CLASS OF 1978 | 2021–2022 | WINTER ISSUE

Marc Abrams is in his 20th year at the Oregon Department of Justice, where he heads the employment litigation team. He was asked this year to lead a team of attorneys at the Department of Justice to defend Oregon Governor Brown’s executive orders protecting against COVID, which were under legal challenge by private schools, churches, and tattoo parlors. “It’s been a particularly fascinating year . . . I did a number of oral arguments in federal court on Zoom, in tie, jacket, cargo shorts and bare feet.”

Andrea Gabor is Bloomberg Chair of Business Journalism at Baruch College of the City University of New York. Her chapter “Media Capture and the Corporate Education-Reform Philanthropies” is currently being published in the book Media Capture: How Money, Digital Platforms and Governments Control the News (Columbia University Press). Andrea has previously authored the book After the Education Wars: How Smart Schools Upend the Business of Reform, published in 2018.

John Rose and his family have been spending most of their time in northwestern Connecticut since “retreating there from NYC in March of 2020.” John is a senior partner at Boston Consulting Group, and “had the unique opportunity over the last 15 months to support New York State in its response to COVID” from the standpoint of setting up industry guidelines and vaccination programs. John’s daughter is in the class of 2023 at College of William and Mary, his son in the class of 2023 at Wesleyan. His wife Elizabeth recently ended her service as deputy chancellor for operations at the NYC Department of Education, and is now chief financial officer for an educational non-profit agency.

Ralph Rotman has been recognized by the Boston office of Northwestern Mutual, where he has been for 43 years, by being inducted into the company’s elite membership, the Forum Group. Ralph’s daughter, Cassie, has joined him in the business.

Julie Scolnik reports that Koehler Books has published a memoir she had been working on for decades—Paris Blue—a “fairy-tale memoir,” which begins in Paris in the late 1970s, reflecting her musical career, “love at first sight,” and eventual heartbreak. Wesleyan has its place in this book, which has received a favorable review from author John Irving.

Carl Taylor wishes everyone good health and well-being from West Hartford, Connecticut, where he continues to live with his wife and son. He reports that the winter was spent caring for her following surgical treatment for a ruptured colon, from which she has recovered well “thanks to a great surgeon, very good care, and strong Russian genes from a couple of generations past. She is back to gardening, her prime hobby in good weather. Nurses and healthcare workers do not get paid enough (good man Carl)!” At a recent visit to Maine they celebrated her allowance for lobster rolls at Red’s Eats, and then took in the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay. Carl has just completed his 38th year coaching youth lacrosse in his hometown, where “three players were children of some of my former players, the father of one serving as his assistant coach.” He continues to serve as a superior court judge in New Britain, Connecticut, “periodically dealing with children, grandchildren, and in one case, the great-grandchildren of people that I dealt with as an assistant state’s attorney in New Britain. No, I’m getting old!”

CLASS OF 1978 | 2021 | ISSUE 1

Greetings Classmates. It’s early March as I compile our class notes and realize it was exactly one year ago that we, and the whole world, were just beginning to experience a dramatic change in our daily lives the likes of which we had never experienced. Thankfully, it appears there’s a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. No doubt each of you has your own “COVID Story” to tell and hopefully it contains some silver linings as we’ll see with the following classmates’ shared updates:

     John Rose resides in Connecticut and New York City with two children and three pups. He continues his work as a consultant and has been spending the last year helping New York State on COVID-
related issues: “modeling economic harm; helping to draft approach and industry guidelines for reopening the economy; and standing up vaccine program.” His son is a freshman at Wesleyan and his daughter is a second-year student at William & Mary. His wife, Elizabeth, left her job as deputy chancellor for operations at New York City Department of Education and is now CFO of Publicolor, an education nonprofit, and is volunteering at Foodbank in Connecticut.

      Jodi Wilinsky Hill wrote from Maui: “Life is mostly good. All things considered. I am blessed with fabulous work contracts­—all that have me working on behalf of equity and access, changing the experience for those who have lived in chronic poverty and many who have been subjected to systemic racism. My Wednesday Zooms with Wes friends have been a lifeline. And my first grandbaby, born in December, brings me tremendous joy and hope. My partner’s family hails from Maui and since he “had to” come to Maui, I tagged along. I am working from a lanai overlooking a few smaller islands, and when I have the time to look up I often catch a glimpse of a humpback whale. They never fail to thrill!”

     Nancy McCabe, classmate and wife of Pat McCabe, checked in from Santa Monica, California. She commented, “One personal upside to the pandemic has been transcontinental Zoom cocktails with a ’78 sextet including Susie Bates, Jodi Hill, Suki Hoagland, Moira James, Pat McCabe and a semi-alum, Nancy McCabe. We’re a busy crew! There are engagements, weddings, grandchildren and thriving careers keeping us all happy, busy and covid-free!”

