CLASS OF 1974 | 2021–2022 | WINTER ISSUE

Jan Eliasberg spent most of the year doing a “virtual” book tour for her debut novel, Hannah’s War (Little, Brown and Co.). Among many highlights was an “all Wesleyan Zoom book club,” organized and hosted by Stephanie Rosenfeld ’82. Paul Vidich ’72, author of The Mercenary, named Hannah’s War one of the ten best books featuring female spies. Hannah’s War was recently named a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award in Fiction.

Jan has partnered with producers Rian Johnson and Ram Bergman (Star Wars: The Last Jedi; Knives Out; Tales of Love and Darkness) and their company, T Street, to make the film of Hannah’s War; she’s currently adapting her book into screenplay form.

Jan’s daughter, Sariel Friedman ’19, spent 2020 immersed in political campaigning: first for Biden/Harris in Pennsylvania, then for Ossoff and Warnock in Georgia.

John Gardner writes, “I completed 46 years of work at Avon Old Farms School this past May and have semi-retired. I still will coach the hockey team and help with admissions and alumni and development in the upcoming year to keep me busy. While I was full time at Avon, I was a math teacher, advisor, athletic director, provost, and for the last 21 years, the associate head of school. A great lifestyle and always fun working with teenagers. I live off campus now in Simsbury, Connecticut, with my wife, Miriam, and enjoy my four grandchildren who live nearby.”

Monique Witt shares, “Ben is back on tour, Dev is launching the second line of monitors from ExMachina Soundworks, Steve just signed up the Canadian National/Kansas City Southern and MedLine deals, and I’m prepping the upcoming recording sessions: solo piano, trio and sextet. I’m also back playing daily tennis and reading more math again (which is hard).”

News below provided by Harold Sogard:

Scott Karsten died suddenly from a heart attack in January. He was on the wrestling team at Wes. He became a very successful trial lawyer in Connecticut, and led the suit by Deke against the University.

Steve Burton sadly died by suicide sometime late last year or early this year. He was, along with our other recently passed classmate Dick Fairbrother, a starting guard on the basketball team at Wes. He went on to a long and distinguished career with the global advertising agency, DDB.”

Scott Langner died in May. He will be known forever among those who were at Wes at the same time as “the Wave.” Here is his obituary:

Claudia Catania reports, “Our grandson, Linden, turned three in June. His brother, Paxton, is a robust 10-month old. As of a year ago, their family moved to Denver although they still have a thriving business, their restaurant 1000 Figs, in New Orleans. Our other son, Max, teaches digital art at High Tech High, which is a charter school in San Diego committed to experiential learning. John Cady ’71, my husband, and I are officially living in Hillsdale, New York, although I still shuttle to New York for meetings and recordings. If you like good storytelling, acting, and podcasts, subscribe to Playing on Air! We just recorded Hank Azaria and Jonathan Groff for the first time back in the studio since early March of 2020. Remote recording was getting crazy. Much better now! Also better with Harold Sogard on our board!”

Suzzanne Rosselot shares, “I was a transfer student and so appreciated my education at Wesleyan. My retirement date is June 24. I am closing my private practice after 45 years as a clinical social worker. I loved my work and I look forward to leisure time and spending more time with family.”

Charlie Cocores continues to be very active with Habitat for Humanity. Read on . . . “We have had Harold Sogard on a few Habitat builds in the past . . . he was a great asset to the group! We’re retired in Pawleys Island, South Carolina. Carol and I are organizing a Habitat for Humanity build for the local Georgetown, South Carolina, Habitat Affiliate. We did two Georgetown County Habitat for Humanity week-long builds. The builds were October 6­–13 and October 20–27, 2021.  If you’ve never done one of these they are rewarding, fantastic fun, new friend making and memory making! They are also a way to ‘try out’ volunteer tourism for a future Habitat International build in another country.

“Each week-long build includes two cultural-historical-recreation days. . . . Evenings include going out to dinner, then usually to hear music, socialize, dance or have a drink. We have had people in their 20s to their 80s participate in the past, and there is some job or task almost everyone can do at their own pace. The point of the builds is to raise money for the local Habitat’s work, laugh, make friends, and do some good for the local community. The work includes some new construction, repair work on houses, volunteering in the HFH Restore and various other jobs . . . .

“House recipients actually buy the home and pay for it over decades with a no-interest mortgage, the tradition of which is directly from the Bible. Recipients, most whom would not qualify for a conventional mortgage, must work to pay for the Habitat mortgage and also put in hundreds of hours volunteering on their home or for Habitat in other capacities. It truly is a ‘hand up not and out’ model.”

For more information contact Carol (860–304–2667) or Charlie Cocores (860–304–2668) at cocoshfh@gmail.

Randolph “R.N.A.” Smith writes: “My eighth golf book should be out by December.  Quadruple Birdie is a historical novel focused on the mental and physical trials facing Ben Hogan and his Texan rivals on the tour in 1950.”

Sharon Purdie writes, “Our son, Jeff, and his wife, Alyssa, are the proud parents of Blake Sybertz, born on May 13. Other than visiting them, we continue to enjoy running, bicycling, swimming, skiing, kayaking, and sailing on our new X-Yachts 4.3 sailboat.”

CLASS OF 1974 | 2021 | ISSUE 1

Monique Witt reports, “My younger son Ben was just named among finalists, 2020 JazzTimes Poll for best new artist and best new instrumentalist, and Dev, my older, was just reviewed by Brian Bender (TapeOp) for his groundbreaking monitor technology, and ExMachina is doing well.  Who knew two attorneys would produce musicians?  I was assured ducks had ducks.  Steve is working way too hard from the family room chair, and I’m still working on book on aesthetic philosophy with running partner (curator at Cooper Hewitt), running early morning and booking three albums (all jazz, different formats) to record early July.”

