CLASS OF 1989 | 2021–2022 | WINTER ISSUE

Our collective class of ’89 good-newsy update is . . . we’re still here. Seriously, cheers to that y’all.

Life is still being lived and we’re going to celebrate this thankful fact with news from some of our classmates:

Lesley Savin reports that she is no longer snowboarding y’all. She is living full time in South Florida now and is currently working as a realtor for Illustrated Properties—selling beautiful homes of all shapes and sizes while making people’s home-owning dreams a reality! (Me next please, Lesley!)

Fun fact: Two of our classmates now have daughters who will also be classmates. Kim Slote and Stephanie Dolgoff bumped into each other (virtually) at an orientation for the parents of incoming students at Sarah Lawrence. Each of their daughters—Kim’s daughter Kate and Stephanie’s daughter Vivian—are now freshmen there.

Stephanie is the mom of twins. So she did the drop-off drill twice and says this: “I’m outrageously proud of my kids Leo and Vivian for earning their places in School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Sarah Lawrence, respectively. But I’m also really proud of myself for only voicing a version of ‘back when WE went off to college. . . ‘ 13,000 times, instead of acting on the urge closer to 13,033 times. My reward is I can go into their room and retrieve everything they ‘borrowed’ from me over the last 18 years.”

My own freshman Foss 6 roommate, Michele Chase, was back on Wesleyan’s campus this year to drop off her son Alessandro—Wesleyan class of 2025. Woohoo, let’s GO! Sidebar: Yes, the Wesleyan housing overlords put two “Micheles-with-one-L” (one from California and the other from New York City each with an interest in some sort of science major at the time) together in a two-room double freshman year because . . . Wesleyan has jokes. I made a friend for life though. So, #winning!

Hearing about students starting college has me in my (good, warm, fuzzy) feelings and thinking about the company that Elizabeth “Betsey” Schmidt has launched!

Betsey is CEO and Founder of MeshED. Imagine a company that engages students of all backgrounds in project-based learning experiences and archives them. So by the time that student gets around to applying to colleges (and/or pursues a professional position somewhere), they have an archive of their works of imagination, social justice, environmental stewardship, etc. So good and also I’m pretty sure I’m glossing over the good they do. So read up on them!

Til next time y’all!

CLASS OF 1989 | 2021 | ISSUE 1

Hey classmates. We are thankful that if you’re reading this, you have made it this far through a historically meaningful, utterly challenging (and traumatizing/RE-traumatizing), and in some ways hopeful time.

We are with you. We want to hear from you; and we can’t wait to roll or slide down Foss Hill again—shout out to Mocon trays—with you someday when we can “reunion” again in person. Until then, please keep being “here” and take good care.

CLASS OF 1989 | 2020 | ISSUE 3

THANK YOU for writing in, in such enormous numbers. Here’s the mildly edited LONG version of what’s happening in the class of 1989!

Having just rescued a dog named Smokey, Stephanie Dolgoff is totally smitten with him and has decided to make is official: “I’m engaged to marry my dog, and as happy as I’ve ever been.” (lol)

Colleen McKiernan is on the Board of the Waltham Fields Community Farm, a non-profit farm with a CSA and educational programs. She has been working to prevent this 400 year old farmland from being sold by the State of Massachusetts and after a two year campaign hopes to secure permanent protection through the state legislature this year.  The Farm donates 20% of its food, including to school lunch programs.  She invites any support for this organization from her classmates. 

Phil Rutovitz has been living in The Hague for the past 6 years with his wife and 3 kids.  After 23 years living in Europe, he finds it very strange to view from afar what the United States is going through now.  Although, as British citizen, he recently had to secure a resident permit to stay in the Netherlands which was surreal in its own way. After his company restructured in November, he started his own fintech consulting business.  In his copious free time, he was able to finish his first novel, a thriller called The Scarabus Deception, and is looking for an agent. 

Durba Ghosh writes from Cornell, where she has been on the faculty for 15 years.  She estimates she is one of about a zillion historians who were undergraduate majors who are now in faculty positions across the country.  Her son is a sophomore soccer player at Hamilton College and her daughter is entering her junior year in high school.  She thought the best college tour to date was at Wesleyan and the highlight seeing Brian O’Rourke behind the counter at the diner, and sitting on Foss Hill once again. 

