CLASS OF 1976 | 2017 | ISSUE 3

For this issue, I asked about retirement plans and got varied and often non-committal answers. To vary the line-up, the last shall be first.

Tom Kovar went to Professor Dick Winslow ’40’s funeral in Antrim, N.H. Dick, 99, was a mentor of Tom’s in the music department. Afterwards, Tom had dinner with Pam Swing ’75, Win Lockwood ’78, and others.

Cheryl Alpert is a real estate agent in the Boston area. Her son, Eben, is enjoying his work at PWC and her son, Chason, just started at Booz Allen.

Carol Bellhouse published two books and produced two films this summer. Burnt Orange is about three women at the end of the world. The second film is a pilot for an adventure race series; the first episode is about racing burros.

Carol Berger has retired from her career as a school psychologist. She and husband Ron live in Longmeadow, Mass., and have two married sons and three granddaughters. Carol stays in touch with Linda Borreson and Sue Feinstein Barry and hopes to get together with Nancy Cornwell Goeden.

Ethan Bronner, who writes on politics for Bloomberg, is investigating President Trump and Kushner business practices and keeping an eye on the federal probe into possible collusion with the Russians. Son Eli ’10 is the president of a startup called Careerlist, which links young marketing professionals with big companies.

Joe Carcillo is a pediatric intensive care physician in a children’s hospital at the University of Pittsburgh. His daughter is in her first year at Michigan and Joe is coaching the local girls’ Catholic high school rowing team.

Jon Cleworth enjoys being an uncle to one nephew and five nieces. He reports that Jimmy Joy MALS ’72, former crew coach at Wes, received an award this November at the New York Athletic Club for his outstanding career as an oarsman and his contributions to American rowing.

Ron Epstein’s book, Attending: Medicine, Mindfulness, and Humanity, is doing well and he has been traveling to talk about how doctors can practice more mindfully and achieve shared understanding with their patients.

Jeff Frank recalled his Wesleyan experience as encouraging free expression, tolerance of different opinions, and learning to persuade those with different outlooks to your point of view. Remarking on the news about universities shutting down what is labeled by the opposition as “hate speech,” Jeff hopes that the free discussion of ideas remains a part of the Wesleyan experience.

Karen Gervasoni’s daughter Lia is a high school junior and is dabbling in media studies. Son Cole is playing on his high school basketball team.

After transferring to and graduating from Wesleyan, Jamie Beck Gordon worked for Ed Koch and obtained a degree in international relations from Columbia. She volunteers for various charities and is on the board of The Neuberger Museum at SUNY Purchase. Married in 1985, Jamie has a son, 30, and a daughter, 27.

Joellyn Gray is on the board of the CTA Foundation, an offshoot of the Consumer Technology Association, the group that hosts CES, the world’s largest trade show for technology.

Oliver Griffith is working for an infrastructure fund in Africa and living in Paris.

Steve Gross and wife Meiyan are retired, she from the Sunnyvale School District and he from SanDisk. They renovated their home in Cupertino, Calif. Daughter Alexa attends Wellesley College. While visiting her, Steve stayed with Tim Hill ’75 and Jan Schwaner-Hill ’75, and caught up with Norbert Kremer in Boston.

Byron Haskins, recently retired from federal service, volunteers as a MoveOn Summer Resistance Mobilizer, focusing on preventing the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Grandson Zayer was born in August. Byron traveled enough to visit all six grandchildren within 30 days, including trips to Montreal and NYC.

Alan Haus and family vacationed in New Orleans, the Caribbean, and Mexico. While traveling, there were four actual or potential hurricanes in the region and a major earthquake in Mexico. Alan’s family lucked out and had perfect weather.

Maggie Heffernan reports that David Low moved to Manhattan and now lives in the same co-op as she does. They run into each other often and are both big Yankee fans.

Libby Horn is working as a FNP at a family practice, sings in two choruses and church choir, and volunteers at a hospice and a school-age reading program.

Jim Johnson brought the concept of “Ciclovia” to his hometown with the Chattanooga City Celebration closing down more than six miles of city streets to motorized traffic and connecting festivals in six neighborhoods for cyclists and pedestrians.

Michael Kennedy-Scanlon and his wife live in Barcelona and experience first-hand the Catalan independence movement, which he describes as highly emotional and intolerant.

Andrew McCulloch retired as president/CEO of Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan of the Northwest. After 10-plus years in this role, his organization was ranked as the highest quality, best service, and most affordable entity in the Pacific Northwest.

Jack O’Donnell had his first grandchild and traveled to London to meet him. Son Sam ’01 lives in London and Jack figures he will be making many trips there to make sure the little guy can play baseball. Jack’s daughter, Margaret ’19, is studying abroad in Buenos Aires, Hanoi, and Cape Town.

My oldest daughter, Samantha, is engaged and making plans to get married next year. Daughter Michelle is gainfully employed. And daughter Lindsey is studying Russian in Kazakhstan. I had a busy year, traveled around India in February, flew in a two-seat WWII fighter in June, and spent Labor Day weekend with Nancy in Asheville, N.C., with friends.

Mitchell Marinello |

CLASS OF 1976 | 2017 | ISSUE 2

For this issue, I asked about retirement plans and got varied and often non-committal answers.  To vary the line-up, the last shall be first.

Jody Binswanger Snider works in media, representing a creative branding and production company, and a small animation studio and filmmaker in NYC.  She serves on a family foundation concerned with homelessness and criminal justice reform. Her husband is a teacher and coach at Harvard Business School and Northeastern, and her two sons are working in NYC real estate.

