CLASS OF 1985 | 2016 | ISSUE 1

Class of 1985 Scholarship

Ali Friend ’19, North Easton, Mass.

Lucy Lehrer and I had fun texting while watching Grease Live on TV. (Is TV a thing anymore or was that streaming?) I know you’ll agree that Lucy and Marc Sholes ’84, in the ’92 Theater were the best Patty Simcox and Eugene Felsnic ever. Lucy Lehrer is a licensed clinical social worker/therapist in Manhattan.

Hilary Jacobs ’85, P’18, is a psychotherapist and author and I have enjoyed her New York Times Opinionator pieces over the past few months. I caught up with her over dinner recently, and she let me know her exciting news that she will be publishing a book with Spiegel & Grau in 2017. If you are curious to learn more until her book comes out, visit her blog at

Joel Goldberg is senior counsel for Netflix in their LA office. His daughter, the talented actress and singer Julia Goldberg, alerted his loyal Wesleyan friends that Joel was featured on the cover of Boston College Law School Magazine. Congratulations, Joel! “It’s not like I’m jealous,” said John “JK” Kilborn, a Boston-based EPA lawyer, also a BCLS alum and very much a Goldberg devotee. (I agree with JK that the next, best scoop will be about government lawyers working in obscurity.) John and Lisa Riceman Kilborn ’86 live in Winchester, Mass., and have two daughters. Lisa is working on health and tech marketing projects through the Complex Stories collective ( with Jim McManus ’85. Lisa spent a number of years as a marketing executive in the technology sector, and is now enjoying her expansion into varied industries and is delighted to work with Jim. Jim is a prolific fine artist ( as well as accomplished visual communications designer.

Can’t wait for the revival of Becky Mode ’86’s 1999 comedy Fully Committed, opening this month on Broadway, starring Jesse Tyler Ferguson playing 40 different roles. I know that Becky and Chris Erikson ’87 (guitarist and NYC journalist) have also been super busy raising their two kids in Brooklyn: every once in a while I bump into Becky on the F train and catch up on family and neighborhood stuff. She never mentioned the Broadway show; I got a mailer!

I attended Sons and Daughters weekend in November 2015 with my youngest, and recommend it for anyone with family members starting the college application process, and not just for those thinking of applying to Wesleyan. I really enjoyed seeing so many familiar faces including Molly Renfroe-Katz ’87Jon RoemerJennifer Flackett ’86Amena AliBarbara BeckerPauline Frommer ’88Patty DeBenedictis PopovTimothy ClarkRichard YanceyCaroline Wilkins, and Eileen Coppola and everyone’s kids, of course.

Richard C. Yancey (AIA, LEED AP) is the founding executive director of the Building Energy Exchange, Inc., (, an independent, nonprofit organization that connects the New York real estate and design communities to energy and lighting efficiency solutions through education, exhibitions, technology demonstrations, and research, at their resource center in downtown Manhattan’s Surrogate Courthouse. He and his wife, Inger Staggs Yancey, have three sons and live in Brooklyn. Inger is a New York and Washington State-registered LEED accredited architect and the founder of Brooklyn Greenroof; she designs and builds systems for supporting live plants on rooftops, and has numerous projects on display at Rich and Inger are proponents of passive house design and I always love learning from them about the latest in quiet, cost- and energy-efficient buildings.

Jon Roemer ( continues to amaze and delight with gorgeous photography and now, a specialty in architectural video. We missed Grace Farrell Roemer at the Sons and Daughters weekend, but Grace attended a few years ago with daughter number one, so this was Jon’s turn. Grace stays busy as associate director of survey research at Mathematica Policy Research in Princeton, where she specializes in federal data.

Everybody’s busy! What’s next? Until next time, be well!


CLASS OF 1985 | 2015 | ISSUE 3

Caroline writing this time. Not too many notes; maybe we’re still buzzing from our most excellent Reunion. I know that I had a wonderful time reconnecting with everyone!

I heard from Nancy Caciola: “I teach medieval history at the University of California, San Diego, and am about to publish my second book, Afterlives: The Return of the Dead in the Middle Ages. It will appear on Cornell University Press in spring 2016. I also am enjoying the single life after a long marriage to Richard Cohen. We finally decided to call it quits and divorced earlier this year, though we remain on good terms. I’d love to hear from any old friends.”

