CLASS OF 1979 | 2021–2022 | WINTER ISSUE

Hello everyone.  Diane reporting the notes this issue.  As of this writing this year is a welcome relief from the sequestering and stress of 2020 and early 2021. Hopefully this will continue into 2022.

I have followed the updates on various social media and televised interviews of fellow Wes alum, Scott Gottlieb ‘94, former FDA Commissioner, and he has been a wonderful resource for information on COVID-19.  He is a learned voice who echoes the tempered, but at the same time, hopeful optimism of most of us less scientifically knowledgeable folk.

Reunions with family and friends have been joyful for so many, and many of the notes I have received from our classmates show that the pandemic was a time to assess what is really important—with accelerated retirements, investing time in new or rekindled interests and passions, and reunions with loved ones being the theme.

Kim Carrell-Smith writes: “I retired from my teaching/administrative job at Lehigh University in May, as did my husband John. Like so many other folks, the pandemic just made me decide that life is too short to battle bureaucracy, even if I will miss my grad student Community Fellows, and working with local governments and nonprofits. But I’ll continue to be active in local issues like affordable housing, historic preservation, and equitable development in my ‘other side of the tracks’ part of town. One of my kids is in Baltimore running the city’s public library system’s digital equity work, and the other child (are they children when they are over 30?) and family are about a mile from us in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, so John and I are part of the pandemic village that is happily helping to raise the next generation.”

Fred Baurer, an old friend from Foss 4 our freshman year, updates us that his original manuscript, “Psychodynamic Treatment with the Addicted Person,” has been accepted for publication in the upcoming issue of the journal Psychodynamic Psychiatry. The lineage of this work has Wesleyan roots, the intellectual influence of Henry Abelove and passionate spirit of the magnificent Cheryl Cutler.  Fred is an addictions psychiatrist and psychoanalyst in Philadelphia, living in Center City with Sharon Pollak, life partner of 42 years. He writes, “Parenthood has been amazing, grandparenthood is otherworldly!”

Katharine McKenna shares the following about an exhibition of hers in Arizona through December 2022:

UNFRAMED: A PHOTO JOURNEY THROUGH NAVAJO AND HOPI NATIONS, 1977–1978 at the Arizona Heritage Center, 1300 North College Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85281. On view: April 2021–December 2022.  Experience a photo journey across Northern Arizona with contemporary artist Katharine L. McKenna. During a college gap year, McKenna spent the summers of 1977 and 1978 volunteering at the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff. While there, she assisted the museum in collecting woven rugs, pottery, baskets, and jewelry for the museum’s annual Navajo Arts and Crafts show. She documented her experience by journaling and taking photographs of the 24 trading posts she visited, and the countless miles she traveled through the Navajo and Hopi Nations in Northern Arizona.

This exhibition features McKenna’s black-and-white images and Native American artifacts from the Arizona Historical Society Collections. Visitors can travel along with McKenna and read excerpts from her journal that she kept during this time period.

The accompanying journal, Navajo Collecting Trip: A Journal into the Remote, is available on Amazon, where the description says:

“Dissatisfied with classes, lectures, papers and exams, Katharine L. McKenna quits college in upstate New York and heads west to volunteer at the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff—to get an education. Intimidated at first, McKenna becomes a willing apprentice and rises to the occasion within a short time; she soon falls into her role at the Museum. McKenna is exposed to hands-on archaeological surveys and ethnology while working with scientists at the Museum’s Research Center. McKenna soon finds herself racing thunderstorms across the Navajo Reservation, to collect hand woven rugs, pottery, baskets and jewelry for the Museum’s annual Navajo and Arts and Crafts Show.

            “Written with straight forward clarity in 1977, 19-year-old McKenna documents her experiences in this formative journal with both words and photography. While covering more than 600 miles of dirt road to visit 24 remote trading posts, she encounters trader characters as well as notables such as Charles Loloma, the famous Hopi jeweler, and H. Baxter Liebler, the missionary who founded St. Christopher’s in Bluff, Utah.

            “McKenna returns to college at Wesleyan University with new direction and interest, fortified by the merits of a “gap” year long before the term became popular.”

Ron Cooper sent this update.  “After retiring from more than 30 years in the corporate world, I rekindled my interest in photography. My first photography book, We Are Santa (Princeton Architectural Press, New York) was published in the fall of 2020 and features photographs, profiles and interviews with 50 top professional Santa Clauses. It was for a (short) time, the #1 Christmas book on Amazon. My new book, Celebrating Humanity: Faces from Five Continents, a collection of monochrome portraits, was published in fall 2021 by Studio Photiq in the United Kingdom. My photographs have been exhibited in more than 50 juried group shows and five solo exhibits in the United States and Europe, and published in consumer magazines, newspapers and photography journals.”

Bill Conley reports on a gathering on Cape Cod hosted by Gary Breitbord and his wife Colleen. On a perfect early summer afternoon at Gary and Colleen’s retirement home in Falmouth, Massachusetts, close Wesleyan friends rejoiced at being able to see each other after at least a year and a half. ’79ers Tim Fitzgerald, Jack Buckley, George DuPaul and Bill were there with their respective spouses and also included dear friend Jeff Gray ’77 and his wife. Network news satellite trucks were kept away from smothering 24/7 coverage of the event with quick thinking by Gary who disguised himself as Lin-Manuel Miranda and drew crowds away while shopping for ice in Falmouth Center. Discourse among the party goers quickly descended into the stalest of college stories, politics, bad jokes, and amazingly, all departed the festivities still good friends. We were all so thrilled to be together, vaccinated and un-masked to revel in each other’s company and deepen our bonds even further.

And, finally, Rachel Bashevkin shares the sad news of the loss of Paul Hammer.  She writes:  “So many of us in New Haven are grieving the loss of friend, citizen, activist, and mensch Paul Hammer. He died on Sunday, June 27th.”  Rachel remembers him as a unique character who was well known and liked by many on the Wesleyan campus and later in New Haven.  A moving story of his life can be accessed at the following link to the “New Haven Independent.”  On behalf of our class, we send our deepest condolences to his family and friends.–MIOXA#.YNyYZLOetiI.facebook

CLASS OF 1978 | 2021–2022 | WINTER ISSUE

Marc Abrams is in his 20th year at the Oregon Department of Justice, where he heads the employment litigation team. He was asked this year to lead a team of attorneys at the Department of Justice to defend Oregon Governor Brown’s executive orders protecting against COVID, which were under legal challenge by private schools, churches, and tattoo parlors. “It’s been a particularly fascinating year . . . I did a number of oral arguments in federal court on Zoom, in tie, jacket, cargo shorts and bare feet.”

