Share your news with UConn Nation!
Your classmates want to know about — and see — the milestones in your life. Send us news about weddings, births, new jobs, new publications, and more — along with hi-res photos — to: Alumni News & Notes, UConn Foundation, 2384 Alumni Drive, Unit 3053, Storrs, CT 06269.
Submissions may be edited for clarity or length.
Congratulations to Roland A. Boucher ’54 (ENG), who recently published “Ancient Measurements,” which examines the ways Sumerians and other ancient civilizations created precise measurement standards. Boucher was engineering program manager for the Hughes Aircraft Company’s space division. He lives with his wife, Nancy, in Irvine, California. They have two adult children and a 12-year-old grandchild, Catie.
Kenneth Burack ’54 (PHARM) retired after a long career as director of pharmacy at Griffin Hospital in Derby, Connecticut, and pharmacy manager at Brooks Pharmacy in Stratford and Cheshire, Connecticut. He says he’s spending time with friends, children, and grandchildren and volunteering at the Long Wharf and and Shubert theaters in New Haven.
Alvin Berger ’57 (CLAS), who served in the U.S. Army’s 32nd Army Band and attended Temple University Dental School, published “We Love You, Madam President,” about a brilliant young woman who rises from the tumult of a dysfunctional Washington establishment to break the glass ceiling, relying on her own intuition and the goodness of humanity.
Congratulations to retired U.S. Ambassador Philip S. Kaplan ’59 (CLAS), whose debut novel “Night in Tehran” was published by Melville House in November.
Bill Howard ’60 (CLAS) reports that the pandemic has made 2020 the only year since 1950 that he has not added to the number of 1,416 separate golf courses he has played on across all 50 states and 23 countries over his life as a student, soldier, insurance underwriter, and international corporation insurance risk manager. He retired in 1996 and lives in Chesterfield, Missouri, with Dolores, his wife of 60 years.
Congrats to James N. Lasbury ’70 (BUS) and Sharon Neuhauser Lasbury ’69 (CLAS), of Odenton, Maryland, on a long-lasting Husky love story: They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2020.
Edwin Slade ’70 (CLAS) is the new chair of the board of directors of the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care. Slade is a fellow of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and the American and International College of Dentists.
The Physician Assistant Education Association presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to William Kohlhepp ’74 (CLAS), professor emeritus of physician assistant studies at Quinnipiac University. Kohlhepp, who joined Quinnipiac in 1996, held several administrative positions there including dean of the School of Health Sciences. He was a physician assistant for more than 40 years variously at Yale New Haven Hospital, the Hospital of Saint Raphael, and the Community Health Care Plan; and a hospital administrator.
Marc Summerfield ’74 (PHARM) retired after 45 years of pharmacy management. He published a book on leadership, “Three Key Employee-Centered Elements with Case Studies.”
Charles E. Connerly ’74 MA, a professor at the University of Iowa School of Urban and Regional Planning, published “Green, Fair, and Prosperous: Paths to a Sustainable Iowa.” Connerly previously wrote “The Most Segregated City in America: City Planning and Civil Rights in Birmingham, 1920–1980.”
Mary Kuechenmeister ’76 (PHARM) is the founder and executive director of Story Preservation Initiative, an oral history–based educational nonprofit, headquartered in New Hampshire. She has personally recorded the oral histories of more than 60 people whose work or life experience has had significant impact in the fields of the arts, sciences, and humanities. Recordings include those of U.S. poet laureates, internationally recognized artists and sculptors, noted environmentalists and naturalists, recipients of the National Book Award, astronauts, astrophysicists, Holocaust survivors, and others. She recently recorded the oral history of Charles Yarish of UConn’s Yarish Seaweed Marine Biotechnology Lab. Mary started her career at Save the Children in Westport, Connecticut.
David Fetterman ’76 (CLAS) is reaching new heights. He trekked to the Mt. Everest Base Camp with his family, including then-12-year-old son David. Their adventures ranged from a harrowing helicopter ride from Katmandu to the trek’s starting point to summiting at over 17,500 feet, where he says, “the lack of oxygen on the moonrock-like landscape above the tree line literally takes your breath away.” He served as a faculty member in the School of Education, and director of evaluation in the School of Medicine at Stanford University. He’s past president of the American Evaluation Association, received numerous awards, and written 17 books.
