CLASS OF 1981 | 2018 | ISSUE 2

Greetings from Brooklyn. We will start with an erratum: My fellow SiSPer Ariel Rubissow Okamoto wrote last issue that she is with her husband in the Bay area, which is decidedly on the left coast, not the east coast. I’m sure most of you had figured that out. And daughter Tira is working on the San Francisco Pre-Disaster Challenge of Resilient Design. Our apologies for sloppy proofreading.

Good news department: Paul DiSanto and Gordon Cooney joined former Wesleyan Lacrosse teammates Peter Guenther ’77Dan Lynch ’80Bruce Bunnell, and number-one fan Seta Nazarian ’79, along with thousands of Wesleyan faithful at Gillette Stadium, to watch the Cardinals win their first NCAA National Championship.

Joan (Fishman) Herrington is chair of the department of theatre at Western Michigan University. She works professionally as a director and dramaturg, with a recent stint at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

David Lynch joined the Washington Post in November as global economics correspondent and writes about trade and globalization, including the various fronts in the president’s trade war.

Steven G. Blum spends most of his time worrying about other people’s financial lives, teaching other people’s children (at Penn and Wharton), and fending off challenges from his own kids. He would love to hear from any classmates who live with teenagers and have any ideas whatsoever.

Lora Brown Premo is a freelance writer in Colorado Springs. “I have gotten it together again after being widowed in 2011 (my second husband).” She is very proud of her son, Jason, who spent six years in the Air Force as a cryptolinguist with multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He took six months off to run the get out the vote effort for Bob Kerrey of Nebraska’s Senate run in 2012. He attended Amherst College on a full scholarship and graduated in 2016, Phi Beta Kappa, with the economics department prize for best thesis. He double-majored in economics and math has accepted a full scholarship for the economics PhD program at Northwestern University. Makes a mother proud!

After five years enjoying all that Japan has to offer, especially the glorious hiking just a short train ride away and rambles by the river nearby, Elaine Kurtenbach has moved to Bangkok to continue as Asia business editor for The Associated Press. It’s a first time to live in and explore Southeast Asia after a career spent mainly in China and Japan.

Dan Greenberger won a third Writers Guild Award for his work on CBS, and by sheer coincidence, the award was presented by his Wesleyan roommate, Bradley Whitford. He said, “It really was one of the proudest moments of my life. Go Wes!”

Brenda Zlamany’s 100/100, an exhibit of 100 watercolor portraits of residents of the Hebrew Home at Riverdale,is scheduled to open on September 17 in NYC.

Charlie Spiegel reports on the June wedding of Nancy Traub Chirinos to Greg Larson. The wedding took place on Billy Goat Hill across from the couple’s San Francisco home. Nancy is a licensed marriage and family therapist. Happily, Charlie’s family law mediation office is only one block away from Nancy’s office. He’s also active in promoting and travels to Republican congressional districts in California’s central valley once a month thrrought November. His partner’s grand=niece starts at WESU this fall so he expects to travel back in September

Picking up his daughter from her junior year at Hofstra, Charlie found himself saying, among other wishes for her senior year, that he hopes she graduates before her school has its mass gun shooting, a sentiment he wrote about to Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “Sigh. Resist.”

Alyson Myers directs a scientific team in the Gulf of Mexico to farm seaweed at large scale for carbon-neutral fuel, feed, and other products with the Department of Energy. She’s yet to be swept overboard in spring seas.

On a sad note, Mitch Briskin died on May 27, after a long illness. Mitch’s son, Will Briskin ’21, just completed his freshman year at Wesleyan. His wife, Laura Gardner, notes that “I lost the love of my life, the sharpest man I’ve ever known, the best companion ever. Our children lost a thoroughly devoted, fun-loving father, a constant in their lives (and occasional nudge). Friends lost one of the funniest and most dynamic intellectual sparring partners they’ve ever known. Yet we also gained insight into true courage and grace; how love eases even the worst suffering; how being present is all that is needed.”

Ellen JewettKatie Fox, Jessica Barton, Alyson Myers, and several of Mitch’s sophomore roommates, got together in D.C. Ellen said, “We toasted Mitch and all our fond memories of that year.”

Amidst this morbidity, I’m reminded that Annie Dillard called art “anti-entropic.” Things fall apart, yet art pushes back with creation of more things as others decay. We, too, fall apart. We decay. Yet many of us continue to create, through our work and our art. We become anti-entropic forces in our own right. And, we have procreated. Our children continue to defy entropy with their works and deeds, whether at Wes like Will Briskin and many others, or in cryptolinguistics, or in whatever your children do.

And, just before going to press, we also learned that Kevin Osborn and Peter Wojnar passed away. We will have a more complete entry on Kevin and Peter in the next issue.

Here’s to fighting entropy. And, to “less-bidity.”

David I. Block |

Joanne Godin Audretsch |

Mitchell B. Briskin ’81

Mitch Briskin (1959-2018)

Mitch Briskin, my husband of three decades, and father to Sarah, Elizabeth and Will, died early Sunday morning, May 27, 2018, at our beloved Grand View Farm in Vermont. He died the way he lived, surrounded by his family and close friends, all of whom recounted stories of his adventures, accomplishments and generous, loving spirit.