Andrea Gabor is Bloomberg Chair of Business Journalism at Baruch College of the City University of New York. Her chapter “Media Capture and the Corporate Education-Reform Philanthropies” is currently being published in the book Media Capture: How Money, Digital Platforms and Governments Control the News (Columbia University Press). Andrea has previously authored the book After the Education Wars: How Smart Schools Upend the Business of Reform, published in 2018.

John Rose and his family have been spending most of their time in northwestern Connecticut since “retreating there from NYC in March of 2020.” John is a senior partner at Boston Consulting Group, and “had the unique opportunity over the last 15 months to support New York State in its response to COVID” from the standpoint of setting up industry guidelines and vaccination programs. John’s daughter is in the class of 2023 at College of William and Mary, his son in the class of 2023 at Wesleyan. His wife Elizabeth recently ended her service as deputy chancellor for operations at the NYC Department of Education, and is now chief financial officer for an educational non-profit agency.

Ralph Rotman has been recognized by the Boston office of Northwestern Mutual, where he has been for 43 years, by being inducted into the company’s elite membership, the Forum Group. Ralph’s daughter, Cassie, has joined him in the business.

Julie Scolnik reports that Koehler Books has published a memoir she had been working on for decades—Paris Blue—a “fairy-tale memoir,” which begins in Paris in the late 1970s, reflecting her musical career, “love at first sight,” and eventual heartbreak. Wesleyan has its place in this book, which has received a favorable review from author John Irving.

Carl Taylor wishes everyone good health and well-being from West Hartford, Connecticut, where he continues to live with his wife and son. He reports that the winter was spent caring for her following surgical treatment for a ruptured colon, from which she has recovered well “thanks to a great surgeon, very good care, and strong Russian genes from a couple of generations past. She is back to gardening, her prime hobby in good weather. Nurses and healthcare workers do not get paid enough (good man Carl)!” At a recent visit to Maine they celebrated her allowance for lobster rolls at Red’s Eats, and then took in the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay. Carl has just completed his 38th year coaching youth lacrosse in his hometown, where “three players were children of some of my former players, the father of one serving as his assistant coach.” He continues to serve as a superior court judge in New Britain, Connecticut, “periodically dealing with children, grandchildren, and in one case, the great-grandchildren of people that I dealt with as an assistant state’s attorney in New Britain. No, I’m getting old!”

CLASS OF 1977 | 2021–2022 | WINTER ISSUE

The floodgates have opened: folks are travelling, people are gathering, and weddings have been rescheduled. All in all, we have begun to exhale after the tough year of 2020 and appreciating seeing people from outside our respective bubbles. Will and Liz Sillin will be in Zion this September after his residency was rescheduled to this year. Vanessa Burgess checked in to remind all about contributing to the Wesleyan Fund and to make sure that we note that our 45th Reunion is in 2022. Francis Rath wrote on being on the front line during the COVID crisis at the Loudoun County Help Desk, managing volunteers for the health department that put in over 90,000 hours of time. They cannot be thanked enough!

Susanna Peyton writes that while their lives were uprooted for their special needs son during COVID, the addition of a small one who is their other son’s first child has made the whole clan happier. Susannah’s father is 89, requiring family care, so it has been a busy year.  Michael Balf, the assistant mayor of his kibbutz for the last four years, wrote suggesting several terrific ideas for panel discussions at our Reunion next year, including panels on local government and kibbutz life, and a panel of people who have lived their adult lives overseas, looking at the United States from afar and up close.

Jonathan Gertler wrote that all children are healthy and thriving in their varying professions as are he and wife Jane. And in the “triumph of persistent delusions, Jonathan’s third album No Fear is being released by a Nashville label (Rock Ridge Music) in September. While thankful for his day job, he still loves making music. Jonathan keeps in close touch with Bob Krakower, Ellen Gendler and Susan (Davis) Pereira. Jane Goldenring is a proud new parent of Teddy, a rescue bichon frise mix. As we know dogs add a great deal to the quality of our lives.

Jane Eisner has returned to Manhattan, from upstate New York. She has happily had in-person reunions over dinner and drinks with Argus “brothers,” Don Lowery and Cliff Chanin ’75. She is grateful that she along with her family are in good health. As a second time Granny, Iddy Olson is experiencing opposing pulls in her life: torn between work client needs and children’s hugs awaiting in Jackson Hole. David Schreff is current enjoying his role as CEO at in Los Angeles. He is an adjunct professor teaching at Parsons School of Design (Paris). He recently became a granddad, which provides much new joy in his life.

Jay Kilbourn writes: “A dramatic year following divorce. Continued sustainable infrastructure consulting project in Kenya. Contracted COVID-19 with my new companion, Wendy, in March last year in New York City, as they declared a state of emergency.” They both recovered after moderate cases replete with fear, atop all the symptoms. They traveled the country in a camper trailer for five months, sporting their “immunity” and masks. She adds, “Amazing look at America during the time of COVID. Now expecting first granddaughter.”

I could relate to Joan Goldfeder’s wishes that the reopening of the world did not come with long automobile traffic. Joan expresses great gratitude for family and friends: lots of long calls, lots of laughter, lots of shared sorrow and joy. She had dinner with Joe Tringali recently in LA. I In addition, she just started a new marketing consulting project with the University of California, Los Angeles Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities, expecting to be busy the next several months. And in September, she and son Eli went to Oregon on a hiking and biking trip. By the way, Joan, it is not pathetic that you requested an e-bike for this trip.