John Wenke ’76 MA, ’81 Ph.D. published a short story collection “The Critical List,” which tells the stories of people teetering on the edge — a former jailbird under house arrest; a soap opera writer tangling with fraying family ties; a former philosophy professor, now homeless, living in the subway underground. “The Critical List” is published by Regal House Publishing and received pre-publication endorsements from writers Richard Ford, Cary Holladay, and John Surowiecki ’66 (CLAS), ’78 MA. Wenke teaches American literature and literary writing at Salisbury University in Maryland. His books include “J.D. Salinger” and “Melville’s Muse.” He was a T.A. in the UConn English department from 1974 to 1981.
Richard Gannon ’77 (PHARM) retired after 35 years at Hartford Hospital, where he was director of the pharmacy pain control service. He and his wife, Judy Wiechniak Gannon ’78 (ED), have three adult children, all of whom followed him into the health field: Stephen ’08 (PHARM), ’12 MD is an interventional cardiologist at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Denis ’12 (PHARM), ’14 Pharm.D. is an emergency department pharmacist at Middlesex Hospital in Middletown, Connecticut, and Ryan, who graduated from the University of Rhode Island, is a clinical nurse leader at Hartford Hospital.
Brian Loffredo ’78 (CLAS) plans to retire this spring after 25 years in management for Walmart, where he is a food and consumables coach at the Putnam, Connecticut, store. Brian lives with his wife, Colleen, and 19-year-old daughter, Brianna, in Thompson, Connecticut, where he is involved in town activities, including the Thompson Trails Committee, and is chair of the Thompson Turkey Trot 5K. Previously, he lived in Waterbury, Naugatuck, and Southington, where he helped raise four stepchildren with his late, first wife, Evelyn. He is a proud Husky, as his license plate will attest.
Rita M. Renzoni ’78 (BUS) reports that she is a work skills instructor in adult education in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and volunteers for the American Red Cross and Literacy Volunteers. She remembers her days on campus fondly: “Thanks for the memories, they are great!”
Elaine W. Viens ’78 (CLAS) writes to say she has retired as a speech and language therapist. She loved UConn, where she played JV basketball. She reports she now has grandchildren, who are growing up quickly, and loves reading about UConn.
It was eight years ago that Allyson (Valentine) Schrier ’82 (BUS) had her life turned upside down when her husband was diagnosed with dementia at age 47. Their sons were just 12 and 15 at the time. Then, within a few years, both of her stepparents developed dementia as well. Schrier became determined to learn all she could about the condition so she could provide excellent care.
Two years ago, she put her newfound knowledge to work. She left her job in technology to start a new company, Thriving with Dementia. She teaches a program called “How to be Friends with People Living with Dementia” to friends and family members. She also trains professional caregivers, and, as a program manager at the University of Washington, teaches primary care providers about dementia detection, diagnosis, and support. And she co-founded Zinnia TV, which provides gently paced videos that provide identity and connection for people living with dementia.
“Zinnia TV is kind of my passion project,” says Schrier. “I was so unhappy to find that, when he moved to a care community, my sweetheart spent hours on end parked in front of a television watching programming that was completely inappropriate for a person no longer able to track a plot, tell fact from fiction, or process rapidly moving images and audio.”
Recently she was honored with a 2020 Maude’s Award for Innovation in Alzheimer’s Care for her work providing support for family care partners. The award is named after Maude Ferry, a Seattle philanthropist, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
CEO Dan Delventhal ’81 (BUS) is celebrating the dramatic growth of his company, MowGreen, of Fairfield, Connecticut, a zero emission, gasoline-free lawn service. UConn is a family tradition for Dan, whose father Elmer “Del” Delventhal ’82 Ph.D., daughter Kayla Delventhal ’15 (CLAS), and wife, Cynthia (Baena) Delventhal ’81 (CLAS), are all Huskies.
In other climate-related news, David Samuels ’83 (BUS) was appointed to the board of directors of private equity-backed SemaConnect, a leading provider of electric vehicle charging stations across North America. He is also chair of the company’s audit committee.
Congratulations to Barbara (Solomon) Josselsohn ’83 MA, who recently published “The Lilac House” and “The Bluebell Girls,” the first two books in her Lake Summers series.
