CLASS OF 1979 | 2021–2022 | WINTER ISSUE

Hello everyone.  Diane reporting the notes this issue.  As of this writing this year is a welcome relief from the sequestering and stress of 2020 and early 2021. Hopefully this will continue into 2022.

I have followed the updates on various social media and televised interviews of fellow Wes alum, Scott Gottlieb ‘94, former FDA Commissioner, and he has been a wonderful resource for information on COVID-19.  He is a learned voice who echoes the tempered, but at the same time, hopeful optimism of most of us less scientifically knowledgeable folk.

Reunions with family and friends have been joyful for so many, and many of the notes I have received from our classmates show that the pandemic was a time to assess what is really important—with accelerated retirements, investing time in new or rekindled interests and passions, and reunions with loved ones being the theme.

Kim Carrell-Smith writes: “I retired from my teaching/administrative job at Lehigh University in May, as did my husband John. Like so many other folks, the pandemic just made me decide that life is too short to battle bureaucracy, even if I will miss my grad student Community Fellows, and working with local governments and nonprofits. But I’ll continue to be active in local issues like affordable housing, historic preservation, and equitable development in my ‘other side of the tracks’ part of town. One of my kids is in Baltimore running the city’s public library system’s digital equity work, and the other child (are they children when they are over 30?) and family are about a mile from us in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, so John and I are part of the pandemic village that is happily helping to raise the next generation.”

Fred Baurer, an old friend from Foss 4 our freshman year, updates us that his original manuscript, “Psychodynamic Treatment with the Addicted Person,” has been accepted for publication in the upcoming issue of the journal Psychodynamic Psychiatry. The lineage of this work has Wesleyan roots, the intellectual influence of Henry Abelove and passionate spirit of the magnificent Cheryl Cutler.  Fred is an addictions psychiatrist and psychoanalyst in Philadelphia, living in Center City with Sharon Pollak, life partner of 42 years. He writes, “Parenthood has been amazing, grandparenthood is otherworldly!”

Katharine McKenna shares the following about an exhibition of hers in Arizona through December 2022:

UNFRAMED: A PHOTO JOURNEY THROUGH NAVAJO AND HOPI NATIONS, 1977–1978 at the Arizona Heritage Center, 1300 North College Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85281. On view: April 2021–December 2022.  Experience a photo journey across Northern Arizona with contemporary artist Katharine L. McKenna. During a college gap year, McKenna spent the summers of 1977 and 1978 volunteering at the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff. While there, she assisted the museum in collecting woven rugs, pottery, baskets, and jewelry for the museum’s annual Navajo Arts and Crafts show. She documented her experience by journaling and taking photographs of the 24 trading posts she visited, and the countless miles she traveled through the Navajo and Hopi Nations in Northern Arizona.

This exhibition features McKenna’s black-and-white images and Native American artifacts from the Arizona Historical Society Collections. Visitors can travel along with McKenna and read excerpts from her journal that she kept during this time period.

The accompanying journal, Navajo Collecting Trip: A Journal into the Remote, is available on Amazon, where the description says:

“Dissatisfied with classes, lectures, papers and exams, Katharine L. McKenna quits college in upstate New York and heads west to volunteer at the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff—to get an education. Intimidated at first, McKenna becomes a willing apprentice and rises to the occasion within a short time; she soon falls into her role at the Museum. McKenna is exposed to hands-on archaeological surveys and ethnology while working with scientists at the Museum’s Research Center. McKenna soon finds herself racing thunderstorms across the Navajo Reservation, to collect hand woven rugs, pottery, baskets and jewelry for the Museum’s annual Navajo and Arts and Crafts Show.

            “Written with straight forward clarity in 1977, 19-year-old McKenna documents her experiences in this formative journal with both words and photography. While covering more than 600 miles of dirt road to visit 24 remote trading posts, she encounters trader characters as well as notables such as Charles Loloma, the famous Hopi jeweler, and H. Baxter Liebler, the missionary who founded St. Christopher’s in Bluff, Utah.

            “McKenna returns to college at Wesleyan University with new direction and interest, fortified by the merits of a “gap” year long before the term became popular.”

Ron Cooper sent this update.  “After retiring from more than 30 years in the corporate world, I rekindled my interest in photography. My first photography book, We Are Santa (Princeton Architectural Press, New York) was published in the fall of 2020 and features photographs, profiles and interviews with 50 top professional Santa Clauses. It was for a (short) time, the #1 Christmas book on Amazon. My new book, Celebrating Humanity: Faces from Five Continents, a collection of monochrome portraits, was published in fall 2021 by Studio Photiq in the United Kingdom. My photographs have been exhibited in more than 50 juried group shows and five solo exhibits in the United States and Europe, and published in consumer magazines, newspapers and photography journals.”