Blaise Noto is still teaching at Barton College in North Carolina and still loving life in Chapel Hill.  Also, he has been active with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences serving on numerous committees including the Feature Animation and the International Film Nominating Committees for the Oscars, as well as the Student Academy Awards and Nichols Fellowship Awards for Screenwriting. 

Also, this year, he has been virtually interviewing applicants to Wesleyan not only in the USA but internationally from Moldova, Kathmandu, Moscow, China and Istanbul. 

Finally, he already received both COVID vaccinations thanks to the amazing efforts of Duke University Healthcare.  

Pat Mulcahy shares:  “Listed below is a little squib I did for a blog. I am really happy to have three projects coming out in one year–not the usual! The book business has weathered the pandemic in pretty good shape all things considered. And as someone who has long worked from home, I’ve been very fortunate. No vaccination yet–NYC is currently short of supply. I hope to get a slot at Citifield where the Mets play, which is supposed to operate 24/7. Not operational yet….

My neighborhood in Queens was the epicenter of the epicenter last March, a ghost town of screaming sirens. A year later, it is a very lively place, much more so than Manhattan. There are vendors on every street corner selling masks, kitchen appliances, arepas, tamales, and even toys. And the outdoor dining structures are packed with customers. Hope is in the air….now we just have to deal with the thirty people (is it that many??) running for mayor.   

2021 got off to a great start with the publication of Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour (Houghton Mifflin), a first novel I reviewed back in 2019. This workplace satire in the format of a sales manual follows the path of a young Starbucks barista who transforms himself into a super salesman at a tech start-up. It attracted attention from the get-go, with a rave endorsement from Colson Whitehead, who called it “full of verve and dark, comic energy.” Soon it was a selection of Jenna Bush Hager’s Today Show book club. And on 1/17 it hit The New York Times bestseller list! Mateo made the ultimate sale….

 This April, Vertel Publishing will release a business memoir, Authentic, by the founder of the Vans shoe company, Paul Van Doren. I worked with ace editor Amanda Murray to integrate Paul’s business lessons with his personal narrative in this very American story of a high-school dropout from a blue-collar Boston family who worked his way up the ladder in the sneaker trade, wound up in cahoots with a crew of renegade skater kids in Southern California, and never looked back. A fascinating look at the making of an iconic American brand. 

In the fall, Mango Publishing will release Alex Amouyel’s The Answer is You: Creating a Life Full of Impact. Alex is the Executive Director of MIT’s Solve, an accelerator platform that supports innovators, inventors, and social impact entrepreneurs. Her guide is aimed primarily at millennials and GenZers who want to craft a life of purpose above all. I am her collaborator on this timely and vividly detailed book.” 

John McLucas’ second novel, Spirit’s Tether, the sequel to his debut novel Dialogues on the Beach (2017), came out in late 2020 from BrickHouse Books in Baltimore.  It continues the story 20+ years later, and explores issues like mourning, coming out, marriages gay and straight, attachments across the generations, the seasons of an academic career, and sex in maturity.  There is a lot of local Baltimore color, some trips to Italy, and music sacred and profane.  Ask for it at your favorite independent book store; it is also available, on paper or as an eBook, on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other sites. 

Jonathan Weiss writes:  “I live in Andover, Mass. with my partner Bonny,  and work in the next town as an outpatient psychiatrist.  Currently doing all appointments by phone.  Things are busy, as you can imagine.  For fun I play guitar and sing, ski (except this winter,) and do puzzles.   My eldest Sam lives in Palo Alto,  and works as CTO for a startup called Instrumental. He and his wife Alice had a girl six weeks ago.  My father Herbert (Wesleyan ’48) died in October,  so I went quickly from being a son to a grandfather. My daughter Hannah (Wesleyan ’12)  lives in Australia, she is a citizen there and it’s a long flight to see her.  She loves it there.” 