Early on, Phineas Baxandall was feeling very grateful during quarantine because his son came back from college and senior-in-high-school daughter was home much more. They spent lots of time playing board games, watching old movies, and doing ceramics in their basement kiln. Then the kids got squirrelly as the months dragged on, until they started spending time in Cape Cod. Eventually, both kids went off to their college towns.  Now, he and his partner Sarah get to live the quiet remote-work life with lots of long runs  and swims and few people. In October, they’ll be returning to Cambridge to continue calling and writing letters to swing-state voters. 

2020 would have been a big year for Debra Steppel even without Covid-19: her firstborn graduated from high school and left for Arizona State University and she and her husband marked 22 years in the same home in Reston, VA.  It has also been 10 years since her husband Mark founded Sunrise Wealth Management, where they both work to help their clients plan their financial futures. 

John Hlinko is still living in Washington, DC, but he travels to many exotic locations, such as the living room, the kitchen, and the couch.  He did manage to get in a Vegas trip just before the plague hit with fellow 89’ers Sneep Wadhwa and Adam Long, and he looks forward to another trip with them sometime before 2030.  He is spending most of his time these days running Left Action, a progressive activist community currently focused on avoiding a fascist takeover.  But he did manage to write a second book — Pandemic Pickup Lines — a collection of groaners which no doubt offended many, but which also managed to raise $12,000 for José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen, to fight pandemic-related hunger. 

In October, Amy Randall organized the Twin Pandemics Forum, an interdisciplinary 2-day event in Santa Clara responding to COVID-19 and racial injustice.  It was co-hosted by the Center for the Arts and Humanities and the Bannan Forum in the Ignatian Center.  She is also finding California to still be wonderful but stressful. For over three weeks she couldn’t be outside because the air was so toxic from the fires surrounding her home.  She has been sheltering in place for over 6 months — although things have begun to open up more recently. As a professor and historian of 20th century European history (with a focus on the Soviet Union) — and gender and genocide — she no longer thinks it is alarming to suggest that authoritarianism if not fascism is on the march in the United States. If you don’t agree with her and think she’s wrong, she hopes you are right. 

Laura Hardin still works as a testifying expert on damages issues in international arbitrations for Alvarez and Marsal out of Houston. This November she will be cross examined in a virtual hearing for the first time.  In her personal life, she is settling into being an empty-nester and focusing on being healthy.  Over the last year she lost 160 lbs and is happy to share tips on how she is literally half the woman she used to be.  She now runs 8-10 miles every other day and cross trains with a Peloton bike and weights. She has run 2 half marathons since January and feels fantastic.  She is also riding my horses again and plans to start competing again next year.  Her daughter Samantha is in her second year at Colorado State Graduate Veterinary school and doing her first two years in Fairbanks, AK.  Her son Michael is in his third year of the Electrical Engineering program at the University of Texas. 

Robin (Allen) McGrew and her family just passed the one-year mark living in the energy efficient house she designed in Washington DC. The house is designed to the Passive House standard for energy efficiency and uses roughly 80% less energy than a code-built house. Photovoltaics on the roof are modeled to make the house net zero energy on an annual basis. The house has been comfortable in every season which they have gotten to know intimately since they have been working from home for the past seven months. Should would love to hear from anyone curious about Passive House design, which is a proven way to lower the carbon impact of the construction industry and make a dent in global warming.  

Julie Strauss and Joel Brown are “remarkably still happily married, even though they work, sleep, exercise, eat and whatever else in the same damn house. All. The. Time.  Joel ostensibly continues to work as an attorney but it feels more like a grossly overpaid scheduler of Zoom sessions.  Julie’s business of running content rich lectures for senior citizens dried up although some of her business has now returned through virtual offerings.  Their son, Ezra started graduate school in Non-Profit Development work at the University of Michigan. With Ezra continuing his life in Ann Arbor, they are able to visit with the esteemed Dr. David Bradley and his lovely family, long-time residents of Ann Arbor.  David and Joel were one-time Hi-Rise roommates, and would both be living large today had they only launched their much-discussed line of “Soup and Cous”.  David will have to settle for a career of fixing children heart defects at the U of M Medical Center.  Julie and Joel’s younger son, Jonathan, is a sophomore at the University of Illinois studying drums and communications.

