CLASS OF 1979 | 2020 | ISSUE 3

Hello everyone. I hope all of you have been weathering the pandemic and various levels of sheltering at home as well as you can. My husband and I (Diane) have been pretty much staying sequestered in our home but are cautiously optimistic about 2021. 

On that subject, Peter Cherr passed along his innovative approach to uplifting us: “In April, in response to COVID-19, I started a Haiku project called “Haiku in the Time of Corona Virus” in hopes of bringing some peace and calm and perhaps respite for people in this trying time. Toward this goal, I write and post on Instagram at least one Haiku every day with an accompanying picture which I hope uplifts people. The project can be found on my page @peter_c_cherr, and also, by the end of December, the website will have published 27 Haiku in their “Poetry Corner.” I have posted over 160 Haiku on Instagram to date and will have posted over 250 by year-end. The project will continue daily into next year while we wait for the pandemic crisis to ease.” 

Barbara Woike retired from the Associated Press in New York in March 2019 after being a photo editor there for 32 years. “My husband Jim McNamara and I decided to try small town living, surrounded by nature, so we sold our Brooklyn co-op and moved to the Berkshires. We now live in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, a stone’s throw from the Red Lion Inn and the Main Street that still looks pretty much the way it did when Norman Rockwell painted it half a century ago. We couldn’t have been better placed when COVID-19 struck, and we’re enjoying our new lifestyle, but it is sad to see Tanglewood and all the other cultural attractions shut down and the local economy suffering.” 

 Cliff Hendel recently authored a chapter in a collective work published in Spain called A La Sombra—Actores Secundarios de la Historia. Each of the 57 chapters pairs a leading historical figure with another person who has remained “in the shadows” but without whom the historical figure would not have reached the status/notoriety he/she enjoys. His chapter had a certain Wesleyan connection. It involved the relation between Hamilton (relatively unknown, even in the United States, before Chernow’s biography and Miranda’s musical) and Washington (a global demi-god). Cliff continues to live in Madrid, practicing law and finding time to be a patron of the Fundación Española Pro Bono and to coach a team of law students from Madrid’s Universidad Carlos III in the annual Vis Moot competition.

Laura Walker, with an accomplished career most notably for transforming New York Public Radio into an independent media powerhouse and for spearheading successful, innovative initiatives at Sesame Workshop and Carnegie Hall, was recently appointed president of Bennington College. Congrats, Laura!

Ben Solnit reports that he has been running Zoom board meetings for the ACLU of Connecticut and the Morris Land Trust. Virtual mini-reunions were attended by Kitty Hannaford, John Hatleberg, Maura Resnick, Kate Sutherland, Laura Tully, and Laura Walker, along with many spouses. Ben is also taking a class with Professor Emeritus Herbert Arnold on Wolfram von Eschenbach’s masterpiece Parzival. “If 2020 has you down, medieval literature is the way to go.”

In an impassioned plea for environmental action, Ellen Reiter writes “All I can say is glad I’m old . . . I’ve been a climate activist since the 70s, but seeing negative results: climate change is out of control, and we humans, in my opinion, sit atop the endangered species list and indeed deserve to go extinct! Sorry, not sorry, world needs to stop burning fossil fuels, destroying ecosystems and waging endless war, all in the name of run-amok capitalism and systemic racism.” She also shares that she has recently relocated from San Francisco to Ocala, Florida to care for her very cool parents!

Casey Dinges retired after 35 years at ASCE working on infrastructure issues.

Diane MacLean Boumenot has retired from the American Mathematical Society and now works as a professional genealogist specializing in southern New England. Her website is Diane published a guide to Rhode Island genealogy through the National Genealogical Society in 2018.

In our last issue, Ann reported on the passing of Joe Britton. Our former co-class secretary, Gary Breitbord, passed along the following message after we went to print on that issue: “Joe Britton passed away in May. He was my third-floor sophomore year roommate; one of my best friends in the world; my brother in every sense of the word; a staunch defender of DKE; a loving father, son, brother, husband and grandfather. He was the best of us. Please keep his family, wife Nancy, son Scott, daughter Paige, and granddaughter Madison in your thoughts and prayers. Also take a moment to remember the times and stories that made Joe such a great friend and such a special person. God bless and rest in peace.” 

