CLASS OF 1983 | 2017 | ISSUE 1

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Greetings Class of 1983 and Happy New Year! The good news is I have heard from many of you. The bad news is I only have 800 words. I did my best to edit your replies to include as much as possible.

In the arts world, Cheri Weiss, fourth-year cantorial student, released an album, Hineni: Music for the High Holy Days (, which was distributed free to 1,000 shul-ins, chaplains, rabbis, social workers in hospitals, and retirement homes across the U.S. Tim Backer owns and operates an independent culture production house and released his collection, The Musing Gene; he attributes the source of his electric-guitar-rock-classical style to Wesleyan. Eve Annenberg wrote and directed two feature films, including Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish and produced eight indie films. Kate Rabinowitz runs the Anna Lytton Foundation for Arts and Wellness ( in honor of her late daughter. Julia Kay’s upcoming book, Portrait Revolution, ships this spring. The book contains tips, techniques and inspiration for making portraits and is filled with 450 portraits by 200 members of Julia Kay’s Portrait Party, an international online community of artists.

In the academic world, Andrea Smith is professor of anthropology and department head of anthropology and sociology at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa. Her research focus is on colonialism (French and US) and her new book is called, Rebuilding Shattered Worlds: Creating Community by Voicing the Past. Liz Hamilton works at Butler University as a department secretary and encourages classmates who hire to consider well-educated-but-been-out-of-the-workforce-for-awhile people! Kirsten Wasson works at a progressive high school as college counselor and internship coordinator in LA.

In the social action sphere, Jessica Cogen is the development and outreach director of Food for Others, a large food pantry/food bank in Fairfax, Va., providing free groceries each week to 1,800 families in need.

In the science and medical worlds, Charlie Brenner published the first clinical trial of nicotinamide riboside (NR), a vitamin metabolic booster he discovered 12 years ago and is now used over-the-counter by 200,000 people. Pat Roth is a practicing neurosurgeon in New Jersey and is chairman of the department of neurosurgery at Hackensack University Medical Center and soon-to-be chairman at Seton Hall University, too. He finished his second book, Keeping the “Me” in Medicine, which explores the power of the narrative in medicine to make doctors better doctors and patients better patients. Heather Rae is a certified integrative nutrition health coach and with husband and chiropractor, Aubrey, opened The Wellness Spot in Richmond, Maine.

In the business world, Raul Mercado is the director of New Jersey Institute of Technology Procurement Technical Assistant Center. He is responsible for the development, enhancement, and delivery of procurement and certification assistance programs, training technical support, and outreach to New Jersey-based small businesses seeking to sell to the public sector. Glenn Duhl joined Zangari, Cohn, Cuthbertson, Duhl & Grello, P.C., and is practicing management-side employment law and litigation. Glenn Lunden was part of the team at New York City Transit that opened the brand new and long-waited-for Second Avenue subway line which was first proposed in 1920. Rick Mandler celebrated his 25th year at the Walt Disney Company, mostly at ABC, working in a variety of capacities from legal to media and technology. He teaches TV management as an adjunct at NYU’s Stern Business School.

On the social front, Karen Adair Miller, Tammy Rosengarten Darcus, Gretchen Millspaugh Cooney, Sue Stallone Kelly, and Barb Bailey Beckwitt had a fun roommate getaway at the Cooney’s house in Nantucket. Glenn Lunden and his partner, Frank Meola, had a mini-Wesleyan winter reunion with Christina Meyer Wilsdon, Dan Schlein ’84, and John and Sarah Borden Holman. Megan Norris writes that after 15 years of Wes Board meetings, her tenure is coming to a close.

Lastly, I report my life is complicated and overwhelming at times as I juggle work, research, motherhood, and caring for my elderly mother with Alzheimer’s. The good news is my trio will graduate in May from college. The bad news is their graduations are all on the same weekend and on different coasts! Until next time…


Laurie Hills |