Bill Conley reports on a gathering on Cape Cod hosted by Gary Breitbord and his wife Colleen. On a perfect early summer afternoon at Gary and Colleen’s retirement home in Falmouth, Massachusetts, close Wesleyan friends rejoiced at being able to see each other after at least a year and a half. ’79ers Tim Fitzgerald, Jack Buckley, George DuPaul and Bill were there with their respective spouses and also included dear friend Jeff Gray ’77 and his wife. Network news satellite trucks were kept away from smothering 24/7 coverage of the event with quick thinking by Gary who disguised himself as Lin-Manuel Miranda and drew crowds away while shopping for ice in Falmouth Center. Discourse among the party goers quickly descended into the stalest of college stories, politics, bad jokes, and amazingly, all departed the festivities still good friends. We were all so thrilled to be together, vaccinated and un-masked to revel in each other’s company and deepen our bonds even further.

And, finally, Rachel Bashevkin shares the sad news of the loss of Paul Hammer.  She writes:  “So many of us in New Haven are grieving the loss of friend, citizen, activist, and mensch Paul Hammer. He died on Sunday, June 27th.”  Rachel remembers him as a unique character who was well known and liked by many on the Wesleyan campus and later in New Haven.  A moving story of his life can be accessed at the following link to the “New Haven Independent.”  On behalf of our class, we send our deepest condolences to his family and friends.–MIOXA#.YNyYZLOetiI.facebook

CLASS OF 1979 | 2021 | ISSUE 1

Jono Cobb shared that “Like many of our classmates fortunate enough to have that option, my wife Suzzanne and I have been riding out the pandemic in the country which in our case is Martha’s Vineyard. We are also fortunate to have been able, since last March, to switch our teaching jobs to remote versions. I was already using Powerpoint slides as the basis for riffing about anatomy and physiology with my undergrad students. Suzzanne’s voice and music history curriculum was a tougher conversion. By summer our daughter, Jordan, will be living in Harlem near Rachel Christmas Derrick, with whom I’m in frequent Facebook contact.”

     Speaking of Rachel Christmas Derrick, she is “Still pinching myself that I’m actually making a decent living as a writer and editor. Writing is the only thing I ever dreamed of doing for a living. Despite the pandemic, 2020 was relatively kind to my family: I was promoted to assistant vice president and managing editor of the financial services nonprofit where I’ve worked for three years. My husband and I celebrated our 25th anniversary. Our daughter graduated magna cum laude from Yale, made Phi Beta Kappa, and went to Oxford, where she’s getting her international relations master’s in refugee and forced migration studies. Our son, now a junior at Wesleyan studying history and chemistry, was accepted into Columbia University’s three-summer pre-med program. Neysa Dillon Brown, Adrienne Kelly Lumpkin, Vicki Wilson, Michelle Morancie, Wanda Wardlaw Matthews, Jeanette Talavera, Becky Vazquez, Jay Hoggard, Allison Brown, Mora McLean, and quite a few other Wesleyanites remain in my life 46 years on.”

     “I (Denise Giacomozzi) am a volunteer with the COVID Grief Network, a volunteer-run mutual aid network that offers free 1:1 and group grief support to young adults in their 20s and 30s who are grieving the serious illness or loss of someone to COVID-19. We continue to see an increase in the number of young adults who are requesting our support, and we are in need of more volunteers to offer care.” Please visit the Wes notes online for a full description and websites.

     In her first ever alumni note, Jane McCoy Dausner reports, “40 years ago, I graduated from Columbia University with my master’s and have been working in hospice and palliative medicine ever since. I married my high school sweetheart the same year, and we have three daughters, three sons-in-law and four grands. I continued with athletics, playing and coaching tennis, basketball and softball; my girls are now coaching their kids. I got nationally ranked in singles 10 years ago. I urge all alums to consider putting “donor” on your driver’s license; this is very close to my heart, having donated a kidney to my sister 20 years ago. What an experience! I wish you all health, safety and peace through these challenging times; times that always provide opportunities for learning and improvement. Would love to hear from Jane Alexander Gutcher and Beverly Hinton!”

     Matt Okun and his wife Annie are headed back to Matt’s old stomping grounds in DC. They are looking forward to spending time with Casey Dinges and his family, high school buddies, Annie’s two grandkids in Alexandria and Matt’s daughters and granddaughters in Philly and Brooklyn. “What a long, strange trip it’s been! Planning to be teaching this fall, not even contemplating retirement.”

