Potash Hill

Alumni News

65 years of unfettered thinking

On a beautiful, sunny weekend in May, 140 alumni and their families flocked to Potash Hill for a celebration of Marlboro community spirit. Highlights included cheese tasting with Wendy Levy ’97, learning about getting published with Deni Bechard ’97, and a wildlife-tracking walk with George Lioniak ’05. Anthropology professor Carol Hendrickson led a workshop on making illustrated journals, and biology professor Bob Engel shared the difference between the songs of a red-eyed vireo and a solitary vireo. Will Brooke-deBock ’87 and C.J. Churchill ’91 led a very touching tribute to retiring sociology professor Jerry Levy. The event was a huge success, thanks to the tireless work of new alumni director Katie Schendel, who specifically ordered the weather. Photos by Adam Keller ’10 and Marcus DeSieno ’10 

 C.J. Churchill and Will Brooke-deBock foment revolution with Jerry Levy.Composting and locally grown foods were on the menu
Hendrickson assists Diane Kazar ’80 and her daughter Emma at the journal workshop. Pioneers Jerry Clifford ’59 and Charlie Staples ’51 seem to remember more than anyone. The 1970s were well represented, including (back row) Jeanne Holtzman ’71, Bob Plumb ’73, Will Wootton ’72, Johnny Holtzman ’75, Dean Nicyper ’76, (front row) Ruth Moscowitz ’75, Gail Manyan Henry ’72 and Ellen Schön ’75

Bob Engel describes an ovenbird’s nest on a Sunday morning bird walkEvan Mehler ’07, Daniel Garcia-Galilli ’07, Lillian Shrank Graham ’07, Kara Kriss ’07 (with daughter Annika), Julie Shumway ’06, Saurav Rana ’06 and Johnny Stiteler ’06 discuss relatively recent old timesLinda Reyes ’99, Russ Wootton ’02 and their son Lincoln visit with politics professor Lynette RummelKit Barry ’68 gives a ride to a mystery motorcycle mamaHeshan Berents-Weeramuni ’90 at bat 





















Class notes are listed by year and include both graduates and nongraduates; the latter are listed under the class with which they are associated.

Joan and CHARLES STAPLES traveled to Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland last fall. “The main feature was a weeklong cruise up the Elbe River from Hamburg to beyond Dresden. We also enjoyed Prague, Krakow and Warsaw,” he writes.

“Finally a granny,” writes PENNY SAYRE WEIDERHOLD. “Lilly Clare was born in Munich in 2010 and moved to Seattle last June. Such fun!” 

LINDA KRAMER is “doing homeschooling in my retirement and love it. I think of my friends at Marlboro often— where is JIM PAVLAKIS?”

WESLEY WARD writes, “Thirtieth year of conservation work at the Trustees of Reservations; beginning to think of transition. Daughter Audri is graduating from Occidental in June and son Cary is in New Haven with his son, Kofi, and wife, Natasha Spencer. Mother, 98, still thrives in Vernon, Vermont. Great fresh look for Potash Hill; I appreciate the good news from Marlboro.”

After many years at The Meeting School in Rindge, New Hampshire, SHEILA GARRETT spent last fall and part of the winter in a pilgrimage to the south, visiting with Quakers and other faith groups along the way. Her tour included Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Koinonia Farm, a Christian community in Americus, Georgia, and ended with an intensive course in Quaker public ministry at Earlham School of Religion, Indiana. She is now living in Ashfield, Massachusetts. Learn more at monad-quaker.livejournal. com/tag/sheila%20garrett.

RICK NICKERSON writes, “All is well in Missouri. I’m still working in aerospace, and Roxanne is well. John and Molly are both married and being productive and useful to the world. No grandchildren, however. Maybe next year—life flies by!”

“Not too much new to report,” writes STEPHENIE SMITH. “My divorce was final in December 2010, and I retired three years ago. I rent out rooms in my old Vermont farmhouse, so I live with three other women. I miss singing and got out my old guitar in hopes it would encourage me to sing more, but arthritis in my fingers made practice difficult. Something positive? I am happier now than I ever have been before.”