Steve Smith and his wife moved to western North Carolina 31 years ago and that’s where they plan to retire in about two years. Their daughter just had her 10th Wes Reunion, and they plan to visit friends in Mexico later this year.

Joe Reiff won the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Nonfiction Award for 2016 with his book Born of Conviction: White Methodists and Mississippi’s Closed Society. Joe figures he has three more years before he hangs up his frock.

Jack O’Donnell has a daughter at Wes who plans to go to law school afterwards. Jack loves working as a criminal defense lawyer, and between that and the tuition bills, no retirement is in sight.

Connie Bodine McCann attended an all-day meeting of Wes emeriti trustees and watched Donna Morea do an excellent job as chair. Connie has a son at Wes, a daughter working in tech in San Francisco, and another son at a private investment firm in NYC. Connie has been elected to the Spencer Stuart worldwide board of directors and, after 24 years, is still enjoying her senior search work in financial services.

Jimmy Johnson reports that his bike touring business ( is going strong and that he will be leading tours through Austria, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Greece, and Montenegro in the next five months. Electrically assisted bikes help it all work. (I tried one in California and our nonathletic group drew looks of disbelief as we sped up the hills.)

Leslie Gabel-Brett ended her 10-year tenure at Lambda Legal in NYC and now works as a consultant with Open Communities Alliance, an affordable housing group in Connecticut led by Erin Boggs ’93. In spring 2018, Leslie will be a visiting assistant professor of public policy at Wes teaching a course about social justice movements under the auspices of the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life.

Joellyn Gray went to L.A. over Memorial Day weekend and visited her sons, Malcolm and Duncan ’09, who work for the Russo Brothers and Hulu respectively. She had dinner with my CSS classmate, Bob Craft, and his wife, Julie. Joellyn has considered retirement, but prefers working.

Jon Cleworth, who is fighting a nearly 40-year battle with MS, is still going strong and is grateful for his time at Wesleyan and the inspiration he gained there.

Karen Caplan says retirement is a nice idea, but she is not ready to give up her full-time hospital job as a clinical social worker on a palliative care consult team. Karen finds her work with people at the end of life wonderfully rich, meaningful, and rewarding.

Barbara Birney continues to enjoy the company of her 92-year-old father, Robert Birney ’50, as well as that of her brother Bob Birney ’81. Bob has just given up “Old Man’s Soccer” and is focused on getting the last of his kids through college.

Tom Kovar says he thinks about retirement but, with a 14-year-old still at home, he does not plan on it anytime soon.

Cheryl Alpert just started a new career as a full-time real estate agent focusing on Boston and MetroWest and is very active in national and local politics. Her older son, Eben, is working as a business analyst and her younger son, Chason, is graduating from Washington and Lee, and will be working in D.C. for Booz Allen.

As for me, my oldest daughter graduated with a master’s and my younger two from college this month, so tuition bills are no longer a driver. But I still like working and need to stay busy if I am going to stay in sync with my wife, who loves her job. Outlook: staying the course.

There are a lot of you folks who do not write in—especially, for some odd reason, those whose last names are in the second half of the alphabet. I wish you would.

Mitchell Marinello |

CLASS OF 1976 | 2017 | ISSUE 1

Class of 1976 Endowed Wesleyan Scholarship

Valerie Acosta ’20, Bronx, NY

In addition to personal news, one of the themes for this column is the volunteer work that class members are doing.

Susan Avitzour and her husband, Daniel, just had their fifth grandchild, Gabriel, and Susan has just finished writing a novel. It’s about an American woman who marries a Japanese diplomat, and finds herself posted to Burma/Myanmar when it was still ruled by a brutal military dictatorship. Susan volunteers as a therapist at Hadassah Hospital, which treats Jewish and Arab survivors of terror attacks, military clashes, and accidents who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Andrea Grubb Barthwell attended the Hamilton fundraiser in Chicago and saw many Wesleyan alumni and parents, and some members of the winning Cubs team.

Robert Briskin and his wife, Limor, had a good time at Reunion. Rob has a concierge medical practice and serves on Congressman Pete Sessions’ National Physicians Council for Healthcare Policy in D.C.

Ethan Bronner took a buyout from The New York Times two years ago and has been at Bloomberg ever since, writing, and editing political features. He heads up a team looking into President Trump’s family businesses here and abroad, and would welcome hearing from anyone who has any knowledge about it.

Jon Cleworth recalls his time at Wesleyan, as a rower and CSS member. Jon was a Chicago-area resident for several years. He now lives in Connecticut and is a great uncle with five nieces and a nephew. Retired, he stays in shape mostly by biking.

Oliver Griffith left the World Bank Group and works as a communications advisor for Africa50, an infrastructure fund focused on Africa. He is also freelancing in communications and foreign affairs.

Debra Haffner is the full-time settled minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston. She invites Wes folks to services at 10 a.m. on Sundays.

Daniel Henry’s son, Derrick, and his fiancé, Beata, were married in May. Dan also had his second granddaughter, Denni Jean Henry. Dan is the president of the Kiwanis Club of Newington, which runs a flea market that raises money for scholarships and to support local agencies and human services.

Daniel Herr and his wife, Kathleen, have four grandchildren. Katherine is continuing her work in disability, special education, and elder law, and Dan is in his second term as nanoscience department chair at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, a collaboration between the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and North Carolina A&T State University.

Peter Hansen and his wife, Gail, have completed their move to D.C. after several years of Peter commuting between D.C. and Kansas. Peter does marketing consulting.