Tim Dyke, who started with us, but finished in ’86, had his poetry chapbook, Awkward Hugger, published by Tinfish Press. Several of us from our freshman house heard Tim read as part of the Writer’s Hotel workshop in June of 2014. In 2015 Tim returned as faculty at the Writer’s Hotel, and Amy Nash took part. Tim lives in Honolulu, where he teaches at the Punahou School.

Gabriel “Jack” Chin was recently named Martin Luther King Jr. Professor of Law at UC, Davis, School of Law. Jack also writes: “… in March the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association and I persuaded the California Supreme Court to posthumously admit Hong Yen Chang to the bar, 125 years after they denied him admission because of his race. For the past two years, I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with Hope Alley ’11, who is my TA in Criminal Law, co-counsel on an appeal of a wire fraud conviction to the Ninth Circuit, and is heading to Alaska to clerk for a federal judge.”

I am sad to report that our class has suffered a loss: George Dixon passed away in September. If you would like to honor George, you may make a donation to the National Kidney Foundation.

Let’s remember to stay in touch with one another.


CLASS OF 1985 | 2015 | ISSUE 1

Caroline writing this time, from sunny Negril, Jamaica, where I am on a yoga retreat, which beats February in DC. Let me take a moment to exhort you to come to our 30th Reunion in May—I will be road-tripping with Jolynn Jones and Hillary Hess. I encourage you to get your buds together and head to Middletown. You can register at

I got a nice note from Meg Dunham Dempsey: “I’m in Stamford, Conn., where my husband, Greg, and I have lived for 22 years. After a 15-year business career, I switched gears to be more involved with my young children’s daily lives and to improve the public schools. I worked as a substitute teacher, volunteered as a tutor and mentor for underserved children and worked for 10 years in an advocacy role for the Stamford public schools. I also coached soccer, lacrosse, and sailing. Four years ago I started a business tutoring high school math and SAT and ACT prep. I continue to serve as a volunteer tutor in the public schools.

“Our oldest daughter, Kim, graduated from Bowdoin last May and is teaching high school chemistry in Queens. Our second daughter, Ellie ’18, is a freshman, taking advantage of all Wesleyan has to offer, and our son, Will, was just accepted ED2 to Wesleyan for the class of 2019! It’s so exciting to be back on campus.

“I can’t wait for our 30th Reunion and look forward to seeing everyone in May. Anyone who danced under the tent at our 25th remembers how amazing it was! Those who didn’t need to experience it!” I absolutely second that!

KT Whaley wrote with some fun news: “Ellen Korbonski and I spent some time together at her daughter’s gymnastics meet at Chelsea Piers in Connecticut. It was great to reconnect, watching the kids do those amazing stunts! I’ve also connected with Martha Haakmat ’87; we are colleagues in Montessori education and discovered we share a lot of same values, including as turns out, our alma mater! My eldest daughter, Sarah (18!), was accepted at Newhouse School at Syracuse, and my younger, Emma becomes a bat mitzvah this spring, with my sister, Rabbi Jamie Korngold.

“I am organizing the second annual Pathways to a Peaceful School Conference for heads of school, teachers, and parents of children in Montessori schools, on July 23, 2015, in White Plains, N.Y.”

Toby Milgrome writes: “My husband’s work was featured in the Feb. 9, 2015, issue of TIME magazine, in an article called ‘The next best thing to a cure.’ My son, David, developed type 1 diabetes just before his first birthday. I had been a pediatrician for about two years when he got sick, and was able to get him diagnosed very quickly. David went from being a happy and active toddler, to a skinny, fatigued, spacey kid in less than one week. I brought him to see my partner and David perked up and pretended to be normal, just before he would have slipped into a diabetic coma and died. Luckily, my partner listened to my observations about his behavior over the past week—decreased activity, loss of normal interests, weight loss, lots of drinking and urinating. I was suspecting diabetes even though it is uncommon is someone so young. She got his labs and he was admitted to our ICU that night. Over the years Ed and I taught ourselves to be experts in the care of diabetes in such a tiny person. Knowing this as a parent, pediatrician (for me) and biomedical engineer (for Ed), we started dreaming about automating the treatment to take the endless data gathering and decision-making out of the chronic care. Thirteen years later, the work is actually almost done! Ed and his former graduate student, Firas El Khatib, have developed a bionic pancreas that has been tested in hundreds of volunteers with type 1 diabetes in hospital, summer camp, and home and work settings. It produces phenomenal blood sugar control. The person who wears the device needs to keep it up and running, but the bionic pancreas makes all dosing decisions and keeps the blood sugar nearly normal, nearly all of the time. This will prevent nearly all acute and chronic consequences of the disease while also making diabetes much less of a burden for people with it day in and day out. It is the next best thing to a cure!” That is really interesting!