Gilbert Palley ’69: Somewhere in Nowhere, Arizona

So there I was, an aging, crusty, gray-haired, hippie ER doc, working at Fort Defiance Indian Hospital on the Navajo Reservation in (really) Nowhere, Arizona. I was attending our first “book club” with maybe 15 docs, nurses, dentists and pharmacists. The book was Hunger Games.

There was a young woman there with her mother, a hospital OB nurse. She looked to be between, eh, 14 and 25 (you know the look and age). I’m introduced to Eleanor, age 19. Okay, everybody else there I knew, so I started talking to her. Small talk... pre-book-club talk. She said she’s in college. Curious, I asked where, and she said the unbelievable phrase, “Oh I go to a very small college in Vermont...Marlboro. 

Well, knock me over with a feather. Picking my jaw up off the floor, I asked her to quickly put down her teacup. She looked at me like I was crazy, but obliged. I then gave her an enormous hug and told her I graduated from Marlboro in 1969 (she thinking, initially, best shot was that I had actually heard of the place). We then spent the next 45 minutes talking about old and new Marlboro and reveling about an old-time love and a newfound one, of autumn leaves and seminars, of a place “at the end of a road on the top of a hill.” Thanks Marlboro—and Eleanor... never stop dancing. 


MAGGIE MARX is “keeping up with old Marlboro friends on Facebook. Looking forward to joining up with JENNIE (‘Mother’) TUCKER to go see SOO WHITING for her 70th birthday on the Vineyard in October.”

A conference was held at the University of Chicago Divinity School in May 2011 to recognize the retirement of DAVID KLEMM from the University of Iowa department of religious studies.

“Hello Marlboro,” writes COLIN COCHRAN. “My longtime partner, Paul Langlund, and I bought a house in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I love it here. My new paintings can be viewed on my gallery’s website, gebertcontemporary.com, and also in Hudson, New York, at www. johndavisgallery.com/. I stay in touch with JUDY McLAREN ASBURY, KATIE WINSHIP and PATTI HART.”

Wendy Pomeroy ’77: Saving land in Kittery

Last fall, landscape designer Wendy Pomeroy joined the board of directors of the Kittery Land Trust (KLT), an organization that promotes land conservation in Kittery, Maine, where Wendy has lived with her family since 2003. “Being on the board of the Kittery Land Trust has allowed me to help preserve some of the vital natural areas in our small town,” said Wendy. “These properties are home to wildlife and native plants, all critical in keeping the balance of this precarious and fragile landscape.”

Wendy studied sculpture at Marlboro and then landscape architecture, establishing her own landscape design business in Cambridge, Massachusetts, before moving to Kittery with her family. There, she collaborates with her husband, architect Deane Rykerson, designing gardens using as much native plant material as possible, and is back into doing sculpture again—welding. She also writes articles for the KLT newsletter on native plants that grow in the area.

“I thrive on being outdoors in relative wilderness,” said Wendy. “I love observing the teeny groundcovers that cling to the earth, and admire the huge old oaks that have been here for years and have existed through the agricultural changes of this landscape. It is satisfying to assist in the preservation of this incredible and magnificent living world.” Learn more at www.ryarchitecture.com.  

SOPHIE BLACK’s poem “Somewhere in New Jersey Is the Center” appeared in the March 23 edition of The New Yorker, and an interview with her appeared on the Book Bench section of the magazine’s blog. Sophie’s third book of poetry will be published next year.

“HARRY HUSSEY, his wife, Tami, and I went down to New York City in February,” writes TONY SAVOIE, “to hear LLOYD KING’s band, Funkadesi. In addition to Lloyd and BETH TYLER ’83, MARK ’80 and HOLLY WATERBURY MANLEY ’82 were there, and JOHN GRAY ’78. A fun mini-reunion, of course, and to finally hear Funkadesi live was a real treat. And after seeing Lloyd strutting his stuff in a form-fitting black tank top, I have to say the man has aged well.”

