Suzanne ‘Suzy’ Evans Benson writes, “Greetings to everyone, especially the Class of 1952. We all need to go to our Reunion in October! We had such fun in the winter getting to know everyone in our Zoom meeting. Remember our word is ‘Connect!’ Still seeing patients in our Community Hospital with my therapy dog Brendi, who is a member of Pet Partners. Also taking a Zoom class at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of Rhode Island. The class is about our great environmentalist Rachel Carson, her life, studies, and her books about the ocean. Since I live near the East Coast, I thought it best to study her interest in the sea. It is very interesting. Remember Silent Spring?”
Barbara Abney Bolger writes, “Hi, everyone! Six of us enjoyed a wonderful Zoom time together in March—Nita Dressler Argyres, Suzanne ‘Suzy’ Evans Benson, Cynthia Hill Smith, Barbara Johnston Humphreys, Barbara Brown McFarland, and me. We shared memories and life updates and all agreed we should do it again. I, for one, was blown away by the incredible lives we have lived, stories we shared, and friendships renewed. We missed the rest of you! Meanwhile, I’d love to hear from any and all of you. ’52 Connect in ’22 is off and running! Hop on the bandwagon with the rest of us!
I am enjoying my three married children and seven grands, ranging in age from 22 to 2! The photo was taken on the beach in Ocean City last summer when my sons and their families, along with three Abney nephews and their families were all together. My daughter and her husband could not travel from Texas. Last year kept me busy co-chairing my virtual Mt. Holyoke College 65th reunion. Now I am working on our WT 70th! Enjoyed one Zoom gathering already and am looking forward to more. It is wonderful to be in touch with everyone, lifelong friends who share so many memories. I have to say, we are quite a remarkable bunch of women! Doing a little volunteer work and really enjoying my weekly Mahjongg game.”
Over the winter, Joan Dibert Caryl wrote a letter to classmate Barbara Abney Bolger, sharing that she was looking forward to her 66th wedding anniversary in February. She and her husband have three sons and one daughter, all married; four granddaughters, one grandson; and three great grandchildren, two boys and one girl. She has knit baby blankets for each baby, having learned to knit in third grade at WT, making squares for the soldiers.
Ann Fairbanks Schaffer shared with classmate Barbara Abney Bolger that she has four sons, two stepsons, six grandchildren, and one great grandchild. They had a wonderful conversation.
Elaine Kauffman Haid shared with classmate Barbara Abney Bolger that she lost her husband suddenly in 2021. She lives in an active adult community in Ohio.
Jennifer Davies shared, “I survived the lockdown, grateful I could still work in the studio. Preparing for a solo exhibit in May, I’ll take a week off to visit my sons, both in Miami now.”
Eleanor Levinson Peris writes, “I continue to volunteer as a peer coordinator for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) for kids in foster care. I also have been tutoring refugees in ESL, and am involved in Imagine, a Center for Coping with Loss, all of which are rewarding. In between, my husband Jeffrey and I spend time with our children and grandchildren, the oldest of whom is graduating from Cornell next month with an engineering degree. Jeffrey and I have also resumed traveling and just returned from Costa Rica with another one of our grandchildren. In June, we head to Norway to celebrate our 55th Anniversary.”
Susan ‘Susie’ MacMichael Zuntini shared, “My third grandchild has arrived, Enzo Zuntini, my son’s first child. He lives 15 minutes away from us, so we are in close contact (Now that Franco and I are declared cured of COVID-19!). Our ’65 book group is a joy, sharing things we loved, tips on movies, seeing each other. We have been out in public here in Switzerland—movies, concerts, plays, restaurants. Off to hike in Andalusia. And to see Granada. We keep trying to soldier on!”
