Reminder: Hope to see many of you at our 50th Reunion, May 23–26. Attendance for the Class of ’73 at their 50th was 96. Let’s surpass that number!
Charisse R. Lillie was chosen one of their 2023 Directorship 100 honorees by the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD). Charisse is recognized as one of the most influential directors in the boardroom and corporate governance community.
(The 2023 D100 comprises 50 directors and 50 governance professionals and institutions who exemplify the knowledge, leadership, and excellence NACD promotes. Nominees play a significant role in shaping the greater boardroom agenda.)
Monique Witt and her sons, Dev and Ben, are currently working on the mix and master of Ben’s sixth album. “This one is solo piano and accordion. He and Dev chose to re-record some of the accordion parts at Avidon Audio Labs, Dev’s production group, and at the satellite space at OneTrickDog. Dev has engineered over a hundred discs, a number with Grammy nominations, primarily jazz/blues/world, but also some classical. He has also produced all Ben’s albums. We hope also to record Ben’s third album with the Nebula Project (the Sextet plus guests) in March. We are seeing a large volume of streaming of Ben’s work recently, perhaps from his touring exposure, and A Thousand Pebbles was submitted for Grammy consideration this year by a member of the selection committee.
“Ben continues to compose and his touring schedule is as packed as ever. Dev will also be out on the West Coast for his business.
“While my work on the album is limited to graphics, I’m also finishing a manuscript on aesthetic philosophy that I began during the pandemic with a running partner, who is a curator at one of the NYC art museums. It’s certainly not my field of expertise, but there are two academic publishers who have expressed an interest, so we’ll see. It’s mostly a pretext to talk about beautiful works.”
Gary Johnson writes, “Thinking of you . . . and the wonderful times on campus.”
Nancy Collins reports: “Brian Mahoney ’73 and I split our time between Arizona and Minnesota (guess which season is spent where) but we are Arizona citizens at this point. Brian’s physical issues limit our traveling so we are basically homebodies. My time is spent being a PCA when called upon, organizing two book clubs, taking care of two flower gardens in the summer, doing some outside work at both homes; in Rio Verde, playing with the Lady Putter’s once a week (no golfing experience needed), and mentoring a boy (I started with him in third grade) who is now in ninth grade. I exercise every day since I need to keep myself in some 71-year-old shape so we can stay in our two homes, while binge-watching all old seasons of NCIS and NCIS: LA. In the past four years, I have sewn by hand seven Christmas stockings and am working on my fifth Advent calendar for our five grandchildren. In between, I am increasing my knitting skills. In summary, I am increasing the amplitude of other Wes grads accomplishment. I love living in the slow lane and have decided I really was programmed to be like my mom, a stay-at-home wife, and not really meant for the working world. I love being retired.
“Brian and I returned to Wesleyan in late September for the announcement of the Phil Calhoun endowment funds for Wesleyan crew. I was so impressed with what Wesleyan is currently; it was so different it didn’t bring back any less-than-ideal memories. It was a strange experience to be talking to the very accomplished members of the women’s and men’s crews. The women were intrigued by the alumni stories of being the first women on campus in recent history and of what starting the women’s sports teams were like. And they were all so clean-cut in comparison to the students of the 70s!! A very impressive bunch.”
Ken Jacobs writes, “As a relatively late-in-life dad with two adopted kids, I’m at least 10 years behind most of our classmates. My younger daughter is still in college and my son is training as an apprentice plumber. They haven’t launched yet, but they’re getting there! Of course, that also means I’m still practicing real estate law at Smith Buss & Jacobs in New York. We’re up 400-plus co-op and condo associations as clients and 27 lawyers, whom I’m training diligently to help take over the reins.
“I’ve kept up my two most intense college pastimes over the years—tournament bridge and dancing. Bridge took second place to raising a family but I still managed to get to some tournaments; now that I have more time, though, for some inexplicable reason my card sense isn’t quite as sharp as it was in my 30s. I’ve folk danced, contra danced, ballroom danced, and East and West Coast swing danced in New York and New Jersey for over 40 years—my only regret is that my wife, Sharon, with two knee replacements and a hip replacement, can’t join me anymore.
“I still read the Class Notes, but I haven’t decided yet whether to attend the reunion. We’ll just have to see.”
Peter Welcher updates us: “Still living near Annapolis. I’m adjusting to being semiretired, eight hours per week doing tech blogging, etc. We’ve continued some travel and hiking (Banff, Canada area, Delaware Water Gap, and Phoenix area); hope to do more in 2024. We have four grown kids (three UMD, one Elon grad), who each have a dog. Plus five grandkids (one [born] in ’21, three around January ‘23, number 5 on the way). One kid will be spending two to three years working in Rome as USDA/Foreign Service officer handling negotiations; their wife doing USDA management work remotely. Another, State Department lawyer, will be spending two to three years in The Hague; her lawyer husband will be working remotely or as EU presence. We look forward to traveling to visit them!”
Bill Pearson shares: “Greetings to all. Hope to see many of you in May for our 50th. I’m still working, primarily as a management consultant with Contemporary Leadership Advisors, a team of behavioral scientists, and me. I’m also active with several not-for- profits—the Osborn, National Council for the Traditional Arts, City Lore, and the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival.
“Our three boys, Nate, Howe ’12, and Henry, are thriving and far-flung—San Francisco, New Orleans, and New Jersey. CFO, musician, and middle school math teacher respectively. No one married yet, but that’s coming up next August.
“Jane and I are doing our best to have adventures—seeing the boys, NYC theater and music, hiking, fishing, and camping.”