Mitch was born in Manhasset, New York, January 15, 1959. He was the first born, so his doting grandfather drove straight from work once a week to stare at the fat little boy in the crib, not even picking him up. Mitch was followed three years later by a brother, Randy, who, as the years went on, suffered the slings and arrows (literally) of sibling rivalry, culminating with the moment that Mitch aimed his BB gun directly at Randy, narrowly missing his little brother. Family gun rights were dealt a fatal blow right then and there when Mitch’s mother smashed the weapon to smithereens over her knee.

Eventually, private boarding school seemed like a good solution. Mitch won a scholarship to Exeter in 10th grade. Initially, he wanted to turn down the offer because of the school’s dress code, which required neckties. Mitch’s clip-on was snapped off on Day 1. As student council co-president his senior year in 1977, his platform consisted of 1) eliminating said tie requirement 2) cancelling Saturday classes, and, most importantly, loosening the gender-separating parietals. He failed, of course.

At Wesleyan University, Mitch majored in history, graduating in 1981 magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, among other honors. His honors thesis formed a psychological profile of Leon Trotsky, and his adviser pronounced it the most insightful undergraduate thesis he had ever read. (Which may say more about the prof’s knowledge of Trotsky than anything else!)

Wesleyan was followed by a decade in Manhattan, including at New York University Law School, where Mitch was a Law Review editor and received the Order of the Coif. In those days, top law students were courted by the elite law firms with fancy summer associate positions, lubricated by lots of alcohol, shrimp and oysters. Offers flowed in. A few students, like Mitch, were also offered prestigious federal clerkships. Mitch accepted a position clerking for Judge Charles Sifton (a Carter appointee) in the Eastern District of New York.

It was a fascinating, challenging year for Mitch, who spent many nights on the couch in the judge’s chambers snatching a couple of hours of sleep before returning to work, sans a shave or a toothbrush. In the late ’80s, some of the cases focused on prosecuting the Bonanno crime family. Mitch would often pass one of the crime bosses in the hall on his way to the courtroom with a “dirty water dog” for the judge’s lunch. Inevitably, Mitch would have to follow up that with two Rolaids for the judge in the courtroom, all while prosecutors took down racketeers and murderers. One defendant was known to call out to Mitch as he rushed to get the judge his antacids: “I’m ready for Freddy!” (the federal penitentiary).

After the clerkship, Mitch took a job at Patterson Belknap, a medium-sized firm in Rockefeller Center. He stayed about two years, and we lived on the Upper West Side, where Sarah was born in early 1990. Being a “slave of New York,” as an elderly socialist neighbor in our rent- controlled building affectionately called Mitch, began to carry the ring of truth. It was time to change things up.

With baby Sarah in tow, we moved from New York to the Boston area, where my family lived. Mitch took a job at my family’s chemical/oil heating business with the goal of running the business. His assignment the first day on the job was to ride a route with a truck driver, who told Mitch, “Let’s just say you’re O’Sullivan today.”

Six years later, as general manager of the company, Mitch had outgrown the job and was restless. Thirsty to develop new skills, Mitch applied to Harvard Business School. The application (at least 20 years ago) required something like eight essays. To the question “What is your proudest accomplishment?” Mitch answered by embedding a digital photo (a brand- new technology then) of his two children, Sarah and Lizzy.

Mitch made great friends (and encountered a multitude of chiseled jaws) in the Class of 1997 at HBS. Graduating at age 37, he was one of the oldest in the class, and possibly the only one with two kids. A series of opportunities followed, mostly in private equity and investment banking, including 11 years at Stonebridge Technologies, mostly as a managing director.

Family was always Mitch’s first priority, yet he worked incredibly hard and made major contributions. He was usually home for family dinners and lots of animated discussions about politics, history and books, not to mention the occasional shouting match or abrupt departure from the table, dinner half-eaten.

When Will was born in 1999, he quickly became known as “mini- Mitch” because of his striking likeness to his dad. Three kids, with a 10-year spread between oldest and youngest, created particular parenting challenges. How do you keep the baby happy when the oldest is 10?

Family bike rides required baby seats and eventually tandems; skiing meant backbreaking (for Mitch) harnesses for Will while the girls shooshed into the distance. He read all the Harry Potter books multiple times. He spent weekends almost invariably with the kids. We launched homemade rockets, gazed at shooting stars in August, baked bread, entered triathlons and stacked wood.

When it came to academics and critical thinking, Mitch was tough. He had high expectations but always showed unvarnished love and faith that our kids would develop their own paths and interests. (Which, in my completely impartial opinion, they’ve done with enthusiasm and verve, and more success than failure.)

A diagnosis of MSA five years ago changed almost everything. Within a year, Mitch was compelled to retire from his position as business development executive for a startup developing a new diabetes therapy. Over the ensuing several years he lost his ability to walk, to converse in his usual incisive, witty style, to use his fine motor skills. The list of losses is too numerous to recount here.

What he never lost were the qualities that made Mitch, Mitch: his bottomless wit; his endless curiosity about history, literature, the world; his generosity toward others; his love for family and friends; his innate fix-it know- how (plumbing, electricity, machines, chainsaws, pumps, etc.), though he never was able to explain to me how he did any of it.

When Mitch died early Sunday morning, I lost the love of my life, the sharpest man I’ve ever known, the best companion ever. Our children lost a thoroughly devoted, fun-loving father, a constant in their lives (and occasional
nudge). Friends lost one of the funniest and most dynamic intellectual sparring partners they’ve ever known.