Please send us news for our next issue. We are part of a wonderful community. Connections to our friends, no matter how long it’s been since we last saw each other, are important and bring joy even, maybe even especially, in these challenging times.

Ann Biester Deane |

Diane LaPointe |

CLASS OF 1979 | 2020 | ISSUE 2

From the epicenter of the coronavirus, New York City, I (Ann) hope all of you are safe and well. Most of my neighbors fled the City in March (and spread the disease), so the eerie quiet continues.

Elisabeth Inomata is one of the assiduous teachers in our class. “I am online teaching as an ESL and JBL (Japanese bilingual) teacher at the intermediate school in Fort Lee, N.J. Grateful for my hardworking students!”

Tina Palmer said, “I am one of the zillion teachers who had to learn how to teach remotely in a weekend! It has been a huge learning curve, and between trying to figure out the best way to teach four different high school math classes and finish a graduate-level class online, it has been surreal. Our second son, wife, and 17-month-old moved down two weeks into the quarantine. He was trying to work from home, and she was suffering from horrible morning sickness. They needed help, and we welcomed being shut in with one of our grands! Life is very busy and very different. We went from empty nest to full and overflowing with two of us having to create home offices! My husband is a pastor, so he has time during the week to be in charge of childcare. He does the service on Facebook Live each Sunday, with me as a reader and sound technician. We are blessed with family and to still have paychecks coming in. We are well.”

Jono Cobb is another classmate teaching online: “Hope you and yours are all well during this time of upheaval. Glad we were able to have our class Reunion last year! I’ve just finished my spring semester of teaching the latter half of which was all conducted online. It had its pros and cons, but there’s no legitimate substitute for the face-to-face version. That said, I’m reluctant to return to the classroom until long after the pandemic has swept through which I strongly doubt will be before the second semester of the upcoming school year.”

Sean Barlow and Banning Eyre are now producing Afropop Worldwide from their home on Pearl Street in Middletown! “It seems we evacuated Brooklyn at an opportune moment. We’re gradually digitizing our field archive here in the house, and keeping busy, which is a blessing!”

Jonathan Raab writes in: “My wife and I retreated for these last two months to our post-modern family compound in Stockbridge, Mass., that my architect father designed and I helped build with Ned Dewees and Kim Clark, after our sophomore year. Been working remotely full-time in my energy and climate mediation practice, including running two 300-person Zoom and WebEx conferences for our New England Electricity Restructuring Roundtable (now in its 26th year) and a sister roundtable in the mid-Atlantic. My son, who works full-time as the first director of Instagram at Nat Geo, had to delay his Stockbridge wedding for a year. My daughter, who manages a restaurant at the Four Seasons in Jackson Hole, is furloughed for the time being.

“My firm Stuart Cohen & Julie Hacker Architects LLC is working remotely with staff on our projects. There is still construction allowed in Illinois, so projects, thankfully, are still moving forward slowly, but that’s something! I am Zooming with everyone, it seems, and it is the best way I have found to communicate with clients, consultants, and contractors. Although nothing beats going to a jobsite. I do that with my partner on Sundays. I managed to get a PPP loan with difficulty, although it is hard to know what staff I will need after the two months of loan forgiveness is up. Family is scattered around the country but safe, so that is a blessing. I found out that my good friend from Wesleyan, Douglas Bass ’78, died from complications from COVID-19, and it broke my heart. What a crazy, creative soul he had. I will miss him dearly. Stay safe, friends, and keep a sense of humor. I feel like a character in Waiting for Godot.”

Mark Miller contributed some sad news: “I just learned that classmate Alison Goodzeit Aller, passed away in December. She was a Foss 9 dormmate freshman year and a good friend for the next 10 years. I lost track of her in the mid-1980s when I moved back to the Midwest. I will always remember her quiet smile and knowing looks.”

