CLASS OF 1976 | 2020 | ISSUE 2

Libby Horn has joined the growing ranks of retired folks. She’s busy at a food bank and a local hospice and keeping up her music.

Karen Gervasoni is retired, enjoying life in Maine with her teenage daughter and her partner, Greg. They’re splitting their time between gardening, baking, crafting, and political activism.

Andrew Brotman is the chief clinical officer at NYU Langone Health, so the last two months have been all-pandemic, all the time. Andrew, thanks to all of us for your hard work in this very tough time.

Matt Cartter is the state epidemiologist in Connecticut. A recent article described Matt as “Connecticut ’s Anthony Fauci.” He teaches at Yale and UConn.

Rob Briskin has not opted for retirement! He’s in his 36th year in practice in internal medicine in Florida. He has 10-year-old twin daughters and two adult children.

Tom Kovar is working for the VA in Northampton, Mass. Until January, he was gigging regularly, but the pandemic intervened. Tom responded by recording original songs at home and posting on Facebook; his many friends are grateful.

Jonathan Cleworth has been managing MS since he earned his MBA at Columbia in the early ’80s. He credits being captain of the 1976 crew team with giving him the skills to minimize the effects of MS.

Jeffrey Frank retired last year after selling his company in Ohio. He’s driving for Lyft and enjoying socializing with customers from many backgrounds and occupations.

Melissa Blacker has been married to David Rynick ’74, MALS ’85 since 1981. They have been sheltering with their daughter and grandson during the pandemic. Melissa and David are Zen teachers/priests, running a temple in Worcester, Mass., which moved online in March. They welcome anyone to join them at

Jack O’Donnell practices as a criminal lawyer but says the quarantine might have convinced him to scale back a bit.

Dan Herr had a different take on retirement. Nine years ago, he left a career in the semiconductor industry to become chair of the UNC Greensboro’s nanoscience department. He now focuses on diversity/inclusion, advising, and education. He’s enjoying having more time to spend with his wife of 37 years, four children, and five grandchildren.

Betsy Eisenmann is experiencing the pandemic that most retired people seem to be experiencing: All social/church/organized activities shut down, waiting to see what the governor does next.

Steve Smith and his wife have retired, so quarantine hasn’t been such a big adjustment. They take daily walks in the North Carolina mountains, pursue music and hobbies, and celebrated their 45th anniversary in May.

Ollie Griffith is now “mostly” retired from the World Bank. He’s still freelancing/writing for corporations and NGOs, and plays in Paris jazz clubs (pre-pandemic).

Jody Snider is hunkering down on her farm in Rhode Island. Jody works as executive producer for a film company (Smartypants NYC), producing orientation films for the new Wes freshman.

Ellen Seh sent her first class notes in since 1976! She’s had a fascinating career: she worked in sustainability in Maine, then moved to Boston and worked in public relations. She moved to NYC, and eventually to San Francisco, becoming a passionate sailor. She’s now retired, still advocating for issues centered on climate change and saying “yes” to new adventures.

Barb Birney is now retired. She’s a citizen/scientist volunteer, helping researchers catalog data from cameras capturing animal behavior in the wild.

Carol Bellhouse is still practicing law part-time, working on the final edit of her 30th book and working in her garden.

Debra Neuman’s husband of 35 years, Paul, passed on in March. Debra, our deepest sympathy. Debra works as executive director of advancement for St. Edmund’s Retreat on Enders Island (Mystic); she’d welcome a post-pandemic visit from any Wes alumni.

Byron Haskins is retired, but he’s working harder than most people! Byron and his wife, Gabrielle, care for their granddaughter, whose parents are essential workers. Byron’s son, an anesthesiologist, came down with COVID-19, and may have passed it on to Byron and Gabrielle—all have recovered. Byron is active in Michigan and national politics; is diving deep into music composition; collaborates with classmate Carol Bellhouse on poetic video shorts, and he’s media director for the local chapter of the Project Management Institute. And he’s got eight grandchildren, with another on the way!

In memoriam: I’m sad to report that Bruce Herring and John Rankin ’83 have both passed on.