The extended family of Scott Michael Karsten, of Glastonbury, is heartbroken to announce his passing on January 6, 2021. Scott was embarking on a Florida RV adventure to escape the New England winter when he died suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack. Scott was born to Harold J. Karsten, Jr. and Jayne Gourley Karsten on October 2, 1951 in Oklahoma City, OK. The eldest of four children, Scott was the lovable “sheriff” and instigator for his other siblings, and ungrudgingly assumed the role of surrogate father after the tragic and premature passing of his father at age 59. All knew that Scott’s occasionally tough and crusty demeanor belied a tender, loving, and generous heart. Scott’s formative years were spent free-range in the idyllic environs of Chagrin Falls, OH, where he, his close friends and often tag-along siblings terrorized the muskrats, bluegills, reptiles and amphibians of Paw Paw Lake. He competed in classical piano competitions, played Professor Henry Higgins in local youth musical theater, read constantly, and dabbled in taxidermy and fly-tying in his few spare moments. The family move to Westport in his early teens brought Scott to the state of Connecticut, where he resided for the remainder of his life. Scott was an all-star varsity football and wrestling athlete at Staples High School, earning the 1969 title of CT state heavyweight champion. He continued pursuit of his many passions as a student at Wesleyan University, where he was a member of the DKE fraternity. After college, Scott attended the University of Connecticut School of Law, where he was third in his class and graduated with honors. While attending law school, and wanting to deepen his personal understanding of the noble profession he was to later enter, he served as a police officer and president of the police union in West Hartford, CT. Scott began his law career with the firm of Day, Berry, and Howard, and went on to become partner in the firm of Sack, Spector, and Karsten. Before retiring, Scott was the founding partner of the Karsten & Tallberg law firm, from which he recently retired. His legal practice focused on jury trials of complex civil actions at both the state and federal levels, trying more than seventy cases to verdict or court judgment. His primary focus was on the defense of civil rights actions against state and municipal government employees and officials, education agencies and employees, public and private sector employment matters, and professional liability claims. He was a skillful, dedicated, and relentless representative for his various clients and brought his integrity and deep love for the rule of law to his practice. Ever the mentor, he frequently shared his insights as a speaker at continuing legal education seminars through his various bar associations. For over a decade, his peers repeatedly selected him as a New England and Connecticut “Super Lawyer”. He was a member of the Connecticut Bar, the Pennsylvania Bar, and was a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates. He was also admitted to practice in the U.S. District Courts for the Districts of Connecticut, Vermont and New York (Eastern and Southern), the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court, and was an emeritus of the Oliver Ellsworth Inn of Court. It was in law school that Scott met his future wife, Elizabeth (Beth) Alspach. They settled in Glastonbury and welcomed daughter Jules into their lives. Sadly, their romance and happy family togetherness was cut short as Beth courageously, but unsuccessfully, battled cancer, dying at age 41. Scott was a devoted single parent for many years after. A second marriage to Emely Karandy (of Gladwyne, PA) ended in divorce. Most recently, Scott found great love and happiness in his relationship with Gail Petersen. He embraced her children and grandchildren as his own, and in Scott they found a loving and engaged surrogate father and grandfather. Scott was a true Renaissance man, whose intellect, passion, and deep ethic infused all of his endeavors. He was an avid fisherman and hunter who was most at peace wading in a pristine trout stream, landing a bone fish in the Caribbean, or plucking a freshly acquired goose for New Year’s dinner. He was a skillful cook, a wicked card player, a smooth dancer, and a surprisingly effective karaoke singer – no doubt informed by his stint covering 1960s hits as an electric organ player in his high school band. He was an honorable leader who helped energize his friends, colleagues, family and the community. All that being said, Scott’s greatest passion was his devotion to family, and particularly to Jules. He was exceptionally proud of her and the creative, independent, young woman she has become. A dedicated and caring father and son, a loyal and supportive brother, uncle, grand-uncle, and partner, Scott was reliably available to provide advice, comfort, an occasional necessary scolding, or a haven for those needing a bed and a good meal for the night. His sense of humor was an extraordinary combination of wit, timing, intuition, and a genuine love of sharing a great laugh with those he cared about. Often it involved props of garbage bags, dead fish, strangely knitted caps, or whatever else he might have at hand. He cared deeply about those he loved, and was not afraid to show that, in fact, real men do shed tears – of joy, of sorrow, of genuine happiness, and of love. In addition to Jules, her fiancé Zach Burt-Axford and partner Ken Johnson, and Gail, Scott is survived by: his 96-year old mother, Jayne, of Annapolis, MD; sisters Tracey Karsten Farrell (Glenn) of Lafayette, CA and Jill Karsten (Rodey Batiza) of Eden Prairie, MN; brother Kurt Karsten (Michelle Smith) of Annapolis, MD; nieces and nephews Caitlin Echelbarger (Nick), Shannon Baskauskas (Brian), Devon Kufske (Brad), Travis Batiza (Alyssa Curlee), Conrad Karsten (Ali Hakusui), Nora Karsten (Chris Olsen), Emma Karsten, Garrett Karsten, Eric Batiza (Molly), Rodey Batiza (Anna Wang); great nieces and nephews Helen (7), Chase (4), Jack (2), Cole (7 months), Logan (9), and Kyle (6); and cousin Barbara Karsten Rose (John) and AJ. He is also survived by his “adopted” children and grandchildren: Andrew Petersen (Tory Beavens) of Sinking Spring, PA; Mark Petersen (Jesse Ramos) and their children Pamela and Audrey Petersen (of Glastonbury, CT), Emely and the Silverman children (Kirkley, Eddie, Molly, and Schuyler) and their families, as well as numerous dear friends. To paraphrase Norman Maclean in A River Runs Through It, Scott was “very sure about certain matters pertaining to the universe. To him, all good things-trout as well as eternal salvation-come by grace and grace comes by art and art does not come easy.” In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Scott Karsten Scholarship Fund at Wesleyan University, newly established in his memory. Donation checks payable to “Kent Literary Club (DKE)” with “Scott Karsten Scholarship Fund” in the memo section should be mailed to: Kent Literary Club, 196 East Main Street, Suite C Box 352, Milford, MA 01757. A joyous celebration of Scott’s life will be scheduled for the Summer of 2021 once it is safe for everyone who loved him, to hug, dance, and laugh together, as we share stories about this remarkable man who touched so many lives, so deeply. 

Chris Moeller reports, “My family and I are well.  Like many others, we have tried our best to endure that last 12 months and avoid getting sick.  So far, so good.

Nearly all social activity stopped as of March, 2020 and we maintain
contact with friends primarily via Facebook, phone calls, and email. 
Fortunately for us, both of our children live in the Twin Cities, as does
my sister.  That way we do get to visit other humans now and then.

