CLASS OF 1987 | 2014 | ISSUE 3

Let’s begin with happy news from Ira Skolnik. “In April my wife and I attended the wedding of Steven Meyer ’86, where I was the best man.  Steve is an attorney in Boca Raton, Florida, where the wedding was held at the Polo Club.  Steve married Julia Maskivker, who is a professor of government at Rollins College in Florida.  She has both brains and beauty and has finally made an “honest man” out of our boy Steve!  Also at the wedding was Chris Pearson ’86 and his entire family, who flew in all the way from California to celebrate with Steve and Julia.  The weather was perfect, as was the celebration.”

Nancy (Dobrow) Bean has “Wes on the mind as some of my daughter’s friends and my niece (Sarah Dobrow-class of 2018) head off to Middletown this Fall!   Her dad, Marty Dobrow, was class of 83!  Crazy to watch my 19-year-old daughter Maddi going off to her sophomore year in college (Simmons), how long ago was it that I was packing up for my Sophomore year at Wes – a long time ago. We are ending a long and eventful summer on Nantucket.  I commuted to my Boston office mid-week and worked remotely as much as possible.  My husband Mike was out on weekends. Summer was filled with kayaking, biking, adventures and Jules (16) and I competed in our first triathlon. We are still alive and we FINISHED – that was the goal!  I am loving work – producing the Nantucket Wine Festival and The James Beard Foundation Taste America Tour along with some other fun food and wine events – very fulfilling, learning new things always!  I am heading to Paris and Bordeaux for work this September – someday I will live there halftime.  So family is great, work is great – and I am surrounded by a lot of people who are very passionate about what they do!

Alisa Kwitney is writing freelance for DC entertainment and starting a new job teaching part time at Kildonan, a middle and high school for students with dyslexia. I’m also going to be teaching McDaniel’s online romance writing certificate program, starting in January.

Kelly Washburn started a job in Development and Membership at Romemu, a synagogue on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. “I’m back in the city after a year living in Woodstock, and would love to be in touch with local Wes alums.”

Kim Sargent-Wishart is “full-steam-ahead trying to finish my PhD by the end of the year. Then in January we’re moving a few hours west of Melbourne to Warrnambool, a smaller city on the coast (known for the annual spawning migration of the Southern Right Whales, among other things). It will be hard in many ways to leave the bright lights of the city but I think the fresh ocean air will more than make up for it, plus space for growing boys to run around – and for old friends to come and visit!”

David Abramson is “in my 13th year at the State Department, my 9th working as a Central Asia analyst (Uzbekistan, Tajikistan), keeping my Russian skills alive.  I try to keep one foot in the academic world, publishing and teaching the occasional anthropology course at Georgetown University.  I recently returned from a vacation in Maine with my family.  En route I visited Skip Lockhart and Jessica Miller in Needham, MA.  In June, John Gould ’86 and Becky Riccio ’87 and their two boys visited us in DC.  My wife, Kelly Hand published a novel, “Au Pair Report,” last year, which is available via Amazon, etc.”

After 17 years teaching in the Drama Department in the Tisch School of the Arts, NYU, Cobina Gillitt has accepted a new position as Assistant Professor of Theatre and Performance in the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Purchase College, SUNY starting fall 2014. Cobina is also currently the dramaturg for a chilling new original horror opera by Elizabeth Swados about a Golem created by Rabbi Loew in 16th century Prague to protect the inhabitants of the Jewish ghetto during the “blood libel” when Jews were being accused of using the blood of Christian children to bake their Passover matzos. The opera will premiere in NYC in February 2015.

Stafford Smith received tenure as a professor of photography at Grand Valley State University this spring. He’s also writing a paper about how photographs really do steal our souls.

Ian Rosen and his wife, Sagra, continue to thrive “completing our 18th year in London, with our daughters Isabel (13) and Olivia (6).  We spent a wonderful summer holiday in Spain and are planning more travels in the coming months. I continue to work in the sustainability sector, overseeing investments in renewable energy projects. Of our classmates, I remain in closest contact with Vitaly Fiks who lives in Connecticut with his wife and daughter.