I retired on April 30 (while recovering from a mild bout of COVID-19), but David Harmin works full-time as a bioinformatician in Mike Greenberg’s lab at Harvard. We regularly see Marjorie Dauster and Nina Rosenstein, and irregularly see Tom Kovar, Mel Blake, Karen Gervasoni, all of whom are doing well. If you make a post-quarantine trip to Boston, get in touch!

Karen Harmin |

CLASS OF 1976 | 2020 | ISSUE 1

I find myself surprised and delighted to become the new class notes secretary. Thanks to Byron Haskins and Mitch Marinello, who did a wonderful job keeping us all up to date since 1976. My apologies for the absence of class notes this time around. I need one cycle to get up to speed on what to do and how to do it! Class notes will resume in the next issue. Please let me know what you’ve been up to and how you’re doing.

Karen Harmin |

CLASS OF 1976 | 2019 | ISSUE 3

Dear Class: Jay Abramowitz has published Formerly Cool, a comic novel that has received accolades from, among others, the Al Jean, the executive producer of The Simpsons. Learn more at

Mark Berger reminded me that most of our class is on the verge of a big birthday this year. I was doing my best to forget, but I am afraid he is right. Mark is married to Jane Eisner ’77 and is the chief medical officer at Actinium Pharmaceuticals, a biotech firm working on cancer treatments. He has two grandchildren and just bought a vacation home in Hillsdale, N.Y., where Sandy Krieger is a neighbor.

Meredith Gang Bergmann has been commissioned to create a sculpture in Central Park that will honor pioneering women’s rights advocates. It will be the first statue depicting real women in the 165-year history of Central Park!

Barbara Birney visited with Gail and Peter Hanson this summer in D.C.

Ethan Bronner, formerly with the New York Times, is a senior editor at Bloomberg, where he writes and edits features on international politics, mostly concerning Latin America. He is especially focused on the crisis in Venezuela and the threat it is posing to many of its neighbors. His older son, Eli ’10, manages artists, including Michael Gittes ’10.

Sidney Cohen and his wife, Carol, reside in Pleasanton, Calif., and are proud grandparents of Eon and Eliza. Sid remains busy in clinical research at Medtronic and spends his free time doing gardening, amateur radio, and photography.

Larry Davis ’73 has transitioned from president and managing director of Map Energy, LLC to senior advisor and chief scientist. This leaves him with more time for travel to places like the Amazon in Bolivia, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Central Europe, as well as many cruises with family. Larry invites anyone taking I-35 or I-40 through Oklahoma to stop by for a visit.

Karen Gervasoni just built a new house near her old, too big one in Kennebunk. She notes that downsizing is no fun when you have to sort through 40 years of accumulated stuff.

Dan Herr continues his impressive work in nanoscience and was interviewed by the podcast NanoTube. In addition, Ethan Logan Herr, Dan’s fifth grandchild, was born on Aug. 30.

Deb King and her husband, Daniel Toth, both retired this May and took a trip to celebrate, which included a visit to friends in Bordeaux with side trips through France, Barcelona, and Crete with great sightseeing and local cuisine.

Dan Henry’s wife, Jean, retired in January but he is continuing his part-time business as a technical consultant which leaves him free to join her on many travels, including trips with their two married sons and two young granddaughters and to California, Aruba, and Florida.

Norm Kerner has opened his second recording studio in Hollywood (Hollywood Hills and Silver Lake areas) where he focuses on modern pop, R&B, and hip-hop. Norm also continues his real estate work at Sotheby’s International Realty specializing in properties with recording studios on site. He can be reached at

Tom Kovar and Charlie Berman were at a gig at Eclectic during Reunion weekend. Lots of ’79ers were on stage and the music was great.

Jaimee Mirsky retired from her second career last year and she and her husband, Jay, spent a lot of time enjoying their first grandchild (a second one is expected in December). They also moved to their dream home in Morristown, N.J. Jaimee would love to reconnect with Mark Stratton.

After living in Boston since 1978, Will Rodman and his wife, Pam, have moved to Dallas, Texas, lured there by their first grandchild. Will says he will greatly miss having an occasional beer with Rook Van Nest ’75 and his wife, Annie. Will, Rook, and Davie Terrie were back at Wes in 2018 to honor the 1973 soccer team that won the ECAC.

