CLASS OF 1985 | 2021–2022 | WINTER ISSUE

Hello, Class of ’85!

Can you believe it’s been 40 years since we moved into our dorms at Wesleyan? It’s both incredible and all too possible, isn’t it?

This summer, Hillary Hess and I observed our 40 years of friendship by enjoying a leisurely outdoor dinner with our husbands, Peter Gimlin and Michael MacDonald, respectively. Hillary and Peter’s daughter Charlotte is a third-year student at the University of Virginia, and their son Edward is starting this fall at the University of Vermont.

I had the great good fortune to reconnect with a lot of rowers earlier this year, fundraising for Wesleyan Women’s Crew, including Amy Huber, Margaret Bracken Thompson, Lea Barth ’84, and Carlie Masters Williams ’86, who still gets out on the water and is coaching here in the DC area.

Stacia Friedman-Hill is now a recipient of the prestigious Bloomberg Fellowship at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. She’s received a full scholarship and is working toward her MPH while continuing in her position as a program director at the National Institutes of Mental Health.

That’s all for now—connect with me on Facebook or Instagram or write to me!

CLASS OF 1985 | 2020 | ISSUE 2

Hello, Class of ’85! It was terrific to see so many of you at our Re-Zoom-ion this weekend. Even though the socially-distant format reminded us that we were far apart, it also allowed for some far-flung classmates who otherwise wouldn’t have attended to hang out for a while. (Looking at you, Paul Krystall, Al Septien, and Lisa Rosenblatt!)

At the reception held by President Michael Roth ’78 on Friday night, Patricia Calayag, Hiram Chodosh, and Bill Wrubel were honored for their service to and continued engagement with Wesleyan. Patricia lives in Stamford, Conn., and is an ob-gyn, among her other activities. Hiram, an internationally recognized specialist in mediation, currently serves as president of Claremont-McKenna College in Claremont, Calif. Bill is an Emmy-winning producer and writer of some very popular TV shows. He and Patricia also have served on many a Reunion committee!

After the president’s reception, our class had a social hour, and if you’ve ever imagined a Zoom meeting with 90 or so people, well, this was much more fun. In an effort to recreate the serendipity of running into people under the big tent on Andrus field, we landed in random breakout rooms, caught up with some classmates, and generally all agreed that we’ll try to get together in person as soon as we’re able. I was able to catch up with many folks, among them Crystal Turner-Moffatt. Crystal is the founder and president of a consulting firm that specializes in environmental health and safety; she’s also married and lives in Milford, Conn. Both Crystal and Amy Nash livened up our online happy hours with photos from our Wesleyan years; everyone was super polite and lied that we all look exactly the same!

On Saturday afternoon, there was a smaller gathering of those who competed in sports at Wes. I’m proud, of course, that four of us were from the crew, Margaret Bracken Thompson, Hillary Hess, and, the ’85 co-captains, Amy Clark and me. In the evening, there was a larger happy hour where we were sorted by our first-year dorms. It was very fun to see one another, even in an attenuated medium. Someone characterized the idea of gathering by dorm “inspired,” and having loved my first-year housemates, I agree.

Back before the pandemic, Hillary and I went west to visit Aram Schiffman in Eugene, Ore. After years in the Bay Area, Aram relocated to Eugene where he works for Thermo Fisher Scientific when he’s not working out or creating gorgeous pieces in his woodshop. We had a great weekend, drinking pots of coffee, taking in the scenery, listening to music, and cracking up. Aram’s daughter, Allison, is a math major at the University of Wisconsin.

Let’s keep staying in touch. Please write me if you have anything to share, and please think about coming to Middletown for a “consolation prize” reunion next spring.


CLASS OF 1985 | 2020 | ISSUE 1

In December, KT Korngold received the Wisdom of the Elders Award from the Montessori Accreditation Council of Teacher Education, for her work, writing, and innovation in education. MACTE is the accrediting organization for Montessori teacher education in the U.S. and abroad. In June, she was inducted into the Early Childhood Hall of Heroes, by the Child Care Council of Westchester and received a certificate of recognition from the New York State Legislature. In November, KT opened a new floor at her school, the Montessori Children’s Center in West Harrison, N.Y. KT adds: “I just returned from Hanoi, Vietnam, where I led of team of six teachers to kick-off our Montessori course in infant and toddler education for 35 future toddler teachers in Vietnam. A highlight of the course was hearing the adult learners compare Dr. Montessori to Skinner, Maslow, and Vygotsky in Vietnamese! Plus, I was able to squeeze in a visit to Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO world heritage site.”