Wendy Blum wrote in to report that Debby Hamilton (a holistic pediatrician in CO) published a book, Preventing Autism and ADHD. Wendy “sees Dave Cole when he comes to Brooklyn in the spring to compete in the NYTimes Crossword Puzzle conference (6 of em in 2 days!). He now lives in Chicago.”

Scott Pryce has moved back to the US after 20 years in Europe and South America.  He and his family, living in the US for the first time, are in the DC area enjoying American culture and family.  Scott has moved back to found and head a US real estate business.

Amy Stahl met her husband, Bill Hulley, in graduate school at Naropa University in Boulder. “Finally escaping Boulder in 2010, we are thrilled to have landed in magically green Portland (OR), right across the street from Dana Buhl ’88.   I serve as the director and teacher for Dharma Ocean Portland, and was ordained this summer as a Chaplain in that Tibetan Buddhist lineage.  My Dharma Ocean siblings include Andrew Merz ’99 and Douglas Goetsch ’85 — we just spent three weeks together in Crestone, Colorado at The Blazing Mountain Retreat Center.  I provided the (almost 30) flower arrangements for the duration of the retreat, since I have studied Sogetsu Ikebana (Japanese floral arrangement) for about four years.  I had the pleasure of spending yesterday with Pierre Hecker ’88 and his wife, Julianne, who were in town from Northfield, Minnesota.  We celebrated our 30th anniversary as friends, having met at the orientation square dance on Andrus field in 1984!

Muzzy Rosenblatt “was in M’town briefly for 25th reunion of my RA hall. Dinner with Alex McClennan Dohan  and David Dohan, Jim Levine, Claire and Scott Burns; great fun. None have strayed from Wes, physically or spiritually. Sunday was chucking the disk on Foss Hill with Ethan Flad and Alan Cohen (and Alan’s N-Factor to be son), joined at brunch by Laura Flaxman. And then a truly inspiring, must-read speech by Ted Shaw on civil rights, freedom and equality, and the critical role of liberal education and Wes. My life is good and work rewarding, and it helps to have Wes well represented on my board, with Julia Hodgson the newest member, joining Andrew Goffe, Todd Snyder and Richard Swanson. And speaking of Boards, I am truly honored and thrilled that so many of you elected me to serve as alumni trustee. I’m cramming for my first meeting, and have to say it kind of feels like being a freshman all over again. Wonder if our orientation will include a lap-sit of all the trustees on Andrus Field.”

This year Robert Norden received the National Historic Preservation award from The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, a citation from the Bergen County historical society for 25 years of living history, and the Rockland County Historical Society’s award for preservation and stewardship of a national landmark. “I can’t believe it has been 25 years since I restored Americas oldest tavern…. come visit!”

Clarinda Mac Low just completed a Master of Fine Arts in Digital and Interdisciplinary Art Practice from The City College of New York-CUNY. “Yes, after 25 years as a professional art-maker, in several fields, I finally got an advanced degree! I am also getting married, to Peter Stankiewicz, whom I met through two of my best Wes friends, Chris Lotspeich ‘88 and Dan Sharp ‘88. After a few decades of dancing around each other, Peter and I became an item in 2006, and now we’re making it official. Chris is raising two great girls with his wife, Amy Dunn, and doing excellent work on micro-grids with Celtic Energy.  Dan has a successful practice as a psychiatrist, in Manhattan and White Plains. I was lucky enough to see Evelyn Shapiro and her beautiful son recently and briefly in NYC, and I’ve been skyping every once in a while with Kim Sargent-Wishart. I also had a nice long chat with Mark Sussman ’86 recently while we trekked across Brooklyn. He lives, teaches, and performs in Montreal and Brooklyn with his wife and two rambunctious sons. My organization, Culture Push (which I started with Aki Sasamoto ‘04 and Arturo Vidich ‘03, has been doing well. Our mission of cross-sector conversation and civically engaged art practice is very Wes, I’d say, and I continue to have contact with recent Wes grads through our internship program. I also see a lot of Lydia Bell ‘07, and other Wes folk scattered across the graduating decades. The Wes mafia is alive and well in my life, thank goodness.