Steve Smith and his wife, Jean, retired this summer and went on a week-long cruise to celebrate. Steve has been a ham radio operator for 53 years.

Steve Schwartz and his wife, Janelle, have been living in Dallas, Texas, since 2015, and are still getting used to the Cowboys fans. Steve plans to continue his work as a VP with Charles River Associates, his children are doing well, and he and Janelle have five grandchildren to keep them busy.

Becky Vose and her husband, Steve Schreckinger, are enjoying their second home in Scarborough, Maine, Becky’s hometown. They are on a tidal river and a short walk from a long stretch of sandy beach. Son Ben reports for Politico.

As for me, I have been class secretary for a while now and have enjoyed it, but it seems time to let someone else give it a try. One benefit of a change is that we all know different people and a change may inspire a new group to write in. If you are interested in the job, please contact Randi Plake at

Mitchell Marinello |

CLASS OF 1976 | 2019 | ISSUE 2

News from classmates covers the range of human experience and emotions, and this word-limited column cannot do justice to them. Perhaps it may cause some of us to reconnect with old friends.

In early April, Susan Avitzour lost Daniel, her husband of 42 years. Daniel held a PhD in pure mathematics from UC Berkeley, worked all his life as an inventor-engineer, and was a devoted husband and father. Susan is grateful to her seven children, friends, and religious community for support during this difficult time.

In June, Barbara Birney will help celebrate the 70th wedding anniversary of her parents Margaret and Robert Birney ’50. Her brother Bob ’81 also plans to attend.

Rob Buccino plans to spend three weeks this summer in France following the women’s world cup soccer tournament and bicycling along the Rhone. He is enjoying semi-retirement fully.

Betsy Eisenmann, a retired RN, exercises regularly and does volunteer work, including at her church’s thrift shop.

Ron Epstein found the memorial for Jon Barlow to be a wonderful opportunity to see classmates influenced by his work. Ron’s daughter is becoming a physician, and he continues to find purpose in palliative care and in the mindful-practice training he does for physicians.

Karen Gervasoni’s daughter is graduating high school and heading to Champlain College to major in film. Karen is downsizing, staying in Kennebunk, and wishes everyone well.

Joellyn Gray’s son Malcom’s movie 21 Bridges opens in late September. It is named for the 21 access bridges out of Manhattan, stars Chadwick Bozeman and is a psychological thriller.

Peter Hansen and his wife, Gail. live in DC and are consulting part-time. They regularly visit their granddaughter in NYC and daughter in Seattle and this spring traveled to Greece.

Byron Haskins just returned from Dublin, Ireland, where he attended the Project Management Institute Leadership Meeting. At the same time, his son Stephen was giving a TED-style talk at a medical conference in Belfast. Check out Byron’s music video hobby on YouTube.

Polly Hays retired from a 34-year career with the U.S. government, mostly with the Forest Service in water resource management. During her last years of work, she also spent much time helping her elderly parents to the end of life. She finds herself enjoying leisurely days at home with friends and family with time to pursue new interests.

Jim Johnson, to celebrate the 15th year of his company and his 65th birthday, threw a free, full-day Bluegrass festival for his community which attracted 2,000 people and featured a farmers’ market and some of the region’s top bands. Jim recently started an organization called Chattanoogans for Responsible Development and has earned himself the names “community activist” and “flaming urbanist jackal.”

Sad to report that, on March 31, Nancy Kathan passed away. After Wesleyan, Nancy earned a fine arts degree from Yale. She was a leader in women’s issues and the arts and for the past 30 years, worked in Philadelphia with several theatre and film organizations.

Thomas Kovar plans to work another five years at the VA and is still doing plenty of music. In late May he performed at Eclectic for the ’79 Reunion.

Chris Mahoney and his wife, Joan, are on their second trip to Israel with plans to see the Galilee, the Golan, Jerusalem, the Negev, Eilat, Aqaba, and Petra.

Dave Eckert retired last year and moved back to Cincinnati. He recently had a hip replacement, his recovery is going great, and he hopes to be back on the tennis courts by mid-summer.