Libby Horn volunteers at a soup kitchen and at a hospice house. In the hospice, a dying person is admitted for the last three months of their life and receives care, mostly from volunteers, at no charge.

Jim Johnson’s Europe bicycle tour company is doing well, and Jim has been extending his love of bicycling with several volunteer endeavors. Jim serves on the board of Bike Walk Tennessee and is working on trail and greenway projects around Chattanooga, extending the U.S. Bicycle Route System across Tennessee and into adjacent states. The goal is to create a 50,000-mile network of connected on-road bike routes.

Norm Kerner has had a career in the music industry as a record producer, engineer, mixer, composer, and session musician. He runs his own studio, Perfect Sound Studios, in Hollywood Hills, and does real estate deals specializing in properties that have recording studios on site. Norm also volunteers for Food Forward, an organization that harvests California produce that otherwise would go to waste, and collects leftover produce at farmers’ markets for homeless shelters. To join the effort, e-mail him at

Ely Leichtling is retired and volunteers in the Milwaukee public schools, tutoring several fourth graders in math, and teaching a seventh grade class focusing on a significant books like To Kill A Mockingbird. He also chaperones field trips. His wife, Sally, is also retired.

Susan Mitchell worked in railroad policy analysis after graduation, was a stay-at-home mom, and then went back to school and graduated with a master’s in pastoral care in 2000.  She spent 10-plus years working as a board certified hospice chaplain and is now semi-retired and volunteering at a continuing care facility, teaching bible study, and preaching at the ecumenical Christian services. Her son, Arthur, is a curator at the UPenn library and her daughter, Catherine, works in finance in D.C.  She stays in touch with Sue Heller Clain ’94.

Desmond (Stern) Whitney and his wife live in Minneapolis. They have a daughter who just graduated from college and a son with special needs. Desmond enjoys recording books for the blind each week.

This spring, Nancy ’78 and I have a daughter graduating from a master’s program and two others graduating from college. We both do volunteer work in our respective fields. Best wishes to everyone for 2017!

Mitchell Marinello |

CLASS OF 1976 | 2016 | ISSUE 3

Skip Adamek reminded me that he retired back in 2011. (Sounds like a good deal.) He is living in Raleigh, N.C. and rented a house in Cape Cod for September. Skip enjoyed a weekend with Paul McDermott and Steve Farrell  ’77.

Cheryl Alpert went to a niece’s graduation at Wes this past June. Just before, she tripped over her new puppy and fractured a vertebra, but she is fine now.

Jane Barwick shared the news that she ran for judicial office, won her election, and in 2015 became a judge of the Superior Court of Fulton County, Ga. Fulton County is the largest county in Georgia and contains most of the City of Atlanta.

Carol Bellhouse has 21 books in print, a movie in production, another in pre-production, and several in development. Fabulous!

Barbara Birney enjoyed tree zip-lining in Crater Lake National Park and reports that Peter Hansen is starring as the director in his local community theater’s production of The Chorus Line.

Matt Cartter’s daughter, Eileen, graduated from Kenyon College this past May with majors in English and American studies.

Elizabeth Eisenmann is in early retirement; her husband prefers to keep working. She is enjoying her twin granddaughters (now 3) and adopted a German Shepherd.

Ron Epstein, an academic family physician, has written a book entitled Attending: Medicine, Mindfulness, and Humanity that is being published by Scribner in January. The book mentions several of Ron’s teachers and mentors at Wesleyan, including Jon Barlow, Ken Maue  ’69, and Randy Huntsberry. Copies can be pre-ordered at:

Don Fallati wants to thank everyone who attended the Reunion and for those whose work and support enabled a class scholarship to be established, especially Shonni Silverberg. Don also wants to thank his Reunion co-chair Connie McCann for her efforts, and the class panel that included Leslie Gabel-Brett, Jay Hoggard, Seth Lerer, and Laurel Cantor. Don gives special mention to Ethan Bronner and Michael Greenberg, who were awarded Distinguished Alumni Awards, and a personal note to Gary Eager and Abe Yale. Don continues to work in his own advisory practice focusing on healthcare technology and lives in Larchmont, N.Y., with his wife, Ruth Pachman  ’78.

Oliver Griffith retired as head of communications for part of the World Bank Group in Europe in January. “Have been fixing up our country place south of Paris and starting to do some consulting on development and communications. Still playing jazz when possible, my original career goal. Would be glad to hear from old classmates visiting Paris.”

Jeff Frank’s son, George, graduated from the Air Force Academy and is now a second lieutenant at flight school in Columbus, Miss. Jeff’s oldest son, Nathan, graduated from Carnegie Mellon, and then Quantico, and is now an FBI agent working in Virginia. Jeff’s daughter, Stephanie, lives in Hawaii and just started a new job with the Hawaii Department of Energy.

Byron Haskins reports that he and wife Gabrielle are about to be empty nesters as Gabrielle’s youngest just bought a house a few blocks away. Gabrielle is recovering well enough to travel again and her second grandchild, Thomas, was born in Montreal in March. Byron is enjoying retirement and not missing work at all.

Merle Kummer, recently empty-nested, moved from the suburbs to Cambridge in August and is consulting in the life science industry. She is also enjoying the time she now has for quiet reflection.

Chris Mahoney and his wife, Joan, visited Israel for the first time and had a wonderful trip.

Debbie Gottheimer Neuman has enjoyed spending the past year as a consulting director of development for Enders Island in Mystic, Conn. She welcomes all Wesleyan friends to get in touch if visiting Mystic. Deb and her husband, Paul, look forward to their son, Josh, completing his MS in plant pathology and daughter-in-law, Meagan, completing her MS in nursing clinical leadership this fall.

