CLASS OF 1972 | 2020 | ISSUE 1

I am sure all readers noted that in the previous issue the secretaries of the two preceding classes began their columns with “Aloha!” I did not and will keep that string intact. Connecticut winters are still fine by me.

Steve Alpert is now in British Columbia. “Enjoying growing blueberries, keeping an orchard, and working the garden under the gaze of the sea and a snow-capped volcanic Mt. Baker. Best news of all Sarah Alpert ’07 gave birth to a granddaughter in May, Aviva Olesen-Alpert. In a tangential way Wesleyan keeps spreading its wings even here in Victoria, B.C., as Sarah and her husband, Max, both teach with substance, verve, and passion.”

Mike Bober passed on the news that Geoff Rips was involved in organizing a Clean Water Act citizens suit against Formosa Plastics for pollution of Lavaca Bay. The suit resulted in the largest citizens suit settlement in U.S. history. See the Texas Tribune article. Geoff says they were worried about having the settlement approved “because the decision on the amount had to be cleared by the Dept. of Justice because the settlement amounts are in place of federal fees for EPA violations. Apparently, the DOJ has other things on its mind because it didn’t oppose this by the deadline.”

Mike added this personal reminiscence of Geoff, which in many ways sums up our particular class experience:

“In September, 1968 I heard about a guy from Texas in our class but didn’t realize I had already met him. Geoff can be very self-effacing, simply the last person to ever promote himself. When I visited San Antonio in the summer of 1970 and met his family, I began to understand how deeply rooted they were in the state—in its politics, its traditions, in the land itself. Over the last 50 years, Geoff has turned that same love of place into an art form. I never understood how he could continue to write fiction and poetry, when by day he wrote for and edited the Texas Observer; or, during Ann Richards’ administration, for Jim Hightower at the Agriculture Dept., and then for the Austin school district, as it struggled to accommodate an historic burst in population. Always, his work has been informed by the particular ground beneath his feet, and the incredibly diverse people who have come to compose that special part of America that has always been writ large.”

It’s been surprisingly tough getting news out of classmates for this issue. I sent out a broadside note asking, “How are you doing?” Rob Gelblum responded, “Better than I deserve.”

Steve Scheibe teaches global business “once in a while” at National University, still operates his consulting business doing handholding and export management Brazil, USA, and Mexico. He writes a blog mainly on Brazil and sometimes posts on the Wesleyan LinkedIn page. You can find the blog at allabroadconsulting.wordpress.com. He has been married to Angela for going on 47 years, with two sons (biotech and fireman), and four granddaughters, all local! “Smart people, ha!”

Peter Schwartz is still working one day a week in a medical center serving the uninsured and underinsured north of Philadelphia. He plans to work another 12-16 months before hanging it up forever. He love living in the Northeast and can’t see moving to warmer climates. His son, Jonathan ’00, loves Ann Arbor, Mich., despite the cold. He is head of middle school at the Greenhills School there.

Paul Vidich has two bits of news:

“First, I have embarked upon an effort to create a micro history of the Wesleyan’s film program 1968-1972, which happens to coincide with our years there. I started this project after reading the laudatory article on Jeanine in the most recent Wesleyan magazine, and I noticed there was hardly any mention of the program’s origin and early years. I spoke with Jeanine and she was extremely supportive of the idea, in part because the class of 1972 provided the first real funding for the film program during our 25th Reunion. So far, I have interviewed Jeanine, Colin Campbell Hon. ’98, Richard Slotkin, Laurence Mark ’71, Mark Levin, Raffaele Donato, Jan Eliasberg ’74, Dave Williams, and Stephen Schiff. I hope to catch up with everyone in our class that took a course with Jeanine. Of course, they university has not records of who took what classes then. Could you mention this project in the class notes and encourage any classmates who took one of Jeanine’s classes to email me at paulvidich@gmail.com.

Second, my third book, The Coldest Warrior, which publishes Feb. 4, has received a starred book review from Publishers Weekly, which said: “With this outing, Vidich enters the upper ranks of espionage thriller writers.” I will be on a five-city, winter book tour with a stop in Middletown. More can be found at paulvidich.com.”

John Manchester has published If I Fell, a sequel to Never Speak A novella prequel will shortly appear.

