VOLUME 43.1 | SPRING 2021
“My wife and I are OK, living in a comfortable assisted-living apartment — but out of touch with Kenyon friends.”
— G. Bruce Hartmann, Nashville
“Still alive and kicking. Plan to relocate to a senior apartment in Old Saybrook that would be closer to stores. I have been married to two wonderful women, but both died of cancer. Currently waiting out the pandemic and keeping myself busy.”
— William R. Townsend, Deep River, Connecticut
“In early 1955, Private E-2 Smith arrived in Tokyo after a two-week troop ship voyage. Walking along Ginza (a main drag) on a Sunday afternoon in uniform, I was approached by a lieutenant in uniform. Had to salute and did. As the lieutenant returned the salute, we recognized each other — it was John S. VerNooy ’52. We’d both played lacrosse for Bill Styles. We decided to have dinner at a nearby sushi restaurant. John had been stationed up north in Sendai, was familiar with Japanese food and ordered for both of us. He was deft with ohashi (chopsticks) and went for the sashimi with gusto, dipping it in a lemon juice and salt mix. Emulating him, I dipped what looked like eel in the juice. When it writhed, I balked. John retrieved it and consumed it with alacrity. We split the cost of the meal, which took most of John’s Japanese money. I loaned him 600 yen ($1.67) for cab fare, and we parted, wishing each other well. Over the years I’ve read bits about John in the Alumni Bulletin and, in due course, of his death. Vaya con Dios, John.”
— David Y. Smith, Newbury Park, California
“We are quite busy in Africa, particularly Morocco, Côte d’Ivoire and Djibouti, supplying our proprietary solar-driven water purification and desalination systems. We’re also active in the Caribbean and Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas. I expect to sell my company in the next 18 months and retire but continue as board chair.”
— Quentin T. Kelly, Hopewell, New Jersey, founder and CEO of WorldWater and Solar Technologies, Inc.
“When reading the most recent Bulletin, I was sorry to read of the passing of my four-year soccer teammates J. Wilson ‘Fergie’ Ferguson, David ‘Saint’ Cummings, and Boulton D. ‘Bo’ Mohr. Luckily, in the past few years we all saw each other with our wives at Kenyon reunions. In the 1950s, soccer was not a well-known sport. Kenyon played but seven games per year, vanquishing Ohio U., Dayton, Ohio State and Michigan State. Today, teams from these schools are not seen in Gambier playing Kenyon’s excellent soccer teams, but in our winning 1954 season we scored more goals than the football team scored points. My running days at Kenyon and many years thereafter have been replaced by the daily use of my cane or walker, caused in part by athletic injuries of the past. Of course, I do not regret those years of past athleticism as I hobble about.”
— Caryl Warner Jr, Savannah, Georgia
“We have an unparalleled 22-mile view of the Pacific. Can’t quite see Japan. We used to take four to five trips or cruises every year, but COVID-19 curtailed our 2020 travels. I jog four to six miles a day to maintain a semblance of good health at age 86. Joan can no longer stand, walk, talk or dress herself, but she continues to maintain her mental sharpness.”
— Peter L. Keys, and his wife live in downtown San Diego, owning the 21st floor of a 43-story high-rise called the Harbor Club.
William R. Morrow, Fort Myers, Florida, has moved to Shell Point Village and stays active with music, painting, gardening and volunteering at election time.
Dale A. Neuman, Blue Hill, Maine, updates that, mostly sequestered except for medical appointments, he noticed his car’s odometer shows he traveled 291 miles between March 1 and Oct. 1. “Visiting with family is by Zoom, activities are properly distanced and masks are required. We now eat dinner in the common dining room, two residents to a table, with the same dining partners for two weeks,” he notes. “We celebrated one resident’s 100th birthday at the end of September but were unable to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to avoid possible contamination.”
“Kathy and I married 58 years ago. For 17 years, we’ve lived a mile from the Pacific Ocean in a two-bedroom condo, grateful for our move from central Pennsylvania. Parkinson’s slows me down physically and mentally, but my wife’s very healthy and takes good care of me. Who knows how long I’ll last? Only God. So I wish good life and health to all who read this.”
— The Rev. Canon Jeremy W. Bond, Grover Beach, California
Fred C. Mench, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, shares that he’s in a onestory house — “saves the knees” — and teaching Latin online as an adjunct at Middle Tennessee State University. “Still ambulatory."
“In March we went to Cleveland Heights, staying in our condo there, for my total knee replacement and Elias spine surgery that freed buried nerves. Went very well, successful recoveries, and we planned on participating in my granddaughter’s Kenyon graduation and celebrating our 60th reunion. The pandemic changed a lot for all, but spring in Ohio was wonderful. We returned to Florida Oct. 1 and look forward to brighter times when we can all come together again”
— David J. Gury, Ocean Ridge, Florida
Edward Hirshfield, Cupertino, California, frequently enjoys a beach house at nearby Pajaro Dunes, when it’s not being rented or used by his mid-20s grandkids. “I continue to develop my system to alleviate road congestion,” he writes, “and have completed first iteration full-size manufacturing drawings in an attempt to attract investors. Several nibbles, no bites. I’m looking for someone to take it over, because at 82 it seems I have better things to do with my time. Fires meant my daughter’s family evacuated from Santa Rosa for the third time in three years, this time to her San Francisco parents-in-law, who lost their home to fire three years ago. Climate change is a real problem. Every day has its challenges, but we’re having fun!”
Richard M. Schori, Reno, Nevada, had major back surgeries in San Francisco last May at the UCSF Medical Center. “Nine vertebrae fused and metal bars installed on both sides of my spine,” he describes. “I can now walk upright without pain, so life is much better. We live at 5,400 feet in the foothills going up to Lake Tahoe and love our great mountain view. We have grandchildren in Corvallis, Oregon, and a getaway cabin between Reno and Corvallis. Life is good.”
“A pandemic was not in our exploring plans,” he writes, but we managed some safe sorties into the Shenandoah National Forest and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Largely housebound, I completed the rewrite of my seventh novel and composed and posted a poem on Facebook every day since March 15, 2020. I also put together a book of angling memorabilia, while Patty wrote a murder mystery. She will play in the Waynesboro Symphony if they are able to have a concert season.”
— Daniel O. Holland, Waynesboro, Virginia
John Richard Symons and his wife, Susan, relocated in mid-March to the Knollwood Military Officers Retirement Home in northwest Washington, D.C., just days before the COVID19 pandemic struck. “We find the apartment to be most accommodating,” he notes. “Following 21 years of active duty with the USAF, in 1982 I retired to my original home in Chevy Chase, Maryland, worked as a contractor at the Department of Energy, and then for 22 years at the Pentagon, fully retiring in 2017. Travels include trips with fraternity brother Robert T. Riker.”
Harvey F. Lodish, Brookline, Massachusetts, received the Donald Metcalf Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society for Experimental Hematology in August. In December he received an honorary doctor of science degree from The Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Calvin S. Frost, Lake Forest, Illinois, writes of a tumultuous year, which included his daughter coming down with COVID-19, picked up by her own daughter and son-in-law. “I have not traveled since returning from a conference in Amsterdam on March 1, 2020, except to our Wisconsin plant because of a fire. No injuries, but a lot of damage, resulting in prolonged negotiation with the insurance people. Our business is very strong, and we have run throughout the pandemic as we are defined as an essential business involved with the food and medical industries. Thinking of everyone in our class and hoping you stay healthy and safe!”
James P. Keyes, Columbus, Ohio, enjoys volunteering with ForeHope, therapy for physically challenged golfers. “My job is to help them from their cars to their golf carts and drive,” he explains. “Along the way, I sort of caddy. These people are serious about golf: Occasionally, a player will hit an errant shot, then spew frustrated obscenities and have a brief discussion with God about the situation.” He’s also active with She Has a Name, assistance for human trafficking survivors, for whom he speaks with service clubs, community groups and church groups. With the Victory Choir, a music therapy program at James Cancer Hospital, Jim plays guitar, and at Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church he works with “Becoming Beloved Community,” addressing mainline Christian churches’ declining membership. “Bottom line,” Jim sums up, “whenever I feel frustrated or put-upon, I stop and remind myself that I am 78, still take nourishment the normal way, and shot my age in golf about a month ago. Then I end the pity party and get on with life.”
“I’m doing well, still teaching 12th grade full time at HarvardWestlake School in Los Angeles. It’s all virtual at the moment, but I’ve managed to figure out a way to make cinema studies and philosophy in art and science work as well as they can in Zoom. The kids are bright and eager, even in a virtual setting, but we all long for a return to the real classroom — but not until it’s safe.”
— Theodore L. Walch, Studio City, California
Jeffrey D. Gold, Hamden, Connecticut, closed his ophthalmology practice of 50 years in 2019. “To keep my mind active,” Jeff updates, “I’m doing a bit of work for insurance companies. Vicki and I have been happily married for 56 years. Our oldest grandson is at Johns Hopkins in a pre-med program. His brother is studying remotely this semester at Amherst College, part of the O-line and loving football. Our granddaughter attends a private school in Portland, Oregon.”
“May was marked by the unceremonious — so to speak — graduation of grandson Amos B. DeMartino ’20. He and his family (with his mother Robin ’88) adjusted marvelously. A video testimonial spanned the length and breadth of folks who’d known him — a memento a ‘real’ graduation ceremony would never have produced. Granddaughter Etta is a junior at the College of Wooster, and grandson Bram a sophomore at Bowdoin. You all surely recollect that I’ve always been painfully introverted, so I’ve been training for this pandemic world all my life — what’s the big deal?”
— Perry C. Lentz, Gambier, Ohio
Walter W. Nielsen, Phoenix, and his wife, Karen, “continue to cocoon by doing crossword puzzles, reading, hiking Arizona trails, gardening and virtually visiting our four children, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren — a number happily augmented by great-grandson River’s arrival.” Walt and Karen also enjoy Arizona State University lifelong learning online courses. Last fall, he took classes in art history, bats, birds, volcanoes, jazz, memoir writing, movie history and storytelling. “A downtown Phoenix gallery is currently exhibiting several of Karen’s paintings and my nature photographs. Karen’s have far better odds of selling than mine.”
“Being close to family and friends prevailed over the weather. Since being back, we have spent a fair amount of time redoing the house to make it our home. As the house sits on a relatively large flat lot, our final project was to build a backyard pond, and now we allow our golden retriever a daily swim.”
— Henry S. Pool, relocated to Pittsburgh after two years in Florida.
J. Christopher Scott, Columbus, Ohio, and his wife, Susie, sold their home of 31 years to their daughter and built an addition for themselves. “We live here with Betsy and Jeff and their children, Abigail (12) and Emily (7).” After a banking and business career in Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Mexico City, Chris retired from his final position as a mediator for the Better Business Bureau and the Franklin and Delaware county courts. “COVID-19 has been eventful for us, as it has for everyone,” he writes. “As director of the Lower School for the Columbus School for Girls, Betsy had to suddenly implement a virtual education program for 150 students, grades one to five.” Chris described the family’s sheltering in place together: “It was interesting sitting at my desk, listening to the girls doing schoolwork in their respective bedrooms upstairs, Betsy’s school administration from her office and banking business coming from Jeff’s quarters.”
Charles S. Verdery, Mechanicsville, Virginia, completed his Wharton M.B.A. in 1966 and raised three biological children and three stepchildren. “All are self-sufficient and have produced 15 grandchildren,” he shares. “I have become a serial entrepreneur, having owned a number of businesses, still operating several.” An avid birder for 30 years, Charlie has traveled through North, South and Central America. With Louis H. Berney ’66 he has taken a few trips, including to Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost settlement in North America.
Robert A. Legg, Greensboro, Georgia, and his wife, Janie, celebrated their 51st anniversary in September — but not on a cruise ship as had been scheduled. “Although Georgia is not one of the states that seems to take COVID-19 as seriously as recommended,” Bob notes, “we try to follow guidelines and stay well.” They planned to move to a continuing care retirement center in Athens, Georgia, in February. Bob enjoyed participating in a happy 93rd birthday Zoom call to Coach Bob Harrison in August. “He looked and sounded great. It was apparent how much he cherished his years at Kenyon.”
