CLASS OF 1987 | 2020 | ISSUE 2

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Hello, Class of ’87! I am writing to you in May, while many governors are weighing the risks of opening back up. This has been an unimaginable part of our lives, and the notes I am reporting reveal the strangeness of this time in quarantine. 

Giles Richter reports that he is hunkered down with his wife in San Mateo, Calif., having returned from Tokyo in January. He works at Stanford for a Japanese language intensive program. Giles worked to move the program online to keep it running despite the crisis. He has kept tabs on classmates sheltering in New York, including Anne Dunham, Adrienne Fitzgerald, Becca Gallagher ’90, Jack Levinson, Jeremy Mindich ’87, MALS ’89, and Vivian Trakinski.

Gabrielle Sellei was sworn into the New York Bar from her front porch in May. She is an entertainment lawyer, getting increased interest from New York-based clients. She’s now a Pennsylvania-New York-New Jersey triple threat. 

Amy Baltzell shares a little joy in a time of so much dark news: Shayna, her oldest daughter, is attending Wesleyan this fall. She will be joining the rowing team. Amy says she is overwhelmed with gratitude and excitement for her to have the chance to experience Wesleyan.

David Josephs and his family relocated from London back to Chicago in March, arriving at O’Hare on the first day of newly-instituted customs procedures at O’Hare Airport. It took them six hours to get through immigration. They have moved back into their home in the Chicago suburbs and are happy to be closer to their daughter and families now. David took a new job as CEO at daVinci Payments, after five years with Visa. Living in London was fantastic, including a visit from David Igler ’88, MA’88. 

After 26 years in Chicago, J.B. Davis and his wife, Rachel, moved their family Josiah (18), Eli (15), Abby (13), puppy Booker, and cat Billie to Cleveland three years ago. Rachel is an administrator at Cleveland State University, and J.B. is the director of engagement and marketing at Suburban Temple – Kol Ami, a reform synagogue. 

Hemanshu Nigam has built a career working on the safety initiatives in the public space and cyberspace. Recently, he developed an app called Syndesy (syndesy.io), offering protections including connecting emergency alerts to contacts and the ability to track negative interactions in a verified form. The app has a recently-added check-ins feature that makes it easy for users to voluntarily capture where they have been and when, and inform family and friends should they be diagnosed COVID-19 positive. This feature provides an approach to contact tracing, balancing civil liberties and privacy with the ability to protect society. 

The pandemic pushed Wendy Blum’s dance education work online. She has been designing and teaching remote curriculum for pre-K through fifth grade in New York City public schools. She enjoys the upsides of technology, such as the ability to use the media of masterworks made available during the pandemic. However, teaching physical dance via video has been challenging. During the stay-at-home order, Wendy interacts with many Wespeeps via multiple digital platforms. She took a Zoom dance class alongside Molly Rabinowitz, had Jody Sperling ’92 as a guest artist in her GoogleMeets classroom, and has met virtually with Kim Sargent-Wishart (Australia), Sue Roginski (California), Evelyn Shapiro (Illinois), Darya Mead (California), Pauline Frommer ’88 (New York City), Eddie Zas (New York City), Dave Cole (Illinois), Debby Hamilton (California), Andrew Grimaldi (Massachusetts), Steve Morison ’88 (Bulgaria), Nancy Nachbar ’89 (Maryland), Steve Kullback ’89 (Georgia), Christie Trott ’88 (California), and Paul Gosselin ’88 (France). 

Ian Rosen and his family are persevering in London. He finds himself grateful for the opportunity to work hard from home. He’s busy in sustainability across three businesses—investment management in renewable energy, a technology company in electric-vehicle charging, and property development. His daughter finished her Wesleyan frosh year from home in London. In his role as alumni rep, Ian is planning virtual gatherings given physical ones seem a way off.

Josh Calder works as a futurist, offering support across many industries. Years ago, his company sent out a prediction about the possibilities of a pandemic and its deep effects. Josh said that even being intellectually prepared, he was not inoculated against how weird the pandemic is. In the kind of news a class secretary delights in, Josh reports a previous column of class notes informed him that his sons’ peace teacher is our classmate Linda Ryden, who lives five houses down from him in Northwest D.C.

Finally, we got news in early April that Willie Greeke had died from COVID-19, a stunningly cruel disease. Willie was remembered on Facebook by his classmates for his activities at Wesleyan, and for the good guy that he was. The world is a little darker for this loss. 

In addition to news of their activities during the pandemic, our classmates wrote in to send best wishes and love to their Wesleyan friends. I sincerely hope this message finds you and your family safe and healthy.

Rebecca Zimbler Graziano | rebecca.graziano@hotmail.com