Leon Vinci gives us this report on recent activities:

“Went up to Middletown last month for a visit and popped-in to O’Rourke’s Diner for breakfast on my way to a national council meeting on health and safety codes with the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) headquartered in Chelsea, Mass. (I am a 10-year board member). From there, as the delegate for the Yale Club of Southwestern Virginia (that other CT school just down the road from Wes U), I went back to New Haven for the annual Assembly of the Yale Alumni Association and attended ‘THE Game’ (Yale-Harvard football at Yale Bowl). You may have heard: this contest was a classic in that Yale came from behind (down by 3 touchdowns at one point) and won in the last 20 seconds!  That achievement followed a prolonged half-time break—due to the sit-in demonstration on the 50-yard line wherein both Harvard and Yalies protested their alma mater’s investments in fossil fuel companies in recognition of the need to take action concerning climate change (my MPH in environmental health is from the Yale School of Medicine’s Public Health program). Ah, reminds me of the good ol’ days!

“Presently, I am tutoring STEM students at Virginia Western College (in Roanoke), as well as grading my recent Project Management in Healthcare course at Drexel University (I’m an adjunct faculty member there). In my role as Policy Chair of the APHA Environment Section Committee on Climate and Health we are preparing testimony concerning the proposed EPA effort (aka the current Administration) to ‘dumb-down’ the role of science in their rule-making process.”

David Hagerty and his wife Louise continue to live in Great Barrington, Mass., having moved from Boston after 28 years in 2016. He continues to do executive coaching at the Harvard Business School in their senior level executive development and owner-president programs several times a year. In addition, he is involved with the Berkshire Guild of Artists exhibiting his photography in local art shows. Louise and Dave are also involved with a choral group, Berkshire’s Sings. They spend time with their grandchildren and traveling internationally.

Tom Edmondson offered to join a demonstration outside Moscow Mitch’s office “for fair trial procedure.” Unfortunately, with the lag in publishing this magazine by the time you all read this the demonstrators will likely be long gone. But he says, with respect to future demonstrations, “My slovenly suburban hovel would be open to anyone who can tolerate it overnight to take a stand for fairness and democracy.”

And finally, this obligatory plug for our Reunion, which will be great and to which everyone should come: The 50th Reunion is May 19-22, 2022. Reunion news and news about regional events can be found at wesleyan.edu/classof1972. Join the committee and work on outreach, programming, or fundraising. Questions or want to get involved? Contact Kate Quigley Lynch ’82, P’17, ’19 at klynch@wesleyan.edu or 860/685-5992.

Seth A. Davis | sethdavis@post.harvard.edu
213 Copper Square Drive, Bethel, CT 06801

CLASS OF 1972 | 2019 | ISSUE 3

Once again the highlight of the summer was the (fifth annual) Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival, the creation of Lloyd Komesar ’74. This year I attended every possible screening (except those for kids and the one show at midnight, which is now past my bedtime), saw 20 different films, most of them excellent, and got to spend time with even more Wes people than ever before. First time festival goers Tom Halsey and Dennis Kesden joined veterans Mike Arkin, Mike Busman, Steve Goldschmidt, and yours truly, plus spouses and significant others. I won’t try to name all the attendees from other classes, but it was particularly good to see Arthur Fierman ’74 for the first time since Wes, as well as to spend a good deal of time at Mike McKenna’s [’73] estate up the road in Weybridge. The highlight, as always, was the Wesleyan reception at Sivan Cote’s [’05] Stonecutter Spirits, where we got to sample Sivan’s new Adventure Whiskey (for me every whiskey is an adventure) and to meet Nikhil Melnechuk ’07, whose film, Don’t Be Nice, was one of the festival prize winners. Everyone should think about going to the festival next year. You’ll get to spend some time in Middlebury in lovely weather (okay, so the skiing sucks in August), you’ll see some great films, and you’ll get to see a whole lot of Wespeople. And, as Lyn Lauffer ’74 pointed out, you will enjoy your next Wesleyan Reunion even more after going to MNFF.

Steve Alpert sent me a link to a story he posted on his website dedicated to Indonesian art and culture in which he tells of getting a bungai terong (eggplant flower blossom) tattoo, and how that tattoo saved him from being attacked by a deadly poisonous snake. See it at artoftheancestors.com. As Steve relates, there are two types of people in the tattooing ceremony—those who cry and bleed a lot, and those who are brave and bleed little. Steve, of course, falls into the latter category.