Jack O’Donnell’s daughter, Maggie  ’19, has started her sophomore year at Wes and is a member of the women’s crew team.

Rob Sloss is working at Parsons Corporation, an engineering and construction firm in Pasadena, Calif., as the vice president of tax. Ron works with a team on a large number of M&A and structuring projects in more than 70 countries, including projects involving missile defense, WMD removal, and the construction of train lines, bridges and tunnels. Ron lives with his wife and a very old cat.

Mike Stopa is living and working around Boston as a practicing nanophysics theorist. His company works on a new form of computer memory made from carbon nanotubes. Mike and his wife, Hiromi, have four kids. Kaileigh is a frosh at Tufts, Robin is graduating from Haverford this year, and Miranda has two more years at Oberlin. Their son, Kipling, is still in high school and pitches for the baseball team. Mike was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this year, and live-blogged the convention for The Boston Globe.

Barbara Strauss’ daughter, Hanna Ingber  ’03, is an assistant editor on the foreign desk at The New York Times. She recently gave birth to Aarav Jacob Yerasi, Barbara’s newest grandchild. Barbara’s daughter, Rebecca Ingber, is an associate professor of law at Boston University Law School in the field of international law and national security law, and has two daughters, Alma Rae and Tess Metlitsky. Barb mentions that she connected with Debbie G. Neumann and Catherine Thibault  ’77 at the Reunion.

Mitchell Marinello |

CLASS OF 1976 | 2016 | ISSUE 2

From all reports, Reunion Weekend was a hit. The weather was good, there were some excellent panel discussions, and enough classmates made it back to make the trip worthwhile. I could not make it, and I want to thank Elisa Serling Davis for sending me some notes about those who did. Folks mentioned were present unless stated otherwise.

Adele Miles Batchelder started her career in product marketing. She now teaches public preschool part time and volunteers. She has two children in their late ’20s and lots of hobbies, including yoga and dance.

Mark Berger, who is married to Jane Eisner ’77, attended with their daughter Rachel Berger ’06, who was attending her 10th Reunion. Mark and Jane have a second Wes grad who will attend her Reunion next year. After spending 30 years in Philadelphia, Mark and Jane are now living in NYC. Mark is VP of clinical research at Kadmon Corporation and Jane is editor of The Forward, a national Jewish newspaper.

Barbara Birney just returned from six weeks in Botswana, volunteering for the Cheetah Conservation group there. She attended with her brother, Bob Birney ’81, and she caught up with Linda Whitlock-Brown.

Mel Blake works as a talent agent representing authors and speakers. He and his wife, Rebecca, are about to sell their home in Lexington and move to Portsmouth, N.H.

Sidney Cohen and his wife, Carol, live in Pleasanton, Calif., where Sid works as a physician adviser for Medtronic. Their three children (Jacob, Rachel and Jonah) are busy as a CPA/controller, administrator at QVC and medical student, respectively. Sid’s hobbies include enjoying California’s great weather, tending to his fruit trees, photography, and amateur radio.

Many of you probably know that Wes has closed DKE. This is and will continue to be a sore point with many alumni, including myself. Alumni were permitted to have an open house at DKE this weekend, however, and some Chi Psi brothers joined in. Jim Cornell sent me a photo of himself, Dan Bellegarde, Paul McMahon, Pete McArdle, Stan Opalacz, and Rob Williams at the House and another that included Dennis Harrington, Wes Higgins, Paul McDermott, Jack O’Donnell, and Steve Farrell ’77 having dinner at Bread and Water. Alan Poon was also there but missed the photo shoot. You guys look great, and I am sorry I was not there to join you! Lenny Femino would have liked to attend but his daughter Leonora graduated from Grinnell that same weekend. Leonora graduated with honors and was a four-year starter on the varsity soccer team and a hurdler/captain in track. Congratulations, Len!

Leslie Gabel-Brett is enjoying her three granddaughters. She also has a book that will soon be published on the marriage equality movement.

Joellyn Gray and her husband, Kevin, have four sons, two in the film industry, one pursuing a medical career, and one in digital marketing in NYC. Kevin teaches real estate finance at Yale and Joellyn is the director of new business at Fujifilm. She was able to reconnect with Steve Duncan, Steve Goldman, Debbie Gottheimer, Tom Kovar, Merle Kummer, and David Low and to meet Ron Kirschner and Adele Batchelder.

Debra Haffner is going to be the next senior minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Reston, Va., near DC. All DC friends are invited to visit her congregation.

David Harmin and his wife, Karen Williams Harmin, live in Cambridge and they both work at Harvard Medical School in neuroscience research and administration, respectively. Karen is a former attorney and David is a former physics professor. They lived separate lives for 31 years and then got back together and wed.

Byron Haskins, who could not make Reunion, is putting an end to commuting, retiring from federal service and planning a more leisurely work life. Best wishes to you and your wife, Byron.

Tom Kovar had a great time at the Reunion and, in addition to working, is still gigging with his band, the Retroverts, about once a month.

Seth Lerer visited Wes for the first time since graduation. He spent time with Elisa Serling Davis, Connie Bodine McCann, Merle Kummer, and many others and participated in a very well-received panel discussion in which alumni presented their current work and the impact Wes had on them. After five-and-a-half years as the dean of arts and humanities, Seth is now the Distinguished Professor of Literature at UCSD. He also has a new book being published by Oxford University Press in August entitled Tradition: A Feeling for the Literary Past.

