CLASS OF 1987 | 2021–2022 | WINTER ISSUE

Hi friends! A pretty empty mailbox this time. I hope it means people are out, busy, and enjoying the return to some level of normal.

There were lots of spring 2021 graduations at various levels of education and various levels of interaction. My son Sam graduated from American University and we watched a taped broadcast from a Washington, D.C. hotel room. It was a very welcome celebration. Wesleyan’s commencement was in person and live streamed. If you watched, you may have seen Ira Skolnik’s son Jonah ’21 graduate with University Honors in both Medieval Studies and Government. This double honor is a first for Wesleyan. Jonah is going on for a higher degree at Trinity College Oxford.

I have a lot of books to report!

Rebecca Bratspies teaches environmental law at the City University of New York and lives in Queens with her husband and daughter. Her co-authored book, Environmental Justice: Law, Policy and Regulation was released in 2020. It is a textbook for undergraduate and law students but she hopes it will also be a resource for communities as well. Rebecca was appointed to the New York City Environmental Justice Advisory Board, and she blogs infrequently with the Center for Progressive Reform. Before the shutdown, she saw Trisha Lindemann and Lisa Ranghelli. In the 2020 Summer of COVID, she went on a socially distanced, graffiti-viewing walk with Janet Lieberman. She also hosted a Zoom reunion for about 30 members of the Karate Club from classes ’86–’89. Rebecca is interested in getting in touch with other Wesleyan people in the New York City area, especially those working in environmental fields.

Eric Lotke released his third book, Union Made, a romance about union organizing. This book joins his other titles, Making Manna, and 2044: The Problem Isn’t Big Brother, It’s Big Brother, Inc., and his work routinely gets good reviews.

Muzzy Rosenblatt’s new book, How Ten Global Cities Take on Homelessness, Innovations That Work was launched this June. Muzzy joins global experts to profile efforts to alleviate homelessness in 10 cities: Bogota, Mexico City, Los Angeles, Houston, Nashville, New York City, Baltimore, Edmonton, Paris, and Athens. The authors analyze how cities have used innovation and local political coordination to tackle homelessness. Muzzy is the CEO and president of BRC, the Bowery Residents’ Committee, an organization focused on people facing homelessness in New York City.

Here’s some publishing news directly from Pauline Frommer ’88: “On March 23, 2020 we stopped production on a book I’d been working on for months: a photo-rich, map-based guidebook centered around interest-based itineraries of all sorts. But I knew that the city, and world, would be changing drastically, so we put the book (Frommer’s New York City Day by Day) on ice. It’s now been several months of very hard work to replace all of the businesses that went out of business (shops, restaurants, hotels and even museums). But the city is coming back and so is this book, just released in November! Whew! Thrilled to get it out the door, and start editing many of the other Frommer’s guidebooks to places around the globe.”

Pauline reports that her older daughter is going into her last year at Tufts, and her younger daughter is starting Northwestern in the fall. She also says that the thing that kept her sane during COVID was playing trivia every Friday night with a rotating bunch of Wes friends from around the United States over Zoom. Lots of us were doing that.

C. S. “Cal” Coolidge ’91 reports that he is getting ready to send a child to college. His son, Will, is matriculating in the fall at University of California, Santa Cruz, Merrill College, or, as Cal likes to think of it, “Wesleyan West.”

If you haven’t already heard it, Wes Athletics does a podcast called Chris & Coach; Beyond the Box Score. Chris Grace, the voice of the Cardinals and Mike Whalen ’83, the athletic director, interview alums and discuss a wide range of topics including their experience with sports at Wes, their college experience in total, their thoughts on the value of a liberal arts education, and the paths they have taken since leaving Middletown. Chris Roellke and Chris Stiepock have both been guests and their interviews are entertaining and insightful. We’ve got a lot of other athletes who’d be great guests! I’m looking at you, Allegra Burton, Claire Conceison, Dave Robinson, Paul Amoruso, and Amy Mortimer!

No time like now to drop me a line and tell me what you’re up to. Hope it’s something good.

CLASS OF 1987 | 2021 | ISSUE 1

Hello all! The common denominator in your news this winter was how many of us have connected with classmates in virtual ways. A true benefit of the pandemic which offers so few bright spots! We’ve got a lot of boldfaced names in our column this time around!

