Peter writes for this issue.

With sadness we report that our classmate Alisa Kaufman passed away on March 20 after a short battle with pancreatic cancer. After graduating Wesleyan, Alisa attended law school at University of California—Davis. She practiced immigration law in California, and is survived by her husband, three children, and two siblings.

Marjora Carter writes, “My first book was just published! Reclaiming Your Community: You Don’t Have to Move Out of Your Neighborhood to Live in a Better One.”

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) has announced the appointment of Hubert Allen to its national board of directors. Hubert resides in Chicago, Illinois, and is the executive vice president, general counsel, and secretary at Abbott, the global health care company, where he leads a diverse global team of over 250 lawyers that interact with legal systems in more than 100 countries to support Abbott business all around the world.

Justin Gubar proudly reports, “My friend, Deirdre Davis, received a well-deserved promotion at the end of 2021. After joining American Express a little over three years ago, she is now vice president and senior counsel—Trademark & Copyright, IP Law and Strategy Group. No one better to protect your IP!”

Stephen Gannon has relocated from New Jersey down to Vero Beach and is enjoying the fantastic weather. I had dinner with Stephen and his wife Marta in December, and the new climate is certainly agreeing with them.

Lastly, I am happy to report that my podcast, The CPG Guys, is currently ranked #1 for Consumer Goods Industry podcasts according to Feedspot, and Shopify recognized it as one of the top 10, e-commerce–focused podcasts to follow for people in the CPG/retail industry. We just published our 175th episode.

CLASS OF 1988 | 2021–2022 | WINTER ISSUE

Anna Beane writes “after 25 years of teaching at every type of school (e.g., Wesleyan, a maximum-security prison), I am making a career change to educational technology. Teaching theatre to middle schoolers this past year over Zoom has done me in. A weekly video meet has maintained my sanity with Shirley Suzuki, Barbra Silver, Rachael Nusbaum, Cara Haft, and Diane Purvin ’89. Shirley, Barbra, Cara, and I lived on Foss 6 frosh year, so we’re going on 23 years of life together.”

Ben Junge was promoted to full professor at State University of New York–New Paltz in the Anthropology Department, and had a book come out (called Precarious Democracy: Ethnographies of Hope, Despair and Resistance in Brazil). I’m excited to be starting a sabbatical year and will spend most of it at the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, New Mexico, writing up research about politics and cultural memory in Brazil. Bronwyn Poole, a Santa Fe resident and fellow Class-of-’88er, will be my neighbor!

Desiree Ralls-Morrison was recently named the General Counsel of McDonald’s Corporation, and her son graduated Wesleyan this year.

David (DJ) Hallett lives with his husband in Jackson, New Hampshire; they also spend time at a second home in Marblehead, Massachusetts. David’s a lawyer (30 years in practice) handling residential and commercial real estate transactions in New Hampshire and Massachusetts with his own company. On weekends, he helps out at his husband’s chocolate shop, and eats lots of chocolate.

He writes: “In August 2018 I attended the Wesleyan Writer’s Workshop after I finished a young adult novel I had written—it was amazing being back on campus for that week and made me miss my time there like you wouldn’t believe. The ‘Book’ is still ‘in process.’ trying to find the time to finish getting ready to publish is hard, and I have begun ‘Book 2’ of that trilogy—hope to finish before I retire from my day job. It was also fun attending a workshop during the conference by our very own classmate Steve Almond who is a very successful writer himself—I purchased some of his work and enjoyed it, and laughed a lot!

“Several years ago I started on another path as well— joined an international order of druids, The Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids (OBOD), and have been on a multiyear training program, of which I’m halfway through—travelling to Glastonbury, U.K. for meetings with thousands of others going through the training each year. It’s a nature based spirituality and Celtic history course, and something I needed for myself as the more common spiritual options no longer resonate. It’s really gotten me in touch with nature, and myself, and made me much calmer.”

Thanks for staying in touch everyone!

After submission of these notes, we received the news of the passing of Tyler Holt. Tyler was a foreign service officer with the United States Agency for International Development. We extend our sincerest condolences to his family and classmates. A full obituary can be found here.