Yet we also gained insight into true courage and grace; how love eases even the worst suffering; how being present is all that is needed.

Mitch will always live in our hearts and minds.

Kevin M. Osborn ’81

Kevin Michael Osborn

1959 – 2018

Kevin Michael Osborn, of Park Ridge, New Jersey, died on June 15, 2018 from complications of lung cancer. He was 58.

Kevin was born in Summit, New Jersey, on September 20, 1959, the second son of Marjorie Catherine Phipps and Norman Vance Osborn. He graduated from Tenafly High School and Wesleyan University, where he met his wife, Susan Kiley. They were married in 1989 and the first of their four children was born a year later. A singularly devoted working stay-at-home dad, Kevin reveled in creating sweet surprises and literary activities for his kids: “Mystery Trips” in which they piled in the car for surprise outings to the zoo or museum; tucking riddles and quotations in school lunches; Shakespeare in the Park picnics where he would read aloud the children’s version of the play prior to the show; family vacations to Cape Cod; and the family’s annual Easter egg hunt. When there was no soccer coach, Kevin stepped in with no prior experience. When the drama club needed a play, Kevin stepped up to write one (one of several plays he wrote, beginning in college). He was often the only man at PTO meetings and was known as one of “the class moms.”

No surprise that of the more than three dozen books he wrote on topics ranging from classical mythology to medical literature to sports, he was particularly proud of his books on parenting and his titles for young adults on justice and tolerance. In the last decade of his life, he continued to write as a futurist, focusing his keen intelligence on analysis of social and economic trends.

Kevin’s encyclopedic memory and love of puzzles made him a formidable opponent at brain-games. He enjoyed mystery novels and took pride in his ability to complete the New York Times crossword (in pen). He won a Nintendo set as a contestant on Jeopardy, and was always as good a loser as a winner, except when it came to Scrabble. His prodigious memory also meant that he could, and would, joyously retrieve and sing!, virtually any song from The Beatles’ songbook without dropping a line, and was never wanting for a relevant statistic during a ballgame. Kevin was a diehard Mets fan through the team’s occasional good, and numerous bad, seasons. He sat in the left field stands for the 1969 playoffs and attended the legendary sixth game of the 1986 World Series in which the Mets came from behind to beat the Boston Red Sox. His final attendance at Citi Field was just weeks before his death. He was a founding member of Mariner’s Gate, one of the first men’s groups in the country, whose purpose was, according to a 1997 New York Times article featuring the group, “to wrestle with the post-feminist tangle of what it means to be an American man in the closing years of the 20th century.”

Kevin was diagnosed with lung cancer in the fall of 2017 and throughout his treatment maintained an attitude of willed optimism that reflected the depth of his desire to live. His death is a profound loss for his family and friends. A memorial service celebrating his life will be held later this summer. He is survived by his wife of 29 years, Susan Kiley; four children Megan (Jon Burklund), Ian, Molly (Ross Taylor), and Casey; four siblings Tim Kaufman-Osborn (Sharon), Susan Osborn, Barbara Osborn (Johnnie Drimmer) and Marc Osborn (Lisa Kelly); and 10 nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Tri-Boro

CLASS OF 1981 | 2018 | ISSUE 1

Greetings from the great Midwest! I have much news to report in these early months of 2018. Jeremy Kenner writes from down under: “No guns? No Trump? Sound good? Come to Australia!” Jeremy is currently living in Melbourne, has been in Australia for 17 years—and has no regrets. He still works for the government as an adviser in the field of health and research ethics. On a more personal note, he adds, he has reentered the world of childrearing and has five sons ages 31, 29, 27, 10 (step), and a 5-year old “as beautiful as they come!” Jeremy also invites anyone who is ever in the neighborhood to look him up.

Congrats to Gail Marowitz, who was nominated this year for her fourth Grammy (she actually won back in 2006)! This year it was for Best Recording Package for her art direction for Jonathan Coulter’s vinyl LP Solid State. Check out for more insights. Gail splits her time between a studio in the West Village and a 130-year old church along the river in the Hudson Valley.

Robin Frank enjoyed a fun evening catching up with Katy Ward Koch and Amy Curtis in the D.C. area. Robin is married to Geoff Megargee, a historian at the Holocaust Museum; they have a guitar-playing, skateboarding 15-year-old son named Ruslan. Robin writes, “I recently left a 30-plus year career in the federal service to became the associate general counsel for International Law at NASA, where some days, I do get to dance with the stars!”—not something that too many of us can say! Congrats, Robin!

Barbara Johnston wrote in from Rochester, N.Y., where she works as a city planner with an architectural and engineering firm. Her nights and weekends, however, are kept busy with her passion: percussion. “My main musical outlet is Brazilian Batucada, and the occasional Bossa Nova jazz or square dance gig.” Last November, Barbara attended the International Folk Music Film Festival in Kathmandu where, she writes, “I screened a short film in which I played drums. Hanging out with ethnomusicologists and listening to traditional music from around the world brought me back to Wesleyan roots!”

From the Bay Area, Ariel Rubissow Okomoto, a Wes Science-in-Society grad, writes of her family, “We are still helplessly West Coast, as my husband, Paul, and I continue to try and save the planet. Our daughters have picked up the vibe: Tira (24) is working on the San Francisco Pre-Disaster Challenge of Resilient Design and Mikki (20) is studying architecture with a focus on public urban projects.”

