BGSU Magazine Spring 2012

Spotlight on faculty who make a lifelong impact

Dr. Elsa McMullen believed in me and encouraged my academic, personal, and professional growth. She also helped remove obstacles to help facilitate my success and never gave up on me. Additionally, her sense of humor made learning fun.”

 — Susan Guda ’88 of Atlanta is credentials coordinator at the pediatric hospital Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. McMullen died in 1997. 

 Mark Kelly, the former University Director of Bands, gave me a music grant award to get me to come to Bowling Green. It enabled me to attend BG even though my parents were having financial difficulties. Bill Fichthorn inspired me to change my major to finance and that has been the focus of my entire career.” 

Bruce Misamore ’72, ’73 of Houston is a member of the BGSU Foundation Board of Directors, and former chief financial officer of the Russian YUKOS Oil Co. Fichthorn died in 2010. Kelly is retired and living in Bowling Green, and the Mark S. Kelly Band Scholarship honors him. 


Dr. Sue Mota ’79, ’80 (in the College of Business Administration) made coursework very challenging, questioned students’ ways of thinking, and made you learn both the material and why it would work or not. She was the first professor to challenge me by expecting more than what I thought I could deliver at the time.” 

James G. Unger ’07 is a chartered life underwriter and chartered financial consultant in Columbus, Ohio. Mota continues to teach at BGSU.

Dr. Paul Makara was an excellent teacher of violin, but also of many life skills. I learned how to break down difficult tasks with many hours of disciplined practice. Although I am not a professional violinist, he taught me to provide feedback in a sincere and genuine way so that the person knows that it is for their own benefit.” 

Matt Gingrich ’94 of Painesville, Ohio, is vice president of information technology at Litigation Management, Inc. The Dr. Paul Makara Violin Scholarship memorializes Makara, who passed away in 2008. 

“The ‘Three Musketeers of VCT,’ Barry Piersol, Chuck Spontelli and Dr. Gene Poor ’73, were the motivating force behind my chosen career path 20 years ago. They were each very different in their skills and approach, but each had the same zeal for their students.”

 — Tamra (Zinn) Cantore ’80 of Atlanta is former vice president of Sales Strategy and Affiliate Operations for The Weather Channel. Piersol is retired in Bowling Green, and the Barry Piersol Technology Co-op Fund honors him. Poor and Spontelli continue to teach at BGSU. 

To share how you were influenced by your favorite BGSU instructor or professor, contact us at, indicating “faculty memories” in the subject line. 

Editor’s Note: When President Mary Ellen Mazey first emailed alumni in her monthly message, Mazey@BG, she invited alumni to share memories of the BGSU faculty who helped to shape their careers and their lives. The response was overwhelming. Generations of alumni explained how their favorite University faculty members inspired and motivated them, and continue to do so even years later. Collected here are some of those memories.