Frederick J. McGavran works two days a week as a full-time chaplain at Marjorie P. Lee Retirement Community in Cincinnati ever since the regular chaplain left. “So far,” Fred updates, “the shock of getting up at 6:15 a.m. has been tolerable, but a full week of this would not. To my great delight I re-established contact with Burton J. ‘Burt’ Hurwitz and David J. Gaunt ’66. It’s amazing and gratifying to see what interesting lives our classmates and friends have enjoyed.”
“I got a couple of jobs and consulting work with a plasmapheresis company and a drug-testing laboratory. I still sing in the car and shower, but nowhere else. I miss football in the fall and lacrosse in the spring, but — alas — these metal knees and shoulders and my fibrillating atrium do not allow me to participate. Fortunate to still be breathing and upright.”
— James E. Williams, Mequon, Wisconsin
Frank B. “Burt” Dibble, Rye, New Hampshire, still practices medicine at a hospice facility and serves on the town zoning board, while his wife, Mae, practices law half time. “Her firm has an office in Cape Coral,” Florida, Burt shares, “which led us to a condominium there. She will carry on some practice and I can do my work remotely. I never contemplated being a snowbird, so this is a real pivot in our lives.”
Martin L. Madorsky, Miami Beach, Florida, traveled to Hanoi, Vietnam, with six members of his family and numerous friends for his youngest son’s 2019 marriage to a Vietnamese woman he met at the University of Chicago business school. Martin’s wife and a granddaughter then went to Bhutan for a week, India for five days, and to London to visit their daughter and two other granddaughters. “We returned in late December to hunker down during COVID-19,” he updates. “No travel, no restaurants — just hibernation since. We wish good luck and fortune to all.”
“Ironically, spending four winters at Kenyon on the swimming team prepared me well for the past six months of voluntary quarantine: Eat, read, swim, sleep, repeat! I swam an hour a day in the neighborhood pool last summer, maintaining my sanity but losing 26 pounds. Claudia and I are well and adjusting to the sad reality that the radius of our retirement travel has temporarily shrunk to 15 miles. Thankfully, I have been able to continue teaching part-time at George Mason University and serving on three voluntary boards, all via Zoom.”
— Gerald E. Reynolds, Fairfax, Virginia
Phil Cerny, York, England, is surviving the U.K.’s COVID-19 lockdowns by walking, shopping, seeing friends and “even a bit of online dating (no success there),” he writes. Alongside academic writing and virtual conferencing, he still plays with his folk band, Ramshackle, which has been practicing outdoors.
The Rev. Dr. William C. Scar, Aiken, South Carolina, is now a widower, and updates, “I am simply lousy without a loving partner.” Bill still enjoys seeing a handful of patients with special needs despite his retirement, and spent a few days with fellow Phi Kap Roger G. Wallace and his wife Sharon on Johns Island. “They are as delightful a couple as they were over 50 years ago,” he notes. “Be well, everyone.”
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be a mayor for over 11 years. I am dealing with helicopters, horses and lawsuits, running my village and its police force. We are even plagued by fake news and lawyers who seem to have too much time on their hands. I should’ve taken more psych classes from Dr. Sam Cummings.”
— Lawrence C. Schmidlapp, Oyster Bay, New York
Michael L. Ulrey, Mount Vernon, Ohio, shares how different life looks in Gambier this year: “Everyone wears masks. The usual corner of the Wiggin Street coffee shop is not available for our old-timers’ coffee klatsch. We sit outside on the porch of the old bookstore, talk to passersby — both students and village residents — and of course solve the world’s problems. Math Mondays have started up again — as Zoom meetings, of course. It’s great to see the students’ involvement in writing papers, creating online content and doing internships in data analytics for sports teams and other commercial ventures.” Ulrey gave a presentation in November about how he used math in his post-Kenyon career.
Michael C. Johnston, Stratham, New Hampshire, sent the following note: “Dear friends, I am at the start of what I hope will be a long goodbye. I have stage-four brain cancer originating in my lung. Small cell. No cure. I appreciate knowing you and the people we encountered at Kenyon, who guided us in keeping calm and finding the value and wholeness of the life I have followed. I am happy that I became a teacher, an illustrator and a filmmaker.” Mike shared two of his films (available on YouTube): “Masks of Wolokoton and Desso” portrays masked funeral dances in Burkina Faso, and “Konkolikan Sambla Baan Burkina Faso” follows English teacher Samadou Coulibaly as he narrates a villager’s assembly of a traditional xylophone. Mike’s artwork is at michaeljohnstonart.com, where you can reach him. “I would love to hear from you,” he concludes. “No telling how long, but my spirit’s up, and I am happy — not least because I am remembering our times at Kenyon.”
“I had a fulfilling career of planning and executing new construction and renovations, including Union Station, D.C.; Grand Central Terminal and the Four Seasons Hotel, NYC, and lots more. Interesting twist for a chemistry major! To celebrate retirement, I joined Pierce E. Scranton Jr. for a ‘bucket list’ fly-fishing trip for huge rainbow trout in Alaska near Bristol Bay. Now it’s on to helping with preschool-age grandsons in Burbank, California — a far cry from Boston, where I concluded my career, but equally satisfying. All the best to my fellow Kokes, AD’s and classmates.”
— Jack D. Train, Boston
“While these remain such painful and difficult times in our country and our world, my spouse, Carol Hovey my brother, Jim — who came to live with us — and I have never been more grateful form community. In March Jim (trombone) and I (trumpet and piano) began a series of nightly ‘driveway concerts’ with area jazz musicians who donate their time. We finished in late June but have continued periodic performances for socially distanced and masked folk spread out across neighborhood lawns and driveways. The sense of genuine community has been truly moving. Red Sox fans will appreciate that we end each concert with ‘Sweet Caroline,’ followed by a round of applause for the heroes who risk their lives for all of us, then ‘taps.’”
— Timothy J. Wildman, Concord, New Hampshire
Stacy A. Evans, Granville, Ohio, retired from active ministry with the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church in 2007. Since then he has engaged in short-term interim ministries in many churches.
“It’s been a long and winding road, to quote some band from the ’60s. Grateful for the education I received at Kenyon — although I did the most to resist it at the time. I have spent a lifetime in and out of graduate schools since Kenyon, finally becoming a licensed clinical social worker and substance abuse counselor. It’s hard to believe that, after struggling through Professor Baker’s course, reading history would become one of my favorite pastimes.”
— Marc Mason, New York City
Robert C. Boruchowitz, Seattle, supervises a summer law student fellowship program at Seattle University and is active in state and national committees on public defense. “I won a case in the Washington Court of Appeals,” Bob updates, “reversing a conviction for an 11-year-old girl because of ineffective assistance of counsel and an erroneous decision by the trial judge.”
Richard J. Brean, Pittsburgh, retired in 2018 as general counsel of the United Steelworkers International Union after a 40-year career. “My wife, Karen, is still working and helping to support me as an urban planning consultant,” Rich writes. “A few months ago, our daughter Molly stunned us by returning from London to work at Duolingo. This year I was appointed as the oldest (make that most senior) member of Alumni Council, joining Thomas R. Moore ’72 and Pegi Goodman ’73. Eugene ‘Gene’ Peterson serves on the Kenyon Fund Executive Committee, and I get to see Buddha regularly on joint Alumni Council/ KFEC Zoom calls.”
Richard E. Yorde Jr., Chicago, notes that the pandemic curtailed further travel plans after a February visit to Havana (described below by Jamie J. Barth ’74). “I have kept busy during this time of social distancing,” Rick writes, “with daily Tai Chi, a cultivation of body, mind and spirit practiced in 26 countries. It has been a key part of remaining calm through the present turmoil. Over the past two years I have also been actively involved in the development of a small business incubator space that we hope to launch on the west side of Chicago to assist disadvantaged people in creating their own businesses.”
“Headed to Anna Maria Island, Florida, for winter, then on to explore national parks in Texas and New Mexico. Then on through Colorado, Montana and hopefully up into Alberta and the Canadian Rockies. From there we’ll head to the West Coast and meander from the San Juan Islands all the way down to where we’ll winter in Los Cabos. Spring 2022 will see us off to Europe for a couple years, then the Mediterranean.”
— Eric L. Bauer, Buckeystown, Maryland
John H. Emack, Rocky River, Ohio, updates that adjusting to pandemic life for him meant playing golf with Norman E. “Norm” Schmidt ’71 once a week all summer. “We had no problem maintaining social distancing on the golf course!”
Mark W. Hofmaier, New York City, wrote a one-person play about FDR returning from the afterlife to issue a clarion wake-up call and stern warning. “We intended to perform it live in colleges, registering students to vote,” he informs. “Then came COVID. So it became a screenplay and a film. It’s about 40 minutes long and can be sent as a YouTube link to any interested parties. Many schools showed it to their history, political science and theater classes or made it available to students.”
Thomas E. Allen, Takoma Park, Maryland, retired from Gallaudet University after 40 years as a professor, researcher, dean and NSF Research Center director. “Retiring from the University, yes, but not from my work and love of research,” Tom adds.
Richard C. Lesaar, Washington, D.C., finished the New York City Marathon in 2019. Rick notes that he wore a Kenyon cap the whole way.
Bonnie Levinson, San Francisco, held virtual open studios in October due to COVID and enjoyed reaching people all over the country. “It was great to catch up with friends, family and even some collectors to share my new work. My friend in France said it was too early in the morning for her,” she informs, “so I am doing private virtual open studios via Zoom for those interested.” Find details at bonnielevinson.com. “Also, I am about to become a great-grandmother — not bad for a girl who didn’t have kids.”
Peter J. Pappas, Longmeadow, Massachusetts, shifted to a consulting role with Morgan Stanley after 40 years as a financial adviser. “In other words, I’m working for my son,” Pete jokes. “I’m hoping there’s no retaliation for those high school groundings.” He looks forward to getting more involved with nonprofits and having more free time to take courses and reflect.
“My second grandchild was born on Sept. 30 to Maggie Starr and her wife, Sarah Hardin, in Portland, Oregon. I’ve been enjoying COVID freedom to return to the 18th century. I’m keeping sane and laughing with Tom Jones and Tristram Shandy, who are excellent company in brutal times.”
— Ann Wiester Starr, Columbus, Ohio
“Our group of 10 was based in Old Havana’s tiny winding streets. We rode in old convertibles along the Malecon (a broad esplanade and sea wall) and met with Roberto ‘Chile’ Lopez, Castro’s personal videographer. We learned the original rumba in Matanzas, enjoyed a rehearsal of a remarkable dance company in a crumbling former movie theater, and delighted in the charm of the lovely Cuban people.”
— Jamie J. Barth and Richard E. “Rick” Yorde Jr. ’71, Chicago
Alice C. Fleming, Branford, Connecticut, celebrated the birth of her first grandchild, Ruth Grace Cooper, on Sept. 25. “Ruth was named for my husband’s mother, who died earlier in the year,” Alice shares. “Our daughter Kathryn (Fleming) Feder Cooper ’12 and her husband, Alex, are thoroughly enjoying parenthood. They live in Atlanta, so we’ve had to do a lot of quarantining so we can seen each other — all worth it!” The happy event occasioned a Kenyon Zoom call with Julie F. Johnson ’73, David W. Horvitz, Martha Blazer Smith and Robert C. Zoller.
“As a first-time contributor, I suppose I have a lot of ground to make up. After leaving Kenyon I returned to Washington, D.C., and enrolled in law school. I retired two years ago from my civil litigation practice with the D.C. Superior Court, after working with Ulysses Hammond ’73 briefly there. I volunteer for an immigration rights clinic and am president of Accotink Unitarian Universalist Church. To keep active in anti-oppression work, I’m reading ‘Braiding Sweetgrass’ by Robin Wall Kimmerer and ‘An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States’ by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, and I hope to continue to spend summers in an inherited family home in southern Alberta. I took advantage of my father’s birth in Canada to become a dual citizen. A longer residence in Canada is looking increasingly attractive.”
— Jan D. Forsyth, Springfield, Virginia
Timothy J. Newcomb, Worcester, Vermont, took second place in the Association of Alternative Newsmedia awards for political cartooning, which covers newspapers across the U.S. and Canada — after winning first place the year before. “Sadly,” Tim adds, “the winnings weren’t enough to score a snazzy new car from Porsche salesman Theodore T. ‘Thad’ Toole. Not enough even to buy a cup of coffee, in fact, but it was still a nice honor. In the meantime, I’ve been gratefully riding out the COVID zombie apocalypse in the mountains of Vermont and even happier to have our daughter Lydia VanDorn Newcomb ’08 back in the state working as a criminal defense attorney."