That’s it for this time; let’s catch up in person on Foss Hill in May.



CLASS OF 1985 | 2014 | ISSUE 3

Mary Beth writing this time:

With profound sadness I share the news that our brilliant and accomplished classmate Seth Teller passed away on July 1, 2014. Seth was a faculty member in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), and led the Robotics, Vision, and Sensor Networks group in MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Seth’s PhD was earned at University of California, Berkeley, and he was a post-doctoral fellow at the Computer Science Institute of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Princeton University’s Computer Science Department. He is survived by his wife, Rachel Zimmerman, and two daughters, Sophia and Julia. I have a wonderful memory of Seth when he greeted me on Foss Hill at our 25th Reunion; his warm, sweet smile made me feel 20 years old again. Even in the rush of the 25-year-catch-up-convo, he listened deeply, and encouraged my support of my oldest child’s music study, sharing the observation that his best students at MIT were musicians; he also warmly invited us to visit his lab. That quick little conversation on Foss Hill had a big impact, and I know there are many in our era at Wesleyan who feel profoundly effected by Seth’s friendship, and share a deep loss with his family.

Nancy Velez, who was a Better Chance Scholar via The Spence School, currently lives in the Bronx. She taught fifth-grade bilingual classes at a South Bronx public school for five years. Nancy then joined Thirteen/WNET, PBS’s flagship station, for six years, where she managed their tri-state area and national PBS technology/teacher training conferences. After Thirteen/WNET, Nancy worked at ThinkQuest/Advanced Network & Services, an internet company, where she was assistant director of national and international partnerships. She has presented at many technology conferences within the U.S. and abroad. At Prep for Prep, as director of leadership development projects, she managed their largest educational initiative called Aspects of Leadership. Nancy worked at Sarah Lawrence College in their fund-raising department. She currently is the senior director of major gifts at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Nancy began singing in high school and was a gospel soloist at Wesleyan. She is a two-time Apollo amateur night winner and has performed in two Spanish operas in New York City. Nancy has performed throughout the New York area in musical theatre productions, shows, and as a background vocalist for different composers. She has also studied and lived in Colombia and Madrid, Spain.

John B. Clutterbuck, a partner at Andrews Kurth, LLP, in Houston, writes, “Got married, had two kids, now have just finished emptying the nest: Denison Univ. and Wash. U. in St. Louis are the lucky colleges. Next updates will be kid marriages and grandkids, likely in that order but you never know.”

Mark Sussman writes “My wife, MJ Thompson, and I both teach at Concordia University (in Montréal, QC), where I’ve shifted from the department of theatre to working as associate dean, academic affairs, in the faculty of fine arts. Concordia has a very strong art school, and I’ve become interested in how we balance practice and theory in the teaching of art across the disciplines. (I’ve even started spelling theatre with -re.) Our kids, Sam (11) and Finn (8), are growing up in two countries and languages, with friends in Brooklyn and Montréal. Our newest addition to the family is Shadow, a Cairn terrier needing a new home that we found living on 24th street in Manhattan. I still work with Great Small Works, the company I co-founded 20 years ago now, based in DUMBO, Brooklyn. Lately I’ve also been working with the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, based at NYU. Most recently, I published a chapter, “Notes on New Model Theaters,” in the 2014 Routledge Companion to Puppetry and Material Performance.




SETH TELLER, a member of MIT’s computer science and engineering faculty, who was internationally renowned for his efforts to develop robots that are useful to people in their daily lives, died July 1, 2014. He was 50. After graduating from Wesleyan he received his PhD at the University of California, Berkeley, and did research at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and at Princeton University before joining the faculty at MIT, where he rose to the rank of full professor. He led a research group that focused on making machines aware of their surroundings and capable of interacting naturally with people in healthcare, military, civilian, and disaster-relief settings. As leader of MIT’s Fifth Sense Project, he worked with colleagues and students to develop wearable devices to assist people who are blind or have low vision. A neighborhood activist and longtime ultimate Frisbee player, he led grassroots efforts to promote neighborhood-friendly development decisions and to improve open spaces in Cambridge, Mass. Among those who survive are his wife, Rachel Zimmerman, two daughters, his parents, two brothers, and a large extended family.