LESLIE BROWN writes, “Aside from starting a business as a kitchen and bath designer, my husband, Sandy, and I are now the only commercial growers of blueberries in Colorado, starting a pick-your-own farm that will open next year.”

“Hello old friends,” writes REBECCA JERVIS LEEMAN from Albuquerque. “I’ve been out of touch. Three preteen boys are keeping me busy, and beyond all of that I am very plugged into my midwifery practice, working in a tertiary care hospital where a lot of high-risk pregnancy situations arrive and arise—it is a job and a half to keep the normal labor normal. To relax, I scuba dive (though not in New Mexico) and go out dancing. Hi LAURIE. And a long shot: Hello TIM PRATT.”

KATHERINE PAQUIN FREELAND has spent some recent weekends with “the fabulous women of Random North and South: ABBY JACOBSON, MELISSA MATTES ’83 and GERALDINE McPHEE ’83.”

ABBY JACOBSON writes, “Lots of changes here, which include a geographical move to Providence, Rhode Island, where I’ve been able to catch up with GERALDINE McPHEE, TREVOR ALLEN (and their two grown sons), MARK BONN and his wife, Cindy, and their two children. On two occasions, Gerry, Trevor and I have held a mini Marlboro reunion that included reconnecting with MELISSA MATTES and KATE PAQUIN FREELAND. Between all of us we have eight boys between the ages of 19 and 24. I’m still working in the field of psychology, gardening on the side, and have recently begun ushering at a local theater. I’m loving life on pavement and being able to walk to stores, theaters and museums. In my spare time I’m learning to navigate the public transportation system and learning all things Rhode Island. Would love to have Marlboro alums visit anytime. abby. jacobson.50@gmail.com.”

AMY KING and JOHN GILLIOM celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in a quiet house. “The last kid has run away to college, leaving us with the time and energy to enjoy each other, our farm and our work. Amy is heading up early childhood literacy initiatives in our region, and John is teaching political science at Ohio University and has a new book, SuperVision, out in the fall.”

DAVID SKEELE is “still teaching acting and playwriting at Slippery Rock University (and having a great time doing it). I’m preparing to take our fourth show to Edinburgh, Scotland, while directing Electra and The Merchant of Venice.”

Sophomores Saskia Giramma and Clair Maleney enjoy each other’s company on campus just as their moms, Suzanne Turner ’84 and Kathryn Burke Maleney ’84, once did.   PETER CHANDLER (aka Chanman) sent news in March that the Jackson Hole Weekly announced the winners of its “Best of Jackson Hole 2012” poll—Best Musician, Gold: Peter Chandler; Best Local CD Release, Gold: Chanman Roots Band, “New Uprising”; Best Band Playing Original Music, Bronze: Chanman Roots Band.

TODD LYLES lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, Joelle. “It’s a great town—if you’re ever passing through, look me up.”

SKARRN RYVNINE has a daughter, Naomi Lenoir, born on December 18, 2011.

KRISTIN ANDERSON, a nurse in the Brattleboro Memorial Hospital birthing center, travelled to Nicaragua with two colleagues in March to volunteer in a teaching hospital in Leon.

MARYA PLOTKIN is a senior monitoring and evaluation officer in Jhpiego’s Tanzania office. Jhpiego, an affiliate of Johns Hopkins University, is a nonprofit healthcare organization that works in developing countries to train health care workers in reproductive health and family planning.

LOREN TALBOT writes, “Hi all. Just wanted to share the news that I married my partner, Jacob Schuiten, this past January in Brooklyn. KIM ALLEN and CHRIS GROFF joined in the celebration. Beyond that, I’ve been working as the photo editor of The Week magazine for the past three years; fixing up the house that we bought in Bloomfield, New Jersey, around the same time; and finishing up my attic studio, where I have been working on collages and painting.”

ELI FISHMAN and his wife are expecting their first child in October. 