We lost Tim Atwood ’73 on July 12. He practiced law in Connecticut, specializing in litigation, and primarily representing the firearms industry. As his LinkedIn profile states, “I’ve represented almost all of the major gun companies. National trial counsel for three, currently vice president and general counsel for Charter Arms. A long list of insurance clients and Fortune 500 clients also. I currently handle administrative regulation issues in the firearms industry, commercial real estate development projects, personal injury, and workmen’s comp matters. I’ve handled enough cases in southern Connecticut that there is usually a chorus of ‘Hi, Tim’ when I walk into a courthouse.”

Peter Clark received the University College of London School of Management Award for Best Lecturer in the Master’s in Management Programme. He told Mike Carlson he was wearing a Mets jersey under his doctoral robes when he received the award.

Finally, I got back in touch with Jim Cacciola, whom I had not seen since our fifth Reunion. Had a lovely dinner with Jim and his partner, Dave, during a recent visit to Boston. It was a delightful reminder of what a good, decent, compassionate man Jim always was. He is now retired after a career as an internist in Boston. Yet another reminder of what a great bunch of people that Admissions Office put together! Jim says he will be at our 50th, and I hope you all will as well!

Seth A. Davis | sethdavis@post.harvard.edu
213 Copper Square Drive, Bethel, CT 06801

CLASS OF 1972 | 2019 | ISSUE 2

Those missives reminding you about our upcoming 50th Reunion bore some fruit, as Andy Feinstein got a note from his freshman year roommate, David Hamilton, whom none of us had seen since graduation. David has had a long career as a social worker and health care administrator in England, and he offered to pay Andy a visit during an upcoming visit to the States. So, Andy set up a lunch at his gorgeous home in Stonington, arranged for the first sunny day of the spring, and invited a number of his classmates. Besides David and his wife, Cindy; Andy and his wife, Liz; Elisa ’76 and me; present were Paul Vidich and his wife, Linda; and Mike Kaloyanides and his wife, Sheila. A truly lovely time, although all of us realized that we weren’t actually all that close at Wesleyan. But we all have so much in common now, and it was great being together.

I, in my role of class rememberer, did recall how David had a date come down from Wheaton in February of 1969, and she then got stranded at Wes by the enormous blizzard of ’69. Sure enough, that’s the same Cindy, and they will celebrate their 50th anniversary next spring. Now that is true love!

As for the other attendees, Paul is now a fully fledged man of letters, with two spy novels published (read them!) and another in the works. Mike is retired as professor of music at the University of New Haven. Andy is still actively practicing education law—the defender of special needs students and their families and the bane of school districts throughout the Northeast.

Elisa and I have been enjoying the proximity of our still-new location to Wesleyan and other Connecticut friends. We have enjoyed a few events on campus, and I have made a couple of New Haven pizza runs with Dr. Kaloyanides—one on the post-Super Bowl visit of Michael Carlson, the other after a visit to the Yale Gallery with our wives.

Steve Alpert has created a nonprofit educational site dedicated to Indonesian art and culture: artoftheancestors.com. The artwork is drawn from 40 museums with the idea of creating an interactive platform between scholars, academics, collectors, and stakeholders of the finest pieces in the public domain. There is also an active news blog with content being added constantly. Something, Steve says, to keep one going into old age. Steve, of course, owes the inception of this adventure to his Wesleyan experience. He enjoyed being at Wesleyan for the visit of the Sultan of Jogjakarta.

Finally, I have to report the sad news of the passing of Kevin Kulick in February, after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. Kevin was a dermatologist in Buffalo, and is remembered by many as one of the nicest people in our class. Mike Busman and Dennis Kesden visited with him in Arizona before his passing. They reported that despite his illness he retained his sense of humor and positive presence. Neil Clendeninn ’71, secretary of the class of 1971, knew Kevin well, and will have more to say in his class notes.