CLASS OF 1985 | 2014 | ISSUE 2

Timothy Jacobs has been an anthropology and sociology professor at Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury, Conn. He belongs to more than 30 hereditary societies and is the genealogist and/or registrar for several of them. A professional genealogist, Tim also paints and makes stringed musical instruments. He is putting together several CDs of his music (some with Victoria Grace Landgraf ’88).

Marc Stein writes: “After sixteen years of living and teaching in Toronto, I’ll be moving to the Bay Area this summer to begin my new position as the Pasker Chair in U.S. history at San Francisco State University. I’m looking forward to my new adventure (and will continue to spend time in Maine, where my partner teaches).”

Michael Banbury, chief of cardiac surgery and chair of cardiovascular surgery for Christiana Care Health System in Newark, Del., just finished a “Master of Health Care Delivery Science” at Dartmouth: “The idea is to prepare people in the health care sector to think carefully about the challenges we face in this sector and to develop innovative solutions to the many problems at hand.”

Tim Clark visited Wesleyan with his son, Philip, for Alumni Sons and Daughters weekend. Larry Attia was also in attendance with his daughter. “… the campus looks great, particularly Clark Hall which was decidedly (but lovably) dumpy back in the day. After only a few minutes, my Wesleyan compass kicked in, allowing me to navigate parts of the campus indoors on what turned out to be a very cold day.  Had I only kept a copy of my old head resident master keys, I could have done the entire tour underground.” Tim, Larry, and Steve Pace ’84 will continue their now 30-year tradition of watching the Mets play on the road. This year they are bound for Denver. (Tim notes: “John Brown, if you are reading this, please join us in Section 101 — there is a ticket in your name at the will call window.”) Tim also caught up with Celia Vimont whose son is also applying to college.

Shelley Starkvolunteers for Dr. Donald Berwick who is running for governor of Massachusetts. “I interned for Don during one of my summers home from Wesleyan. I spend time with Rosilyn Ford and David Shopper 81. Ros is a nurse practitioner in Belmont, and David continues to build his photography business on the North Shore.” Living in Attleboro with her husband, Louis Jackson, and their two children, Holland, 12, and Spenser, 11, Shelley works as a health policy consultant in Rhode Island.

John Brown and his wife moved to Jupiter, Fla., when he took a new job with INTECH.  They have adjusted very well to life without seasons and “live in shorts and flipflops.” Their new business venture is a wine bar: “We have access to some of the best wines in the world and would love to share them with Wes friends.”

Rich Adams started a new job, “working as a PA on the Ear, Nose and Throat service in Rhode Island, excited to be back in an academic environment and learning a ton. Being the least knowledgeable (and usually oldest) guy in the room, seems to be a trend for me….”

Bekkie Wright finished her 50 States marathon quest! Bekkie was in the Raleigh/Durham area in early February with her father, Jim Wright ’55, for his 80th birthday. “I still have a little speed left at the short distances because I scored as 3rd Female Master (40+) in the Run for the Roses 5K.”

Michael Solomon has a new job at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) as the senior regional director for the north east region, where he will oversee FINRA’s NYC, Long Island, Philadelphia, NJ, and Boston district offices. His oldest daughter, Emma,is going to Wes in the fall.

K.T. Whaley bought her mother’s company, the Center for Montessori Education. “We train people to be Montessori teachers. All my work at Wes in problem solving [and] identification, connecting themes, thinking creatively, and honing communication skills, were great training for this position.” K.T.’s eldest daughter, Sarah, is looking at colleges, and Emma is getting ready for her Bat Mitzvah next year.

Jessica Bernstein, a freelance writer and copy editor, lives in San Antonio with her husband, Jonathan Bernstein, a columnist covering U.S. politics for Bloomberg View. They have two daughters, ages 20 and 15, one a sophomore at Mount Holyoke and one a ninth grader.

Chris and Nancy Sinacola are pleased to announce the birth of their first grandchild, Jane Woolf Burress, born in early December to their daughter Alena Burress and her husband, Toby. Alena, a “campus baby” from 1983 to 1985, attended a few Classics Department classes and events. Chris is editorial page editor at the Worcester Telegram & Gazette; Nancy is tutoring Latin. Their son, Jonas, spent five years in the Marine Corps and now lives in Virginia. Their other daughters are finishing college: Mary is a senior at the Art Institute of Boston, and Lucy a junior at Northeastern.