Jonathan Gitelson ’97: Showing at deCordova

After almost 10 years living in Chicago, artist Jonathan Gitelson moved back to Vermont last year. He was welcomed with an exciting invitation to participate in the 2012 deCordova Biennial exhibition, in Lincoln, Massachusetts, from January to April, the premier survey of New England contemporary art. “I feel very fortunate to have been embraced here in my new home, and the biennial experience has introduced me to lots of artists living here on the east coast whose work I had not been previously familiar with,” said Jonathan. “Community has always been a very important part of my life as an artist, and inclusion in this exhibition has given me a big boost as a newcomer to the region.”

This year’s deCordova Biennial featured 23 artists and collaboratives. It occupied most of the museum and sculpture park, and went beyond to nearby communities through a series of public, off-site projects. Jonathan had three bodies of work on view at the exhibition: three custom-bound artist books, three pieces from his series “Dream Job,” and three full-scale photographs from the series “Items of Clothing Secretly Hidden by My Girlfriend (So I Wouldn’t Wear Them Anymore).” Jonathan’s upcoming events include a solo exhibition this fall at Galerie f5,6 in Munich. Learn more at www.thegit.net


DENI BECHARD’s family memoir, Cures for Hunger, is slated for publication this spring. His 2007 novel, Vandal Love, winner of the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for best first book, will be out in paperback around the same time.

WENDY LEVY writes, “Hello everybody, especially JOHN BELL. I’m moving back to Brattleboro in February and leaving the New York City area (again). I just got a great job with Grafton Village Cheese Company. Yes, still working with cheese. All Marlboro friends, please look me up if you’re in town or coming to visit. So glad to be returning to Vermont.”

In a holiday letter from GARY and MELANIE KNIGHT GOTTLIEB ’02 we learned that Gary won an award from the Association for Recorded Sound Collections for his third book and an award from the Audio Engineering Society, where he was also elected to the board, for outstanding service this past year. He is now working in early education audio quality at stlaudio.org. Melanie is still the director of admissions at Webster University and vice president of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. She traveled to Thailand, Switzerland and Germany last year, and is also a coach for Beachbody Fitness. Their daughter, Kyla, is in first grade at the French School of St. Louis Language Immersions Schools. Daughter Miranda had her Bat Mitzvah and is in eighth grade, where she is in honors chorus. And, last but not least, their dog Abbie took third place in her second dog show last year.

“The fall of 2010 found us moving from our home in Stockholm, Maine, to a full-fledged farm in Caribou,” writes KATE QUINN-EASTER. “Our dream of having our own therapeutic riding center someday is in the works. Until then, we just have our little herd and are happy to be home. That same time also found me starting an accelerated master’s degree program through the Job Corps Executive Management Program at Minot State University in Minot, North Dakota. I spent eight months in online and video-based classes and two months in the very, very flooded town of Minot. By the middle of my time there, I had a 14-foot dike outside my dorm room window that was holding back the mighty Souris River. I received my Master of Science in Management and a Graduate Certificate in Knowledge Management in July 2011. I still work for Job Corps and am happy to be making a difference in the lives and futures of youth and young adults. If you are ever doing a trip north, look me up. We’re happy to host travelers any time.”

KOLI SHTYLLA and his wife, Sarah, welcomed a son, Maks Lukas Roma-Shtylla, on January 30, 2012.

“Hello all,” writes SETH WINSOR. “My band has finally lined up a tour of Denmark and parts of Canada this summer, and at some point my partner and I are hoping to take the kids on a family vacation. I’m still continuing treatment for my condition, and I just want to extend my heartfelt thanks to all those who have supported us during this difficult time— much love and thanks to you all.”

Alumni panel talks about sustainability

On April 13, a group of four alumni with careers in sustainability talked with students and other community members about their professions and their trajectories after college. The panelists were Pietr van Loon ’88, Jeff Bower ’92, Molly MacLeod ’08 and Mary Westervelt, who will recieve an MBA from Marlboro College Graduate School this year.