Brenda Zlamany, a painter who lives and works in Brooklyn, had an exhibition called Brenda Zlamany: 100/100, on view at the Derfner Judaica Museum from September to January. The exhibition featured 100 watercolor portraits of residents of the Hebrew Home at Riverdale.

Congratulations go out to David Lynch, who joined the Washington Post as their national and global economics correspondent, after a storied career at The Financial Times, Bloomberg, and USA Today. Dave, who has three sons, lives in northern Virginia with his wife, Kathleen. He is also author of the book, When the Luck of the Irish Ran Out: The World’s Most Resilient Country and Its Struggle to Rise Again.

Paul DiSanto wrote in with lots of news: Dan Haar has left his long-time job at the Hartford Courant to take on new challenges with the Connecticut Hearst Newspapers. In Denver, Paul caught up with Lisa Greim, Julie Richman, and Michele Vion who are all doing well. From KC, Lou Scimecca and Tony DiFolco send greetings, though the absence of our dear classmate Brad Toomey leaves a hole in the hearts of the KC crowd. Paul reports that several of our classmates left long-term careers for other pursuits, time with family, and retirement (!): Jim Baker retired from Unilever; Jon Duane, from McKinsey; Rick Ciullo, from Chubb. Tim O’Brien retired from Blue Cross of Massachusetts. Many Wes alumni attended an informal party for him in Narragansett, R.I., including classmates Bill Stack and Pete Pezzelli. On campus, Paul often runs into Sandy Herzlich and Barb Martin, Ellen Jewett, Ed Suslovic, Delcy Ziac Fox, Mark Molina, Nancy Parker Wilson, Diane Goldstein, and David Resnick.

David I. Block |

Joanne Godin Audretsch |

CLASS OF 1981 | 2017 | ISSUE 3



Antonie Kline ’81, MD, is the recipient of Global Gene’s RARE Champion of Hope award, which recognizes individuals and organizations for their notable efforts in rare disease advocacy, science, collaborative sciences, and medical care and treatment. Kline has been the medical director of the Cornelia de Lange Syndrome Foundation since 2001, and has worked with families with this condition since 1993. Kline is the director of pediatric genetics at the Harvey Institute for Human Genetics at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center. At Wesleyan University she majored in math, and earned her Doctor of Medicine at Jefferson Medical College.

Greetings from Brooklyn! My daughter, Emma, had her bat mitzvah on September 9. She made it relevant and profound, and her parents are very proud! Now, your news…

Mid-September, Alvin Peters wrote that he is “dodging hurricanes in Florida’s panhandle. Water and gas sold out. Climate change deniers wandering around like zombies.”

Lisa Jo Rudy is living on Cape Cod with her husband and two children, where she freelances while writing and directing plays in Falmouth and Woods Hole. She discovered her inner iPhone photographer, and became a juried artist at the Cape Cod Art Association. She was thrilled to connect with Cori Adler ’82, whose daughter Mitzi ’21 is a freshman.

Judith Newman is having fun with her new book “about raising an ‘average’ kid on the spectrum—To Siri With Love. The New York Times called it ‘uncommonly riotous and moving’ and the Washington Post compared me to Nora Ephron so you gotta love that, right? It’s on a few best-seller lists, though the way they construct these lists—well, they have many categories, and for all I know there are a total of three books in the categories I’m number one in. But, let’s just go with ‘best-seller’ shall we?”

Greg Murphy is now a private banker with U.S. Trust. Son James will graduate from Annapolis in 2018, and daughter Kathleen will likely enter the U.S. Naval Academy in June. Daughter Bridget is a varsity rower at UConn.

Stephen P. White was in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1981-1987, and then the Army Reserve from 1992-2011, with deployment to Korea, Bosnia, two years in Iraq and Afghanistan, and three years at the Pentagon. Retired now from both the military and Verizon, Stephen is working with his wife, Gayle, in real estate investments. He volunteers in the Holyoke, Mass., Veterans Treatment Court, mentoring veterans involved in the legal system. He returns to campus with Pete Congleton and Andy Parsons ’84 to Homecoming/Parents Weekends.

Miriam Stern Sturgis and Gary Sturgis ’77 announce with great joy the nuptials of daughter Ari to Dan Paulsen in July on the grounds of their beautiful 10-acre home in Essex Junction, Vt. In attendance were their newest grandchild Aiden (son of daughter Talia), and Dan Vogt and Delcy Ziac Fox. Gary Shapiro is now a calculus teacher at the Leon M. Goldstein High School for the Sciences.

Charlie Spiegel received an award in April from, recognizing his work cofounding that organization for LGBT parents in the Bay Area over 15 years. “I’m still active supporting the organization, and that community, acting as a consensual dispute resolution attorney and mediator for gay and straight relationships from start to finish: prenuptial planning, adoption and surrogacy, and mediated divorce.  I imagine, in common with many classmates, this phase of my professional endeavors has involved moving my working space to the bedroom in my house that my daughter used before college (seeing clients elsewhere). And since others announce their relationships, I’ve been dating a wonderful new man since summer 2016, and we celebrate monthly anniversaries because otherwise we’ll never get to the number of annual anniversaries others celebrate!”