Jane Soxman shared, “In June, I will begin my 40th year in private practice of pediatric dentistry in Allison Park. I have published three text books; I am a pediatric seminar instructor in three dental residency programs; and a national speaker. My son Zachary graduated from the Naval Academy and is now an investment banker in New York City. My daughter Bailey is an interior designer with a firm in Washington, D.C. Zack has two children, Penn, age one and Ellie, age three. Bailey will be married in Cabo, Mexico in October. My years at WT were some of the happiest in my life.”
Heather Wishik writes, “My spouse, Susan, and I have recently sold our Florida home and moved back full time to Vermont. This year, I have had the honor of consulting to the World Health Organization and the U.S. State Department Middle East Region on diversity matters. I continue to write poems and create collages. One poem was published as part of PoemCity Montpelier, a month-long celebration of National Poetry Month. Poems are selected from those submitted and then published as large posters that are exhibited in store windows all over town. Susan is still working as an executive at an insurance company, doing so full time from home. Our son, Gabriel, was admitted to Harvard MGH’s Palliative Care Fellowship, which he will start this coming July. In the meantime, he is working as a doctor in a group of methadone clinics in Western Massachusetts.”
Carol Byrom Conrad shares, “Just catching up after many years… Retired after 40+ years in independent school education, teacher and administrator, three schools, three states (some irony teaching in an all-boys school for 8 years). Moved three years ago, August, to Kent Island, Maryland. Driving distance to two sons and three grandchildren. Lots of water, 55+ community and many new friends. Hoping to do delayed traveling abroad in ’22. Spent COVID-19 on Zoom taking watercolor instruction from artists in many states and Canada and even Paris! Mrs. Peterson would be proud! Putting my life and history major to work teaching a 60’s class to 25 adult learners, more work than I expected, but lots of fun and deeper study for me. Remembering what it was like to watch from our apartment window the march on Freedom Corner and the National Guard camped in the Civic Arena parking lots when MLK was killed. Also connected to WT and Pittsburgh by supporting a new WT Lower School scholarship: ‘Think also’ focused on diversity in the Lower School and the Hill District.”
Wendy Crawford Galleher writes, “We continue to enjoy living in Charlotte and the activities that retirement brings—bridge, hiking, kayaking, traveling, and making memories with our children and four grandsons!!!”
Helen Berkman Habbert shares, “I’m now in California with my new granddaughter! Looking forward to our October 70th Birthday Party/Delayed 50th Reunion!”
Helen ‘Holly’ Clay shares, “After returning from overseas, I pursued a Master’s Degree in Education. I ended up in the special ed field as a small group instructor and tutor, working for the Kingsbury Institute in Washington, D.C. My third daughter moved on to university and grad school in England and I moved from D.C. to Gloucester, MA in 2016, right after I divorced. I taught yoga for a few years (RYT, White Lotus Foundation, Santa Barbara, CA). I’ve been doing projects and exhibits for local historical societies since I moved here. COVID-19 found me writing; I have three manuscripts in various stages of completion at this point. My backyard tumbles down to a tidal estuary. At mean to high tide, in warm weather, I can swim right off the back of my property.
Carolyn Cramer Sanford writes, “Join us to make our class reunion a memorable one with a great turnout!”
Juliet Schor, who is currently a Professor of Sociology at Boston College, spoke about the benefits of a four-day work week at the TED flagship conference in April.
“When She Was Free,” by Victoria Dym, has been selected by editor Celeste Gainey, City of Asylum Poet Laureate of Allegheny County, for inclusion in the series, Eco-Justice for All! Poetry Confronts Climate Catastrophe zine. Victoria read the poem at The Metanoia Retreat for Writers, Well-Being and Right Whales, co-facilitated by Victoria and Martha McDowell on Earth Day Weekend. The retreat included a full Laughter Yoga session, creativity games, writing prompts, and more. In addition, Victoria’s newly released chapbook, “Spontaneous,” was also selected by Northwest Florida Poet Laureate Katherine Nelson-Born as the winner of the 2021 Poem-A-Day Chapbook Challenge.
