CLASS OF 1986 | 2018 | ISSUE 1

Many thanks to the classmates who respond to my requests for updates for inclusion in the magazine (and online). Last year, 81 classmates were mentioned in our column, and this issue includes six reports from classmates who didn’t write last year. If you haven’t seen recent news from your friends, please ask them to submit something for the next issue or to post it on our Facebook group.

Marsha Cohen recently celebrated her 20th year in her dream job as executive director of The Homeless Advocacy Project (HAP) in Philadelphia. HAP is a legal services agency annually assisting over 3,000 homeless individuals and families, youth aging out of foster care, and homeless veterans with their civil legal needs. On the personal front, she’s celebrating 21 years with husband Peter; and raising two boys, Max (17) and Will (15). “I continue to enjoy regular visits with my dearest friends from Wesleyan: Vicki Strauss Kennedy ’87, Margaret Hagar, and Rebecca McLeod-Barnett.”

For Mike Sealander, his work life has been the same for the last 17 years. “My wife Robyn and I have a small architecture firm in Ellsworth, Maine. Our work is largely in the education sector for area colleges and public schools. We do a fair share of science-related work, including a marine research and flowing seawater facility in Beals that is now under construction.”

Hunter Silides has moved toGreensboro, N.C., where she has been called to be chaplain for the Canterbury School. Canterbury is an Episcopal PreK-8 school on 37 wooded acres. “It’s my dream job. I took a risk this year and switched coasts to return to my first love, being an Episcopal school chaplain (I should say my first love as a priest!). Moving cross country with a husband and four kids is *hard* but worth it. Our daughters, Gracie and Hope, are both freshmen at historic Grimsley High School. Our eldest son, Stephen, is a freshman in the Flagship Chinese Program at San Francisco State and heads off to Taiwan in a few months. Our second son, David, will graduate from Claremont High in Claremont, Calif., in June and plans to go home to the University of Alaska, Fairbanks next fall. My husband of 20 years, George, can finally move here to Greensboro! Thanks be to God! This long-distance thing is not for me. I’m so grateful to be doing work I love, and to be supported by my wonderful family after all those years on the mommy track! I’ve enjoyed seeing Arthur Haubenstock ’84 and Judith Hill-Weld. I will miss visiting Bennett Schneider in LA. My kids absolutely adore him and I haven’t found anyone quite as colorful here in the ‘shallow south.’ Y’all come visit us, now!”

Alex de Gramont: “As an international arbitration lawyer, I travel constantly. In every region of the world I visit, even the most conservative people I meet are stunned by what is happening in the United States. I don’t know which is more difficult: trying to explain it while abroad, or having to face it when I return. The best (and only) escape, I suppose, is family. Our 17-year-old, Nicolas, is going to Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla., to study marine biology. Our 10-year old, Gabriel, is in fourth grade and wants to be an ‘animal scientist.’”

Margret Hagar:“I love my job as general counsel for Nobel Learning Communities, not least because I never know which challenge each day will bring. Erik and I are now empty nesters which is partly liberating but mostly strange. (We have two daughters; younger is a frosh now. Could not persuade either of them to apply to Wes, sadly.) Also experiencing déja vubecause our 21-year-old daughter is now spending junior year spring semester in Paris as I did. Revives vivid memories not just of the amazing time I spent there but the bonds formed in the Wes Paris program with two of the dearest friends anyone could ever have.”

Ethan Knowlden had the opportunity in July of last year to take his wife to see Wesleyan for the first time. “As we stood at the top of Foss Hill she commented on how small Wes looked. Of course, she’s a University of California, Davis grad where there are 35,000 students! I had a change of jobs in 2017, twice in fact. I started and ended the year at Medicines360, a San Francisco-based nonprofit pharmaceutical company whose mission is to expand access to medicines for women regardless of their socioeconomic status, insurance coverage, or geographic location. I head the legal and compliance functions there. But for five months I served as general counsel for Accela, Inc., a cloud-based software solutions provider, leading them through their acquisition by a private equity fund. I have to admit I prefer working for a mission-driven organization! Finally, we had the pleasure of having Kevin Freund visit us here California. And we enjoyed seeing Kevin’s parents while vacationing in Scottsdale, Az.”

Sam Connor: “During a spate of creative activity in the fall I finally launched some personal music projects that I have been writing and recording with friends and professional musicians over the years. Albums:Togo Songbook, Made in Burma, and several singles are finally up and available for free on Spotify and elsewhere. I credit Wes with promoting enduring creativity and meeting superb musicians who crushed it in the studio: Banning Eyre ’79, Ralph Gasparello ’84, Eric Rosenthal ’87, Simon Connor ’87, Dirck Westervelt ’82, and master drummer Kwaku Obeng Akoi ’14, and others all represented on the Togos Songbook, as well as singles “Allez Au Marche” and “Lost Man.“

Emily Cowan reports on her singing: “I’ve been enjoying writing songs for friends. Highlights: my sister’s wedding toast (did you know that the Yiddish word nachissrhymes with office?) followed by fifth and 10th anniversary songs to the tune of “Hello Muddah Hello Faddah,” a Haman song for a Billy Joel Purim spiel (“Only the Jews Get Hung”), a Bernie Sanders song to “Charlie Darwin” by The Low Anthem, and, while not a song, “Hillary R. Clinton Will You Please Win Now,” inspired by Dr. Seuss’s book “Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now.” So nice to have a place to brag about my oeuvre!”

Best wishes for the summer,

Eric Howard |