Finally, I close with a pair of sad news items. Our class lost two members recently: Maco Stewart and Winifred Van Roden. Winifred fought a 17-year-long battle with bronchiectasis. She is survived by husband John Williams and daughter Frances Williams ’14.  Frances comments: “Winifred was strong and funny and creative and stubborn (which I inherited) and effortlessly elegant (which I did not inherit), and she fought so hard for so many years. I feel so lucky that we got to be adults together for a little while. I really wanted more time. She was at the top of the transplant list when she died. As much as we were hoping for new lungs, we are grateful she was able to donate some of her organs.” Maco Stewart had been described as a “seeker” throughout his life: from studying meditation and Eastern religions to becoming an active member of the congregation at Crossroads Bible Church. He was father to five children and died peacefully from cardiac arrest in Los Alamos, New Mexico.

CLASS OF 1976 | 2021–2022 | WINTER ISSUE

Byron Haskins and his wife Gabrielle have moved to Montreal so that Gabrielle can take her dream job. They’ll be figuring how to split their lives between Montreal and their home base of Lansing. What a wonderful adventure!

Sue (Feinstein) Barry and her husband Dan spent the pandemic in Arlington, Massachusetts caring for their granddaughter. Sue also finished her second book, which was published by Basic Books, last June. It’s titled Coming to Our Senses: A Boy Who Learned to See, A Girl Who Learned to Hear, and How We All Discover the World.

Joe Mabel has retired from the software industry and is working with soprano Juliana Brandon on the Weill Project (, dedicated to the work of composer Kurt Weill  (1900–1950). They have created 15 original guitar-and-vocal arrangements of Weill songs, and have also plunged into a critical and historical study of Weill’s life and work. They’re putting together a series of academic lectures and demonstrations with collaborator German artist Yvette  Endrijautzki, which will include visual art related to, or inspired by, Weill and his songs. Their first major performance will be February 2022 in Seattle. They hope to showcase the amazing range of Weill’s work, from opera to cabaret to Broadway, and from innovative expressionist music to tangos and foxtrots. In addition to several songs from Threepenny Opera and his other collaborations with Bertolt Brecht, they will perform two lesser-known environmental protest songs from 1928. They’re also working up two songs he wrote in France between leaving Germany and coming to America, as well as a World War II Allied propaganda song he co-wrote with Howard Dietz, and three Broadway songs he co-wrote with Ogden Nash.

Oliver Griffith is still living in Paris after retiring from his last job at the World Bank in 2016. He is doing some freelance writing for NGOs and French companies, and regularly playing in jazz clubs.

Debra Haffner is leaving her position as minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston after five years. She’s returning to a community ministry of teaching, writing, preaching, and consulting, primarily in areas related to congregations and sexuality issues. She’s not ready to retire: “I have at least one more professional act in me.”

Leslie Anderson, reference librarian at Alexandria Library, Local History/Special Collections, was recently named a Virginia Humanities Scholar by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society. Twenty scholars were selected on the basis of their expertise in history and genealogy, framed within an understanding of the African American experience. Leslie served as the Project Editor for the Virginia Slave Births Index, 1853–1865, which has become a standard reference work in public and special libraries.

Adrienne Scott writes: “After 22 years, raising 2 bonus children and now 5 grands, my husband and I are divorcing. I retired from college administration and an adjunct faculty position and enjoy part-time English language tutoring, specializing in work with local indigenous tribes, which I will return to in the fall. Here in Roseville, California, in 2016, a local TV station acknowledged my work as the first African American television news reporter in Rhode Island in 1977, by doing a story on my personal interview with Muhammad Ali and how he gave me an exclusive. ‘He took care of his community,’ I said, because he knew how disrespected I was, and that I was told by my news director that Rhode Island isn’t ready for a black anchorperson. The flirtatious Ali took away some of the sting of racism.”

Deb Neuman lost her husband Paul last year after 35 years of marriage. She remains in Mystic, and continues to work as the VP of Advancement for Enders Island, a beautiful Catholic retreat in Mystic that has a small residential community for young men in recovery from addiction. She notes that participating in the 40th and 45th Wesleyan Reunion committees and renewing acquaintances with fellow alumni has been a positive experience.

Cathy Popkin has officially retired after 35 years in the Columbia Slavic Department. She recently became a grandparent and is dividing her time between New York and New Hampshire. She adds: “Happy to be alive.”

Robert Osborne continues teaching voice in the music departments of Vassar College and Columbia University/Barnard College.

Joe Mingolla writes: “After Wesleyan, I attended and graduated law school at Boston College.  Subsequently, I returned to the place where I grew up, St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. I worked for my family’s construction company for a few years and then, in 1990, I opened my own practice and right from the start my career took off. I ran a boutique criminal law practice focused on primarily federal crimes and appeals taking place in the Caribbean and Florida. The Caribbean is the sunny place for shady people! Lots of cartel people, money laundering, and con men down there. My slogan was “Reasonable doubt at a reasonable price!”

“Meanwhile, in 2001 I met my future wife, Lia. She was a senior executive with a Canadian bank and was assigned to head up the Compliance Division for the banks in our region, where she used to find money launderers, have the FBI bust them, and then, often enough, the miscreant would come crying to me for help! It was a beautiful thing!

“We married in Stowe, Vermont, in 2005 and have been living happily ever after. When Lia was reassigned to headquarters in Toronto in 2012, I was burnt out on my criminal practice, and so we relocated to Toronto, and after she retired we left Toronto to live in the country on Lake Ontario. I love Canada and its people very much. I’m becoming a dual citizen. Too much craziness in America right now.

“During the past 45 years, I traveled extensively, learned to fly, collected exotic and classic cars (25 or so), rode motorcycles until this year, became an expert scuba diver, sailor, and yachtsman. We have no children, but few regrets.

“I’ve been writing humorous short stories for a few years and living a quiescent life. It’s such a contrast with how I used to live, but the ubiquitous stress that was my daily companion is no longer extant. Who would have predicted that I would enjoy tending our flower gardens?”

Leslie Gabel-Brett continues to teach a course each spring at Wesleyan called “Social Activism and Theories of Change.” She adds that she gains a little dose of hope and optimism each year by meeting students who are ready to change the world. She has retired from her other work obligations and looks forward to being with Carolyn and her family to see what retired people really do all week.