Last February our daughter gave birth to a daughter, Liselore.  So, we
are now happy grandparents of two grandchildren.  And, of course, we
are anxious to get vaccinated so we can see them more frequently.  Some
activities, like reading, cooking, and gardening go on at home.  We look
forward to resuming other activities, like folk-dancing, playing music and
visiting friends, once the pandemic subsides.” 

Steven Cutts writes,  “I’ve remained hunkered down here in Washington, D.C. — distressed by all of the security fencing downtown, tired of the monotony of the COVID restrictions, but healthy with one of two vaccinations in my arm as of mid-February.  Two-plus years into retirement, I have been very happy not to have had to teach remotely, but my wife and I have benefitted from (and been distracted by) learning in various online courses through our robust Osher Lifelong Learning Institute based at American University.   

I continue to find things to write songs about, and since May 2020 I’ve streamed four hour-long concerts of my original material from home on YouTube Live.  (Links to previous shows and announcement of future streamings are easily found at my website   I’m grateful to a stalwart band of Class of ’74 friends who have tuned in to one or more of these evening entertainments.”

 Sally Hernandez Pinero updates,  “I am currently a member of the Board of DireCroesus  of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation which oversees 13 public hospitals, 5 nursing homes and 20 community health centers in New York. I am also Chairperson of the MetroPlus Health Plan, a 600,000 member public managed health care plan in New York. Although housing development, financing and management were the focus of my career, I have found a second passion for health care.

I will forever cherish my time at Wesleyan. It was life transforming for me.
I am retired and live in Riverdale in the Bronx with my husband Hector. I am the proud mom of two wonderful young men, Justin and Eric.” 

Harold Sogard reminds us that our classmate Henry Willis was also once a contestant on Jeopardy but was somehow overlooked in Wesleyan’s news release about the many Wes contestants.

CLASS OF 1974 | 2020 | ISSUE 3

Karla Bell writes, “I’m still friends with my roommate, Nancy Fuchs Kreimer, Rabbi Nancy now. She has spent much of life teaching and acting in other roles at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Seminary. The Cleveland Jewish community keeps inviting Nancy to give presentations and she stays with me and we get a chance to catch up. Most recently she was asked to facilitate and lead an interaction between the members of a conservative synagogue and Muslims who are active in the Islamic Center on the East Side of Cleveland. She was pleased that participants shared passionate and touching stories. She got rave reviews. We also discovered that we wear the same shoe size. (She came with tennis shoes; I lent her boots, as we had 4-6 inches of snow.) Juliette Kendrick, another roommate, and I are very close, a relationship re-sparked by my sending two children to Emory in Atlanta, and Juliette sending her two sons to college, and one to medical school, in Ohio. During an extended visit she stayed at my house, yes, we discovered she could wear my clothes. (I’m the conglomeration of our bodies?) The picture was taken a couple of years back, when we had a reunion in Cleveland.

“I once had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue: no good in a bed, but fine up against a wall.”–Eleanor Roosevelt

Bill Burton retired after a 37-year career with the U.S. Geological Survey in Reston, VA.  He will continue on as Emeritus, finishing projects that were not completed due to the pandemic.  One is geologic mapping of an area in western Connecticut, where he is cooperating with Bob Wintsch, Adjunct Professor with Wesleyan’s Department of Earth and Environmental Science.  Bill and his wife Laurel will be spending a lot more time at their cabin in Jamestown, Colorado, and Bill will continue his volunteer activities including astronomy education, supporting the northern Virginia Audubon Society chapter, and tending beehives at his church.  He looks forward to future Wes reunions at Lloyd Komesar’s film festival in Middlebury, Vermont.

Joan Braun reports:  “Last September, I embarked on  Phase I of my glidepath to retirement, trading a full time job as COO of the United  Way Bay Area for a part-time job as the Finance Director of Homebase, the Center for Common Concerns. It’s been a salutary change—three and half days of work instead of six. 

Lest I worry about what to do with my newfound leisure, I stepped  into role of President of  the Aurora Theatre, a hidden gem located  in the heart of Berkeley. My timing was impeccable. 

The stage went dark in March in response to Governor Newsom’s shelter-in-place  directive and we’re expecting to be dark until next summer.  Our tiny 150-seat trust stage venue  is absolutely unsuitable for socially distanced seating.  Given that unhappy fact, It’s been all financials, all the time. 

We were lucky enough to get a Paycheck Protection Program  loan and a small grant from the City of Berkeley at the start of the pandemic. In  July, we held a very successful on-line Gala. In short order, we launched both a Friday afternoon digital salon and a full-fledged on-line  membership program. In October, we’ll  be mounting an  online, audio performance of a brand new work, The Flats. Get your tickets now:! Geography is no excuse to miss it.” 

Chris Nagle updates us: “I left Wes Tech in the fall of 1974 and headed right off to law school with a vague goal of being a small town attorney in northern New England, probably Vermont where I had spent winter breaks as a ski bum in Stowe.  In the fall of 1977, I found myself working for a large law firm in Portland, Maine.   For the next 43 years, I commuted from the northern suburbs to two different law firms located downtown.   Portland rose from the ashes like a phoenix to become a hot small city nationally recognized for its restaurants and its arts scene.   At different times, I enjoyed high office window views of the Fore River and Casco Bay or the White Mountains and Tuckerman’s Ravine.