Tyler C. Holt ’88, P’25

Tyler C. Holt ’88, P’25 passed away on September 28, 2021. A full obituary can be found here.

Tyler’s wife shared the following photos of Tyler with his family and his Wes friends.

Tyler Holt '88 and Wes classmates
(From left to right): Dylan McClain, James Levy, Gene Lipitz, Andrew Bloom, and Tyler Holt
Tyler '88 and Daniel '25 Holt
Tyler and Daniel ’25
Tyler Holt '88 and family
The Holts: Tyler, Lillian, Daniel, and Anne

CLASS OF 1988 | 2021 | ISSUE 1

Peter is writing for this issue.

     Hillary shares “I hope you are all well and safe during this supremely challenging year-plus. I feel grateful to be able to work from home for MIT. Despite Zoom fatigue, I enjoy catching up with friends to share meals virtually, and recently participated in a virtual trivia night with Rick Stein to raise funds for an organization he is involved with. Leading up to the November election,  I spent much of my spare time volunteering virtually to help elect Biden-Harris and down-ballot Democrats, and this work helped keep me from doomsday scrolling and rage tweeting. I was so energized by what I was doing that I joined Movement Labs as a volunteer after the election, and now take on regular texting assignments for a diverse mix of progressive candidates and campaigns.”

     Deirdre Davis writes, “One of the main things that helped me get through 2020 were COVID happy hours with a Wes crew that allowed me to stay connected (and in some instances, re-connect) with good friends. Attendees at various points throughout the year included Justine Gubar, Sid Ray, Patrick McDarrah, David Davenport, Karen Yazmajian, Mark Niles, Phil Marwill, Joanna Berwind, Sandro Oliveri, Jono Marcus, Mike Shaffer, and Dylan McDonald!”

     Hannah Doress advises “Celebrating the end of a grueling four years. Thanks for changing our lives for the better to all the Wes folks who stepped up—I enjoyed connecting with election volunteers like Hillary Ross, Monica Jahan Bose ’87, and Liz Pelcyger, and political professionals like Mark Mullen89 and John Hlinko ’89.

     Earlier in the year my wife Emily Bender co-founded Voices for Liberation, a coalition of performers for racial justice. We temporarily forgot we were middle-aged and promoted and produced a 12-hour marathon raising $12,000 for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund with the help of Dar Williams ’89, Michele Barnwell ’89, Judith Sansone ’89, Jaclyn Friedman, Anoosh Jorjorian and Eric Hung with an assist from Algernon Austin ’89 (who works for NAACP Legal Defense Fund).

     I’m continuing to work at the intersection of climate resilience, community engagement and equity and inclusion for the County of San Mateo. 

     I’ve recently been on a social media diet (one of my alternative activities was to write an article about voting rights on Medium) so I encourage anyone who wants to get in touch to call (my phone number is easy to find).”

      Chris Galati reports “I’ve found joy during pandemic ennui in little pleasures: a glass of wine at 5:00 p.m., an exciting new Spotify channel, a Korean drama on Netflix, and Friday night sushi takeout. I also have found the courage to pursue one of my childhood dreams: to learn how to play ice hockey. After watching my two sons, Dylan and Geoffrey (10 and eight years old), practice at an ice rink in Yonkers for 10 weeks, I could no longer resist. I bought a new stick and skates, borrowed my son’s helmet and joined a Saturday morning stick and puck session at the LeFrak Rink in Prospect Park. It was 15 degrees and windy the first morning. My fingers and toes were cold. But as the sun glinted off a corner of the ice, I skated across the blue line and took shots on goal. Like a boy playing pond hockey for the first time, I warmed up and smiled. The other players skated circles around me, but I was glad just to be on the ice with them.”

     Linda Brinen-Stout notes: “Reporting from Mill Valley, California. Besides trying to keep the whole human and canine family well—physically and mentally—during the pandemic, I’ve taught myself to sew reusable cloth masks (thank you YouTube). I’ve made more than 5,000 masks and straight up donated more than 4,800 of them to local community members in need. I’ve partnered with Canal Alliance in San Rafael to support the Canal District community, which has been particularly hard hit by COVID-19. Looking forward to getting vaccinated!