     Peter Campbell writes “While we don’t see each other in person because of COVID, Zoom, texts, emails and even Facebook keep a bunch of us ’79ers together including George Dupaul, Tim Fitz, Gary Breitbord, Mike Scacca, and Frank Hauser. All of us were roommates at some point. There is always some very intelligent thread on family, sports, politics or the weather. Everyone’s memory is still good as no one has forgotten anything embarrassing anyone else has ever done. A larger group of late ’70s DKEs has a twice monthly happy hour call which re-creates the old DKE Friday afternoon bar experience from our era.”

     Architect Willie Lee Jones shared an article about him and his path to becoming director of parks and recreation of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. “We’re an expansive park and recreation department with over 230 facilities. We are an NRPA CAPRA accredited department, have the Carolina Star Award from the North Carolina Department of Labor, and we’re the only park and recreation department in the state that does.” To read the full article:

     Stephen Lewin-Berlin finally retired last year from a career of starting software companies. “I was on the founding team for half a dozen or so, and several were quite successful. Unfortunately, our plans to travel extensively in retirement were curtailed by the pandemic. Our home life, here in a cohousing community in Acton, Massachusetts, is filled with dancing and drumming, reading and video binges, and social and political activism with a focus on anti-racist work, voting rights and environmental action. With three kids scattered across the world (Australia, California and Massachusetts) our family visits have become virtual online experiences, but with vaccines coming fast, we hope to travel again.”

     Alan Scott advised me that Mark Miller tracked Alan down recently and told him that their mutual friend, Bruce Hardesty, died in 2017. Bruce and Alan had been out of touch for many years. They lived in the same dorm or apartment for four years at Wesleyan; Bruce was a good friend.

CLASS OF 1979 | 2020 | ISSUE 3

Hello everyone. I hope all of you have been weathering the pandemic and various levels of sheltering at home as well as you can. My husband and I (Diane) have been pretty much staying sequestered in our home but are cautiously optimistic about 2021. 

On that subject, Peter Cherr passed along his innovative approach to uplifting us: “In April, in response to COVID-19, I started a Haiku project called “Haiku in the Time of Corona Virus” in hopes of bringing some peace and calm and perhaps respite for people in this trying time. Toward this goal, I write and post on Instagram at least one Haiku every day with an accompanying picture which I hope uplifts people. The project can be found on my page @peter_c_cherr, and also, by the end of December, the website will have published 27 Haiku in their “Poetry Corner.” I have posted over 160 Haiku on Instagram to date and will have posted over 250 by year-end. The project will continue daily into next year while we wait for the pandemic crisis to ease.” 

Barbara Woike retired from the Associated Press in New York in March 2019 after being a photo editor there for 32 years. “My husband Jim McNamara and I decided to try small town living, surrounded by nature, so we sold our Brooklyn co-op and moved to the Berkshires. We now live in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, a stone’s throw from the Red Lion Inn and the Main Street that still looks pretty much the way it did when Norman Rockwell painted it half a century ago. We couldn’t have been better placed when COVID-19 struck, and we’re enjoying our new lifestyle, but it is sad to see Tanglewood and all the other cultural attractions shut down and the local economy suffering.” 

 Cliff Hendel recently authored a chapter in a collective work published in Spain called A La Sombra—Actores Secundarios de la Historia. Each of the 57 chapters pairs a leading historical figure with another person who has remained “in the shadows” but without whom the historical figure would not have reached the status/notoriety he/she enjoys. His chapter had a certain Wesleyan connection. It involved the relation between Hamilton (relatively unknown, even in the United States, before Chernow’s biography and Miranda’s musical) and Washington (a global demi-god). Cliff continues to live in Madrid, practicing law and finding time to be a patron of the Fundación Española Pro Bono and to coach a team of law students from Madrid’s Universidad Carlos III in the annual Vis Moot competition.

Laura Walker, with an accomplished career most notably for transforming New York Public Radio into an independent media powerhouse and for spearheading successful, innovative initiatives at Sesame Workshop and Carnegie Hall, was recently appointed president of Bennington College. Congrats, Laura!

Ben Solnit reports that he has been running Zoom board meetings for the ACLU of Connecticut and the Morris Land Trust. Virtual mini-reunions were attended by Kitty Hannaford, John Hatleberg, Maura Resnick, Kate Sutherland, Laura Tully, and Laura Walker, along with many spouses. Ben is also taking a class with Professor Emeritus Herbert Arnold on Wolfram von Eschenbach’s masterpiece Parzival. “If 2020 has you down, medieval literature is the way to go.”