Brenda Zlamany had an art exhibit at the Derfner Judaica Museum, which featured 100 watercolor portraits of the residents of the Hebrew Home at Riverdale, as part of her Itinerant Portraitist project. Previous efforts include 888: Creating a Portrait of Taiwanese Aboriginals, which was funded by a Fulbright Grant. “In each project, I choose a specific demographic and discover something new. With the Tibetan nomads and monks, I was interested in the interior gaze. With 100/100, I am interested in aging: What is important at the end of life? In the face of loss: loss of loved ones, mobility, senses, taste, hearing, sight….  Is there still the possibility of joy? The role of memory. What experiences from the past fuel happiness?”

Paul Harris worked with The Carbon Underground, “a nonprofit focused on reversing climate change through regenerative agriculture. I’m learning about soil carbon sequestration, cover crops and holistic grazing; what it will take to certify food and fiber as regenerative; and what kinds of help farmers will need to transition from conventional to regenerative.  After decades of working on industrial energy plants I’m now visiting grass-fed dairies. My wife and I live in Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., and our daughters are well launched, one in San Francisco, finishing med school, the other in Tanzania, working on preventing violent extremism.”

Mark Saba had two books published this summer: Calling the Names (poetry, David Robert Books) and Ghost Tracks: Stories of Pittsburgh Past (short stories, Big Table Publishing). Both available on Amazon.

Peter Gryska reports from Houston: “Flooded as a result of Hurricane Harvey with 14 inches in the house. We will tear down and build a new house five feet higher. The interesting part was finding boxes full of 35-year-old notes from Andy Szegedy-Maszak’s Greek history lectures.”

David I. Block |

Joanne Godin Audretsch |

Antonie Kline ’81

Antonie Kline ’81, MD, is the recipient of Global Gene’s RARE Champion of Hope award, which recognizes individuals and organizations for their notable efforts in rare disease advocacy, science, collaborative sciences, and medical care and treatment. Kline has been the medical director of the Cornelia de Lange Syndrome Foundation since 2001, and has worked with families with this condition since 1993. Kline is the director of pediatric genetics at the Harvey Institute for Human Genetics at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center. At Wesleyan University she majored in math, and earned her Doctor of Medicine at Jefferson Medical College.

CLASS OF 1981 | 2017 | ISSUE 2

Greetings, classmates! It’s Joanne, writing to you from the comfortable confines of a German high-speed train, sipping wine, and admiring the scenery, efficiency of travel, and simple good sense of a country, that has spent decades investing in public transportation as a means of improving the public good and imagining how wonderful this would be if I could travel in a similar manner in my own country…

But I digress! I often wax nostalgic every time I return to Europe, where I was fortunate enough to live for so many years. Not to say that I don’t appreciate my home country; it’s just that in this time of political unease and unrest, it is nevertheless hard to not look away and see how things “could” be if only we’d open our eyes as to how others live, work and establish their societies.

That is my hope for my middle son, James, who just graduated from Indiana University with a degree in computer science. His last class before he actually gets his diploma in hand takes place in Tanzania, where he is studying the geology, archaeology, and anthropology as well as the flora, fauna, and history of the Olduvai Gorge area and the Serengeti plains. My eldest son, Alex (a computer science engineer), is in the Seattle area and works as a consultant to some of the “biggies” like SpaceX and Microsoft. My youngest, Christopher, just finished his first year at Indiana University, where he plans a double major in math and (surprise!) computer science. This summer, he is continuing as an AI in computer science—and to think I barely made it through all those punch cards for my senior project (and that was WITH help!).

Judith Newman wrote with some exciting news. Some of you may have read her wonderfully insightful 2014; New York Times’ article describing her autistic son’s relationship with Apple’s Siri, and how beneficial it has been for her son’s emotional and social growth. This research led to the book, To Siri With Love, with a publication date from Harper Collins of late August, early September. Learn more at or [See page 80.]

Mark Saba shared that he, too, has two books coming out. David Roberts Books published a volume of Mark’s poetry, Calling the Names, moving and compassionate poems which Vivian Shipley describes as “creat(ing) the bridge between life and death we all will cross.” The second book, Ghost Tracks: Stories of Pittsburgh Past, is due out in late summer with Big Table Publishing. Mark has been writing since he left Wesleyan, publishing poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction (see Mark is a painter as well! “I started working at Yale in 1990 as a medical illustrator in the medical school,” he shared. Mark has been at Yale for 29 years. He adds, “I am now still illustrating, but also doing graphic design, websites, and media walls for the whole university.”

To carry on with our literary trend, Kaylie Jones writes that when she is not spending time with her wonderful daughter, Eyrna, she continues to teach, lecture, travel, and publish. Her imprint, Kaylie Jones Books with Akashic Books, has added several new volumes from some very talented writers, including The Year of Needy Girls by Patty Smith ’82.

Diane Goldstein Stein writes that son Matthew ’16 graduated from Wesleyan last year and daughter Lisa ’21 will begin her freshman year at Wes this fall. Matthew is a software engineer in Mountain View, Calif., and plays with the Google orchestra. Matthew is a violinist, violist, and composer, and Lisa is a cellist and vocalist.