Jaimee Mirsky and her husband Jay retired last summer and are now grandparents to Jordan via their older daughter Joanna.

Nat Needle met for dinner with both of his sons in Worcester, Mass., and gave his first-ever piano recital for his students and their families and guests.

Debra Neuman’s son Josh will receive his master’s in agronomy at Oregon State in June. Debra enjoys her job as the executive director of a Catholic retreat center with a small addiction recovery residence for young men.

Jack O’Donnell’s daughter Maggie ’19 graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Wes this May with a near perfect GPA. Congratulations!

Pam Swing ’75 and Marty Plotkin’s son, Ben, is getting married this fall. Pam is a resident scholar at the Brandeis Women’s Studies Research Center and co-authored a play about the suffrage movement. Marty is a software development VP at Oracle. He plays the violin and is deeply involved in chamber music.

Gerry Rau received excellent medical care at modest cost from Taiwan’s socialized health care system. Gerry’s authored a textbook for engineering and science students that will be published in August.

Steve Smith and his wife Jean are retiring this summer and celebrating with a long, relaxing cruise.

Craig Tighe and his wife Ann live in San Mateo. Craig is a partner in the Silicon Valley office of DLA Piper where he works with technology startups. Ann is retired from an environmental nonprofit.

Mitchell Marinello |

CLASS OF 1976 | 2019 | ISSUE 1

Class of 1976 Endowed Wesleyan Scholarship
Valerie Acosta ’20, Neuroscience and Behavior

Cheryl Alpert’s residential real estate business is taking off and she is working with families looking to “right size” in Boston and MetroWest. Husband Tom is an architect, son Eben is at PWC in NYC, and son Chason is with Booz Allen in D.C. Cheryl met up with Kathy Mintz in NYC at Jay Hoggard’s performance and sees Rook Van Nest ’75 and Jeff Dunn ’75 from time to time.

Sue Feinstein Barry is a professor emeritus at Mount Holyoke College, having retired in 2015. In November, her daughter, Jenny, and husband Dan welcomed Jessica Elizabeth, Sue’s first grandchild, into the world.

Andrea Grubb Barthwell, M.D., and Adam Usdan ’83 are initial members of the board of directors of the Foundation for Opioid Response Effort, a nonprofit dedicated to combatting the opioid crisis. Andrea chairs the board and Adam chairs the investment committee responsible for the Foundation’s $100 million endowment. Initial endowment funding was provided by McKesson, and Andrea was recommended to McKesson following a search by Paul Spivey ’83, a search consultant at Phillips Oppenheim cofounded by Jane Phillips Donaldson, a former dean of admission at Wesleyan.

Larry Davis reports that he flunked retirement. In 2018, he stepped down as president and managing director of Map Energy LLC but quickly was asked to become the senior advisor/chief scientist. In 2018, he and Ronna took a land trip to Finland, Estonia, and St. Petersburg and spent a week in London. Larry separately spent a week exploring the Andean region of Bolivia followed by fly fishing in the Amazon basin. During a trip to Palo Alto, he visited Alan Haus. Ronna and Larry are grandparents of Lorelei, 5, and Gabriel, 3, children of Ilana Sharpe ’06.

On Dec. 22, Lenny Femino and his wife, Rona, became proud grandparents of Julian, their first grandchild.

Jeff Frank has put his moving company up for sale and is retiring. He is looking forward to a new beginning filled with new activities.

After a long career in the State Department and World Bank, Oliver Griffith is working freelance in Paris as a professional writer for businesses and international organizations. Oliver is still playing music (his Wes major) in local venues and would be happy to see classmates in France.

Dan Henry provides tech support part-time to small businesses and homeowners. His wife, Jean, retired from Travelers in January, 42 years to the day after she started. In February they are meeting at Disney World with two of their sons, their son’s wives, and two preschool granddaughters.

Libby Horn is retiring in April when she turns 65 and is looking forward to spending more time singing, hospice volunteering, and participating in church activities.