Hal Real, Rockland, Delaware, co-founded the National Independent Venue Association, creators of the #SaveOurStages movement, once the pandemic began. “If you believe in the importance of independent live music, comedy and performance venues, please visit nivassoc.org and support us,” Hal writes. “All Kenyonites are invited to join us at World Cafe Live in Philly when we finally get to enjoy live music together again on the other side of this crisis!”
Martha S. Schulman, North Chesterfield, Virginia, reports how proud she was of Kenyon after listening to President Sean Decatur’s virtual talk about the college’s pandemic response. “The campus approach to COVID appears to be sensible and safe,” she observes. “I was delighted to learn about the emphasis on training and dialogue for students, faculty and staff relating to antiracism and equity.” Martha and her partner, George Puster, are finding life “less pleasantly hectic” without travel, concerts and indoor visits from grandchildren. “We have discovered many wonderful places nearby to hike and kayak, and we realize how beautiful Virginia is. We are grateful and hope people around the world will be able to feel the same way in the near future.”
“That’s my name for the 12 acres of forest, field and creek that Ron and I bought adjacent to our home. I plant trees, pull weeds, feed fish and turtles, listen to birdsong and try to avoid poison ivy, snakes and fire ants.”
— Janet A. Bloss Shuff, Southlake, Texas
Linda (Dickman) Findlay and Charles W. “Spinner” Findlay III ’68 moved to Westport, Massachusetts, from Washington, D.C. “The rural setting is a welcome respite after years of hustle-bustle city living,” she informs. “Instead of dodging pedestrians, I’m now navigating around deer, turkeys and coyotes.” Findlay serves on a few nonprofit boards‚ including Kenyon’s Philander Chase Conservancy. “The highlight of 2020 has definitely been the arrival in August of our first grandchild — some happiness in these difficult times.”
Richard E. Gordon, Pittsburgh, counts the months of pandemic as “long enough for me to get two self-inflicted haircuts.” A fifth radio station picked up his radio show, “Whiskey Before Breakfast,” out of WRCT in Pittsburgh. He adds, “WVUD at the University of Delaware had me come out of retirement to send them five or six remote folk music shows a month. With radio, no one knows if you’ve got a fancy hairstyle or a gnarly self-inflicted haircut. So it’s safe for me.”
Michael R. Halleran, Williamsburg, Virginia, writes that after years in school administration, he has returned full-time to teaching and research. Remote instruction requires too much time spent on technology, he notes, but “teaching elementary Greek brings back many happy memories of fall 1971 and my wonderful classmates.”
“Marty and I continue to live aboard our 42-foot catamaran. Makes it very easy to stay socially distanced. Currently moving south along the East Coast with one eye always on the weather. A little tough to travel too far from the U.S. — lots of COVID restrictions. But life is pretty lovely.”
— Elizabeth D. (DeWindt) Kelly, Green Cove Springs, Florida
Howard M. Leaman, Salt Lake City, Utah, teaches skiing at Alta Ski Area, having retired from medical practice a few years back. “Last winter,” he reports, “F. Jay Andress III and I met up for a few days of outstanding skiing. It would be great to see more Kenyonites up here!”
Pamela A. Martin-Diaz sends “greetings from Knox County, Ohio! I have been here off and on since retiring in January 2020 from Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana, ending close to 40 years as a public librarian.” Pam works on an early literacy project with Head Start to increase the impact of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. “I have been lucky to spend time with my first roommate, Mary Kay Karzas, as well as Murray J. Smith and Janet Byrne Smith ’76.”
Charlotte “Shami” (Jones) McCormick, Winter Springs, Florida, became a first-time grandparent on Aug. 29 with the birth of Rhys Daniel McCormick. “Due to COVID concerns, we have had to make do with lots of photos!” she reports. “Unfortunately, the pandemic has shut down my livelihood, so it’s interesting times, to say the least. We have kept busy with rescuing injured ducks: The latest is named Alexander Hamilton. I’ve also been editing some friends’ books. Sadly, I must share that my brother P. Jeffery Jones ’68 passed away on Sept. 23 after a lengthy battle with Parkinson’s. Peace, love and may 2021 be a better year for all.”
“Janet Byrne Smith ’76 and I have been riding out the pandemic here in Gambier, where social distancing is practically a way of life. It was great to see at least some of the students return for fall semester, and I have to say they have been very diligent about masking, distancing and so on, notwithstanding recent reports of a few oversized social gatherings.”
— Murray J. Smith, Gambier, Ohio
Seth L. Frechie, Narberth, Pennsylvania, retired in May after 30 years in higher education, most recently as professor and English Department chair at Cabrini University in Radnor, Pennsylvania. “It’s been a great career — teaching, writing, presenting, editing,” he writes, “but as my former provost remarked when she retired, ‘work is overrated.’ With only five months under my belt, I’m inclined to agree. I’m in touch with James C. Fenhagen, the Rev. John M. Graham and others. I hope everyone is weathering the pandemic as well as well can be.”
Janet E. Heckman retired last year from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, left Cairo and moved to the west coast of Ireland. “Dermot and I arrived at our house in time for a very stormy January and February, with four hurricane-level storms,” she reports. “We flew to Ohio on March 8, intending to stay four weeks.” The COVID lockdown delayed their return to Ireland until October. An independent director on the board of Air Astana (of Kazakhstan), Janet joined Kenyon’s Alumni Council and the reunion planning committee and hopes to see you in Gambier in May
Rabbi Charles P. Rabinowitz, Larchmont, New York, has been making tele-health visits with home hospice patients and families. Charlie serves as ethics chair for Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains. “I write a morning prayer of support for my colleagues,” he notes. “My wife and daughter teach virtually, and my special-needs son works part-time in Tucson. Participating in peaceful protest and trying to do tikkun olam. We were able to take our usual time in the White Mountains and Ogunquit, where we had a nice day with Steve Grant. Hope you and your families are strong and safe.”
Kimbol B. Stroud, Columbus, Ohio, retired after a long real-estate career and 23 years as primary hearing officer for the Franklin County Auditor’s Board of Revision. “I am hoping to finally reconnect with my Kenyon friends now that my time is not consumed by work. Best wishes to you all, and stay well. Signed, K-ball, K-nut, 8-Ball, Bass Buddha — I answer to all. "
John J. Bogasky, Silver Spring, Maryland, reports that he and Jerome “Jerry” Mindes have been organizing monthly Class of ’77 Zoom calls on Sunday nights, typically with 15 to 20 classmates.
“These are demanding times to be an immunologist in a large academic research hospital, navigating the COVID-19 pandemic in our work, community and family. Some exciting research at rapid pace. Thankfully my family and friends are safe and well. Buoyed by a lively connection with a dozen classmates via Facebook and Zoom happy-hour calls — huge shout-out to John J. Bogasky. My daughter Fiona D. Guidos ’22 studies remotely from home this semester — missing her friends, faculty and the magic of the Hill in the autumn.”
— Jayne S. Danska, Toronto, Canada
“After decades of separation, I am finding Kenyon again. I was invited a couple of times to give talks on campus and absolutely loved the faculty and students I met. Walking along Middle Path brought back bittersweet memories. I would not give up my four years as a student for anything, but happy that Kenyon is now a far more diverse, inclusive and intellectually open institution than it was. After many years at Penn and Berkeley, I am happily settled at Brown. Not being on social media and leading the nomadic life of an academic, I lost touch with friends and loved ones and welcome hearing from them.”
— Beshara B. Doumani, Providence, Rhode Island
Rosemary Brandenburg, Altadena, California, updates that she was in Atlanta decorating a Sony film through March. “Great to be back at work after the COVID break. Sending best to everyone coping with illness and economic difficulties in these trying times.”
Anara S. Guard, Sacramento, California, shares that her poem “Respite” earned first prize in the California State Poetry Society’s annual competition.
“Life is good in the Carolinas. It has been great to connect on social media and find some subscribing to my YouTube channel, Bishop Jim Logan. I continue to lead a growing independent congregation in Charlotte and cover pastors and churches globally.”
— The Rev. Dr. James H. Logan Jr., Huntersville, North Carolina
Robert K. Lundin, Glen Ellyn, Illinois, submits that the literary magazine he established in 2000 at The University of Chicago, The Awakenings Review, is still publishing the work of writers and poets with mental illness. Bob routinely gets international submissions, he says, and was recently thrilled to receive a short story by a writer from Russia. “It feels like a tiny sliver of détente,” he says.
Scott Klavan, Bronx, New York, is an actor-director-playwright-teacher in NYC. In 2019, Scott directed an abridged production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s classic musical “Into the Woods,” cast solely with senior actors. Sondheim and Lapine visited a rehearsal, and the project was featured in the New York Times. Since the shutdown he’s been teaching Zoom therapeutic drama classes for seniors. Scott writes about theater for the online journal Escape Into Life, edited by Kenyon’s Kathleen V. Kirk. For over 15 years, he was script/story analyst for Kenyon’s legendary Paul Newman. Learn more about his work at scottklavan.com.
Gary D. Snyder moved from the East Coast to Bozeman, Montana, in 2018, now that he is an art consultant and adviser and no longer tied to a gallery space. “Although planning on semi-retirement,” Gary writes, “I became excited about a Bozeman artist, Ben Miller, who paints by fly-casting (flycastpainting.com) and ended up presenting his work in a pop-up gallery in an old historic grain mill in Bozeman.” Gary enjoyed seeing roommate Louis B. Fox ’78, who has been in Bozeman for over 15 years.
“Our children are nearing the end of their college careers,” Bill writes, “with Lillie a senior at the College of Wooster and Thea Soukup ’22 currently a Kenyon junior. Lillie has been able to live on campus, while Thea hopes to return to campus for her second semester.”
— William R. Soukup, WinstonSalem, North Carolina
“I am on sabbatical from teaching high school English, so it has truly been the endless summer. Back in June, I had such fun Zooming for our Kenyon reunion, hanging out in a breakout room with the likes of Joey Glatt and Lee S. Segal. My most joyful news, though, is that Douglas B. Jacoby ’82 and I became grandparents in March, and we have recently begun taking care of Theodore three days a week. So I’m singing ‘Baby Beluga’ once again!”
— Jennie Hutton Jacoby, Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts
Karl J. Shefelman, New York City, updates, “While locked down in our cozy West Village apartment during COVID craziness I’ve managed to keep working my day job as a storyboard artist virtually, which I must say I kind of like.” Karl completed a project for director Ron Howard on a new movie called “13 Lives,” the story of the Thai soccer team miraculously rescued from a cave. Karl’s own film, “Man on the Tower,” now hitting film festivals and viewable online, is “a fictionalized account of my memory as a youngster of the U.T. Tower sniper shooting in Austin, Texas,” he informs.
“I spend most mornings on either a pickleball or tennis court. Fortunately, these sports are COVID friendly, and I have been able to maintain my sanity (mostly) for the past six months.”
— Lynn Snyderman, Pittsburgh
James B. Archer, Houston, updates, “Keeping public transit in Houston safe while ensuring social distancing and adjusting to a budget shortfall of tens of millions of dollars during COVID-19 has kept me on my toes. Fifteen staff working from 15 different locations with five different primary languages has put my foreign language degree to good use.” Jim’s son Daniel graduates from high school this spring. “While Kenyon has tried to recruit him, he’s a native Texan and looking to stay in state. Since my last note, I shared the disappointment of the closing of the Youngstown Vindicator with Mark A. Brown and the excitement of a Super Bowl victory for Val F. Schaff’s Kansas City Chiefs.”
William H. Derks, Cary, North Carolina, is vice president of land development at McAdams, a civil engineering, land planning and surveying firm where he has worked for 24 years. He and Colleen celebrated their 34th anniversary. “I am an active runner, biker and, yes, swimmer. I still make it to the pool three times a week,” Bill writes. “Slightly fewer yards at a much slower pace these days. We live just a couple miles from Donald L. Shupe Jr. and enjoy seeing him and his family very often.”