Alan Miller and Ethan Bronner, former housemates, teamed up again as part of a Wes seminar on news literacy: “Discerning Fact from Fiction in our Digital-Age Democracy.” The panel, which drew an overflow crowd, also included Rob King ’84 and Erika Franklin Fowler, an assistant professor of government at Wes. The moderator was Alberto Ibargüen ’66, president of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Alan is president and founder of the News Literacy Project, Ethan is a senior editor of Bloomberg News, and Rob is ESPN’s senior vice president for “Sportscenter” and News. Alberto and the Knight Foundation were instrumental in launching the News Literacy Project as well as the field of news literacy nationally.

For the next issue, I’d like to hear from more of you, particularly classmates whose names begin with a letter from the second half of the alphabet!

Mitchell Marinello |

CLASS OF 1976 | 2016 | ISSUE 1

I received a lot of responses to my requests for news this quarter, and I am not going to be able to fit it all in. Some will have to wait until next time. This column will focus on classmates who have not written in for a while.

Susan Peterson Avitzour, who has four thriving grandchildren, earned a master’s degree in English and creative writing last year. She continues to work as a psychotherapist but has also published four short stories and just finished her first novel.

Meredith Gang Bergmann sent me a wonderful photo of her presenting a bust that she created of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the Justice. In New York this past October, Meredith’s husband, Michael, wrote and directed a libretto in an opera based on Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the Vanities. And, this past April, Michael’s film, Influence, for which Meredith did the production design and their son, Daniel,–– was the technical advisor won two awards at the Houston Film Festival.

Arvid Bloom is retired after 25 years as a psychology professor and has re-discovered an old passion for photography. Arvid also is learning guitar and is helping a museum to restore a helicopter from the Korean War era. He and his wife, Gretchen, also volunteer at a local animal rescue center.

Alida Jay Boye was stationed in Mali as counsellor for the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2010-–2013. In appreciation for her work, she was knighted by the Malian Government and is now a “Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mali.”

Rob Briskin is a concierge internist in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. He and his wife have twin 6-year-old girls.

Karen Adair Stephens Caplan is living in Wallingford with her husband, Dick. Their daughter, Samantha, lives in Carlsbad, Calif., and their son, Tom, is working as property manager with his dad. Karen has joined a hospital-based palliative consult team. She would love to hear from old friends.

Sidney Cohen (a doctor in cardiology and internal medicine with a PhD in biochemistry and biophysics) is now living in the Bay Area with his wife, the former Carol Fisher (second marriage). Sidney has three children: Jacob, who is a CPA and is married to Sarah Waxman; Rachel, who works at QVC; and Jonah, who is in med school in Israel.

Lawrence Davis and his wife, Ronna, will be away and regret that they are going to miss the Reunion. Their daughter, Ilana ’06, recently had her second child and their son just graduated from IDC Herzliya in Tel Aviv.

Ron Epstein is a family physician on the faculty at the University of Rochester. He and his wife Deborah have a son Eli ’11 who will be having an engagement party in Wenzhou, China, in March, followed by a wedding in Vermont. Their daughter, Malka, recently graduated from the College of Charleston. Ron is the president and Deborah is the artistic director of Pegasus Early Music, a NFP that serves Western New York.

Lenny Femino reports that our class had a great turnout for Homecoming and that, although the DKE House has been closed by the University, it was used for food and gathering after the game. Paul McMahonPete McArdleDennis Harrington, Bob GandolfoJeff WhiteAl PoonDave EckertJack O’DonnellSteve Beauchamp ’77Jeff Gray ’77 and his wife Joanne, Dennis Robinson ’79, and Scott Karsten ’74 among others, were in attendance.

Steve Goldman was elected managing partner of Robinson and Cole in Hartford. A trial lawyer at the firm since 1980, he has focused on insurance coverage and class action litigation, handling numerous federal and state appeals in multiple jurisdictions, including the Supreme Court of the United States.

Alan Haus writes about the upcoming election. He says that if Clinton wins, he may exercise his dual US/EU citizenship and move to Europe. And if Trump wins, he will find out how long it is before SpaceX is in full service!

Libby Horn’s chorus, Saratoga Soundtrack, came in fourth in the world in the small chorus division of the Sweet Adeline’s International Competition in Las Vegas this past October.

Nina Jaffe is on the graduate faculty of Bank Street College of Education in NYC, where she advises candidates involved in childhood education. Nina’s book The Golden Flower: A Taino Myth From Puerto Rico, was selected as a Staff Pick at The Bank Street Bookstore. Nina’s husband, Bob Armistead, is a special educator teaching in the South Bronx, and their son, Louis, is a free-lance film editor and producer.

Debbie King got (re)married this past June to Daniel Toth in Boulder, Colo., after a long engagement. Their daughters and granddaughters made up the wedding party. They honeymooned in Bordeaux, France, and the Cinque Terre in Italy.

Debra Gottheimer Neuman and husband, Paul, moved last year to Mystic, Conn., where they live in an 1806 cottage in the historic district. Last May, their son Joshua was married to Meagan Riley in Athens, Ga. The newlyweds are each pursuing MS degrees, he in plant pathology and she in nursing.

Joe Reiff’s book on the Civil Rights Movement. Born of Conviction: White Methodists and Mississippi’s Closed Society, has been published by Oxford University Press.

Lisa deSchweinitz and her husband will be downsizing into a co-housing community in their hometown of Anchorage. Lisa is a family physician. She does medical missions in Spanish-speaking countries and went to Nicaragua last fall.