Seth A. Davis | sethdavis@post.harvard.edu
213 Copper Square Drive, Bethel, CT 06801

CLASS OF 1972 | 2019 | ISSUE 1

Let’s start with some news from Leon Vinci. Stepping down from his role as national technical advisor on Climate Change for the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), he remains active with their Climate Change Committee. As a leader in climate change and health, he was invited to attend the Climate Change International Summit in Washington, D.C., in May.

During the second international Enhancing Environmental Health Knowledge (EEK): Vectors and Public Health Pests Virtual Conference in May, Leon’s presentation covered “Emerging Diseases and Vectors Related to Changes in Climate.” In June, he presented a paper entitled “What New Bugs are Telling Us About Climate Change “at the NEHA Annual Educational Conference in Anaheim, Calif. During that meeting he participated on an expert panel covering: “Collaborative Advances in Climate Change Policy at National Levels.” Along with chairing the educational track on Citizen Science at the National Environmental Monitoring Conference, he presented two papers on topics in citizen science, including “Global Examples of Citizen Science Policy” and “The Linkage of Citizen Science with Climate Change.” These events were in addition to his children’s health course, which he taught over the summer at the College of and Health Professions at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

Steve Schiff was one of the producers of The Americans, which is now reaping well-deserved awards (Golden Globe, Critics Choice). He is working as the showrunner for Lucasfilm’s prequel to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Since it will show on Disney+ we should not expect a lot of sex.

Roger Jackson led a fall tour through India last fall. Wes connections on the tour included Frank Levering ’74, Frank’s sister Betsy Morgan, Hon. ’97, one-time teacher at Wes and spouse of Professor of History Emeritus David Morgan, and Kristin Bloomer ’89, associate professor of religion at Carleton College, from which Roger retired a few years ago.

Ron Ashkenas is co-author of the Harvard Business Review Leader’s Handbook, published last fall by Harvard Business Press. The aim of the book is to help aspiring and existing leaders understand the small number of fundamental practices they need to master throughout their careers—and not get lost in the “noise” about leadership that is around these days. Ron and his co-author interviewed 40 successful leaders across a number of industries, including Wesleyan’s Michael Roth ’78.

“Michael was quite gracious in spending time to discuss his views on leadership,” Ron reports, “and the book includes a wonderful vignette about the process he used for reaching consensus about a ‘unifying vision’ for Wesleyan. If you get hold of the book, you’ll find it on page 38.”

Mike Kaloyanides is one of the contributors to the newly published Greek Music in America. The book is an anthology of essays exploring Greek music traditions in America. To quote Dan Georgakas, the blurb writer, “This is a landmark work in Greek American studies. Comprehensive essays and thumbnail portraits chronicle popular, rebetiko, regional, and sacred music in Greek America. The various contributors deal authoritatively with the subtle interactions between immigrant and mainstream culture. A must-read for anyone interested in the Greek diaspora or ethnic cultures in America.” The book is published by the University Press of Mississippi.

And, finally, I am pleased to add this important reminder: Our 50th Reunion is May 19-22, 2022. The Reunion Committee will be reaching out to folks to collect up-to-date contact information. Look for pre-Reunion regional events and if close by, attend! Want to get involved or haven’t heard from one of us? Contact Kate Quigley Lynch ’82, P’17, ’19 at klynch@wesleyan.edu or 680/685-5992. And, check out wesleyan.edu/classof1972 for the latest news.

Seth A. Davis | sethdavis@post.harvard.edu
213 Copper Square Drive, Bethel, CT 06801

CLASS OF 1972 | 2018 | ISSUE 3

It was a busy spring for Bruce Hearey. He was awarded an MA in humanities from John Carroll University (alma mater of Don Shula and Tim Russert)—it took him 10 years, and he greatly enjoyed what he correctly identified as the COL experience, taking courses in history, literature, and art history. He wrote his thesis on Charles Ives (tipping his hat to the late Dick Winslow ’40, who introduced Ives to Bruce in 1971), got much better grades than he did at Wesleyan, and refuses to answer any questions about what he will actually do with that degree. Then, at his 50th Andover reunion, Bruce was inducted into their sports hall of fame, where he joins Bill Belichick ’75, Andover class of ’71, and George Bush, Andover class of ’43. Most important (and not to slight the news in my next paragraph), Bruce became a grandfather. Son Leif Dormsjo ’97 and his wife, Kristin, welcomed Sven Olsson Dormsjo into the world.

