CLASS OF 1998 | 2017 | ISSUE 2

Hi, fellow ’98ers. Though 2017 has been overwhelmingly eventful so far, visits from friends help to slow it down a bit. Keeping with my theory that Charlottesville, Va., is the Wesleyan crossroads of America, we got a visit from Emily Lieberman, Jules Cohen, and their three wonderful daughters Lucy, Lola, and Eliza. They stopped to see us on their way from the Shenandoah to the D.C. area to visit Jules’ parents. Our daughters got an opportunity to get to know one another and hang out outside to enjoy the beautiful Virginia spring weather.

In other updates…Kubi Ackerman is director of the Future City Lab, a cutting-edge interactive space at the Museum of the City of New York exploring the key challenges and opportunities that New York will face in coming generations. Kubi invites all Wes students and alumni in New York to come visit the lab.

Abby Elbow writes: “After 15 years of talking about it, I’ve finally taken the plunge and moved to Alaska. I’m very happily living near my brother and nieces and other family, am surrounded by beautiful mountains and water and, at this time of year, 19 hours of sunlight!  I also made a career change a few years ago and became a nurse, and am now working with Alaska Native moms and babies to improve long-term maternal and infant health and social outcomes.”

Adam Borden writes: “I left The Hershey Company about 18 months ago after launching Kisses Deluxe—Hershey’s trade-up to premium chocolate—and returned to Baltimore to work for McCormick, where I manage the Kitchen Basics culinary stock business. We are having dinner with Adam Bakun and his wife, Ann, in November at Blue Hill at Stone Barns—hoping for luck in getting our reservations.”

Yolanda Denson-Byers graduated from Luther Seminary with a doctorate in ministry. Her thesis was titled, Walk Me to Gate: Christian Practices of Accompaniment with Dying People and Their Families. Yolanda is called as a hospice chaplain and bereavement coordinator with St. Croix Hospice in St. Cloud, Minn.

Jim McLean writes: “I’m working as an emergency department physician assistant in Fort Collins, Colo., where my wife, Heather, and I just bought our house and are raising our 2-year-old, Felix. We just moved out here two years ago from Berkeley, Calif. Great hiking, super family-friendly, and tasty beer! Don’t get to see too many fellow alumni out here, but always glad to hear from people!”

Annika Sweetland is an assistant professor at Columbia University in psychiatry and public health, where she does global mental health research. She is happily married to photographer Nacho Guevara, whom she met during her Wesleyan study-abroad program in Costa Rica in 1997 and reconnected with 16 years later.

Dr. Brendan Armm is a leading nationally board-certified acupuncturist, and doctor of acupuncture and oriental medicine, specializing in orthopedics, pain management, and integrative medicine. He serves on the faculty of one of the nation’s top Chinese medical schools. He is the founder and clinical director of Lotus Integrative Medicine Santa Monica. Inspired by the benefits acupuncture brought his patients, he created BackInBand®, a self-administered acupressure device that offers affordable and convenient daily treatment for low back pain.

Finally, it is with tremendous sadness that I have to report that our beloved classmate Obi Okobi has passed away. She was principal of City Neighbors Hamilton School, Baltimore City Public Schools in Maryland, and had also worked in various capacities with the Prospect Hill Academy Charter School, The Park School of Baltimore, and Waverly Elementary/Middle School, all in Baltimore; and the Hamden Public Schools in Connecticut. Obi was a source of inspiration and joy to the students, teachers, families, and colleagues throughout the Baltimore district and Connecticut. She personified the love of learning, commitment to students, and dedication to the principles of equity and justice that are the hallmark of a great educator. Obi was an active member of many organizations and communities, focusing on arts and culture, children, civil rights and social action, education, health, human rights, poverty alleviation, and social services. She served as a mentor, motivational speaker, outreach coordinator, and girl’s lacrosse coach. She was an avid runner, participating in several half-marathons. She was on the board of directors of Sheldon Calvary Camp in Conneaut, Ohio, and also on the board of directors of Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Conn. She will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her.

Marcus Chung | 

Jason Becton |