I had the pleasure of catching up with my dear friend and former housemate, Deb Chapin, on a trip to Boston. We had a lovely brunch downtown and reminisced about old times, past adventures, and the joys (and tribulations!) of raising teenagers. Plans are in the works for a get-together with the former Sunday night co-op group that also includes Kathy Prager Conrad and Livia Wong McCarthy.

According to Facebook, Wesleyan graduation saw many classmates in attendance. Katy Ward Koch celebrated the graduation of her niece, Hyunji Choi Ward ’17, along with her dad, Alan Ward ‘52, who enjoyed his class Reunion. Katy looks forward to another visit in a few years when her nephew, Hyunwoo Ward ’20, graduates. Chris Graves was also there to watch proudly as his daughter,  Julia Graves ’17 received her diploma. There he met up with Jim Friedlich ’79 and Melissa Stern ’80, whose son, Max ’17, graduated. Chris left a few days later for Belaggio, Italy, where he was back at the Rockefeller Center for a small U.N. summit on climate change. Ed Suslovic was also in attendance, and posted proud pics of himself with his daughter, Kate Suslovic ’17, resplendent in her cardinal-red robes. I know there are more classmates who had children graduating, but alas these are the only ones I happened to see.

Keep the news coming. David will be writing the next set of notes.

David I. Block |

Joanne Godin Audretsch |

CLASS OF 1981 | 2017 | ISSUE 1

David I. Block writes: “I have a running joke with a friend of mine. Everything she says or does reminds me of Wesleyan. Our families vacationed together in Florida. In the airport bookstore, staring at us, were rows and racks of Grunt, by Mary Roach, now in paperback. “Oh! She was in my class. We took a writing course together our freshman year.” My friend glared at me. “FIVE MINUTES!” My wife laughed. “It just took five minutes!”

David Miller had a wonderful time at the centennial celebration for Van Vleck Observatory. “It was a great complement to our class Reunion a month earlier. The VVO Reunion had great seminars, friends, and colleagues of all ages. While I stay in touch with Bill Herbst over the years, it was great to have a chance to say ‘hi’ to other faculty of our era (Art Upgren and Ed Weiss) and to hang out with a bunch of alumni that I knew “back in the day” (e.g., Bruce Phelps ’82, Taft Armandroff ’82, and Ron Klasky ’83) whom I do not get to see at our class reunions.”

[Ed. note: We regret to report that Arthur Upgren, Wesleyan’s John Monroe Van Vleck Professor of Astronomy, Emeritus, passed away January 21, 2017. Please see the obituary section for further information.]

Leslie (Sundt) Stratton had a memorable 2016. “I took a year-long academic research leave. Spent fall 2015 back in New England—renting a condo at the base of Killington in Vermont. Got a lot of work done and a lot of hiking. The hiking was in prep for a three-week vacation tramping around the parks in New Zealand in January. That marked the beginning of a spring term in Australia, much of which stay was spent at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, but we also managed side trips to Uluru, Cairns, and, courtesy of a conference I attended, Perth and western Australia. A great experience!”

Miriam and Gary Sturgis ’77 announce the births of their grandtwins, Meyer Aaron and Gabrielle Hadar Wexler in August to their daughter, Rebecca, and her husband, Bryan Wexler. More good news from the Sturgis family is the upcoming marriage of their daughter, Ariela, to Dan Paulsen this July.

Gary Shapiro graduated with a master’s in education from Pace University and is teaching AP Calculus and Algebra II/Trigonometry at Leon M. Goldstein High School for the Sciences. He loves his new career.  

In addition to working as director of marketing and communications at Albany Valve & Fitting Co., Inc., Delcy Ziac Fox is working as the publicist for the New York Folklore Society, where Ellen McHale is executive director and Greg Shatan serves on the board of directors. “It’s great to be working with Ellen and Greg in support of the arts!” Delcy said.

Jon Sperry writes in about his work as actor and dialect coach, the latter of which really took off. “As a dialect coach I taught and worked with actors like Philip Seymour Hoffman, Russell Crowe, Sophia Loren, and Arnold Schwarzenegger! (Yes, really, he works with a dialect coach!) I enjoyed a long collaboration with Harvey Keitel, until I moved to Paris in ’96 to live and produce with my new wife who Harvey had introduced me to, Ivana Massetti. Ivana recently created the amazing gender equality movement Women Occupy Hollywood (check it out on Twitter @WomenOccupyHwd) and just became the Los Angeles representative of the organization ERA Action! I have had the joy of coaching such illustrious actors as Catherine Zeta-Jones and Debbie Reynolds!”

Neil Foote’s biggest news “is that my daughter, Alexandra, graduated from the London School of Economics with an MSc. in environment and development. She’s ready to take on the world, pursuing her interests in sustainability, climate change, and environmental economics. As a principal lecturer at the University of North Texas Mayborn School of Journalism, I’ve been super lucky to get Wesleyan alumni David Brancaccio ’82 and Jon Morgan ’94 to speak to my classes, and would love to invite other Wesleyan media professionals as well. I’m also co-director of the 13-year-old Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, one of the nation’s leading events for aspiring and established narrative nonfiction writers from all walks of life. This summer, we’ll have Sebastian Junger ’84 as one of our keynote speakers. Last October, the National Black Public Relations Society, of which I’m president, held its national conference in Chicago, and through my work with NBPRS, I participated in a discussion on diversity in the PR industry hosted by Chris Graves, chairman of Oglivy Public Relations.”