Liza Smith is “on sabbatical and will be road tripping from California to Maine to visit family and friends, eat lobster, see the leaves turn, and acquire a puppy. After crossing the country again, I will be moving to Portland, OR for 9 months–because I can! (My sabbatical project has to do with online teaching.)”

Eric Lotke has a new novel out, Making-Manna. Read all about it (and him) at www.making-manna.com.

Kevin Pratt is living in Corte Madera, Ca with my Brazilian wife of 10 years, our 5-year-old daughter, Gabriella, and our 3-month-old foster baby!  We live about 10 minutes away from Catherine Schram ’89. I was in New York in April and stayed with Shawn Cuddy ’86 and James Hallett ’86, saw Cobina Gillet and Maureen McSherry ’87, and my dear friends Vashti Dubois ’92, Ian Friday ’87, and Tim Raphael ’84. I work in the family real estate business by day, and write screenplays and play music at night.  My fantasy is that I’ll return to the stage as Daddy Warbucks with my daughter playing Annie…Wes folks always welcome here in Marin!

Amanda Jacobs Wolf |wolfabj@gmail.com

CLASS OF 1987 | 2014 | ISSUE 2

Hi! So much news, so little space. So here goes. Please see online notes for many more details—I had to edit mercilessly.

Bill Shapiro wrote: “As many of you know, Chris Molnar died—tragically and unexpectedly—in January of 2013. It was an extremely difficult year. Chris and I were no longer married but lived a couple of blocks apart and had been raising our two kids together. I’m happy to report that the kids, despite missing their mom tremendously, are doing really well. Couldn’t have done it without my girlfriend, Naomi, and support from Chris’ Wes friends. Workwise, I’m now leading strategic ventures and partnerships at Fast Company magazine. And then there’s this: I helped Keith Richards write a children’s book called Gus & Me, which is out in September.”

After 20 years in education and five years as a life coach, Lisa Pavlovsky is now manager of scholarship programs for the San Francisco-based Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund.

Claudia Center writes, “In March, I will leave my longtime (19 years!) position as a disability rights attorney at the Legal Aid Society—Employment Law Center. In April, I will join the ACLU Foundation’s Equality Center as a disability rights attorney. I will be working out of the ACLU’s San Francisco office.

Beth Mix is working for the Manchester Youth Service Bureau coordinating positive youth development programs and advocating to keep kids out of the juvenile justice system. She is married and is raising two young sons.

Amy Baltzell is working on a new book entitled, The Cambridge Companion to Mindfulness and Performance. “I have 23 authors from around the world contributing chapters…We are learning that when we help performers accept unwanted thoughts and feelings—instead of trying to change them—that this helps tremendously with high-pressure performance and learning new skills. Other than that, our 8-year-old girl, Zoey, is playing boys’ lacrosse and is an avid Irish step dancer; our 10-year-old boy, Luke, is unicycle–crazed, and Shayna, our 5’7″ 12-year-old, is a ballet dancer.”

Elizabeth Kromelow Dietz got her coach’s level- one certification with USA Hockey last fall and instructed group and private skating lessons at Lasker Rink in Central Park this season. Krom’s younger son, James Dietz ’18, will attend Wes, joining his brother, Max Dietz ’16. Fun!

Last July, John Snyder left his position as director of the teaching clinic at Baystate Children’s Hospital and joined Amherst Pediatrics, a small private practice in Amherst, “I also remain actively involved in promoting science-based medicine, including writing for sciencebasedmedicine.org.

Andrew Hall has been playing jazz bass with a few different groups here in the New York City area. “When I’m not working, I’m either cooking, fooling about with our pair of Bengals, getting dirty in the garden, playing tennis, or just lolling around our lovely Jersey City townhouse with my wife, Lauren. Anyone heard from Andy Liss ’88?”

Sue Roginski has really planted seeds and rooted herself in Riverside, Calif. She is committed to making the city a “hub” for dance. She’s hopeful a few new events will encourage dancers to stay: Trolley Dances Riverside and dance­STORM. Check out info on placeperformance.org and visit Sue if you are in L.A….please?