Chris Roberts and his oldest daughter, Beatrix ’22, drove from their home in Austin up to Middletown so she could move into Low Rise and quarantine for the start of her junior year. She’s an American Studies major and a Dance minor.  Daughter Willa is a freshman “at” McGill University in Montreal, but is actually doing her studies in a pod in New York with similarly remote students. Chris and his wife Alexis (Neaman) ’90 also have India, a high school sophomore.  Chris hasn’t been to his office since March 12 and is not expected back until January, but is still somehow busier than ever.  

Marjorie Levine-Clark reports her household of three (plus dog, Theo) has been cozily working remotely since March. Isabel (‘22) was already on spring break in Denver when Wesleyan announced campus would be closed for the rest of term. Michael (’92) and Isabel flew back to Wes to get all her stuff right on the edge of danger. Marjorie is still happily a professor of history and associate dean for diversity, outreach, and initiatives at the University of Colorado Denver; and reports more on some deeply interesting projects that she is spearheading and that her partner is working on too!

Indy Neidell reports that life in Sweden has been as weird as anywhere else this year.  He was sick with Covid-19 the entire month of May, but is doing better now and is very busy with his new Youtube series “WW2 in Real Time.”   

Jeffrey Naness continues in his work in employment and labor law for employers, as well as playing keyboards in a couple of rock bands (to the extent the Pandemic allows). His two sons are in college, Muhlenberg College (PA) and Colgate University (NY).

Alexandra Aron shares that “a few months ago, I formally incorporated a non-profit theater company, The Remote Theater Project (RTP), an initiative to bring underrepresented international artists to perform in the US.  On the Board of Directors are two ’89 alumnae: Julia Brock (formerly Julia Randall) and Wendy Trippe. RTP commissioned, developed and produced  GREY ROCK by Palestinian writer/director Amir Nizar Zuabi which premiered at La MaMa Theatre last year. We brought Palestinian actors from the West Bank and Israel to LaMaMa Theater. The production was subsequently invited to the Melbourne International Arts Festival and returned earlier to the US earlier this year for a 5-week tour including at the Kennedy Center, The Public Theatre/ Under the Radar, The Guthrie Theatre, and Kimmel Center in Phili. The tour ended (thankfully) in mid-February just before Covid hit. RTP is currently developing several more projects: a collaboration with actor-writers from Uganda and Palestine, as well as one based in East Africa and involving artists from 5 countries (Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania).  I never would have imagined forming this company two years ago.The support of Wendy and Julia has been instrumental. I am incredibly grateful to them and to the many other Wes. alums who turned out for and supported Grey Rock.” Also, Alexandra’s daughter Sofia Aslan ‘23 is in CSS at Wesleyan now and loving it.

Finally, we were so very sad to hear of the passing of our classmate Michael Mahon. Mike died suddenly, at home, on May 20th 2020. He was an English major, swimmer, marathon runner, avid outdoorsman and lover of life. An excellent storyteller, he loved to regale his friends with their adventures (and misadventures), with a twinkle in his eye and an infectious laugh. A New Jersey native, Mike lived in NYC after graduation, working at ABC News. He later moved to Boston and a career in advertising and marketing. At the time of his death, he lived in Quincy. He is survived by his husband of 10 years, Peter Damon, extended family, and many, many friends. Many of you were his friends. We send our Wes best to his family, framily, friends and fellow classmates grieving this loss. May his memory be for a blessing.

Stay safe and stay in touch, classmates. 

Jonathan Fried | 

Michele Barnwell |

CLASS OF 1989 | 2020 | ISSUE 1

Kevin Heffernan lives in Boston, where he practices landlord/tenant and family law as a solo practitioner. He is looking forward to judging a high school moot court competition, which is probably as close to wearing the black robes as he expects to get. His two wonderful boys (8 and 11) make him laugh almost every day. He hopes to get back into geezer jock baseball after a five-year layoff due to coaching and old age.