On a sad note, Mark Anderson passed away Dec. 19, after having had a heart attack about a week prior. Greg D’Auria writes, “My understanding is that he was not in any discomfort and that the boys were there for the last week.” Our condolences to his family.

David I. Block |

Joanne Godin Audretsch |

CLASS OF 1981 | 2016 | ISSUE 3

Joanne writes for this issue. Greetings from the heartland! Summer’s heat has dissipated, mercifully leaving behind cool air, clear skies and sun-dappled trees whose leaves are just barely brushed with a hint of the fall splendor to come. By the time you read this, however, winter will be settled upon us—perhaps under a blanket of snow, depending on your location.

As David Block wrote in the last set of notes, our 35th Reunion was not only a success but, quite simply, a blast! Reunion provided a wonderful opportunity to meet up with old friends, reconnect with acquaintances, and actually meet classmates that we hadn’t perhaps ever met! Hearing so many people’s stories just brings to mind what an astoundingly amazing and talented group our class is! Class of ’81 set the record for attendance with 94 attendees.

Committee Co-Chair Delcy Ziac Fox reported that 229 gifts raised $382,345 and she thanks everyone “for being so generous with your time, talent, and treasure.” On a more personal note, she shared three milestones in the Ziac-Fox family: “Our son graduated from Boston University; our daughter is beginning her college career at the University of Vermont; and my husband and I celebrated our silver wedding anniversary! For our triple celebration, the family traveled to the Big Island of Hawaii, partaking in the release of turtles into the wild, hiking in Volcanoes National Park, and bodysurfing at Green Sands Beach…both exhilarating and relaxing!”

Joan Boughton wrote to say that she enjoyed Reunion with her husband, Henry, and also commemorated the graduation of daughter Andie Kleeman ’16. “The whole family (including our newly-engaged older daughter, Natalie, her fiancé, and my wonderful mother-in-law) was able to attend the celebration. In addition, I caught up with Tonie Kline, my best friend from Wes who also had a daughter, Julia Clemens ’16, graduating. Wesleyan remains a big, lovely part of our lives!”

My freshman-year roommate, Martha Arntzen Bockian, fell ill at the last minute and could not make Reunion. She did write, however, to let me know that in addition to her ongoing work in clinical psychology, she started a school. “It’s a Jewish school using a democratic model, and to my knowledge, is the only democratic school that has gone religious. I also spent eight weeks in Israel over the summer attending a seminar on how to turn a nonprofit into a sustainable business.” The best part, however, was “getting to spend time with my daughter Chaya, who emigrated to Israel last year and is doing National Service.”

Steve Misarski, who has been pastor of the English Congregation of the Chinese Gospel Church of Massachusetts for four years, is also still active in the military (24-plus years) as a lieutenant colonel, serving as the wing chaplain of the Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield, Mass. In addition, he has been working on his doctorate (“I’m a late bloomer!” he quips) which he hopes to have finished by spring of 2017. “My wife, Jan, and I celebrated 33 years of marriage. Together, we conduct marriage conferences for military personnel and New England churches. We have sent our third child off to college this fall, and we have one left at home. God has been good to us!”

Sofia Marchant, an editor and content consultant, wrote in from San Francisco. “My daughter, Isabella Banks ’15, was awarded a Watson Fellowship to study restorative justice practices. This required a year abroad, and she visited 10 countries. What an amazing experience for her, even though we missed her.”

Keeping her company at home is son Ezra, an eighth grader, and her husband, Joseph Banks, who recently edited a documentary film called It Ain’t Pretty, which opened the San Francisco Documentary Film Festival.

Congratulations to Laurie Jacobs, who is “very excited” to be starting as chairman of medicine at Hackensack-Meridian Health and the new medical school at Seton Hall University in New Jersey.

Chris Graves, chairman of Oglivy Public Relations, added yet another accolade to his already impressive résumé: recipient of the Rockefeller Foundation’s prestigious Bellagio Residency. The residency on Italy’s Lake Como permitted Chris to continue his work to turn findings from cognitive neuroscience and behavioral economics into practical applications in the communications field. In addition, Chris worked collectively with other award-winners to explore how a better understanding of human behavior can enhance resilience-building efforts and create more inclusive economies that work for everyone, particularly the poor and vulnerable.

John Ravenal is now fully ensconced as director of deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in the Boston area. He was involved in an exciting curatorial project that “brings together the work of Jasper Johns and Edvard Munch.” The exhibit opened in Oslo in June, then traveled to Richmond, Va., in November. (The catalog is available from Yale University Press.)

Andra Rose, a climate activist, is deeply involved with a group called Mothers Out Front (not just for mothers). Although coming off a divorce after 29 years of marriage, Andra is very happy and excited about the successful culmination of a 22-year long challenging project: raising children! Daughter Ruth (known as “Fred”) just began her first year at the University of Chicago. Son Solomon Goldstein-Rose, who graduated from Brown University in May 2016, was elected State Representative from Andra’s home district in Amherst, Mass., where he intends to solve the climate crisis.

In conclusion, it is with great sadness that I announce the death of our classmate Paula Blank, a longtime professor of English at the College of William and Mary, who died unexpectedly at her home in Williamsburg, Va., this past August. Paula was a world-renowned scholar of Early Modern English, recipient of several highly selective fellowships, and also the recipient of her university’s Award for Faculty Excellence for her exemplary achievements in teaching, research and service. We extend our deepest sympathy to Paula’s family and friends.