Eileen Deignan has “had a good year for catching up with Wesleyan friends while in Colorado. Johanna Van Hise Heart and Simon Heart are in Boulder with their three beautiful children. Eric Peterson is back in Denver after a few decades away in Zaire and Arizona. He and his wife, Anne, also have three beautiful children. Eric is a family medicine physician. Eric and I had a great time looking through pictures and recalling adventures in his orange VW bug. I live in Newton, Mass., with my husband Victor and two sons.”

Simon Connor is married to Melissa Hadfield and lives in Seattle. He works as a psychotherapist in private practice, and plays in a rock band.

From Andrew Gaines: “I expect others of you have, or are about to have, the similar experience of crossing the big 50. I think it’s a moment for which one can make any meaning, complete any yearning, or simply allow to pass with a wee bit of recognition. That said, I recognize that as I near this supposed threshold life is fuller, busier and more engaged than ever. And my work as executive director of Ashby Village (ashbyvillage.org) continues to deepen and grow.”

Linda Malias Passaro headed back to Wesleyan for the career weekend in February. “Reconnected with old classmates and helped students on interviewing skills and developing ‘personal brands.’ Working now on getting summer interns and some graduates into permanent job placements. Amazing how the campus has grown but the spirit of the school remains so consistent after all these years! The visit was good for my soul.”

From Tim Sheridan: “After 10 years with Razorfish, I’m now digital creative director at Burrell Communications in Chicago and I’ve also been teaching at the Chicago Portfolio School.”

AJ Salerno “got a visit from Ted Galo ’85 and new girlfriend this weekend—dinner and laughs. Ted is JV hockey coach at Hingham High School. Ran into Tony Antonellis ’86 and his wife at the Wellfleet Oyster Festival in October. He gave me a hard time for wearing an Amherst football hat that my cousin gave me! From the looks of things, you can actually wear a Wesleyan football hat with pride for the first time in a while.”

Hope Salzer became president of her local League of Women Voters. “Even more exciting, I was voted to the board of a California-wide, grassroots, public education advocacy organization. The organization, Educate Our State, educateourstate.org, has taken the courageous step of filing a public ballot initiative in California that would prevent the state from siphoning off 25 percent of the local property taxes that are allocated to K through 14 education (schools and community colleges) and using it for other things.”

Lastly, I (Amanda) just want to report that Rob Campbell became a father this past February (a baby boy), and had a Broadway show open a month later. He was amazing in the play about LBJ and is overjoyed albeit exhausted. Such good news. Another highlight of the season was seeing Matt Paul and Naomi Mezey—love them always.

Until next time,

Amanda Jacobs Wolf | wolfabj@gmail.com

1988

Class of 1987 | 2014 | Issue 1

Muzzy Rosenblatt may even be more ubiquitous in NYC than he was at Wesleyan. In the span of a couple of weeks this past fall, I ran into him at a fundraising breakfast for our favorite US Senator (Michael Bennet), I saw him moderate a fascinating panel of some of Wesleyan’s most illustrious New York public policy minds (John Rhea, Shola Olatoye ’96, Sharon Greenberger ’88, John Alschuler ’70) at a “Future of the City” discussion regarding the challenges our new mayor will face, and then I opened up my New Yorker magazine on Nov. 11 to find a letter Muzzy wrote on the work he’s done with the BRC! And he did it all wearing his big red cardinal costume!

In addition to Muzzy, I was lucky enough to lay eyes on a number of classmates recently. I saw Rob Campbell give an amazing performance at Playwrights Horizons last November. I ran into Michael Pruzan at a book party for his sister-in-law Tracey Winn Pruzan ’85, and I got to have a long overdue lunch with my old roomie Lisa Abroms Herz. I also saw Molly Renfroe and her husband, Dan Katz ’85, at a party this fall.

Mark Pinto wrote in: “Little change here. Still living in Tacoma, Wash., with my partner, Jeff Williams, and working as a residential real estate broker. Just got back from a great trip to Barcelona. Looking forward to seeing classmates Jennifer Bush and Grier Mendel in Seattle in a few weeks.”