Elizabeth A. Dickinson, Brooklyn, New York, is executive director of strategic initiatives and external relations at CUNY School of Law, after 35 years in nonprofits. “It seems especially apropos to be at CUNY Law where my late husband, Luis DeGraffe, taught for 20 years,” Liz notes. “I share a brownstone in Brooklyn with my sons Jamaal and Khalil‚ who are pursuing their artistic passions in film and music.”
“Thankful that packaging is an essential business. We are all still standing despite this crazy year. We now have two of our sons and two sons-in-law working with us.”
— Martha Roberts Haddon, Alpharetta, Georgia
Dorothy Lenard, Bloomington, Indiana, is enjoying semi-retirement by clearing out her parents’ house to turn it into an AirBnB, coaching students with disabilities, and making and selling jewelry through For the Kids Creations.
Wendy A. MacLeod, Gambier, Ohio, reports that her comedy “Slow Food” premiered at Merrimack Rep (before COVID lockdowns) and in September was performed online by the Arizona Theater Company. “After a summer in New Hampshire with K. Read Baldwin ’84 and my two sons Avery D. Baldwin ’17 and Foss K. Baldwin ’15, I’m back in the classroom with a mask on, with some students in the room and some on screens.”
Evan O. Jones, Richland, Washington, sold a house after almost 18 years in Virginia and moved to the high desert of eastern Washington state. “I got unpacked, settled in and promptly filed to run for U.S. Congress as the only independent.” Evan reports “predictable results” — fourth place out of five. “But hey, I got 5,000 votes in a hyperpartisan (red) district. Peruse evanjones.us if you want to critique my quixotic campaign.” Now consulting and working part-time with Alaska Airlines, he flies virtually free to visit daughters in Australia and Brooklyn. Last year Evan camped at Flagstaff Lake with Mark S. Dorsett ’84 and Sharon Cassidy Dorsett ’85.
“I live in the beautiful Harpers Ferry area, where my backyard slopes down to the Shenandoah River, and I sit on my screened-in porch trying not to be distracted by this incredible view while working as a technical writer/editor for a small cybersecurity company. I enjoy hiking the numerous local trails, watching bald eagles fly overhead as I paddle my kayak downriver, and joining in weekly adventures with the Wild and Wonderful Wednesday Hash House Harriers (On On!).”
— Mary “Hunter” Estes Barrat, Shepherdstown, West Virginia
Frances H. “Corky” Hebert, Lutherville, Maryland, resides near Baltimore, enjoying a sixth year running her flower design company, Petal Pushers. “I am a proud grandmother and enjoy going to visit my kids, who live all over the country!” she reports.
“It’s been a long time since I sent in a class note! My wife, Kate, and I celebrated our 25th anniversary this year. Our son Jack is a sophomore at Xavier University in Cincinnati. I have been working in business-to-business media for over 30 years, most of that time with Reed Business Information and UBMInforma. Now working for Cleveland-based WTWH Media, managing clients across the U.S. for our EE World, Design World and R&D World brands.”
— James H. Dempsey III, Rocky River, Ohio
G. Taylor Johnson, Hyattsville, Maryland, returned from a late-February family vacation in the Bahamas to the governor’s COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. “I used the time to complete a cedar shingle siding repair, paint the exterior and two rooms of the house, work on a bathroom tiling job and remove the vines taking over the back garden,” he writes. Taylor uses video technology and social media platforms to promote his real estate business now that in-person meetings are impossible. “In a strange way,” he adds, “isolation has brought me closer to my family spread out across the U.S., as weekly Zoom gatherings unite siblings, nieces and cousins whom I would otherwise only ‘see’ at a family wedding or funeral.”
Stephen D. Behrend teaches history at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand. On sabbatical, Steve is working on various 18th-century Liverpool history and
slave trade projects, his research appearing on slavevoyages.org and liverpoolmaritime.org. COVID ended his sabbatical plans to conduct research in the U.S. and U.K.
Jeffrey A. Bell, Kirkland, Washington, informs that he and Colleen Murphy Bell ’85 used the pandemic to explore the state: car trips to Olympic National Forest, Hood Canal, the Palouse and Mount Rainier. “LegalShield, the business I have the honor of running, has grown powerfully in the face of social injustice as well as a heightened awareness that every citizen should have equal access to legal services,” Jeff writes.
Heather J. Gert, Greensboro, North Carolina, now heads the Philosophy Department at UNC-Greensboro. “What a time to start that job!” she exclaims.
“Enjoying getting to know more alums as we work on ways to support the College and its students. If you have any questions or want to raise an issue, don’t hesitate to contact me!”
— Kristen M. Richardson, Philadelphia
“Almost 40 years after we met, Carolyn S. Lackey, William H. Knopp, Pam Sweet and Bennett A. Blau and I met for a week of adventures in northern Massachusetts and the central coast of Maine. Masks in hand, we reminisced about classes and old friends, and made new memories hiking hills and rocky coasts, vying to beat one another in ping pong and other games. Each evening was spent just like many evenings at Kenyon, and each morning we swore we wouldn’t do it again, but we did! Nothing has changed but a few lines on our faces!”
— Cynthia Frost White, Lake Bluff, Illinois
“In May 2019 I received my master’s of business administration from Purdue Global after an intense 11-month period of working full time and studying online from the comfort of my living-room couch. In January 2020 I started a new position as CEO of the Literacy Alliance, a nonprofit that helps adults obtain their high school equivalency degree and other job certifications, as well as providing adult English language improvement classes. It has been quite a transition, especially during the pandemic, because our agency assists people disproportionately affected by this crisis. Helping them succeed is very gratifying”
— Melinda D. (Roberts) Haines, Fort Wayne, Indiana
Gina Bauman Kornfeind, Pacific Palisades, California, hoped to be on campus for the 35th but notes, “Our beloved Susan B. Berger and Laura A. Plummer forged the best virtual reunion ever! Virtual beer tents were a highlight. Breakout rooms of Gund dorm, southern California alums and then a few random ones gave me connection and warmth I had been missing and craving.” Gina is treasuring time with 27-year-old daughter Meredith, visiting from Brooklyn, and fourth child Maggie’s high school senior year, conducted online. “We have grown so close through coping with all of these unknowns,” she writes. “My greatest sorrows are also what keep me whole — my work in pediatric palliative care with children who are dying. Limiting visitors means our team becomes surrogate family members. While it’s so hard to say goodbye to a sick child, I am grateful I can comfort families, surrounding them with support. Bearing witness to how families face the end of life with dignity keeps me grounded and trying to pay it forward. Surrounded by folks bearing the unbearable, I know I am blessed and called to bring them hope.”
“In my first class note I’m choosing to see my glass as half-full despite my thirst for human contact. Grateful for Kenyon-oriented Zoom meetings whose ease — versus hauling oneself to Gambier — opened the door to meaningful reconnections that likely wouldn’t have happened otherwise. It was pure joy hearing your stories about your families, jobs and achievements. The only awkward moments were the (way too) many references to my blowing up the toilet freshman year. Sorry I didn’t do something to lead to more profound, intellectual memories. Thank you all.”
— David J. Mosey, Pittsburgh
James E. Rossman, Brooklyn, New York, finds a silver lining of COVID in connecting more frequently with Peter A. Propp (in Westport) and Eugene E. Elder (in Charlottesville), via a virtual book club. “We are reading Hamnet,” Jim notes, “which brings back fond memories of Shakespeare lectures in Ascension, reading in the nooks of old Chalmers library, and productions in Bolton Theater."
David N. Sheehan, Pelham, NewYork, returned to teaching in the South Bronx last fall to a world vastly changed. “Most of our students are learning remotely,” he writes, “so the job consists chiefly of talking at a green light on top of my computer. With a face mask on. And a face shield. At least six feet from the nearest human being. At times I’m overwhelmed by our country’s situation, and although I’m grateful COVID has not directly compromised my family, I’m enraged that we find ourselves in this place. I take solace in my family, peers, students and an open media — as well as correspondence I have with a Kenyon freshman, the first from my school to attend Magic Mountain.”
Stephen E. Feinbloom, Westport, New York, retired from his community mental health career in Essex County, New York. “I’ve been hiking, biking, playing music, bingeing online content and reading way too much news,” Steve writes. “This rural lifestyle suits me, and I consider myself very fortunate in these difficult times. I hope you are all doing very well.”
Maura S. Minsky, Brooklyn, New York, loves connecting regularly on Zoom with roommates Elizabeth Yaghooti Collis, Deborah North Cartisser, Kate W. Stookey Haviland and Eleanor T. Tytus Wallace. “Nourishing and hilarious,” she sums up. “They’ve helped me transition to a new job, think through whether to remote-school, and find ways to keep sane.” Maura is director of the Empathy Project at NYU Grossman School of Medicine (empathyproject.com).
James D. Weiss, River Forest, Illinois, proudly reports his son Daniel A. Weiss ’24 began his freshman year at Kenyon last fall. “He’s loving it — and living on second floor Lewis, down the hall from my old room.” Jim’s older son, Ethan, a senior at Haverford, was accepted into Teach for America for next fall.
Stephanie L. Abbajay, St. Louis, reports her company, David Stine Furniture, is doing very well — “fueled no doubt by the fact that everyone is probably sick of their household furniture and wants a change,” she notes. “In early 2020, we opened a larger wood shop and showroom, introduced a new line of furniture and we founded Midwest Slabs & Hardwood to sell our sustainably harvested lumber directly to the public. It’s been easy to stay socially distanced out here at the farm, where we work seven days a week. Not complaining, mind you! Immensely grateful to be busy during these crazy times.” Son Oskar, a junior at Columbia College in Chicago, is majoring in fashion design, while daughter Willa, a high school junior, is stressing out about her ACT, SAT, GPA and applying to colleges next year.
Genevieve C. Bates, Findlay, Ohio, informs that with travel restricted, she is rebuilding the house and redesigning the yard. “Putting in some lovely big trees,” Geny shares. “Training two new German shepherds. Engaged to a Kenyon ’86 classmate. He and I previously shared a dorm for a year, but late in life realized we are madly in love! I feel like the Princess Bride! Finally found my Wesley — and he was waiting for me from Kenyon all these years.”
“Cycling, golfing and advising a private equity firm, splitting time between Princeton and Kiawah Island, South Carolina — anyone in the area, drop a line. Got a chance to play some golf with roommate Timothy G. Ehrhart this past summer.”
— Peter B. Luther, Princeton, New Jersey
Allan L. Maca Jr., New York City, hosts the National Geographic series “Ancient China from Above.” “Episodes premiered worldwide in August and are now streamable,” he informs. “We spent 40 days crisscrossing China; it was a joint effort with Chinese scientists, so we had incredible access. I hope you’ll enjoy the show; let me know what you think!”
Lawrence J. Apke, Hillsborough, Calif., runs a nonprofit called the Job Hackers, training people at no cost to help them find meaningful employment. “For the past three years we’ve provided over $2 million of free training,” he informs. “Our participants are finding good jobs even in this pandemic. We even had at least one Kenyon grad join our over 1,000 participants.” Larry and Zhanna have lived in the SF Bay Area for six years, currently with all three children, ages 14 to 29. “In my new ‘day’ job, I lead big data teams for Pacific Gas and Electric, facing numerous challenges with climate change and our California customers.”
Peter O. Harper, Maplewood, New Jersey, submits:First off, a big thanks to Jeffrey A. Richards for posting on Facebook his walks around Gambier and commentaries on life. Entertaining and therapeutic.” Peter works for Real Leaders, a publisher that collaborates with business leaders who count their people’s development and needs, their communities, and the well-being of the planet alongside their profits. “If any Kenyon alums work at or run such businesses — certified B Corps would be an example — feel free to reach out to me.
“After 25 years at Prep for Prep, the last 18 as chief executive, I stepped down in June to become the CEO and director of the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. The day my new role was announced, the New York Times featured me in the lead of an article titled, ‘Could There Be a More Difficult Time to Become an Arts Leader?’ Ha!”
— Aileen C. Hefferren
Priscilla Perotti Ingram, Fairfield, Connecticut, realized — once the doors to her art studio closed temporarily — how much she loves the people who walk through them every day. “A couple of things helped me,” she informs. “Having our kids at home with no distractions or places to be was nothing short of amazing.” The second was her painting, drawing and pottery. “To have that much time to create my own work was a gift for me.” Her latest paintings hang in the Fairfield University bookstore next to her studio. At the most recent reunion, Priscilla noticed a goat at the Kenyon Farm, was taken by its expression and made a painting of it. She recommends the Instagrams of Catherine R. (Robin) Lentz and James C. Bush. “Such talent!”
