CLASS OF 1976 | 2020 | ISSUE 2

Libby Horn has joined the growing ranks of retired folks. She’s busy at a food bank and a local hospice and keeping up her music.

Karen Gervasoni is retired, enjoying life in Maine with her teenage daughter and her partner, Greg. They’re splitting their time between gardening, baking, crafting, and political activism.

Andrew Brotman is the chief clinical officer at NYU Langone Health, so the last two months have been all-pandemic, all the time. Andrew, thanks to all of us for your hard work in this very tough time.

Matt Cartter is the state epidemiologist in Connecticut. A recent article described Matt as “Connecticut ’s Anthony Fauci.” He teaches at Yale and UConn.

Rob Briskin has not opted for retirement! He’s in his 36th year in practice in internal medicine in Florida. He has 10-year-old twin daughters and two adult children.

Tom Kovar is working for the VA in Northampton, Mass. Until January, he was gigging regularly, but the pandemic intervened. Tom responded by recording original songs at home and posting on Facebook; his many friends are grateful.

Jonathan Cleworth has been managing MS since he earned his MBA at Columbia in the early ’80s. He credits being captain of the 1976 crew team with giving him the skills to minimize the effects of MS.

Jeffrey Frank retired last year after selling his company in Ohio. He’s driving for Lyft and enjoying socializing with customers from many backgrounds and occupations.

Melissa Blacker has been married to David Rynick ’74, MALS ’85 since 1981. They have been sheltering with their daughter and grandson during the pandemic. Melissa and David are Zen teachers/priests, running a temple in Worcester, Mass., which moved online in March. They welcome anyone to join them at

Jack O’Donnell practices as a criminal lawyer but says the quarantine might have convinced him to scale back a bit.

Dan Herr had a different take on retirement. Nine years ago, he left a career in the semiconductor industry to become chair of the UNC Greensboro’s nanoscience department. He now focuses on diversity/inclusion, advising, and education. He’s enjoying having more time to spend with his wife of 37 years, four children, and five grandchildren.

Betsy Eisenmann is experiencing the pandemic that most retired people seem to be experiencing: All social/church/organized activities shut down, waiting to see what the governor does next.

Steve Smith and his wife have retired, so quarantine hasn’t been such a big adjustment. They take daily walks in the North Carolina mountains, pursue music and hobbies, and celebrated their 45th anniversary in May.

Ollie Griffith is now “mostly” retired from the World Bank. He’s still freelancing/writing for corporations and NGOs, and plays in Paris jazz clubs (pre-pandemic).

Jody Snider is hunkering down on her farm in Rhode Island. Jody works as executive producer for a film company (Smartypants NYC), producing orientation films for the new Wes freshman.

Ellen Seh sent her first class notes in since 1976! She’s had a fascinating career: she worked in sustainability in Maine, then moved to Boston and worked in public relations. She moved to NYC, and eventually to San Francisco, becoming a passionate sailor. She’s now retired, still advocating for issues centered on climate change and saying “yes” to new adventures.

Barb Birney is now retired. She’s a citizen/scientist volunteer, helping researchers catalog data from cameras capturing animal behavior in the wild.

Carol Bellhouse is still practicing law part-time, working on the final edit of her 30th book and working in her garden.

Debra Neuman’s husband of 35 years, Paul, passed on in March. Debra, our deepest sympathy. Debra works as executive director of advancement for St. Edmund’s Retreat on Enders Island (Mystic); she’d welcome a post-pandemic visit from any Wes alumni.

Byron Haskins is retired, but he’s working harder than most people! Byron and his wife, Gabrielle, care for their granddaughter, whose parents are essential workers. Byron’s son, an anesthesiologist, came down with COVID-19, and may have passed it on to Byron and Gabrielle—all have recovered. Byron is active in Michigan and national politics; is diving deep into music composition; collaborates with classmate Carol Bellhouse on poetic video shorts, and he’s media director for the local chapter of the Project Management Institute. And he’s got eight grandchildren, with another on the way!

In memoriam: I’m sad to report that Bruce Herring and John Rankin ’83 have both passed on.

I retired on April 30 (while recovering from a mild bout of COVID-19), but David Harmin works full-time as a bioinformatician in Mike Greenberg’s lab at Harvard. We regularly see Marjorie Dauster and Nina Rosenstein, and irregularly see Tom Kovar, Mel Blake, Karen Gervasoni, all of whom are doing well. If you make a post-quarantine trip to Boston, get in touch!

Karen Harmin |