On August 1, 2020, I finally achieved my goal.   I now work at the Law Offices of Thaddeus Day PLLC, a two attorney operation in “downtown” North Yarmouth, Maine, which also has a breakfast and lunch restaurant, a gas station/convenience store, a day care center and Town Hall. My commute from my home in semi-rural West Cumberland is 3.5 miles mostly on a secondary highway (Route 115) with three right turns, two stop signs, no traffic, no traffic lights, no parking garages, no key cards and no elevators. The firm is in a small converted cape, my modest office window looks out into the back yard, and my faithful dog Ace comes with me most days.    I only work from late morning to late afternoon most days. Professional life the way it should be

I still walk 18 holes of golf at least weekly when there is no snow and am still challenged by the ski slopes of Sugarloaf and Stowe each when there is snow, both with friends and family.

I continue to be amazed by my sons. Scott (BA Bennington ’05, MS Teaching Pace ’07, MS Computer Science NYU ’17) is helping develop quantum computers for IBM, in additional to being longtime Occupy member, EMT, WFR etc. He is happily married to Keilly Cutler (Hamilton ’12?) and they live in Austin, TX. Jeff (UVM ’10) lives in Morrisville just north of Stowe, VT, is the marketing director of Ski Essentials, a large internet ski company, and posts regular “Chair Lift” videos about new developments in skis. He recently joined a local golf club which makes my heart flutter.  His life partner Tori (UVM 08?) works for ACLU Vermont.” 

Carolyn White shares, “I just attended the online version of Lloyd Komesar’s MNFF: Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival, 6th édition. 127 different items to watch over an 8 day period. I managed to see 27: narratives, documentaries and shorts. As always, the quality was high. I learned a lot and feel enriched. 10 days afterward, Steve Goldschmidt (1972) organized a Zoom for the Wesleyan folk who attended to discuss and critique. We could not say enough good things about Lloyd, the organization, the quality of the films. Mark your calendar, reserve your room for the weekend before Labor Day weekend. Lloyd will guarantee you his ever warm welcome. “

Monique Witt updates us: “In spite of everything, Ben dropped his third album (“Kites and Strings,” the Nebula Project) recently, and is live streaming and finishing some commissioned compositions.  Dev’s venture, Ex Machina Soundworks, launched a new audio platform, and Steve is working the same crazy hours but remotely.  The production company will release only four albums this year, but the slow down has allowed more time for reading and writing.  Everyone is well.”

Sharon Purdie |

CLASS OF 1974 | 2020 | ISSUE 2

The 50th Reunion is May 23-26, 2024. Reunion news and find out about regional events can be found at 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 or 860/685-5992.

June Jeffries ’75 noted the passing on April 11 of Peter Greene, M.D. For many years Peter was her family dermatologist. His ex-wife and June worked together, and their families spent many holiday dinners and other good times together. He died suddenly and unexpectedly in Washington, D.C.

Nan’l “Nate” Winship continues to own and operate a  small farm growing vegetables and berries in central New Hampshire. As the growing season gets underway, this promises to be a very busy year as more people seek out locally grown products. It has been great to welcome Wayne Forrest ’74, MA ’77 and Tom Frei on visits to Tanna Farm, and he got over to give John Hickenlooper ’74, MA ’80 a man-hug at a campaign event in a nearby town last year.

Monique Witt reports in two parts. First is from mid-January. “We’re still building the new sound space in East Williamsburg and finishing four discs, including Ben’s new sextet album (Nebula Project), which will soft drop in February and officially drop in June. Dev is in L.A. for NAMM, launching the Solarium pro-audio monitors; Ben is touring throughout the Southeastern states, then through Europe, starting in Italy, back to the West Coast, and finally Canada. Steve and I, the same.”

….and now (mid-May):

“We are sheltering in place in Manhattan (Ben, Steve, and me) and Greenpoint, Brooklyn (Dev and Jenn). Ben’s U.S., Canadian, and European tours have all been pushed forward a year, so he is working with Concerts in Motion, doing daily live streams for shut-ins, hospitals, and similar organizations. Additionally, he does a weekly jazz live stream and a number of Zoom concerts for the venues at which he was booked. Steve’s working way too hard still but from home, and I’m doing board work (intensive staying up to date on pandemic regs), but Ben’s teaching me to cook, and we run every day in Central Park (masks, gloves, and social distancing). Ben and Dev are mastering the fourth album scheduled for release in July. Hope everyone is keeping well.”

Carolyn White’s news: “I have transitioned over to Zoom to teach the NAMI Family-to-Family class and it is going better than expected. We might just continue using Zoom. It beats having to deal with traffic every Thursday evening. I am looking forward to a new grandchild for 10/10/20 (good date!) who will be stateside. I have two adorable grandchildren in Toulouse, France, but, the question is when will I feel comfortable enough to travel to France to see them? Skype and Zoom will have to suffice for now.  I hope everyone and their families are able to stay out of harm’s way.”

Peter Welcher’s updates: “I’m still working, for a network consulting company I and others started, (Chesapeake) NetCraftsmen. Now over 70 employees are busy during COVID onset supporting remote access for hospitals and government sites in Maryland-D.C. area. Plan to retire in next couple of years. Our kids are all employed at the time I write this. Paul works for USDA doing foreign service work, back in D.C. after three years in Thailand. Alison works for the State Department in D.C., Africa desk. Emma manages a team of six doing marketing for a large bank among others. Gwen is on a product marketing team for LifeStraw. No grandchildren yet.”

Wayne Forrest writes, “2019 and 2020 have been tough years in my household as my wife Jean has had serious medical issues. Multiple surgeries and countless anxious moments have been mixed with incredible closeness and unity of purpose. It was hard to miss our 45th Reunion last year as it fell on a surgery day. We felt the love from many classmates who knew the reason for my absence. COVID-19 has been a blessing in disguise as it has kept Jean away from the infected New York public hospital where she worked and me close by her side. The virus shut down all my extracurricular musical experiences in the orchestras and bands where I play tuba. Hopefully the summer brings them back. I stopped commuting to Manhattan in early March, but where I live (Westchester County) quickly became a hotspot. Thankfully, of the dozen or people I know who caught the virus all, except one, made it through.”

