Sad news.  Len “Bergy” Bergstein died Monday, October 17. His sudden death was apparently caused by a heart attack.
In 2002, after attending our 35th Reunion, I wrote my first set of class notes. A week or so later, I got an email from Bergy that began, “Richie—somehow, during the weekend I missed the point where Pat Dwyer and you did a body exchange . . . well they say miracles happen at events like this. I truly enjoyed the chance to get re-connected.”
He then caught me up on what he had been up to since our graduation: “As for me—I moved to Oregon in ’72 after completing NYU Law School. I joined Legal Aid and got involved with an urban political crowd . . . this led to political involvement as a campaign manager for two Democratic candidates for statewide office. When my candidate for governor won in 1974, I went to work for him in the statehouse—probably due to poor staff work, he only lasted one term. Five years later I was working for the Portland mayor, Neil Goldschmidt, when he was asked to join the Carter cabinet as U.S. secretary of transportation—so I joined his staff in Washington, D.C. In 1981, I headed back to Portland and set up my own public affairs company, called Northwest Strategies, which I have been doing ever since. It’s a nice mixture of government, media, and community relations for clients with complex issues. No two clients are the same . . . I have helped site large scale projects with challenging environmental issues [modern landfills, gravel mining reclamation project, etc.]; helped a Native American tribe establish a positive image to offset the negatives of casino gambling; have gained public approval of development projects and ballot measures; and currently am assisting a large-scale agriculture and dairy enterprise become established on 93,000 acres of land in Eastern Oregon. Oregon’s relatively small population and reputation for livability/quality of life issues makes this an attractive place for me to practice . . . .”
When I learned that Bergy had died, I looked online and found that he had become very well known in Oregon, not only for the active role he had played in political life throughout the state, but also because he was a frequent commentator on local television in Portland, known for, as one article put it, his “wit and wisdom.”
The accolades rolled in, from both senators (one, Ron Wyden, said, “Len was instrumental with my start in public life”) and from various other prominent Oregonians (if that is what they call themselves). He clearly was well loved and well respected. One of Len’s obituaries, with photos, appears here:
He is survived by Betsy, his wife of 38 years, two brothers, three children, and four grandchildren.

(Poaching alert!)  Brian Frosh (Walter Johnson High School, ’64, Wesleyan, ’68) was in the news again, this time in an article that included his (stern but distinguished looking!) photo in The New York Times ( The attorney general of Maryland—Brian—filed a request that a judge release a 456-page document based on a criminal investigation that Frosh’s office initiated in 2019. It details decades of sex abuse of more than 600 victims by clergy in Maryland. According to the filing, “The sexual abuse was so pervasive that victims were sometimes reporting sexual abuse to priests who were perpetrators themselves.”  The Times writes that the report “is one of the first major investigations completed by a state attorney general on sexual abuse in the Church since a scathing report on six dioceses in Pennsylvania shocked Catholics across the nation in 2018.”   Brian was scheduled to leave office in January 2023.

CLASS OF 1967 | 2022| FALL ISSUE


I did not make it to our 55th Reunion, but I sent a query out on the list serve to see who did, and what they could tell me about it. I did not get any emails about the reunion, so I conclude that either no one attended or that no one was willing to go public about the wild debauchery that took place. I did, however, get a cryptic email from Bob Dyer. For those of you unhappy where you are, and thinking of a nice place to retire, here is what Dyer wrote: “August issue of Kiplinger’s magazine lists Middletown, Connecticut, as one of seven great places to retire.”

Meanwhile, on the news front, I can tell you that Jim Kates, holed up in southwestern New Hampshire (“in idyllic seclusion”), published two books in the spring of 2022, one a translation of poems by the Russian poet Mikhail Yeryomin (Sixty Years: Black Widow Press), and the other a book of his own poems (Places of Permanent Shade: Accents).

And another Jim, Jim Cawse, wrote to tell me that he had retired at the beginning of 2022. He closed his consulting firm, Cawse and Effect (great name!). The company of 12 years worked with various other companies on a variety of problems, ranging, as Jim put it, “from plywood adhesives to passenger traffic through Gatwick Airport.” At the time he wrote (February 2022), he was waiting to have a knee replacement, but his local hospital was full of COVID patients, so he was not sure when he would be able to have the surgery. In fact, it took a while, but he now has had the knee replaced, and hopes to be cross-country skiing again soon.