     While at home, I’ve been zooming with Grier Mendel, Liz Rabineau, Amy and Eric Mortimer-Lotke, Allegra Burton, Wendy Banner, Barbara Becker ’86, Randi Levinson ’86, Michael Clancy ’88, Chris Roellke, and Dave Robinson for some great Butterfield memories. I’ve also spent some time paring back collected souvenirs and memories, and I’ve found some truly Wesleyan artifacts! Picture the poster built off this text: This is Howard. Howard lives at the Bayit. Howard lives with seven women. Howard’s grandmother is very happy, but How’s Howard? This ad for the “first-annual How’s Howard party at the Bayit” led me to reach out to Howard Bochner, who says he’s hanging in there, and was happy for the memory.

     After six years as a disability rights lawyer with the ACLU, Claudia Center became the Legal Director with the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund where she focuses on the rights of people with disabilities during COVID-19. She writes snail mail postcards as a pandemic activity. Recipients have included Cal Coolidge, Anthea Charles, Becca Gallager, Natasha Kirsten Kraus, Jack Levinson, and Laura Thomas.

     John Katz reports from the Katz/Dipko household. John works with the Environmental Protection Agency in San Francisco, focused on sustainability standards for electronics and other products, and supporting efforts to promote business sustainability. His wife, Lisa Dipko ’86, is a social worker at the Veterans Administration nursing home in San Francisco where families have not been able to visit for nearly a year. In November, the family enjoyed a virtual trip to Wes with their high school junior son, where they enjoyed “chatting” with Doug Koplow and George Cabrera ’86. John keeps in touch with Michael Foster, who chairs the East Asian Languages and Cultures Department at UC Davis. They took a three-day backpacking trip together last summer in the Sierras. COVID has given John the opportunity to connect online with Wes folks including Pauline Frommer ’88, Sumana Rangachar (Chandrasekhar), Matt Pollack, Michele Ahern, Jessica Miller, Lael Lowenthal, Lucille Renwick, and Bruno Oliver (Weinburg).

    Darya Mead is a longtime reader, rare participant in our class notes, but she wrote in to report on her activities. She is juggling content creation, strategy and media jobs, jumping through a lot of hoops to work at home. Like most of us, she’s been finding new ways to keep up fitness and enhance mood: hula hooping, Zoom yoga, hikes, kayaking, boogie boarding, camping, Netflix, watercolor projects, and plenty of walks. Darya works mostly for HairToStay, an organization that provides subsidies to low-income cancer patients. She also writes for various outlets including Roam Family Travel and the San Mateo Daily Journal. Her current passion project is a podcast called Hippie Docs 2.0 Re-Humanizing Medicine. Her boys are 21 and 17 and both are history/social science, satire, and soccer buffs. Before COVID, Darya traveled with family in five trips together all over the world as her cousin covered UN Climate Conferences while Darya provided Mary Poppins–level care to her young cousins and wrote about their adventures. Darya’s husband’s job as an event designer has evaporated in the pandemic, so a return to life might be a huge pivot for them. She’s feeling a bit better since January 20th and continuing her bag-of-tricks approach to reality.

     Michael Bennett published his debut novel, Young Donald, with Inkshares (a Wesleyan alumni–run publisher) in October. It’s an imagined biography of Donald Trump in high school.

     Daniel Rauch published Challenging Cases in Pediatric Hospital Medicine (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2021), his second medical book.

     Chris Lotspeich sent greetings and good wishes. In 2016 Chris was diagnosed with ALS, an incurable fatal motor neuron disease. He says that fortunately his progression is very slow and he remains mostly independent. He says otherwise, his life is pretty much perfect with his wonderful wife Amy Dunn and their 12- and 16-year-old daughters in Connecticut. Chris works part-time as the director of sustainability services at NV5 Energy Efficiency Services (formerly Celtic Energy), focusing on resilience, renewable power, and efficiency. He is hoping to complete long-deferred nonfiction books and novels in the years to come. Chris stays in touch with classmates including Rob Campbell, Clarinda Mac Low, Scott Pryce, Dan Sharp, Jason Stell, and Adam Willner.

    Finally, I recently heard from Ira Skolnik who relayed some sad news from his buddy, Dan Levy ’88. Sadly, Dan lost his 22-year-old son last year. Alex Levy was an avid organic farmer and Dan is setting up an endowed fellowship to support a Wesleyan student to work on Wesleyan’s farm each summer. Please contact me for details if you would like to support this memorial fellowship.

     You are reading this many months after I write it, so my close is a little wish for good things for us now. Sending love.

CLASS OF 1987 | 2020 | ISSUE 3

I didn’t get a lot of news this time around, but I have a great “small world” story to share.