Bruce Demple writes: “In mid-June, my wife Sue Avery and I made our first foray out of New York state since March 2020. There was a time when staying so close to home for that long might have seemed unremarkable, but over the years we had gotten quite used to frequent trips away, both for professional and for personal reasons. This time, we had a ‘tour’ of our long-time home, Massachusetts, staying with four different sets of friends not seen for the past 15 months or more. It was sublime! We started by spending a long weekend with our dear friends, classmate Rich Gallogly and Bonnie Katz ’77 (whose expected in-person Reunion next year we certainly plan to crash!). We lived within 2 miles of each other in Newton for almost 20 years, and our children grew up together. We then stopped with a former Harvard colleague in Brookline, in order to celebrate a colleague and close friend—our former department chair—who passed away in May 2020. From there it was down to Martha’s Vineyard, where a close friend from Exeter has a wonderful house. He generously invited us and three other couples  (including none other than Danny Ruberman ’77 and his wife Anne) to spend a week there, ahead of the arrival of their three sons and their children. This group usually meets up in the winter in Maine for a ski trip, which in fact was our last out-of-state trip in early March 2020. So this year’s gathering was a much warmer consolation prize, with ample conviviality, aptly described by our host as ‘several days of hiking, biking, dining and general carrying on.’ Our last stay was in Grafton, with a very close friend from the very first days of grad school in Berkeley, and his wife—they were also the last folks we stayed with before coming home for so many months. And we finished with a stop in . . . Middletown! That was to visit Anthony Infante, with whom I did my senior thesis research, and the person I credit with sending me irreversibly on the road to being a biochemist. We have remained friends, but last saw him only on the occasion of our 40th Reunion. He is well, and very sharp, and 90 minutes together was nowhere near enough.”

Sid Cohen recently retired after a career in academic medicine and biomedical research, and now consults for medical device companies working on cardiovascular devices. Sid and his wife reside in Pleasanton, California, where he is an avid gardener, photographer, and amateur radio operator, and also stays busy with home projects. Retirement has allowed him to pursue interests he never had a chance to enjoy while working, such as music and art. Sid has two grandchildren; he adds that they “are a delight to watch grow although taking on the role of grandparent, while delightful, it is a bit sobering. I wish all my 1976 classmates happiness and health.”

Nat Needle teaches piano to about 40 students, ages 5 to 75 in Worcester, Massachusetts, which, he writes, “is home to the whole world. My students look pretty much like the city. Until now, their work with me has been one-on-one. However, the spirit of mutual support at our (second online)  June 2021 recital made me think more seriously of how much nurturance and inspiration they would receive from connection with one another throughout the year. That vision is even more compelling because of barriers that would ordinarily exist between them in society being lowered thanks to this special vehicle they all have in common. So, as we enter ‘post-pandemic life,’ we’ll be co-creating our own ‘piano college,’ blending online and in-person activity. As we musicians like to say, stay tuned.”

Bob Craft reports that after 35 years in Los Angeles, he and his family have moved to Portland, Oregon. He says: “Now it’s time to enjoy my retirement.”

Finally, I am sad to report that Winifred Van Roden ’77 passed away on June 6, 2021.

CLASS OF 1975 | 2021–2022 | WINTER ISSUE

Here’s what classmates are enjoying or anticipating: Travel! In-person meetings! Dinner with friends! Postponed wedding celebrations! Hugs! Family visits! Seeing new grandchildren!

A house fire at chez Rachel Adler Hayes destroyed their kitchen, and damaged the rest. After several months in an apartment, Rachel has discovered how little stuff they really need. Friends and her temple community provided great support.

On a comical front, David Bickford reports his “steadiest gig was eight months being paid to COVID test three times weekly at Jimmy Kimmel Live, just in case they needed me for a sketch.”

Recent or soon-to-be retirees: With their last child married, John Tabachnick and Sherry are retiring at Thanksgiving and plan to celebrate in the Caribbean—their first trip anywhere in a long time. Paul Gionfriddo retired in June as CEO of Mental Health America. He and Pam live full-time in Middletown now. Pandemic attention on mental health impacts gave Paul air time on CNN, MSNBC, CSPAN, NBC Nightly News, and Face the Nation. He says mental health presents the only chronic diseases we wait until Stage 4 to treat, which is spurring some fundamental re-thinking. Sadly, this wasn’t soon enough for Paul and Pam. Their son Tim died in last January at age 35, after living with schizophrenia for most of his life.

Paul Bennett retired five years ago. He and Laura keep busy with a variety of hobbies, interests and friends. A visit from their Brooklyn-based older son (first time since COVID) was a high point. Younger son, nearby in the Bay Area, works in tech. All are healthy, happy, and vaccinated. Paul chairs the boards of Berkeley Symphony Orchestra and a Cristo Rey De La Salle high school designed for underserved students of color. Other pursuits are keeping in shape and doing house/yard projects. Paul looks forward to fall outings, and (like me) has been “praying against the odds for a less-than-horrendous fire season.”

Grandpa Len Burman and Missie (Smith ’75), married 44 years, have now married off all four of their kids and expect grandchild number four soon. Len’s retired from the Volcker professorship at Syracuse University, but still doing research at the Urban Institute. They enjoy their lake house in central New York and a home in Arlington, Virginia.

Joe Morningstar sent a first-time note. He’s moving to a Middlebury, Connecticut, house that has land for a garden and a barn to build next spring. Joe’s still working in real estate. “Can’t give it up—it’s too much fun!” He lovingly writes of his boys, Tom and Jack, who work in film/video and recently built a log cabin in upstate New York, and of his daughter, Grace, who is a doula and whose two little girls bring Joe great joy and fun. Additional Item: “I’m a vegetarian. Who would have thought?”

Bruce Weinraub wants to know “What’s everyone is up to who lived at Hewitt 10 our freshman year?” If you know, send news I can share in our next notes.

Joost Brouwer stays in touch from the Netherlands. He frequently sees his two sons who are local. The son in Australia (and the newest granddaughter, born mid-2019) are another story. Joost and Emilie hope to visit Australia in late 2022, but the baby already recognizes them on video and calls them “Opa” and “Oma,” like a good Dutch baby.