George McKechnie, a retired clinical psychologist, has sold Axiom Home Tech in Monterey, California. Started 23 years ago, it specializes in custom audio and video design and installation (including home theaters). He now plans to devote his time to two new web-based businesses—one that helps consumers understand smart home technologies and how they can be custom-tailored to their needs, plus another business that matches people for friendship (not dating). He lives in Carmel with his wife Dee, who is also a retired clinical psychologist.

I saw the following in the Wesleyan Connection about Bill Klaber: “According to the Webby Awards, The MLK Tapes, a podcast written and hosted by William Klaber ’67, is the recipient of a 2022 Webby Award in the Best Limited Series category. For the past two years, Klaber has been working with Tenderfoot TV and iHeart Media on the podcast, which takes a deep dive into the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (May 1).”  I listened to this one-hour podcast. I recommend that you check it out. It is dynamite.

As those of you keeping close track are aware, in recent sets of class notes I have taken the liberty to write about some guys in the classes behind us (Bud Smith, Gary Conger, John Wilson, all ’66) and ahead of us (Brian Frosh ’68). The 1966 class secretary has accused me of poaching. Here I continue to poach by telling you that my wife (Lisa Young) and I spent four days at a beach in South Carolina with Rick Voigt ’68, and his wife Annemarie Riemer. Rick, now retired from practicing law, has been teaching classes at Wesleyan at the Wasch Center since 2015. Among the titles of the classes he has taught are The Effort to Build an Affordable American Middle Class Home: A Design and Social History, and Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and Edsel Ford: Two Communists and a Titan of Capitalism Confront the Realities of the Modern Industrial Workplace and Make Great Art. Rick has published a novel, My Name on a Grain of Rice (Atmosphere Press, 2021), which draws among other things on his work as a labor lawyer who once worked for OSHA.

More poaching: Bill Dietz ’66 (aka Doctor Doctor Dietz) received an honorary degree from McGill University for his work on nutrition and obesity. You can see him on a YouTube video, decked out in fancy robes, giving his super honorary degree speech to the faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at McGill (his beaming family in the front row) if you Google “Dietz” and “McGill” (or go here:

And, finally, this just in from Ed Simmons: Ed, a resident of Yarmouth, Maine, became the new board chair of the Natural Resources Council of Maine. He succeeds Maria Gallace ’84, a resident of Yarmouth. Founded in 1959, the Natural Resources Council is the largest environmental advocacy organization in Maine, with more than 25,000 members and supporters. Its mission is to protect, restore and conserve the nature of Maine, now and for future generations.

Ed Simmons ’67 and Maria Gallace ’84


In October 2021, Ted Smith emailed to ask if I had seen The New York Times obituary for former Wesleyan faculty member Dick Ohmann. Ohmann was in the English Department from 1961 until his retirement in 1996, and Ted wondered if I had taken a class from him. I wrote Ted that I had not (I copied my email to Larry Carver ’66, one of my two English major friends—the other, the late great Jim McEnteer, will have to read it from beyond).  I told Ted and Larry (and maybe Jim) that although I did not know Ohmann when I was an undergraduate, I did get to know him a bit four decades later when he asked me to write an article for a special issue he was editing for a lefty journal that he had helped to found in 1975.  The topic of the special issue was teaching about the socioeconomic class system in the USA, and I wrote a piece titled “Teaching an Interdisciplinary Course on the American Upper Class,” based on a course that I had taught periodically (the reading included Thorstein Veblen’s Theory of the Leisure Class, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, C. Wright Mills’ The Power Elite, and more—the class was always fun to teach).  Ohmann was an excellent editor, a pleasure to work with, and we subsequently traded emails now and then, including a few in April 2021 about another article I had written (this one was titled “The Corporatization of the Liberal Arts College: Even the Class Notes!”).

Ted Smith, by the way, out there in San Jose, California, has survived earthquakes, droughts, fires, and some health issues, but he keeps on truckin’, fighting for social justice and environmental issues, sitting on the boards of some nonprofits.  Larry Carver, who is Class Secretary for 1966, has retired after a distinguished career as an English professor at the University of Texas, Austin, and now lives in Rico, Colorado, doing some teaching, some writing, a lot of hiking, and taking some amazing photographs of majestic views.