This summer, Amy Mortimer-Lotke and Eric Mortimer-Lotke’s son, Isaac, was in a meeting focused on pandemic issues in NYC. He introduced himself on the Zoom call, and got a quick private message from another participant. “Are you  Amy and Eric’s son?” Isaac said yes, and texted his mom, “Do you know a guy named Muzzy?” Within minutes, Muzzy Rosenblatt had changed his background screen to show a picture he pulled off Facebook, featuring Amy and Muzzy eating pizza in a dorm room during sophomore year. Only during a pandemic, folks.

Johanna Van Hise Heart and Simon Heart are still enjoying life in Boulder, Colorado, and mostly surviving being parents of three teenagers. Their oldest daughter, Isabella, is a sophomore at UC Santa Cruz and their twins, Eli and Zoe, are juniors at Boulder High. Johanna is a nurse at UC Health in Boulder and Simon owns a property management business. Simon just published his first book The Right Start: Build Your Brand to Survive and Thrive in Corporate America. He says that it is a great gift for recent grads and young professionals, and he extends special thanks to Brad Karsh for providing a back cover testimonial.

Kim Sargent-Wishart completed certification as a teacher of Body-Mind Centering. BMC is an experiential approach to the study of anatomy, body systems and developmental movement. She also established the first BMC Somatic Movement Educator training program in Australia and began running courses just before the COVID-19 hold. During the pandemic, Kim has been experimenting with teaching movement and anatomy classes via Zoom from her home in a small town, which has the benefit of connecting with more people from around the world, including former classmates. She is starting work on new formats for sharing physical practices, somatic meditation, and creativity tools. Otherwise, she’s gardening, dancing in the kitchen, and hanging out with the family.

Paulina Bren has a new book launching in March 2021. The Barbizon is about New York’s famous women’s hotel and the women—including Sylvia Plath and Joan Didion—who passed through its doors from the 1920s to the 1990s. Paulina splits her time between New York and Poughkeepsie where she teaches in International Studies, Women’s Studies, and Media Studies at Vassar College. 

 Claire Conceision was interviewed as part of NPR’s September 2020 coverage of the first Chinese-language production of A Raisin in the Sun in Beijing. Claire is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an expert on contemporary Chinese theater.

Gabrielle Mason reports a personal recovery from COVID-19. She was in a social work field placement with the Alzheimer’s Association when the shutdown started, and so she did the difficult job remotely, working with caregivers on the association’s helpline facilitating support groups via telephone. She encourages people to learn more about the services the organization provides. Gabrielle completed her social work master’s in May, and got her license soon after. Her son Zach’s selection of Vassar as a freshman allowed Gabrielle to reconnect with Clark hallmates Holly Campbell Ambler, whose daughter started last year, and departing dean Chris Roellke. She scrambled to organize the unorganizable: pack light in case kids need to come home, but ensure they’re ready for self-sufficiency in case of quarantine. 

As I write this, the Wesleyan semester is underway with lots of COVID-19 restrictions. Thinking about the return to school sparks memories that scream our advancing age to me. It was not long ago that we were dancing to The Police, Thriller, and Flashdance in the Butterfield courtyard. We had to line up near Sci Li to get drop/add cards for the classes we wanted. We joined another line to secure SNET accounts, and we had to be home to use these phones. SNET always got my name wrong—one year I was Rebecca Zimblet and the next, Rebecca Bimbler. At least the phone worked. When the bill came, we marked which long-distance calls were ours. We walked down to Atticus to buy books and lugged them back to campus. Mostly, I remember the hope and anticipation of a new semester, and I wish all our students and educators embarking on the new year at Wesleyan—or anywhere else—great success. 

I’ll pick up Gabrielle’s sign off, “Until soon, I hope, wishing everyone safe and well as can be, with resilience, care, and every bit of laughter and love to be found.”

Reflection doesn’t rely on a date. Let me know what memories “back to Wes” taps in you! Don’t wait for me to ask; if you’ve got news to share, please contact me as soon as you can.

Rebecca Zimbler Graziano |

CLASS OF 1987 | 2020 | ISSUE 2

Hello, Class of ’87! I am writing to you in May, while many governors are weighing the risks of opening back up. This has been an unimaginable part of our lives, and the notes I am reporting reveal the strangeness of this time in quarantine.