In August 2018, Mark Mullen welcomed into the world his son, Archie, who has just started walking and talking, in addition to his normal hobbies of shaking lamps and putting shoes on his forearms and waving them around. Mark and his wife, Julie, are in San Francisco, where she is doing an MBA at Hult. He is also working hard on a national voter turnout effort. In addition, Luka Mullen ’23 is at Wesleyan and loving it.

Pam Greenspon is a general pediatrician in Las Vegas, where she has lived for nearly 16 years, growing to love the beauty in the desert, particularly the amazing winters. She married Jeff Ng, a family doctor, and has a son at the University of Arizona and a daughter who will graduate from high school this spring. In her free time, she is active in the Nevada chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, where she is the president and involved with advocacy, education, and community events for children and pediatricians. She also finds time for an improvisation ensemble called Judg(e)ment City. She hasn’t been back for Reunion in some time, but if anyone is visiting Las Vegas, she would be happy to provide insider tips.

Marc Brotman and Sabrina Zook are married with two sons. Their younger son Alex ’23 just finished his first semester at Wesleyan. He is living in the same dorm as Sabrina did freshman year and is happy there. Their family just came back from the Galapagos and highly recommends it for anyone looking to see unique wildlife.

Holly Adams does arts-in-ed projects, narrating audiobooks, and performing circus/stage combat. Also, spending time with her wonderful family.

After being a “seriously amateur” photographer for 40 years, Dave Eichler finally gave in to the encouragement of everyone in his life and took the plunge in 2019 to share his work with the world. He culled through 160,000 images in his database, built an e-commerce site (, and has been invited to exhibit by galleries in nine states. He’s also been accepted as an artist-in-residence at the Burren College of Art in Ireland later this year. This doesn’t replace his work running his PR agency, Decibel Blue, that turns 15 years old this year, but it sure is a fulfilling activity.

Seth Kaplan has shifted from doing policy work for a renewable energy company to working on the development of one big offshore wind farm off Massachusetts. He and his (“law professor and smarter than me”) wife Liz and have achieved one particular type of parenting success, as their eldest Juliana graduated from college (Barnard at Columbia) and is now employed as an associate editor (taking freelance pitches) at Business Insider and living in NYC. Their middle child, Daniella, is enjoying Dean College in Franklin, Mass., and the youngest (Ben) is attending and complaining about Brookline High School. During the rare moments when he is not working or with the family, he can usually be found walking the dog or listening to the Promised Podcast featuring his sister, Allison ’86, or biking to and from work.

Peter Badalament is doing swell, as he is now living in Portland, Maine, and serving as the proud principal of Falmouth High School. He sees some ol’ Wes friends on occasion, but since he’d need permission to mention them here, and that’s a hassle, they will go nameless . . .

Phineas Baxandall’s daughter is starting University of Vermont next year and his son is at UC Berkeley, where he especially enjoys playing Ultimate Frisbee. Phineas is playing in an over-40 league that he once would have snickered at. He still works at a think tank on Massachusetts policies to improve the lives of low- and moderate-income people, spending a lot of time geeking out on transportation and tax policy. He and his partner spent a lot of time in Cape Cod over the summer and recently put a kiln in their basement for ceramics.

Nancy Curran moved out to Portland, Ore., after vet school and lives there with her wife. She feels somewhat bi-coastal because she returns to Long Island frequently to visit friends and family and to manage her mom’s care. She’s also close to finishing a master’s in mental health counseling, which she undertook to be a resource to helping professionals and caregivers struggling with grief, compassion fatigue, and burnout. She’s still a practicing veterinarian so it’s been a busy time, but she is loving Portlandia with its amazing restaurants and the great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest.

Stephanie Dolgoff is planning to spend her next 52 years unlearning everything she thought she knew in her last 52. Turns out she was wrong about some stuff. In all seriousness, she is enjoying the hell out of her kids (who are starting the college application craziness themselves), also good books, and people who get it. Fortunately, she has many, many who do.

Melissa Herman and her family are going to spend a sabbatical year in Berlin, Germany, for the 2020-2021 school year. Anyone passing through should give her a ring and she will show you around Berlin, which is full of great cultural and historical sites, plus fun restaurants and bars.