     Christie Trott Adelberg writes in “The year 2020-21 has been a wild year for me and my loved ones, with many highs and lows (as I am sure it has been for many of you out there!). Overall, I am filled with gratitude that my family and I are all doing pretty well these days. Since last March 13, the four of us have been at home in the Bay Area zooming all day in four separate rooms. My husband Brad works for SAP, so he arises pretty early to Zoom with co-workers and customers all over Europe. Sam, my musical/artistic high school freshman, attends school all day virtually from her bedroom. It’s crazy to me that she has only set foot once on her new high school campus, but I feel fortunate that she’s been able to do a lot of hiking, biking, and studying with a few of her close friends outside. Hailey, my sporty eighth grader, has just this past week finally started attending school in person every other day. Her ice hockey hopes were dashed as her team has been unable to practice since early fall, but luckily she has picked up lacrosse and they have been able to practice outside. My dad finally retired after 33 years on the bench as a Ninth Circuit Federal Court judge. As for me, I have embarked on one of the most exciting and difficult endeavors of my life thus far: I have co-founded a new private K-8 grade school! Tessellations is an independent, progressive school tailored for gifted students, dedicated to serving the needs of the whole child. We received our nonprofit status (after filling out about 19,387 pages!) and have just secured a beautiful, six-acre campus in nearby Cupertino. Lastly, I have been fortunate to live near many wonderful friends and family during this strange year. I wish the best for all my former ’88 classmates and I am hopeful for a less chaotic, safer and kinder 2021!

     As for Peter, “I’m busy managing the phenomenal success of my podcast The CPG Guys, which I launched last summer. As of this writing, we have published over 75 episodes and generated 30,000 downloads. The podcast is available on all major platforms and home virtual assistants.”

CLASS OF 1988 | 2020 | ISSUE 3

Hillary writes for this issue.

Greetings Class of 1988. We hope you are holding up well during this crazy time. Pete Bond shares that in the middle of the pandemic, he and his wife decided to leave Chicago and return east to be closer to family in Connecticut as they raise their toddler. He reports that he “with a good friend, launched ‘The CPG Guys’ podcast which explores how brands and retailers engage with consumers in an omnichannel world. Our guests have included industry leaders at Instacart, Walmart, Drizly, Coca-Cola, Omnicom and many others. It is available on 15 podcast platforms.”

Rob Wrubel’s new book 30 Days to Your Special Needs Trust was released in September. He says “Writing a book was a good way to handle being home more during the first six months of the year.”

Rich Silverman is living in Pasadena near the Rose Bowl in a house his family built last year. He spends a good portion of each day volunteering for Biden-Harris. If there are any Wes alums in the Pasadena area who’d like to walk (safely) around the Rose Bowl with him, he’d welcome the company:

Erika Greene writes: “I have been living in NYC with my husband, film producer Peter Saraf ’87, for 30+ years. After several careers and two children, I decided to go back to school and recently received a master’s in social work. For the past two years I have worked at Fordham University’s Counseling and Psychological Services, and I am currently preparing for a new position at a group therapy practice in New York. 2020 has been a year like no other, and I hope everyone is navigating these times with as much physical and mental health as possible!”

Steve Morison sent a note that he’s doing well and working as the dean of students for the American College of Sofia in Sofia, Bulgaria. He had a short memoir of his meetings with Paul Bowles published by Khbar Bladna Press in Tangier in July, and continues his work as a contributing editor for Poets & Writers magazine in NYC. Steve has been seeing Paul Gosselin frequently in Sofia and Paris, and a bunch of other Wes folks on occasional Zoom reunions.

Tim McCallum reports that after almost six years on Maui, it’s clear, “I’m going to stay here forever. My pilates studio is holding its own despite the headwinds. My girlfriend and I are converting a 25-foot shuttle bus into a tiny home, including a 3.2-kilowatt solar power plant, so we can be at home wherever we park ourselves, which will usually be near the ocean since that is our happy place. We are hatching a plan to swim around the island. Happy to meet up with and show around Wes people if they should ever be in my neighborhood!”

Rob Krulak writes: “Last June I attended a memorial gathering for Mark Sarowitz ’89, who killed himself after a years-long struggle with a debilitating injury. He is survived by his brothers Tony and Sam, and leaves me with memories of good times with him at Wesleyan, his wit, sharp intelligence and outsized gift for aggravating people.”