It is with profound sadness that we inform you of Joe Britton’s passing. Former President of DKE, he was adored and respected by all who knew him. An avid sports player and fan, he will be remembered fondly. His full obituary can be found at

Ann Biester Deane |

Diane LaPointe |

CLASS OF 1979 | 2020 | ISSUE 1

As I (Diane) write these notes, it is a beautiful warm day in January in San Diego. Just enjoyed a magnificent sunset on the beach. I really don’t miss the East Coast in the winter, although I know some of you are skiers and other cold-weather lovers. By the time these notes hit all of our mailboxes, it will be May and sunny and warm for all of us (except those of you in the Southern Hemisphere, I suppose).

Julie Hacker and her partner, Stuart Cohen, received a lifetime achievement award for excellence in design, academics, and scholarship from the Society of Architectural Historians. They also served as the co-editors of the Classicist, a journal of the Institute of Classical Art and Architecture, focused on Chicago and its rich architectural history. Julie sits on the local Custom Residential Architecture Network (CRAN) Steering Committee and the National CRAN Advisory Group, which is the residential arm of the AIA (American Institute of Architecture). She also serves as a preservation commissioner for the City of Evanston. Way to go, Julie!

Received a great, interesting, and fun note from John Tjia. “We are all probably at the age when we have to start thinking about the next stage in our life, regarding work and retirement. (In my case, I may be three years ahead of you as I was originally Class of ’76. I took a ‘gap year’ after sophomore year, which became three years, but that’s another class note.) I tried retiring two years ago, leaving my position as executive director at Ernst & Young’s Business Modeling Group in New York after 12 years there; however, after two months of doing crossword puzzles all morning and halfway into the afternoon at home, I thought it best to get going again. I joined MUFG (a Japanese bank) as a senior credit trainer in 2018 but then in early 2019 moved to Santander (a Spanish bank) as executive director in credit to develop a credit forecasting and analysis platform for them. It’s been a great position, and I’m not retiring (again) in the foreseeable future! That said, I seem to be getting calls from my Schwab financial advisor quite often these days. He keeps reminding me that my portfolio seems to be geared to getting market hits, but, he says, I really should be thinking more about yield and cash flow. He has a point! Longevity runs in my family (my father turned 105 in December), so I—and perhaps we all—have to think about long time horizons, it seems. On the upside, the mortgage is paid off, and my two kids have finished college, so no tuition bills anymore. Yay! As a final note, over the past 10 years or so, I have been doing oil painting as a weekend hobby and seem to have a little bit of a knack for it. I held an art show in January in the local coffee shop in Pleasantville, N.Y., where I live. I wasn’t selling them, but it was exciting to put my art out in public. Some of my paintings can be seen in the online version of these class notes. Overall, not a bad run for a Wesleyan BA in East Asian Studies! I hope everyone here and from the Class of ’76 cohort is doing well. I can be reached at”

Art by John Tjia
Art by John Tjia
Art by John Tjia

Beth Masterman writes: “My daughter, Amanda ’08, and her husband Victor had a baby on June 29, Fjord L. Karlsen. Victor is Danish, hence Fjord. In other words, I’m a grandmother! Of course, it’s a wonderful, joyful experience and still: tick tock, tick tock.”

And finally, on a sad note, our classmate, Samuel Lieber, passed away unexpectedly on June 21. At the time of his passing, he was president of Alpine Woods, L.P., which he co-founded. At Wesleyan, he majored in art. Following his graduation from Wesleyan, he attended New York University’s Stern Graduate School of Business and the NYU Real Estate Institute. Before founding Alpine, he was with Whitbread-Nolan, Inc., was a Noyes fellow with The Project for Public Spaces, and was a real estate portfolio manager with the Evergreen Funds. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends.

Please send us news for our next issue. We are part of a wonderful community. We should never forget that. Connections to our friends, no matter how long it’s been since we last saw each other, are important and bring joy.