Co-class secretary Michele Barnwell gave a TEDx talk on “Scripting Your Own Reality”—that shares the crazy outrageous personal story of exactly HOW she ended up at Wesleyan as our classmate. It’s a troubling story that she revealed the secrets of on the TEDxUStreetWomen stage. Search for it on YouTube!

Lastly, shout out to our Dallas, Texas, based classmate, Kelem Butts, who answered our crazy question about how you all might splurge with $25K that you could only spend on travel! He says he’d snag two business class airline tickets and: “Lori and I would go to Buenos Aires in July.” He notes that “it has everything that we love about travel; great walkability, fantastic shopping for both of us, excellent food, good friends to visit, and probably the best wine you’ll find in the world.” He’s thinking six or seven days and might even sneak over to Montevideo, Uruguay; since it’s just a short ferry ride away!

Hoping this is a year full of a lot of goodness for each of you. Write soon

Jonathan Fried | 

Michele Barnwell |

CLASS OF 1989 | 2019 | ISSUE 3

It’s a quiet quarter for Michele and Jonathan’s report, Maybe because everyone is still recovering from our 30th Reunion . . . or just *life*. We get it. We blew it, by not telling you in our previous notes that our very own Alexander Chee and Jenno Topping received alumni awards at our last Reunion which is cooler than cool.

Okay, onto the present. We heard from a few folks and this is what they had to say:

Allison Downer wrote in sharing a (funny) summer beach mishap—which involved repeatedly falling out of a new beach chair she never set up before, triggering “an existential crisis” . . . From what we gather, she’s used to the chair attendant setting up her sunbathing spot on vacations so when she attempted to do it on her own it was a big DON’T. Oopsie. We’re glad you got some chillaxing time in this summer, Allison.

Stephan Kline writes: “My younger son (Benjy Kline ’23) is a proud and enthusiastic member of Wes 2023. He joins his brother Noah ’21 on campus. Oh, Oregon is an awesome place to visit, all of it!”

Dave Keller spent a good chunk of the summer on tour with his band in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic, performing songs from his Blues Music Award-nominated album, Every Soul’s a Star. He is busy planning his first European tour, writing songs for his next album, and raising his two teenage daughters.

Ethan Vesley-Flad moved to Accra with his family to spend a year (or more!) in Ghana. He was grateful to see so many classmates at the 30th shortly before leaving the U.S. He just missed seeing former roommate Paul Klehm in Ghana, but hopes to host one (or more!) Wes friends in the coming months.

Meanwhile, we’ll be trolling your inboxes in the next quarter looking for your updates. Happy winter!

Jonathan Fried | 

Michele Barnwell |

CLASS OF 1989 | 2019 | ISSUE 2

With our Reunion weekend (now months) behind us, we get it. Fair enough. Y’all are drained of sharing. We’re now in the oversharing phase of our relationship (haha!) and we all just want to roll over and snooze. We totally get it.

We’ll just take this space to say thank you, ’89ers. You show up in different ways for your Wes family—even if only in the yummy internal memories that you marinate on and share with your own community wherever you are in the world. We appreciate you.

So, squeeze yourselves and please plan to make it to our 35th (early plug). Pro-tip: Staying in the dorms felt a little like going camping replete with your friends in their jammies shuffling to the loo in the morning after the bugle screamed through the air. The accommodations paired well with the where-is-my-bed-please-people, post-karaoke sheen we were sporting in the wee hours (or just me?).

Lastly, a thought . . . When did our class notes become solely about our achievements? We should continue to share victories. Yes, let’s! What if we also add something a bit of a Q&A to that?

Let’s try this. For our next round of notes—which we’ll be seeking your updates sooner rather than later—let’s all answer: Describe where you would go and what you would do if someone wiped out all of your debt, put $25k in your savings account, gave you three first-class airline tickets, and another $25k in spending money. Yet, you cannot save any of the spending money. It must be spent on travel, food, lodging, and fun only. Where would you go and what would you do when you got there?

Check out our next notes to find out how your classmates answered this.

Jonathan Fried | 

Michele Barnwell |

CLASS OF 1989 | 2019 | ISSUE 1

Class of 1989 Scholarship
Emily Boddewyn ’22, New York, NY

We are ALL turning 30 years-young, this year. We are. Thirty years of post-college adulting, so why don’t we meet up on campus this year for our 30th Reunion? Anyone?! Bueller?