Imagine my delight to receive this e-mail from Joss Whedon: “For reasons too complex even for me to understand, I have not been killed. I have however had my consciousness transferred into the body of a very old (and rather bald) man, and I’m planning a strongly worded letter on the subject. I am splitting my time between LA (which is a desert) and England (which is like Eden except you can eat an apple and nobody gets huffy about it), where I’m working on a startlingly original idea I call a ‘superhero franchise.’ My progeny, in fifth and third grades respectively, are thoughtful, funny, and considerate, so I am demanding a paternity test. In my spare time I enjoy not having any spare time. I keep in touch with almost no one from our days of salad except Thomas Plotkin ’86, whom I seldom actually see but who lives forever in my heart and should really get a place of his own.”

Also in West Coast news, Richter Hartig was promoted by Starz to senior vice president for original programming production finance.

Joshua Bellin writes “The big news in my life is that my debut novel, a young adult science fiction novel titled Survival Colony Nine, has been accepted for publication (it’s due out next year).”

Stephen Porter reports that he is “happily living the midwestern whitebread life in St. Paul, Minn. I work as a research scientist at the local VA hospital studying antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Melissa and I have now been married for 21 years. Our son, Daniel ’16, is a sophomore at Wes. This was entirely his idea. He is living in WesCo, is in CSS, and claims to be working really hard. Wesleyan has truly proven to be a great fit for him. There is nothing like watching your child thrive at your alma mater to prove what a great school Wesleyan truly is!”

“Thanks to the support of many Wes alums and other good people,” writes Tim Sheridan, “we hit our Kickstarter goal in July. The book, Thunder & Lightning: a Story for a Stormy Night, is now available at thunderlightning.bigcartel.com.

Leslie Cannold wrote, “I do have news! My third book, The Book of Rachael, which went into a second printing here in Australia is being published in the US this December! It will be the feature title for my publisher, and continue to be prominent in their advertising through January as it is seen as a great holiday gift for anyone (Christian, Jew, Atheist, Feminist, etc.) who likes a ripping historical yarn with great sex. You can find out more about the book here: cannold.com/articles/article/the-book-of-rachael.”

Nancy Dobrow Bean “lives in the Pioneer Valley, Western Mass., with my husband, Mike, and our three daughters, Grace (9), Julia (15) and Maddi (18). Maddi just started her freshman year at Emory in Atlanta this September. Big change in the household! The girls are all singing and dancing, playing soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, skiing, hiking… we don’t sit around much! Mike sells organic coffee and our house generally smells like roasted coffee and wine. We are surrounded by farms, the Mt. Tom and Skinner Mountain Range, Mt. Holyoke Mountains, and the Connecticut River. We are also adjacent to our rivals at Amherst College! My event marketing and production company, Wise Up Events, is based in Boston. We just wrapped up production for the Taste of WGBH Food & Wine Festival in September, and the James Beard Foundation Taste America Tour in October. Now we gear up for full pre-production for the Nantucket Wine Festival. I am co-owner and director of the NWF. It takes about 11 months to produce, includes 50 different events over five days, and takes place every May. This May will be our 18th annual festival. I stay in touch regularly with my BFF Sibyll Carnochan Catalan, and would love to connect with other Wes alums! Best to reach me at: nancy@wiseupevents.com or cell: 617/755-5523.”

Joe Crivelli wrote in to tell me he regularly posts information on WesConnect, but that it feels like his own personal blog since he can never find other classmates posting. Feel free to join Joe and post your news on WesConnect, too—maybe it will catch on.

Have a happy and healthy 2014!

Amanda Jacobs Wolf
wolfabj@gmail.com

CHRISTINE MOLNAR ’87

A social-services activist in New York City and the director of Safe Space, a non-profit child welfare agency, died Jan. 11, 2013. She was 47. A board member of the Human Services Council and of the Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies in New York City, she graduated from the Harvard School of Public Health. Prior to joining Safe Space, she served as vice president for strategy, policy, and advocacy at the Community Service Society. Among those who survive are her husband, George Locker, two children from her first marriage to Bill Shapiro ’87, a stepdaughter, her father and stepmother, her mother and stepfather, and her sister.