Randy Accetta writes from Tucson: “Life is rolling along down here, but my knees hurt, my hair is beyond thinning, and my 11- and 12-year-olds call me “Boomer.” After getting a PhD in American Lit (thanks to Richard Slotkin for all his great Wesleyan courses), I’ve ended up teaching entrepreneurship at the University of Arizona. My wife and I own a family company, Run Tucson, that coaches runners nationally and produces running events in Arizona, including a half marathon at the Grand Canyon.” Randy also heads up a national coaching program and travels to about 25 cities a year, teaching run-coaching seminars. “Last year I had a great visit with Scott Rosenzweig while teaching in Bozeman!” Randy said, “If any Wesleyan folk are ever in Tucson, track me down and we’ll get together.”

Rob Menard is a practicing surgeon in Northern California. He “was in Paris at the International Society of Craniofacial Surgery meeting in September and got to hang out with Wesleyan best friend, Ethan Beardsley ’86. Rob also traveled to Myanmar in January to do cleft lip and palate surgery in NayPyiDaw.

Despite having been a government major, Dave Given has spent his career as a consulting actuary working on private pension plans. His wife, Irene, and he were married in 1990 and have lived in west of Boston since 1991. Dave writes: “No kids, but we have motorcycles, Golden Retrievers, and horses (Irene’s passion). We love the outdoors and along the way, fell in love with the Northern Rockies. Two years ago, we bought our eventual retirement home in Missoula, Mont. We plan to spend lots of time exploring and getting lost by any means possible.”

Marybeth Pytlik Ellison reports: “It was great to see Danny Weinstein, who took a break from sunny San Diego to come to Connecticut last summer and stay with us. He is using his considerable brain power for things outside the medical field these days. I am still in medicine, specifically developmental pediatrics.” Marybeth teaches at Yale School of Medicine. Her son is getting his PhD and her daughter also teaches. Marybeth’s husband retired from pediatric cardiac surgery and now sculpts full-time “which has much better hours.” She says they “travel internationally often, ski, dance, run, and truly enjoy life.”

Perhaps an excellent prescription for us all.


CLASS OF 1985 | 2019 | ISSUE 2

Hello, Class of ’85! As sobering as it is to find ourselves in the middle of the notes (hey, weren’t we on the last page just a couple of years ago?), our classmates remind us that we still have a few tricks up our sleeves.

Nancy Vélez is working as a senior director of major gifts at Teachers College, Columbia University, where she assists in the development and implementation of successfully fundraising plans to grow the college’s endowment and expand its programs. She directly secures philanthropic gifts for the college’s board and President’s Advisory Council. She has over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit and higher education sectors.

Dawn Watt-Stewart earned her master’s degree in electrical engineering from NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering. Congratulations!

My own news is that I’m training to become a certified yoga teacher. After almost 28 years teaching college students, I decided to add some flexibility, literally. If you’re in the D.C. area and want to practice with me, let me know.


CLASS OF 1985 | 2019 | ISSUE 1

Class of 1985 Endowed Wesleyan Scholarship
Matthew Querdasi ’21, Seattle, WA

Karen Kleinman and Ellen Campbell are saddened to share the news of the passing of our very good friend and former Wes roommate, Erica Frohman. Erica passed away on Oct. 3 after a courageous fight with an aggressive form of brain cancer.

Ellen writes: “Erica, Karen, and I met as freshman roommates at Wesleyan. We all came from different backgrounds: Erica grew up outside of Chicago, Karen outside of NYC, and I from Vermont. We bonded immediately and became fast friends for life. Karen and Erica lived together in the ‘Outhouse’ (Outing Club House) sophomore year, we all shared a place with Kim Johnson senior year.

“Erica, Karen, and I kept in touch as our lives evolved after college: marriages, careers and, most significantly, children. Erica’s sharp intellect and passion for life were always inspirational. She amazed us with her ability to take on new activities on top of a demanding career and a commitment to family. She touched many people with her strength, optimism, and intellect. Erica faced her cancer diagnosis with tremendous courage and stayed positive all along. We miss her so much but also feel her with us every day; it was certainly good fortune that our paths crossed so many years ago on the first floor of Clark Hall.”


CLASS OF 1985 | 2018 | ISSUE 3

Hello, ’85ers! Caroline writing this time.

First, I’d like to thank my co-secretary, Marybeth Kilkelly, for her wonderful columns and great energy working on the class notes for the past however many years. I’ll be pulling them together on my own from now on . . . unless one of you wants to volunteer (hint, hint).

Mary Duke Smith is living in Silver Spring, Md., with her husband of over 25 years, Philippe Varlet. She has been working as a personal trainer and wellness educator for the past several years and “finally feels like [she] has found [her] dream job.”

Paula Kay Drapkin writes, “I am happy to report that my son, Jack Drapkin, just graduated from the D’Amore McKim School of Business at Northeastern University. He is attending Major League Soccer’s sales training in Blaine, Minn., and will be interviewing for a full-time job with one of the MLS teams in October. My daughter, Jordan Drapkin, is a junior at The Ohio State University double majoring in business and sports industry.”