Jaimee Kurfirst Mirsky retired after 19 years in her second career as a high school English teacher just in time to celebrate the arrival of her first grandchild, Jordan. Jaimee finds she has settled into retired life easily and enjoys trying new things after 40 years of career and family responsibilities.

For Ron Kirschner, 2018 was the 10-year anniversary of his being a board-certified medical toxicologist. March will be his 10-year anniversary as medical director of the Nebraska Regional Poison Center and a faculty member at the University of Nebraska Medical Center Department of Emergency Medicine. Ron was a history major at Wes. He did not plan on going to medical school and did not start the process until six years after graduation. Taking a circuitous route has given him some perspective on how his own daughter, who is a very creative chef and artist, needs to find her own way.

Debra Gottheimer Neuman has been living in Mystic for nearly four years and is enjoying her position as executive director of development and community engagement for Enders Island, an 11-acre island and home of a Catholic retreat that helps young men recover from alcohol and drug addiction. Debra’s work has made her aware of the severe opioid crisis. She enjoyed a great visit with her son, Josh, who was home from Oregon where he is completing a master’s degree in agronomy. Debra welcomes visitors.

Greg Palkot, a fellow resident of Nicholson 6 freshman year, is a journalist living in London (you’ve seen him on the box from time to time).

Michael Stopa has a new job as a senior manager of artificial intelligence and machine learning for Konica Minolta’s research division in San Mateo, Calif. He loves the Bay Area.

As for us, our oldest daughter, Samantha, was married in November and the event was wonderful. Old friends Robert Cox, his wife Maggie, Steve Goldman, and his wife, Kathy Rosenthal ’78, flew into town to help us celebrate. Meanwhile, daughter Lindsey moved to Silver Spring, Md., where she is working full time and taking engineering courses at John Hopkins. Daughter Michelle is working in the business office of a Chicago law firm and applying to grad school. And in late December, my mother moved to a ranch house to downsize a bit and be closer to my sister.

It is always great to hear from you. Stay in touch.

Mitchell Marinello |

CLASS OF 1976 | 2018 | ISSUE 3

Some great news from the ’76ers.

Jay Abramowitz lives in Santa Monica, Calif., and is married with three children. He used to write comedy for television and now directs live TV and writes stories. See the stories at:

Susan Avitzour and her husband Daniel’s sixth grandchild was born in June, her youngest daughter Ayala was married in August, and she is semi-retired though continuing her psychotherapy practice part-time. Daniel has a neurological condition that requires him to use a wheelchair much of the time, but their family has stepped up to help whenever needed.

Meredith Bergmann’s design was chosen for the Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Woman Suffrage Movement Monument in NYC’s Central Park.

Melissa Blacker and David Rynick ’74 have been together since 1977. Their daughter is expecting her first child and their first grandson in early February. They are both Zen Buddhist teachers and run a temple in Worcester, Mass. ( Everyone is invited to visit.

Matt Cartter, a state epidemiologist, loves the fact that he gets to combine his Wes education with his medical education. For an interesting example, see

Jon Cleworth is a physical fitness advocate and credits Wes Crew for instilling that in him. Jon is fighting MS and primarily uses a rowing machine to stay in shape.

David Cohen enjoyed his annual weekend with Steward Shuman, Matt Paul, and Michael Greenberg and their spouses on the south shore of Long Island.

Joe Cox‘s son, John, is a sophomore at Emory and runs for the cross-country and track teams. His daughter, Brooke, is finishing her senior year at the College of William and Mary (“WM”) and majoring in international relations. Her honors joint degree program with WM and the University of St. Andrews gives Joe and his wife Mary the chance to visit Scotland from time to time. Joe is with a small biotech company that completed its first human clinical trial last year (

Photo by Bruce Temple

Bruce Demple and his wife, Sue, just returned from a fabulous two-week trip in Brazil including five days in the jungle of Amazonia where one evening they scaled ropes 120 feet to get above the jungle canopy. Bruce spoke at two scientific conferences there, one in Sao Paolo and another in Foz do Iguacu.

Steve Duncan and his wife, Lynne Cohen Duncan ’78, sat out Hurricane Florence at home in Chapel Hill, N.C., and managed to miss all but some high winds and about 10 inches of rain.