Giles Richter reports that he is hunkered down with his wife in San Mateo, Calif., having returned from Tokyo in January. He works at Stanford for a Japanese language intensive program. Giles worked to move the program online to keep it running despite the crisis. He has kept tabs on classmates sheltering in New York, including Anne Dunham, Adrienne Fitzgerald, Becca Gallagher ’90, Jack Levinson, Jeremy Mindich ’87, MALS ’89, and Vivian Trakinski.

Gabrielle Sellei was sworn into the New York Bar from her front porch in May. She is an entertainment lawyer, getting increased interest from New York-based clients. She’s now a Pennsylvania-New York-New Jersey triple threat.

Amy Baltzell shares a little joy in a time of so much dark news: Shayna, her oldest daughter, is attending Wesleyan this fall. She will be joining the rowing team. Amy says she is overwhelmed with gratitude and excitement for her to have the chance to experience Wesleyan.

David Josephs and his family relocated from London back to Chicago in March, arriving at O’Hare on the first day of newly-instituted customs procedures at O’Hare Airport. It took them six hours to get through immigration. They have moved back into their home in the Chicago suburbs and are happy to be closer to their daughter and families now. David took a new job as CEO at daVinci Payments, after five years with Visa. Living in London was fantastic, including a visit from David Igler ’88, MA’88.

After 26 years in Chicago, J.B. Davis and his wife, Rachel, moved their family Josiah (18), Eli (15), Abby (13), puppy Booker, and cat Billie to Cleveland three years ago. Rachel is an administrator at Cleveland State University, and J.B. is the director of engagement and marketing at Suburban Temple – Kol Ami, a reform synagogue.

Hemanshu Nigam has built a career working on the safety initiatives in the public space and cyberspace. Recently, he developed an app called Syndesy (, offering protections including connecting emergency alerts to contacts and the ability to track negative interactions in a verified form. The app has a recently-added check-ins feature that makes it easy for users to voluntarily capture where they have been and when, and inform family and friends should they be diagnosed COVID-19 positive. This feature provides an approach to contact tracing, balancing civil liberties and privacy with the ability to protect society.

The pandemic pushed Wendy Blum’s dance education work online. She has been designing and teaching remote curriculum for pre-K through fifth grade in New York City public schools. She enjoys the upsides of technology, such as the ability to use the media of masterworks made available during the pandemic. However, teaching physical dance via video has been challenging. During the stay-at-home order, Wendy interacts with many Wespeeps via multiple digital platforms. She took a Zoom dance class alongside Molly Rabinowitz, had Jody Sperling ’92 as a guest artist in her GoogleMeets classroom, and has met virtually with Kim Sargent-Wishart (Australia), Sue Roginski (California), Evelyn Shapiro (Illinois), Darya Mead (California), Pauline Frommer ’88 (New York City), Eddie Zas (New York City), Dave Cole (Illinois), Debby Hamilton (California), Andrew Grimaldi (Massachusetts), Steve Morison ’88 (Bulgaria), Nancy Nachbar ’89 (Maryland), Steve Kullback ’89 (Georgia), Christie Trott ’88 (California), and Paul Gosselin ’88 (France).

Ian Rosen and his family are persevering in London. He finds himself grateful for the opportunity to work hard from home. He’s busy in sustainability across three businesses—investment management in renewable energy, a technology company in electric-vehicle charging, and property development. His daughter finished her Wesleyan frosh year from home in London. In his role as alumni rep, Ian is planning virtual gatherings given physical ones seem a way off.

Josh Calder works as a futurist, offering support across many industries. Years ago, his company sent out a prediction about the possibilities of a pandemic and its deep effects. Josh said that even being intellectually prepared, he was not inoculated against how weird the pandemic is. In the kind of news a class secretary delights in, Josh reports a previous column of class notes informed him that his sons’ peace teacher is our classmate Linda Ryden, who lives five houses down from him in Northwest D.C.

Finally, we got news in early April that Willie Greeke had died from COVID-19, a stunningly cruel disease. Willie was remembered on Facebook by his classmates for his activities at Wesleyan, and for the good guy that he was. The world is a little darker for this loss.

In addition to news of their activities during the pandemic, our classmates wrote in to send best wishes and love to their Wesleyan friends. I sincerely hope this message finds you and your family safe and healthy.

Rebecca Zimbler Graziano |

CLASS OF 1987 | 2020 | ISSUE 1

Hi, Class of ’87. Rebecca here with news from you!

John Snyder is living in Amherst, Mass., with his 12-year-old daughter. He’s a partner at Amherst Pediatrics and excited to be teaching Science vs. Pseudoscience, a new undergrad course in the School of Public Health at UMass.