Evan Nelson lives in Virginia and works as a forensic clinical psychologist. His practice has included high profile cases such as Lorena Bobbitt, the DC snipers, the Somalia pirates (of “Captain Philips” fame), and the Atkins case, which led to the U.S. Supreme Court to declare it illegal to execute intellectually disabled defendants. He and his wife (also a forensic clinical psychologist) have been in practice together for almost 20 years.  “The older of my two children is a senior in high school, so we visited Wesleyan as part of his college quest (but he has decided to go to William & Mary). I was impressed by the growth of the campus, but I mourned the loss of MoCon and my fond memories of socializing there.”

Amy Nash continues to love living in Minneapolis: “I have been with the same architecture firm (MSR) as a marketing specialist for almost 17 years now. I also nurture my passion for writing poetry and keep my poetry blog ( alive. My poem, “Souvenir, Erosion,” will be published in an anthology about Martha’s Vineyard’s Gay Head Lighthouse. I will be attending a poetry workshop at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown this summer.”



Class of 1985 | 2014 | Issue 1

Mary Beth writes: The flurry of 50th birthday celebrations has been lots of fun. I remember being a student at Wesleyan and thinking turning 30 would feel strange! This past fall I had brunch with Desirée Alvarez, Amy Seplin and Liz Maher Muoio, whose daughter, Molly ’17, is a frosh. Joe Muoio ’13 attended Homecoming 2013 weekend last fall with Molly and members of his former Wesleyan football team, including Head Coach and Wesleyan Athletic Director Mike Whalen ’83. Wes enjoyed victories over Amherst and Williams this year, winning our first Little Three Crown since 1970. Desiree, Amy and I had to feign interest in football while Liz explained how remarkable this achievement is. But, really: WOW. Congratulations and thank you, Mike! Amy Seplin has been a film editor since graduating from Columbia Film School, working in NYC on documentaries, and has now returned to Columbia to become a nurse practitioner. By the time you read this, we will have surprised her with a birthday toast at Bemelmen’s Bar. Desirée Alvarez is an artist and poet living in Soho. She exhibits widely and her fabric art can be seen at Central Booking Gallery on the Lower East Side. She designed sets for Gayathri Khemadasa and Jeff Hush ‘84’s Phoolan Devi Opera, which was performed at South Church in Middletown last spring. She also teaches at New York City College of Technology, CUNY. You can see more work and get more details at her website. Last April Desirée had an exhibit at Piermont Straus Gallery, owned by Laura Straus ’88, where Patty Fabricant has also exhibited. Patty has been hard at work designing many beautiful books over the years, and drawing and painting seriously in more recent years. She has now amassed an impressive and varied portfolio of work, and she is exhibiting more widely; details and images are available on her website. Patty and I had dinner last fall with Ellen MacLeod Korbonski, who has two young daughters and is also creating artwork in varied media, including some mesmerizing embroidery.

I attended the Second Annual Guitar Mash in New York, an interactive play-and-sing-along fundraising event, co-produced by Brooklynite Maureen McSherry ’87, who has become an all-around theatrical and event producer. She is a producer of Matilda, The Musical, and a producer of The Williamsburg Independent Film Festival. She also produced a beautiful, talented daughter who is trying to launch an acting career.

Michael Stephen Schultz ’84 and I also attended Dana Lesley Goldstein’s play, Daughters of the Sexual Revolution, at Workshop Theatre in New York this past fall, and was happy to learn that Dana was getting inquiries from additional producers as a result of this production. The play is about a family with a daughter who attends a liberal arts college in New England, which felt familiar.

I am hearing good things from friends who have attended the Wesleyan Sons and Daughters weekend, which I attended last year with my son. It’s a smart way to start the college application process, helped us tremendously, and I recommend it to everyone with children in high school. Keep the notes coming, and happy birthday to the last few of you who have yet to cross over. Feels fine on this side.



RICHARD B. SMITH, 48, a screenwriter, director, and creative director of digital media and live events, died June 29, 2011. He received a master’s degree from The School of Cinema-Television at the University of Southern California, from which he launched his screenwriting career. In addition to writing for the screen he also wrote a novel and was a member of the Writers Guild of America. He created immersive media for trade shows and experiential installations for museums, and he worked with numerous corporate clients. In addition to his professional accomplishments, he was also lead guitarist for the band Nooner, and an avid tennis player and sailor. Among those who survive are his wife, Mariana Schwartz; three daughters, including Adriana Clare Smith ’15; his mother; three sisters; three brothers; and a large extended family.