Our classmate Don Gerber has had two careers, one as a rabbi and the other as a furniture salesman.  He retired from his rabbinical career in 1999, though he still periodically sends out rabbinical email missives to a large, mostly Jewish, group of recipients. He has continued to sell furniture to retailers. For the past two years, unable to travel because of the pandemic, he has done so online.  He tells me that “Over the past two years, the housing industry has been booming, and ‘cocooning’ has become today’s ‘lifestyle.’  ‘Staycationing’ is more than a word, it is a macro-trend.”  So, stuck in his hardship home base in Newport Beach, California, with his wife Bonnie, Don continues to sell furniture (and to root for Syracuse teams).

My high school and Wesleyan friend, Brian Frosh ’68 (Walter Johnson High School, ’64) makes an early appearance (page 9) in Jamie Raskin’s riveting book, Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy.  When Raskin’s 25-year-old son, Tommy, committed suicide, just days before the seditionist January 6 insurrection at the Capitol, Brian, described by Raskin as “my friend, Brian Frosh, attorney general of Maryland,” helped expedite the process by which police shared with Raskin the heartbreaking suicide note that Tommy had left behind.  Another Wesleyan alum, Dar Williams ’89, makes a touching appearance later in the book.

A few sets of notes ago, in reporting on my decision to retire in the spring of 2020, I mentioned that Guilford College, the small, Quaker-affiliated, liberal arts college where I taught for 45 years, was struggling to survive the double whammy of economic woes and the pandemic.  A few months later the college’s administration and board were well on their way to eliminating most of the school’s liberal arts majors and firing a good portion of the faculty, but, amazingly, more than 3,000 alumni organized under the rubric of “Save Guilford College” and persuaded the board to reverse course.  Guilford College now has a new president, most of the former senior administrators have departed, there are some new members of the board, and the board has a new chair.  I have written about this, an article titled “Organizing during the Pandemic: The AAUP and ‘Save Guilford College,’” which now has been published in the journal Academe.

I hope you have survived delta and omicron, and that you are vaccinated and boostered for whatever comes next.

If you send me more stuff about you for the next set of notes, I’ll write less about me.  Stay safe.

CLASS OF 1967 | 2021–2022 | WINTER ISSUE

One of the unanticipated benefits of being class secretary is that I periodically get emails from guys I have not seen, or even thought about, since I graduated, long, long, ago. Sometimes they are from people I barely knew, or didn’t know at all. About a month ago, I got one from Bud Smith, ’66, who I last saw in the spring of his senior year, when he was about to graduate. He was a waiter at the eating club at Eclectic. “Baby Bud,” some people called him. I had no idea what his major was, or very much about him, other than that he was a good-time presence at Eclectic.

Well, Baby Bud, it turns out, is a retired college professor of English and a writer. He wrote to ask me if I knew anything about the current whereabouts of our classmate, Benét McMillan. I told Bud that I last saw Benét in the fall of 1967 when he and I were at Columbia, me in a PhD program in social psychology, and Benét at the law school. Then 1968 happened, and I have had no contact with Benét. Interestingly, to me, and maybe to you, Bud included a link to an article that he wrote in 2011 about Benét and Benét’s family. It turns out that when Bud was in junior high school, living in Stratford, Connecticut, Benét’s family moved into the neighborhood Bud’s family lived in, and Bud and Benét went to the same high school, so Bud knew far more about Benét and his family than I ever did. For example: Benét’s father, a professor of history at the University of Bridgeport, was, as Bud puts it, “a personal acquaintance” of the poet, short story writer, and novelist, Stephen Vincent Benét, and named his son after him. Another example: his senior year of high school, Bud was the president of the student body, and Benét was the vice president. One more: Bud’s senior year at Wesleyan, Benét’s junior year, they roomed together at Eclectic, where Benét was the social chairman who brought the Chiffons (“Do lang do lang do lang . . . he’s so fine”) for a party at the house. I also learned that Bud was on Wesleyan’s golf team, which led me to ask myself, “Wesleyan had a golf team?”

Anyway, I can’t tell you much about Benét these days— he did become a lawyer—but I recommend Baby Bud’s 2011 article, “Lights in the Darkness,” published in the Tidal Basin Review.

In a recent set of class notes, I reported that Anthony Caprio retired as president of Western New England University after 24 years and I speculated that he must have done something right to have lasted in that position for so long, more than three times the average tenure for college presidents these days. I can now tell you more. He helped transform what was a small local college into a regional university with a national reputation. In the process, the school added graduate programs, including doctoral programs in behavior analysis, pharmacy, occupational therapy, and engineering management. This, in turn, meant that many major buildings were constructed (ten of the current 28 buildings). The school has received national rankings, including number five in the country, and number one in Massachusetts, for its graduates getting jobs. In a tribute to Anthony that appeared in the school’s alumni magazine, the author described him in the following way: “Cutting a distinguished figure whether walking through campus or leading the Commencement procession, he is famously approachable.” Before he retired, the school met and exceeded a $35 million fundraising campaign, its largest ever. The campaign included a $1 million “Caprio Challenge,” which also met and exceeded its target. Moreover, as part of a lasting tribute to his contributions to the school, the health and fitness center is now called the Anthony S. Caprio Alumni Healthful Living Center.