Tracy Nathan, who is a rabbi in St. Louis, shares that she gathered with many of the members of the Wesleyan martial arts club for a Zoom reunion with Ann Mesnikoff, Alison Roth, Jon Snow, John Brinsley, Katherine Wood, Andy Stewart, Nathaniel Cutter, David Mendels, Stephen Morison, Rob Wrubel, Rebecca Bratspies ’87, Barbara Fried ’87, Nancy Heatley ’86, Michael Thomas ’90, Michael Nachmanoff ’91, Kiki Price ’91, Steve Schwartz ’89, and  Chris Webster ’89. They joined in from the coasts, the Midwest, Colorado, Montana, and Bulgaria, and Sensei Jean-Pierre Marques made an appearance as well. She reports that it was amazing to see everyone.

Peter V.S. Bond | 

Hillary Ross |

CLASS OF 1988 | 2020 | ISSUE 2

Peter writes for this issue.

David Silverberg advises, “I started a podcast focusing on how the pandemic impacts the field of education, which features interviews with superintendents, professors, authors, and other leaders ( Great if you want to spread the word to others in our class—or to Wesleyan grads in general—who might be interested in listening or, perhaps, being interviewed.”

Michael Taylor writes, “I am serving as the music director for St. Joseph Parish in Stuart, Fla. Since the middle of March, the church has been closed to the public, but we began live-streaming our services. Although we can’t have our choirs and praise bands participate, we still have music (a singer and me). Happily, they are still keeping me on the payroll, although it’s certainly strange celebrating Mass for an almost empty church. In our abundant spare time, we’ve been reading more, trying to exercise, and, like so many other musicians, amusing ourselves by coming up with coronavirus-related song parodies. Here’s a link to our latest silliness:”

Sue Haiken Parmet shares, “Some good news in the midst of the chaos, my daughter Sara will be (hopefully!) heading to Wes this fall. She was accepted into the Class of 2024, and we’re all very excited. I hear there may be some others with kids who will be joining the Class of 2024. Hopefully, they’ll let you know themselves!”

Rob Wrubel ’88, MA ’89 notes, “My children and I had a New Orleans food day yesterday—beignets for breakfast, shrimp po’boy sandwiches for lunch, and jambalaya for dinner. They watched The Princess and the Frog, and we listened to NOLA inspired music all day. I finished my next book and am waiting for it to come back from the editor before publication this summer/fall.”

Keith Seibert reports, “We are fine and riding out the pandemic in Palo Alto. We are very fortunate that the Bay Area began the sheltering-in-place process early, it really saved lives. That also meant we experienced panic buying and hoarding early on—I still regret not grabbing the Purell bottle off my office desk! A silver lining in this has been reconnecting with a number of friends across the country and keeping in close touch, exchanging news and humor by text.”

Tim McCallum shares from Hawaii, “I am the busiest unemployed person I know. My Pilates studio shut down for now, but I am helping a friend create an off-grid homestead in the jungle on the North Shore. I’m also doing shopping trips for a few families and some seniors (we call them “kupuna” here), so they don’t have to risk the virus at Costco. Keeping my 3-year-old son, Logan, busy at the beach, and trying to lay my hands on enough bailout money to keep my biz afloat until our All-Knowing Leaders decide the coast is clear, pandemic-wise. Full of gratitude that Hawai’i got a very mild case of pandemic (14 dead). Now, if I could just get Logan to potty-train!”

Greg Wolfe tells us, “Had a great Zoom call with Raph Worrick, Wayne Reiss ’86, and Helen Reiss ’87 last week. Our youngest, Ben, started Syracuse University School of Visual and Performing Arts with a concentration in theater lighting design but had to exit campus in March. His older sister, Emily, graduated from the University of Michigan in May 2019, and after extensive travel in east Asia with Michigan friends, is also back home in Connecticut. We’ve been writing songs, learning songs, and playing music together during the quarantine, which has been great. Everyone’s healthy here and hoping for better days ahead for all.”