Don Fallati and his wife, Ruth Pachman ’78, attended the graduation of their son, Mark, from Swarthmore in May. Mark made it to the NCAA tennis championships again this year, capping off a great college athletic career. Don and Ruth live in Larchmont, N.Y. Don has his own marketing consulting firm, and Ruth is managing director at a New York financial public relations firm.

Leslie Gabel-Brett is a consultant to the Connecticut Office of Health Strategy and recently traveled with spouse Carolyn to see some of the national parks in Utah. Leslie will be teaching a course at Wes again in the spring.

Joellyn Gray puts in a plug for Bob Craft’s son, Will, who writes an investigative journalism series in a podcast called In the Dark. Joellyn’s son, Duncan, has written some great movie reviews at

Byron Haskins is in the midst of a four-week exploration of Italy with his wife, Gabrielle, whose father’s family heralds from Tuscany. They have visited lots of places and Byron celebrated a birthday with dinner at Momma Rosa’s in Milan. Byron is enjoying the respite from the U.S. 24-hour news cycle and is collecting ideas for future short stories that he plans to write.

Alan Miller reports that the News Literacy Project, a national educational nonprofit that he founded and leads as CEO, celebrated its 10th anniversary earlier this year. NLP’s Checkology virtual classroom is now used by middle and high school teachers in every state in the U.S. and 97 other countries. In August, Fast Company praised NLP and said that its courses, which discriminate between real and false news “should become a fundamental building block of our students’ education.”

Nat Needle is teaching piano to students of all ages and organizes and emcees an open mic that brings people with and without disabilities together as performers and audience members. He welcomes contact from old friends at

Debra Neuman took an amazing two-week trip to Italy last summer with three women friends. They hiked, biked, walked endlessly, and enjoyed great food and wine.

Jack O’Donnell’s daughter, Maggie ’19, is a senior at Wes and it has been a perfect fit for her. Jack says that she has taken full advantage of all the school has to offer.

Marc Stier is the director of a progressive research, advocacy, and organizing group, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center. The Center is running a statewide issue advocacy campaign called We the People that is setting an agenda for state legislative elections in 2018 and beyond.

Barbara Strauss’ daughter, Rebecca Ingber, is a law professor at Boston University and in September testified about security and executive power issues at the Senate Kavanaugh hearings. Her son-in-law argued his first case in the U.S. Supreme Court this past spring, and her daughter, Hanna Ingber ’03, was appointed as the editorial director of the New York Times this year.

Becky Vose just retired from 20-plus years of being a lawyer for the Juvenile Rights Advocacy Project at Boston College Law School. She and her husband, Steve Schreckinger, have three adult children: Anna, a teacher in Colorado, Ben, a writer for Politico, and Michael, an analyst at the State Department.

Had dinner with Bruce Tobey ’75 in Chicago recently and went to a magic show with Nancy ’78, Larry Schulman ’78 and his wife, Chris, where Larry became part of the show. Also reconnected with Mark Allard ’74, Tim Donahue ’74, and Bill Zimmerman ’74 after many years as well as Ed Kenney ’75, George Surgeon ’72, Mark Willis ’75, and several other Wes grads.

Mitchell Marinello |

CLASS OF 1976 | 2018 | ISSUE 2

A great class came through on short notice.

Skip Adamek is enjoying competitive golf, tennis, and fishing in North Carolina, and looking forward to a visit from Steve Farrell, Jim Cornell, Paul McDermott, and, just maybe, Teddy Shaw.

Lois Becker, Mark Stratton, Joanne Lukitsh, and Reilly Shannon are traveling in Europe together where the first stop was the London production of Hamilton. Next up is Paris, Provence, and points east!

Jon Cleworth, former captain of the Wes crew team, is doing his best to stay in shape and keeps in touch with Jimmy Joy MALS ’72, former crew coach at Wes, who recently was honored by the NYAC.

Bruce Demple and his wife, Sue, met up in February with Rich Gallogly and Bonnie Katz ’77 for a long weekend of skiing at Sunday River Maine. Bruce’s daughter, Marie, lives in Brooklyn and works for Comedy Central, while his younger daughter, Zoe, has moved to Pittsburgh. Bruce published a complex NASA-funded research study on the unique qualities and toxicity of moon dust.