Ann Biester Deane |

Diane LaPointe |

CLASS OF 1979 | 2019 | ISSUE 3

It was a great pleasure for all of us who attended our 40th (!) Reunion in May. While we broke the 40th Reunion attendance record, many were missed. Hope to see more in 2024.

Beth Masterman is a grandmother! Her daughter, Amanda Krenztman ’08, delivered Fjord Lillian Karlsen in June. As Beth says, “Fun!” Beth won Top Choice for Executive Coaching in the 2019 Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly reader’s choice awards. She is waiting to fill her coaching queue with lawyers.

Kimberly Carrell-Smith writes in: “I’m gradually moving into retirement, leaving my job as a history professor last spring. I’d been half-time in the Lehigh University history department for 23 years, so leaving that was bittersweet. I’m continuing with my other half-time job, running the interdisciplinary graduate program I’ve directed at Lehigh for the last 12 years. So still placing and overseeing community fellows in one year experiences with local nonprofits and local government, as well as teaching their core courses all year. Also looking forward to the birth of our first grandchild who will live only a mile away from us. I suspect that’ll be my new half-time job . . . Still in touch with my first year roommate, Lisa Giancola (was it really 44 years ago this fall that we arrived at Foss 5?), Kate Meal Goetz, Kathy Herron and her husband, Peter Scherer, Frances Sheehan, Ellen Blau, and occasionally Jane Cooper ’80. Wondering where all the other A-2 roommates and friends are these days.”

Matt Okun chimed in: “It was a wonderful 40th Reunion and we all had a great time. Certainly, the highlight of the weekend was the party at Eclectic. I had a chance to spend some time with my nephew, Alex Okun ’20, and his roommates. Just came back from Portland, Ore., where I saw Tom Valtin and his wife, Ellen, who were taking their son, Jamie, to Lewis and Clark. Expecting Jim Cummings to visit in the coming weeks. I am sending out greetings and love to all of our classmates, especially the folks in greater New York, some of whom were not able to make Reunion. I won’t forgive anyone who visits Seattle without letting me know.”

Clifford J. Hendel reports from Spain, where he has lived for more than 20 years (and which he first got to know on a Wesleyan semester abroad), that last year he left his Madrid law firm to set up a solo shop as arbitrator. Practicing under the name of HENDEL IDR, he sits in international commercial, construction, and sports disputes.

Freed from some of the constraints of collective practice, he has been dedicating substantial time to academic, pro bono, and similar matters. He coaches a Spanish university’s team in the Vis international commercial arbitration moot, is a founding patron of Pro Bono España (a platform for the dissemination, promotion and execution of pro bono work in Spain.) Next year, he will be publishing a short work analyzing the synergistic relationship between Alexander Hamilton – who has recently been restored to his rightful place in history by a musical created and composed by a Wes alumnus – and George Washington. Clifford has been enjoying watching his family grow, reporting that while he’s not sure if he likes being a grandfather, he loves having a grandson.

Ben Solnit shares that “on Aug. 10 our daughter, Rebecca, married her college sweetheart, Ben Rosenfeld, at a ceremony held at our house in Morris, Conn. Rabbi Ari Rosenberg of Temple Sholom officiated. Among the wedding guests were John Hatleberg, and his wife, Rise. Rebecca was recently promoted to the position of program manager of Teacher Pathways for the Philadelphia School District and Ben is applying for a cardiology fellowship as his residency in internal medicine draws to a close. Our other daughter, Anita, has completed her first year as an LMSW for Mt. Sinai Hospital’s Family Clinic in New York City. Audrey and I continue to enjoy our volunteer work in literacy, legal services, library groups, and nonprofits.”

Doug Pavlak reports great “news from Falmouth, Maine—the successful launch of my son, Gunter ’23, to Wesleyan! The entry process was pretty amazing. The football team was waiting with golf carts at a staging area on Lawn Avenue at Butterfield. They had everyone unloaded within less than five minutes; and all of my son’s belongings were waiting in the room when we got to it. Other small colleges take note!”