Susan Whitacre writes, “I just returned from the Van Gogh Immersive Experience in Houston, TX. I hope that you’ll opt to do the Virtual Reality experience too!! It is a magnificent sensory experience that will carry you away on the sounds of fabulous music, vibrant colors, remarkable graphics, and engaging narratives. I was in Pittsburgh in early April for the birth of my fourth grandchild. Mother and baby are thriving. I feel blessed beyond measure! Mother Nature reminded me about how surprisingly beautiful Pittsburgh is in EVERY season. In the two weeks I was there, I experienced fall in all its splendor—with crisp temperatures and leaf-covered lawns, warm and sunshiny days with the promise of spring, and frigid winter temperatures and a snowfall which carpeted the earth in white. Pittsburgh, you are captivating!! Sending love to my classmates, along with best wishes that you and yours are enjoying great health.”
Jillian ‘Jill’ Shapiro Barnet’s poetry has appeared in North American Review, Nimrod, Image, California Quarterly and many other literary journals and anthologies. Her work was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by the Bellingham Review. Jill received her MFA from Vermont College in 2003. Links to some of her work and a blog can be found on her website at jillianbarnetwrites.com.
Calling all members from the Class of 1982, Sofia ‘Stef’ Agras writes, “Let’s do a Zoom party for the Class of ’82!”
Margaret ‘Margo’ Hiller shares, “Hi to all the WT community, especially my fellow classmates of 1984! I can’t believe how fast these years have gone by! Just a quick update, I am primarily residing in the Las Vegas, Nevada area and I still have my place in Pittsburgh! Gone are my dancing days. Oh well…alas all good things…currently, I am working in real estate development with a venture capitalist firm and of course all of my charitable endeavors. My eldest son Max has blessed me with my first granddaughter, Willow, and my youngest son Mitchell is set to graduate Fox Chapel High School in June of 2022! Yeah! If anyone gets out West please give me a call…otherwise, I will catch up with you in the ’Burgh!”
Upper School Art Instructor, Advisor, Equity & Inclusion Liaison, alum parent, and parent Mary Martin hosted the inaugural Eid Celebration to mark the end of Ramadan for the WT community.
Ian Gould has been weathering the pandemic by appearing in commercials and productions online, including Much Ado About Nothing for Pittsburgh Public Theater. He is in his third year on the faculty of the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts where he teaches classical and contemporary comedy, and will return to live theater this summer in King John with Shakespeare on the Sound in Connecticut. His wife Gabrielle was recently named Chief Learning Officer of the New York City Office of Management and Budget.
Trustee Brandilyn ‘Brandi’ Y. Dumas has been named to the Crain’s New York 2022 Notable Women in Law list. Dumas was chosen as one of just 119 women for their outstanding professional achievements and pro bono work or involvement with industry and community organizations. Dumas is a shareholder at Greenberg Traurig, where she focuses her practice on commercial real estate transactions, including acquisitions and dispositions, financing, joint ventures, and development. According to Greenberg Traurig, “Dumas’ dedication to raising the next generation remains central to her external activities.”
Callie Gropp is grateful for all of the alums who agreed to be interviewed as part of her Multicultural America class. “Your vulnerability, thoughtfulness, insights, and hopefulness for the future of WT make me proud to be an alum, parent, and faculty member!” shares Gropp. Special thanks to Joy Titus-Young ‘92, Lauren Ober ‘96, Anjali Sachdeva ‘96, Keshira haLev Fife ‘96, Latika Ravi ‘97, Cassandra ‘Cassy’ Richards Davis ‘01, Don Mike Mendoza ‘06, Kayla Small ‘17, Yin ‘Linda’ Lin ‘17, Yijia Chen ‘18, M. Romon Washington ‘19, Tatiana ‘Tati’ Barelli ‘20, Aria Eppinger ‘20, Jelisa Lyde ‘20, Felix Bhattacharya ‘21, and Lila Spiro ‘21.