Cathy Gorlin practices family law and imagines retirement. This summer she had visits in upstate New York  from Chris McCoy McNeil  and Tory Rhoden Cohen (Smith exchange), and in Minnesota and New York from her daughter and five-year-old grandson. Cathy’s son is currently applying for medical residency.

Martha Faller Brown and her husband, Anthony, visited Martha’s family’s summer house in June to enjoy Adirondack beauty, the novelty of rain, and catching up with Faller siblings and their kids. She continues to manage operations for a Bay Area legal services program, now dealing with post-COVID staff turnover and hiring.

You’ll find Deb Kosich hunkered down in Houston. She did manage spring/summer trips to see her mother in Massachusetts and her condo (which narrowly escaped last summer’s fires) in Colorado.

I recently traveled for the first time in 20 months, spending a long overdue reunion with my sister in Western Massachusetts. While there, I saw my friend since 7th grade, Tom Kovar ’76, a social worker and musician. My trip included other notable visits and celebrations: two delightful days with Jean Barish ’74 in the Catskills, followed by a Brooklyn weekend celebrating Risa Korn’s daughter Melanie’s marriage. Risa and I enjoyed catching up after the festivities. Missed seeing David Leisner, who was on deadline to finish a commissioned composition, and then going out of town on vacation.

By the way, Gary Steinel saw Bruce Springsteen’s show in 2017, but I never did score a ticket.

CLASS OF 1974 | 2021–2022 | WINTER ISSUE

Jan Eliasberg spent most of the year doing a “virtual” book tour for her debut novel, Hannah’s War (Little, Brown and Co.). Among many highlights was an “all Wesleyan Zoom book club,” organized and hosted by Stephanie Rosenfeld ’82. Paul Vidich ’72, author of The Mercenary, named Hannah’s War one of the ten best books featuring female spies. Hannah’s War was recently named a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award in Fiction.

Jan has partnered with producers Rian Johnson and Ram Bergman (Star Wars: The Last Jedi; Knives Out; Tales of Love and Darkness) and their company, T Street, to make the film of Hannah’s War; she’s currently adapting her book into screenplay form.

Jan’s daughter, Sariel Friedman ’19, spent 2020 immersed in political campaigning: first for Biden/Harris in Pennsylvania, then for Ossoff and Warnock in Georgia.

John Gardner writes, “I completed 46 years of work at Avon Old Farms School this past May and have semi-retired. I still will coach the hockey team and help with admissions and alumni and development in the upcoming year to keep me busy. While I was full time at Avon, I was a math teacher, advisor, athletic director, provost, and for the last 21 years, the associate head of school. A great lifestyle and always fun working with teenagers. I live off campus now in Simsbury, Connecticut, with my wife, Miriam, and enjoy my four grandchildren who live nearby.”

Monique Witt shares, “Ben is back on tour, Dev is launching the second line of monitors from ExMachina Soundworks, Steve just signed up the Canadian National/Kansas City Southern and MedLine deals, and I’m prepping the upcoming recording sessions: solo piano, trio and sextet. I’m also back playing daily tennis and reading more math again (which is hard).”

News below provided by Harold Sogard:

Scott Karsten died suddenly from a heart attack in January. He was on the wrestling team at Wes. He became a very successful trial lawyer in Connecticut, and led the suit by Deke against the University.

Steve Burton sadly died by suicide sometime late last year or early this year. He was, along with our other recently passed classmate Dick Fairbrother, a starting guard on the basketball team at Wes. He went on to a long and distinguished career with the global advertising agency, DDB.”

Scott Langner died in May. He will be known forever among those who were at Wes at the same time as “the Wave.” Here is his obituary:

Claudia Catania reports, “Our grandson, Linden, turned three in June. His brother, Paxton, is a robust 10-month old. As of a year ago, their family moved to Denver although they still have a thriving business, their restaurant 1000 Figs, in New Orleans. Our other son, Max, teaches digital art at High Tech High, which is a charter school in San Diego committed to experiential learning. John Cady ’71, my husband, and I are officially living in Hillsdale, New York, although I still shuttle to New York for meetings and recordings. If you like good storytelling, acting, and podcasts, subscribe to Playing on Air! We just recorded Hank Azaria and Jonathan Groff for the first time back in the studio since early March of 2020. Remote recording was getting crazy. Much better now! Also better with Harold Sogard on our board!”

Suzzanne Rosselot shares, “I was a transfer student and so appreciated my education at Wesleyan. My retirement date is June 24. I am closing my private practice after 45 years as a clinical social worker. I loved my work and I look forward to leisure time and spending more time with family.”

Charlie Cocores continues to be very active with Habitat for Humanity. Read on . . . “We have had Harold Sogard on a few Habitat builds in the past . . . he was a great asset to the group! We’re retired in Pawleys Island, South Carolina. Carol and I are organizing a Habitat for Humanity build for the local Georgetown, South Carolina, Habitat Affiliate. We did two Georgetown County Habitat for Humanity week-long builds. The builds were October 6­–13 and October 20–27, 2021.  If you’ve never done one of these they are rewarding, fantastic fun, new friend making and memory making! They are also a way to ‘try out’ volunteer tourism for a future Habitat International build in another country.

“Each week-long build includes two cultural-historical-recreation days. . . . Evenings include going out to dinner, then usually to hear music, socialize, dance or have a drink. We have had people in their 20s to their 80s participate in the past, and there is some job or task almost everyone can do at their own pace. The point of the builds is to raise money for the local Habitat’s work, laugh, make friends, and do some good for the local community. The work includes some new construction, repair work on houses, volunteering in the HFH Restore and various other jobs . . . .

“House recipients actually buy the home and pay for it over decades with a no-interest mortgage, the tradition of which is directly from the Bible. Recipients, most whom would not qualify for a conventional mortgage, must work to pay for the Habitat mortgage and also put in hundreds of hours volunteering on their home or for Habitat in other capacities. It truly is a ‘hand up not and out’ model.”

For more information contact Carol (860–304–2667) or Charlie Cocores (860–304–2668) at cocoshfh@gmail.