Mike Donnella was a guest on an NPR affiliate and was interviewed about his photography. Check out

Jeff Frank’s daughter got a fellowship to work for the education department in Israel for one year, and his son, George, is training to fly F-16s for the Air Force. His oldest son works for the FBI in D.C.

Joellyn Gray is just back from a 12-day tour of gardens and cathedrals in Southern England and is happy to share travel tips.

Peter Hansen and his wife, Gail, are in Madagascar for a month, visiting friends who work for the World Bank. They plan to stop in Kenya before coming home.

Libby Horn’s daughter, Stephanie, got married in April on the Oregon coast. She was an infant at our 10th Reunion!

Jeffrey Kahn, fellow CSS classmate, reports that on May 31, he retired from the Office of the General Counsel at the Department of Agriculture after 40 years of government service. Jeff is now traveling to Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. Jeff, the Kazakhstan chocolate is great!

Tom Kovar had a June mini-reunion with Mel Blake, Karen Gervasoni, David Harmin, and Karen Williams Harmin at Mel’s house in Portsmouth, N.H. All are doing well.

Wendy Lustbader attended a psychotherapy training program in Seattle where the keynote speaker was Ron Siegel. Wendy thanks Ron for the advice and encouragement he gave her years ago and compliments Ron on his many achievements.

Peter McArdle went to Foxboro Stadium in May to watch Wes take on defending national champ Salisbury College in the Men’s NCAA Division III Lacrosse Finals, which Wes won! Dave Campbell ’75, Jeff Gray ’77, Charlie Cocores ’74, Jim Daley ’75, Pete Guenther ’77, Dave Thomas ’77, Gary Breitbord ’79, Jock Burns ’72, Mark Fredland ’74, and Pat McQuillan ’75 and his son Casey joined Pete for the game. Bill Belichick ’75 was unable to attend, but graciously hosted everyone in the Belichick family box. Pete also saw Jeff Nesson ’78 and Seta Nazarian ’79 there. A great win for Wes witnessed by a great group of folks. Just a week earlier, Pete and his wife Mary’s daughter, Brittany, graduated from Simmons College with a master’s in special education.

Jaimee Mirsky is about to retire from her second career as a high school English teacher, and her husband, Jay, is also retiring. They will have welcomed their first grandchild in July. Congratulations on both fronts!

Debra Neuman is enjoying what may be her final career chapter as the executive director of development for Enders Island, a Catholic retreat center in Mystic, Conn. Her son, Josh, is pursuing a master’s in agronomy at Oregon State, and Josh’s wife, Meagan, is enjoying her first nursing job in Corvallis.

Michael Stopa has moved to San Mateo to be a senior manager for artificial intelligence and machine learning research for Konica Minolta. Daughter Randy graduated from Oberlin last month, daughter Robin graduated from Haverford last year, daughter Kaileigh will soon be a junior at Tufts, and son Kip will be a high school senior.

Cheryl Alpert and her son, Eben, had a great time on a trip through Portugal to celebrate his 25th birthday. Eben is a business analyst with PricewaterhouseCoopers in NYC and younger son, Chason, is working in D.C. as analyst for Booz Allen Hamilton. Cheryl recently has changed firms and is now with William Raveis Real Estate in Brookline, Mass.

My personal news is slow right now, but a lot is happening in the next few months. I hope that you all enjoy the summer. If you meet up with a long-lost classmates, ask them to write in. Best regards.

Mitchell Marinello |

CLASS OF 1976 | 2018 | ISSUE 1

Class of 1976 Endowed Wesleyan Scholarship

Valerie Acosta ’20, Bronx, NY

Susan Avitzour and husband Dan returned from a trip to Tenerife, Canary Islands, where they went on a dolphin- and whale-watching boat trip. They have five grandchildren with a sixth expected in June. Susan is semi-retired and looking for a literary agent for her novel. Unfortunately, Dan is having some health problems.

Carol Bellhouse had dinner in LA with David Bickford, Chris Vain, Juliet Green, and Susan Gans ’75. She attended the Sundance Film Festival. She has five films in the works.