Speaking of authors, Stephen A. Black ’86 (CAHNR), an assistant professor of rehabilitation sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University, reports that he also recently published a book, “Healthy Knees Total Knee Replacement,” with Robin Robertson.
Congratulations to Barbara Evans ’88 (CLAS), who became associate executive director of the Foundation for City College, the oldest City University of New York senior college. Prior to CCNY, she worked in fundraising for the Appalachian Mountain Club, the Challenged Athletes Foundation, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, among other nonprofits.
Mary Kay (Karp) Tshonas ’88 (ED) is the new principal of Hall Memorial School in Willington, Connecticut. She had been principal of Quinebaug Middle College High School in Danielson, Connecticut.
Mazel tov to Edina (Riebman) Oestreicher ’90 (CLAS), who has returned to campus to become executive director of UConn Hillel, the Center for Jewish Student Life. She says she is excited to be back at UConn and looks forward to collaborating with students, families, faculty, staff, and the greater Storrs community to create a vibrant, welcoming, and inclusive Hillel.
Another Husky love story! Michael ’90 (BUS) and Jennifer Marzano ’92 (CLAS), who first met at an alumni event in Atlanta in the mid-’90s, are celebrating 21 years together. Michael is chief commercial officer of Aon’s Human Capital Solutions business and Jenn is head of marketing at the Cliff Valley School. They live in Atlanta, Georgia, with their children, Lily and Alex.
Bonnie Heatzig ’91 JD sells upper-echelon waterfront properties in South Florida. She and her husband are the proud parents of a daughter, who is a freshman at Cornell University, and two sons, a junior at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a University of Michigan graduate.
Leslie Bilodeau Placzek ’91 MBA reports she has written a bestselling humor book, “The Audacious Adventures of Zazoo Plazz Part-time Superhero, Full-time Mom.” In it, she describes growing up in the Hartford area in the 1970s, her big-hair school days in the ’80s, and life today as a career woman, wife, and mother of Ben, 20, a junior at the University of New Haven, and Zach, 17, a high school senior. “I treasure the memories of my years at UConn, which set me up for my quirky quest to spread a little light and laughter in the world.”
Classmate John Maciulewski ’91 MBA has been retired from the Hartford post office for 15 years, after an 18-year career there.
Stephen P. O’Mahony ’92 (ENG), ’96 MD is senior vice president, chief health information officer at RWJBarnabas Health in West Orange, New Jersey. In 2011, he won the John D. Thompson Award from the Connecticut Hospital Association for excellence in the delivery of healthcare through use of data.
Jill Hunter ’93 (PHARM) founded UpLevel To Lead, which helps companies change their culture to become places where everyone wants to come to work every day. She launched UpLevel after she noticed, while working as a pharmacist, that some healthcare professionals were empathetic with their patients but not necessarily with their staff. Good luck on the new venture!
Nicole Hughey ’93 (BUS) joined SiriusXM in New York as vice president of diversity and inclusion in July. She was senior director in the office of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Mass General Brigham. Previously she worked at Travelers Companies, where she held several roles of increasing responsibility, including second vice president, office of diversity and inclusion.
Maggie Balch ’94 MA recently was appointed dean of students at Westfield State University, where she oversees student activities and leadership, student conduct, residential engagement, and the career center. She held a similar position at the Rhode Island School of Design for the past five years and previously held several positions in student life at Brandeis University.
Meanwhile, Maj. Michael Amato Salvatore Goba ’94 (BUS) retired July 1, 2020 as a U.S. Army JAG after 20 years of legal service. Goba, practicing law, was assigned in Baghdad and Taji, Iraq, as well as in Germany; Bosnia; Kosovo; Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; and Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
Congratulations to Andy Yorkin ’95 (BUS), who was just named president of BrandHive, a global branding firm specializing in the healthy lifestyles industry based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Yorkin joined the company as an account director six years ago.
Leslie Brody ’95 MA, ’98 Ph.D. has published three books, most recently “Sometimes You Have to Lie,” a biography of Louise Fitzhugh, the author of the Harriet the Spy series. Brody, a playwright, journalist, and biographer, has taught creative nonfiction in the Creative Writing Department at the University of Redlands in California since 1998.