Debbie Hamilton moved from Colorado to Santa Barbara, Calif., more than two years ago. She became an empty nester, decided she was tired of the cold, and was burnt out from her integrative medical practice, so she took the initiative to pursue a major midlife change. Debbie is now the medical director for a nutritional supplement company, enjoying a more normal job with benefits and travel. She does some clinical consulting and spends some time in Colorado with her college-age kids. She’d love to connect with Southern California Wesleyan alumni.

James Flynn was named national managing director of a 14-office law firm and had an exciting first year, including an alliance with Deloitte Legal that an industry publication listed as part of the five biggest things to rock the legal world this year. James hopes 2019 wasn’t just beginner’s luck! James is the proud father of Justyna, a school psychologist; Michael, at Morgan Stanley; and Anthony, a freshman at Villanova who manages the men’s basketball team. His wife, Monica, is an educational administrator and curriculum director.

James celebrates career successes of Wesleyan basketball teammates: Chris Roellke, starting as president of Stetson University in July; and Mike Arcieri ’86, working as director of basketball strategy for the Knicks. Finally, James says it’s been too long since he’s seen Matt Glaser and Brock Ganeles ’88.

Eileen Deignan’s son, Evan Hsu, will join Wesleyan’s Class of 2024. She thanks her own alumni network—Trish Lindemann and Ira Skolnik—Wesleyan parents with children who reached out to Evan. Eileen attended a mini-reunion at the New York home of Sumana Rangashar where she saw Lucille Renwick, Michell Ahern, Suzy Walrath Mehrotra, and Ruth Bodian ’88. She saw Holly Campbell Ambler and Doug Koplow at a reception for President Michael Roth ’78 last fall. Closer to home, she sees Doug Neuman and catches up with Simon Heart and Johanna Van Hise Heart when they come through New England.

Tim Sullivan ’87, MALS ’98 and Mike Cooper attended a Wesleyan football game with a smoker full of ribs. He caught up with Wayne Stearns, Andy Campbell ’88, Pete Crivelli ’86, Ken Johnson ’86, Anthony Rella ’86, Charlie Galland ’86, Jim McGonagle ’84, and Joel Armijo ’84!

Nicholas Birns released a book called The Hyperlocal in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Literary Space.

Holly Campbell Ambler and her husband are adjusting to an empty nest, with two daughters now away from home. Her 19-year old is in her first year at Vassar and her 23-year-old is a dancer living in Providence. Holly works in Boston as a school-based social worker. Holly sees Wes friends frequently, including Trish and John Dorsey, Doug Koplow, and Dennis Mahoney.

Mark Pinto and his partner Jeff live in Tacoma, Wash., where they work in residential real estate. They’ve been together for 15 years. Mark serves as board president for Tacoma’s performing arts center, Tacoma Arts Live. He doesn’t see his old Wes friends as often as he’d like, but he saw Lael Loewenstein in LA recently, which was great.

Naomi Mezey had research leave in 2019 in Barcelona, studying the Catalan independence movement. She was a visiting professor at the Universitat de Pompeu Fabra but also watched the trial against the former Catalan politicians who led the 2017 independence referendum. Google “It’s not just Catalan separatists” to see her Washington Post op-ed piece.

Naomi was lucky to spend time exploring Catalonia with her then-13-year-old daughter, Lucy, who went to school, made friends, learned some Spanish and Catalan. They had a visit from the rest of the family, Matt Paul and son, Jake, a Yale junior. Jeremy Mindich ’87, MALS ’89 took Naomi to the Barcelona Open. She loved the research and the opportunity to exit her normal life for a few months.

Our classmate, Andy Grimaldi was diagnosed with ALS in 2017. Mike Pruzan, Dave Glatz, John Fitzpatrick, Chris Olinger, Jeff McCarthy, and Matt Nestor are fundraising to help Andy’s family with expenses. Please visit to learn more.

Michael Bennet suspended his presidential campaign after the New Hampshire primary. Several 87 classmates had been active in his campaign.

After 26 years in immigration law in Texas, Paul Zoltan won a lifetime achievement award from the Immigration Law Section of the Dallas Bar Association. His 2-year-old daughter, Natalia, will attend her parents’ wedding in May 2020.

Paul and I were among the last four to receive diplomas at commencement. Only those whose names start with Z understand the magic of the loud cheer when we started to cross the stage.

Keep those emails coming!