     David Weild is living in New York and “commuting from bedroom to living room (like most of the rest of the world) with stops at the gym.” His company, Weild & Co, “a decentralized investment bank” has a presence in 17 states and is growing. According to David, “they are bringing ‘Wall Street to Main Street.’” He’s also been involved in several Acts that have been passed into law, all “basic economic activism trying to bring back upward mobility, especially to poor communities and to advance US competitiveness.” His kids are in or about to head off to college with two of the three at Tulane. David writes that he is still friends/connected with Kaylie Jones, Dr. Seth Gendler, Muffy Brown, and Dr. Olivia (Lucille) Lanna. He and his wife, Christi, are plotting an exodus from the state of New York but struggling over what to do about parents who are 90 and in New York.

      Rachael N. Pine is also safely WFH in Brooklyn, New York. While ensconced in her home office, she “has the pleasure of sharing the journey of two adult children who are each in their first year of a graduate program­—one at Yale/Nursing and one at UC Berkeley/Urban Planning—that has them totally engaged and charged with the pleasure (and, yes, stress) of learning ‘stuff’ that will empower them to make a difference in the world.”

      Steve Reynolds and his wife, Beth, have been healthy and safe with respect to COVID, but miss seeing their sons who live on the West Coast whom they haven’t seen in over a year. Steve retired from the energy industry about a year and a half ago; they sold their New Hampshire home last July and have moved to Vero Beach, Florida. He and Beth love the warm climate where they are able to stay physically active outdoors, and he’s hopeful (like the rest of us!) to resume visiting family and friends later this year.

     Elise Wagner has lived in Chappaqua, New York for many years and practices law at Kramer Levin in New York City, where she is a partner in the Land Use Department. There were silver linings to this past difficult year for her as she was named the 2021 Woman of the Year by WX Women Executives in Real Estate, an organization of senior-level women in real estate in New York City. The award will be presented at an event this November, which she hopes will be in  person. Her twin daughters and her two grandchildren are perpetual highlights although seeing her Atlanta grandchildren only once in 2020 was hard to bear. She hopes for many more visits in 2021.

     Pete Lewis and his wife are enjoying splitting their time between homes in Wake Forest, North Carolina and Newcastle, Maine. He’s not sure how 65 crept up on him or how his friends got so old but I bet many of us can relate to those sentiments! Pete finds his two-and-a-half-year-old grandson a “wonderful bundle of energy” and perhaps a great distraction as he explores this thing called “retirement.”

     Yours truly (Susie) will always treasure the closeness my husband, Nick, and I developed with our four-generation (from ages 87 to three) COVID pod here in Duxbury over the last year. I also wholeheartedly agree with Jodi and Nancy about the joy our “Wesleyan Wednesdays” continue to bring. As things in our lives begin to open up and “go back to normal” may we hold fast to all the silver linings and may we appreciate as never before in-person social gatherings and real hugs!

CLASS OF 1978 | 2020 | ISSUE 3

Elizabeth (Pep Pep) Bachman has moved, with her wife, from San Francisco, California, to Portland, Oregon, where she trains corporate women in presentation skills and hosts a podcast entitled “Speakers Who Get Results”. She feels that her 30 years in the opera world has primed her for this, and continues to still spend plenty of time in the Austrian Alps where that former work took place.

Geoff Ginsburg continues his medical work at Duke University, where he is involved in multiple research and business initiatives.

Lucy Mize has had a “ringside seat” at the federal response to COVID-19, in the White House situation room during the early days and subsequently working from her home in Vermont during most of the past several months. Her daughter Belle ’22 is spending this semester driving cross-country working in organic farming, while her son Thad ’17 has moved from Miami to Vermont as well. Off screen, they’ve “been busy flying kites, watching goats eat up our brush and creating new gardens.”

Julie Skolnik has continued her professional musical work, maintaining her concert series (Mistral Music) in Boston despite the pandemic, through both virtual concerts and live performances in local parks and other safe-distancing venues. 

Lynn M. Thomas and her daughter Carolyn Thomas visited with Tracy Robinson in Booth Bay Harbor this summer and enjoyed the break from COVID-19’s isolation, the gorgeous Maine coastline, islands, and blue waters.

Finally, it saddens me to inform you of the passing in April of two of our classmates, Aline Senior and Mark Laser. Ron Duby was good enough to let us know about Aline, and Lane Katz about Mark. Both Aline and Mark lived in Connecticut, and they both leave behind wonderful legacies of rich and varied lives in which they touched the hearts of many. They will be deeply missed, and our thoughts go out to their families and loved ones. Beautiful pieces about each of them are easily available; for Mark on marklaser.com, and for Aline on legacy.com. 

In the hopes that you are all well, our best regards. 

Susie Muirhead Bates | sbatesdux@hotmail.com 

Ken Kramer | kmkramer78@hotmail.com

CLASS OF 1978 | 2020 | ISSUE 2

Greetings, classmates. I (Susie) hope these notes find you and yours healthy, safe, and finding silver linings to life in this new life we’re living. In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic turning our world upside down, perhaps you, like me, are finding particular joy in the beauties of nature (our gardens have never gotten this much attention!), the fragrance of a favorite recipe or reaching out to a long-lost friend.