Tom Hooten ’95 (CAHNR) told us what he’s been up to all these years. He retired in July from Colorado State University, where he worked in extension service for nearly 22 years. He earned a master’s in plant science from Utah State University, worked as a research associate at the Southwestern Colorado Research Center Agricultural Experiment Station, and as an extension agent and director in Montezuma County, Colorado. Along the way, he earned a Distinguished Service Award for Excellence in Extension Education Programs from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents. He and his wife Diana Donnelly plan to stay in southwest Colorado, but he remains an enthusiastic Husky: “I love UConn! And will always remember my time there!”
Michael A. Pascucilla ’02 MPH is the CEO/Director of Health for East Shore District Health Department of Connecticut. His work researching, developing, and funding the world’s first Solar-Electric Pump-out Vessel, which is in use in Connecticut and for which a U.S. patent application has been submitted, was published in the Journal Water Practice & Technology last July.
Another Husky pup! Michael Boecherer ’00 (CLAS), ’02 MA reports that he and his wife, Victoria, welcomed a new Husky to their family. Caroline Johnston Boecherer was born in February 2020 and joins elder Husky, Nora — UConn class of 2035.
Congrats to Melissa Oliveira ’01 (CLAS), whose essay “Ruin Value” was published in the fall 2020 issue of the prestigious Ploughshares. Oliveira is working on a novel in Berlin, Germany.
Kudos to Kristen (Gudlewski) Keyser ’02 (ED), ’03 MA, who won her first election — to the West Allis-West Milwaukee school board in Wisconsin in April. She teaches at a private school for Indigenous students in the Milwaukee area.
Faced with the challenge of remote learning for the arts, Harlem Children’s
Zone Promise Academy II theater teacher Margot Littlefield ’05 (SFA) had to think outside the box. She reached out to fellow Husky and Brooklyn-based puppeteer Julia Darden ’07 (SFA), who created more than 100 custom hand puppets for the students. The scholars now use the puppets in their theater lessons and as a tool for social emotional learning.
A shout out to Tatiana Melendez- Rhodes ’06 MA, ’10 Ph.D., who was promoted to associate professor and granted tenure at Central Connecticut State University. She’s in the Marriage and Family Therapy Program.
And congrats to Matthew Biron ’06 (CAHNR) and Caitlyn Willox-Biron ’06 (CLAS), who welcomed their second daughter, Luna, in October 2020.
Rachel Fain ’07 (CLAS), a partner at Halloran Sage, is getting noticed. She was just named to the Hartford Business Journal’s “40 Under Forty” list. She is co-chair of the firm’s insurance coverage litigation practice group and works with the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center on a pro bono basis to manage eviction defense cases for veterans facing homelessness.
Pediatrician Barbara “Basia” Szajda ’07 MD joined Wheeler’s Family Health & Wellness Center in Hartford, where she provides pediatric medical care to infants, children, and teenagers and offers medical visits in Spanish, Polish, and English. Previously, she was lead pediatrician for the Venice Family Clinic in Venice and Culver City, California.
And Rob Amenta ’07 (BUS) was promoted to lead portfolio manager, U.S. High Yield, and to co-lead portfolio manager, Global High Yield, at NN Investment Partners. Amenta has worked in their New York City office since 2012.
Congratulations to Mark Daigneault ’07 (ED), who was promoted to head coach of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team. Daigneault, who has been with the franchise for six years, replaces Billy Donovan. He came to the Thunder from the University of Florida, where he was an assistant coach, and previously was at the College of the Holy Cross. During his years as an undergraduate at UConn, he was a student manager under Hall of Fame men’s basketball coach Jim Calhoun.
Adam Dreyfus ’07 (BGS) writes that he loves getting UConn Magazine and checking out what fellow Huskies are doing. Since getting a master’s from Columbia University, he has been working on supporting autism programming in public schools in Virginia. He is director of the Sarah Dooley Center for Autism, where he raised funds to build a new facility. He co-founded AnswersNow, a telehealth platform that connects parents to certified clinicians. “None of my success would have been possible without my time at UConn,” he wrote.
Jean Rush ’08 MBA was appointed to the strategic advisory board for Decode Health, a Nashville-based predictive analytics company, to aid in tracking Covid-19. She was recently executive vice president of government markets at Highmark and previously was senior vice president of complex care Centene Corp.
Meanwhile, Thomas Wise ’08 (ED, SFA) and Jennifer (Susin) Wise ’08 (ED, SFA) of Boonton, New Jersey, welcomed son Thomas “TJ” Joseph in September.