“Discovering the All Trails app has allowed my wife and I to plan hikes nearby that at first were uncrowded but have now become increasingly populated by people who don’t move over and don’t wear masks. But the best social distancing activity for us has been riding our pedal-assist e-bikes. You still get a great workout on these ‘cheaters’; they give you no excuse to not go out for an hour two up and down our hilly Hudson Valley terrain.

“Meanwhile I am still managing the American Indonesian Chamber of Commerce (AICC) as well as its non-business correlate, the American Indonesian Cultural and Educational Foundation (AICEF).  AICEF has been collaborating with Wesleyan to amplify the Javanese gamelan music program, providing funding to allow the university to engage a dance teacher. We’re also supporting Lloyd Komesar’s Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival connecting it to a film festival in Bali. With AICC, I began a campaign to get much needed N95 respirator masks to doctors all over Indonesia.

I have to say that although I have many problems with Facebook’s ad-driven business model, principally, their lack of transparency and accountability for perpetuating lies and falsehoods, it remains a welcome place to connect with alums and classmates.  I really appreciate reading the thoughts and goings on from Nate Winship, Pat MulcahyBill BurtonNaaz Hosseni ’74, MA’75Lyn LaufferTom Alexander ’70, MA’77Michael MininsohnTom Kovar ’76Neely BruceSal D’Alessandro ’72, MALS ’96Mark MasseliTodd Jick ’71Nat Needle ’76Jack Freudenheim ’79Tom Ross ’67, PhD ’85Alan Feinstein ’70Harold SogardArthur FiermanLeslie Rudden ’77Joseph Getter MA’99Curt Steinzor ’77, and others.

“Finally, the virus has pushed us apart but also closer together.  I am seeing family and friends on Zoom I would not have seen in years in-person.”

Howard Shalwitz reports, “After four decades, in September 2018. I stepped down from the artistic leadership of Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. I feel both lucky and a bit guilty that I did so before the pandemic—although my successor, Maria Manuela Goyanes (Brown ’01), is carrying on with exceptional energy and vision: I’m happily ensconced with my partner of 40 years, Jeanette Reitz, at our home in Alexandria, Va. Continuing to do some fundraising for Woolly, teaching, gardening, chipping away at a book about theatre, and starting a multi-year project to connect new American theatre leaders with their counterparts in Poland. It’s been exciting to read about classmates like Joan Braun who are involved in supporting their local theatre companies, especially with the challenges ahead!”

John Shapiro reports, “I am currently camping out in our home in Westchester, N.Y., with my wife, Shonni Silverberg ’76, my older son, Zach, and his fiancée, my younger son, Nathaniel, and his girlfriend, and two dogs! We are all well, but I’ve had to cancel my son’s wedding for the time being.

“Given that Shonni is a doctor at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital, and my son is a legal advisor on medical ethical issues at New York Hospital, we have been very caught up with the challenges surrounding the coronavirus. My younger son meanwhile had to cancel what would’ve been his third off-Broadway production.”

Sharon Purdie |

CLASS OF 1974 | 2020 | ISSUE 1

Marion Stoj was awarded the Cavalier’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland by the President of Poland (a Polish version of Knight’s Cross). On Sept. 21, 2019 in New Britain, Conn., in recognition of Marion’s contributions to cooperation between Poland and the U.S.  Among other contributions, in 2017, Marion established the Falcons Academic and Athletic Association (FAAA). In order to preserve and prevent commercial development of 25 acres of historic parkland in New Britain called the Polanka, Marion made a charitable donation to enable FAAA to purchase the property.

For generations, Polish American groups and other Connecticut organizations have used this property for recreation, dances, picnics, and various cultural events. The property also includes New Britain Falcons soccer filed where Marion has played for over 50 years.

Richard J. Fairbrother, DMD, of West Hartford, Conn., passed away unexpectedly on Dec. 19. He was born in Providence, R.I., on Jan. 17, 1952. He was the son of the late Ann F. and John H. Fairbrother. He was a graduate of Northwest Catholic High School, where he was a scholar athlete. He was inducted into the Northwest Catholic High School Hall of Fame in 2005. At Wesleyan, he graduated with highest honors and served as captain of the men’s varsity basketball team. In 1974, Richard was named a NCAA Academic All=American. He then received his DMD from the University of Connecticut School of Dentistry. He was a member of the Connecticut State Dental Association, the Academy of General Dentistry, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and the American Association of Oral Systemic Health. Richard was devoted to his family, friends, his patients, and the community. All knew him as kind, generous and humble. His laugh was contagious, and his work ethic was unparalleled. Richard continued his love of basketball by playing for the East Hartford Explorers and in numerous leagues, even during his professional life. He was an accomplished tennis player, participating in USTA tournaments, leagues and was a long-standing member of the Hartford Tennis Club. Richard was also a member of The New York Athletic Club. Richard leaves his beloved wife, Virginia (Curry), his sister Karen Fairbrother of Massachusetts, his brother John Fairbrother, and his wife Zeta of Nevada. He also leaves his brother-in-law, David Curry, his sister-in-law, Kathleen Curry, and many beloved cousins and friends.