Randolph “R.N.A.” Smith writes: “My eighth golf book should be out by December.  Quadruple Birdie is a historical novel focused on the mental and physical trials facing Ben Hogan and his Texan rivals on the tour in 1950.”

Sharon Purdie writes, “Our son, Jeff, and his wife, Alyssa, are the proud parents of Blake Sybertz, born on May 13. Other than visiting them, we continue to enjoy running, bicycling, swimming, skiing, kayaking, and sailing on our new X-Yachts 4.3 sailboat.”

CLASS OF 1973 | 2021–2022 | WINTER ISSUE

Paul Baumann writes that while attending the funeral mass of Nicholas Clifford, a professor of Chinese at Middlebury College and a board member of the liberal Catholic magazine Commonweal, he noticed something familiar but hard to identify about an older man kneeling reverently in a pew in front of him. When both he and the man got up to go to Communion, he recognized the “older” man was Michael McKenna, a classmate and fellow member of the Wesleyan soccer team, and now a longtime resident in Middlebury. They limped up to the Communion rail together and later commiserated about their time at Wesleyan.

Paul is retired after editing Commonweal for fifteen years. He is in frequent contact with Kirk Adams, Steve Greenhouse, and Steve Forstein. Kirk continues his work as a union organizer and Democratic Party strategist. Greenhouse is retired from his job as the New York Times labor reporter, and is the author of the much-heralded Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor. Forstein is a pediatrician living in Lyme, Connecticut. Paul is also in contact with Chris Keneally, a small business owner living in Easton, Connecticut. All of these friends and classmates played soccer at Wesleyan back in the Paleolithic Age. Chris and Paul also went to high school together in Westport, Connecticut, along with Scott Karsten ’74, another Wesleyan classmate. Chris, Paul, and Scott reengaged at their 50th high school reunion in 2019. Sadly, Scott, an all-state wrestling champion and formidable football player in high school, died last year. He was a prominent attorney in the Hartford area and an outspoken champion of DKE.

     Vinod Busjeet writes that after spending 29 years in economic development, finance, and diplomacy, holding positions at the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation, and the Embassy of Mauritius in Washington, D.C., he wrote a novel, Silent Winds, Dry Seas. He says, “It was published in August by Penguin Random House under its hardcover imprint, Doubleday. A coming-of-age story that starts in Mauritius during a period of political convulsion and ends at Yale, it got a starred review in Publishers Weekly. The book has thus far received endorsements from a Pulitzer Prize winner, a finalist of the Man Booker International Prize, a finalist of the French Renaudot Prize and two New York Times bestselling authors.”

     Bill Gillespie writes that he and Susan sold their home on Hilton Head this summer in a very “hot” market and chose to return to Connecticut to live in West Hartford. He writes “Our 12 grandchildren continue to thrive. Looking forward to seeing folks at our 50th Reunion in 2023!”

On a personal note, I have had some challenging months. Had open heart surgery March 26th to replace infected mitral valve and aortic valve after problems with endocarditis. Brilliant surgeon Dr. Michael Cortelli at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood helped me. Have had a wonderful support team with my wife Connie and daughter Dana here and my daughters Holly, who flew in three times from Denver, and Jennifer, a nurse who flew in three times from Virginia, have been tremendous. Made me really appreciate how much my family matters. Went back to work after two and a half months off. All is well.

CLASS OF 1972 | 2021–2022 | WINTER ISSUE

The countdown to our big 50th Reunion is measured now in months rather than years.  May 19.  Be there!!

To add to tales of prolific class authors, Art Vanderbilt just had a website go online,, which chronicles what he’s been doing since writing weekly papers at the CSS! Let me particularly recommend Fortune’s Children, an eminently readable and entertaining history of the Commodore and the other slightly more famous members of Art’s family.

Our wonderful Class Agent Bob (“I Love Wesleyan”) White has been writing about the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis for some years now, and his work appears to be nearing fruition. He had a letter to the editor of the Washington Post published last July urging Black Americans not to shun vaccines because of the Tuskegee study (letter).  He is working on two other manuscripts, one of which has been accepted and the other one is in peer review (“This one should be a paradigm breakthrough,” he writes).  “And there is a third manuscript that I am finishing up and tweaking. This manuscript may be exposing some shenanigans in the field.  I have no idea what to call what I stumbled on (it must be because of all those math and science courses I took at Wes Tech, i.e., 25–27 courses). But what I can say is that now I may be getting that CSS experience that I couldn’t fit in.”

Bob Purvis sends some good news from Vermont.  Three years have passed since his lung surgery and chemo and he is still cancer free. If his August scan is negative he’ll go to annual checkups. Bob is still working full time as director of the Turning Point Center of Central Vermont, a peer addiction recovery center, the longest he’s been in any job in his life “and certainly the most rewarding.” He plans to stay in this work for another couple of years, at least, in order to finish a few major things he’s started, such as moving into a new facility that doesn’t reflect the pervasive social stigma of their origins. But the day is coming when he will need to step aside for someone younger who has new vision to carry the programs forward in this evolving field. Bob claims to be enjoying his brief elevation to the solid middle class, with Social Security added to my salary. “My best to all in our class who are still with us,” he adds, “and I look forward to seeing folks at our 50th next year.”

Geoff Rips’s second novel, Personal Geography, will be out in September of this year.  In the course of contacting classmates for Reunion, Geoff learned that the Wesleyan agriculture curriculum has really paid off. After retiring from his medical practice, Burt Feuerstein is now a gentleman farmer in Arizona, growing apricots and peaches.  Jim Trump (no relation) is one of the largest macadamia producers in Hawaii.  Burt says that he’ll come to Reunion if he can find someone to take care of the fruit.

