CLASS OF 1979 | 2021 | ISSUE 1

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Class of 1979 Endowed Wesleyan Scholarship Fund

Cypress Hubbard-Salk ’24, Brooklyn, NY

Jono Cobb shared that “Like many of our classmates fortunate enough to have that option, my wife Suzzanne and I have been riding out the pandemic in the country which in our case is Martha’s Vineyard. We are also fortunate to have been able, since last March, to switch our teaching jobs to remote versions. I was already using Powerpoint slides as the basis for riffing about anatomy and physiology with my undergrad students. Suzzanne’s voice and music history curriculum was a tougher conversion. By summer our daughter, Jordan, will be living in Harlem near Rachel Christmas Derrick, with whom I’m in frequent Facebook contact.”

     Speaking of Rachel Christmas Derrick, she is “Still pinching myself that I’m actually making a decent living as a writer and editor. Writing is the only thing I ever dreamed of doing for a living. Despite the pandemic, 2020 was relatively kind to my family: I was promoted to assistant vice president and managing editor of the financial services nonprofit where I’ve worked for three years. My husband and I celebrated our 25th anniversary. Our daughter graduated magna cum laude from Yale, made Phi Beta Kappa, and went to Oxford, where she’s getting her international relations master’s in refugee and forced migration studies. Our son, now a junior at Wesleyan studying history and chemistry, was accepted into Columbia University’s three-summer pre-med program. Neysa Dillon Brown, Adrienne Kelly Lumpkin, Vicki Wilson, Michelle Morancie, Wanda Wardlaw Matthews, Jeanette Talavera, Becky Vazquez, Jay Hoggard, Allison Brown, Mora McLean, and quite a few other Wesleyanites remain in my life 46 years on.”

     “I (Denise Giacomozzi) am a volunteer with the COVID Grief Network, a volunteer-run mutual aid network that offers free 1:1 and group grief support to young adults in their 20s and 30s who are grieving the serious illness or loss of someone to COVID-19. We continue to see an increase in the number of young adults who are requesting our support, and we are in need of more volunteers to offer care.” Please visit the Wes notes online for a full description and websites.

     In her first ever alumni note, Jane McCoy Dausner reports, “40 years ago, I graduated from Columbia University with my master’s and have been working in hospice and palliative medicine ever since. I married my high school sweetheart the same year, and we have three daughters, three sons-in-law and four grands. I continued with athletics, playing and coaching tennis, basketball and softball; my girls are now coaching their kids. I got nationally ranked in singles 10 years ago. I urge all alums to consider putting “donor” on your driver’s license; this is very close to my heart, having donated a kidney to my sister 20 years ago. What an experience! I wish you all health, safety and peace through these challenging times; times that always provide opportunities for learning and improvement. Would love to hear from Jane Alexander Gutcher and Beverly Hinton!”

     Matt Okun and his wife Annie are headed back to Matt’s old stomping grounds in DC. They are looking forward to spending time with Casey Dinges and his family, high school buddies, Annie’s two grandkids in Alexandria and Matt’s daughters and granddaughters in Philly and Brooklyn. “What a long, strange trip it’s been! Planning to be teaching this fall, not even contemplating retirement.”

     Peter Campbell writes “While we don’t see each other in person because of COVID, Zoom, texts, emails and even Facebook keep a bunch of us ’79ers together including George Dupaul, Tim Fitz, Gary Breitbord, Mike Scacca, and Frank Hauser. All of us were roommates at some point. There is always some very intelligent thread on family, sports, politics or the weather. Everyone’s memory is still good as no one has forgotten anything embarrassing anyone else has ever done. A larger group of late ’70s DKEs has a twice monthly happy hour call which re-creates the old DKE Friday afternoon bar experience from our era.”

     Architect Willie Lee Jones shared an article about him and his path to becoming director of parks and recreation of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. “We’re an expansive park and recreation department with over 230 facilities. We are an NRPA CAPRA accredited department, have the Carolina Star Award from the North Carolina Department of Labor, and we’re the only park and recreation department in the state that does.” To read the full article:

     Stephen Lewin-Berlin finally retired last year from a career of starting software companies. “I was on the founding team for half a dozen or so, and several were quite successful. Unfortunately, our plans to travel extensively in retirement were curtailed by the pandemic. Our home life, here in a cohousing community in Acton, Massachusetts, is filled with dancing and drumming, reading and video binges, and social and political activism with a focus on anti-racist work, voting rights and environmental action. With three kids scattered across the world (Australia, California and Massachusetts) our family visits have become virtual online experiences, but with vaccines coming fast, we hope to travel again.”

     Alan Scott advised me that Mark Miller tracked Alan down recently and told him that their mutual friend, Bruce Hardesty, died in 2017. Bruce and Alan had been out of touch for many years. They lived in the same dorm or apartment for four years at Wesleyan; Bruce was a good friend.