In an effort to get us all in the mood, here are some of the suggestions from our O.G. (original gangsta) class secretary, Stephanie Dolgoff—who first penned and posted her list of Reunion rules on our 1989 class Facebook group prior to our 25th Reunion. She has now updated said-original list with some added wisdom for our 30th Reunion.

NOTE: These are only “rules” in the Wesleyan sense of a rule/non-rule/do-what-you-please-anyway idea because . . . Wesleyan. Here are Stephanie’s witty words. Enjoy!

I think we need some new, 30th Reunion (!) rules, or, since it’s Wes, “guidelines for inclusive and inoffensive communal comportment.”

1. No one is allowed to say, “Geez, can you believe how !@#$ old we are.” Suggest: “I don’t know about you, but my years of accrued wisdom have served me astonishingly well!”

2. No one should say “I’m so sorry” when you tell them you’re divorced. Rather: “I never met him/her, but I’m sure he/she was totally unworthy of your obvious wonderfulness. I hope he or she is a good co-parent.” Update: When you introduce your new partner to your old friends, the appropriate reply is, “You know you scored, right? He/she/they looks even better now that he/she/they has put on some much-needed abdominal fat and lost all that pesky excess head hair.”

3. No one is to ask any creative person if he or she is working on a second book/screenplay/multimedia installation/rock opera/[fill in the blank]. Especially not a book. The answer is yes, sort of, in my mind, or not, please shut up. Update: You are especially not allowed to ask Stephanie this.

4. The only appropriate greeting is, “I am so happy to see you. You look fantastic.” You can leave off “But I can’t remember your name.” Update: Now this last part is permissible, because really, who remembers anything anymore?

5. Everyone is to offer his or her name, even if they think the person surely must remember that time they made out after some party sometime, you think, or maybe it was her roommate. Update: Or maybe it was at the 25th Reunion.

6. No one is to be put in the position to justify his or her [update: or their] life choices, and no one should feel compelled to do so. For example, “You’re married? But weren’t you militantly polyamorous in college?” Let it be hereby stated for the record that being a stay-at-home parent officially counts as work and you don’t also have to have a blog about it to be considered worthwhile. Update: F— yeah.

7. Everyone gets to complain about how the current gym is so much better than what we had back in the day, and the student center and the housing, too. Update: And the students. The students are better now than they were then, too. Especially the children of alumni.

8. Agree to dispense with any discussions of cosmetic injectables, hair coloring, or intestinally restrictive undergarments as valid feminist choices. Update: Everyone shares his/her/their dermatologist/colorist/bra-fitter’s personal cell number. And most effective pharmaceutical antidepressant regimen and probiotic supplement. And which foods we are intolerant of. And your ideal CBD/THC ratio. Everyone shares everything, basically, because who remembers anything anymore?

Entirely new adds to the list:

9. Propose we assume we all agree about the state of the government and the state of political discourse and refrain from having any. Even if that’s not true, what the hell is the point?

10. People without children, people with grandchildren, people with children living in their basements and cooking meth . . . No judgments.

11. Everyone should ask about one another’s kid, child, offspring, or loin fruit, as opposed to son or daughter. Odds are good that at least one of everyone’s family is no longer the gender they were assigned at birth.

12. No recording the sounds any of us makes when we try to stand up from our Foss Hill blankets and posting them on social. And no competitive step taking . . . leave your FitBits at home.

Let’s keep this list growing on our Class of 1989 Facebook page; but if you’re not on Facebook, ping a classmate who is and have them add your wisdom for you.

While we might like to include the updates we merely witness from Reunion in the next issue, that’s not how this works. We are not investigative reporters and we’re not on duty the whole time either. We will ask for updates, but we won’t be aiming to surprise you by printing unapproved ones.

Bottom line: Come to campus. Party, connect, eat, have deep conversations, or keep it totally shallow. Your pick. Just show up. It’ll be a better memory with you in it. Registration and more information can be found here: We sincerely hope to see you on campus!

Jonathan Fried | 

Michele Barnwell |