Gail Kahan writes, “I live in Maryland and opened my estates and trusts practice about 15 years ago. I’m a solo attorney with two paralegals who are integral to providing friendly, competent service to my clients. We, Kahan Law ladies, are working from home and anticipate that this horrible tragedy will last far longer than anyone would like. I’ll be married 30 years this May, have two almost-grown kids, both of whom are home and attending school via Zoom. Husband Jeff (Oberlin ’88) also works from home with no discernible change in his work life. The four of us feel incredibly lucky to be healthy and together in our little capsule. Wishing all who read this good health.”

Peter V.S. Bond | 

Hillary Ross |

CLASS OF 1988 | 2020 | ISSUE 1

Peter writes for this issue. My wife, Zahra, our 11-month-old daughter, Nadia, and I spent the month of December with our family in Connecticut. Just before Christmas, Stu Ellman dropped by on his way through from Rhode Island with his son, Ben, who had just finished his semester.

Steve Morrison advises: “I’m in Sofia, Bulgaria, serving as the dean of students at The American School of Sofia. I was in Paris for the holidays and met up with Paul Gosselin ’88 at Shakespeare & Co. Paul’s a senior director at Infovista, an IT and telecom software firm.”

Tim McCallum writes in from Hawaii: “I’m still living on Maui and amicably co-parenting my 3-year-old son, Logan. I took up outrigger canoe paddling; hike, swim, surf, and snorkel quite avidly; and just joined the board of directors of the noncommercial community radio station (KMNO, 91.7 FM) on which I have a Friday show (5-8 p.m. Maui time—stream at I won’t be able to retire until I’m 80 (when Logan graduates from high school, I’ll be 70. I can’t wait for the first PTA meeting: “Oh, it’s so sweet his grandpa came!”), but I’m focusing on making 80 the new 50.”

Christie Trott lets us know: “Since graduation, I’ve moved back to Northern California, changed careers (lawyer to teacher), married, and had two daughters. I teach middle school humanities at a K-8 school for gifted children. Academics follow the Expeditionary Learning model, based on the educational ideas of German educator Kurt Hahn, the founder of Outward Bound. Life is crazy busy, but good. It was great to connect with some old friends at the Reunion (and to make some new ones) and I look forward to heading back for another Reunion in the near future. Happy 2020!”

Dan Albert shares: “I’m pleased to announce that W.W. Norton published my book, Are We There Yet?: The American Automobile, Past, Present and Driverless. It all began with my Wesleyan senior essay, The Crisis of the American Automobile, a Cultural History. Check out my monthly column at Kelley Blue Book’s and my articles on cars and culture at n +1.”

Tom Kealy lets us know: “I am still working at Colby-Sawyer College (20 years!), where I am a professor of literature. This year I transitioned into administration as the dean of the School of Business and Social Sciences.”

Finally, Laura Wiessen was “a first-time candidate for local political office in 2019 and on Nov. 5 I was elected to be a member of the Gloucester School Committee. So, as of Jan 1, 2020, I am now one of a seven-member board determining policy and budget for the Gloucester Public Schools. This is an underfunded school system, facing a rash of challenges. I’d love to hear from any Wes folks who have worked on education and can lead me to some innovative solutions!”

Peter V.S. Bond | 

Hillary Ross |

CLASS OF 1988 | 2019 | ISSUE 3

Hillary writes for this issue: Evan Yassky connected with Chris Hall over the summer at his home in Maine where he and his wife have been teachers and part-time goat farmers for years. Since spring 2017, Evan has been living in Chapel Hill, N.C., where he is university architect at UNC. He is proud to say that his son graduated from Wes in 2018.

Mark Miller is about to open his second location for Hex & Company; the new spot is a total rebuild of an old Greek diner. He and Beth Kaufman ’86 moved to Sugar Hill in Harlem, where they will launch a four-room Airbnb and start hosting house concerts.

Peter V.S. Bond has displaced his Chi Psi brother Timothy McCallum as the ’88er with the youngest immediate offspring. In February, Peter and his wife celebrated the birth of their daughter.

A major exhibition that Mia Fineman organized is opening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where Mia is a curator in the department of photographs. The exhibition’s title is Apollo’s Muse: The Moon in the Age of Photography, but it will no longer be on view by the time you are reading these notes.