Richard Berka provided the sad news that his  wife, Carmen Valle, a physician, passed away in 2014 after a long battle with breast cancer. Their son, Richard, Jr., got his master’s in marine biology at James Cook University in Australia and is going to  veterinarian school in Perth. Their daughter, Della, is a sophomore at Yale. Richard is in-house counsel at Greenman-Pedersen, Inc., and lives in Brightwaters, N.Y.

Sidney Cohen and wife Carol live in Pleasanton, Calif. Sidney works for Medtronic in clinical research overseeing cardiovascular research. He recently became a grandfather and spends as much time as he can visiting his grandson and family in Philadelphia. Sid would like to hear from all:

Lawrence H. Davis and wife Ronna visited Wes in October and enjoyed visiting the Earth and Environmental Sciences department. Last year, they visited Cuba and Spain, and this year Lawrence is planning a fishing trip to Bolivia and a trip to Estonia. Son Max returned to the U.S. after seven years in Israel, and daughter Ilana ’06, who is the mother of their two grandchildren, is continuing her law career.

Michael Donnella, who is living in El Dorado, Ark., had a Wesleyan football weekend in LA hosted by David Carlisle, who is the president of Charles Drew University. Mike reports that David has brought the university from the brink of closure to a thriving concern. Michael Bell and James Gaither ’77, and two of Mike’s children, joined him for the game. Mike enjoyed Christmas/Hanukkah with Ely Leichtling and Sally Merrell of Milwaukee.

Elizabeth Eisenmann learned carpentry while building a new studio in her basement for her collection of “vintage” Singer sewing machines and cabinets. She went on her first cruise to the Caribbean.

Ronald Epstein’s book Attending Medicine, Mindfulness and Humanity has just come out in paperback. See pp. 20–23 for more on his work.

Barry Fogel is beginning his 36th year in environmental law. Daughter Ella is a junior at Santa Clara University. Barry stays in touch with John Brainard, Eddie Sanchez ’74, and Steve Levin ’75, Jeff Van Nest ’75, Mark Nickerson ’75, and Jeff Prystupa ’75.

Jeff Frank is looking forward to selling his moving business and retiring in the next couple of years.

Karen Gervasoni says this column enabled her to get in touch with Larry Gilius, her old Wes boxmate. They discovered they both have adopted daughters—Lia from Vietnam and Linnea from China—who are high school juniors. Glad you could reconnect!

Debra Haffner, in her second year as the settled minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston, Va., has done her 14th protest march in D.C. since last year’s election.

Peter Hansen and wife Gail now call D.C. home. They are both doing part-time consulting, she in public health and he in construction marketing.

Josette Hendrix has been working in the Pacific Northwest through a small NGO that she founded which nurtures intercultural understanding ( She has three children and is now a grandmother. She lives on Whidbey Island on a small biodynamic farm that welcomes young aspiring farmers to apprentice for a season. She hopes to reconnect with some classmates.

Jaimee Kurfirst Mirsky is finishing up her second 20-year career (first was in advertising TV production, then high school English teacher). Jaimee has been married for 38 years and has two children who teach. Her first grandchild is on the way.

Abe Yale‘s youngest son, Alex, married Amy Gold on New Year’s Eve in Boston. The newlyweds went gorilla tracking in Uganda, on safari in Tanzania, and relaxing on the beach in Zanzibar. Alex works for Facebook and Amy for Google, both in NYC. Daughter Alison is about to give birth to granddaughter number two. Congratulations, Abe!

My family spent Christmas in London where we visited our daughter, Lindsey, who is living abroad until June. It was great having everyone together. We had some fun, and I met up with my friend Paul Hannon, an Irish journalist with whom I shared a London flat the year after graduation.

The Wesleyan Chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon (Gamma Phi) had its 150th anniversary this year, and a lot of the brothers were back to celebrate. I was sorry that I had to miss it, but glad to see that so many of the old gang got together.

If you have not written in a while—or ever—please do. Nicholson 6, Harriman Hall, West College, Chi Psi: speak up!

Mitchell Marinello |