“My professional background was in marketing in the financial services sector,” said Mary, who now offers consulting services to support the growth of small businesses in the slow food and clean energy sectors. “I was excited to leave that arena and use my skills to support the greater good. I am now in much greater alignment with the life I’ve always intended to lead.”

Pietr, on the other hand, got his Marlboro degree in forestry and worked with another Marlboro alumnus as a consulting forester right out of college. He is now stewardship forester for the Vermont Land Trust. Molly is a Ph.D. student in ecology and evolution at Rutgers University, where she is identifying patterns in plant-pollinator interactions to inform species conservation and restoration.

“Making a difference can be as big as passing legislation to as small as turning off a light switch,” said Jeff, who works with the nation’s largest solar power company to deploy commercial-scale systems. “There is room for everyone, and everyone can have an impact.” Through their many stories and perspectives, these alumni helped students see their way past obstacles they may encounter, and confirmed the recurring Marlboro wisdom of pursuing what they are passionate about. 


“I am currently in a master’s program for social work at Rutgers, graduating in May,” writes KERENZA REID. “MICHAEL (BLUMENFELD) just graduated with his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Arizona in 2011 and currently works as a senior researcher for Exxon Mobil.”

This winter CLAIR BIDWELL SMITH published The Rules of Inheritance (Penguin/Hudson Street), a memoir reflecting on the early death of her parents from cancer and the grieving that followed. Publisher’s Weekly said, “Smith’s prose possesses a blistering power, rendering this youthful memoir an affecting journey into loss.”

Kelly and LEE COLLYER welcomed their daughter Clementine Eileen Collyer to the world on December 31, 2011. “She has a full head of hair and is already plotting about who to put up against the wall first when the revolution comes.”

“All the best from Toronto,” writes ANTHONY SCHEIN. “Still working at a small public-sector union called AMAPCEO as executive assistant to the president. I was on leave for two months in 2011 to manage my brother Jonah’s successful campaign for provincial parliament in Ontario—likely my proudest achievement to date. I am now active in a campaign to elect the next leader of Canada’s NDP and leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. Saw CAITLYYN PAXSON ’06 in Ottawa last April while visiting my sister REBECCA ’01. Enjoyed a visit this past summer from RACHEL FEDERLIN ’06 and MIA NOEL ’10. Looking forward to a visit from CHRISTIE BARCELOS ’05 in February. I dream of Marlboro.”

From his mom, Joanne, we learn that ANDREW HAYES is still living in California, working in reality TV and at the Discovery Channel. His recent work includes Brides of Beverly Hills, Flip Men and music videos.

SUNNY HITT has been living and working in the Cambridge area, “dancing, teaching and enjoying life.” She spent last fall in Maine and then traveled to Southeast Asia in January 2012.

After Marlboro, SARAH DOBBINS got a master’s in public health and a post-baccalaureate certificate in illustration from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Last year she moved to San Francisco to work as a medical illustrator, focusing on public health and community outreach. She also works at San Francisco General Hospital on clinical research projects in the areas of coagulopathy after trauma and violence injury prevention and research.

CHRISTIAN McCRORY writes, “After graduation, I enrolled in the Master of Arts in Teaching program at the School for International Training. It was there that I met one Melissa Bossio, a Canadian, who kindly consented to become my wife in June 2009. We taught English together in Kasaoka, Japan, lived briefly in Toronto and have now settled down in Middlesex, Vermont. We own a simple log home at the edge of Tangletown, betwixt a pig named Daisy and a handful of sheep. I am employed as a special education provider at the Buffalo Mountain School in Hardwick. I’m also extremely delighted to say that Melissa and I are expecting a daughter in April. I count my time at Marlboro as some of the finest years of my life. Thank you, professors and peers, for everything.”