David I. Block |

Joanne Godin Audretsch |

CLASS OF 1981 | 2016 | ISSUE 1

Joanne writes this time: Greetings from the heartland! Although my eyes gaze upon an idyllic Indiana landscape where a pair of fawns cavort in the snow, my thoughts have skipped ahead to the possibilities of spring, and with that, our forthcoming (gulp!) 35th Reunion. We hope that many of you have reserved the week-end of May 20–22, for a return visit to our alma mater for what is sure to be a wonderful weekend filled with rekindled friendships, warm memories, and much catching-up! The Reunion Committee has done a phenomenal job and has come up with a great slate of events which can be accessed online at If you have not yet reserved, it’s not too late! Just follow the links at the website above—registration is fast and easy. And definitely check out our Wesleyan Class of ’81 Reunion webpage on Facebook for some interactive fun. We need your input and comments there for a real trip down “Memory Lane.” The members of the committee have collectively donated countless hours of time, energy and creativity to the planning process. On behalf of the entire class, I would like to thank my co-chairs, Delcy Ziac Fox and Nancy Parker Wilson, as well as Kofi AppentengBart BrebnerRick CiulloKathy Prager ConradPaul DiSantoSharon FiersteinJohn GiammatteoLisa GreimKeith KrakaurElisha LawrenceBeck LeeLiza Page NelsonLivia Wong McCarthyMatt McCreightDave Miller, Dave ResnickBradley Whitford and last but not least, our fearless liaison at Wesleyan, Kate Quigley Lynch ’82. Come early enough to join us for a cocktail party on Friday night. Our class dinner on Saturday evening will feature a few exciting guests: a current professor, Courtney Weiss Smith, as well as all-time favorites Rich Adelstein and Andy Szegedy-Maszak. The time in between will offer Wes seminars, impromptu get-togethers, and other forms of fun and frolic. As events get finalized, the Reunion Page will be updated—so make sure you check it frequently, particularly as May approaches. Looking forward to seeing you in Middletown on May 20th!

Keith Krakaur writes from across the Big Pond, where he and his wife, Nancy, recently relocated. Keith is a partner at Skadden Arps, where he has worked for the past 21 years, and will continue his white-collar criminal defense practice out of their London offices. He acts as the head of the firm’s enforcement and investigations practice in Europe; Nancy will be moving her photography career over with his. As for the kids? “Well, our three sons, Matthew ’14 (23), Daniel (21), and Jonathan (18) will have to suffer the hardship of visiting us abroad as they pursue their television writing, music, and who-knows-what careers in the U.S.,” says Keith. “On days when I think how lucky I am to have an interesting job that has allowed me to see and meet people in most corners of the world over the years, my family is happy to remind me that at least I tried to be as creative as they are when I was in college!” Certainly, that is one of the benefits of our Wesleyan education: the opportunity to explore unchartered territory, try new things, and yes—even “be creative” when we never really thought we were! Thanks for the reminder, Keith.

Delcy Ziac Fox notified us that she left the world of higher education for a foray into the private sector. She is now director of marketing and communications at Albany Valve & Fitting Co., Inc., in Schenectady, which is a newly created position. Albany Valve is a distributor of Swagelok fluid flow components. “Working with industrial customers is a 180-degree turn from my 16 years in higher ed,” explains Delcy, “but the marketing principles remain the same. One of the best things about the new job,” she notes, “is that the distributorship has an office in Essex Junction, Vt., the home of Gary ’77 and Miriam Stern Sturgis ’81. Delcy, Gary, and Miriam enjoyed reminiscing over dinner recently when Delcy and her daughter visited UVM. We may move here and there and around the world, but old Wesleyan friendships never die!

Dave Robertson wrote in from his office at the Wharton School, where he is a professor of practice, to let us know about a new radio show he hosts. He can be found on Sirius XM’s Channel 111. The show, Innovation Navigation, is recorded live every Tuesday between 8 and 10 am. It is also available as a podcast on iTunes. Dave’s guest on May 19th was old friend and classmate Matt McCreight. Matt does innovation consulting for Schaffer Consulting. “We had a wonderful conversation about the meaning of ‘innovation’ and how companies can become more innovative,” recalls Dave. To hear Dave and Matt, you can download this particular podcast at For more on the show, see the website:

Kathy Prager Conrad, her husband, Jamie, and daughters Liza ’11 and Caroline ’14 recently returned from a magnificent journey to Antarctica. “It was extra special to be able to be all together for such a fabulous trip,” says Kathy. Despite almost being thwarted by a major blizzard in the D.C. area, they were able to make it to Buenos Aires in time. After a few days of enjoying the local sites, they embarked on their cruise. Looking at Kathy’s pictures on Facebook had me both in awe of the beauty of the place and its wildlife—and shivering! “Yes, I really did the polar plunge,” recounts Kathy, commenting on a photo of her entering the water in a blue swimsuit, feet-first. “Water temperature was an invigorating 30 degrees F (it doesn’t freeze because of salinity)!” She adds, “The shot of vodka and hot chocolate warmed us right up when we scrambled back aboard!”

That concludes our news for this trimester. I will look forward to catching up with you at Reunion May 20th to the 22nd.

David I. Block |

Joanne Godin Audretsch |