CLASS OF 1977 | 2020 | ISSUE 1

Retirement and our 65th birthdays are a recurring theme in many of this round of class notes.

This January Mark Slitt celebrated his “Medicare birthday.” Probably among the first in our class to do so. Mark writes: “Heads up to all: You will soon receive an avalanche of mail from insurance companies (maybe even my employer Cigna, depending on what state you live in) about Medicare Advantage plans and invitations from AARP to purchase Medicare supplemental (Medigap) plans through them. Don’t worry, it’s okay, Boomer! You’ll figure it out!”

Mark is still working at Cigna and won’t retire for several more years. He now in his 10th year on the planning committee for the Connecticut LGBTQ Film Festival, the longest-running film festival of any kind in Connecticut (33 seasons).

Arnie Alpert plans to retire in June after nearly 39 years with the American Friends Service Committee’s New Hampshire Program. As one of the state’s most respected activist leaders, a fund has been established in his name, the Arnie Alpert Action Fund. AFSC supporters can honor Arnie’s legacy with funds that will help the organization continue the education, advocacy, training, and bold action Arnie has modeled. Arnie enjoys running into recent New Hampshire residents Felice Burstein and John Roxby.

After 35 years in D.C., Rus Hemley has moved to Chicago. Rus will be the chair of natural sciences in the department of physics and chemistry at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Jason Baron continues his fine work in Cambodia through the Chelly Foundation, supporting Chelly scholars at universities in Phnom Penh as well as younger children of Chumkuri in rural Kampot Province. Donations can be made through the Chelly website:

Karen Bovard ’77, MALS ’85 retired to Saint Paul, Minn., in 2016 to be closer to baby grandchildren, along with husband Greg Pyke (longtime Wesleyan admission dean). She’s recently back from her 11th trip to Cambodia, this time to celebrate the Arts4peace Festival with friends and family. She spends much of her time sewing as a volunteer for Days for Girls, making reusable feminine hygiene kits that enable girls to stay in school past puberty and help to prevent both early marriage and sexual exploitation of girls in 140-plus countries around the world. Karen continues her theater work (she directed more than 70 shows in her career) as an online reviewer in the busy Twin Cities theater scene.

Mark Ellison writes, “Life is good.” He has been consulting for Rubrik, a data management startup and, thus far has not been told “OK Boomer” by these “youngstahs.”

Mike Coffey continues to beat a path to Southern Cal to see daughter Lanie. She finished grad school in 2018 and started her career as a dietitian/supervisor at a WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) Center in L.A. The Coffeys just spent their fourth Christmas season on the West Coast—this one in Santa Barbara. He’ll be heading back to see Lanie for a reggae fest in February. Daughter Jessie is engaged, with a wedding date of Oct. 2, 2020, in Newport. So, naturally, mom and dad are thrilled. While wife Laurie retired, Mike is still GM at Rite-Solutions, a small-ish software development and IT company in Newport.

Mim Wolf had been feeling strong urges to travel and see more of the world over the past several years, and finally, in November 2018, followed through, spending seven months exploring Costa Rica, Germany, Egypt, South India, Sri Lanka, Peru, and Mexico. Mim traveled solo with a backpack and totally enjoyed living in the moment, traveling by public buses, being helped by kind strangers, eating simple vegetarian foods, and experiencing bits and pieces of the various cultures and values surrounding her. She felt completely safe the entire time, and came home from those travels relaxed, rested, and replenished. Since then, Mim is back to private practice as a natural health consultant, in-person and over the phone. She appreciates the many blessings of life in Vermont; she is grateful to have seen a bit of this amazing planet, struggling as it is.

Will Sillin will be an artist in residence at Zion National Park from Oct. 19 through Nov. 16. He will head west a little early to get his Southwest Plein Air game up to speed before the residency. Will is hoping that Buddy Taft and Jim Laliberty will be able join him in the southwest sometime before the residency begins.

Concluding: Here is wishing everyone a happy and healthy new year and new decade.

Gerry Frank |