Doug Pavlak reports great “news from Falmouth, Maine— the successful launch of my son, Gunter ’23, at Wesleyan! I have to say that the entry process was pretty amazing. The football team was waiting with golf carts at a staging area on Lawn Ave. at Butterfield. They had everyone downloaded and off to a more permanent parking space within less than five minutes; and all of my son’s belongings were waiting in the room when we got to it. Other small colleges take note!”

Jono Cobb contributes that “my wife, Suzzanne, and I spent a couple of August days in beautiful Lenox, Mass. We were there to visit our daughter, Jordan, who was performing the ingenue role in The Merry Wives of Windsor at Shakespeare & Company. Harold and Vivian Brown drove from their home in western Connecticut to join us for the performance and dinner afterwards. Fortunately, in part because of the many reunions she’s attended, Suzzanne knows many of the players about whom we shared old stories and more recent news. Our bragging about Jordan included mentioning her podcasts, in which she writes, produces, and performs some of the voices, most notably Janus Descending, which has recently surpassed 100K downloads.”

Jane Marcellus is co-editor (with three colleagues in the U.K.) of The Legacy of Mad Men: Cultural History, Intermediality, and American Television.

Ann Biester Deane |

Diane LaPointe |

CLASS OF 1979 | 2019 | ISSUE 2

Hi all. Diane LaPointe here. Gary Breitbord, after many years of valiant service as our co-class secretary, has graciously passed the baton to me. Thanks for all of your hard work over the years on this, Gary!

As I write these notes, it is a beautiful late May day. Our 40th class Reunion was last weekend, and what a great weekend it was. Weather was picture perfect, and a record breaking 108 of us returned to campus. If you were unable to attend, you were missed.

Jack Freudenheim was instrumental (no pun intended) in organizing a reunion Eclectic party. He recapped: “We had a blast organizing a reunion band made up of as many alumni from the class of 1979 (give or take 10 years) as we could get to commit. People came from as far as Seattle and South Florida, with rehearsals in the spring in Katonah and Middletown for those who could attend, and the rest being organized online. We named the band The Fossils of the Moon in tribute to our beloved dining hall, home to so many concerts we all loved and the fossils that adorned the walls upstairs. Thanks to all who cheered us on; we had a great time playing for you! The following people played or sang: Charlie Berman ’76,Ann Beutler Millerick ’77, Banning Eyre, Jack Freudenheim, Wil Galison ’81, Chuck Gregory ’74, Tom Kovar ’76, Robert Levin ’81, Bill Levinson, Win Lockwood ’78, Beth Masterman, Jim Melloan ’77, Mike O’Brien ’80Matthew Penn ’80, Greg Shatan ’81, Tom Valtin, and Dirck Westervelt ’82.

The weekend included some great Weseminars including a well-attended session with terrific and extraordinarily accomplished panelists from our class, Laura Walker and Jim Friedlich. A shoutout to Rachel Christmas Derrick and Ann Schirrmeister Goldrach who compiled a photo montage slide show and accompanying sound track, respectively, for our class dinner. A great backdrop for our dinner conversation.

I think Seta Nazarian recapped Reunion best: “The proof that Wesleyan is unique lies in its people and the deep connection we share. That was proven this weekend. We never stopped loving each other; we only stopped seeing each other every day . . . ”

In other news, Deb Pearson-Woodhouse and John Woodhouse write: “Our son, John Pearson Woodhouse ’19, graduated from Wesleyan with a B.A. in math (major) and quantitative analysis (minor). We spent two full days packing up four years’ worth of accumulated items. We went on to enjoy the fabulous 40th Reunion (highlight: getting most of our dinner coop together at the dinner) and then of course seeing JP graduate on Sunday. It was a whirlwind weekend—but a great one.”