Charlie Smith is a true polymath.  He has just finished his third year of “official” retirement from Western Kentucky University but has been keeping active through various writing projects, including his eighth and ninth books:  2019’s An Alfred Russel Wallace Companion (University of Chicago Press), and a novel, Many Miles Away (named after a line in an old Malvina Reynolds song, “Morningtown Ride,” a big hit in England for The Seekers in 1966.  The novel is about an alien being and his family who suddenly show up one day in upstate New York (with no memory of their former circumstances, nor having a stated mission), and his following Earthly reception.  A bit of “unfantastical” science fiction/paranormal, but more particularly, social criticism “(an allegory, as well—note the link at its beginning to a nearly perfect cover of the Reynolds song by the Australian classical crossover singer Mirusia: I don’t think we’ve quite reached our destination . . .).” Charlie also continues to write shorter analyses, especially on Wallace (but also some actual science, and musicology). Beyond that, from 2018 to 2020, he did a genealogy project on his ancestral lines in this country and found out some interesting things; including that of all the sum of about 15,000 first-generation settlers of 17th-century New England, close to 10 percent were nth generation great-grandparents of his!  This turns out to be not that strange or even rare. A couple of years back Charlie was a featured speaker at a Sherlock Holmes conference (he says there is a strong connection between Wallace and Doyle, beyond the fact they are both usually known by three names!). Charlie adds that he will come to Reunion IF one of our many class screenwriters will turn his novel into a screenplay.

Bruce Hearey reports that Robbie Brewster and Bruce Throne, within a few months of each other acquired one new ankle and two new hips among them.  They jointly offer a toast to joint replacements!

Bonnie Krueger has finally retired after 41 years of teaching at Hamilton College. She is now Burgess Professor of French Emerita. Various publication projects will keep her busy for the next few years. She is finally hoping to get together with her far-flung children and grandchild, whom she has not seen since January 2020.

The Class of ’72 achieves another milestone: We will be the first 50th Reunion Class to meet face-to-face after 2019. Keeping in stride with innovation, our Reunion will run from Thursday to Sunday, May 19–22. That means, fellow alums, to plan your travel accordingly.

Events include an exclusive wine tasting on Thursday evening, a Friday dinner hosted by President Roth, the Alumni Parade, our traditional festive Reunion Celebration on Saturday, and a Sunday brunch. Commencement follows on Sunday, as well. For those of us who arrive on Tuesday or Wednesday, tours to revisit the campus and see the new buildings will be available. Throughout Reunion several Wes alum seminars will be offered, ranging from the Music of Our Time to Life-Altering Events of the ‘70s.

CLASS OF 1971 | 2021–2022 | WINTER ISSUE

Aloha classmates! Pandemic has changed everything for everybody. It doomed our May 2021 50th Reunion. In many places in the country life is returning to pre-pandemic activity. Our Reunion will happen April 2022 (better late than never). Keep your eyes out for dates and times.

You should have received your Reunion book. I believe an addendum will come for those procrastinators.

We do have a Reunion committee and they are working on things to do now and events and ideas for the future. You can still join the committee by contacting Kate Quigley Lynch ’82, P’17, ’19 at Also you can receive more information at

Interesting that a number of classmates have been searching for lost classmates and in most cases, were successful after many attempts.

Ed Swanson ( in Altadena, California, was looking for Vladimir (aka Walter) Zdrok. He found out that Walter is facing significant medical and other issues. Walter is living outside Philadelphia. If you are interested in finding out more, please contact Ed at email above or 626-345-5067 or 310-283-1035 and see if you can be of assistance to Walter.

Guillermo Prada-Silva ’69 was looking for his dear friend Francisco (Pancho) X. Swett. Guillermo found him through Facebook from Pancho’s daughter Natasha and wife Anita, and learned that Pancho was still alive. “The not so good news is that he was initially hospitalized for back surgery, then got a blood infection, and if that weren’t enough, COVID! Needless to say, Pancho is still recovering from all these ailments, but showing the courage to ‘keep on fighting ’till the end,’ like a good Wesman.” He eventually heard from Pancho himself through WhatsApp!

Stewart Malloy ( visited Wesleyan on May 22, 2021, even though Reunion was postponed. He was nostalgic and made a short video of his love for Wesleyan and classmates of Class of 1971. Looking forward to seeing Stew at the spring Reunion in 2022.

Steven Leinwand writes, “I am very humbled and proud to let you know that I have recently been awarded the 2021 National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Lifetime Achievement Award. The award honors NCTM members who have exhibited a lifetime of achievement in mathematics education at the national level. All three 2021 awardees plus the two 2020 awardees were recognized during the Opening Session of the 2021 NCTM Annual Meeting and Exposition in Atlanta in September. Following the Opening Session, a reception was held to honor and celebrate the recipients.” Congratulations Steve and well deserved I am certain!

Received a note from Nathan Nichols. “Hi Neil!  Hope you and yours are doing well. Was looking forward to our reunion this year, but hopefully the in-person event will happen next year. My wife and I are both retired and continue to live in Maryland. We have been blessed with three grandkids and they are the light of our lives. Like many of us, I have had some health challenges. Recovering from cancer, but the outlook presently looks bright. We are outdoor folks and love the wilderness and hiking. Yosemite National Park remains my spiritual ground.” He went on to see if I could talk with his nephew who was moving to Hawaii and interested perhaps in farming. You may remember I was a vanilla farmer on Kauai. I love the crop but it is a good bit of work and I understand why vanilla can be expensive. Enjoyed my farming but gave it up for various reasons, one being travel. I am currently on a beach in Long Island, New York. My life revolves around the beach in New York and my home beach on Kauai. Life is tough but I volunteered for this gig!

Well, that is all the news I have. Remember to write and let me know what is going your way these days. Looking to see you all post pandemic for our 50-ish Reunion (April 28 to May 1). Be there or be square!


CLASS OF 1970 | 2021–2022 | WINTER ISSUE

Aloha, all.

I have to start off with this from Len Rubenstein: “I never submit—but I suppose after a half century it’s time. . . .”  Well, alrighty then! He continues: “It’s only taken me 51 years since graduation to write my first (and last) book, on violence against health care in war, an issue I’ve worked on for the past 25 years as director of a human rights organization (Physicians for Human Rights), and now at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. It’s called Perilous Medicine: The Struggle to Protect Health Care from the Violence of War (available on Amazon). It’s more of a swansong than a catapult to future work, though I plan to continue to teach, write, and run a coalition on protecting health care in war for a couple more years.

“My wife Margaret and I got through the pandemic better than many others, and even got to babysit all the time for our pandemic grandchild, now one, who lives five minutes away and in our pod. We missed seeing the other two grandkids, who live in Minneapolis.  I also experienced the frustrations of trying to learn something new at this stage of life, taking up the piano, and not managing to keep up with 6-year-olds.”