“In addition to the friends who live in the tiny home they built behind our garage, two Workaway volunteers joined us. Tristan lives in her converted shuttle bus across the street, and Adriane stays in our guest room. In exchange for use of our bathroom, kitchen and laundry machines, Tristan helps in the garden and built an herb-drying cabinet from salvaged materials. In exchange for room and board, Adriane cooks — we have our very own personal paleo chef. Another Workaway volunteer, Julia, pitched a tent under our apple tree and transformed our chaotic garage into a place of beauty and order. We fit in one last kayak trip down the Willamette and one last outdoor concert before the rains began. In other words, we managed to have sweet, busy lives filled with good friends despite the pandemic and fires.”
— Tara L. Jones, Eugene, Oregon
Melissa J. (Henderson) Koenig, Glen Ellyn, Illinois, participated in the Winter World Masters Games in Innsbruck, Austria, in January 2020, placing second in her age group in short track speed skating in the 500, 1,000 and 1,500 meters and fourth overall on a mixed relay team. “We just missed third overall when I was caught at the line by a former Olympian from Germany,” Melissa reports. “It was great fun and seems now like such a lifetime ago. With most speed skating canceled, I’ve turned my attention to ramping up my involvement in dog sports — particularly mushing — with my two-and-a half-year-old Siberian.” In her “real life,” Melissa says, she is the director of instructional technology at DePaul University in Chicago.
“The good: kids are grown employed, and out of the house. Sold my business, 1st Choice Delivery, and started a biotech company called Pluton Biosciences. Diana and I approach our 30th anniversary.”
— Charles M. Walch, St. Louis
“Inspired to reach out for the first time to share that I’m on a journey to understand, bring awareness to, and support ADHD folk. I’m also in my 21st year of teaching (mostly English, now Spanish) and advocate for clean beauty on the side!”
— Teresa Krug Cordon, Wilmington, North Carolina
Joan O’Hanlon Curry, Ossining, New York, shares her best moment of 2020: watching her son Aidan be recruited by baseball’s Texas Rangers. “It was a total whirlwind. A crazy two weeks. He ended up signing as an undrafted free agent and entered an instructional league in Surprise, Arizona. He has a few years of hard work ahead to hopefully make it to the majors. But if COVID has taught us anything, it’s to go for your dreams if you get the opportunity.”
“After many years of mothering and freelancing I started a job at Apple News in January. I’m in the N.Y. office but — in non-COVID times at least — will visit the Bay Area often for work. The girls are growing fast — two teens now! Was sad to miss SAIEW.”
— Kristen (Bruno) McClusky, Montclair, New Jersey
Sarah Wilsman, Solon, Ohio, works for OverDrive’s education division. “Unsurprisingly, it’s the busiest we’ve ever been, getting digital titles to schools for remote learning,” she reports. “Zoom fatigue is real. Pro tip: Teachers and librarians, please do not write your work emails in purple Comic Sans — a sure sign that it’s time to retire."
Thaddeus C. Camp, Tucson, Arizona, reports that his teaching position at the University of Arizona “was a victim of COVID, but that means I can now finally commit to inverting what my teachers used to write on my report cards. Rather than ‘stop doodling’ and ‘pay attention,’ I’ve decided to stop paying attention and focus on my ‘doodling.’” Thad is sharing his art, mostly oil paintings, in Tucson and Phoenix and at thaddeuscamp.com. “I continue to live in Tucson with my front-line, kick-butt pediatrician wife, Rachel, and our daughter Phoebe (5).”
Martin P. Dockery hunkers down in Montauk, New York, “at, seemingly, the end of the Earth (which is fitting),” he reports. “Growing a beard and hanging out with my 2-year-old daughter, for whom life seems blissfully unchanged. Every six weeks via Facebook Live, I’ve been broadcasting a new monologue about this social distancing head trip. I put the shows up on YouTube afterward.” View one from September at: https://youtu.be/LtznUYzY__8.”
Julia Griner, Rome, Italy, informs that although Italy was an early scary example for the rest of Europe and the Americas, “Italians managed to follow the rules enough to be out of the house after our first 70 days. Thankfully, we are well, but our little cooking school is struggling. We are grateful for all our students who came back to take online lessons with us, which has helped pay the bills somewhat.” Julia’s new adventure in food and sustainability involves a property north of Rome with over 100 olive trees for oil production as well as fruit and nut trees. “All organic and all available to anyone who wants a ‘farm stay’ experience when you are next in Italy.”
“After some reflection, my wife and I decided that we were no longer interested in living in the NYC area. I spend most of my time lately painting rooms and having discussions about septic systems. I also bought a chain saw. It’s pretty cool.”
— Anthony H. Jones, Naugatuck, Connecticut
“It’s been quite a year at Vermont Humanities, where we spend much of our time advocating for pandemic relief for the cultural sector, hoping to prevent the loss of our wonderful historic buildings, museums, performance spaces, libraries and galleries. It’s a struggle but we carry on, mostly on Zoom. Sigh. At home, we’re learning how to live on top of each other 24/7, but we’re also committed to helping our community stay safe. Wear masks, everyone!”
— Christopher (Myott) Kaufman Ilstrup, Montpelier, Vermont
Michael R. Sering, Cleveland Heights, Ohio, describes how challenging COVID-19 is for a men’s homeless shelter. “I’ve adapted by relocating 300 people to three hotels we now manage. That reduced our census to 160, allows for social distancing, and we are running at a positive test rate under 4 percent. We give out masks and announce ‘wash your hands’ multiple times a day!” The Cleveland Leadership Center named Michael a “Fresh Innovator” for his strategies to end homelessness. “A pandemic is the perfect time to emphasize housing as the solution to homelessness!” he observes.
Lisa Timmel reports that when her Edinburgh Festival-bound show was canceled due to the pandemic, she launched an oral history project called Theater-19 (theater19.org). “It documents the experiences of theater workers during the near complete shutdown of our industry. Our focus is on early and mid-career artists and administrators.” Lisa recently interviewed Nina J. Samaan ’20 and will check back with all interviewees over four years to document pandemic-related changes to their lives and work. “It has been heartbreaking and uplifting, if that makes any sense. I am lucky to say my family remains healthy and safe in New York City.
Evangeline Lynn Calland, a palliative hospital chaplain in Charlottesville, Virginia, continues dedicating herself to diversity, equity and inclusion in health care; and the role of intergenerational trauma in health. grief and loss. “Grateful I have a yard to work in and outdoor trails to enjoy with my dogs,” Vonnie writes. “My kids, Will (22) and Julia (20), are adapting with as much grace as they can to changed college and work routines. I have a partner who lives on the Western Slope of Colorado, and I spend as much time as I can in the Rockies with him. Maybe life will converge in such a way that I can move there in the next year.”
Heather G. Peske, Arlington, Massachusetts, reports she is thinking of Kenyon friends during this strange time. As senior associate commissioner in the Center for Instructional Support at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Heather supports schools as they provide students with the best learning possible, despite many current challenges.
Gabriel A. Alegria celebrates his two little ones, Natalia (5) and Oliver (3), who’ve moved with him across the Hudson to Jersey City, New Jersey. “Will be moving back to Peru semi-permanently in 2022,” he notes. Gabriel is still recording and touring with the Afro-Peruvian Sextet (afroperuviansextet.com), whose latest recording, “Social Distancing,” dropped on Jan. 29. “I don’t believe we used to say ‘drop’ back in the day. I’ve also taken the job of jazz studies director at NJCU.”
Jennifer E. Carter, Columbus, Ohio, updates that in her quest to visit 50 states, she and Gwyndolyn E. “Gwynn” (Evans) Harrison ’94 knocked out Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont in August: “Great lobster, hiking and swimming!”
Peter C. Meilaender, Houghton, New York, was named a visiting professor at the American Enterprise Institute’s Initiative on Faith and Public Life. He has written, “I am particularly interested in how Christianity offers a vision that is at once appreciative of particular loyalties, such as those to one’s own country and its culture, but also open to and interested in the kingdom of God in all its diversity and richness, including the flourishing of other countries and cultures.”
Sheila Pierce Ortona, in her fifth year in San Francisco, has endured both COVID restrictions and bad air quality from wildfires. This summer her family will return to Rome, Italy, and she is assembling a book of essays about traveling the world in the Italian foreign service. “Claire Laverge Petitt and I walk our dogs on Ocean Beach (my dog is from Mount Vernon!), and I’m hoping for visits from Mary C. Hall Mennes, Darnell Preaus Heywood and Aline Kelley Thompson.” Follow her at sheilapierce.com: “No matter where I end up, I often say — and always believe! — that all roads lead to Ohio!”
Ravana Wijeyeratne, Hantana, Sri Lanka, updates, “My dream of retiring before 50 came true — not by choice, but from insane pressure of financial-sector mergers and takeovers that made me exit the company where I’ve been CEO since 2007.” Ravi got out the winter before the pandemic — “a relatively better time to sell! Other than focusing on my golf swing and looking out for better scuba destinations, not much to do!"
Keely (Price) Wilczek, Somerville, Massachusetts, is manager of user services and engagement at the Harvard Kennedy School Library. “I have been learning how to do a job virtually that was very much in person,” she writes, “including answering student questions about research and citation while crossing the street in Harvard Square.” Keely eagerly anticipates seeing the new Chalmers Library once it’s complete, but will miss the old building where she started her library career.
David J. Bouman and his wife returned to Washington, D.C., after several years in Kyiv, Ukraine, with the U.S. State Department. He writes, “Giles M. Roblyer ’96 and his son and I saw a bear while backpacking in West Virginia in May. In July I caught up with Benjamin H. Douglass ’98, Laurie (Danner) Douglass ’98 and Amy E. Danner ’98 the day they finished a bike trip from Gambier to Alexandria, Virginia. We road-tripped to the Pacific Northwest for a few weeks of remote work and got to see Brian J. Binge and Kendra S. Carpenter, Shannon B. Wilkinson and Laura (Baker) Wilkinson ’99, and Neil A. Butler and their families.”
“For 21 years I have run business continuity programs. With over 800 incidents managed or overseen globally, I’ve dealt with disruptions from hurricanes and earthquakes to active shooters and vehicles used as door openers. I’ve drilled responses to so many types of natural and human-caused disasters. COVID has been my Frankenstein combination of Super Bowl and Tour-deFrance. Intense and fast-moving at first, then grinding and relentless. Through it all, Mary M. Mason has been that smiling face when I come up from my basement workspace. This fall we celebrated 28 years since our first official ‘date’ at the Phi Kap holiday formal. Kenyon gave me the intellectual tools I rely upon every day to help steer my company through this pandemic.”
— Michael S. Epstein, Cincinnati
Katharine B. Rucker Sears deployed to her Navy patrol squadron in Kadena, Japan, in August, but she’s been able to join weekly video chats with Alexa D. O’Brien, Natasha Carrasco Stillman, Hilary Wood Koch, Heide J. Schaffner and Shelley Wharton Smith. “These ladies are incredible,” Katharine writes, “and kept me sane during 18 days of restricted movement after my arrival and confinement to a barracks room.” Katharine assumed command on Oct. 1, becoming the 37th commanding officer of the squadron of 350 sailors. With the change-of-command ceremony done virtually, Heide and Nancy Johnson Lapke were able to dial in as guests.
Hilary Wood Koch, Waterville, Maine, submits what she says is her first class note ever: “I married my Kenyon College sweetheart, Arne Koch, after graduation. We live in Maine and have two boys (both now teens). I taught for many years, but I left teaching to be the primary caregiver for our youngest son, who has hydrocephalus and type 1 diabetes. I joined an international open-source medical project and built my son an artificial pancreas system, which has effectively managed his diabetes for almost four years. My advocacy for his health concerns led me to advocate at the state level for legislation aimed at making health care and prescription drugs more accessible and affordable.” In November, Hillary garnered 8,819 votes out of 20,236 total in her unsuccessful bid for a state senate seat.
