Ridley Wills II, BA’56, has lived most of his life in Nashville. Since retiring from a 25-year career with the National Life and Accident Insurance Co., he has spent much of his life researching and writing local history. Heritage, Highballs and Hijinks: Colorful Characters I Have Known is his 13th book. Wills has served on the Vanderbilt Board of Trust since 1988 and became an emeritus member earlier this year.
Dwayne O’Brien, MA’05, is a Grammy-nominated musician and songwriter. After earning a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from East Central University, the Oklahoman moved to Nashville to pursue a music career.
A founding member of the group Little Texas, he and the band have sold more than 6 million albums and topped the charts with 15 top-10 and three No. 1 hits. O’Brien was the first person to earn a master’s degree in the communication of science, engineering and technology at Vanderbilt.
Christine Kreyling, MA’97, is a freelance writer who studied art and architectural history at Vanderbilt and is the award-winning architecture and urban planning critic for the Nashville Scene newspaper. She also contributes to national architecture and urban planning magazines. Last year she collaborated with Nashville photographer Bob Schatz to produce the coffee-table book Nashville by Design: Architectural Treasures. Among her other books, she is author and editor of The Plan of Nashville and co-author of Classical Nashville, both published by Vanderbilt University Press.
Rob Simbeck’s work has appeared in The Washington Post, Guideposts, Country Weekly, Field & Stream, Free Inquiry and many other publications. He has won three national awards for his work in the Nashville Scene and two international awards for his outdoor writing. His website is www.robsimbeck.com.
Joanne Lamphere Beckham, BA’62, worked as an award-winning editor at Vanderbilt for more than 25 years. Since retiring from a full-time career in 2006, she has continued writing for various publications and has taught English as a Second Language. At Vanderbilt she earned her undergraduate degree in English, cum laude, and did graduate work at Peabody College and the Owen Graduate School of Management.
Additional Contributors: Carole Bartoo, Craig Boerner, Mimi Eckerd, Angela Fox, Frye Gaillard, Leslie Hill, Princine Lewis, Brian McGuire, Laura Miller, Melanie Moran, Missy Pankake, Jim Patterson, B.J. Rogers, David F. Salisbury, Donna B. Smith, James Summerville
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