Yiwen Chu won the 2020 Raymond and Beverly Sackler International Prize in Physics. The prize was awarded for introducing a new class of devices and hybrid structures enabling quantum information processing. Yiwen Chu ’04 attended WT for grades 6–11 before leaving after her junior year to attend MIT. Read more here.
Peter Curtis shares, “I’m working in wealth management for high net worth families. I am getting married in May and just got two beautiful pets: a goldendoodle puppy and Siberian kitten!”
Jimyse ‘Meese’ Brown was part of The Advanced Leadership Institute’s (TALI) 2021 cohort for its inaugural Emerging Leaders Program, which prepares rising Black leaders for professional success. This new program is made possible through a partnership with Carnegie Mellon University and in collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh, Robert Morris University, and Duquesne University.
In April, Upper School Black students participated in a virtual roundtable discussion with WT alums of color.
Mary Martin ’88 (facilitator), Joy Titus-Young ‘92, Brandilyn ‘Brandi’ Dumas ‘99, Brea Heidelberg ‘02, Earl Hord ‘11, and Michael Booker ‘12, explored life beyond WT, addressing questions such as “How does identity inform the type of adult you become?” and “How do you give back to your community or culture to ensure your stories and experiences continue to be told?”
Alexa Zytnick is finishing up her second year in the Microbiology Ph.D. program at University of California, Berkeley and is engineering bacteria to recycle electronic waste. Her first publication, “Identification of a biosynthetic gene cluster encoding a novel lanthanide chelator in Methylorubrum extorquens AM1,” went live on bioRxiv earlier this year.
Adero Kauffmann-Okoko shares, “Right now, I’m in Dallas, TX as the McDermott Intern for Adult Programs at the Dallas Museum of Art. I started the internship back in August after I graduated last year. I’ll be moving again once the program ends in a few months.”
Malik Potter, a senior at Chatham University, recently earned All-PAC (The Presidents’ Athletic Conference) First Team Distinction. Read the full article.
Reilly Jackman writes, “I graduated from Oberlin College with a Bachelor’s degree in History, Politics, and German. I was accepted to the U.S. Teaching Assistantship program administered by Fulbright Austria and will spend the next year teaching English in secondary schools in Austria. Additionally, I was accepted into a Master of International Affairs program at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, Germany which I will start after my year in Austria.”
Gia Thorpe, a recent graduate from Howard University, was one of just five Pittsburgh natives competing in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament as part of the Howard University Women’s Basketball team. Read the full article.
Ayanna Townsend, who was a team captain for the Xavier University Women’s Basketball team, was named the 2021–2022 BIG EAST Women’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Read the full article.
Current college student Ian McGough reported that he thankfully didn’t have COVID-19 again this year. Wishing all alums with COVID-19 a speedy recovery
Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Grossman writes, “I am the Sponsorship Coordinator for University of Miami’s Esports program and applied for a combined Masters of Sports and Esports Management. For the summer, I received an offer from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”
Plaid never goes out of style. Neither do you.
Classes ending in 0’s, 1’s, 2’s, 5’s, 6’s, 7’s + everyone else who wants to join the fun!
The following members of the WT community will be missed by their classmates, friends, students, and colleagues. We offer sincere condolences to their families.
Mary George Gast ’37
Betsy Brookes Fink ’38
Patricia ‘Pat’ Williams Gilchrist ’41
Nina Sommerville Patchell ’46
Ruth O’Brien Collura ’51
Lois Jean Graham Tingler ’51
Alice Stotz Diehl ’52
Dr. Jean MacIntyre ’52
Nancy Martin ’52
Dorothy Jones Menges ’53
Roberta ‘Robin’ McKinney Weiss ’56
Joan Giuliani Auerbach ’57
Judith Getty Treadwell ’59
Sarah ‘Sally’ Feland Perkins ’61
Marion Heard McNally ’65
Nancy K. Murray ’69