Jessica C. Banks reports she is “growing roots” in London, U.K.: “No kids but have a kundalini yoga studio and a meditation app, a prototype for a much bigger, more dynamic version currently in development. Tech wizardry is not my area of expertise, but it’s been an interesting journey exploring the potential for tech to support mental health and well-being. It’s been a while since I’ve seen anyone from our class. Hoping to reconnect in person or online soon!”
Paul A. Bonvallet teaches organic chemistry at the College of Wooster and is glad to have finished his term as department chair. “I’m still chief reader of the AP chemistry program,” he informs. “Nobody ever knows what that means, so I tell people I write and supervise the scoring of 160,000+ AP exams across the world, which is pretty close to the truth.” Paul’s daughter started college last fall. “We thought that the hardest work was behind us after she earned a soccer scholarship in a Division I program, but then the global pandemic hit. Our son is an active high school athlete and drummer in the band; he’s got talent, but I’m not sure whether it came from me. We still take the family to Gambier from time to time and hope to stay in Ohio for many years to come.”
Jessica E. Sukov Orenstein, who swore she would never leave California except for college, finds herself relocated to southeastern Connecticut. “Despite COVID, we bought a home sight unseen, drove across the country (without having secured jobs) with three dogs — and here we are, loving it!”
“My family remains displaced in the Dallas/Fort Worth area since Katrina, 15 years ago,” CoCo updates. “I’m no longer married and no kids — but I’ve got several youngsters in the family to love on and boss around from time to time. My job is to ensure that they all know where they come from — and, most important, how to peel shrimp and crawfish.” CoCo runs a law and policy nonprofit fighting for climate justice and racial justice across the five Gulf states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. Now in the leadership of the Movement for Black Lives, she anchors its climate agenda. “Every day I wake up ready to fight for a better world. Every evening I pray that we get a little more time to make things right.”
— Colette Pichon Battle, Slidell, Louisiana
Lindsay Buchanan Burke, Arlington, Virginia, practices law with Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C., now from her home office, while overseeing the virtual schooling of three kids in the next room. “As an employment lawyer advising many of the world’s largest companies, I’ve been at the center of employers’ responses to #MeToo, Black Lives Matter and the coronavirus pandemic,” she informs. “It’s been a busy and exciting time.”
Dwight K. Schultheis, Brookline, Massachusetts, reports that having his fifthand sixth-grade kids in virtual school livens up working from home. “We caved to their pressure in October and got a puppy, a five-pound Cavachon,” Dwight updates. “Very different from our previous dog, who topped the scales at 90 pounds. Dwight started a new job in corporate strategy at CVS Health, helping launch COVID testing at more than 4,000 CVS locations. “Apart from work and family, I’ve done my fair share of binge watching and would recommend ‘Ozarks,’ ‘The Bureau’ and ‘Hanna.’
Alicia R. Baker writes from Turkmenistan, where she has begun a new career as a diplomat/medical provider with the U.S. State Department. Since being emancipated from her 14-day quarantine upon arrival in Ashgabat, she has been learning more about the country and how best to support fellow Americans there.
Jack J. Dreher, Brentwood, Tennessee, completed his master’s in human development counseling with a clinical focus at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College. “Since May I have been working as a clinical/crisis counselor with a dialectical behavior therapy practice in Nashville, leading trauma-informed workshops on racial and social injustice.” Jack started a two-year training in advanced psychodynamic psychotherapy through the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists.
Kathryn Kerr Fitzsimmons, Lansing, Michigan, and her husband enjoyed a week in Cartagena, Colombia, in February 2020. “Spectacular city,” she writes. “Returned to abysmal cold and gray and Michigan’s COVID shutdown.” They quarantined at their cottage on Lake Charlevoix and, as of October, remained there. “Working remotely has had many benefits,” Kathryn explains. “Time with family and a slower pace. I have enjoyed a number of Zoom happy hours with Megan Grannis Blackmer, Ali St. Vincent Von Kennel, Lauren Weymouth, Kristina Racek Pechulis and Kielty Gallagher Nivaud.”
“After serving as press secretary for Gov. John Kasich, I joined Ohio’s chief elections officer, Secretary of State Frank LaRose, as his communication director. I’m still residing in Columbus and doing my best to balance being a full-time single dad to two awesome little girls doing virtual schooling, while running a communications team during the craziest election in memory.”
— Jonathan E. Keeling, Columbus, Ohio
Lauren Weymouth works in financial technology in San Francisco, where she lives with her wife and 4-year old. “Beyond the chaos of 2020,” she shares, “the air quality from constant California fires has been really rough to navigate. My silver lining is hosting Ripple’s new podcast, ‘All About Blockchain.’ It highlights global scholars’ adaptive research and applications being built on chain. Episodes dive into blockchain for good, featuring academics using technology to solve real challenges in health care, energy, land management and real estate, environment and agriculture.” Lauren invites your feedback once you listen on Apple, Spotify, Google or other platforms.
Shannon A. Byrne, Durham, North Carolina, works as a psychologist at Duke Health, describing “y’all” as officially part of her vocabulary after eight years in the region. “I’m adjusting to doing telehealth during the pandemic and appreciating lunch periods with my dog. Find me on Facebook!”
“At a Kenyon career fair, I met an AmeriCorps recruiter and spent a year volunteering in Columbus schools. So grateful for that happenstance. In this unusual 2020, I am leading ServeRI, my home state’s AmeriCorps agency, bringing people together to address community needs — distance learning, food insecurity and COVID response. It’s humbling to be that recruiter now and to promote service opportunities for others.”
— Adam G. Donaldson, Jamestown, Rhode Island
Kate Druschel Griffin, Bethesda, Maryland. joined a financial technology startup creating a new product for the millions of Americans without bank accounts. “Tough year to start a business, and it’s been a roller coaster,” Kate writes, but BrightFi launched by the end of the year. “This international studies major never thought she’d start a tech career in her forties!”
Zachary Nowak, Cambridge, Massachusetts, teaches the Harvard History Department’s biggest class, on the history of college sports. Zach has enjoyed seeing his Kenyon buddies for Sunday Zoom calls.
“It’s been a challenging time in New York City, to put it mildly, but I’m thankful that my family — husband Anthony, son James and daughter Alexandra — are all
healthy and well, and we’re committed to staying here. James is now in first grade at our local public school, and Alexandra will join him there in pre-K next fall. In the past few months I’ve published a few pieces on the humor websites McSweeney’s and Little Old Lady Comedy and hope to continue doing that.”
— Elizabeth A. Yates Keizner
Emily Anne Leachman, Charlotte, North Carolina, enjoys working as a library manager at the local community college, although serving the public from home is challenging, she says. Emily, husband Alejandro and 7-year-old Elliot added a fish tank to the family. “My best stress relief during the pandemic has been making quilts,” she reports, “a hobby I started at the Craft Center at Kenyon. Like much of my time at Kenyon, it stayed with me long after leaving Gambier.”
Daniel J. Connolly, Memphis, Tennessee, a reporter for The Commercial Appeal newspaper for 14 years, recently finished a project for USA Today about sexual abuse in competitive cheerleading. “I worked with a stellar team of journalists, including Marisa Kwiatkowski, who exposed the abuse of Dr. Larry Nassar, the now-notorious gymnastics doctor. I’vealso been writing a lot about the pandemic and the election.” Daniel celebrated his second anniversary with wife Ayleem, who is teaching Spanish via video from home .
“Taking care of COVID patients has been extremely hard, but I love my job and am continuously learning more each day.”
— Beth A. Harrod, Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Andrew W. Kahrl, Charlottesville, Virginia, was promoted to full professor in the departments of History and African American and African Studies at the University of Virginia.
Aleka E. Kostouros, Philadelphia, is a behavioral health consultant in a community health clinic. “Between COVID and civil unrest, this year has been challenging and eye-opening, to say the least,” she informs. “So much grief. So much anger. So much fear and anxiety. I’ve been in the clinic the whole time, though mostly doing sessions over the phone, which has been an adjustment. It’s been a privilege to be able to serve and bear witness, and I’m super grateful for a wonderful supervisor and team, but it can be taxing. To recharge, I take day trips to parks and small towns outside Philadelphia with my boyfriend, grateful for small things..”
Andreana C. Prichard, Oklahoma City, and her husband, Patrick, welcomed their first baby, Theo, the week lockdowns started. They’ve enjoyed a lot of time together as a family since. Andreana is an associate professor at the University of Oklahoma; Patrick is in public health.
Nora E. Colburn moved back home to Columbus, Ohio, to join the faculty at OSU Wexner Medical Center in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Department of Clinical Epidemiology. “I am so thankful I work with an incredible team during the pandemic,” Nora reports. “In the midst of dealing with COVID, I gave birth to my son, Aiden, in July. I never dreamed I would be a pregnant ID doctor and epidemiologist during an unprecedented global pandemic! Thankfully, maternity leave has been very quiet and restful!”
James J. Greenwood, Stow, Ohio, defended his dissertation in May, completing his Boston College doctoral program. “After nearly 20 years at independent schools in New England,” he reports, “I returned home to northeastern Ohio and accepted a position as dean of diversity, equity and inclusion at Western Reserve Academy in Hudson, Ohio.” James enjoyed his fourth and final year on the Kenyon College Alumni Council as past president.
Cathleen C. (Norian) Koch, Long Beach, California, celebrates the big news that she “welcomed a Class of 2038 women’s soccer player to the world this year.” Wearing her purple Kenyon soccer onesie, Kenyon baby socks and gold headband gifted to her by Maureen C. Collins ’03 and Elizabeth Twerdahl Stankus, she’s “ready to join the team,” Cate writes.
Danielle N. Tandet, New York City, and her husband traveled with a group called Honeymoon Israel. “Sort of like Birthright, but for married couples,” she informs. “Awesome trip that I highly recommend for those who fit the criteria. The rabbi who accompanied us was Rabbi Andrue Kahn ’06. We didn’t know each other at Kenyon but have mutual friends. It was fun to reminisce about the Hill while in Israel.”
Mara D. Bernstein, Bloomington, Indiana, misses working in person with her colleagues at Indiana University Libraries. She is the president of the Indiana University LGBTQ+ Alumni Association. “Amazing opportunity to connect with the IU LGBTQ+ community in support of each other and the university,” Mara writes. “It’s giving me great ideas for Kenyon, too! My wife, Jada Bee, and I devote a lot of time to Black Lives Matter Bloomington and the People’s Cooperative Market to bring locally produced food into food insecure homes. We are busy but doing all we can to make our community more equitable and sustainable!”
Brooke R. Johnson, Telluride, Colorado, started Tumbleweed Travel Co. (tumbleweedtravelco.com), an organizer of turnkey RV vacations throughout the U.S. and Canada, specializing in national parks travel. Brooke, who has been in the adventure travel industry since graduation, decided to go out on her own. “One of my first clients was Barbara ‘BJ’ MorganFedor and Nicholas M. Fedor ’03,” she writes.
Bethany R. (Anderson) Johns, Silver Spring, Maryland, works at the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities with vice presidents of research to advance science policy. “I recently met Ryan P. Muzzio ’18, a fellow physics major, who testified at a Capitol Hill hearing I helped organize,” she reports. “We had a wonderful time reminiscing about Kenyon and our professors.”
“Every time fall rolls around, I miss the Hill more. The colors have brightened the gray of life during the pandemic. I have three delightful children who have certainly made their presence and energy felt! This year, I’ve moved into almost full-time instructional coaching and have also enjoyed sharing all of my voting and election knowledge from my years as a government teacher. Life is full, but not fully virtual!”
— Catherine E. (Papai) McMillin, Westerville, Ohio
Eric J. Raicovich, New York City, was bummed to miss out on reunion shenanigans last year. “Looking forward to the next go-round whenever we can all be together again on the Hill. Little else to report. No wedding, no kids. Life is good.” Eric is finishing his first year at Facebook and is “thankful for ’05 Kenyonites in the city, including Phoebe L. Plagens, Claire T. McGinnis, Ashley W. Fitch, Allison B. Lebar, Philip A. Cooke, Meghan D. Rohan, Elizabeth Aragona Haines, Catherine ‘Cecil’ Howell (when we can track her down) and Rebecca L. Frank and Brian M. Porter ’02. Look forward to continuing our annual traditions no matter what curveballs the world throws at us.”
