CLASS OF 1982 | 2018 | ISSUE 1

Class of 1982 Endowed Wesleyan Scholarship

Matthew Aidan Frishkoff ’21, Philadelphia, PA

Greetings, classmates! I sent out my plea for notes right after the Women’s March and it was cool to hear that so many of you participated. Taking things a step further is Diane Kolyer, a founding director of NY4US, fundraising for progressive candidates running for state legislatures in battleground states …if you’d like to pitch in, visit

Beck Lee is having a resurgent playwriting career; his Subprime will premiere at the Mixed Blood Theater in Minneapolis in May. Like his son, the play was born in Minneapolis and co-created with his ex-wife Andrea Iten Lee. Another classmate in theatre is Steve Budd, whose award-winning solo show, What They Said About Love, played at The Marsh in Berkeley last February and will be part of the Ottawa Fringe Festival in June. To put this in perspective, Steve turned down a role in a play at Wes at Theatre ’92 —Private Wars—because he was too nervous to perform. And, Sabina Brukner is the literary manager at the National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene.

Naomi Fuchs is CEO of Santa Rosa Community Health in Sonoma County, serving low-income people with primary care, mental health, and dental services. Last October, when fire storms devastated the city, her organization lost its largest health center, which meant 24,000 people lost their medical home and 180 lost their place of work. “It has been a challenging time, to say the least,” she says. But they’ve made tremendous progress since rebuilding.

After spending his career working in refugee camps for the U.N., Steven Ablondi is now busy transforming Zamani, a town in post-apartheid South Africa. Memel.Global is helping neighbors build comfortable housing for the elders, and offering everyone access to organic, locally-grown foods, among other projects. Both Susan Sutherland and Michael Toohey ’81 will be visiting the project this year.

Karen Wise retired after 25 years from her position as vice president, education and exhibits, at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, and now enjoys being a consultant. She went with Elizabeth Sands Petty to the new Museum of African American Culture and History in D.C., and caught up with Sheila Gaffney in NYC. She volunteers at Santa Monica High School and spends time supporting the congressional Climate Solutions Caucus, universal health insurance, and civil rights. “Relief comes from reading,” she says, “especially works by our classmates Suzy Berne, Peter Blauner, and now Patty Smith!”

Speaking of books, I sold my company, Shebooks, to SheWrites Press (no relation), which will keep the 75 e-books we published in print, including those by Ginny Pye, Jennifer Finney Boylan ’80, Bonnie Friedman ’79, and moi.

Jim Friedlander and wife Liz are busy with her U.N. work advocating for women’s rights and teaching yoga when she is not serving as general counsel for their firm, Arrangements Abroad. They travel extensively, frequently to Cuba for the Havana Heritage Foundation, trying to preserve the architecture of the city. Their oldest son is in his last year of med school.

Lavinia Ross is living and working on a small farm in western Oregon with her husband, Rick Ross, and nine cats. She’s still playing music, performing at the Spokane Fall Folk Festival in November. Those of you who are not allergic to cats can visit their farm at

Michele Navazio is playing music, along with his wife, Rachel Ulanet, a Broadway diva he met when they were both in Les Miserables. Miki is a lawyer (running the buy-side derivatives practice for Sidley’s investment funds group), but most important, he says, they’re raising their daughters, Chiara and Alessia (12 and 9, respectively) to be “awesome, powerful (and kind and generous and brilliant) women.”

Also raising that kind of girl (he sent pix from the march) is Michael Ostacher, who had dinner in the Village with wife Laurie Ketter Ostacher, and Ellen Friedman Bender and Sam Bender, Michael Lucey and husband Gerry Gomez, “Everyone is older and nicer, which is lovely, don’t you think?”

Susan Peabody’s book Madeleine’s Children: Family, Freedom, Secrets, and Lies in France’s Indian Ocean Colonies has won the Society for French Historical Studies’ David Pinkney Prize for the best book on French history by a U.S. or Canadian author published in 2017.

More from the rest of you who wrote (thank you!) next time.

Finally, I’m so sad to report that our classmate, journalist Lisa Chedekel, passed away Jan. 12. The Hartford Courant, where she worked for several years, quoted colleague John Ferraro saying, “She searched for truth wherever it led. She was an advocate for the powerless and a thorn in the side of the powerful.” Lisa was a member of the team of Courant reporters who won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news covering a deadly shooting rampage. Several classmates attended her funeral. Among them, Catharine Arnold said, “She was an incredibly talented writer who wrote powerful articles that precipitated meaningful changes.” Mary Beth Bruno, who spend her first years out of college with Lisa at the New Haven Advocate, said, “She took to reporting like a reincarnated Nellie Bly. Fearless…”

I hope we can all strive to be fearless, in our own ways, in her honor.


Laura Fraser |