These notes were due on May 18, so who knows what our world will look like when they arrive in your mailbox. Hopefully, progress has been made in defeating the virus, the economy is in better shape, and we have more clarity in our futures.

Lucy Mize wrote that she came back from teaching a class in Thailand on Jan. 18, and on the 20th, was in the White House situation room as part of the COVID-19 response. That must have been quite a welcome home! At the same time, she was glad to welcome her daughter, Belle ’22, home from her sophomore year at Wes. Lucy loves that Belle and her brother will always be on the same Reunion cycle five years apart. During quarantine, her husband keeps them distracted with their beautiful garden and they are hoping that all four of them, including Thaddeus ’17, will be able to spend the summer in Vermont.

Rachael Pine updated us on her life during the quarantine. She says working at a private foundation in NYC during the pandemic is heartbreaking. From her vantage point, she is not face-to-face with the human toll, but she sees the devastation being within the nonprofit sector—the small mission-driven community-based organizations that do amazing work, are the heart and soul of many neighborhoods, and find themselves closing doors, laying off staff, falling behind in rent, and unable to provide even life-sustaining services to their clients in low-income communities. Rachael is finding joy in vicariously sharing the life journey of her children’s lives; one daughter is off to Yale for a master’s level nurse-midwifery and women’s health degree and the other to UC Berkeley for a master’s in city and regional planning.

Lisa Alter is a founding partner of Alter Kendrick & Baron. Her firm advises music publishers, equity investors, musicians, and songwriters alike. She was recently named to the “2020 Billboard Power List” which recognized her as “not only excelling at her job but going beyond to elevate the entire music business.” Congrats Lisa!

Dr. Michael Blackwell, originally in the class of ’77 but graduated in ’78, checked in for the first time in a while. After Wesleyan, he attended graduate school at Boston University and taught at nearby Curry College and the Urban Education Center in Roxbury for Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. From Boston, he moved to the Midwest, where he’s been living a very busy, full life for the past 30 years. He taught classes in religion and society at Missouri State and pastored several churches in the area. He moved to Iowa, where he directed the Center for Multicultural Education at the University of Northern Iowa and taught in the philosophy and world religions department. He pastored a Baptist church in Cedar Rapids for several years and a string of United Methodist churches thereafter. He retired from university teaching in 2015 and retired from pastoring in December. Now he is hoping to enjoy writing, leisure activities, and reconnecting with family and friends. He’s also thinking of moving back to the Northeast where he grew up. Who knows, maybe he’ll be at a Reunion someday!?

My husband, Nick, and I have been enjoying Zoomtailing (yes, that’s a word!) with Jodi Wilinsky Hill, Suki Hoagland, Lance and Moira James, and Pat and Nancy McCabe. Laughter is always good medicine for the soul. It’s certain this year will be like no other, but let’s carry on with kindness, optimism, and hope. Take good care and please send us your news and quarantine stories…surely there are many!

Susie Muirhead Bates | sbatesdux@hotmail.com 

Ken Kramer | kmkramer78@hotmail.com

CLASS OF 1978 | 2020 | ISSUE 1

Jon Spector has retired from his position as CEO of The Conference Board and is “comfortably settled with my wife, Wendy, in beautiful Woodstock, Vt., getting in shape, improving my tennis, and helping to figure out how best to develop our local economy.”

Ruth Pachman has relayed the sad news that Debbie Stuckey died, surrounded by family and friends, on Jan. 6, following her long battle with breast cancer. Ruth, along with Marilyn Fagelson and Elise Bean, “had visited with her just two weeks before, spending a lovely day trimming her Christmas tree and cherishing what was clearly close to the end of 45 years of friendship that started in Clark Hall freshman year and wound through Delta Tau, the William Street apartments, Foss Hill, and McConaughy. Debbie was a government major and got her doctorate in psychology from Boston University and Harvard. She was a family relationship therapist with her own practice in Washington, D.C. At Wes, Debbie was a fabulous dancer and singer. Her intense joy of music, among countless other things, will be remembered by us and many other classmates.” Debbie leaves behind two daughters, Kiera and Hayley, and a son, Will. Our heartfelt thoughts go out to her family.

Dave Wilson has an active musical career on saxophone and released his fifth album (One Night at Chris’) last summer with great acclaim. Dave lives with his wife, Lisa, in Lancaster, Pa., where he teaches music and owns a musical instrument shop.

Julie Skolnik is a flutist in her long-successful chamber group of 22 years, Mistral Music, and relates a heartening tale of this past year, which made the front page of The Boston Globe. Just as the group was starting a concert piece, an elderly woman in the front row collapsed in cardiac arrest. With doctors present in the audience, CPR was initiated; she came around, pleading from her departing stretcher to just be left alone (“What are you doing? I want to hear the music!”). The group responded with an encore of “Here Comes the Sun” and a visit to her in the hospital. Heart-stopping music, they feel.

Susie Muirhead Bates | sbatesdux@hotmail.com 

Ken Kramer | kmkramer78@hotmail.com