Former Phoenix Sun, Vail Superintendent Among New GCU Hall of Famers
February 9, 2015
Eight alumni to be inducted during Homecoming ceremonies on Saturday
Members of the 2015 Hall of Fame class at Grand Canyon University include a former Phoenix Suns player, the longtime superintendent of Vail Unified School District, a nurse from Kenya who started an orphanage in her homeland and a scientist involved in impressive vaccine work.
Those incredible accomplishments are among the eight alumni who will be inducted into GCU’s Hall of Fame during a Homecoming ceremony at 3:30 p.m. Feb. 14 on the Phoenix campus. Representing each of GCU’s colleges and athletics department, the new Hall of Famers were selected for their professional achievements, contributions to the community and reflection of the University spirit and Christian ideals in their lives. Each found his or her unique purpose at GCU and is making an impact on the world, said Kimberlee Marlow, director of alumni relations.
“Among their many outstanding qualities, this year’s class showcases entrepreneurism, innovation, evangelism, compassion and service, to name a few,” Marlow said. “These impressive alumni represent the rich history and impact that GCU has had and continues to make through our students.”
This year’s inductees are:
Dr. Stephen Hall, B.S. in Chemistry, 1990 – Hall has extensive experience in molecular medicine and biomedical engineering and has founded several life science companies. He was part of a team at The Scripps Research Institute that invented and patented vaccine technology used to immunize people against Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and Anthrax. In addition, Hall is the founder, chief executive and scientific officer at Pentamer Pharmaceuticals, which conducts research and develops products in the areas of vaccines and biomaterials, among others.
After graduating from GCU, the U.S. Army veteran earned a Ph.D. in biological sciences from Purdue University and completed post-doctoral training in molecular and structural biology at Scripps.
Maggie Kigen, B.S. in Nursing, 2010; M.S. in Nursing: Family Nurse Practitioner, 2014 – Kigen’s heart for God’s children is among the reasons she was selected for the Hall of Fame Class of 2015. She is currently a nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at Maryvale Hospital in Phoenix, but started an orphanage in Kenya 20 years ago when she found a baby on her doorstep while she was living there. The baby’s mother had died during an AIDS epidemic.
Today, about 30 children live in the orphanage, and Kigen visits as often as she can. She also has worked with homeless ministries in downtown Phoenix and at her parish, South Peoria Baptist Church.
Horacio Llamas Grey, 1994-96 – Llamas Grey was the NCAA Division II men’s basketball player of the year during his two-year stint at GCU, when he helped the Antelopes win the CCAA Postseason Championship Tournament and a spot in the NCAA Division II Regionals. His 106 blocked shots in 1995-96 still stands as a school record. He also averaged 17.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game that season.
After college, Llamas Grey played three seasons with the Phoenix Suns, becoming the first Mexicanborn player to appear in an NBA regular-season game. He also played in the top professional basketball league in Mexico. He is currently an assistant coach with the Pioneros de Quintana Roo, a pro team based in Cancun, Mexico.
Calvin Baker, B.S. in Elementary Education, 1973 – A 42-year veteran of public education, Baker has been superintendent for Vail School District in Vail, Ariz., 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, Mentor of the Year by the Arizona Daily Star and has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Tucson/Pima Metropolitan Education Commission.
Dr. James White, B.A. in Bible, 1985 - 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 apologetics topics.
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 such locations as Sydney, Australia, as well as mosques in Toronto, London and South Africa.
Mitchell Laird, B.S. in Business Administration, 1972 – Laird is owner and president of the law firm, Laird & Associates, P.C., and is also the owner and CEO of MCL Enterprises, Inc., the largest Burger King franchise in Arizona.
Laird holds a Juris Doctor degree from Arizona State University and an honorary Doctor of Law degree from GCU for his many years of service as the university’s general counsel, president of the Alumni Association and other roles. He is CEO of the nonprofit Canyon Institute, which awards grants and gifts to Christian organizations.
Michael Kary, B.A. in Theatre/Drama, 1998 – A professor for GCU’s College of Fine Arts and Production for the past 17 years, Kary has also worked as a professional actor and writer in New York, Los Angeles, San Diego and Phoenix.
Kary was an original cast member for the musical, “Fame on 42nd Street” in New York, and is also cofounder 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.”
Dr. Timothy Sieges, B.A. in Behavioral Science, 1975 – Sieges is clinical director of counseling ministries for Wycliffe Bible Translators, an international mission organization that translates and delivers Scripture to people around the world in a language and form they understand. Since 1987, Sieges’ work at Wycliffe has included counseling, consulting, leading workshops and seminars, conducting post-trauma debriefings and supporting the work of international missionaries.
Sieges holds a master’s degree in counseling from Montana State University and a doctorate degree in counselor education from the University of South Carolina. He attributes his passion for God’s Word, world missions and service to Christ to his undergraduate experience at GCU.
- Bob Romantic