Bruce journeyed to Santa Fe to attend Bruce Throne’s wedding to Alaina Speraw. This is Bruce Throne’s second and last wedding. Earlier in the year he took Alaina to her (and Wesleyan’s) first alumni event in Santa Fe, and she now understands the Wes Diaspora and how women changed Wes for the better after they enrolled.

Leon Vinci celebrated his 50th high school reunion in, yawn, Middletown. He was in the second graduating class at Xavier High School. Leon is living in Roanoke, Va., and although in a “semi-retired status,” is doing health and environmental management consulting work.He is an adjunct professor with Drexel University and active in chair positions with national professional organizations addressing climate change. If that isn’t enough to keep him busy, he sits on the national Joint Task Force for DHS and DHHS in the area of public health and healthcare emergencies; and he chairs a subcommittee on cybersecurity and public health and health care emergencies. And next year he will be able to brag that all of his kids have attained their master’s degrees—Laura has her MBA now, and Doug and Michael are getting their master’s degrees then.

John Manchester’s novel, Never Speak, is due to be published in January. You can learn more at johnkmanchester.com. Note the blurb from Steve Schiff.

Keeping with the theme of Wheeler’s Egyptian Dog (they opened for the Byrds at the hockey rink—remember?), Dan Gleich is anticipating a San Francisco meet-up with Manchester, Schiff, and Peter Stern. Dan says he is edging into retirement—working half-time, but not feeling any less busy.

Win Watson succinctly states how Wesleyan helped him:

“a. Took neurobiology and oceanography senior year, as well as an education class. Now I am a full professor teaching neuroscience at the University of New Hampshire (UNH), and my research involves marine biology.

b. Soccer team: I still play a bit, but more important, I coached my son’s youth teams and at one point we won a state championship.

c. Golf team: Still play and I’ve had my share of success.

d. Fraternity and friends: I can still drink and goof around with the best of them.”

Moving over to the other UNH, the one in New Haven, the following from the recently retired Michael Kaloyanides: “Sheila and I will be sailing on the fall Semester at Sea around the world voyage. I will be a visiting professor teaching courses on world music and the history of Rock and Roll. Sheila will be the lifelong learner coordinator on the ship. This will be our sixth voyage with the program and we will be visiting Spain, Ghana, South Africa, Mauritius, India, Burma, Vietnam, China, Japan, and Hawaii before disembarking in San Diego. We now have three grandchildren under the age of 2-and-a-half: Julia, Jane, and Will. Son Nathan lives in Northport, N.Y.; daughter Alexandra is an assistant professor of religion at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte; and daughter Elizabeth is legal counsel for the Bose Corporation and lives in Needham, Mass.”

Jerry Ryan is retired and living in Greenville, S.C. He plays golf, does volunteer work, and travels.

Speaking of travels, Elisa ’76 and I went to Paris in June, where I chaired a panel on international law and climate change at a big ABA conference. Besides just being there and revisiting some favorite spots from my 1970 COL semester (the only thing missing were the pinball machines in the cafes), the highlight was visiting and having dinner with Bonnie Krueger and her husband, Thomas Bass. This was the end of Bonnie’s final term running Hamilton College’s program in Paris, and we got to sample some of the wines, cheeses, and saucissons they have accumulated over the years. After we left, Bonnie got swept up in the fever of France’s World Cup triumph, which was celebrated openly and loudly throughout her Saint Germain neighborhood.

In August we had our annual trip to Lloyd Komesar [’74]’s Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival. Not only was it better than ever, but our own Mike Arkin actually appeared in one of the films, as Harvey Weinstein. Very creepy. First time attendees included Mike Busman, Harold Sogard ’74, and Judy Hirschberg Atwood ’74.

Please help us get a big turnout for our 50th Reunion in May 2022. Yes, it’s a long time away, but we are seriously reaching out to everyone. Please send news, and help us contact folks who have not been at prior Reunions.

Seth A. Davis | sethdavis@post.harvard.edu
213 Copper Square Drive, Bethel, CT 06801

CLASS OF 1972 | 2018 | ISSUE 2

I begin with the sad news of Manfred Stassen’s death. COL students and other philosophers and Germanisten knew him as a one-of-a-kind teacher, philosopher, homme de lettres, and chess expert. An edited version of a tribute by Mark Gelber appears in the Letters section; the full text is on our class notes page at magazine.wesleyan.edu.