Anthony and his wife Dana continue to live in Wilbraham, Massachusetts, and spend much of the summer on the coastal Rhode Island beaches. Their son, Mark, is an associate professor of theoretical nuclear physics at Notre Dame.

Late in the game possible name change: Gary Conger ’66, tells me and other readers of his monthly art newsletter that he is considering changing the signature he uses on his paintings to “G. Branson Conger.” His classmate, J. French Wilson ’66, and his younger brother, E. Davis Conger ’68, seem to approve of the change. As I mentioned to him in an email, this nomenclature would put him in the company of three eminent sociologists who have studied the American power elite: C. Wright Mills, E. Digby Baltzell, and G. William Domhoff.

CLASS OF 1967 | 2021 | ISSUE 1

Classmates, let’s catch up on the responses to the first of a number of quiz questions I have posed in recent class notes columns. I asked if anyone knew about Ed McCune, who gave $6 million to Wesleyan and is listed as a classmate, though he was not in our face book and did not contribute anything to our 50th Reunion book. Three responses came in. The first was from Jeff Smith ’69, who thought McCune had transferred in sophomore or junior year, and remembered him as “a quiet guy, slight in stature, with short dark hair.” Then, Jon Squire, wrote to say McCune was “a transfer student who arrived (from California, I think) perhaps in our sophomore or maybe junior year. He was a member of Alpha Delta Phi. That is about all that I remember.”

     A third email arrived, from John Dooley, with more info about McCune. Dooley spent a fair amount of time with McCune at Alpha Delt.  McCune, John wrote, was from Petoskey, Michigan, and his family had roots in upper Michigan that went back a long time. In our senior year, McCune was accepted by the Wayne State University medical school, but he was ambivalent about going and John is not sure if he ever went (“I do not know if he ever started med school but there is no record of him being a licensed physician and there is nothing in his obituary about his career”).  John also notes:  “It seems he was a very private individual. . . . For some reason Ed called me ‘Chief.’” Am I the only one hearing reverberations of Jay Gatsby?

     John concludes: “So interesting that he gave back generously to Wes even though on the surface he did not seem to be at all engaged with the Wesleyan community as an undergraduate.” I must agree. I am sure our relatively unknown classmate, Ed McCune, is every college fundraiser’s dream come true.    

     And (I hear you ask) what about our classmates, Jon Squire and John Dooley? Well, after 49 years in the Bay Area, where he practiced medicine, Jon Squire (like your class secretary, long ago) took the culture shock challenge by moving from Northern California to the Piedmont of North Carolina. He now lives not far from me, in Winston-Salem, where he moved across the street from his daughter and two grandchildren.

     As for John Dooley, after a 40-year career as an ENT physician with special interest in ear surgery, he and wife Rosie retired to their small cattle ranch in the mountains between Reno and Tahoe. With four adult children and 14 grandchildren in the Reno area, they remain very involved in family events. Every year John and Rosie go to the Monterey/Big Sur area, not far from Santa Cruz, the home of Sam Nigh.  For the past few years, John and Sam have gotten together. John also has seen his fellow Alpha Delt, and a roommate for two years, Jim Bushyhead, a retired internist living in Seattle, and in the fall of 2019 he saw Aidan Jones, who, John reported, was “winding down his law practice in Washington, DC.”

     I also heard from Ted Smith, checking in as we approached the November 2020 election to see what I thought about what was likely to happen in North Carolina in our senatorial election and in the presidential election (he was part of a phone bank to support Cal Cunningham’s campaign for U.S. Senate). Ted has lived in San Jose since 1972. After receiving his law degree from Stanford, Ted founded three different nonprofits, each of which sought to make the high-tech electronics industry more sustainable (he was the executive director of the first of these, the Silicon Valley Toxic Coalition, for 25 years and is currently the coordinator of the International Campaign for Responsible Technology). Although he now has retired from most paid work, he remains active politically and was doing “too much travel” before the pandemic shut things down. He also hikes, rides his bike, and does some kayaking. He and his wife, Mandy, also a lawyer, have three children and five grandchildren, all of whom live in California.