Pat Mulcahy looks “back on 2019 as the best one yet for my editorial consulting business–established in 1999. It can’t be a coincidence that this was based on sales of The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers, whose empathy and kindness-based life’s work is newly appreciated. The recently released paperback has just appeared for three straight weeks on the New York Times best seller list, bolstered by the new film in which Tom Hanks plays Rogers. Our book has no formal relationship with the film, although we cover Esquire journalist Tom Junod’s interview with Rogers—fictionalized onscreen.

“I also work with the Brooklyn-based Center for Fiction, coaching emerging writers in their fellows program. This year, two of the fellows I worked with saw their books published very successfully: Melissa Rivero, whose novel The Affair of the Falcons follows the fate of an undocumented woman from Peru; and Lauren Wilkinson, whose American Spy, about an African American FBI agent assigned to shadow a revolutionary leader in a fictionalized version of Burkina Faso, even made it to Obama’s summer reading list. Is Lauren writing a follow up? No—she’s in LA working on scripts for streaming services.

“This is our challenge in the literary world. I hope we’re all still reading as well as watching Netflix! All best New Year’s wishes to friends from’ 74! The Reunion really was a blast.”

Willy Holtzman reports that the new musical, Sabina, will have its regional premiere at Portland Stage this May with book by Willie, music by Louise Beach ’78, and lyrics by former Wesleyan adjunct, Darrah Cloud.  One of the angels is Bill Pearson.

Debra Salowitz reports, “My husband Neil Salowitz ’73 and I just celebrated the 47th anniversary of our ‘meet cute’ at Wesleyan and are still thriving in Des Moines, Iowa, where we moved in 2000 after many years in Connecticut. In an unlikely turn of events, both of our daughters eventually settled here too; buying 100-year-old houses only five blocks from each other and a mere eight-minute drive from us. This makes us very fortunate grandparents indeed as Shoshana has a 2-1/2-year old son and Rachel ’07 has a 2-year-old daughter, with a little boy poised to join the family in June!

“My community transition consulting company just marked its 16th anniversary and keeps me actively and happily engaged with relocating executives and their families. Neil just celebrated 10 years of happy retirement . . . by becoming part-owner of a thriving restaurant and expects to be very busy with candidates and media in the run up to the Iowa Caucuses in February. That’s been one of the best things about our move here, really getting to know all of the Democratic presidential hopefuls every election cycle.”

Jean Barish writes, “As many of our peers are retiring, I have instead gone back to work full time for a startup, LEX Markets Corp., as head of administration. The company will provide both accredited and non-accredited investors the opportunity to invest in shares of individual commercial real estate buildings, and then trade them on a trading platform. You can check out the company’s website,, and to sign up for ‘early access’ to its investment opportunities.”

Joan Braun has had an eventful year-end. “In August, my employer of eight years, United Way Bay Area, made the decision to outsource all of its administrative functions to the national headquarters organization, United Way Worldwide. Given the competitive fundraising climate being faced by all 1,200 local United Ways spread across the U.S., I supported (indeed, advocated for) the consolidation. Still, being laid off at this stage in my career took a certain amount of adjustment.

“Two weeks after I left the job, I discovered I needed hip replacement surgery. I am now three weeks into recovery, and I must say, it has been a remarkably positive experience. Very little pain, measurable progress every day!

“In between the two, I found what I think will be an excellent step on my glide path to full retirement—a three-day a week job that is far more focused than the sprawling chief operating officer position I just left. As of January 27, I will be the Finance Director for Homebase, a public interest law firm that focuses on homelessness. In this particular position, my grey hair and the decades of experience that created it are considered an asset, rather than a liability. That’s a refreshing change from a few of the other opportunities I investigated during the fall.

“I am also enjoying my new position on the board of directors of the Aurora Theatre. The Aurora is a hidden gem of a local theatre that offers refreshing and provocative theatre in an intimate Berkeley setting. Our 150 seats on three sides of the thrust stage give new meaning to the phrase ‘up close and personal.’ We are particularly proud that a play we commissioned, Eureka Day, was not only a local hit, but also a very well-reviewed off-Broadway phenom as well.

“My other surprise enthusiasm is stewarding Little Free Library #62316. It’s amazing to me how many of my neighbors stop to browse, take a book, or leave a bunch. Among the most interesting recent contributions—an entire collection of vintage Hardy Boys mysteries and a pristine hardback copy of Ron Chernow’s biography of Ulysses S. Grant.”

Jan Eliasberg writes, “Little, Brown is mounting a vigorous PR campaign on behalf of my novel, Hannah’s War. In the meantime, I’m deep into research and outlining of book #2 which is also historical fiction but set in a different time period with a unique set of characters and themes.”

John Shapiro writes, “I am sorry to have missed our class Reunion but was attending my nephew’s wedding in Seattle. At the end of 2018, I converted my firm to a family investment office which means I no longer have clients. I did retain my staff to help oversee my investments which has given me the freedom to spend more time on philanthropic boards. This includes joining the Wesleyan board where I was far and away the oldest of the new trustees. I also moved onto the Executive Committee of the Rockefeller University board where I will help roll out a new strategic plan and development effort. On the family front, my eldest son Zach is engaged to be married at the end of May.”

André Barbera shares, “Having never before submitted anything for class notes, it is unseemly of me to write to you now since I do so to inform you of my forthcoming book.  Other than vanity, the only reason I can offer for this impertinence is that the subject matter of the book, faith and works, is perhaps not typical of Wesleyan alumni. (Is there a Wesleyan type?) Bloomsbury is publishing the work, available beginning Jan. 23. The title is On Faith, Works, Eternity and the Creatures We Are.