I heard from Rosalin Acosta, who shares my astonishment that we’ve been out of college for 33 years: “After graduating from Wes, I decided to move to Massachusetts and not my home state of New Jersey. I got married two years after graduation and began my journey into motherhood and a professional career in banking. I spent 32 years in banking in the Greater Boston area and more importantly had five beautiful children during that time. Today they range in age from 19 to 31. I was remarried in 2015 to Ed Lynch, and we live south of Boston. In June 2017, I was honored to be asked by Governor Baker to become the Commonwealth’s Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development. It’s been an extremely fulfilling journey so far; I’ve been able to combine my business experience with my passion for social impact. Spending a few years in the public sector has always been a dream of mine. Now that I’m there, it’s been exciting, rewarding, and truly a great learning experience. Ed and I love traveling and spending time in both Boston and Chatham.”

Finally, we lost our classmate Susan Eastman Allison to cancer in May. Susan majored in African Studies at Wes, and shortly after we graduated she started Ibis Books & Gallery in Middletown. Later, the shop became The Buttonwood Tree, a performing arts and cultural space which remains a fixture on Main Street. Best known for her poetry, Susan published three volumes with another forthcoming; in addition, she was the first poet laureate of Middletown. She is survived by her husband, Stephan Allison, and their son John. Her loss is mourned by all who encountered her light.

Keep in touch, ’85ers. Much love,



Susan Dale Eastman Allison ’85

Susan Eastman Allison ’85, the first poet laureate of Middletown, died May 15, 2018. (Photos courtesy of Stephan Allison)

Susan Dale Eastman Allison, the first Poet Laureate of Middletown, Conn., died May 15, 2018. She was 56. An African Studies major at Wesleyan, she had spent a year of climbing and traveling in East Africa. After graduation she opened Ibis Books & Gallery in Middletown’s North End. A community visionary, Susan oversaw the transformation of her bookstore in 1991 into NEAR (North End Arts Rising), Inc. The Buttonwood tree, which became an arts hub and performance space, still thriving today and providing an important gathering place in this economically-depressed part of town.

Also a gardener and a poet, Susan could often be found nurturing flowers and all sorts of plants—and writing. She held “office hours” in a local coffee shop in the last year and, as Middletown’s Poet Laureate, declared by Mayor Dan Drew, wrote to celebrate the city that was her home and the people who were her community. Annie Dillard calls her second book of poetry, Down by the Riverside Ways, “…the work of a talented poet.” Rennie McQuilken, Connecticut’s Poet Laureate and publisher, says, “Susan Allison has done for Middletown, Conn., what Williams did for Paterson, N.J.: she has seen past its pedestrian surface to its mythical underpinnings. She has written a book whose passion, honesty, and visceral style make it an important contribution to the world of poetry.” Susan has two poetry books soon to be published by Ibis Books: Poet Laureate of Middletown Proclaimed and Provoked and Be Full.

Susan is survived by her husband of 30 years, Stephan, and son, John; father Warren Eastman; sister Cynthia Eastman, her husband Angelo Farenga and their children Christopher Willis, Annie Musso, and husband Anthony and son Luca; Justine Pilar and husband Adam and children Madeline and Aiden; and brother Richard Eastman; her brother-in-law Fredrick Allison, sisters-in-law Gretchen Shannon and husband Terrence and children Sarah, and Jesse and his wife Kara; and Anne Brown and husband Steuart and daughter Allie and husband Joshua. Susan was predeceased by her mother Patricia Russell Eastman. A public celebration of Susan’s life took place on June 16 at the Community Health Center in Middletown. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Susan D. E. Allison Fund, Community Foundation of Middlesex County, 49 Main St., Middletown, CT 06457.

Please send remembrances to Wesleyan magazine editor Cynthia Rockwell at to be shared with Stephan Allison, sent to class secretaries, and added here. Cynthia adds: “Susan was always a fierce advocate for all people in the community and a gentle soul. Middletown is much strengthened for having been the focus of Susan’s tender mercies.”

The Scott Whipple, of the Middletown Press, wrote about her passing: Middletown’s first poet laureate Susan Allison, a ‘visionary,’ dies at 56.  

The Middletown arts community lost a woman this week many consider a visionary poetess who was also loved by all who knew her.

The city’s first poet laureate, Susan Eastman Allison, died at 56 after a battle with cancer, according to her husband, Middletown’s retiring Arts & Culture office coordinator Stephan Allison.

Her longtime friend Marcella Trowbridge, artistic director of Artfarm, a nonprofit, professional theater organization based in Middletown, said Susan Allison “carved out a nook and a haven in the North End for all kinds of folks.”