CLASS OF 1974 | 2022 | SPRING ISSUE

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Charisse R. Lillie has been named one of 2021’s most influential Black corporate directors by Savoy Magazine. Charisse is CEO of CRLCONSULTING LLC, a full-service consulting firm based in Philadelphia.

In the book Evergreen Cemetery of Santa Cruz, authors Traci Bliss and Randall Brown bring to life the tragedies and triumphs of diverse individuals who helped shape Santa Cruz, California, and its values that endure today. The Evergreen Cemetery, founded in 1858, served as the last resting place for many of the region’s earliest settlers, entrepreneurs, and artists. The property was given by the Imus family of cattle ranchers who had narrowly avoided the tragedy of the Donner Party more than a decade before. Along with these pre–gold rush California pioneers, the community buried several notables including London Nelson, an emancipated slave who became a farmer and donated his property to the city schools. Also interred at the cemetery is journalist Belle Dormer, who wrote about President Benjamin Harrison’s visit to Santa Cruz and its world-famous redwoods, and businessman Wong Kee, a tireless leader of the town’s Chinese community.

Randall is a Santa Cruz County Distinguished Historian, who serves on Santa Cruz’s Historic Preservation Commission. He also serves as a featured history columnist for the San Lorenzo Valley Post. He is the author of The San Lorenzo Valley Water District: A History. 

John McLucas’s third novel, The Boxer’s Mask, is forthcoming from BrickHouse Books in Baltimore. It traces the rise of a young actor in contemporary Rome, and his interactions with a circle of Anglo-American expats who variously adore and objectify him. John has enjoyed pandemic opportunities for Zoom and phone reunions with Lyn Thurber Lauffer, Steve Cutts, Eric Neuman, Dan Kenigsberg, Scott Brodie, and other classmates.

Monique Witt’s son Ben was nominated to the American Pianist Competition. He has material recorded (unmixed and unreleased trio, solo, sextet), and new work from his Berlin residency. Back from his European tour, he’s on tour in the South. Her son Dev just finished his production space for ExMachina, and their Pulsar monitors were chosen for an international award for technological innovation in sound (SOS, December 2021). His space was featured on the Today Show. Monique is between Greenpoint, at the old facility, Bushwick, and LIC, at the label. Steven finished the year still working too hard. They all got COVID, musicians as well, but everyone is fine now.

 During the pandemic, to get outside and socialize, Pat Mulcahy joined a cycling club in Queens that meets every Sunday, weather permitting, at the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. This is a very mixed group in every way: About a third of the 35-person crew is made up of native Spanish speakers. Recently she bought an electric bike to give her a boost on hills. (She takes a fair amount of ribbing from her cohorts. . . . ) Every time she posts a biking picture on Facebook, Wayne Forrest chimes in. He and his wife are also avid e-bikers. Now Harold Sogard has apparently joined the cohort! And Lyn Lauffer says she wants to come down for the Five Boro Bike Tour (40-plus miles, in May).

Motto: The class of ’74 is not made up of slackers. You’re a prime example! Never was. . . .

On the work front: Pat is still editing and doing collaborative writing. Her newest project came out this March 2022 from Mango, a relatively new press in Miami: The Answer is You: A Guide to Creating a Life Full of Impact by Alex Amouyel, executive director of Solve at MIT, an accelerator program for inventors and social activists. Alex is one of her only millennial clients. It’s good to stay in touch with the younger generations.

Randy “R.N.A.” Smith’s latest historical novel for golf fans is out in April.  Quadruple Birdie highlights the human frailties of four famous Texan pros during 1950 and beyond, as narrated by their erstwhile counselor.

Lloyd Komesar reports, “After staging a successful in-person 7th Annual Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival this past August, attended by 40 Wes grads, we are full-steam ahead with our 8th Annual edition, slated for August 24–28.  I invite my classmates to attend and enjoy the films, the panels, the parties (all outdoors), the beauty of small-town Vermont in late summer, and the joy of the conversations and friendship renewals that go on every year. And a special shout out to Wayne Forrest for spurring the creation of the AICEF Prize for Cross-Cultural Filmmaking that debuted at MNFF7 and will continue at this year’s fest. AICEF (American Indonesian Cultural and Educational Foundation, which Wayne oversees) has enabled us to collaborate with the Bali International Film Festival in a wonderful filmmaker exchange that brought a terrific Indonesian filmmaker to Middlebury this past August. Thank you, Wayne!”

SHARON PURDIE | spurdie@wesleyan.edu