game over their 43 games. The ‘Lopes set 12 single-season school records in 1987-88. In two seasons, Westphal’s teams were 63-18 (.778 winning percentage).
Dr. Robin Baker
College of Arts and Sciences Inductee
1980 Bachelor of Arts in History
Dr. Robin Baker has made an extensive contribution to the university setting. Baker is currently the president of George Fox University, after serving as provost for 8 years. He has held other prominent administrative positions including Senior Vice President of Grand Canyon University, Assistant Professor of History at John Brown University, and Assistant Professor of History at Wheaton College. Baker speaks frequently on integrating faith and learning in a Christian university setting. Baker and his wife Ruth married in 1980 while he was a student at Grand Canyon University, and have three children.
College of Education Inductee
1989 Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
Marci Salmon has made signifi cant contributions to the community, including serving on the Laurel House Board, Family Matters Board, and Changing Lives in Costa Rica Board. She taught Kindergarten and 2nd grade in the Paradise Valley School District. Salmon helped establish the Tim Salmon Foundation and the Tim Salmon and Marci Salmon Scholarship at GCU. Salmon has spent countless hours volunteering with Neighborhood Ministries, Maggie’s Place, Scottsdale Christian Academy, and Scottsdale Bible Church. Salmon has been devoted to serving those around her and raising her four children.
Jared Stauffer MBA
Ken Blanchard College of Business Inductee
1999 Bachelor of Arts in Christian Studies, 2008 Master of Business Administration in Executive Master of Business Administration
Jared Stauffer is a Phoenix native and met the love of his life, Christine, while attending Grand Canyon University. Together they have four wonderful children. Stauffer began his fi rst company, Ad World, in 1995, a classified ad and auction website. In 1997 Stauffer shifted his focus to consulting and worked with such companies as Intel and Lehman Brothers. In 1999 Stauffer and Christine founded Brinkster, a managed and Cloud hosting company in their New York City apartment. Today, Stauffer is still CEO of Brinkster, employing 35 people with 50,000 customers in 200 countries. Brinkster donates 1% of its revenues to charities and missionaries.
Shirley Righi MSN, RN, NEA-BC
College of Nursing Inductee
1995 Bachelor os Science in Nursing
Shirley Righi has excelled in building a thriving nursing practice throughout her career. She currently is a Clinical Director for Scottsdale Healthcare, where she has served for over twenty-years in multiple roles. Righi also serves as Director for the Home Health Department, Professional Nursing Education, and the Magnet Project Director. Under Righi’s leadership, Scottsdale Healthcare recently received the prestigious recognition of Magnet status for excellence in nursing care. Her clinical interests are in the elderly and functional status. Her management interests are in building excellence in nursing practice.
College of Fine Arts and Production Inductee
1970 Bachelor of Science in Music Education
Christine Weidinger has enjoyed a distinguished career as an operatic soprano, starring in most of the world’s major opera houses. The Arizona native made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera. She has shared the stage with the likes of Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Montserrat Caballe and Marilyn Horne. Her wide-ranging repertoire includes works by Verdi, Mozart, Donizetti and Wagner. The German press celebrated her as “the miracle soprano”; equally enthusiastic, the Italian press described her as “a genuine prima donna in full measure.” Ms. Weidinger teaches voice in Durham, North Carolina and heads the Triangle Opera Studios, an organization founded to provide performance opportunities for singers seeking to begin professional singing careers.
Kevin Warren JD
1986 Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
Kevin Warren holds three 4th place GCU basketball records: 1,120 points scored over a two-year career at GCU, 23.3 points averaged his senior year, and has GCU’s 4th best single scoring game against Concordia College in 1984 with 42 points. Warren earned GTE/CoSida Academic All-America as a senior along with NAIA Academic All-America honors and NAIA All-District VII honors as both a junior and senior. Warren worked with the international law fi rm of Greenberg Traurig, the Detroit Lions and the St. Louis Rams. Currently Warren is in his 8th year with the Minnesota Vikings as Vice President of Legal Affairs & Chief Administrative Officer. This begins his 14th season in the National Football League.