Kelly A. Smallwood Stowe relocated mid-pandemic to greater Boston for a new job at the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center and updates, "I’m working on transportation research and analysis projects for a variety of government agencies. Very interesting, given the massive transition to remote work for much of the American workforce. Also a very interesting time to parent schoolaged children. We opted to home-school, which has turned out to be the best decision for our family. Technology is good for many things, but our first- and second-graders have benefited tremendously from the one-on-one attention they’re receiving from their home-school teacher — my husband.
“Fifteen years married to Mount Vernon Nazarene University alum Todd Waggoner, with a daughter, Louisa Frances (2). After post-college stints in Germany, D.C. and Nashville, we are building a house in Westfield, Indiana. My in-laws still live in Mount Vernon, so we visit Kenyon often. It’s amazing how much things have changed in Gambier!”
— Kimberly (Moore) Waggoner
John D. Sadoff, Somerville, Massachusetts, reports that his chess tutoring business, “ChessMate Tutors,” is all online. “I’m still running as much as I can.” Johnny reminds Kenyon alums in the Boston area he is “always up for a game of chess.”
Annie Valuska, St. Louis, enjoys her “dream job” as an animal behaviorist at Purina and shares, “In the Before Times, I was acting with several St. Louis theater groups, but now my favorite quarantine hobby is decorating sugar cookies (shameless plug: @zoeyscookies on IG) to the dulcet tones of some grisly true crime podcast or absolute garbage reality television.”
Margaret M. (NiehausSauter) Fuchs moved to Shaker Heights, Ohio, with Andy Fuchs and baby Henry. Margaret is a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic, caring
for patients with adult congenital heart disease. Finishing his master’s degree in teaching mathematics, Andy has been tasked with fixing up the house. “We are excited to see friends once the pandemic concludes,” she writes.
Lisa A. Hamer and her partner, Ifeanyi Okeke, are enjoying their life in Taos, New Mexico, where Lisa, a felony public defender for Taos County, was recently appointed to the Drug Court Task Force. “We have been enjoying the Land of Enchantment, where social distancing has been easy to come by in the 5,000 square miles of national forest surrounding our new home,” she updates
Lauren C. Ostberg is a lawyer in Hadley, Massachusetts, in the western part of the state. She is trying to make more time to write. Weekly prompts and pieces exchanged with Amy Strieter are of help, she writes, “and I’m vaguely pursuing my aspirations in local government and public radio. Benjamin F. Taylor is still here, too, composing, doing web development and being as delightful as he is tall."
Shannon Deoul, Los Angeles, connected with Kate Hellman Miller and her family in Florida last February when they were visiting at the same time. Shannon and Andrew Pankin attended Stephanie Hemmingson’s wedding in Portland, Oregon, on Leap Day. Shannon officiated, with many Kenyon friends in attendance, including Susanna M. “Zannie” Carlson, Colleen P. (Halpin) Kelly, Elisa B. Garcia, Ryan M. Pearce, Christopher D. Holden, Ben L. Peterson and Alexander W. Boivin ’09.
Thomas Dickson, Soquel, California, and Brian H. Dow participated in a new season of the television series “Alone,” in which each participant may bring 10 items to survive in the wilderness. T.D. brought his Kenyon belt, and Brian brought his class photo.
Maggie Kempner, San Leandro, California, and Victor T. Lamond quarantined in the San Francisco Bay area, where they work for A3 (AAA’s innovation lab) and Tesla. “In April 2020 we welcomed a son, Judah David Kempner Lamond (aka Jude), who has been keeping us very busy!” she updates.
Josephine (Comas Bardot) Trueblood, Monrovia, California, reports that the Bobcat Fire in Los Angeles National Forest came all too close: “We were under evacuation warning for over two weeks,” Josie writes. “As a precaution, we evacuated our daughters, Ushuaia and Iguazu, to my sister’s home while my husband and I stayed behind. In the midst of all the scary chaos, we experienced a great sense of community with our neighbors and had incredible support, both from our immediate family and our precious squad of Kenyon aunties and cousins, Agnese Melbarde, Lauren K. Burley and Olga Novikova. As we faced the possibility of losing everything, these three incredible Ladies did a terrific job supporting and comforting us; we could not have done it without them! Our neighborhood was not lost despite the fire reaching 1,500 feet from us.” Josie is a clinical research nurse in the Diabetes and Metabolic Research Institute at City of Hope.
Jonathan N. Lawrence, Howard, Ohio, Alyssa (Gomez) Lawrence ’10 and daughter Evie (4) celebrate the arrival of Aurelian Arthur Lawrence. Jon reports that Ari loves Pink Floyd.
Paige L. Markham, Walnut Creek, California, who runs acupuncture practices in Hawaii and California, recently launched a Chinese facial tool line named “Yang Face” (yangface.com). Yang Face honors traditional Chinese medicine, is environmentally conscious and promotes social change, she informs. “Five percent of all proceeds go to my alma mater, Punahou School, so its Hawaiian Studies program can give our youth a strong sense of self and belonging in this world,” she shares, noting that her journey, influenced by Kenyon professors, began during study abroad.
Max D. Reisman, Los Angeles, sold his first movie to Universal Pictures. “This will be all the more exciting once movie theaters exist again!” he jokes.
Rachel A. Burgreen, Austin, Texas, reports that quarantine led her to open a telehealth practice specializing in Radically Open Dialectical Behavior Therapy. “I’m getting ready to move in with my partner, Stefan, and embark on a major home renovation project to have a workspace/ rental property,” she informs. “Stefan came in a package deal with his sweet dog, Cali, and I’m a very happy dog mom!”
Logan M. Donaldson and his wife moved to Omaha, Nebraska, and started new practices, he as a veterinary neurologist and she as a pediatrician.
Natalie E. West, who works for the World Food Programme, moved to Dakar to work on nutrition and food security analyses for west Africa, but then ended up back in the U.S. for most of the spring and summer to avoid getting stuck abroad. Now back in Africa, she updates, “My new role is supposed to involve a lot of travel across the region, but instead I’m currently enjoying cautiously exploring Senegal and its abundance of (safer) outdoor activities."
Liza W. Chabot splits her time between Durham, North Carolina, where her stepson lives, and Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she works for the Broad Institute. “Trying to continue making art through this crazy time, when gallery shows and in-person art events are nonexistent. Making long wish lists of travel and art plans for when this is all over.”
Kathleen E. Jordan, Los Angeles, is proud of her new show, “Teenage Bounty Hunters,” available on Netflix since August. She is the writer, creator and showrunner of the comedy series, whose executive producer is nine-time Emmy nominee Jenji Kohan, of “Orange Is the New Black” and “GLOW.”
Kathleen E. (Williams) Stumbaugh, Columbus, Ohio, updates that she married her lovely wife, Kelly. “I actually met her when Unity House did the first queer prom in Mount Vernon with the Knox GSA,” Kathleen writes. “She lived in town and came to protest the protesters.” Having completed her M.F.A. at Ohio University, Kathleen is community arts and engagement coordinator at Open Door Art Studio and Gallery in Grandview Heights, Ohio. “We are a nonprofit art studio that works with adults with developmental disabilities, providing them a space to create, market, display and sell artwork for a paycheck.”
Christine L. (Bullock) Wendell, Brooklyn, New York, launched a startup, Pronto Housing (prontohousing.com), which automates affordable housing leasing and compliance.
“I speak on how faith-based organizations can produce materials for constituents with an anti-oppression lens. For emotional support during these trying times, I read Circe and participated in the Kenyon Book Club discussion. Also, I continued crocheting a blanket I started my senior year at Kenyon that is based on ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender,’ a show I have been re-watching.”
— Faith A. Bell, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Marketing and Communications director for Mennonite Mission Network
Finneas V. Borge is a product consultant and software engineer in Brooklyn, New York. Finn’s work is focused on families, small business and political equity.
Jack A. Graham, Bel Air, Maryland, married longtime girlfriend Sarah last December, shortly after being named general manager of the Aberdeen IronBirds, a single-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. “We have been living in Maryland for five years since I first arrived for my new job with Ripken Baseball after my professional baseball career ended,” he writes. “Sarah teaches second grade at a Title I school, helping to make a difference in an underprivileged district.”
Alyssa N. Van Denburg earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Duke University and completed her clinical internship at Yale University School of Medicine in June. She returned to Chicago, her hometown, where she is a postdoc at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She researches behavioral interventions for pain in cancer patients who are experiencing chronic pain, grief and loss, infertility and insomnia; meanwhile, Alyssa serves as a primary caregiver to her mother, who is battling advanced cancer. She shares that she appreciates the support she has received from alumni.
“After my previous apartment was destroyed by tornadoes, I bought a converted factory loft in a 150-year-old cotton mill in the Germantown neighborhood.”
— Samuel A. Warlick, Nashville, Tennessee
Lauren E. Amrhein updates, "Due to the continued dumpster fire of 2020, I’ve moved back from France to New York City to spend time with family. Adjusting to reverse culture shock. Still working in remote education, which I’ve been doing for the past six years. Finally, everyone else understands how tiring Zoom is, and how wonderful it is to work in pajama pants.” In November, Lauren released her debut EP, available on Spotify, Apple Music and Bandcamp, under the artist name Folklaur. “I promise I came up with that before T-Swift, but great minds think alike, and she can’t claim the name pun!"
Julia C. Anderson moved to Portland, Maine, in November with her new husband, Zach. “It was a very small ceremony (just us and an officiant), and we hope to celebrate safely with family and friends in summer 2021,” she informs. Julia has been working for the state of Massachusetts on COVID relief for people living in congregate care settings such as group homes.
James F. Dennin and Heather P. Brennan ’14 live in Harlem with a pug named Dolly Barkton. “I’m still working at IBM in communications for our AI business,” he informs. In May 2020, after he and some friends launched HireArtists to help creatives find work during quarantine, their efforts were written up in the New Yorker. James also helped another friend launch a financial services company called OfColor, focused on narrowing the racial wealth gap.
Morgan E. Peele bought a tiny house in the historical section of Philadelphia. Called a “trinity” or “bandbox” home in Philly lingo, “It’s a narrow, three-story row home originally designed to serve as living quarters for servants or working-class folks between the 18th and 19th century,” she informs. “I’m in love with the narrow, twisty stairs — although it’s nearly impossible to get furniture to the third floor!”
Christina A. Taliercio, Salt Lake City, is an Embraer 175 pilot for Skywest Airlines. Tina, who recently adopted a cute cat named Waffles, likes to think she spends her time off hiking, rock climbing and mountain biking, she writes, but “mostly spends it cleaning cat hair.”
Janet R. Wlody, Brooklyn, New York, downloaded TikTok, she reports. “I speak and gesture like a Gen Z now. No cap.”
“I am currently living her best SoCal life trekking through a psychology doctoral internship. After finally making my way out of the closet — gosh, it was dismal in there! — I am blissfully engaged to the love of my life, Lindsay. Proud fur baby moms to three pups and a kitty. Weekends are typically spent beach hopping and soaking in those Cali vibes, protesting racial inequality, making gemstone bracelets, seeking out live music and learning to roller skate. Catch us skating down that sparkling coastline and escaping the unfathomable mess that is 2020.”
— Gabrielle A. Giomini
Bronte L. Kastenberg is pursuing her master’s in public health and humanitarian assistance at Columbia University. “Silver lining of COVID is that people stop asking
me what public health is and why it’s important,” she writes. “I think my family deserves an award for most creative quarantine, which included building and racing boats made from recycled materials, murder mystery games and Christmas on May 25. Take care of yourself and others, and speak out when you see injustice."
“I started an art series where I re-create paintings and photographs of people knitting, with myself as the subject, and share black history contemporaneous to the original art (see @darcidoesit on Instagram). Aside from that, I’m just designing knitwear, demanding justice for Breonna Taylor and thinking about putting that master’s degree to work as a speech pathologist.”
— Darci K. (Marcum) Kern, St. Louis, Missouri
Rebecca E. Ogus received her M.Div. from Berkeley Divinity School and Yale Divinity School in May 2020 and was ordained a transitional deacon in the Episcopal Church. In January, she was ordained to the priesthood. Rebecca is associate pastor for youth and young adults at Church of them Redeemer in Baltimore. When she and husband Zach moved there in July, they were delighted to find Joseph S. Wun living there as well.