How’s this for romantic? Benjamin Arsenault ’10 (CLAS) and Jessica Potrepka Arsenault ’08 (CAHNR), ’10 MS announced the birth of their third child, James Ellsworth — named for Ellsworth Hall where his mom and dad met. Both are pursuing advanced degrees at UConn: Benjamin is earning his MBA and Jessica her DNP. James, born in July, joins brother David and sister Evangeline, both future Huskies, according to Mom and Dad. The family lives in Southington, Connecticut.
Kudos to Shane R. Goodrich ’10 (CLAS), ’13 JD, a lawyer at Morgan, Brown & Joy, who was recently recognized by Best Lawyers in America in its new category, “Ones to Watch.”
And to Richie Kremer ’10 (CAHNR), who was named the new golf course superintendent at Hop Meadow Country Club in Simsbury, Connecticut.
A new book by former UConn Humanities Institute fellow Alea Henle ’12 Ph.D. offers a vital account of how local history organizations formed, built collections, and operated across the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, laying the groundwork for professional practices that are still embraced today.
Congratulations to Shane Kelly ’14 (ENG), who reports that he earned his doctorate in theoretical physics from the University of California Riverside and is now working as a postdoctoral scholar in a research group on non-equilibrium universality in quantum matter at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany.
Tyler R. Morrissey ’14 (CLAS) and Mariah N. Monroe ’14 (CLAS) married in October in a small ceremony in Hartford, Connecticut. While a global pandemic curtailed a much larger ceremony, it could not stop this UConn love story. Tyler and Mariah look forward to a celebration with family and fellow UConn alumni soon. They also look forward to attending basketball games at Gampel Pavilion and stopping at the Dairy Bar.
And kudos to Dustyn C. Nelson ’14 (CAHNR), who became the Connecticut Nursery & Landscape Association’s youngest president. Under his tenure, the group plans to spearhead a state-approved apprenticeship program. Last year, he helped commission an economic impact study for the green industry in Connecticut, which he presented to state legislators.
Paola Chanes-Mora ’14 MPH, ’17 Ph.D. has been awarded an American Association for the Advancement of Science fellowship. She will work in the Department of State Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator and says she is excited to be starting at Dr. Deborah Birx’s office. She is one of 284 scientists and engineers who will spend a year serving professionally in federal agencies and congressional offices as a Science & Technology Policy fellow.
The Snyder Group, a Norwalk, Connecticut, marketing firm, recently hired Stephanie Suarez ’15 (CLAS) as a marketing specialist. Previously, she held a similar position at Trace Analytics in Austin, Texas.
Caps, gowns, and . . . romance? Four years after meeting at their UConn graduation ceremony, Jaimie Farkas ’16 (CLAS) and Peter Miraglia ’16 (CLAS) happily announced that they are engaged and planning a destination wedding.
Kudos to Tina Iraca ’17 Ph.D., who was promoted to associate professor at Dutchess Community College, State University of New York in Poughkeepsie, where she teaches writing and English literature.
Sidney Allmendinger ’17 (CLAS) and Taylor Borowiec ’17 (CLAS) were married in a small ceremony in October 2020 surrounded by their families. Now living in Boston, Sidney works in emergency management for Boston Children’s Hospital and Taylor serves on the marketing team for an infrastructure firm.
Caitlin Kingston ’18 (CLAS), of Abington, Massachusetts, has known she wanted to be an archaeologist since she was in the sixth grade. Now she’s the assistant site supervisor for Southwest Archaeological Consultants, working on the El Segundo Archaeology Project in New Mexico. Kingston earned her master’s in field archaeology in January last year from the University of York in York, England. While in England, she increased her knowledge through internships at AECOM and Council for British Archaeology.
Ria Bhattacharya ’19 Ph.D., who came to the U.S. in 2014 to attend graduate school at UConn, wrote about her fond memories of the University: “This place has given me happy memories, great experiences, and lifelong associations. There is this vibrant energy present in the campus, which lifts your mood all the time. I had some great students to teach, took classes with inspiring professors, and made lifelong friends.”
Congratulations to Joshua Fennessey ’20 (BUS), who has joined independent advisory firm ICR, based in Norwalk, Connecticut, as an investor relations associate.