Another classmate has written a book. Chuck Caramello wrote to say, “My new book, Riding to Arms: A History of Horsemanship and Mounted Warfare, will be published in fall 2021 by University Press of Kentucky in the press’s series, Horses in History.”     Have you talked with Jeremy about shooting on horseback? (See below.)

And another!  (I had better get moving on one of mine.)  Gerald Everett Jones wrote, “My news is that my eleventh novel, Harry Harambee’s Kenyan Sundowner was released on June 29, 2021. It’s already won two book awards for literary fiction. Here’s what I have to say about why I wrote it: I came to love Kenya, but I also realized what a huge cultural adjustment it was for me. That shift in mindset is what motivated me to write the story. In particular, I expect many Americans assume that our cultural differences and racial issues are much the same there. They aren’t.”

Gerald sends warm regards and exhorts us to “Carry on and fear not!”

And the Brooklyn Cowboy, Jeremy Serwer, wrote;  “Had a great year with the horses; my competition gelding has been terrific. Took a First Class win—and clean shoot— in Cowboy Mounted Shooting just a few days before going in for heart valve surgery on June 10. At this writing, recovering really well from that and hope to be competing again by late July. The pandemic reduced work to a low point, though I was considering retirement this year anyway: more time for riding/training/practicing and my volunteer gigs. Wife Nancy is on a two-year leave from the airline and studying hard for her Personal Training certification—plus going to the gym five times a week. She’s truly ripped.”

Jeremy’s reviving efforts to reach out to more classmates to encourage attendance at our 50th-51st-52nd Reunion from April 28 to May 1. I know he would welcome your help making phone calls or otherwise contacting a few classmates.

Russell Bradshaw wrote from Sweden that “my wife Gunilla and I have received both our Pfizer shots weeks ago, but still wear ‘COVID masks’ and maintain ‘safe distance’ as we very gradually come out of our ‘bubble.’ . . .  It seems unreal and strange for us ‘over 70s’ to watch everyone else in Sweden continuing to go about their lives as they normally do (no face masks, little testing and tracing, everything is based on ‘personal responsibility’ over here). Most of the really old and fragile have already died off, so mortality rates are way down as vaccination simultaneously increases. We’ll see if we can make it over to Portland, Oregon, to see our son’s family and our granddaughters after 2 1/2 years!! Wow… hope you and our classmates are all ‘weathering the storm.’”

Brief, but good news from Peter Traneus Anderson: “I have been vaccinated for COVID-19. I was fortunate that a Boston hospital at which I had been a patient reached out to me to offer vaccinations to me. The lockdowns didn’t affect my life much, as I was already living a mostly stay-at-home retirement.”

Rob Baker wrote:  “In July, our daughter Emily Blazar (Whitman College 2002) had a beautiful new daughter, Silvianna, to be sister to our grandson Eli. Our son Peter (Whitman 2006) is getting married to Karrah Rust (University of Idaho 2012) in Park City this August. Peter works at Skullcandy in Park City and Karrah works at Podium in Salt Lake City.”   It turns out that Rob will be a part-time neighbor as he shared, “We bought a house on the Kauai north shore this year!” And, last but not least, “I had a hole in one last June. My first ever.”

Assistant Class Agent Gordon Fain wrote: “Thanks so much from the Class Agents and Wesleyan Annual Fund and Reunion Fund staff to those class members and significant others who have already documented annual gifts, will and trust gifts and other gifts to our class of ’70 credit for calendar year 2021. For any questions, get in touch with Kate Lynch at Alumni Affairs, who coordinates all Reunion classes for Wesleyan.  The volunteers on the Reunion Committee discussed these matters with Ms. Lynch and several also attended Wesleyan’s online training on Gifts and Endowments, during the COVID situation.

“Several of us took advantage of the favorable IRA and Retirement Fund Required Minimum Distribution (RMD), which makes a distribution DIRECTLY to Wesleyan advantageous by NOT taxing that amount as ordinary income. This does NOT require itemizing and can be for a simple gift of $500 or more from your RMD.  Consult your tax preparer, savvy significant other, or Wesleyan special gifts staff.

“Best wishes for a safe fall season and for travel to Connecticut for those who can come here.”

Mark Geannette wrote that “[o]ur daughter Marissa was married last December—on the Big Island—underwater scuba diving! Our son’s 2-year-old twins have begun an all-Spanish speaking preschool. Gloria and I have gradually come out of our travel shell—Florida Keys in May, Hawaii in June and (we hope) Sardinia, Italy, this fall. Best regards to the whole class.”

And an older email from Elbridge Smith way over there on O’ahu.  (Apologies for not getting this into the column last time; I spaced out the deadline and didn’t submit.  Bad class secretary.)

“Just got my copy and read several great articles (with too many frustrating masked pictures) . . .  finally getting to your Trump-era class notes. Yes, election results are now known on Oahu, maybe even on landslide-stricken Kauai.”  (This is a reference to a landslide between Princeville and Hanalei on the North Shore.)

Elbridge inquired of Steve and Mary Ching, but I haven’t seen them in a long time.  (Steve and Mary were full-time Kaua’i residents at one time.) Like many of us, he regrets not being able to make family-related trips.

Also found an older email from Bruce Williams referring to an online Reunion planning meeting. Bruce says, “See you all in the springtime of 2022, with any luck at all.”

And Capt. John Sheffield wrote (presumably from his dry-docked boat), “Still safety conscious and healthy in New York City. We are making occasional short (in both time and distance) car trips for fun. Taking time out from tennis to rehabilitate a strained shoulder. Spending time playing ukulele and learning more about racial injustice, institutionalized racism and alternatives to policing in addressing the problems (e.g., wealth inequity, number of citizens below the poverty level, mass incarceration, etc.) in the US.”  Well, as long as you’re not doing anything too serious.

I hope everyone is planning on attending our 50th–51st–52nd Reunion from April 28 to May 1. (How often do you get to go to a reunion with a title like that??)

Remember, don’t trust anyone under 70. Take care of yourselves.

A hui hou.