“So 2020 has been no 2014 — let’s not beat around the bush here. I don’t know if a PSA is allowed in the class notes, but PSA: In Taiwan there’s been virtually no COVID. No quarantine, nothing like that at all. Life has been completely normal. There’s something of a Kenyon community here too, especially in Taipei. If you want to try a new country, I feel it is my duty to shepherd you. I can find you a job teaching English in 2.5 seconds — no joke. Got a new job at a skin-care company, can hook you up with lip balm.”
— Jeremy M. Peck
Anna V. Peery, San Carlos, California, loves her software engineering job at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. Her current project is a smart charging infrastructure tool so California utility companies can track electric vehicle charging stations and usage. Anna lives with her partner, Samuel L. Loomis ’14, and their two dogs, who enjoy actively participating in work-related Zoom calls.
Emily D. Torrey accepted a Dean’s Scholarship to attend Loyola University New Orleans School of Law. In August she moved there from Brooklyn mid-pandemic. “I will be pursuing a law degree focusing on social justice scholarship and clinical experience,” she informs.
Caroline R. Dultz, Long Island, New York, works in media marketing. Recently, she partnered pro bono with the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (AFTD), the charity tasked with researching and supporting those who suffer that form of early-onset dementia. The team created the #FTDHotShot Challenge, a viral social media campaign that raised more than $50,000 from around the world and boosted awareness of this pernicious but little-known disease.
Jacob R. Genachowski, Washington, D.C., cites one positive of the pandemic: He’s stayed in touch with classmates through the new Call of Duty game. Jake reports playing “countless hours” with Nicholas J. Gasbarro, Garrison J. Anderson, John C. “Jack” McDonald and Patrick C. Brady ’14.
Jacob T. Hegge updates that he gladly left Columbus, Ohio, for London, U.K., in 2018. “Currently working in finance and recently started tennis lessons,” he informs.
“Shout out to Alyssa M. LaFrenierre, who got me moving and did online workouts with me throughout lockdown — she’s the real MVP.” Alyssa, who just graduated from the Medical University of South Carolina, is now a certified and licensed physician assistant.
Christine A. Prevas is currently pursuing a doctorate in English and comparative literature at Columbia University, with a research focus on queer gender and sexuality and the destabilization of the subject in popular horror media. Spare time includes writing essays, designing tabletop role-playing games and hosting a podcast with several other Kenyon alums.
Payton L. Schlicht completed her master’s and now remotely teaches a group of “goofy” fourth-graders in her hometown of Waukegan, Illinois. In her free time, she “hangs out with her puppy-size lizard, Gulliver, and the rest of my strange menagerie."
Being in China throughout the pandemic was an experience. But since April 2020, I’ve been able to travel within China safely and teach full classrooms in person. Trying to learn Mandarin from zero is truly humbling.
Donald A. McIlhenny, Brooklyn, New York, edits for a U.K.-based research consultancy that studies the energy market. Aaron writes, “Reading a lot more about Big Oil than I ever expected to, but it’s fascinating to have front-row seats to the geopolitics and to the energy transition as a whole. It’s also making me realize more and
more the importance of being in nature, using less plastic and finding ways to be more deeply connected to the wider world.”
Meg M. Thornbury moved from Longmont, Colorado, last summer and began her master’s in social work at the University of Pittsburgh. “My ESA, Lupe Fiasco, is no longer a fiasco and now has a new kitten sibling named Bebop! They’re helping me heal: I got COVID-19 from my mom, Amy Tryon Thornbury ’88, on March 13. Unfortunately, we’re both long-haulers and still have symptoms. Stay masked, stay safe.”
“Grateful to be alive and healthy. I got married, moved into a new apartment and turned 25 in March 2020. I also transitioned from our HR division to the office of the chief information officer. Nowadays, I work on cybersecurity strategy — kind of surreal, since I had zero cybersecurity knowledge prior to June. But I dig the challenge. In summary, my life has been analyst by day, artist/theologian/ ranter by night. I should probably go outside more often. I could really use a basketball and a hoop.”
— Benjamin T. AdekunleRaji II,, Elkridge, Maryland
Adama J. Berndt moved from Maryland to Philadelphia with Nontonkozo V. Mdluli ’18 “as a newlywed coronavirus couple!” he shares. “We’ve started our first year at the University of Pennsylvania, where I’m studying in the neuroscience Ph.D. program, and Nonto is doing immunology research.”
Inês A. Forjaz de Lacerda returned to her hometown, Lisbon, Portugal, and completed a master’s in comparative studies while teaching English at PaRK International School. “I recently founded the online journal and collective “Venti: Air, Experience, and Aesthetics,” she informs, “along with Jessie E. Alperin ’18 and Sarah C. Dailey ’20. Our first three issues are available at venti-journal.com.”
Morgan C. Harden returned from her Fulbright in Argentina and enrolled in the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business M.B.A. program.
Claire M. Naughton shares that “after bopping around a bit post-grad, I’m settling into a new job in Strasbourg, France, working in a French startup as a business developer.” Claire maintains her blog, The Millennial Abroad, on the side. “Not totally sure how I got here or where I’m going, exactly, but the ride has been pretty good so far.”
Seth T. Reichert spent a year in Bozeman, Montana, then two years in AmeriCorps in New York City and Columbus, Ohio. “I have since been hired full-time with City Year in Columbus, where I am the impact manager for a team of eight at Linden McKinley STEM Academy,” he reports. Seth lives with Emma L. Brown in Clintonville and “is taking things day by day.”
Elana S. Spivack, Closter, New Jersey, began a master’s in science writing at NYU. “Trying to read, connect with people and write stories on all kinds of scientific findings,” she notes.
Eliza M. Abendroth and Jack Marooney continue to experience political turbulence up close in Washington, D.C.’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, she informs. “I am still at Mathematica Policy Research and working with a group of passionate colleagues to pursue more criminal and juvenile justice work.”
Stephanie A. Holstein, Hudson, New York, is an associate editor at Princeton Architectural Press. She serves as the production editor for its children’s book program and select adult trade titles. She has recently acquired two books, coming out in fall 2021 and spring 2022.
“As with most of us, I am not at all where I thought I would be at this point, but very grateful to continue working in theater! As the patron services associate/house manager at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, I’m proud to have helped present outdoor, socially distanced performances last summer and fall, bringing a little bit of live art to these challenging times.”
— Natalie S. Kane, Mountain Lakes, New Jersey
Rachel E. Schafer moved to Cleveland and started medical school at Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner College of Medicine. “Pre-COVID, I was finishing up some breast cancer research at Ohio State,” she informs, “but our lab was forced to halt work in March 2020. During quarantine, like so many others, I picked up way too many crafts and fell into bread-making. Absolutely thrilled to be back in school working.
“I’m going into my second year as an assistant English teacher in a rural area of Nagasaki, Japan. It’s rice-harvesting season as I write this, which is exciting! There’s
really nothing like fresh rice. But shout-out to Peirce rice for being a close second.”
— Clara L. Altfeld
“I am currently teaching third-grade English at the American School of Tangier. I love it here and am thrilled to be in such a beautiful place during this difficult time.”
— Sinclair B. Barbehenn, Morocco
Jenna M. Bouquot, Marengo, Ohio, married Brandon Korns, “the love of my life, whom I met while at Kenyon,” she writes. “He works in Mount Vernon at the Ariel Corp. Our first date was at Dave’s Cosmic Subs.”
Eve L. Bromberg, Brooklyn, New York, works at a tech-ed startup called Quill.org. “Because of COVID-19,” she informs, “our site’s traffic has been up profusely! It’s a very busy time for us. I’m also completing a master’s in liberal studies at CUNY’s Graduate Center, where I plan to do my thesis on the intersection of race theory, existentialism and phenomenology.”
Michael J. Lahanas-Calderon spent the year working in the Bay Area for Inequality Media, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich’s nonprofit, he reports. “I’ve written and produced all sorts of content, on issues ranging from climate change to voting rights, but one of my favorite achievements was getting Robert on TikTok (@rbreich)!”
Brittany A. Beckley, Orange, New Jersey, shares a touching perspective from the uniquely unfortunate class of 2020. “After my strange departure from Kenyon in March, I went home to New Jersey. I nursed my COVID-19-positive mother back to health from death’s door, all while finishing my last semester from home. The bulk of my quarantine was spent renovating my childhood room to a more mature space. Shout-out to my Danish semester abroad for the hygge minimalism inspiration!” Brittany is now pursuing a master’s in hospitality management at Temple University.
Srila H. Chadalavada is a post-baccalaureate research fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland. In her neural coding lab, she’s researching the visual pathway and how it ties into decision-making and reward valuation.
Sarah C. Dailey, Scottsdale, Arizona, and fellow alumni co-founded “Venti: Air, Experience, and Aesthetics,” an online journal that considers air and atmosphere through interdisciplinary scholarship. As senior editor, she hosts “On Air: A Venti Podcast,” for which she recently interviewed Assistant Professor of English Orchid Tierney (ventijournal.com/onair).
Colleen H. Kemp moved to Madrid, Spain, where she teaches English and science in a Spanish public school, and reports, “Madrid without the usual horde of tourists has been quiet, beautiful and not wholly unlike Gambier — because I’m living with Rose W. Bialer!”
India Kotis, Brooklyn, New York, started an internship at the Lesbian Herstory Archives, cataloging the records of lesbian lives and activities for public online access. “A paper I wrote for Alex Novikoff’s course on medieval Spain discussing sex and gender in Umayyad Iberia was published in Johns Hopkins University’s Macksey Journal,” India notes.
Devon G. Nothard, Los Angeles, is a global advocacy program assistant with AIDS Healthcare Foundation. He researches policy proposals, coordinates advocacy campaigns and helps administer the group’s emergency COVID-19 relief fund.
“When people ask me why I’m so fond of my tiny college on a hill, I often share how students see sunsets. Almost every student on Middle Path looks up in unison to
pause and enjoy the always-shocking beauty of an Ohio sunset. Then we’d all rush off, busy with our lives — but we made time for that pause. I hope the Class of 2020 continues to savor the quiet beauty in our lives.”
— Shannon N. Paige
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“I’ve posted a poem on Facebook every day since March 15, 2020.”
— Daniel O. Holland, on writing through the pandemic
“I’ve always been painfully introverted, so I’ve been training for this pandemic world all my life.”
— Perry C. Lentz
“No travel, no restaurants — just hibernation.”
— Martin L. Madorsky, summing up life in quarantine
“I appreciate knowing you and the people we encountered at Kenyon, who guided us in keeping calm and finding the value and wholeness of the life I have followed.”
— Michael C. Johnston
“I'm hoping there's no retaliation for those high school groundings.”
— Peter J. Pappas, on working for his son at Morgan Stanley
“After decades of separation, I am finding Kenyon again.”
— Beshara B. Doumani, on visiting the Hill to give pre-pandemic talks for students
“It feels like a tiny sliver of détente.”
— Robert K. Lundin, editor of the Awakenings Review, on receiving a short story submission from a Russian writer
“I spend most mornings on either a pickleball or tennis court.”
— Lynn Snyderman, on enjoying her retirement
“My greatest sorrows are also what keep me whole.”
— Gina Bauman Kornfeind, on her work with pediatric palliative care patients
“I feel like the Princess Bride! Finally found my Wesley — and he was waiting for me from Kenyon all these years.”
— Genevieve C. Bates, on finding a storybook love in an unexpected place
“I bought a chain saw. It’s pretty cool.”
— Anthony J. Jones, on developing new hobbies in quarantine
“No matter where I end up, I often say — and always believe! — that all roads lead to Ohio!”
— Sheila Pierce Ortona
“This international studies major never thought she’d start a tech career in her forties!”
— Kate Druschel Griffin, on joining a financial technology startup
“I never dreamed I would be a pregnant ID doctor and epidemiologist during a global pandemic!”
— Nora E. Colburn
“My favorite quarantine hobby is decorating sugar cookies to the dulcet tones of some grisly true crime podcast or absolute garbage reality television.”
— Annie Valuska, on staying occupied during the pandemic
I promise I came up with that before T-Swift, and she can’t claim the name pun!
“I continued crocheting a blanket I started my senior year that’s based on 'Avatar: The Last Airbender.'”
— Faith A. Bell, on providing herself emotional support during trying times