Steve Smith started as a ’75 but joined ’76. He lives in East Flat Rock, N.C., with his wife Jean, who teaches in the local public school system. Steve did computer programming most of his career and now works for DHG in healthcare consulting in Athens. Their two children, Tara ’07 and Tyler, work in Charlotte, Tara as a librarian and Tyler as a computer programmer. Steve and Jean are active in the dulcimer club in Asheville.

Last December, Marc Stier became the director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, a leading progressive think tank in Pennsylvania. Marc’s book, Grassroots Advocacy and Healthcare Reform, was recently published. Marc’s daughter with Diane Gottlieb ’80 graduated from Hampshire College last spring.

Our Reunion is May 19–22, 2016. You can find more information at:, under “Events.” Hope to see you there.

Mitchell Marinello |

CLASS OF 1976 | 2015 | ISSUE 3

Newsmaker: Michael Greenberg ’76, PhD

Michael Greenberg ’76, PhD, the Nathan Marsh Pusey Professor of Neurobiology and chair of the Department of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School, was the co-recipient of the 2015 Gruber Neuroscience Prize. The Gruber Foundation cites him for spending “the last 30 years unlocking the mysteries of the molecular mechanisms that underlie the effects of experience on the brain, thus elucidating how nature and nurture are intertwined during brain development.” Most recently, his work has explored the ways that neural activity expresses itself in the wiring of the brain—and that disruptions of those pathways can lead to neurobiological disorders. His co-recipient, Carla Shatz, is professor of biology and neurobiology at Stanford University and former head of the Harvard Medical School Department of Neurobiology. In a statement, the chair of the Gruber Foundation selection advisory board for the neuroscience prize, Robert Wurtz, described Shatz and Greenberg as “extraordinary researchers… leaders in the neuroscience community…and exceptional mentors.” The Prize citation noted that “[T]heir groundbreaking studies have provided new insight into how neural circuit function regulates brain development and plasticity and how dysfunction can contribute to neuropsychiatric disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.” A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Wesleyan with a major in chemistry, Greenberg earned his PhD at Rockefeller University and pursued post-doctoral research at New York University.

Dear Class of ’76, There’s no hiding it. In a short time, we will be having a big Reunion year. Classmates are coming together to make plans and think of things that will make it special.

Jamie Beck Gordon says hello and wishes everyone well.

Rob Cox and his wife, Maggie, had dinner with Steve Goldman in Greenwich Village in September. Rob asks all the CSS class to do their best to make it to the Reunion. I second that.

Elisa Serling Davis writes that, after many years of being in the Empire State, she and her husband, Seth Davis ’72, have moved back to Connecticut. Older son Mark married in April and is waiting for his master’s thesis in economics to be approved. Elisa’s father helped get Empire State College started while we were at Wes; her younger son Kevin is now finishing his degree there!

Oliver Griffith is still working in Paris as head of communications in Europe for IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group. He’d be happy to welcome old Wesleyan friends visiting Paris.

Debra Haffner has announced her retirement from Religious Institute, which she co-founded in 2001, and is looking forward to a new vocational chapter.

Byron Haskins is a two-time grandpa, with Harriet and Solomon born late last year. Byron is still with Social Security, in disability policy. Let’s try not to bug him for too much advice at the Reunion.

Libby Horn and Mary Barrett are going to Las Vegas in October to compete in the International Sweet Adelines Competitions. They both are baritones and family nurse practitioners.

Jim Johnson is traveling all over the world as part of his work with, a company that he started. Jim is an avid cyclist and has completed several triathlons.

Marty Leinwand is living and working in the Nashville area with his wife, Eileen, and contemplating where to go next. They have two daughters and five granddaughters. Marty says hello to Paul, Ray, Julie, Robbie, Stuart, and Greg. No last names, but you know who you are.

Jack O’Donnell’s youngest child just began her freshman year at Wesleyan, has made the crew team, and has joined numerous clubs. Jack will be at the Reunion.

Matt Paul, David Cohen, Mike Greenberg and Stewart Shuman know how to keep the fire burning. They had their annual summer get-together on Long Island with wives and significant others. Matt and his wife, Lisa, also welcomed a new granddaughter this year.

Joe Reiff has a book coming out this fall from Oxford University Press titled Born of Conviction: White Methodists and Mississippi’s Closed Society.

Steve Schwartz, who is doing forensic work and economic counseling, passed through Chicago a couple of weeks ago, and we had a good visit.

Let’s get together in the spring.

Mitchell Marinello

CLASS OF 1976 | 2015 | ISSUE 2

This summer Andrea Grubb Barthwell and her husband, David, are celebrating 35 years together. Their youngest son, Matthew, just finished Fisk and is headed to SUNY Stony Brook for graduate school in social work. Matthew plans to concentrate on social justice in relation to African-American teenage boys. Andrea keeps herself busy giving lectures on preventing and treating drug use by kids and advocating for more drug treatment centers.

Oliver Griffith is still working for International Finance Corporation, the private arm of the World Bank Group. Oliver runs communications and public affairs for Europe out of Paris. He plans to stay in France for the long term and has just bought a house in the country. He would welcome visits from old friends and classmates.

Dan Henry and his wife just returned from California, where they spent time with their granddaughter, Frazier Michelle Henry, who celebrated her first birthday. Frazier was born on Dan’s birthday last May—what Dan says is his best birthday present ever.

