Tim McCallum ’88 passed away on July 22, 2023. An obituary will be posted when it becomes available.
Robert A. James Jr. ’88 passed away on April 29, 2023. A full obituary can be read here.
Kellina “Kelli” M. Craig-Henderson ’88 passed away on April 21, 2023. A full obituary can be read here.
Gloria Hardman MALS ’88 passed away on August 25, 2023. A full obituary can be read here.
Hillary writes for this issue.
Alisa Newman reports that her daughter fell in love with Wes after being convinced to take a tour, and she’ll be joining the first-year class this fall.
Steve Almond writes, “I’m living outside Boston, teaching creative writing at Wes, and excited that the paperback of my novel, All the Secrets of the World, will come out in spring 2023. Twentieth Century Fox has optioned the book for TV, and they’ve made another novel of mine, Which Brings Me to You, into a movie starring Lucy Hale.”
Rich Silverman has retired from the entertainment industry and is working as a real estate agent for Corcoran in NYC, which he’s finding fun and rewarding. “I’ve closed purchase, sale, and rental deals all over Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens and I seem to be a strong contender for rookie of the year.” In his free time, Rich loves discovering new restaurants and also enjoys attending book discussions. “Most recently, I listened to Wes alum, Andrew Meier ’85, discuss his new book, Morgenthau: Power, Privilege, and the Rise of an American Dynasty; Andrew was kind enough to sign my copy at the event. I had a wonderful time this past September at the annual Wesleyan football event hosted by Dave Thomas ’77, and it was gratifying to see the team perform so well. I’d love to connect with any Wes alums in NYC. I’ll always make time for a coffee meetup or a drink. My phone is (310) 413–6654 and my email is Rich.Silverman@Corcoran.com.”
Julie Lenner launched her own consultancy last year after 25-plus years in senior leadership roles in the nonprofit sector, including cofounding All Stars Project of Chicago. She’s happy to discover that helping multiple organizations simultaneously is just as gratifying as working to further one organization’s mission.
Paul Lewis reports, “After four years of work, my new book was just published, Manual of Biogenic House Sections (ORO Editions, 2022), which argues for how plant and earth-based materials can be a catalyst for a reinvention of how we build, by sequester carbon, engage regenerative life cycles, and create healthier spaces for living. It’s a follow-up to the book I wrote with my two partners in 2016, Manual of Section, which has now been translated into seven languages and is frequently found dog-eared on students and architects’ desks. We produced an exhibit about the new book and the problem of carbon released in the making of building materials, which has traveled from Princeton to the AIA NY Center for Architecture and is now at UVA, with many other venues planned for the coming year. I continue to teach at Princeton School of Architecture, and my firm LTL Architects recently completed a new residence hall at Carnegie Mellon University.”
Finally, after working at the Museum of the Moving Image for 34 years—the last 12 of which he served as executive director—Carl Goodman is now president and chief executive of the Florida Holocaust Museum.
Stay well and keep sending us your news!
Peter writes in for this issue:
Keith Seibert advises: “I enjoyed heading to Wes in October to attend the men’s crew endowment of a rowing shell to celebrate our coach, Will Scoggins. Great to see 20-plus teammates who rowed or coached during Will’s 1985–87 tenure.”
Rich Silverman shares: “I retired from the entertainment business last year and moved from Los Angeles to the Upper East Side. I’ve been pursuing my other professional passion, real estate, working as an agent for Corcoran.”
Suzanne Gilberg reports: “I’m super excited to share that I have a new book published in October by HarperCollins called Menopause Bootcamp. I have been very involved in the burgeoning cultural conversation on healthy aging and specifically on menopause as a medical expert, media personality, and consultant to industry, including scientific and medical advisory boards and digital health start-ups. It’s been really fun and gratifying to appear on The Drew Barrymore Show (I’ll be back end of this month!), be interviewed for The New York Times and Oprah Daily, give a TED Talk for Naomi Watt’s inaugural Menopause Symposium, and appear on podcast giants like Dave Asprey’s Human Upgrade.
Karl Slovin writes that he just finished, El Tour de Tucson, his second century ride.
Tim McCallum lets us know his “big news is I was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer back in late July. The other big news is so far I have gotten my Ca-19 number (indicative of cancer activity in the body) down to 32 (3-42 is considered ‘normal’) from over 1500 back in August. So—I’m feeling pretty good and now making plans as far away as March, which was unthinkable just a month or two ago. Living in Haiku, Maui, and raising my boy (now six) with the help of extended family and friends (we call the family you choose ‘ohana’ here in Hawai’i) and living every day to the fullest. Anybody who wants to be in touch can find me on Facebook.”
Julie Baher notes: “I am now working at Myriad Genetics (I run the design team for our software side). It’s a very interesting time to work in both women’s health and oncology. Family is all fine. My son is a cinematographer in Los Angeles (hit me up if you know a band looking for a music video!). I’ve a daughter at Colorado College. Planning on roaming the country next year and doing the digital nomad thing. Hoping to be in New Orleans in February!”
We received late news that Paul Ratliff died on December 22, 2021. His friend, Michael Robinson ’86, said Paul was “Whimsical, whip smart, inventive, funny, keenly insightful, but most of all kind.” His obituary says, “he was an actor, a cabinetmaker, a writer, a therapist, an ethnographer, an adventurer, a storyteller, a humorist, a deeply observant and wise human. In his presence you felt truly seen, heard, understood—and funnier, smarter, and more interesting somehow.” Michael’s FB post can be read below; the full obituary can be read here.