News from Carolyn White-Lesieur: “Nothing spectacular to report except four spectacular grandchildren: two in Toulouse, France, and two in Pelham, New York. All terrific in my eyes, of course. My last volunteer activities were with the Board of the UU Church in Harvard Square while continuing to be active with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) as teacher and trainer for the Family to Family classes. But it is time to taper off volunteering to travel the world, which I hope to do with my French husband. It is now or never! My forever activity is women’s doubles and, luckily, the Boston area has so many tennis opportunities.
“My philosophy on life is simple: if I am upright and walking, it is a good day.
“If you have never been to our Lloyd Komesar’s Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival in August, maybe this is the year to go? Great atmosphere and films. Great atmosphere and films. A small cadre of Wesleyan folks are always there, along with Lloyd, to welcome you. But, first, see you at Reunion?
Wayne Forrest reports, “2023 was a year of blessings. My one offspring, Jamie, got married on a beautiful August day on a lake in northwest Connecticut, fulfilling a wish I made in 2018 when my wife, Jean, was diagnosed with breast cancer only to followed by ovarian cancer a year later. I’ve never been overly religious and have only a tenuous belief in a power outside ourselves, but I prayed then that she would survive long enough to see Jamie’s wedding. I missed the 2019 reunion and thankfully things have normalized, and the future looks very bright. I’ve been so pleased to work with others on the 50th Reunion committee to help create activities (such as a gamelan reunion concert) that will bring more of us together next May. My current state of mind remains optimistic about retirement, but I am not retired. COVID taught us how to work from home—and kept me from a daily 45-minute train ride into Manhattan—and that is keeping me employed. But I see the future and it includes playing lots of music, tennis, cycling on an e-bike, as much travel as possible, and being with friends and loved ones.”
James Krantz reports that his son, Daniel ’11, is now a father. He’s become a grandfather. What a joy!
Arthur Fierman shares: “It has been a whirlwind of a year . . . Starting with my work as chief of pediatric ambulatory care at Bellevue Hospital, we have been doing our best to provide medical care to the thousands of migrant children and families who have arrived in New York City to seek a safer, better life. Many of these children and their family members are housed in shelters near Bellevue, and many have experienced unspeakable trauma prior to and during their journeys in the form of threats, actual physical or sexual violence, the death of loved ones, and/or political persecution. Most come to Bellevue initially to update their immunizations for school entry and to receive other routine health maintenance, but they need so much more in the way of mental health and social services. A surprising number of the children are also in need of care for significant chronic illnesses, which sometimes could not be adequately addressed in their home countries. The challenge has been great, but as I head into retirement from full-time work in January 2024, it is good to know that Bellevue will still be there to support the families in their pursuit of a better life. I am looking forward to retirement, anticipating continuing some connections to NYU and Bellevue, but seeking new adventures!
“On the home front, my wife, Shelly, and I became grandparents in April 2023, when our son, Andrew, and wife, Danielle, brought Ellie Harper Fierman into the world. She is a joy and an inspiration! This past summer, as we have done for several years now, Shelly and I attended the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival. Produced by Lloyd Komesar, the fest has been a wonderful event, with over 100 amazing documentaries, shorts, feature-length films, interviews with filmmakers and actors, and great social events each year. Rivaling the event itself over the years is the opportunity to hang out with so many Wesleyan ’74 classmates and other Wes grads—including Wayne Forrest and wife, Jean Seibel, Claudia Catania and John Cady ’71, Sarah Cady and Bob Becker ’71, Wendy Starr and [husband] Jeff Kessler, Lyn Lauffer, Carolyn White-Lesieur and husband, Jean, Bill Pearson and wife, Jane, Bill Burton, David Weller and wife, Rochelle Zabarkes, Seth Davis ’72, just to name a few. If you have never been, you should really consider coming for the 10th annual festival in August 2024!”
Henry Avis-Vieira is “very pleased to inform that all financial markets articles I’ve published in El Exportador—a prestigious trade finance journal headquartered in Madrid—between 2005 to the present are now available online at academia.edu.
“Having a super time working on our 2024 class reunion with so many of my classmates and our fabulous Wes coordinators, such as Mandy Broulik, Lucy Diaz, Geralyn Russo, and others. A real pleasure.”
Fred Kessler reports: “I have been blessed with a great legal career at one law firm, where I have worked for over 45 years; 40 years as a partner. I specialize in helping public agencies conduct procurements for major infrastructure projects nationwide (mostly in the transportation sector) through innovative contracting methods including public-private partnerships. It is gratifying to work on matters that make a positive difference for the general public and create good engineering and construction job opportunities. But I am eagerly anticipating cutting back next year and fully retiring in the near future, so that I can devote more time to family, reading, the outdoors, travel, community service, and relaxation. A shout-out to all my Deke brothers, wherever you are!”
Gray “Jon” Cox is enjoying traveling in person and via Zoom to give book talks on his SmarterPlanet or Wiser Earth? Dialogue and Collaboration in the Era of Artificial Intelligence that was recently published by the Quaker Institute for the Future. Since it is a dialogical book about dialogical reasoning, which has come out just as AI has become increasingly dialogical and everyone wants to talk about it, he is feeling a bit like a Plato at the Googleplex. He is also contemplating a miniconcert tour for the album’s worth of songs that are incorporated via QR codes as part of the argument of the book— including the show starter: “I’m gonna slow right down, so I can get there sooner. I’m gonna slow right down, so I can get there today. I’m gonna slow right down, maybe even come to a full stop. Maybe if I come to a full stop I’m gonna get there right away.” Besides Amazon, etc., it is available in an electronic Creative Commons form at www.smarterplanetorwiserearth.com. He continues to live in his hometown of Bar Harbor, teach at College of the Atlantic, and enjoy family life in the wilds of Maine.
SHARON PURDIE | firstname.lastname@example.org