     Had a nice, too-brief, masked and socially distanced visit here in Greensboro with Reuben (Johnny) Johnson and his wife Mary Watkins in November 2020, a few days before the election. They were driving back from a trip to Virginia to their home in Palm Beach, Florida. We caught up on family, gossiped about classmates, told virus stories, anticipated the outcome of the election, and wished we had more time.  Still, it was a treat to visit with them.

     In October 2019 our classmate Rick Beebe died in Santa Rosa, California. While serving in the Peace Corps in Turkey from 1967 to 1969, Rick met Pam, his wife of 51 years. They lived in New England for nine years and then moved to California.  Rick was vice president of corporate communications at Bank of America in San Francisco until his retirement in 2001. He was an avid backpacker (he noted in our 50th Reunion book that he had “trekked nearly 3,000 miles on all seven continents”), an active swim official for more than 30 years, and sang with the Sonoma Bach Choir. 

CLASS OF 1967 | 2020 | ISSUE 3


After 45 years teaching at Guilford College, I have joined the ranks of the retired. On March 16, in the middle of our spring break, I was scheduled to give a talk, the second stop on my two-stop speaking tour for a book I wrote about the college’s long-running noontime pick-up basketball game, GEEZERBALL: North Carolina Basketball at its Eldest (Sort of a Memoir). COVID-19 had arrived, and many events were being canceled. The woman who had invited me to give the talk called that day to see if I wanted to cancel, and she and I agreed to go ahead with the talk. We did, a surprisingly good crowd showed up (one, a former student, had flown down from New Jersey for this event), and we had a good time. Had it been scheduled just a day or two later, I am sure we would have canceled. By the end of that week, the college had shifted all classes to online instruction, and in almost every way my life and the lives of those around me changed dramatically. 

By the end of April, as I celebrated my 75th birthday, I decided to retire. Then, like many old retired guys, I found myself thinking back to my early days, especially my decision in 1973 to move from Santa Cruz, California, to Greensboro, North Carolina, for the teaching job at Guilford, a Quaker-affiliated school. I realized, quite belatedly, that I was the first Jew hired at the college, and this has led me to write another retrospective account (another “sort of a memoir”), this one titled Jews, Palestinians, and Friends: 45 Years at a Quaker College (Sort of a Memoir). This project has led me to think back to the Jews and the Quakers I knew at Wesleyan. Among the Jews in the class of 1967 were the three Jewish amigos, Don Gerber, Myron Kinberg, and Bernie Steinberg—I could probably name all the other Jewish students in our class as there were not very many. The two Quakers on campus that I remember most clearly (in part because they were the first Quakers I ever knew) were David Swift, a professor of religion I was fortunate to take a course with, and Bill Dietz ’66 (generally referred to by Barbara Davidson as “Doctor Doctor Dietz”). Writing this book helped to take my mind off the woes of my little Quaker college, which is struggling mightily to stay afloat, and also helped take my mind off the woes of our country.

As it turns out, I am not the only one who has retired after a long academic career. Our classmate, Tony Caprio, stepped down in June 2020, after 24 years as the president at Western New England University. Tony was the longest-serving president in the school’s 100-year history. Remaining in office as a college president for 24 years is quite an accomplishment—tenured faculty, if they avoid what typically in the profession is called “moral turpitude,” sometimes hang on until they have to be wheeled out, but college presidents only can continue in their jobs if their Boards of Trustees decide to renew their contracts. Given that the average tenure for a college president these days is down to 6.5 years (it was 8.5 years in 2006), it appears that Tony survived and seems to have thrived in a challenging job. 

At the end of my last set of class notes, I gave a quiz in which I asked for information about “the late Edward McCune ’67” who left $6 million to Wesleyan and allegedly was a classmate of ours. I now have received some info on him which I will share in my next set of notes. Let’s have another quiz, this one with four, perhaps easier, questions. First, who in our class has the most grandchildren?  Second, who since graduation has lived in the most states (for at least a year in each state)? Third, who has been married the most times?

 Finally, the fourth question. I have seen Springsteen five times (always great), Dylan three times (awful each time), and John Prine and James Taylor five or six times. Rick Voigt ’68 tells me that he has seen Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem, a band that includes some Wesleyan alums, five times. What musical performer have you seen the most frequently, and how many times?

 The answers to these questions might help you write your memoirs. Stay safe.

Richie Zweigenhaft |