Elisa ’76 and I had a wonderful week driving to and from a meeting in Charleston, S.C., seeing several classmates on the way. One of our stops was Smithfield, N.C., which you will undoubtedly recognize as the home of Bob Spence. Not only did Bob return to his hometown after law school, he is running what was his father’s law practice, and living in his boyhood home. We were treated to a lovely dinner at the Spence Manse, catching up on the past 46 years. Bob’s lovely wife, Carol, remarked how Bob constantly talks about how much his time at Wesleyan, particularly the spring of 1970 in Paris with the COL, meant to him, and she was interested in finally meeting someone who was there with him. Bob is trying to figure out how to disengage from his legal practice, which is doubly hard for him since he has a profound commitment to serving his individual clients.

On our way back, we dined with Rob Gelblum and his wife, Mary Lou, in Raleigh. Rob is having a good deal less difficulty disengaging from practicing law and is doing more musical performing. His family moved to Carolina from Philadelphia right as he started at Wes, to the great consternation of Rob and his brothers, but he quickly grew to love the area and has enjoyed living there.

In Chapel Hill we visited with Elisa’s classmate, Ted Shaw ’76 and his lovely family. Ted, a renowned civil rights attorney, teaches at UNC School of Law.

And returning home through the Capital area we visited with Bonnie Blair, who is a double classmate of mine—law school, too. Bonnie is ratcheting down her practice and preparing for her son Ross’s wedding in the fall.

Bob Withey is living with Leslie Walleigh (Brown ’71), high on their well-gardened hill in coastal Rockport, Maine, where he plows yards of snow, builds even more rock walls, coaches tennis, and serves as an ad hoc counselor and formal librarian at Camden Hills Regional High School. Their two daughters, Charlotte and Lauren, and a grandson, Benji, live in Marin County, Calif., so maintaining a balanced environmental carbon account is challenging. Richard Aroneau ’71 and Barbara Biddle Richardson ’74 are the local Wes connections. Bob’s dad, George Withey Jr. ’45, an assistant VP for business affairs from 1969-1976, died in July 2017 at age 93. George and his wife, Nancy Roe Withey, had a very interesting life together for 73 years. A favorite memory for Bob was marching with his parents during Reunion 2010 beside fellow World War II alumni up High Street past Eclectic House where George lived as a student and North College where he worked.

After 39 years of day-to-day practice as a general internist and geriatrician, Peter Schwartz is retiring. He has some volunteer positions lined up and a variety of hobbies to which he hopes to devote more time. Visiting with family members and traveling should take care of the rest of his time. Son Jonathan Schwartz ’00 is head of middle school at the Green Hills School in Ann Arbor, Mich., and Peter has a son in Osaka, Japan. His daughter and all his other stepkids and grandkids (10 total) live with him in the Philadelphia area.

Mike Hurd’s son, A.J., is graduating high school this year. Plus, he just got a 9-month-old, 60-pound black lab mix rescue “puppy.” Following a familiar theme, Mike moved back to his hometown, New Hartford, N.Y., living within sight of his boyhood home. Mike is still working, for the Trane side of Ingersoll Rand, and still enjoys the people and the benefits and the reason to get out of his PJs every day. His brother, Doug ’76, lives nearby and they often talk about the differences as freshmen between ’68 and ’72. “From wild to focused in just a few years.”

Since hanging up his reporter’s notebook two years ago, Randall Pinkston has been trying his hand at teaching. He was an adjunct at Stony Brook University School of Journalism and the University of Mississippi Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

He wrote me from there, trying to remember what he forgot in law school (UConn ’80) so he could teach communications law in the May intersession. “Working around the clock—three-and-a-half-hour lectures for 10 days. Whew!” Randall says his wife, Patricia, still allows him to live with her in Teaneck. Their daughter, Ada ’05, is a Baltimore-based performance artist and teaches art in Lanham, Md.

Finally, Mark Gelber is about to receive the highest distinctions awarded to civilians by the Austrian Government—the Österreichisches Ehrenkreuz für Wissenschaft und Kunst, 1. Klasse. That’s the Austrian Medal of Honor for Science and Art, First Class, folks. (Naturally, first class.)