Rebecca Zimbler Graziano |

CLASS OF 1987 | 2019 | ISSUE 3

Hello, class of ’87! I’m writing this in the early days of September, when many of us are dropping kids off at school. Lots of news this time about our kids and transitions in our own careers.

Nancy Rapoport reflected on how much her mind returned to her own college application process and experience while she was watching her first kid go through it. Her daughter, Orlee, is in her first year at Harvard. Her twins, Esme and Tess, are sophomores in high school, active in cross country, lacrosse, field hockey, and ultimate Frisbee. Aside from running her own editing business, Nancy spends a lot of time playing taxi and cheering for sports whose rules she admits she doesn’t fully understand.

Pauline Frommer hosted a summer rooftop party for lots of Wesleyan folks in New York. It was great to see so many we hadn’t seen since Foss Hill.

Ian Rosen ’88 writes from London where he lives with his wife, Sagra, and works in sustainable investments and renewable energy. Their youngest daughter, Olivia, attends the American School and their eldest daughter, Isabel ’23, started Wesleyan in the fall. He said, “Scary thought that she will be class of 2023, so follows me by 36 years. Yet visiting campus, it is still so familiar.”

Lynda Ryden is a peace teacher in a Washington, D.C., public elementary school. She has written a curriculum that integrates mindfulness, social emotional learning, conflict resolution, and neuroscience. Lynda runs a nonprofit called Peace of Mind dedicated to promoting social emotional learning in schools nationwide. Lynda’s daughter, Rosie, is at Bryn Mawr and her son, Henry, is at Dickinson. Lynda’s sister, Tricia Ryden ’88, works as a public librarian in a rural community where libraries serve many crucial community functions.

Hope Salzer is pleased to have successfully transitioned back into active participation in the economy after 14 years of active work at home. While raising her husband, Larry (Yale ’88), and her two children, Henry and Clio, Hope was volunteering on behalf of public education and civic engagement. Hope now works with Catalogit, a collections management app used by museums, private collectors, professional conservators, and organizations to keep track of their collections. Technology is pushing a disruptive change in this field, and Hope is enjoying her role in the transition. Hope recently enjoyed time with Lisanne Misrok ’88 and Lisa Hone. She reports that she and her family recently used the health care system like never before—broken arm, emergency appendectomy, ankle sprains. They are all looking forward to a healthy 2020!

Sanford Livingston is still in Oakland, Calif. He is the CEO of NorCal FDC, a nonprofit that helps small businesses in California find capital for growth. He is lucky to work with Lydia Esdaile ’85, who is the director of marketing and communications, and he says the Wes energy is amazing!

Amy Baltzell spent 20 years as a professor of sports psychology and made a change toward a more eclectic approach to her career. She is now a Reiki Master Teacher, sport psychologist, and performance psychology consultant to businesses. She helps others awake and thrive. Amy is recently and peacefully single with a house bursting with teenagers. She is co-authoring a new book with a shaman healer and she is feeling grateful.

In 2007, Erika Cosby was invited by Lyle Ashton Harris ’88 to teach art at NYU and she is still there, going strong. As an artist, she has been using the name Erika Ranee since receiving her MFA in painting from UC Berkeley in 1993. Her next solo exhibition was scheduled to open in NYC in November. Erika enjoyed reconnecting with Lisa Heilbrunn Rattray and Amanda Jacobs Wolf at two recent art openings.

If you were at Wesleyan’s Shasha seminar, Understanding Russia, you heard David Abramson’s presentation on the Russia-China partnership. Most speakers are alumni who work on Russia issues in government, NGOs, industry, and academia. David was looking forward to seeing Anthony Richter ’84, Ilya Vinkovetsky ’88, Andy Meier ’85, and Kate Hardin ’90. David’s daughter, Hazel, started her first year at Mt. Holyoke. And, surprisingly, his genealogy research revealed a third cousin named June Price ’83, whom he has yet to meet.

How many people can say they knew a presidential candidate when they were undergraduates? Michael Bennet is running, and Muzzy Rosenblatt writes that a whole bunch of ’87s are working hard on his behalf, including Amanda Jacobs Wolf, Evan Glassman, Bradley Lubin, Sibyll Carnochan Catalan, Jeremy Mindich ’87, MALS’89, and more!

Late breaking news: Congratulations to Christopher Roellke, who was recently appointed the next president of Stetson University. Chris will leave his post at Vassar to start this position this summer.

What’s happening with you? Check in with us soon!