Jodi Daynard sent along the following: “I’d like to share that my family is well, and exciting things are happening: We just bought a cabin in Round Pond, Maine. My son, Alex, recently got his PhD in solar materials science from MIT and moved to California, where he’ll be working to save the world. Finally, my fourth novel, A Transcontinental Affair, is coming out Nov. 1, and it’s available for pre-order on Amazon. According to my publisher, it’s ‘A sweeping tale of adventure and danger, innovation and corruption, rivalry and romance on America’s first transcontinental train trip.’ Would love to hear from fellow Wesleyanites—you can write me via my author page on FB.”

I caught up with David Kendall at Reunion, and he is executive producing a sitcom for Netflix, which is starting production in July. It’s entitled The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia. He continues to live in Santa Monica, the proud dad of a 24-year-old daughter and 17 -year old twins (son and daughter).

Had a nice long conversation with Carol Churgin over dinner. She is making a difference in people’s lives (my words not hers) by working at a nonprofit in mental health and substance abuse, running a parenting workshop in her community, and providing a room in her home to a Rwandan refugee seeking political asylum. You inspire us, Carol!

Martha Bush wrote in to share the following: “After 25 years at SIGMA Marketing, a marketing analytics and martech firm in Rochester, N.Y., the last couple as oresident, I’ve jumped into the nonprofit world feet first. I’ve joined Foodlink, our regional food bank, as chief marketing officer. An amazing place with a mission to end hunger and build a healthier community. Rochester sadly has one of the highest childhood poverty rates in the country. I figure at our age it’s time to supercharge our pay-it-forward efforts!”

Jono Cobb updates us that he and his wife Suzzanne are looking forward to spending the summer at their Chappaquiddick house. He’s hoping to cross paths there with Banning Eyre during his annual family vacation.

Beth Masterman sent along a nice note: “I would like to express my heartfelt affection and appreciation for classmates who returned to our 40th Reunion. It was so worthwhile and so much fun! On the personal front, my daughter Amanda ’08 is expecting a baby in July, and as of January 2020, all of my three children will be married. My coaching business continues to grow, and I love it. Currently I serve as VP of events and logistics on the board of the International Coach Federation of New England. Through the ICFNE, I continue to learn, refine my skills, and meet great people.” She has lobbed a challenge for our 45th Reunion involving ukuleles. Space is limited here. More on this next issue.

Banning Eyre updates us on Afropop. “Afropop Worldwide is a Peabody Award-winning public radio series, launched by Banning and Sean Barlow in 1988. For the past 30-plus years, Sean, Banning, and their colleagues have been making field trips to Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and the Middle East recording and collecting music, interviewing artists, and shooting countless photographs and videos for the radio program and the website This summer, Afropop is moving this archive out of Brooklyn and up to Middletown where Sean and Banning now live. The idea is to organize and inventory all the media and begin digitizing the most at-risk materials. It’s a big step in a long process! Afropop has recently launched a GoFundMe campaign to underwrite this move and the early stages of protecting the archive.” Sounds awesome to me!

And finally, on a sad note, Casey Blake ’78 writes: “It is my sad duty to report that my friend and Wesleyan classmate, Karl Arnason, passed away in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., on May 12 after a long illness. Karl majored in economics at Wesleyan and later took an MBA at the University of Albany. In addition to holding positions as a project analyst for the New York Banking Department and the State Department of Transportation, he had a significant career in cycling. He was New York State cycling champion in 1982 and was then named to the national team the same year. He is survived by his wife Donna Behen and their three children, Thomas, Elisabeth, and Daniel, as well as other relatives.” See his complete obituary. He clearly exemplified what we all garnered from our Wesleyan experience by being committed to leaving his mark while on this earth by affecting the lives of others. Our condolences go out to his family.

As I write this, I (Diane) am entering my final week of work, having announced my planned early June retirement two month ago. I am looking forward to becoming more tangibly engaged in nonprofits that align with missions that are most important to my husband and me. Now is the time to truly embrace the ethos of Wesleyan—giving back and making a difference. I am looking forward to it. We will be splitting our time between our homes in California and New York and seeing more of our two children who live on opposite coasts.

Please send us news for our next issue. We are part of a wonderful community as Seta put it so eloquently above. We should never forget that.

Ann Biester Deane |

Diane LaPointe |