Pam van der Meulen reports that 11 members of our class attended Claudia Catania’s Playing On Air benefit and live recording last November by Tony Shalhoub, Kristine Nielsen and others of three terrific one-act plays. Those in attendance from our class were ttending from our class were Pat Mulcahy, Bill Pearson, Willy Holtzman, Harold SogardSarah Cady BeckerRick Gilberg, June AndersonInara de LeonJai Imbrey, and Wendy Richmond ’75. Also, Vicky Bijur ’75, Todd Jick ’71, John Cady ’71, Bob Becker ’71, Peter Woodin ’71, Karen Freedman ’75, and John Badanes ’68.

It was a wonderful evening and great to catch up with classmates. Pam urges everyone to check out Playing on Air’s podcast (those in Connecticut can catch it on WNPR Tuesdays at 11 p.m.).

Our 50th Reunion is May 23-26, 2024. Reunion news is at 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 or 860/685-5992.

Sharon Purdie |

CLASS OF 1974 | 2019 | ISSUE 3

John McLucas had a blast at Reunion! One unexpected highlight was learning that Bill Pearson chairs the board at Young Audiences, a group which John enthusiastically supports in Baltimore. Another was learning that Peter Hayward’s in-laws are favorite neighbors of John’s in his new-ish neighborhood, Bolton Hill. John is starting his 36th and final year as professor of Italian and Latin at Towson University near Baltimore. Plans for retirement include continuing to write fiction. His debut novel, Dialogues on the Beach, came out in late 2017. A sequel, Spirit’s Tether, is in the editors’ hands, with a third, unrelated book in the works.”

Craig Everhart states and then asks, “I’m jumping into retirement in October. Much as people say to have a plan in mind, I don’t really have one. I may go bananas. But I suspect that I am like others of my classmates: work is pretty fulfilling, and I have not been driven to wish for other ways to occupy myself. What do you do in a similar situation?”

Blaise Noto reports, “I’m continuing as assistant professor of communications at Barton College in North Carolina, and loving it. Last semester, I designed and taught a digital media communications course in addition to my law and ethics in the media, sports and communication, public relations campaigns and marketing, and a range of others. I also have been active in the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences (been a member since 1985) as an official judge of Student Academy Awards for domestic and intentional students, as well as the Nicholls Scholarship Screenwriting Competition. And last fall, I was appointment chairman of the Alumni Interview Committee for Chapel Hill and other parts of the Triangle for the University of Pennsylvania. As for my summer—been at home and doing physical therapy from total hip joint replacement surgery at Duke Hospital. Feeling great!”

Jan Eliasberg updates us. “My daughter, Sariel Hana Friedman ’19, graduated Wesleyan in June; she majored in American studies and minored in film studies; she’s currently working for FICTIONLESS, a team of passionate storytellers and strategists producing emotionally rich nonfiction film + television alongside high impact brand content.

“And I’m making my debut as a novelist, with my book, Hannah’s War, bought by Judy Clain at Little, Brown in a bidding war. This was the announcement in Publisher’s Marketplace, with a lovely blurb by Amy Bloom ’75:

“Award winning writer/director Jan Eliasberg’s Hannah’s War, a thrilling historical debut about a female scientist working to develop the first atomic bomb during World War II, and the young military investigator determined to uncover her secret past, has been sold to Judy Clain at Little, Brown & Company, in a pre-emptive bid. Hannah’s War, adapted by Eliasberg from her Black List and BBC List topping screenplay Heart Of The Atom, will be Little, Brown’s lead title for spring, with a publication date of March 3.”

Reviews include:

“Jan Eliasberg knows how to open big with strong suspense and wry humor and take us for a hurtling ride through one of America’s most complex moments. The wonderful characters of Hannah’s War bring together a moving love story, a high-stakes mystery and a fascinating look into the moral compass of an exceptional woman.
―Amy Bloom, author of White Houses

“I flew through Hannah’s War, a gripping true story long overdue to be told, of a brilliant woman physicist working to develop the first atomic bomb and the secret she fights to protect.”―Martha Hall Kelly, author of Lilac Girls

Norma J. Williams was selected statewide to receive the inaugural Excellence In Practice Award given by the Solo and Small Firm Section of the California Lawyers Association. The award is to honor a solo or small firm attorney who has demonstrated exemplary leadership and dedication to the legal profession and has contributed to the betterment of the practice of law. Norma accepted the Award at a ceremony in Huntington Beach on June 14.

On July 11, Bob Heller’s 15-year valiant battle with cancer ended at the of age 67. He grew up in Carle Place, N.Y., graduated from Wesleyan University and the New England School of Law. After practicing in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, Bob moved to Seattle and for the past 30 years continued practicing law there, the last 11 at The Walthew Law Firm. He’s been a presenter at workshops and seminars on issues involving Workers’ Compensation law. Bob is past co-chair of the Washington State Deaf-Blind Task Force, past chair of the King County Bar Association Committee on Legal Problems of the Disadvantaged, past president of the Board of Daybreak Family Homes, and a founding board member of the Washington State Deaf-Blind Service Center. Bob also volunteered his time as a speaker before cancer support groups, as a special service provider for the deaf-blind community, and was a long-time volunteer with Volunteer Attorneys for Persons with AIDS (VAPWA). The two-time All-American college football player and inductee to the Wesleyan Hall of Fame, was also a mean fiddle player (by ear) of Irish music. He loved family, friends, all things Irish, Saki, the Mariners, the Seahawks, and the Patriots.

Sharon Purdie |