Rebecca Zimbler Graziano |

Newsmaker: Christopher Roellke ’87

Chris Roellke '87Christopher Roellke ’87, PhD, was elected the 10th president of Stetson University in DeLand, Florida. Chair of the Stetson University Board of Trustees Joe Cooper said, “Dr. Roellke is bringing an outstanding record of energetic leadership in higher education and a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities Stetson University faces.” Previously a professor of education at Vassar College, where he was appointed dean of the college, emeritus, Roellke is also past president of the Association of Education Finance and Policy. He was a 2014 Fulbright scholar, and the founder and fundraiser of Vassar College’s Urban Education Initiative. Roellke majored in government at Wesleyan and earned his doctorate at Cornell University. He is married to Kim Greenberg Roellke ’87, DVM; the couple has three daughters.

CLASS OF 1987 | 2019 | ISSUE 2

Rebecca here. Back again, and thankful to hear from so many of you. In the wind up for these notes, Elizabeth Kromelow and I had a compelling back and forth about this column. We decided that many of you might run a dialogue internally to vet your own experiences, asking the questions, Is this news? Does it sound good? Is it inspiring? Elizabeth argues that you should feel comfortable expressing what’s actually going on in your life and not just the Sunday’s best, social media version.

In that spirit, Elizabeth reports that she has been struggling through the American medical system as she recovers from a brain tumor. She writes, “It’s incredible to learn that doctors don’t realize they’re part of an orchestra, and that a conductor is essential. I’ve had to fight for all kinds of things to which I’m entitled and put things in context for the doctors that they should be able to do themselves. The irony is that doctors tell me to avoid stress and relax. A Wesleyan education is definitely required to get through this!” Elizabeth hopes to be back at the hockey rink in a couple of weeks. We’re pulling for you, Elizabeth!

Karen Humphries Sallick reports that after 23 years, she still enjoys work in her customer experience consulting company. In April, she soft-launched an app called Contacts 411, a contact updating tool based on the idea that people should have access to the same data companies do for their marketing without sacrificing the privacy of their contact list. Eileen Deignan provided awesome early feedback that Karen incorporated before the launch.

Andrew Hall regularly plays gigs in the NYC area with the instrumental rock trio, Big Lazy, and the Western swing band, Brain Cloud. He’s been learning the sousaphone, inspired by a twin love of New Orleans brass bands and old time jazz. He says it is fun, ridiculous, physically invigorating, and vastly different from his experience with the acoustic bass. Big Lazy toured the southeast this spring. Andrew was looking forward to seeing Annabel Conrad ’88 when the band hits Memphis. Check out both groups online—they’re great!

Nicholas Birns is teaching in China this summer and he and his wife Isabella are vacationing in California later in the year.

Ben Waxman probably speaks for many of us when he reports that when he and his wife Nicole McLaughlin became empty nesters last August, it was “totally devastating.” But don’t worry, by May, Ben was presenting on digital marketing micro-conversions at the NAFSA conference for international educators in D.C.

Hemanshu “Hemu” Nigam launched the Center for Online Justice to help victims of cyberstalking, online harassment, and other attacks to bring to justice those who use anonymity to engage in bad conduct. Hemu hopes to bring his work into a university setting as a clinic to help those who can’t afford services like these.

Lots of news from James Flynn, who became managing partner at Epstein Becker Green in January. James says he keeps in touch with Professor John Finn, “forcing him to endure” his eclectic articles about intellectual property. James and his wife Monica have three children, Justyna (bachelor’s and master’s from Loyola University), Michael (Boston College grad), and Anthony (Villanova University ’23).

Carla Yanni won the Rutgers University Scholar-Teacher Award, a university-wide prize for her work as a social historian of architecture. Carla was cited for her ability to inspire students to think about the ways people live with the built environment. Josh Bellin teaches writing and literature at La Roche University in Pittsburgh. He just published a novel titled House of Earth, House of Stone, the final book in a fantasy trilogy.

Joan Morgan published her second book, She Begat This: 20 Years of the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill to great reviews. Joan took a national book tour with events at the Brooklyn Museum and The Kennedy Center. Her first book, When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost: A Hip Hop Feminist Breaks It Down, was optioned for screen rights by Academy-Award-nominated producer Mimi Valdés. Still, it was back to work this summer as Joan prepared to defend her American studies doctoral dissertation at NYU.

Rafael Semansky began his own business Nantasket Road Consulting, providing health analytics, writing, and grantwriting. Prior to this, Rafael was a scientific review officer for NIH, organizing expert review groups in health IT and nursing science.