Seth A. Davis | sethdavis@post.harvard.edu
213 Copper Square Drive, Bethel, CT 06801

CLASS OF 1972 | 2018 | ISSUE 1

Believe it or not, planning efforts are already underway for our 50th Reunion. That’s going to happen in the spring of 2022. Many of us are already working to make this Reunion the greatest ever. We would like to bring as many classmates back to campus as possible. So, if you’ve not been to a Reunion in recent years—or ever—this is the one to go to and now is the time to start planning. We are setting up a novel “class council”—not to plan the Reunion itself but to work on reaching out to people from whom we haven’t heard in a while. If you are interested in helping in this effort in any way, please let me, or Andy Feinstein or Bob White know.

Roger Jackson retired from Carleton College in June 2016, after nearly 30 years of teaching Asian religions there. It’s well-nigh impossible, he says, to quit academia cold turkey, though, so he’s continued to keep his hand in, by giving talks, writing articles and reviews, finishing up a book on Buddhist meditation, advising students, and teaching off and on at Carleton and at Maitripa, a small Buddhist college in Portland, Ore. He is also enjoying, as always, family, friends, travel, poetry, good food, and baseball—but the current political climate not so much. “Watching Burns and Novick’s Vietnam series has been sobering, and a reminder that things not only could be worse, but have been.”

Of all the subjects of “whatever happened to?” queries, none were more frequent—or more futile—than those concerning George Walker. On New Year’s Day, a story in the New London Day gave us the answers. George left Wesleyan to join the Black Panthers, but became disillusioned. “It was clear we were not just overmatched,” he explained. “This was a flea against an elephant.” Disillusion led to heroin, and robberies to pay for it. George spent, by his own estimate, 13 years in prison, including a term for a bank robbery in Connecticut. In 2000 he moved to Florida, earned his undergraduate degree, and eventually earned a PhD in mental health counseling from Barry University. George’s dissertation, growing out of his own experience with long-term addiction, analyzed the concept of “ambiguous loss,” where the bereavement process has no closure, and where existing knowledge provides little help in processing such issues. How wonderful that our own ambiguous loss has now been addressed. And how wonderful for George to be able to help others deal with such situations.

John Manchester has signed a deal with TCK Publishing for three novels of psychological suspense—Never Speak, If I Fell, and The Girl in the Game. Two of them, he says, especially the second, have Wesleyan stuff hidden in them. Can’t wait!

I am sad to report that Rick Blake died in December, after months of a debilitating illness. Rick was an obstetrician and gynecologist, and taught those fields at the Howard University College of Medicine. His obituary noted that he majored in biology at Wesleyan, ran track, and played racquetball “for kill.” One Wesleyan racquetball opponent reported that while he, himself, did not like to lose, Rick disliked losing even more.

Finally, I spent a couple of wonderful days in Scottsdale this January with Dennis Kesden, who is now fully retired from the ophthalmology practice he shared with his wife Sherry. I have to say that Dennis has figured out his retirement as precisely as he figured out his life. He and Sherry met in medical school, and jointly picked ophthalmology as their field, as they saw the possibility, as individual practitioners, of doing exciting and innovative procedures out of their own office. That is precisely what they did, practicing together in an office they built on Long Island. Now, as is the trend in healthcare all over, they have sold the building and the practice, and live next to one of 27 fairways in a lovely golf community a short distance from their two grandchildren. It was great to see Dennis in a relaxed setting and talk about old times.

Speaking of families, I haven’t talked about mine lately. My older son, Mark, and his wife, Jenny, bought a house in Peekskill, N.Y., a short distance from the ancestral home. Mark is working at (brace yourselves…) West Point—as a labor economics analyst for the Army and Department of Defense. My younger son, Kevin, lives in our true ancestral home—the Bronx. In fact, he lives within walking distance of my parents’ homes, and the high schools (and one college) they attended. He works in the New York City 311 Call Center, answering inquiries and complaints on anything from parking regulations, noise, and garbage pickups, to protestations of innocence from Rikers Island inmates. He loves public service and is growing to appreciate the amazing variety of life in NYC.

Seth A. Davis | sethdavis@post.harvard.edu
213 Copper Square Drive, Bethel, CT 06801