In an impassioned plea for environmental action, Ellen Reiter writes “All I can say is glad I’m old . . . I’ve been a climate activist since the 70s, but seeing negative results: climate change is out of control, and we humans, in my opinion, sit atop the endangered species list and indeed deserve to go extinct! Sorry, not sorry, world needs to stop burning fossil fuels, destroying ecosystems and waging endless war, all in the name of run-amok capitalism and systemic racism.” She also shares that she has recently relocated from San Francisco to Ocala, Florida to care for her very cool parents!

Casey Dinges retired after 35 years at ASCE working on infrastructure issues.

Diane MacLean Boumenot has retired from the American Mathematical Society and now works as a professional genealogist specializing in southern New England. Her website is Diane published a guide to Rhode Island genealogy through the National Genealogical Society in 2018.

In our last issue, Ann reported on the passing of Joe Britton. Our former co-class secretary, Gary Breitbord, passed along the following message after we went to print on that issue: “Joe Britton passed away in May. He was my third-floor sophomore year roommate; one of my best friends in the world; my brother in every sense of the word; a staunch defender of DKE; a loving father, son, brother, husband and grandfather. He was the best of us. Please keep his family, wife Nancy, son Scott, daughter Paige, and granddaughter Madison in your thoughts and prayers. Also take a moment to remember the times and stories that made Joe such a great friend and such a special person. God bless and rest in peace.” 

Please send us news for our next issue. We are part of a wonderful community. Connections to our friends, no matter how long it’s been since we last saw each other, are important and bring joy even, maybe even especially, in these challenging times.

Ann Biester Deane |

Diane LaPointe |

CLASS OF 1979 | 2020 | ISSUE 2

From the epicenter of the coronavirus, New York City, I (Ann) hope all of you are safe and well. Most of my neighbors fled the City in March (and spread the disease), so the eerie quiet continues.

Elisabeth Inomata is one of the assiduous teachers in our class. “I am online teaching as an ESL and JBL (Japanese bilingual) teacher at the intermediate school in Fort Lee, N.J. Grateful for my hardworking students!”

Tina Palmer said, “I am one of the zillion teachers who had to learn how to teach remotely in a weekend! It has been a huge learning curve, and between trying to figure out the best way to teach four different high school math classes and finish a graduate-level class online, it has been surreal. Our second son, wife, and 17-month-old moved down two weeks into the quarantine. He was trying to work from home, and she was suffering from horrible morning sickness. They needed help, and we welcomed being shut in with one of our grands! Life is very busy and very different. We went from empty nest to full and overflowing with two of us having to create home offices! My husband is a pastor, so he has time during the week to be in charge of childcare. He does the service on Facebook Live each Sunday, with me as a reader and sound technician. We are blessed with family and to still have paychecks coming in. We are well.”

Jono Cobb is another classmate teaching online: “Hope you and yours are all well during this time of upheaval. Glad we were able to have our class Reunion last year! I’ve just finished my spring semester of teaching the latter half of which was all conducted online. It had its pros and cons, but there’s no legitimate substitute for the face-to-face version. That said, I’m reluctant to return to the classroom until long after the pandemic has swept through which I strongly doubt will be before the second semester of the upcoming school year.”

Sean Barlow and Banning Eyre are now producing Afropop Worldwide from their home on Pearl Street in Middletown! “It seems we evacuated Brooklyn at an opportune moment. We’re gradually digitizing our field archive here in the house, and keeping busy, which is a blessing!”

Jonathan Raab writes in: “My wife and I retreated for these last two months to our post-modern family compound in Stockbridge, Mass., that my architect father designed and I helped build with Ned Dewees and Kim Clark, after our sophomore year. Been working remotely full-time in my energy and climate mediation practice, including running two 300-person Zoom and WebEx conferences for our New England Electricity Restructuring Roundtable (now in its 26th year) and a sister roundtable in the mid-Atlantic. My son, who works full-time as the first director of Instagram at Nat Geo, had to delay his Stockbridge wedding for a year. My daughter, who manages a restaurant at the Four Seasons in Jackson Hole, is furloughed for the time being.

“My firm Stuart Cohen & Julie Hacker Architects LLC is working remotely with staff on our projects. There is still construction allowed in Illinois, so projects, thankfully, are still moving forward slowly, but that’s something! I am Zooming with everyone, it seems, and it is the best way I have found to communicate with clients, consultants, and contractors. Although nothing beats going to a jobsite. I do that with my partner on Sundays. I managed to get a PPP loan with difficulty, although it is hard to know what staff I will need after the two months of loan forgiveness is up. Family is scattered around the country but safe, so that is a blessing. I found out that my good friend from Wesleyan, Douglas Bass ’78, died from complications from COVID-19, and it broke my heart. What a crazy, creative soul he had. I will miss him dearly. Stay safe, friends, and keep a sense of humor. I feel like a character in Waiting for Godot.”