Jack O’Donnell is delighted that his daughter, Maggie, will be heading to Wes this September, the second of his four kids to do so. Jack also recently went to see Orleans in Tarrytown—a group that no ’76er could fail to remember for all the times they played at Wes. Jack spoke with John Hall afterward. Hall said he stays in touch with Fred Hollister ’73 and that he still vividly remembers turning around on an upstate N.Y. highway when a tollbooth attendant told him that his band was desperately needed at Wes to fill in for Marshall Tucker. Jack says the band still sounds good—and why not?

Martha Meade has a son who just finished his freshman year at Wes, and she and her husband visited the campus for her husband’s Reunion. Martha’s “Stream of Consciousness” won Honorable Mention at the Spring Juried Show of the Palisades Art Association and was on display at the Palisades Public Library. You can see some of Martha’s art on Facebook. Take a visit.

Libby Spader says that her Wes theatre degree comes in handy in her career as an international trainer in USAID’s legal regulations for foreign assistance. Libby travels the world delivering training workshops for a nonprofit called InsideNGO. Libby wrote from London and was heading out for a week vacation in Florence, but her trips more frequently take her to places like Nairobi, Addis Ababa, and Bangkok. In October, she takes her first trip to Myanmar.

I am looking forward to summer after a particularly long Chicago winter and to taking a trip to Greece in the fall. Two of my daughters are away doing internships. One is studying math and Chinese in Taiwan and the other is doing a NASA program in Huntsville, Ala., that includes sky diving. My oldest, who graduated from college a few years ago, is going for her master’s this September in biostatistics.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup for the third time in six years. Great ending to the season.

CLASS OF 1976 | 2015 | ISSUE 1

Cheryl Alpert’s oldest son, Eben, will be graduating this year from Tulane with a degree in finance and her younger son, Chasen, is a sophomore at Washington and Lee where he was recruited to play soccer. Cheryl, who spent many years as a marketing executive, is now working as a volunteer with young entrepreneurs while her husband, Tom, has returned to architecture. Cheryl’s mom recently passed away, but not before reaching 100 years old. Cheryl, I hope you’ll consider being our class secretary some day!

Carol Bellhouse is keeping busy with book signings and talks. She now has 14 books in print.

Barbara Birney has settled into a small town outside of Portland, Ore., and would like to hear from any Wes grads out that way. “Settled” may be the wrong word, because in August Barbara is heading to Botswana for two years with the Peace Corps.

Melissa Blacker and her husband, David Rynick ’74, are the resident teachers at Boundless Way Zen Temple in Worcester, Mass., and invite everyone who likes to meditate to visit the Temple and gardens. David and Melissa’s daughter, Rachel, was married this past November.

Robert Buccino, a ’76er who took a year off after sophomore year, is celebrating 33 years of marriage to Mary Bresette. Their daughter, Leonora, is a junior at Grinnell. Rob recently published a book for ad agencies, titled The Pitch Book, that is available on Amazon. Rob and Mary live in Manhattan.

David Cohen reports that Matt Paul, Michael Greenberg, Stewart Shuman, and he just had their third annual get-together, which featured hiking, a great meal and wine, and endless conversation about Wes, politics, and much more.

Sid Cohen writes that, after a 20-year stint at UPenn School of Medicine, he worked at several large companies and start-ups in the cardiovascular and medical device industries. Sid and his wife, Caro, now reside in Pleasanton, Calif., southeast of San Francisco. They have three children who live and work on the East Coast. Sid would love to hear from fellow classmates at

The city of Madrid invited Bob Craft to tour the city as a possible location for a film. While there, he met two other film location managers. The three of them were featured in a televised newscast and in a photo in the Sunday paper.

Like many of us, Lenny Femino and his wife, Rona, are doing more traveling now that the kids have moved out. Lenny’s law practice is entering its 30th year, and he still finds time to run 30 to 40 miles per week. Keep it up Len, but don’t wear it out!

Elizabeth Eisenmann lives in Chelmsford, Mass., which is about 10 miles from the New Hampshire border. The snow this year has kept her busy, but she enjoys the workout. “Let the whiners threaten to move to Florida,” she says, “I will take nor’easters and blizzards over hurricanes and flying cockroaches any day.”

Debra Haffner has been ordained for 12 years and is ABD for her doctorate. She hopes to be Rev. Dr. Haffner by next spring.

Peter Hansen is trying to put more emphasis on the “life” side of the work/life balance equation, and he and his wife did a combined work/vacation trip to Taiwan last fall. Peter is spending more time than ever in D.C., but still regularly commutes to Kansas City, Denver, and Portland for his marketing consulting business.

Karen William Harmin and her husband, David Harmin, both are still working at Harvard Medical School and enjoying life in Cambridge. David became a grandfather last fall and they are enjoying it immensely.

Byron Haskins has also become a grandfather. His son, Josh, who is a director at ESPN, and his wife, Katy, who works at Yale-New Haven Hospital, welcomed Harriett into their family in October. His daughter, Anna, and her husband, Steven, who are both assistant professors at Cornell, welcomed Solomon into their family in December.

Alan Haus started teaching motion picture law and business to MFA candidates one afternoon per week at a local university in San Francisco.

Jim Johnson’s international bicycle tour business,, has been expanding and now offers 550 tours in 75 countries. Jim, who now resides in Chattanooga, is very active in local bicycle and trails advocacy and is working on a number of projects to establish local parks and bicycle trails.

Ron Kirschner went from being a history grad student to becoming an ER doc; he changed directions again when he was hit by a car and severely injured. Ron is now the medical director of a Midwest poison center that is affiliated with the University of Nebraska Medical Center. They made the news when caring for an American physician who contracted Ebola in West Africa. Ron is married and has a daughter who will be turning 18 this spring.