Jennifer Fink recently published Bhopal Dance, which won the Doctorow Prize in Innovative Fiction and is now a finalist for a Lambda literary award. Jennifer is a professor of English at Georgetown.

Vivian Johnson has a new addition this year. She and her daughter are hosting an exchange student from South Korea; they report this has been a great experience so far.

Stephen Morison Jr. has moved to Sofia, Bulgaria (the hidden treasure of Europe), where he is dean of students for The American School of Sofia. He and his wife live in a fab apartment in a Communist-era building and are enjoying getting to know their new colleagues.

Rob Wrubel ’88, MA’89 just got back from taking his oldest son to Kenya and Tanzania—an incredible trip that he highly recommends. If any Wes folks are around Arusha, Tanzania, please reach out, as his son could use some more contacts.

And finally, I had the great pleasure of dining with Rob Daniels, Laura Sherman, and Renee White in Boston in late August.

Thanks for keeping us updated!

Peter V.S. Bond | 

Hillary Ross |

CLASS OF 1988 | 2019 | ISSUE 1

Hillary writes for this issue. Drs. Kellina Craig-Henderson and Yanique LeCadre connected and attended the Wesleyan Black Alumni annual Kwanzaa event hosted by David Davenport and his wife. The event, which also honored Wesleyan’s retiring, long-serving and dedicated admissions director Cliff Thornton, was filled to capacity and included Majora Carter and other alumni.

In 2018, Alex Bergstein ran for office, challenging a five-term Republican incumbent in a district that had been solid red for nearly 90 years. “With a campaign focused entirely on real facts and solutions and fueled by unprecedented volunteer energy, I won!” Alex is now the State Senator representing Greenwich, New Canaan, and Stamford, Conn., and loves this new role as a public servant. Her campaign manager is Nichola Samponaro ’11 and Alex writes that they are “on a mission to redefine our Democracy with civic engagement and Truth!”

Emily Gerber and her husband have moved from Oakland to Woodacre, Calif., in West Marin County. “While it’s only 30 miles from San Francisco, it might as well be one thousand. We live on top of a glorious ridge surrounded by trees and hiking trails.” Emily also started in a new position as behavioral health director for Kaiser Permanente in San Rafael and Petaluma, Calif.

Bobbito Garcia has been doing a film tour since June of his autobiography, Rock Rubber 45s, with large scale screenings at the Kennedy Center and Central Park SummerStage, among others. The New York Times gave the film a Critics’ Pick review, and the Smithsonian selected it for its African American Film Festival 2018. Lisa Hone went to the Kennedy Center to see the film. She writes, “I strongly recommend the movie. It covers his childhood, high school, time at Wesleyan, and beyond. Some of it is painful, but there is also joy and just plain fun. And a few other Wesleyan grads make appearances in the film.”

Julie Schwarzwald writes, “2018 was a busy year for me, to say the least. After attending our 30th Reunion and loving renewing and making deeper connections, I underwent treatment for breast cancer, including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Then I changed jobs in July to become the director of congregational learning at a different synagogue. Along the way, I completed my rabbinical studies and was ordained as a rabbi in early January. I am grateful to have been more or less healthy throughout—and to turn the page on the calendar!”

Mark Miller’s Hex & Company, Manhattan’s largest board game cafe, is growing and prospering. He and his partners plan to open a new location on the East Side. Beth Kaufman ’86 is in full swing teaching ESL both in the classroom and in private tutoring settings. Mark and Beth moved from Yonkers to Sugar Hill in Harlem and look forward to getting back to playing and presenting music when things calm down just a bit.

After 19 years at the Bronx Defenders, Karen Smolar has begun a new chapter at The Committee for Public Counsel Services in Massachusetts as the legal training director in the criminal defense training unit. She is living in Rhode Island, just outside of Providence, after relocating from New York, where she had lived her whole life. Last year, Karen was appointed the dean of the National Criminal Defense College.

Harry Miller’s first novel has been published by Earnshaw Books. Southern Rain is a romance set in 17th-century China. It’s partly inspired by Harry’s semester abroad in Beijing and Nanjing while a Wes student.

Thanks for keeping us updating with your news.

Peter V.S. Bond | 

Hillary Ross |