Mark Miller contributed some sad news: “I just learned that classmate Alison Goodzeit Aller, passed away in December. She was a Foss 9 dormmate freshman year and a good friend for the next 10 years. I lost track of her in the mid-1980s when I moved back to the Midwest. I will always remember her quiet smile and knowing looks.”

It is with profound sadness that we inform you of Joe Britton’s passing. Former President of DKE, he was adored and respected by all who knew him. An avid sports player and fan, he will be remembered fondly. His full obituary can be found at

Ann Biester Deane |

Diane LaPointe |

CLASS OF 1979 | 2020 | ISSUE 1

As I (Diane) write these notes, it is a beautiful warm day in January in San Diego. Just enjoyed a magnificent sunset on the beach. I really don’t miss the East Coast in the winter, although I know some of you are skiers and other cold-weather lovers. By the time these notes hit all of our mailboxes, it will be May and sunny and warm for all of us (except those of you in the Southern Hemisphere, I suppose).

Julie Hacker and her partner, Stuart Cohen, received a lifetime achievement award for excellence in design, academics, and scholarship from the Society of Architectural Historians. They also served as the co-editors of the Classicist, a journal of the Institute of Classical Art and Architecture, focused on Chicago and its rich architectural history. Julie sits on the local Custom Residential Architecture Network (CRAN) Steering Committee and the National CRAN Advisory Group, which is the residential arm of the AIA (American Institute of Architecture). She also serves as a preservation commissioner for the City of Evanston. Way to go, Julie!

Received a great, interesting, and fun note from John Tjia. “We are all probably at the age when we have to start thinking about the next stage in our life, regarding work and retirement. (In my case, I may be three years ahead of you as I was originally Class of ’76. I took a ‘gap year’ after sophomore year, which became three years, but that’s another class note.) I tried retiring two years ago, leaving my position as executive director at Ernst & Young’s Business Modeling Group in New York after 12 years there; however, after two months of doing crossword puzzles all morning and halfway into the afternoon at home, I thought it best to get going again. I joined MUFG (a Japanese bank) as a senior credit trainer in 2018 but then in early 2019 moved to Santander (a Spanish bank) as executive director in credit to develop a credit forecasting and analysis platform for them. It’s been a great position, and I’m not retiring (again) in the foreseeable future! That said, I seem to be getting calls from my Schwab financial advisor quite often these days. He keeps reminding me that my portfolio seems to be geared to getting market hits, but, he says, I really should be thinking more about yield and cash flow. He has a point! Longevity runs in my family (my father turned 105 in December), so I—and perhaps we all—have to think about long time horizons, it seems. On the upside, the mortgage is paid off, and my two kids have finished college, so no tuition bills anymore. Yay! As a final note, over the past 10 years or so, I have been doing oil painting as a weekend hobby and seem to have a little bit of a knack for it. I held an art show in January in the local coffee shop in Pleasantville, N.Y., where I live. I wasn’t selling them, but it was exciting to put my art out in public. Some of my paintings can be seen in the online version of these class notes. Overall, not a bad run for a Wesleyan BA in East Asian Studies! I hope everyone here and from the Class of ’76 cohort is doing well. I can be reached at”

Art by John Tjia
Art by John Tjia
Art by John Tjia

Beth Masterman writes: “My daughter, Amanda ’08, and her husband Victor had a baby on June 29, Fjord L. Karlsen. Victor is Danish, hence Fjord. In other words, I’m a grandmother! Of course, it’s a wonderful, joyful experience and still: tick tock, tick tock.”

And finally, on a sad note, our classmate, Samuel Lieber, passed away unexpectedly on June 21. At the time of his passing, he was president of Alpine Woods, L.P., which he co-founded. At Wesleyan, he majored in art. Following his graduation from Wesleyan, he attended New York University’s Stern Graduate School of Business and the NYU Real Estate Institute. Before founding Alpine, he was with Whitbread-Nolan, Inc., was a Noyes fellow with The Project for Public Spaces, and was a real estate portfolio manager with the Evergreen Funds. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends.

Please send us news for our next issue. We are part of a wonderful community. We should never forget that. Connections to our friends, no matter how long it’s been since we last saw each other, are important and bring joy.

Ann Biester Deane |

Diane LaPointe |