“Hello Marlboro friends,” writes LILY SCHRANK GRAHAM. “I have been living outside of Boston with my husband, Forbes, and caring for my grandfather Putnam Flint for the past four years. I am still very active in my photography and am also involved in jewelry design. I make jewelry out of antique tin, and have done many craft fairs in the Boston area, as well  as selling online. You can check out my photography and links to my jewelry site at www.lillianhelengraham.com. The big news is that I am pregnant. I am expecting the little one in early October and could not be more excited. Life is happening, and I am enjoying every minute. Please feel free to contact me via email at lillianhelengraham@gmail.com. I hope life is treating everyone well, and I look forward to hearing from you.”

BRADY GODWIN is at the University of Wyoming, working toward a master’s degree in zoology and physiology and conducting fieldwork on river otters in the Green River basin. “When I crawl out of my tent in the morning and chase off a moose, or see a Wyoming sunset without another soul for miles, I think, ‘This is my job.’”

JAMIE PAUL is working as a technician and archivist for documentary photographer Rob Amberg and playing original folk songs in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina.

Marlboro welcomes new alumni director

Katie Schendel arrived at Marlboro with enough time to wipe the mud off her boots before she hosted two successful prospective student/alumni gatherings and started planning the alumni reunion. Fortunately, we were in expert hands. Katie was the executive director of the Franklin County Bar Association in Greenfield, Massachusetts, for two years before coming to Marlboro. Prior to that, Katie worked for 13 years at the University of New Hampshire School of Law, as the director of career services.

“After my many years of working in higher education, coming to Marlboro has felt like coming home,” said Katie. “I’ve had a very warm welcome here and feel more captivated by each new alumnus I hear from.”

Since 2008 she has also served as an admissions counselor for the UNH law school, for which she traveled frequently to recruit and manage admissions events. Katie has a bachelor’s degree from University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in French and humanistic studies. Although she also has a J.D. from UNH she decided not to be a practicing lawyer, and Marlboro is all the richer for that choice. 

From her mother, we learn that CAROLYN DRUMSTA is “officially a member of the 10-mile club, living in Brattleboro, zipping around in her Smartcar, looking for work and volunteering at Vermont Workers’ Center.”

In April, SOPHIA CLEARY and AMITY JONES returned to campus to share samples of new dances they are creating and talk about their lives as artists in New York City.

EMILY FIELD is working as a shift supervisor at the St. Elizabeth Emergency Shelter in Santa Fe, New Mexico. “Everyone has a different story. For a Marlboro alum like me, someone who hates it when things get predictable, this is ideal.”

CHRISSY RAUDONIS writes, “I spent the summer working on Mount Mansfield in Vermont for the Green Mountain Club, and I am now interning at a farm in Tennessee while preparing for a 6- to12-month-long trip to Guatemala to act as a human rights observer with the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala, a U.S.-based NGO.”

Ian McCamant '12 with his dad, Kevin McCamant '77, at commencementHot off the presses, here’s an idea of what some members of the graduating class are doing: EVA BAISAN is teaching English for the Jett Program in Japan, and NICK COLLURA is working toward a master’s degree in social work at Smith College. ETHAN DENNY is working on the trail crew for the Randolph Mountain Club in New Hampshire. ANNIE MALAMET will be attending the School of Visual Studies in New York, while DEBORAH MEADOWS is a worker on Dog River Farm in Montpelier, Vermont. JACK ROSSITER-MUNLEY is a research assistant at MEM and Associates, in Illinois. JILLIAN O’CONNELL is a wardrobe supervisor at Shakespeare & Company in Massachusetts. ELLIE ROARK is the head RA at SOCAPA in Burlington, Vermont. ANDREW TANABE has an internship in Senator Leahy’s office in Washington, D.C. BRANDON WILLITTS is a trail worker for the National Park Service in California, and LESLIE WILSON is studying experimental psychology at Brooklyn College, New York. SHEA WITZBERGER is the assistant manager for the Brattleboro Farmer’s Market, working at Kindle Farm School and an assistant for Marlboro College summer programs. Finally, JONATHAN WOOD is in the MA in Teaching for Social Justice program at Marlboro College Graduate School.