Tom Kovar, like several classmates, is enduring the snow conditions in and around Boston. Tom recently heard Jay Hoggard, who lives and teaches in Middletown, playing with a local jazz trio and found Jay’s music “astonishingly great.”

Seth Lerer has finished his term as dean of arts and humanities at the University of California, San Diego, and is enjoying a sabbatical. This spring, Seth will be the Keeley Visiting Fellow at Wadham College, Oxford.

Gerry Rau writes from Taiwan and a decidedly different season and climate. He offers his good wishes to all.

Des Stern Whitney and his wife, Anne, have recently become empty nesters and are enjoying their new found freedom.

Thanks for writing. Keep in touch.

Mitchell Marinello |

CLASS OF 1976 | 2014 | ISSUE 3

Well, I was a little late in contacting everyone and did not expect much. But I got a barrel of news, so here goes.

Sara Avitzour is an active psychotherapist whose lawyer days are long behind her. This semester she is finishing up her master’s degree in English and creative writing at Bar Ilan University. She has published three short stories so far and a full-length memoir. Sara has four grandchildren, three boys and one girl, ages 1 to 5.

Leslie Anderson won the 2014 National Genealogical Society Family History Writing Contest with a story about her great-great-grandmother Tabitha, who was born a slave to a wealthy tobacco planter in Virginia. When Tabitha was about 60, she purchased 16 acres from her former owner. The story will be published later this year in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly. Leslie is the project editor for an index of Virginia Slave Births published by Heritage Books.

Elizabeth (Betsy) Eisenmann writes that she has had three big life events in the past year. Her son and his wife (who live in LA) had twin daughters in Sept. 2013, her mom passed away on Oct. 1, 2013, after 18 years of living with Alzheimer’s disease, and Betsy retired in Jan. 2014, after 29 years as an RN, 28 with Lowell General Hospital.

Jeff Frank, who lives in Columbus, Ohio, got together with his three children for a week in Colorado Springs. (Hey, Jeff, my daughter went to college there.) Son George is a junior at the Air Force Academy; son Nathan, who is with the FBI, and his wife, Amanda, were in from Miami; and daughter Stephanie, who is a teacher, was in from Hawaii.

Karen Gervasoni, who was a great co-manager for the Wes wrestling team, and her husband, Tom Hansen, live on 100 acres in Kennebunk, Maine, with their son, Cole, who will be 16 in November. Karen is retired after 25 years as an actuary. She would love to hear from Janet Brooks, Kat Wilmore, and Diana Brody.

In July 2014, Cathy Gorin had a gathering of Liz Gissen Holder, Ed Papier, and Christine McCoy McNeil ’75 at her summer home near Copake, N.Y. At Wesleyan, they all had lived together at Kappa Alpha house (which was then university housing) and had come to this same summer home back in the spring of ’75. Their mini-reunion was full of wonderful stories and nostalgia.

Debra Haffner is still president of the Religious Institute, an organization she founded 14 years ago, to help religious leaders advocate for sexual justice, and she hopes to earn her doctorate in ministry by 2016. Her eldest got married in May and her youngest is a college senior. She just spent a week with Kath Booth ’78, her college roommate.

David Low, associate director of publications and arts and culture editor for Wes, just had his short story “Elevor” published at Solstice, a magazine of diverse voices. The story, which can be found at concerns a young Asian woman’s adventures in NYC as she deals with claustrophobia.

Doug Hurd, who was a mainstay of the Wesleyan wrestling team, reports that his son Greg ’10 was a Division 3 New England champion wrestler for Wesleyan and went to Nationals twice. Greg is now in a PhD program in geology at the University of Texas in Austin. Doug’s daughter, Allison ’11, is pursuing dance in NYC. Doug, his wife, Cynthia, and family just returned from a trip to Cracow, Poland, and a hiking trip in the Tatra mountains.

Tom Kovar stays in touch with a lot of Wesleyan folks, including many who share his interest in music, including David Harmin and Karen Williams Harmin, Byron Haskins, Mel Blake, Marty Plotkin, Nat Needle, Libby Horn, Cheryl Alpert, BJ Buckley, Jim Fellows, Dan Cantor, and Winifred van Roden ’77. Tom, it is great that you keep in touch with so many of our classmates. Please encourage them to write in to class notes.

Gerry Rau writes that this fall over a dozen international students from various countries, none of whom speak Chinese, showed up at his church in Chiayi, Taiwan, and that the church is starting an English worship service for them. Gerry is coordinating the startup and will be speaking each week.

Mark Rubin attended Parents Day at Wesleyan this past September where Grace ’18, his youngest child, just started her freshman year. Mark’s niece, Lucy Rubin ’17, is also there. Unfortunately, Mark lost both his father and Eric, his younger brother, in the past 18 months.

This summer, Nancy and I had the pleasure of having Bruce Tobey ’75 and his wife, Pat, to our house for dinner. I also heard from Bill Devereaux ’75, who was president of our DKE chapter at Wesleyan. We have daughters at Bryn Mawr and Carleton and have met many interesting parents and alums from those schools. We both stay busy, and I have developed an interesting sideline by serving as an arbitrator and mediator in business disputes. Had an interesting case involving a well-known race car driver recently. During a break, he showed me a video of his 3-year-old driving an off-road four-wheeler solo and real fast through a bumpy field. When I asked him why his kid was not wearing a helmet, he turned to me with the most honest face and wide-eyed look imaginable. “Because his neck’s not strong enough to hold it up,” he said.

Well, we’ve run out of space. How about writing me for the next issue

Mitchell Marinello |