After 50 years of East Coast living, Brooks Kraft and his wife Christine have moved  to California, where he now works at Apple. Their son Daniel ’23 will be attending Wesleyan!

For the record, Michael Bennet announced his run for the presidency. Lots of classmates are rallying around him, and as I finalize this column, he is preparing to do a CNN town hall. To me, we are all still 22, which makes the stories of our lives even more amazing. Keep us posted.

Rebecca Zimbler Graziano |

CLASS OF 1987 | 2019 | ISSUE 1

Hi! New class secretary here! Thanks to Amanda Jacobs Wolf for her work in this role over the years, and thanks to all who sent me good wishes. The Class of ’87 will always be 20-somethings to me, which makes these notes so mind-blowing. We’re raising kids, working hard, and still checking in with classmates. Read on!

Anne Undeland has been playwriting in the Berkshires, where she gets the chance to see Dan Bellow and Elena Pappalardo-Day ’86 from time to time. Her latest effort, Lady Randy, about Winston Churchill’s extraordinary American mother, is being produced by WAM Theatre in Lee, Mass., in April. Anne says it would be an understatement to say she’s more than thrilled.

We heard from Holly Campbell Ambler in Cambridge, Mass. She and her husband, David Ambler, are experiencing their first empty-nest year as their youngest daughter graduated from high school in June and is now traveling the world on a gap year. Their other daughter is a ballet dancer in Rhode Island. Holly keeps busy working as a child and family social worker, both in a clinic and in a K-12 school in Boston. Happily, she sees Wes friends regularly, Trish and John Dorsey, Dennis and Karen Mahoney, and Doug and Michele Koplow.

In December, Ben Waxman and his wife made the trek to Wes for their 16-year-old to suss it out. Student intern Sam in the admissions office made Wes shine in her eyes. The campus did its thing. And they enjoyed lunch at O’Rourke’s. Steamed cheeseburgers all around!

Chris Roellke and I connect on Facebook, where I get to cheer him on during the annual Vassar College faculty vs. student basketball game. If you want to catch up with his famous enthusiasm, Chris broadcasts the VC women’s basketball games live on the web. Chris is on sabbatical after completing his second term as dean of the college. He is writing a book on the policy and practice of American higher education and working on a project with Jeremy Mindich and Sarah Williams ’88 to support classroom teachers in urban schools.

Kim Greenberg Roellke’s veterinary practice in Millbrook, N.Y., is great, and they have lot of news about their daughters to share: Emma is applying to med school. Liv is an avid equestrian. Julia is a senior at Vassar and on the basketball team there; she took the fall of her senior year off to study food justice in Ecuador, Malawi, and Italy.

If you are a fan of horror films, you have no doubt been aware of Brad Fuller’s work. He produced A Quiet Place which is enjoying success during this year’s awards season. The First Purge was released in 2018, too. Recent TV work includes The Last Ship, The Purge, and Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan. Brad serves on the board of councilors at the USC School of Dramatic Arts.

Karen Craddock is a visiting scholar at Wellesley College. She is continuing her research and action to elevate the lives and voices of women of color. She is primarily focusing on Native American/indigenous women and African-American/black women—and in particular emotional health, mental health, and overall wellbeing. Karen is working on domestic violence prevention and wellness promotion for Native American women. She is chairing the domestic violence advisory board of the Wampanoag Tribe Women’s Center on Martha’s Vineyard. They are now in the third year of operation, addressing and preventing violence against Indian women.

In the last issue of this magazine, a few lines of my note were dropped in a page turn, and the outcry was muted, to say the least. For those of you who want the whole story, here’s what I reported: Rebecca Zimbler Graziano met up with Steven Shackman and Ira Skolnik to see a Mets/Red Sox game in Boston in September. As seniors in 1987, they may have gone to opening day at New York’s Shea Stadium, but Rebecca is the only one who remembers it. They had a surprise reunion at Citifield during the 2015 playoffs. During their recent Boston weekend, Ira, a licensed town of Concord tour guide, drove them to see the sights in town including Thoreau’s home and gravesite. Lifelong Mets fans, Rebecca, Steve, and Ira are looking forward to seeing the Mets in the playoffs again soon. Rebecca’s son, Sam, is at American University, and she visits Amy Mortimer-Lotke and Eric Lotke frequently when she gets to campus. Amy and Rebecca were lucky enough to grab a day with Grier Mendel in D.C. last April, too.

I hope it’s warmer in the USA by the time you read this. Looking forward to hearing from you. Keep us posted.

Rebecca Zimbler Graziano |