Our 35th Reunion is coming up—Reunion & Commencement 2023 takes place May 25–28! Stay tuned for more info from the Reunion Committee in the coming months, and let us know if you’d like to be involved in helping plan and in reconnecting with classmates.
Paul Perkins Ratliff died after a 13-month battle with brain cancer on December 22, 2021. He was 56 years old. He was born in El Paso, Texas, in 1964 to Jack and Clare Ratliff. He graduated from St. Stevens High School in Austin, Texas, and attended Wesleyan University, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1988 with a double major in film and theater.
Paul was multifaceted; he seemed to live many lives—he was an actor, a cabinetmaker, a writer, a therapist, an ethnographer, an adventurer, a storyteller, a humorist, a deeply observant and wise human. In his presence you felt truly seen, heard, understood—and funnier, smarter, and more interesting somehow. He approached life with a sense of play and humor that was steeped in his love of language—which sometimes took the form of haikus, limericks, an artful turn of phrase. These were experiments in expression, grounded in connections he had to the people in his life and his collection of experiences.
He was a theater actor in Chicago for much of the ’90s. There he was a founding member of the Great Jones Theater Company. He performed at the Goodman Theatre, one of Chicago’s most preeminent theatres, as well as at smaller theatres all over Chicago. He earned praise from The Chicago Tribune and other Chicago theatre critics for his roles in American Divine, the collected short plays of Joe Pintauro (for which he garnered a Jeff nomination,) and Tom Stoppard’s Night and Day among others.
He went on to work at a small start-up in Chicago called E-Lab, doing work that combined anthropology and product design to help companies think better about people’s experiences with their products. E-Lab was eventually purchased by Sapient, a multinational consultancy. With them Paul moved to London, where he lived for seven years. Across this time, he worked as a consultant for organizations like Ford, Unilever, Frito Lay, Steelcase, Johnson & Johnson, UPS, and BMW, and conducted research all over the world.
He moved back to the U.S. in 2008 where he met and married his wife Maggie Siff. They welcomed a daughter, Lucy Luna Ratliff, in 2014. During this time he turned his attention to a lifelong interest, psychotherapy. He returned to school and received his master’s from Pacifica Graduate Institute. At the time of his death, he was a licensed MFT in practice in Manhattan, New York.
He is survived by his parents Jack and Clare Ratliff, his wife Maggie Siff, daughter Lucy Ratliff, and his brothers John and Ben Ratliff. Not to mention friends all over the world, with and for whom he cultivated a lifelong practice of daily ordinary joy.
Hillary writes for this issue.
My fellow class notes solicitor/writer Pete Bond reports, “I’m happy to share that I’m starting a new position at Fetch Rewards: senior vice president, Commercial Solutions and Business Development. I am honored to lead the team developing commercial solutions around quantitative research and user-generated content and the business development professionals supporting CPG customer teams calling on Walmart/Sam’s Club and Kroger!”
Dave Silverberg let us know that he’s Ashland University’s director of K–12 Professional Development in northeast Ohio and has conducted curriculum audits for over 40 school districts in Ohio and beyond. Dave is happily married with two teenagers and takes surf lessons whenever visiting the coasts.
Pete Ganbarg writes, “My podcast Rock & Roll High School just completed its second season with now over 30 episodes available and more coming. We started the podcast as an opportunity for our listeners to learn more about the history of contemporary music directly from the legendary people who helped create it. Our guests have included The Temptations, Todd Rundgren, Graham Nash, Kenny Loggins, Peter Frampton, Nile Rodgers, Clive Davis, The O’Jays, and more.”
Sid Ray reports that she, Mark Niles, Stu Ellman, and Gail Agronick all have children who graduated from Brown University in 2020.
Christie Trott writes, “The past few COVID years have been pretty busy for me out here in sunny Northern California! I co-founded a new K–8 school for gifted kids called Tessellations, which is currently located in Cupertino, California. We have over 130 students enrolled and 37 staff heading into year three. I’m a humanities teacher/administrator at the school and I’m loving it! I’m also a busy working mom of two teenagers.” Christie got to accompany her husband on a recent work trip to Zurich this summer and has been in touch with Wendy Blum ’87, Steve Morison, and Paul Gosselin. She hopes to see more Wes people at some upcoming reunions.
Julie Schwarzwald says, “It has been an interesting several years, to say the least. I am happily ensconced in my job as a synagogue education director with responsibility for preschool, religious school, adult education, and more. Having become a rabbi three years ago, I also have the privilege of independently officiating at life-cycle events. I am discovering the wonderful world of dating apps (!!). In August, I visited Hawaii with my younger son, a graduation trip postponed from June 2020 and my 50th state. I am loving and embracing my mid-50s and I have plenty of room in my West Orange, New Jersey, townhouse should you find yourself in the area!”
Suzanne Gilberg-Lenz’s new book, Menopause Bootcamp: Optimize Your Health, Empower Your Self, and Flourish as You Age, was released in October.
As for me, I loved catching up with Andy Goldman recently on Zoom, and hearing about some of you from him! Stay well and keep your news coming.
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.
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.